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GRADUATE OF ERASMUS HALL HIGH SCHOOL
Designing Woman (1957)
Design for Success-Designing Women ****
Gregory Peck certainly showed that he was adept at comedy in this 1957 film a long stream of socially conscious films which were to be his bread and butter throughout his marvelous career.
The film is Damon Runyon in character all the way with the different groups in society coming together and eventually forging an alliance to fight the mob.
As she did with Robert Stack, the year before in "Written on the Wind," Bacall again marries quickly, this time to Peck.
When they come home, they soon see that they share so little in common. However, Peck's writings against boxing thievery gets him into trouble with the mob and the free-for-all brawl at the end is amusing.
Dolores Gray is funny as the younger woman, as a punched out fighter, Mickey Shaughnessy steals the scenes that he is in and look for Chuck Connors as a fighter turned mug a riot when he pulls Peck's nose.
Torpedo Run (1958)
Torpedo Run is Limited in Scope ***
Glenn Ford and Ernest Borgnine do well in this 1958 drama, but the writing is limited.
Ford has an ultimate personal decision to make. We have seen in the tradition of 1982's "Sophie's Choice." I'm talking about the power of life and death here.
The crew is limited here with their usual talk about the opposite sex.
Borgnine, as Ford's best friend and assistant, is most supportive here which is heart rendering.
Philip Ober is appealing as an understanding general. The brief use of flashbacks here is effective as Ford knew what was coming and wanted his wife to flee with their baby daughter.
The Prince of Tides (1991)
The Tide Comes in-Prince of Tides ****
Superb 1991 under Barbra Streisand's direction depicts Nick Nolte, a southern guy who comes up to New York following the attempted suicide of his sister. There he meets her therapist played by Streisand. It turns up that each of the characters have their own hangups and inter- relate so as to improve the very existence of their lives.
Nolte's outbursts and emotion as he recounts his very dysfunctional family and one tragedy after another is memorable. Streisand does an admirable job in the role of the therapist.
Kate Nelligan was perfect as the mother with her own agenda.
It is amazing that the family survived at all given all the problems in their daily lives. They really didn't miss anything.
The backdrops of Charleston, South Carolina and our New York City serve to promote the cultural differences and yet the human relations that ultimately endure.
Quartet-Music for a Foursome ***
A home for retired musical people serves as the backdrop for this interesting 2012 film.
Not letting the infirmities of old age get to them, the residents there stage a show to keep the home going. No, it's not Mickey and Judy at the barn.
As retired opera singer, Jean Horton, Maggie Smith delivers a compelling performance. Frustrated by her failed marriages, advancing age and refusal at first to participate in the group,Smith alternates between a calm woman and one prone to outbursts.
There is a wonderful supporting performance by Pauline Collins, as a retired diva, prone to dementia.
Tom Courtenay as a resident and former husband of Smith is also compelling in the film.
Michael Gambon, as the director of the show, wears clothing most appropriate to the Middle Ages.
The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)
Mother's Cherished Sacrifice ***1/2 Sin of Madelon Claudet
Helen Hayes pulled out all the stops in this 1932 tear-jerker and was awarded with her first Oscar.
To say that she was a woman down on her luck is to put it mildly. Abandoned by the father of the illegitimate child she had, she takes up with a wealthy man only to discover that he is a crook and she is jailed for abetting in his thievery, though she knew nothing about it.
Upon being released from prison, she realizes that if it is discovered that she is the mother of her son, his life shall be adversely affected-status wise. Therefore, she resorts to prostitution and thievery to gain the necessary money needed to put him through medical school. At all times, he believes his mother is dead.
Her meeting with him years later, as a broken down hag, is poignant and heart wrenching.
The emotions that she showed were amazing.
The Following: Sacrifice (2014)
The very best part of this series is that we never fail to keep meeting people who are more off-the-wall than previous people met.
Joe and the two girls agree to meet his friend Robert and the cult that the latter belongs to. No sooner do they enter, then they are held as fugitives and Joe goes through a series of tests to determine group membership.
It appears that Emma gets what she has justly deserved all along. She screams as her prior victims did.
Amazing that Ryan's niece was able to escape from her apparent desperate situation.
I don't think we have heard the last of Lily Grey here. These bunches of women provide quite an entertainment, especially for the lunatic asylum.
Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me- Don't 0*
Just another example of how an all-star cast can be mislead to make such a terrible picture.
The film begins with four alleged magicians making their magic while stealing from their subjects or shall I say victims.
A year later the gruesome foursome come together and are in Las Vegas by supposedly planning bank robberies and giving the proceeds to the audience.
Despite being immediately arrested, nothing seems to stick in attempting to find out how in the world they did this. They seem to enter a time machine which propels them to Paris and other places so that they may commit mayhem.
Those who investigate appear to be made absolute fools of. The plot twists are ridiculous, but that's what the whole money is essentially.
Barretts of Wimpole Street ***
Charles Laughton turns in another magnificent performance; this time as a tyrant of a father in this 1936 film.
Laughton speaks and gives demands as if he is Captain Bligh from "Mutiny on the Bounty." He is demanding, demented and feared by his children. His mere presence in a room could drive anyone away.
Norma Shearer, as his daughter Elizabeth, recovering from a major illness is his main target. Under the guise of having her health improve, he attempts to control each and every facet of her life. Ditto for her sister, also played well by Maureen O'Sullivan.
Una O'Connor is the maid and I just love the way she walks into a room. It's as if she just glides in.
The Oscars (2014)
** Stop the Political Posturing
I couldn't stand watching Ellen De Generes as the hostess of this show. For one thing, her handing out of pizzas to the people up front seemed to cheapen the show. Long gone is the finesse of earlier Oscar shows.
Jared Leto, who was excellent and deserved to win his supporting actor award for "Dallas Buyer's Club," could have omitted the part of his mother circa 1971 in his acceptance speech. There are certain things in life that you keep to yourself and what he said about her over 40 years ago wasn't appropriate. We have seen many people come together despite adverse conditions in their life; he is not the first nor shall he be the last.
In the In Memoriam segment, the names of actor Jay Robinson and actress Audrey Totter were omitted among those who had died during the previous year.
Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech just reinforces his bedrock Republican affiliation.
Margin Call (2011)
Margin Call-The Whores on Wall St. ***
There needed to be greater emphasis in the explanation of what the crisis was exactly. This was needed for people who aren't savvy in the investment world. If anything, we were taught by this film to be very careful and knowledgeable before you get into stocks, particularly marginal buying.
Jeremy Irons as the chief executor of the firm came across that it's all right to literally screw people.
We saw downsizing at the film's beginning and then the general panic set in when disclosures reveal a very troubled company.
As Robertson, Demi Moore was perfectly cast. A cold- hearted individual, she was a real company lady to the fullest extent.
In the case of Zachary Quinto, it showed that being at the right place at the right time with the right answers, and you shall go very far.
Another good performance by Kevin Spacey as the 34 year veteran of the firm, essentially a yes-man to the Irons character.