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Burgess Meredith has amnesia
9 August 2020
Prolific writer Cornell Woolrich, who wrote Rear Window, No Man of Her Own, and many other mysteries, is the author of "Street of Chance" from 1942. The movie stars Burgess Meredith, Claire Trevor, Frieda Inescort, Jerome Cowan, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, Louise Platt, and Sheldon Leonard.

Frank Thompson (Meredith) is hit by part of a building at E. 22nd and Third Avenue, and when he comes to, has a lighter and a hat with the initials DN. He returns home to his wife (Platt), only to find out she moved away a year earlier. When he catches up with her, she's shocked to see him but welcomes him back. It doesn't take long for him to realize someone (Sheldon Leonard) is after him.

Desperate, he sends Virginia to her mother's and returns to 22nd St., hoping to find someone who knows him under this other name. Turns out his name is Danny Nearing, and police are searching for him, suspecting him of murder.

Though Danny's girlfriend (Trevor), who works for the man whose brother was murdered, tries everything she can to keep him hidden, Frank/Danny knows he didn't kill anyone and wants the truth.

This is a pretty good film, thanks to the performances of Meredith and Trevor. It was easy to figure out, but after you've seen as many of these as I have, they usually are.

Of interest was the old woman who can only communicate with one blink for yes and two for no, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, who began her career at the age of 78, in 1941. She graduated from college at the age of 64. I guess I'd call her a late bloomer. She lived to 99.
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Larceny (1948)
John Payne breaks into noir
8 August 2020
"Larceny" from 1948 is a kind of an all over the place noir. It starts with a group of con men led by Silky (Dan Duryea) lousing up a scam and being forced to think of something else. He and his cronies come up with the idea of sending Rick (John Payne) to seduce a wealthy war widow (Joan Caulfield) into building a huge war memorial in her husband's memory. He has to lie and say her husband was his best pal in the service.

Meanwhile, Silky's girlfriend Tory (Winters) seems anxious to be with Payne and gets in the way at every turn. Silky isn't happy about this, which could be dangerous.

Payne meanwhile falls for Caulfield and vice versa. It turns into a real mess.

It was okay. Every woman in the film - Caulfield, Winters, Patricia Alphin, who plays a waitress, and Dorothy Hart all act as if they've never seen a man before when they meet Payne. He was handsome, but the characters seemed more like aggressive women from a later era.

The exception would be Caulfield, whose character was more subtle. Dorothy Hart didn't have much of a career, but she was absolutely stunning.
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interesting Anatole Litvak noir
6 August 2020
"Blues in the Night" from 1941 is an intense noir directed by Anatole Litvak. The stars are Richard Whorf, Lloyd Nolan, Howard da Silva, Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Jack Carson, Elia Kazan, and Wallace Ford.

"Jigger' Lane (Whorf), an excellent pianist, puts a band together consisting of Leo (Carson) who plays the trumpet, his wife "Character" (Lane), a singer, and two other musicians, Nickie, and Peppi. These are all musicians dedicated to performing the real New Orleans blues.

They travel by sneaking into boxcars. On one of their trips they meet Del Davis, (Nolan) a gangster. Del has a job for him in New Jersey at a club he owns.

That's where the trouble begins. Powell falls for a good-time girl, Kay Grant (Field), though he drops her when he finds out Character is pregnant.

"Jigger" decides to make Kay the replacement singer since Character is told she can't work. They wind up taking off together. By the time the rest of the band locates him, Jigger's in rough shape and has to enter a mental hospital.

"Blues in the Night" is a turgid drama with a highly dramatic ending. The performances are all good. Field pulls out all the stops as Kay, and Lloyd Nolan is an effective tough guy. Howard da Silva and Wallace Ford are on hand giving sympathetic performances.

The brilliant director and controversial figure Elia Kazan only has seven acting credits listed. Here he's an enthusiastic band member .

The music, with the exception of an awful number at a club where Jigger plays the piano, is fantastic, with some great trumpet playing, though the musician is uncredited.

