Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Aya Arcos (2014)
LGBT story of love in Brazil
SPOILERS **** Aya Arcos shows the daily interactions between Eduardo, and Fabio, a young, local prostitute who becomes more than that. Sparse script, sparse music, sparse action. A lot of sitting around, talking. Much discussion about safe sex versus un-safe sex. Eduardo is a (moody) Brazilian writer, and he vacillates on what he wants at any one moment. Starts out quite slow, gets quite dark in the middle, then picks up . One character finds out that he is HIV positive, and must face up to what comes next. There is SO little talk between the characters in the first half that sometimes its hard to figure out what's going on, or how they are feeling. Eduardo doesn't seem to get along with Fabio's "friends", and it seems the feeling is mutual. And we never do find out why one character disappears suddenly... was it due to someone else's HIV results?? In lieu of any other information, I assume this is what we are supposed to think. There is one quick scene of Fabio either working at a job, or on a prison detail. I guess knowing the local customs would have been a help there. This seems to be the only project from writer/director Max Moll. Script needed zinging up or something, but gets much better in the second half. Subtitles seem to be good, but as I don't know any Portuguese, I guess I don't really know. It's also too bad the characters aren't matched to the actor's names in the credits. Worth watching, but I wish they had started developing the characters a little earlier in the film. Available on DVD.
another chapter in the Roxy series
Begins with a very precocious nine year old "Roxy" (Aria Wallace) arriving at her new home with best friend Max ( Demetrius Joyette). They meet the neighborhood locals, who have strong Canadian accents, in spite of the fact they are now "in New Jersey". and then there is the "wayne gretzky" reference (another Canadian), right at the beginning. This one goes like a Disney family film, but the distributor was actually Nickelodeon, so same deal. Roxy is sure their new house is haunted, so she goes about investigating, with her playmate Max. The odd, fast, stop-motion was quite strange, about 20 minutes in... if you have a story, just show it at regular speed. Not sure what they were trying to say by showing it at high speed stop motion. It's all quite plain, simple, almost inane, but the young'uns will enjoy it. Clearly made for a younger crowd. Nothing too complicated. Director Eleanor Linda has done almost exclusively TV series and TV movies. Even the Roxy Hunter, kid detective series was all done for TV. Not bad. Pretty good, but clearly made for the kiddies. Enjoy it for what it is. Also available on DVD.
Garbo in a story by Dumas
Yikes. the Hollywood names don't get much bigger than this. Greta Garbo, at 31, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore. and one of my favorites from the oldies.. .Jessie Ralph, who made those films with W.C. Fields. Margeurite (Garbo) meets two men at the opera, Duval (Taylor) and the Baron (Henry Daniell). Duval pursues her, but she is getting more and more ill, and spending all her time with the Baron. Her maid (Jessie Ralph), and her friend (Laura Crews) keep an eye on her in supporting roles. Written by Dumas, it's quite similar to Moulin Rouge, but that was a novel written by Pierre LaMure. Both stories are about a tug of war, where the girl can't decide between the rich Baron and the common guy. Lots of scheming, and talk about the proper thing to do. This one turns into a love story, with some humor and tragedy, sacrifice. again, similar to Moulin Rouge. It's quite good, although quite dated story-line. Lots of old fashioned themes, that would never fly today. But a good story of it's time.
Directed by George Cukor, who will get an Oscar for My Fair Lady. Garbo only made a couple more films after this one. Unfortunately, Conquest and Two Faced Woman were both big failures, which is probably why she didn't make more films.
Castle on the Hudson (1940)
L.W. Lawes wrote the original story, which has been made over a couple times. Garfield had only been in Hollywood a couple years when he made this. Garfield and Sheridan star as Tommy and Kay, with their trials and tribulations, as Tommy is in and out of jail. Pat O'Brien is the warden, his antagonist. Grant Mitchell and Burgess Meredith are in here with minor roles. The usual prison flick capers. Escape attempts. Prisoner scuffles. Pretty well done. Volume goes up and down, but the picture quality is quite good. Must have been restored. Directed by Litvak.. he and Garfield also made "Out of the Fog" together. Sadly, Garfield croaked pretty young at 39, of heart issues. He had been caught up in the communist scare of the 1940s. For a really Great Garfield film, see "Postman Always Rings Twice". Much better all around. Postman shows on Turner and may other channels pretty often.
