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Up in the Air (2009)
While not the best picture of the year, UP IN THE AIR deserved its nomination. Good writing, directing and acting all around. Would have liked to have seen the Vera character more fleshed out as to :SPOILER ALERT: why she carried on with Ryan as she did and looked like she wanted to be with him in a long standing serious relationship, all the while being MARRIED yet. It was like she had a split personality. If she was that unhappy in her marriage, although it's never acknowledged, why didn't she just leave the marriage? To carry on like a slut all over the place, being a mother yet, just didn't make sense. How she managed to be away so much with the Ryan character, do her job and have a home life is beyond reality. Other than that, a very enjoyable movie with an interesting story line. George Clooney was at his best and young Anna Kendrick just about stole the movie. All in all a worthwhile rental. But the ending and the Vera character left me UP IN THE AIR.
Give a Girl a Break (1953)
A little gem
While certainly not one of MGM's "classic" musicals, GIVE A GIRL A BREAK has its moments of fun and suspense. Of the three girls auditioning for a role in a musical, which one will land it. The audition itself is quite strange in that each of the three girls just dances a couple of minutes and all three do a different number. Shouldn't they be doing the same one? Also, this is supposed to be a musical revue, yet no one is asked to sing or do a scene. Aside from that, there are many moments of real entertainment, especially be two soon-to-be Broadway choreographers, Bob Fossee and Gower Champion. Debbie Reynolds is in there doing her usual perky singing and dancing to good effect. The unknown Helen Wood, while not very convincing in her acting scenes, is one hell of a dancer. Reminds one of Cyd Charisse, but with a warmer quality. GIVE A GIRL A BREAK is part of the Warner Archive collection with a fairly good disc pressing. For those who enjoy the "old style" musicals with a weakish plot but great musical numbers, this is one to see.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
This movie was unusually good for its genre. I really do not favor this type of entertainment, but for what it was, it's a must see. The only problem was "fooling" the audience and its improbabilities. But in essence it's these improbabilities that make this work. If it were realistic the film would have faltered. SPOILER ALERT: I find it improbable that when people are stabbed, kicked around, shot at and fall off cliffs that they can all carry on as if almost nothing has happened to them. Case in point when one character is knifed badly, it doesn't seem to make much difference. Falling off a cliff and landing in water would be detrimental to anyone, but the character just gets out as if nothing has happened. And how many times can someone shoot someone and miss after eight or nine shots? The end when one character comes clean and points to the real villain it's just not in sync with the rest of the character and what has gone on before. Again, these are implausibilities that make the film fun.
I for one never figured out the twist until it was revealed. Maybe I wasn't paying that much attention, but it was cleverly done.
Too Many Husbands (1940)
SPOILER ALERT: TOO MANY HUSBANDS doesn't have a resolute ending which is the main draw back to this film. Funny but kind of "over acted" by the two males, it still has its charm. Jean Arthur was a real talent, especially in comedy, and does well here, but her character is too childish and over bearing.
This looks like a filmed stage play and should have been opened up a little more and with more characters. Filmed on a low-budget for sure as were most of Columbia features done. I now know why they nick-named the studio POVERTY ROW.
The plot is much like MY FAVORITE WIFE and the ill-fated SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE which Marilyn Monroe never finished, although it was re-worked as a Doris Day vehicle called MOVE OVER DARLING. There was another film of this sort that no one seems to remember...The Betty Grable musical (again from Columbia) named TWO FOR THE SHOW. Actually that was the best of the lot. Too bad Columbia didn't release this on a flip side of TOO MANY HUSBANDS.
The Hangover (2009)
While THE HANGOVER has ONE fun moment it's quite illogical. Even a comedy should have some logic to it. I know it made lot's of money and had some critical acclaim, but there are too many odd moments that don't make sense. SPOILER ALERTS: A) THE SUITE. After the big night, the room looks like a tornado went through it or even a major earthquake...but later in the day when the guys return, the suite is just as it was when they originally arrived. No way could the room have been fixed up in a few short hours. It would have taken days of weeks to re-new it. ILLOGICAL. B) THE BABY. How could a baby be miss placed in a cabinet for such a long time. It would have suffocated. The Mother should have been arrested for child abuse and be put up for adoption. And leaving the baby in the car for so long a time? And what happened to it later in the film after it's so called "mother" got it back? ILLOGICAL. C) THE LION. It was dangerous and wild when they saw it in the bathroom. When the guys took the lion back to where it belonged,no one NOTICED it? Incredible. When in the car it clawed and damaged the inside of the car. Earlier then the "kidnapped" the lion, how then did they get the tiger out of the house, into the car, into the lobby to the Hotel without people noticing and not being clawed and mangled or harmed at all. If it was wild when they discovered it, how was it tame enough to get it in the room? ILLOGICAL. D) THE CHICKEN. How did a chicken get into the room in the first place, and what was the purpose of it, other than being stupid. ILLOGICAL E) THE Asian. What gives here? How did they get him naked and into the police trunk? Why did he wait a whole day before pounding and making himself known? He didn't suffocate? ILLOGICAL.
