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7/10
Great trio of leads, fantastic effects help overcome a slow beginning
11 September 2019
Trevor (Brendan Fraser) is a physics professor working on a special project, which is subsequently shut down by the department head. Despairingly, Trevor goes home, only to discover he forgot that his nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is being dropped off for a week of bonding. Their initial greeting is hardly very warm on Sean's part. But, this soon changes when Trevor discovers that Sean's copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth by Verne has some important notes from his deceased brother, who died trying to reach the earth's core. Suddenly, both Trevor and Sean are whisked off to Iceland to connect with an old friend of Trevor's sibling. Alas, this man has died but his lovely daughter Hannah (Anita Briem) gets excited when Trevor explains the reason for their visit. Together, this trio goes down a quiet Icelandic mine, where they encounter undiscovered creatures, fall off the mine railroad tracks into the deep earth, and have very little time to find a way back out. In addition, temperatures rise above 100F and keep climbing. Will they perish inside the earth or return to the blue planet's surface? This fairly faithful adaption of the Verne classic starts so slowly viewers may yank it out of the DVD player. Do not do it! The special effects get grander by the minute and the novel sets are spectacular. Likewise, Fraser, Hutcherson and Briem (an Icelandic actress), are a tremendous trio of fun and attractiveness. Journey out now to take a fine Journey to the Center of the Earth.
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Chapter Zero (1999)
6/10
Moves way too slowly but, has some clever ideas and lines
9 September 2019
Adam (Dylan Walsh) has aspired to be a writer on the level of his idol, Hemingway, since he was in grade school. To the joy of his beautiful live-in girlfriend, Jane (Laurel Holloman) he is almost finished with a novel. In the meanwhile, Jane is taking classes on the art of film documentary while Adam works in publishing for a femme fatale of a boss (Penelope Ann Miller). Frankly, Adam has some hangups, as he is forever comparing himself to his older brother, who is married, has two kids, a great house, and a wonderful job he loves. When his own boss rejects his novel in the worst way, Adam goes into a tailspin. He quits his job and stops helping around the house, Jane has to go work for Hooters and doesn't know how to help her guy. Could the story of his so-called lame life be a best seller? Or could writing it create tons more problems? This film, an indie, has some cute ideas and clever lines. One of the best ideas and performances is Adam's father, who is a cross-dressing successful painter. Another line I loved was Adam saying he was having a midlife crises and he hadn't even made it through a third of his life. Walsh, too, is fine as is the rest of the cast including Lee Majors as an old codger out to save a canal from pollution. Sets and costumes are good, too. But, the pace is so slow and the direction so haphazard that not too many viewers will be able to make it to the end. Therefore, watch only if you are a fan of the cast or have plenty of time to kill.
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8/10
Bittersweet romcom; the cast makes it very special
3 September 2019
Adam (Justin Long) has just learned that his former girlfriend of eight years, Allison (Cobie Smulders) is getting married very soon in San Fran. Strangely, she invites Adam to the wedding, maybe to make it clear that she has moved on and there are no hard feelings. Adam is stunned. In an hilarious next scene, Adam proposes to and then breaks up with his current girlfriend. She stomps away in a huff. Realizing that he may still be in love with Allison, Adam decides to go to the ceremony. Best friend (John Cho) gives advice. Once in the city by the bay, where his own mother still resides, Adam subtly tries to meet Allison when she is not with her fiance, such as jogging by her place of work when she is about to be finished for the day. Then, too, Adam meets his replacement, good guy Aaron (Ryan Hansen) and agrees to a tennis match, even though Adam hasn't played for years. Suddenly, the big day is here and Adam has not won her over. Can Adam actually take her away from her own wedding, a la The Graduate? This indie film has many pleasures, especially the superb cast. In addition to Long and Smulders, Cho, Dana Delaney, Luis Guzman, Lea Thompson, and many others bring out the best in each well-drawn character. The scenery and costumes are mighty attractive, too. Even more impressive is the bittersweet script and careful direction which will have the viewer laughing and crying at almost the same time. Those who value independent film making will truly embrace this flick with gusto.
