Watch This: Enchanted

5.0 out of 5 stars A true love’s kiss and a dragon

Ingeniously incorporating a mix of memorable elements from earlier fantasy classics, including The Wizard of Oz, Men in Tights, King Kong, and their own fairy tale repertoire, the Disney folks, whose products are often annoying, have turned up a winner. Filmed like a musical, Enchanted is a delightful, sometimes fanciful , sometimes realistic tale about make believe characters who wind up in NYC because of the curse of an evil queen. Amy Adams and James Marsden are perfectly cast as the innocent, ingenuous maiden and prince, and Susan Sarandon overacts deliciously as the evil queen. Patrick Dempsey provides just the right contrast in his role as wordly, disappointed-in-love divorce lawyer, and, as his daughter, little Rachel Covey hits just the right note, neither too precocious nor too sweet. The hundreds of animals are right off the pages of Cinderella, even the bees, the pigeons, and the rats. The reactions of the New Yorkers who encounter the strange ensemble are priceless.
There are few surprises here, but its very predictably, presented in such a charmingly magical way, results in a film that lifts the heart as it entertains. The settings, costumes, music, and special effects are all first rate. In this film about love, what’s not to love?

Watch It! The Jane Austen Book Club

4.0 out of 5 stars What would Jane do?

It isn’t often that the movie turns out to be much better than the book, but that’s true with The Jane Austen Book Club. Maybe it’s a case of a solid premise poorly written, but I disliked the book so much I couldn’t finish it.
The film version, on the other hand, is entertaining and intelligently presented, and with so many main characters, that’s saying something. Each person in this impromptu book club, set up to help a newly divorced woman cope with the changes in her life, has a problem similar to that of one of Jane Austen’s characters. This is a complicated plot, but the movie works! No high powered stars here, no gimmicks, just a romantic comedy/drama that delivers.

Watch This: Love Actually

This winning film starts out with the premise that, contrary to popular belief, the world is full of love, not hatred. By watching the lives of 8 different pairs of people in London, England, some of the many different types of love are explored. There’s platonic, seen in the relationship of an aging rock star and his manager, and puppy love, as a young boy develops a crush on a classmate. There’s unrequited, when Mark’s best friend marries the woman he wants for himself, and the specter of infidelity, when a husband’s eye is caught by his secretary. Throw in a couple of cases of loving from a distance, and a junket to Milwaukee to hook up with some of those hot American girls, and there’s all sorts of mistakes and magic going on. The finale, though relying heavily on coincidence, is fascinating as all the main characters are brought together at a school Christmas pageant. No deep philosophy here, just good, engaging entertainment provided by a stellar cast,  witty director/writer, and catchy musical track.  A bit too racy for children.