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01 Jul 10 - By J. Ganz - Compilation


Here are the latest and greatest movie recommendations - This collection includes special categories: ROMANTIC COMEDIES and ACTION / ADVENTURE - There are lots of great suggestions - Enjoy!




I have a really fun Bollywood* movie to recommend -
Netflix describes it as "inspiring and romantic".
IMDB blurb: Once upon a time in India.......The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers...

(For those not familiar with the term "Bollywood": The Hindi-language film industry of India, centered in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Origin: blend of Bombay & Hollywood.

Joyeux Noel (2005)
Fabulous movie based on true events of the first world war, in 1914. The movie is in 3 languages, French, German and English, with english subtitles where needed. The talk with the director at the end is enlightening as well.
Netflix:  As the French, Scottish and German soldiers prepare to open their presents on Christmas Eve, 1914, a momentous event occurs that changes the destinies of four people: an Anglican priest, a French lieutenant, a world-class tenor and his soprano lover. Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis, Dany Boon and Daniel Bruhl co-star in this heartwarming World War I-era tale inspired by a true story.

The Sting (1973)
A real Oldie but Goodie : )  If you haven't seen it in a while, treat yourself!
Netflix:  After rookie grifter Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) tracks down veteran flim-flam man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) in 1930s Chicago, the duo plans to fleece a homicidal racketeer (Robert Shaw) through a phony racetrack scam involving a string of double and triple crosses. The Sting picked up seven Academy Awards, including Oscars for Best Picture, Best Directing (George Roy Hill) and Best Original Screenplay (David S. Ward).

Head Above Water (1996)
For a cool summer flick you may not have seen, check out this little known black comedy... HILARIOUS, dangerous, exciting!! PERFECT summer 'getaway' movie!!
Netflix:  Nathalie (Cameron Diaz) and her husband George (Harvey Keitel) are on vacation with family friend Lance (Craig Sheffer), who's also Nathalie's ex-boyfriend. All is well until another ex-boyfriend of Nathalie's, Kent (Billy Zane), shows up while George and Lance are off fishing. The two fight, and Kent storms off … only to wind up dead in Nathalie's bedroom a short time later, setting off a series of frantic plans to get rid of the body.

Bleak House (1985)
I'm on the 3rd and final DVD of Bleak House. It's a Dickens BBC Mini-Series adaptation. It's AWESOME. The acting is superb, the special effects, music/sounds really keep you hooked.
Netflix:  This BBC miniseries following the case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce is a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens's ninth novel, based on his experiences covering the Chancery legal system as a young journalist. As the inheritance battle over the Bleak House estate languishes in the high court, the lives of those involved slowly fall apart. Diana Rigg (Emma Peel of "The Avengers") and Denholm Elliott head the all-star ensemble cast.

Local Color (2006)
Very good story and very inspirational. Armin Mueller-Stahl is great, as always.
Netflix:  A struggling 18-year-old art student meets a well-known painter many years his senior whose life has been consumed by alcoholism, and the two forge a friendship that helps both of them to overcome their pain and look toward their dreams. The young man really wants to learn to approach his painting like the master, and the old master wants just as much to be able to revisit the world through the rose-colored lenses of youth.

Sanjuro (1961)
A classic starring Toshiro Mifune directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Netflix:  Akira Kurosawa's sequel to Yojimbo is a dark comedy about surly Sanjuro, a larger-than-life samurai who, adrift in an era of fading tradition and increasing lawlessness, instructs a gang of scheming radicals in samurai wisdom. An unlikely hero who loves an action-packed swordfight and is quick with the sarcasm, Sanjuro doesn't always practice what he preaches, but he always remains true to himself.

Eight Below (2006)
Excellent true story about a pack of sled dogs left behind in Antarctica.
When an unforeseen accident forces a trio of Antarctic scientists (Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood and Jason Biggs) to leave behind their team of steadfast sled dogs, the animals must survive a cruel and punishing winter on their own without human contact. Revealing his penchant for subzero survival stories, Frank Marshall (Alive) helmed this heartrending drama, which was adapted from a Japanese film based on real events.

