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Well thought out thriller made more realistic by Trump's bromance with Putin
Not envisioned when the script was written, NATO could then be counted on to come to the defense of all countries within the alliance -- Norway being a strong, committed country. But since Trump took office in 2017 and has gone out of his way to denounce NATO and refuse to honor U.S. agreements, the "thriller" in this miniseries became all the more real. IF something like this did happen, and if Trump is still in office, Norway could not hope for help from the U.S. This is a fact, and this miniseries has nailed it. Very good writing and acting throughout. It's easy to follow by reading the English subtitles. You can see all of the Norwegian points of view to this crisis, the decisions being made, and the misunderstandings among the national populace.
Follow the Boys (1963)
Connie Francis Deserves Better Treatment Than This
Connie Francis' big MGM recording career was over by the time this film came out in summer 1963. The actual title tune had hit the top ten over a year earlier, and Francis' recordings following this time were to receive only minor success. She could have gone on to movie stardom -- but not in a vehicle like this. This really seems like MGM didn't care about this movie. The script was poor, which was the biggest sin. Francis' acting carried the film well and cannot be faulted, but the songs she was given to sing were execrable. None of them were her hits, nor were they in the pop genre, for which she was noted and appreciated. This movie gets seven stars only out of respect for Francis -- the film by itself deserves a four. Connie Francis should have read MGM the riot act. This film was to lead to the box office disaster, Looking for Love, also recipient of a "bad script" award. Poor Connie just could not win.
Blue Denim (1959)
Attempts to Educate, Good Acting from Principals, but Inconsistencies Abound
The film inverts the message of the stage play. More importantly, 16 or 17 year old kids in 1959 had little understanding of abortion or abortion procedures. This was a subject never mentioned. In fact, one of the inaccuracies of the movie is when the boys tell each other of their fathers' attempt at telling them the facts of life. That simply did not happen in 1959. That battle was to start in the 1960s, and even ten years later, most fathers in the 1960s were too ashamed to talk to their sons about "sex". Anyway, it would not have happened in 1959.
Other minor, yet important plot inconsistencies. The teens are shown dancing to 40s music throughout. Teenagers in 1959 were hooked on Dick Clark and American Bandstand and only wanted to dance to the new sound of rock and roll, which radio stations all over the country were playing. No teens were dancing to 40s big band music in 1959. Movies always get this major detail wrong ... they never do their homework concerning contemporary music and teenage behavior, and it cheapens the movies and the subjects portrayed within.
Goodbye Charlie (1964)
The 1960s Were Not Like This
Future generations are going to think the 1960s were like this ... and they most certainly were not. Pat Boone was laughed at in the 60s and was not a staple of the top 40 - his years were the 50s. Same for Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis.
The people dancing the "twist" on the boat? Come on...these people are all in their 40s. 50s. and 60s. This had no relevance to the younger people who were to dominate the 60s with their songs, sounds, and messages.
This is how older people saw younger people. It is the very definition of the generation gap. The casting director hires actors he/she thinks will appeal to younger people and we have what the oldsters thought were popular stars in 1965 ... Pat Boone? C'mon? Really? Where are the Supremes? Lesley Gore? Smokey Robinson? Roy Orbison? Bobby Vee? The other hitmakers of 1965? Where are they?
The "music" in this film is a joke. So is the generic, bland, what-older-people-thought-rock-music-sounded-like music from the soundtrack. Most all 60s movies, with the exception of the all-teenage musical TAMI show, shared this problem/distinction. Old people deciphering what young music was. Naturally, they always failed.
This movie didn't take place in America in the 1960s. It took place in some older director's head during the 1960's concerning his conception of how he thought American society was behaving. Totally dishonest when it came to all backgrounds. On the other hand, Debbie Reynolds nailed her part and there was some good acting.
