Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, the film

Before_the_devil_knows_your_dead Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, released in September of 2007, is a good thriller starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, and Marisa Tomei. It is the story of a dysfunctional family in which the two sons, Andy (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), and Hank (Ethan Hawke) decide to rob their parents jewelry story to solve their money problems. What was planned as a victimless crime goes terribly awry and as the film goes on more and more bad stuff comes to light.

This is psychological thriller in which the characters are real and the situations seem plausible. I enjoyed this film and I recommend it. Phillip Seymour Hoffman has had a great year with the films he has starred in such as Charlie Wilson's War, Savages, and this film, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. He is an outstanding actor.

Link: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007).

Smoking in Movies Linked to Kids Lighting Up

Kids_smoking Reuters HealthDay reported on January 8, 2008 on a study which appears in the January, 2008 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, which found that smoking in movies rated G, PG, and PG-13 influence kids to smoke.

Young people who start smoking may be influenced to do so by movies they saw in early childhood, new research suggests.

What's more, the study found that almost 80 percent of the exposure to smoking scenes in movies came through films rated "G," "PG" and "PG-13."

"Movies seen at the youngest ages had as much influence over later smoking behavior as the movies that children had seen recently," said study author Linda Titus-Ernstoff, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School.

"And I'm increasingly convinced that this association between movie-smoking exposure and smoking initiation is real," she added. "That's to say, causal. It is quite improbable that the association we see is due to some other influence, some other characteristic inherent in children or parental behavior. The relationship is clearly between movie-smoking and smoking initiation."

The findings are published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

Link: MedlinePlus: Smoking in Movies Linked to Kids Lighting Up.

Juno, the film

Juno There are not a lot of good movies currently to be seen in commercial movie theaters and then along come two back to back Charlie Wilson's War and Juno.

Juno was released on 12/25/07 and is well worth seeing. It is about Juno MacGruff a 16 year old quirky high school girl who gets pregnant with her meek and mild mannered boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker.

This is a delightful coming of age movie in which Juno seems wise and mature beyond her years. She is snarky and wise and entirely endearing and reminds me of one of my own daughters, a couple of them actually.

The creative tension in the film comes from how she will manage her pregnancy and how people will react to it. This would be a good film for teenagers to see and I am very interested in what they think of it.

I highly recommend it.

Link: Juno Photos.

The Death of Mr. Lararescu, the film

The_death_of_mr_lararescu The Death Of Mr. Lararescu is a Romanian film released in 2005 which won several film awards.

In real time, the film depicts a 62 year old man's journey with an ambulance crew from hospital to hospital in an attempt to obtain medical care. As he is shuffled from emergency room to emergency room we see the arrogance of the medical staff and the many small decisions made about his care which eventually leads to tragic consequences.

While the film depicts the health care system in Bucharest, Romania, it just as easily could have been the United States. If you liked Sicko, you'll love this film.

Unless you speak Romanian, you'll have to read the English subtitles but it is well worth it. I highly recommend this film.

Link: Moartea domnului Lazarescu (2005).

Markham's top ten films of 2007

Film_awards I don't watch much TV. Rarely.

But I do watch a lot of movies which I get mostly from Netflix.

I love independent films, foreign films, and documentaries. I don't like horror films or sci fi, but I do like drama, comedy, and sometimes a thriller if it isn't too violent. I also love TV series which I can get from Netflix with three or four episodes on a disc and no commercials. Some of the best TV is on HBO and Showtime.

Here is a list of all the movies and shows I watched in 2007 which comes to 81. Following this list, I will give you my top ten. My selection is not based on any criteria other than I enjoyed them and thought that they were a good use of my time.

