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|1988 reviews in total|
I have read Vincent Bugliosi's book,"Helter Skelter," about the Sharon Tate-La Bianca murders in August 1969. The narrator and producer, Scott Michaels, certainly knows the macabre part of the story especially with it's locations. The documentary is an independent one more focused on the locations of the murders, the victims' and murderers residences. Charles Manson was the mastermind behind the crimes. There is no question about that. The narrator brings viewers to Los Angeles, California and areas of interest to the crimes. We don't' hear from anybody else mostly except Ron Hale who bought Jay Sebring's house. There are gruesome photographs of the crime scene. The film tells the story about how the Manson family went from crazed, drug hippies to cold-blooded murderers. There are connections between Manson and Hollywood music industry. Los Angeles seemed less built up back in the late sixties. Many of the homes are still there except the Tate-Polanski house on Cielo drive. This documentary showed several locations.
Imelda Staunton did a terrific job in playing Mama Rose in the classic and timeless "Gypsy" musical production on stage at the Savoy Theatre in London, England. I can see why she won an Olivier Award and was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). She'll be Dame Imelda one day. Her performance is heartbreaking and complex of emotion. Every musical theatre student should watch this production as an assignment. Her performance displayed her range of talent, singing and acting as well. Until I saw this version on DVD, I never thought of her as a musical theatrical actress. I was surely wrong. Imelda is a scene stealer but she has an excellent supporting cast like Peter Davison (Herbie) and Lara Pulver (Louise). This production might be entirely filmed for stage. For those of us who can't afford the theatre or get to London to see the production, the DVD is the next best thing for an audience. More people will see this on DVD than live on stage.
Frank Langella played Professor Driskoll in this lovely independent film. This film was shot entirely on location in Louisville, Kentucky. Now Louisville is home to Churchill Downs (site of the annual Kentucky Derby). The horses and the grass never looked lovelier. Louisville is also home to the Actors Theatre of Louisville (1981 Regional Tony Award Recipient) and perhaps the finest theatrical institution in the country. Many of the cast members especially Adale O'Brien (Betty the secretary) are resident actors at the Actors Theatre. The film's weakness is in the storytelling about three young literature graduate students at the University of Louisville coming of age. The three young men experience relationships with women and life living in Louisville. I didn't care much of the literature aspect such as the poetry readings in the film. The poetry seemed forced to me. The acting is fine. The cinematography is glorious and beautiful. The grass never looked greener on screen and the horses couldn't have been more beautiful. The Actors Theatre of Louisville should have more opportunities to shine on in other projects. I'm surprised that they don't produce and film more in Louisville, Kentucky.
I saw Tyne Daly in the 1991 Broadway revival of this classic and timeless musical. Tyne was fantastic so I hesitated to see the television movie with Bette Midler. Every actress has interpreted Mama Rose in their own way. Bette Midler won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance. This television adaptation is faithful to the musical production. I don't recall any outdoor scenes here and that's the only flaw. Bette Midler soars in the role. Cynthia Gibb is marvelous as Louise who becomes Gypsy Rose Lee. Peter Riegert was perfect as Herbie. It has a terrific supporting cast including Tony Shaloub, Michael Jeter, Ed Asner, Christine Ebersole and Andrea Martin. The director was the late Emile Ardolino (Dirty Dancing) and this film is dedicated in his memory. Bette Midler should have played this role on Broadway as well. She is electrifying and horrifying as the ultimate stage mother. Thankfully this version of Gypsy is on DVD and will be preserved forever as the faithful version to the musical.
Patty Duke played Sook, a simple Southern Christian woman, who lives with her siblings; Piper Laurie played Jennie, the eldest who sacrificed her own personal life to care for the younger siblings; Anita Gillette played Callie and Jeffrey Demun played Seabone. The story is mostly about the relationship between Sook and Buddy, a young boy. Buddy was left there to live with them in Monroeville, Alabama (hometown of Truman Capote and Harper Lee). In real life, Truman lived with relatives while his mother pursued acting in New York City. Sook and Buddy's relationship is endearing especially with Patty Duke and Eric Lloyd in the roles. This film is the only version of the story I have seen so I can't compare this version.
