Friday, January 28, 2011

What I've been watching:

I saw this one in the theatre and watched it again over the holiday. I think it’s an absolutely wonderful, joyous film and insisted that my family watch it. On second viewing I still thought it was wonderful and joyous. My family, on the other hand, said “what was the point: just to show the differences in the different countries?” Well, it’s true that there is no plot, no story. This is just a film showing babies in 4 different countries from birth to age 1. But for me seeing the differences and the similarities in the lives of babies in different countries and different cultures is enough to keep me interested. Just watching babies be babies is enough to keep me hanging on for more.

Phyllis and Harold
Since childhood director Cindy Kleine wondered how her parents ever managed to get together: they seemed like such an unlikely couple. In conversations with her parents, looking at old family movies and reading old love letters she pieces together their relationship from their courtship through her parents’ deaths. The film could not be released until after her fathers’ death so that she could explore her mothers’ relationship with another man, the love of her life. Kleine’s film is an honest, illuminating and ultimately melancholy portrayal of her parents’ lives and relationship. While it is captivating to watch, and has in fact won awards at some film festivals, it is a film that will have a hard time finding its audience. Although providing profound insight into a marriage, this small, personal film is rather narrow in its subject matter.

Disappearance of Alice Creed
This was a very interesting film. It only had 3 characters and very few settings: it had to have been cheap to make. Given that, it didn’t look or feel like a low budget film at all. The acting was very good, the story, which is about a kidnapping, is full of twists and turns. Surprisingly good!

A Dog Year
Author Jon Katz, who is suffering from writer’s block, has adopted a rescue dog who he quickly names “the dog from hell!” The dog wreaks havoc on his already troubled life but he vows to not let the dog win. He moves to a farm in the middle of nowhere and takes some lessons in life and in understanding dogs from a farm woman/sheep herder. I was afraid that this movie would be a tear jerker but instead it was a nice, inspirational film. Watch it with your dog. If you don’t have a dog, you’ll want one after watching this movie.

Heat of the Sun

I am a total sucker for BBC mystery series and this one didn’t disappoint. This is an historical series taking place in Kenya during the time of British rule. In Private Lives, the detective investigates the disappearance of a wealthy British woman.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New on 1/19/11:

A notorious group of criminals continue to baffle police by pulling off one perfectly executed bank robbery after another. They are in and out like clockwork, leaving no evidence behind, and laying low between heists. But when they attempt to pull off one last job with more money at stake than ever before, the crew may find their plans interrupted by a hardened detective who is hell-bent on solving the case.

All of the following are Masterpiece Theatre presentations:

Bertie & Elizabeth
James Wilby and Juliet Aubrey portray the reluctant royals who became king and queen of England when Edward VIII gave up the throne for the woman he loved.

Certain Justice
Explores the true meaning of justice when a brilliant, but widely unpopular, defense attorney is found stabbed to death, a barrister's wig on her head, and her body drenched in blood that is not her own.

God on Trial
Following the harrowing ritual of selection for death or hard labor, a group of new inmates unsure of their appointed fates begins asking how God could allow for so much suffering. Impulsively, the men decide to put God on trial for abandoning His chosen people. Amid the outside sounds of prisoners being marched to the gas chamber, the trial unfolds. They group address the question: How can there be evil in a universe ruled by an all-powerful, benevolent God?

Goodnight Mister Tom
As Britain stands on the brink of WWII, Tom Oakley, a cantankerous old man living a solitary life in a small village becomes the guardian of an 11-year-old evacuee of London. The two develop a bond of friendship that gives them both new hopes.

Northanger Abbey
Romance novel addict Catherine Morland is taken to Bath, England by the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Allen and introduced to Georgian society. She meets the social-climbing Isabella and John Thorpe. She also meets the handsome Henry Tilney and his elegant sister, Eleanor. After making an impression on Henry and Eleanor's father, the Tilneys invite her to their country mansion, Northanger Abbey. Catherine falls in love with Henry but soon realizes that love can be fickle and that money is a more important consideration in the marriage business than love alone.

