It’s 1976, the last day of school in Austin, Texas, the music is rocking, the keg is tapped, and Matthew McConaughey is “All right, all right, all right.” Join the party in Dazed and Confused, the coming of age cult comedy film written and directed by Boyhood’s Richard Linklater.
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For snappy, tongue-in-cheek dialogue written by Mae West herself, try West’s 1932 film debut Night After Night . The queen of the double entendre rules all five movies in the Mae West Glamour Collection with bawdy charm.
“I just love finding new places to wear diamonds,” said Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Director Howard Hawks’ style and Jane Russell’s sharp delivery, with Marilyn’s iconic performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” make this female buddy film a lighthearted pleasure.
I was a member of the audience for the premier of Big Eden at the world famous Castro Theatre in June 2000 and happily joined in the thunderous 10 minute standing ovation. Big Eden is a winsome gay romantic comedy which turns stereotypes upside down with humor and a heart-warming romance.
Are you hooked on Downton Abbey? Did you know the series was inspired by Robert Altman’s film Gosford Park? Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for Gosford Park. Check out Maggie Smith as Countess of Trentham before she became Downton Abbey’s Countess of Grantham!
Staff Pick: One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi
Diane of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi:
From the streak to the Stanley Cup, One Goal II and the 53 minute long DVD 17 Seconds (which comes with the book) portray the inside story of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. The hardcover book and DVD provide an all-access pass inside the locker room party in Boston, the airplane ride home with the Cup following Game 6, and interviews with the players. Through full color photos, fans ride along on the players’ buses during the championship parade and follow the Blackhawks as they spend their Cup days with family and friends, sharing the greatest trophy in sports with their communities.
Additionally, the book contains an innovative, mini video screen. It plays the Blackhawks’ two goals in 17 seconds to win the Cup and a five-minute feature with interviews about those two goals and the ensuing celebration.
My favorite film of 2010 was Debra Granik’s haunting Winter’s Bone. This unflinching reworking of Daniel Woodrell’s novel, with astonishing performances from Jennifer Lawrence as a 17-year-old struggling to save her family and John Hawkes as her meth-addicted uncle, deserves the many accolades heaped upon it.
Director Ann Hui’s exquisitely realistic A Simple Life, starring Andy Lau and Deanie Yip, won the awards for Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards. Roger Ebert wrote, “It expresses hope in human nature. It is one of the year’s best films.”
Number 23 on the list of 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die, The Eyes of Tammy Faye offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of televangelist Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner before and after her fall from grace. Check out this sympathetic portrait of the 80s pop icon.
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert has been writing about movies since 1967. He’s described by Forbes as “the most powerful pundit in America” and is the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Check out his books, his fascinating memoir Life Itself, and his reviews online.