In movies of this ilk, don't the writers READ what they write? Doesn't the director or actors question these insane and bizarre circumstances and inconsistencies? Doesn't anyone CARE to make a movie that makes sense, even if it's just a little sense? Maybe it's let's make an inane movie, hope the young people of America fall for it and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN.
I'm sure for those who loved this movie will have to agree to the above plot holes.
Oh, and performances are really bad, especially the guy playing the fat, dumb airhead. Ugh!! What planet did HE come from? An the "masterbating" baby was obsence.
Whatever Works (2009)
This is Woody Allen's best film in years. Hard to believe some people didn't like it. Mr. Allen is in top form here and it would have been great seeing Allen play Allen, although Larry David is good. The real stars of the movie are Evan Rachel Wood and the great, wonderful, terrific Patricia Clarkson. She is one of our greatest living character actress's working today and hope to see her in many more films. She adds class and perfection to everything she does.
The story could have been quite discomforting with a young girl and man old enough to be her almost grandfather. But somehow it works as we are not witness to anything inappropriate, not even a kiss. Even though David plays an unsympathetic role (and nobody actually talks like that), he's still fun. The evolution of the Evan Rachel Wood character is wonderful.
There are a couple of neat twists at the end and it all ties together for a very happy ending. See this for Woody at his best.
Star Trek (2009)
A one is too much for this trashy movie. A zero is more like it. First, the story makes no sense. Couldn't keep up with the plot, holes and all. Second, the acting was horrible! I've seen much better acting in High School plays. Where did these actors come from? Grammar school? Even worse was the way it was shot. Wiggly camera shots do not make for enjoyable viewing contrary to what the Director and head honchos who make photograph these movies. Even when the camera is on somebody the camera NEVER STOPS moving...either side to side or around the actor or action. WILL YOU DIRECTORS STOP USING THIS WAY OF FILMING ACTION MOVIES??? The only decent thing were the credits because the movie was FINALLY over...and yes, nice theme song which should have been utilized more. Forget this dog. Good thing I saw this at no cost!! I still feel cheated!!
The Pajama Game (1957)
Very good translation
While not the best musical ever, it is certainly entertaining. Lots and lots of songs (more than dialog it seems) with a frail story line to keep the songs going. Too bad they had to sanitize some of the songs, but because of severe censorship in the 50's it had to be done. Even in the 7 1/2 CENTS number, the had to change "hell-of-a lot_ to "heck-of-a lot". Seems silly. I'LL NEVER BE JEALOUS AGAIN was changed even more...to bad. Other lyrics as well were changed, but at least they made it into the final cut, unlike other musicals that take out almost everything and add new numbers. Only three numbers were cut from the stage version and it's too bad A NEW TOWN IS A BLUE TOWN wasn't included.
The performances are all top notch. A perfect vehicle for DORIS DAY, although JANIS PAIGE who did the stage version would have worked as well but she wasn't a big NAME. Ironic that JANIS had first billing and the lead in DORIS' first movie ROMANCE ON THE HIGHT SEAS, and about 8 years later DORIS takes over from JANIS. Oh well, that's show biz.
For a fun way to spend and hour and 41 minutes, do see PAJAMA GAME. A bit stagy but after all it was a stage play.
5 Against the House (1955)
This so called "film noir" isn't up to the best of them. Interesting premise that takes forever to get going. Once it does, it's an OK sit through, but forgettable as well. The heist is the basis of the movie and it's quite implausible in the way it's carried out. What were security guys in the two-way mirror looking at anyway? It was obvious what was going on. Oh well, it was just a movie with a point...I guess.
Brian Keith saved the film as he was excellent as the disturbed buddy of the other three guys. Kim Novak shines in one of her early roles. Luckily she was able to snag better roles as her career bloomed. Kerwin Mathews and Guy Madison did as best they could the way their roles were written. The one annoying thing was Aly Moore as the wise-cracker buddy. Wish he would have been left out entirely or maybe bumped off before the movie got too far along. A truly atrocious performance and I can see why his career was regulated to bits as his stint in THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS in a bit trying to try a fast one on Mitzi Gaynor.
Criss Cross (1949)
Could have been....
This could have been a good movie if more things were explained. Way too many plot holes to find this enjoyable. The ending in particular is off left field. SPOILER ALERT: How did the kidnapper get back to Dundee so fast and Dundee shows up at the house in a matter of two minutes? Way out of wack here. How did Anna get hold of the money? No explanation at all. If the Pete the cop knew Lancaster was in danger, why didn't he have a cop at the door in the Hospital. This and many more questions remain. Too bad because the premise was there, just bad writing and execution.
Good cast is wasted here. DeCarlo goes from bad to good to bad? Lancaster's character lacks development and Dureya is just blah as the "bad guy".
This could re-made with a cohesive story line and better writing. Of course it would be much more violent with lots of gratuitous sex and everything. The editing would be jerky as well I guess, so let's leave well enough alone.