Sunday, October 28, 2012

Enough Politics, Now Movies & Books / Judy

In my last post, "When Lloyd& I Started this Blog," I recommended 4 lesser-known films that both Lloyd & I watched. I don't know about your lives, but it's rare that we have time together. So besides those movies that I enjoy, I'm also on the lookout for ones we'll both like. The themes and pace are more for adults than children. "The Big Miracle" from the last post would be one for the whole family.

 Here are five more films that I recommend with shared popcorn 

1. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This is a quirky British movie ("quirky" and "British" are often synonymous). Although it's not as funny as the trailer promises, it has more heart. It's about a visionary sheik from Yemen who wants to establish salmon fishing in his country and goes to Britain's Academy of Fisheries, or something, for help. It stars two of my favorite actors: Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor. No subtitles of course.  Netflix DVD, not instant.

2. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Another British entry. This one is longish (2 hrs 5 min) and leisurely, but it builds and by the end has exerted a compelling charm. It's about several British retirees who travel to India to live in an exotic hotel that is not nearly as wonderful as the brochures describe. All their stories are interwoven around the hotel manager and you really care about these people, at least I did. Again, Netflix DVD, not instant.

3. Queen to Play

This one is French and has subtitles. It's unrated, but again it's okay. It's about a motel maid on the island of Corsica who one day sees an American couple playing chess on the balcony of their room. She becomes intrigued with the game and asks an American (Kevin Kline) to teach her the game. She becomes very good at it. In fact, she becomes so good that it changes her life and everything around her. It is available on Netflix instant.

4.  The Women on the 6th Floor (Subtitles)

A French comedy, but bear in mind their comedies are not like our comedies. You never know what's going to happen next. It's about a Parisian couple in 1960 who hire a Spanish maid. All the maids live on the 6th floor, and the husband finds he likes being up there more than in his own apartment. It's unrated, but okay. I have to warn you about one scene where the husband sees the bare back of the maid as she takes a bath in their apartment, but that's it. It is available on Netflix instant.

5. Take Me Home

This is a little gem I discovered under the Watch Instantly column on Netflix. It's obviously an indie film because I've never heard of any of the actors, but they are really good. It's a fun story about a woman in New York who hears her father is in a hospital in California, and she hires a cabby to drive her there. Turns out to be quite a road trip. Also available on Netflix instant.

And that's it, unless I see another intriguing movie I have to talk about. The next blog will be about some books I've recently enjoyed. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

When Lloyd & I Started this Blog / Judy

She Says, He Says

When Lloyd and I started this blog several years ago, we named it "He said, She said," because we thought we could take an issue and state our different views on it. But we found that not only did we have different views, we had entirely different issues. For instance, I find the current elections somewhat interesting, but I certainly don't feel consumed by them. 

Now on to the interesting stuff -- movies and books. For this blog I'll talk about recent movies we've seen and that I recommend. I'll do books the next time.

I've chosen movies that you may not have seen or heard of (I assume everyone knows about the big, more popular ones). I'll mention a little about them, provide a trailer, and give their availability on Netflix.

Domestic Movies

1. The Big Miracle

It's a true story starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski about a village in Alaska that tries to rescue a family of whales. The whales are trapped beneath the ice and not only does the whole town get involved, but the media learns about it and it becomes a huge media event all over the world. Netflix DVD, not instant.

Enjoyable Foreign Films with Subtitles

2.  Heartbreaker

It's a French movie and unrated, but okay. It's the story of a man and his sister and her husband who own a business where someone pays them to "save our loved one from the wrong boyfriend." So they go to great lengths to break up a bad relationship. The problem is that the guy falls in love with their unknowing client while trying to get her to leave her fiancee. Caveat--the one scene you have to fast-forward is where her crude friend comes into the protagonist's room and tries to seduce him. It doesn't last very long because he's saved by his brother-in-law, but while it lasts it's not good. (I was reminded about the crude friend in the move Fifty First Dates and how every time he was in a scene it was ruined.) Netflix instant/DVD.

3. Romantic's Anonymous

Another French movie, also unrated but okay, from 2010. Delightful movie about two VERY, even pathologically shy people who finally get together. He owns a chocolate factory on the verge of bankruptcy and she is some sort of genius chocolate maker. Netflix instant/DVD.

4. Where Do We Go From Here?

I've saved the best for last. If you don't see any of the others, see this one from Lebanon. It's about a village surrounded by land mines. Day to day, the Christian and Muslim neighbors are sociable. But when something negative happens, the men blame "the others" and get all stirred up, while the women try to calm them down. The women go to great lengths to keep the men distracted from the greater "war outside" and are sustained by deep friendship  and a poignant humor. The ending is incredible, but you have to experience the entire movie to fully appreciate it. Netflix DVD not instant.

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