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Summer’s over but there are still gems to see in theaters or rent for home

Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer star in The Help, one of the many summer movie gems from 2011.
Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer star in The Help, one of the many summer movie gems from 2011.

2011 summer films


Summer may be (officially) over, but there are still some great film gems to catch at your neighborhood theater, or to rent and view at home -- with friends and a margharita! Here’s a roundup of films still available in our area to help you catch those last rays of sunshine and freedom:

The Showcase Cinemas in Bridgeport are still showing two films I really enjoyed this summer: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. If you haven’t seen this final installment in the Harry Potter saga, what are you waiting for? It is truly wonderful: dark, twisty, satisfying. Go here for the full review.

Also still playing at the same theatre is Cowboys & Aliens, the quirky sci-fi Western smashup starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, along with an outstanding performance by the lovely Olivia Wilde (House). Don’t miss this unique story with three interesting star performances. Go here for full review.

At the Fairfield Cinemas is a film that no one should miss: The Help. Many of us read this engaging and heartfelt story of African-American house maids set in 1960s Mississippi. This film will not disappoint, whether you read the book or not. Inspiring performances by Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer make this film something truly special. Don’t miss it.

Our local Redbox is chock full of good choices this month, offering Take Me Home Tonight, which flashes us back to the 1980s with Topher Grace in the starring role. Harmless and fun, this movie reminds us of those awkward years just after college, putting the young back in young adult, with all the related angst and antics.

On the other end of the scale is The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. This film got lost at the box office, as many confused it with Inception (starring Leonard diCaprio). They are very different films: Inception is based on introspection, manipulation and science; The Adjustment Bureau has to do with destiny and (some slight) spirituality. It was less science and more heart; check it out.

Also at Redbox is Barney’s Version, one of Paul Giamatti’s best films; so, don’t miss it. Go here to learn more about what Giamatti has been up to this year, and why this film is worth watching.

And for those who cannot help themselves, Redbox also offers Justin Biever: Never Say Never. It is a pretty good documentary and is safe for all family members, as well as inspiring for pre-teens of all ages. Go here for the full review.

And for those who believe (or want to believe) in true love, rent No Strings Attached. It stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. While the chemistry between them seems more cutsey-silly than passionate, that combination works within this screenplay, which makes for cheerful viewing, which nowadays is not a bad thing at all.

Other film reviews you may enjoy:

Super 8– a spectacular film with outstanding performances, J.J. Abrams and Spielberg to boot. Jump in!

X-Men: First Class - best for fans of the series and of Jennifer Lawrence.

Thor- A lot of action, and Natalie Portman, make this film tolerable, but just barely.

Last Night– playing in limited release in theatres now, this film stars Kiera Knightly and Sam Worthington. A great flick. And a good date movie.

The King’s Speech- outstanding performances by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter make this unusual, but powerful film, well worth seeing. I predicted that it had a high probability to sweep the Oscars, with Firth a shoe-in for Best Actor. It was gratifying to see him win it.

The Black Swan- Natalie Portman won the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Actress in her performance in this film and she deserved it.

Winter’s Bone- an astonishing performance by Jennifer Lawrence, for which she has received an Academy award nomination. Lawrence is set to star in The Hunger Game films.

Tangled- great Disney flick, full of fun and action; good for the whole family. Available for rental at your local Connecticut Redbox.

The Infidel – a hilarious offering from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, available now for rental or instant download on Netflix.

Win Win – Giamatti is wonderful in this film, now available on DVD.

Never Say Never – Justin Bieber, his rise to teen stardom and his dedicated fans. An interesting documentary and concert flick, fun and entertaining.

Love & Other Drugs- best for older teens and adults. Rated R for a reason. Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are naked for most of the film


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