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MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Spring 2010
18 May 10 - By TheRazzLine Compilation

MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Spring 2010

We have a nice mix of OBG's (Oldies But Goodies) and recent movies. Enjoy!





MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Spring 2010






The Ghost Writer
  (2010)
This is a brilliant film by Roman Polanski, a great film maker.
Netflix:  A writer (Ewan McGregor) stumbles upon a long-hidden secret when he agrees to help former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) complete his memoirs on a remote island after the politician's assistant drowns in a mysterious accident. In director Roman Polanski's tense drama, the author realizes that his discovery threatens some very powerful people who will do anything to ensure that certain episodes from Lang's past remain buried.

 

Two Academy Award Classics:
Ben-Hur  (1959)
Charlton Hestion plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race.  Nominated for twelve and won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler).  Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.

Shakespeare in Love  (1998)
Young Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is forced to stage his latest comedy, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirates Daughter", before it's even written.  When a lovely noblewoman (Gwyneth Paltrow) auditions for a role, they fall into forbidden love -- and his play finds a new life (and title).  As their relationship progresses, Shakespeare's comedy soon transforms into tragedy. This bittersweet romance was nominated for thirteen and won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress.

Nothing to Lose  (1997)  (2nd Vote)
I may be coining a word, but I call this a "crime-edy". Some very fun bits. Kelly Preston is great, as is Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence.  Couple of the "crime-edy" scenes went on a little too long but we did laugh a lot. So, if you're in the mood for something that's definitely not deep, give this a shot. It has a very cool ending.
Netflix: Nick Beame (
Tim Robbins), an advertising executive, thinks he's having a bad day when he discovers his wife Ann (Kelly Preston) in bed with his boss (Michael McKean). But Nick's day goes from bad to worse when he drives around aimlessly and soon finds himself in a poor neighborhood, staring at the barrel of a gun. Carjacker T. Paul (Martin Lawrence) gets taken on the ride of his life in this odd-couple buddy flick.

Juno  (2007) (3rd Vote)
I LOVED this movie. Ellen Page does an incredible job as a kind of "offbeat" teenager who definitely marches to her own drummer.
Netflix:  Facing an unplanned pregnancy while she's still in high school, quirky teen Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) devises a plan to locate her unborn baby's perfect adoptive parents. But the seemingly ideal couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) Juno chooses still has some growing up to do. Michael Cera co-stars in this offbeat coming-of-age comedy with an Oscar-winning original screenplay penned by Diablo Cody.

The Hurt Locker  (2008)
I liked this movie A LOT more than I thought I would (and more than my husband did). I was prepared to give it 20 minutes max... but watched the whole thing with strong interest. I still think Avatar should have won Best Picture though...
Netflix: Kathryn Bigelow directs this gripping drama (winner of the Best Picture Oscar) following one of the U.S. Army's elite EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams operating in the ferocious war zone of Iraq. As the squad identifies and dismantles improvised explosive devices and other bombs, they must also contend with the frayed nerves and internal conflicts that arise from living in constant peril. Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce star.

Anne of Green Gables  (1985)
We both liked this one (and the sequel) - Very charming, theta and well made by PBS. It's a classic "really good movie" and is suitable for everyone except really small people. It's long and we watched it in three sittings.
Netflix: Director Kevin Sullivan brings L.M. Montgomery's classic children's novel to life. Megan Follows stars as Anne Shirley, the talkative, red-headed orphan sent by mistake to live with a spinster (Colleen Dewhurst) and her brother (Richard Farnsworth) on scenic Prince Edward Island, Canada. But Anne's warm-hearted enthusiasm and irrepressible imagination gradually win them over. Jonathan Crombie co-stars as Gilbert Blythe.

