[from film itself:] "learn to appreciate what you have, while you still have it" About Schmidt starring Jack Nicholson. Comedy-drama "In this funny, touching character study, Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his career"(Rotten Tomatoes)" With its subversively non-airbrushed glimpses into (and a few insights about) Life, it's alternately poignant, delightfully cringe-worthy, sad, funny, and uplifting, sometimes several of all of these at once. Not always easy to watch when we recognize in Schmidt our own inner insecurities, anger, life's mistakes, and confusions, as a just-retired man who's been living half numb, on auto-pilot, tries to get a life, there are lessons for viewers of all ages about making the most of life and making it count. Official description: "Warren Schmidt is about to experience a bittersweet slice of life. Newly retired, he and his wife Helen have big plans to see America - but an unexpected twist changes everything. Now Schmidt is determined to stop his daughter's wedding to an underachieving waterbed salesman" (From a "new-age" Oregon family uncharitably called "one notch above trailer park" in one online review, versus the Omaha-based Schmidts) "From meeting the groom's eccentric parents to sponsoring a Tanzanian foster child, Schmidt sets off on his mission..and gets lost along the road to self-discovery." About Schmidt "is essentially a portrait of a man without qualities, baffled by the emotions and needs of others. That Jack Nicholson makes this man so watchable is a tribute not only to his craft, but to his legend: Jack is so unlike Schmidt that his performance generates a certain awe. Another actor might have made the character too tragic or passive or empty, but Nicholson somehow finds within Schmidt a slowing developing hunger, a desire to start living now that the time is almost gone."(Roger Ebert) "Undoubtedly one of the finest films of the year. If you're not deeply touched by this movie, check your pulse"(Paul Clinton) "A commanding Jack Nicholson lead performance that puts it into a sublime league of its own."(Hollywood Reporter)

The Adventures of Mark Twain. One of a kind stop motion animated fantasy. "The film features a series of vignettes extracted from several of Mark Twain's works, built around a plot that features Twain's attempts to keep his "appointment" with Halley's Comet. Twain and three children, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher, travel on an airship between various adventures." With a combination of humor and food for thought, and social commentary fitting for the iconic Mark Twain, adults and older kids will relate differing aspects, though often the same ones, such as the clips based on Twain's ironic and humorous bits of social, religious, and anthropological commentary pieces, Extracts from Adam's Diary (1904) and Eve's Diary (1905). As well as the more famous pieces (Jumping Frog; Tom Sawyer, etc) there are portions based on such lesser known works as Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (First published in Harpers in 1907...There is a Heaven for every sentient life form; what if our captain enters through the wrong gate into the Heaven made for multi-headed aliens?) Note: One scene in particular is definitely not for younger kids; based on the posthumously published The Mysterious Stranger featuring "Satan" (who in Twain's work turns out to be the nephew of the famous fallen angel by the same name, but nonetheless featuring one of the creepiest portions of that novel, rendered in a very effectively..creepy way) The rest is appropriate for all ages, is remarkably inventive, touching at times, amusing and delightful at others (Adults may enjoy the free audio-book reading of the entire work, https://librivox.org/the-mysterious-stranger-and-other-stories-by-mark-twain/ ) "The clay animation is really amazing in this neat fantasy of Mark Twain and his characters of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Pretty awesome." and "An underrated gem in the Stop-Motion world. Its a shame that almost nobody knows about this film nowadays.. this movie deserves more recognition in the film world. Also the acting is not too bad either, Charles Whitmore gives probably his best performance ever as Mark Twain in this film, the way he narrates the stories he tells to the kids" (Rotten Tomatoes)

Amélie (or The Fabulous Life of Amélie Poulain) Romantic comedy with a big heart; recipient of 5 Academy Award nominations including Best Original Screenplay. "The feel-good movie of the year!"(Premier) "a lively, fanciful charmer"(Rotten Tomatoes). Can a film peel away enough of our culture's cynicism and sprinkle enough poignant laughs to make us actually cheer for human kindness and being a do-gooder rather than seeing it as naive? Will the shy Amélie overcome enough of her own fears of finding love for herself? Overcome your fear of subtitles which you'll barely notice you're reading if you allow yourself to be absorbed into her magical world, and find out! (2 DVDs include lots of extras)

Awakenings Based on a true story. Starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, "beautifully directed" (Today Show) by Penny Marshall, and co-starring Julie Kavner (voice of Marge Simpson in The Simpsons) This 1990s film is set in the 1960s and based on the non-fiction memoir of the same name by neurologist Oliver Sacks, who in the 1960s successfully treated catatonic patients who had been "sleeping" since 1920s or 1930s. The film features a non-speaking cameo from jazz musician Dexter Gordon (who died before the film's release). Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Best adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor.

District 9 (Science fiction/action/drama) From producer Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and listed by IGN as #24 on list of Top 25 Sci-Fi Films of all time. "Madly original, cheekily political, and altogether exciting"(Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly) "Has the aesthetic trappings of science fiction but it's really more of a character drama, an examination of how a man responds when he's forced to confront his identity during extraordinary circumstances"(Christy Lemire, AP) "In 1982, an alien ship inexplicably stops over Johannesburg. Inside the ship, investigators discover a population of sick, malnourished extraterrestrials. The South African government confines the aliens to "District 9", a government camp. Twenty-eight years later, following unrest between the aliens and the locals, the government hires a private military contractor to relocate the aliens to a new internment camp." But when the mild-mannered bureaucrat ordered to lead the relocation becomes infected while investigating alien technology, and gradually begins to change into an alien, everything comes into question, including the ethics of relocation — and including his allegiances.

