Movies

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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

Berkeley Square (1998)

I admit I'm a sucker for BBC period costume dramas...but this is a really good one! Set in 1902, the ten-episode series revolves around three young women working as nannies in London's upper-crust Berkeley Square neighborhood. It's an "Upstairs, Downstairs" story that has it all: illegitimate babies, adorable children, feisty women, dashing and dangerous bounders, adultery, manslaughter, crime, romance, and great costumes. How much more entertaining does it get?

I Am Sam: Love Is All You Need (2002)

This movie made me cry - several times, big sloppy tears down my cheeks.  Too sentimental?  Probably - both the movie and the critic.  It's the story of mentally challenged Sam's (Sean Penn) efforts to keep custody of daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning - a most powerful actress for one so young) in a world that is tough on everyone, even accomplice Michelle Pfeiffer, the attorney whose "perfect life" is not so rosy.  It can leave you wondering why life has to be so hard, and why people have to be so mean, but then Lucy reminds us of the subtitle.  If you love the Beatles, y

The Guilty (1991)

Barrister Steven Vey has it all: successful career, plenty of cash, beautiful wife, not to mention a recent appointment as Britain's youngest-ever judge. Then one night he drinks too much and rapes his pretty new secretary and faces the loss of everything if he doesn't find a way to shut her up. Michael Kitchen is superb as Vey in this suspenseful two-part psychological thriller from Britain's Central Television.

The Double Hour (2011)

Twisty, suspenseful, sexy, and Italian--what more could you want in a psychological thriller? This one begins with a hotel chambermaid and a retired cop meeting at a speed dating event. Suddenly, an armed robbery alters the course of their budding relationship and from then on, the movie keeps you guessing about who is double-crossing who. Compelling performances by the two principals, Filippo Timi and Ksenia Rappoport.

The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003)

This period drama has everything a miniseries-loving anglophile could want: strong acting and great costumes plus a rich cast of characters suffering from a variety of character flaws including arrogance, silliness, cluelessness, greed and snobbery.  Very high class soap opera!

Drive (2011)

What do get when you combine the pace of Eraserhead with violence that would make Quentin Tarantino cover his eyes:  Drive.  Ryan Gosling transmits his performance with as few words as possible.  When asked what he does, he says, "I drive". He's a mechanic who does a little stunt driving for the movies and a little getaway driving for criminals on the side.  His life gets much more complicated when a comely neighbor moves into his apartment building and his effort to help her goes violently astray.

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

This is the best film adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel, in my opinion.  Because it is 170+ minutes long, the three-part series has plenty of time to tell the story of sisters Elinor (the one with sense) and Marianne (the one with sensibility) and their romantic trials and tribulations.

George Gently (2007-2011)

Another entertaining British crime series, this one set in Northumberland in 1964.  George Gently is the detective inspector, lately from a bigger-time city career, and John Bacchus is his arrogant, ambitious and inexperienced sergeant. The series takes place during a period of changing social attitudes and values, and the story lines incorporate themes like racism, women's liberation, homophobia and child sexual abuse. Based on the Inspector Gently novels by Alan Hunter (he published nearly one per year from 1955 to 1998!).

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