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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
I'm upset with myself that I took so long to getting around to watching this film. I just finished it, and it is wonderful, on all levels. It is a wonderful human story featuring great actors and fantastic-looking food. Everything which needs to be said about this film has already been written, so I'll just say Watch It!
High Society (1956)
O.K. film w/good songs
I saw this film before I was aware of the existence of The Philadelphia Story, and I enjoyed it. Having now seen both several times I feel that the one redeeming feature of High Society is the music, as the acting chemistry among the central characters is a feeble imitation of The Philadelphia Story. The highlight is Crosby and Sinatra doing "What a swell party this is,"
I could reeeally do without Louis Armstrong singing and speaking directly to the camera. I will never understand why great musicians insist on singing when the really have no talent for it (Eric Clapton,for example). As long as the viewer enjoys the music, and does not expect snappy dialogue, she or he will not be disappointed with this film.
Lost in Translation (2003)
I love this film.
I'm particularly fond of quiet little movies with no special effects or billion-dollar ad campaigns, and this is one of those. The characters drawn by the writers and performers are beautifully crafted. Bill Murray is at his non-clownish best, and Scarlett Johansson is exquisite...and not just for her looks (Yes, I have a slight infatuation with her. What straight man doesn't? I didn't realize until this week that she was only 17 when this movie was filmed (gasp!)).
This is a very true tale of two people who are bound together almost by accident: first out of boredom, then out of mutual interest and respect. They have a strong affection for one another, but engage in no sexual activity beyond a couple of kisses. I cannot recommend this film strongly enough, for any viewer mature enough to appreciate it.
I was delighted to learn that Sofia Coppola's efforts were rewarded financially. This sweet film cost $4,000,000 to make, and grossed $111,000,000 worldwide. Huzzah!
Could've been better
This film is derived heavily from the original Star Wars, butas the source material is pretty darn goodI still enjoyed it. I was disappointed that the climactic battle was almost identical to that in the first film.
I would have liked to know something about the family for whom Rey was waiting, and I thought the explanation of the miraculous reappearance of Poe was a bit thin.
I did enjoy the near-invisible appearances by some excellent English actors, including Pip Torrens, Simon Pegg, Harriet Walter, and Emun Elliott (star of The Paradise on PBS). I hoped to see Denis Lawson, as his character was one of the few fighter pilots to survive the original trilogy.
Mark Hamill's appearance surprised me. I thought he was Oliver Reed until I recalled that Reed is long-deceased, and Hamill looked as Reed would have about 35 years ago.
As long as the viewer doesn't expect ground-breaking originality, this is an enjoyable film.
Rizzoli & Isles: ...Goodbye (2014)
This show sometimes falls into the Grade B Guilty Pleasure category of television, but this is a superior episode for the way it handled the death of Lee Thompson Young. The main crime story was a good one, but the bestand worstpart for me was the funeral for Frost. It was apparent to me that no tears were made of glycerine, and no Vapo-Rub had been applied to eyelids to induce crying. The eulogy delivered by Jane seemed to me to be genuinely heartfelt, and everything she said could have applied as easily to Mr. Young as to his character. The actors did a much better job controlling their emotions than I could have, then they were both tough and vulnerable enough to share their real feelings with the audience. I'm impressed.
Rosemary & Thyme (2003)
Very good, but not for the crime purist.
I enjoy R&T thoroughly, but will admit freely that it requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Rosemary and Lauraespecially Rosemaryare incorrigible snoopy-noses; they are always poking into matters which are really none of their business. They oftenagain, mostly Rosemaryalter crime scenes and steal evidence, and in almost every episode keep something from the authorities which should have been shared. One thing any viewer will figure out after seeing just a few episodes: do NOT hire these women to work on your property if you don't want death and destruction to descend upon you. The characters are intelligent and capable, but the Grim Reaper follows them through the world. By the way, I cannot imagine any two actresses doing a better job with these characters than Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. Each is an excellent performer, and they work together wonderfully. My wife and I own the whole series on DVD, and I wish they'd included outtakes, because I suspect that there was considerable laughter on the sets. If you're a fan of true crime TV shows, or gritty, realistic dramas, you may not like Rosemary and Thyme...or you may find that the music, flowers, and glorious filming locations are just the thing to give you a rest from reality. I recommend the show.
