Monday, August 22, 2011

Reel Insight Episode 59: Zooey Deschanel and Ryan!

Hey guys - first, I have to say I'm going on hiatus for a least a week, perhaps two.  I've started my new job and I'm pretty sure I should be working hard for the next few weeks.  There won't be any Wednesday movie mashup but I'll try to keep posting the Reel Insight updates for the next few weeks.   So I'm not going anywhere, I'm happy, healthy and gainfully employed.

For our 59th episode, the man formerly known as the Mad Hatter (now he's just Ryan - YAY!) joins us and drops a pretty big announcement.  Go check out his new and improved site at The Matinee.  We discussed the lovely and amazing Zooey Deschanel. Our advice for her is to stop making bad indie movies since she's more than capable of making awesome movies of any variety.   The finale of "Twin Peaks" is discussed and we chat about a little more Captain America, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Crazy Stupid Love.

Oh, and there's a special announcement too!  Check it out.

New movies seen just for Ms. Deschanel:
The Go-Getter - This was terrible.  A young man steals a car and befriends its owner (Deschanel) over her cell phone, which was left in the car.  He goes on a journey searching for his older brother to tell him their mom died.  Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker) plays the lead and isn't a Paul Dano or Patrick Fugit, but both of those might have improved this movie.  BORING.  1 of 5 stars/lambs

The Good Life - This time Patrick Fugit was in the film, but doesn't play the lead.  That's left to Mark Webber who is a young man with no hair, and seemingly no future, but with the world on his shoulders.  He falls for Zooey who is obviously a little screwed up, but she eventually makes him see that he doesn't have to take care of everybody around him (a mom who lets the electricity get turned off on Christmas, a family who has almost nothing, and a friend who owns a movie theater, but can't remember to pop the popcorn without help anymore).  Some good moments, but overall not good.  2 of 5 stars/lambs

Gigantic - I have trouble figuring out what this movie was really about.  It seems like a set of really odd characters who all interact, but actually have no story.  Paul Dano plays a luxury mattress salesman who has always dreamed of adopting an Asian baby.  John Goodman comes in to buy a bed, but he travels lying down in cars.  His daughter (Deschanel) comes to arrange for the mattress delivery and hits it off with Dano.  That's about all I can figure out happened.   After that I lost interest.  2.5 of 5 stars/lambs

Flakes - This movie was really great, mostly because it didn't try to be anything more than it was.  It didn't try to be more quirky, it didn't try to tell a "real" story.  It just tells the story of a "cereal bar" where the owner (Christopher Lloyd in his pajamas) and the manager (Aaron Stanford - Pyro from X-Men) and their customers talk about "vintage cereals" and the perfect combination of cereal.  Much like a High Fidelity or any cliched version of a comic book store, this story took on breakfast cereal.  Zooey plays Aaron's quirky artistic girlfriend who just wants him to get back to playing music.  So to "help" him, she tries to sabotage the store by helping a competitor douche across the street.  There's a little down and dirty commercial rivalry, but overall the movie is very cute and a particularly nerdy brand of original.  4 of 5 stars/lambs

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesdays Movie Mashup No. 40

Hatter came back to the top again with a fairly random connection of movies.  Not sure anyone can catch him at this point, but the race for second place is going strong.

Last week's clue: A famous actor goes off the rails to become a rapper while a man can talk to the dead.
Answer: I'm Still HereAFTER

Hatter - 16

Rachel - 6
James - 4
David, Nick, Dylan - 3 
Sebastian, Andrew, Andy, Keith  - 1

New clue: A little girl's parents are turned into pigs while another set of future parents meet some crazy friends as they search for a place to live.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies who overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Release: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had no interest in seeing this movie - I didn't particularly enjoy the previous incarnations of this series, but mostly for the odd effects and terrible makeup and even costumes.  But they definitely had their place in the pop/cult culture, so when a friend eagerly suggested spending the afternoon in the AC watching this, I agreed.  And since he's pretty much always right, this was a really great way to spend the afternoon.

