This is a Woody Allen film, but because he is not in the cast I put it in the DVD player and settled in. It was a delightful fantasy about Paris in the 1920s. There was nothing to dislike about it; it was a pleasure to watch.
Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are sort of in love, and in Paris with her parents. Gil is caught up in the romance of Paris in the springtime. A screenwriter from Hollywood, he has written a novel with visions of joining the ranks of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the other legends of Paris in the 1920s – the perfect set up for what follows.
The film is not without a serious moment. It has a message that is purposely delivered at the end; it’s an illusion that a life different from the one we have would be much better.
Did you participate in the 2012 Big Read? We read Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. For more on the book and its related resources featuring Paris in the 1920s, visit thebigread.org.
Pick up a copy of Midnight in Paris from the library.
How I learned to tell Matt Damon from Leonardo DiCaprio:
As actors, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio are as good as it gets. They both can carry a movie, display an impressive range, and have youth and beauty on their side. Somehow I am always confused as to which one is which, that is until I saw them together in Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning movie The Departed.
The Departed is set in South Boston, where the Massachusetts State Police are waging war on organized crime. This is a tense film! It is a thriller, a cop procedural, a character drama, and all in one.
The story blurs the lines between the law and the lawless. Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a young cop, Colin Sullivan (Damon) is a street-smart criminal, and Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is a crime boss … their lives become linked in a dangerous game and we end up watching a great movie.
For another thriller set in Boston, check out Barb’s review of The Town (2010).
Spotlight: Rita Hayworth
Born Margarita Carmen Cansino in New York on October 17, 1918, into a family of dancers, Rita Hayworth was one of the most glamorous actresses in cinema history and all-time great Hollywood legends. She was one of the few actresses to have danced with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in the movies. During World War II, she danced in musicals Cover Girl (1944) and You Were Never Lovelier (1942). She became one of the famous pin-up girls, but it was her warmth and vitality that helped to make her a star.
Here are additional Rita Hayworth films you can find at Indian Prairie.
Spotlight: Holiday Films
Holiday films are an important American pastime and though they can be a bit sappy, they can also warm our hearts and restore our faith in humanity. They’re the perfect thing for helping to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Who cares if the weather is frightful when good movies and family fun keep us warm?
Just a few classics are listed below, but don’t just settle for a movie… make it an event!
Spotlight: Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday began her career as part of a nightclub act, then appeared successfully on the Broadway stage before going to Hollywood. In the early 1940s, she appeared in three films at 20th Century Films, but was dropped by the studio and return to Broadway.
In 1949, she returned to Hollywood to make Adam’s Rib. It was her next film, Born Yesterday, which made her a star. In the film, she reprised her Broadway role as the intellectually ambitious moll.
In all of her performances, she possessed superb comic timing and quirky charm. I think you will enjoy one of her films from our collection. Other notable films include Bells are Ringing (1960), The Marrying Kind (1952), and The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956).
Spotlight: Anne Baxter
Anne Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indiana, on May 7, 1923. She was the daughter of a salesman and granddaughter of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
By the time she was 13, she had already appeared on stage in New York to rave reviews. In 1937, Anne went to Hollywood to have a go at the film industry, but she was thought to be too young for film. She returned to the New York and continued to act on Broadway and in summer stock. Anne returned to California two years later to try again.
This time she was given a screen test at 20th Century-Fox and she was signed to a seven-year contract. As often happened during the “studio years” in Hollywood, Anne was loaned out to MGM before she would make a movie with Fox. At home in a variety of parts, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for her work in The Razor’s Edge. She was nominated again in 1950 for performance in the title role of All About Eve, her most memorable role.
In 1960, Anne married Randolph Galt, American owner of a cattle station near Sydney, Australia. She left Hollywood in 1961 for Australia, an experience she described in her critically-acclaimed book Intermission: A True Story. Anne died of a stroke in New York. She was 62.
Other notable movies include Charley’s Aunt (1941), The Fighting Sullivans (1944), and The Ten Commandments (1956).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) R
I found this to be a fascinatingly complex tale of suspense, but then I didn’t read the book.
It is the story of a computer hacker with a troubled past and a crusading journalist who become the dynamic duo in this Swedish film version of Stieg Larsson’s first suspense novel. The two main characters, each intriguing in their own way, initially occupy separate story lines that converge only because she’s hired to spy on him. The well plotted story becomes a thriller as it takes its time unlocking one mystery only to uncover another.
Be aware that there are some disturbing scenes of violence which can be difficult to view. You have time to watch this film and compare it with the English version arriving in theaters in December.
Spotlight: Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan was making movies in the days when Hollywood marketed movie stars by giving starlets names like “the Oomph Girl.” Ann Sheridan was a glamour girl, but she specialized in playing the hard-boiled type. Although she never really made the top rank of great stars, she always made the movie better because of her warmth and intelligence.
The 1940s was Sheridan’s most fertile movie-making decade when she made Angels with Dirty Faces (with Humphrey Bogart), Torrid Zone (with James Cagney and Pat O’Brien), Castle on the Hudson (with John Garfield), City for Conquest (with James Cagney), The Man Who Came to Dinner (with Monty Woolley and Bette Davis), and I was a Male War Bride (with Cary Grant). All of these and more are available at Indian Prairie.
Her work in King’s Row (1942) demonstrated her acting ability and opened the door to a wider variety of parts. The film, which also features Ronald Reagan, is the story of a group young people growing up in a small American town in 1890. The social pressure, challenges and tragedies of their lives make for an emotional, albeit melodramatic movie.
Mother of Mine (2005)
This Finnish/Swedish film directed by Klaus Härö received good reviews from the Finnish press and several awards internationally.
Mother of Mine is based on a novel by Heikki Hietamies. During the Winter War (which began with a Soviet offensive on November 30, 1939 — three months after the start of World War II) Eero, like many Finnish children, is sent to Sweden as a refugee. He is forever conflicted because he feels his own mother abandoned him and his adoptive mother has a hard time accepting him.
The Shipping News (2001) R
In a short space of time, Quoyle’s life is completely changed! He’s ready to go when his Aunt Agnis Hamm convinces him to return to his ancestral home in Newfoundland.
From the moment (almost) he arrives there with his daughter and aunt, his life is transformed. Starring Kevin Spacey, Judi Dench, and Julianne Moore. Excellent!
Based on a novel of the same name by Annie Proulx.