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Sex and the City (2008)
Bring on the Cosmos!
This movie is a worthy follow up that should leave the fans of the show very happy and satisfied. There are many touching moments where you are literally crying one moment and laughing the next. The chemistry, and the majority of the entire cast of the show are all here. The story line drags at times, for me it was every Jennifer Hudson scene. She's new and takes up valuable screen time where we'd rather be hanging out with the foursome drinking cosmos and hearing about their problems.
For a reviewer who said this movie was degrading and would be concerned if there teen daughter went to this move...I'd be concerned because the movie is rated R. In other words, adults only and for a reason.
The group I went with totally enjoyed the movie and exceeded our expectations. It was as if the show never ended.
Winter Meeting (1948)
Much Adieu About Nothing
Somewhat of a misfire for Miss Davis. She walks, she talks (alot) and is dressed in an awful wardrobe complete with an unflattering hairstyle with bangs no less. This script is heavy, heavy on dialog, mostly with Davis doing the talking. Even her talent can't breathe life into this dusty monologue where big secrets turn out to be rather boring and ho-hum. Her costar plays his part adequately (the future Jock Ewing) but he lacks star power. This movie needed another 'prescence' besides Davis to play against. On a positive note, the interior decoration is very nice. Max Steiner's score is in keeping with the movie, I dare anyone to hum a note from this movie. Taking what it is, watch it only for Davis herself. This film is not shown very often, pleasant enough if you are in the mood for a talky film or have problems sleeping at night.
Flash Gordon (1980)
Not the Bore worms!
It's amazing how so many people don't get this movie. It's totally based on the serials of the 1930's. It's supposed to be colorful, loud and over the top, a comic book come to life. The story is faithful to the first Flash Gordon serial (included in the new DVD). The costumes are some of the best designs ever, as are the sets and props. The space ships could have been right out of the serials. Ming is incredible as is Klytus and the rest of the baddies. I do agree with many that a big downfall is Flash himself. Sam J. Jones just didn't have the talent for this project. Meldoy Anderson is OK with some nice scenes but overall she's rather weak. They both look the part but they should have been dubbed. If anything, I wanted to see more of Mongo, such as Fridgia. The ending was clearly set up for a sequel with Zarkov saying they may never get home and the big question mark at the end. Too bad part two was never made.
A total bomb when it first hit in 1932, Rain today holds up rather well for today's audience to enjoy. Perhaps another example of a movie ahead of it's time. One can see why. Crawford's outfits and make up are rather bizarre, one part gypsy, one part hooker. Which I suppose is in keeping with the character of Sadie Thompson. The writing (from a story by W. Somerset Maugham) is not your typical 1930's fluff. There is nothing to like in this world. What I found enjoyable were the clothing and music from the early 1930's. The two "ladies," Mrs. Robert MacPhail and Mrs. Walter Davidson, are decked out from their shoes to their hats which were so stylish and sophisticated, and then comes Sadie. She is not a hooker with a heart of gold but more troubled than in need of salvation. What I found hard to believe was her sudden conversion to Christianity just by repeating the Lord's Prayer several times with Mr. Davidson, portrayed wonderfully by Walter Huston. Sadie's redemption is not to be, once again being taken advantage of by a man, this time by the very man who set out to "save" her. The sins of the flesh run through this movie with the rain perhaps symbolizing the washing away of past sins. Heady entertainment that works well for today with a fine performance by a young Joan Crawford.
Harriet Craig (1950)
Ozzie & Harriet ?
Perhaps one of Joan's last great dramas that had the production values, a good script and fabulous costuming; Joan digs her teeth into Harriet making her a very scheming, perhaps mentally disturbed woman. Turning in a great performance as the brittle Martha Stewart of the 1950's, Joan makes Harriet Craig a stand out movie just as she did with Mildred Peirce, showing what she can do with good material. Wendell Corey, at first seemingly miscast, does embody the role of the "Happy go Lucky" nice guy that the part calls for. Not realizing how calculating Harriet can be, she thwarts her cousin's love life, alienates Walter from his friends from his bachelor days, until finally interfering is her husband's business affairs that would take him to Japan, Walter finally see's her for the fist time. As delicate as her china service, Harriet needs everything to be perfect and in her eyes, change is a very bad thing. She cannot be left alone and will not be ignored. She's as antiseptic as her polished kitchen floor, and just as cold one.
The Caretakers (1963)
You crazy, no sexy
Oh my, where to begin? Joan once said that she picked the best material that she was offered. Not many quality projects must have been flowing her way in 1963. The problem with this film is that it tries to be groundbreaking with its depiction of mental illness but this is something we have seen over and over again. This is essentially a poor man's version of The Snake Pit. While that classic touched your heart and cheered for the heroine, in The Caretakers, there is no likable character around.
