by Alex Petrosian

Your Monthly Recommendations
February 2023

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You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Quiz Show, Catch Me If You Can, The Big Short

The Informant!

Keywords: Based on a true story, corporate scandal, FBI, investigation, liar

Release: 2009  |  Type: Comedy

Anytime a serious historical event is given a comedic spin in a movie adaptation, I'm usually interested. This underappreciated but hilarious interpretation of a true 1990's corporate scandal features a fat, quirky Matt Damon with a great mustache and terrible wardrobe in possibly the most annoying albeit funniest performance of his career (sorry Stuck on You fans)

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Snatch, The Gentlemen, Layer Cake, Lucky Number Slevin


Keywords: Guy Ritchie, London, fake death, robbery, organized crime

Release: 2008  |  Type: Comedy

Guy Ritchie is the epitome of cool, and there's no question he's most elite when he's making a British gangster comedy (Lock StockSnatch, The Gentlemen). I have no problem saying that Gerard Butler is a C-level actor (at best), but this very entertaining script coupled with the presence of names like Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Strong make up for the lead casting mistake and result in a very fun watch

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Silver Linings Playbook, Funny People


Keywords: Based on a true story, cancer, best friends, therapist, recovery

Release: 2011  |  Type: Comedy

Up until around 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was seemingly in every other movie being made (some may say too many...including me). Regardless, starring in Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Looper all within two years is very impressive. This under the radar comedy released during that same career peak refreshingly offers up an odd number of laughs for a true story about a very serious illness



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys, Logan Lucky

Confess, Fletch

Keywords: Mystery, murder, framed, investigation, robbery, witty

Release: 2022  |  Type: Comedy

The Fletch character was made popular by Chevy Chase in the 80s. It's fair to think it odd to cast someone who is usually as serious as Jon Hamm in a role previously played by a Saturday Night Live legend. Surprisingly, and despite some over the top silly moments, he completely delivers in this fun mystery and provides a seemingly endless supply of well written and witty comments that had me laughing out loud several times



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Smokin Aces, Snatch, The Usual Suspects 

Lucky Number Slevin

Keywords: Mistaken identity, assassin, organized crime, revenge

Release: 2006  |  Type: Crime

There are two reasons why you've never heard of Jason Smilovic. First, there are very few screenwriters with names that are familiar to the average movie fan. Second, he's only ever written two movies. I'm not sure what the reason for that is, but in his first film he flexed some writing chops that made it seem like he might have a chance to be the next Tarantino. Clearly that didn't happen, but at least he gave us this gem



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Black Mass, Legend, The Infiltrator

The Iceman

Keywords: Based on a true story, hitman, sociopath, serial killer, mafia

Release: 2012  |  Type: Crime

Another day, another Michael Shannon recommendation. While there are two HBO documentaries on this same subject that are each more of a must see, I will say that I think this film adaptation should have gotten more love. Shannon was born to play unsettling and intimidating characters, so it's no surprise that his casting as the most prolific hitman in the history of the American mafia was the perfect choice



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: The Report, The Insider, The Infiltrator, Narcos

Kill the Messenger

Keywords: Based on a true story, journalist, cover-up, CIA, drug smuggling, conspiracy

Release: 2014  |  Type: Crime

Any movie released in the past decade starring Jeremy Renner (who is lucky to be alive after his recent accident) has unfortunately been overshadowed by his career in The Avengers franchise. You can't blame the guy for taking that paycheck, but it's nice to be reminded that he's a real actor who had quite the seven year run of dramatic and acclaimed performances. That run includes this true story about how the US government helped the spread of crack cocaine in 1980s Los Angeles

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Straight Outta Compton, Training Day, White Boy Rick

City of Lies

Keywords: Based on a true story, Tupac/Biggie murder, LAPD, corruption, investigation

Release: 2018  |  Type: Crime

Johnny Depp went from being the highest paid star in the world to making only three good movies since 2009, none of which were as helpful to his career as the high profile and ridiculous trial involving his crazy ex-wife. Due to his legal issues, this film basically never saw the light of day. That being said, this is one of those aforementioned well made movies, in which both he and Forest Whitaker give strong performances in a story about some of the most infamous unsolved murders ever

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, The Queen

The Last King of Scotland

Keywords: Based on a true story, 1970s, Uganda, dictator, brutal, terrorism

Release: 2006  Type: Drama

You would think a scene involving an eight second fart would not equate to a "Best Actor" Oscar win, but for Forest Whitaker, that is exactly the case. Most people under the age of 40 have never even heard of Idi Amin, so I would highly recommend this entertaining yet fact based drama that sheds some light onto a truly brutal and ridiculous African dictatorship

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: The Report, Dark Waters, A Most Wanted Man

Official Secrets

Keywords: Based on a true story, whistleblower, England, spy, trial

Release: 2019  |  Type: Drama

It should be clear by now based on RECROOM from previous months that I love grounded and fact based espionage stories. While I haven't been a big fan of Keira Knightley's acting in the past, she delivers in this true story about exposing an illegal spying operation by American and British intelligence services



