The current issue of Script magazine handicaps the Oscar races for best screenplays. Some of their picks are still in theatres here, some are available on Netflix, the rest we’ll have to rent from iTunes or Amazon. Those with loglines I’ve seen.
1. Another Year (Lincoln Plaza, Angelika)
Written by Mike Leigh
The happiness of her older friend from work eludes a middle-aged woman struggling through another year alone.
2. Get Low (available for Amazon online purchase 2/22/11)
Written by Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell (screenplay), and Chris Provenzano & Scott Seeke (story)
A hermit hires a funeral home to gather the entire community to tell, Tom Sawyer-like, stories about himself before he dies, but really, it’s for him to tell his a story from his own dark past.
3. Hereafter(available on DVD 3/15/11)
Written by Peter Morgan
4. Inception (Netflix DVD)
Written by Christopher Nolan
Haunted by his own dreams of his wife, Dom Cobb assembles a team of dream-stealers for one last act of corporate espionage—to plant an idea in the subconscious mind of a rival of his industrialist client.
5. The Kids Are All Right
Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
When a lesbian couple’s children contact their biological father, the couple’s relationship begins to fracture.
6. The King’s Speech
Written by David Seidler
King George V’s younger son can keep his stutter hidden from the world until a number of events thrust him in the limelight: his father’s death, his older brother’s abdication, the inception of WWII, and the new importance of radio. Can eccentric self-trained speech therapist Lionel Logue cure the newly crowned George VI in time for him to rally a complacent nation?
7. Somewhere (Clearview 1st & 62nd, Lincoln Square, Angelika)
Written by Sofia Coppola
A Hollywood star is surprised by how much meaning his 11-year old daughter brings to his aimless existence when she comes to stay with him for a couple of weeks.
1. The Ghost Writer (Netflix DVD)
Written by Robert Harris & Roman Polanski, based on the novel, The Ghost by Robert Harris
A ghostwriter, hired to complete the memoir of a former UK Prime Minister when the first writer dies suspiciously, pursues a secret despite putting his own life in peril. (I didn’t think much of this movie, and briefly explain why here.)
2. Love & Other Drugs (AMC 84th St, Regal 42nd St, AMC 19th St, AMC Village 7)
Written by Charles Randolph and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz, based on the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy
Jake is a happy-go-lucky born salesman—now in pharmacuticals; Maggie, a talented and gorgeous artist suffering from Parkinson’s, refuses to commit to a relationship because drugs can only hold off her symptoms somewhat and only for so long. They’re perfect for one another, until they fall in love.
3. Never Let Me Go
Written by Alex Garland based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (available on DVD 2/1/11)
A love triangle at a boarding school where cloned children are being raised for their body parts raises the question: will we understand life better – and will we live it better – if we know when we’re going to die?
4. 127 Hours (Landmark Sunshine)
Written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
It takes a hiker 127 hours to bring himself to a point where he can save his life by sawing off his arm with a dull knife.
5. Rabbit Hole (Clearview 1st & 62nd, Landmark Sunshine)
Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the play by David Lindsay-Abaire
After the death of their 4-year-old son, a couple can’t get on track with their lives—nor with each other.
6. Shutter Island (Netflix Instant)
Written by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane
A U.S. Marshall’s investigation of the disappearance of a murderer-patient at an island hospital for the criminally insane is too zealous for the hospital’s director.
7. The Social Network (AMC 25, AMC 19th St, Quad)
Written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich
The youngest billionaire in history is bound to have made some enemies along the way—and rightfully so. But then, some of them were assholes too.
8. The Town (Netflix)
Written by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard, based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan
A young, handsome, master bank robber has trouble leaving the life, and trouble staying. For one thing, he’s fallen in love with the only person who can identify his gang, and his best friend wants her dead.
9. Toy Story 3 (DVD)
Written by Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich (story)
Andy is headed for college, and the toys have to figure out how best to move on—a matter they have almost no control over.
Other movies that seem worth seeing
Written by Mark Heyman (screenplay), John J. McLaughlin (screenplay) and Andres Heinz (screenplay and story)
A shy, young ballerina on the cusp of greatness has to embrace her dark side or lose her first starring role.
Written by Scott Silver (screenplay) and Paul Tamasy (story and screenplay) & Eric Johnson (story and screenplay) & Keith Dorrington (story)
A Lowell, Mass., boxer with one more shot at the top is torn between professional management and his current manager (his overbearing mother) and trainer (his screw-up exfighter older brother).
Written by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Out-of-the-closet beat poet Alan Ginsberg is liberated by the publication of Howl, while his publisher—poet and bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti—stands trial for the poem’s obscenity.
Written by Joel & Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis
A 14-year old girl seeking justice for her murdered father hires an alcoholic U.S. Marshall (because she’s told he has “true grit”) to hunt down the killer in Indian territory—forcing him to take her along.
Written by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell
In the Ozark foothills, a 17-year-old girl, already responsible for her 12- and 6-year-old siblings, now has to find her crank-dealing father, dead or alive, before the law takes away their house.
Written by Derek Cianfrance & Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis.
As a marriage breaks up, you wonder what they ever saw in each other, but as they remember, though flashbacks, the relationship’s early days, you wonder how it could go so horribly wrong.