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GRADUATE OF ERASMUS HALL HIGH SCHOOL
The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
Fallen Sparrow Flops **1/2
The very thought of Maureen O'Hara with the Nazis is most ridiculous. At least, they should have had her with a strong Irish accent, as we know that many in Ireland was sympathetic to the Germans during World War 11 because of their hatred towards England.
We never fully understand why the Nazis wanted McKittrick, the James Garfield character. Therefore, it becomes puzzling that he was supposedly allowed to escape.
It doesn't take much to realize who the man with the limp is.
We're dealing with a Nazi spy ring in the higher classes of New York, but no, this is certainly no "House on 92nd Street."
In this film, everyone is suspect. It may even take us a while to realize what the range, where the Garfield character, was sent to after his escape really is.
Very Good Dysfunction Here ***1/2
After a 38 year marriage, Ving Rhames leaves Whoopi Goldberg and soon finds himself with a very pregnant younger woman. Is he the father of the woman's child?
That's only the tip of the iceberg in this 2014. Seems that the Rhames-Goldberg liaison produced 4 children through the years and to say that they've had their troubles is to put it mildly. The dysfunction even comes down to the grandchildren.
Goldberg had always hoped for a trip to Paris. Stricken with severe asthma and a weakening heart, she is told that she has a short time to live and she desperately tries to bring unity back in the family.
The inevitable is well dealt with Goldberg writing letters to her children and family urging them to coalesce as a family.
We know that Goldberg reaches her "heaven" in this very touching film that shows that middle to upper class black people have plenty of adversity in their lives.
Minsky's Needed A Raid-Full Blast **
Asinine film where an Amish girl comes to New York to do biblical dancing and winds up at Minsky's Burlesque instead. She is put to the test so that her bible dancing will not lead to a raid; yet, her father shows up and has it out with her causing her to literally bare all.
This is a very inane production with a ridiculous plot. Unfortunately, Bert Lahr's part had to be cut as he died suddenly during the production of the film.
Jason Robards tries real hard as a king-pin of burlesque, but he is no leading man and his routines are quite stale at best.
Britt Ekland is that Amish girl, Elliot Gould runs the club, but is at odds with his orthodox Jewish father, Joseph Wiseman.
What's really the point of this total farce?
Another Man's Poison (1951)
Another Man's Poison to Our Regret **1/2
Bette Davis, as usual, is compelling in this 1951 film. However, after she and Merrill were in the far superior "All About Eve," the year before, nothing could top that and this film certainly doesn't.
Even with Davis pulling out all her murderous treachery, this doesn't save the film. The problem is that it is confined to one scenic view and rather becomes difficult as Davis, who has killed her husband, is visited by Merrill, who helped the dead man rob a bank. Merrill assumes the role of Davis's husband as no one supposedly has ever seen the latter.
People just go in and out of the house providing no intrigue whatsoever. Davis even tries to make it with Anthony Steel, a much younger man who is the fiancé of her secretary.
Emlyn Williams has his moments as the suspecting vet. By the way, just don't drink to anything the picture offers, both Merrill and Davis did and look how they wound up.
Thunder in the City (1937)
Thunder in the City Totally Lacks the Roar *
One of the most benign films I have seen in a long time is the 1937 film "Thunder in the City." The film talks of England being the first country to come out of the depression. What are they talking about? It's only 1937 and it would take the advent of World War 11 to get us out of that mess.
Edward G. Robinson gives a lackluster performance in a film with lackluster writing. Having been booted from his position, he ventures off to England to meet some odd relatives. They both think that each other are wealthy, and perhaps a comedy at this time would have been worthwhile. Instead, they plot some sort of business venture with some new metal. This is as about exciting like a walk in the forest at dusk.
In the end, Robinson is regarded as a hero among the stockholders even though he has been out-witted. Any thought of Robinson as a leading man here falls flat, as does the picture.
The Mentor (2014)
Mentor is More Like A Tormentor ***1/2
The constant snow of winter reminds us that there is a definite chill in the air.
A marriage seems to be falling apart when their young daughter dies in a car that the entire family was riding in. A surviving daughter needs therapy to cope and the mother decides to return to teaching as a way out of her dilemma.
As if all this is not trouble enough, our mother goes to a school and is assigned to a mentor who has some pretty dark secrets of his own. The guy is a raving lunatic. As is the case with most Lifetime films dealing with these psychopaths, the guy enters the life of her husband and she doesn't know this. There is the conventional murder and mayhem that our mentor causes before everyone figures out what is going on.
Unforgettable: New Hundred (2014)
A new season starts with a mediocre episode. Jay's brother-in-law is found dead in a hotel of a gun shot wound. Jay's sister divorced him a while back but screams hysterically when the body is found. In previous writing, she would have been considered a prime suspect, but this episode gets out of focus when it's determined that the dead man was part of a Pakistani forgery ring.
Cary goes undercover after meeting a black government agent who becomes quite impressed with her memory skills as well as her feminine aura.
While undercover, Cary goes the extra mile to make sure that those workers targeted by the female head of the ring don't take the bullets she is about to impose on them.
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)
Gertie Stein's companion: Alice Toklas ***
For the first time ever, I got to hear from Peter Sellers sounded like with his real voice. He plays the part of a conventional 35 year old Jewish attorney engaged to his secretary. All this changes rapidly when he meets his hippie brother's girlfriend and falls for her, leaving his bride-to-be at the altar.
The film was a definite triumph for Jo Van Fleet. In my wildest imagination, I never thought that she could do such a fantastic job as his mother in a comical role. She throws out Jewish expressions and must have remembered her vivid portrayal 13 years before as Susan Hayward's mother in "I'll Cry Tomorrow."
The picture is basically a story of the wild 1960s with just about everything going.
Sin City (2005)
Sin City: Beyond Help and Redemption 0*
Truly a terrible film is this 2005 colossal stinker. At first, while viewing the film, you think it's basically a trilogy of 3 stories in a horrible urban environment.
Bruce Willis, as the cop with the heart condition, appears briefly and is resurrected much later in the film.
You can never recognize Mickey Rourke from his battered, broken face on screen.
The violence in the film is unbelievable. Women come off as predators of the worst degree.
The plot is extremely thin and basically non-existent.
Certainly, more should have been spoken about with regard to the corrupt senator.
The Counselor (2013)
This Counselor Needs Advice *
It takes the film over one hour before the extremely weak plot begins to unravel.
It never fully explains how attorney Michael Fassbender got involved in this drug mess. The whole thing goes terribly awry with the decapitation of one of the participants, and as a result Fassbender and his crew are blamed and some awful things begin to happen.
Javier Bardem is fortunate in that his character is killed off after about an hour. Ditto for Brad Pitt who falls near the end of this mess. The cutting of his carotid arteries is most disgusting on the screen.
Penelope Cruz has the misfortune to be Fassbender's girlfriend and she too pays with her life. Fassbender has a ridiculous conversation with her killer and we hear talking about the philosophy of life.
The one shining star in this colossal bomb is Cameron Diaz, who shows a maturity she has rarely shown in films.