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Treading Water

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There are so many to choose from for this theme. War as a subset yields numerous excellent choices, and the non-fiction selection is amazing. And of course Hollywood just loves putting people in peril on, in and under the water, so lets see what we can sea.

Poseidon Adventure- the newer Kurt Russell from 2006---corny,over-the-top disaster movie, but I always find that no matter what the movie, Kurt delivers a watchable performance.

The Perfect Storm--- Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, and some other guys. Not as good as they hyped it, but still worth a watch.

Night To Remember---before the mega hit, king-of-the-world, billion dollar, multi-award winning, James Cameron extravaganza,Titanic, there was this quieter, more realistic movie of the doomed ship. We also have the documentary Titanic: Born in Belfast.

LIfeboat---ahhh---Hitchcock. Ask yourself what you would have done?

And of course Mutiny on the Bounty- any number of versions.

This was one of my very first recommendations back when we started the blog. It bears mentioning again- the wonderful Das Boot. This will make you think twice about signing on as crew in a submarine (were you even thinking of doing it once?).

Speaking of submarines, check out Harrison Ford in K19, the Widow Maker. This is the story of Russia's first nuclear sub and a whole lot of radioactive trouble.

Sinbad- we have the Dreamworks animated and the wonderful 1958 version. Long before all the CGI and green screen technology things were done the old fashioned way- stop-motion animation. And no one did it better than Ray Harryhausen. Yes, kids might think it looks a little cheesy these days, but just think of the craftsmanship that went into these scenes.

The Abyss- before Cameron turned his hand to Titanic, he offered us this solid undersea action/thriller/sci-fi movie. Bit of trivia-the always innovative Cameron actually invented the diving masks used in the film. He found he wasn't getting enough of the actor's faces with the traditional style so he designed and patented these masks, which are now pretty much standard fare.

Old Man and the Sea- Spencer Tracy portraying Hemingway's Cuban fisherman in this classic tale of perseverance.

African Queen- if you have never seen this Bogie and Hepburn classic, treat yourself. This just works on every level-drama, adventure, romance, action.


Deep Water-documentary about a doomed 1968 round the world yacht race

Sinking of the Lusitania--- an excellent offering from PBS about the sinking of said ship off the coast of Ireland in 1915

Shallow Seas--- from the excellent Planet Earth series. Watch this one- watch them all.


Of course what list would be complete without The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and Sponge Bob Square Pants.


RANGO tickets

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Movie Maniacs has some double passes for an advanced screening for Wednesday March 2 at 7:00 at Scotiabank Theatre Chinook. The movie is Rango and is from director Gore Verbinski. It features Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy and many other recognizable voices--- this one looks like a lots of fun and should be good for the entire family. In order to qualify to win a pass please tell me the name of any other movie CPL carries that is directed by Gore. Please remember to leave me your name and phone number so we can get a hold of you---last contest we had someone who won but we had no way of notifying them.

Thanks a lot to Paramount Pictures for the passes

Mother Always did like you best

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I was surprised how often this theme pops up...It came up when we were discussing Ordinary People (in the Donald Sutherland review post). Take home some CPL dvds and revel in sibling rivalry...

For starters, credit where it's due: try The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour on dvd.

Then for more gothic spin, Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Bette Davis and Joan Crawford starring together is even terrifying to contemplate.

For a historical slant, how about The Other Boleyn girl ...what happens to siblings when their folks are real social climbers...The 2003 adaptation is a BBC Production.

In the Chickflick category, try In her Shoes (Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz)

If you want conflict with a sweeping panormama in the background, try Legends of the Fall (a bonus is great shots of our local landscape) and A River Runs Through It. In the first, the fight is over a girl. In the second, which brother is the "good" one is the issue. If you watch both, consider it a Brad Pitt in Rural Montana double bill.

If all this viewing has you foaming at the mouth, we just received a new book: Mom Loves You Best: Forgiving and forging Sibling Relationships

Witty and insightful- Neil Simon

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A Pulitzer prize, Tony's, Emmy's, Oscars, Honorary degrees from numerous Universities, Golden Globes, a Mark Twain Prize, Kennedy Centre Honoree---Simon has a list of awards that would be the envy of anyone. And with good reason-the man tells a great story. His observations on human nature are insightful, his take on human folly is good natured and his movies are always a lot of fun to watch.

The Odd Couple---what can you say about Oscar and Felix---probably two of the funniest room mates ever. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are hilarious. At the moment we have Odd Couple 2, and the complete series which was also very good. This starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

Prisoner of Second Avenue---Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft in a wonderful story of an everyday man pushed to the edge by everyday events.

Biloxi Blues---semi autobiographical story of life in a Mississippi WWII boot camp. Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken are excellent as the protagonists.

Brighton Beach Memoirs- life in a New York community in the 1940's. This is a real charmer.

Goodbye Girl- this turns up on tv regularly, but watch it from us commercial free. Stars Richard Dreyfuss in his well-deserved best actor win, and Marsha Mason, Simon's then wife.

Murder By Death--- a send up of crime solving detectives---big cast.

Spotlight on Donald Sutherland

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As often as not, Donald Sutherland appears in supporting roles, tv commercial voice-overs, or narrating book cds, so he may seem an unlikely lead, but Fellini saw enough to cast him in his film, Casanova. Lanky but loaded with charisma, Canadian Donald Sutherland continues to deliver great performances. He is one of those actors who's been in everything ever made (well, anything that doesn't star Gene Hackman already) and he's as convincing in space as he is in thrillers, or family drama. For a Sutherland mini-bio, read Pioneer Canadian Actors by Stone Wallace (791.43028 WAL) and enjoy the following selection of his starring roles from the library's collection:

The Assignment co-stars Ben Kingsly and Aidan Quinn. The government hires a naval officer to impersonate a terrorist.

