A comedy in which young Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) attempts to match her friend Harriet (Toni Colette) to various young men, with devastating results, and to the distress of her older and wiser friend, Mr. Knightley (Jeremy Northam). Rated PG, but clean. 5 stars. My all-time favorite film! I've seen it over thirty times!
The Mask of Zorro
Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) vows to revenge his wife's death and regain his child, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) from the jaws of a malicious Don, working to train a thief (Antonio Banderas) into a hero in the meantime. Rated PG13 for a gruesome head in a jar, some violence, brief rear nudity and a suggestive fencing match. 4 1/2 stars. This ties with Les Mis for my second-favorite film, a definite must-see. The swordplay is incredible.
The classic story of an escaped convict (Liam Neeson) who finds redemption in Christianity, and touches the lives of a distraught young woman (Uma Thurman) and her daughter (Claire Danes) while evading the tyrannical grasp of Inspector Javert (Geoffrey Rush). Rated PG13 for a violence and a scene where a prostitute throws off her bedclothes. (No nudity is seen, only her bare legs.) 4 1/2 stars. This movie is profound. It's not often Hollywood portrays love instead of lust, forgiveness instead of a thirst for revenge, and such a touching story instead of fluff.
The Cinderella story as you've never seen it before, as young Danielle (Drew Barrymour) finds slavery at the hands of her stepmother and love in the eyes of the Prince of France (Dougray Scott). Rated PG for some mild sensuality (low gowns, flirtation) and a few uses of "God." 4 1/2 stars. This film is just plain great. I knew the moment I had seen it the first time that I had to have it! The Cinderella story has come alive for me like never before, and without the slightest hint of magic.
Anna and the King
A passionate story of love and longing set in the beauty of Siam as Anna Leonowens (Jodie Foster) challenges King Mongkut (Chow-Yun Fat) to rethink his ways, and finds, along the way, that the British way is not always right. Rated PG13 for violence, including a shooting. 5 stars. I adore this movie. When I wasn't laughing or holding my breath, I was crying. I hope Fox makes more awesome films like it.
The 10th Kingdom
A young woman in Central Park (Kimberley Williams) steps through a magic mirror into a parallel world where fairy tales come true in order to save the 9 Kingdoms from the clutches of the Evil Queen (Dianne Wiest). Rated PG13 for violence (mainly due to a magic crossbow that always hits through the heart), mild sensuality, and intense sequences that will prove frightening to kids. 4 stars. I don't know why, but I fell in love with this film of magic and suspense which takes every fairy tale imaginable and winds them into a complex plot with enough twists and turns for any thrills-seeker. You won't be able to stop the tape, which may prove difficult ~ it's 8 hours long! having premiered on NBC as a mini-series.
A mysterious diamond's theft throws an English household into an uproar, sending the lovely young owner (Keeley Hawes) into despair as she believes it has been stolen by her cousin, Franklin (Greg Wise). Rated PG for a scene in which a young woman kills herself by stepping into quicksand, and a moderately-visual scene in which a man is murdered. 5 stars. This was an excellent mystery, which is why I rated it so high. It keeps you in suspense, and the ending is shocking and unexpected.
Regina Lampart (Audrey Hepburn) finds herself involved in a deadly game of charades as she discovers that her late husband crossed his partners in a long-past crime... and now they want what is rightfully theirs. She is forced to rethink her past, and ask herself if she can trust a charming stranger (Cary Grant). Rated PG for violence, including several murders. 4 1/2 stars. Hepburn and Grant look great together, and the story itself is intriguing and suspenseful, sort of a clean version of The Net.
How to Steal a Million
A young French woman (Audrey Hepburn) with an art-forging father, is distressed when a fake family statue is put on exhibit in the nearby museum. To prevent an inquiry into the age of the stone, she engages the help of a British thief (Peter O'Toole) to steal it back. Not Rated ~ the only objectionable thing is a non-graphic nude statue and a few paintings. 4 1/2 stars. I fell in love with this film the moment I saw it ~ it combines comedy, romance, and suspense with an ending that'll shock you.
The Winslow Boy
When a young man is accused of theft, his family engage the talents of London's most prominent lawyer (Jeremy Northam) in a defense that would shock England and the world, to the distress of the boy's older sister, Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon). Rated G, although most of the characters smoke at various times. 4 1/2 stars. I found this movie pretty good, although I would have appreciated gazing at Jeremy Northam for longer periods of time. It runs rather slowly and there's little excitement, but all in all, it's a good film.
The Omega Code
A confused young man (Casper Van Dien) is forced to rethink his views on God when pulled into a web of international deceit by powerful Stone Alexander (Michael York) and his devious assistant (Michael Ironside). Rated PG13 for frightening sequences and violence. 5 stars. This is the most incredible Christian film I've ever seen ~ it mixes theory of the End Times with Biblical theology and ideas into a highly suspenseful drama that'll knock your socks off with the end as the return of Jesus Christ.
The Mark of Zorro
When young Diego Vega (Tyrone Powers) returns from Spain, he finds California under the brutal arm of a new official and his bloodthirsty Captain (Basil Rathbone). While taking on the identity of Zorro, Diego also manages to fall in love with lovely Lolita (Linda Darnell). Not Rated ~ some violence. 4 1/2 stars. This Zorro film is pretty good! The only downfall is that it's in black and white, as most Rathbone films are. <growls> A must-see for any Zorro or Rathbone fan.
Jo March (Winona Ryder), an aspiring young writer, finds the world a strange place, and herself strange in it. Longing for transformation, she finds friendship with young Mr. Lawrence (Christian Bale), sorrow when death touches the family, and love in the most unexpected places. Rated PG for a bedside death scene. 5 stars. There couldn't possibly be any more touching of a film, and despite what other people say, I love this version the best.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
France's aristocrats are being saved from Madame Guillotine by the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews), who, unbeknownst to beautiful Marguerite (Jane Seymour) is her husband ~ the most foppish man in all of the world! They engage in romance and intrigue abounds while the pair evade the clever traps of Chauvelin (Ian McKellen). Rated PG for violence. 4 stars. I think this film nicely combines the two best-selling novels (The Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado) into an epic that truly brings to life the British Fop and his French Love.