Blog

Jennifer

Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch (2005) PG-13
Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon pair up in this hilarious movie from the Farrelly brothers. Fallon plays Ben, a high school math teacher with a (possibly) unhealthy obsession with the Boston Red Sox. Lindsey (Barrymore) is a workaholic corporate executive. Life is great…until baseball season starts.

Check out Roger Ebert’s review. See how the movie’s ending changed with the miraculous run of the Red Sox in the 2004 postseason. And read an interview with Jimmy Fallon.

Nick Hornby’s novel Fever Pitch inspired two movies -- Fever Pitch (starring Colin Firth as an obsessed soccer fan) and this baseball film.
Mary

Casablanca

Casablanca (1942) PG
I like to spend New Year’s Eve watching my favorite movie: Casablanca. The film has all the ingredients for a terrific story-- romance, intrigue, and heroism. Ingrid Bergman’s luminous presence along with a top notch cast including Bogie, Claude Rains, Peter Lorrie and Paul Henreid make this movie a classic. And don’t forget the song “As Time Goes By” which Arthur “Dooley” Wilson immortalized as Sam, the popular piano player of Rick’s American Café. Casablanca as escape for refugees and a haven for spies exudes its own corrupt and exotic ambience. Even if you’re not a fan of classic movies, Casablanca is worth watching just to understand the cultural references that it inspired including a great Bugs Bunny parody Carrotblanca that I remember watching as a kid!

Visit Amazon.com for a trailer, clips from the film, plus interviews with the stars' children.
Jennifer

I Can See You by Karen Rose

I Can See You by Karen Rose (2009)
When the lines between virtual reality and real life blur, psychology grad student Eve Wilson gets drawn into a police investigation and catches the attention of a serial killer. While conducting a study of an online role-playing game, Eve discovers several participants have been murdered. Together with Detective Noah Webster, Eve’s in a race against time to stop the killer from claiming another victim. Filled with lots of twists, turns, and surprises, I Can See You keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Visit the author's website, check out her interview on YouTube and read reviews at Amazon.com.
Denise

Last Chance Harvey

Last Chance Harvey (2008) PG-13
I just had to see this film starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson – two actors I have always respected and love to watch. Yes, the story is predictable, but their gifted acting makes this a genuine film with a lot of heart, not overly dramatic or sappy. The scenes of London provide a charming backdrop throughout the film. Overall, it’s a wonderful “mature” love story that you can just sit back and enjoy.

See what the reviewers said -- check out Roger Ebert and USA Today.
IPPL Staff

Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy

Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer TracyThe chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy delights viewers, old and new. Blue collar and blue blood ignite the screen still. These three movies stand alone and stand above the gold bar.

Adam’s Rib (1949) is courtroom comedy. It established their reputation as the wittiest, most brilliant couple on screen. It is even better in the light of some modern day duds.

Pat and Mike (1952) continues to illustrate this team in a totally different setting, on the links and off the links. They continue to complement each other like bread and butter.

Desk Set (1957) is the final movie. In their ongoing battle of the sexes, I’m happy to say, everybody wins.  I think these movies represent the best of the “oldies.”  Enjoy, my friends.
IPPL Staff

Picnic

Picnic (1955) PG
Hal Carter (William Holden) comes from nothing and seems to be headed towards nothing. He flunked out of college where he had a football scholarship and since then he has been drifting, hoping for somewhere to settle and make something of himself. Hal jumps off of the train in a small Midwestern town where his old college buddy Alan Benson’s father owns the local grain elevator.

Things are looking up for Hal until he catches the eye of not only Alan’s girlfriend Madge Owens, but Madge’s younger sister Millie and unmarried schoolteacher Rosemary. All comes to a head at the town’s end of summer Labor Day Picnic. Holden, Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson, Rosalind Russell, and Susan Strasberg provide wonderful acting in this drama from a play by William Inge.
Jennifer

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (2005)
American grad student Eloise Kelly travels to England to conduct research for her dissertation (and to get over a cheating boyfriend). She’s fascinated by the spies (with flowery aliases) who saved England during the Napoleonic era and is trying to solve one of history’s greatest mysteries: the identity of the Pink Carnation.

Most of the story takes place in the early 1800s. Amy Balcourt travels to France to join the League of the Purple Gentian. She wants to avenge her parents’ deaths and dreams up schemes to defeat Napoleon. Lord Richard Selwick – aka the Purple Gentian – isn’t quite prepared for Amy (nor does he reveal his secret identity). Several English citizens work to stop Napoleon’s nefarious plot to invade England – the Pink Carnation among them – but you’ll have to read the book to discover the spy’s identity! The author’s debut, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, is the first in a series.

