The Parent Trap (1961, Directed by David Swift) English 7

Starring Hayley Mills, Brian Keith, Maureen O’Hara

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Long lost twin sisters (Mills) meet at a summer camp and collude to get their divorced parents back together. The biggest problem, their dad’s new girlfriend, the young and attractive Vicky. The acting, production values, and script all stand-out. One of the best Disney live-action films.

Opening Night (2016, Directed by Isaac Rentz) English 5

Starring Topher Grace, Rob Riggle, Taye Diggs, Anne Heche, Alona Tal, JC Chasez

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A production manager (Grace) deals with an assortment of problems concerning his aging leading lady (Heche), womanizing star (Chazez), ex-girlfriend (Tal), and back-up dancers (Diggs and Margherita) competing for the new guy all on the opening night of their new show. The cast is solid. The musical performances are all well-done. There’s a lot of creativity, but my basic problem beyond that the film seems so slight, is that the fake Broadway show in the background of the movie could have been better than the backstage drama which makes up most of Opening Night.

Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson) English 10

Starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman

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An implosive and lonely bathroom supply salesman, Barry (Sandler), constantly bullied by his seven sisters, finds love when he meets one of those sister’s coworker, Lena (Watson). It’s probably too strange for the mainstream, and some might find its peculiar soundtrack grating, but this is a great movie. The movement, that soundtrack, and the suspense of watching an always on-edge Sandler give the film a sense of energy and a tone sustained to the end. I think it’s the best depiction of the anxiety and desperation that can sometimes come with love.

How to be a Latin Lover (2017, Directed by Ken Marino) English 6

Starring Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Kristen Bell, Rob Riggle, Rob Lowe, Raquel Welch, Michael Cera

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Determined never to work after seeing his father work his whole life and then die tragically, Maximo (Derbez) latches on to a wealthy heiress entering her golden years. Fast forward 25 years and Maximo is out on the street after his wife throws him over for a younger model. Looking to rebound with an even wealthier grandma (played by Raquel Welch), Maximo stays with his estranged sister (Hayek) and her 10 year old son. Not well received by critics, I found Maximo’s exploits highly enjoyable and sporadically funny. Derbez is great fun as the pompous gold-digging male.

Tampopo (1985, Directed by Juzo Itami) Japanese 7

Starring Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Hashimoto, Ken Watanabe

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Two truck drivers help a widowed noodle shop owner achieve her dream of creating the perfect ramen dinner. Thrown into the mix are random group of vignettes, sometimes funny, sometimes erotic, sometimes just weird. This is one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen. It throws a number of things onto the screen, and still manages to be charming, if not coherent.

The Secret Life of Pets (2016, Directed by Chris Renaud) English 6

Voices of Louis C.K, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart, Hannibal Burress, Steve Coogan, Lake Bell, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks

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Beloved, spoiled dog Max (C.K) has a rude awakening when his owner brings home, Duke (Stonetreet), a monstrous dog that he’s asked to see as his brother. The two don’t get along, and this leads to them being lost in New York City for a crazy ninety minute adventure. Animation studio, Illumination, certainly don’t over-exert themselves. On the positive side they consistently deliver movies that are generally pleasing with enough jokes to pass the time and a whole lot of mass appeal. On the other hand, they’re not aspiring for much. The voice work is super solid. The animation is bright and appealing. There’s just nothing special about this movie. Plus, it’s basically the first Toy Story.

Grand Prix (1966, Directed John Frankenheimer) English 8

Starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Francoise Hardy, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, Toshiro Mifune

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Follows the lives of four Formula One drivers through the 1966 racing season as they compete to be world champions. There’s Pete Aron (Garner). A stoic, but somewhat reckless American driver who’s blamed for his teammate’s wreck. Sarti (Montand), a Frenchman. The best in the sport, but starting to grow weary of it. He starts an affair with an American journalist (Saint). Scott Stoddard (Bedford), an Englishman recovering from a major wreck and his wife leaving him. And Barlini (Sabato), an arrogant and carefree Italian racer. The women, though certainly beautiful, are completely short-changed in this picture. As a result, the surrounding drama around the stunning race sequences do not measure up. Yves Montand’s character is the only one with any real depth. That being said, the racing scenes truly are special. John Frankenheimer is an amazing craftsmen, and the film’s nearly three hour running time fly by thanks to his vision.