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Remember (2015/I)
I'm speechless for a change, 30 July 2016
10/10

An old man with dementia hunts down a Nazi in "Remember," from 2015.

If ever a movie could knock you right out of your socks, this is it.

Max Rosenbaum (Martin Landau) is, besides being in a wheelchair, too ill to travel. He has his friend Zev (Christopher Plummer) who goes in and out of dementia do the leg work. He has worked with the Simon Wiesenthal Institute for years hunting Nazis and bringing them to justice. There's one more that he says he wants, and he tells Zev that this is the man who killed both their families at Auschwitz. There are four people with this name in the U.S. -- one of them is the man who must die.

Max writes a detailed letter so that Zev will know what to do every step of the way. He arranges for hotels and cabs -- he basically through the letter talks him through the whole trip.

I wondered throughout the film if Zev would find this man, and when he did, if he would kill him. What happened in this film is mind- boggling.

Dean Norris of Breaking Bad fame has an excellent role, and it's a stunning scene between he and Christopher Plummer - nerve- shattering.

Christopher Plummer has long been a great actor, so it's no surprise that he excels here. The pain on his face when he can't remember, when he calls out for his late wife, he completely inhabits this part. Martin Landau does a marvelous job as Max, the man whose determination drives this trip.

Jurgen Prochnow also gives a wonderful performance.

I can't recommend this film too highly. It will blow you away.

Nice acting is the highlight of this "B", 25 July 2016
7/10

THE SOLITAIRE MAN from 1933 is a B picture, but because it was made at MGM, it's really a B+. The studio used these Bs as a training ground for their up and coming young stars and even more established character actors.

Herbert Marshall is Oliver, who heads up a family of con artists, except they're not related. His "son" steals a necklace that Oliver attempts to return because he knows the young man would be the first person they would suspect.

While he is in the home, a burglar enters, and a policeman sees him. The second burglar kills the policeman, and Oliver is a witness. However, he can't see the murderer. Realizing things will get mighty hot, he and his crew try to leave the country by plane. During the flight, much is revealed.

Mary Boland and May Robson also appear in this film, and they're great. Boland plays a mouthy, wealthy American, and May Robson, as a cultured society woman. matches her excellence.

Herbert Marshall's elegant type of leading man has gone out of style, but he handled his role very well.

See it for Boland and Robson.

Jigsaw (1962)
excellent British film, based on a true story, 23 July 2016
8/10

This film is based on the real Brighton Trunk murders that occurred in Massachusetts. The setting is changed to Brighton England, which gives the film a special atmosphere.

The film opens with two lovers lying in bed. When her lover awakens, the woman announces that she is pregnant and nags him that they should be together always. He comes toward, she screams, and that's the end of the scene.

Meanwhile, in Brighton, the police are investigating a break-in that occurred in a rental management company. The company's book of leases is the only thing stolen. Inspector Fred Fellows (Jack Warner) is brought in on the case.

Fellows begins by looking at leases that were nearly expired. They find one of the houses deserted, except that in a trunk in the garage, they find a dismembered woman.

Really excellent and intricate story that manages to be interesting and exciting despite the fact that the police have to grunt work and run into dead ends. The acting is very good, and Val Guest, often a director for Hammer films, does a great job keeping the film moving. He also shows how people lived in that era, which was in a very basic, economical way. Ronald Lewis, Ray Barrett, Michael Goodliffe, and Guest's real-life wife, Yolande Donlan, are all very good.

Highly recommended.

gosh I was so worried about Monty, 23 July 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I hate to see animals in films, I always worry that something awful will happen to them. I usually can figure out what will happen to the people. For those who are like me, I want to report that Monty is okay.

Anyway, this was a good film starring Sally Gray and Robert Newton. Newton is Clive, a psychiatrist who surprises his wife (Gray) when she is with another man, Bill (Phil Brown, who worked in England later on after being blacklisted) an American.

The next thing you see is Clive relaxing at his club. The newspapers are full of an American, Bill Kronin, who has gone missing. His wife thinks that Clive killed him. But has he? And if he hasn't, where is he?

Suspenseful, dark thriller with excellent performances by Newton as the egomaniacal psychiatrist who believes he can outsmart Scotland Yard, Naughton Wayne as the Scotland Yard inspector who claims to be looking into the couple's missing dog, Monty, and Gray, as a wife who goes from man to man. Someone said the Newton character was sympathetic and she looked like a villain. Personally I can't blame her - Clive seemed like a manipulative cold fish.

Well done by a director familiar with noir, Edward Dmytryk.

Newton would die of alcoholism six years later, and Gray would marry a Lord, retire, and live to age 91. Kronin returned to the US after the blacklist and worked into his 80s. I don't know about Monty; he was cute, though.

Self/less (2015)
interesting concept, 21 July 2016
7/10

I am always surprised to see Ben Kingsley in a small role - after all, he was Gandhi. But here he is again, as Damian, an extremely wealthy man who is suffering from terminal cancer. He finds a business card directing him to Professor Albright (Matthew Goode), who performs a medical procedure called "shedding", in which one's consciousness is transferred to young, healthy body that has been engineered. He decides to do it.