James Franco plays Will Rodman, a molecular biologist trying to find a cure for his father's (John Lithgow) Alzheimers.  He works in a lab, that has come really far with a gene therapy treatment that shows promise in chimps.  However, the movie opens with his big presentation to the board of directors about starting human trials and is interrupted by a rogue chimp who goes crazy and ruins all his plans.  The project is shut down and they're sent back to the drawing board.  Franco ends up taking home a baby chimp and raising it at home with his dad.  Caesar was in utero when his mom got the drugs and it made him really really smart and has a lot of fun living with Franco and Lithgow.  Meanwhile Franco's been trying to get his cure up and running again, and violating all kinds of ethics by bringing home the drug to test on his dad.  It does start out like a terrible science experiment waiting to go awry.  However, the movie rises just a bit above its B-movie schlock roots by having a real life problem move Caesar to a "sanctuary" where he becomes the leader of the other apes.  Caesar manages to educate the other apes (with a little help from stolen proto-type drugs from Franco's company) and rig a jailbreak because he's had it with the terrible treatment of his fellow apes by humans.  That's when all hell breaks loose.

It's a relatively simple movie concept that actually sets up the story for the Heston version of Planet of the Apes quite well (haven't seen the Mark Wahlberg version so I'm not sure where it fits with that one).  I won't explain the details, but suffice it to say there are direct links between them that set it up without whacking you over the head with it.  And I'm happy to say the CGI has made leaps and bounds to reach this point where it's neither distracting nor annoying.  Andy Serkis repeats his amazing motion capture acting from The Lord of the Rings' Gollem as Caesar and it really makes the whole experience worthwhile.  You can actually see the changes within the apes without them looking too human.

The story is totally crazy from a science perspective, but much of the science stays within the plausible (until they had chimps and gorillas swinging through trees and jumping from 5th story windows) so I wasn't bothered by that fact and got to sit back and enjoy the craziness that was apes taking over San Francisco.  If you had any desire to see this, you won't be disappointed, it lives up to its predecessor's and exceeds them in all tech respects.  And John Lithgow and Franco keep up their streak of good work, which for particularly shallow characters they do have great relationships with other characters, even apes.  Sadly Frieda Pinto and Tom Felton are barely window dressing and ignores their previous success.  3.5 lambs/stars (it's not higher because it's apes acting, how amazing can that be?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Release: Captain America

I'm a serious "completionist".  I will be seeing the final Twilight movies because I've seen the others.  I don't give up on a series until it breaks my heart (i.e. kills a character I thought should live).  That was my main motivation for going to see Captain America, as he'll be a character in Joss Whedon's The Avengers next summer and I fully intend to see that.  Thankfully I was very pleased with the film.  Armed with thoughts on what a hero is or should be, I really liked seeing his origin story.

In case you aren't a comic book fan, here's Steve Rogers' story.  He desperately wants to serve in WWII, but has too many health issues, as well as being a shrimp, keeping him out.  One day Stanley Tucci takes an interest in him for a special project, injecting him with drugs that hopefully turn him into a super soldier.  After the serum, he's grown about 8 inches, and has huge muscles without working out.  Sadly, Tucci is unable to replicate the whole process and Steve Rogers is the only one.  The government decides he's best suited to help raise money for the war, so they put him in a costume and he becomes "Captain America".  Thankfully, Steve Rogers has a little more spunk than just being a circus pony, and manages to stage a rescue of his buddy behind enemy lines.

