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Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Languid, introspective, and darkly funny, this vampire movie never outright mentions what its main characters are. Adam is a centuries-old musician going through a rough patch while living in seclusion in Detroit. Enter his long-time lover, Eve, thousands of years old and living in Tangiers until Adam calls. The quiet romance and midnight reflections on the rise and fall of lives and societies are at the center of this story, until Eve's uncontrollable little sister shows up, complicating things by doing what we all expect vampires to do.

Snowpiercer (2014)

Action film meets art film. Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but set on a train and without the martial arts. Oh, and it takes place in a future after humans accidentally froze the entire planet and the only survivors are on an arc of a train that’s circumnavigating the planet. An arc-train? Yes - and the aquarium car is amazing! There are some fabulous fight scenes - but more like Gangs of New York meets the modern Korean police force in terms of the fighting style. In addition to fantastic visuals this film also provides some political fodder to keep you intellectually engaged.

Babylon A.D. (2008)

In a post-apocalyptic Russia, mercenary Toorop is hired for a difficult job: transport the naive and sheltered Aurora and her guardian, Sister Rebekah, from a convent in Russia to New York City. What seems at first to merely be a matter of obtaining the right falsified identification and booking passage becomes something more when Aurora is revealed to have some strange powers Toorop was not told about when he took the job. People are after Aurora, who knows things she shouldn't know, understands things she's never encountered, and who has to be delivered to New York unharmed.

The Wind Rises (2014)

This is a beautifully animated tale of love, tragedy and war. The latest (and rumored to be the last) release of a Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises tells the story of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, a pioneer in aircraft design in the first half of the twentieth century. More than aspiring to achieve flight, Jiro is an artist and dreamer striving to stay true to himself during a trying time in his life and in Japanese history. If you enjoy animation of imaginative tales, this movie is not one to be missed!

The Skeleton Twins (2014)

Products of a dysfunctional marriage and orphaned at the age of 14 (Dad: suicide; Mom: disinterest), damaged but endearing twins Maggie and Milo are both unhappy, each facing a life crisis of their own making. Close as children but estranged as adults, they meet again in their New York state hometown after 10 years apart and proceed to support and undermine each other in the ways only siblings can.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Spanning two years and three Thanksgivings, this Woody Allen classic hits all his favorite subjects: sex, death and Manhattan. The movie unfolds as a series of vignettes featuring sisters Hannah (Mia Farrow), Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest) along with their former, current, and future husbands and lovers. Love, betrayal, aging parents, career angst, hypochondria, and some good religion jokes—what more could you ask for?

Five Christmas Movies to Look For

Looking for something a little different for a Christmas movie this year? Try one of these five you may not have seen before.

Begin Again (2013)

The director of the Oscar winning film Once (2006) returns with another musical urban love story. This time the setting is New York City and you may know some of the actors. Keira Knightly plays a British song-writer adrift in the city after her partner, played by Adam Levine (frontman for Grammy winning band, Maroon 5) gets lured away by the music industry that brought them across the pond. She has a chance encounter with a disgraced music-business executive, played by the always excellent Mark Rufallo, who is also weathering a troubled long-term marriage.

Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (2005)

A car accident and a chance meeting leads a widowed baker to a ballroom dancing class to find another man's childhood crush. All we know at first is that Frank Keane is a baker who is accompanying a man named Steve in an ambulance. Steve tells the story of how he fell for Lisa at the charm school they both attended. Steve asks Frank to go in his place and meet Lisa. Frank goes, of course, and we meet the rest of the cast at both the school and at a grief support group Frank attends.

Luther, Season One (2010)

John Luther is a Detective Chief Inspector in the London Police Department.  He is volatile, dedicated and able to deduce the psychological make-up of criminals in record time.  This show is a binge watch all the way.  The crimes are gruesome, but interesting, and the pace is fast.  I've never seen a detective show that spent so little time figuring out the criminal's next move or motivation.

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