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Little Italy (2018)
7/10
The story and stars are a pleasure; the r-rated material not necessary
25 August 2019
Nikki (Emma Roberts) is an aspiring chef in London. She has been learning from one of the best British chefs (Jane Seymour), who has just told her underling a secret. On the verge of opening a new restaurant, Nikki is one of two candidates the top cook will choose for her new venture as chief of the food production. But, Nikki will have to go back to her home in Canada and get some paperwork and plan the new menu. Reluctantly, Nikki does so. Back home in Toronto's Little Italy, you see, her pizzaria owning father has been feuding with a fellow pizza maker who once was his partner. The two men have shops side by side and have competed against each other for over five years, after winning a top pizza prize when they were together. No one knows why the feud happened. Not only this, Nikki's childhood best friend and crush Leo (Hayden Christensen) is the son of the rival Italian pasta family. Yet, somehow these two young people ran away from love, each in the opposite direction. As it happens, they meet again at once. One of their first acts is to stage a soccer competition in the rain, for Nikki always won out in the end at earlier times. Meanwhile, Nikki's grandma (Andrea Martin) and Leo's grandpa (Danny Aiello) have also secretly been seeing each other, as widows and widowers sometimes do. They, too, are aware their offspring will not be happy with a union. So, will romance blossom for two couples or will Nikki return to London as a hot chef? This beautifully photographed film is a joy visually. Toronto's Little Italy is a charming venue and the sites and sounds very pleasing. Likewise, although Roberts and Christensen are neither one Italian and have had to dye their hair dark, they make a charming couple. Martin and Aiello bring great fun and drama to their portrayals and the rest of the cast, including Alyssa Milano, are good, too. The script, too, has some creative elements, some a bit too much so, for most of the r-rated talk and situations do not enhance the tale, slightly damaging the enjoyment. Nevertheless, the energetic direction and the above good qualities listed, make for a recommendation to view it and fast forward over the offending parts.
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Don't Do It (1994)
4/10
Don't view it, period; attractive cast, however
18 August 2019
Suzanna (Heather Graham) has begun to ask her boyfriend, Dodger (James Le Gros) for a semi-commitment. Yet, Dodger is very reluctant to commit to anything, as he is still rather hung up on his old girlfriend, Alicia. Therefore, although S and D do move in together, domestic bliss is elusive. Meanwhile, Alicia has moved on to a gentleman named Robert, a musician and her commitment is getting deeper. She has just discovered she is pregnant and doesn't know how to break the news. Two girl hungry males (Balthazar Getty and Robert/Alexis Arquette) cruise the streets and talk about their past relationships. Finally, a handsome gentleman, Charles (Esai Morales) spies a beautiful blonde, Michelle (Sheryl Lee) watching him shoot pool. He shows off, winning a match which brings down the wrath of his opponent. As the defeated one rushes off to bring his co-horts back to pound Charles, C and M get to know each other and like what they find. But, Charles was once involved with Suzanna and Michelle with Robert. IT'S COMPLICATED FOLKS! BUT, NO ONE REALLY CARES. This lame musical chairs romcom has one thing going for it; an attractive cast. Yet, even they can't muster much life into crazy lines and situations, with big boring spaces in between. Ok, maybe the scenery in LA is nice, too, at times, and the costumes are fetching. But, here 90 minutes seems like five hours. This viewer likes many genres and styles yet there is nothing to say for this one except: DON'T VIEW IT.
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Perry Mason (1957–1966)
10/10
Classic television; excellent stories, great acting, humor among dire situations
11 August 2019
Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) has a well deserved reputation as an attorney in Los Angeles. Why not, as he nearly always makes the real killer confess right in the courtroom, freeing the defendant he is defending? Working with him is his handsome private eye, Paul Drake (William Hopper) and loyal, smart, beautiful secretary, Della Street (Barbara Hale). These three are one determined trio, getting the evidence they need to find the murderer when their client has been fingered. Working on the other side is hapless prosecuting attorney Hamilton Burger (William Talman) and over-zealous and frequently wrong police detective Tragg (Ray Collins). Viewers love to see them eat crow but, one would think, Los Angeles would try to find two new folks for these positions as they are always on the losing side! In one episode, the case of the Lonely Heiress, Della helps Perry realize how the murderer used a syringe to get poison into a corked bottle of champagne, thus pointing the finger at who was responsible. Happily, there is also a great deal of humor interspersed with the dark tales, a set and art design that is first rate, and a theme song that is priceless. In summary, Perry Mason is doubtless the best attorney who ever lived and watching him in action, with his co-horts, is an extremely safisfying event.
