Side Effects (2013, dir. Steven Soderbergh) A great cast, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and I liked it. That just about wraps up this week’s recommendation. Okay. I’ll elaborate. Side Effects' cast is pretty awesome, with Rooney Mara and Jude Law as the two main characters, and it’s apparent that Rooney Mara is becoming one of my favorite actresses. Everyone in the movie is solid. The direction is great and has a plot that will keep you interested. Side Effects isn’t perfect in that the overall plot takes some pretty big leaps of faith in regards to events that happen, but the “thriller” aspects of it are interesting enough and Soderbergh is a good enough director that the problems it has are with the story and not much else. I’m going to go with the fact that 2013 was the year my son was born and I spent much of that year in a haze as the reason why I never heard of Side Effects until recently, but I’m glad I did.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991, dir. Keven Reynolds) My favorite movie of all time has returned to Netflix. It's not that it's an excellent movie (it's pretty good), but it filled a Robin-Hood-shaped hole in my life that I didn't know I had back in 1991. It's just a really fun flick, and it came along at a time when movies weren't afraid to be a little corny and goofy. It's interesting to look back on it now, because for a long time this was the "adult" version of the Robin Hood story until Ridley Scott showed us how bleak the story could really be. No, this is a movie that enjoys itself and relishes the tropes of its time. The late Alan Rickman's performance (the reason to watch this movie) is insane and genius and unlike anything he did either before or after. The entire cast (except for the lead, a dour Kevin Costner) seems like they're having a blast playing dress up in the woods. For me, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the beginning of my love affair with a certain kind of movie, but it's also a harbinger of coming change. By 1993, movies like Jurassic Park had marked the cinematic landscape indelibly and the movie-going public would crave a more ambitious spectacle from their summer blockbusters. But for a few years when I was a kid, movies like this one were simply untouchable. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves means everything to me.