Lose yourself in a film...
The Finest Hours. Based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history, co-written by Cape Cod’s own Michael Tougias, this is a triumph of courage, loyalty and honor in the face of overwhelming odds. When a massive storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, it rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, trapping more than 30 sailors on its rapidly sinking stern. As Captain Bernie Webber and his crew set out in a 12-seat rescue boat to save them, the Chief Engineer struggles to buy everyone more time. Packed with edge-of-your-seat action and driven by the men's belief in their mission and one another, this is, in a word, a fantastic film.
Captain Fantastic. Hidden in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father is determined to transform his six children into extraordinary adults, fit, smart, resilient, free from gadgets and commercialism, independent of the worst of society. But when the family is forced to leave this utopia, their journey into the outside world—into the world of their grandfather-- calls into question everything he's taught them. A thought-provoking look at another side of living off the grid.
Greater. Drawn to a movie based on a true story? When awkward Brandon Burlsworth dreamed of playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks but was told he’d never be good enough, he got in through the back door—as a walk-on. How he went from being ridiculed by fellow teammates and coaches to becoming the most respected player in the history of the program is a transformation you won’t forget. This is about how a determined individual can change lots of lives.
Mr. Church. Looking for something to make you feel good? When a special mother dying of cancer is given a gift—the services of a talented cook—her daughter Charlie at first doesn’t want him there. She and her mother have always been able to manage life just fine together. But as time goes on, Charlie comes to appreciate more than his meals; what begins as a six-month arrangement goes on for fifteen years, and creates a family bond that lasts forever. This one was a sleeper turned keeper.
Sully. Most of us remember January 15, 2009, when the world watched and marveled when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger piloted his damaged plane onto the cold and unforgiving Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. You’d think that was enough to guarantee him rapid entry into the Heroes’ Hall of Fame. But even as Sully was being cheered by the public and the media for his amazing flying, there were special interests threatening to destroy his reputation and his career. If you haven’t seen this yet because you already know the ending, don’t be so sure. Pair this with a reading of Before the Fall.
Doctor Thorne. Still missing Downton Abbey? Here’s another gift from Julian Fellowes. Set in 1855, the story starts when Doctor Thorne's niece, Mary, is excluded from the wedding preparations of her childhood playmate because of a deep shadow around her birth. Without either social status or a fortune, Mary’s love for Frank, the heir to a distinguished but cash-poor estate, is ill-fated: he must marry for money. But will he? The answer will depend on the strength of their bond, a cast of colorful and meddling relatives, some further secrets from her past, and a bit of luck.
Jungle Book. Though this most recent version didn’t follow Kipling’s original story exactly, it captured its spirit. Mowgli, a human baby, is found in the jungle and raised by wolves and a wise black panther. But eventually the legacy he inherits of human cruelty and destruction catches up with him, forcing him to leave the pack and go out on his own. This is a movie for the whole family, all but the very youngest ones: the story is exciting, the scenery and the animals are riveting, and in Mowgli we see a child, as so many are, caught between two adversarial worlds.
In the Heat of the Night. If you haven’t seen this in a long time, it’s a must. Virgil Tibbs, a proud black homicide detective from Philadelphia waylaid in racist small town in Mississippi, ends up helping the town’s pig-headed sheriff to solve a local murder. The sheriff’s deputies go from profiling Tibbs as a murder suspect to grudgingly respecting his expertise. But what happens between Tibbs and the sheriff goes further and reminds us that prejudice is rarely healed by speeches or laws, but instead by common causes and shared experiences. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger are simply magnificent.
Learning to Drive. A writer whose marriage is falling apart leaves a manuscript in a cab. When the cab driver, an Indian Sikh, returns it, he ends up teaching her not only how to drive, something her husband had always done , but also helps her to move on. This is about so many things: how very different people can form a bond, how to rise above stress, how to reshape life, and the pain of putting honor before desire. We need lots of films like this if we are to come together as a nation.
Pawn Sacrifice. In a time when the Cold War seems to have been re-launched, this is timely. It’s about Bobby Fischer, who grows from a child chess prodigy into a United States status symbol at great cost to himself. Caught between two enemy empires, Fischer loses himself both to international politics and his dedication to chess. The movie is tense, exciting and moving—it’s about every enthusiast, especially the young ones, who crosses the line from passion to obsession.
