Sugar-free Treats for Movie Lovers
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in "La La Land".
Photo courtesy of TIFF
For couples, finding a unique Valentine’s Day gift can be an extremely difficult task. One idea? Zero in on one of your partner’s passions. If those include cinema, consider one of the books, soundtracks, or DVDs/Blu-ray discs listed here.
Books for Cinephiles
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist, a hilarious and touching look at her life as Star Wars icon Princess Leia, was a must-read even before the sudden, shocking passing of its author in December. (Fisher’s death, of course, was followed by the equally tragic loss of her mother, Debbie Reynolds.) It is even more poignant now.
Buy it at all major bookstores and amazon.com.
The Art of Selling Movies by John McElwee (GoodKnight Books)
Anyone with an interest in classic cinema will adore The Art of Selling Movies, a 300-page treat packed with photos and vintage advertisements. Featuring everyone from Valentino and Pickford to Bardot and Hitchcock, this is a wonderfully entertaining and insightful coffee table tome.
Buy it at amazon.com.
Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage by Robert S. Bader (Northwestern University Press)
Bader’s book highlights a fascinating, little-known segment of the Marx Brothers’ career, the twenty-five years the foursome spent on stage. He traces the comic legends’ road from live performance (Groucho made his debut in 1905) to big-screen successes.
Buy it at marxbrothers.net.
Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe by Robert Matzen (GoodKnight Books)
It’s hard to find new ground to cover when discussing the personal life of a legendary figure like Jimmy Stewart, but author Robert Matzen pulls it off in Mission. This thoroughly researched text explores the actor’s wartime exploits, and the effect these experiences had on his later life and career.
His Girl Friday (Criterion)
Howard Hawks’s His Girl Friday still holds up, and then some. This comic adaptation of The Front Page starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell is as funny today as it was upon release, and with this high-definition restoration, it has never looked or sounded better.
Buy it at criterion.com or amazon.com.
Jerry Maguire: 20th Anniversary Edition (Sony)
Tom Cruise gave his best performance in Jerry Maguire, the sports-agent romantic comedy that that gave the world the phrase, “Show me the money!” It remains a surprisingly poignant film, and this Best Buy exclusive Blu-ray limited edition offers a fine reason to revisit.
Buy it at Best Buy or bestbuy.com.
La La Land (Interscope)
La La Land might have been 2016’s most purely enjoyable film, and the music is a key element of its appeal. Stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone acquit themselves nicely in this witty, moving homage to Hollywood musicals. The songs by Justin Hurwitz are smart and satisfying, especially “City of Stars” and the anthemic “Another Day of Sun.”
Buy it in stores and on amazon.com.
Jackie (Milan Records)
The musical score for this Natalie Portman-starring film about Jackie Kennedy is strange, haunting, and fascinating—just like the film itself. Composer Mica Levi’s work here is astoundingly original.
Buy it on amazon.com.
Looking for a Rental?
Looking for something a bit less expensive? Consider one of the following films now available to rent from iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or Redbox.
Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell star in this surprisingly involving action film about the biggest oil spill in US history. It’s a disaster film done right, and Russell, especially, is masterful
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep is predictably wonderful as painfully awful opera singing-heiress Florence Foster Jenkins. However, costars Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg are equally strong in this modest, satisfying film.
While Sully is no classic, Clint Eastwood’s biography of hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is quite involving and often thrilling. It’s a reminder that there is no actor more capable than Tom Hanks.
Christopher Schobert is the former managing editor of Forever Young. He is a film critic for The Buffalo News and other outlets, and writes a monthly film screenings column for Buffalo Spree.