Weekly Video Picks
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
This sequel to a satisfying-ly successful original imaginatively reworks these conventions to fashion a pleasant, uplifting family film. Writer-director Robert Rodriguez combines unhurried, offbeat humor with a playful visual imagination.
The teen-age Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) and her pre-adolescent brother Juni (Daryl Sabara) join the spy organization OSS, to which their parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) belong. The supersecret Tran-smoker device is stolen by mysterious villains who threaten to destroy the world. The quest to retrieve it leads the Cortez family and some superspy rivals to the Island of Lost Dreams, where a gentle but mad scientist (Steve Buscemi) has created a menagerie of dangerous mutant animals. Rodriguez subtly reminds us of the importance of family relationships and the occasional difficulties in sustaining them. Warning: Screenit.com says the movie is heavy in “bad Attitude” on the part of the kids.
Pope John Paul II: The Movie (1984)
Pope John Paul II: The Movie shows the way in which his tactics were a combination of boldness and flexibility, grounded in constant prayer.
The action begins in 1978 as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Albert Finney) is called to Rome for the papal conclave and flashes back to 1938 when he's a student (Michael Crompton) in Krakow. Director Herbert Wise and screenwriter Christopher Knopf dramatize the young Pole's growing commitment to the Catholic faith.
During the Nazi occupation, he joins a secret group that studies St. John of the Cross and enrolls in an underground seminary. He also helps Jewish families escape to safety.
After the communist takeover, we watch the young cleric skillfully challenge the authorities, particularly in the construction of new churches. The movie ends with his installation as Pope. It's a moving portrait of an inspiring man, prepapacy.
The Farmer's Daughter(1947)
American political culture thrives on populist myths. So does Hollywood.
The Farmer's Daughter, adapted by Laura Kerr and Allen Rivkin from a play by Juhni Tervataa and directed by H.C. Potter, is a Capra-like romantic comedy with an unusual twist. The political role model is a woman.
Katie Holstrom (Loretta Young in an Oscar-winning performance) is a country girl who comes to Capitol City and works as a maid with the Morleys, a family of political kingmakers.
Sparks fly between her and the ambitious, unmarried son, Glenn (Joseph Cotton).
- March 9-15, 2003