Priceless (2006)

The French Riviera is an ideal locale to hobnob with the wealthy; plenty of aging singles are looking for a young romantic companion on whom they can shower gifts. The only catch is you’ll have to trade true love for a lifestyle to which you will quickly grow accustomed. This is not a problem unless…

It’s rare to find a movie this engaging and entertaining. The secret is to cast actors who can carry a scene by conveying a lot of emotion and information without relying on dialogue, which– let’s face it– is usually empty and rambling. Furthermore, this plot is full of twists and turns. Rare for a romantic dramedy!

Crazy Stupid Love (2011)

It takes a delicate hand to capture modern relationships in all their complexities. That’s not to say there’s no place for humor; the skillful balance of drama–both poignant and entertaining– and humor–both silly and dark– keep this movie from being schmaltzy or condescending. Rather than resorting to flippant stereotypes, the characters are people we know (and perhaps are) and their realistic situation turns familiar tropes on their head. As they reveal what we’re afraid to admit, a little bit of honesty goes a long way and we’re all the better for it.

Sabrina (1995)

This retold tale of Sabrina, who grew up above the carriage house of her chauffeur father’s wealthy employers, isn’t slapdash like the original (1950s) version, which made me uncomfortable and confused. Upon coming-of-age abroad, Sabrina returns as a fully grown– not to mention sophisticated– woman. The two brothers slated to inherit their father’s company, who still attend lavish parties at the old estate, have differing attitudes toward her maturity. Stodgy, responsible Linus tries to shield Sabrina from playboy, David, on whom she had a childhood crush. The fantasy her father hoped would fade is further thwarted by Linus’ plan to woo her as a distraction. But how long can a workaholic loner remain unaffected by such a smart, vibrant and beautiful woman?

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If you don’t own a copy, you’ve either forgotten about this movie or have never seen it. This is arguably each lead’s most famous role of their career. And for good reason: when an disparate team of jewel theives vie for their loot, Deception is the rule of law in what amounts to The Bermuda Triangle of relationships. Love and lust notwithstanding, greed and revenge bring out a range of emotions– and even slapstick– in those subjected to the whims of manipulative Wanda, a woman so dynamic, a beloved pet is named after her.

Some Like it Hot (1959)

When the speakeasy that employs many musicians gets busted, many performers find themselves job hunting. Moreover, when they witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,  two friends in particular find themselves on the run from the mob. As revenge for their playboy antics, their connection at the employment agency pairs them with an all-female band. At least it’s headed out of state! With no choice but to make the most of the opportunity, the duo must pass themselves off as women. But can they keep their cool while surrounded by pretty girls?

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

You never realize just how formulaic the movies you typically watch truly are until you see something completely unique, such as this one. Considering how eager studios are to remake everything, I’m surprised this wasn’t of interest to anyone. It’s probably just as well; they would likely turn it into a slapstick comedy. I’m sure […]

Warm Bodies (2013)

At the time of this movie’s release, zombie-mania didn’t seem—at least to me—to have any chance of longevity. Sure, it’s a great premise for an occasional horror film but giving everything in sight a zombie makeover (or would that be a makeunder?) is an odd fad. I honestly didn’t realize until the movie was well underway that it’s based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Adaptations are notoriously tricky to pull off but this one managed to be theatrical while avoiding parody. Moreover, the mostly undead state of the main character circumvented overused teen romance tropes (e.g. racial inequality or socio-economic disproportion), which allowed the focus to remain on the premise of an unlikely pairing.

Roxanne (1987)

Writer, comedian and actor, Steve Martin adapted literary classic “Cyrano de Bergerac” into a feature film. With equal parts humor, drama and romance—in nearly every hue—the brainy and beautiful, Roxanne falls for one half of two different firemen: the airheaded but handsome, Chris who speaks through the poetry of big-nosed romantic, C. D. who coaches him through each encounter in order to win Roxanne’s heart. First things get tricky then downright messy as the charade wears thin.