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Definitely a guilty pleasure
I am calling this a guilty pleasure because normally I do not care to delve into the personal lives of public figures, but this is one time I would say it was worth it. While the plot line was thin, the cast did a great job of portraying The Queen of Mean and her billionaire husband, Harry Helmsley. While the movie did seem to explore Leona's psyche as the result of a mother who never gave her daughter unconditional love but instead based her love on how much money she made, it did not ever really explore how a billionaire could be taken in by someone like Leona. Certainly Leona was a millionairess and real estate baroness in her own right before she met Mr. Helmsley and he undoubtedly admired her spunk, but she certainly wasn't as attractive as Miss Pleshette in real life and had many negative traits. Still it is very interesting to see her wily ways to trap Harry into marriage. The movie really only deals with her adult life with Mr. Helmsley and maybe that is the only really interesting part of her life, but it would have been nice to see more of her younger years to maybe put her later years in perspective.
According to Occam's Razor (1999)
worst UFO film ever
I really don't know how this film could be classified as a documentary because it really is a cross between a home movie and reality TV with unfortunately the worst of both genres brought forth. The plot is really non-existent and jumped from scene to scene without any semblance of continuity. The only thing I can fathom about this movie is that it glibly tried to answer the question, "Are UFOs and aliens real"? However, I don't believe Mr. Mora really attempted to answer that question. One scene shows the actual removal of an alien implant, then never answers what it was that was implanted. I have never seen any UFO film that documents these implants to be anything more than innocuous earthly glass or metal splinters, but still it would have been nice to know what this one was. The scenes about Hitler and Churchill are conflicting, yet these scenes actually held my interest and thus my rating of 2 instead of 1. In the end, I think Mr. Mora is trying to say UFOs, aliens, and alien abductions are all rubbish, unless (like the film "Contact" shows) it happens to you. Take my advice and save your money on this one.
D for Disappointment
I don't know if I can add anything more than what has been said on the previous 105 pages, but here goes: When I heard what a high-grossing movie this was, I thought, "Great, they have moved beyond Quantum of Solace and emulated Casino Royale and other great Bond films." My son saw it before me and said he only liked the last 1/3rd of the movie, the first 2/3rds was too slow and dull. That didn't stop me because I usually disagree with him, and I still do, but only because it seemed the whole movie was rather dull except the opening sequence. And the opening showing him shot, plunging down a waterfall left me wondering not just how he survived but why did he remain unavailable and not report back immediately? The film makes it look as though he would have been out of touch permanently except his conscience bothered him when he saw the attack on MI6 HQ. I can understand re-using some story lines but wasn't the rogue/traitor agent also used in QoS, the previous Bond film? In The World is Not Enough, M was also targeted, but when she was imprisoned she rigged a clock to a nuclear locating device to get help. That plot device works well for characters put in situations that they have no control over; however, in this film, why would Bond take M to a secluded house with no back-up of any kind, just jerry-rigged devices? Couldn't Q have given them some kind of assistance? These plot holes go on and on. Funny, though, I did not remember any plot holes in the previous two movies but this one is full of them and I was not amused. IMHO, this movie could make View to a Kill look good.
Brideshead Revisited (2008)
Read the book or watch the original mini-series
I enjoyed both the book and the 13-hr miniseries. In fact, the latter was one of the best things I have ever seen. I know you can't capture everything in 2 hours that you do in 13 hours but what I did see was a major disappointment. The 13-hr version was almost a verbatim enactment of the book. This version uses the same house (Castle Howard) and a similar plot line but that's it. So many elements are changed and I only remember a couple lines from the book. Everything else is de novo. e.g. bringing Julia to Venice so she and Charles could fall in love. In the other version, they did not fall in love until on the ship. With such a short movie, why did they feel they had to tell the tale in flashbacks like the original? And the original movie had a somewhat upbeat ending - not so with this version. While the actors in this movie were OK, they were NOT Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, Clair Bloom, Sir Laurence Olivier, or John Gielgud. With the original, I bonded with all the characters and did not want the series to end: no problem with this one ending. My wife found it equally hard to follow and all of her questions were answered starting with, "In the original series..."
Ethan Frome (1993)
New England love triangle gone bad
I always thought that Edith Wharton was an interesting author and I had been meaning to read the book since high school but never got around to doing so. When I saw the DVD, I couldn't resist. I thought the acting, scenery, costumes were all superb. I really felt as if I were in latter part of 19th century New England. That said, though, I can't say this is a very happy movie by any means. The only real warmth was the fire from the new minister. In fact, if I had to describe this movie in three words, it would be dreary, dreary, dreary. The interiors are dreary, the characters dreary, and the story dreary. But this is what I think the producer was trying to portray so he did an excellent job - just a little too dreary for me. On closer reflection, the author showed how we are often bound by fate and the choices we make. Ethan left college to take care of his sickly mother, stayed when she died and then married the cousin who took care of her. Now he is stuck in a joyless situation.
La nona (1979)
Elderly grandma literally eats her family out of house and home
I saw this movie a long time ago with my Peruvian landlady and still have fond memories of it. The basic plot is simple: an elderly grandmother with a ravenous appetite is eating her family out of house and home both literally and figuratively. This is to be sure a black comedy, very funny but with a dark undercurrent... how does one deal with a person who eats anything she can get her hands on? At first the family tries to get rid of her by rather legitimate means culminating in actually getting her married off. After the marriage ends as quickly as the food supply, she is back at the family home. The family now decides to get rid of her via murder but all their plans backfire. They die one by one and she continues to survive. If you get a chance to see this movie, please do - it is cleverly written and the acting is superb - you won't be disappointed.
