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Ten to One You'll Enjoy Some of These

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The number (!) of number-themed reviews is vast. What to include: Only titles whose first words are numbers? How many 0000s are permitted? How about fractions? For now, let's look at 10 and under from CPL's dvd collection. It's by no means a complete list, so feel free to recommend others from our collection in your comments.

No, I can't explain the uncanny reappearances of Heath Ledger, Sandra Bullock and Faye Dunaway:

One

One Week: There was buzz a year or so ago at the film festivals around this 2008 feature starring Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek) in which a young man travels across Canada.

One Hour Photo: Robin Williams stars as a creepy photo-finisher who stalks a family after seeing their snaps.

Two (sorry, no Part Twos in this section)

Two if by Sea If you like Sandra Bullock, have a look. A criminal couple decides to take a holiday.Check out Two Weeks Notice: Again with Sandra Bullock

If you like classics try Shakepeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona or Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in two versions (1989) and (1980). See the Dickens' review a few posts back for the links.

Three: The magic number, apparently...look at all the titles...

Three Little Words (1950) starring Fred Astair and Red Skelton. So you think you can dance?

Three Musketeers: We have six versions, including Three Musketeers, Four Musketeers, starring Michael York and Faye Dunaway, 1966 with Jeremy Brett, Disney's, 1939 with Don Ameche, 1921 with Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland's.

Three Days of the Condor Starring Faye Dunaway and Robert Redford. Father of all the "everyone is out to get secret agent so and so" films.

3 Women: on order. Fans of Robert Altman's films will be happy to see this in the collection. Starring Sissy Spacek.

Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: Root 'em Shoot'em starring Tommy Lee Jones. While you're at it, watch 3:10 to Yuma, reviewed in an earlier Best Westerns blog post.

Three Valley Gap: Anyone's who's driven from Calgary to Vancouver on the Trans-Canada knows this wacky gold panning stop in the road. This documentary is part of the Wings over Canada series which gives a bush pilot's view of the area.

The Three Stooges collection: needs no review

Four

Four Feathers Heath Ledger stars in this remake of a 1939 historical drama set during the war in the Sudan.

Four Weddings and a Funeral: The film that launched Hugh Grant's career. A story of friends, love, and loss, it had the quality of an independent film but was still widely accessible and remains a hit.

Five

Hawaii Five-O is now available on dvd in glorious technicolour. Just in time for the tv remake, surf's up! "Book 'em Danno."

We now have The Fifth Element starring supermodel Mila Jovovich. This is a fun sci-fi action/conspiracy movie. Not for kids but lovers of space movies and non-lovers of space movies will both enjoy. Quirky cameo roles abound.

Six

The winner here is the tv series Six Feet Under, which looks at the lives of a family of undertakers after the patriarch dies. Comic and poignant and not too grisly.

We also have Six Degrees of Separation, starring Will Smith in one of his first dramatic roles with Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. A couple's marriage disintegrates as Channing's character explores motherhood and class divisions.

Seven

In Se7en Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star as detectives tracking a violent and manipulative serial killer. Very disturbing and graphic.

Seven Samurai is the clear winner here. See the desert island classic review of Akira Kurasawa's masterwork.

Eight

Eight 1/2: Fellini's classic semi-autobiographical film

8 Mile: Eminem's classic semi-autobiographical film

Jon and Kate plus Eight, the tv series... In case you missed the spectacle the first time around.

Nine

Check out award winning animated film 9. Set in a post-apocalyptic landscape of rubble and mechanical parts, small burlap creatures fight to defend themselves and discover who their destiny. Fans of Tim Burton's films will recognize his visual influence. The dvd also includes the original short film version whose economy and plot development we liked even more than the feature's.

District 9

A very unique film: social critique by way of science fiction. District Nine places aliens in the refugee camps in Johannesburg... and yes, the "monsters are us"

Nine

You may remember the ads but was it ever in the theatres? Anyone? A musical based on Fellini's 8 1/2, watch it for the incredible costumes and all-star cast including Penelope Kruz, Kate Hudson, Daniel Day Lewis and "it" girl Marion Cotillard.

Ten

The Ten Commandments: See Charlton Heston part the Red Sea in glorious Technicolor. It never gets old.

Number Ten: a serial look inside Britain's powerhouse on Downing Street

Ten Canoes This Australian film features Aboriginal brothers in a comic adventure based on a traditional fable.

Ten things I hate about you: Heath Ledger stars in a romantic comedy.

Christopher Nolan

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With all the buzz around the new Leo DiCaprio movie, Inception, it got me thinking I must do a post on Christopher Nolan, who wrote and directed it. Catch it at the theatres or save yourself some money and wait for CPL to bring it in in a few months time. This is a really interesting movie which also features Marion Cotillard, whom Mel recently blogged about. Nolan already has a good track record and this latest effort will only enhance it, and deservedly so.

