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At First Sight

At First Sight (1999, rated PG-13) starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino is a slow-moving, tender love story that shows that blind people are not completely helpless. Virgil has been blind since early childhood. He meets Amy, who he likes and she reciprocates those feeling. Virgil has a new surgery to help him regain his vision, and his life changes drastically. He experiences unexpected problems of suddenly seeing and not knowing how to handle his new vision.

All and all, At First Sight is a feel-good movie worth watching. Place the dvd on hold or check it out on Hoopla today.


Coherence

Mike and Lee are having friends over for dinner tonight. It's also the night Miller's comet will pass near the Earth. Smartphones crack, the Internet goes out, and then all power is lost. Mike has a generator which restores the lights. The landscape outside is dark except for one house in the distance with the lights on. Despite having been warned by a physicist friend to stay inside during the comet event, two of the party take glow sticks and attempt to visit the other house.

Then it really starts getting weird. This is one of those movies you have to watch over again to notice the clues you missed the first time. Don't look for car chases, fiery explosions, or gunfights. Coherence (2013) is more of a thought-provoking suspense puzzle.

I really liked Coherence and always recommend it when I'm asked for a good movie: you can place a hold on the dvd or watch it on Hoopla today.

Amelie

This quirky French comedy very loosely parallels the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. The title character is a cute young waitress with a vivid imagination who comes to realize her joy at helping others. There is no end to the outlandish stratagems that Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is plotting, but will she be able to find love for herself ?

Amelie (2001, rated R) is a fun film with plenty of computer-generated visuals, giving it a unique and farcical feel. Watch the film on Hoopla today. In French with English subtitles.


Still Life

The little village in Quebec is the scene of an inexplicable murder of a beloved resident.  This murder leads police to suspect murder in an earlier death originally thought to be of natural causes.  The investigation fosters suspicion, recriminations, and attempted murders to hide the truth.

Still Life: a Three Pines Mystery (2013) is a bit slow, but a nice addition to the cozy cottage village mystery genre.  Watch the movie on Hoopla today.

The film is based on the bestselling series featuring Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny.  Listen to the audiobook on Hoopla or read the ebook on Overdrive.


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Parasite

Where do you start with Parasite?  The experience of watching it is so many things at once: funny, tragic, bold, engaging, unsettling, upsetting, shocking.  Somehow, director, Bong Joon Ho, has made the film's stomach-dropping shifts in tone and twists in plot feel seamless, and the result is one of the most memorable movie experiences I've had this year.

Parasite (2019, rated R), the first-ever South Korean film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, tells the story of a struggling Korean family.  The Kim family lives in a roach-infested, semi-underground apartment, surviving on odd jobs and borrowed wi-fi.  But when an old classmate of Ki-Woo, one of the Kim children, visits their luck changes.  The classmate works as a tutor for the wealthy Park family and wants Ki-Woo to replace him while he studies abroad.

Ki-Woo seizes the opportunity, not only for himself but for his struggling family.  As he is leaving his first tutoring lesson, Mrs. Park laments that her younger son has never been able to find a good art teacher.  It so happens that Ki-Woo knows an art student that may be interested.  She went to America to study, he explains, but is probably back in Korea by now.  The next day Ki-Woo's sister, Ki-Jung, accompanies him, introducing herself as "Jessica," the art therapist.  She diagnoses Mrs. Park's son with early signs of severe mental illness and prescribes several therapy sessions a week.  Ki-Woo's parents soon follow.  One by one, posing as distant acquaintances or professional contacts, each member of the Kim family claws their way into the household.  In their efforts to secure full-time employment, they can be crueleven ruthlessbut it's difficult not to root for them anyway.  The Kims do not play nice, but they are smart, resourceful, and determined.  With the few resources they have, they succeed in beating their competition and pulling the household's stringsuntil one fateful night, things go very, very wrong.

Many movies explore the ugly realities of class divide and inequality, but few are as vivid and clever as Parasite.  Watch it for free with a Hulu subscription (or one-month free trial), by placing a hold on one of the library's Rokus preloaded with Hulu, or placing a hold on a dvd or blu-ray.

Millennium Actress

This Japanese anime movie is centered on the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who is being interviewed about her career.  Chiyoko recounts the story of a man she tried to find throughout her life without knowing his name or face.  The story flows from the past and present when Chiyoko is telling the story, and it transitions beautifully from one scene to the next.

Millennium Actress (2019, rated PG) was directed by the award winning director, Kon Satoshi, who also directed Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers.

Watch Millennium Actress  on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.



Comfort and Joy

Based upon real events, a local DJ gets involved between two rival families for the ice cream trade in Glasgow.  Bill Paterson, who plays DJ Dickie Bird, is in top form.  The introduction is rather long before you get into the reason for the film.  While it can be slow moving, it does have a good sense of humor.

