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The Rise and Fall of a Music Powerhouse
Just saw this today at Ground Zero, Sacramento's 75 year old Tower Theater that had right next door, Tower Drugs where the founder, Russ Solomon, started what became a world-wide musical empire.
I was not surprised at the influence Tower had on the recording industry, particularly after they opened up their Sunset Blvd store in Los Angeles. Didn't realize though that many big recording stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John shopped there.
It's a fascinating look not only at the rise and fall of Tower Records, but the recording industry's changes over the years.
You'll even see how the Beach Boys changed their sales focus.
If Tower Records was in your life, and chances are if you are over 30 it was, this is a must-see.
Kudos to Colin Hanks, who spent seven years on this project.
Great War Diaries (2014)
Takes the Black & White we expect and brings it to life
I am in the 3rd episode of this series and recommend it highly. They have taken 14 diaries of people - from combatants to family members, and through good acting brought them to life.
We see a 15 year old Cossack girl who fights the Turks - a German girl who befriended a student pilot....
Follow an upper class British woman who volunteers as a nurse for the front lines...Or a German family who lets their son volunteer in 1914...
This series shows you on a multi faceted level the horrible effect the Great War had on society.
Think Ken Burn's Civil War series (itself excellent) brought to life.
A wonderful "whodunit" series - Reminds me of The Mentalist
This is the only reason I am extending my Hulu Plus subscription - to see all 39 episodes of this wonderful series.
Like The Mentalist - the hit series on CBS since 2008, the main character has 2 cases to solve each episode - the current case and the background, that of the murder of his wife.
Wonderful script writing - As the case develops, it is fun to see the logical deductions (played out by the actors in various scenarios) in the main character's (Belagan) mind.
If it has been canceled it is a problem of marketing or "getting the word out" - certainly not the wonderful scripts or their execution.
Wouldn't be the first time a wonderful series was canceled.
Only place you can watch this in the US is through Hulu Plus.
I am hooked on this series - But Seasons 1-5 only*
* I have added this since my initial review. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, one can zip though entire seasons quickly. Seasons 1-5 apply to my review below - but it seems as of Season 6 it has become more like "24" and less realism. Which is fine, I suppose, but the story lines have become more outlandish. Since I don't want to spoil anything you be the judge.
Since I started streaming this from Netflix and Hulu, I have become addicted to this series. And I am reminded of a quip actor Michael Weatherly of NCIS gave in an interview - saying that the title of his show really stands for "No Character Is Safe".
Perhaps the creators of NCIS got their inspiration from MI-5, which made its debut a year earlier.
All I can say is you don't know who will be there for the next episode. Which is shocking at first, particularly if you start to like them but gives the show an edge.
I do believe the actual day to day world of the spy is a bit more cerebral and deskbound, but the show is still realistic. I mean, real spies probably would not want an Aston Martin DB5 while on assignment - they want to blend in - and in an episode I just watched one of the recurring characters actually mentioned that he'd prefer a less flashy car to the one he was driving.
But I would not be surprised if some real "Spooks" - active or more likely retirees, are technical advisers.
It's a great show that has enough realism to make it believable and enough "Hollywood action" to make it enjoyable.
A Great Movie for F1 Fans and non-F1 Fans
I was waiting for this movie to appear for several months, ever since it was mentioned in Road & Track magazine.
Really the only 2 great racing films are, in my opinion, John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix (1966) and Steve McQueen's LeMans (1971).
This movie makes 3.
I do like Senna that came out in 2010, but in my opinion it's more of a documentary on the late racing great Ayrton Senna.
So 40 years later comes another racing movie. The difference between this move and the previous 2 is that racing is really a backdrop to the clash of 2 very different personalities who came to respect each other.
In one professional interview with Niki Lauda the UKs Guardian I believe, it was suggested that Hunt was Lauda's foil - I agree but if it is possible from a screen writing perspective Lauda was also a foil for Hunt.
