Here are some suggestions for some good films. Some are cinema perfection, others flawed but I treasure for sentimental reasons. Some you will have seen, others hopefully are new to you and may bring you a couple of hours of delight or catharsis.
Particle Fever (2013) (Levinson, Kaplan) (Netflix, Amazon). Tag along as quite charming and admirable physicists hunt the Higgs Boson at the LHC. It’s glorious what we clever apes can discern. Trailer.
A Separation (2011) (Farhadi) (Amazon, iTunes). A family struggles with complexities of life in contemporary Iran. Modernity vs. fundamentalism. An eye opener. What I’d give to screen this for the new administration (instead of Finding Dory). (Mood note: the father is dying of Alzheimer’s — unflinching and grim.) Trailer. Ebert.
Spirited Away (2002) (Miyazaki) (Animated, Japanese, dubbed).
A girl has no name. A 10 year old girl is swept away into in a spirit bathhouse wonderland. Trailer elided (spoilers). Ebert. IYLTYL: Princess Mononoke.
Swordsman (1990) (Hark) (Hong Kong, subtitles). A rollicking wuxia adventure with love, honor, friendship, and song, in pursuit of a sacred scroll of sworsdmanship. Less polished, more fun, than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Trailer. IYLTYL: Swordsman 2.
Stunt Man (1980) (Rush) (Amazon). Peter O’Toole as the manipulative director, remembered here because of the delicious sense of being cynically manipulated. Not everyone’s cup of tea, though — YMMV. Ebert.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964) (Demy) (Musical, French, subtitles) (Amazon, iTunes, Criterion). Luminous Catherine Deneuve and Michel Legrand’s musical perfection. Riotous color. So bittersweet. Trailer. Ebert. IYLTYL: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. La La Land can’t hold a candle to this.
Champagne for Caesar (1950) (Whorf). Beauregard Bottomley (Ronald Coleman), walking encyclopedia, locks horns with Vincent Price in a silly bit of 1950s quiz show fun. Featuring Caesar, a smart alec African Grey parrot. Youtube.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Capra) (Amazon, iTunes). A good man, lost, is blessed with an unparalleled gift: seeing how many other people’s lives he has touched and how much richer we all are for his goodness.
A Canterbury Tale (1944) (Powell & Pressburger) (Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, Criterion). My favorite film. Three young people (American GI, British soldier, and a British land girl), thrown together in Kent, set out to uncover the Glue Man. What Britain means (meant). IYLTYL: I Know Where I’m Going!, A Matter of Life and Death, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes.