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Bang! The Bert Berns Story (2016)
Put this one on your must-see list!
I had the extreme pleasure and privilege of attending a preview of this film in Hartford, Connecticut December 17th, 2016. All I can say is "Wow!!" It held me mesmerized from beginning to end. This documentary is for anyone with an interest in R&B, soul, and pop music of the 1960s-- the top songwriters, producers, singers, and musicians of that era. It's also a comprehensive look at the inside workings of the music/record business--the deals made and broken, mob influence, struggles and successes. It contains amazing archival footage of NYC, and interviews with the top movers and shakers in the industry who entertainingly share their recollections from those days, and their memories of Bert Berns--a hip genius, a perfectionist, a man who dreamed big--whose body of work as writer and producer gave us some of the greatest musical moments from that time. Incredibly, he shot to the top of the charts and the industry in a short span of seven years, before passing away at the oh-so-young age of 38. There are many moments of laugh-out-loud humor, as well as pathos. And of course, the movie is filled with so much of Berns's wonderful music. It's a visual and aural feast for the senses.
The Stepford Wives (2004)
As Bad As It Gets
This movie is a perfect example of what is wrong with the state of movies today. The original was a gem, with excellent acting by Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, and Patrick O'Neal. It was part horror story, part feminist cautionary tale. Most of all, it was BELIEVABLE! You got the feeling these were real people, and that all this could really be happening--and with a minimum of "special effects". The dialogue was pretty intelligent, the plot twists weren't given away in the first 15 minutes, and the ending was a real shocker. You cared about the female characters in the movie--you cared about Joanna's plight, and rooted for her to escape her planned fate.
The current version could only--and was probably meant to--appeal to the lowest common denominator of movie-goer. In this film, the women are just as bad as the men--you don't give a damn what happens to them; that's how annoying the characters are. The laughs are cheap and lowbrow, vital plot elements of Ira Levin's novel are missing, and the acting is just plain bad.
You know what? I'm getting annoyed just writing about this dreck. If you have any taste, any sense, any feeling for good films, any aversion to wasting good money on bad movies--stay far away from this one!! See the original, and appreciate the stunning subtlety of a thinking person's movie, well-made and well-acted.
Make me laugh!
This is the funniest thing I have seen in many a year, like the early days of "Saturday Night Live"--only better. I have watched it three times already, as has my 17-year-old son, and we are helpless with laughter every time. I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone, so I won't tell you my favorite bits or punchlines, but I loved the Star Wars premiere, Bon Jovi concert, Westminster Dog Show ("That man...Joe...Joe Westminster"), and Hollywood Squares segments. Now that I think about it, it's hard to choose favorites--it's all hilarious! If you had told me that a man with a dog hand puppet would reduce me to helpless laughter, I would have said "You're crazy". But it's true, it's true. Robert Smigel, the man behind Triumph, is a comic genius. This DVD is lewd, rude, crude...and a laugh riot. I am giving it to selected people on my Christmas list. Do yourself a favor and watch it ASAP.