The Grass Harp. Enjoy something heart-warming, with lots of human interest? Following the death of his parents young Collin Fenwick comes to a small southern town to live with his father's cousins Verena and Dolly Talbo. He soon discovers that the Talbo household is anything but normal. Verena rules the house as well as the entire town with a stern hand. Meanwhile her older sister Dolly charms Collin with her gentle romantic spirit. To escape Verena's oppression, Dolly, Collin and the Talbos’ eccentric maid Catherine run away to an old tree house in the woods. But their adventure sparks a series of events that will change not just their lives but also the future of the entire town.
Tut recounts the astounding saga of one of history's most extraordinary rulers, Tutankhamun, (played by the famed Ben Kingsley) his rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisors, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests. This event series opens up a fascinating window into a world filled with heart-breaking romance, epic battles, political backstabbing, conspiracy, jealousy, and even murder -- proving that Tut's world was not so far removed from our own. Great one for history buffs.
Sneakers. Just in case you haven’t seen it—and if you have, it’ll be fun all over again. Computer expert Martin Bishop heads a team of renegade hackers who are routinely hired to test security systems. But Bishop's past comes back to haunt him when government agents blackmail the "sneakers" into carrying out a covert operation: tracking down an elusive black box. When Bishop's team retrieves the box, they make a stunning discovery - the device can break into any computer system in the world, and factions from all sides are willing to kill for it. A satisfying, suspenseful, high-tech caper with a terrific cast.
Cinderella. A film for all ages!!! This rendition of the fairy tale classic shines with beauty, imagination... and magic! Despite being bullied by her stepmother and stepsisters, a spirited—and inspiring-- Ella resolves to take charge of her fate. Add a royal ball, a Fairy Godmother and a glass slipper, and suddenly -- magic becomes reality! Great cast, great story, a visual treat. See it with the whole family.
Secrets of War. Looking for a good drama? Tuur and Lambert, best friends in a Nazi-occupied Dutch village, pass their days playing soldiers and exploring local caves, mimicking a war that seems far removed from their everyday life. When Maartje joins their class, the boys bond with their new friend in shared adventures. Then Lambert's father, a Nazi sympathizer, is named mayor, and Tuur discovers his own father and brother have joined the resistance. Meanwhile, Maartje is hiding a secret of her own, one threatening not only the friendship but life itself. Both the danger and the humanity of wartime friendships rest on the shoulders of these three remarkable young people. Not an easy film to watch, but an important one. Don’t let subtitles put you off—this is just one of many not- to- be- missed foreign films in the library.
The 33. Disaster struck on Aug. 5, 2010, as a copper and gold mine collapsed in Chile, trapping 33 men underground. With more than 2,000 feet of rock in their way, members of a rescue team worked tirelessly for 69 days to save the seemingly doomed men. Beneath the rubble, the miners fought an epic quest to survive, battling suffocating heat, almost no food, little water, and panic. . With family, friends and the rest of the world watching, it becomes a race against time and a test of the human spirit. This is one of those movies that puts you right into the middle of things and makes you wonder how you would have done in the situation. It’s also a movie that makes us wonder how many companies are cutting costs at the terrible expense of their workers.
Seducing Dr. Lewis is full of small town flavor. The isolated Canadian community of St.-Marie-La-Mauderne desperately needs a new industry, but the factory they're trying to win requires a resident doctor. When a young physician from Montreal gets blackmailed into spending a month in the village, the daffy and determined inhabitants go overboard to woo him. Just plain fun.
The Lady In the Van. The versatile Maggie Smith stars in this movie based on the true story of Miss Shepherd, an irascible, demanding woman of uncertain origins and advancing age, who “temporarily” parks her van in playwright Alan Bennett’s London driveway and proceeds to live there for 15 years. What begins as a begrudging favor becomes a relationship that will change both their lives. It’s quirky, sad, illuminating and memorable.
