These are miscellaneous notes on movies I have seen or friends have recommended. Not polished. (The friends share underlying values but not necessarily tastes.)

42: The Jackie Robinson Story
First non-white-skin person in US major league baseball.

About Time
A drama involving romance, tragedy, and time travel. (?!)
Said to finish with lesson about living in the present.
Same director as movie Love Actually.

Act of Valor
Fictional plot involving US Navy SEAL commandos fighting terrorists.

Apollo 13
A saga of getting a damaged spacecraft back to earth, by ingenuity and perseverence. Based on a real event.

Atlas Shrugged
In three parts.
A strong tale of life and love, with a powerful message about what feeds, shelters, and fosters humans.
A medium quality production artistically, hopefully it will be edited and re-released (there's an attempt by the entrepreneur to make a TV mini-series).

Atomic Blonde
Highly recommended by friends, is actually about evils of Communism.

The Avengers
f A comic-strip sourced scifi film, notable for being written and directed by Joss Whedon, of Firefly and Serenity fame.

The Big Country
Recommended by friends.
A 'western', romance, conflict (good-bad people), adventure - all elements of successful fiction.

Back to School, with Rodney Dangerfield
(successful father pushing son to return to school agrees to attend with him to complete high school)

Blueberry Hill
A teenage girl matures in a small hill town and moves on to seek her fame and fortune. Romance, family challenges.
(Also a well known RockAndRoll song.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Friends praise this movie/video game/? because the good characters pursue their values.

Recommended by objective people who love life. A chef struggles to find his niche in the food business, along the way teaching his son.

"Chocolat" is about pursuing pleasure, doing your own thing, living--and dying-- by your own values, paying the price for nonconformity, and finding a balance between individuality and a sense of belonging. And, of course, it's about chocolate!" - Lisa

A remake showing in 2015 is reviewed as very good, few changes from the original story, attractive actor persons, fabulous clothes.

Crocodile Dundee
Who can resist adventure and romance in the Outback of Australia?

The Crossing
of the river by George Washington
recommended by friends as a heroic story of smarts against overwhelming odds

A friend liked "Darkest Hour", which is about Churchill's first coming to power as prime minister in WWII.

Die Hard
A good tale of perserverence. Unfortunately gratuitous gore and pain, and having the usual affectations by Bruce Willis.

Endless Summer
Essentially a travelogue of great surfing around the world - incredible beaches.

Is science fiction any less hokey? :-) But a good story of effort, in the face of extreme uncertainty.

Flight Plan
A thriller set on a trans-oceanic flight of a large airplane.

I'm told that the Ted Turner version of the title has some good philosophical discussions.

Former astronaut Tom D. Jones praises the movie, saying it is quite accurate including how objects behaved when weightless and when on tethers. (He does say the space junk scenario is exaggerated.)

Green Prince
About a special agent.

John Wayne and youngers in a tale of struggle against oil well fires and romantic decisions. 50s/60s vintage, good with simplicity of that era.

Hunt for Red October
Submarine cold war thriller. Well done by the same director as The Thomas Crown Affair and Die Hard, John McTiernan. Music by Basil Poledouris. Good cast including Sean Connery and James Earl Jones. Some operational parts of this film are best viewed in widescreen format.
(Translation of some of the chorus.)
(Great quotes from the movie.)

In the Shadow of the Moon
About the US manned space program.

"You wouldn't know it from the commercials or previews, but "Insomnia," starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank, is an ode to honesty and integrity. The movie's theme is, quite bluntly, when you try to fake reality, for *whatever* reason, people die. The movie also effectively portrays the epistemological slippery slope you start sliding down when you decide to lie.
It's a moody, atmospheric film produced ...." - Lisa

Knight and Day
Reported to be funny, escapist.

Love Actually
Several romantic couplings, set over Christmas period.
(I can't remember why it was recommended to me.)

Love Letters
Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay for this tale of love letters set in England during WWII.
(Often seen on cable TV, and available on video tape.)

My Dog Skip
A boy growing up during WW II - choosing between competing "values", observing people's attempts to cope with life.

