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The Birds (1963)
Classic Hirchcock drama.
This film, is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best, and most intriguing. Tippii Hedren shines, as a wealthy woman, named Melanie Daniels. Melanie, runs into Mitch, a handsome San Francisco attorney.
Mitch wants to get his young sister a pair of lovebirds, for her birthday. Melanie makes it a point to find out where Mitch lives, and she decides to deliver the lovebirds to Mitch's sister, as a surprise.
After finding out the Mitch lives in the tiny village of Bodega Bay, Melanie rents a boat, and then takes the lovebirds to Mitch's place. Melanie is attacked by by a seagull, on the way back in the boat.
This is just the beginning, of strange behavior, by all of the birds in Bodega Bay. They all suddenly go berserk, and start attacking all of the local citizens. And no one has any idea why. And they never know, when the savage birds will launch their next attacks.
The Birds is easily one of the most suspenseful, of Alfred Hitchcock's films. Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor, carry the movie, as Melanie and Mitch. They have a fine on-screen chemistry between them, that holds the viewer's attention. The special effects in this film are very realistic, and are some of the best that I've seen, in any film.
This movie is a classic, and offer many spine-tingling thrills and chills, they expect in a good horror drama.
Man v. Food (2008)
Food fanatic Adam Richman, is the star of the show. Adam travels the country, in search of eateries, with some of the most mouth-watering cuisine. Adam has a lot of boyish charm, and an engaging sense of fun. Which no-doubt help fuel the amazing popularity, of this show.
The premise of this show, is that Adam accepts 'challenges' to see if he can finish either enormous portions of food, or food that is unbelievably spicy-hot. The catch is, Adam has to finish the food placed before him, within certain time limits-and he does. At least 90% of the time, anyhow.
For example, I've seen Adam put-away some incredibly daunting meals, such as a 72-ounce steak, complete with two side dishes And this was within one hour. Adam has always wolfed-down three dozen oysters, in under 30 minutes, devoured 16 hot dogs in 30 minutes, and blindingly-fiery-hot chicken wings, in 20 minutes.
When Adam says that he's 'just a guy with a serious appetite', he most definitely wasn't kidding! Adam is a big, burly got, but not morbidly obese, as you'd expect of somebody, who eats like Adam does for a living. He also seems to be in surprisingly good physical shape, when he runs around acting exuberant, before each food challenge.
I don't know how Adam can eat so much often greasy, fat-laden food, in one sitting. My guess, is that he starves himself, hours before each challenge. My only beef (no pun intended) with this show, is that the Travel Channnel shows too many re-runs of each episode. It would be nice, if they broadcast new episodes more often.
To me the chief appeal of this program, is that the public can pig-out vicariously, through watching Adam Richman devour so many huge, calorie-laden meals. Once, when he was gorging on a huge hot-fudge Sunday, he said'I know those of you who are watching, are jealous right now'. Most likely, he was right. Especially viewers who have to stick to their boring, taste-less, low-fat diets.
The People's Court (1997)
This show has it all, for a court TV show. It has audience participation, interesting cases, and Judge Marylin Milian, who's gorgeous, but carries a big Gavel. This show gets my vote. For those of us who are stuck at home on week-days, watching The People's Court, is an enjoyable wait to be entertained.
It's also goo, because Harvey Lrevin, the guy who interviews people outside the courtroom, gives legal advice regarding the court cases. Judge Milian is usually pleasant and even-tempered. But she does go off once in a while, when she's particularly exasperated with a litigant. This court TV show, is definitely wroth your while.
Judge Joe Brown (1997)
Good, but not great.
Unlike the other court TV judges, Judge Joe Brown seems more like the classic doleful, stalwart personality, that must of us associate with someone who is a judge.
Though he's a bit foreboding, Judge Joe Brown is more Ike a stern, yet concerned father figure. His motto, is that he's 'protecting woman-hood, and promoting man-hood'. Like Judge Judy, he often administers his brand of tough-love to litigants who are on the losing end of his judgments. He often tells losing male litigants, to 'man-up, pay-up, and grow up.'
If you like the fiery courtroom style of Judge Judy, then Judge Joe Brown may not be your cup of tea. Judge Joe Brown exudes a dignified, low-key essence. He wants to get to the truth, and he does so by stealth, shrewd question of the litigants, and his uncanny ability to see through any BS. He seldom loses his temper, no matter how exasperated he gets with his litigants.
Judge Joe Brown, is a good, but not great court TV program. His show can be boring at times. And he should ad more sparkle to his personality to help liven-up this show.
