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What I've Learned
Most romantic comedies these days are neither romantic nor comedies. A charming 2010 French film, Romantics Anonymous, however, is both.
It is about a woman, Angélique, who joins a support group for people who have problems with their romantic emotions.
Angélique, painfully shy, is awkward in social situations and has never had a romantic relationship. She gets a job at a small chocolate company, and the owner takes a shine to her.
The problem is, the owner is as awkward as she and instead of a support group, sees a psychologist for his shyness. It may not sound like much from my description, but trust me, Romantics Anonymous rivals any Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie you can name. It's unrated, but would be PG.
Looking for a good horror movie? I'll suggest two.
The Host features one of the best on-screen monsters produced in awhile. The creature causes havoc along the Han river in Korea, devouring people as it goes.
Before leaving the scene, it snatches a girl – the granddaughter of a snack shack owner – to feast on later. The grandfather and his family, inept and unprepared as they may be, set out to find and rescue the girl.
If bravery can be defined as attempting dangerous things while scared out of your wits, this movie sports a number of fine examples. The monster-nabbed girl, in particular, is nothing short of heroic.
The Host is rated R for creature violence, though I think this is too strong a rating for this film.
My second horror flick suggestion is Let the Right One In. Made in Sweden, it is a refreshingly original, unusual, and creepy vampire movie. Don't confuse it with the American remake called Let Me In, which is, shall we say, the lesser of two evils.
Let the Right One In puts both the remake and the Twilight series with all those handsome, sparkly, Hollywood vampires to absolute shame.
One reviewer said of Let the Right One In, "Best. Vampire movie. Ever." It's rated R for vampire-related violence.
Looking for some inspiration in your life? See the film, The Way, starring Martin Sheen. He plays Thomas Avery, who makes a sudden decision to walk from the Pyrenees in France to Galicia, Spain, a 500-mile route known as the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) or the Camino, for short.
Nothing explodes in this movie. There are no car chases or shoot outs. It's a quiet picture that is gently engaging, features gorgeous scenery, and has some of the most convincing character development you will see.
I love this movie. The Way is rated PG-13.
If you want mystery and suspense, I recommend Sarah's Key. In Nazi-occupied France, officers arrive to arrest a Jewish couple and their two young children. The daughter saves her brother by locking him in a hidden closet, saying she will come back for him.
The movie jumps between this storyline and that of a modern investigative writer who is trying to discover what happened to the parents and daughter and what happened to the boy. It's an excellent movie, is rated PG-13, and stars Kristin Scott-Thomas.
The last two films on my list are mindbenders. One is an Italian film called The Double Hour. The other is French, stars Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau, and is called Don't Look Back.
Both movies are good. And both will have you flapping the edge of your finger against your lips while making humming noises.
These two films are unrated, but would be, I think, PG-13s. Each has a short, but intense sex scene, but the scenes are integral to the stories, not gratuitous, and are not very revealing, except for male butts. There is brief bad language in both films.
There. I won't have to submit a movie review for at least six months, and you have suggestions for good things to see.