Tag Archives: suspense

Sneakers (1992) PG-13

Sneakers, which has a star-studded cast, including Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and Ben Kingsley, is a fun thriller that will keep you stuck to your seat. College age Marty (Redford) and Cosmo (Kingsley) are computer hackers—Cosmo is caught and sent to prison, and Marty is on the run.

Fast forward to the present where Marty has become an expert at foiling security systems such as those found in banks. Marty is given the opportunity to clear his name in exchange for stealing a certain device, but by the time he finds out what it does, it could be too late to save his own life.

Check out a series of articles in Slate as they celebrated the movie’s 20th anniversary.

Homeland. Season 1 (2011)

After hearing the nonstop buzz about Homeland, I watched the first season and I was not disappointed. The plot centers on CIA agent Carrie Mathison, who was warned by an Iraqi source that an American prisoner of war had been turned by Al-Qaeda. When Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a U.S. Marine Sergeant, is rescued after being held captive by Al-Qaeda for nearly eight years, Carrie is suspicious. Claire Danes does a tremendous job playing the role of Carrie, who is determined, almost to a fault, to prevent another terrorist attack. This heart-pounding, suspenseful drama will keep you questioning who is really telling the truth.

Argo (2012) R

Yes, sir. There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.

You don’t have a better bad idea than this?

This is the best bad idea we have, sir, by far.

I loved Argo so much that I’ve seen it twice in the past month. The film tells the story of the rescue of six Americans in Tehran who escaped the embassy at the start of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. Despite knowing the end of the tale, you’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout this engaging thriller. Quick-witted, snarky dialogue balances tense situations.

And if you’re wondering how true to real life the Hollywood version is, check out this NPR review from a former White House aide.

If you haven’t seen the Best Picture winner yet (or just want to watch Argo again), join us on Friday, March 15. We’ll start the movie at 7pm and follow with an optional discussion. Sign up here. It’s part two of our Movies & More series featuring Academy Award-nominated films (March 29 is Skyfall).

Spotlight: Edward Norton

One actor whose films I’m always anxious to watch is Edward Norton. He is so gifted and versatile. The characters he plays are often intense and/or troubled, and always captivating and true-to-life. My favorite films are American History X (1998) and Primal Fear (1996), although I’ve also enjoyed many others. Here’s a selection of some of his movies that are available at IPPL:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) R

The opening scenes set up a fuzzy, smoky atmosphere. The viewer wonders “what’s really happening here?” And this questions persists as the plot develops, investing you in the outcome of the story.

The spy story grimly unwinds. There are a series of flashbacks that reveal hints and just add to the puzzle. This dying genre is brought to life with mystery and mastery. Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman as George Smiley just cannot be beat.

Based on the book by John Le Carre. Find Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on DVD.

Niagara (1953)

I saw Niagara on TCM recently and found out that producers first envisioned this as more of a standard film noir, but once Marilyn Monroe’s considerable charms became apparent, they built up her character considerably. This early breakout role showed that she could deliver a strong dramatic performance.

The camera obviously loves Monroe in this thriller about a cheating wife and her unstable husband (Joseph Cotten) vacationing in Niagara Falls. A likeable but unsuspecting couple on their honeymoon becomes involved in Monroe’s and Cotten’s tumultuous lives and the deadly events that take place in the spectacular setting of the Falls.

Niagara will air later this summer on TCM as part of their Battle of the Blondes series. Staff created lists of other noir films of the 1940s and 1950s — check them out!

Arabesque (1966)

In the tradition of Hitchcock, director Stanley Donen weaves a story of international intrigue. When an Arab prime minister recruits Professor Pollock (Gregory Peck) to unravel a hieroglyphic code which is at the heart of an assassination plot, Pollock must gain access to the household of the diabolical Beshraavi (Alan Badel).

Beshraavi’s mistress Yasmin (Sophia Loren), presents another challenge—is the lovely Yasmin friend or foe? This fun, somewhat lighthearted suspense movie holds up well despite its 1966 release date.

Check out Arabesque today!

Unknown (2011) PG-13

Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) has arrived in Berlin with his beautiful wife Elizabeth (January Jones). Dr. Harris is to speak at a biotech conference, but panics when he realizes that he left his briefcase with his lecture notes at the airport. He leaves for the airport without telling his wife, can’t reach her by his mobile to tell her his whereabouts, and ends up with amnesia after his taxi ride ends up in a horrific crash.

Four days later, he arrives at the hotel and discovers that his wife does not recognize him and is with her husband Dr. Harris (Aidan Quinn). And that’s just the start of this thriller!

Find Unknown at Indian Prairie today.

The Departed (2006) R

How I learned to tell Matt Damon from Leonardo DiCaprio:

As actors, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio are as good as it gets. They both can carry a movie, display an impressive range, and have youth and beauty on their side. Somehow I am always confused as to which one is which, that is until I saw them together in Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning movie The Departed.

The Departed is set in South Boston, where the Massachusetts State Police are waging war on organized crime. This is a tense film! It is a thriller, a cop procedural, a character drama, and all in one.

The story blurs the lines between the law and the lawless. Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a young cop, Colin Sullivan (Damon) is a street-smart criminal, and Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is a crime boss … their lives become linked in a dangerous game and we end up watching a great movie.

For another thriller set in Boston, check out Barb’s review of The Town (2010).