I think Meg Cabot describes it best: “This genre-bending read—a dash of chick-lit with a historical twist—has it all: romance, mystery, and adventure.”
IPPL Staff

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (2009)
A light but very entertaining book for a beach or trip read, especially if you've been or are going to Italy. Valentine, raised in a true Italian family, lives with her aging grandmother as they try to keep their family business (a high-end Italian shoe designer/ manufacturer) up and running. Love enters in for both Valentine and grandma and the ending has a twist. Chick lit, maybe, but I truly enjoyed it!

Read an excerpt and review at Bookreporter.com and visit the author's website.
IPPL Staff

Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! (2001) PG-13
The opening scene of this movie is a frenetic, whirling burst of lights, colors, and music! But try and stick with it because it is one luscious movie!

As the story goes, Christian, an impoverished writer, comes to Paris and falls in with Toulouse-Lautrec and the Bohemians of Montmartre, which leads us all to a merry romp at the Moulin Rouge. Christian meets Satine, the club's star and a beautiful courtesan. When he falls head-over-heels in love with her, a dangerous love triangle begins!

Ewan McGregor is terrific as Christian, Nicole Kidman is perfect as Satine, and they sing and dance! Visit About.com to find more about the movie, the stars, and the music.
Jennifer

He’s Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) PG-13
A smart, hilarious film starring an ensemble cast. He’s Just Not That Into You features interconnected stories showing relationships and misconceptions – from blind dates and extramarital affairs to long-term commitments and marriage.

Check out the video "10 Chick Flick Cliches You Won't Find in He's Just Not That Into You" and watch the trailer below to get a taste of the movie.

Mary

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (2005)
When my teenage reluctant-reader niece raved about this book, I just had to see what the buzz was about this hot bestseller. Although I am not much of a romance reader, I found this book a fun read with interesting characters and enough suspense to keep me reading into the wee hours.

Listen to the author speak about Twilight, visit her website, and check out the Twilight guide website.

Jennifer

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews (2008)
Gina Foxton, host of a Georgia public television cooking show, is stunned when her show is cancelled – and doubly so after she finds out why: her producer (and boyfriend) was caught sleeping with the sponsor’s wife. Things are looking up when Gina learns she has a chance to host a national show at The Cooking Channel. But there’s a catch: she’ll have to beat Tate Moody, host of a popular hunting/fishing/cooking show, in a reality show cook-off. Sparks fly as the two clash, cook, and click.

Enjoy the delightful Southern setting, the hilarious situations throughout the novel, and the wonderfully entertaining cast of characters surrounding Gina and Tate. A fun, breezy novel that’s perfect for the beach, or for a lazy afternoon in your own backyard.


Check out the Book Reporter interview with the author, or visit Mary Kay Andrew’s website for an excerpt and book discussion guide.
Mary P.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace (2007) PG
This moving film tells the story of the fight to outlaw slavery throughout the British Empire during the late 18th century. Based upon true events, we learn of idealist William Wilberforce, who fights in Parliament for the abolition of the trade and is pushed along by many including his pastor, John Newton.

Newton was a slave trader who experienced a "great deliverance" during a storm at sea. He came to recognize the inherent evil of the slave trade and for the rest of his life tried to make amends to his savior for the wrong he committed against his fellow man. Newton is the author of the timeless hymn "Amazing Grace."

The film is moving and inspirational with wonderful acting by Albert Finney and Michael Gambon.
IPPL Staff

Bread & Tulips = Pane e tulipani

Bread & Tulips = Pane e tulipani (2000) PG-13
Bread & Tulips is a charming and quirky Italian film about an overlooked housewife who impulsively vacations to Venice and, with the help of a wonderful cast of supporting characters, finds herself. Part comedy, part romance, part fairy tale, this colorful film will leave you smiling!

In Italian with English subtitles.
IPPL Staff

Australia

Australia (2008) PG-13
Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in this epic movie that’s also a love story. Baz Luhrmann directs this tale set in the Northern Territory of Australia during World War II.

My husband had traveled to Australia, and he loved the scenery portrayed in the movie. He was in the area where it was filmed.

Check out a LA Times interview with Nicole Kidman where she discusses the film and the region. Also visit Amazon.com for a behind the scenes video clip featuring Hugh Jackman. If you want to preview the movie, IMDb.com has several featurettes and trailers.