Archives for category: movie review
I remember my mother mentioning to me that one of her favorite Christmas movies was It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947); yet, I somehow never managed to see it until last night. It’s hard to believe that there are still movies out there as brilliant as this one that have been overlooked. It’s an unpretentious movie about kindness, generosity, and social responsibility (a common theme in many 1930s-40s movies). This small masterpiece turns out to be unforgettable in its depiction of the positive side of human nature. Sure, it’s Hollywood cliche and pure treacle, but it tugs at your heart strings in a touching and soft way.

Bianca and Lars

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) is a quirky and genuinely original movie about a man who falls in love with a sex doll. (It’s not what you think.) And although it’s not a Christmas movie in the traditional sense, Lars and the Real Girl is imbued with all the values associated with Christmas: compassion, understanding, and sense of community. Ryan Gosling is perfection as Lars, and Bianca is completely convincing as the Real Girl. 

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I remember my mother mentioning to me that one of her favorite Christmas movies was It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947); yet, I somehow never managed to see it until last night. It’s hard to believe that there are still movies out there as brilliant as this one that have been overlooked. It’s an unpretentious movie about kindness, generosity, and social responsibility (a common theme in many 1930s-40s movies). This small masterpiece turns out to be unforgettable in its depiction of the positive side of human nature. Sure, it’s Hollywood cliche and pure treacle, but it tugs at your heart strings in a touching and soft way.

Bianca and Lars

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) is a quirky and genuinely original movie about a man who falls in love with a sex doll. (It’s not what you think.) And although it’s not a Christmas movie in the traditional sense, Lars and the Real Girl is imbued with all the values associated with Christmas: compassion, understanding, and sense of community. Ryan Gosling is perfection as Lars, and Bianca is completely convincing as the Real Girl. 

Boo! I enjoy giving out candy on Halloween, but watching a creepy movie, with the lights turned off, is a Halloween tradition that I miss. Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Germany. Some people dress up, but there’s no “trick or treat” or children going from house to house.

Here are some movie tips to enjoy your Halloween.

The Nameless (1999)

A mother receives a phone call from her daughter who has been missing for five years. The mother investigates and discovers a terrible secret. This horror film is relentlessly downbeat and certifiably creepy. 

Dead End (2003)

Dead End

What appears to be a formula movie about a family picking up a hitchhiker turns out to be very original and truly scary. 

The Vanishing/Spoorloos (1988)

Spoorloos

Rex and Saskia are on vacation when Saskia disappears without a trace. Rex decides to find her, but to no avail, until something happens. The ending will haunt you.

Boo! I enjoy giving out candy on Halloween, but watching a creepy movie, with the lights turned off, is a Halloween tradition that I miss. Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Germany. Some people dress up, but there’s no “trick or treat” or children going from house to house.

Here are some movie tips to enjoy your Halloween.

The Nameless (1999)

A mother receives a phone call from her daughter who has been missing for five years. The mother investigates and discovers a terrible secret. This horror film is relentlessly downbeat and certifiably creepy. 

Dead End (2003)

Dead End

What appears to be a formula movie about a family picking up a hitchhiker turns out to be very original and truly scary. 

The Vanishing/Spoorloos (1988)

Spoorloos

Rex and Saskia are on vacation when Saskia disappears without a trace. Rex decides to find her, but to no avail, until something happens. The ending will haunt you.

On Saturday the weather was terrible, and I spent most of the day indoors doing chores and catching up on work. I rarely watch TV these days, but when it rains, I give myself permission to engage in some relaxing entertainment like TV. I was lucky and found Singing in the Rain, known in Germany as Du Sollst Mein Glücksstern Sein (You Should Be My Lucky Star).

I had never seen the movie, and it was weird watching it dubbed into German (fortunately, the songs remained in their original version). Interestingly, the transition between the dubbed German dialog and the American songs was done really well. I didn’t notice a difference. It’s how I would imagine Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly to sound like in German. In the movie, one of the character’s, played by Jean Hagen, has a strong Brooklyn accent. Somehow, the German actress dubbing Ms. Hagen’s voice managed to convey what a Brooklyn accent would sound like in German. She did a great job. Now, I can’t wait to see the original American version.  

On Saturday the weather was terrible, and I spent most of the day indoors doing chores and catching up on work. I rarely watch TV these days, but when it rains, I give myself permission to engage in some relaxing entertainment like TV. I was lucky and found Singing in the Rain, known in Germany as Du Sollst Mein Glücksstern Sein (You Should Be My Lucky Star).

