Valentine’s Day Special: Our favorite films about love and loss, make-outs and breakups. Here’s a few movies to binge this weekend…

Valentine’s Day Special 2022

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming. Whether you expect to get roses and chocolates, booze and pizza, spend it with a significant other, or all by your beautiful self, Valentine’s Day brings up A LOT of emotions. So, to ease you into whatever kind of weekend you’re planning (or not planning) on having, here are a handful of our suggestions for films that highlight the greatest make-outs and hideous breakups from years gone by.


Liz’s Picks:

Can’t Buy Me Love

Nerdy high schooler Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) rescues cheerleader Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson) from parental punishment after she accidentally destroys her mother’s designer clothes. Ronald agrees to pay for the $1,000 outfit on one condition: that she will act as though they’re a couple for an entire month. As the days pass, however, Cindy grows fond of Ronald, making him popular. But when Ronald’s former best friend gets left behind, he realizes that social success isn’t everything.

I saw this film at my very first teenage sleepover. I was 13 and the night consisted of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Life of Brian, and Can’t Buy Me Love. Before McDreamy was on millions of small screens, he was Ronald Miller to me. This was a twist on the classic girl gets makeover lands boy plot I’d been pumped with. It was a pivotal moment in my continued adoration for the nerdy guy.


Only Lovers Left Alive

Artistic, sophisticated and centuries old, two vampire lovers (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston) ponder their ultimate place in modern society.

Jim Jarmusch, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, (the late and eternally extraordinary) Anton Yelchin. The names alone should get you to run to this film. Gloriously shot and deliciously acted, why wouldn’t you watch a film about a depressed rockstar vamp and his ultra-cool wife getting disrupted in their centuries-long affair by her younger sister’s shenanigans? This film is sexy and romantic. Trust me when I say it will be on the list of top films you force your friends to watch.


The Notebook

A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” Noah and Allie’s complicated and oftentimes volatile love story is one that has become a household name. In fact, it was my husband’s first pick when it came to Valentine’s Day films. We watched the onscreen couple become real-life couple Ryan Goslin and Rachel McAdams and followed along as they dated, broke up, became engaged, and finally parted ways. I’m not going to lie, I still pine for those two to end up together, however irrational it might be.


Marriage Story

A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

If you’re looking for an award-worthy performance from Adam Driver, look no further than Marriage Story. The complexities of this script are far beyond anything you’re prepared for. I was lucky enough to speak with writer-director Noah Baumbach and the cast in 2019 when the film premiered at NYFF. If you’re a Broadway buff, you’ll find the gravity of the numbers from COMPANY particularly poignant. Marriage Story is a Netflix film.


Fatal Attraction

For Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), life is good. He is on the rise at his New York law firm, is happily married to his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and has a loving daughter. But, after a casual fling with a sultry book editor named Alex (Glenn Close), everything changes. Jilted by Dan, Alex becomes unstable, her behavior escalating from aggressive pursuit to obsessive stalking. Dan realizes that his main problem is not hiding his affair, but rather saving himself and his family.

This film has inspired so many copycats since it premiered in 1987. A woman spurned is taken to new heights in one of the scariest and most intense reactions from being ignored. If you haven’t seen this classic breakup film, a little warning; Don’t get too attached to the family rabbit.


Blue Is The Warmest Color

A French teen (Adèle Exarchopoulos) forms a deep emotional and sexual connection with an older art student (Léa Seydoux) she met in a lesbian bar.

Fearless, sexy, raw, captivating, in 2013 I sat in the fullest theatre at NYFF and experienced this film with a hushed audience. While there has since been much controversy surrounding the sex scenes and the treatment of the leading ladies during filming, there is no denying the life they breathe into this film. Know your audience. Do Not Watch with children or your parents in the room.



Melissa’s Picks:

War of the Roses

After 17 years of marriage, Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) want out. The trouble is, neither one wants to part with their opulent home. So begins a long war between husband and wife, reaching farcical heights that leave much of the house — not to mention their lives — in shambles. The couple’s children (Sean Astin, Heather Fairfield) watch in horror while lawyer Gavin D’Amato (Danny DeVito) tries his best to stem the bloodshed.

Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas were an “it” couple of the 80s which was great on its own, but then once you add in Danny DeVito, you get something special. The three of them blended well in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, but by War of the Roses, Danny DeVito started directing and had just finished Matilda. His style is subtle but unbelievably purposeful. From camera angles to choreography, he toes the line of comedy/drama/horror with a story where you yearn for them to get back together while at the same time anxiously looking forward to the bigger jab.