Dear Brigitte (1965)
Stewart at His Worst, Poor Movie, Good Performance by Mumy
Jimmy Stewart has lost what made him famous. Here he is an old man without charm, without sparkle. Any light that shines through is from the boy, Billy Mumy, as he is too young to understand Stewart's rule for the other cast members: do not outshine me! Thus, we see an almost invisible Fabian, and other cast members that can't be remembered.
Also, eight year old boys do not have sexual crushes on sexpots like Brigitte Bardot. Hollywood always makes this mistake -- thinking it looks cute. Eight year old boys are catching frogs with other eight year old boys. They do not have sexual crushes until they reach the developmental stage of puberty.
A poor movie and Jimmy Stewart at his worst. Stewart's 1930's heydays are over and no one has told him.
Gentleman's Fate (1931)
Gilbert and Supporting Actors Do Good Job with Poor Material
The movie that proves John Gilbert could speak, as well as act. Gilbert does a good job with the over-talky script, and he is assisted by Leila Hyams and Anita Page. Gilbert was never given good material to work with, per Louis B. Mayer's instructions. Gilbert would be one of the first big stars Mayer would go out of his way to ruin. Gilbert died after making a half dozen movies in 1936, when he was only 36. He saw no future in the movies for him -- after being the biggest star in the world just ten years earlier.
American Animals (2018)
They Were All "Exceptional, Special"
Unusual, but catch what one of the teenagers says: "We were brought up to think we were special." Meaning, therefore, they could get away with it.
Where did this belief come from? Their parents and their middle-class upbringing, with its constant affirmations that everyone is exceptional, everyone can do whatever they want, everyone can achieve whatever goal they want to achieve. Maybe we're sending the wrong messages to our children.
Pajama Party (1964)
Watch this for Under-rated Multi-Talented Actor Tommy Kirk
Coming from children's drama classes and community acting performances, then spotted by a Disney agent, Tommy Kirk was made into a Disney actor at an age when no one knows who they are. Kirk, though, was ebullient and bright. He was a delight to watch in whatever role he was featured in. His "sin" caught up with him in 1963 and had nothing to do with acting. He was gay in 1963. Disney hit the roof and he was let go from his contracts. Jane Wyman and Fred MacMurray went out of their way to persecute and belittle the teenager. He lost a role in a John Wayne movie, and his career slipped to B movies and then to worse. Yet, he was one of the best child actors in the world. He was homosexual in a time when no one would accept -- in fact, when people felt perfectly within their rights to hate him and publicly despise him. This is much to their discredit as human beings ("kick him when he's down"), and gives a glimpse of the very right-wing Republican world of Hollywood in 1963. Many of the major stars were members of the John Birch Society and hated the way blacks were being accepted into films as well. But with a gay person they could still force him out, make him lose his contracts and all dignity, and consign him to nothingness. This was more than a shame because anyone watching Tommy Kirk remembers his raw talent and boyish sense of adventure -- even as a Hardy Boy in the 1950s.
A Triumph for John Gilbert
This is a triumph for John Gilbert, one of the leading men heart throbs of the 1920s silent movie era. Contrary to innuendo and gossip, there was nothing wrong with Gilbert's voice, as he so deftly proves here.
Because he wrote the screenplay, he saved the juicier role for himself, but the public may not want to have associated their "golden boy" of the silent era with this John Gilbert. Who Knows? Suffice it to say, at the time, "Downstairs" did not equal Gilbert's successes in the decade previous, although as time progresses people can see his raw talent and the ability he had to connect with audiences. He was to go on to star in "Queen Christina" before his early death.
It's Not Hard to See Why Marie Dressler was so Popular
Classic early almost-perfect film for its day. Marie Dressler, at 64, was one of the biggest box office attractions for a few years during this time period. "Emma" was written specifically for her as a starring vehicle where she would be the only lead. The film was a box office sensation in 1932.
The film presents another very early Myrna Loy performance, in which she plays against type in the role of a spoiled and selfish daughter. Loy was moving away from the "Oriental" parts she had been saddled with for years. Now she could be who she was and did not have to effect any geographical impersonations.
