Words and Pictures (2013)

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche portray two teachers at a high school where they strike up a rivalry of their respective passions – art & literature. Owens plays a one-time lit phenom, Jack Marcus, but hasn’t published in a long time. This, along with his alcoholism, may just be his demise and get him fired from the prep school.

Dina Delsanto (Binoche) is an abstract artist debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis and is the new teacher on campus. Jack quickly starts the flirting game by challenging Delsanto to a word game by increasing the number of syllables of words. The flirting then leads to romance but is soon dissolved by Jack’s alcoholic blunder.

Although it appears bleak that Jack and Dina will repair their relationship, the students are engaged in a competition as to whether words are more important than pictures. Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

While watching the movie I enjoyed a red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Sirah produced by Bota Box called RedVolution.

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I know, I know it’s a box wine but for some reason I really enjoyed this with the movie along with some chips & pretzels. I found aromas of plum, blackberry and black cherry. This wine was quite jammy with similar tastes that I found on the nose. And for $19.99 for a 3 Liter box it’s pretty easy on the budget so it gets 7 1/2 wine glasses.

 

 

 

The Women on the 6th Floor

Foreign film – French (2010).

Set in 1960s Paris, Jean-Louis and his socialite wife find their maid of twenty-three years has up and quit as their housekeeper. As the dishes and laundry pile up, Jean-Louis’ wife Suzanne is convinced by her social circle of friends to get a younger maid and they recommend she employ a Spanish maid over the traditional French maid.

Enter vivacious and pretty Maria and Jean-Louis takes a fancy to her. Maria enlists the help of the other maids and with all the chores this was no easy task. Marveled with her skills, Jean-Louis and Suzanne immediately hire her. With his attention to Maria, Jean-Louis becomes enthralled with her and befriends the women on the 6th floor. This light hearted romantic comedy is worth the cost of admission with a buttered popcorn.

Away We Go

Independent film – 2009.

A couple, Burt Farlander and Veroma De Tessant are very much in love, however Verona is not a believer in marriage yet she wants her unborn child to be near family. Lo and behold, one night at dinner, they learn Burt’s parents drop a bomb on them revealing they have decided to move to Belgium one month before the baby is due. So much for close grandparents.

Burt and Verona decide to visit other places both in the U.S. and Canada where they know friends to see if they can find the best place to raise a child. The zany scenarios they encounter becomes surreal until the last, and least likely, place they’ll ever dream of raising their child. But once there…

This is a cute rainy Saturday afternoon charmer to have with a grilled cheese or any other delectable sandwich of your choice. oh, and by all means put bitter on the popcorn.

Lilyhammer

This is a Netflix original series and season one began in 2011. This started off as an ugly duckling but you warmed up to it and the characters.

Mob boss Frank Tagliano rats out another mob boss after an attempt to snuff him out in his own bar goes awry. So, as a result of Frank giving up the Mafia boss he enters the witness protection program. He chooses Lilyhammer, Norway and he becomes Giovanni Henriksen.

Once here, Giovanni learns that Norway has a very bureaucratic culture and frustration after frustration, Giovanni reverts to his old ways and molds his new surroundings to fit his lifestyle.

This mini-series starts off slow but in the second or third episode you get hooked on the characters and I ended up watching all eight episodes. Season one did end kind of flat and wasn’t the ending I might have expected, but then again that’s what surprise endings are for.

I debated on the popcorn box rating but decided to give this a generous 3 PB mainly due to the likable characters. Oh, and you’ll love the theme song!

Hot Summer Days

Foreign film – Chinese (2010).

I chose this movie due to Netflix’s rating system based on movies you’ve watched in the past and then they come up with recommendations for you. This happened to be one of the recommendations as a solid “3” as Netflix’s best guess for me. The only thing “hot” about this film, is the temperatures in which the film is set, some 47 degrees Celsius which is pretty hot. The cast was so-so with one exception and that was the relationship that builds between Xiao Q (played by Angela Baby) and Xiao Fang (played by Boran Jing). Other than this budding relationship, the movie was pretty boring. Don’t bother renting it even if you have streaming, don’t have any popcorn with this, no candy either, as a matter of fact I wouldn’t even read this review.

