July 25, 2009

My Month in Movies- June/July

My Month in Movies is a monthly feature I do to share one of my other loves. This month I watched a couple of DVDs, some movies on television, and one in the theater, Public Enemies. Descriptions of the movies came from Netflix (I heart Netflix) and my star ratings follow.

Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller) and Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman) have private investigation covered from A to Z, even with their newest case -- finding a shady tycoon's missing keys. For this duo, crime-solving is easy ... but when love zeroes in on Zero, the world's best detective suddenly hasn't got a clue! With sly humor and a sleuth's eye for detail, writer-director Jake Kasdan makes his feature-film debut. Ryan O'Neal and Kim Dickens co-star. ****

After losing his hearing as a soldier during the Vietnam War, Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) returns to America, where he falls in with an unlikely circle of friends and finds a new calling as a spokesman for the disabled. His activist efforts eventually lead to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This inspiring and entertaining true story won the Audience Award at the 2007 AFI Dallas International Film Festival. ****

ANACONDA (1997) (re-watch)
When deranged snake hunter Paul Sarone (Jon Voight) tricks a filmmaking crew (Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Eric Stoltz) into taking him on their boat so he can hunt a giant anaconda, the group soon finds itself up the Amazon River without a paddle as they become prey for the reptile. With their captain incapacitated, the crew must battle not only the fearsome snake but the equally slimy, ruthless Sarone. Great cinematography marks this thriller. ***

Benny (Aidan Quinn) is the overprotective caretaker of his mentally ill -- but artistically talented -- sister, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson). When the eccentric Sam (Johnny Depp), who looks and acts like a silent-movie comedian, falls for Joon, the siblings' frail bond is put to the test. Depp's performance in this offbeat, beautifully acted love story scored a Golden Globe nomination. Julianne Moore and Oliver Platt co-star. ****

THE NOTEBOOK (2004) (re-watch)
Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, this drama chronicles an enduring love that withstands both war and disease. It begins in a nursing home, where a man (James Garner) arrives every day armed with a notebook from which he reads stories about a couple, Noah and Allie (played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams), to an unresponsive woman (Gena Rowlands). Who are the characters in the book, and why does the stranger insist on reading about them aloud? ****1/2

PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005) (re-watch)
In this retelling of Jane Austen's novel set in 19th-century England, Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is all atwitter in hopes of marrying her daughters to prosperous gentlemen callers, especially when a wealthy bachelor moves nearby. Headstrong daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) meets her match in Mr. Darcy, but misinterprets Darcy's honorable intentions and jeopardizes her chance at love. Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench and Jena Malone co-star. *****

OLD SCHOOL (2003) (re-watch)
Three guys in their early thirties -- Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) -- try to relive their old college glory days by moving into a large house near their old campus. There, they form an "unofficial fraternity" where current students can party hardy -- without the responsibility that comes with having to abide by the university's fraternity rules! ****1/2

When Quinn (Harrison Ford), a grouchy pilot living the good life in the South Pacific, agrees to transfer a savvy fashion editor, Robin (Anne Heche), to Tahiti, he ends up on a deserted island with her after their plane crashes. At first, the pair avoid each other, until they are forced to team up to escape from the island -- and some pirates who want their heads. ***1/2

DOGMA (1999) (re-watch)
Who would have guessed that the latest battle in the eternal war between good and evil would take place in suburban New Jersey? In director Kevin Smith's 1999 comic fantasia Dogma, angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck), gnarly demons, a half-baked apostle (Chris Rock) and clueless prophets walk among America's cynics and innocents, duking it out for humankind's fate. ****

This epic saga of love, greed and betrayal -- which won four Oscars -- stars Elizabeth Taylor as the passionate and ambitious Egyptian queen. Determined to hold on to the throne, she seduces the Roman emperor Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison). When Caesar is murdered, however, she redirects her attentions to his general, Marc Antony (Richard Burton), who vows to take power. But Caesar's successor (Roddy McDowall) has other plans.***

Meet Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), a Salt Lake City business owner struggling to balance the usual demands of work and family life. But with three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin), seven kids and three new houses, Bill's burdened with a juggling act that requires more finesse than most. Can our polygamous hero survive his addiction to love? Find out in Season 1 of this decidedly offbeat HBO series. **

In the shadow of the Great Depression, criminal minds are thriving -- notorious men like John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), "Baby Face" Nelson (Stephen Graham) and "Pretty Boy" Floyd (Channing Tatum) -- and it's up to J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and the FBI to bring them down. Michael Mann directs this gritty crime drama based on the book by Bryan Burrough. Christian Bale, Giovanni Ribisi and Leelee Sobieski co-star. ****


  1. I LOVE Dogma. It's the first place I ever saw Alan Rickman, and MAN he's hot!

  2. I adore Benny and Joon - re-watched it myself a couple of months ago. Great for cooking tips ;-)

  3. My husband and I used to watch Zero Effect quite a bit. Bill Pullman cracks me up. I haven't seen it in a while but now I'm in the mood!

  4. Amanda- I have no idea why you think Alan Rickman is hot, but like I said, we will never fight over men! ;)

    SuziQOregon- I just adore Aidan Quinn. And then Depp. Two hot guys. And a great story. Awesome.

    Kristen M.- I was surprised how hilarious he was in that role. He played it very well.

  5. I loved Music Within - wish it had gotten more press!

  6. Oooh, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Public Enemies. I really want to see this before it leaves theaters, but I got distracted by Harry Potter #6. :) Also, yay for Cleopatra and Pride and Prejudice!!

  7. I really enjoyed Public Enemies, too, but how could it go wrong with Johnny Depp in it?

  8. I started to watch Big Love earlier this month, but I only watched 2 episodes and then decided I had seen enough. I was entertained, but I didn't think I could watch a whole season of it.

  9. Carrie- Me too! It was a wonderful film.

    Ruth- Public Enemies is good. P&P is one of my faves.

    Bermudaonion- So true, Kathy, so true.

    Charley- Actually I only watched 2 episodes and had seen enough, too. I meant to put Season 1, Disc 1, but forgot the second part.

  10. You have great tastes in movies. I've seen most of these and liked them, too. I really, really liked Six Days and Seven Nights. I was surprised that it wasn't bigger when it was in the theater; I thought it was really cute.

    I've been really curious about Public Enemies. I've seen that it had some mixed reviews; so wasn't sure if I should wait for the DVD or make a date night of it with my husband.

  11. I've seen Cleopatra. I really liked the parts where Taylor played against Richard Burton, but Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar? lulz. Mainly I just enjoy that movie for the gorgeous sets and Taylor's costumes.


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