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Here Comes the Judge

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One of our first posts way back in 2008 was the American Film Industries 10 top 10. Check it out because there are 100 great movies listed here and believe it or not, CPL has all of them. Wow! All of the courtroom dramas contained in that list are superior movies and if you haven't seen them all, make sure to try and do so.

Here are a few more to consider.

The Rainmaker with a young Matt Damon and John Voight and based on John Grisham's best seller.

Place in the Sun with two of Hollywood's most beautiful people---Liz Taylor and Montgomery Cliff---I go out of my way to watch this one. Really, only the last 20 minutes is courtroom, but the movie is just so darn good.

Hart's War---no running across broken glass in bare feet (Die Hard), no airport teminals blowing up (Die Hard 2), no car chases (Die Hard 3)---just a surprisingly good dramatic performance from Bruce Willis. A trial takes place for a murder committed in a WW 2 German prisoner of war camp.

The Crucible---lots of recognizable faces in this 96 adaptation of the Arthur Miller story of the same name. With Joan Allen, Winona Ryder, Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Scofield---a spurned lover and accusations of witchcraft.

Caine Mutiny---one of my two favourite Bogart movie (the other being Casablanca)---a US Naval captain shows signs of mental instability which jeopardizes his ship and crew.

Philadelphia---mega-hit from 1993 that won Tom Hanks his first of two consequtive Oscars (followed the next year with Forest Gump). Grab the hankies for this one-you will barely recognize Hanks by the end of the film.

Amistada lesser known Steven Spielberg from 1997---with Matthew McConaughy (one of his rare performances where he manages to go through an entire movie without taking his shirt off) and Anthony Hopkins. Based on real life events surrounding the only known case of slaves on a transport ship attempting a takeover.

Two more from Grisham The Firm---with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman and Runaway Jury with John Cusack, Hackman and Rachel Wiesz.

And because all of these are just so darn serious (as befits courtrooms dramas) why not lighten up with My Cousin Vinny?

And the Nominees are.......2011 Edition

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(Jan 25, 2010) This morning, nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced. The King George VI drama 'The King's Speech' leads the overall race with a whopping 12 nominations. The Coen Brother's remake of 'True Grit' recieved 10 nominations followed by 'The Social Network' and 'Inception' each with 8.

A full list of the nominees can be found here.

In preparation for the big show (February 27, 2010) here is a list of films that are available (or [On Order]) at the Calgary Public Library. Most of the nominated films are still being shown in theatres around the city. Click the links to place a hold:

Social Network [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link (on Order)] - 8 Nominations including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg)

Inception [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 8 Nominations including: Best Picture

Toy Story 3 [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 5 Nominations including: Best Picture, Best Animated Film

Winter's Bone [DVD hold link] - 4 Nominations including: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)

The Kids Are All Right [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 4 Nominations including: Best Picture, Best Actress (Anette Benning), Best Original Screenplay

How To Train Your Dragon [DVD hold link] - 2 Nominations including: Best Animated Film

Alice In Wonderland [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 3 Nominations including: Art Direction

I Am Love [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 1 Nomination: Costume Design

Iron Man 2 [DVD hold link][Blu-ray hold link] - 1 Nomination: Visual Effects

Salt - [DVD hold link] 1 Nomination: Sound Mixing

Restrepo - [DVD hold link] 1 Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

The Town - [DVD hold link] 1 Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Jeremy Renner)

Animal Kingdom - [DVD hold link (on Order)] 1 Nomination: Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver)

Exit Through The Gift Shop [DVD hold link] - 1 Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

Gasland [DVD hold link] - 1 Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

Inside Job [DVD hold link] - 1 Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

The Wolfman [DVD hold link] - 1 Nomination: Make Up

Enjoy the films and good luck in your Oscar Pools!

Funny Ladies

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We do love our dramas here at Movie Maniacs and often go months without recommending anything on the lighter side. So let's correct that right now and have a look at some fine comediennes.

Top of any current list would have to be Tina Fey. This former head SNL writer has the very popular 30 Rock to her credit- she writes and stars in this sitcom about a head writer for a sitcom. The 5th season is currently airing and CPL has the first 4. Date Night with Fey, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg is an engaging 'mistaken identity' romp. Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan pre melt-down days is a pretty good bet for older teens and adults.

We have any number of television series featuring very funny ladies- I love Lucy, The Golden Girls, Carol Burnett and Barbara Feldon in the original Get Smart series.

Ever since she first appeared in Annie Hall, Diane Keaton has remained very popular. There are many of her movies to choose from but for my money I prefer her earlier stuff- like Baby Boom, Sleeper and Father of the Bride. Or watch the far superior original with Spencer Tracy.

Cutie-pie Meg Ryan has a nice comedic touch in two of Nora Ephron's big hits- You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. Also worth a really good laugh is the oldie but goodie When Harry Met Sally.

In the 1930's there was nobody more popular than Myrna Loy. She was a huge box office draw and in 1936 was named Queen of the Movies (and Clark Gable the king), in a nationwide poll of movie goers. Cast in the role as the witty and urbane Nora Charles to William Powell's Nick in the Thin Man series (six in all), these movies still hold a lot of appeal. She is charming in the Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with funny man Cary Grant.

One of my all time fave funny ladies is Madeline Kahn and we have two of her best- Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Saddles is Mel Brooks at his most crass, but if Lili von Schtupp doesn't break you up

Merchant + Ivory = Gold

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Anyone who loves period drama should know the directorial duo of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory.

Merchant Ivory are best known for their adaptations of Edwardian novels starring Helena Bonham Carter before she partnered with animator Tim Burton. A Room with a View was a huge hit with its tale of passionate romance confronting Victorian values and stunning sepia-toned scenes of the Italian countryside.

Howard's End, based on Henry James' novel, followed after featuring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Earlier, they took on the Bostonians. We have one of their first films, from 1965, Shakespeare Wallah. We also have later films such as Before the Rains, another love story. The White Countess (2005) stars Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave again.

Ivory on his own is responsible for The Remains of the Day (from Kazuo Ishigiro's novel) This is Emma Thompson's finest acting role and also one of Anthony Hopkins' best. He is superb as the reserved house manager of a county estate during and after World War II struggling with his sense of du