Entries Tagged 'Drama' ↓

school of flesh

A May/December role reversal, French style. She has polish, financial power, and social standing. He has youth, looks, and a troubled past. Flesh stands out for placing a fortysomething woman, Dominique, at the heart of this story about a muted obsession with a much younger bartender. Despite the slightly twisted nature of the affair and her obvious despair, she never gets trapped or buried by it. Low on action and fireworks, it’s a nuanced dissection of an unconventional relationship. [france, 1998]

the spitfire grill

Perry, an ex-con, becomes the subject of much speculation and gossip when she takes a job at a small grill in an even smaller town. Tough cookie, Hannah runs the grill, and isn’t worried about Perry’s past, but local busybody/businessman Nahum Goddard sends his wife (played by Marsha Gay Harden) in to keep an eye on Perry. As expected, strong bonds form between the three women. Excellent performances by the female leads keep this emotional drama from becoming maudlin. [us, 1996]

adam’s rib

This chestnut is one of many films in the infamous on and off screen partnership between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and often considered to be the most successful. The dueling couple stars as a husband/wife team on opposite sides of a murder trial that questions whether men and women should be judged by the same laws. During the rapid fire arguments some interesting questions are raised about equality and justice. [us, 1949]

to have and to have not

It seems impossible, but Lauren Bacall was only 19 when she made her film debut opposite Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not, a Casablanca-like film based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Bacall turns in a fabulous performance as an American stranded in Martinique during WW1. She steals the show from the hard-bitten Bogey with lines like “You do know how to whistle, Steve? Just put your lips together and blow.” [us, 1944]

the african queen

She may start out as a wallflower, but by the time Katherine Hepburn convinces Humphrey Bogart to bomb a German gunboat she’s a full-fledged dame. This classic flick is the story of a bible-thumping spinster and hard-drinking captain escaping Africa during WW1. Snappy dialogue, and loads of sexual tension make the story, which features mainly Kate and Bogie’s characters and is set on a small boat, zip by. [us, 1951]

all about eve

Bette Davis, quintessential dame, stars in this story of Margo Channing, a glamourous stage star who realizes she’s about to be usurped by her too efficient assistant, Eve. Eve weasels her way into Margo’s life with a hard-luck story, but her real motives are to steal Margo’s fame, position, and boyfriend. Watch it for the rapid fire dialogue and startling innuendos. [us, 1950]

mrs. parker and the vicious circle

Jennifer Jason Leigh drips acid as the booze-addled poet and theatre critic for the New Yorker whose way with words couldn’t save her from a bitter end. Fabulous hats and a barrage of bon mots marked the lunches of Mrs. Parker and her entourage of equally acerbic friends who lunched and sparred at the New York’s Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s. [us, 1994]

whale rider

Pai, a young Maori girl teaches her seaside community about family, leadership and faith in this magical tale that seamlessly blends myth and reality. When a fractured family struggles to keep itself together after suffering a tragic loss, the grandfather trains all the young boys in martial arts and mysticism in hopes of finding a new leader. Meanwhile Pai, banned from the sessions because she’s a girl, trains in secret and succeeds in invoking the legend of the Whale Rider. [New Zealand, 2003].

the journey of natty gann

The Journey of Natty Gann ideal for 12-14 year old girls. During the Depression Era, motherless-Natty is left with a neglectful and somewhat abusive caretaker while her Dad goes West to make money cutting lumber. Natty has to run away and spends the entire movie traveling west by train and walking. She has lots of adventures and throughout the movie, she is tough, smart, and makes her own decisions. She befriends a wolf who was being used in illegal dog-fights. Great movie for girls. I highly recommend it. [review by mother T.A. Lane] [us, 1985]

aimee and jaguar

The affair between a Jewish intellectual and a Nazi housefrau is portrayed without trivializing the enormity of World War ll. The film’s heart (& brain) is Felice (AKA Jaguar) who poses by day as a gentile for a Nazi newspaper and lives it up by night writing erotic poetry and frequenting Berlin’s lesbian clubs. While Berlin collapses into rubble around her and friends “disappear”, she ups the risk ante by falling for a Nazi mother with four children. The film makes for a fascinating and moving portrait of a little known subculture of war-time Berlin. [germany, 1999]