The International (2009)
From the opening scene, I was drawn into the deadly plot with high-power bankers, arms dealers, assassins, and American and international investigators on the trail of all of them! This may sound like a contrived plot, but it’s based, in fact, on the BCCI banking scandal from just a few years ago.
Netflix: Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and New York Asst. DA Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) team up to expose a global financial institution's money laundering, arms dealing and other illegal rackets in this tense thriller from director Tom Tykwer. As the pair race from New York to Milan and beyond to pursue their case, they soon discover that the ruthless bank will stop at nothing to continue its profitable activities.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry  (2007)
Love a great gut-busting laugh? Then this movie is for you. Comedy at it's best complete with all the outpoints expected and really I have not laughed so hard. Clean fun. Great actors and you'll leave in the spirit of play....
Netflix: Firefighters Chuck Ford (Adam Sandler) and Larry Allensworth (Kevin James) are guy's guys, loyal to the core -- which is why when widower Larry asks Chuck to pose as his gay lover so that he can get domestic partner benefits for his kids, his buddy agrees. Things get dicey, however, when a bureaucrat comes calling, and the boys are forced to present a picture of domestic bliss. Dan Akroyd and Steve Buscemi co-star.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
This is a great movie! One in our group usually doesn't like animated movies and she ended up loving this movie. It's a great story of someone persisting and sticking to their own integrity.
Netflix: As the son of a Viking leader on the cusp of manhood, shy Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III faces a rite of passage: He must kill a dragon to prove his warrior mettle. But after downing a feared dragon, he realizes that he no longer wants to destroy it. So he befriends the beast -- which he names Toothless -- much to the chagrin of his warrior father. Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders direct this animated adaptation of the book by Cressida Cowell.

Heroes (TV show - 4 seasons, available on Netflix)
It is all about people with superpowers, such as a person who can read minds, a body that can not be killed, people who can become invisible and on and on. I enjoy it.
Netflix synopsis from Season 1:  This Emmy nominee for Best Drama follows a global group of everyday people who, in the midst of their perfectly normal lives, awake to discover they have special powers -- from stopping time to reading people's thoughts. The newly minted superheroes eventually join forces to defeat their mutual foe, who plots to steal their super-DNA and destroy the world. Hero Masi Oka earned his first Emmy nod playing Hiro, a time traveler.

Together (He Ni Zai Yi Qi / Together with You) (2002)
This a very nice movie from China about the life of a young musical prodigy who grows up under unusual circumstances. Has a nice message and some great music.
Netflix:  A young boy, Xiao Chun (Tang Yun), proves to be a massive talent when it comes to the violin, so his father (Liu Peigi) helps him find the best teacher in Beijing, far away from their hometown. There, Xiao Chun meets a nightclub worker with a heart of gold and finds true friendship.

The Blind Side (2009)
Based on a recent and true story - moving and inspirational. Sandra Bullock is fabulous and completely deserved her Oscar for this role.
Netflix: Oversized African American Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), the teen from across the tracks and a broken home, has nowhere to sleep at age 16. Taken in by an affluent Memphis couple, Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean (Tim McGraw), Michael embarks on a remarkable rise to play for the NFL. Bullock's performance garnered a Best Actress Oscar and Best Actress Golden Globe Award.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
A well-made and fun movie!
Netflix: Robert Downey Jr., in a Golden Globe-winning role, stars as the legendary London sleuth Sherlock Holmes, joined by Jude Law as Dr. Watson, in this Guy Ritchie-helmed reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective series. Based on a comic book by producer Lionel Wigram, the story follows Holmes and Watson as they face off against the villainous Blackwood (Mark Strong). Rachel McAdams co-stars as sharp beauty Irene Adler.

The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
We loved this one all over again! Great cast -
Netflix: World War I has left golfer Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) a poker-playing alcoholic, his perfect swing gone. Now, however, he needs to get it back to play in a tournament to save the financially ravaged golf course of a long-ago sweetheart (Charlize Theron). Help arrives in the form of mysterious caddy Bagger Vance (Will Smith). Director Robert Redford's adaptation of Steven Pressfield's novel includes Jack Lemmon's unbilled final performance.

The Last Castle (2001)
Another one we loved all over again!
Netflix: When General Irwin (Robert Redford) -- a POW in Vietnam and a revered hero in the Persian Gulf and Bosnian campaigns -- is court-martialed for disobeying orders, he's sentenced to serve time at a maximum-security military prison run by a hard-nosed disciplinarian (James Gandolfini). But a battle of wills emerges between the two men as the prisoners and guards of "The Castle" find themselves drawn to Irwin's natural leadership abilities.

