Staff Picks: Movies
Staff-recommended viewing from the KPL catalog.
As an avid reader of comic books, I would often stumble upon an ad for the television show Burn Notice. The ad reminded me of an awful USA Network television show from the 90’s called Silk Stalkings, so I never bothered to watch. It wasn’t until I was home sick channel surfing did I discover the greatness of Burn Notice. Creator Matt Nix has developed a show that pays homage to some great TV and movies. This show has successfully combined the jack-of-all-trades archetype of MacGyver, the ex-spy vibe of the Bourne movies, the exotic locale of Miami Vice, and the delightful campiness of CHiPs. Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) has just been blacklisted, or burned, from the spy business and dumped in his hometown of Miami. While investigating into who burned him, he passes the time helping out people in need with his ex-IRA girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Navy SEAL buddy, Sam (Bruce Campbell). This show is for fans of TV series that like to keep you on the edge, never quite revealing who is behind the sinister plot until the bitter end. After watching all five seasons I understood why the show is advertised in comic books, it is pure, unadulterated escapism.
Silver screen legend Dame Elizabeth Taylor was one of the greatest actresses of not only the 20th Century, but of all time. She was more than just the actress with eight husbands and close friend of Michael Jackson. Taylor was a force to be reckoned with on stage and screen. What I hope does not get missed in the days of discussion following her death on March 23, is her ability as to stun movie goers with a combination of beauty, grace, strength and talent. How many actresses can nail the variety of roles she did over her extensive career? Liz played them all from a little girl who loved horses, a Southern Belle, a prostitute, an alcoholic wife of a professor and a Queen! Taylor’s five best movies would obliterate the entire careers of most actors today. I followed Elizabeth Taylor on Twitter and one of my most favorite tweets from her sums it all up “No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself.” There will never be another like Elizabeth Taylor.
My Five Favorite Elizabeth Taylor Movies
1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
4. National Velvet
5. Butterfield 8
What is your favorite Elizabeth Taylor movie?
Being the parent of two small children I am forced to watch a fair share of bad movies aimed at younger viewers. Many are just blatant attempts to cash in on a family's need for entertainment or to sell toys. One of the most pleasant surprises this year was DreamWorks Monsters vs.. Aliens. The movies is about a bride turned mutant giant "Ginormica" (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) who is enlisted by the government along with other "monsters" to fend off an alien invasion. These monsters have been kept in hiding in secret by the government for years but are promised to be freed if they can defeat the aliens. Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, and Will Arnett voice the other monsters and Rainn Wilson is the leader of the invasion, Gallaxhar. The film has enough inside jokes to keep adults laughing and enough action to keep the kids enthralled.
Monsters vs. Aliens
I'll admit it. I watched the WWF growing up. Nothing beat staying up late with your friends to see Hulk Hogan battle Rowdy Roddy Piper. So when I sat down to watch Mickey Rourke in his Oscar-nominated role in The Wrestler, I was ready for some action. Was I disappointed that the amount of brawling was limited to about 20 minutes? No way, because what I witnessed was one of the best movies of 2008. Rourke was amazing playing Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a former great trying to put his life back together after suffering a heart attack. Marisa Tomei plays an aging dancer trying to put her life together and Evan Rachel Wood acts as "The Ram's" estranged daughter. This heart wrenching story of a broken down wrestler is a well-crafted story of redemption and the pain it causes all involved.