She-Devil

A surprisingly resourceful housewife vows revenge on her husband when he begins an affair with a wealthy romance novelist.

“Don’t get mad, get revenge” is taken to new levels when Ruth (Roseanne Barr) decides to turn the tables on her husband (Ed Begley, Jr) when he leaves her after an affair (Meryl Streep). This time capsule of a movie gives you “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” Sally Jesse Raphael, and stories in People magazine, all following this love train. At times, grotesque, you’ll get lost in the 80s clothes, decor, and the slang. Like, totally.


Presumed Innocent

Prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns his chief deputy, the taciturn Rusty Sabitch (Harrison Ford), to investigate the rape and murder of colleague Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi), unaware of their torrid affair. When evidence implicates Rusty, Horgan’s political enemies demand his arrest, devastating Rusty’s wife, Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia). In desperation, Rusty turns to crafty defense attorney Sandy Stein (Raul Julia), only to be stunned by his trial’s revelations.

This made an impression on me as the first movie I saw with Harrison Ford in a dramatic role. I was so thrown and hanging on every moment. It’s classic crime and trial drama ala Law & Order. It’s so full of twists and turns, it was easy to get lost and get that pow of the final twist. Love. It’s quite something.


Britni’s Picks:

The Best Man

After writing a soon-to-be bestselling novel, writer and committed bachelor Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) attempts to hide the fact that his saucy new book is loosely based on the lives and loves of his tight-knit group of friends. Harper is set to be best man at his friend Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) wedding, and all his friends will be in attendance. When an advance copy of the book makes its way into the hands of his ex-flame, Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long), Harper attempts to keep it under wraps.

  • The Best Man + Best Man Holiday – 5 stars for both


You’ve Got Mail

Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store that just moved in across the street. When they meet online, however, they begin an intense and anonymous Internet romance, oblivious of each other’s true identity. Eventually Joe learns that the enchanting woman he’s involved with is actually his business rival. He must now struggle to reconcile his real-life dislike for her with the cyber love he’s come to feel.

Perfect rom-com! Meg Ryan is honestly living my best life with her cute independent book store and also gigantic Manhattan apartment.


What Lies Beneath

It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) betrayed his beautiful wife Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer). But with Claire oblivious to the truth, Norman’s life and marriage seem so perfect that when Claire tells him of hearing mysterious voices and seeing a young woman’s image in their home, he dismisses her terror as delusion. Claire moves closer to the truth and it becomes clear that this apparition will not be dismissed, and has come back for Dr. Spencer and his beautiful wife.

A bit of a wild card, but I think we can categorize it as a breakup!


The First Wives Club

Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her penthouse. At the woman’s funeral, her former college friends (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton) reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years. When the three discover the reason for their friend’s suicide, they realize that all of their ex-husbands have taken them for granted — and deciding it’s time for revenge, they make a pact to get back at their exes.

Ultimate breakup film.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is better-known as the boyfriend of TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). After she unceremoniously dumps him, he feels lost and alone but makes a last-ditch bid to get over it by going to Hawaii. However, she and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) are there in the same hotel.

I feel like this should be a classic but no one talks about it!


 

 

I’m Baaaaaack….and Here’s My Top 50 of the Decade

Hello all! It’s been nigh on four years since I last dropped some knowledge on you here at Reel News Daily. I went off and got a Master’s degree, new job and all that, but have still been rocking films from all over the world. I’m happy to be back in the fold here at Reel News Daily and look forward to contributing more this year. Don’t you feel lucky?

So, I figured my phoenix rising from the ashes post should be something that might start a little conversation – my Top 50 films of the last decade. There were so many great films to choose from, which made this list very difficult. After two days of whittling it down and moving films around, I feel confident with what I decided on. I’m sure I missed a few of your favorites, but this is my list so you’ll just have to deal with it.

Here we go:

