Movies

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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

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.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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