The Big Red One (1980)

Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill play two infantry soldiers in the Big Red One (US 1st Infantry Division), fighting against Germans and Italians in North Africa and Europe. We follow the squad through the entire war in this underrated war epic. An excellent cast brings the engrossing story to life. Grade: A. IMDB: The Big […]

Matewan (1987)

In a small West Virginia town, the coal miners are brutally oppressed by the mine company. A union representative comes to help the workers organize and strike. This well-acted film follows their unwinnable struggle and the battle between the company, the miners, and the replacements caught in the middle. Grade: B+. IMDB: Matewan.

Mediterraneo (1991)

A group of soldiers in the Italian army land on a small Greek island during World War II, lost their ship and radio, and live among the islanders for the entirety of the war. This picturesque film centers around the soldiers, who find themselves falling in love with the place. Grade: B-. IMDB: Mediterraneo.

Kon-Tiki (1950)

This Oscar-winning documentary chronicles the Pacific voyage of a primitive balsa raft, led by Thor Heyerdahl. While the film is very short and was unquestionably filmed on the expedition itself in 1947, it’s still very engrossing and entertaining. We see how the crew kept themselves fed, occupied, and sane. Grade: B. IMDB: Kon-Tiki.

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

Bernardo Bertolucci directs this drama about an American couple travelling around North Africa after World War II, restlessly moving around the desert. The astonishing beauty of Saharan Africa is shown and the story takes place over a beautiful soundtrack, but the picture seems aimlessly trudgy sometimes, finally finding a resolution. Grade: C+. IMDB: The Sheltering […]

Reality Bites (1994)

Ben Stiller’s directorial debut features Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, and Ethan Hawke, in a coming-of-age love story about recent college graduates trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Full of laugh-out-loud moments, this film is a little dated, but still a good time. Grade: A-. IMDB: Reality Bites.

Walkabout (1971)

A teenage girl and her little brother have to find their way across the Australian outback, after their father attempts to kill them, sets their car on fire, and shoots himself. A young Aborigine finds them, feeds them, and guides them through the desert. This stark picture is quite unique. Grade: B. IMDB: Walkabout.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

This film, from the Dan Brown novel, is the story of a symbologist and a French police detective uncovering the conspiracy of Catholicism’s greatest secret.  As they get deeper into the conspiracy, they narrowly escape danger several times.  Slow-paced but fun, this movie marks the beginning of Summer Blockbuster season. Grade: B. IMDB:  The Da […]

Saved! (2004)

Mary is a senior at a fundamentalist Christian high school, whose boyfriend confesses that he’s gay. She tries to “save” him from his homosexuality by seducing him and ends up pregnant. This coming-of-age comedy set against a sometimes cringe-worthy Christian backdrop features many laugh-out-loud moments. Grade: B. IMDB: Saved!.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

River Phoenix stars in the story of a narcoleptic gay street hustler working the streets of Seattle and Portland, who embarks on a quest to find his mother. His search takes him to Idaho and Italy. This reimagined Shakespeare play features a motley cast and takes time to get moving. Grade: C. IMDB: My Own […]

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