Entries Tagged 'Family' ↓

bend it like beckham

“Who’d want a girl who plays football all day but can’t make chapattis?” This crowd pleasing cross-cultural girl sports movie breaks a new movie taboo: Girls can not only play sports – and well – but they can be Asian as well. Here Jess plays a soccer-obsessed teen of Indian heritage who’ll do anything to play her favorite game, and spends most of the movie evading her traditional parents’ watchful eyes. Pic features not just culture clash gags, but genuinely athletic footage and a cameo by the titular hero. (uk, 2002)

double happiness

Mina Shum’s fresh debut chronicles the challenges of Jade, a young Chinese-Canadian (played with verve and warmth by fellow Canadian Sandra Oh) as she struggles to forge her own identity in a traditional Chinese family. Ultimately, she can’t keep everyone happy and strikes out on her own, but not without some bitterly hilarious blowouts. [canada, 1994]

clueless

Amy Heckerling directs this sassy Emma-inspired satire on American teen culture. Her smart script inspired a cult following and a slew of new expressions. Here the “hymenally challenged” Cher delivers such gems (with the perfect L.A. whine, of course) as “I’m surfing the crimson tide” or “That is so five years ago.” [us, 1995]

emma

Gwyneth Paltrow is note-perfect as the delightful, scheming heroine of this frothy Victorian era classic penned by Jane Austen. Emma’s life consists of cheerily orchestrating the amorous dalliances of her small circle of friends until her own heart is eventually captured by the most handsome cousin on the block. It’s a whole lot of airy chit chat and fluffy romantic intrigue, a comedy of manners about nothing much at all… charming wouldn’t you say? [us/uk, 1996]

chicken run

You can call her an action heroine–she’s a plucky chicken named Ginger who hatches doomed escape plans for her cooped up sisters. Trapped in a Nazi-like pen run by the tyrannical Miss Tweedy, the bug-eyed chickens think they’ve found their ticket to freedom when a flying rooster crash-lands into their mucky hell. While the brash and brawny cock livens things up by teaching the girls to shake a little tail feather, for the most part, he struts and preens, wheels and deals. Ultimately, it’s the girls who use their brains to blast their way to freedom. From the Claymation wizards behind Wallace and Grommit, this summer’s chick flick combines gags and inspirational lessons about leadership and teamwork for girls (and boys) with loads of dark wit and movie references for adults. [uk, 2000]

not one less

A thirteen year-old substitute teacher arrives at a remote Chinese village to take over for the schoolmaster who must leave for a month. Her idea of controlling her unruly group involves sitting in front of the door to keep them from escaping. Eventually, while planning a trip to the city to rescue a 10-year old student who has been sent there to work, the teacher and her students actually start learning. Sweet, slow, quirky, and appropriate for all ages. [china, 2000]

pride and prejudice

Keira Knightly’s overly kohl-lined eyes are a bit distracting, but she has all the spark and feistiness required to play Lizzie Bennett in this adaptation of Austen’s novel. (On the other hand, we really prefer to see Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy from the BBC version.) The supporting cast is excellent, including Dame Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, and Brenda Blethyn. An entertaining version of the classic tale of 5 talented sisters who due to inheritance laws are to be left penniless, and therefore, must be concerned with making a good match. [uk, 2005]

crooklyn

Director Spike Lee, not ordinarily known for positive female characters, presents this refreshing growing up story told through the eyes of a young, middle-class African-American girl. The untold story in most families is a strong woman keeping things together, and this family is no exception. Alfre Woodard turns in a fantastic performance as the family matriarch. The 70′s soundtrack and costumes are fantastic, and stick around for a hip-hop/Soul Train treat with the final credits. [us, 1994]

the triplets of belleville

In this weirdly animated romp from the countryside of France to the back alleys of New York, a young Tour De France hopeful is kidnapped by an evil American millionaire. His grandmother and his dog, travel to NYC (via paddleboat) to rescue him, and are taken in and aided by the famous French singing group “The Triplets of Belleville”, now in their dotage and living on scavenged frogs. A triumph of four old women and a dog over the French mafia! Although this is an animate film, it’s quite dark and not recommended for young children. [canada/france, 2004]

mrs. palfrey at the claremont

Widow Sarah Palfrey moves into the full-service Claremont hotel in London so as not to be a burden on her daughter, but also to be closer to her grandson, Desmond. Despite a number of calls, Desmond never visits. However a series of accidents brings a “fake grandson” into her life by way of an attractive struggling writer. This gentle tale of friendship, love, and the meaning of family will enchant you. Joan Plowwright delights as Sarah, finally coming into her own near the end of her life. [UK/US, 2006]