Stand by for Action (1942)
After the first 20 minutes of this film I was wondering why TCM only rated it 2 1/2 stars; after seeing the whole thing I want to know how it got more than 1 1/2. The early part of the film is as-advertised, the story of a Captain and crew trying to get a well-worn destroyer ready to serve in WWII. About 40 minutes into the film the crew picks up a drifting lifeboat, which turns out to contain 2 sailors, 2 pregnant woman, and 20 infants. The story degenerates rapidly into 1940s claptrap, with overlarge doses of idiotic humor, sentiment, and just plain wrong use of Naval terminology and procedures. The most prominent example: when a raft tied to the deck goes adrift in a storm, the Executive Officer -- second in command of the ship -- and the senior Chief are assigned to tie it down. That task would go to the LEAST senior people on board, not the most senior. The last chapter of the story, wherein an ancient tin can out-maneuvers and destroys a Japanese battleship, is unbelievable, but at least contains interesting action. I'm afraid that Stand By For Action was a real waste of a very talented cast.
Roseanne: Scenes from a Barbecue (1991)
There's lots of fun stuff in this episode, especially the scenes with Shelley Winters, but the highlight for me was the scene with everyone singing in the back yard. When Bonnie-the- waitress started belting out "I don't like you, but I love you..." I almost peed myself. It's Bonnie Bramlett! I'd wondered for years what had become of one of rock's great female vocalists, and there she was, hiding in plain sight on Roseanne! For viewers/readers who aren't familiar with her work, go to the back of your parents' closet and look for a record (that's a flat black disc about 10" in diameter) entitled Delaney, Bonnie, and Friends on the road with Eric Clapton. It is great.
The special effects are fascinating, but the characters and plot are as trite as they can be. There's no message here that is not present in many Hollywood westerns, or any film concerning imperialist intrusion into a primitive way of life. To sum it up, If Whitey Wants Your Natural Resources, He'll Tear Up Anything To Get Them. From the 15th to the 19th centuries the world learned this lesson from the Spanish, French, Dutch, Portugese, and English.
I laughed out loud when I realized that Giovanni Ribisi's character wasn't kidding when he referred to the object of his mining project as Unobtainium. That word has been used colloquially by motorheads for at least 35 years as a way of referring to any expensive, high- tech metal, especially titanium and magnesium. I don't know whether James Cameron thought he made it up, or if he heard a couple of bikers talking in a parking lot and absorbed it subliminally. Either way, it turned what was intended to be a significant scene into a big chuckle.
The only reason I gave this overlong cartoon more than 2 stars is the fact that I admire the effort of the actors, as well as the technical expertise of the CG people. The fact that this was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards tells me that either: (A) the choices that year were few; or (B) the members of the academy have lost all taste and perception.
As long as the viewer doesn't expect Avatar to be great cinematic literature. she or he can probably be entertained and not disappointed.
Not funny, reeeally notttttt
First, I admit that I didn't watch this entire film. Actually, I COULDN'T watch the whole thing; I was giving myself a headache from rolling my eyes. According to the Scene Index, I saw half of the movie before I gave up. My wife gave up after the opening scene, and could watch no more.
I'd read that Melissa McCarthy's performance was the highlight of the film, but even she did not provide enough laughs to keep me watching. In its essence this is a guy movie with a female cast. Actually, it's a "Dude," or maybe "DOOD!" movie. It is one disgusting scene after another, with very, very, very (very, very) few actual laughs interspersed. The opening scene of simulated sex was the first thing to raise my doubts as to the film's value. Not much later there was a protracted scene wherein the bride's old friend and new friend have a verbal duel as to which is the closest friend. The scene might have worked if it had been about 20% as long as it was. This boring, bitchy debate was followed by projectile vomiting and acute diarrhea while the gang of women is shopping for dresses. That was the final straw for me.
I'm beyond astounded at the number of award nominations that this film received. I am appalled and nauseated that it actually won AFI film of the year. I suppose it's possible that the second half of the film evolved into the worthwhile entity that some reviews say it is, but I think it's the worst piece of crap I've endured since Doctor T and the Women.
Stay away. Do not watch this movie.