Monday, December 31, 2012

Hercule Poirot: Series 1: Problem at Sea 1989

Product Details     Poirot and Hastings are on holiday, they are on a Mediterranean cruise on a very ship.  All of the passengers are very different.  Hastings has been showing two young women how to skeet shoot.  Mr. and Mrs. Clapperton are a married couple, she’s haughty and disliked by the other passengers.  Mr. Clapperton is very henpecked but everyone likes him.  Miss Ellie Henderson is sailing alone, she likes and also feels sorry for Mr. Clapperton.  General Forbes knew Mrs. Clapperton when she was younger when he worked for her father.  A situation develops when the ship makes a stop in Alexandria, a case that requires the little gray cells of Hercule.
     This is good, I had an idea about the case and it was the solution.  This is the third episode that I’ve been able to solve.  Either they are getting easier or I am getting better!!  4* (I really liked this movie)

51 min, Mystery directed by Renny Rye with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Melissa Greenwood, Victoria Hasted, Roger Hume, Ben Aris, Dorothea Phillips.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Men in Black III 2012

     Boris the Animal has been held in a moon-based maximum security prison but he escapes and decides to go back in time to kill the person who put him in prison.  Agent J realizes the time line has been changed and he also goes back in time.  Agent J has a difficult time convincing the other agents who he is and why he’s there.  Secrets are revealed that were unknown to Agent J about Agent K.
     This is my first Men in Black movie and I have not seen any of the Ghostbusters either.  Some scenes in this movie are very funny and others are very tiresome.  If you are going to have a sequel that takes a while to get on the screen, it should be a lot better than this!  Just because it’s a little different from other films does not make it good.  3* (This movie is OK)  

105 min, Action directed by Barry Sonnenfeld with Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Alice Eve, Emma Thompson.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 69% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hercule Poirot: Series 1: The Incredible Theft 1989

Product Details     Years ago it was alleged that Tommy Mayfield sold heavy artillery to the Japanese.  He has developed a new fighter plane and paid for the costs himself.  He would like the government to add their money to this plan but he is not in their good graces.  Tommy has an acquaintance, Mrs. Vanderlyn, she is a known Nazi sympathizer.  He has invited her to spend the weekend at their home.  Mrs. Mayfield becomes very nervous since secret documents pertaining to her husband's work are kept at their home.  She asks Hercule to also spend the weekend to keep an eye on Mrs. Vanderlyn.
     I didn’t find this as interesting and compelling as the other episodes I have recently watched.  I did enjoy the chase scene with vintage automobiles.  3 (This movie is OK)

60 min, Mystery directed by Edward Bennet with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, John Stride, Carmen Du Sautoy, Ciaran Madden.

Note: Imdb 7.1 out of 10.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hope Springs 2012

     Kay and Arnold have been married for 30 years.  It’s a good marriage but Kay wonders if it could be better.  She buys a book written by a relationship therapist, he offers a therapy session that lasts a week for couples.  Kay tries to convince Arnold to go for the session, she doesn’t know until the last minute if he will get on the plane. Can they make changes, are they up to the challenge and will Arnold want to do anything in a non-grumpy or non-routine way?
     This is a lot different than I thought it would be and I didn’t consider it to be a comedy.  Carell plays this very seriously and seems like a real therapist.  Streep does a very good job as Kay and there is a lot of emotional turmoil.  Jones is in a grump mood about everything.  4* (I really liked this movie)

100 min, Comedy directed by David Frankel with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Ben Rappaport, Marin Ireland, Patch Darragh.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 73% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hercule Poirot: Series 1: Triangle at Rhodes 1989

Product Details     Hercule is enjoying a holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes.  He has met two very different couples also vacationing on the island.  Douglas and Marjorie Gold are conservative, rather plain but pleasant.  Commander and Valentine Chantry are entirely different.  He’s very jealous and she’s very beautiful.  Doug becomes enamored of Valentine and Marjorie becomes very upset.  Hercule advises Marjorie to leave the island as soon as possible with her husband.   It would’ve been prudent for her to listen to Hercule but she doesn’t of course.
     Hercule becomes very grumpy in this episode, this could work against his little gray cells!  This is good with a definite twist at the end.  See if you can figure out where this is going and the outcome?  I was not able to do this because of the twist. 