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8/10
Angelic child leads two adults in the right direction; very enjoyable
9 August 2019
Harrison (Dean Winters) is a struggling writer who works on crime novels he is certain will make his name. Meanwhile, he does freelance technical writing to help pay the bills. In the mornings, he likes to go to a nearby cafe for breakfast, where he often spies a beautiful lady, Holly (Yasmine Bleeth) with her dog. Despite several overtures, Holly doesn't seem to want his attentions. One day, out of the blue, an old girlfriend shows up at Harrison's door with an unbelievable request. Could Harrison, for old times sake, watch her darling six year old daughter, Jenny (Emily Mae Young) for ten days? What?! But, when Jenny pops her head around the door and smiles, Harrison suddenly agrees. So, off Mom goes to a business conference and Jenny and her beloved Dodo stuffed friend stay with Harrison. Almost immediately, Jenny sees Harrison likes Holly, so she arranges to get to know Holly by visiting her office. Then, Harrison begins to make up stories about Mr. Dodo as bedtime tales. Jenny loves them. While the little gal gently urges Holly to go on outings with her and Harrison, the three seem made for each other. Then, Mom comes back to claim her daughter, even though Harrison learns by accident that Jenny is his daughter, too. Now, a custody battle will begin even as Harrison's income goes down even more! What will be the outcome? This angelic movie features a darling child star who is almost as charming as Shirley Temple. Winters and Bleeth make an attractive couple as well. The script is quite fine while the costumes are some of the best this viewer has seen. By all means, romcom lovers and family flick lovers, don't miss out on UA. Everyone will be laughing, sighing, and crying.
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7/10
Well done indie with a satisfying, if atypical, ending
8 August 2019
Gene (Benjamin Ratner) recalls his jilting at the altar over and over in his mind. HIs fiancee Liz (Elizabeth Berkeley) bolted out the back door of the church, telling folks she was going out for "a smoke". But, as the best man beckons to Gene, she's probably not coming back and, in fact, Gene glimpses her hailing a taxi. So, sorrow follows. To recover, author Gene begins a book called Fear Knot to chronicle what went wrong. Meanwhile, his overbearing parents have all sorts of advice for him that he doesn't want. Out of the blue, Liz comes knocking at Gene's door a year later. But, she's not attempting a reconciliation. As a B movie star, Liz has to jet off to Prague for a film. Her request, unbelievably, is that Gene help her aging father move from a dingy basement apartment into a bright, sunny one she has just located. Taken aback, Gene nevertheless agrees to help out when Liz breaks into tears. In the course of this action, Liz frequently calls from the set, seeming at times to make overtures to Gene. Will he giver her a second chance, if this is what she wants? This indie film, written, directed, and starring Ratner has its quiet charms. There are many funny moments in the every day life of Gene's zany family and in the wacky sets of the movie filming in Prague. Also, the cast is truly great with Ratner and Berkeley leading the way. Most importantly, the ending is satisfying but not pat, not at all. If you are drawn to offbeat flicks and tales of romance, this little movie is a pleasure.
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8/10
You may have to run for oxygen, you will be laughing so hard
4 August 2019
Bryan (Dave Annable) is a doing-well pet photographer who caters to the rich and their animals. His new assistant (Mena Suvari) has some clever ideas to manage the creatures and an over-active crush on her boss. One fateful day, two dogs get loose and chase a prized cat to injury. The feline's owner happens to be the wife of a Croatian mobster and he is not pleased with a cat wrapped up in splints. To exact payment, this mobster kidnaps Bryan and declares he must marry his daughter so she can get a green card. Or else. Aghast, Bryan can do nothing but say yes. But, hoho, the daughter, Masha (Katherine McPhee) is a beauty with a sweet nature. The only catch is, Bryan can not touch her after marriage but must leave her alone FOR A YEAR until the annulment happens. This, after dad sends them on a honeymoon to the South Pacific islands. There, they meet a goofy helicopter pilot (Rob Schneider) and a lovely hotel employee (Tia Carrerre). Sparks fly between the couple, for Masha is soon in swimwear and fetching. But, when the couple goes to a secret cover, Masha is taken hostage. Can Bryan save his new wife from danger and win her affections? This funny, funny romcom had this viewer laughing til it hurt. The cast is just marvelous, with Suvari, Schneider, Carrerre, Kathy Bates, and the rest cracking joke after joke while the winsome duo of Annable and McPhee are adorable, too. The scenery (all shot in Hawaii) is breathtaking while costumes, script and direction combine to make one great chucklefest. So, don't delay. You may now run to find this movie anywhere you are able.