This was where the film really becomes a superhero type movie - he's got his techy side-kick in Howard Stark (yes, Iron Man's relative played by Dominic Cooper) and a sassy lady-friend in Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).  They fight the bad guys together, along with some real life soldiers (lots of character actors you'll recognize and spend time itching to figure out how they are).   Oh, and the bad guys  are awesome.  I am willing to propose that Hugo Weaving play the bad guy in all movies - he's really really great as the over the top Nazi who becomes known as Red Skull when he is cut off from Hitler and has to kill lots and lots of people.  (And while I'm at it, Tommy Lee Jones is a really great military guy too - smart ass goes a long way for him).  I anticipated Red Skull's makeup being really creepy, but it was really well done and didn't bring a red Voldemort to mind until very near the end when he whispered something.   He was bad-ass fighting.  We know he can act without being able to see his face particularly well (see V for Vendetta) and he used his teeth quite well to act crazy (but not in a Jim Carrey The Mask kind of way, much more subtle).  There were a few moments before Rogers became Capt. that the CGI was distracting with Chris Evans' face on a smaller guy's body, but overall, that worked well too.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie, and think he'll make a pretty good addition to The Avengers next summer, but I will say this felt a little more like a place holder than a well-developed movie.  We didn't know much about Steve Rogers either before or after becoming Captain America.  He got beat up a lot and had a good understanding of how to fight, but he wasn't particularly deep.  Yes, heroic, and definitely not dull, but we know so much more about the backstory for all the other Avengers (except Hawkeye?  Why doesn't he get a movie?) and even a fair amount about SHEILD, but Steve felt pretty flat.  Not bad, just not quite up to snuff and since he's supposed to be the leader, I guess, that might come back to bite them in the ass.  Either way, I'll definitely be there to see what they do.  4 of 5 stars/lambs

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesdays Movie Mashup No. 39

Well, well.  Dylan's moving up the leaderboard all over the place.  If I were a lesser person, I might exclude him from my game for taking over the lead over at Keith's game.  But I will rise above.  

Last week's clue: A high school kid gets over his girlfriend dumping him by skiing while a high school teacher attempts to inspire his students with unconventional lessons.

Answer: Better Off Dead Poets Society


Hatter - 15
Rachel - 6
James - 4
David, Nick, Dylan - 3 
Sebastian, Andrew, Andy, Keith  - 1

New clue: A famous actor goes off the rails to become a rapper while a man can talk to the dead.

The goal is to figure out the two movies who overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

New Release: The Help

This was probably the most anticipated movie of the year for me.  I loved the book last year and have recommended it to everyone.  I even got to listen to the audiobook with Octavia Spencer reading the character she brings to life on the screen.  So I was well prepared going into this to thoroughly enjoy it and more than a little nervous it couldn't live up to my hopes.  I find in situations like this that it's rare a movie can actually live up to your expectations, but if it does a good job outside of what you expected, whether or not it met your hopes, doesn't really matter.   That was the case with The Help.

Based on the Kathryn Stockett novel, The Help is the story of two sets of Southern women in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963-1964.  One is the black women who work as maids for the other set of white women.  Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) wants to be a writer and she's been advised by a NYC book editor (Mary Steenbergen) to write about something that bothers her.  When her good friend Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) decides to start the "Home Help Sanitation Initiative" (a fancy term for making separate but equal bathrooms in private homes that aren't particularly separate and are definitely unequal), Skeeter has had enough.  She wants to write about what's it's like to be "The Help" and enlists the assistance of another friend's maid, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis).  Aibileen has been raising white children and cleaning for white families her whole life.  But after her son dies, she's had enough of holding back, and agrees to help Skeeter.  They enlist the help of Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer, who deserves whatever awards she might get, but I'm sure this movie will be ignored) a smart-ass maid who has been fired by  Hilly and can't get work anywhere, except with a crazy hillbilly woman outside of town, Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain).

Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny begin to record their stories.  They are aware of the total danger of what they're doing - it's illegal in Mississippi to engage in this kind of behavior, or at the very least incredibly dangerous.  This is brought home, quite literally to within a few blocks of Aibileen and Minny's homes when Medgar Evers is shot on his doorstep.  The movie focuses on both the social difficulties in what they're doing and their need to do it - to tell another side of the story.  Skeeter has never been a beauty - just ask her mother (Allison Janney) - but she's been willing to play along with the expectations of her to find a husband and be part of the Junior League and have a family.  But now she wants this too.  The novel does a better job showing how hard Skeeter has to work to get everything done and what a social pariah she becomes after she finds out what her friends are like to their maids and can't keep her thoughts to herself anymore.  However, Hilly is the President of the Junior League and a prominent member of Jackson society and the bossiest bitch you've ever met.

I don't want to spoil the major twist (but Sissy Spacek is really really funny) but know that not everything ends particularly well.  When I read the book, I kept waiting for some sort of extreme violence to happen if they got caught, and I will spoil it and say the violence you might expect, thankfully, does not come.  It doesn't end in a perfect bow, but there's definitely the triumph of the human spirit that you're hoping for by the end.