Marie Dressler was to continue her success in Hollywood throughout the 1930s and appeared in several critically-acclaimed films.
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Audiences Seem to Have Accepted the FALSE premise of this film
To my amazement, after reading all the comments here, I realized everyone had swallowed the premise of the movie, even while knowing the doctor (Laughton) was "mad". He is also no scientist, and this should have been pointed out, which would have made this scarier. That a graduate student, even one with sexual discrepancies, would follow a doctor who misunderstood science to a deserted island is so nonsensical it ruins the movie.
When you hear that "Evolution says that all animals gradually turn into the human form" you know you are watching idiotic and fanciful fiction. This would be OK, except almost everyone who watches this seems to swallow this hook, line, and sinker.
I suggest going back to school and learning how evolution works. As animals evolve, they become more like who they are genetically and they adapt to conditions as they change. They do not become humans! This should have been the MAIN POINT of the movie, proving that Dr. Moreau was crazy. He had no understanding of basic, elementary science, which underlies everything in the scientific world, including geology and the formation of the earth, etc.
The writers did not do their homework as all this was well known, especially in Europe from the mid-1850s onward. If you're going to talk about evolution, at least get the basic underlying facts straight. Otherwise, tell the audience you're somewhere in the twilight zone and this is not real.
Sidewalks of New York (1931)
Keaton Handled Talking Movies Well and was Adapting to Their Dominance
MGM tried to box Keaton in to their formulaic scripts of the day, but Keaton was able to break out and shine. Although the big studios didn't know what to do with Keaton, this film was funny and well above average for the day. Instead of it leading to depression and alcohol, better counsel would have been to adapt even better to the talkies and keep improving. This was an impressive movie, despite all the critics who only saw Keaton as a silent star. The critics are/were wrong. Keaton COULD adapt, although he lived through a barrage of naysayers, who are still around today singing praises of his silent pictures, which no one under 90 will watch. Try to get anyone under 50 to watch black and white -- you'll have a hard time with it. Keaton had great talent and should never have listened to the critics who praised only his silents. His work on this film proved he could still entertain and be funny.
Lost Horizon (1973)
A book that uplifted my teenage years is mocked and cheesified in one of the worst re-makes ever attempted
A terrible re-make. Bacharach and David had absolutely no feel for the content of this movie, nor did the director. All the genuineness of the book is missing. First task in undertaking a re-make: 1. Read the book, 2. View the original movie.
It really looks like Ross Hunter did neither. The book "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton transported people out of their everyday lives and into the world of Shangri-La without effort. Shangri-La just appeared and there was a deep longing to be there with the characters in the book. The 1937 film was not capable of generating this passion, but it remained as true as film can. Thirty some years later it's as if there was no classic book and no original movie that made the most out of the book. Anyone reading, seeing, or hearing the originals would be quite offended by the 1973 re-make since they "tried" to make it the same film, without coming anywhere near.
April Showers (1948)
Actors Were Delightful, Full of Personality and Life
Ann Sothern is an irreplaceable talent, and Jack Carson is always excellent. Young Bobby Ellis provides life to the fictional act and livens up the movie. The script needed a lot of polish it never got -- and would have been better if they hadn't followed Buster Keaton's storyline and simply went with a fictionalized account, leaving out the alcoholism that Carson so readily, and so inexplicably, runs to. Things go bad for a while, so the first thing you do is -- become an alcoholic, quit working, and give up your wife and kid? Not too realistic, then or now, but a typical Hollywood ploy. Carson wasn't an alcoholic and this doesn't play well or help the film in any way.
Delightful film, especially for the time period
Ann Sothern took charge of this character and what was intended as a one-off B-picture became such a hit, and such a money maker, that MGM was forced to see Sothern and her character in a more positive light. Surrounded by actors who really didn't fit the roles they were supposed to play, Sothern pulls the whole thing off anyway -- and she does it marvelously. Because the money kept rolling in, MGM made nine (9) more Maisie movies, and Sothern starred in them all, while at the same time appearing in other classic films like "A Letter to Three Wives".
