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Favorite genres: Mystery/suspense; musicals; westerns; romance; classics; oh heck - anything will do!.
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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Bigelow does it again
Zero Dark Thirty (2012) Jessica Chastain. The story of the 10 year pursuit of Osama Ben Laden and the woman who was obsessed with finding and bringing him down. Naval special warfare development group (DEVGRU), or SEAL Team 6, and the operation to go in and get him is the most emotional part of the film. The matter-of-fact way the men get ready and load up and go in and find and kill the terrorist, made me sob. Can't help it - they were so young and so well trained. No heroics - just another job to do. Bigelow, the director, has done another marvelous job showing our men in action. We may not agree with the politics, but the guys doing the job are great. Me? I'm glad they got the SOB. The torture scenes are made to seem like just another day at the office. Which is probably about what it is like after the decision was made to do it. Age-old question - does the end justify the means? 8/10
Great and accurate
I watched this film on my DirectTV channel Pivot and it is just as I remember from my following the whole thing as it happened and was posted on Blogs I followed.
You can see how we have almost turned into a police state, with every city that had an encampment stormed and broken up on the same night and day. All because they didn't get permits from the cities.
And it is evident that the ones participating were not all hippies or crazies but ordinary young and old people who were/are concerned about our country.
Good job, Occupy!
Ace in the Hole (1951)
Newspaper man is The Devil
Ace In The Hole (1951) Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Ray Teal. One of the darkest newsmen ever depicted on film. One of the most dirty and dusty locations, filmed in New Mexico. A man trapped in a cave is at the mercy of a guy who takes over the rescue and plays it for what it will do for his career. He wants to get back to the big time in NYC and decides this human interest story will get him there. From the day in 1951 I first saw this film, I have never thought of newsmen the same. Billy Wilder directs and Douglas was never better being a mean bastard. Sterling is terrific as the wife who just wants out. One of my favorites from the 1950s. And tell me there aren't people in the press who are just as corrupt as Chuck Tatum. Maybe that is why the film did so poorly - newspapers didn't like it then and probably still don't. 9/10
Show Boat (1936)
What the heck?
Show Boat (1936) Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Charles Winniger, Paul Robeson, Helen Morgan. Awful version of the play. Dunne is okay but what's with that shufflin' dance she does. And the black-face part of the show is disturbing and bad. Morgan may be famous for her rendition of "My Bill" but it is staged and acted better by Ava Gardner in the '51 version. And what is that warble in Jones voice. Sounds like he can not hold a note. Howard Keel is a much more dashing Ravenal. And sings better too. Of course, Kathryn Grayson is more age appropriate as Nolie. Childlike in the beginning, she is wonderful in "Make Believe" with Keel. Robeson is fine as Joe, but I heard him many times on radio when I was growing up singing "Old Man River" so it was a treat to see how it was filmed in this version. And this one does age the characters as in the original play, which is fine. But I like the '51 version much more, and the final scene with Ava blowing a kiss to the Show Boat and Nolie always has me in tears. This one has a fade out with Gay and Nolie together again at the theater watching their daughter - all grown up and a stage success. Not nearly as affecting, at least to me. 5/10
Walking on Air (1936)
They try but it's a dud
Walking On Air (1936) Ann Sothern, Gene Raymond, Jessie Ralph and Henry Stephenson. Formula B musical about a rich girl who wants to marry one guy and hires another to pretend to be a rich obnoxious count so her father will reconsider his unfavorable view of the one she thinks she loves. In the meantime, her father hires a bodyguard to keep her at home and she is locked in her room. She throws her meals, that are served on a tray of fine china and silver, out the window. Her pretend suitor is really trying to be hired by a radio show and we get to hear his audition and first broadcast. The 3 songs are forgettable and the script is predictable. Ann is okay and Gene is his usual smarmy sophomoric self. The two character actors steal the show. Which is a dud. 5/10
Article 99 (1992)
Article 99 (1992) Ray Liotta, Keifer Sutherland, Kathy Baker, Forest Whitaker, John Mahoney. Story about a group of doctors fighting the bureaucracy at a Veterans Hospital. When a patient needs a bypass operation but is given an Article 99, which is a denial of service letter, they get him admitted for something else and move him around until they can schedule the procedure. Keifer is the new yuppie doctor who is just going to serve his time before going into practice for himself. But he finds himself caring about an old vet who has been shifted around for a long time until he finally just wears out and dies. Very interesting film that is more relevant today than when it was released. Filmed in Kansas City, Missouri at an old hospital that was to be torn down, the scenery is gorgeous. On a hillside with the Liberty Memorial (the only WWI Memorial in the USA) down a long drive lined with maples in full fall color, it is a beautiful backdrop in contrast to the crowded and crumbling hospital. Cast are all very good. 7/10
