Columbus Circle (2012)

Abigail Clayton (Selma Blair) is a very, very lonely person. She is also very, very rich. This movie is full of twists and turns as we enter the daily life she leads. Abigail suffers from agoraphobia in which she is fearful of wide open spaces and situations where she may come in contact with others in malls, train stations, airports, etc. and she is being treated by the good doctor, Dr. Ray Fontaine played by Beau Bridges.

As the story unfolds I found myself on the edge of my seat in places and wasn’t ready for some of the twists this movie had to offer. It starts with Abigail’s neighbor being murdered and the suspense begins when a detective has some concerns over the circumstances of the murder. Then new neighbors move in even though Abigail has offered a lot of money for the apartment.

Abigail finds out the new couple have marital problems and befriends the new wife by comforting her after she is beaten by her husband. And this is where is really gets interesting. I can’t tell you what happens next, as this would really spoil the ending for you. You’ll have to rent it to see the ending…

 

No One Killed Jessica

Foreign film- Hindi (2011).

Based on the true story of Jessica Lall who was murdered in 1999.

Jessica, an aspiring model, refuses to serve her eventual killer a drink after hours in a local nightclub. Manish, the son of a intimidating, prominent, and wealthy politician succeeds in buying off the witnesses with his father’s help believes he has beaten the charges in the senseless, deadly crime.

After several years of attempting to prevail in justice, Jessica’s sister Sabrina finally gives up as all seems to favor the politician’s son even though all believe Manish is guilty.

Enter stage right, Meera, a well-known reporter takes on the challenge of righting the wrong for Jessica. Utilizing unorthodox means, Meera sets in motion the will of power of the people. What transpires is a national protest against those individuals who believe they are above the law.

A very compelling film, skip the wine for this one but do butter the popcorn.

Intelligence Seasons 1 & 2

Foreign TV series – Canada (2005-2007).

Jimmy Reardon, a Canadian gangster hanging out in the city of Vancouver, BC is the main character in this Canadian TV crime drama. Unlike most crime dramas where you can’t wait for the “bad” guy to get caught in the end, this one you can’t help but rooting for the bad guys and you immediately like Jimmy. He’s a likable guy played to a “T” by Ian Tracey.

Jimmy has a strange connection to Mary Spalding, head of the Organized Crime Unit stationed in Vancouver in a nemesis-colleague type relationship. You’ll find you are wishing them both well.

Jimmy has a lot of people on his side and the characters are well played by the cast. Chris Haddock, the TV series creator did an excellent job casting the crew for this series.

Throughout the series, it was tough to tell if certain characters were good guys or bad guys on both sides of the law. The bad guys had some good qualities, they also had some bad qualities. The good guys had some good qualities, they also had some bad qualities.

Storytelling was top notch beginning with the first episode till the last one. It kept me spellbound at the end of each episode wanting the next episode to start right away. I’ll have to warn you, watching this is like reading a good book – it’s tough to put down.

Have butter on the popcorn, but make sure you get the refillable box of popcorn as you’re going to need it for all these episodes. You may want to get a few boxes of Goobers, Dots, Jujubes, Sno-Caps, Juicy Fruits, Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Raisinets, and Good & Plenty – yeah, the whole candy case. Oh, did I forget the licorice?

Haywire

In this 2011 thriller, a member of a black ops mission is set up and she’s on a quest to seek revenge on those responsible for setting her up. She has to use all her skills to stay alive. It took me awhile to figure out who the good guys were and who the bad guys were.

After a covert operation in Barcelona, Mallory Kane is sent on another mission to Ireland where she is earmarked for elimination. Realizing she has been double crossed, she embarks on a mission to uncover the culprits. There’s a lot of intrigue in this movie with good performances by Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, and Bill Paxton among others.

 

The Wave

Foreign film – German (2008).

Rainer Wenger (Jürgen Vogel) is a high school teacher and is getting ready for “project week” where just about anything goes (within reason of course, after all this is high school). The topic is Autocracy and Rainer, as all his students call him, wanted the Anarchy class but the older teacher would not switch with him.

