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During a power outage, geeky college freshman Jonathan Tucker (as Matt)
has passionate sex in a dark elevator. For reasons unexplained, the
coed manages to exit the elevator before Mr. Tucker emerges;
apparently, he fell asleep. Tucker has only one clue - the young woman
dropped her panties before leaving. His roommate James DeBello (as Rod)
doesn't recognize anyone by sniffing the underwear and suggests Tucker
find the panties' matching bra. Tucker has to investigate "100 Girls"
to find his soul-mate. He infiltrates the girls' dorm in drag as
"Francesca" and as maintenance man...
All of the women in this film are attractive, even the so-called "ugly" Marissa Ribisi (as Dora). Others are roughed-up Emmanuelle Chriqui (as Patty), domineering Katherine Heigl (as Arlene), secretive Larisa Oleynik (as Wendy) and model perfect Jamie Pressly (as Cynthia). There are brief topless scenes. We do not see how it is attached, but it hurts to watch Mr. DeBello wear a contraption which is supposed to enlarge his genitalia. For most of the running time, you see these weights hanging down from his shorts. The "100 Girls" characters may be college-aged, but the intended audience is younger.
**** 100 Girls (9/1/00) Michael Davis ~ Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chriqui, James DeBello, Katherine Heigl
An outstanding reenactment of writer Reginald Rose's superlative 1954
"Studio One" drama. Director Sidney Lumet shows how the boundaries in
cinematic art can be stretched both ways; necessarily minimalist, he
moves the actors and cameras in the jury room like a finely tuned
ballet. Dependable Henry Fonda gives his best, and it's one of the most
convincing "Best Actor" performances ever committed to celluloid. The
supporting cast is perfect.
No matter how you feel about the film's thought-provoking thesis, you are captivated by juror Fonda's determination. When he introduces a switchblade into evidence - during deliberations! - like the pounding of a gavel, you know Fonda's intentions are premeditated; and, watching him unravel each juror's mind - along with your own - is truly stunning. Anyone interested in becoming a lawyer should consider Fonda a study model.
The defense rests.
********** 12 Angry Men (4/13/57) Sidney Lumet ~ Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall
Petite blonde public relations expert Kristin Chenoweth (as Emma Jane
"E.J." Baxter) catches her boyfriend in the bathroom stall with her
boss. Deciding to give them both more space, Ms. Chenoweth leaves the
hustle-bustle of New York City and moves to a smallish-looking town in
Montana. She doesn't become a dental floss tycoon; that's already been
invented. Instead, she works for the mayor. Chenoweth becomes
acquainted with the volunteer men of the search and rescue squad. They
have a lot of fund-raisers and do good work like rescuing petite
blonde mountain climbers. Chenoweth decides to contribute by creating a
calendar featuring "12 Men of Christmas" and sell it for the holidays.
The problem becomes how to get the local men to take off their shirts
for sexy poses. Somebody must be pulling our legs because a few of the
coy, well-built men look shaved, waxed, plucked and/or ready for
action. One of the many handsome men in this movie, Josh Hopkins (as
Will Albrecht), gives Chenoweth an especially hard time. Photography by
Peter Benison is an asset.
**** 12 Men of Christmas (12/5/09) Arlene Sanford ~ Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Hopkins, Anna Chlumsky, Jefferson Brown
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Speaking for the "International Space Order" of Earth, Francis X.
Bushman announces our planet's "Lunar Eagle 1" mission to the Moon. It
will be Earth's first manned Moon mission, and features a diverse crew
of twelve leading scientists: American Captain and hunk Ken Clark (as
John Anderson), Japanese photographer and pharmacist Michi Kobi (as
Hideko Murata), Russian geologist and mapmaker Tom Conway (as Feodor
Orloff), handsome Brazilian pilot Anthony Dexter (as Luis Vargas),
German spaceship architect John Wengraf (as Erich Heinrich), young
mathematics genius Robert Montgomery Jr. (as Roddy "Rod" Murdock),
British geophysicist Phillip Baird (as William Rochester), Polish-born
Israeli aeronautic engineer Richard Weber (as David Ruskin), Turkish
space medicine expert Muzaffer Tema (as Selim Hamid), French engineer
and technician Roger Til (as Etienne Martel), Nigerian astronomer Cory
Devlin (as Asmara Markonen), and beautiful Swedish physician Anna-Lisa
(as Sigrid Bomark).
