Monday, March 19, 2018

Lost in America 1985

     David and Linda Howard live and work in LA.  David convinces Linda that they should quit their jobs, liquidate their assets and live like the movie Easy Rider.  David wanted a job and he didn’t get it so it’s pull the plug on everything.  They buy a Winnebago and the first place they stop is Las Vegas.  David wakes up and finds Linda isn’t in the hotel room.  She’s down in the casino and she’s lost ALL their money.  Now all they have is the motor home? 
     This couple is not living at all like Easy Rider??  This is two men and two motorcycles and they are killed in the ending??  A motor home doesn’t have the roughing it factor like two motorcycles!!  There are a LOT of funny moments and I was surprised that Linda turned gambler and lost all their money.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

91 min, Comedy directed by Albert Brooks with Julie Hagerty, Sylvia Farrel, Albert Brooks, Tina Kincaid, Candy Ann Brown, Maggie Roswell, Hans Wagner, Brandy Rubin, Michael Greene, Tom Tarpey, Robert Hughes, Raynold Gideon.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 97% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 254 reviews, Metacritic 76 out of 100 with 9 critics.
Special Note:  Filmed in Stafford and Phoenix Arizona; Hoover Dam, Arizona-Nevada Border; Santa Clarita and Las Angeles, California; Atlanta Georgia; El Paso and Houston, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City, New York; Washington, District of Columbia.  Bill Murray was considered for the role of David Howard but he was heavily booked.  Garry Marshall has the role of the casino manager.  He was exasperated by take after take but then he saw frustration make his character funnier.  During the American cross country shoot, thirty cast and crew were crammed into just two Winnebagos and they stayed overnight in cheap motels.  By the time they got to Phoenix, Arizona, everyone had stopped talking to each other.  The co-writers worked on the script while they were on the road.  This film is No. 84 on the American Film Institute’s year 200 list of the funnies movies of all time.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Slender Thread 1965

     This film was inspired by a Life Magazine article by Shana Alexander and it’s based on actual events.  Alan Newell is a psychology student attending college in Seattle, Washington.  He can get college credits for volunteering at a crisis center.  He is at the clinic alone, he receives a call from a woman and she has taken sleeping pills.  He continues to talk to her and he arranges for the telephone company to trace the call.  The police and fire department also get involved.  They all must work together to save Inga Dyson from dying.  She has husband and a young son, she feels they are lost to her and she has nothing to live for.  She can’t forgive herself for something she’s done and she feels her family cannot forgive her either.  She thinks she is better off dead??
     This is a black and white film.  The entire time that Alan is on the phone you don’t know what the outcome will be for Inga.  What happened in her life is shown in flashbacks.  During this time period it was much more difficult to trace a call because phone lines had to be traced through electro-mechanical telephone central office switches.  I liked the cars, clothing, the views of an older Seattle and the social mores of this time period.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

98 min, Drama directed by Sydney Pollack with Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas, Steen Hill, Edward Asner, Indus Arthur, Paul Newlan, Dabney Coleman, H. M. Wynant, Bob Hoy Greg Jarvis, Jason Wingreen.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 46 reviews, TCM user rating 4.3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, California; University of Washington, Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington.  The original title was Cross My Heart And Hope To Die and Elizabeth Ashley was cast in the role of Inga.  This is the feature film directorial debut of Sydney Pollack.  He previously did all his work with television.  Poitier and Bancroft do not appear on the screen together in any scene.  

Vacation from Marriage 1945

     Robert and Catherine Wilson have a quiet marriage in London until the beginning of WWII.  Robert enlists in the Navy and Cathy becomes a W.R.E.N, this stands for Women’s Royal Enlisted Naval Service.  It was formed in 1917 for WWI and was disbanded in 1919 and revived in 1939.  They serve three years in their positions and then they are given leave.
     Both Robert and Catherine are tested as individuals during their long separation during the war.  Robert believes he has had to do everything for Cathy and he doesn’t want to continue this way.  Cathy feels that Robert is a timid man and she doesn’t want to carry his dreary load anymore.  They don’t realize they are thinking exactly the same thing??  They both would like to get a divorce and start a new lives.  I thought this was interesting on the home front and also in their duties in the Navy.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