Sothern was a class act and deserved better from MGM. They made mega-bucks off her, but Mayer was following his sexual interests, as usual, and the big money went to projects starring the girls he was attracted to.
Sothern, of course, went on to superstardom on television and became a household name, like her co-star Robert Young. The Maisie series was much better than average and Sothern is a pure delight, the likes of which we may never see again.
Another Life (2019)
Netflix Had to Know This Was Terrible -- But They Give It to Us Anyway
This will either be considered the worst science fiction show to have ever been broadcast, or it will turn into a cheesy camp classic because of how dreadfully bad it is. It is so bad, in fact, I could not go beyond the second episode.
No chain of command? Everything thinks they have the right to be captain because "they know better"? Have these characters graduated sixth grade, let alone a comprehensive training program, like NASA subjects its astronauts to?
None of this is even remotely possible and it is so bad that you just can't keep watching.
This is what Netflix chooses to spend tens of millions of dollars on, and they expect the public to like it. This will cheapen the Netflix brand and, if continued, destroy it. There are many many science fiction shows that would have been worth the time and money spent.
This was a disaster.
People You May Know (2016)
Well-written realistic script
Well written, realistic view of the modern gay male experience, featuring the almost always present hetero-female friends. Some "straight" men do not want to understand or take responsibility for the actions, and that is perfectly normal, too. The actors excel in their roles and the film moves along at a good pace. Kudos for a very well made movie.
Those People (2015)
Thoroughly Believable, Wonderfully Cast, Visually Unequalled
Excellent film, immediately identifiable characters no matter what part of the social stratum you're from. We all have relationships and friendships like this, whether we're gay or straight, and some of them start early, as the relationship in this movie does.
Thoroughly believable, wonderfully cast, and visually unequalled, Those People is a film of the highest quality that reaches truly genuine emotions we as people can feel.
Kid Brother (2017)
Longstreet Holds This Movie Together
A strong, quirky, nuanced performance by Alan Longstreet makes this an outstanding film. Longstreet pulls a rather average plot into something stronger and more believable.
Burning Blue (2013)
Witch Hunt Ends Up Costing American Lives
It is a well known fact American intelligence suffered in the post 9/11 days because we had virtually no military personnel who could understand the languages spoken by the people living in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. This was a critical chink in our armor and only existed because all the American military officers able to translate these languages into English had been fired because of the witch hunts going on in the military -- even though this was against the law -- and we, as a country, lost many battles and many human lives because we could not predict with accuracy what the enemy was doing.
All the relevant translators had been hounded out of the military under these witch hunts. Some of them were gay and some were not. None of this had anything to do with being an American or serving in the Armed Forces.
Yet someone's dad, brother, son, nephew or friend lies dead because of the conservative witch hunts against the "real enemy" of the nation -- gay people. Had these witch hunts been stopped, as required by law, thousands of young men in the armed forces would still be alive. But they died for someone else's political beliefs.
No one was ever punished for the mass murders of American soldiers by American personnel.
Ziegfeld Follies (1945)
Terrible stepchild of the Oscar Winning 1936 Masterpiece "The Great Ziegfeld"
The kind of talent displayed here can be found in almost every neighborhood in America. Some of it is, in fact, sub par, as the dance numbers could be performed by anyone in a dance program at any local university better than what you have here.
Most tragic is that the glory of the 1936 "Great Ziegfeld" in its scenes of unique musical numbers and the attendant birthday cake number make this new "Ziegfeld" a throwaway by comparison. Its almost indecent for this to carry the name of "Ziegfeld" after MGM's careful crafting of the fabled showman's Broadway smashes, which are nowhere apparent here. Everything suffers mightily in comparison. The people we consider stars were truly embarrassed by this movie or they are just performing whatever is in front of them for the money or to fulfill a contract. The general public is not going to consider this dud as anything but what it is: a glaring mistake that, unfortunately, brands all old movies as being this cheap and unwatchable. Try to get anyone under 70 to watch this. It's about as bad as you can get.