After the procedure, he is given pills he needs to take daily. Now Young Damien, he changes his name, moves to New Orleans and has the fun of a young single guy for a time. He becomes friends with his neighbor, Anton.

He forgets to take his medicine one day and begins to see visions, but Albright tells him it's part of the "shedding" process. Not convinced, he goes searching for a landmark he saw in his visions. He discovers that Albright hasn't told him everything.

Exciting and ultimately sweet film with some good acting from Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Victor Garber, and one of my favorites, Matthew Goode.

Yes, there was a lot of action but I didn't think of it as an action film. I enjoyed it.

Keys, keys, and more keys, 19 July 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

William Campbell, in my youth, appeared on a TV show called Cannonball that had a very catchy theme song. So catchy that we made up new lyrics to it that were about our school principle.

He has several other distinctions, some as an actor, and he earned his place in the JFK saga by being married to one of JFK's girlfriends, Judith Campbell Exner.

Campbell plays a locksmith, Tommy Dancer. He often hangs out at a bowling alley. One night he meets a man, Willis Trent (Berry Kroeger) who invites him to a party. After we hear the song "Let the Chips Fall Where They May" sung by Viviane Lloyd, Dancer meets Betty Turner (Karen Sharpe). They begin dating.

Tommy is offered a job for $5000 if he will rent a safe deposit box, and while in the vault, make impressions for two keys to box 315. He doesn't know it at the time, but the box has $200,000 in it that Trent wants stolen. He refuses to do it until Mike Mazurki beats him up and then Betty is threatened. In a suspenseful scene, he makes impressions of the keys.

Then he finds out about the money from a man named Herbie (Paul Fix) tips him off about the money and suggests that they split it.

Familiar faces here, including Fix, Kroeger, Mazurki, and of course Campbell. Karen Sharpe, who played Betty, married Stanley Kramer and became a producer as well as an actress. Anita Ekberg, looking gorgeous, is on hand as Earl Farraday's (Robert Keys) girlfriend - it's Farraday who owns the safe deposit box.

Despite the film being low budget, there are several interesting things about it. First, being low budget, it's filmed on the streets of Los Angeles. The sections they were in were familiar to me and made it so much fun, seeing a large Rexall Drugs, Dutch Paint, the whole ambiance of old Hollywood.

The other thing is one starts to notice keys everywhere. Dancer works in a key-making establishment. He's called on by Trent to open a trunk, so he makes an impression of the lock; he makes keys for the safe deposit box, later he uses the keys to get into it - he is constantly using keys. Finally you're noticing them every time he pulls one out.

Lastly, parts of the film are very Hitchcockian - one is the ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances; the other is danger in landmarks or familiar places not known for danger, as Dancer first escapes being hit by a bowling ball and then attempts escape by traversing pin-setting machines. Really terrific. Unfortunately, today we're all too familiar with danger in familiar places.

Not bad for a low budget film.

everything is beautiful at the ballet, 18 July 2016
7/10

This is a really lovely documentary that follows two Brazilians, Irlan and Isabela, both from poor families, who want to be professional ballet dancers.

Ballet is one of the most difficult art forms to break into, and one of the most beautiful. In order to succeed, you need discipline, an iron will, perseverance, ability to take criticism, and talent. I put talent last because as a creative artist myself, some of the most incredibly talented people I've ever known did not have careers because they gave up or didn't try.

These two young people are at an added disadvantage - Isabela because she's black, and both she and Irlan are poor.

The director of the Centro De Danca Ballet school of Rio de Janeiro, Mariza Estrella, does a lot for the students, including purchasing expensive toe shoes and not charging for the lessons of the poor students. But when it comes to entering international competitions - - which are essential to bring a dancer to the attention of an opera company - the parents have to make big sacrifices to get their children there -- the ticket, the hotel, the registration, food - it adds up to people who can't afford $50 for toe shoes.

We see that Irlan has star quality - a handsome young man, an excellent dancer, with a dramatic presence. Irlan travels to Lausanne, Switzerland where he competes and, as a finalist, is offered a scholarship that will cover his expenses to the big international competition in New York.

Irlan and Isabela are both in New York, but Isabela does not make the finals. She is devastated, but she does not quit. Rather than go the next year, it is decided that she will continue her preparations, which includes losing a little weight. Irlan is invited to join the American Ballet Theater.

I looked both of these talented youngsters up to see what happened to them after the film. In 2015, Irlan was moved up to Senior Artist from Junior Artist by the American Ballet Theater. Isabela has had a career with Ballet Black, a group of black and Asian dancers that travels throughout the world. Isabela performs as a soloist.

These are two people who fought their way out of the slums and mean streets of Rio with the support of their families, which I think is important as well in working toward their goals.

Very inspiring.

funny comedy with four great stars, 18 July 2016
9/10

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterson, and Martin Sheen star in "Grace and Frankie" a Netflix comedy. What a coup to bring these actors together.

The story concerns business partners (Waterson and Sheen) who announce to their wives that they are gay lovers, are moving in together and marrying.

