Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

Australia

Australia (2008) PG-13
Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in this epic movie that’s also a love story. Baz Luhrmann directs this tale set in the Northern Territory of Australia during World War II.

My husband had traveled to Australia, and he loved the scenery portrayed in the movie. He was in the area where it was filmed.

Check out a LA Times interview with Nicole Kidman where she discusses the film and the region. Also visit Amazon.com for a behind the scenes video clip featuring Hugh Jackman. If you want to preview the movie, IMDb.com has several featurettes and trailers.

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.

Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

Back to Black by Amy Winehouse (2006)
Amy Winehouse’s Grammy award-winning album is great to listen to. Her persona doesn’t match her voice; she sounds like ‘60s Motown. The different style has a lot to do with the production. She wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album.

Read the Washington Post review of the album. Check out her website to listen to the CD,  watch exclusive footage, and get more information on the artist.
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Milk

Milk (2008) R
A great story of how a gay person in the 1970s gets elected to political office in San Francisco, and the hard times gays endured to get their voices heard.

Sean Penn won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his title role as Harvey Milk. Also starring Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, and James Franco.
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Changeling

Changeling (2008) R
In 1928 Los Angeles, 9-year-old Walter Collins disappears. His mother, Christine (Angelina Jolie), is hopeful when a boy claiming to be Walter is found in Illinois. However, when they bring him to California, she knows the boy is not her son. Christine takes care of the boy for a time, but when she tells police he is not Walter, they put her in an insane asylum.

This unbelievable scenario is based on a true story. Read about it in this 1999 LA Times article. Visit IMDb.com for movie trailers, clips, and interviews with director Clint Eastwood and Jolie.
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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.

The Reader

The Reader (2008) R
In 1958, a 36-year-old German woman has an affair with a 15-year-old boy. Later in life when he is a law student, she is on trial for World War II war crimes. Kate Winslet gives an outstanding (and Academy Award-winning) performance in this movie.

Want to find more out about the basis for the movie? Read the novel by Bernhard Schlink. Also check out Sally’s review of the novel in our Current Picks blog.
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Songs of the Civil War by The 97th Regimental String Band

Songs of the Civil War, Volume 1: Battlefields and Campfires by The 97th Regimental String Band (1990)
Abraham Lincoln once said that there could be no army without music. This patriotic CD stirs up the ghosts of the Civil War with lively renditions of many classics. These include marches such as "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "The Battle Cry of Freedom" that were sung in the battlefields as well as mournful ballads such as "Just Before the Battle, Mother" and "Coming to us Dead" that were sung around the campfires.

The 97th Regimental String Band brings new life to these American standards with their instruments that give the tunes an authentic 19th century sound. A love of music connects generations, and we can learn a lot about the past by listening to it, literally. History buffs as well as enthusiastic music lovers will enjoy this CD that will help the listener gain a deeper appreciation for the soldiers who risked everything for what they believed in.
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The Wrestler

The Wrestler (2008) R
See Mickey Rourke’s Oscar nominated performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson. He does a great job in his portrayal of Ram. The movie shows what goes on behind the scenes in the world of wrestling. Marisa Tomei (also Oscar nominated for her supporting role) plays a stripper mom with a heart. Good performances; good movie.

Also check out the reviews from Roger Ebert and The New York Times.
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Ray

Ray (2004) PG-13
Featuring an Academy Award winning performance by Jamie Foxx, Ray details the life of Ray Charles from childhood to adulthood. It tracks his success and his journey to becoming one of the greatest musical performers of all time. It’s amazing to see what someone who is blind can achieve.

Learn more about Ray Charles at the library. Visit NPR’s site to listen to a review and to watch clips from the movie.
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Duplicity

Duplicity (2009) PG-13
Starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, Duplicity can be confusing to follow because it alternates between past and present. It’s an interesting movie, building up to the best part of the film – the last 20 minutes. The ending bolsters the whole movie.

Roberts and Owen are former CIA and MI-6 operatives who work for rival beauty care companies. They plan to con their companies to make millions.

Check out the Washington Post review of the film. Visit The Huffington Post to see what other newspapers and magazines said about the movie.
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Flash of Genius

Flash of Genius (2008) PG-13
Greg Kinnear gives a superior performance as Bob Kearns, an electrical engineering professor who fights Ford Motors for stealing his patented invention, the intermittent windshield wiper. This good family man with a sense of right and wrong wants justice at any cost. His family and their story will rip your heart out.

It's more than a David and Goliath story and this "sleeper" of a movie will get you talking afterward!

Read about this true story in articles from the New Yorker (1993) and the Los Angeles Times (2008).
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Saving Grace. Season 1

Saving Grace. Season 1 (2007)
In this TNT television show, Holly Hunter stars as an Oklahoma City detective. She is a very strong female character. It’s good to see her skills at work – and how her personal and professional lives overlap. She has a “last chance angel” that’s trying to help her get a second chance. An intriguing and good drama.
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Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road (2008) RRevolutionary Road may feature the stars of TitanicLeonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – but there’s no Titanic love story here. It’s the end of the line for a marriage. Frank and April Wheeler had hopes and dreams when they first got married but all they ended up with was disillusionment. A good performance by the actors, but not a movie for those looking for an uplifting story.

Based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates.
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Offend Maggie

Offend Maggie by Deerhoof (2008)
Deerhoof is a weird, challenging, and passionate band with a real knack for catchy melodies. They sound like jazz/punk fusion with a toddler on lead vocals.

Offend Maggie is their newest and best album. Read other reviews of the CD.
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