The filmmakers get Mr. Clark to strip down to a towel, early in the flight, when he interrupts Ms Kobi taking an "ultrasound shower" (the towel would be for modesty, since no drying is involved). When the crew lands on the Moon, and exits the ship, you can clearly see a man on the moon, walking away from the camera. This is probably a stagehand or somebody caught on the set in error. Well, the crew claims the Moon as international territory for the planet Earth; then, they look for air and signs of life. They find both. And, the Moon inhabitants are understandably not amused by the appearance of Earthlings on their world. Let the battle begin!
The main story becomes the conflict between the representatives of Earth and the emotionless Moon beings, and whether or not they will be able to resolve their differences. There is a well-meaning parallel to Earth's overcoming of differences, with this "diverse" group presented as evidence. The sub-plot involving German "Heinrich" and Israeli "Ruskin" drives the point home. The fate of cats "Mimi" and "Rodolfo" is never resolved, unfortunately. Relatives to watch include Bob Montgomery Jr. (son of Robert & brother of Elizabeth Montgomery, in his best feature film part) and Tom Conway (brother of George Sanders).
*** 12 to the Moon (6/60) David Bradley ~ Ken Clark, John Wengraf, Robert Montgomery Jr.
I was very surprised with "13 West Street". I found it both believable,
and well-performed. It's amazing to see Alan Ladd's character correctly
identify his as a "hate" crime. The way the director makes us (and the
characters) think all teenagers are members of the five who attacked
Mr. Ladd was nicely done.
The successful older man coming to terms, perhaps, with his increasing vulnerability is a great film subject. Ladd seems to understand this, and it becomes part of his performance. His physicality (whatever real health concerns he is having) is successfully incorporated into his performance.
Ladd's younger "trophy" wife really cares for him, and is unsure how to handle the unfolding events. Rod Steiger is great as the police detective assigned to the case -- watch how he turns over the newspaper when he confront the bartender. There are a lot of nice little touches like that -- from the director and/or performers watch all their little mannerisms; they all fit the characters, and add to the believability.
There are more unexpected, and riveting, events. Are they implausible? In a 1962 film, perhaps they seemed so, but the decade ended with crimes and criminals significantly more "implausible". Accepting the situation is believable, there are some flaws which keep this from being a perfect film. I would have preferred "Chuck" to be a Charles Manson-type psycho, and could have done without the "Teenage Terror" angle. There are also some necessary "budget" restrictions.
They made the absolute most out of the budget they had, though. Highly recommended!
********* 13 West Street (1962) Philip Leacock ~ Alan Ladd, Rod Steiger, Michael Callan, Dolores Dorn
In 1776 Philadelphia, thirteen colonies from the future United States
of America consider declaring independence from Great Britain. Leading
the charge in Congress are founding fathers William Daniels (as John
Adams) and Howard Da Silva (as Benjamin Franklin). Deciding a
"Declaration of Independence" is needed, they employ reluctant Ken
Howard (as Thomas Jefferson) to pen the document. He has writers' cramp
due to sexual inactivity, until beautiful blonde wife Blythe Danner (as
Martha Wayles Jefferson) visits. Southern royalist Donald Madden (as
John Dickinson) leads the opposition...
"1776" was a big hit on Broadway, running from 1969-1972. No doubt this was helped by thousands and thousands of classrooms making the play a field trip. Not only did it beat a day in the classroom, kids could also relate to a cast of long-haired revolutionaries who were blatantly depicted enjoying sex, drugs, and contemporary music; and, teachers could use the story as a tool. Most of the original's appeal is lacking in this motion picture adaptation, brought to the screen by veteran producer Jack L. Warner. Reportedly, he relented to then President Richard M. Nixon's editing suggestions...
The film is too long. President Nixon's trimming did not help...