Must Love Dogs


Akeelah and the Bee

Take The Lead with Antonio Banderas

The Night Listener

Children Of Men

Venus Beauty Institute

The Sisters

Jesus Camp

An Unfinished Life with Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez

Once Were Warriors – New Zealand Maori film about domestic violence

Radio Flyer

The Five People We Meet In Heaven

After Innocence

My Wife The Actress

Tuesdays With Morrie

Madame Bovary

Marie Antoinette

Wild Hogs


Raising Victor Vargas


The Reckoning



Amazing Grace

Another Day In Paradise

Half Nelson

The U.S.vs John Lennon

The Shooter

Mi Familia

The Age Of Innocence


Running With Scissors

Pursuit of Happyness

Spider Man 3

The Wire, season 3

I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School

Spring Forward

Thou Shalt Laugh

Madea’s Family Reunion

Mozart and the Whale

Rocky Balboa

Weeds Season one 2005

Deadwood, Season 3 2006


Dave Chapelle’s Block Party

30 Days first season (2004)

Live Free of Die Hard

Harsh Times



Shut Up And Sing – Documentary about the Dixie Chicks

Driving Lessons

Lost In La Mancha



No Reservations

I Heart Huckabees

The Same River Twice

The Cockettes

Death At A Funeral

One Day In September

The Thing About My Folks

Being Julia

Miss Potter

Reign over me

Man Pushcart

You Kill Me

This Boys Life

Sense and Sensibility

10 Items or less

Soul Food, Season 2

Brothers and Sisters, Season 1



I am Legend


Little Women

Jane Eyre

Charlie Wilson’s War

My top ten films of 2007

  1. Children Of Men
  2. Jesus Camp
  3. Amazing Grace
  4. The US vs. John Lennon
  5. Sicko
  6. Shut Up and Sing
  7. Miss Potter
  8. You Kill Me
  9. Gracie
  10. Charlie Wilson's War

I also recommend the TV shows: The Wire, Deadwood, and Soul Food. 

Offside, the film

Offside Offside is an Iranian film distributed in 2006 about some young women who attempt to enter the soccer stadium in Tehran to watch the soccer playoffs between Iran and Bahrain for entrance into the 2006 World Cup.

The creative tension in this film is created by the fact that females are not allowed into sport stadiums with males. A group of six young females, dressed as males, attempt to get around police, security guards, and soldiers to enter the stadium. They are caught and detained in a makeshift jail outside the stadium and the soliders describe the game to them in progress.

This film is a black comedy but also depicts the sex discrimination in Iran. I recommend this film.

After watching this film, it is all the more apparent how misguided the Bush Administration is in demonizing the Iranian people. All Americans should watch this film and it would be less likely that we would want Bush to bomb them.

Link: Offside (2006/I).

Old Joy, the film

Oldjoylrg Old Joy is an independent film distributed in 2006 which depicts an attempt to rejuvenate an old friendship by two guys who have moved on to different lives. Mark is married and his wife is pregnant when Kurt calls him and asks if he would like to go on a weekend camping trip to visit a secluded hot springs in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Mark agrees and makes the attempt to re-connect with Kurt but it doesn't quite fly.

This movie is photographed in beautiful country and is full of slow paced melancholy and thoughtfulness about how life is a journey and moves on leaving a sense of sadness and grief at what we once had and now miss. Kurt at one point says, "Sorrow is nothing but worn out joy."

If you are in the mood for a slow, thoughtful movie about outgrown friendships, I recommend this movie to you.

Link: Spirituality & Practice: Film Review: Old Joy, directed by Kelly Reichardt.

The Shock Doctrine by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein

There is a brief movie, about 7 minutes, on YouTube giving an overview of Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Doctrine made by Alfonso Cuaron the director of Children Of Men. I recommend it. To watch it on the YouTube web site click on the link below.

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, the film

Kindertransport Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport is a documentary which was released in 2000 and won the Academy Award in 2001 as the Best Documentary.

It is the story about 10,000 Jewish children who were sent from Austria and Germany to England in 1938 and 1939 before the war broke out between Germany and Poland. The Kindertransport has been called one of the greatest acts of mercy in the history of the world.

The documentary describes the suffering which occured for parents and children as parents sent their children to England to save them from the Nazi oppression and possible death. Over 1.5 million children died in the holocaust. More could have been saved had governments acted more quickly. To our shame, the United States congress failed to pass legislation to allow children to immigrate to the United States without their parents. Luckily for 10,000 children the British were not so rigid and more merciful.

This film depicts a part of history which I knew nothing about before seeing the film and it is well worth watching. I recommend it.

Link: Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000).

Miss Potter, the film

Miss_potter Miss Potter, was distributed in 2006 and is a delightful movie about Beatrix Potter the author and artist who wrote and illustrated such books as Peter Rabbit.

The movie is a biography about Beatrix and her struggle to individuate from her family of origin, pursue her own career, find love, and establish herself as a strong and independent woman.

I enjoyed this movie very much and highly recommend it.

Link: Miss Potter (2006).