Along with his brother Jonathan, he co wrote the screenplay for The Dark Knight (the last Batman to be released). Now Batman has never been a superhero I like much- too full of angst for me. And I didn't really care for Dark Knight, although it was hugely popular and did garner Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for best supporting actor. But I did enjoy the earlier effort which was responsible for revitalizing the franchise- Batman Begins. Nolan is currently directing another as yet unnamed Batman project. Dark Knight is currently on order in Blue Ray.

Memento-from 2000 with Guy Pearce, Carrie Ann Moss and Joe Pantoliano. This one is harder to pigeon hole into a genre, but if you like surreal, highly imaginative, non linear thrillers (and who doesn't), you'll really like this. Less abstruce and for me more watchable than The Matrix (another highly imaginative, surreal thriller with Moss and Pantoliano, although not a Chris Nolan project). Memento is intelligent and asks the viewer to pay very close attention---you might end up rewinding occassionaly through the viewing but stick with it---you'll enjoy the ride.

Another worth a look is Insomnia. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, and starring 3 Oscar winners---Robin Williams, Hillary Swank, and Al Pacino. A little slow in spots, but overall a solid murder mystery/pyschological thriller. This is one of the few Pacino movies I actually don't find his acting completely over the top. Apparently he did suffer from insomnia during the filming in Alaska and it lends a real authenticity to his performance.

There is another movie of Nolan's that I absolutley love, but I am not going to give you that title just yet. I am working on another post which will feature it and I don't want to give it away. All you Chris Nolan fans out there will know to what I am referring. And for those of you who don't, it's something to look forward to! It is one of my all-time favourtie movies.

Odds and Ends

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When developing a post I typically pick a theme, be it an actor, genre, director, embarrassment free, etc- and then recommend movies that fit into said theme. But I have lots of movies that are just individual favourites and I thought it was time to start mentioning them. So, for no other reason than I just like these movies- here we go with odds and ends part 1.

Tea With Mussolini---Semi-autobiographical tale from director Franco Zeffirelli. An illegitimate child is raised by an Englishwoman in pre-WWII Fascist Italy. All star cast including Cher, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Joan Plowright---lot of Oscar winners here.

Notes on a Scandal- I almost passed on watching this one because the subject matter didn't appeal to me---an older female teacher seduces/is seduced by a young male student. But the seduction is not the main story, but rather what unfolds as a result. With Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, both were up for Best Actress for their performance and I firmly believe Dench should have received it. However it went to Helen Mirren that year for "The Queen". If you are used to seeing Dench as a calm, controlled voice of reason in her various roles, hang on to your hats!

Deliverance-da da da da da da da da daaaaa. If this somehow escaped your movie radar, this Burt Reynolds, John Voight offering from 1972 is very good. The performances are believable, the story grabs you almost immediately and the ending is strong. Be advised- this is adult material with some disturbing scenes.

Catch Me if you can--- from 2003 "the true story of a real fake". With Tom Hanks and Leo DeCaprio, this one is just plain fun.

The Red Violin--- from 1998. The history of a beautifully crafted violin is followed through three centuries and many countries, eventually ending up at an auction house. This movie is quite compelling.

In the bedroom---2001 with Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei. This movie isn't so much about plot as about what happens when you have well-developed characters and you drop them into a situation. This is a gut-wrencher.

A River Runs through It---an early performance by Brad Pitt, playing one of two brothers growing up in rural Montana in the 30's. A beautifully filmed story about what we do with the choices that life hands us. Often confused with another Pitt movie done two years later, again set in Montana---Legends of the Fall, with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Aidan Quinn--unapologetically passionate and highly entertaining.

Spotlight on Marion Cotillard

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Open any celebrity gossip or fashion magazine, and you will see glamorous Marion Cotillard featured. Don't miss her in CPL's dvds.

She looked familiar to me and sure enough, I had seen her spectacular performance as Edith Piaf in Academy award winning movie La Vie en Rose (whose alternate title is La Mome or The Passionate life of Edith Piaf). Cotillard is perfect as France's best-loved chanteuse from her rise from the street as a child singer to her last days. She is so much like Piaf, you won't recognize her.

Equally comfortable in English-language films, she has starred more recently in Public Enemies which depicts bank robber Dillinger's last days and the rise of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. Johnny Depp stars, but the show stealer is Cotillard. She plays Dillinger's soulful girlfriend who, as in the song "Leader of the Pack" believes Dillinger (who never robs or shoots civilians in the film) is not bad; "he's just sad."

Cotillard also plays romantic co-star in A Good Year (2006). In a nutshell: Boy (Russell Crowe) is a stockbroker run amok. Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy tries to sell family vineyard. Provence + fine wine + misunderstandings + romance = a pretty good movie formula.

Most of Cotillard's earlier performances were in French film and tv, but she had a cameo role as Josephine, in Big Fish (2003), Tim Burton's somewhat surreal movie starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, and Helena Bonham Carter. A dying man recounts his life and his wooing of his wife through the proverbial "big fish tale" including giants, circus acts, witches, and incredible luck.

So far, so good. I think she's in for the long haul...