The Wrong Man (1956)
Scary Look at How Police Framed People, Particularly minorities in the 1950s
Modern police techniques were already known to police departments by this time. You should not question witnesses in the way seen here, and to rely on testimony from people with other substantiation was frowned upon. Here we have the police breaking their own rules, a common occurrence, to convict a Hispanic man and cause havoc throughout his extended family. The police do everything wrong, in terms of justice and the law, but they can get away with it. Watching their schemes to wrongfully convict Fonda turns your stomach, but this kind of police action did occur and is still occurring. The sheriff of my county routinely arrested American citizens of Mexican descent and wrongfully accused them of any and every crime he could imagine. They only got him for racial profiling, although several deaths lay in his wake. Injustice is very hard to watch, but it IS reality, and we must remain vigilant so that it becomes a thing of the past.
The Lady Eve (1941)
An Unintentional Drama Because Nothing is Remotely Funny
A real stinker. Preston Sturges did turn out several good scripts, but this is not one of them. This is more of a drama than a comedy, and the only comedy is slapstick: all of it centering around Henry Fonda taking pratfalls or losing his balance. It's not very funny. Nor is the acting impressive. Both Fonda and Stanwyck did better in most of their other movies. The script here made no sense and was full of gaping plot holes that an audience just could not identify with. Nonsensical without being funny. This was not a screwball comedy. It was screwball. A poor movie with no chemistry between the actors will not even make you smile.
Adventure in Baltimore (1949)
"Baltimore" was Not A Suitable Vehicle for Temple
Shirley Temple was capable of turning in better performances than "Baltimore" as she transitioned to adulthood, but the script (a flashback to 1905?) and the other actors were not people she could play off well.
Just two years earlier, Temple had a major hit with Myrna Loy and Cary Grant in "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer". In this, the script was sharper and funnier. It was in the present day, focusing on Shirley's growth, and she had the dependable Myrna Loy to work off. Loy, while projecting a solid and comedic presence herself, always went out of her way to make sure the other actors were comfortable with her and with their role. In this case, when an agitated Temple kept showing up for work due to marriage difficulties, Loy sent her a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a heartfelt note, bonding the two actors for the rest of their lives.
Loy was the rock in every comedic group of actors she worked with. She went out of her way to allow the other actors to feel comfortable and do their best work, a proactive behavior she had learned when working with Clark Gable, Melvyn Douglas, Spencer Tracy, William Powell, Clifton Webb and numerous other co-stars.
Loy's steady and dependable acting allowed both Shirley and Cary Grant to be more expressive than the script indicates, making the movie a giant success and bringing Shirley's (adult) acting into the limelight once again. With this freedom, she could be herself and act. The result was a half million dollars for RKO and a runaway hit's publicity for Temple.
In "Baltimore" Shirley has no such attachments and no such freedom. There was no Myrna Loy to make her feel alive and open. The movie doesn't work well because there is little chemistry between the actors, even between Temple and her husband, John Agar, who did a good job with his role. A period piece was not something Temple needed. She was growing up and needed to be seen in the present day, as she was in "Bobbysoxer". Instead, and unfortunately, she is to go through several more scripts that do not fit her burgeoning character, and thus are movie flops, before finally calling it quits.
Shirley Temple had the acting skills to continue making movies, but she needed adult scripts and actors around her who were supportive, like Loy. It's a shame she hung up her shingle and simply quit. All she needed was the right "magic" around her.
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
See the Full-Color Print
See the full-color print of this film. The yellow and purple original release is hard on the eyes and serves no purpose other than to make you frustrated and give you a headache.
Read the novel or a good synopsis of the plot first as well. This will make all the pregnant "silences" of the movie, in which you are supposed to make sense of everything, make sense. Huston is not one to tell a story. He throws out a few bones and lets you construct something from it. As Brando said, he was not a very inspiring director.