Locke’s Redbox Picks of the Week

by | Jun 12th, 2011 | 9:02AM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movie Lists, Movies, Weekly redbox Picks

Recommended Smaller, Overlooked, or Underrated Movies in the Redbox Kiosks

Waiting for Forever

This odd little romance from James Keach (Stacy’s brother) slides back and forth between whimsical and flimsical. It tries to find a charming way into its tale of a man (Pirate Radio‘s Tom Sturridge) who’s spent his life secretly following around his childhood sweetheart (The O.C.‘s Rachel Bilson)–she’s now a TV actress with her own family and relationship issues. The filmmakers know that premise could be stalkerish and address it upfront, in the process raising genuine questions about what’s deeply romantic and what’s just creepy. Waiting for Forever never gets a ton of dramatic traction, but it’s carried along nicely by Bilson and especially Sturridge, who keeps us wondering if his character is a lovesick fool or a total loon. Richard Perkins and Blythe Danner also shore things up as Bilson’s parents.

Snake Eyes (1998)

In this snappy, stylish tale of an assassination at a prize fight, director Brian De Palma gets to wallow in his great love for Hitchcockian thrillers, while Nicolas Cage gets to run bug-eyed around an Atlantic City casino as a sleazy, crooked detective. So pretty much everyone wins. Snakes Eyes is sharply written by De Palma’s Carlito’s Way and Mission: Impossible collaborator, David Koepp, but it’s been maligned over the years as the point where both De Palma and Cage began to lose the reins on their cinematic indulgences. In fact, with Gary Sinise and Carla Gugino on hand (as well as most every character actor of the ’90s), the movie’s a lot of crazy fun, but it’s also grounded in De Palma’s love of film flourishes, including a bravura opening shot, lots of little film-geek jokes and homages, and a nifty subtext about what a camera’s eye sees.

Made in Dagenham

Sally Hawkins (Never Let Me Go) stars in this true tale of the English women who led the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968–a battle for equal pay that was a major turning point for women’s rights in Britain. With Hawkins’ help, director Nigel Cole keeps things cheerful and amusing (with a dash of swinging ‘60s sass) while reminding us of the personal sacrifices women and their families made to achieve what is taken for granted today. Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, and Rosamund Pike all provide fine support, but Hawkins is the draw here—she tempers her plucky, Happy-Go-Lucky positivity with enough weary pragmatism to make her character (a composite of several real-life women) feel honest.

Les Misérables: The 25th Anniverary Concert

Back in the ‘80s, I was a huge musical-theater geek. (I know! Sci-fi/Fantasy Geek, Comic-Book Geek, and a Musical-Theater Geek? Whatta catch!) And that meant I loved and saw Les Miz a lot. Revisiting it decades later with this 25th Anniversary concert is a heady mix of nostalgia, slight embarrassment, and renewed admiration for its big, broad melodrama. Les Miz is a giant hunk of revolutionary cheese, but it’s still a powerful, moving, and impressively entertaining hunk of cheese. This 2010 commemorative performance features cast members singing in costume and character with minimal stagecraft, but for a lapsed fan like myself it’s a reminder of why I was so smitten and inspired by Les Miz—some of the best bits come at the end when the original 1985 West End cast (my first!) emerges to sing “One Day More” and a quartet of the “Jean Valjeans” (including Colm Wilkinson) team up on “Bring Him Home.”

We all know the rom-com isn’t my favorite genre, but here veteran comedy director Ivan Reitman (Stripes, Ghostbusters) has found his way back to very funny, very R-rated form. (Nothing like having your son’s career start to eclipse your own to re-light a fire in the belly.) It helps that Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman are both experienced, confident performers—if you haven’t been paying attention over the years, you’ll be surprised how earnest and likable Kutcher is and how flat-out hilarious the sexy, snide Portman can be. Despite the seemingly odd match (Portman: “When I stand next to him it looks like he’s kidnapping me”), they make a sassy, combative, screwball pair. Plus there’s The Office’s brilliant Mindy Kaling, the deeply talented indie queen Greta Gerwig, and Kevin Kline in full pompous buffoon mode.


11 Responses to “Locke’s Redbox Picks of the Week”

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Anne
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I loved “No Strings Attached” it was funny, emotionally uplifting, yet truthfully depressing. Love is messy and there are strands of rope attached to these two actors. These stars have great onscreen chemistry.

  1. Richard Pawlowski
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:29 am

    We rented No strings attached, the movie stopped about 40 minuets into it. We, my wife and I both thought it was one of the worst waste of 40 minuets in our lives and you guys reccomend it. WOW!!!!!!
    Richard

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Kyle
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 7:20 am

    @ Richard. I wouldn’t say it’s a best picture nomination but it’s funny enough to take the time to watch.

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Stacey
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

    No Strings Attached was absolutely hysterical. The only type of person that would not find this funny is an uptight and stuffy one. Some people just don’t want all the annoying bs that comes along with relationships and this is truly how it works. It is realistic in the sense that a lot of times when people do hit it off they have to struggle through those emotional hangups to allow room for feelings and vulnerability of a real relationship! I love this movie!

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Lori
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

    No Strings Attached was a good movie..i after with Stacies comment on the uptight people don’t like it. The movie was reality for me. Slot of people who have been hurt in past are afraid of relationships.thorns out that’s how they find true love. This movie hits the mail on the head! It was funny, sad, and all the things a person who had been burned many times and scatred of relationships should watch. It might get you past the fright.
    I petsonnally lived the movie and if watch it again and again. The ending was great! I recommend it, if not to all at least make it a chick flick nite movie. Alt of girls would relate to this movie. Reminds me of me at that age and my friends. Rent it all you uptight people who think that its not s good movie without gibbon it a chance. Outts worth the buck and more!

  2. Gen
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    These pieces are great and I love finding out about movies I wouldn’t have otherwise watched in this format. I want to rent all of these!

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Juke
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    This movie was extremely likable. It had its major UP’s, not very many bad things I can say about it. It ends on the same note that most of these flicks end on (Can you guess?) but the fun behind the movie is a great PLUS.

    I do recommend it to any comedy fans, Ashton Kutcher + Natalie Portman in a rather Risque romantic comedy flick = good times.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Momsy
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I loved No Strings Attached. I would even watch it again…

  3. JLu
    Posted on June 15, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I totally agree Richard! Except I was dumb enough to finish the whole thing. No Strings Attached was not good. And I’m a huge Natalie Portman fan. I was sad I missed the movie in theaters, so I rented it at the redbox. Not even worth my dollar.

  4. moviegoer123
    Posted on June 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I had seen Waiting For Forever and thought it was a decent film. It had an average story and somewhat good performances. I liked the film. This is my type of film but it could’ve been a little bit less predictable.

  5. The Dude
    Posted on June 26, 2011 at 7:26 am

    How does “No Strings Attached” stack up against some of Portman’s other movies? F— Which is probably why this movie took awhile longer to be released. Apparently it was filmed around the same time as Black Swan and its delay was due in larger part to not distract from Portman’s Oscar winning performance. I hope she doesn’t take anymore of these roles on in the future playing the “i dont wanna be lonely for the rest of my life because i dont know what love is” character. I’d recommend “The Other Woman” with Portman. Besides it pretty painful to watch “the Kutch” in roles outside of 30 min sitcoms.