From the Earth to the Moon (1958)
early dream of going to the moon
SPOILERS *** As the title indicates, this was an awesome Jules Verne book, about a trip TO the Moon. In the original story, as someone else has pointed out, it was about sending just a rocket TO THE MOON. Obviously, with the lack of a power source on the moon itself, how could anyone possibly come back?? Stars the amazing Joseph Cotton and George Sanders. Scientist Victor Barbicane (Cotton), accompanied by villain Nicholl (George Sanders), they attempt to make their way to the moon. In spite of numerous plot-holes and a tiny budget, Cotton and Sanders give it their all, and it is reasonably entertaining, as long as you buy into all the shortcomings. Jules Verne croaked in 1905, so he had written out this story YEARS prior to anyone on earth actually going to the moon. and this film was made ten years before the US actually WENT to the moon, so it was still pretty novel to talk about humans actually GOING to the moon in 1958. Debra Paget plays Nicholl's daughter, and at the end, they discuss the trip with "Jules Verne", played by Carl Esmond. Director Haskin had gotten his start in Special Effects, so that may be why he was chosen to direct this. Showing on Turner Classic now and then. IMDb claims there is a two hour version, but I have only seen the 100 minute version.
According to Mrs. Hoyle (1951)
rarely shown, not-quite noir vehicle for spring byington
Sweet, cuddly Spring Byington always played the dear, warm, laughing, slightly ditzy, little old lady. Born in 1886, she was already in her 60s when she made "According to Mrs. Hoyle", clearly a pun on "The rules, according to Hoyle". She lives in a hotel, and hasn't seen her husband in many years. She gets caught up in the intrigue when a longtime gangster buys the hotel, and tries to evict all the residents. Some other residents commit some acts that aren't so legal, and the coppers are sure that Mrs. Hoyle is at the heart of it. Great premise. and there are so many ways the actual plot could have gone. Anthony Caruso is "Morganti", the kingpin who may or may not be done with the life of crime. Only FIVE votes on IMDb so far, so they must NEVER show this one on Turner Classics. It's a good story, but the picture and sound quality are pretty rough for the first five minutes. It does get better after that. Very entertaining. Story moves right along. Some twists towards the end, but it's all in great fun. Definitely worth the viewing. and all based on a short story in Good Housekeeping by Jean Owen. Not great, but not bad either.
intriguing, slightly confusing LGBT relationships
SPOILERS *** Such low ratings, as of today. It IS based on only 400 votes so far. For sure, after watching it once, there are many unanswered questions, but this is one film I'll happily watch again (at least) to try to figure a few things out. Circles. Cameras going in circles. Dancers going in circles. Stones, built in circles. Clearly a theme there. Several love and sexual interactions... our hero Emiliano has commitment issues; would rather hire someone for an hour than commit, but by the end, he says he wants a relationship. Not sure with who, though... that part was pretty confusing. Did he go back to the hustler when Octavio forgave him but wanted to move on? Some pretty abrupt jumps to a completely different story-line. In the center, we watch one group interact, and the whole time, I wasn't sure if that was a dream, or was the dude watching them just daydreaming of where he might fit into the dynamics. Good to see guys kissing, holding hands, and more. Gay guys and lesbians get to do so much more than in the ol' days. A lot of things going on in this one -- starts out with the director Emiliano hooking up with dancer Octavio. Then in the center, we spend SO much time with the group of three-- were they the three band members? Or did they live together? Then Emiliano hires a hustler, and isn't sure where he wants THAT to go. Then he kind of wants to be in a relationship with Octavio. And in between all these various scenes, we watch and hear numerous dancers talk about life, love, fear, and not sure what else. There is SO much going on, it gets confusing. subtitles are quite good. this one is currently showing on netflix. I'll definitely want to watch this again, and would recommend it to those with the patience to watch a long film where things aren't spelled out for the viewer. Will also try to find other things done by writer/director Julián Hernández. Some fun ideas. I'd give it a higher rating than it shows today, for sure.
