Tuesday, September 23, 2008


If you like political movies, and I sure do, you will be riveted by Recount. Recount breaks down the Florida fallout of the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush. The movie manages to flush out the details of the voting irregularities while building suspense like a thriller. Maybe it’s just me be, but I found these details fascinating and also appalling. One wonders, what would have happened if Al Gore won Florida? It was so close. Two actors playing real people in this political drama are Kevin Spacey and Laura Dern. Laura Dern is especially good as her wackiness, Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vicky Christina Barcelona

This Woody Allen movie is set in Spain and involves Jaun Antonio, a painter played by Javier Bardem, who pursues two beautiful American tourists, Vicky and Christina played by Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall (who is great in this, by the way). It's a love triangle of sorts, well actually a love quadrangle because later, Jaun's wife joins the mix. She is played by the ravishing and fiery Penelope Cruz --Oh yeah, also in the mix is Vicky's American staid boyfriend. The movie is full of romantic and funny moments amid beautiful Spanish scenery while contrasting the free-spirited artist type with the practical get ahead American sesibility. One conversation exemplifies the this latter type when they talk about the wonders of Internet access and wiring your home with the latest technology. (I've had that conversation and the movie highlights the banality of it) Vicky Cristina Barcelona made me want to go to Spain and sit in coffee shops and discuss the meaning of life leaving the mundane details of getting Internet access behind.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Movies -- Yipee!

I get so excited about Fall Movies. So when I heard a list of movies on the CBS Morning Show, I thought I would write them down, for me, but then I realized that others may like this list. I will check off the movies as I see them. Of course, they won't all come to my small city, so some I won't get to watch until the DVD release. And some are just too plain stupid to watch (High School Musical, for example.) BOLDED films below are ones I especially want to see.

Body of Lies, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russel Crowe
Burn after Reading, Coen Brothers Brad Pitt John Malkevish
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt gets younger
Changeling, Angelino Jolie
Revolutionary Road, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Righteous Kill, Al Pacino and Robert De Nero
Doubt, Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, based on the Tony winning play about clergy sexual abuse
The Duchess, Kiera Knightley and Ralph Fiennes

Happy Go Luck, a Mike Leigh film with Sally Hawkins
Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist,Michael Cera and Kat Dennings
Ghost Town, Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear

Political Movies
W. Oliver Stone about George W. Bush with Josh Brolin
Frost/Nixon, about the Frost interview of Nixon
Milk, Sean Penn, stars as gay politician Harvey Milk who was murdered

Cheese Potential
High School Musical 3, Senior Year
Nights in Rodanthi, Nicholas Sparks movie with Richard Gere and Diane Lane

WWII Movies
Definance, Daniel Craig
Miracle at St. Anna, Spike Lee
Australia, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman

Film Festival Movies
The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke, Evan Rachel Wood, Marissa Tomei
Rachel Getting Married, Anne Hathaway
The Secret Life of Bees, based on the enjoyable book by Sue Monk Kidd

The Soloist, Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.
Quantum of Solace, James Bond movie
Vicky Christinia Barcelona, I added this Woody Allen film to list because I want to see it!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Then She Found Me

I recently watched these two female transformation movies. Frances McDormand plays Miss Pettigrew an out of work nanny/personal secretary who is hired by Amy Adam's Delycia and straightens out her crazy life while fixing her own -- all in one day! It's kinda sweet and I find Amy Adam buoyant sweetness irresistible. Since I love period pieces I enjoyed this s1940s slice of life and one of the three beaus of Delycia is especially fetching, the cute Lee Pace of Pushing Daisies. This movie is a farce, I hear. But what is a farce, I ask myself. So I looked it up. A farce is "a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character." That fits.

Then She Found Me is not quite so light and airy. It has great actors, Bette Midler, Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, and Matthew Broderick. The plot is interesting, but something just goes amiss, maybe it is Hunt's dour presence on screen, or maybe it's her desperation to have a baby, or maybe it's just a screenplay that doesn't hang together. I don't know, but great actors does not a good movie make.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Teacher Movies

As I previously posted, I hate feel good teacher movies -- they are so far removed the daily grind of being a teacher -- they just bug me. I have also listed my favorite edgy teacher movies, Half Nelson (great Ryan Gosling movie), Election, and Notes on a Scandal. So I was really interested when I heard on NPR's On the Media an interview with Mary Dalton who wrote The Hollywood Curriculm about teacher movies. She discussed how most teacher movies are either about totally evil teachers or the wonderful inspirational teachers. Evil teacher movies mentioned were Teaching Mrs. Tingle, and Porky's (esp. the gym teacher in Porky's of all things). In good teacher movies, the pattern is that those teachers are always outsiders in a conflict with the powers that be. She mentioned that the "good" female teachers like in Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers (Yuck!) are not allowed to be seen as sexual beings. And, I was glad to hear, she said that Half Nelson is one of the few movies where a teacher is actually seen presenting curriculum and has a nuanced or not all bad or not all good teacher. She even mentioned TV teacher break throughs like the first gay teacher on TV in My So Called Life and the first sexual female teacher in Boston Public (kinda dumb show in my opinion.) The Wire, season 4 was lauded as one of the first TV shows that dealt with the complicated world of education today. All in all, it was a very interesting interview and right up my alley.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Felicity and My So Called Life

When I wrote my TV series blog entry, I forgot about Felicity, the great show with Kerri Russel as Felicity who stars as a freshman at an NYU-like-college all the way from California. This show includes super cuties like Scot Speedman who plays Ben and Scot Foley who plays Noel and other great regular characters. The show lasted for four seasons from 1998 - 2002. I loved this show and remember when I lost the Fox channel due to bad reception I was really bummed. I later caught up on the show by renting it. I can't believe I forgot about it when I posted about great TV series. My memory is not what it used to be which is not saying much. Thanks Alison for reminding me about it! I hope you can update your collection.

AND -- My So Called Life (1994-1995). I forgot about that show. I even rewatched that season TWICE on DVD. Man that show was so great and woefully only lasted one season. Claire Danes acting skills shone even as a teenager playing the lovely Angela. And bad boy Jordan Catalano played by Jared Leto is irresistibly sexy!