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George (John Denver) is an architect who works for a very successful developer. A widower, he has a darling daughter, Alex (Gennie Jemes) and both of them are still grieving for their wife and mother, respectfully. So, perhaps a change of scenery would do them both good. Therefore, when George's boss wants him to travel to the small, mountainside village of Georgetown, Colorado, they both go. Its the big boss' idea to buy a foreclosed ranch and begin to develop a ski resort. Yet, when George gets to the place, meets the town folk, and studies the area, the widower realizes the venue would be spoiled by development. He tries to tell his boss this but, the man is more determined than ever to make "his" resort a go. With the help of a lovely postal mistress, Susan (Jane Kaczmarek), can they find away to keep the lovely town as it is? Christmas is the time for miracles, no? This lovely film from the eighties is still a winner for the season. Denver does a nice job and James is just a doll as the daughter. All other cast members, script, and fine direction are very well conceived. Especially fine is the scenery, which is magnificent and was shot in the actual village of Georgetown. No one really gets tired of Xmas films, no matter what time of year, so give you and your family a big gift and find it today.
Fanny has lived with her grandmama for quite awhile. Sadly, her parents are deceased yet life is good with G-ma. This changes the day that the older lady realizes her health is not so good and she must go into a nursing home. Therefore, Grandmama brings Fanny to the home of her uncle, her dad's brother. He MUST be compelled to look after the nine year old gal. But, there are complications. First, the uncle is a bit odd. He quit his job to concentrate on winning an organ contest, for playing the instrument is his greatest joy. Plus, he is too shy to accept the quiet advances of a pretty female who works for his former firm. Even more, there is another secret as to why he is reluctant to take Fanny under his roof. But, seeing there is no alternative, he agrees to do so. What he doesn't know, at first, is that Fanny has brought her pet skunk and hamsters to live with them as well. When this is revealed, he is less than pleased. But, perhaps Fanny has the hidden talent of matchmaking and can bring romance into his life as well as break down his aversion to get close to anyone? This beautiful, heartfelt film is a gift from France. No one will recognize the actors' names but that's not important. What does matter is the universal themes of human connection, forgiveness, and learning to live after great disappointment. The scenery is also quite wonderful as is the lovely Bach melodies dotting the score. The version I saw was dubbed into English very well and presented no difficulties in the appreciation of a fine, fine flick. Families, especially those who are part of blended relatives, will benefit so much from a view!
Popeye (Robin Williams) lands in Sweet Haven by the Sea, looking for his longlost papa. But, oh, this town is not friendly. There's a tax for almost everything, including setting foot in the village limits. Nevertheless, Popeye stays and gets a room in a boarding house run by Mrs. Oyl. The room is nothing to write home about yet there is an added attraction. Mrs. O has a daughter, Olive (Shelly Duvall) who is a skinny lass but pleasing to Popeye. Yet, horrors, she is to marry the town's bully, er, commissioner, Bluto. The only thing positive that Olive can sing about Bluto is he is large. Before long, Popeye wins her over, especially when they rescue a baby in a basket, Sweet Pea, and try to stay out of Bluto's way. At this point, Popeye REFUSES SPINACH so, despite his large arms, he can't best Bluto. After finding his wayfaring papa (Ray Walston) he learns some secrets that may help win Olive for himself. Even if there are octopuses circling in the waters! This unique movie may not be for all but its quirky delights and rapid-fire lines will entertain those who like it original. Watch Popeye mutter Au reservoir and you can double over with laughs. Yes, Williams is great and captures Popeye's essence well. Duvall is even better, she was made to play Olive and her voice resemblance to the cartoon character is uncanny. Walston, Paul Dooley and all the rest are fine support. Then, too, the scenery, which was captured on Malta, is wonderfully offbeat while costumes, songs from Niellson, a clever script by Jules Ffiefer and a one-of-a-kind direction by Robert Altman add up to something wacky and fun. If you want to walk to a different beat for a couple of hours, this one is for you.
