Movies Blog

Happy Birthday, Amanda Peet!

a photograph of American actor Amanda Peet

Born on January 11, 1972, native New Yorker Amanda Peet turns 40 today.

Peet's career took time to build, with the actor spending a lot of her time on television and in ensemble pictures before The Whole Nine Yards brought her more prominent attention. She's now starred in over forty films.

Happy Birthday, Dame Maggie Smith!

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, aka Maggie Smith, was born December 28, 1934 in Essex, England. She is a highly respected actress, winner of 2 Academy Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmy Awards, 2 SAG Awards, and a Tony. Her films have ranged from the serious to the comedic. She currently stars in the television series Downton Abbey. Check out one of the titles from her vast filmography today!

Othello (1964)

The V.I.P.s (1963)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

Travels with My Aunt (1972)

Death on the Nile (1978)

If you're not rockin' it with Dick Clark on New Year's Eve...

Not everyone has glamorous plans for New Year's Eve and probably those of us who don't are perfectly content just to stay home. Here are some films that include memorable New Year's Eve moments. Eat, drink and be merry, for next week it will be time to suck it in and check out our yoga and fitness DVDs.

From chick flicks to bad adventure, and comedy to action, these DVDs will help you usher in 2012 with a smile, a tear, or amazement that they were even made:

Sweet, sweeter, gag...

Holiday Inn

I don't like to think of myself as a total sap, but when it comes to holiday movies I seem to like them syrupy sweet and starring Bing Crosby. What am I talking about?

I love those movies from the 1940's and 1950's that are my strange harbinger of the holiday season. The holiday movie genre pulls out all the stops when it comes to tugging at your heartstrings. These are tales of generals missing the war, elderly mothers from Ireland reuniting with their priestly sons, mistaken motives, unrequited love, all coupled with people bursting into songs often on elaborate Hollywood backlots. Here are my top three:

PEOPLE BEHAVING BADLY - OBJECTIONABLE MOMENTS IN HOLIDAY MOVIES

Are you experiencing an overload of sweetness this holiday season? Then you may need some respite in the form of movies featuring people not at their best during the festivities.

A Budapest gift shop is the setting for antagonistic co-workers Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) who are lonelyheart pen pals but don't realize it in The Shop Around the Corner. Here's a clip of Alfred counseling Klara on her choice of blouses:

HAPPY 60TH ANNIVERSARY TO "STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE"

Shot in 1951 and adapted from the Tennessee Williams play that captivated Broadway audiences, A Streetcar Named Desire was Hollywood's first film made for adult only audiences. Although the script's references to homosexuality and rape had to be toned down to satisfy the Motion Picture Production Code, the film still managed to shock and amaze, and its raw power can be felt six decades later.

As Blanche DuBois, Vivien Leigh gave an anguished, indelible performance that some critics believe reflected her own bipolar condition; she later had trouble distinguishing herself from the character. And Marlon Brando's sly portrayal of crude, sexy Stanley Kowalski made him the crown prince of his generation of actors and helped to redefine American film artistry.

For a non-mumbling version, take home the 1995 CBS Playhouse 90's version with Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange, John Goodman and Diane Lane.

Great documentaries about the arts

cover for exit through the gift shop

I’ve been looking for some extra inspiration in the studio lately, so I’m revisiting favorite documentaries on the arts.

Exit Through the Gift Shop - Banksy created this film using footage from a French shop owner obsessed with graffiti and meeting Banksy. Beautiful images, and a surprising twist.

Being Elmo

Elmo and Kevin

Once upon a time, Tickle Me Elmo had adults standing in line. The new documentary about Kevin Clash and Elmo will explain why and how they became the face and voice of Love.

Kevin Clash developed a "Muppet mindset" watching hours of Sesame Street and making puppets as a child. He first shared his story in his book, My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud. Now film fans are eagerly anticipating the new documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey which won the Sundance Special Jury Prize and is in limited release.

Bollywood Films!

Cover image for Chup Chup Ke

You’ve never fallen in love unless there’s been a scene and costume change.

Here are some of my favorites:
Dil Chahta Hai – A story of 3 men and the summer they find love.
Chup Chup Ke – A swindler fakes his death, pretends to be deaf, then meets the girl of his dreams.

What's Wall Street Got To Do With It?

Inside the Meltdown

If the Occupy Wall Street movement has made it onto your radar screen but you aren't quite sure what the fuss is about, here are some documentaries you might be interested in viewing.

Frontline's February 17, 2009 broadcast of Inside the Meltdown might be a good place to start. It examines the 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, focusing on the response of the Federal Reserve, the White House, Congress, and the Wall Street banks.

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