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The Second Best Marigold Hotel was almost as enjoyable as its predecessor, 24 August 2015

Just watched this sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with my mom on Netflix disc. Like the first one there were plenty of stories involving the various characters that are pretty charming and humorous. Richard Gere joins the cast as...well, watch the movie if you want to find out. There's a wedding about to happen but Dev Patel's character gets jealous when he sees his fiancé's dance teacher partner. There's also a plot involving a hotel expansion that involves mistaken identity. To tell the truth, since it's been a while since I've seen the previous one, part of me was confused by some of the developments but for the most part, me and Mom enjoyed this one as well. So on that note, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is worth a look.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
American Ultra was a weirdly good time for me!, 24 August 2015

Just watched this movie with my movie theatre-working friend. He hadn't seen it before and when it was all over, he thought it was weird. Well, it may have been that but it was also quite entertaining though not as funny as I thought it would be though that was okay because I liked the drama concerning the romance of the Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart characters. Also interesting seeing Connie Britton and Topher Grace playing two agents on opposite sides. Quite riveting with all those action sequences. So on that note, I recommend American Ultra. P.S. As a resident of Louisiana, I have to note that this was shot at various places in my state (though not in my current hometown of Baton Rouge). Also that one of the players, Michael Papajohn, had arrived here in BR in 1985 when he attended LSU and played baseball for the Tigers in the College World Series in '86 and '87 for that school. It was also while there that he started in films as a stunt double for Dennis Quaid when Quaid's movie, Everybody's All-American, was shot at the school during the '87 season. From there, he'd also do stunts for Titanic and The Waterboy and other movies before eventually transitioning to acting in pictures like Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3 and, most recently, Jurassic World.

There's No Business Like Show Business is a mostly entertaining tribute to the one and only Irving Berlin, 13 August 2015

After previously teaming with Ethel Merman and songwriter Irving Berlin in Call Me Madam, Donald O'Connor was back with them for There's No Business Like Show Business. They're joined by Dan Dailey, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnny Ray, and Marilyn Monroe. There are both old and new Berlin tunes here but they're all enjoyable. Monroe's "Heat Wave" number certainly deserves most of the attention that's been paid-both negatively and positively-to it. Compared to many of today's raunchy musical numbers, this one isn't so dirty. Ms. Gaynor certainly also puts the steam in her numbers particularly "Lazy" she does with both Monroe and O'Connor. Speaking of the latter, he's as funny as you'd expect when watching him and is as nimble as always when dancing up a storm especially during a number taking place in a fountain with statues. Johnny Ray isn't much of an actor, but he's still a good enough singer when his numbers are being performed. Dailey does well when teamed with Merman in their numbers. As for Ms. Merman, well, she's every bit the legend that she deserved to be when one listens to her just belt it out all over! Now the story was pretty entertaining most of the time, at least until the O'Connor character gets in big trouble and is missing some of the time. Still, There's No Business Like Show Business is very much worth seeing for all the performances of the numbers with fine lyrics by the one and only Irving Berlin!

Unbroken (2014/I)
Angelina Jolie really did a fine job directing Unbroken, 12 August 2015

Just watched this filmed version of the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who eventually ended up at a Japanese prison camp during World War II, with my mom. We both were pretty shocked by the atrocious events that happened to him during that war especially that one Jap officer really torturing him in many scenes. Angelina Jolie really made quite a compelling account about his survival instincts and also his expert running during both high school and the Olympics of 1936. We also had a female cousin of mine visiting and she had to leave when it really was threatening to get intense. Also loved the footage of the real-life Zamperini running during the Nagano games of 1998 with the titles mentioning how he ended up forgiving the country where his tormentors were. So on that note, we highly recommend Unbroken.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Ricki and the Flash is a good enough film for fans of Meryl Streep, Jonathan Demme, and Diablo Cody, 12 August 2015

So Meryl Streep plays a rock singer who had one album that didn't seem to go anywhere and is reduced to playing at a bar for 8 years in this movie. She then finds out her daughter (Mamie Gummer, Meryl's actual offspring) is splitting from her hubby from Kevin Kline, who Ms. Streep was previously married to. There's more but I'll just now say that I enjoyed the musical performances especially "Drift Away". And Rick Springfield, whose song "Jessie's Girl" seems to be the only one of his hits on oldies radio nowadays, is also good as Ms. Streep's bandmate/current boyfriend. Also it was a nice surprise to see Charlotte Rae, who to me is always Mrs. Garrett on "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life", as the mother of Kline. Perhaps not a great film from director Jonathan Demme or screenwriter Diablo Cody, but Ricki and the Flash has its moments.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri was a pretty good war drama, 11 August 2015

