Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Movies You May Have Missed

I'm having so much fun with the movie thing and all the comments that I thought I'd add my thoughts about a few favorites you may have missed.

Babette's Feast: I love movies that have cooking in them. This gem tells an Isak Dinesen tale of lonely sisters in the cold Danish climate, raised as the daughters of a stern Protestant minister. Sound thrilling so far? Well, stay with me, it gets better. They and their whole village are brought to life by an impoverished Frenchwoman who comes to stay and opens their lives in an extraordinary way through the magic of, of all things, food. One of my all-time favorites.

Stage Beauty Love and gender bending during the Restoration, when the women's roles were played on the English stage by beautiful boys. A really delightful film starring Billy Crudup and Claire Danes, with Rupert Everette as a wicked King Charles.

Vicki Cristina Barcelona I don't know why this one didn't fare better at the box office and at Oscar time, but at least Penelope Cruz one the award she deserved as a Spanish artist with the temperament to match. Beautiful scenery, an interesting plot, and some of the most talented actors around, directed by the amazing Woody Allen.

The Cider House Rules I treasure Michael Caine with his portrayal of the sympathetic doctor who manages an orphanage and tucks the boys in every night saying, "Good night, you princes of kings of New England..." Toby MacGuire and Charlize Theron and the magnificent background music (recently co-opted by the Department of Tourism for the State of Michigan for television commercials) by Rachel Portman round this out for a nearly-perfect little film.

The Shipping News Extraordinary acting by Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett (in a real shocking stretch), and Judi Dench in a dark, cold, wonderful movie.

Henry and June This one is about racy novelist Henry Miller and his wife and their little dalliances in Paris, notably with the intriguing diarist Anais Nin. The settings were absolutely convincingly Paris in the 1920's, and the atmosphere of freedom and particularly sexual liberation came through very loud and clear. It's explicit and erotic, so if that's not for you, you won't like this one. Ahem--I loved it.

Spanglish I love Adam Sandler when he plays a grownup, and I don't even mind when he plays an eternal child. In this, he's somewhere in between, married to a demanding and obnoxious wife, played to perfection by Tea Leoni, and he's a chef (cooking again!). It's a serious little movie with a few laughs, and a touching little scenario about impossible love.


ZenDenizen said...

The only one I've seen so far is Vicki Cristina Barcelona and it was a real winner. Its laid back pace and gorgeous scenery made me want to run away to Spain for a year.

Check out Scoop if you haven't already!

Hoboken Kid said...

THE BIG NIGHT, THE BEST COOKING MOVIE ever...filmed in New Jersey...if you have not seen it...ya gotta see this one...great acting, a fun film.

Mary Lois said...

I just rented that one, and I agree with Slezak here. I saw it some 20 years ago, and seeing it again a couple of weeks ago was fun because most of the actors, unknowns then, are now famous and working all the time. Well, not household names, maybe, Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini and others. It is an excellent little flick. I thought about it for my Ten Best List.

Hoboken Kid said...

What's a cooking movie without a DESSERT movie? FYI

ZenDenizen said...

Oh and by the way, a Hoboken based movie to avoid at all costs is Restaurant.

Mary Lois said...

Missed that one! How about The Royal Tannenbaums? I loved that one and think it may have been filmed around here somewhere, if not Hoboken the Jersey City. Anybody know?