The song "The Man That Got Away" was written for this film. Harold Arlen didn't like the Johnny Mercer lyrics; some time later, he gave the song to Ira Gershwin to add the lyrics.
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tense pre-WW II spy story
21 July 2020
David Tennant stars in "Spies of Warsaw," a 2013 miniseries also starring Janet Montgomery, Anton Lesser, Marcin Dorocinski, and Julian Glover.

Most of the film takes place before Poland was invaded. A military attache, Jean-Fracois Mercier (Tennant) has a network of agents and is assigned to Warsaw to see what the Nazis are up to. Mercier has evidence showing that the Nazis are getting ready to invade. However, he is stonewalled by some of his commanders, who doubt the veracity of his evidence.

In the meantime, he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Anna (Montgomery) who currently lives with a Russian.

I see that this miniseries received some lousy reviews. I can understand that if you've read the book; often, a good book doesn't translate well to screen. I haven't read it.

One of the critiques was that an important part of the book was left out, that is, spying on the Germans measuring the width of the roads in the Ardennes to see if their tanks could make it. I'm not sure what miniseries he watched and gave a rotten review to, but that scene was most definitely in the miniseries.

Another review complained about the locations, saying that it looked like Belfast dressed up to look like another country. The movie was filmed in Poland. I guess I'm not sure what film the above comments referred to.

I thought this movie was tense, and if not action-filled, very absorbing. I was interested in the fact that France was so ardent in her commitment to Poland to save it from the Nazis. We see where that went. And the end of the film is based on a real incident I hadn't known about.

David Tennant, from reading the reviews, was not the Mercier of the book. I still liked him.

A note about accents, a tired topic for anyone who reads my reviews. The people in the film are not speaking English with foreign accents. They're speaking their own language, so accents are not necessary. Some of the actors had them because in real life they have accents, but again, they're speaking their own language and the accent is a dialect.

Why would David Tennant be speaking to French people in English with a French accent? It's ridiculous. You notice that Chekov plays are not done with Russian accents. They don't use accents in Shakespeare. Many early films were set in other countries - no accents (example: The Mortal Storm, Zoo in Budapest).
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Saboteur (1942)
Lots of Hitchcock features
21 July 2020
Saboteur doesn't get the attention it deserves for one major reason. Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Imagine what a "big" film it would have been perceived as with them as the stars.

Instead, he got Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane, both very good, but signalling that somehow this wasn't a major motion picture.

Saboteur has all the Hitchcock elements, some reminiscent of the 39 Steps - the wrong man accused and on the run, a blonde, handcuffs, and pre-North by Northwest, a scene at a landmark, with similar action taking place.

The story concerns a worker, Barry Kane (Cummings) accused of setting fire to a munitions factory and killing his best friend. In fact, Kane saw the terrorist - a man named Frye, who posed as an employee. He sets out to clear his name.

There are some interesting scenes and colorful characters, and the end is exciting - also a bit abrupt, as if Hitchcock ran out of money. Still very enjoyable and worth seeing.
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from Canada
20 July 2020
Christian Slater stars in "The Confessor," also known as "The Good Shepherd" from 2004. The film also stars Molly Parker and was a prostitute - was Andrews involved with him? And how is Andrews involved in a movement called Equality, which the church has forbidden? The film doesn't come out and say it's a gay group which has broken away from the Church yet has mass, etc., but that's what it was.

Andrews ultimately commits suicide, and the Cardinal asks that Clemens release a statement and end his involvement. Clemens doesn't believe it was suicide, and continues investigating, even taking over Andrews' parish duties.

Being Catholic myself, I had a few issues with the film. As much of an SOB as the Cardinal was, I can't believe he would accept that a man who refused to break the seal of confession would turn around and kill himself. The Church is very strong in its feelings about suicide; you cannot be buried on sacred ground and it's a ticket to a very hot place.

The other thing is small but for some reason bothered me. Father Clemens barreled down the main aisle of the church more than once but never genuflected when he got to the altar.

Slater's approach to the role was a good one - very unpriestly. He was a no-nonsense man who happened to wear a collar, whereas the character of Father Andrews was obviously devout and "priestly." Both exist, and it was good to show that.