A timid young girl marries a troubled widower only to find her new home is haunted by the memory of Rebecca, the first wife.

Small Island
This series explores the lives of two couples, one Jamaican and the other English, whose worlds intertwine in post-World War II Britain, at a turning point in the long relationship between the two countries. It is a story of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers.

Woman in White
A sane woman is locked up in an asylum by a fraudulent English aristocrat who is afraid she may expose his 'secret.' Escaping while wearing a white gown, she runs into a youthful hero who becomes haunted by his brief meeting with this 'woman in white.' This is based on the book by Wilkie Collins.

Heat of the Sun. Private Lives ; Hide in Plain Sight ; Sport of Kings
There are plenty of reasons to praise PBS' long-standing "Mystery!" series, and now lovers of whodunits can be thankful for "Heat of the Sun," a five-part, six-hour mini …. Like so many of "Mystery!'s" best efforts, "Heat" revolves around a rumpled detective -- in this case, Superintendent Albert Tyburn (Trevor Eve). But though "Heat's" action occurs in the 1930s -- a familiar period for this genre -- the series' setting is something altogether new. Instead of foggy London, Tyburn solves cases in Kenya.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New this week:

Cairo Time
Juliette, a magazine editor, arrives in Cairo to meet her husband Mark, a U.N. official in Gaza. When he is unavoidably delayed, Mark sends his friend and former security officer Tareq to show her around the city. As she gets used to the customs and rhythm of life in Cairo, she finds herself falling not only for the city's charms, but for Tareq as well.

Dombey and Son
Set amid the teeming bustle of Victorian England, Dombey and Son is Dickens's story of a powerful man whose coldhearted neglect of his family causes his professional and personal downfall.

Love’s Unending Legacy
Two years after the death of her husband, Missie knows that it is time to move on. She heads home with her son to be near her parents and to return to teaching. Certain she will never find love again, Missie redirects her feelings and when the "orphan train" arrives in town, she adopts Belinda, a feisty young teenager who's arrived with a secret. As Missie struggles with raising Belinda, she finds she is falling for the local sheriff who might be the only man who can help her save Belinda... and herself.

‘Round Midnight (1986)
‘Round Midnight dramatizes the friendship between an aging alcoholic jazz musician and a young French jazz fan and is inspired by the real-life friendship between jazz pianist Budd Powell and Francis Paudras. “The film's beautiful original score was composed by jazz giant Herbie Hancock (who rightly won an Oscar for his work). Its interpretation by non-actor/musician extraordinaire Dexter Gordon is what makes Round Midnight truly special. Tavernier understands how momentous it is to have a real jazz legend playing real music in his film instead of an actor aping a performance to a recorded track….More than simply the tragic story of a man rapidly approaching his own midnight, Tavernier's movie is about jazz itself.”—

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New this week:

The American
After a job ends more violently than expected, Jack, an assassin, retreats to the Italian countryside and accepts one last assignment to construct a deadly weapon for a mysterious contact, but risks discovery when he pursues a relationship with a beautiful local woman.

Ed Wood (1994)
This is a stranger-than-fiction true story of the early career of Edward D. Wood, Jr., the undisputed worst movie director of all time. Wood was the auteur behind Glen or Glenda? and of Plan 9 from Outer Space, and it is during the making of these two no-budget flicks that Wood is profiled.

Love’s Abiding Joy
Missie and Willie have set up a homestead and are starting a family. The new railroad will make it possible for Missie's father to visit. When the reunion is interrupted by tragedy, this family's faith and love are once again challenged.
Based on the book by Janette Oke.

The Man Who Cried (2000)
Set against a romantic Parisian backdrop, the lives of four strangers, an innocent woman with a dangerous secret, a seductive cabaret dancer, a mysterious stranger, and an unscrupulous operatic tenor, collide on one fateful evening when secrecy is a matter of survival.