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46 reviews in total 
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A Good Movie Spoiled, 5 September 2017

I watched most of this movie, but couldn't quite make it all the way through. Not that it was a bad movie. The script was well constructed, the shots were interesting and directed well, and there were some stellar performances by Simone Signoret, Heather Sears, and Hermione Baddeley.

But the weak link was Laurence Harvey, who seemed to glide through the movie in some kind of hypnotic trance. Here, let me demonstrate: Watch the first five minutes or so of the film, where Laurence Harvey arrives in town and begins staring at all the beautiful women. What is he doing? Is he ogling them? Lusting after them? Merely looking at them? Or is he secretly trying to destroy them with his X-ray vision? He puts little effort into showing us what he's thinking. He's just a guy staring oddly at women.

The rest of the film is the same way. It ultimately made no sense to me that so many beautiful women were enamored with him, or why Heather Sears was so taken with him, or why Sears's boyfriend hated him so. Maybe it was because he was a good looking guy, but what in his personality inspired so much passion? Having watched almost all of this film, I had no idea, and toward the end didn't care. Through the script, it was made clear that he was a poor boy trying to sleep his way into the upper classes, but he came across like a rich boy just trying to sleep with a lot of women.

If you're a Simone Signoret fan, there are some golden moments in this film. Otherwise, you may want to opt for another movie selection.

I Dood It (1943)
Come for Red Skelton, Stay for Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne, and Hazel Scott, 5 September 2017

I generally find Red Skelton films entertaining, so I poured a glass of wine and tee'd up "I Dood It" on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Red Skelton was his usual great. I understand that Buster Keaton was his coach for some of the slapstick, and it showed. But one genius plus one genius equals some great comedy, so that was okay with me.

However, I was really blown away by three performers I didn't know very well. Eleanor Powell was a fine actress and a fantastic dancer. Check out her lasso dance near the beginning of the film. Absolutely amazing! And then later in the film comes Hazel Scott, a phenomenal jazz pianist who I'd never heard before. Then shortly thereafter we have Lena Horne in her powerful "Jericho" number. Those scenes alone make the movie worth spending a little time on.

There were a lot of musical numbers, too many in fact, and I have to admit I fast forwarded through the more tedious of them. And the plot was -- as many people have mentioned -- disjointed and illogical. But there's enough gold in this film to make it an enjoyable, although certainly not classic, movie event.

Snatched (2017/I)
13 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Very Enjoyable Movie; Hawn and Schumer are a Great Team, 15 May 2017

I went into this movie with very low expectations. The IMDb rating the day I went to the theater was 2.7, and I'd never seen a film on IMDb with such a low rating before. Even the worst movie ever made, Plan 9 From Outer Space, has a 4.0 rating, for goodness sake.

So I was surprised to find that the movie was a very pleasant comic adventure. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer are perfectly cast as mother and daughter. Hawn was in the unusual position of playing a frumpy character, and of course she's terrific. But Amy Schumer displayed surprising acting chops, including as tearful daughter as well as terrified hostage. And she still has her strong comic edge, with one of the funniest topless scenes I've ever seen in a film.

The supporting cast was very effective. Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack are a team of very weird fellow tourists that get involved in the adventure, and the cadre of evil villains is terrifying.

It wasn't just me, the audience in the theater with me also seemed to be having a great time.

I'm not sure how to explain all the negative reviews. Perhaps some of them are due to the fact that, at this writing (May 2017), there is an Internet army of little boys who are using their daddies' computers to attack anything that Schumer does. Don't let a basement-dwelling lynch mob talk you out of a very enjoyable film-going experience. If Hawn and Schumer team up on another movie, I'm going.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Disjointed, 25 February 2017

Was this a comedy? A drama? Who knows! I had a "Free HBO" weekend earlier this month, so I took advantage of it to watch Hail Caesar, a movie that sounded pretty good when I saw the trailer a few years ago. But I was younger and stupider then.

Was it a comedy? If so, why wasn't it funny? "Would that it twere so simple" stopped being funny long before they finally stopped saying it.

Was it a drama? If so, why didn't it keep me at the edge of my seat? The movie opens with George Clooney's character being kidnapped, and leaves us in suspense as to why. Well, not that much suspense, really. I stayed with this film for over an hour before I finally turned it off. I still don't know why he was kidnapped. And I don't care. And never will.