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Under the Greenwood Tree (2005 TV Movie)
10/10
Beautiful film in every way, from the classic Thomas Hardy novel
28 July 2019
Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes) returns to her small town in England to become the new school mistress and to care for her elderly father. Its Christmastime and, on her first night in her rented flat, a group of carol singers arrive to perform lovely music. Looking out the window, she smiles at the gentlemen. One of them is thunderstruck. This is Dick Dewy (James Murray), the handsome son of a poor peddler/delivery man. In the coming days, Dick makes his affections known. But, alas, Mr. Day wants Fancy to marry someone richer and more reliable, as his own wife took off to places unknown. Besides, Fancy is a very educated young lady and will be playing the organ at the church services. Not surprisingly, since Fancy is likewise beautiful, another man sets his eye on marrying her as well. He is a rich landowner, Mr. Shriner, and announces his intentions while conceding she need not answer right away. When Fancy believes Dick is a bit too forward, she tries to quench his affections. In short order, it is also known that the parson may have eyes for her, too. Now, what a quandary it is to have three men begging for your hand! Who will she choose? This light but realistic tale, from the one and only Thomas Hardy, has been brought gloriously to the screen by the BBC. Hawes and Murray are topnotch and so is the rest of the cast. The scenery is breathtaking while the costumes and sets transport the viewer back to a different time, different place but, where human emotions and foibles remain universal. Then, too, the script and the direction never lose power. As one of Hardy's earlier works, its lighter tone is welcome even as one values the realism of such tragedies as Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Far From the Madding Crowd. Are you a cinema fan to the core? There is no way you will ever want to miss this fine film.
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Notorious (1946)
9/10
Notorious indeed, for this woman must go far beyond the pale to redeem herself!
26 July 2019
Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) is, alas, the beautiful daughter of a Nazi who has fled to Brazil. Knowing what her father has done, Alicia drinks too much and romances men one after the other, trying to forget. At a party, she meets handsome Devlin (Cary Grant) , who flirts back when she comes on the him. Hopping a motorcycle, they flee into the warm night. But, changes come fast. Devlin is an American CIA operative and wants Alicia to gather clues on the Nazis in her father's group. Devlin even wants her to attract the attention of a former beau, Alexander (Claude Rains), for he also is a former Nazi. Reluctantly, she does so for she has fallen for Devlin. But, how far must a woman go to get the secrets? Devlin insists she marry Alexander, since that is what he wants, and continue her deception! Doesn't Devlin care what happens to Alicia? This amazing film is notorious indeed in the plot details, especially a film of the 1940's. Risque or not, Grant and Bergman are wonderful and Rains leads a fine supporting cast. Naturally, the sets in Brazil are fabulous and all other matters, including Hitchcock's direction, are grand, too. All film lovers, don't miss Notorious!
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Runaway Bride (1999)
8/10
For those who loved Pretty Woman, here is a chance to see Gere-Roberts do it again
23 July 2019
Ike (Richard Gere) is a hotshot editorial writer with a big ego. All too often, he barely makes his deadline, which exasperates his boss and ex-wife (Rita Wilson). One day, desperate for an idea, he learns about a woman who is constantly jilting men at the altar, in a small city in Maryland. Thus, Ike writes the column on hearsay and doesn't get the facts right. The woman, Maggie (Julia Roberts) contacts the paper about Ike's mistakes and gets him fired. With nothing to do and highly miffed, Ike travels to the MD village to meet and observe Maggie. Who knows, maybe he will publish an expose freelance. At this time, Maggie works in the family hardware store and is engaged to a nice coach (Christopher Meloni). She is mighty irritated that Ike is in town to trail her days before her wedding. But, what else? Maggie bolts AGAIN during the ceremony. Could Ike be the reason? This lovely and funny romance is the type of movie Hollywood doesn't make anymore. WHY WHY WHY WHEN IT IS SO CHARMING? Fans of romcoms are waiting breathlessly for romantic comedies that never arrive. So, go back in time, fans, and repeat the gems of the past. Gere and Roberts are great, the supporting cast fine, the scenery and costumes breathtaking and the script/direction of the best. But, someone PLEASE run away to Hollywood and tell them we need this type of film for the starving masses!
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9/10
A total delight, one of Grant's last films; too bad the duo didn't make more together!
