Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy

Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer TracyThe chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy delights viewers, old and new. Blue collar and blue blood ignite the screen still. These three movies stand alone and stand above the gold bar.

Adam’s Rib (1949) is courtroom comedy. It established their reputation as the wittiest, most brilliant couple on screen. It is even better in the light of some modern day duds.

Pat and Mike (1952) continues to illustrate this team in a totally different setting, on the links and off the links. They continue to complement each other like bread and butter.

Desk Set (1957) is the final movie. In their ongoing battle of the sexes, I’m happy to say, everybody wins.  I think these movies represent the best of the “oldies.”  Enjoy, my friends.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) PG
Another Ben Stiller winner. Everyone will enjoy watching the authentic Smithsonian Museums' artifacts come alive! The story tells interesting historical facts about Amelia Earhart and General Custer.

I went to Washington, D.C., two years ago; therefore, the movie impressed me in that it was based on facts like the largest sea monster caught being at the Smithsonian and the use of the Air and Space Museum for action. Of course, you'll love seeing Abe Lincoln come to life walking and talking...and having recently climbed all those stairs up the Lincoln Memorial, I was impressed that the movie used Abe to great advantage.

See this on DVD for lots of laughs. And don't forget to check out the original Night at the Museum.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) PG-13
George Clooney is a fast talking con man who cons two other chain gang convicts to escape with him in Depression-era Mississippi. The three convicts go on an episodic odyssey involving blind soothsayers, one-eyed con men, and sexy women who lure the men with their siren song. To top it off, the movie is filled with wonderful "old timey" music. Watch for homages to other movies including Cool Hand Luke, Sullivan's Travels, and even The Wizard of Oz.A concert of the music from the movie is on the DVD Down from the Mountain.

The Captain’s Paradise

The Captain’s Paradise (1953)
In this delightful British comedy, Alec Guinness is Henry St. James, the captain of a steam ship between Gibraltar and North Africa. In North Africa waits his wife Nita (Yvonne de Carlo), a beautiful hot blooded spitfire with whom he dances the nights away and drinks champagne. In Gibraltar waits his prim and proper wife Maud (Celia Johnson) – a woman delighted with a new vacuum cleaner as an anniversary gift.

With Maud, St. James has home cooked meals and a mug of hot chocolate before promptly turning in at 10:00.  The only one in on the captain's double life is his envious first mate. All is well until each woman begins to want what the other has. All three leads are completely winning and surprising.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
This funny and entertaining musical just might be Marilyn Monroe’s best movie. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe and costar Jane Russell are superb. To publicize the movie, the actresses put their handprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – and they both wrote “gentlemen prefer blondes.”

For more fun facts about the movie, visit the TCM website. And enjoy this video of the leading ladies at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Waitress

Waitress (2007) PG-13
A bittersweet tale of a small town woman who turns hopelessness into a fresh start.

Check out a New York Times article about the movie and the late writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly. Visit the Fox Searchlight website for articles and videos about the movie and the actors.

Bread & Tulips = Pane e tulipani

Bread & Tulips = Pane e tulipani (2000) PG-13
Bread & Tulips is a charming and quirky Italian film about an overlooked housewife who impulsively vacations to Venice and, with the help of a wonderful cast of supporting characters, finds herself. Part comedy, part romance, part fairy tale, this colorful film will leave you smiling!

In Italian with English subtitles.

Picture Snatcher

Picture Snatcher (1933)
This fast paced precode comedy/drama stars James Cagney as an ex-con who "goes straight" with a job as a photographer for a two bit tabloid. Taking pictures of poor people at their lowest moments, Cagney hits the big time when he sneaks a photo of a murderess at the moment of her execution (a real life event fictionalized in this movie).

Visit TCM.com to watch a trailer. For a similar precode movie about a ruthless columnist who dishes dirt on anyone--until the love of a good woman turns him around (sort of), see Blessed Event.

Hobson’s Choice

Hobson’s Choice (1954)
Charles Laughton is the irascible Henry Hobson who owns a boot shop in 1890s England. Hobson dominates his three daughters, blustering and threatening them about their marriage prospects. His oldest daughter, though, takes matters into her own hands when she uses her own considerable willpower to marry her father's lowly and mild-mannered bootmaker Willie Mossop, played beautifully by John Mills.

A quiet movie in many ways, but with many delightful moments. Watching the transformation of Mossop from meek bootmaker to proud husband and owner of his own shop is reward in itself. Watch for Prunella Scales of Fawlty Towers fame as youngest daughter Vicky.

For more on the movie (including a video clip), visit the Criterion Collection website.

Mean Girls

Mean Girls (2004) PG-13
Written by the talented Tina Fey, Mean Girls is a funny movie about girls in high school. Cady Heron gets a lesson in teenage hierarchy when she enters high school after years of being homeschooled in Africa. An all around good comedy.

Lindsay Lohan gives a great performance. Also featuring Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amy Poehler, and Tim Meadows. Read an interview with Tina Fey on BlackFilm.com or watch an interview with Fey on Spike TV.
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Charade

Charade (1963)
Charade, a film written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, tells the tale of a woman (Audrey Hepburn) pursued by several men, including Cary Grant, who want the fortune her murdered husband has stolen. Directed by Stanley Donen, it also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy and an Oscar nominated score by Henry Mancini.

It spans three genres: suspense/thriller, romance, and comedy, and is both charming and amusing. The interaction between Hepburn and Grant is the best part of this 1963 film shot in Paris. Check out About.com for more about the plot, cast, backstory, and more.

Definitely, Maybe

Definitely, Maybe (2008) PG-13
Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin star in this cute chick flick with an unusual bent. Will Hayes (Reynolds) is a soon-to-be divorced dad with a precocious 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Breslin). When Maya starts asking questions about how babies are made, Will distracts her by telling her the story of how he met her mother. He adds an extra twist, though, by changing her name and adding the stories of his two other serious relationships. Maya’s quest is to figure out which woman is her mother. And by the end, Will wonders if he let the right woman go.

Costarring Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz.

27 Dresses

27 Dresses (2008) PG-13
This entertaining love story stars Katherine Heigl and James Marsden. Jane (Heigl) loves weddings – and she’s been a bridesmaid 27 times to prove it. But then her sister gets engaged to George, who Jane is secretly in love with. And that’s when the fun begins. Will Jane finally graduate from being a bridesmaid to being a bride?

One of the highlights from the movie is when Jane modeled her bridesmaid dresses from the various weddings; it was fun to see the different styles. You don’t want to miss it!

Double Wedding

Double Wedding (1937)
In addition to their six Thin Man movies, William Powell and Myrna Loy made many other comedies and dramas together. In Double Wedding, Loy is Margit, the controlling head of her family who has specially chosen sad-sack cousin Waldo to marry younger sister Irene. When Irene seems to be more interested in madcap Charlie Lodge (Powell), a Bohemian artist who lives in a trailer, Loy moves in to break up the supposed romance.

Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run (2007) PG-13
Directed by David Schwimmer (of Friends fame), this is a heartwarming tale of Dennis (Simon Pegg), a lovable loser who can’t seem to finish anything. Dennis’ biggest regret is abandoning his pregnant fiancé at the altar seconds before the ceremony. Years later, he is willing to do whatever it takes to win her back. To prove his love, he vows to complete a marathon, a task which no one believes he can accomplish. With the help of two quirky coaches, Dennis takes on the challenge of training for the 26 mile race. Will true love give him the strength he needs?
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