The most interesting thing about this Korean War-set movie is the way it ends. You won't get what would be considered a rousing action-filled good time here. In fact, the principles question why they have to do what they have to do sometimes. William Holden plays a lawyer who's sent on a dangerous mission to destroy some bridges of the title. Mickey Rooney plays a helicopter pilot who gets into trouble with a Japanese woman when she betrays him but also helps Holden's character early on so he's bound to be loyal to him. Grace Kelly is Holden's wife who is told what to expect by her hubby's superior, Fredric March, when he takes these missions. The aerial footage are the most compelling of scenes though some of the humor concerning Holden, Ms. Kelly, their pre-teen daughters and a Japanese family at a hotel pool was also welcome. Dramatically, this adaptation of James A. Michener's novel could have been better. Still, The Bridges at Toko-Ri was pretty good as a war drama.

Satins and Spurs (1954) (TV)
Betty Hutton entertains enough in Satins and Spurs, 10 August 2015

After abruptly leaving Paramount, Betty Hutton decided to try her luck on a live TV musical on NBC. This was one of the few productions to be broadcast in color at the time but only a black-and-white kinescope exists of this now. She plays a rodeo star being photographed for Life magazine by Kevin McCarthy. He tries to change her but then falls for her as she is. The songs are by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans and Betty knocks the park out of many of them including one that mentions the new sound called Rock 'n' Roll! Yes, her personality can be overwhelming but if you like her that way, this should be enjoyable enough for her fans. So on that a note, Satins and Spurs should be worth a look. P.S. Her hubby of the time, Charles O'Curran, was one of the directors.

Francis Covers the Big Town was another enjoyable entry in Francis, the Talking Mule series, 10 August 2015

This is the fourth of the Francis, the Talking Mule series entries. This time, Peter Stirling is in New York, working up to be a reporter for the newspaper there. At first, he's able to avoid revealing his source because writers of paper articles are supposed to be sworn to secrecy but one knows that won't last for long. It's also a matter of time before Francis (voiced once again by Chill Wills) reveals he vocabulary to anyone other than Donald O'Connor. This time he has two women to pick from: Yvette Duguay and Nancy Guild. One's cynical and sophisticated and one's more girl-next-door who also happens to be Italian (at least as a character in the movie). Guess which one wins? Anyway, this was another pretty enjoyable entry whenever Francis talks and when Peter tries explaining himself and not much else other than that. This will be my last review of the series even though three more eps were made since the DVD I saw this one only had the first four entries. Maybe someday...Actually, I may review Francis in the Navy which is on YouTube as of this moment...

Bright Road was an interesting initial teaming of Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, 9 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After more than 15 years of reading about this movie from Donald Bogle's bio of Dorothy Dandridge, I finally watched this on YouTube. She plays a newbie teacher at an elementary school who has a troubled student named C.T. Young (Philip Hepburn). Her eventual co-star in the groundbreaking Carmen Jones, Harry Belafonte, debuts here as the school principal. Unlike in the latter where their singing voices are dubbed by classically trained opera singers, their natural musical voices are heard here. I found the whole thing pretty compelling though it seemed to be holding back somewhat dramatically much of the time. I did think the death of C.T.'s friend Tayna Hamilton (Barbara Ann Sanders a.k.a, Randolph) very touching. And finding out on the cast list that a fellow student named Booker T. Jones was played by Rene Beard, Our Ganger Matthew "Stymie" Beard's younger brother, was a nice surprise especially since I previously saw him in the Our Gang-inspired feature Who Killed Doc Robin? So on that note, I recommend Bright Road.

Off Limits (1952)
Bob Hope and Mickey Rooney make a good team in Off Limits, 8 August 2015

In this Bob Hope vehicle, he's a fight manager who trains a champ and has all the women he wants and more! Then the champ gets drafted and Hope enlists with him. Well, something else happens but let's skip there and just say that Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Maxwell then get involved with him and lots of funny lines and scenes and a number or two gets performed and there's a chase because of another messy visual comedy scene. Oh, and there's also their military police superior (Eddie Mayehoff) to deal with and the champ's flunkies and...well, just watch the thing if you're so inclined. It's on YouTube right now. It's one of few Hope movies that's not in the public domain that's available there...

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