The real problem was trying to enhance the stage version by over-producing. This is most obvious in the segments involving Mr. Daniels and first lady of the film Virginia Vestoff (as Abigail Smith Adams). However, Ms. Vestoff's Tony-nominated performance manages to shine through the fuzzy lens and sprawling field. Vestoff is one of four from the supernatural serial "Dark Shadows" in the cast; the others are fly-swatting David Ford (as John Hancock), shy Emory Bass (as Wilson) and Daniel Keyes (as Bartlett). The film's greatest strength is that it does preserve many of the stage performances.
****** 1776 (11/9/72) Peter H. Hunt ~ William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Virginia Vestoff
In 1989, handsome muscle-chiseled basketball player Zac Efron (as
Michael "Mike" O'Donnell) blows the big game when his girlfriend
announces a whispered event. Her curiously bad timing changes Mr.
Efron's life. Eighteen years later, he has grown into Matthew Perry
(still as Mike O'Donnell) and is passed over for a promotion. Dejected,
Efron recalls his glory days in high school and wishes he were back
there. Thanks to a mysterious janitor, Mr. Perry goes back to being
younger self. His long-time millionaire friend Thomas Lennon (as Ned
Gold) reacts to the new Efron by trying desperately to kill him...
It seems strange that "Ned" would not recognize his former friend, but he doesn't look like he'd change into Matthew Perry the way Mr. Lennon looks like he could have grown from Tyler Steelman...
The brutal attempted murder ends when Lennon sees a prominently displayed photograph of he and Efron taken when they were young. With Lennon posing as his father, Efron (now as "Mark Gold" ) decides to go back to high school and finish the basketball season he messed up 18 years earlier. After remembering his two teenage children are in the same high school, Efron changes his focus to help them. His son Sterling Knight (as Alex), who actually looks like a high school teen, is being duct-taped to the toilet. His daughter Michelle Trachtenberg (as Maggie) is dating blond bully Hunter Parrish (as Stan)...
Efron reveals "Stan" is a bully because, "Underneath all of that that male bravado, there's an insecure little girl who's banging on the closet door trying to get out." Also, he's dumb and not endowed...
Becoming friendly with his kids leads Efron to his wife Leslie Mann (as Scarlet), who is waiting for her divorce to become final. She reacts to seeing her newly young husband by roughly pinching and probing his face. Efron's hair doesn't move, but his face appears to be normal. Their later dance lesson is one of the highlights of the film. Efron's first attempt to dress like a teenager, whilst saying "s'up?" was hilarious and the scenes with his children are neat. The story, however, often presents events in ways that make you question how or why they are happening. It's difficult to suspend disbelief.
***** 17 Again (3/11/09) Burr Steers ~ Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry
Family values hits a perverse peak with "19 Kids and Counting" (the
reality TV show's title changes as new babies are added to the family).
This show celebrates an Arkansas family for producing a lot of
children. Good for them. Each baby is given a name beginning with the
letter "J". This celebrates family dad James "Jim Bob" Duggar. Since
there are a lot of names beginning with the letter "J", we can expect
mother Michelle to keep getting pregnant (as long as she is able). This
show is making a statement, of course. You don't have to be a rocket
scientist to make babies and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to
get the point being made, here. They are saying "no, No, NO!" to birth
Many wonderful people have big families. If you have the time and money, great. In one episode, the older daughters are seen making an audio for their book; elsewhere, some of the sons work on their video. This means money. Book and video deals can be a gravy train. Jim Bob and Michelle also have time on their hands. They "homeschool" their children. A full-time parent and teacher must to be very smart. One of the weaknesses of homeschooling is your child's lack of socialization skills. Children meet a diverse group of peers in public school. Many wonderful homeschooling parents make sure their children join groups, where they meet and interact with other children. The Duggar family builds its own peer group...
As of this writing, this TV show was "suspended" due to a sex scandal involving eldest son Joshua "Josh" Duggar. What happened is unclear, since molestation can cover a lot of territory. One of the early explanations from the Duggar family was that son Josh was simply "playing doctor." That's very normal. Then, it was disclosed that he was 15-years-old while "playing doctor." That's not normal. None of this was shown on his TV program. In fact, the television family seems super-sensitive regarding any extra-marital sexual activity. For example, when daughter Jessa Duggar was "courting" Ben, the couple demonstrated the "side hug" as healthy physical contact (it kept the couple's fronts from touching)...