Tortilla Soup (2001)
This may have been recommended before, but it is a very well-acted and engaging story.
 In director María Ripoll's bilingual drama, widower Martin Naranjo (Hector Elizondo) is a Los Angeles restaurateur with a booming business and three headstrong daughters (Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara Mello and Elizabeth Peña), who are all on the verge of leaving the house to pursue their individual destinies. He knows he must let go, but things get even more complicated when brassy neighbor Hortensia (Raquel Welch) sets her sights on Martin.

Strangers in Good Company (2000)
This is the strangest adventure film I have ever seen. Picture a busload of old women with a young black woman for a bus driver getting stranded in the Canadian wilderness when the bus breaks down. They take refuge in an abandoned cabin for several days before they were rescued. Each woman is a jewel of a character and the conversations between them are just precious. What these old girls do to survive their ordeal is very inspiring. Very different from the typical Hollywood filming style these days. If you like unusual Indie films with beautiful music, check this one out.
Netflix: When a bus filled with eight elderly women breaks down in the wilderness, the group of strangers is stranded at a deserted farmhouse with only their wits, their memories and eventually some roasted frogs' legs to sustain them. For several days, the women share their life stories and intimate thoughts. Director Cynthia Scott directs these nonprofessional actors delivering largely improvised dialogue to heartwarming effect.

The Legend of 1900 (1998) (2nd Vote)
I really enjoyed this movie! I gave it 5 stars.
Netflix: Raised aboard an ocean liner after being abandoned there as an infant, 1900 (Tim Roth) becomes a virtuoso piano player who learns about the outside world only through interactions with passengers, never setting foot on land, even for the love of his life. Years later, the ship may be destroyed, and a former band member fears that 1900 may still be aboard, willing to go down with the ship in this compelling drama from director Giuseppe Tornatore.

Toy Story 3 (2010)
This is is the greatest one yet. I really enjoyed this. I love Tom Hanks and this is just great movie for all ages. Afterall the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!
Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo co-director Lee Unkrich strikes out on his own with this installment into the popular computer-animated series detailing the adventures of wide-eyed cowboy doll Woody and space-ranger action figure Buzz Lightyear. Oscar-nominated scribe Michael Arndt handles screenwriting duties.

Finding Neverland (2004)
What a beautifully, aesthetically done picture! I wondered what the combination of the gorgeous Kate Winslet and wild man Johnny Depp would be and was really surprised at their awesome performances and the interchange between them. I don't know how I missed seeing this for all these years, but now that I have, I highly recommend it. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won one, but, in my mind, should have gotten them all!  Can you tell I loved it?  It's basically the story of the man who wrote the Peter Pan play and what inspired him to do so and how it changed many lives in the process.

        ........ And now for the Romantic Comedies......

It Happened One Night (1934)
My FAVE romantic comedies are: IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) Frank Capra directs Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert!! LOVE it!!
Netflix: Runaway socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is en route to the Big Apple to elope with a fortune-hunting flyboy. Along the way she meets a crusty newspaperman (Clark Gable), who's just been sacked and -- unbeknownst to Ellie -- plans to sell her story to get his job back. But a string of zany misadventures leads them to realize they're madly -- if reluctantly -- in love. It Happened One Night swept every major Academy Award.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)
My next fave, BRINGING UP BABY (1938) Howard Hawks directs Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn!! GREAT stuff!
Netflix: Love runs wild for a hapless scientist and an unstoppable heiress in Howard Hawks's classic screwball comedy that ranks high on the American Film Institute's list of the funniest Hollywood films ever made. With her eye on paleontologist David (Cary Grant), heiress Susan (Katharine Hepburn) lures him to her home. But the hilarity begins when Susan's dog steals David's prize dinosaur bone and her pet leopard, Baby, is mistaken for a zoo escapee.