The women, Grace and Frankie, have never really gotten along - Grace is gorgeous and sophisticated, and Frankie is an old hippie who enjoys food. Now they are thrust together with the same problem and hanging out in the Malibu beach house owned by both partners, where they used to spend separate weekends. Now they're trying to comfort one another, and they find a basis for friendship.

Tomlin is a riot, with her fear of earthquakes and teaching art to ex-cons. Fonda first of all is so stunning you just can't stop looking at her, and she's great as this self-involved woman who watches her diet, passes for 64, and just can't think of herself as an old lady, even when she breaks her hip.

Both actresses have given their characters vulnerability, and I love the line delivery from both. One of my favorite scenes occurred when Fonda, who needed surgery after falling, is told she must have an MRI. Hilarious. For Tomlin thus far, it's been the earthquake scene. And the cool, sophisticated Fonda shows us a new side of Grace when she finds one of the ex-cons very sexy.

I'll be honest, when I first began to watch the show, I wondered what all the fuss was about. It felt awkward and a little forced, like watching an under-rehearsed TV skit. However, it has gotten progressively funnier as the actors have become more comfortable in their roles. Now it's fabulous. Someone here said it was pleasant, with no laugh out loud moments. I've been laughing out loud quite a bit.

Obviously the ones who carry the show are Fonda and Tomlin, but Waterston and Sheen are excellent as two older men trying to live together and having a relationship for the first time while still involved with their wives in one way or another, Sol especially.

The children are good as well. There's Grace and Robert's (Fonda and Sheen's) two daughters, Mallory and Brianna (Brooklyn Decker and June Diane Raphael), and Frankie and Sol's adopted brood, Coyote and Nwabudike (Ethan Embry and Baron Vaughn). They have their own problems, one being how to deal with their parents. And drug and alcohol- addicted Coyote was once in a relationship with one of Fonda's daughters.

This is a great show geared to the older generation, but there are people in their twenties who are addicted to it. You can't blame them - incredible cast and a fun concept.

Lewis is back in action, 18 July 2016
7/10

PBS is running these old episodes as a lead-in to the new season, something they didn't bother to do with Endeavour, so we sat there trying to remember what happened at the end of the season.

Because of a shortage of police, DI Lewis returns to the force As a result of a staff shortage, DI Lewis returns to the force temporarily. Hathaway is now a DI and is working with DS Lizzie Maddox to investigate arson on a hunting ground. The grounds are owned by Alistair Stokes, a surgeon, and Tom Marsten. The grounds were purchased from Gillian Fernsby, who continues to live on the grounds.

She's a suspect when Alistair Stokes is found shot, but by no means is she the only one. One of his underlings, Simon Eastman, reported him as being drunk during a delicate brain operation where the patient wound up a vegetable. The boy's parents are definite suspects. And both men had been receiving threats from animal rights activists.

Marsten is arrested when it's learned that his gun fired the fatal bullet and that he increased Stokes' insurance. Lewis is unsure of his guilt, especially when there is another shooting with Marsten's gun -- which is sitting in the evidence room at the station.

Good episode with little camaraderie between Lewis and the newly- promoted Hathaway. They need to somehow get that chemistry back, and Holloway needs to find his sense of humor again. However, given that he's new to the job, it's probably natural that he's very serious.

Lewis is either married to or living with Laura, who isn't happy about him being away from home so much. We'll have to see what happens there.

Looking forward to the new episodes.

Exciting despite miscasting and one case of mistaken identity, 17 July 2016
8/10

"The Guns of Navarone" from 1961 has an all-star cast including Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, David Niven, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, Irene Papas, and James Darren.

It's 1943, and the Germans want Turkey on their side. They have trapped 2000 British soldiers on an island in the Aegean, Kiros. The only way the men can evacuate is by sea, but there are two massive radar-directed superguns on a treacherous cliffside bunker on the island of Navarone.

The British bring in Keith Mallory (Peck), a commando officer and expert mountaineer to bring a team of British commandos to the only part of Navarone not monitored by the Germans, a 400-foot cliff. Greek resistance will meet the team guide them to the German guns.

During this difficult mission, the men, disguised as fisherman, manage to kill a German patrol but are then shipwrecked on Navarone. Then, while climbing the cliff, Franklin (Quayle) breaks his leg in two places and gangrene sets in. Then Miller's explosives are destroyed, and the men realize they have a traitor.

Very exciting and absorbing film, and the biggest money-maker of 1961, deservedly. The acting is very good, but the actors, with the exception of James Darren, are probably ten years too old for their roles. And Gregory Peck is miscast as a British athletic mountain climber. He does not attempt a British accent, and his German and Greek are dubbed.

It always cracks me up that whomever writes scripts constantly use German in the formal tense, even when talking to subordinates or prisoners, when they more than likely said "du" instead of "Sie." It was fun to hear the German anyway.

As an aside, there is a trivia note that Harrison Ford is the soldier who looks out of the back of a truck during one scene. It's not Harrison Ford, who at the time was living in the midwest and in school. There is a very slight resemblance around the eyes but the shape of the face is all wrong.

Though this movie runs long, you won't notice it.


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