102 min, Drama directed by Alexander Korda with Robert Donat, Deborah Kerr, Glynis Johns, Ann Todd, Roland Culver, Elliott Mason, Eliot Makeham, Brefni O’Rorke, Ivor Barnard, Henry B. Longhurst, Bill Shine.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, 4.4* out of 5* with 41 reviews, Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4* user rating 42.8* of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Denham Studios, Denham, Buckinghamsthire, England.  The film debut but uncredited of Sir Roger Moore.  This film was first shown November 1, 1956 on KTTV Channel 11 from Los Angeles, California.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Stranger 1946

     FBI Agent Wilson is an investigator for the War Crimes Commission and he is seeking Franz Kindler.  He was the German mastermind of the Holocaust during WWII.  He has erased his identity but Wilson has arranged for his former Conrad to be released.  Wilson has followed Meinike to Harper, Connecticut.  Four other Germans have traveled to Harper.  Meinike is killed so Wilson will need to find another way to identify Kindler.  Antique clocks are a fascination for Kindler and there is one in Harper.  Wilson thinks he is closing in on an identification and he also thinks Kindler will start to sweat if he feels his past closing in on him.
     Franz Kindler is using the assumed name of Professor Charles Rankin and he has just married Mary Longstreet.  Mary doesn’t know anything about Charles except that he is a teacher.  After their ceremony, Charles goes out into the woods to bury a body?  Isn’t that what everyone does after they get married?  Wilson tries to talk to her but she doesn’t want to listen or believe anything he says.  Her father and her brother are more willing to listen and believe.   Orson Wells plays going crazy very well!!  He has the wild look on his face and his eyes.  He doesn’t want to consider that what Wilson says about him is true?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

95 min, Crime directed by Orson Welles with Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Richard Long, Konstantin Shayne, Byron Keith, Billy House, Martha Wentworth.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 96% critic 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, 4.1* out of 5* with 235 reviews, Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4* user reviews 3.2 out of 5, Slant Magazine 3* out of 4*.
Special Note:  Filmed at United Artists Studios, 7200 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.  Originally Agnes Moorehead was to play the FBI agent.  This is the only film directed by Welles to show a profit in original release.  There is a scene of Loretta Young dangling dangerously many feet above a church floor.  This is not a special effect and she is being held by one hand.  The term Carthaginian peace is used and this means any peace treaty demanding total subjugation of the defeated side.  It is based on the defeat and total destruction of Carthage by Rome.  There are many poor versions of this film on the market because the original copyright was not renewed.  The New England town exterior sets were constructed on the back lot of the United Artists studio.  Life Magazine took some production shots of these sets for publication.  Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list edited by Steven Schneider.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wind River 2017

     This film is based on actual events.  Cory Lambert is a veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service.  He works on a remote Native American Reservation.  He tracks wolves killing sheep, mountain lions killing cattle and men killing women.  He is divorced from a Native American woman and they have a son.  They had a daughter but she was kidnapped and killed.  A crime has been committed on the reservation and FBI agent Jane Banner responds to investigate.  She’s from Florida and she doesn’t know about the cold, ice and snow of this area.
     This is a tough movie and the crime is tough too.  Jane and Cory work together on this crime and that’s probably the only way they could solve it.  All the problems about who has jurisdiction are true because the crime is on reservation land.  I didn’t know how this was going to play out and how the investigation would culminate?  4* (I really liked this movie)