The Dark Knight (2008)
A great but flawed masterpiece
I saw the movie with my wife and interestingly while she is the comic book buff, I thought it was a great movie and she hated it. When I asked her why, she felt the movie Batman was not true to the character of the comic book Batman. Her example was in the simultaneous capture of the DA and girlfriend. The comic Batman would have managed to somehow save both of them but in the movie, one dies and perhaps the other should have died. I attributed that to perhaps a more true-to-life situation of not being able to save everyone, every time, but her comments did make me rethink some of the movie. The parts I found unbelievable is how the Joker could manage to surreptitiously plant a ton of explosives not only throughout a major medical center but also in two large ferries. And I am the only one who thinks Gotham City should be New York, not Chicago? The other irritating thing was - at least in my theater - the music drowned out the dialog. I had a very hard time hearing critical parts of what the characters were saying. So, in summary, while it was a great movie and I recommend it highly, I also wish there could have been less explosions and less background music.
The Queen's Sister (2005)
More porn than portrayal
As an American who doesn't know much about the minor British royals, I was touched by Princess Margaret's sad and untimely death and hoped this movie would give me a more complete picture of this somewhat tragic figure. In fact, all I really knew about her was gleaned from the time I happened to be in England when the true love of her life, Peter Townsend died. I always felt kind of sorry for her because it seemed she received some bad advice at the time of the Townsend incident and never got over not getting to marry the true love of her life. At least that's what I thought the movie would portray. Boy, was I in for a shock. I think the movie could have been subtitled, "Margaret Does the UK" (a takeoff of Debbie Does Dallas). All the sex, even if true, was overdone and too graphic, and I'm no prude either. The main actress who portrayed Margaret is unknown to me but seemed to do a good job although much more obese than what I knew Margaret to be from photos of her younger years. I was also very disappointed that the movie didn't tell much about her later years. She seems to have been abandoned by everyone including the storyline. Prince Philip's portrayal also left a lot to be desired. The character did not remotely look or act like him. And where was the Queen and the Queen Mother? The movie makes us believe that her father was her only moral compass, and with his demise, she was a "ship without a rudder". Surely her sister and mother must have given her some guidance throughout the years. I guess the producers did give us a disclaimer that the movie may not be totally factual, but I feel the movie dealt more with sexual indiscretions and clichés than why she acted the way she did. It was a very one-dimensional picture at best and not a very compelling biography in the least. I still would like to see a more balanced movie about this personage.
a beautiful movie with a great actress - Audrey Hepburn
If you ever wondered why so many people grieved over the loss of Audrey Hepburn, you should rent Sabrina and find out. I sickens me when I think of the actresses we have today and their off-screen antics, but that's another story. Ms. Hepburn gives a wonderful, believable performance as a chauffeur's daughter who goes to Paris and comes back a sophisticated young woman. I enjoyed many of her roles but I think this is my favorite because it is such a lovable and loving role. The storyline is not unique but wears well with age and makes you long for the romantic comedies of 1950s Hollywood.
So why did I not give this almost perfect movie a 10? I just never could bond with Humphrey Bogart or his character in this movie. Maybe it was because Mr. Bogart was nearing the end of his life, but there seemed to be a lack of energy and a real sense he was in love with Sabrina or she with him. I heard Cary Grant was supposed to play this role, but I honestly don't know whether it would have made a difference to me - maybe it was just the age thing. James Mason does a better job with a May-December romance in "Georgy Girl" in my humble opinion. But then again, did it really have to be a May-December thing? The storyline really never played on the age difference in the first place. Why not have cast a couple male actors with a slight age difference a little older than Sabrina? They really didn't have to be a lot older than the heroine and it would have been more effective and more believable in my opinion.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
A bit of a disappointment
I never saw this movie when it first came out and always longed to see it because it had one of my favorite actresses - Audrey Hepburn - and one of my favorite songs as its theme - Moon River. I also knew it had won and been nominated for several Academy Awards. Not too long ago, my curiosity about this movie was again piqued when I met Henry Mancini's daughter and saw a video tribute to her father using clips from the movie. After finally getting to see the movie, however, I was kind of disappointed.
Although the plot is fairly simple - two seemingly mismatched people fall in love - I had a hard time getting into the characters. George Peppard's character was believable - a good-looking writer with writer's block and a wealthy female patron, but his acting seemed stiff and uncomfortable. Miss Hepburn's acting was superb as the neurotic social-climbing, Holly Golightly, but the character was unbelievable. Why did she have to be a hick from Tulip, Texas? Does anyone really believe that intense French lessons could turn someone from a hick into a sophisticated socialite? Was Buddy Ebsen's brief appearance as her former husband a screen test for The Beverly Hillbillies a year later? Couldn't the same story been more realistic if Holly had been a smaller town New York girl and leave the hick past out? I also felt the ending was a little contrived...the rain, the abandoned cat, etc. The party scene also didn't make much sense - who were the attendees? There were no references to her having any friends. Mickey Rooney's portrayal of a Japanese person may have been funny then, but I think it would cause the movie to be boycotted today as racist. And what was the point of that character - comic relief? Wasn't it already supposed to be a romantic comedy? The 1960s gave us a lot of this genre of movie. Back then, love conquers all was an overriding theme in many of these movies. Looking back, however, I think other movies did a better job, such as The Pink Panther, Barefoot in the Park, to name a couple. Well, at least the movie still has one of the greatest theme songs.