Back in the day, every great actor had played Ebenezer Scrooge and it was Fredric March's turn. Basil Rathbone played Jacob Marley. But I really wanted to see this episode for an appearance of a young Bonnie Franklin as Martha Cratchit. She and her sister Judy Franklin played sisters in this episode as the Cratchit sisters. Bonnie must have been only 10 years old. Sally Fraser's singing voice was dubbed by the great Marilyn Horne. Bernard Hermann wrote the score. We could argue forever which is the best Scrooge actor and which film is best of all. Every actor like Fredric March takes a different approach and every "Christmas Carol" rendition is worth watching especially with Basil Rathbone as Jacob Marley. This version only lasts about an hour.
This short animated film was shown before the main film, "Moana," at the local cinema. This cute short film begins with the story of a man who has a mundane job in an everyday office. The major character seeks something other than the mundane of living. As we see, his stomach and mouth have a place in the film. The artwork is first rate and believable. The animation is beautifully done. Seven minutes of pleasure, this short film should be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for 2017. The artists have done a terrific job in animating the office, the inner working of a body and the beach. The animation pays great attention to detail. We were waiting to see Moana and the audience didn't know if it was a short or not until the credits rolled after the short film.
The most recent animated film by Disney is entitled "Moana" about a Polynesian princess. She lives on a South Pacific Island. Don't know if it's Hawaiian or Polynesian but a major character is named Maui (played by Dwayne the Rock Johnson) as a demigod. Moana is the village chief's daughter. Her grandmother has a tattoo on her back of a stingray. She plans to return as one of them. The animation is first rate with beautiful colors especially the ocean. Moana was the chosen one to return the heart to another island. Tattoos especially on Maui are part of the picture as well. Moana is a likable girl who chooses to follow her heart to the sea and set things right in for her village. I especially liked the beginning of Moana as a young child. The grandmother does a terrific job as the crazy village lady. I enjoyed the colorful graphics and the film's story line. Unlike other Disney films, Moana doesn't have a love interest. Her relationship with Maui was friendship throughout.
The story about three 36 year old adults in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is quite unique and touching. Kevin and Kate are the surviving siblings whose third sibling died during their childbirth. Their African American brother Randall was abandoned and brought to the hospital on the night of their birth. Their parents adopted them and raised them in 1980s. The series is going to go back and forth as they grew up. Jack and Rebecca were young and devoted parents. I now understand why Justin Hartley left daytime because this series is stellar and successful. He plays attractive Kevin, a bachelor and successful actor who returns home. His sister Kate is overweight or obese in actuality. Weight issues are often ignored by shows. Her boyfriend Toby is also heavy as well. By watching flashbacks, Kate has been struggling with it her whole life. The show is done intelligently.
Unlike the first two in the Halloween franchise, Michael Myers is not the main subject. Tom Atkins played Dr. Challis who uncovers a diabolical plot involving costumes and children on Halloween. Dr. Challis and the victim's daughter Ellie travel to a small peculiar town called Santa Mira, California where they have a curfew at 6pm. The plot is preposterous but the movie is entertaining overall if you just watch it. Tom Atkins does a believable job as a doctor. The trip to Santa Mira is well worth the viewing about a secretive town with lots of secrets. Dan O'Herlihy played the mysterious and creepy owner. The factory scenes are creepy and the plot doesn't entirely make sense to me but it's the first Halloween movie I saw and it stuck with me. The film has plenty of flaws but it tries hard. The first Halloween movie is seen in the background. Paddi Edwards is memorable as the secretary. The film still has its moments and the plot line is ludicrous but so what--I still find it enjoyable and entertaining after three decades.
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