I recommend the movie All Good Things (2010, rated R), based on a true story from the early 80s about New York real estate heir David Marks (Ryan Gosling) and the disappearance of his wife Katie (Kirsten Dunst). Gosling does an amazing job with the transformation of his character in how he changes over the years of his marriage. He tries to outrun his past, but his family and wealth bring him back into the family business.
When I heard Finding Neverland (2004, rated PG) was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, I hoped it would win--but it did not. Nevertheless, it is a terrific movie. Johnny Depp who portrays James M. Barrie and Kate Winslet are equally great together. All of the fantasy is typical Johnny Depp and had me wondering if there was any truth to this story about how James Barrie created Peter Pan.
As the movie progresses, a more serious tone emerges with a climactic ending befitting Academy Award worthiness. Heaven is a real place don't you know, and I for one can only imagine just how beautiful it will be.
Watch Finding Neverland on Hoopla today or on DVD. While it didn't win Best Picture, the film did nab an Oscar for Best Original Score. Listen to it on Hoopla. For more of the true story behind the film, read this New York Times article.
This fantastic movie masterpiece has great comedy that will make you fall down laughing and heartfelt drama that will pull on your heartstrings. All those things are guaranteed since the mix of comedy and drama is portrayed by the wonderful actress, Sally Field, and the late great funnyman legend, Robin Williams. I highly recommend Mrs. Doubtfire (1993, rated PG-13) for teens and adults of all ages if you want a good laugh or a good tug on the heartstrings.
I enjoyed watching The Rainmaker (1997, rated PG-13). John Grisham is definitely one of the better writers when it comes to courtroom drama or lawyer/drama kind of story, and this is an adaptation of his 1995 novel of the same name. Matt Damon and Danny DeVito work well together, and there is plenty of drama and suspense because of Rudy's (Damon) clients. The ending is somewhat bittersweet, but it's all part of why this is an excellent movie.
This series was so well done. Set in the future, Westworld (2016-) explores a theme park inhabited by artificial hosts and the wealthy humans who vacation there. Visitors are allowed to live out their fantasies, whether good or evil. The park indulges every wish, all with no consequences, with the motto being "Live without Limits." That is, of course, until the hosts start to deviate from their expected parameters.
In my opinion, Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton steal the show from an all-star cast, including Anthony Hopkins. These two powerful actresses show such a deep scope of emotions as they slowly come to the realization of what they were created for.
Start this film only if you're interested in the kind of drama that grabs your attention and refuses to let go for its entirety. (My only problem is the same one I have with all terrific movies that are rated R: in my opinion, these films would still be just as terrific if they were made PG).
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin are at the top of their game in this intense story between good and evil (including the evil of greed and lust for money) with an ending not always what you're expecting.
I recommend watching No Country for Old Men (1997) for great acting and the suspense we all want to see on a Saturday night. Check it out on Hoopla today. The movie is based on the book, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.
Life is Beautiful (1997, rated PG-13) is just that, a beautiful movie about a father who will do anything in his power to keep the horrors of WWII away from his son. I love how Roberto Benigni invents the whole game scenario for his boy and humorously wings it with every turn for the worse in their prison camp.
The ending is nothing short of brilliant, loving, and courageous. For those movie fans who shy away from foreign films because of the subtitles, I encourage you to watch this wonderful movie that proves how love will always be victorious in the end.
Watch three-time Oscar winner (actor, foreign film, original score) Life is Beautiful on Hoopla today. In Italian with English subtitles. Roberto Benigni wrote, directed, and acted in this excellent movie.
Mike and Lee are having friends over for dinner tonight. It's also the night Miller's comet will pass near the Earth. Smartphones crack, the Internet goes out, and then all power is lost. Mike has a generator which restores the lights. The landscape outside is dark except for one house in the distance with the lights on. Despite having been warned by a physicist friend to stay inside during the comet event, two of the party take glow sticks and attempt to visit the other house.
Then it really starts getting weird. This is one of those movies you have to watch over again to notice the clues you missed the first time. Don't look for car chases, fiery explosions, or gunfights. Coherence (2013) is more of a thought-provoking suspense puzzle.
This Japanese anime movie is centered on the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who is being interviewed about her career. Chiyoko recounts the story of a man she tried to find throughout her life without knowing his name or face. The story flows from the past and present when Chiyoko is telling the story, and it transitions beautifully from one scene to the next.
Watch Millennium Actress on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.
In this psychological thriller, Ryan Reynolds plays Matthew Lane, a father whose 10-year-old daughter is taken from his truck. After the police have been searching for her for eight long years, they finally get a lead that she is still alive. Matthew never gives up hope and helps bring down the ring responsible for her disappearance. I really liked The Captive (2014, rated R).
Watch it on Hoopla today.
I enjoy watching the TV series, 800 Words, which has both comedy and drama. The recently widowed George tries raising his two teenagers while starting over in New Zealand. There is plenty for family audiences to enjoy as George often begins an episode posing a dilemma, but by the end of the show discovers something about himself and being a father. It is also filled with plenty of sunshine and beach scenery because they live in a beautiful seaside town and George likes surfing, or at least he tries. Also, there are several beautiful single women vying for Georges attention. What's not to like?
Binge watch 800 Words (2015-2018) on Hoopla. The complete series (3 seasons) is available.
In this dramatic film, Diogo Morgado does an excellent job representing Jesus in a way that would appeal to viewers, young and old.He is calm and likable as Jesus. The director does a good job hitting the highlights of who Jesus is: the major events, the politics of the period, and the division Jesus had with the religious leaders of his time are clear from the beginning of Son of God (2014, rated PG-13).
What sets Son of God apart from other biblical movies is its portrayal of the women in Jesus' life and mission. Principal characters in the film include his mother, Mary the devoted follower, and the wife of Pilot. When Jesus' own disciples ran away from their Lord, the women always held their ground, remaining faithful to Him to the very end and beyond. Overlooked for centuries, I applaud the makers of this film for getting that message out there.
Watch Son of God on Hoopla today.
In the Aisles (2018) tells the story of Christian, a new worker at a big box store in former East Germany. Taken under the wing by his coworker Bruno, Christian becomes enamored of a fellow employee, Marion. Check out this quiet leisurely-paced film full of charm and complex emotion.
In German with English subtitles.
In 1977, Robyn Davidson trekked across Australia, over 1700 miles, with camels that she had trained for the journey. Tracks (2013, PG-13), starring Mia Wasikowska as Robyn and Adam Driver as National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, recounts Davidson's trip from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, with beautiful scenery and a sense of how isolating the Australian outback can be. A real treat for those who love movies about independent women or travel.
After breaking up with her boyfriend, Dr. Ruby Walker (Amrita Asharia) decides to connect with her roots and accepts a job in India. What she expected to be a thriving urban clinic turns out to be a rural hospital, chaotic, overflowing with patients, and short on both staff and supplies. Good Karma Hospital is run by brusque Dr. Lydia Fonseca (Amanda Redman, who starred in New Tricks). Ruby constantly clashes with the arrogant, handsome Dr. Gabriel Varna (James Krishna Floyd). Her skills are tested by having to diagnose and treat all sorts of illnesses and injuries.
The Good Karma Hospital (2017) is entertaining, filled with colorful characters, picturesque views, and a soundtrack full of Bollywood music. Check out the soundtrack on Hoopla. This TV show will appeal to fans of the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.