Scarlett Johansson was solid as a hard-bitten 1930's type movie star. But George Clooney was just ... George Clooney in a toga. If he had walked into the studio cold and read his lines from cue cards, I don't think his performance would have been substantially different. Or perhaps we were supposed to believe that George Clooney in a toga is an inherently funny premise, and the mere sight of it would keep us in stitches throughout the movie? There were also a lot of pointless scenes. The swimming musical number at the beginning could easily have been cut out of the movie without losing anything. But then again, so could most of the other scenes in the movie. I understand from some previous reviewers that the swimming scene was intended to be a homage to the Esther Williams movies of the 1930's and 1940's. And indeed it was -- if "homage" is French for boring pointless imitation.

Because I didn't watch the last half hour, I have to confess that the ending could well be a thrilling laugh-filled adventure that pulls the whole movie together and leaves the audience stunned with the brilliance of the film and its commentary on both Depression-era and contemporary Hollywood. Unfortunately, I'll never know. And don't intend to find out.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Money Maker for the Network Execs, Disaster for Everyone Else, 31 October 2016

Exactly the same as the old Rocky Horror film. Except with a less talented and interesting cast. And a lot more corporate oversight. And a lot less sexy and bloody, because of the prime time television audience.

In other words, nothing like the old Rocky Horror film.

It was a treat to see Tim Curry. I wonder if he wanted to jump out of that wheelchair and scream at everyone for destroying his legacy?

My congratulations go to the network executives and producers, who I'm sure spent almost nothing on this production, and made a fortune on advertising revenue.

Fox did such a great job with its live Grease broadcast that my hopes were over-inflated for this one. Let's hope that future Fox broadcasts make up for this fiasco.

I Just Discovered Howard Keel!, 31 January 2016

OK, I may be a little late to the party -- Howard Keel had a long, proud and successful career as a theater and movie star. But he was amazing in the dual roles of good guy Stretch Barnes and bad guy Smoky Calloway. Even though the two characters dressed in identical outfits through most of the movie, Keel's acting craft made it early to recognize whether you were seeing Stretch or Smoky. I actually spend a few minutes wondering whether it was two different lookalike actors, and had to check into IMDb to confirm that it was the same guy.

The film itself was a clever take on the television Westerns that were popular when I was a boy. Fred MacMurray very nicely plays the role of a lovable on the outside, sleaze ball on the inside theatrical agent. Dorothy McGuire played the opposite as his partner -- reluctantly sleazy on the outside, heart of gold on the inside. Others include old standby Jesse White, and watch for Stan Freeberg as the nerd who works with MacMurray and McGuire.

But really, Howard Keel was the star, and should have gotten top billing. Overall, the film was a very pleasant way to spend an hour-and-a-half or so.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Sadly Disappointing, 13 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm old enough to remember Joan Blondell as a funny and sassy old lady when she was a guest on television talk shows in the 1960's and 1970s, and I've enjoyed Stuart Erwin's other films, so I really wanted to love this movie. Sadly, I didn't, for two reasons.

First, because Stuart...Erwin gave almost...all of his lines a...halting reading that I think was...supposed to make...him seem like...a humble and ignorant country boy...but got...really annoying...after a while. It was like two hours of a really bad Christopher Walken imitation.

Second, I found Stuart Erwin's character very unlikeable. Basically, he plays an ignorant and untalented narcissist who shows up in Hollywood expecting to be given big dramatic roles with one specific studio. When Joan Blondell takes an inexplicable liking to him, and gets him a job as a movie extra (which he initially thinks is beneath him), he blows his line and gets fired. So instead of trying to get work at another studio, or getting a regular job, he stays behind the studio walls and lives on scraps from the trash.

Again, Blondell comes to the rescue, and gives him another shot at movies. But since he despises what he calls "cross-eyed comedies" (a shot at legendary cross-eyed movie comedian Ben Turpin, who co-stars with him), they cast him in a movie without telling him it's a comedy. He becomes a big star, largely because he is so untalented that it's funny. But because he is the star of his despised cross-eyed comedies, he's hurt, has a hissy fit, and makes plan to return to his hometown.