Judge Mathis (1998)
A n entertaining, and inspiring court show.
Judge Msathis, is one of the court TV shows, broadcast during the afternoon hours, on weekdays. Judge Gregg Mathis is an ex-con, who often got in trouble as a kid, in his native Detroit neighborhood. Seeoing how his law-breaking had distressed his mother, he decided to turn his life around. So he attended college, law school, and eventually became a judge.
Judge Mathis is not a stuffy, uptight judge. His style is leavened with humorous banter, withe litigants in his courtroom. Many of the litigants, appreciate the fact the Judge Mthis has a sense of humor. He's a big guy, with an imposing presence. So his humor puts the litigants at ease.
Judge Mathis also identifies with many of his litigants, who frequently are ex-cons, ex-addicts, or have otherwise been in trouble with the law. His keen street-smarts, are utilized to help him make his judgments that are fair, and just.
Judge Mthis also encourages some his litigants that are troubled, to change their lives for the better, through education, pr drug re-hab, if they need it. The litigants take his advice seriously, since Judge Mathis has been where many of them have been, and so he comes off as being for real.
On the whole, this is one of better court TV programs. Judge Mathis is a caring, credible judge, who is dedicated to 'gibing back' to the community, and encourages wayward litigants to improve their loves. So Judge Mathis is not just entertaining, but he sets a positive example, that others can look up to for guidance.
Hot in Cleveland (2010)
Not a fan.
I know that this show has been popular among many. But I just can't get behind it. I think that the premise is ridiculous;four women on their way to LA, who get stuck in Cleveland, OH, and decide to stay there. Can't believe that anyone would actually want to stay in Cleveland, if t they could live in LA.
I also thin that the dialog and jokes, are flat and lame. It's tasteless, to say the least, that they keep trying to present Betty White's character, as an elderly foul-mouthed thug of a woman. The producers obviously think that this is humorous. To me, it's just tacky.
I regally resent the fact that TVLand, has stooped to broadcasting lame sitcoms like Hot In Cleveland. The other sitcoms that come to mind, are Retired At 365, and Happily Divorced, aren't any better. TVLand is obviously trying to be 'trendy', by adding these new sitcoms to its line-up. But they're way off the mark.
TVLand specializes in the old sitcoms, from the 60s and 70s. They broadcast quality shows, like MASH, All In The Family, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons, The Andy Griffith Shiw, and many others. Their new, silly sitcoms like Hot In Cleveland, don't belong on TVLand. I wish that they would see the light, and quit cluttering-up their programming, with these idiotic shows. Let the regular TV networks have them, since they broadcast such drivel nowadays anyhow.
Judge Judy (1996)
Best of the court TV shows.
Judge Judy, has been on the air longer than the other court TV shows. She is a seasoned pro, regarding how she presents her court cases, to the viewing public. She has a sharp, no-nonsense style of dealing with the litigants, who appear in her courtroom.
Viewers have become accustomed to Judy Judy's verbal jousting, with the small claims court Plaintiffs and Defendants, who battle it out to win their cases. Instead of being demure like many would expect of a judge, Judge Judy acts more like a scolding mother, when she gets fed-up with some of the litigants in her courtroom.
And like a scolding parent, she's not afraid to bluntly call a litigant stupid, or foolish, if she feels that it's necessary. Sometimes though, she can be a soft-touch, and gently lecture the litigants on their mistakes, and how to made better decisions about how to live their lives. Some of her litigants appreciate her advice, others don;t.
Lover her or hate her, Judge Judy's show will never bore you. Her shrewd legal ability, uncanny intuition about the character of her litigants, and her fiery personality, will keep you entertained, even if you don't particularly like court TV shows.
The In Crowd (1988)
Splendid 60s nostalgia film.
Donovan Leitch Jr., stars as 60s teenager Del Green. Del is a nerdy guy, who lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Though Del is a scholar, he loves to dance to songs on the radio. He also digs the Perry Parker show, which is an after school teen dance show, much like American Bandstand. And Del has a wicked crush, on the Perry Parker Show's reigning queen of the cast of dancers, Vicki (played by the gorgeous Jennifer Runyon).
Meanwhile, Del's suburban friends, especially his neighbor Gail, think that Del should concentrate on studying to take the College Board exam, so that he can get into a good college. Gail thinks that Del's infatuation with Vicki, is just Del's 'hood fantasy', and that he ought to wise-up, and forget about Viki.
Nevertheless, Del tells Gail, that he want to go and try out as one of the dancers, on the Perry Parker show. Del is hassled outside of the dance studio, by some tough, working class guys, who are regulars on Perry's show. But with a stroke of luck, and some clever thinking, Del get into the set of Perry's show.