So, Wenger accepts the role of autocracy and tell the students they must call him Herr Wenger and that they must stand when they want to speak in class. To further the ideals of a unified group, Wenger suggests they all have uniforms and it is decided that jeans and a white shirt would prevail as the “new trend” in clothing style.

Another stipulation is that he rearranged the seating from an adhoc mish-mash one to a structured, facing the front, two students at each desk. Now, each of the students were not with their friends but paired up by one good student and one student that struggled academically.

The group decides to give their movement a name and decide on The Wave with a nifty salute. There are many parallels to Nazi Germany but you have to remember that the students are third generation from the mid 1940s.

Throughout the film we see the dynamics of the students before project week, during project week and the end of project week. You get a feeling something will go awry by the films end and it does but I’ll leave that for you to experience it. This was a well directed movie with some dynamic acting on all fronts. Go ahead and put butter on the popcorn and get your self a box of Dots too.

 

Lunopolis

I first put this movie into my instant queue as I thought it was a Sci-fi movie. However, when I started watching it I thought I was watching a documentary. So, I almost turned it off as I was in the mood for a Sci-fi flick, not a documentary.

I realized the movie was about two documentary filmmakers discovering a conspiracy with the government – enter the Sci-fi movie.

It appears that moon people (humans really but they live on the moon) are involved in time travel through the Church of Lunopolis (ohhh, sound familiar, Bollywood fans?) as this discreet organization protects the moon people.

There were some really neat parts of this movie that amazed you and you could almost believe this is a Sci-fi documentary and people do exist on the moon deciding our fate. A bit tongue & cheek at times but enjoyable nonetheless.

Rosenstrasse

Foreign film – German (2003).

After the death of her father, Hannah notices some strange behavior exhibited by her mother especially the strict Jewish rituals she imposes on everyone at the wake. One of the mourners introduces herself as Ruth’s cousin but is asked to leave by Ruth.

Hannah realizes the key to her past is finding the truth about her family and embarks on a mission to know more. She connects with Lena Fischer who helped Ruth escape the Nazi regime. As Lena describes the story we go back and forth from present day and the past. Part of this fact based drama retells a particular week in Germany where many of the Jewish husbands married to Aryan women are detained with the notion of sending them to concentration camps.  The women stage a non-violent protest for one week and miraculously the detained husbands are freed.

Based on true events, this is a great heart-warming story that will delight all. By all means put butter on the popcorn and enjoy the movie.

The Statement (2003)

Based on the events of a true story in 1944 where Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine), a Milice officer rounds up seven Jews and has a hand in executing them for their religious beliefs.

Now in the early 1990s, Broussard is on the run from the authorities and a group of underground assassins out to right the wrong done in the past.

Anne Marie Livi (Tilda Swinton), a French prosecutor known for her tenacity for solving crimes is teamed up with Colonel Rioux (Jeremy Northam) in their attempt to break through the church monks and Vichy sympathizers who have been protecting him all these years, before the ruthless underground hired guns get to him.

But who really wants Pierre Brossard dead? Ahh, you’ll have to watch this one to find out?

I’m a huge Michael Caine fan but prefer to see him in the “good guy” role but that’s just me, he’s still a great actor! By all means, have popcorn with butter on it for this movie.

Rosemary & Thyme, Season One

British TV Series – 2003.

A plant pathologist Rosemary Boxer teams up with a former constable Laura Thyme as two gardeners with a penchant for being around when dead bodies are found.

The season opens with Laura being dumped by her husband for a younger women and meeting Rosemary in a bed & breakfast where the two are staying. The two ladies hit it off and they uncover the culprits in each episode where dead bodies are uncovered.

Each episode has a new dead body and a new set of clues as to the culprit. Rosemary & Thyme have some far-fetched theories of the ultimate whodunnit but they do seem to stumble upon them in British fashion.

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!