A Royal Night Out. Inspired by –but good-naturedly embroidering--true events, this fun romantic comedy recounts the glorious celebration of the end of World War II in Europe and the singular evening when Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret ,nicknamed P2, are allowed to leave the confines of Buckingham Palace to join the festivities. Quickly giving their chaperones the slip, the young royals venture out into a London they’ve never seen close up for a whirlwind adventure filled with excitement, danger and the flutters of first love. It’s really easy to identify with these two real-life princesses who long to feel normal.
Madame Secretary. In the first season of the gripping political thriller, Dr. Elizabeth McCord navigates the maze of bureaucracy and vested interests to protect America and influence global issues. When the current Secretary of State is killed in a mysterious airplane accident, the White House turns to Elizabeth to take over the job. As a former CIA analyst, she understands the risks and the protocol. However, she's far less prepared for all the deceit and betrayal, often from her own side. She’s a terrific character, strong and savvy but very, very human as she balances a crucial career with her love for her family. If you liked West Wing and Newsroom—or are just looking for a series with heart and subtlety and substance--this one is for you.
Bridge of Spies. A spellbinding thriller, "Bridge of Spies" tells the story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who is dropped into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on a near impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. A story inspired by true events, this captures the essence and honor of a man who risks everything to do what’s right—and more.
Tomorrowland. Looking for something fun? Try this time travel adventure. Connected by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank, isolated and disillusioned, and Casey, a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of a mysterious place somewhere in time and space known only as "Tomorrowland." What they must do there—together--changes the world--and them--forever. This will make you believe again that it’s possible to make a difference.
Suffragette. A dynamite cast stars in this powerful drama, inspired by true events, about the brave and determined women fighting for equality in early-20th-century Britain. The story centers around young wife and mother Maud, who is drawn, injustice by injustice, into the growing Suffragette movement alongside women from all walks of life who sacrificed their jobs, homes, children-- and even their lives-- for the right to vote.
Water Diviner. In the aftermath of WWI, a plucky Australian farmer goes in search of his three missing sons, last known to have fought against the Turks in the bloody battle of Gallipoli. Arriving in Istanbul, he must navigate through a vastly different world, where everyone tells him he’ll never be able to find his boys, but he’s not willing to take no for an answer. A movie about guilt, resilience, and love in the face of war.
The Intern. A 70-year-old widower, who has discovered that retirement is a bore, grabs an opportunity be a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by a woman who starts out sure he has nothing to contribute and ends up realizing that age is a state of mind, not a tally of years. The mix of experience and youth here is delightful—and timely in a world where a huge part of the population is over 65.
Time Out of Mind. Ever walked a little faster past someone living on the street? Richard Gere delivers a stunning performance as George, a man whose struggle to find food and a place to sleep in New York City plunges us into a world easily overlooked. Shuffled into the unforgiving bureaucracy of a men’s shelter, George seems destined to wind up as just another lost soul swallowed up by the system until he meets a gregarious, down-and-out ex-jazzman who inspires George to reconnect with his estranged daughter. This is one you’ll never forget.
Inside Out. Definitely not a movie just for kids, this one reminds you just how powerful feelings are. Riley, uprooted from her Midwest life when her father gets a job in San Francisco, is torn, as we all are, between positive and negative emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. In this imaginative and magical world, the emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they toss her around as she tries to adjust to a new life. This is a film not like any other---an engaging mix of fantasy and human nature.
Selfless. How much would we be willing to do to live longer? In this thought-provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy, dying man undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man. But there is a deep cost to this next life-- all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the disturbing truth about the body's origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause. You'll be on the edge of your seat.
Elsa and Fred. How about some romance? This is about two people who discover that it's never too late to love. After losing his wife, Fred feels confused and alone, so his daughter helps move him into a small apartment and assumes she knows best what’s right for him. But then he meets Elsa, and everything changes. Elsa bursts into Fred's life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that whatever time he has left should be his to do with as he pleases.
Broken Hill. Looking for a film to watch with your kids? Tommy, who lives on an Australian sheep ranch with a widowed father who doesn’t understand his son’s passion for music, gets into trouble with the law trying to impress an American exchange student. When both of them are assigned to community service, Tommy starts a prison choir. What makes this a great story is what he learns from the inmates and how he comes to realize that music is more than his ticket out of town.