East of Eden (1955) – James Dean stars in the screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s modernization of the story Cain and Abel. With this film, a new era in film and an American screen icon were born. Elia Kazan directs the legendary story of two brothers, both seeking their father’s affection. But it is Dean who pulls you in through his captivating performance as Cal.
Since Otar Left (2003)- The story of three generations of women living in Georgia. There is Eka (85 year old Esther Gorintin), Marina (Nina Khomasuridze) and young Ada (Dinara Drukarova). Life has been hard for the women since the fall of the Soviet Union, but letter’s from Otar, Eka’s adored son, bring joy to family. A beautifully touching film about different generations, culture, grief, and above all, the strength of family.
Grizzly Man (2005) – The maestro of non-fiction films, Werner Herzog, brings to screen the story of Timothy Treadwell, better known as the “Grizzly Man”. Treadwell lived with the grizzlies for 13 summers in isolated Alaska and he came to believe that only he could protect the animals. Treadwell fought against poachers, anti-environment advocates, and his own demons until one day in 2003 when one of his beloved Grizzlies killed him and his girlfriend. Herzog skillfully edits Treadwell’s own footage and interviews with those for and against his actions, to create perhaps the best documentary of 2005, in a year where true life stories reigned.
Murderball (2005) – Another excellent documentary from 2005, about the American Paralympic Rugby team. These men wish to be seen as athletes, not as quadriplegics, as they battle it out in full-contact rugby. Overcoming unimaginable pasts, each player has a different story and the rivalry between the Canadian and US teams is frickin’ awesome.
The Beat that My Heart Skipped (2004) – A Hitchcock-esque thriller from France. Thomas (Romain Duris) has reached a critical point in his life. He debates following in his father’s footsteps as a greedy landlord or rediscovering his passion for concert piano. But his thuggish past is never too far behind him. It won eight César Awards including best film and director
The Producers (1968) – What would the world be like without Mel Brooks? A lot less funnier, that’s for sure. Before the hit Broadway musical and the current movie, there was this gem of comedy. Two producers (Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) scheme to create the biggest flop in Broadway history, all to make mucho dinero. Their muse is Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. A hysterical film and a must-see before you watch the rehashing.
Updated October 10, 2010