It's Complicated (2009)
At the beginning we weren't sure if we were going to like it. But, it got a lot better and there were a lot of good laughs. Very funny.  Not for kids.
Netflix:  Ten years after their divorce, Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) Adler unite for their son's college graduation and unexpectedly end up sleeping together. But Jake is married, and Jane is embarking on a new romance with her architect, Adam (Steve Martin). Now, she has to sort out her life -- just when she thought she had it all figured out. Nancy Meyers writes and directs this Golden Globe-nominated comedy.

Hitch (2005)
Cute movie. Fun. Really hysterical scene where Will Smith is teaching Kevin James to dance.
Netflix:  Smooth and sexy Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith) is the master of seduction in this charming romantic comedy. His specialty? Helping clueless clients make a great first impression so they not only get to the second date, but make someone fall for them. When a gossip reporter (Eva Mendes) starts nosing around his business, however, Hitch finds himself out of moves as he forgets all his lessons and has to figure out a whole new strategy to love.

Love Actually (2003) (2 Votes & several previous ones)
This is my all-time favorite romantic comedy. Very funny, heart-wrenchingly touching at times, and covering a broad spectrum of the many aspects of love. If you don't cry at least once during this movie and laugh yourself silly, you need a new heart; because there's something terribly wrong with the one you have. Great cast!
Netflix:  Writer-director Richard Curtis's charming treatise on romance and relationships is an all-star ensemble comedy that tells 10 separate (but intertwining) London love stories, leading up to a spirited climax on Christmas Eve. One of the threads follows the newly installed Prime Minister (Hugh Grant), who, on his first day in 10 Downing Street, falls in love with the luminous girl (Martine McCutcheon) who brings him his tea.

Killers (2010)
We just went to see Killers and it was a riot! Very funny. Loved the characters and loved the romance. It was a delight from start to finish. We highly recommend it to all!
Netflix: When an elite assassin (Ashton Kutcher) marries a beautiful computer whiz (Katherine Heigl) after a whirlwind romance, he gives up the gun and settles down with his new bride. That is, until he learns that someone from his past has put a contract out on his life. Now, the couple must go on the run if they hope to survive and settle the score once and for all. This action comedy from director Robert Luketic co-stars Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara.

Something's Gotta Give (2003)
Netflix: Sixty and still sexy, Harry (Jack Nicholson) is having the time of his life, wining, dining and bedding women half his age. When he agrees to go to the Hamptons with his girlfriend (Amanda Peet), plans go awry when her playwright mother, Erica (Diane Keaton), stops in unannounced. While the living arrangements are awkward at first, Harry soon discovers there's nothing wrong with -- and plenty good about -- acting your age.

It Could Happen to You (1994)
Netflix: In this charming romantic comedy based on a true story, a coffee-shop waitress (Bridget Fonda) gets a life-changing tip when a New York cop (Nicolas Cage) comes up short on pocket change and promises her half of his winnings from an unplayed lottery ticket. But when he discovers he's won a $4 million jackpot, his money-hungry wife (Rosie Perez) wants it all -- and she's furious with his plans to share the wealth.

About a Boy (2002)
Netflix: Will Lightman (Hugh Grant) is a rich, hip, irresponsible Londoner who, in search of available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single-parent meetings -- confident in both parties' inability to make a commitment. But when Will meets Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the troubled 12-year-old son of a depressed single mother (Toni Collette), a quirky and unexpected friendship blooms as both Will and Marcus help each other grow up.

David & Layla (2008)
You asked for Romantic Comedies:
Netflix:  David (David Moscow), a Jewish New Yorker who hosts the local TV hit "Sex and Happiness," falls for sensual dancer Layla (Shiva Rose), only to learn that she's a Muslim refugee. As romance ensues, so do plenty of objections from the lovers' families; not to mention David's prior engagement to bi-polar Jewish American Princess, Abby, played hilariously by Callie Thorne. Will Janowitz is a scene stealer as David's cool, flamboyant gay brother.

The Princess Bride (1987)
One of my favorite movies!
Netflix: In this enchantingly cracked fairy tale, the beautiful Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) and the dashing Westley (Cary Elwes) must overcome staggering odds to find happiness amid six-fingered swordsmen (Christopher Guest), murderous princes (Chris Sarandon), Sicilians (Wallace Shawn) and rodents of unusual size. But even death can't stop these true lovebirds from triumphing. Fred Savage and Peter Falk co-star.

