The Girl in the Café (2005) TV-14
Delightful, understated performances highlight this gentle story of a bashful British government official (Bill Nighy) who meets a younger woman and takes her as his guest to the G8 summit in Iceland. Some unexpected events transpire. I found the film sweet yet thought-provoking. You didn’t see this in theatrical release because it’s a made-for-cable award winner.
Il Divo by Il Divo (2004)
Yes, I know they’re a “fabricated” classical pop quartet. They still possess awesome voices, depth in performance, and first rate song selection, with the unfortunate exception of “Feelings.” –And I wonder if anyone can NOT experience an emotional reaction to the beautiful “Mama.” For more on the group, visit their website.
Live in Paris by Diana Krall (2002)
The smoky voiced Krall serves up her Grammy Award-winning jazzy renditions of standards such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Look of Love,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” The live performance by this singer/pianist adds to the intimacy created by her smooth vocals. Visit Krall’s website to watch her perform select songs or request the DVD from another library to see the full concert recorded live in Paris.
The Contender (2000) R
I regularly recommend The Contender as one of the best political movies I’ve ever seen. Joan Allen stars as Laine Hanson, a woman the U.S. President (Jeff Bridges) wants as his Vice President after the untimely death in office of the current VP. Others involved include William Peterson playing a respected governor that others want to fill that position, and Gary Oldman as a powerful Congressman who uncovers some information that may torpedo Hanson’s chances. This intelligent and suspenseful drama has first rate performances from a strong cast. Full disclosure: this movie has a liberal point of view about privacy and standing up for your beliefs.
This Gun for Hire (1942)
This classic film propelled Alan Ladd’s popularity off the map. He’s a hired killer without a conscience who’s set up and goes after the man who did it, taking cop Robert Preston’s fiancé Veronica Lake (who has her own agenda) with him. Exciting and watchable despite the main character’s despicable actions. The filmmakers seemed to have set out to make viewers feel some sympathy for him, which in this case makes for an intriguingly done film.
Graham Greene wrote the original novel.
Bride and Prejudice (2004) PG-13
The stunning Aishwarya Rai stars in this Bollywood reworking of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. In the middle of the sparkling musical numbers, a story breaks out! Will the independent Lalita, daughter of the matchmaking Mrs. Bakshi, and Will Darcy (whom Lalita considers arrogant) get together, or will his pride and her prejudice prevail?
If you want the classic Pride and Prejudice, here’s what you can find at the library: the five hour BBC version starring Colin Firth, the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley, the book, CD audiobook, or Playaway.
Pride and Prejudice (2005) PG
This 2005 version has a luminous—and Oscar nominated—Keira Knightley as Elizabeth, and the suitably dashing Matthew MacFadyen as her romantic foil, Mr. Darcy. The beautiful cinematography puts you realistically into the mud, mist and windswept landscapes of the times. This is a true romance.
BBC has interviews with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, a review of the movie, and, if you look on the right side of the above pages, clips featuring director Joe Wright and writer Deborah Moggach.
If you can’t get enough of Jane Austen’s classic, you can also find the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth, or find the book, CD audiobook, or Playaway at the library.
Crossing Delancey (1988) PG
This delightful romantic comedy tells the story of Isabelle, an independent, successful, uptown New Yorker who works at a bookstore/literary hotspot. Her loving, meddling grandmother engages a matchmaker to find Izzy a husband. Pickle shop owner Sam comes to dinner. Amy Irving and Peter Riegert star, with slice-of-New York-life characters as costars.