Del is hand-picked by Perry to be Vicki's dance partner, since Vicki's old partner and boyfriend Dugan, was banned from Perry's show. Seems that Dugan is a trouble-maker, who went to jail for stealing a car. For a while, Del dates Vicki, and is even accepted by Vicki's over protective father, who never liked Dugan. But Del is unaware that he's just being used by Vicki, as part of her convoluted plan, to run away to California with Dugan, without her father finding out.
This film has a lot of nice touches. The glamor of the Perry Parker show, including the dancers, is palpable. The gritty, urban environment of the Perry Parker show, and the mid-60s ruffians, are very authentic. As is the the sheltered suburban environment, in which Del lives. I also liked the spot-on 60s radio jingles and commercials, that Del was listening to on his portable transistor radio. The music in this movie, was excellent. It featured many of the stellar recording stars of the 60s; Mitch Ryder, Dionne Warwick, Wilson Pickett, and many others.
Donovan Leitch did an excellent job, in his portrayal of the gawky, awkward, yet charismatic Del Green. The supporting cast, was wonderful too. Especially Joe Pantoliano as the shifty, yet vulnerable Perry Parker, Scott Plank, as the charming hood Dugan, and Sean Sullivan, as Del's tough-guy, mad-cap pal Popeye. The In Crowd, is quite an enjoyable film, and I recommend it to all, who are nostalgic for the 60s.
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
Superb drama about a struggling family.
A Raisin In The Sun, is an absolute gem of a film. The plot revolves around a black family's determined fight, to escape poverty. The Younger family is headed by stalwart Matriarch, Lena Younger. Lena shares her run-down tenement apartment in Chicago, with her son Walter, his wife Ruth, their son Travis, and Lena's daughter Beneatha.
After her husband dies, Lena is entitled to receive a tidy sum of insurance money, that her husband had willed to her. The rest of the family, also eagerly awaits the arrival of Lena's insurance check. Especially Walter, who wants Lena to use some of the money, to help him start his own liquor store.
Lena decides to use some of her insurance money, to buy a modest home in an all-white neighborhood, and to donate the rest of it, to her local church. Walter is crushed by Lena's decision. Lena later decides to give Walter some of the money, to give him a chance to realize his dream of owning a business.
But Lena soon regrets her decision to give money to Walter, after he loses it, because of his crooked business partner. Lena and her family, must also decide if they really want to move into a white neighborhood. Especially after white homeowners there, try to offer the Youngers lots of money, if they agree not to move into the neighborhood.
The entire cast of this film, is positively magnificent. Especially Sydney Poitier as Walter Younger. Sydney conveys Walter's anguish, with an amazing depth and clarity. This is Sydney's best film, and a must-see for his serious fans. Claudia McNeil is perfect in her role, as the strong-willed Lena Younger, who acts as the Younger family's moral compass.
This powerful, moving film, is unforgettable. And I highly recommend it, to anyone who loves classic American drama films.
To Sir, with Love (1967)
Touching, vibrant film about growing up.
Sidney Poitier stars as talented engineer Mark Thackeray, who decides to try teaching high school students. At least until he can land his dream job in the engineering field. The teenagers that he winds-up teaching, are incorrigible delinquents, from the rough slums of London's east-end.
Thackeray gets off to a bad start, while trying to gain the respect of his troubled students. As a black man, he also has the additional problem of winning the respect of the white students, who haven't had to answer to a black teacher before. And most of them harbor some underlying racial animosity, towards Thackeray.
After a particularly bad day in the classroom, Mark decides to try a new approach, to getting through to his students. He goes to the skeptical Headmaster, and proposes the idea of taking his students on field trips to museums, and other culturally educational places. Though he's reluctant, the Headmaster decides to grant Thackeray permission, for the field trip program.
The students begin to thrive, due to these field trips. And also because Thackeray teaches the teens self respect, and treats them like adults, rather than like juvenile delinquents. The students start looking up to Mark, especially troubled teen Pamela Dare. When Mark gets a great engineering job offer, he's torn between taking that job, and continuing in his new teaching career, at the high school.
Sidney Poitier gives a flawless performance, as Mark Thackeray. Poitier portrays his Thackeray character, with an air of stern dignity, as well as genuine compassion. The supporting cast shines too. Especially Judy Geeson, as the angst-ridden Pamela Dare. This film is buoyed by featuring lots of exciting rock music, and by the crackling energy, of the talented cast. To Sir, With Love, will always be a superb cinematic classic.