Dan in Real Life (2007)
I like this movie a lot  -
Netflix: Advice columnist and widowed father of three Dan Burns (Steve Carell) has met someone new in this romantic comedy from director Peter Hedges. But even though Marie (Juliette Binoche) is beautiful and smart, she's also the girlfriend of Dan's brother Mitch (Dane Cook). With a publicly recognized moral compass, Dan finds himself torn between reaching for happiness and keeping the peace in his family. Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney co-star.

MaMa Mia! (2008)
Meryl Streep singing her heart out - a good time!
Netflix: On the idyllic Greek isle of Kalokairi, single mom Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) goes into a tizzy when her bride-to-be daughter (Amanda Seyfried), in a bid to learn her father's identity, invites three of Donna's ex-lovers to the wedding. Buoyed by the tunes of ABBA, this effervescent yarn -- a Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) -- also stars Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård as the trio of potential dads.

Moonstruck (1987)
  Cher, Olympia Dukakis and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley each won Oscars for their wonderful work in this slice-of-life comedy about the Italian-American denizens of a Brooklyn neighborhood. Cher's an independent-minded widow who falls in love with a one-handed, misfit baker (Nicolas Cage), much to the chagrin of her betrothed (Danny Aiello). With great performances all around, Moonstruck is bellisima!

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Maybe not a real "romantic comedy" but there is romance and it's very funny!
Netflix: A crooked foursome commits the heist of the century and is about to get away ... until the London police arrest one of them. Can the three on the lam (Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline (winning an Oscar) persuade their comrade's lawyer (John Cleese) to reveal the stolen loot's location? Laugh-out-loud funny, A Fish Called Wanda explores the notion of "honor" among thieves.

   ........ And ACTION / ADVENTURE recommendations......

Knight & Day (2010) (3 votes)
Knight and Day, we LOVED it. I so seldom laugh out loud at a movie. I laughed a lot.  What great acting, writing, stunts, plot, etc. etc. Cruise was fantastic. Diaz was wonderful. They were a great team!  I will see this one again. You have to see it!!!
Netflix: Perpetually unlucky in love, June (Cameron Diaz) becomes intrigued by a mysterious man (Tom Cruise), who unexpectedly drags her into a whirlwind adventure involving devious enemies, life-threatening confrontations and a major discovery that may alter the future of humankind.

The Italian Job (2003)
One of our favs - Great cast, awesome car chase, terrific story...
Netflix: Mark Wahlberg stars as Charlie Croker, a clever thief who masterminds a major heist amid the waterways of Venice, Italy -- but a betrayal by one of his own spells disaster, and Croker returns to Los Angeles without the stash, plotting revenge. With an eye on recovering his riches, Croker rounds up his crew -- adding an ace safecracker (Charlize Theron) to the mix. Donald Sutherland, Seth Green and Mos Def also star in this elaborate crime caper.

The Count of Monte Cristo (1998)
In a few words, one of the most incredibly, awesome, exciting, movies I've ever seen. If you like adventure and intrigue, romance and mystery, I urge you to see this movie.  Gerard Depardieu is a phenomenal actor. His performance is astounding! Please don't let the fact that it's in French with English subtitles disuade you from seeing this movie! I'm not a big fan of them myself, but this movie is SO extraordinary, that it was worth the slight inconvenience!
Netflix:  Gerard Depardieu stars as the French sailor Edmond Dantes in this faithful adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's classic adventure tale. Wrongly imprisoned in the formidable Château d'If for 18 years, Dantes learns of buried treasure from a fellow inmate. After pulling off an ingenious escape, Dantes finds the loot, assumes a new identity as a count and sets out to get revenge on those who betrayed him. Ornella Muti and Jean Rochefort co-star.

Point of No Return (1993)
Netflix: In this American remake of La Femme Nikita, cop killer Maggie Hayward (Bridget Fonda) is on death row. After the government stages her execution by lethal injection, she wakes up to an unusual offer: Become a government assassin, or die -- this time, for real. Desperate to live and looking for a way out, Hayward accepts the government's offer. Gabriel Byrne co-stars in this thriller from director John Badham.

