DAN IN REAL LIFE

Dan Burns (Steve Carell) is recently widowed but would like to get back into the dating game. Unfortunately, the first woman he falls for is his brother's (Dane Cook) girlfriend Marie (Juliette Binoche). This is a blissfully funny and touching romantic comedy; the real thing is that its characters manage to be romantic, hilarious and recognizably human at the same time. I was entertained and felt pretty good...so will you! Watch Dan in Real Life Trailer.

FRACTURE

AMERICAN GANGSTER

In 1970s Harlem, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is a quiet, unassuming driver to one of NYC's most notorious drug lords. When his boss suddenly dies, Frank steps into the power vacuum to become an even bigger crime kingpin. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is the hardnosed cop determined to bring Frank to justice. This is a gangster movie based on a true story. It focused on character rather than action and on the intricacies of people's backgrounds, strategies and motivations, a sprawling, fascinating look into the complicated mind and operations of the head of a crime syndicate. Watch (American Gangster) Trailer.

November Noteworthy Books to Films

No Country for Old Men, a Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s fast-paced thriller gives us a “disturbing look into the vortex created by drugs and violence in America and a moving meditation on good and evil, freedom and fate, time and change”, guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat.

The film version of Beowulf , an epic poem, is a big-budget, digitally-enhanced tale of a warrior sent to battle monsters terrorizing the countryside.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is an enduring classic about two star-crossed lovers. I heard the adaptation is equally engaging.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby is an autobiographic story of the author who became completely paralyzed at the age of 43. Artist Julian Schnabel received Festival de Cannes Best Director award for this remarkable film.

Don’t Worry. Help Is On The Way!

Help! never gets a fair shake. As a Beatle movie, A Hard Day's Night completely outshines it. While undoubtedly the inferior film, Help! certainly has merit. As a Beatle record, Help! finds itself eclipsed over by 1965’s Rubber Soul, with critics pointing to Soul as The Beatles’ turning point to more artistic endeavours, overlooking Beatles For Sale in ’64 and Help! earlier ’65, both featuring darker lyrics and more diverse musical influences. The movie, though, has only been available on VHS until last week, when Apple Corps released a brand new DVD package. Basically I could not be more excited.

Transformers, Robots in Disguise

According to my older sister, my childhood was seriously lacking because I was too young to understand and appreciate Transformers. I wondered if she was actually right for a change when I saw the latest movie. The new live action film was funny and interesting enough to warrant placing a request for 20th anniversary edition of the 1986 animated Transformers film. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by characters voiced by Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, and Orson Welles? In the animated movie, the autobots must stop Unicron, a planet eating robot, from stealing the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Optimus Prime will always be cool, but after seeing the movie, I know there is a lot of Transformers history I could catch up on to understand it better. If you grew up with it and are feeling nostalgic, check it out!

Don't Miss This One

Water is a controversial and thought provoking 2006 film directed by Deepa Mehta. The film's setting is 1930's India. The main characters are widows who are forced to live solitary existences. In traditional Hindu culture, when a husband dies, the wife is forced into living out the rest of her life away from society in an ashram. Although, this chaste and meager existence is better than the traditional alternative of being cremated along with the husband, it is similar to a life of imprisonment.

But what happens when 8 year old Chuyia becomes a widow, and is forced to live this way? Her spunk, questioning, and need to live the life of an 8 year old make the women contemplate why this tradition even exists. Kalyani takes Chuyia under her wing, and the story unfolds from there.

This is a film not to be missed because of its questioning of traditional religious beliefs, and the exploration of women's rights. The setting, actors, and cinematography all come together to make this a wonderful and beautiful film. The official FFG rating of this movie is 9.

C-H-E-E-S-E-A-N-D-O-N-I-O-N-S Oh No!

Forget John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I’ll take Ron, Dirk, Stig, and Barry any day of the week (even the eighth one.) The Rutles, scousers as well, made it just as big as those other four guys. Maybe even bigger. Maybe even smaller. They almost definitely “made it” a larger, smaller or equal amount as The Beatles. Unfortunately, like so many of those great bands from the sixties (e.g. The Turtles or The Beau Brummels,) problems with their label have doomed The Rutles’ back catalogue lost to history except for a greatest hits and Archeology, a collection of rare and unreleased songs. AADL fortunately has both records as well as a Rutles documentary.

Strike!

You may be having a sense of deja vu when next you watch your favorite television television show. The Writers Guild of America, the folks responsible for much of the content on TV and in movies, is on strike. The sticking point? Authors want a bigger share of the lucrative DVD market and a stake in the burgeoning web market. Studios and networks say no way, not wanting to cut into their cash cow or hamper their efforts to draw in web viewers.

The effects will be felt most immediately in late night TV and other programming that relies heavily on current events, including, sadly, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Soap opera fans beware, for daytime television will follow shortly. Prime time TV and movies won't be affected immediately. Of course, if the strike lasts 5 months like the last one, even all you Lost addicts out there may be getting a bit of strike fatigue.

Why did Herr F. run amok?

Finally--I've been waiting years for the DVD release of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, the 13-part series based on the novel by Alfred Doblin and the crowning achievement in Fassbinder's controversial career. (It's due for release on November 13 and currently on order for AADL--a Criterion edition, no less!) Meanwhile, we have several classic titles from German cinema's enfant terrible in our collection, including Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The Marriage of Maria Braun, and Why Does Herr R Run Amok? Watch one this weekend, then come to the discussion of Fassbinder's work at the Downtown library at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5, by UM's Malcolm Tulip and Hanna Worthen.

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