100 min, Mystery directed by Renny Rye with David Suchet, Frances Low, Jon Cartwright, Annie Lambert, Peter Settelen, Angela Down, Timothy Kightley.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Poster     It has been eight years since Batman took the fall for the murder of Harvey Dent.  He has not appeared in public for any reason and rarely leaves his estate.  Bane, a new evil presence has appeared in Gotham City and he aims to take over the city by force.  Bane was once a member of the League of Shadows, Batman was also a member but Bane was forced out due to his extreme behavior.  It is also rumored that Bane escaped from a middle-eastern prison called The Pits of Hell.
     This is long and there is so much going on it’s hard to keep track.  There are many errors in voice to lips moving, character errors, geography and facts.  It’s almost too much to follow and take in during one viewing.  Many references to Batman’s past also muddy the plot.   3 ¼* (This movie is above OK but not into like)  

165 min, Action directed by Christopher Nolan with Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 8.7 out of 10, 87% critic 92% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hercule Poirot Series 1: The Third Floor Flat 1989

Product Details     It’s been three weeks since Hercule has had a case to investigate; he is bored to tears and suffering from a terrible cold.  He is frightfully worried that his little gray cells will wither and die!  Captain Hastings would like Hercule to attend a play about the attested murder mystery but Hercule finds it to be absurd.  Then they return to Herucle’s apartment in Whitehaven Mansions, they discover a commotion regarding the flat two floors below.  The tenant was a woman who had just moved in that day?
     This is good, you will probably not be able to solve this case since some clues are not given until later scenes.  One of the final scenes leaves Captain Hastings very shaken and not stirred!!  4* (I really liked this movie) 
100 min, Mystery directed by Edward Bennett with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, Suzanne Burden, Nicholas Pritchard, Robert Hines, Amanda Elwes.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Loving the Bad Man 2010


     Julie Thompson works as a clerk in a local grocery store, she tries to do the right things.  Her car breaks down with a flat tire, she calls for emergency help but it will take an hour.  She is outside a bar and the bartender asks one of the customers to help her since he is a mechanic.  He’s been drinking a lot of beer and he’s very angry.  Earlier in the day he punched his boss for accusing him of stealing tools and taking too much time on a job.  He fixes Julie’s car but then attacks her, he is given a prison sentence of 10-20 years.  Julie gives birth to a baby boy.
     Slightly sledgehammer in it’s style and almost like a play with inexperienced actors.  3* (This movie is OK) 

103 min, Drama directed by Peter Engert with Alexander Alonso, Carol Antoine, Stephen Baldwin, Raul Barrios, Jason Bartley, Jeff Beal, Mike Benitez.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 3.1 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hercule Poirot Series 1: Four and Tweny Blackbirds 1989

Product Details     George Lorimer receives a call from his uncle’s housekeeper that Anthony Gascoigne doesn’t have much time left to live due to illness and age.  He tells the housekeeper that he can’t get there to see Anthony until the weekend.  Anthony has a brother he did not get along with, Henry, an eccentric and reclusive painter.  Soon after Anthony dies, his brother is found dead from a fall down the stairs in his home.
     Hercule believes the death of George is due to natural causes but he begins to investigate the death of Anthony.  It seems he was a creature of habit but some of his habits had recently suddenly changed?  This is one more mystery that I was able to solve early in the film.  4* (I really liked this movie)

51 min, Mystery directed by Renny Rye with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, Richard Howard, Tony Aitken, Charles Pemberton.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Lady 2011