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: The Blind Side, 42, Race, Into the Wild

The Swimmers

Keywords: Based on a true story, Syrian civil war, refugees, Olympian, survival 

Release: 2022  |  Type: Drama

Unintentional theme alert: this makes eight of the last 11 films on this month's list that are based on true events. Here is a movie that makes it easy to ignore occasional cliché patches due to a truly impressive and powerful story that deserves more attention, along with two incredibly authentic lead performances by two real-life sisters



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Mud

Winter's Bone

Keywords: Family, Missouri, drug dealing, missing person, crime lord

Release: 2010  Type: Drama

Here's the film that earned a 20 year old Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar nomination, put her on the map and led to starring in The Hunger Games franchise just a couple of years later. If Netflix's Ozark made you question the idea of ever visiting that part of the country, this gritty and often unsettling story will solidify that thought

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Ford v Ferrari, Warrior, The Damned United


Keywords: Based on a true story, Formula 1, 1970s, rivalry, friendship, competition

Release: 2013  Type: Sports

Chris Hemsworth may not be the best actor, but he's a likable guy who's made a couple of fun movies outside of his time amassing a fortune playing Thor. On the opposite end, Daniel Bruhl is a lesser known, foreign and outstanding actor, and the chemistry between them in this very well shot companion viewing to Ford V Ferrari makes this easily one of the most enjoyable sports related films of the last decade



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Snatch, Mission Impossible, Casino Royale

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Keywords: Guy Ritchie, CIA, KGB, Cold War, 1960s, save the world

Release: 2015  |  Type: Spy

The second lesser known Guy Ritchie film on this list, this adaptation of a classic TV show provides possibly the only film where Henry Cavill shows any charisma and at least slightly makes his case for being the next James Bond. If you can get past the whole "Armie Hammer is a cannibal" scandal, the rapport between the three leads, soundtrack and locations are enough to make this worth your while



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Memento, Shutter Island, The Prestige, Gone Girl

The Game

Keywords: Mind game, twists, paranoia, wealth, blackmail

Release: 1997  Type: Thriller

David Fincher is one of my five favorite directors of all time. While most people of my generation are familiar with some of his films (Se7en, The Social Network, Zodiac, Gone Girl), I've come to realize that many people haven't seen this movie. By far one of the best and most entertaining mystery releases of the 1990s, this story will keep you guessing and filled with anxiety for over two hours (in a good way)

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental


You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: The Usual Suspects, Knives Out, The Ghost Writer

The Good Liar

Keywords: Con artist, hidden past, elderly, predator, false identity, revenge

Release: 2019  |  Type: Thriller

As odd as it may be to see people over the age of 70 using dating apps, that is the reality we find ourselves in today. While it may have one too many twists and requires you to ignore some plot holes, this mystery led by two charismatic British legends rarely presents a dull moment

HOW TO WATCH: Paid Rental



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Formula 1: Drive to Survive, All or Nothing, Hard Knocks

Break Point

Keywords: Documentary, tennis, athletes, competition, behind the scenes

Release: Jan. 13th  |  Type: Sports

Most Americans knew nothing about Formula 1 prior to the Netflix documentary coming out and getting them all hooked. For any of you who are not big tennis fans, I imagine this new documentary from the same creators will have a similar effect. With the Australian Open ending just a couple of days ago, this is a great way to get familiar with the current status of the sport since it follows mostly the younger up and coming contenders



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: The Walking Dead, I Am Legend, 28 Days Later

The Last of Us

Keywords: Video game adaptation, post apocalypse, survival, creatures

Release: Jan. 15th  |  Type: Sci-Fi

As I mentioned last month before the release of the first episode (which was great), converting a video game to a series/film is a historically cursed venture that is almost guaranteed to be a misfire. That being said, Hollywood may have gotten it right for once, as this faithful adaptation to a legendary game still has me wanting more after three episodes



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Ozark, Prison Break, Yellowstone, The Wire, Oz

Mayor of Kingstown

Keywords: Small town, prison, organized crime, family, gangs

Release: Jan. 15th  |  Type: Crime

While it may sound like blasphemy, in my humble opinion Yellowstone is not a great show, and I find it too often resembling a melodramatic soap opera. That being said, it is a fun show with some moments of greatness, and those moments come from its creator Taylor Sheridan showing signs of the genius we saw in his films Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River. The same can be said for this other show by Sheridan, which you'll enjoy if you like Yellowstone but are in the mood for a barrage of violent prison scenes



You'll Enjoy This If You Enjoyed: Severance, Black Mirror, Mad Men

Hello Tomorrow!

Keywords: Future, moon, salesman, secrets

Release: Feb. 17th  |  Type: Sci-Fi

While this doesn't come out for another two weeks, I have been a fan of Billy Crudup for a long time and think he is far and away the best part of The Morning Show. His success in a supporting role on that series has earned him his own new show from Apple following a group of traveling salespeople in the near future trying to sell timeshares on the moon. Since 2022 was a strong year for Apple in terms of new shows (Severance, Slow Horses, Black Bird), I'm willing to give this one a shot hoping that they keep that up to start 2023



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