Doubt  (2008)
A powerful, intense movie with absolutely incredible performances by Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.
IMDB:  It's 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the schools' strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the community, and indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn which threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequence.


As It Is In Heaven (2005) (Swedish with English Subtitles)
A very nice Swedish movie, worth seeing.
Netflix:  This Oscar-nominated Swedish drama tells the story of Daniel Dareus (Michael Nyqvist), a small-town boy who escaped his tiny village to become a famous conductor. A tragic mishap sends him back home in search of a fresh start, and he ends up leading the local choir. Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjoholm and Lennart Jahkel co-star in writer-director Kay Pollak's (Children's Island, Love Me!) heartwarming tale.


Fighter (2007) (Turkish with English subtitles)
It is a great story about a girl's struggles to overcome many obstacles in life, such as a controlling father and family with traditional cultural views, to study kung fu. Very inspiring and entertaining.
IMDB:  Aicha, a high-school student, is a passionate kung fu fighter. Her Turkish parents expect her to get good grades so she can get into medical school, like her brother Ali. But school doesn't inspire her. Defying her family, Aicha starts secretly training at a professional, co-ed kung fu club. A boy, Emil, helps Aicha train for the club championship and they fall in love. But the rules of life are not as simple as the rules of kung fu, and Aicha is forced to decide who she is and what she wants. Written by Natasha Arthy

Zatoichi's Revenge (1965)
Without a doubt one of the best Samurai movies ever made! The action takes place in  ancient Japan. Zaitoichi is a wandering blind masseur/ gambler / part time assasin (with a sword hidden in his cane) and hero of the common man all done with a sense of humor. The scenery of rural Japan, the characters, costumes, culture and writing are excellent! I feel like I took a trip in time and lived there when I watch these films. This has got to be an absolute in filmaking - couldn't get any better! This is my favorite of this series so far. There are over 20 of these films and all are watchable for free on Hulu.com right now.

Firelight (1997)
British costume piece taking place in the 1800's starring Sophie Marceu who plays a poor governess who becomes a surrogate mother for a wealthy Englishman. This film is a work of art! I  was riveted to this excellent story from start to finish. Currently available for free on Hulu.com


Spanglish (2004)
Another movie we enjoyed all over again - Very well written script, funny, warm, ethical and very touching. If you're not an Adam Sandler fan, watch this anyway - he may surprise you in this straight-man role.
IMDB:  A beautiful native Mexican woman becomes the housekeeper for the affluent, yet troubled, Clasky family. The result is a wittily perceptive collision of cultures and values, and a refreshingly honest look at such life-altering commitments as marriage, parenting and devotion to family. Written by Austin4577

Master & Commander: Far Side of the World (2003)
We are rewatching favs... This one is a just plain good movie all around - well written and acted, great costume and set design, interesting and exciting story, great (and surprising) sound track, happy and fun ending, etc.
Netflix: Set off the coast of South America during the Napoleonic Wars, this thrilling maritime drama pits "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), captain of the HMS Surprise, and his close-knit crew against a French privateer equipped with better weapons. This action-adventure, which won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing, is based on the novels of Patrick O'Brian and co-stars Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd and James D'Arcy.


Robin Hood (2010)
We just saw the new Robin Hood with Cate Blanchette and Russell Crowe.  Loved it!  Definitely worth watching on the big screen.
Netflix:  Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride in director Ridley Scott's big-budget twist on the celebrated legend. When soldier Robin happens upon the dying Robert of Loxley, he promises to return the man's sword to his family in Nottingham. There, he assumes Robert's identity; romances his widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett); and draws the ire of the town's sheriff (Matthew Macfayden) and King John's henchman, Godfrey (Mark Strong).

Chaplin (1992)
Well, we just saw "Chaplin" with  Robert Downey, Jr. on Hulu, and it was outstanding and very moving. Not your usual type of presentation, either.
Netflix: Through flashbacks and other nonlinear devices, director Richard Attenborough recounts comic icon Charlie Chaplin's (Robert Downey Jr.) poignant journey through triumph, failure, infamy and government persecution. The large cast of characters includes George Hayden (Anthony Hopkins), Douglas Fairbanks (Kevin Kline) and Chaplin's mentally unbalanced mother (Geraldine Chaplin). Downey's performance earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.