Other People's Money
Danny deVito on the other side of a struggle of power against underdog, romance, ....

October Sky
Tale of high school boys expanding their horizons by experimenting with rockets in an isolated coal mining town, some suspense from detective work over an incident.

Remains of the Day
Friends recommend this movie for its exploration of loyalty and values forgone. Probably sad. Set in England during WWII, with servants and a nobleman as main characters.

Based on the Firefly series on TV. A "space western" in the broad sense, good struggling against bad. Adventure, substantial gore, some mysticism but good overall values with a surprise ending.

Shawshank Redemption
A prison movie, thus harsh, but worthwhile - shows good values (and the results of good and bad values).

A delightful movie, for adults as well as kids. (Adults will chuckle at many quick side references and use of terms that wouldn't mean anything to a 20 year old let alone a kid.)

Strictly Ballroom
Lots of dancing, of course, in this story of how a top ranked amateur dancer takes an unknown as his new partner, innovates in style, and beats the scheming dance stablishment.

Stuart Little
Despite its hokey premise it is an entertaining movie with good values.

About the successful ditching of an airliner in the Hudson River after both engines failed.
Friends recommend it.
Criticized for its portrayal of NTSB investigators.
(And the usual know-it-alls pontificate, second-guessing the crew. Gee, I did not know so many people could fit into the flight deck. ;-)

The Dressmaker
Romance, family relationships, and personal accomplisment - story of a clothing stylist who succeeds back home in a town in Australia. Sounds worthwhile.

The Eagle Huntress
A 13-year-old girl in Mongolia strives to tame eagles, a practice in her tribe. Sounds like a worthwhile story of passion, hard work, and achievement.

The Name of the Rose
Recommended by friends, may be hard to find on video tape.

The Secret Garden
Theme is hallenges for some pre-teen children, some mysticism, worthwhile.

The Second Time Around
Description sounds interesting, romance between two older people, sound track is Mozart and Verdi

The Usual Suspects
Objective friends recommend it, I do not know much about it.

The Winslow Boy
Schoolboy falsely accused of stealing, father fights to clear his name.>BR> Great theme, perhaps characters could have showed more emotion.

To Sir With Love
Sidney Poitier plays a teacher who develops his students to respect other. Much later a sequel 'II' does similar in a differnt city with its own problems, Sidney Poitier and singer Lulu star again.


White Heat
A drama of love and murder in Rhodesia during WW II.
A sad tale, but noteable for the factors differentiating a successful farmer from an unsuccessful one. The romantic leads are quite attractive.

Zero Dark Thirty Friends reviewed it as an intense film, about an individual's search for Osama bin Laden.
While about violent activity it does not overdo that aspect.

Special Category
A list of movies of interest to fans of Rock and Roll:
- Blueberry Hill (see above, title comes from a hit song)
- Looking for an Echo (plot involves a fictitious oldies group, but the movie spawned a song and a group
- Me, the Mob, and the Music (involvement of organized crime in a popular performing group)
- Standing in the Shadows of Motown (documentary about the studio musicians)
- Twenty Feet from Stardom ((documentary about backup singers and their contribution to shaping the sound and appearl of a song production)
- Muscle Shoals (story of very productive recording studios in a small city of that name)
- Stand By Me (a general movie, title based on the hit song)

I'm impressed by some British productions, apparently out of ITV's Yorkshire operations.
Of note:
- Heartbeat, a police show set in a small town in a rural area
- The Royal, set in an old hospital
- A Touch of Frost, a detective show (a more refined version of Columbo)
- Inspector Morse, a chief inspector who likes opera. But plots in the two-hour version are too involved.)
I'm impressed by the characterization and plots of these human dramas.
OTOH, I've encountered another of the horrid British comedies where people are bumbling fools and the jokes are DUMB. If you remember Faulty Towers you'll know to run away from Putting on Appearances.

© Keith Sketchley

Return to Keith's Art&Music Links Page

Return to Keith's Personal Page

Keith's HomePage