The Karate Kid (2010)
I loved this movie!!!  I teared up several times while watching this.
Synopisis: When a 12-year-old from Detroit moves to China with his mother and incurs the wrath of the class bully at his new school, he makes an unlikely ally in the form of his aging maintenance man, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defense. Upon arriving at his new school, Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) develops a powerful crush on pretty classmate Mei Ying. The feeling is mutual, although the cultural divide between Dre and Mei Ying makes a friendship unlikely, and romance impossible. When cruel classmate and kung fu prodigy Cheng learns of Dre's feelings for Mei Ying, he harasses and humiliates the young outsider in front of the entire school. With no one to turn to for help, Dre confides his fears in kindly maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a kung fu master who knows that serenity and maturity -- not punches and power -- are the true keys to mastering the martial arts. As Dre prepares to face down his intimidating tormentor, he begins to realize that the real fight is just beginning.

Casino Royale (2006)
IMHO, the best James Bond movie ever... Why? It's very real and believable and not over the top and full of inuendo. It's the intro to James and his first assignment.
Netflix: Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) directs the 21st film adaptation of the 007 franchise, which marks Daniel Craig's debut as James Bond and plays him against a corrupt financier (Mads Mikkelsen) in a showdown of Texas Hold 'Em. Eva Green stars as Vesper Lynd, and the sublime Judi Dench reprises her role as M. Because the action is based on Ian Fleming's first novel, you'll also learn critical facts about Bond's back story.

Iron Man (2008)
Great action flick. Robert Downey Jr. was awesome, as are Jeff Bridges and Terrrence Howard.
Netflix: After escaping from kidnappers using makeshift power armor, an ultrarich inventor and weapons maker (Robert Downey Jr.) turns his creation into a force for good by using it to fight crime. But his skills are stretched to the limit when he must face the evil Iron Monger. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard also star in director Jon Favreau's tongue-in-cheek superhero tale based on the popular Marvel comic.

V for Vendetta (2005)
A sci-fi action movie with a terrific story and cast - One of our all time favs.
Netflix: From the pages of David Lloyd and Alan Moore's groundbreaking graphic novel springs the enigmatic "V" (Hugo Weaving), a masked freedom fighter who's taken up arms against the totalitarian government in a futuristic Britain. Finding an unlikely ally in a young woman named Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), V urges the citizenry to fight the oppression of the state. John Hurt and Stephen Rea also co-star.

Ninja Assassin (2009)
Over the top a la Tarentino, this movie is really about integrity and honor and we enjoyed it a lot! Beware: there is  A LOT of blood...
Netflix:When his best friend is murdered by the shadowy Ozunu clan, Raizo (Rain), an orphan raised to be an assassin, vows revenge. But a government agent (Naomie Harris) is also trying to expose the gang, and now, the two must work together to bring the Okunu to justice. Time is running out as the clan's professional killers chase the pair across Europe. James McTeigue directs this action thriller also featuring Rick Yune, Ben Miles and Shô Kosugi.

Inglorious Basterds (2009)
A Tarentino film... which maybe says it all! We liked it a lot.
Netflix: A Jewish cinema owner (Mélanie Laurent) in occupied Paris is forced to host a Nazi movie premiere, where a radical group of American Jewish soldiers called the Basterds, led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), plans to roll out a score-settling scheme. The face-off is about to go down -- that's if Col. Hans Landa aka "The Jew Hunter" (Christoph Waltz, in an Oscar-winning role) doesn't get in the way. Quentin Tarantino directs this World War II-set spaghetti Western.

Inside Man (2006)
Good flick - keeps you on your toes! Great cast and direction as well.
Netflix: Dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery, detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) must match wits with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who's always one step ahead of the cops. When a loose-cannon negotiator (Jodie Foster) is called on for help, the unstable situation spins out of control. Keith soon finds himself questioning the motives of everyone around him. Spike Lee directs this taut heist thriller about the perfect crime gone wrong.