The relatively recent Instinct starring Cuba Gooding Junior as an athropologist is coming soon to CPL. Anthony Hopkins stars as the man who has gone wild.

Smaller Sutherland roles include: The Bedford Incident (see our Life of the Sea review), Animal House, Backdraft, and Cold Mountain, A Time to Kill, and The Dirty Dozen--all available at CPL

M*A*S*H (the movie) Sutherland plays the iconic inconoclast and Korean War army surgeon, Hawkeye Pierce.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the first remake, 1978). The title says it all.

Eye of the Needle Fans of Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth, the tv adaptation of which is currently showing on CBC and stars you guessed it-Donald Sutherland) will enjoy this adaptation of his novel. Sutherland stars as a German spy hiding with a family in England during World War II.

Murder by Decree See Moe's earlier review of this suspense film centered around the Jack the Ripper-Royalty conspiracy theory.

Great Train Robbery An early Michael Crichton film with the classic gold delivery train scenario.

Italian JobAnother heist movie, this time set in contemporary LA costarring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron

Ordinary People When this film came out, audiences were shocked by the candid portrayal of family strife--a taboo before that.

Space Cowboys Old aerospace buddies reunite to save the earth from a rogue satellite

Six degrees of Separation see the Numbers review for this one. Sutherland plays the husband resistant to his wife's involvement with a young man (Will Smith) from the streets.

Klute Sutherland stars as a police officer who falls for a prostitute threatened by a serial killer. The chemistry between him and Jane Fonda is electric and the plots seems fresh even with all the tv crime shows focused on this type of criminal.

Royals Behaving Badly

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The British monarchy has always been a great go-to for directors, screen writers and actors. And with good reason---the history is rife with scandal, sex, murder, revolt, religion, politics and royalty generally behaving badly. With all the buzz around this years front runner -The King's Speech (with 11 nominations and currently on order ot CPL) I thought I'd recommend some other movies and series based on Royals. A great many of these are previous Oscar nominees and big winners.

Anne of the thousand days/Mary Queen of Scots---you all know the story---and these are excellent retellings.

Becket-Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole---the story of the friendship between Henry 2 and his close friend and confident.

A Man for All Seasons- an Oscar win for Paul Scofield playing Thomas Moore, the man who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church for not allowing a divorce and remarriage.

The Queen---Helen Mirren's big win from 2006 as Q E 2. The resemblance is uncanny, the performance excellent, the story highly respectful.

Elizabeth and Elizabeth the Golden Age with Cate Blanchett ---there are actually many more Liz the First to choose from in our collection (so many in fact it almost needs it's own post). Another fave of mine is The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Errol Flynn and Bette Davis.

The Lost Prince- a big Golden Globe winner for TV drama from 2003. The story of the British royal prince locked away because of his epilepsy.

Lady Jane---from 1986 with Helena Bonham Carter (nominated this year for Best supporting Actress in The King's Speech), and Cary Elwes. A not so well known story about the 9 day reign of Lady Jane Grey.

Lion in Winter- two versions, the Peter O'toole, Katherine Hepburn and the Glenn Close Patrick Stewart television remake. Hepburn won an Oscar for best Actress for hers. At the time she became only the third perfomer to win consecutive best acting awards and the first prerformer ever to win three Oscars for a lead.

Young Victoria---Emily Blunt as Victoria during her early turbulent years

Mrs. Brown---Judi Dench as Victoria during her later widowed years.

The Tudors--- the steamy, highly popular television series wherein Henry VIII comes off as incredibly sexy and not terribly despicable. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it certainly is entertaining. We have four complete seasons.

The Madness of King George---in his case, it was not good to be King. The royal who 'lost the colonies'.

And just becuse it is so much fun, the wonderful musical Camelot.

You'll be surprised (or maybe not) how the same faces keep recurring- O'Toole, Burton, Jacobi, Stewart, Dench, Mirren.

Great Adaptations-YA Fiction

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Twilight and Harry Potter seem to get all the press, but there are some fantastic, yet little seen, films being adapted from young adult fiction. You can browse the Teen titles in our collection by doing a subject search of 'teen films'.

Here are a few suggestions to hold you over until the Hunger Games trilogy makes its way to the theatre.

Paranoid Park (2008) is a haunting portrait of a young skateboarder who accidently kills a security guard. The film was adapted and directed by Gus Van Sant, from the novel of the same name by Blake Nelson. This is a smart and expertly crafted coming-of-age film, that was well reviewed and little seen. It was released the same year as Van Sant's 'Milk' and seemed to get forgotten about. Which is strange because once seen, this film is hard to forget. The film also boasts a strong soundtrack by Elliott Smith and Nino Rota.

One of my favourite YA novels is Skellig by David Almond. The story centres around a young teen who befriends a bird/angel-ish creature hidden in his garage. The books was adapted for British TV in 2009 with Oscar-nominee Tim Roth in the title role. The movie 'Skellig: The Owl Man" was recently added into the CPL catalogue.

For something a little lighter, try Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. The quirky tale of 14 year old Georgia Groome, who only wants a boyfriend and to throw the greatest birthday party ever. A charming film by Gurinder Chada, the director of the equally charming Bend it like Beckham.