The Tall Target (1951)
period piece... they are out to get Lincoln
SO many great actors in this story of Lincoln's journey by train to give a speech. Dick Powell is "John Kennedy"..oddly enough. Adolphe Menjou is Colonel Jeffers, and the Amazing Florence Bates (LOVE her !) is Mrs. Alsop. She didn't make a lot of films, but she is outspoken and FUN whenever she pops up. Check out her bio.. her own life story is just as interesting as any of her film roles. and of course, Will Geer as The Conductor. (Grandpaw Walton !) Note that the IMDb cast list has several actors listed as "Zoaves" (uncredited); they were an actual group of uniformed soldiers from Poland... check it out on wikipedia. quite a history. This one is QUITE well done, like a good steak. A good chemistry between the actors. Of course, knowing history, and that A.L. wasn't killed until MUCH later.... we have the luxury of knowing HOW it comes out, but not WHO wants to "dunnit". The first half is kind of an Agatha Christie, not knowing who the murder is. Just about halfway through, we know some of the illicit characters, but clearly we don't know the whole story. Just enough to make it intriguing. Some good ol' north against the south talk as well. It was just before the civil war, after all, with slavery and politics as the hot button issues. This one is a good one. The entire time, we're never sure just who is on which side. Highly recommended. They don't seem to show it often, so catch it if you can!
Blithe Spirit (1945)
EARLY version of Coward's story
SPOILERS *** This one won the Oscar for best special effects.. the seance scenes, and Charles' ex-wife, as a ghost. This was one of David Lean's earlier directing gigs. He would go on to win TWO Oscars much later... River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. I had never seen this 1945 version of Blithe Spirit. Usually, movie channels or Turner shows one of the more recent ones... it MUST be a good story; they remade it so many times in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. The 1945 version has a YOUNG Rex Harrison (Charles), Constance Cummings (Ruth), and of course, Margaret Rutherford (was Jane Marple, for MANY years.) She will also get an Oscar for "VIPs". In the story, we meet the medium, Madame Arcati, at dinner, and she's already an odd character. At a seance, Elvira, the ex-wife, talks to Charles, but he's the only one who can hear her. and now that she has been summoned, she won't go away. and the current wife doesn't like it. she FINALLY admits that the first wife has actually come back. It's all pretty good. A hilarious scene where Ruth pulls the door-ringer right out of the wall, and barely even noticing, Madame Arcati takes it from her and puts it right back. Stuff happens, and the two wives antagonize each other. Another thing -- Hammond, the first wife, has a strange way of pronouncing the letter "S", so that's a little distracting. It's noel coward, so of course, the story itself is great. Apparently, Coward did not appreciate Lean's ending, so it does end quite differently than the play. Entertaining stuff. Several versions are available on DVD.
Ancient India (1952)
the India chapter of Fitz's travels
The Voice of the Globe ... James Fitzpatrick narrates another travelogue. We start in Bundi, northwest India.... hillside white houses, but unfortunately the film quality is SO washed out, it's pretty hard to see details; could probably stand to be restored, but its only nine minutes, so may never happen. The palace is quite the residence, and the wild monkeys are cute, from a distance. Then to Jaipur, home of the astronomer, and the pink buildings. Fitzpatrick points out several times that they don't see many beggars here, but since they are always visiting the palaces, it's no surprise. I'm sure the beggars get shooshed away from the palaces, especially when there are visitors and movie cameras rolling. Interesting tidbit, but it probably would have been more interesting to see how the common people live, and what they do for work and for recreation. Starting in the EARLY 1900s (silents!) it looks like he wrapped things up in the mid 1950s, so this one would have come towards the end of his filming/travel career. Fun time-killer in between films, I guess.