The film itself was okay and the mystery decent. The seal of confession has been a story device for years.
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Takers (2010)
lots of action
20 July 2020
Every once in a while, I like a nice, mind-numbing adventure film that is pure entertainment. Takers is a good example.

The film stars Matt Dillon, Jay Hernandez, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, T.I., Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, Steve Harris, Johnathon Schaech, Zoe Saldana, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

A professional group of robbers is approached by a member (T.I.) who was just released from prison. He has an incredible plan to take down an armored truck full of millions. The group decides to go for it.

Dillon and Hernandez are the two cops who are working to take them down after a recent bank robbery. A slip-up by the drug-addicted sister of one of the crooks puts the cops hot on his trail.

The last half hour of this movie is one of the longest and best chases on foot I've ever seen, followed by a massive shootout - it's nonstop action all the way.

As someone mentioned, not every film is Shawshank Redemption or Citizen Kane. There is room for this type of adventure flick - good thing, because there are plenty of them.

I found it highly entertaining, the story helped by a strong cast.
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interesting story
20 July 2020
Strong acting and an impressive atmosphere are the hallmarks of "Beyond the Pale," from the Mr. Whicher series.

In this episode, Whicher is hired by a government official (Nicholas Jones) whose son is being threatened. The son, Charles (John Heffernan) and his family lived in India for 12 years. He has seen the man who is after him, and he fears for his wife and children. His father asks Whicher to find the man - it all must be dealt with discreetly, as careers are at stake.

Good episode though somewhat easy to figure out. It's notable for the obvious racism toward people from India.

Paddy Considine is excellent as Mr. Whicher, and I liked the chemistry between him and his landlady (Nancy Carroll).
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Seberg (2019)
scattered focus
19 July 2020
Kristen Stewart is "Seberg" in this 2019 film about the FBI stalking, surveillance, and harassment of Jean Seberg, due to her involvement with the Black Panthers.

This is, I believe, highly fictionalized, with the subplot of one of the FBI operatives (Jack O'Connell), who discovers a conscience and tries to warn Jean anonymously to return to France and stop donating to the Panthers.

We could have done without that plot, as I'm sure there was no FBI man who gave a damn about her - they were under orders from Hoover to destroy her.

The second subplot concerned an alleged lover, Hakim Jamal, played by Anthony Mackie, and his wife finding out he was having an affair with Seberg. In truth no one knows if she really did or not.

All of this takes away from the harrowing story of Jean Seberg, a believer in civil rights who supported the work of the Black Panthers. The Panthers' core activity initially was to nutrition, recreation, and education to disadvantaged children, and Seberg volunteered with them. She was very generous with her checkbook, which brought the FBI down on her.

The FBI planted a rumor that the baby she was carrying, a girl, was fathered by Hakim Jamal. When Seberg miscarried, she returned to her home town and had a funeral with an open casket, so people could see the baby was white. This is not mentioned in the film, though it is mentioned that she sued Newsweek (she won damages).

The acting was pretty good, though it couldn't be much more because we didn't learn too much about the characters - Yvan Atal as Seberg's husband, Romain Gary, Vince Vaughn as an FBI operative, Stephen Root as Seberg's nervous agent.

Kristen Stewart did a good job in the dramatic scenes, but for me didn't have much presence in the rest of it. There was something very luminous about Jean Seberg, which probably can't be captured by another actress. She was more than beautiful, which is why, even though she wasn't much of an actress, she had such a quick rise to fame. Stewart is a little on the tough side. There was a British actress, Miranda Raison, who could have played Seberg some years ago. At the moment I can't think of anyone else.

All in all, a not very exciting look at one of the saddest stories of the last century.
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Visconti's masterwork
16 July 2020
This is perhaps Visconti's most powerful work, though today it may seem a little overwrought and dated.

"Rocco e sui fratelli" from 1960 is about a rural family (Katina Paxinou as Rosaria, Alain Delon as Rocco, Renato Salvatori as Simone, Spiros Focás as Vincenzo, Max Cartier as Ciro and Rocco Vidolazzi as Luca) who move from southern Italy to Milano, hoping to make a better life for themselves.