The acting throughout is spectacular.  Viola Davis is a perfect blend of joy - she really adores the babies she's raising - and beaten down.  I was nervous she wouldn't be able to play as old as the character in the book seems, but she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and the movie shows it pretty well.  Octavia Spencer has the perfect wise-cracking attitude and knowing eyebrows to stare down just about anyone who gets in her way, though she carries the fear of helplessness around with her everywhere.  Emma Stone's role is more of the uniting character, but the movie does a better job than the book in making her character seem real.  Emma Stone is beautiful - so making Skeeter seem much less attractive than her friends is not an easy task, but they did it particularly well but showing how difficult she finds it to conform, from her insanely curly hair to keeping her mouth shut with men.  My only complaint with her performance is the dropping of her accent from time to time.  She can't be a New England/California smart-ass when her character's never left Mississippi.  But it's infrequent enough not to be distracting.  The rest of the supporting cast, particularly Allison Janney and Cicely Tyson (as the maid who raised Skeeter) are terrific.  The men in the movie are mostly superfluous, but Chris Lowell (I recognized him from "Private Practice" ) does a good job as the guy going after Skeeter.

Overall, the movie is a perfect summer movie (it's hot in Mississippi evidently) with some stand-out performances and will leave you feeling better about the world we live in today, but perhaps a bit reminded of where we come from and how far we have to go.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  5 of 5 stars/lambs

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reel Insight Episode 57: John Cusack and David

A new guest!  David from Hoping for Something to Hope For was our guest.  He won the opportunity by playing our Anniversary Trivia game!  And he chose a favorite and remarkably prolific actor to discuss - John Cusack - making him and Joan the first sibling pair we've covered (make note for the next Anniversary!).  We also talk about Cowboys and Aliens, Thor and more discussion of Captain America.  Rachel and I are ALMOST finished with Twin Peaks, so please bear with us, we'll get there.   Have a listen and tell us what you think.  We love when you do that.

New movies with John Cusack:
The Grifters - This came out in 1990 and Angelica Huston was a big star and Annette Bening was really making her mark, and John Cusack was graduating from teen star.  Those are my only rationale behind the casting of this kooky movie that tries really hard to be serious, but I found to be really over the top, both in the violence and creepiness.  I like grifter movies, and this one didn't do a good job bringing us in on the grifting (a complicated odds-fixing scheme) and loses us for most of it. 2 of 5 stars

The Sure Thing -  I was recommended this by a college friend recently and was super excited to check it out.  And, Julie, you're totally right, I really liked it.  A very 80s version of It Happened One Night (check that one out too - BEST of the genre), it stars Cusack and Daphne Zuniga (Princess Vespa from Spaceballs) who are in English class together at a "Northeastern Ivy League School" and hate each other.  They end up sharing a ride to LA - Cusack to meet "The Sure Thing" his friend Anthony Edwards has set up for him, and Zuniga to see her stuffy boyfriend.  Of course shenanigans ensue and they have to rely on each other.  It's super cute, and they're both charming and relatable.  It doesn't really do anything new, but good fun.  4 of 5 stars/lambs

Better Off Dead - Personally, I found this movie way too quirky to be funny.  I know it's adored by many, but I just don't get the appeal.  1 of 5 stars/lambs

Eight Men Out - The story of the "Black Sox", players on the Chicago White Sox who took money from the mob to "throw" the 1919 World Series.  Shoeless Joe Jackson among them (and future star of Field of Dreams, those two films would make a TERRIFIC double feature).  The movie follows each of the players and shows some of their internal conflict about taking the money, tarnishing their reputations and the game of baseball.  It was good, but didn't blow me away and with all the drama it had to work with, I'm surprised it wasn't more dramatic.  3 of 5 stars/lambs

One Crazy Summer - Should have been called One Crazy Week since all the action wraps up in a week, and then text on the screen wraps up the rest of the summer.  Cusack is going to Nantucket for the summer with friends.  He meets Demi Moore on her way to claim an inherited house that owes $2000 on the mortgage or she loses the house.  She has a week to raise the money singing in clubs and Cusack and his friends help her.  It ultimately comes down to winning a regatta against the rich kids (including Jeremy Piven).  Very typical 80s teen comedy, completely with Bobcat Goldthwait.  2 of 5 stars/lambs

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DVD Roundup: Never Let Me Go

Some plane movies are better than others.  If you travel at a hard time of year for movies, chances are you'll be reading your book on the plane instead of checking out The Astronaut Farmer (I got screwed with that one once).  However, I had a terrific plane ride to Hawaii and got to see some terrific movies and here's the first.