La Buche

Foreign film – French (1999).

This dramedy film (more comedy than drama) finds Sonia, Louba, and Milla as sister siblings intent on re-uniting their parents for a Christmas holiday dinner. They provide a pretty good idea of what we can expect a dysfunctional family might look like although I’m sure each one may be different given mitigating circumstances.

Based on love and infidelity, this flick is quite comical in many scenes with the dilemma of preparing for thirteen guests for the holiday dinner – oh, we can’t do that – it would just upset the proverbial apple cart. I found the different dilemmas quite comical which is what kept the film from going into the shadows. Have butter on the popcorn if you wish, but no candy this time…

 

Morning Glory

This 2010 feel good, witty dramedy wasn’t what I expected.  A cast of Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, Noah Bean and show stealer – Rachel McAdams really pull off a ho-hum story and make it a worth while movie to enjoy when you’re looking for a decent movie to watch on a weekend afternoon.

Of course the story focuses on Becky Fuller (McAdams) as a workaholic TV early morning show producer. She loses one job and gets hired by Jerry Barnes (Goldblum) to resurrect the low rating morning show called Daybreak starring two co-anchors Mike Pomeroy (Ford) and Colleen Peck (Keaton). Of course the banter between the two will get you to laughing quite a bit. Becky has been given the task to re-establish the morning show back to respectability but gets thwarted by Pomeroy as he wants to do things his way.

In addition to Rachel McAdams performing above and beyond I was very pleased with the role taken on by Harrison Ford. Although he was great in Star Wars and the Raiders series, in this venue, he plays a conceited,  grump nose who wants to cover the stories he feels are worthy. In the end though he realizes he must change with the times and become a team player.

 

Have butter on the popcorn and pick up several boxes of your favorite candies.

Potiche

Foreign film – French (2010).

Robert (Fabrice Luchini) Pujol runs the family umbrella business with an iron fist and he is stricken with a heart attack, his “trophy wife”, Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) proves to be an entrepreneur in hiding. She has a simple, yet effective business charm with the workers. She engages the help of her two children to bring the umbrella factory above and beyond all expectations in both sales of the umbrellas, but also of the workers’ morale.

She faces numerous obstacles along the way such as her long ago romance with Babin (Gerard Depardieu), the leftist mayor; getting her son to embrace the family business; and getting bamboozled by her daughter in a power struggle from the board of directors. However, she rises to the occasion and runs against Babin for the mayoral seat and is a role model for other women.

Put butter on the popcorn, get a couple boxes of Raisinets, a box of Good & Plenty, and a bag of red licorice and watch this on a rainy weekend afternoon.

The Tiger and the Snow

Foreign film – Italian (2005).

Offbeat comedy of a romantic poet, Attilio, deeply in love with Vittoria. He follows his true love to war ridden Iraq where Vittoria is dying and he attempts to save her and to make her his wife. This is a zany movie at times with laughable scenes. The acting of Roberto Benigni (who also directed), Jean Reno (I didn’t realize he spoke Italian that well), and Nicoletta Braschi made the movie bearable.  Watch it if you have time on your hands, if not, oh well you haven’t missed much. You won’t need any butter on the popcorn but do have a candy snack of your choice.

 

Paul

Sci-fi, comedy – 2010.

Two Brits finally take a holiday across the pond to hopefully find the answer to alien life. While visiting the many sci-fi tourist traps in Nevada they meet the elusive green creature most have only dreamed of. Paul, who’s on the lam from the establishment is desperate to get back to the mother ship. The lads, with new girlfriend in tow, vow to help their new found alien “phone home”. As a side note, the alien connection cross paths with an angry father, two inept CIA agents, and some “out of this world” characters makes this a pleasant movie to watch on a rainy afternoon. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. Have a box of Jujubes along with the popcorn.