Josh moved to Washington DC with his wife Anna. If you're thinking there is potential for significant political activity in the Washington DC area, you're correct. Off-screen, the Duggars are a very politically-involved family. Jim Bob and his family advocate for Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rick Santorum and other "conservatives". Naturally, the younger Duggar family started having children. They decided to use names beginning with the letter "M" (nicely honoring mother Michelle). The second Duggar family has "3 Kids and Counting". This makes it a total of "22 Kids and Counting" (if you're counting). Although the two families live apart, they are often seen together, through the magic of television and money...
They don't watch TV, but hope you watch them. Blessedly, the show may no longer be in production, but episodes are reproduced on the Internet. They seem very nice. Of course, father Jim Bob and eldest son Josh are especially involved in politics. However, it's mother Michelle who may have raised the most eyebrows. While campaigning against a law that would allow transgender individuals to use a women's bathroom, she feared males with past child predator convictions will claim they are female and take the opportunity to molest young girls in the bathroom. A concerned mother is a wonderful mother, but most sexual molestation does not usually occur between children and transgender women in public bathrooms.
* 19 Kids and Counting (2008-2015) Jim Bob Duggar ~ Michelle Duggar, Josh Duggar, Jill Duggar, Jessa Duggar
Silent documentary introduced via title card: "Let us go behind the
motion picture screen, into the shadow land of Make Believe, to meet
the men and women who create our photoplays - to follow them in their
work from the birth of a story to its first showing in a theater."
Then, we're on tour at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City,
California (part of what is collectively known, to the world outside,
as "Hollywood"), circa 1925. Writers, directors, stars, and other MGM
personnel from are introduced - many in the "group shots" are not
identified with precision, unfortunately.
Bigger stars, like John Gilbert and Norma Shearer (both in "He Who Gets Slapped"), get special camera consideration. Interestingly, Lucille Le Sueur, "an M-G-M 'find' of 1925 is showcased; she would join the bigger stars after changing her name to Joan Crawford. It's been claimed Ms. Crawford's name was changed for other reasons; but, the presence of established actress Lucille La Verne in this very film makes it obvious Lucille Le Sueur wasn't going to keep her original name. The names Lucille La Verne and Lucille Le Sueur are far too similar.
The (then) better known Ms. La Verne participates in one of this half-hour film's "behind-the scenes" highlights - she and Conrad Nagel are briefly seen directed by Edmund "Ed" Goulding in "Sun Up" (released August 1925); and, director Tod Browning is seen "taking night scenes" for "The Mystic" (also released August 1925). There is less "tour" footage than the title "MGM Studio Tour" suggests. But, you do get a good look at the studio and workers who could, within a year, claim they led "The Big Parade" of Hollywood movie studios.
***** Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (1925) Louis B. Mayer : Edmund Goulding ~ John Gilbert, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford
White-bearded mystery man Allan Holubar (as Captain Nemo) trolls the
seas, looking for revenge against William Welch (as Charles Denver). We
begin when Mr. Holubar's invention, an underwater ship called a
submarine, is mistaken for a sea monster. Commanding the "Nautilus",
Holubar wants to avenge the abduction of his wife and find his "child
of nature" daughter Jane Gail (as Princess Daaker). He defeats, then
compassionately rescues a crew of attackers, and goes near "Mysterious
Island". Coincidently, enemy Welch and daughter Gail end up there, the
latter falling in love with Matt Moore (as Lieutenant Bond)...
Reportedly, the first submarine photoplay ever filmed, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" begins with a tribute to the Williamson brothers, "who alone have solved the secret of under-the-ocean photography." The brothers Ernest and George Williamson appear in an on screen introduction, tipping their hats (and looking like they could have had careers as actors). The film is mainly notable for their work in pioneering underwater photography; otherwise, this adaptation of Jules Verne's popular novel (with additions from his "The Mysterious Island") is sluggish sailing. It also corrupts the source material.
***** Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (12/24/16) Stuart Paton ~ Allen Holubar, Jane Gail, Matt Moore, William Welch
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