Polly Bergan plays the nut, eh patient. Dressed in fashionable clothes and quaffed hair that reaches gigantic proportions, she gets hauled in when she freaks out at a local movie house. You know she's crazy when she doesn't even wait for her change! Not only does she freak out but she runs up to the movie screen doing her little "I'm crazy holding my head dance!" She gets hauled away by men in white coats. She then enters the world of The Caretakers. It should have been called General Hospitol because there is tons of conflama going on here. Joan must have had flashbacks when she played the same character in Possessed. A top notch thriller and a great performance.
Nurse Lucretia (Joan) is the head nurse who teaches her nursing staff karate during work hours so they can protect themselves from the patients. Robert Stack speaks so softly that I had to continually turn up my volume control. I guess that was his attempt to create drama, the earnest Doctor. This movie tries so hard to be groundbreaking and that is the problem. There's very little entertainment value here, no likable characters, and Joan looks totally plastic, including her hair which is Aqua-Netted to death. This film has a made for TV feel to it. I give this movie 2 limp bitch slaps out of 5. Seeing Joan in leotards earned and extra point from me.
Autumn Leaves (1956)
In this flick, poor Joan is now struggling as a typist. She works out of her bungalow, and apparently can afford the latest clothes, but there's no man in her life, and she's getting a bit long in the tooth. Destiny sends her a charming, handsome Cliff Robertson. Joan first deters his affections yet he is so boyishly handsome she relents and finally marries him. Troubles abound as Joan realizes her husband is a bit of a nut case. More secrets surface, but Joan if anything, will stand by her man, even as he is hauled away for electric shock treatment. Will he remember her? That is the endearing question.
Despite some of these flicks shortcomings, it's not a horrible mess, just a bit far-fetched at times. Cliff Robertson alone makes this a worthwhile viewing. One forgets how good he could be given material to sink his teeth into. Joan, as always, does her very best and she can not be faulted either. There is the ultimate bitch out fest in this film which leaves everyone cheering for her. You go Joan! Much has been made of her appearance in this film and it is disturbing. A butch haircut with widely drawn eyebrows and harsh painted lips makes her appearance almost frightening. The Joker from Batman comes to mind. The first half of the film drags but the second half speeds up and keeps your attention. Watch out for flying typewriters! This movie earns four bitch slaps out of five.
Act, Act My Darling!
Talk about a quirky, rather odd, yet highly entertaining movie! While the over-all production has that made for TV movie "feel" to it, rolling out Ms. Bankhead to play the religious heretic was a stroke of genius. There's no rhyme or reason for the setting to take place in England, perhaps things just seem more scary over there. If nothing else, watching Bankhead torment poor Stephany Powers in her rundown house is reason enough to set your VCR on record mode. Bankhead could read the phone book and make it seem suspenseful, but poor Miss Powers on the other hand brings this movie down to the basement like a runaway elevator. Her "acting" ability improved in later years but here she seems just off her college stint of Li'l Abner. Early on, Powers seemed to have an English accent, yet she quickly drops that by the time she bids her fiancée ado. For the rest of the movie Stephany irritates and prances around the house wearing red outfits and lipstick when she should be running away from this psycho family and fast! Perhaps paying homage to the grand guignol that preceded this movie (or perhaps just ripping them off!) "Die, Die My Darling" delivers what it sets out to do in spite of its shortcomings.
Life with Lucy (1986)
Granny a No-No
When one thinks of this show the word "illconceived" comes to mind. This wasn't a bad show, nor was it good. It was just average fodder that was being pumped out in the 1980's. It's unfortunate that Lucille Ball didn't go with her first intuition and leave well enough alone. A golden opportunity was missed. If the show had been about Lucy Ricardo as a retiree living with Little Ricky and his family, that might have had some possibilities. But this show suffered from scripts and stories that we have seen over and over again, along with characters that were bland, also to be a bit blunt, watching an old lady perform some of the stunts she did just didn't work. Broad slapstick was gone and was replaced by clever writing that was shown on The Golden Girls. Times and tastes had changed and it's too bad that Lucy didn't realize this. A sour note to end a stellar career that didn't tarnish her overall body of work.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Despite having some serious flaws with the script and character development, this movie does have some very good scenes sprinkled throughout. The highlight for me was first of all, Scaramonga. Finally we have a villain not bent on world domination but gunman against gunman. I also found most of the scenes with Knick Knack to be very enjoyable especially the dueling scene and at the wrestling match. Amusing to find him so well rounded that he's even a French Chef. Goodnight on the other hand could have been better developed instead of the typical, accident prone blonde (think Three's Company). She is enjoyable nonetheless. I also found the filming on the island and the interior sets to be very well done. Even Roger Moore gives a believable performance with very little humor thrown in for good measure. A lot to like but if they could have bypassed Sheriff Pepper this would have been a highly regarded film more than it is.