This past week, it was all about the Nazis and the romantic comedies.
The White Ribbon, in German with English subtitles, takes place in a small German village just before the start of WWI. A series of disturbing events occur. The story is narrated by the teacher of the town, who tries to figure out who the culprit is. Is it the austere, repressive preacher's children, the cruel and incestuous doctor or the exploitive baron? We never find out. The movie Is shot in black and white, which further underscores the bleak environment in which there people live. It was good.
Au Revoir Les Enfants, in French with English subtitles, is a film by Louis Malle based on events that happened in his life. It is about a French boarding school during WWII, that seems to be a safe environment for the boys. One day, a mysterious new student arrives who changes the lives of at least one of the other students, I may have commented on this movie before because it is the second time I've seen it, but I wanted to comment again because it was really good.
In Did You Hear About the Morgans? Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play an estranged couple from New York who have to enter the witness protection program after they saw a murder. They end up in Ray, Wyoming where the married sheriffs in town, Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen, are charged with keeping them safe. It was predictable, but cute and funny. I liked it.
New in Town is another romantic comedy starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. She plays a consultant from Miami who is sent to a small town in Minnesota to improve the efficiency of a manufacturing plant. He plays the union boss trying to save everyone's jobs. It was also predicatable, but cute and funny.
Ghost of Girlfriends Past, with Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Anne Archer and Michael Douglas, is also a romantic comedy and predictable. McConaughey plays Conner Mead, a fickle, ladies man who learned everything he knows from his Uncle Wayne, played by Douglas. Garner plays Jenny Perotti, the one that got away. It's a twist on A Christmas Carol, with three ghosts from Conner's romantic past visiting him in an effort to make him see the error of his ways. It was cute.
Finishing off the rom-coms is The Secret of the Grain, a really good movie in French with English subtitles. It is an interesting look at a group of Arabic immigrants and their daily struggles. Slimane is a shipyard worker in his early sixties who gets laid off. With his severance pay, he decides to realize his life-long dream of starting a couscous and fish restaurant. The trouble is that his ex-wife is the gifted cook who serves up fish couscous every weekend to the extended family, and he needs her help to make his dream go. It is a long movie – two and a half hours, and it takes the first hour to set up the plot. I thought it was worth the wait, and the surprise ending was rather fitting. I really liked this movie.