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The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) R
The Shawshank Redemption is a movie about hope. Adapted from a short story by Stephen King, it follows the life of banker Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Prison life is initially quite harsh for Andy, and he has little motivation to keep on living. Andy perseveres in large part because his friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman) allows him to bring some normalcy to his life behind bars. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Morgan Freeman).
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The More the Merrier

The More the Merrier (1943)
This romantic comedy gets its humor from the real-life situation of the extreme housing shortage that occurred in Washington, D.C. during WWII. Office worker Connie Milligan has a sunny two bedroom apartment she decides for patriotic reasons to rent to a roommate. Funny, eccentric retired millionaire Benjamin Dingle, much to Connie's chagrin insists on renting the room. Mr. Dingle decides that what Connie needs is a nice handsome man, so he rents out half of his room to dreamy sergeant Joe Carter--then does all he can to push Connie and Joe together. This classic stars veteran character actor Charles Coburn and two great but overlooked stars of the '30s and '40s, Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea.

Stranger than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction (2006) PG-13
Will Ferrell is an IRS auditor who basically has no life until he suddenly hears a voice narrating his life. The voice is that of a writer who has made Harold the main character in her novel. As Harold hears his life unfold, he realizes that the author’s intent is to kill off her main character – him! This compels him to change his limited, structured life and even find romance. This is a really funny, charming movie. Will Ferrell plays a character that seems completely alien to most of his other roles. But he is wonderful! As the movie goes on, you really do start to wonder, “What will happen to Harold?”

See what Roger Ebert says about this film.

Also starring Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah.

Malice

Malice (1993) R

If you like a good mystery with a lot of twists and turns, this is one for you! Bill Pullman, Alec Baldwin, and Nicole Kidman are a great cast. Very enjoyable!

Watch the trailer at IMDB.com.

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The Secret of Roan Inish

The Secret of Roan Inish (1995) PG

The Secret of Roan Inish is an American independent film written and directed by John Sayles; Sayles is a wonderful storyteller. This is a good “family” movie.

It is magical story, beautifully filmed, of the legend of a small Irish fishing village in the 1940s and its neighboring island, Roan Inish. The island is a deserted place inhabited only by seals. The legend is of "Selkies," in Irish mythology. Selkies are half-human/half-seal creatures.

The central character is a 10-year-old girl named Fiona who is sent to live with her grandparents. She learns the truth of her parents and Roan Inish. She discovers she has baby brother named Jamie who apparently was pulled out to sea in his cradle by Selkies and is determined to bring him home.

Check out what Roger Ebert has to say about the film that was part of his 7th film festival in 2005.

The Ultimate Gift

The Ultimate Gift (2006) PG
Based on the bestselling novel by Jim Stovall, the movie tells the story of Jason, who was expecting to inherit millions from his grandfather Red (James Garner) when the old man dies. But as fate would have it, Jason must complete 12 assignments within a year to receive his share of his grandfather’s will. What can be best described as a “crash course in life” leads Jason to a better understanding of what it is to be a man.
--Gail

A spoiled grandson inherits a large sum of money from a cold, billionaire grandfather that he hated. Before he can get the money there’s a catch. The grandson must accomplish 12 tasks that will eventually teach him life lessons and the relationship between wealth and happiness. This movie stars Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine.
--Sandy
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The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride (1987) PG
The Princess Bride has action, comedy and romance all wrapped up in the ultimate adventure fairy tale. Adults and children will enjoy this classic film that features sword fighting, revenge, an evil prince, a giant, mythical beasts, and, of course, true love. Actors include Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant.

Lubitsch Musicals

Lubitsch Musicals (2008)

For anyone with an interest in classic movies, this collection of four very early Ernst Lubitsch musicals is for you. The movies – Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), and One Hour With You (1932) – star Maurice Chavlalier, Jeanette MacDonald, a very young Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, and Charles Ruggles. These “pre-code” movies will surprise you with their wink wink nod nod innuendo and slinky negligees. Although not to everyone’s tastes, there are many delightful moments in these charming treasures.

Get information about each of the movies, as well as links to reviews in national newspapers and magazines, at the Criterion Collection site. You can also listen to an NPR review of the collection.

The Human Stain

The Human Stain (2003) R

This well done production based on the novel by Philip Roth has a great cast. The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, Wentworth Miller, Jacinda Barrett, Harry Lennix, and Clark Gregg.

Coleman Silk is a respected professor at a New England college who throughout his life has been a master of deception and self-reinvention. Suddenly he finds his life unraveling after he innocuously calls some of his absent students "spooks" and it is misinterpreted as a racial slur. He finds a confidant in the form of a writer, Nathan Zuckerman, who is researching a biography of Silk. Eventually, matters are made worse when Coleman's affair with a young married janitor named Faunia Farley is exposed. But amid the controversy, Silk must struggle to keep his greatest secret, a secret he's held for the majority of his life, from becoming made public.

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The Interpreter

The Interpreter (2005) PG-13

Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, this movie of political intrigue is set at the U.N. and is a thriller. The acting is superb and this “whodunit” has many twists and turns.

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Thank You for Smoking

Thank You for Smoking (2005) R
Thank You for Smoking is the funniest movie I have seen in over a decade and, interestingly, does not have a single scene of anyone smoking. The story follows Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), big tobacco’s lobbyist, who argues in favor of smoking in some of the most difficult and ridiculous situations, while at the same time trying to act as a responsible role model for his twelve-year-old son. Though not a smoker myself, I could not help rooting for Nick and laughing out loud as he tries to support the tobacco industry during its final days of popularity. It includes a hilarious cameo by Rob Lowe, as well as appearances by Robert Duvall, Sam Elliott, William H. Macy, J.K. Simmons and Katie Holmes.
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The African Queen

The African Queen (1951)

This classic movie stands the test of time. It has humor, adventure, romance and two American icons of acting. Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart are good alone, but as a team they brilliantly enhance each other. Even if you have seen it before, it’s a reliable night of fun watching and GOOD FOR ALL AGES.

Based on the 1935 novel by C. S. Forester.

Best Man in Grass Creek

Best Man in Grass Creek (2001) PG
Adam Lewis was left standing at the altar three years ago, and ever since he has found it impossible to sit through a wedding without getting a panic attack. Now he finds himself best man to a business associate he barely knows at a wedding held in Grass Creek, Indiana, where the main street is a half block of closed stores and the rehearsal dinner is held at the House of Gravy. Can Adam survive the eccentric locals and make it through the wedding?