Never Let Me Go was a movie I'd heard good and meh things about.  I knew the basic premise - it's a world where they've figured out how to harvest organs and prolong the lives of people, except for the organ donors of course.  We follow 3 kids, Tommy, Kathy, and Ruth.  They all go to a boarding school in England that is particularly strange since they never ever mention their families.  It seems like they've been at the school forever.  The eeriness just continues, but it's hard to pinpoint what's off until a ball goes outside the fence during a game and no one goes after it.  They don't leave the grounds ever.  Kathy has a crush on Tommy (and is the narrator) but when we see them a bit more grown up (now as Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightly and Carey Mulligan) Ruth is now with Tommy and we watch Kathy (Mulligan) pine for him a bit and try to figure out what her life is about.
They have now figured out that they were "grown" to be organ donors for other people and they might get to "donate" (is it a donation if it's something you need yourself?) three or four times and then they'll die.  They're so matter of fact about it all, and they all want to do their "job" the best they can.  Kathy has become a care-giver which puts off her first donation a while and she helps other people through their donations.  One day she runs into Ruth after a donation and they decide to go try and find Tommy and Ruth apologizes for stealing him when they were kids.
I'm not sure I can do this movie justice with just an explanation.  The reason I've been using quotes around so many things because they're so normal in this world that it's just another word, but to see them doing these morally objectionable things and being okay with it was pretty hard to watch.  There's a quote that we used on Reel Insight a little while ago that explains a lot of what still puzzles me about this movie. It's said by the school headmistress about why they had art class: "We didn't have to look into your souls, we had to see if you had souls at all" and describes the crux of the movie.  However, the movie seems to waffle between wanting to be a love story between Tommy and Kathy and whether they'll overcome the obstacles to their relationship (i.e. dying) and being a moral story about using some people to save others.  Sadly, the movie doesn't quite commit to being either, but that doesn't trouble my overall opinion of the film.  There are lots of statements that really make you think about the attitude of the person saying it as well as the moral implications of what they're saying.  Well written, just not committed to fully realizing either story (which is okay, just not my preference). I really want to see it again and just watch how it's made.  The colors are gorgeous and the tone of the film works beautifully, particularly with Mulligan's quiet acting.  4 of 5 stars/lambs

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesdays Movie Mashup No. 38

And Hatter returns to take another one.  Well done.  And Keith did a good job trying to get there fast, but better luck next time.

Last week's clue: A man tries to save the last pregnant female on earth while sanitation workers attempt to solve a crime.

Answer: Children of Men at Work


Hatter - 15
Rachel - 6
James - 4
David, Nick - 3
Dylan - 2

Sebastian, Andrew, Andy, Keith  - 1

New clue: A high school kid gets over his girlfriend dumping him by skiing while a high school teacher attempts to inspire his students with unconventional lessons.

The goal is to figure out the two movies who overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There's always someone: Made in Dagenham

One of the reasons I like watching historical dramas, pretty much of any type, is because there's always someone who did something relatively small that changed the world in a big way.  Sometimes it comes at great personal cost (assassination is the highest price to prove what you're doing probably changed the world) or sometimes it's just to make your own life a little easier, but it changes the lives of others as well.   When those dramas fill a gap in my own knowledge, particular a gap I wasn't aware was there in the first place, I find the need to tell the world about them.

Made in Dagenham was a movie I originally got from Netflix only because I adore Sally B. Hawkins from Happy-Go-Lucky (which is a whole other story, but I highly recommend it, particularly when she learns to tango).  When I saw that it was a little bit like Norma Rae, I knew I had to see it.  And, as is usually the case with well made historical dramas, this one tells a story that brings the main characters to life without making you feel like you're missing many parts of the story because it doesn't feel like real life or characters that are larger than life.

