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Midnight

Midnight (1939)
Claudette Colbert is down on her luck. She managed to arrive in London from Monte Carlo with only an evening dress. Unable to find a job to make enough money for a room, she crashes a society party and meets John Barrymore, who turns out to be her own fairy godfather. Disturbed that his wife, Mary Astor, is more interested in a charming man about town than in himself, Barrymore hires Colbert to seduce said man away from his wife. However, a certain Paris cab driver, Don Ameche, has different plans for Colbert.

This funny and fast paced screwball comedy from the golden era of the genre has snappy dialogue and ridiculous situations. It also showcases the Colbert persona personality perfectly: when caught in a lie tell a bigger lie.

Check out the original New York Times review from 1939.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory (2010) PG-13
Ambitious 28-year-old producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) takes the helm of a failing morning show. To revitalize the show, she snares legendary newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to partner Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton). Hilarity ensues. The banter between Ford and Keaton is spot on.

Becky learns that there’s life outside of work, childhood heroes may disappoint, old dreams may no longer fit, and there may be a guy for her after all.

Check out a featurette at IMDb.com.

Hairspray

Hairspray (2007) PG
Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), an overweight and goodhearted teenager, is able to live her dream and become a regular member of her favorite TV dance program, The Corney Collins Show,which seems to be Baltimore’s version of American Bandstand.

This lively musical is set in 1962 when segregation was prominent. The issues of prejudice and integration are dealt with in an upbeat manner. See John Travolta transformed into Tracy’s plus sized mother. I finished my viewing with a smile on my face and songs in my head, especially “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” (sang by Queen Latifah).

Also costarring Amanda Bynes, Zac Efron, Allison Janney, James Marsden, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brittany Snow, and Christopher Walken.

Hairspray was based on John Waters’ cult film Hairspray (1988) which spawned a Broadway musical and this movie version. Check out the music with the CD Hairspray: original Broadway cast recording.

Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run (2007) PG-13
This movie directed by David Schwimmer tells that tale of Dennis, the groom who got cold feet and left his pregnant girl friend at the altar five years before. Now Dennis is wanting her and their son back but has competition in the form of Whit, the American! Both the men enter the Marathon and after some dirty tricks on both sides, Libby sees a new side to Whit that she doesn’t care for. Dennis has help in his quest from his friends Gordon and Mr. Goshdashtidar and proves to be the man Libby always loved.

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The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard (2008) PG
The versatile John Malkovich plays the Great Buck Howard, a mentalist who is trying to make a comeback. Told from the viewpoint of his new personal assistant, Troy Gable (Colin Hanks), a law school dropout and would be writer, the story keeps viewers guessing as to what’s real and what’s not. While dealing with Buck’s eccentricities, Troy learns valuable life lessons.

You will be intrigued as the story unfolds. Reporters label Buck as a has-been and his act cheesy, but his audiences still love the old-fashioned stage show, including guessing numbers and finding the fee for his performance hidden in the audience. He makes the impossible seem possible. Will he succeed at his next big act of large scale hypnotism and cement his legacy?

The story is inspired by the Amazing Kreskin who was featured on the Johnny Carson Show 61 times. Watch the special feature, “The Amazing Kreskin.”
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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) PG-13
Pilgrim (Michael Cera from Juno and Superbad) plays bass guitar in a Toronto garage band. He’s dating a high school girl, but meets his dream girl, Ramona Flowers, a punky American girl closer to his own age. The story is told as an allegory of life as a video game, complete with extra lives and the need to out-fight one’s enemies. Scott soon finds out he must defeat Ramona’s 7 evil exes before they can date. Not just another teen movie, the movie appeals to a much wider range of fans. Watch for an uncredited appearance by Thomas Jane (The Punisher) as one of the Vegan Police.

One of the writers of this film (Edgar Wright) also co-wrote the clever zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead (2004). Bryan Lee O'Malley wrote the graphic novels the movie was based on.

Easy A

Easy A (2010) PG-13
Don’t miss this Golden Globe-nominated performance by Emma Stone as Olive, a high school student who uses rumors to enhance her popularity, to help a friend, and to make a little money on the side. Olive’s life begins to resemble the story she is studying in class, The Scarlet Letter, and she even sews a scarlet “A” to her school outfits. This teen comedy/romance includes Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s impossibly wonderful parents and Lisa Kudrow as a guidance counselor who has a lot to learn from Olive about how to do the right thing.

Check out reviews in TIME Magazine and Salon.com.

The Snapper

The Snapper (1993) R
An Irish lass finds herself pregnant and will not name the father of her child. Sharon Curley is 20 years old, living at home and becomes the talk of the town. She decides to keep the baby -- “the snapper” -- and her family members each in their way decide to support her.