The brothers are all different, and therein lies the story, with the focus particularly on Rocco (Delon), a gentle soul who cares about his family and his family's honor, and Simone (Salvatori), a man with an addictive personality who only cares about himself.

Both Rocco and Simone fall for the same woman, a hooker (Anne Girardot) and come to blows - physically, since both Simone and Rocco train as boxers.

This isn't always an easy film to watch as it contains violence, rape, and murder. It also is extremely melodramatic by today's standards, with Paxinou's strong performance as the mother perhaps being viewed today as over the top. Acting styles have changed.

It's also a rather misogynistic film - well, it is Italy, it is another time period, and I'm not one who believes in cancel culture. It is also overly long - I saw the cut version, I believe, 168 minutes. I think certain scenes were cut due to censorship.

Though the film is in black and white, the look of Italy is amazing and expansive, as is the acting, particularly from Delon and Salvatori as they come up against one another in a biblical story. Claudia Cardinale pre-nosejob has a small role.

Delon, of course, is gorgeous. Hard to believe he'll be 85 this year.
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B movie, a mix of comedy and drama
16 July 2020
I actually enjoyed "Girl in the Case" from 1944 and thought it would have made a good series.

Edmund Lowe plays a lock expert who is often called upon to help the police His wife (Janis Carter) , at times becomes involved and usually doesn't help much.

In this situation, someone asks him to open a trunk; inside, he finds some chemical formulations. Suspecting he's working with someone nefarious, he copies them and sends the formulas to Washington.

There is some witty dialogue between the couple - I think they're kind of cute, thanks to the performances - and some slapstick which is quite funny in the end.

It's not Citizen Kane, it's not the Thin Man, but it's pleasant enough.
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Mr. Ace (1946)
Sylvia Sidney wants to be governor
15 July 2020
Sylvia Sidney is a wealthy woman who wants to be governor in "Mr. Ace" from 1946, also starring George Raft, with Stanley Ridges, and Jerome Cowan.

In order to have a chance at winning, Margaret (Sidney) has to get the backing of Eddie Ace, a political boss. Eddie doesn't want to endorse her. For one thing, he seems to have fallen for her; for another, she's an independent thinker, and he senses she won't follow instructions.

It's always fun to see a younger Sylvia Sidney. Here, with her hairdo and suit, she reminds me a little of Bette Davis. She gives a very good performance. Raft is his usual tough guy self.

The attitude toward women in politics in this film is interesting. It was a little more unusual back then that it is now, though there were some formidable women in the game, including Melvyn Douglas' wife Helen Gahagan Douglas, Nellie Taylor Ross, governor of Wyoming, and Miriam Ferguson in Texas. It's mentioned in the film that 29 members of the House of Representatives up to that time were women.

It's an okay watch.
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it's actually the boy in black
13 July 2020
I'll explain the subject of my review later.

I won't lie and say I enjoyed this film, though I certainly loved seeing all the actors so young, and their acting was marvelous.

"The Man in Grey" begins at a modern-day auction where Phyllis Calvert and Stewart Granger meet. Granger is hoping to pick up something from the Rohan family - one of his ancestors was involved with a Roham. Calvert actually is a Rohan.

As they look over the various small items available, the film dissolves to an earlier time period. We see how these items were connected to the various people in the story.

The lovely Clarissa (Calvert) marries the wealthy, arrogant Lord Rohan (James Mason) not for love, but so he can have an heir while he continues with his hedonistic life. While in school, Clarissa befriended a poor girl, Hester (Margaret Lockwood). One night she sees that Hester, who had run off to get married, is in a play, and makes contact with her.

It's not long before Hester is living in the manse with Clarissa and Lord Rohan and decides that three's a crowd. The unhappy Clarissa meets Rokeby (Granger), and they fall in love. He wants her to leave Rohan. What will happen to the lives of these four?

Apparently this film was a huge hit and really established these stars. For me it was problematic. The first complete turn-off was a discussion of a disgusting dogfight. Thank God it was just a discussion. I nearly stopped watching then but soldiered on. It solidified Lord Rohan for me as a revolting human being.

