When life gets tough, some people just want to go home and think about a different time. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) just can’t accept her current situation, so she goes home to recapture her old boyfriend’s (Patrick Wilson) love. Unfortunately, he’s happily married – but that doesn’t stop her.
Mavis writes teen fiction and she is obviously stuck in the past. The only person who may help her is a former teen outsider (Patton Oswalt) who tries to give her advice. Awkward situations prevail. Not your usual comedy.
Diablo Cody (who also wrote Juno) penned the script.
Check the library catalog to find a copy of Young Adult.
This jewel of a movie takes place in Czarist Russia. Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) has a large following in his anti-materialistic movement and Paul Giamatti is their leader. Tolstoy’s wife Sofya (Helen Mirren) is an aristocrat and she is fighting Tolstoy and his followers over his money and the rights to his royalties. The conflicts are loud and raucous.
Sofya married Tolstoy, gave him 13 children, and translated and edited his works. She is not about to give him or his royalties up without everyone knowing his anguish. A subplot involves young lovers (James McAvoy and Kerry Condon). Tolstoy’s idealism and his desertion of his wife make for a fascinating story.
Check out The Last Station today!
The Right Stuff (1983) R
The Soviets beat us into space by launching Sputnik, but America is about to catch up. The Mercury astronauts are being trained to fly America’s spacecraft and they’re all hotshot pilots.
John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Gordo Cooper (Dennis Quaid) are some of the best pilots, but before them came Chuck Yaeger (Sam Shepard) – who broke the sound barrier. This is NASA’s effort to put a man into space and America in the 60s.
The film is based on Tom Wolfe’s great book The Right Stuff. I liked the movie because of the faithfulness to the book. It has drama, comedy, and suspense.
Julie and Julia (2009) PG-13
This movie is based on the book by Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who wants to be a writer. She decides to write a blog about her attempt to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She will cook 524 recipes in 365 days. Flashbacks to Julia’s (Meryl Streep) life in France, her love of French food, her life with Paul Child, and the decision to go to cooking school offer the most interesting scenes in the movie. Julia’s enthusiasm for cooking is contagious.
You’ll long to eat great (not necessarily French) food while watching this film.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) G
Spencer Tracy heads an all star cast of crazies looking for buried treasure. When a group of motorists see a car crash, they rush to see if there are any survivors. The dying driver tells the witnesses of a secret fortune. The witnesses begin to race toward the loot. The car chases, arguments and personalities are hilarious. Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman and Buddy Hackett are just a few of the many comedians in this movie.
Check out The New York Times review.
Places in the Heart (1984) PG
It is 1935 and Sally Field is a young Texas widow trying to save her farm after her husband, the town sheriff, is accidentally killed. An out of work black man (Danny Glover) has a plan to save her farm. John Malkovich plays a blind boarder in her family home. In this Depression-era story, race, bigotry, fidelity and faith are tested. The ending is awesome.
Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Lindsay Crouse round out this all-star cast. Sally Field won her second Academy Award for her performance.
The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969) PG-13
Stanley Kramer directed this movie based on Robert Crichton’s bestseller. The story takes place during World War II in a small town in northern Italy. The fascists are no longer in power, but the Germans are about to invade the town.
The town’s drunken clown of a mayor, Bombolini, must find a way to hide the town’s one million bottles of wine. A college student, former soldier and the whole town help carry out his plan. The Nazi captain suspects he’s being cheated but cannot prove anything.
Anthony Quinn, Anna Magnani, Virna Lisi, Hardy Kruger and Sergio Franchi star in this comedy with serious overtones. Read more about the movie on TCM.
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) R
Tom Hanks stars in this movie based on a true story. In the 1980s, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was making headlines but the American Congress was not concerned. A few people, including a hard-drinking congressman, a wealthy Texas socialite, and a rebel CIA agent, decide to help the rebels fight the Soviets.
Mike Nichols directs Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman in this complex political story of wheeling and dealing. Nobody is perfect in this movie and the clandestine help provided by the main characters will leave you wondering what would have happened if they had not succeeded.
Michael Clayton (2007) R
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) works for a large law firm. He’s a lawyer but the firm won’t let him practice law because he’s too good at fixing the law firm’s messes. When the firm’s top lawyer experiences a breakdown, Michael must clean up the defense of a chemical plant land contamination. Three billion dollars are at stake and Michael has a lot on his plate – not to mention his financial and family problems.
This was one of Sydney Pollack’s last movies and he is terrific as one of the firm’s big shot lawyers. Tilda Swinton received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as legal counsel for the chemical plant.
A great movie thriller and one of the best George Clooney films ever.
Moonstruck (1987) PG
When Loretta, an Italian America widow, agrees to marry Johnny, confirmed bachelor and mama’s boy, the fireworks begin. He asks her to visit his brother Ronny and invite him to the wedding. Not only does Loretta invite Ronny to the wedding, she falls in love with him. Her close-knit Italian family offers her their insights on love and life. Cher and Olympia Dukakis glow in their Oscar award-winning performances.
John Patrick Shanley won an Oscar for the screenplay of Moonstruck. He recently wrote the play and screenplay Doubt.