List: Five movies about presidents

Posted on February 18, 2008 at 8:00 am

PresidentsDay-w.jpg
Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the tall man with the wry sense of humor that is very cinematic.
Five great movies for President’s Day:
1. Young Mr. Lincoln Long before he ran for President, we see Abe Lincoln mourn his first love and defend his first clients.
2. Independence Day Bill Pullman is a former fighter pilot who leads America and the world after an alien attack.
3. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This cold-war farce has Peter Sellers in three roles, including President of the United States. His conversation with his counterpart in the USSR is a masterpiece. (Some mature material).
kisses%20for%20my%20president.jpg4. “Kisses for My President” Not available on DVD or video, this all-but forgotten 1964 film features Polly Bergan as the nation’s first female President, but in this pre-feminist era its focus is on the problems faced by her husband, played by Fred McMurray. It is every bit as silly as its title suggests and you will never believe how it all gets resolved. (Guesses welcome)
5. Air Force One Harrison Ford is the President as action hero. When Air Force One is captured by terrorists, it’s a good thing that the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones is on hand.

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For Your Netflix Queue Lists Rediscovered Classic

Trailer: Indiana Jones 4!

Posted on February 17, 2008 at 12:05 am

indiana%20jones.jpgOh, boy — check out the teaser trailer for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” I was a little worried, especially when the trailer wasted time reprising the first three movies, like we don’t already know them by heart, but then we get some glimpses of the new one and it looks like it’s shaping up to be up to the level of the best of the first three. Only three months to go!

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips

List of lists — metaphors, bad dates, movies about movies, writers, and insurance adjusters

Posted on February 16, 2008 at 8:00 am

Mental Floss has a very intriguing list of 8 movie metaphors worth puzzling over. Yes, there’s the knight playing chess with Death in “The Seventh Seal” The_seventh_Seal_thumb.jpg in the intro, but the list also has some unexpected and thought-provoking items, including the dying fish in Badlands and the pudding in Punch-Drunk Love. The list is rich and rewarding, with some marvelous clips, some thoughtful comments, and a wonderfully insightful quote from Roger Ebert about a dancing chicken.

And from the sublime to the (intentionally) ridiculous: Cinematical’s list of the worst first dates on film, from the funny (“License to Drive”) to the horrifying (“Hard Candy” and “Taxi Driver”). I’d add Ben and Elaine’s first date in “The Graduate,” the awkward but heart-warming date in “Marty,” and, of course, “Sixteen Candles.”

Entertainment Weekly has a great list in honor of next week’s “Be Kind Rewind” — movies about making movies. You can’t do better than Singin’ in the Rain and Sullivan’s Travels, two of the greatest films ever made. I was glad to see the list include neglected gems Living in Oblivion and The Big Picture. Movie fans have spent hours speculating on the inspirations for some of the characters and situations satirized in those films. Francois Truffaut’s lovely film Day for Night is another great choice. I would add to EW’s list the David Mamet film State and Main and the movie about the making of “Citizen Kane,” RKO 281 – The Battle Over Citizen Kane.

They also salute the end of the writer’s strike with a list of movies about writers. It’s hard to make a compelling film about someone staring at a blank page and pounding on a typewriter, but movies are, after all, written by writers, and writers love to write about what they know best. So, there are a lot of movies about writing movies and the people who write them. The list includes In a Lonely Place with Humphrey Bogart, “The Muse” with Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone, and Nicolas Cage as twin brothers with very different approaches to writing in Adaptation.

The Insurance Information Institute has issued its list of the best movies featuring insurance agents and adjusters. They’ve got classics like Double Indemnity and Memento, but what about The Incredibles? Who can forget Mr. Incredible’s ignoring the rules to help a client get her claim paid?

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For Your Netflix Queue Lists

VOTE: Beliefnet Spiritual Movie Awards

Posted on February 15, 2008 at 10:37 am

What were the best spiritual movies and performances of last year? See this year’s nominees for Best Spiritual Film, Best Spiritual Performance, and Best Spiritual Documentary. Then watch clips, join the debate, and vote on your favorites.
Nominees:
Best Spiritual Film: Amazing Grace, Away From Her, Atonement, Juno, The Kite Runner
Best Spiritual Performance: Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), Ellen Page (Juno), Julie Christie (Away From Her), Will Smith (I Am Legend)
Best Spiritual Documentary: Into Great Silence, For the Bible Tells Me So, War/Dance, Nanking, What Would Jesus Buy?

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