And then we have little Toby (Antony Scott). You're kidding, right? He plays a boy slave who is devoted to Clarissa. He's a white kid in blackface. Stupefying. Or was he? Supposedly he is the son of Harry Scott, part of the minstrel team of Scott and Whaley. Scott and Whaley supposedly actually were black. But boy this kid looked like he had on blackface. A little mystery that I couldn't solve.

The Man in Grey is a story where good is good and evil is evil, no in betweens. Hester and Lord Rohan are nasty pieces of work.

See it for the fine actors and as an example of Gainsborough films - this is probably the most successful one.
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wonderful denoument
13 July 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed "A Touch of Larceny" starring James Mason, Vera Miles, and George Sanders.

Mason plays Cmdr. Max Easton, who works for the government in a boring job. He meets the fiance Virginia (Miles) of Sir Charles Holland (Sanders) and decides he must have her for himself. One problem: he's broke.

He insists that Virginia meet him for lunch and a sail. While sailing, he tells her he could make a lot of money if he disappeared, was taken for a traitor, and, as soon as the newspapers had libeled him enough, come back and sue them for everything they had.

Then he does it, after making sure his coworkers see him talking with a Russian at a party, and he makes a big scene on a dock about finding the ship the Karl Marx.

Once he figures he's been skewered enough, it's time for him to come back. That's when his problems begin.

Very good film with a marvelous performance by Mason, who plays a man whose latent conmanship appears. And just when you think he can't con any more -- you'll love the end of the film.
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Obsession (1976)
successful riff on Hitchcock
8 July 2020
Brian DePalma directed "Obsession" from 1976, starring Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, John Lithgow.

DePalma often used Hitchcock-like stories, and while this one will remind you a bit of Vertigo, it's a different story.

I won't talk much about the plot, but the story concerns Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson), a businessman, whose wife and daughter are kidnapped. A rescue attempt fails, and Elizabeth and Amy are killed.

Devastated, years later, Michael a husband and father whose wife, Elizabeth (Geneviève Bujold), and daughter, Amy (Wanda Blackman), have been kidnapped. When a rescue attempt fails, Elizabeth and Amy are killed, leaving Michael devastated and alone.

Years later, on a trip to Florence, Courtland visits the church where he and Elizabeth met. There he sees a young artist, Sandra (Bujold) who is the spitting image of his wife.

Courtland then attempts to turn her into the image of his late wife. What transpires is an ugly case of deja vu.

With music by the wonderful Bernard Herrmann, so important in many Hitchcock films, lyric, almost dreamlike direction by De Palma, and a powerful story, Obsession is a no miss.
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Hamilton (2020)
what a treat
6 July 2020
How incredible to be able to see this show on TV instead of going to New York and spending $800.

After watching it, I wished I had seen it live. A production came to my home town and the last row in the balcony was the aforementioned $800.

Anyway, this is a fantastic and memorable show, all the more important for maybe getting a few kids interested in a) historical characters; and b) Broadway/musical theater.

The music is not my demographic, but there are many different styles, and I loved some of the songs. The lyrics were clever. I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius.

What I love is the originality, the expansiveness, the singing, the choreography, but most of all the incredible energy of the cast and story.

For people who have no interest in seeing our forefathers dancing and singing, I say, watch it anyway. I wasn't interested either. It is fabulous.
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James Dunn is lots of fun
4 July 2020
James Dunn stars as Nick Trayne in "The Living Ghost" from 1942. Dunn's fortunes were on the downward swing and doing B pictures after being a major star at 20th Century Fox. His performance in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" a few years after this won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Nevertheless, his movie career continued to decline. It was on the stage and television that he found steady work.

The film also stars a Queen of the Bs, Joan Woodbury, and Paul McVey. It was directed by William "One Take" Beaudine for Monogram.

Dunn plays a smart-alecky former detective, Nick Trayne, who is called in by a friend when a wealthy man disappears. Was he kidnapped? What happened?

Craig shows up, but his brain is atrophied, something to do with the cerebral cortex cells. It's up to Trayne and Billie (Woodbury) to find out whodunit. Unfortunately for them, the whole group is crazy.

Nothing special, but I liked Dunn - he was fast talking and brought a lot of humor to the role.
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7500 (2019)
I guess you just can't trust IMDB reviews
3 July 2020
It's ridiculous to me that "7500" should have anything below an 8 on this site.

