A Hard Days Night (1964)
Directed by Richard Lester
For breakfast: Orange Danish with slightly overcooked extra crispy bacon
This fun-loving ’60s romp never fails to put a smile on my face. Easily one of the greatest musical films ever made, this comes in second only to The Last Waltz as one of my favorites. It’s hard to beat 90 minutes of Beatles music, zany antics, and satire, all with tongue placed firmly in cheek while giving a big wink to the audience. It’s also hard not to just eat up Richard Lester’s energetic style that is obviously influenced by the French New Wave. If you don’t have fun watching this film, then there’s no helping you.
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Directed by Mark Osborne & John Stevenson
For breakfast: Orange Danish
Sometimes animated films (and, well, films in general) don’t hold up that well on repeated viewings, I was happy to see that this is not the case with Kung Fu Panda. Thanks to a stellar Blu-ray transfer, I enjoyed this just as much as I did in the theater. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is nowadays to have an animated film that doesn’t feel the need to pound some political/environmental message into the audience. Instead, we get a subtle message about being yourself, never giving up, and fighting for what you believe in; and the filmmakers also avoid the constant pop culture references as a gimmick to entertain us adults, thank God for that.
Jack Black is perfect as Po, his enthusiasm and energy really bring him to life; it’s hard not to smile at just about everything he does. Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane are also great, but some of the other actors don’t really bring much to their characters. The animation is cute without overdoing it and the action is fan-freaking-tastic. I love it when a film just lets you sit back and enjoy the ride and this ride is definitely a fun one.