16 July 2019
In Manhattan, Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) has been looking for work. On the day of an important interview, she is splashed by a rushing limo and mud goes all over her clothes. Disgusted, she ducks into a nearby building. However, the businessman, Philip (Cary Grant) has seen the incident and orders his driver to go back around the block. Cathy's not there. Instead, she is in a luncheonette complaining to her best friend, Connie (Audrey Meadows). But, ho ho. The eatery is near the building where Philip works and he spies the pretty lady. Sending his right hand man (Gig Young) over to compensate for his boss, Cathy tells the underling she wants to tell her woes right to the head honcho. But, when she is ushered in, all her sharp words die in her mouth. Philip is gorgeous! After paying for dry cleaning, Philip wants to take Cathy out. Thus, the unemployed gal meets the millionaire. Can this work? This delightful film is a Day favorite and one of Grant's last films. What a shame, as they are a dynamic duo! Also fabulous is the supporting cast of Meadows, Young, John Astin, and others. The sets, costumes, script, direction and cameos by the NY Yankees will charm the viewer as well. If you have only viewed the great Day/Hudson films but have somehow missed this gem, don't delay. One could say this should be required viewing for romcom fans everywhere!
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7/10
Sweet and animal lovers will adore it as there are creatures galore!
16 July 2019
Charlie (Kena Holmes) is the only child of small-time zookeepers. As such, she can help with most of the animals but not the truly dangerous ones, like the tigers. But, lately, Dad seems worried over the amount of money coming in and going out. Meanwhile, a devious banker in the city has discovered that there is gold on a property nearby. You guessed it, its on the grounds of the zoo. He calls in his wife's delinquent cousin to plan a sabotage operation, that will make the zoo's property go down in value so HIS BANK can buy it at a bargain. Just at this moment, Charlie finds a nugget of gold in the stream and tells her trusted friend, a longtime zoo employee, about it. Maybe this is just what her parents need to save the zoo! This sweet movie has been crafted by a company intent on making family friendly films. Naturally, some of the adult characters are buffoons and the kids and animals smart. Nevertheless, the sheer quantity of creatures and the lovely settings will please the target audience, as will the zany humor. Family film fans, you will like this one.
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Apartment 12 (2000)
6/10
Has its moments but falls short of being a must-see for romcom fans
11 July 2019
Alex (Mark Ruffalo) thinks the world is his oyster at this moment. He is about to have an art showing at a Los Angeles gallery and he shares a beautiful home with a lovely lady. Alas, the gallery manager cancels his show just as Alex says sayonara to his pizza delivery job. Then, in short order, his girlfriend breaks things off by dumping his stuff on the street and leaving a note on the door. Scrambling, the struggling painter finds an apartment in a rundown complex with a wide variety of nutcase tenants. One of them brings a Spam casserole on his first night, ugh. Yet, Alex keeps painting and soon meets a fellow tenant, Lori (Beth Ulrich) who is quite cute but has interests totally dissimilar to his. They have a brief "thing" but are they truly made for each other? Then, too, at a low point, Alex gets an inspiration for a new style of painting. Will this result in his big break? This offbeat romcom has some great ideas which don't quite fully bloom. Ruffalo and Ulrich, nevertheless, and the unknown secondary cast are funny and charming. The seedy sets of LA contrast with the poshier places but the direction slows the pace too much at times. But, if YOU, like ME, get desperate for an unseen romantic comedy now and again, drop by Apartment 12.
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Love Unleashed (2019 TV Movie)
8/10
Unleash time to watch this truly doggone good film
9 July 2019
Hailey (Jen Lilley) is an accountant with a wonderful side business. She arranges "puppy parties" to entertain young birthday celebrants and to get the little doggies adopted. On an outing, she meets Ryan (Christopher Russell) , a single dad to Emily, who longs for a puppy. But, father's not sure. Since his wife's death, he and Emmy have done just fine and he's concerned they do not have time to care for a puppy in their home. Happily, Hailey can arrange for Emily to see the dogs at home a couple of times. Complications soon arise when Hailey, who has been advocating for a certain city property to become a dog park, and Ryan, who works for the mayor, knows his boss wants the land for retail. More importantly, Ryan is confused by his growing attraction to Hailey and visa versa. Will solutions and romance arrive? Hallmark should get its own star on the walk in Hollywood for making tons of quality romantic comedies when Hollywood has mostly abandoned the genre's fans. This one is also terrific with a nice cast, charming puppies, great costumes, sets, humor and heart. My only pleas are for viewers to find the film and enjoy it AND FOR HALLMARK TO RELEASE some of its great movies to theaters.