A brilliant, accurate film about terrorists attempting to take over a plane. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is absolutely amazing. Omid Memar, as a young, scared hijacker gives an excellent performance. In fact, all the performances are good.

This film starts out in the most innocuous way - white noise, people going through security, boarding the plane, the flight attendants preparing. And then WHAM - it becomes the tensest thing you've ever seen, total edge of your seat. It comes as a huge shock after the quiet beginning.

You really have to ask yourself what you would do in Tobias' (Gordon-Levitt) situation. It's unbearable.

According to pilots and tech people, this is a very accurate film in all aspects.

Highly recommended. Decide for yourselves and don't believe the low-numbered reviews.
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Perry Mason (2020– )
This isn't Perry Mason
22 June 2020
All the producers have done is used the name to encourage people to watch the show.

This is not the character of Perry Mason, who even in the 1930s, when the books first appeared, was not a detective. He was always an attorney.

Matthew Rhys is a wonderful actor, I love him, and this show is along the lines of a noir-type film like LA Confidential (another favorite of mine). Because it's HBO they've pulled out the stops on grossness, violence, foul language, and nudity. All of which are fine with me (except the grossness).

But watch the show for the above-described elements, not because you want to watch good old "Perry Mason" - this ain't it. I'm giving it a 5 because I resent the way they've just taken the name and not connected it to the Erl Stanley Gardner creation. Rhys as star and HBO budget and production values should have been enough to lure audiences in - with another title.
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pretty sad
19 June 2020
Having been in show business myself, I watched this documentary about kids coming out to LA to be stars with interest.

I do believe a couple of the parents were sincere about wanting a different life for their child, and I do believe that some of the kids were interested in acting. There is also the delusional group, and the kids who probably don't want it as much as their parents.

I can understand -- I really can -- getting an enormous opportunity like a feature film or a series or a tour of a show and having to be separated from your family in order to take advantage of it. I can understand maybe auditioning for a month and then going back home. I can understand feeling like, well, at least you can say you came out here and tried, you'll never be able to say, I should have tried it.

But I can't understand coming out to Hollywood on a wing and prayer and shelling out $5000 a month for months so your kid can do auditions in a vastly overcrowded and competitive market and, frankly, be scammed by agents and their photographer husbands and discounted acting classes. We saw a lot of that in this documentary.

To me the parents were naive, and Los Angeles isn't where you come to make it; you make it first and then come to LA or NY. You do local theater, local modeling, local commercials, build a portfolio and then give the big cities a go. There is no point in going if you don't do your research - who are the bad agents, who are the scam artists, what should you avoid.

Show business today is about agents and casting directors. Gone are the days when you actually met with a producer. Everybody has a class, a school - it's one thing if you're an adult and want to put up with all that heartache, it's another if you're a kid. There's more to life.

There is nothing wrong with a dream - and in going through the cast list on IMDb, some of these kids did end up doing commercials, TV, and film, and good for them. Hey, Hillary Swank and her mother lived in a car; Jim Carrey and his entire family lived in a van.

One actor talked about friends of his who have been in the business for years saying, "It's going to happen." His attitude is, "No, it isn't." The question is, what do they want to happen? Stardom? A chance to work every so often? Can they be happy NOW with whatever they're doing? Can they be happy doing showcases and extra work? It's up to the individual.

I was troubled watching this documentary because I kept asking myself when you know it's time to quit. In this case, that was up to the parents, and most didn't have realistic notions.

A child, a teen, has to grow up and decide if they want to make these sacrifices for themselves. When it's left in other hands, that can be a problem.
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Salting the Battlefield (2014 TV Movie)
Part 3 of the Worricker Trilogy
19 June 2020
In Part 3 of the Worricker Trilogy, Johnny (Bill Nighy) and Margot (Helena Bonham-Carter are now in Europe attempting to escape from the British Secret Service.

Through a friend in England, Worricker has gotten a story in the newspaper about the "bridge" fund handled by Prime Minister Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) but unfortunately, it goes nowhere.