Watch Comfort and Joy (1984, rated PG) on Hoopla today.


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Penelope

Penelope Wilhern is living a fairy tale. She is an heiress, living in a beautiful mansion, being pursued by a charming aristocrat…and she's tasked with breaking the curse she was born with that left her with a pig snout instead of a nose. Such a task seems hopeless when suitor after suitor run away in terror after seeing her, but when one of those suitors helps Penelope learn to take risks, she begins to see there is more to life than breaking the curse.

Penelope (2006, rated PG) is feel good, modern day fairy tale peppered with comedy, fantasy, romance, and charming performances by Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Reese Witherspoon. Watch it on Hoopla today.


The Captive

In this psychological thriller, Ryan Reynolds plays Matthew Lane, a father whose 10-year-old daughter is taken from his truck. After the police have been searching for her for eight long years, they finally get a lead that she is still alive.  Matthew never gives up hope and helps bring down the ring responsible for her disappearance.  I really liked The Captive (2014, rated R).

Watch it on Hoopla today.


The Interpreter

This Slovakian film garnered 13 nominations and 9 wins from all over the world.  The Interpreter (2018) tells the story of 80-year-old Ali Ungar finding a book written by a former SS officer describing his wartime activities in Slovakia.  Ali discovers this person was responsible for murdering his parents.  He tries to take revenge, but instead finds the officer's 70-year-old son, Georg.  The son hires Ali, the interpreter, to travel with him to find out more about his father, with whom he never had a close relationship. These opposites travel together to interview eyewitnesses to the slayings, but along the way the very different men find out that they are not so different at all.

This movie was superb, with believable characters that will wrench at your heart.  Watch The Interpreter on Hoopla today.

In Slovak, German, and Russian with English subtitles.

The Others

During World War II while a woman waits to hear about her missing husband, she must protect her two young children who suffer from a rare disease that causes deadly photosensitivity.  Moving her family to a Gothic mansion on the English coast safe from war, she encounters a far more sinister enemy as paranormal activities spiral out of control.  The Others (2001, rated PG-13) starring Nicole Kidman, Alakina Mann, and James Bentley is a shockingly true to life ghost story!

Watch it on Hoopla today.



David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single

This comedy is about how quickly life can change and how as a result, you change with it.  In David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single (2012), Sam (Garcelle Beauvais) is excited to move to Chicago.  Sylvester (Isaiah Washington), her husband of 17 years, receives a promotion that requires the family to move, but also affords them the luxury of living in a nicer home.

As Sam proudly packs up their apartment (which they share with their 16-year old-son), Sylvester abruptly announces that Sam will not be moving.  If that isn't bad enough, he boldly tells her he was moving into his new home with his girlfriend!

With the love of her best friend, the honesty of her son, and the pushiness of her mother, Sam decides she will survive and love again.  David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single has funny parts and several aha moments regarding love, self-respect, and family.  Watch it on Hoopla today.

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Page Eight

I really enjoy the work of Bill Nighy.  While being a gifted comedic actor (Pirate Radio, Dad's Army), he also excels at portraying Johnny Worricker, an operative of MI5 nearing the end of his career.  His life has been upended when his boss and best friend have damaging information on the Prime Minister, but dies before it can be verified.

Page Eight (2011) is a spy thriller that isn't about car crashes and explosions, but instead about dirty money, hidden agendas, political maneuvering, believable characters, witty dialogue, and contemporary situations.

Watch it on Hoopla today.

Son of God

In this dramatic film, Diogo Morgado does an excellent job representing Jesus in a way that would appeal to viewers, young and old.He is calm and likable as Jesus. The director does a good job hitting the highlights of who Jesus is: the major events, the politics of the period, and the division Jesus had with the religious leaders of his time are clear from the beginning of Son of God (2014, rated PG-13).

What sets Son of God apart from other biblical movies is its portrayal of the women in Jesus' life and mission.  Principal characters in the film include his mother, Mary the devoted follower, and the wife of Pilot.  When Jesus' own disciples ran away from their Lord, the women always held their ground, remaining faithful to Him to the very end and beyond.  Overlooked for centuries, I applaud the makers of this film for getting that message out there.

Watch Son of God on Hoopla today.




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Perfect Blue (1997)

Follow the life of Mima, a singer in a popular group who leaves to pursue a life of acting in this Japanese anime movie. Her managers and handlers are continually murdered as she makes the transition though, leading to increased paranoia. Even worse, she begins to believe that she has a stalker as her paranoia and stress begin to change how she sees reality. The movie is a great look at the negative aspects of being famous and the physiological toll it can have on someone.

If you like psychological thrillers, this is one not to miss. Watch Perfect Blue (rated R) on Hoopla today.

In Japanese with English subtitles.