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Psycho (1960)
10/10
A classic in chills and creepiness, nuf said
3 July 2019
Marion (Janet Leigh) works for a real estate agent and earns, most likely, very little bucks in the late fifties. She loves a handsome gentleman named Sam (John Gavin) but, alas, his divorce has left his prospects dim, as a good deal of his money goes to his ex-wife. In fact, he lives in another California town, behind the hardware store he runs. Marion is getting tired of meeting Sam in cheap hotels and listening to his weak promises. One day, a crooked businessman comes in with $40,000 cash for a house he is buying for his daughter, who is marrying soon. Marion's boss is aghast to hold this much money so he sends Marion to the bank on a Friday afternoon. The money never gets deposited. Going a bit "crazy", Marion takes the cash and runs north, thinking this will allow Sam to marry her. But, a heavy downpour makes Marion stop at an out-of-the-way motel, The Bates. Greeted by the motel's owner, Norman ( a superb Anthony Perkins), Marion soon learns she is the only guest and is given the best room. Norman even brings her a meal, over the objections of his mother, who Marion sees in a window and hears from the 'big house" behind the motel. After she eats, Marion decides maybe she should take the money back in the morning and steps into the shower. Suddenly and ghastly, Marion is stabbed to death by, its assumed, Norman's mother. Norman cleans the place up and sinks Marion's car, along with the money, into a pond near the motel. All too soon, Sam and Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) are looking for her. A private eye goes snooping, too, hired by the man with the bucks, for he can't notify the police. When the PI gets to the Bates, Norman's mother makes short work of him, too. Another car goes swimming and sinks. But, when Sam and Lila likewise trail Marion to the Bates, will more deaths ensue? Is there bigger secrets afoot? You bet! This classic tale of a psychosis and murder is rightly one of Hitchcock's most famous films. DEFINITELY SCARIER THAN SCARY, many folks never take a shower again after viewing it. Perkins is beyond great as the weird Norman and Leigh, Gavin, and Miles do their parts quite nicely. The twist at the end is compelling while, even in black and white, the film's production is stunning. Don't miss this one if you dare!
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Ghost Ship (1992)
6/10
Pretty lame knockoff of The Goonies; grade school children might like it
25 June 2019
In the Arizona desert, there is a hidden treasure according to an old legend. It seems once the Colorado river was overflowing and a Chinese ship with jewels, gold, and other costly items went aground. Now, there is nothing but sand and an old map which may indicate where the ship is. Two groups collide to find the riches for themselves. One is a duo, with a greedy Brit and a nicer Asian man (Byron Mann) who got the map from ancestors. The other search party is a group of fourteen year olds on a field trip with their science teacher and his girlfriend as chaperones. Supposedly looking for geodes, the kids found the map at a photo shop, where negatives were left, and they switched the map without their teacher's knowledge. Soon, the Brit gets scared, as he sees an apparition of a camel at night and his Asian sidekick gets angry, leaving him to his own resources. Once the teacher finds out the kids are looking for the sunken ship, he, too, is angry, as their supplies are low. But, with great skills, the kids learn to make do and get more clues as to where the treasure is. However, there may be obstacles and bed folks out to stop them. Can they discover the gold and also live through it? This knockoff of The Goonies is okay but certainly not top tier. Young teens and grade school children may like it as the young actors are very attractive and just learning how to kiss! The gentleman and lady playing the two teachers were also quite wonderful as was various secondary thespians. But, the low budget scenery, costumes, and slow direction take away from the total impact of the movie. Nevertheless, if your kids liked The Goonies and other treasure seeking films, Ghost Ship might sail well for your family.
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Cop and a Half: New Recruit (2017 TV Movie)
7/10
Cute family film with a clever girl and a fine Lou Diamond Philips
17 June 2019
Karina (Lulu Wilson) wants to be a cop like her deceased father. Therefore, at school, she is always snooping and "hall monitoring" and no one really likes having her on their trails. Even the principal (Wallace Shawn) loses patience at times although he wants to cut the fatherless girl a few breaks. One day, Karina somehow runs into a real cop, Detective Simmons (Lou Diamond Phillips), who is also having some trying times. Soon, she is trailing him, much to his chagrin. The town they live in, meanwhile, is being punked maliciously by anonymous; the library has books moved around while other incidents occur at the post office and other government agencies. When Karina is knocked down by a drone, both she and Simmons get the idea that drones are involved with the other activities. But, how do they find the perp? This cute family film, a sorta sequel to the darling first film, has a clever girl and the fine actor Lou Diamond Philips as its primary charms. The sets, costumes, and script are adequate and harmless, with comedy ensuing most of the time. Therefore, if you are looking for family entertainment, this one isn't half bad/
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8/10
Top notch cast, art direction and special effects are found here; story is dark and complex
2 June 2019
In 1950's Michigan, young boy Lewis is arriving in the midwestern state to meet his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), whom he has never seen. Unhappily, Lewis parents have died and Lew, scared and upset, doesn't know what to expect from his future life. Jonathan seems strange but friendly and turns out to live in a huge mansion guarded by year round Jack-o-lanterns. Odd. There are noises in the night which initially spook Lewis. Also, his first days at school are anything but enjoyable as the children are not friendly and consider Lewis bizarre for the aviator glasses he constantly wears. However, his uncle soon confesses that he, Jonathan, is a good warlock and nice, kind neighbor Florence (Cate Blanchett) is a good witch. Their immediate mission, as they tell Lewis, is to keep a former and now deceased friend-warlock, Isaac (Kyle Maclachlan) from coming back to upset the world. You see Isaac turned "dark" and has planted a doomsday clock somewhere in the house, with intentions of using it at some point. Eagerly, Lewis wants to learn magical ways, too, and wishes to join in the mission to keep Isaac away. Yet, horrors, one day Lewis makes a mistake which makes the danger nearer than ever. Can this trio defeat the evil Isaac? This film, based on a book which was published 25 years before Harry Potter, has some of the same themes which Potter fans might enjoy. The cast is truly terrific while the sets, art direction and special effects are mind-blowing. Alas, the tale is somber and complex and doesn't always "work". Also, parents who object to witches and dark magic would be advised to find other film choices for their children. Even so, House has a couple of hours of fine entertainment for a goodly number of folks.
