Ten Recent Movies

In reverse chronological order, I’ve recently watched the following ten movies, some of which you may enjoy:

First A Girl (1935). A British comedy about a young woman playing a man playing a woman on stage. A lot of fun; a remake of a 1933 German work, Viktor und Vikoria. Victor, Victoria was a much-later remake of this movie. Favorite line: “I dislike men who make marvelous girls.”

War Horse (2012). A story of a horse in World War I (WWI). I was dubious at first but hey, horses, right? I would watch this again, which is high praise from me; I rarely re-watch movies. Favorite scene: the few moments in no-man’s-land with the wire cutters. Reminded me strongly of Joyeux Noel (2006), which is another WWI movie I’d enjoy watching again.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011). The Mission: Impossible team is disavowed and must stop a man from starting global thermonuclear war in order to clear their names. Enjoyable movie, though once the real action started, my heart never stopped pounding. Not sure that’s a good thing. Simon Pegg (who has starred in, among other excellent movies, Hot Fuzz, an all-time favorite) and Jeremy Renner (soon to be Hawkeye in The Avengers) added tremendously to my enjoyment.

A Green Journey (1990). An older Catholic schoolteacher (Angela Lansbury) goes to Ireland to meet a man she has been corresponding with (Denholm Elliot), only to discover that he cannot marry her. Ultimately unsatisfying to my overly romantic heart, despite excellent performances. Yes, I get that Ms. Lanbury’s character grew in an important way in this movie, but still….

Queen to Play (2011). Kevin Kline and Sandrine Bonnaire star in this subtitled French film. Bonnaire’s character, a chambermaid, starts learning chess from the reclusive Kline (who, to my untutored ears, seemed to be executing his French dialog beautifully). Bonnaire’s character, who had set aside her own desires and career for her husband and daughter, insists on allowing herself this one pleasure. Her husband insightfully considers this worse than infidelity.

Blood and Donuts (1995). A vampire movie. Vampirish. With doughnuts. Boya (Gordon Currie), a vampire, goes into hibernation in 1969 because the moon has been spoiled for him now that man has walked on it. Twenty-five years later, a golf ball struck through a window wakens him. And yes, there’s a doughnut shop involved. My friend started snarking before we even started watching it. I think this is intended to be a comedy, and we certainly laughed a lot, but I am not sure we were laughing at what we were intended to laugh at.

My Future Boyfriend (2012). The fact that this is a 2012 movie and it is already on Netflix instant streaming should say all that needs to be said. However, despite a low budget (think Star Trek in the 1960s) and the extreme predictability of the plot, this was light, fluffy fun.

Miranda (1948). Another British comedy, this time about an uninhibited mermaid (Glynis Johns) who catches a doctor (Griffith Jones), then insists he take her to London. There, the doctor and two other men fall under her spell. Surprisingly good; the dialog and acting are remarkably fresh. Because of the times in which this movie was made, I was taken aback at how strongly implied the sex was.

From Prada to Nada (2011). Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility set in modern LA with a Latino family. Enjoyable, as all Jane Austen’s stories are.

Bread and Tulips (Pane E Tulipani) (2000). In Italian with English subtitles. A charming, fun movie about Rosalba (Licia Maglietta), an Italian housewife who impulsively hitchhikes to Venice, then decides to stay there. Bruno Ganz also stars. A sweet, low-key movie. My very favorite scene was with the plumber-cum-private detective (Giuseppe Battiston) when he is found out right after he has fallen in love. As he stands there with only a (very large) pillow preserving modesty, he explains himself and declares his love. The scene is sweet and surprising. I teared up while laughing at the same time.

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