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Moe's Pick of the Week

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For April 23rd 2009

Paper Moon

This 1973 movie stars real life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neal as a pair of depression era con artists. A very engaging story full of colorful characters, including the outrageous Madeline Kahn as Trixie Delight, and Randy Quaid pre National Lampoon days. An excellent performance by 10 year old Tatum makes her the holder still of the title as the youngest performer ever to win the Oscar for best supporting actress (next youngest is Anna Paquin for her role in 1993's The Piano-another good, but much darker movie).

Nicolas Cage Reconsidered

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Nicolas Cage has figured in my movie viewing life now and again, as I'm sure he has in yours. Some believe he has "gone Hollywood." I prefer his earlier, mostly comic roles, but some of his more recent films are also appealing. Check out these:

Next (2007)

Based on a Philip K. D*ck story, Cage is a Vegas magician whose act conceals his real psychic ability. I enjoyed watching Julianne Moore play a hard-nosed government agent who is determined to tap his powers to save California from a nuclear explosion. This is a fun action movie in spite of the improbable love story with Jessica Alba.

Adaptation (2002) Best Nicolas Cage Movie Ever!

This is Spike Jonze's interpretation of 's book The Orchid Thief, which was a bestseller a few years before the movie. Cage plays real-life director Charlie Kauffman (thanks Mat for pointing this out!--see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Best Jim Carrey movie ever...Watch it, even if you are not a Carrey fan). Cage also plays Kauffman's twin brother whose spontaneous success torments Charlie as he struggles to write a script. Meryl Streep plays a fictional book researcher who becomes entangled with her subject and provides Kauffman with the answer to his writer's block. Zany, action packed and cerebral: who could ask for more?

Matchstick Men (2003)

Cage plays a con artist suddenly saddled with a teenager interfering with his work. Surprisingly good.

Raising Arizona (1987)

This is one of the best of Cage's earlier movies. Cage's hapless character agrees to steal a baby from a wealthy couple for his unsatisfied wife played by Holly Hunt. Hilarious dialogue and characters make this a standout comedy.

Moonstruck(1987)

Beloved of the people, this romantic comedy features Cage alongside Cher.

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Cage plays a small role as Kathleen Turner's less-than-ideal husband. Peggy Sue goes back in time to her 1950s teen years to correct her life circumstances with the benefit of her adult experience. Will she spurn (Cage) in favor of a seemingly better man? This might be a family favorite.

I can leave Cage's other films, but that doesn't mean you have to...We have many of his others such as Disney's National Treasure and National Treasure 2: book of Secrets, critically acclaimed Leaving Las Vegas, Guarding Tess, and Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Before he was Bond

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He is now familiar to us as the face of 007, but before resuscitating the James Bond franchise, Daniel Craig was largely unknown to North American audiences. Over the past 15 years Mr. Craig has indeed been hard at work, appearing in more than 50 films and TV series including, Sharpes Eagle, Elizabeth, Munichand Road to Perdition and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Here is a listing of features you may have missed, but shouldn't have. Don't worry, you can thank me later Laughing

Layer Cake[2004] The life of a mafia kingpin can sure take its toll on you. Daniel Craig stars as "Mr. X" who on the eve of his retirement as a London gangster is drawn back into the life he is eager to leave. What follows in a stylish labrynthine gangster saga with a shocking and well earned ending. Michael Gambon, Sienna Miller and Colm Meany round out the cast. Please be forewared, this film contains scenes of strong violence and is rated R.
Archangel[2005] A historian in a foreign land, a secret society, mysterious bloodlines, a sidekick with a recently murdered grandparent ... sound familiar? Although it shares a structure similar to a certain 2003 Dan Brown story, 'Archangel' is a BBC Television production based on the excellent 1998 Robert Harris novel. This film stars Craig as a historian who is an expert on Stalinist Russia. While lecturing in Moscow he stumbles across what might be Stalin's lost diaries, containing a mystery that could forever change the face of Russian history.
Infamous[2006] Another telling of Truman Capote's great literary mission, the writing of "In Cold Blood". While researching the novel, Capote (Toby Jones) develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith (Daniel Craig). Unfortunately, this film was lost in the shadow of the 2005 film "Capote" featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar winning performance. This is a shame because "Infamous" is in many ways the superior film. With more gentle comic moments and a less weighty approch, this film shows us Capote's struggles without feeling like a morality play. Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels, Isabella Rossellini and Gwyneth Paltrow also star.
A further note -- The latest James Bond film is now available at the Calgary Public Library. You can place a hold with the following link -- The Quantum of Solace [DVD]