Heaven is for Real (2014) PG

heavenisforrealGreg Kinnear is excellent in this lovely and thought-provoking movie based on a true story. He plays a minister in Nebraska whose young son has a near-death experience during emergency surgery. When his son starts talking about the people and the things he saw, at first no one believes him, not even his own family.

Connor Corum, who plays Colton, is absolutely adorable and you can’t help but fall in love with him. Heaven is for Real is beautiful and inspirational! Also check out the book.

Chef (2014) R

chefOnce a rising star, Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) has a meltdown that goes viral. Adrift and unemployed, Casper accepts help from his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) in the form of a beat-up food truck. With his sous chef Martin (John Leguizamo) and his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony), Casper rediscovers his love of cooking and his creative mojo on a road trip from Miami to Los Angeles. Chef is a heartwarming comedy about food and family.

Crime Story (1986-1988)

crimestoryCrime Story ran two seasons in the mid-1980s, but was set in the early sixties in Chicago, where it was filmed. Dennis Farina played tough cop Mike Torello, head of the police’s major crimes unit. Each episode had a specific crime to solve, but always there was Torello’s ongoing pursuit of gangland punk Ray Luca (played by Tony Denison of The Closer). The early sixties setting is marvelous from the skinny ties, sharkskin suits, brylcreamed hair, and narrow brimmed fedoras to the pre-Beatles pop soundtrack and the snazzy two toned cars.

With its Joe Fridayish opening narration and its film noir stylings and sensibility, the show was a throwback to an earlier time, but the violence and the story arc that lasted across the entire season made Crime Story ahead of its time.

Look for appearances (before they made it big) by David Caruso, Gary Sinise, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Christian Slater, Stanley Tucci, and many others.

I Love You, Man (2009) R

iloveyoumanPeter Klaven (Paul Rudd) has just gotten engaged to Zooey (Rashida Jones), and everything is perfect, except for one thing: he doesn’t have a best man. Peter has always been all about his girlfriends and never really had many male friends around. He makes it his mission to find a friend before the wedding and just when he’s about to give up, he meets Sydney (Jason Segel). As the two spend more and more time together, their bromance begins to threaten Peter and Zooey’s romance, and Peter needs to choose between the woman of his dreams and the best friend he always needed.

I Love You, Man is hilarious and will have you laughing out loud many times. Rudd’s character is delightfully adorable and awkward and his verbal bumbles never fail to amuse, and Segel’s jokes always hit home. Equal parts buddy movie and romantic comedy, this is a great film to watch with your significant other, your best friend, or both.

Seven Pounds (2008) PG-13

7poundsWhy does IRS agent Ben Thomas, portrayed by the versatile actor Will Smith, contact seven people primarily struggling with health issues? Ben is a tormented soul with sadness about him, but is driven to see his plan through. This is a riveting, touching, and mysterious film. It has great writing and a unique plot. Rosario Dawson plays Emily Posa, a woman Ben develops a special bond with.

You might also like The Pursuit of Happyness, which stars Will Smith and has the same production team and director as Seven Pounds.

Vikings. Seasons 1 & 2 (2013-2014) TV14

vikingss1Imagine Game of Thrones but with Vikings. Action, political intrigue, and betrayals only begins to describe it. Simply put…it’s amazing.

Viking farmer Ragnar Lothbrok dreams of sailing west to discover new lands, but timid and conservative Earl Haraldson refuses to consider his request. Ignoring his commands, Ragnar sets sail and opens the West to Viking raids and starts off a power struggle between him and his earl.

Check out both seasons 1 and 2 of Vikings from the library today. Visit History.com for a behind the scenes look at the show, including videos, pictures, and blogs.

The Princess Bride (1987) PG

princessbrideThe Princess Bride was adapted by William Goldman from his novel, which he says was inspired by a book he read as a child, but its transformation by his wicked adult imagination has made the story witty and irreverent. And the film adaptation has remained popular since its original release in 1987.

It is story within a story with Peter Falk as a grandfather reading a fairy tale to his reluctant grandson. This clever romantic comedy-fantasy-adventure film can be enjoyed by every member of the family.

And if you can’t get enough of The Princess Bride, check out Cary Elwes’ (Westley) recent book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.

Orphan Black. Season 1 (2013)

orphanblackSarah Manning has been running away from her life for some time, but wants to return home to see her daughter. While waiting at the train station, Sarah runs into a woman who looks exactly like her, who then commits suicide by stepping in front of a train. In an attempt to clear out the woman’s bank account, Sarah steals her identity, only to discover Beth Childs wasn’t the only one with the same face. Soon Sarah finds herself caught up in a scientific mystery, which exposes her own past and brings her face to face with her “genetic identicals” and the ways in which their upbringing influenced their personalities.

In addition to Sarah and Beth, the clones include an uptight soccer mom named Allison, a geeky grad student named Cosima, and a crazed zealot named Helena—all of whom are played by the enormously talented Tatiana Maslany. Maslany’s acting skills alone are reason to watch this show, as you’ll quickly forget there’s only one actress on screen in most scenes.

Orphan Black is a sci-fi drama full of danger and intrigue, with phenomenal acting, writing, and memorable characters. Season 2 was recently released and quickly raises the stakes while introducing new twists and clones–making the wait for season 3 (airing on BBC America in April) all the longer!

Beauty and the Beast (1991) G

beautybeastBefore heading to Disney World and the new Be Our Guest restaurant, I revisited this classic from my childhood. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination. The Oscars for Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Best Score (the talented Alan Menken and Howard Ashman) come as no surprise as you listen to the enchanting music throughout the film. The story is engaging, the characters endearing (how can you not love a girl who is thrilled by books and libraries?), and the movie simply magical.

Roger Ebert was equally enthralled. Check out his review. And something else to look forward to – Beauty and the Beast will be here live on stage in late March as part of Broadway in Chicago.