Sally B. Hawkins plays Rita O'Grady, a wife and mother of two in 1968 who also works at the Ford Motor Plant that sews together the seats for the cars.  She's asked to lead the group when they make demands to be reclassified as semi-skilled labor rather than unskilled, and the pay that goes with it which leads to a strike and the demand for equal pay with the men at the same plant.  We see the suffering they have to go through trying to get the rest of the unions to support them and the work stoppage.  Ultimately they meet with the Secretary of State Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson) who speaks the same language as the men - "Go back to work and someday it'll get better".  The best they're able to negotiate to go back to work is 92% of what men make, with the hope that Equal pay becomes law in the future (it did in 1970 in England).  The men at Ford (represented by Richard Schiff) complain the same old whine "the economy will collapse if we pay women the same", but luckily Mrs. Castle stands up for the women both in the press and for the government.

It's a really great movie with some 60's music as the soundtrack, and terrific actresses filling out the supporting cast besides Richardson, Rosamund Pike has some terrific scenes as a fellow mother with a son in the same class as Hawkins.  Pike talks about how she used to love to read history because she saw people changing the world, and it motivates Hawkins onto the last step of her fight.   Many people talk about who would play them in the movie of their life - well if I were a British brunette, I would seriously want Sally B. Hawkins to play me.  She speaks with the same tremble in her voice I know I would have trying to argue for what I believe to be a right that I'm being denied, but with a forcefulness that you must take her seriously as a person, and not dwell on the fact that she's a woman.  I highly recommend this movie.  4.5 of 5 stars/lambs

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reel Insight Episode 56: Helena Bonham Carter

This is one of my favorite episodes of late - we recorded it early and at night, so margaritas were present!  Of course that made the whole thing more fun (and even provides for a bonus star of the week after the credits!).  We discuss The Ramen Girl, Captain America and of course "Twin Peaks".  Then our wonderful star of the week - Mrs. Tim Burton - who had a tempestuous past with her other leading actors that gets discussed too.  Lots of fun was had by all.

Note - we've been having a bit of trouble with podomatic, so download or listen to the episodes directly from this page if necessary!

Or go download it here

New Movies for Helena Bonham Carter (HBC):
Lady Jane - This movie really appealed to me as I adore The Tudors, and this fits in right after Edward VII takes over from Henry VIII, and passes the crown to Lady Jane Grey (HBC), his cousin, rather than his half sisters - the Catholic Mary and Protestant Elizabeth.   Of course, that means there are a lot of plots against Jane and her husband Guilford Dudley (and very young Cary Elwes).  The movie seems to take a lot of liberties with their relationship (they hated each other, but in the movie eventually fall in love and want to rule together).  The super-overdramatic score makes the whole movie a bit crazy, but it fills a gap in the Kings and Queens of England story particularly well given she only served 9 days!  3 of 5 stars/lambs

Sixty Six -  HBC stars as the mother of Bernie Reubens, a young invisible Jewish boy about to have his Bar Mitzvah, which he assumes will be the greatest day of his life.  Unfortunately, 1966 is the year of the world cup, and the Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for the same day as the finals.  Bernie is convinced no one will come so he prays for England to not make the finals.  To complicate things his father's grocery store fails and he  has to find new work.  His dad (Eddie Marsan) is an odd OCD father who has never really gotten his son.  So with little money, the plans for the Bar Mitzvah keep getting smaller and smaller. You really feel bad for Bernie and his attempts to find identity by making a big deal out of becoming a man.  A very sweet coming of age/sports story as Bernie becomes obsessed with soccer following England's progress.  2.5 of 5 stars/lambs

A Room with A View - Based on the book by E.M. Forster, in her first major movie, HBC plays Lucy Honeychurch who is visiting Florence with her chaperone (Maggie Smith) and they meet very nice men who swap rooms with them so they may have a view of Florence.  This complicates HBC's marriage plans back in England when she gets engaged to a VERY effeminate Daniel Day-Lewis.  A good movie, particularly if you like British dramas.  But somewhat slow-paced if you're not into that kind of thing.  4/5 stars/lambs