Tuesday & Thursday   7:00 pm movies

Abstracts -- July

Adventures of Robin Hood
When Prince John (Claude Rains) and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord (Errol Flynn) fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.  This 1938 classic was one of the first full color movies, and has been loved ever since.  This version has been carefully restored to the same brilliance as when it broke records in 1938.

Grounded with a desk job by incompetent superiors, a clever CIA agent retires and writes a tell-all memoir that will embarrass his bosses, prompting him to go on the run and elude them.  In the process he hopscotches around the world in a hilarious adventure as he plays Mozart to accompany his typing, assisted by an old flame.

Chariots of Fire 
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew (Ben Cross), and the other a devout Christian (Ian Charleson), compete in the 1924 Olympics.  Their struggles and conflicts build to a climax as they board a steamship to cross the English Channel and bear the load of preparations and tension under the pressure of world competition.

Analyze This
A psychiatrist (Billy Crystal), bored with his patients, finds himself forced to take on a mob Godfather (Robert de Niro) as a patient who has suddenly become soft and vulnerable in a world that solves differences with a gun. These two worlds clash at the psychiatrist’s wedding and the mobster’s Mafia meeting where weakness could prove fatal. The journey to a cure in these two worlds creates unique humor.

Absolute Power
A career thief (Clint Eastwood) witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President.  To cover the crime the President (Gene Hackman) uses his power over the FBI and other agencies in an attempt to murder the thief and anyone he has contacted.  You are shocked by how such power can overwhelm opponents, but the thief outwits the President.

Driving Miss Daisy
An old Jewish woman (Jessica Tandy) and her African-American chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.  Freeman’s unique performance and Tandy’s willful portrayal bring memorable comedy to the conflicted demonstrations of tolerance and prejudice and ultimately long-lasting friendship in this moving story.

The Goodbye Girl
After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer (Marsha Mason) and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor (Richard Dreyfuss).  The actor’s noisy habits and strange behavior irritate the dancer but eventually each shares in the struggles of the other as the daughter is the first to fall in love with the actor, reluctantly by the dancer because she fears being dumped again.

National Velvet
A jaded former jockey (Mickey Rooney) helps a young girl (Elizabeth Taylor) prepare a wild but gifted horse for England's Grand National Sweepstakes.  This classic movie exemplifies the homey goodness of general-audience productions of the era, including Lassie Come Home which introduced Taylor a year earlier.

North by Northwest
In this Alfred Hitchcock classic, a hapless New York advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies headed by Philip Vandamm (James Mason), and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.  Thornhill is thrust from one surprising threat to another until he survives a harrowing climb down from atop the president monument on Mt. Rushmore with Mason’s beautiful girlfriend (Eva Marie Saint).


Abstracts -- August

Presumed Inocent
As lawyer Rozat [Rusty] Sabich (Harrison Ford) investigates the murder of colleague Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi), he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.  Tension builds in this portrayal of Scott Turow’s* first novel as Rusty finds himself accused of the crime, in part because of his romantic involvement with Polhemus.  Rusty’s wife has borne the pain of this involvement and eventually the murder itself.
___*A student of famed Stanford writing teacher Wallace Stegner

Singin' in the Rain*
Long-time dancing partners Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Conner) put on a mesmerizing show of comedy dancing virtuosity as Lockwood fends off no-talent Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) and falls in love with upstart Kathy Selden (teenage Debbie Reynolds).  Jean Hagen’s Lamont is hilarious as her scatterbrain struggles with the introduction of talkies reveals Lamont’s squeaky voice, which must be replaced by Selden’s dubbed voice.
___*I had no idea when I watched this, my first movie in Los Angeles after driving from Chicago following graduation from Illinois Tech in 1952, that it would become a premier classic of the Hollywood musical comedy era. 

The Whole Nine Yards
Struggling dentist "Oz" Oseransky’s (Matthew Perry) life is turned upside down when famous gangster Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis) moves in next door, and his loathsome wife Sophie (Rosanna Arquette) convinces him to inform a notorious mob boss about the gangster's whereabouts.  The hapless Oz is caught between the murderous Tudeski and the mob boss as each plots to kill the other.  Eventually Oz sides with Tudeski and uses his dental skills to hide the body as he falls in love with the mob boss’s girlfriend.

Grumpy Old Men
A lifelong feud between two neighbors since childhood only gets worse when a new female neighbor moves across the street.  Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau take this inane plot and make it an uproarious rampage through their comic talents, knocking over garbage cans every time they stop at a bait shop for worms, tossing fish to rot in the other’s car, dragging an ice fishing shack to thin ice and generally being a thorn in the other’s side.  Their deep down love for each other comes out as Matthau saves Lemmon after he collapses with a heart attack. Both perform crazy antics from beginning to end, amended by gems from Burgess Meredith and sexy doings by Ann-Margret.

Two Weeks Notice
Harvard educated lawyer Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) uses her career for social activism. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is the suave public face of a development firm that Lucy routinely opposes.  Wade has a reputation as a lady's man, with legal counsels a series of beautiful female lawyers with questionable credentials who have acted more as his casual sex partners.  Needing a real lawyer, he offers Lucy the job of his legal counsel on a chance meeting.  Lucy, who has no intention of being the latest of his bed partners, accepts the job as she feels she can do more good from the inside.  This oil and water relationship gives rise to many humorous conflicts and ultimately a love interest.

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Seven elderly Britons, for a variety of reasons, respond to an online ad and travel to Jaipur, India, where they find run-down hotel with a young, exuberant, and optimistic host.  Evelyn, newly widowed, wants low-cost experience, Graham seeks a long-ago love, Douglas and Jean have lost their pension in a family investment, Muriel needs cheap hip surgery, Madge seeks a rich husband, and Norman is chasing women. India affects each in different ways, enchanting Douglas and Evelyn while driving Jean deeper into bitterness. Their host, young Sonny, has dreams but little cash or skill; he also has a girlfriend whom his mother dismisses. Stories cross and discoveries await each one.  An outstanding cast fills the film with belly laughs and pathos.

Water For Elephants
After his parents' death, veterinarian student Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) is left penniless and homeless.  Events lead him to joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss August (Christoph Walzt whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife Marlena (Reese Whitherspoon), whom August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with.

When former journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is dismissed from the Labour Party in disgrace, he is at a loss as to what do. That changes when a young Irish woman approaches him about a story of her mother, Philomena (Judy Dench), who had her son taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent.  Martin arranges a magazine assignment about her search for him that eventually leads to America.  Along the way, Martin and Philomena discover as much about each other as about her son's fate. Furthermore, both find their basic beliefs challenged.

The Quiet Man
Sean Thornton (John Wayne) has returned from America to reclaim his homestead and escape his past.  Sean's eye is caught by Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), a beautiful but poor maiden, and younger sister of ill-tempered "Red" Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen). The riotous relationship that forms between Sean and Mary Kate, punctuated by Will's pugnacious attempts to keep them apart, form the main plot, with Sean's past as the dark undercurrent.

Future Movies

The Untouchables
Federal Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) sets out to stop Al Capone (Robert de Niro); because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team, a Chicago beat cop (Sean Connery) among them. With the team, Ness rapidly advances from abject failure to a series of busts that threaten Capone’s grip on the city. Capone’s most easily proven crime is Federal tax evasion, which the team accomplishes with testimony from Capone’s bookkeeper.  There is much mob-instigated violence and death on the way.