This film is part of the Barrytown trilogy by Roddy Doyle: The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1990), and The Van (1991).
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Just Wright

Just Wright (2010) PG
Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a diehard basketball fan, a successful physical therapist, and every guy’s best friend. At 35, she’s ready to meet the man she can’t live without.

And then there’s her friend Morgan – a woman looking for the man who can make all of her financial dreams come true (better than looking for a job, in her opinion). Through a chance meeting, the pair attends a birthday party for professional basketball player Scott McKnight (Common).

Morgan meets Scott, he falls hard, and the rest is history. Not quite. When Scott suffers a career-threatening knee injury, Morgan ends the engagement.

Leslie becomes his physical therapist, his friend, and his motivator. But the road to love is never smooth. This enjoyable romantic comedy provides the usual laughs while giving sports fans something to watch (see cameos by Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard). For a basketball romance with a little drama, check out Love & Basketball (2000).

Read a review from Roger Ebert.

Beauty Shop

Beauty Shop (2005) PG-13
In this feel good girlfriend movie, Queen Latifah is Gina, a hairstylist at a trendy Atlanta salon. When her arrogant domineering boss goes too far, Gina pulls out, starts her own shop, and takes newly-trained stylist Lynn (Alicia Silverstone) with her. Problems with her new employees, her old building, and her conniving ex-boss add to Gina’s woes. But of course good friends, a couple of great guys and a well deserved comeuppance puts everything to right. Of course, Kevin Baker is over the top as Gina’s ex-boss, and of course every repairman who comes in is one great-looking hunk, and of course it is all a bit predictable, but who cares when it is all great feel-good fun.

Sex and the City 2

Sex and the City 2 (2010) R
Although not quite as good as the first movie, I loved revisiting the girls. You see a different side of Big. Suspend disbelief and you’ll enjoy the Dubai sequence.

Have Carrie and Big settled into domestic bliss? Is Samantha as outrageous as ever? Fans of the series will still love it. Look for cameos featuring Liza Minnelli and Penelope Cruz.

The Shop around the Corner

The Shop around the Corner (1940)
I list this among my top holiday movies, but you’ll enjoy it any time of year. James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan delightfully embody employees at a Budapest gift shop circa 1940; they can barely tolerate each other but have unknowingly carried on a romantic pen pal correspondence. Supporting actors also do memorable work. This charming comedy has sweetness, wit, warmth, a bit of sassiness, and extremely likeable characters. I adore this film.

Other versions include In the Good Old Summertime (1949) and You’ve Got Mail (1998). Also check out Slate's comparison of The Shop around the Corner to Stewart's other Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life.

Christmas in Connecticut

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck), a successful food writer for Smart Housekeeping (a popular magazine such as Family Circle), writes about her idyllic life on a farm in Connecticut with her husband and baby. Her readers and her publisher, Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet) love her columns and believe them to be true.

The truth is Elizabeth is unmarried, has no child, lives in a New York City apartment, has never lived on a farm, and can't cook. Elizabeth is well paid and loves living in New York. But both her position and her lifestyle are threatened when Yardley decides it would make wonderful publicity for Elizabeth to invite Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) into her home at Christmas. Jones is a war hero who had spent weeks at sea in a lifeboat after his ship had been sunk. To complicate matters even further, after Yardley is put on an extremely restrictive diet, he decides to invite himself to Elizabeth's farm.

How Elizabeth copes with her dilemma leads to very funny film. You'll roar with laughter at times and the romance that develops between Elizabeth and Jones is both comic and heartwarming. This is one of my favorite Christmas films.

It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated (2009) R
Jake and Jane have been divorced for 10 years. Jake’s younger second wife is pressuring for a second child and Jake is evaluating what he had and what Jane now offers to his life. Jane’s kids are out of the house; her business is running and she meets a very nice architect who is doing her home remodeling.

Then Jake and Jane spend a dancing, drinking night together and suddenly the affair of the exes begins. Jane becomes a livelier, energetic person but grows closer to Adam, the architect. Finally, when Jake wants to get back with Jane she nixes the idea (it’s complicated) and tries to follow her heart and be true to her own feelings.

Starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. Check out a funny interview with the trio in USA Today.

Letters to Juliet

Letters to Juliet (2010) PG
A sweet story starring Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia) and Vanessa Redgrave, Letters to Juliet features beautiful shots of the Italian countryside. Women with romantic dilemmas write letters to Juliet and leave them in a wall in Verona. Juliet’s “secretaries” diligently answer all of the letters. When Sophie (Seyfriend) discovers a 50 year old letter from Claire (Redgrave), she embarks on a journey in search of Lorenzo and in the process she re-evaluates her life.

Visit IMDb.com for interviews with the cast and trailers and clips from the film. To learn about the real story of letters, ladies, and Verona, check out Letters to Juliet by Lise Friedman (2010).