So glad I finally got to see it---
Thank you Turner Classic Movies! Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, Vincent Price, Sarita Montiel. Made three years before his death of a heart attack, this film has much to recommend it, mainly his singing. The two songs written for the film are not top notch, but his rendition of "Nessum Dorma" and "Ave Marie" are show stoppers. Joan Fontaine(Kendall), as the cold hearted rich women, who discovers him(Damon) singing in a San Francisco café and finds him a vocal teacher and eventually a debut in opera, is beautiful and has gorgeous clothes to wear. When she is through with him, she abruptly leaves and goes off with a painter, which makes him completely break down and flee the stage. He goes to Mexico and is brought back to living by a beautiful girl who he eventually falls for and marries. The comeback and what happens when Kendall comes back into his life is pure melodrama. This was a film I missed when it came out although I was a huge fan in the years of his Hollywood career. I still tear up at some of his singing, it is so beautiful. 8/10
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
An elderly female likes the action and Butler---
Olympus Has Fallen (2013) Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckard, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune. Non-stop action and graphic violence means heart pounding thrills. The beginning sets up the First Family as loving parents to their young son, who is buddies with head Secret Service agent Mike Banning. So instead of Mike being in the car with the President, Mike goes in the car with Conner, the boy, who asks if he can. A horrible accident on the way from Camp David to the White House causes a death and Mike is blamed so is reassigned to desk work at the Treasury Dept. So when the attack on D.C. and the White House comes, Mike runs amid the chaos to the W.H. and by the time he gets there he is able to enter and find out the who, what, where of the people who have taken over the building. Since he has worked there and knows all the secret communications and passages, he is able to talk to the command center and those left in charge. He works his way toward the 'safe bunker' where the villains have set up shop and listed their demands. The scenes where he has to fight and kill his way toward his objective are graphic and bloody, but make you gasp and at times exclaim. Like other thrillers - Taken, for example - one extremely well trained guy is able to do the impossible. I am an older woman and I enjoyed the film and seeing Butler in action. The whole cast is very good, especially the three women in roles of importance to the story. 8/10
Our Betters (1933)
A Connie Bennett gem
Our Betters (1933) Constance Bennett, Violet Kemble Cooper, Anita Louise, Alan Mowbray, Gilbert Rowland. A Somerset Maugham play, directed by George Cukor about the Lords and Ladies of British society, is amusing and biting at the same time. They have parties and weekends at someones estate, and gossip about who is sleeping with who, and learn all the latest dance steps. Lady Greystone has been 'educated' in her betters ways by her titled husband who she learned too late married her only for her money. While he spends all his time with his mistress, she gives lavish parties for her "betters." Soon she is the top hostess among the titled and idle set. Some wicked humor by Maugham, who was an invited guest to many of the same sort of places among the same sort of people. Bennett is dazzling in her wardrobe by Hattie Carnegie and Cooper is too funny trying to keep her gigolo from straying. And the final scene with a rouged and mincing dance instructor is very funny. As in any hard times, the depression era movie goer wanted something light and amusing and not deep and real. They saw 'real' everyday in their homes and on the streets. Kind of like today. 8/10
Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Genius and Cad - Spoilers
Christian McKay, Zac Efron, Claire Danes. The troupe of Mercury Players who made Orson Welles famous with the staging of Shakespeare's Julias Caesar as a modern dress drama in 1937.
It is told through the eyes of a high school boy after he is cast in a bit part. He is bored with school so one day skips and rides the subway to Manhattan. During his day, he runs into Welles in front of the theater and in a conversation is given a chance to read a small part in the play. He is cast and is introduced to the young assistant to the theater manager.
He makes a play for her and even though she is older, and the men of the cast call her the Ice Queen, she goes out with him when he wins a drawing for dates that Orson thinks is a swell idea so the cast can become better acquainted. They end up having sex. He falls hard for her and feels betrayed when she just blows him off later.
Interesting, and illustrates the comment on how a play comes together and works - "It is a mystery." 7/10