‘Magnolia’ (31 December)
With “Licorice Pizza” hitting theaters nationwide this month, it’s a good time to revisit this previous effort by writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson, another of his dizzying explorations of colorful characters and emotional crises. San Fernando Valley. Borrowing Robert Altman’s model of large-canvas, large-cast, intermediate narrative, Anderson tells stories of addiction, family alienation, romantic obsession, and the inevitability of mortality, crushing his dissimilar narrative threads in awkward but eerie ways. The cast of the ensemble is excellent, with Oscar nominee Tom Cruise standing out as a half-assed self-help guru.
“Mystic Pizza” (December 31)
Three young working-class women contemplate the life ahead of them — and away from the pizzeria where they work and hang out — in this charming romantic comedy-drama. The wise and witty screenplay (written by avant-garde director Amy Holden Jones and playwright Alfred Uhry) is a true gem, but the key to the film’s success may well have been Donald Petrie’s keen eye for young talents: The film includes, in early and important roles, Julia Roberts, Lily Taylor, Annabeth Guess, Vincent D’Onofrio, and the first appearance of Matt Damon with the look and you will miss it.
Five movies to watch this winter
“Pan’s Labyrinth” (December 31)
Like Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo del Toro has a new movie in theaters this month (his view of the classic film noir “Nightmare Alley”), which provides all the excuse you need to see his masterpiece again. 2006, which won three Oscars. Skillfully mixing the conventions of fairy tales, supernatural horror and the drama of the time, del Toro tells the haunted and often disturbing story of a young girl in post-Civil War Spain, where she has to deal with magical creatures, her sick mother and her evil father. . The pieces do not have to fit, but del Toro is a leading puzzle maker, and this remains one of his most impressive and narratively exciting endeavors.
‘Spy Kids’ (31 December)
It’s easy to forget these days, but once upon a time Robert Rodriguez – the director of such adult films as “From Dusk Till Dawn”, “Desperado” and “The Faculty” – to direct a family film seemed a surprise. , if not completely subversive. But his rapid comic sensibility and love of gadgets made this 2001 adventure a surprise – he created three sequels and a spinoff animated series – and he stays fresh and funny, with Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino in a charming, glamorous form as married super-married spies whose fate may be in the hands of their children (Alexa PenaVega, credited as Alexa Vega, and Daryl Sabara).
“The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings”: Season 1 (December 31)
Okay, be careful, because there may be a quiz later: When PBS and Netflix aired “The Great British Bake-Off” on the BBC, the title was not the only thing that changed. The seasons (or “series” as they are called across the lake) broke out, with the fifth series airing as the first Netflix “collection”, the fourth series as the second Netflix collection and this, the third series of the series, flow under the alternative title “The Beginnings”. Upset? Relax. “The Beginnings” offers all the pleasures of the regular season: delicious dishes, intense hosts, terrified contestants and much more.
“Tommy Boy” (December 31)
Most critics dismissed this road comedy by friends of Chris Farley and David Spade as yet another tedious “Saturday Night Live” movie spinoff when it hit theaters in 1995. But time has been kind to him, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, Farley’s production on the big screen was unfortunately limited and he never found a better vehicle for this particular vintage of his impoverished collective. He also plays a good minor cast, with juicy twists by Brian Dennehy, Dan Aykroyd and Rob Lowe. And the stressful comic chemistry of Farley and Spade now makes it look like a youthful “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” with Spade’s bustling man fitting in with Farley’s noisy anarchy.
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