Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

teresa wright & dana andrews - the best years of our lives 1946

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is an excellent film portraying the lives of three World War II veterans who return home to find out their lives and people around them have become incredibly different.

Compared to Vietnam and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, WWII is widely seen as the “good war.” Regardless of your take on that, this film is unique in how it shows the fallout and post-traumatic stress seen even from that war.

In addition, the film is worth seeing due to the lead Fredric March’s performance as the memorable Al Stephenson.

This one swept up at the Oscars back in 1946, back when they meant something more.

Watch it.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

James Gandolfini in The Drop

The Drop (2014) is the late-James Gandolfini’s final film.

At times, he does remind us of Tony Soprano, with his trademark facial expressions and hand gestures. But clearly his character here, as “Cousin Marv,” is a much different type of criminal, ultimately a sheep compared to the lion that Tony was. Still, Gandolfini’s talent shines through, with his ability to steal scene after scene in full display.

I saw it earlier today, and highly recommend that you see it. Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz, and Matthias Schoenaerts also turn in memorable performances in this gritty drama with excellent character development.

via imdb

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

Sunday Matinee at Chess Cinemas

calvary

I saw Calvary (2014) in a theater last weekend.

The independent Irish film has basically the same cast and crew as The Guard (2011), one of my favorite films of the past five years.

The great Brendan Gleeson leads the charge again, this time as a well-meaning priest caught up in a drama-filled small village by the sea.

Overall, the film hits the right notes of weaving the serious parts of the storyline with Irish wit. I highly recommend it.

Sunday Matinee at Chess Cinemas

MV5BMTYyNDkwODc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDY2NTM5._V1_SX214_AL_

Avalon (1990) is another very good Barry Levinson-directed film set in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. This one hits the right notes in terms of blending a family-centered melodrama with some comedy and romance.

Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins, Armin Mueller-Stahl, a young Elijah Wood, and Kevin Pollack highlight the solid cast.

From imdb:

A Polish-Jewish family arrives in the US at the beginning of the century and they and their children try to build themselves a better future in the promised land.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

0518109_11163_MC_Tx360

Headed into the serious part of the Major League Baseball season, not to mention seeing tomorrow’s (hopefully steroid-free) stars in the Little League World Series, I am going to suggest The Natural (1984) for a solid, late-summer night viewing.

Based on the Bernard Malamud novel and directed by the estimable Barry Levinson, this Robert Redford vehicle is part period piece, part romance, part drama, and all mystique; It has stood the test of time and is still widely-refereced a full thirty years after its release.

Other notable performances include Glenn Close, a cagey Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, and the great Wilford Brimley. An elder statesmen role played by Richard Farnsworth, and a younger Michael Madsen also add to the high quality cast.

You will not find too many films with better cinematography, to boot.

via imdb:

An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

Wolf

Wolf (1994) may not rank among the very top films that Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader have starred in, but it sure is a good time.

Nicholson plays a book publisher-turned-werewolf-at-night fighting to save his career against the cutthroat Spader, with Pfeiffer the main love interest.

The film was released twenty years ago during the summer, and directed by the great Mike Nichols.

Also notable in the cast are David Hyde Pierce and Christopher Plummer.

On a slow summer Saturday night, it is worth checking out.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

teresa wright & dana andrews - the best years of our lives 1946

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is an excellent film portraying the lives of three World War II veterans who return home to find out their lives and people around them have become incredibly different.

Compared to Vietnam and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, WWII is widely seen as the “good war.” Regardless of your take on that, this film is unique in how it shows the fallout and post-traumatic stress seen even from that war.

In addition, the film is worth seeing due to the lead Fredric March’s performance as the memorable Al Stephenson.

This one swept up at the Oscars back in 1946, back when they meant something more.

Watch it.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

James Gandolfini in The Drop

The Drop (2014) is the late-James Gandolfini’s final film.

At times, he does remind us of Tony Soprano, with his trademark facial expressions and hand gestures. But clearly his character here, as “Cousin Marv,” is a much different type of criminal, ultimately a sheep compared to the lion that Tony was. Still, Gandolfini’s talent shines through, with his ability to steal scene after scene in full display.

I saw it earlier today, and highly recommend that you see it. Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz, and Matthias Schoenaerts also turn in memorable performances in this gritty drama with excellent character development.

via imdb

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

Sunday Matinee at Chess Cinemas

calvary

I saw Calvary (2014) in a theater last weekend.

The independent Irish film has basically the same cast and crew as The Guard (2011), one of my favorite films of the past five years.

The great Brendan Gleeson leads the charge again, this time as a well-meaning priest caught up in a drama-filled small village by the sea.

Overall, the film hits the right notes of weaving the serious parts of the storyline with Irish wit. I highly recommend it.

Sunday Matinee at Chess Cinemas

MV5BMTYyNDkwODc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDY2NTM5._V1_SX214_AL_

Avalon (1990) is another very good Barry Levinson-directed film set in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. This one hits the right notes in terms of blending a family-centered melodrama with some comedy and romance.

Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins, Armin Mueller-Stahl, a young Elijah Wood, and Kevin Pollack highlight the solid cast.

From imdb:

A Polish-Jewish family arrives in the US at the beginning of the century and they and their children try to build themselves a better future in the promised land.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

0518109_11163_MC_Tx360

Headed into the serious part of the Major League Baseball season, not to mention seeing tomorrow’s (hopefully steroid-free) stars in the Little League World Series, I am going to suggest The Natural (1984) for a solid, late-summer night viewing.

Based on the Bernard Malamud novel and directed by the estimable Barry Levinson, this Robert Redford vehicle is part period piece, part romance, part drama, and all mystique; It has stood the test of time and is still widely-refereced a full thirty years after its release.

Other notable performances include Glenn Close, a cagey Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, and the great Wilford Brimley. An elder statesmen role played by Richard Farnsworth, and a younger Michael Madsen also add to the high quality cast.

You will not find too many films with better cinematography, to boot.

via imdb:

An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.

Saturday Night at Chess Cinemas

Wolf

Wolf (1994) may not rank among the very top films that Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader have starred in, but it sure is a good time.

Nicholson plays a book publisher-turned-werewolf-at-night fighting to save his career against the cutthroat Spader, with Pfeiffer the main love interest.

The film was released twenty years ago during the summer, and directed by the great Mike Nichols.

Also notable in the cast are David Hyde Pierce and Christopher Plummer.

On a slow summer Saturday night, it is worth checking out.

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