Single, alone, and discouraged? Rather than resume the soul-crushing hunt for a suitable, or even bearable, mate, consider entertaining the notion that’s at the wide-eyed core of this seminal, postfeminist war chant: the solution to your problem is to run. There aren’t many males of the breed worth one of your airborne toenails, and, since males run the world, your best bet is to stick it to the man, grab a gun, climb into a big, brightly painted vintage automobile, and make a break for the frontier. This remarkable movie actually makes this dead-end gambit seem worth the price: Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, both smashing in faded denim and desert-wind-swept hair, revel in all things masculine (cool cars, firearms, the West, teaching lowdown varmints a thing or two about how to talk to a lady), then simply take their own spectacular exit rather than submit to the laws of patriarchal privilege. As a rebel yell,
Thelma and Louise couldn’t be more extreme—or more fun. Anyway, you can’t be blamed for thinking you’d rather drive off a cliff than endure another round of speed dating. Introducing Brad Pitt.
German New Wave adventurer Werner Herzog stranded his crew, his cast, and himself in the Andes to film this magnificent parable on fascism, which looks as if it were shot in the sixteenth century. The tale of a mutinied contingent of Spanish conquistadors, lost on a Peruvian river and led by megalomaniac knight Klaus Kinski, Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a muscular, incredibly realistic experience (no safely dismissed special effects here)—a masterpiece.
Magnetic and fundamental storytelling from director Ang Lee, from the ubiquitous bestseller, Life of Pi leads viewers of every age comfortably through a life-&-death arc (aboard a floating lifeboat, tensely inhabited by a boy and a tiger), all the way from pure survival drama to wondering about the necessity of storytelling and faith. Visually bedazzling, and though the narrated denouement is sort of questionable, as it was in the novel, it may start young gears turning and conversations rolling.
One of the handful of times that Steven Spielberg’s patented overmanipulations and blue-tinted “sense of wonder” doesn’t curdle in our bellies, this George Lucas–inspired yarn is blessedly free of UFOs and dinosaurs, and is set, rather rowdily, in a 1930s pulp-serial world in which the instantly iconic adventurer/archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) fights Nazis for the sake of Biblical artifacts. Good-natured and distracting without being patronizing.
Ripe blockbuster cheese, but one that packs in a cannibal tribe, a voodoo queen, a ship-consuming monster cephalopod, the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones’s locker, Davy Jones himself (Bill Nighy, with a captivating squid puss), a seaport tavern brawl, the infamous East India Company (as the ultimate corporate villain), and a cannon-blasting sea battle. Plus Johnny Depp, pounding so hard on his Keith Richards imitation that it seemed inevitable Richards would be cast as his father in the next sequel. Best of the four, count ’em four movies based on a ride at Disney World.
Patrick O’Brian’s literate, seafaring Aubrey-and-Maturin novels finally hit the screen, by way of director Peter Weir. Napoleonic warfare, survival at sea, and meticulous period flavor are all subsumed, as they should be, by the two protagonists (played by Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany) and their ironclad, platonic bond to each other. Supposedly, 90 percent of the film was shot on the water.
James Cameron goes all action-movie sci-fi on underwater technology and alien life, with plenty of vein-bulging special-effects action for the fellas, and for the chicks, a surprisingly passionate story of eternal love at its hot center.