I had never seen the movie, and it was weird watching it dubbed into German (fortunately, the songs remained in their original version). Interestingly, the transition between the dubbed German dialog and the American songs was done really well. I didn’t notice a difference. It’s how I would imagine Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly to sound like in German. In the movie, one of the character’s, played by Jean Hagen, has a strong Brooklyn accent. Somehow, the German actress dubbing Ms. Hagen’s voice managed to convey what a Brooklyn accent would sound like in German. She did a great job. Now, I can’t wait to see the original American version.  

The Cast of Enchanted April (1992)

The more I watch movies that are adapted from books, the more I see the two as completely different art forms evoking different kinds of pleasure.

During my recent flight to Berlin, I decided to read, Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel (available for free on Project Gutenberg) about the trans-formative power of travel, and rediscovering love and hope. The 1992 film version is a favorite of mine, and I was curious to see how the novel would compare. Not surprisingly, the novel is just as clever, just as funny, and just as insightful as the movie. Although faithful to the book, the film makes a few changes to the story that, in my view, enhance the story’s character development and magical quality. Enchanted April is one of those rare examples of where the movie and the book are both enjoyable on their own terms. 

The Cast of Enchanted April (1992)

The more I watch movies that are adapted from books, the more I see the two as completely different art forms evoking different kinds of pleasure.

During my recent flight to Berlin, I decided to read, Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel (available for free on Project Gutenberg) about the trans-formative power of travel, and rediscovering love and hope. The 1992 film version is a favorite of mine, and I was curious to see how the novel would compare. Not surprisingly, the novel is just as clever, just as funny, and just as insightful as the movie. Although faithful to the book, the film makes a few changes to the story that, in my view, enhance the story’s character development and magical quality. Enchanted April is one of those rare examples of where the movie and the book are both enjoyable on their own terms. 

A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Kinky Boots, a British movie based on a true story. It’s one of those “feel good” movies that critics often dismiss as fluff. If anything, Kinky Boots is more quirky than kinky. And despite its stereotypical characters, it’s an endearing movie, with perhaps a few lessons about acceptance.

Seeing the movie made me think of other movies that transcend their cliches and verge on the great. Here’s a list of my favorite feel good movies. 

Shirley Valentine – What does it mean to be middle aged? This witty and clever movie stands for the proposition that it’s never too late to start anew.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Although not usually considered a feel good movie, Gene Wilder’s performance is so funny that you can’t help but feel good. 

Finding Nemo – Ellen DeGeneres steals the show. She is incredible.

The Incredibles – Edna Mode! 

Some Like It Hot – Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, and Marilyn Monroe. How can this miss! 

The Lady Eve – Fonda and Stanwyck have the chemistry in this screwball comedy from the early 1940s. 


Enchanted – This has it all: music, comedy and romance. A gem.

Gentlemen Prefer Blonds – Wow! Marilyn Monroe is both beautiful and funny in this comedy masterpiece. And don’t forget Jane Russell. 


My Life Without Me – We all face the knowledge of our death. So, a movie that acknowledges the realities of life and death can, in a sense, make you feel good. At least it did for me.

Miracle on 34th Street – A touching movie about nobility, virtue, and faith. A holiday classic.

Educating Rita – Another inspiring movie about making changes in your life. 

Queen for Play – A quiet French film about chess. Kevin Klein in his first french speaking role. 


A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Kinky Boots, a British movie based on a true story. It’s one of those “feel good” movies that critics often dismiss as fluff. If anything, Kinky Boots is more quirky than kinky. And despite its stereotypical characters, it’s an endearing movie, with perhaps a few lessons about acceptance.

Seeing the movie made me think of other movies that transcend their cliches and verge on the great. Here’s a list of my favorite feel good movies. 

Shirley Valentine – What does it mean to be middle aged? This witty and clever movie stands for the proposition that it’s never too late to start anew.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Although not usually considered a feel good movie, Gene Wilder’s performance is so funny that you can’t help but feel good. 

Finding Nemo – Ellen DeGeneres steals the show. She is incredible.

The Incredibles – Edna Mode! 

Some Like It Hot – Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, and Marilyn Monroe. How can this miss! 

The Lady Eve – Fonda and Stanwyck have the chemistry in this screwball comedy from the early 1940s. 


Enchanted – This has it all: music, comedy and romance. A gem.

Gentlemen Prefer Blonds – Wow! Marilyn Monroe is both beautiful and funny in this comedy masterpiece. And don’t forget Jane Russell. 


My Life Without Me – We all face the knowledge of our death. So, a movie that acknowledges the realities of life and death can, in a sense, make you feel good. At least it did for me.

Miracle on 34th Street – A touching movie about nobility, virtue, and faith. A holiday classic.

Educating Rita – Another inspiring movie about making changes in your life. 

Queen for Play – A quiet French film about chess. Kevin Klein in his first french speaking role.