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6/10
Rowan Atkinson is tops but this film's script does not match his talent, by far
14 May 2019
Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) has been "retired" from the British spy agency. Well, he had been lucky, not skilled or intelligent, in his previous work. Now, Johnny teaches at a school, where the students are enchanted by the way he mixes spy techniques into their lessons. What fun! What's NOT fun is when the Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) receives word that someone is hacking into the Agency's computers and exposing all the identities of the secret agents! Now, while seasoned spies must go into hiding, former spies must be recalled to find out the man or woman responsible for the computer disaster. Guess who gets summoned? Why here's Johnny! With a former sidekick coming on board, the men act as waiters, accidentally burning down eateries to get clues then travel to the South of France where evidence has been found. If the Tour de France is underway and blocking the road, no matter, Johnny just releases a smoke bomb to make them all fall to the ground. Whoa, whoa. A pretty lady becomes their first suspect while a genius computer man, Pegasus (Adam James) has the Prime Minister convinced HE ALONE can solve the problem. Eventually following leads to Scotland, Johnny dons kilts and armor to get the culprit. Can his bumbling ways do so? Ha, right down to using a sword to smash evidence! This mediocre film should be viewed for one reason only: ATKINSON. True, Ms. Thompson gamely garners laughs but without Rowan, this ship would sink. Oh, yes, the scenery, costumes and such are charming but the script doesn't work a good deal of the time. Yet, Atkinson rises above the fray. If you love HIM, don't, don't miss it.
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The Hustle (2019)
7/10
Thank God for Rebel Wilson! She is my new heroine; Hathaway fun, too, in a so-so film
14 May 2019
Penny (Rebel Wilson) is backpacking through France with her "swindling" ability. She can fake sad stories and exhort money from disappointed men seeking mates. But, alas, she is not big time. Meanwhile, Josephine (Anne Hathaway) lives in Beaumont Sur Mer, where there is a casino and she knows how to win big money through deception. In part, its due to her police officer friend and loyal butler Albert who, when Jo is successful, get their cuts. When Penny and Josephine meet on a train, Jo, who has witnessed Penny grifting a dinner and faking her way into first class, tries to convince the blonde lady NOT to disembark in B Sur M. Penny does not to so but is only fooled for a brief while. Eventually, Penny discovers the rich lifestyle that Josephine pursues and WILL NOT LEAVE WITHOUT professional secrets. So, while each dislikes the other mightily, Jo and Penny team up to deceive their way into even more riches. Soon, they learn a naive tech billionaire may be a great mark and they decide to challenge each other for the prize. Who will win? This remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has its charms, mainly from Rebel Wilson. SHE is the new "it" gal of comedy and Hollywood should take notice. No matter that the script is so-so, Ms. Wilson can mine gold from pyrite. Ms. Hathaway and the supporting staff are fine, fine as well. Then, too, the viewer will be enchanted with the fabulous sets and costumes! Therefore, if you want to laugh these days, and who doesn't, hustle over to the cinema and lay your money down for a Rebel with a Comedic Cause!
