Friday, September 22, 2017

Bonjour Tristesse 1958

     This film is based on a novel by Francoise Sagan.  Cecile lives with her wealthy father Raymond.  Ceclie is having a lot of fun at the seaside and she’s met Philippe.  He's studying to be a lawyer and is on summer break.  An old friend of Raymond, Anne Larson comes to visit them.  Raymond decides to ask Anne to marry him.  Cecile is all for it in the beginning.  After the announcement, Anne begins to pressure Cecile to study for exams and to stop seeing Philippe.  Cecile doesn’t want to do either of these things.  She failed her exams and she doesn't care??
     The scenery of the Riviera is very beautiful.  The plot is slightly weak and it’s been done with different nuances many times.  I liked the cars, attitudes, clothing and hairstyles of this period.  There is a LOT of drama about everything!!  Wealth may be a necessity in this area??  3* (This movie is OK)

94 min, Drama directed by Otto Preminger with Jean Seberg, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Mylene Demongeot, Geoffrey Horne, Juliette Greco, Walter Chiari, Martita Hunt, Roland Culver, Jean Kent, David Oxley, Eveline Eyfel.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 86% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 62 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Cote d’Azur, Saint-Tropez, France; Surrey, England.  Otto Preminger liked this film but he felt American critics did not do it justice.  Americans felt it wasn’t French enough but it was a success in France.  Eveline Eyfel plays three roles as a maid, sisters Albertine, Leontine and Caludine.  Scenes in Paris are in black and white and the scenes on the French Riviera are in color.  David Niven was 48 years old, Deborah Kerr was 37 years old, Jean Seberg was 20 years old and Geoffrey Horne was 25 years old at filming.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Last Word 2017

     Harriet Lauler wants to control everything about her life and everyone in her life.  She starts to feel burned out and she tries to kill herself.  She didn’t take enough pills or drink enough wine and she lives.  She starts to think about her obituary and what it would say.  She reads one about a woman she knows and none of what was said is true.  Harriet would like to have control over what is said in her obituary before she dies.  She talks to Anne Sherman, the obituary writer for the local newspaper.
     Shirley MacLaine definitely has not had plastic surgery or a face lift and she is 83 years old.  She would control the weather every day if she could?  People who know her should cross the street when they see her headed their way.  She hasn’t given up bothering her former husband and they have been divorced 22 years.  She hasn’t seen or spoken to her daughter (her only child) for many years.  Amada Seyfried must be living in the past (maybe 1988) and that’s how she can devote herself to obituaries?  She dresses like 1988 and her Volvo station wagon may be older?  3* (This movie is OK) 

108 min, Comedy directed by Mark Pellington with Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, AnnJewel Lee Dixon, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Baker Hall, Gedde Watanabe, Tom Everett Scott, Joel Murray, Yvette Freeman.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 37% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 699 reviews, Metacritic 40 out of 100 with 23 critics 7.4 out of 10 with 7 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Pasadena, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California.  Warren Beatty is MacLaine’s brother, 3 years younger.  Veteran British actress Millicent Martin has a quick cameo as Margaret Dumont.  Martin and MacLaine appeared together in What a Way to Go of 1964.  There is a mistake with KOXA the local radio station.  The frequency number is 107.2 FM but in the US FM stations have odd frequencies.  It would need to be 107.1 or 107.3.  The neighborhood is supposed to be Bristol but there isn’t a neighborhood or suburb in LA with this name.  Andalusia is mentioned and it’s an autonomous region in southern Spain with eight provinces.  There is another film with the same title from 2009.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trouble Makers 1948

      Bowery Boys Terrance Aloysius ‘Slip’ Mahoney and Horace Debussy ‘Sach’ Jones are hawking being able to look through a large telescope on the sidewalk.  They see a murder committed in a room at the El Royale Hotel and it’s several blocks away.  Slip and Sach and their Police Officer friend Gabe Moreno search the murder room and they don’t find any evidence of a murder.  They learn “Silky” Thomas occupies the room.  Gabe receives a reprimand from Police Captain Madison for leaving his beat.  Later, in the newspaper there is an article about the murder of Professor Prescott.  Slip and Sach go to the morgue to make sure this is the same murder victim.  They meet the professor’s daughter, Ann Prescott.  They promise to find her father’s killers.  Because of Ann, Slip and Sach get jobs as bellhops at the hotel to further investigate.
     This is the first film I've watched with the Bowery Boys and I had never heard of them before?  Almost everyone has a nickname in this film.  Slip is always mixing up his words on purpose especially if they are long words.  For example, instead of saying it was his imagination, he will say imaginatation?  Everyone is standing up straight in a lineup for inspection of the bellhops for uniforms and posture.  Slip is the only one not standing straight but he has his shoulders sagging forward and it looks like his uniform is too big?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
66 min, Comedy directed by Reginald Le Borg with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Frankie Darro, Lionel Stander, John Ridgely, Helen Parrish, Fritz Feld, William Benedict, David Gorcey, Cliff Clark.
Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, TV Guide 2* out of 4*, TCM Leonard Maltin 2* out of 4* average user rating 3.3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  This is the 12th movie in a series of 48 Bowery Boys movies.  There is a mistake when the vice squad raids a supposed Flower Shop.  A bunch of suspects file out into a paddy wagon.  The open door reveal there’s no roof inside because the whole block is a false-front movie set.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Southerner 1945

