Happy Endings (2005) – A comedy that weaves ten plot lines to create a unique look at family, love and the unpredictability of life. Lisa Kudrow heads the ensemble cast as a woman who gave up her child for adoption and is now being blackmailed by a filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) who claims to know her child’s identity. Maggie Gyllenhaal costars as a woman who is dating a father (Tom Arnold) and his (gay) son (Jason Ritter). An all-around enjoyable movie where all the characters want is a happy ending.
Mondovino (2005) – In this funny and intriguing documentary, Director Jonathan Nossiter opens up a whole can of worms as he explores the current globalization of the wine industry and what will be lost if the big bad American wine companies continue to put speed over maturation and remove the individuality from wine in favor of mass production. Chances are that you will walk away pissed at the Americans and feeling sorry for the local Italian winemakers.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) – A visually stunning and hilarious movie. It’s the 1940’s and gangs rule Shanghai, China. What happens when wannabe gangster Sing tries to join the notorious “Axe Gang”? He creates complete mayhem for Pig Sty village where king Fu masters have been living in secret. Now the Axe Gang wants to destroy the slum and it all depends on Sing to join forces with the mob or to save the day. Nominated for the 2006 Golden Globe Awards, Best Foreign Feature.
Nobody Knows (2004) – When a childlike mother of four abandons her children, it is up to 12-year-old Akira (Yuya Yagira) to take care of his siblings as the money runs out and the utilities are shut off. He does everything in his power to protect his brother and sisters and keep them together, even going as far as to beg, lie, and steal. A touching yet heartbreaking film as you watch these children struggle for courage, independence, and happiness. Yagira won the Best Actor prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Spirited Away (2001) – From acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, comes another gem. 10-year-old Chihiro is a spoiled and whiny brat who is absolutely opposed to her families move to the suburbs. On the way to their new home, Chihiro and her family discover a deserted theme park and they are immediately sucked into a world of magic. When the witch Yubaba turns her parents into pigs, it is up to Chihiro to save them and along the way she learns her true potential. An intoxicating and stunning masterpiece. Winner of the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Updated October 20, 2010