He ends up staying, apparently because of the mutual love between him and Joan Blondell. However, there is absolutely no chemistry between Blondell and Erwin at all. So the ending makes no sense and is pretty unsatisfying.

I did like the twist, unusual for the 1930's, of a successful woman using her position of power to rescue a weak and vulnerable man. Unfortunately, because the movie was ineptly done, this twist was underplayed and buried.

To those who rated this film highly: Believe me, I wish I could have agreed with you.

Sex Tape (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Sex Tape - Cameron Diaz = 0, 30 March 2015

I'm giving Sex Tape the relatively high rating of 6 for two reasons: (1) Cameron Diaz, and (2) naked Cameron Diaz.

This film involves extreme horniness, raunchy sex, violence, corporate hypocrisy, profanity, breaking and entering, vandalism, animal cruelty, pornography, and drug use. All from a bunch of characters who are supposed to come across as lovable scamps, but actually come across as really creepy -- and not terribly funny or entertaining.

The exception is Cameron Diaz. She is a very talented comic actress, who has the gift of being both beautiful and relate-able, and for being able to act in somewhat shifty and skanky ways while retaining her likability and basic innocence. The only laugh-out-loud moment for me in the film was when she did a line of cocaine and started acting like...well, like someone who had never done much cocaine before. And her nude and semi-nude scenes -- oh my gosh, she looks like an angel from heaven. Sadly, the price you have to pay for seeing Cameron Diaz naked is seeing much more of Jason Segel naked.

WARNING: There is a scene at the end where, for absolutely no good reason, a nearly-naked Jason Segel stands there and sings a long, long version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game or something, with his privatest of parts threatening to pop out and say "howdy" at any moment. ONCE YOU HAVE SEEN THIS, IT CAN NEVER BE UNSEEN.

The uncredited but popular comic actor who makes a cameo at the end as the owner of YouPorn starts out great, but his part degenerates into him reciting a lot of "funny" pornography site names for what seems like hours.

With the always-engaging and gorgeous Cameron Diaz, I give this film a 6. Without her...does IMDb have a zero?

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Viewing, 19 March 2015

With this version of Don't Drink The Water, you get Jackie Gleason (who throws 100% of himself into his character), as well as a script that occasionally sparkles with witty Woody Allen one liners. Add Estelle Parsons as the always-calm-in-the-presence-of-a-hysterical-husband wife, and Ted Bessell in his trademarked 1970's bumbler role, and you've got a pretty nice weekend afternoon of entertainment.

I was particularly intrigued by Joan Delaney as the couple's beautiful daughter and Ted Bessell's love interest. She had a very interesting face, nice appearance and style, and did a good job of maintaining her own presence opposite some of the great scene stealers of that era (Gleason, Parsons, Michael Constantine, Avery Schrieber). I've tried to do a little "whatever-happened-to" search on the internet, but Delaney seemed to have disappeared from the acting scene without a trace after the early 1970's. That's a shame.

In any event, I'm a big Jackie Gleason and Woody Allen fan, and this movie seems to be the closest they ever came to teaming up (although there is little evidence that Woody Allen had anything to do with this film beyond having written the script for the Broadway play). Their participation pushed this movie up to the seven-star range for me.

They Don't Make Them Like This Any More, 21 January 2015

What a nice little half hour! A poor hard-working refugee from a fascist Nazi regime learns a lesson about tolerance and justice in America. The Screen Director's Playhouse series hits yet another home run.

The entire cast was great, but I was especially impressed with Alan Hale Jr. and Raymond Bailey. Is it possible that the lovable Skipper from Gilligan's Island could credibly play an obnoxious and borderline racist butt hole? Answer: Yes! Great job. And is it possible that the cold-hearted money-hungry Mr. Drysdale from the Beverly Hillbillies could play a fair-minded and compassionate judge? Again, yes! And a bonus surprise: Raymond Bailey had a lot less hair in this show than his Mr. Drysdale did ten years later.

Old fashioned American patriotism, reverence for immigrants, and a very slow-paced traffic court hearing that would defy credibility in today's fast-paced world. You won't see anything like this again -- at least for a while.

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