50) Shoplifters (2018) dir. by Hirokazu Koreeda
49) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) dir. by Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
48) Gone Girl (2014) dir. by David Fincher
47) A Hidden Life (2019) dir. by Terrence Malick
46) Annihilation (2018) dir. by Alex Garland
45) Under the Skin (2013) dir. by Jonathan Glazer
44) Her (2013) dir. by Spike Jonze
43) The Favourite (2018) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
42) Take Shelter (2011) dir. by Jeff Nichols
41) Leviathan (2012) dir. by Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel
40) Upstream Color (2013) dir. by Shane Carruth
39) Death of Stalin (2017) dir. by Armando Iannucci
38) Columbus (2017) dir. Kogonada
37) Holy Motors (2012) dir. by Leos Carax
36) Shame (2011) dir. by Steve McQueen
35) Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010) dir. by Edgar Wright
34) Midnight in Paris (2011) dir. by Woody Allen
33) Stories We Tell (2012) dir. by Sarah Polley
32) Cold War (2018) dir. by Pawel Pawlikowski
31) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) dir. by George Miller
30) Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) dir. by Ethan & Joel Coen
29) The Look of Silence (2015) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer
28) We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
27) BlacKkKlansman (2018) dir. by Spike Lee
26) First Reformed (2017) dir. by Paul Schrader
25) Carol (2015) dir. by Todd Haynes
24) Winter’s Bone (2010) dir. by Debra Granik
23) Citizenfour (2014) dir. by Laura Poitras
22) Animal Kingdom (2010) dir. by David Michôd
21) A Separation (2011) dir. by Asgar Farhadi
20) Meek’s Cutoff (2010) dir. by Kelly Reichardt
19) La La Land (2016) dir. by Damien Chazelle
18) Phantom Thread (2018) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson
17) The Lobster (2015) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
16) Calvary (2014) dir. by John Michael McDonagh
15) Best of Enemies: Buckley Vs. Vidal (2015) dir. by Robert Morgan & Morgan Neville
14) Looper (2012) dir. by Rian Johnson
13) Frances Ha (2013) dir. by Noah Baumbach
12) Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) dir. by Benh Zeitlin
11) Lady Bird (2018) dir. by Greta Gerwig
10) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) dir. by Ana Lily Amirpour
9) Moonlight (2016) dir. by Barry Jenkins
8) Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) dir. by Jim Jarmusch
7) Zero Dark Thirty (2012) dir. by Kathryn Bigelow
6) The Tree of Life (2014) dir. by Terrence Malick
5) You Were Never Really Here (2017) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
4) Ex Machina (2014) dir. by Alex Garland
3) Melancholia (2011) dir. by Lars Von Trier
2) The Act of Killing (2012) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer

1) The Master (2012) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson

So there you have it. It was a tough job, but I was happy to do it. Here are a few that nearly made the list: Everybody Wants Some!! (underrated Richard Linklater that more people should watch), Tomas Alfredson’s slow burn spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Paul Thomas Anderson’s hippie noir adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Admittedly, it was hard to weave many of the films from 2019 into the list as they’ll need to sit me a longer. I will say that Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story nearly edged their way on.

Here’s to hoping that the next ten years brings as many great films as the last ten have.

Netflix News: Netflix Original Films selected for competition in Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival announced today its Official Selection which will include two Netflix original films. The titles that will be featured at the festival will launch everywhere Netflix is available in 2017.

Two of Netflix’s upcoming narrative, feature films – The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) and Okja – have been programmed in Official Selection, and will mark both their world premieres In Competition at the 70th Edition of the Film Festival. Okja marks the fifth time director Bong Joon Ho has been a guest of the Cannes Film Festival.

“The Cannes Film Festival’s commitment to giving an exceptional platform to distinct stories from the world’s most acclaimed auteurs is second to none. We are thrilled at the opportunity to premiere two of our highly-anticipated films from directors Noah Baumbach and Bong Joon Ho in this prestigious forum,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.

“I’m honored to be returning to Cannes, most especially this year with Okja and my partners at Netflix – it is wonderful to bring their first produced original film to premiere In Competition,” said Bong Joon Ho.

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Grace Van Patten and Emma Thompson, and is the intergenerational tale of adult siblings contending with the influence of their aging father. From IAC Films, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is produced by Scott Rudin, Baumbach, Lila Yacoub and Eli Bush.

Director Bong Joon Ho’s Okja stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Giancarlo Esposito, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Devon Bostick, Daniel Henshall, Shirley Henderson, Hee Bong Byun, Je Moon Yoon, Woo Sik Choi and newcomer An Seo Hyun. Written by Bong and Jon Ronson, Okja is the story of a young girl (An Seo Hyun) who must risk everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named ‘Okja’. The film was produced by Plan B Entertainment, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company in association with Netflix.