Interstellar. Science fiction (with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine)from director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight trilogy) comes the story of a team of pioneers undertaking the most important mission in human history... McConaughey stars as ex-pilot-turned-farmer Cooper, who must least his family and a foundering Earth behind to lead an expedition traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars (DVD summary) "Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent film-making moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp."(Rotten Tomatoes). " "This is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen — in terms of its visuals, and its overriding message about the powerful forces of the one thing we all know but can't measure in scientific terms. Love."(Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

I, Robot starring Will Smith, dubbed a neo-noir dystopian science fiction action film. Premise based on a collection of short stories of the same name by Isaac Asimov (author and editor of some 500 science & science-fictions books — and who introduced The Three Laws of Robotics quoted and used in the Will Smith film in another short story, back in 1942!) What tragic event in detective Spooner's (Smith) past make him "robophobic"? The First Law supposedly hard-wired into all robots is that they may not harm a human, but when the apparent suicide of the inventor behind the main robot company starts to look like homicide-by-robot, everything is put into question. Just as the First Law supersedes the other two, did some 0th Law (as envisioned by Asimov) supersede the First Law?

Look Both Ways Winner of Mar del Plata Film Festival's Best Script and Best Actress and 4 AFI awards including Best Film and Best Director. "Beautifully done." (Richard Roeper of Ebert & Roeper) "A remarkably dense and powerful picture of people's yearning and struggling..about how 'things just happen'—that's the sadness and beauty of life."(Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly) "Why can't every filmmaker have a debut like this?..Sarah Watt has a natural flair for cinematic imagery and uses it to tackle two very difficult topics..Most films about shell-shocked characters coming to grips with their own mortality are either excruciating or forcefully comical..Not so with this mini-masterpiece. Artist, Meryl lives in the heart of the city. Fueled by the accident and the unexpected death of her father weeks earlier, she imagines death and potential accidents all around. In the midst of many fantasized thoughts of her own demise (outstandingly animated by the director herself), Meryl witnesses a real tragedy, a man hit by a train. Watt's ability to visually capture the way people think when they are overcome by anxiety is exceptional. Characters' thoughts and ideas rip through the film and drive the narrative home. Her masterful techniques include animation, collage, montage and jump cuts. But the true energy in the film comes from its richly developed characters..every single character expresses emotions that feel subtly familiar to the viewer. It is to this film's credit that it never turns into a movie about philosophy but instead explores characters trying to overcome fear of the future. The result is a film that's as comforting as it is dramatic." (Uri Lessing, eFilmcritic) With Australian rock soundtracks like The Sleepy Jackson's hauntingly beautiful Rain falls for wind.

March of the Penguins What do you get when you combined Morgan Freeman's voice as narrator with and outstanding photography? A "Documentary" that goes beyond the usual fare -- and 2006 Best Documentary winner at the Academy Awards and was the second highest grossing documentary in North America after Fahrenheit 9/11 To bring the next generation into being, emperor penguins males and females alike, must cooperate for the chicks to survive as they brave the most extreme of environments, marching into Antarctica for their breeding grounds, where temperatures approach minus 80 degrees (F). "Only the hardened soul won't be moved by this heartwarming doc" (Rotten Tomatoes)

The Matrix. Science fiction/action. The famous trilogy by the Wachowskis: Humans versus machines. Reality versus cyber-illusion. Freedom versus slavery. Join Neo, Morpheus and Trinity as technology meets martial arts with some philosophy snuck in. Separate DVD sets:

Morgan Freeman collection Six films in this pack! Not all include Morgan Freeman but even those that don't are hefty such as Go Tell it on the Mountain (Adapted from James Baldwin's novel. "tells the journey of a family from the rural South to "big city" Harlem seeking both salvation and understanding and of a young boy struggling to earn the approval of a self-righteous and often unloving stepfather"-IMDB) Among the films with Freeman is The Execution of Raymond Graham and Blade. Other films include Ripple Effect ("A fashion designer believes that his role in a car accident that left a man wheelchair bound has cursed his personal and professional life") Taking Back our Town ("A mother fights back against a petrochemical plant that threatens her family by releasing cancer-causing agents into the air") and Endgame ("Chiwetel Ejiofor, William Hurt, and Jonny Lee Miller recreate the drama and action-filled final days of apartheid in South Africa")

Time Bandits

Where the Wild Things Are (Fantasy drama) Adapted from Maurice Sendak's 1963 book (which by 2009 had sold over 19 million copies worldwide, including 10 million in the U.S.) "The filmmaking exceeds anything [Director Spike Jonze] has done before" (Manohla Dargis, N.Y. Times) " "For all the money spent, the film's success is best measured by its simplicity and the purity of its innovation."(Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) The book itself "is barely 10 sentences long..In a more extravagant fantasy vehicle, such as the Hobbit trilogy, the paucity of story would either be stretched out with ancillary material or serve as a jumping-off point to take things in a new direction. But again, Jonze does it differently: he completely acknowledges the limits of the source novel, delivering a film which is more about mood than story. The visual tone of Where The Wild Things Are is one of wistful melancholy, into which the great pockets of childish energy can invade. The color palette is rooted in earthy, wooden browns, ..giving the world of the Wild Things an instant feeling of age and mystery.. In creating this wistful tone, Jonze succeeds in both rooting the angst of Max and conveying the way in which time passes for a child of his age. Jonze beautifully captures the feeling present in the book that Max's adventure is like a half-remembered dream."(Daniel Mumby)