   This film is based on the novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand by George Sessions Perry and published in 1941.  Sam Tucker has been working as a migrant picker on a cotton field in Texas in the early 1940’s.  His uncle Pete passes away in the field.  He’s just worn out.  Pete tells Sam to plant a field for himself and work for himself.  There is a nearby field that has not grown cotton in several years.  Sam arranges to rent the land and he moves his family to the house on the property.  Sam’s family is Nona his wife, Granny, daughter Daisy and son Jot.  They all wonder about the dry well and the decaying shack.  Sam visits Henry Devers the nearest neighbor and learns Henry is probably the worst neighbor in the world!!  The family lives on game that Sam is able shoot.  Jot becomes sick with Spring Sickness and the doctor says he needs vegetables, fruit and milk to survive.  Sam doesn't know how he's going to afford any of this food?
     Sam and Nona are working as hard as they can but they have limited resources.  Neighbor Devers is worse than having no neighbor.  The only luck the family seems to have is bad luck!!  There aren’t any luxuries here and just barely the necessities.  At least they are a happy family, not sour and mean like Devers.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
93 min, Drama directed by Jean Renoir with Zachary Scott, Betty Field, J. Carrol Naish, Beulah Bondi, Percy Kilbride, Charles Kemper, Blance Yurka, Norman Lloyd, Estelle Taylor, Paul Harvey, Noreen Nash, Jack Norworth, Nestor Paiva, Jay Gilpin.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 91% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 45 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 4* out of 4* 3.5 average user review.
Special Note:  Oscars were won for Best Director, Original Music Score and Best Sound Mixing.  The National Board of Review named Jean Renoir Best Director.  The film was the third best film of 1945.  Jot has Spring Sickness and it’s really Pellagra caused by lack of vitamin B3, niacin and the amino acid tryptophan.  He has inflamed skin, dementia and sores in his mouth.  Areas of skin exposed to the sun or rubbed by cloth are affected. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fifty Shades Darker 2017

     This film is based on the second book in a series by E. L. James.  Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey had broken off their relationship and Ana’s mother is wondering why?  Ana and Christian meet again and they decide to begin again with the relationship but with differences.  They will not have any rules or any punishments.  Ana and Christian are drawing closer to each other but women from Christian’s past begin to cause them to struggle.
      It was inevitable that this book series would be filmed since the books were so popular!!  This second film seems to be more of a soap opera than the first film Fifty Shades of Grey of 2015.  It may be because more members of Christian’s family are included and there is more about the women in his past?  I think there is a very real possibility that if Christian had boring desk job with little influence and he made little money, he would not be so attractive to everyone???  Money and loads of it adds a lot of appeal!!  Ana is not as stern or as serious as Christian and she doesn’t care about his money, she’d rather give it away!!  3* (This movie is OK)    
118 min, Drama directed by James Foley with Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Elosie Mumford, Bella Heathcote, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Bruce Altman, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Arlie, Robinne Lee, Amy Price-Francis.

Note:  Imdb 4.6 out of 10, 10% critic 49% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 802 reviews, Rolling Stone 1.5* out of 4* review by Peter Travers, 33 out of 100 with 39 critics 3* out of 10* with 196 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Melanie Griffith is Dakota Johnson’s mother and in the film Working Girl of 1988, Melanie says a line that Ana also says to her assistant.  “I expect you to call me Ana, I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself, and um, the rest we’ll just make up as we go along.”  Johnson and Dornan had a private conversation before some of their scenes.  Johnson would also have a glass of whiskey and Dornan would do push-ups.  Dornan worked out more and packed on more muscle for this film than the first film.  He wasn’t happy with his physique in the first film but he was cast 5 weeks before filming.  Fifty Shades Freed will be released in 2018.  The screenwriter is Niall Leonard and he is the husband of the author E. L. James.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Home from the Hill 1960