It has been said that the film highlights Lauda - I don't agree - it highlights the both with their contrasts.
To me - even more than Lauda's brilliant driving, I will always remember him for his courage after his accident (hardly a spoiler alert since this is common knowledge).
In Road & Track's interview with Ron Howard, Howard detailed the effort that he went to insure that this was an accurate portrayal - consulting people directly involved from Lauda himself to Ron Dennis and a dozen others.
It has, from what I understand, been well received in the F1 community.
Above all it is a fantastic film on 2 very different personalities and how they came to respect each other.
Foyle's War (2002)
One of the Best historical dramas I have seen
I started watching Foyle's War on the advice of a cinimaphile friend - went though all the wartime episodes and am so enamored with it stayed up until 3 in the morning watching a rerun of episode 1 Season 8 on PBS.
The series is great on 2 levels - first - the crime dramas in each episode are so well written that the screen writing on that alone would make it (or any series) great.
But above that the historical research - from how people acted during the Battle Of Britain - the attitudes of the "Sitzkrieg" - that lull between the time war was declared over the Nazis invading Poland and the Air War - When I found out they were filming more episodes - well, that accounts for my staying up from 01:30 - 03:00. Season 8 deals with the beginning of the Cold War.
The German (2008)
Beautiful computer work; realistic aviation sequence
A realistic dog fight - you hear the purr of the RR Merlin and the different noise of the DB603 - with an unusual ending.
I have heard both and the director went out of his way to get some realism. See why the Luftwaffe pilots called the sound of the DB-603 "The stone crusher" .
I got this as a web address floating on the internet - http://player.vimeo.com/video/31202906?autoplay=1 Quite a nice production - although I question how both got to "this end" - without spoiling it I cannot say more.
Watch it and you be the judge. I enjoyed it so much I bookmarked the address.
Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011)
Loved the movie - a timely message
I just saw this movie - a day after it officially opened and those in the audience who read the book said that Taylor Schilling nailed the character of Dagney Taggert.
I don't think I can write a background of the movie without spoilers except to say that it represents the age old issue of governments wanting to "help" people with the result being a stifling of innovation and people willing to risk capital and time.
It is a timely message - and I recommend this movie. The audience applauded and cheered at the end; something one rarely sees in movie theaters.
The King's Speech (2010)
A wonderful movie - Educational, inspirational and a Must See
I believe this is the only movie I have given a "10" to - perhaps one other. There are so many levels and angles one could use to describe this movie.
One could take pity on a man for whom most of the world would believe had it "comfortable" - particularly in the background of the Great Depression - but one learns early that "Mr. Johnson" had his own deep problems and unlike most of us had to alternative but to face them head on.
When I saw his 2 young daughters history suddenly came alive for me, realizing that they were Elizabeth and Margaret.
There is some dry British humor when the speech therapist asks "Mrs. Johnson" if her husband can avoid speaking engagements.
History comes alive in this movie that is entertaining, educational and inspirational.
I left the theater believing George VI was a man who had a terrible handicap to overcome and through humility and guts, did so while leading Britain through her most terrible period.
This is easily the best movie I have seen in some years.
Above and Beyond (1952)
Factually correct and a history lesson
I knew of Wendover Airbase long before seeing this movie. Although the movie infers that Tibbets picked the field for its isolation (true) it was also where they taught heavy bomber crews during WW2. So the field hardly had to be developed for the special mission of the 509th.
And today it has another famous reason - it is the site of many movie scenes, such as Independence Day and ConAir.
In fact, when I went to visit the site - right on the Utah-Navada border, they were filming ConAir.
Today all one sees as a reminder of its importance are the old concrete foundations of the many wooden buildings - with signs telling you what each building's purpose was.
But to the movie - I know that the main points were factually correct - right down to the flight time a B29 required flying from Saipan or Tinian to Japan - and back.
It seems that the secrecy at this base was as stringent as Los Alamos, where the Bomb was developed.
Besides being an entertaining movie it is educational.