Tom Winters (Cary Grant) is a very busy lawyer in DC. Divorced, he rarely sees his three beautiful children, David (Paul Petersen), Elizabeth and Robert. Yet, a fateful day arrives. His ex-wife passes away and he is suddenly in charge of the trio of kids. He is out of his element and the kiddies don't like bunking with a virtual stranger, either. Also, the three siblings are used to living in rural Virginia and don't appreciate the "sights" of the big city that Dad tries to show them. Unbelievably, Tom takes his family to a stuffy concert near the Washington Monument. Robert turns up missing but is rescued by a beautiful lady, Cinzie (Sophia Loren). This single woman is running away from the demands of her father, a famous conductor. Very quickly, changes arrive. Cinzia is hired as the housekeeper, although she can't cook or clean. She obviously loves to care for children, though. Then, Tom decides to move to the country and commute to DC and ends up installing the kids in an old Houseboat. Will this really work? Tom and Cinzie are going to be in very "close" quarters! Also, David is still mourning the death of his mother and may need special attention. Can Tom give it? Well, Cinzie is there to help, right? This darling romantic comedy from the late fifties is quite charming. Grant is always a delight and Loren is beyond alluring and lovely while also showing a comic tough. (Just an observation, Loren and Penelope Cruz look very much alike!). Peterson and the other two child actors do a nice job as well, as does all of the other supporting players. Then, the setting of a houseboat in rural Virginie is fun and scenic while costumes, script and lively direction help move the movie along well. Do bring Houseboat to your house soon. Despite its date of release, its story and issues are timeless.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nearly ten years after the original Love Bug races, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) is back in the game! This time he has a new mechanic/sidekick, Wheeley Applegate (Don Knotts). Together, they have entered the Paris to Monte Carlo race and harbor high hopes of winning. Unexpectedly, as Jim goes through the first practice sessions, Herbie begins to act bizarre. Before long, the reason is clear; The Love Bug is in love! This time its a sweet blue racer driven by a WOMAN, Diane (Julie Sommars). Soon, there is a mild collision, as Herbie is trying to snuggle with the blue auto. Diane is furious at Jim and believes he, like all of the others, doesn't respect her as a capable driver. Jim stammers apologies and sure likes the looks of Diane. Meanwhile, a respected professional is planning to steal a huge diamond that he has sworn to protect, by installing a new security system. However, his two minions bungle the theft and end up putting the beautiful rock into Herbie's gas tank. Now, not only is the VW acting strangely, he is being followed by those who want to recover the jewel. With all of this turmoil and a large field of racers, will Herbie stand a chance of winning? Come on, he's proved he is a winner, right? This darling movie, the third in the Love Bug series, is still fresh and funny despite being made long ago. Jones is terrific as the handsome driver while Knotts shines in the shotgun role. Sommars, who some may remember from the television show The Governor and JJ, is pretty and entertaining as the woman determined to show she can play with the boys. All of the other cast members, perhaps European but unknown to American audiences, are very comedic, too. Then, too, the scenery in Paris and the French countryside is wonderful, as are the costumes, script, and zesty direction. Are you a fan of this series? You will love it but so will most folks who sit down for an evening view.
Jim (Alex Hyde-White) is a catering manager with a busy schedule. Yet, one day, a strange man comes calling at his house, in a thunderstorm. He's secretly an officer, Colonel Raymond (Peter Cushing) from World War I! Whoa! He tries to warn Jim about future strange happenings but the catering man doesn't listen. All too soon, Jim is back in time, flying an aircraft in WW I and hanging out with Bigglesworth, Biggles for short (Neil Dickson). That's because, as the colonel tried to explain, he is Biggles "time twin". Thus, never knowing when, Jim is transported between two time periods. Naturally, this upsets his food business while he gets into many a hair-raising situation as a pilot. Sometimes he's captured and interrogated, while he and Biggles face even firing squads. Is this supposed to be fun? This movie is not really as large as its title indicates but its a pleasant enough experience. Based on a long ago set of popular British novels, its escapades probably worked better in print form. Hyde White is cute as the poor soul with the time travel problem while Dickson is quite dashing. Costumes are fine while special effects are adequate. All in all, there are worse ways to spend an evening but don't harbor high expectations before a showing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jimmy (Tobey Maguire) is a teen still seething from his parents divorce. All too often he gets angry at school and, finally, he is suspended for confronting a teacher. His mother (Laraine Newman) loses patience and forces Jimmy to spend some time with his wealthy but uncaring dad. Now, Jimmy has lists of chores to do and nothing is ever good enough for his working-on-my-tan father. The only bright spot is the chance to see his grandfather (Mickey Rooney), a semi-invalid who bunks with his son. When they get some free time, G-pa and Jim fly the older man's prize possessions, two remote control airplanes. One of the flying machines is a WW I American vessel, the other, a replica of the Red Baron's plane. One day, sadly, Grandpa has a fall and ends up in the hospital. After this, strange events occur. The Red Baron plane begins to fly on its own, with a nasty mini-German pilot with an urge to kill. Jimmy has a few narrow misses and his dad sends him to counseling, refusing to believe his story. Then, Dad gets attacked in his own swimming pool and dies. Jimmy is blamed and jailed. But, at a tense moment, his mother comes to realize her son is telling the truth and breaks her son out of lockup to escape. Will they? Can anything stop this Chucky in the air? This horrible film is for absolutely nobody. Children should definitely not be allowed to see it and fans of horror films probably won't like it either. Rooney, who is still charming, must have been out of his mind to agree to star in it, and Maguire, Newman, and all of the others were likely temporarily insane, too. With a different approach, such as the Red Baron just making messes instead of murdering folks, it might have worked. But, no costumes, script, direction, actors, or anything else could save this bomb. The best revenge here is to steer far, far away from this disaster of a flick.