     This film is based on a novel with the same title by William Humphrey and the setting is Clarksville, Texas.  Captain Wade Hunnicutt is the wealthiest and most powerful citizen in this East Texas town.  He’s married to Hannah and they have a teen son Theron.  It’s well known to everyone that Wade’s other son is Rafe Copley.  Hannah has raised Theron and he doesn’t know much about being a man.  In high school, Wade tells Hannah that he is going to take over the  education of Theron and teach him how to hunt.  Rafe works for Wade and he’s given the job to work with Theron. Rafe knows they are brothers but Theron hasn’t learned this yet.  Theron's new freedom and lifestyle leads to him finding out information about his family that he wasn’t aware of before.
     Wade is very bold, Hannah is exactly the opposite and she’s very restrained.  Wade believes since he’s the man of the house, he can do anything with his life that he wants.  Wade has never acknowledged Rafe as his son because he believes he can claim who is his own and who is not.  Hannah has been hurt many times by his behavior and she wants nothing to do with Wade.  She is only staying in the home because of Theron.  The scenes of the countryside and the town are beautiful.  The Hunnicutt’s live in a very lovely house with beautiful hunting dogs but it was and becomes emptier inside.  I didn’t see the twists coming in the ending.  4* (I really liked this movie)

150 min, Drama directed by Vincente Minnelli with Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton, Everett Sloane, Luana Patten, Anne Seymour, Constance Ford, Ken Renard, Ray Teal.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 100% critic 93% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 175 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4* 4.79 average user rating,
Special Note:  Filmed in Oxford and Greenwood, Mississippi; Clarksville, Paris and Dallas, Texas.  A lot of scenes were filmed near the University of Mississippi campus.  William Faulkner was a writer-in-residence at the university.  He would climb up a tree and stay there for several hours to watch the filming.  Originally, Bette Davis and Clark Gable were suggested as stars.  Eleanor Parker was unhappy when she learned that Robert Mitchum was getting $200,000 plus a percentage of the gross.  She was getting only a flat $75,000 and no percentage.  The premier was at Radio City Music Hall and this film was the American entry at Cannes.  The budget was $1,818,688 and gross was $2,184,558 plus $1 million more in foreign rentals.  MGM recorded a loss of $122,000 ($1.02M in 2017)?  Robert Mitchem is the father of George Peppard in the film but he was only 11 years older than Peppard.  The title is from the last line of Robert Louis Stevenson’s short poem Hamilton.  Vincente Minnelli directed 40 films between 1942 and 1976.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kong: Skull Island 2017

    During WWII in 1944, two fighter pilots, an American and a Japanese pilot parachute onto an island in the South Pacific.  There was a dogfight in close combat but a very large ape became involved with the battle.  Bill Randa was the American pilot and twenty-nine years later in 1973, he hires former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad to guide an expedition to map out Skull Island.  They have a military escort by the Sky Devils, a former Vietnam War helicopter squadron.  As soon as they reach the island, they drop explosives developed by a seismologist to begin their mapping.  Conrad believes the earth is hollow and filled with beasts predating the dinosaurs.  Right away, they encounter the same large ape from 1944.
     The scenery is very beautiful and I knew it was filmed in Vietnam when the rock formations in the water were shown.  There is not much of a story, a LOT of repetitive fighting with monsters, repetitive fighting by Kong and a LOT of CGI.  There is also a tribe of mute people who worship Kong as a protector-god.  I’m not sure how all these name actors were talked into appearing in this film.  Maybe there was a big paycheck waiting??  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)    

118 min, Action directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts with Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Thomas Mann.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 76% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 1184 reviews, Metacritic 62 out of 100 with 49 critics 6.7 out of 10 with 39 reviews,
Special Note:  Filmed in Quang Ninh, Vietnam; Queensland Australia; Oahu, Hawaii and Los Angles, California.  Sets were built at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii near the same filming locations as Jurassic World of 2015.  The actors didn’t know how big Kong would be until after production.  They asked but every time they were given conflicting answers.  The actual height was 104 feet (31.6992 meters) and the biggest of the American versions.  Michael Keaton was originally cast in the role played by John C. Reilly.  J.K. Simmons was cast in the role played by Samuel L. Jackson.  At the premiere in Vietnam, there was a 16-foot tall display model of Kong.  It became engulfed in flames caused by models of small volcanoes surrounding the statue.  The two-armed lizards are called Skullcrawlers and they were modeled after lizards from King Kong of 1933.  The original screenplay was set in 1917 but it was changed to the Vietnam War era like Apocalypse Now of 1979.  Total gross worldwide was $566.7 million, budget was $185 million and $136 million for marketing, $450-500 million profit needed to break even.