Advise & Consent (1962)

814cscducnl-_ri_sx300_Otto Preminger directs a political story of devious and ruthless government officials trying to make backroom deals.  The president (Franchot Tone) wants to appoint a controversial man (Henry Fonda) to be Secretary of State.  The action takes place among the Senate subcommittee and the bickering leads to devious games and ruined careers.  Advise & Consent was considered to be very daring and shocking when released.  It still holds up.

Charles Laughton, Peter Lawford, Walter Pidgeon, and Gene Tierney play key roles.

 

Ex Libris (2017)

pic3578008Do you love the library? Have you ever thought about being a librarian?  Ex Libris is a board game that allows you to collect rare (and hilariously titled) books to create a library that may even land you the position of Grand Librarian.  But beware – there are pitfalls for all aspiring librarians.  You will have to make sure your collection is in alphabetical order, that your shelves won’t tip over, and watch out for books that are banned by the city council.

Each turn, you will have the opportunity to acquire books for your hand or place books from your hand onto your shelves.  The game ends when one player has a full shelf of books.  The game takes about an hour to play and is suitable for ages 12 and up.  If you like Ticket to Ride or Splendor, Ex Libris would be a great next game for you.

RBG (2018) PG

81njbw6zvql-_sy445_It’s no surprise to people who know me well that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of my personal heroes (and in the immortal words of The Notorious B.I.G. via Lin-Manuel Miranda — “and if ya don’t know, now ya know“).  When I found out that there was a documentary coming out on her life, I knew I would be seeing that in the theaters—but now RBG is out on DVD for everyone to enjoy!  The documentary includes interviews with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her family members, political figures, authors of the book The Notorious RBG, and many more.  It covers her life from childhood to current service and includes footage from her confirmation hearing, as well as audio files from court cases.  What struck me as the best part of the film though were the moments that we, the public, don’t always get to see — Ruth Bader Ginsburg interacting with her granddaughter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg watching Kate McKinnon play her on Saturday Night Live, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life with her beloved husband. I also have to admit that I was delighted to see information on her pop culture influence, including one of the best baby costumes ever: Baby RBG.

I think this is an important documentary for anyone with a political interest to see.  U. S. Supreme Court Justice Bader Ginsburg’s friendship with Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, despite their political oppositions, is something we can all learn from.

Tag (2018) R

91dceafsxzl-_sx342_If you want an action movie with low stakes, look no further than TagBased on a true story, five friends have been playing the same game of tag since childhood.  Now in their mid-30s, these men dedicate a month each year to continuing the game, pulling all kinds of tricks in order to tag someone.  A reporter from The Wall Street Journal is doing a piece on Bob (Jon Hamm) when he’s tagged and decides the game is the more interesting story.

One friend, Jerry (Jeremy Renner), has never once been it, so the other four are determined to make this the year it finally happens.  Full of ridiculous action scenes that beautifully spoof Renner’s other movies, this is a fun film with lots of recognizable comedy faces, including Ed Helm, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, Rashida Jones, and Isla Fisher.

 

Big Hero 6 (2014) PG

844856_1_ftcBig Hero 6 is a superhero movie that adults would enjoy watching with the whole family.  The plot revolves around orphans Hiro and Tadashi, technological whiz kids living with their aunt.  College-age Tadashi created an inflatable robot named Baymax, whose purpose is to act as a portable paramedic/doctor. When someone steals younger brother Hiro’s invention to use for evil, Hiro gives Baymax a few superhero upgrades.  Also, check out our list, Great Movies: Kid Movies for Adults.

 

 

Broadchurch. The Complete Series (2013-2017) TV-MA

mv5bmwrmyjvjm2ytndawmi00zgzmltgzmjqtyjy4mtnjmtljnjhjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjexmjk0odk-_v1_uy268_cr40182268_al_In this British mystery, a young boy is killed.  Set in a small town on a remote island, everyone knows everyone.  Each life in this town of Broadchurch is connected, which is why it is such a mystery. The killer is someone you would never expect.  There are two detectives on the case, DC Ellie Miller and her boss, Alec Hardy.  Both are excessively driven.  Alec Hardy is an outsider, who applied for the Head job and got it.  Ellie wanted that job, was promised that job but didn’t get it.  And she’s angry and bitter about it.  It makes the relationship between Hardy and Ellie very stressful at times.

Broadchurch is a fast-paced, in your face, TV series with twists and turns.  The Latimers are the family whose son has been killed.  They are a family in crisis.  Heck, the entire town is in crisis. And the writers have cleverly intertwined three stories in one, which are related to each other. Watching this series will keep you up at night trying to identify the murderer.  Check out our list of British Detective Series…Now.

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) PG-13

51bscqabq0l-_sy445_The ultimate Christmas movie, Tokyo Godfathersfollows homeless denizens of Tokyo, Gin, Hana, and Miyuki.  They find a lost baby girl one fateful Christmas Eve, which launches a chain of hi jinks and frustration in order to find her lost mother.  Through it all, the trio teaches the audience about creating a family where you can find it and that the hope of a second chance can be just around the corner.  You will laugh, you will definitely cry, and you’ll find yourself hitting that play button every Christmas season to come.

 

Moana (2016) PG

moana_dvd_coverMoana is a spectacular adventure movie.  Charged with returning the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, Moana leaves her island nation and sails away on her mission.  I absolutely love the animation of this movie.  The ocean is a character in and of itself because of the creative team’s work.  Some of my favorite moments though are those of Moana’s introspection and self-realization.  Moana is a very different Disney “princess.”  First of all, she rejects the word princess, and she has her own agenda, making the decision to follow her draw to the ocean. Also, she alone solves the mystery of Te Ka in order to save Te Fiti.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful music that sets Moana soaring.  While I love Auliʻi Cravalho‘s voice (the voice of Moana) and “How Far I’ll Go,” my favorite songs are the ones that are sung in Tokelauan.  Lastly, I would encourage you to seek out reviews from Pacific Islander reviewers to speak to the culture represented in the movie.  This Buzzfeed article is a great round-up of dialogue, and so is this review from Strange Horizons.

All in all, I think Moana is a genuine, worthwhile story and a great Disney film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

East of Eden (1955) PG

71oqq2gqajl-_sy445_Elia Kazan directs the movie adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel.  In East of Eden, James Dean plays Cal, a Salinas Valley man trying to win his father’s affection.  His father (Raymond Massey) has no use for Cal as he prefers his brother.  To make matters worse, both brothers love the same woman (Julie Harris).

While this is not a faithful adaptation of Steinbeck’s novel, James Dean’s breakthrough role make this film worth watching.  His performance is mesmerizing.  Jo Van Fleet won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Cal’s mysterious mother.

The Matrix (1999) R

51vpnbwfhrl-_sy445_Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a computer hacker with a somewhat ordinary life…but all is not as it seems.  When government agents suddenly show up at his work looking for him, Neo is forced to enlist the aid of a mysterious man named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who promises to reveal the true nature of reality—the Matrix.  Should Neo join Morpheus’s secret group?  The Matrix is full of amazing visual effects with a mind-blowing plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat right ‘til the end.