‘While We’re Young’ and think we know everything.

whilewereyoungposter

Being a grown up… firstly, let me say that phrase is so off putting, I can’t believe I actually wrote it, but I digress. Let’s start again. Being an adult, and by that I mean living by the expectation that we’ve made our path our own and are so brilliantly happy with those decisions that we feel self satisfied, is frankly a bunch of bullshit. Few of us who identify as adults are completely content to say we’ve plateaued at the level of “Everything is Awesome”. Most if us are simply lying. It’s much easier to tell the younger generation that they’re doing it wrong (Because, if we’re being honest, self loathing, fear, and envy throw those words and thoughts into our frontal lobe pretty swiftly on a regular basis. But, are we completely wrong? When I watch some of the “interactions” between millennials these days, I have to wonder: “How do they live this way?!” When did “swiping to the left” becoming any way to meet anyone? How conceited do you have to be to not even give an individual more than a few seconds of attention before writing them off completely? Were we just as annoying, bold, outspoken, talented, brash, lost, self aware, smart, lazy, passionate, and entitled? WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is Noah Baumnach‘s new film starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, and Adam Horovitz. In a day and age where technology makes life easier and harder all at once, a middle aged couple, Cornelia and Josh, think they’ve got it made; no kids, free schedule, and creative passion for filmmaking. When they meet young hipster couple Darby and Jamie, their preconceived notions of what life should be like are thrown into a bit of chaos. Jaime is a huge fan of Josh’s work. The young couple boldly asks if Cornelia and Josh want to hang out with them. What would a middle aged couple have in common with a barely mid twenties couple? Turns out a lot, if a lot meant doing all the things we did in our youth that almost seem ironic to a millennial generation. But fondness might just be an act of manipulation forcing Cornelia and Josh to grow up themselves.

whilewereyoungbenandnaomistill

Ben Stiller gives us a really grounded performance. You know this guy. While still having perfect comic timing, he plays Josh as a genuinely earnest guy trying to reinvent his life and marriage. Naomi Watts as Cornelia is hilarious and heartbreaking. Struggling with fertility issues she attempts to pass off as not so big a deal, she connects with Darby over the simple moments, woman to woman. Speaking of Darby, Amanda Seyfried plays this character with a gentle ease. Her down to earth attitude is refreshing and she remains altogether likable. Adam Driver, whose stock is has taken off since GIRLS began, is fantastic. His combination of perceived sincerity and inflated ego trips are spot on for this generation. Charles Grodin plays Cornelia’s documentarian father, Leslie. He is the father we all wish we had. Loving, guiding, with a hint of cynicism, Grodin is a delight on screen.

whielwereyoungadamandamandastill

In a world where every moment can be edited with an app, Baumbach throws our societal downfalls back into our own faces. He has a habit of injecting personal moments into  his scripts. They play with an elegant ease and familiarity that touch a wide audience.  For Baumbach, writing what he knows has been extraordinarily successful in his previous films like The Squid and the Whale, Kicking and Screaming, and Frances Ha. The film has an eclectic soundtrack, with tracks from Vivaldi, The Psychedelic Furs, David Bowie and HAIM. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is heartfelt, funny, and a real joy to watch. The struggle between Gen X and millennials is a revelation on screen. I highly recommend this film to audiences of all ages. You will walk away one happy camper, I assure you.

WHILE WE’RE YOUNG opens today! (Friday, March 27th)

Jeremy’s Review & Interview: ‘About Alex’, The Big Chill for the 20-teens & Footprint Features CEO Adam Saunders Gives Us Some Production Skinny

about alex-posterSometimes movies are anchored in the minds of those who watch them, so much so that they become a permanent part of the landscape of when they were watched or released. I first saw The Big Chill when it hit home video back in 1984, but I had already soaked in an integral part of the film as my parents played the soundtrack (on vinyl of course) at home on a regular rotation (and usually at parties they threw). I was immersed in the film and although its subject matter was rather advanced (suicide) for someone of 9-years old, I truly think it is a film that had a profound effect on me without me really realizing it. So when I had the chance to review Jesse Zwick‘s About Alex, a film that covers many of the same themes as Lawrence Kasdan‘s 80s classic, I jumped at the chance. I am excited that I was able to interview Adam Saunders, CEO of Footprint Features and producer of the film, which helped fill in some blanks about the film, its production and the process by which it was made. Read More →

Jeremy Goes to the Indy Film Fest: ‘Fort Tilden’ Is a Hilarious and Poignant Snapshot of Privileged Millennial Discontent

Many are the films that depict the haze that young people are in once they graduate from college. Few are the films that depict that haze in a convincing and fresh way. To me, Noah Baumbach‘s Kicking & Screaming has always been the bellwether in this cinematic realm. Many have tried and mostly all have failed to capture what he, his cast and crew did with that film. Now, enter Fort Tilden, a quirky film about two women, Harper (Bridey Elliott) and Allie (Clare McNulty), who make a plan to go to the beach at Fort Tilden, New York City, to meet up with two boys they met the night before. It treads on this same cinematic terrain and succeeds admirably. Read More →