Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) finds growing up in today's modern world challenging, especially in the shadow of her next-to-perfect older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). This coming of age tale in the vein of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles is candid and honest with humorous moments of what it's like to be a teenager who just wants to have a real conversation with another human being in person and not through social media and their phone. Her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) is busy with her own problems and oblivious to her daughter's obvious struggles with school, friends, and social life. To make matters worse, her brother and her best friend find a romantic connection—which sends Nadine over the edge. Her one and only confidant, her history teacher (Woody Harrelson), seems to be the only constant in her life who actually pays her any real attention until one day the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope. If you enjoyed Juno, watch The Edge of Seventeen.
I hadn’t seen Edward Scissorhands in about 20 years, but after seeing the previews for Dark Shadows, I decided to revisit the first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. And I’m glad I did. Edward Scissorhands is a good movie and a classic filled with funny moments. Costarring Winona Ryder. For more on Tim Burton, check Sally's spotlight of the director.
Yes Man (2008) PG-13 My brother kept recommending this movie, and I finally watched it. Yes Man is a humorous movie about a man in a rut. He attends a “yes seminar” and it opens up new possibilities and opportunities for him. Yes Man is a good light comedic movie with laugh out loud moments. If you like Jim Carrey, you’ll like the movie. Zooey Deschanel costars; her character is cool and funny. The actress-singer performs a lot of songs in the soundtrack. Her fictional band was in the movie (featuring real group Von Iva), which was also quite humorous.
Spartacus, Blood and Sand. The Complete First Season (2010) TV-MA Watch the house of Batiatus rise with aid from their gladiator Spartacus. If you like movie 300 with its realistic battle scenes, you’ll love Spartucus. Be warned – there’s lots of blood; it’s not for the faint of heart. Also, it’s a show on the Starz network – so expect graphic content. What got me through the winter doldrums might get you through the summer heat wave. It has something for everyone – really hardcore battles, some drama, and a bit of humor. Plus, the Romans know how to party. Due to a serious illness, the second season is a prequel without Spartacus himself (Andy Whitfield). Spartacus, Gods of the Arena will be released on DVD in September. Place your hold now!
The Runaways (2010) R In the 1970s, a groundbreaking all-girl band evolved into hugely successful rock ‘n rollers. Kristin Stewart (in a departure from Twilight) and Dakota Fanning (in a good transition from child actress to adult role) star as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Both turn out great performances (and they did their own singing). This biopic features funny parts, great rock and roll music, and the classic “Cherry Bomb.” The film is based on the book Neon Angel by Cherie Currie.
Whip It (2009) PG-13 Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is a movie with an ‘80s-style feel (maybe it’s because of the roller skates and the fashion style of the coach). Bliss Cavendar (Juno star Ellen Page) doesn’t quite fit in with the debutante set in Bodeen, Texas. When she discovers roller derby, she finds something that’s her own (and against her parents’ wishes). The ladies might be rough-looking and it isn’t quite “normal,” but she had a passion for skating. Bliss (aka Babe Ruthless) has teammates like Smashley Simpson (Barrymore) and Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig). Her rival is Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis). Also co-starring Jimmy Fallon (as announcer ‘Hot Tub’ Johnny Rocket), Marcia Gay Harden, and Daniel Stern. Based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross.
Revolutionary Road (2008) R Revolutionary Road may feature the stars of Titanic – Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – but there’s no Titanic love story here. It’s the end of the line for a marriage. Frank and April Wheeler had hopes and dreams when they first got married but all they ended up with was disillusionment. A good performance by the actors, but not a movie for those looking for an uplifting story. Based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates.
Saving Grace. Season 1 (2007) In this TNT television show, Holly Hunter stars as an Oklahoma City detective. She is a very strong female character. It’s good to see her skills at work – and how her personal and professional lives overlap. She has a “last chance angel” that’s trying to help her get a second chance. An intriguing and good drama.
Ray (2004) PG-13 Featuring an Academy Award winning performance by Jamie Foxx, Ray details the life of Ray Charles from childhood to adulthood. It tracks his success and his journey to becoming one of the greatest musical performers of all time. It’s amazing to see what someone who is blind can achieve. Learn more about Ray Charles at the library. Visit NPR’s site to listen to a review and to watch clips from the movie.
The Wrestler (2008) R See Mickey Rourke’s Oscar nominated performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson. He does a great job in his portrayal of Ram. The movie shows what goes on behind the scenes in the world of wrestling. Marisa Tomei (also Oscar nominated for her supporting role) plays a stripper mom with a heart. Good performances; good movie. Also check out the reviews from Roger Ebert and The New York Times.