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Warm Springs

Warm Springs (2005) PG
This HBO original movie follows the development of a self-pitying Franklin Roosevelt, recent polio victim, to a man ready to enter back into politics, making a speech at the 1928 Democratic convention. Helping him to make the transition are the many ordinary people, also polio victims, who make their way to Georgia with hopes of healing. With Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon.

The American President

The American President (1995) PG-13
An all-star cast delivers in this fantastic movie about a widowed president. Andrew Shepherd has been a popular figure throughout his first term in office. As reelection time nears, the incumbent seems to have a smooth path to a second term…until he starts dating.

Lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade enters the White House, shoots her mouth off, and embarrasses herself in front of the president. Instead of being offended, he’s amused. As the two begin dating, the campaign begins to unravel. Suddenly, the president’s popularity is falling, he’s fighting with his staff, and his new romance is on the rocks.

This feel-good movie about falling in love and standing up for what you believe in is one you can watch over and over again.

Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner. Starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, David Paymer, and Richard Dreyfuss.

I’m Not There

I’m Not There (2008) R
Six different actors portray various aspects of Bob Dylan’s life (chronologically). At times the movie seems to drag, but what makes this movie is Cate Blanchett’s performance as Bob Dylan. It’s definitely a must see. She was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress and didn’t win, though she deserved the honor (but she did win the Golden Globe).

The six actors as Dylan: Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere.
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The Thin Man Goes Home

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)
In the 1930s and 40s, William Powell and Myrna Loy made a series of six mysteries in which they starred as Private Eye Nick Charles and his wife Nora. In The Thin Man Goes Home, fifth in the series, Nick and Nora and their dog Asta take a train loaded with wartime travelers to Nick’s hometown. Once there, Nora is determined to show Nick’s father that Nick’s a success, even if she has to make up a crime for him to solve. Lots of site gags and slapstick, including Nora trying to put up a folding deck chair (an exercise I find equally perplexing) and Nora starting a riot in the local pool hall. The movie is full, too, of great 1940s suits and dresses.

The Green Mile

The Green Mile (1999) R
Based upon a Stephen King book, this movie tells the story of Louisiana prisoner, seven foot John Coffey. Coffey’s mystical powers, his wrongful execution, and the ensuing strange happenings create a movie that’s spellbinding from beginning to end. Nominated for four Oscars.
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Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke (1985) PG-13
Visually a work of art, this film is based on a 13th century European legend about a beautiful maiden (Michelle Pfeiffer), a stalwart knight (Rutger Hauer) and a pickpocket (Matthew Broderick). The knight and the lady were once lovers, but a curse by the jealous Bishop of Aquila has left them "always together, eternally apart." By day, she is a hawk; by night he is a wolf.  
          
This one has a great storyline and interesting characters. Philipe's (Broderick) conversations with God add a wonderful dimension to the film as does Leo McKern as the old monk. Check out the original trailer.

Music and Lyrics

Music and Lyrics (2007) PG-13
An unlikely duo team up to write a song for the latest pop sensation. Alex Fletcher is a washed up ’80s pop star. Sophie Fischer is a struggling writer trying to find herself after she’s used and exploited by a former professor/flame. What begins as a purely business arrangement turns in to something more powerful. It may be hard to imagine Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore as a romantic pair, but they pull it off. And how could you resist a movie that features Grant singing and dancing?

Also starring Brad Garrett and Kristen Johnson. Check out About.com for interviews with Grant, Barrymore and Garrett, as well as video interviews and pictures from the premiere.

The Trouble with Harry

The Trouble with Harry (1955)
When young mother Shirley MacLaine's troublesome husband Harry shows up in the small New England town where she is living, trouble isn't the word for it. Harry was a bad husband and an even worse corpse. When he is found dead (of natural causes, it turns out), everyone thinks that he (or she) somehow accidentally murdered him—and tries to dispose of the body. The absolutely gorgeous autumn scenery is nearly another character.

Directed--with much humor--by Alfred Hitchcock and also starring John Forsythe and Jerry Mathers (of Leave it to Beaver). See it at the library on October 3 at 7:00.

Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers (2007) PG-13
Based on a true story about first year teacher Erin Gruwell (played by Hilary Swank). This is a powerful story that pulls at your heart as you watch naïve but stubborn Erin try to survive and reach her students in a racially violent school after the Rodney King episode in Southern California. With little support, except from her ambivalent father, she takes on the establishment and changes the lives of her students forever. As always, Hilary Swank’s performance is top notch and makes the movie spectacular. Danny DeVito produced this movie...who would have thunk!

Read the basis for the movie -- the real The Freedom Writers Diary, written by Erin Gruwell and her 150 students. Also check out Gruwell's 2007 memoir, Teach with Your Heart. And for more on the Freedom Writers and their mission, visit their website -- Freedom Writers Foundation.
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Spotlight: Christina Ricci

Spotlight: Christina RicciAt 28 years old, Christina Ricci has starred in over 40 movies. Watch her grow up from child star to serious actress in her twelve movies available at the library. Her lighter roles include The Addams Family (1991), Addams Family Values (1993), Casper (1995), Now and Then (1996), Anything Else (2003) and Penelope (2008). Ricci had heavier roles in The Ice Storm (1997) – her breakout adult role, The Opposite of Sex (1998), Sleepy Hollow (1999), The Man Who Cried (2000), Monster (2003), and Black Snake Moan (2006). She came full circle with Speed Racer (2008) – a family film out today on DVD.

Two Family House

Two Family House (1999) R
Buddy Visalo gets out of the army in 1945 and has only one dream--to be his own boss. But his wife and neighbors in his Italian neighborhood think Buddy should keep things the way they are. Then Buddy buys a two family house with the plan of turning the downstairs into a neighborhood bar and living upstairs. Buddy is a wonderful, big-hearted man with whom it's a pleasure to spend time.

Mostly Martha = Bella Martha

Mostly Martha = Bella Martha (2001) PG
Martha is the chef who obsesses over each dish before it leaves the kitchen. When her sister suddenly dies, Martha adopts Lina, her eight-year-old niece and gets unexpected help from Mario, Martha's hunky new sous chef who is as carefree as Martha is cautious! Loved the musical score.

This film was re-made in the US with the title No Reservations (2007), starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson and Jenny Wade.

In German with English subtitles.

Waitress

Waitress (2007) PG-13
Jenna is a whiz at making pies, which is her ticket to starting a new life. She’s counting on the $25,000 prize from a baking contest to help her escape her dead-end job and loveless marriage. Then Jenna turns up pregnant…and life takes an unexpected journey.

In this dark comedy, Keri Russell gives a fantastic performance as the sad, sarcastic and unhappily pregnant Jenna. And as one reviewer says, "It will make you laugh, it might even make you cry, but it definitely will make you hungry.”

Real Women Have Curves

Real Women Have Curves (2002) PG-13
Based on the play “Real Women Have Curves” by Josefina Lopez, this film stars America Ferrera (Ugly Betty fame), Lupe Ontiveros, Ingrid Oliu and in a small role, George Lopez.

The story centers around Ana Garcia, who has graduated from high school and has applied for a scholarship to go to college. Her mother Carmen strictly opposes this. She doesn’t want the family broken up and wants to see Ana help her other daughter Estela in her clothing factory. Teenage rebellion versus familial expectations with a dash of generational culture clash all rolled into one movie!

Carmen also berates her daughters on being overweight. She loves Ana and wants her to find a husband. Ana sees this as backward and old fashioned. She loves her family but wants something better out of life.

The acting is fiery and passionate. The characters are fully developed. The film has won the Dramatic Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and Special Jury prizes for Ferrera and Ontiveros.

Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane (2007) PG
Anne Hathaway stars in this beautifully filmed movie about Jane Austen. This love story about young Jane and her intense attraction to a young, cocky and arrogant Irish fellow plays out like the very best Jane Austen novel. The movie starts slowly and then the chemistry between the two draws the viewer in as it builds to an emotional ending. This was a very good movie and as a tagline for the movie says, “Jane Austen’s greatest love story was her own.”

Also starring James McAvoy, Julie Walters, and Maggie Smith.