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Movies

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Borgen (2010-2011)

Birgitte Nyborg is the idealistic new (and first female) prime minister of Denmark in this absorbing political series drama. The intricacies of parliamentary politics are surprisingly riveting by themselves, in addition to the melodramatic back stories and personal lives of Nyborg and the other major characters, including her too-good-to-be-true husband, Philip (but is he really?), her media advisor/spin doctor Kaspar Juul (with a mysterious and ominous childhood), and the rising TV anchor star Katrine Fonsmark (Kaspar’s on- and off-again girlfriend).

Mad Men (2007-)

If you like TV antiheroes like Tony Soprano, it's time to start watching Mad Men, featuring Don Draper, a Madison Avenue ad man who is a poster child for poor judgement. This period drama takes place during the 1960s and watching it is like time traveling to a past that feels very nearby. Historical events are incorporated into the episodes, including the 1960 presidential election, the death of Marilyn Monroe, the assassination of JFK, and the mass rape and murder of eight nurses by Richard Speck in Chicago in 1966.

The Well-Digger's Daughter (2011)

On the eve of World War I, widowed well digger Pascal struggles to raise his six daughters but the oldest one, 18-year-old Patricia, goes astray, falling for a dashing airman who loves her and leaves her in the usual way. This French-language movie, based on the book by Marcel Pagnol, is heartwarming in the best sense of the word: beautiful shots of the lush Provencal countryside, the innocently luminous Patricia, the amusingly gruff but loving Pasal, and assorted charming minor characters.

Rango (2011)

A family's pet chameleon suddenly finds himself thrown out of his safe aquarium and left to fend for himself in the Western desert. He goes from living in his own private fantasy world (as a movie star and director) to playing a starring role as a swashbuckling hero who rescues the drought-ridden town of Dirt from evil bandits.

Death at a Funeral (2008)

If you need some laughs, you'll definitely find them in this dark comedy about a funeral held at an English country manor. Family members and friends gather and the proceedings get more and more out of control as hallucinogenic drugs, family secrets, sibling rivalry, and a blackmailing dwarf cross paths. It's not a spoiler to reveal that there definitely is a death by the end of this funeral, but it isn't the guy in the casket. It could even be you, dying of laughter.

Elena (2012)

Wealthy businessman Vladimir and his second wife (and former nurse) Elena share a luxurious Moscow apartment and argue about their respective children: his scornful and distant daughter; her wastrel son with a wife, two kids, and no job. After Vladimir has a heart attack and decides to write a will that will prevent Elena from supporting her son's family, she makes a fateful decision. This domestic noir thriller feels quite un-American, and that's because it's Russian.

Almost Famous (2001)

Time travel back to the era of 70s rock and roll with wannabe teen rock journalist William Miller. Under the dubious tutelage of rock mag Creem's editor Lester Bangs, and with the reluctant approval of his mother, William joins the tour of on-the-verge-of-stardom Stillwater. William rides on the bus, rubs shoulders with the band and their female groupies, falls in love, and tries to write a break-out story for Rolling Stone magazine.

Bernie (2012)

Hilariously funny, pathetic and sad all at the same time, this movie mashes up crime comedy and faux documentary methods to dramatize a true story of love and murder in the small east Texas town of Carthage.  Jack Black stars as Bernie Tiede, the humble, attentive and beloved assistant funeral director who befriends Marjorie Nugent, a wealthy and nasty old widow played by Shirley MacLaine. What begins as an innocent friendship between a good-hearted man and a lonely woman slowly goes bad, really bad.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

A hip and cynical young Seattle magazine employee and his two slave-interns travel to a small coastal Washington state town to follow up on an unusual classified ad.  They discover a mysterious, paranoid loner looking for a time-travel partner--and also learn something about themselves and how to live truly in the here-and-now.  Sweet, funny, and charming with both low-key suspense and romance, plus an engaging cast portraying three-dimensional characters that will win you over even when they are being annoying.

The Artist (2011)

Yes, you should see "The Artist" because it won the Academy Award but, more importantly, you should see this film because it's so much FUN!!!  The storytelling is brilliant and the characters are remarkably robust considering this is a silent film (well, for the most part).  Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent movie superstar.  Along come "talkies" and George denounces them as a fad.  For newcomer Peppy Miller, the talkies present an opportunity to catapult her to stardom.  "The Artist" tells the story of their interlinked destinies.  Pay particular atte

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