These recommendations are based on the Redbox location nearest to me — please keep in mind that the selection varies by location, and changes often!

THE IDES  OF MARCH (2011) – With all the buzz already gathering over the 2012 presidential election, there’s no better way to get in the voting spirit (months ahead of time) than by watching a political drama. It’s become a bit of a rule of thumb for me that any film featuring Marisa Tomei as a supporting actress is probably one that I’m going to enjoy, and this was no exception, though Ryan Gosling’s performance shined above the rest.

FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST (1992) – Because who doesn’t love Tim Curry as the evil Hexxus? He is the perfect villain.

THE DEBT (2011) – This is a completely engrossing and heart-wrenching political thriller. The entire cast does a fantastic job, and before the film was even half complete I felt emotionally attached to the characters. Jessica Chastain gives a particularly gripping performance, solidifying her position on my list of favorite current actresses.

And, of course, saving the best for last….

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) – This was my absolute favorite film of 2011. I consider it required viewing, and already own it on DVD. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch it on the big screen last year (I saw it at the matinee three times!), now is as good a time as any to rent it, and you can’t get much better than Redbox’s dirt cheap prices! Directed by Woody Allen and starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard (among others, a pretty damn near flawless cast), this time-traveling Parisian comedy appeals to the nostalgist in all of us.