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Game of Thrones (2011–2019)
10/10
Late to the party, I am blown away by this fantastical, medieval-type world; beware of its R-rated elements for sexual themes and violence
6 May 2019
In a world created in books by George R. R. Martin, Westeros mimics Middle Ages Europe with magical elements. As such, the once ruling family, Targaryen, was deposed when the last king went mad and was killed by a guard. The remaining family members, Viserys and Daenerys, were whisked across the Narrow Sea to a strange country with little hope of regaining the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, new king Robert has gone from magnificent warrior to careless ruler and his scheming wife Cersei has many devious plans. When a close adviser to the king dies, the ruler of Winterfell, the far Nothern country, is asked to go become the Right Hand of the King. He doesn't want it but can't refuse. His large family of children is broken in two when his wife must remain behind to care for an ailing son. There is also a dwarf brother to the Queen, a 700 wall keeping out the wild neighbors on the cold North and five other countries where leaders dream of "taking over". Who will win the Game of Thrones? This magnificent series has it all, a great cast, settings, costumes, and story. Don't miss it!
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Long Shot (2019)
7/10
Although I liked many elements of LS, I was ultimately lukewarm to the entire film, especially its R rated scenes
6 May 2019
Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is a successful Secretary of State to a President who clashes with her opinions, at times. In truth, this Head of State was once an actor and he doesn't truly enjoy his greatest role. Meanwhile, Fred (Seth Rogen), a muck-raking journalist for a small Brooklyn newspaper, quits when a Murdoch-like media mogul takes over the paper. In serious need of cheering up, Fred's close friend takes him to a glamorous party where Boyz 2 Men are singing. Of course, Charlotte is there, too, and has just learned the President will not seek re-election and wants to throw his support behind HER. But, wait! Fred KNOWS Charlotte from long ago, when she was the 16 year old babysitter to his 13 year old hormones raging self. Back then, she was seriously earnest, ultimately losing a class election by concentrating more on ecology than a "second prom" touting opponent. After re-connecting at the party, Charlotte wants Fred to join her election campaign, for his humor is much needed for her new image creation. From jetting to Sweden to concoct a global ecological "pact" to being under fire at an island on the Philippines and then whisking away to tango with more nabobs in Argentina, is Charlotte getting interested in Fred romantically? And visa versa? This sometimes pleasing romcom has one beautiful star in Theron and one funny star in Rogen. They are quite charming and fun. The supporting cast has great vibes, too. Naturally, the world scenery is exotically lovely while Theron's costumes are ever-changing and ever-glamorous. But, the script has some problems, especially its R-rated themes which this viewer believes went way too far for comfort. What a shame, for this ultimately left me NOT wanting to view it again. Listen up, Hollywood, sexual tension and comedy does not need blue elements like those found here! But, other viewers may decide differently after attending Long Shot. Therefore, this viewer doesn't want to be discouraging, only wary, so take a shot at this movie if you dare.
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8/10
Conversation driven film with attractive stars, voluminous ideas; sophisticated viewers will like it
1 May 2019
In Greenwich Village, documentary filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and his lovely wife, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are not happy with their lives, at the moment. Now in their early forties, they tried for years to become parents and, despite thinking they had let this dream go, they are suddenly pondering it again. This is largely due to close friends of the same age group who have just welcomed their first child. Strong emotions come rushing back. More importantly, Josh is having trouble completing his latest film which bothers Cornelia a great deal. Perhaps this is because her father Leslie (Charles Grodin) is also a famous creator in the non-fiction film category who could help Josh but the younger man insists on going it alone. One day, as Josh delivers a guest lecture at a college nearby, he is startled to find two folks auditing his class. They are Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) a married couple who shower Josh with praise for his previous work. Whoa, how nice is this! Jamie, in fact, admits he aspires to the same type of career and would love to hobnob with Josh to learn pointers. Soon, the foursome are meeting for dinner at Jamie and Darby's place, where J &C discover a bohemian atmosphere they admire. Not only that, the younger couple ride bikes everywhere and many zany interests. Even though its difficult, Josh and Cornelia try to keep up. They all attend a mystical weekend event, take mind-altering drugs and let loose. But, truth is important to Josh and he soon finds Jamie likes to fabricate parts of the truth if it suits him and his situation. In fact, was Jamie ever interested in being friends are just picking brains? This conversation driven film has its moments of humor and life lessons that make it attractive to the sophisticated film viewer. Also, the stars are terrific, not only the main actors, but all of the supporting cast as well. Those who love Manhattan will enjoy the many sights and sounds of a vibrant city. Do you see yourself as a film fan who likes Woody Allen and other movies where conversations are everything? You will like this one.
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