It's now evident that Worricker and Margot must return to England, but this time, he seeks out an editor of The Independent and gives her the entire story, hoping that with more facts, it will make a difference.

The situation grows more complicated from there, as Worricker begins to feel used by both sides, plus it is affecting his daughter, who is pregnant. Can the situation be salvaged?

Watch for the excellent scene that occurs when Worricker finally meets Beasley the PM face to face.

This is a decent ending to the trilogy, and very suspenseful in spots.
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Solace (II) (2015)
good acting in a compelling story
18 June 2020
F.B.I. Special Agent Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) calls upon an ex-colleague, Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), who is retired, to help him catch a serial killer.

Clancy lost his beloved daughter to leukemia and as a result is retired and somewhat isolated. He is a physician - but more important to Joe, he is a gifted psychic.

When Joe introduces his partner, Katherine (Abbie Cornish), he sees her in the future with blood on her face. He then decides to help. But Dr. Clancy soon realizes one thing: the serial killer is psychic also, and it doesn't seem to him that his own abilities are going to be very helpful.

Excellent acting from all parties, particularly Hopkins, as a man destroyed by his daughter's death. In flashbacks, we learn more of what happened during her illness - and why he may have something in common with the serial killer.

Thought-provoking story for sure.
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Roaring City (1951)
I wasn't overwhelmed
10 June 2020
Hugh "Leave it to Beaver" Beaumont stars in "Roaring City," from 1951. The film also features Edward Brophy and Richard Travis.

This was apparently one of three feature films that combined two half-hour stories, which answers the question as to why these stories weren't connected. Denny O'Brien (Beaumont) is man with a ship he rents, but he also does odd jobs. He rooms with an alcoholic ex-professor (Brophy) who does some work for him.

The first story concerns a fixed fight that O'Brien is hired to bet on; in the other one, he is hired to pretend to be a woman's husband. These jobs are not without problems. In the fight story, it doesn't go the way it was supposed to; in the other -- well, it's not as straightforward as it first seemed.

Denny usually winds up unconscious or beaten and in hot water with a police inspector. Hugh Beaumont does a good job in the role - he's natural and charming.

I'm not exactly the audience for these low-budget Bs, but I appreciate that they have their place in the noir canon.
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Sky Liner (1949)
B noir
9 June 2020
To be honest, I got a little lost as far as the plot of this one.

Most of it takes place on a plane, and it's fun to look at how it was in the old days, with large, comfortable seats, people who could walk right into the cockpit, a washroom large enough for 3 or 4 people - which I doubt was ever the case, but never mind.

The biggest name in the cast is probably Rochelle Hudson, and Richard Travis plays a federal agent who is following someone involved involved in espionage. Then a dead body is found, and obviously, the killer is on the plane.

Also on the plane is a man carrying a great deal of money to take to his country, and two old biddies.

When there's a murder, the plane has to land unexpectedly.

Just okay.
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San Francisco locations and a bad title
7 June 2020
I have to agree with other posters - calling this film Treasure of Monte Cristo makes you think it is some period piece rather than a noir.

Handsome Glenn Langan stars as Edmund Dantes, who works on a ship that arrives in San Francisco. He meets a stunning blond, Jean (Adele Jergens) - she's an heiress that has to get married or turn 25 in order to get her inheritance.

In the meantime, certain factions are trying to make sure neither one ever happens. She talks Dantes into marrying her. (P.S. I don't know who talked who into what in real life, but this good-looking couple did get married and stayed married until Langan's death in 1991.)

Jean then disappears from their hotel room, leaving an address written in soap on a mirror. Thinking it's the sanitarium where she was put so someone could get power of attorney, he rushes there.

Dantes winds up framed for murder, and Jean can't be found. His lawyer isn't much help; he's found guilty and the chair awaits. Meanwhile, Dantes has no idea that he is actually an heir, as the descendant of the original Count of Monte Cristo, and it's not Jean's inheritance they want - it's his.

Langdon and Jergens are fine, but some of the other acting is horrendous, particularly from Dantes' adopted Italian family. Steve Brodie is a sleazy lawyer.

The San Francisco locations are great, making for an enjoyable experience.
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