The monthly series of free Movie Mondays at Middletown Township Public Library continues here in May — and while April’s schedule centered around a food-and-beverage theme, this month extends the celluloid smorgasbord for the next couple of weeks, shifting gears (prior to a holiday break) into somewhat less digestion-friendly dramatic territory.
The banquet at the biblioteque continues this Monday, May 4, with director Maria Ripoli’s 2001 feature Tortilla Soup. Co-written by Ang Lee — the Taiwanese-born filmmaker who gave us everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi to Brokeback Mountain and the first Hulk movie — it’s a portrait of a Mexican-American patriarch and chef (Hector Elizondo) who seeks to reacquire his taste for better living, with the help of his daughters (Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara Mello). And if you’re wondering just what vintage to pair with such an offering, read on.
The afternoon of May 11 ventures into the DVD cellar for a revisit to one of the most delightful surprises to come out of California wine country in recent years — writer-director Alexander Payne’s Oscar winning 2004 indie Sideways. You don’t have to be an oenophile to appreciate the nuances of this comedy-drama of two middle aged male friends (Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church) on a sojourn through the vineyards and wineries — but the script sparkles in a way that’s all too rare these days, and the two veteran character actors step up to some of the best (and not necessarily sympathetic) roles of their careers.
With no film scheduled for May 25, the Monday series concludes on May 18 with In Her Shoes, 2005 generational drama from director Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential, 8 Mile) featuring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine in a portrait of two very different sisters, their estranged grandmother, and the twists and turns that lead them all back to each other.
A recently established series of New Film Fridays continues on May 8 with The Railway Man, a particularly grim fact-based drama of a tortured World War Two British POW (Colin Firth) who can only find closure — and relief from the stress and trauma that haunt his attempts to reassimilate into civilian life — by tracking down one of his Japanese tormentors in the years after the war. The Friday film screens at 2 pm — with all Monday events showing at 2:30 pm inside the Community Room at MTPL.