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Two for the Road

Two for the Road (1967)
An architect and his wife motoring through France recall their years together, discovering the good and the bad. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney.

Watch a trailer for the film at IMDb.com.
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National Treasure

National Treasure (2004) PG
Share the adventures of a lifelong treasure hunter, his endearing assistant, and a tough archivist. Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) has been searching his whole life using the clues passed down through his family. When he finally breaks the first code, his partner Ian double-crosses him.

To preserve a precious piece of American history, Ben plots to steal the Declaration of Independence. Follow the clues as they take our heroes to historical landmarks with Ian and the FBI close behind.

The adventure continues in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.

Whip It

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.

Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity (1968)
Charity (Shirley MacLaine) is sweet and trusting and easily used by the worthless men she keeps falling in love with. When Charity meets a young insurance clerk who doesn’t know about her life as a dance hall hostess, Charity thinks, “this could be it!”

For another movie choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse, see All That Jazz.

Changeling

Changeling (2008) R
Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, this film is based on a true, horrifying situation that took place in 1928 Los Angeles. A mother (played by Jolie), discovers that her 8-year-old son is missing. The film depicts her unrelenting drive to find her son, while battling the corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department during that period.
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Bad Day at Black Rock

Bad Day at Black Rock (1954)
This is not a western. It is set in the West, but the time is shortly after World War II. Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed veteran with a final “mission” to perform. He gets off a train at Black Rock, a very small town with a terrible secret, and is confronted with a trio of bad men and one bad woman who are determined to keep their evil secret and willing to kill to do so.

Tracy’s character is emotionally worn out and feeling sorry for himself. He has to cope with an evil Robert Ryan, a sadistic Lee Marvin, a bullying Ernest Borgnine, a cunning Anne Francis, and a drunken and unsympathetic sheriff played by Dean Jagger. The only man willing to help is Walter Brennan, the local doctor, who is also threatened when he tries to help. The other townspeople are slightly sympathetic toward Tracy but are either too apathetic or too afraid to help. Also, Tracy is unarmed, whereas his opponents are not.

The film is mysterious, frightening at times, and thought-provoking. It was nominated for three Oscars, including Spencer Tracy for Best Actor. Although the film didn’t win any Academy Awards, it featured three past winners and two future winners.

I have seen this film many times and I strongly recommend it.

Bottle Shock

Bottle Shock (2008) PG-13
In the '70s, the world considered France to be the capital of the very best of wines. The elitist Frenchmen thought themselves to be the only people in the world that produced the liquid gold, but vineyards in California began to produce keen rivals.

A British sommelier (Alan Rickman) comes to California looking for the best wine to take back to Paris for a blind testing. Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) has mortgaged everything in order to produce his chardonnay. He doesn’t want to enter the competition but his son Bo (Chris Pine) knows it is their only chance.

The story is loosely based on the true event “Judgment of Paris.” For more on the actual "judgment," check out George Tabor's book titled Judgment of Paris, read the original 1976 Time Magazine article, and peruse the Business Week article marking the 25th anniversary of the event.

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The Girl in the Café

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.
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Vertigo

Vertigo (1958)
Movie buffs take note – Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo has recently been reformatted. This newer formatting is so artistic that it adds a new dimension to your experience. Not having seen the movie for many years, I was astounded at the fresh quality. James Stewart and Kim Novak (a Chicago gal) are mysteriously intriguing right to the last frame.

Go to TCM.com for more on the movie -- including a video clip, a trailer, and trivia.

I’ve Loved You So Long

I’ve Loved You So Long (2008) PG-13
This is a poignant tale about a woman, Juliette, (Kristin Scott Thomas) who is released from prison after fifteen years and goes to live with her younger sister, Léa, and her family.  In the beginning of the film, Juliette is guarded, stiff, and unemotional. People are uncomfortable around her when they learn about the crime she was convicted of.  Gradually the real Juliette emerges.

Thomas was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.  The English Patient was another excellent film she starred in.

In French with English subtitles or dubbed in English.

Last Chance Harvey

Last Chance Harvey (2008) PG-13
I just had to see this film starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson – two actors I have always respected and love to watch. Yes, the story is predictable, but their gifted acting makes this a genuine film with a lot of heart, not overly dramatic or sappy. The scenes of London provide a charming backdrop throughout the film. Overall, it’s a wonderful “mature” love story that you can just sit back and enjoy.

See what the reviewers said -- check out Roger Ebert and USA Today.

Outsourced

Outsourced (2006) PG-13
Funny, right on target, and certainly a "hidden gem"!  See India through the eyes of a middle management American fellow who's job and department has been outsourced to India and travels there to train his replacement. Culture shock is everywhere and his life is forever changed, but not in the ways he expected. A delightful, endearing comedy.  I liked it better than Slumdog Millionaire.
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The Visitor

The Visitor (2007) PG-13
Walter is a lonely college professor who goes to New York to present a paper at a conference. He plans to stay in his apartment that he hasn’t visited since his wife died. Walter finds a couple living there but befriends them and all three share the flat. Tarek is a Syrian citizen and drummer; his girlfriend is Esi from Senegal. Tarek bonds with Walter, teaching him how to play drums, how to unwind and find joy in everyday life.

Their relationship deepens and then Tarek is unjustly arrested. The police discover that he has no papers and send him to a detention center to be deported. Tarek’s mother comes to New York looking for him because she has not heard from him. She and Walter support each other in their determination to help Tarek. Learning that connection to another human is vital for an enriched life, Walter vows to save Tarek even though the odds of post 9/11 immigration laws say otherwise.

Visit Amazon.com to watch a trailer and interviews with the cast.
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Speed Racer

Speed Racer (2008) PG
Based on the animated TV series, Speed Racer may start out slow, but it soon becomes engrossing. Race car driver Speed Racer (Emilie Hirsch) loves driving – it’s in his blood (and it’s the family business). When he makes it to the big leagues, Speed learns about the dark side of the sport that took the life of his older brother.

Costarring Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Matthew Fox, Speed Racer is psychedelic fun for the whole family.

Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy

Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer TracyThe chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy delights viewers, old and new. Blue collar and blue blood ignite the screen still. These three movies stand alone and stand above the gold bar.

Adam’s Rib (1949) is courtroom comedy. It established their reputation as the wittiest, most brilliant couple on screen. It is even better in the light of some modern day duds.

Pat and Mike (1952) continues to illustrate this team in a totally different setting, on the links and off the links. They continue to complement each other like bread and butter.

Desk Set (1957) is the final movie. In their ongoing battle of the sexes, I’m happy to say, everybody wins.  I think these movies represent the best of the “oldies.”  Enjoy, my friends.