Lists, Lists, Lists: Best Last Lines, Best Matt Damon Performances, Best 21st Century Films (So Far), And Stars Pick Their Favorites

Posted on September 3, 2016 at 8:00 am

Movie lists are irresistible — to make and to debate. Here are three intriguing new ones.

My friend, Talk Easy podcast host and critic Sam Fragoso, has compiled a list ranking all of Matt Damon’s performances. I’d put “Stuck on You” higher and “The Good Shepherd” lower, but it is a great reminder of what a complex, thoughtful actor Damon is.

There are a lot of great movies, but not nearly as many great last lines. Mike McGranaghan of Screen Rant has assembled a great list of perfect movie cappers. I’d put his #4 as my #1.

And the BBC asked a group of critics to rank the top 100 movies of the first 16 years of the 2000’s. At the top of the list, the puzzlebox David Lynch film, “Mulholland Drive.”

And celebs including Rob Lowe, Amy Schumer, Josh Radnor, Ike Barinholtz, and Eric Dane responded to a #7favoritefilms Twitter hashtag with their picks.

Crank up those Netflix queues!

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Critics Film History For Your Netflix Queue Lists Movie History

Exclusive Clip from Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The latest in the “Swan Princess” series is Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today, and we are delighted to have an exclusive clip. The sixth installment of the beloved animated franchise follows young Princess Alise and her friends as they embark on a pirate quest that leaves them stranded on a mysterious island. With her parents away for the summer, fun-loving, young Princess Alise must spend her time with Queen Uberta, training to be the perfect, proper royal…But what she really wants is to become a swashbuckling pirate! Princess Alise sets sail with Lord Rogers, Jean-Bob the frog and Speed the turtle on a bold, high seas journey filled with amazing adventure, danger and discovery. After a shipwreck leaves the brave crew stranded on a wild, mysterious island, they meet Lucas, a young boy who has been living in seclusion. Now the faithful friends must work together to escape the island and the ferociously hungry creatures that dwell there. It will be available September 6, 2016.

Copyright SPHE 2016
Copyright SPHE 2016
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New on DVD/Blu-Ray Trailers, Previews, and Clips

Labor Day 2016: Movies About Work

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy Labor Day and many thanks to everyone who works.  Some of my favorite movies about the workplace:

The Pajama Game He (John Riatt — Bonnie’s father) is the new boss at the pajama factory.  She (Doris Day) represents the union.  Can this relationship work?  This tuneful treat features classics like “Hey There” and “Steam Heat.”


Norma Rae Sally Field won an Oscar for her performance in this fact-based story about the fight for the rights of textile workers.

9 to 5 Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton star in this story of three women in an office run by an lazy, corrupt, and sexist boss.

Office Space This cult classic about disaffected office workers has some sharp Dilbert-style observations about organizational inefficiency and unfairness.

Working Girl Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford star in this story of a secretary with ambition and her arrogant, selfish boss.  Carly Simon won an Oscar for the theme song, “Let the River Run.”

The Apartment This Best Picture Oscar winner stars Jack Lemmon as an insurance company worker with a chance to advance his career by making his apartment available to executives for their assignations.

Made in Dagenham Sally Hawkins and Miranda Richardson star in this fact-based story of women fighting for equal pay at a Ford plant in England.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying Anyone who has worked in an office will tell you that this raucous musical satire of office life is far less exaggerated than it seems.

The Solid Gold Cadillac This witty 1956 comedy about corporate corruption and overpaid executives starring the brilliant Judy Holliday is still valid — if you add three zeroes to all the numbers.

The Closet This French comedy is about a nebbishy numbers guy who is laid off from his job.  He lets the bosses think he is gay so that they will be afraid of a discrimination complaint and the attention it brings him teaches him some important lessons.


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For Your Netflix Queue Lists Neglected gem

The Light Between Oceans

Posted on September 1, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content
Profanity: Mild language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Discussion of wartime violence and loss, miscarriages, dead body
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: September 2, 2016
Date Released to DVD: January 23, 2017 ASIN: B01LDWUQ4I

Copyright Disney 2016
Copyright Disney 2016
The lighthouse is on an island called Janus, and the lighthouse keeper explains that it is named for the two-faced god who is memorialized in the first month of each year, January. One face looks to the past, the other to the future — “two ways of looking at things.”

The theme of duality and perspective resonates throughout this story of the lighthouse keeper, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander), we see how two ways of looking at things can balance or unbalance each other.

