Category Archives: Mary K.

An Unfinished Life (2005) PG-13

unfinishedlifeFleeing her abusive boyfriend, Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and her 11-year-old daughter head west to her father-in-law Einar’s (Robert Redford) Wyoming ranch. Einar’s longtime friend and ranch hand Mitch lives on the ranch where Einar cares for him. Mitch needs daily shots of morphine to handle the pain he suffers from injuries he received when a grizzly bear attacked him. Mitch is full of compassion for Einar who continues to mourn the death of his son and to blame Jean for his son’s death. The unexpected and threatening arrival of Jean’s ex-boyfriend forces Jean to confront her past. An Unfinished Life is a heartfelt story of healing and forgiveness.

Frozen River (2008) R

frozenriverWhen Ray Eddy’s husband flees the hardscrabble town of Massena in upstate New York, he steals Ray’s hard-earned down payment for a new doublewide trailer home. Faced with eviction, Ray has to come up with an impossibly large sum of money to keep a roof over her sons’ heads. Ray unwittingly becomes involved with Lila, a young widow on the nearby Mohawk reservation who smuggles. Lila has resorted to smuggling to keep herself fed and to earn money to reclaim her baby boy who has been taken from her.

Ray and Lila form an uneasy alliance as they drive from the rez across the frozen St. Lawrence River to Canada where they pick up illegal immigrants. A paean to single mothers whose love for their children sometimes drives them to desperate measures, Frozen River will touch your heart.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth (1988)

powerofmythStar Wars fans may not be familiar with mythologist Joseph Campbell whose work influenced George Lucas’ Star Wars. In 1988, conversations between journalist Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell about mythology and its importance to society were filmed at Skywalker Ranch. Campbell’s book The Power of Myth was based on these conversations and includes many references to Star Wars characters. I recently re-watched the documentary, The Power of Myth, and found that Campbell’s ideas remain relevant and thought-provoking.

Force Majeure (2014) R

forceTomas and Ebba, along with their two children, are enjoying a family ski vacation in the French Alps. A controlled avalanche comes perilously close to the outdoor restaurant where they are enjoying lunch. As diners run in panic, Ebba calls for Tomas to help her. Tomas, however, has grabbed his cell phone and fled. No one is harmed and the family resumes their vacation, but Ebba cannot forgive Tomas’ instinct to run and his refusal to acknowledge that he failed to protect his family.

Force Majeure, a well-executed psychodrama, will have you questioning Ebba’s and Tomas’ role in the incident that caused a shift in the family’s dynamics.

In Swedish with English subtitles.

Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead (2010)

fatsickdeadThis entertaining documentary may not inspire you to go out and buy a juicer, but it will make you aware of the debilitating effects of obesity and an unhealthy diet. Australian filmmaker Joe Cross is overweight and suffering from the side effects of a steroid he takes to treat an autoimmune disease. In desperation, he goes on a 60 day juice fast as he travels across the United States. As he regains his health (and loses weight), he shares his story with people he encounters, including a morbidly obese trucker from Iowa who suffers from the same autoimmune disease Cross had.

Find a copy of Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead at the library—and then watch Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead 2 on Hoopla.

Lincoln (2012) PG-13

 Lincoln lives up to reputation as an outstanding historical drama. Director Steven Spielberg reveals the personal and political struggles that Lincoln faced during the last four months of his final presidential term. Lincoln was determined to have Congress pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, thereby guaranteeing the abolishment of slavery.

The film vividly recreates the divisive legislative battle over the passage of the 13th amendment, and the political maneuvering that Lincoln and his supporters used to obtain the necessary votes. Daniel Day-Lewis gives a stunning (and Academy Award winning) performance as Lincoln capturing his down-to-earth style, folksy humor, his political astuteness and oratory skills, as well as his tenderness toward his young son Tad and affection for his wife Mary Todd.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet or are eager to discuss the film, join us next Friday, May 31. We’ll start the movie at 7:00pm and follow with a discussion. Sign up today!

The Great Gatsby (1974) PG

A new version of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan will be released on Christmas 2012. I loved reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel on which the movies are based—one of the few “assigned” readings I enjoyed in high school.

I don’t think the film lived up to the novel, but it does bring the 1920s with all its raucousness vividly alive. The party scenes are fantastic; the costumes are stunning as are stars Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. It was fun to re-watch the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, but I think I’ll re-read the book in anticipation of the new film.

Arabesque (1966)

In the tradition of Hitchcock, director Stanley Donen weaves a story of international intrigue. When an Arab prime minister recruits Professor Pollock (Gregory Peck) to unravel a hieroglyphic code which is at the heart of an assassination plot, Pollock must gain access to the household of the diabolical Beshraavi (Alan Badel).

Beshraavi’s mistress Yasmin (Sophia Loren), presents another challenge—is the lovely Yasmin friend or foe? This fun, somewhat lighthearted suspense movie holds up well despite its 1966 release date.

Check out Arabesque today!

Unknown (2011) PG-13

Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) has arrived in Berlin with his beautiful wife Elizabeth (January Jones). Dr. Harris is to speak at a biotech conference, but panics when he realizes that he left his briefcase with his lecture notes at the airport. He leaves for the airport without telling his wife, can’t reach her by his mobile to tell her his whereabouts, and ends up with amnesia after his taxi ride ends up in a horrific crash.

Four days later, he arrives at the hotel and discovers that his wife does not recognize him and is with her husband Dr. Harris (Aidan Quinn). And that’s just the start of this thriller!

Find Unknown at Indian Prairie today.