Casey (Anthony Michael Hall) is an up and coming police detective. But, he's very green. Nevertheless, his boss, Stan (Jerry Orbach) respects his intelligence, as does his partner, Samantha (Claudia Christian). Then, too, there may be an undeclared "something" brewing between Casey and Sam. Yet, on a stakeout at a nearby park, Casey bumbles the job and lets the perp get away. Or, so he believes, until he meets up with a witness to the event. But, what a pair of eyes, for they belong to a GNOME from the underworld, a gnome named Gnorm. Naturally, Casey has a difficult time adapting to a new "pal" who prefers the wrapper over the sandwich! Still, Casey knows he needs Gnorm's help to catch the wrongdoer and Gnormie needs Casey to help him find something hidden to bring back to his below-the-ground habitat. In fact, Gnorm is in Casey's world because his whole venture's goal is to please a lady-gnome from home. It gets tricky, for the perp wants to eliminate them both. Will this new dynamic duo succeed? Gno doubt! This pleasant little movie is gno masterpiece but is still quite entertaining. Hall, Christian, and Orbach do nice work while the little gnome is an odd creature who grows on the audience. The special effects aren't dazzling, nor is the costuming, script, direction or photography. Even so, the overall final product will be a nice little diversion for most viewers.
Jade (Sandra Oh, before she was a household name) is a Chinese Canadian gal who is searching for the elusive "double happiness". This is the concept of pleasing your parents and pleasing yourself with life's big choices, like marriage and career. So far, Jade is struggling with both. At 22, she is an aspiring actress, with a few jobs under her belt, but she can't move to her own place. Her parents forbid it before marriage. Naturally, there is little privacy at home, especially with a curious younger sister, Pearl. Further, her parents are forever arranging dates with her and their choices leave her cool. One of these matchmade gents even tells Jade of his unhappiness at such manipulation, too. Therefore, when Jade meets a nice Caucasian fellow outside a club, Mark, she lets herself experience a one night stand but sneaks out before morning. Yet, he's all she thinks about and, lo and behold, they meet again. Realizing her parents will probably reject him as a husband, as they have already disowned older brother Winston for his bad choices, how can Jade not break it off with Mark? Can Mom and Dad really endure another whammy at their hopes and dreams? This well made film is not really a happy experience, although there is some humor. Even so, it is an enlightening, thoughtful movie with plenty to ponder. Most children have a hard time meeting their parents expectations but for the Chinese, honoring parents is even more important than most. For transplanted Asians in the West, where freedom of choice is all around, this sometimes brings sad results. Oh, as the main character, is wonderful but so are the supporting actors around her. Then, too, the Canadian scenery, costumes, and other amenities are first rate. One must concede, however, that the story, with its careful direction, is the most important, gripping aspect to the movie. No, you won't get a "double happy high" by finding this flick but your understanding of parent-child relationships will undeniably make a difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Quinton McHale (Tom Arnold) is in the Navy on a lush Caribbean island, lucky duck. Surrounding him are his men, including Ensign Parker (David Alan Grier) and a host of others (one is French Stewart). Not really having a lot to do, McHale runs a side business in pin-up calendars while the swabs under him bunk in hammocks outside, instead of the stuffy barracks. Alas, the Navy gets wind of this and sends a new, no-nonsense but weird Captain, Cap Binghamton (Dean Stockwell) and his true believer Lieutenant Carpenter (Debra Messing), to "clean up the ship". This upsets all, naturally. Meanwhile, a German spy (Tim Curry) is set to capture the same island for the Commie Homeland. The Captain is blind to this coming takeover, so its up to McHale and company to thwart these doings. Our Mac also gets help from a secret Navy General (Ernest Borgnine). Whoa, and perhaps Carpenter is falling for McHale and about to switch sides! What will be the finale? This light-hearted, fun film will be a silly mood lifter for those who view it. What could really be better than that in this world? The cast is terrific, with Stockwell very comedic and Arnold, Stewart, Messing, Grier, and all of the others backing him up nicely. How great to see Borgnine, too, as he was the original McHale as we all know. The scenery of the islands is wonderful, like paradise on earth, while the script and direction are up to snuff, , albeit not likely to win awards. Join this Navy, do, and you will be a contented soul.
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