Tom is a WWI veteran who tells the man looking for a temporary lighthouse keeper that he is not worried about the isolation of the job. “I just want to get away from things for a little while.” His mother died and he had a father who was so dictatorial that the regimentation of the military was a relief. We do not learn much about his wartime experiences except that they were brutal. He is, as he later admits, numb. The solitude and order of the lighthouse suits him.

But he meets the lively and warm-hearted Isabel, who impetuously proposes marriage, and realizes how much he had been longing for connection. She tells him, “You still have a light inside you, and I have seen it.” And he writes back, “I’ve never known it was all right to talk about the things I feel.”

They marry and are blissfully happy in their tiny little island. But after two harrowing miscarriages, Isabel is devastated. When a boat washes up near the shore containing a dead man and a crying baby, it seems that providence has given them what they were missing. It seems that way to Isabel. Tom knows that he must put the truth into his log and return the baby to her family. But Isabel is desperately in love with the child and insists that they can give her what she needs. Tom, who has promised to do everything he can to make her happy, agrees.

They adore the baby, who they name Lucy. But when Tom sees a woman sobbing in a graveyard (Rachel Weisz) and realizes she is probably Lucy’s real mother, his conscience begins to torture him. They have inflicted on her the same agony that they suffered.

The story gets soapy, and the tinkly piano score from Alexandre Desplat and scenes of waves crashing on the shore suggest literary pretensions that may work better in the acclaimed novel than they do on screen. But Fassbender and Vikander, two of the most compelling actors ever to appear on film, give powerful performances, and their on-screen chemistry, which turned into real-life romance, holds the film together when the story wavers.

Parents should know that this film has discussion of wartime violence and loss, miscarriages, a dead body, and devastating grief.

Family discussion: Who should raise Lucy? Why did she want to see Tom again? Was Frank right about forgiveness?

If you like this, try: “The Widow of Saint-Pierre”

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Based on a book Drama DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week

Max Rose

Posted on September 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, prescription drugs
Violence/ Scariness: Sad death
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: September 2, 2016
Copyright 2016 Paladin
Copyright 2016 Paladin

Jerry Lewis is back, playing the title character in “Max Rose,” a longtime jazz musician rocked to discover that his late wife might have been unfaithful. This 2013 film arrives in theaters in 2016, with Lewis giving a performance that is best described with a word not usually thought of for him: subdued. Lewis, then age 86, has learned to trust himself and the audience. He does not have to be big, loud, and needy. He can be quiet, subtle, and patient. The script is under-written, but it is a pleasure to watch Lewis in this mode, along with a bunch of other familiar octogenarian co-stars who bring their decades of experience to the under-written script.

Writer/director Daniel Noah locates us very quickly: some hospital paperwork, a clock ticking, a sympathetic voice asking, “Grandpa, can I get you anything?”

Max was married to Eva (Claire Bloom, lovely and warm in flashbacks), and he believed they were the great loves of each other’s lives. After a lifetime together, he does not know how to begin to live without her. Max has a tense relationship with his son, Christopher (Kevin Pollak). But he is very close to his granddaughter Annie (Kerry Bishé), who is spending much of her time with him, making sure that he eats and trying to make sure he takes his medicine. We see Max outsmarting her on that one. Max hands Annie Eva’s compact, and she smiles in recognition of one of her grandmother’s favorite treasures. But then Max shows Annie the inscription, and while she tries to reassure him that it might not be evidence that she had another relationship, they both know that is its implication.

Max is badly shaken. He questions everything he thought he knew about Eva, their relationship, and the choices he made. How can he reconcile the relationship he thought he had with the idea that Eva’s favorite compact reminded her of someone else every time she looked in the mirror to check her make-up? “I failed my wife, I failed my family, I failed myself.” And yet, he cannot forgive Christopher, now in the midst of his second divorce, for what Max considers Christopher’s own failures as a husband and father.

The story is thin and unconvincing, but it is a pleasure to see Lewis in the role. And in brief appearances, veterans Rance Howard, Dean Stockwell, and Fred Willard make us wish the whole movie was these guys sitting around talking.

Parents should know that the movie has mature material including strong language and sexual references.

Family discussion: What did Max want from his confrontation with the man who gave Eva the compact? Why was he so hard on Christopher?

If you like this, try: “The King of Comedy” and “45 Years”

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