Swimming Pool (2003)
I remembered critics raving about this film when it came out, so when it popped up for viewing online on Netflix, I decided to check it out. It is both a strange mystery combined with the age-old story of two antagonists learning to care for each other. The ending is odd, and I'm not sure I know what it means, but it is fascinating to watch the relationship between the middle-aged mystery writer and the teenage daughter of her publisher change and grow over the course of the film.
Son of Rambow (2007)
This is a joyous film about friendship, childhood, imagination, and making movies. This is the story of two British schoolboys who team up to make a sequel to First Blood, and while the results are laughably silly, their unabashed enthusiasm for the project is infectious, and the whole thing ends up being a rollicking good time. The only thing I can say against it is that one of the boys is part of a religious sect that is sort of Amish-lite, and so we once again get the subplot of the overbearing, stifling religious conservatives keeping our heroes from experiencing life to the fullest with no balancing counter argument in sight.
Inside Man (2006)
I was immediately pulled in to this energetic tale of a bank heist. The audience is always kept guessing as the police and the thieves play mind games with each other. The payoff was disappointing in a mundane, run-of-the-mill kind of way, but it failed to detract very much from the trill ride of the rest of the movie.
The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
No, this isn't a duplicate, this is a completely different movie with Sabu in the title role instead of Douglas Fairbanks. This is a gorgeous film full of eye-popping visuals, groundbreaking special effects, and a humorous genie. Taking story points from all over the Arabian Nights, the film weaves together a thrilling tale of wonder and magic that I highly recommend to any fan of fantasy films.
The Pirate (1948)
This movie was a joy to watch. Gene Kelly is hilarious as he pretends to be a notorious pirate in order to woo the adventuresome Judy Garland. The highlight of the film is the "Be a Clown" number which Gene Kelly performs with the Nicholas Brothers dancing duo. And for you Singin' in the Rain fans out there, "Make 'em Laugh" really is a blatant ripoff of "Be a Clown."
Coming up next: three love stories and two larger than life characters.