107 min, Crime directed by Taylor Sheridan with Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Olsen, Tantoo Cardinal, Eric Lange, Gil Brimingham, Althea Sam, Tokala Black Elk, Martin Sensmeier.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 87% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, 4.6* out of 5* with 1154 reviews, Metacritic 73 out of 100 with 44 critics 7.7 out of 10 with 244 reviews, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Park City Studios and Coalville, Utah; Wind River Reservation, Fremont County and Lander, Wyoming.  Shoshone tribal leaders visited Writer-director Taylor Sheridan on the set.  They related to him that at the time of filming there were 12 unsolved murders of young women on the reservation of about 6,000 people.  There is a quagmire about arrest and prosecution rights between native and non-native peoples.  The Wind River Reservation is the 7th largest Indian reservation in the US.  An 8-minute standing ovation was received at the end of the premiere in the Un Certain Regard competition of the Cannes film festival.  This film is the third and final installment in Taylor Sheridan’s American Frontier trilogy.  The other films are Sicario of 2015 and Hell or High Water of 2016.  Elizabeth Olsen experienced snow blindness during filming.  Snowmobiles and snow cats were used and many times the snowy landscape had to be groomed afterwards.  The estimated budget was $11 million and gross US was $33,800,859 on 12/7/17.  There is another film with the same title from 2001.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Flatliners 1990

     Nelson, Rachel, David, William and Randy are medical students.  They begin to try to have near death experiences.  They each have their heart stopped and then they are revived.  Each one has a different experience but they start to deep memories of their childhood.  It’s something that they did or something that happened to them.  Their experiences begin to intensify and they begin to physically suffer from the memories. 
     Even thought this really didn’t happen, I thought it was rash and very dangerous to go to the brink of death and come back.  There seemed to be too many risks of not coming back.  When they started to experience problems, they didn’t talk about it or stop another person from doing the death procedure.  All their work to become doctors could’ve been shattered by these experiments.  I don’t think it was worth it!!  It was interested to see the actors when they were all young. 3* (This movie is OK) 
115 min, Drama directed by Joel Schumacher with Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Kimberly Scott, Joshua Rudoy, Benjamin Mouton, Aeryk Egan, Kesha Reed, Hope Davis.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 48% critic 59% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 301 reviews, Metacritic 55 out of 100 with 10 critics 7.8 out of 10 with 8 reviews.

Special Note:  Filmed in Chicago and Bensenville, Illinois; Cotati, Los Angeles and Burbank, California.  Also filmed on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago.  The students were hoping to see what accident victims report, a tunnel leading to a beautiful white light and friendly voices but this didn’t happen.  People attempting suicide report troubled, emotionally painful near-death experiences.  Michael Douglas was the producer of this film.  There is a remake of this film with Ellen Page and Diego Luna released in 2017.  The estimated budget was $26 million with a gross of $61 million in the US.  Kevin Bacon was 31, Kiefer Sutherland was 23, Julia Roberts 22, William Baldwin 27 and Oliver Platt was 30.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

When I Find the Ocean 2008

     The time frame of this film is 1965 in Alabama when marches promoting civil rights were taking place.  Lily Strickland is ten years old and she has gone with her mother to live with her grandparents.  Her father was a sailor and he was lost at sea.  He was never found and that adds to their feelings of loss.  They didn’t get to bury him and pay their last respects.  Lily’s mother is planning to marry Dean.  What Lily’s mother doesn’t know is that his father abused Dean, he was raised with very strict discipline and he had severe punishments for mistakes.  Dean thinks Lily needs to be raised the same way.  He thinks her mother and grandparents are not correcting her enough for her mistakes.  Lily learns that the river by her grandparents’ house leads to the ocean.  She decides to take a small boat with her dog and her pet bunny.  She wants to see the ocean where her father sailed.
     This film is good but it can also try to force ideas down your throat instead of just presenting and talking about the ideas.  That’s my only complaint and I also wanted to do a LOT of beating on Dean!!  Lily’s mother needs to open her eyes and see what’s really going on.  It was nice to see Lee Majors in the role of Lily’s grandfather and Diane Ladd as Lily’s grandmother.  Author and actor Graham Greene is a friend of the grandparents.  George Lindsey has a role as Ed Barker and this is his final film.  There is at least one scene where you can tell Lily's bunny is a stuffed animal?  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Drama directed by Tonya S. Holly with Dan Beene, Sara Biddle, Anthony Brooks, Natalie Canerday, Bernie Casey, James Chambliss, James Chapman, Kenny Davis, Timothy Eddy, Dorian Flemming, Trent Friday, Joan Ghrigsby, Edie Hand.

Note:  Imdb 4.1 out of 10, 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 179 reviews.