     Aung San Suu Kyi’s General father was killed by a military coup when she was very young in Burma.  Years later she lives in Britain with her husband Michael Aris and her two young boys.  She receives a phone call that her mother has had a stroke; she quickly leaves for Burma to be by her side at the hospital.  There are many demonstrations by students and many are injured.  She sees students running to the hospital and she sees soldiers enter the hospital to kill some of them.  A small delegation requests Suu remain in the country and help them with their struggle for democracy.
     I have seen many news stories about Suu but I didn’t know the full extent of her story or anything about her husband and boys.  She was a prisoner in her home and also in the country.  If she left to go to her family, she would not be allowed to return.  She was a strong figure representing freedom with many sacrifices.  4* (I really liked this movie)  

132 min, Bio directed by Luc Besson with Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett, Jonanthan Woodhouse, Susan Wooldridge, Benedict Wong.

Note:  Blockbuster 2*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 34% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hercule Poirot Series 1: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook 1989

     Mrs. Todd comes to ask Hercule to help her find her missing cook.  At first, Herucle thinks this job is not his style and beneath his stature but he changes his mind.  A short time later, Mrs. Todd dismisses his services and remits the fee of one guinea.  This causes Hercule to become infuriated that his services are worth so small a token to Mrs. Todd!!  He’s not going to stop until he finds this cook and gets to the bottom of this case!!
Product Details     There is a lot more happening than a missing cook.  Poirot, Hastings and Japp all become involved; can this missing cook be connected to a recent bank robbery?  This is good; the little gray cells get a workout.  4* (I really liked this movie)

51 min, Mystery directed by Edward Bennett with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, Brigit Forysyth, Dermot Crowley.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Moth Diaries 2011

     Based on a novel by Rachel Klein about a high school boarding school for girls.  Rebecca has been struggling for two years with the suicide of her father; her mother has struggled also.  Her best friend is Lucy, she has helped Rebecca with her depression and helped her though classes.  It’s the third year and all the students are excited about seeing each other again.  There is a new student this year, Ernessa.  Rebecca becomes very upset when Lucy is always sticking up for Ernessa and always wanting to be with her.  Rebecca feels the loss of her best friend and she starts to fall back into her struggle with depression.
     There is a lot more going on here than teen friendships but not enough is going on.  I wonder if this is a take-off the Twilight films due to their popularity but this very calm, low-key and short, just slightly creepy.  3* (This movie is OK)
82 min, Suspense directed by Mary Harron with Lily Cole, Sarah Bolger, Scott Speedman, Sarah Gadon, Judy Parfitt, Melissa Farman, Laurence Hamelin.

Note:  Blockbuster 1 ½*, imdb 4.8 out of 10, 13% critic 23% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hercule Poirot: Series 1: The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly 1989

Product Details     The Waverly family has been receiving letters warning them that their young son Johnnie will be kidnapped.  It will take place at noon the next day unless 50,000 pounds is paid before that time.  Mr. Waverly hires Hercule but Inspector Japp claims he doesn’t have the manpower to work on a crime that hasn’t taken place.  Hercule and Captain Hastings travel to the Waverly estate and they are happy to learn that Inspector Japp has changed his mind about the case.
     One of the first Poirot mysteries that I was sure I had the case solved before the crime was committed.  Turned out I was correct too!  See if you can do the same?  4* (I really liked this movie)

51 min, Mystery directed by Renny Rye with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, Geoffrey Bateman, Julia Chambers, Dominic Rougier.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dead Awake 2010

     Dylan is trying to solve a mystery from ten years ago.  There was an accident between a taxi and a car; the taxi ran into the rear of the second vehicle and the driver left the taxi. Dylan and a detective have not been able to find out what happened in this accident.  Dylan works at a funeral home, he’s sad when the deceased person doesn’t have anyone attend their funeral.  He jokes with the owner that no one would come to his own funeral.  They place a funeral notice in the paper and Dylan pretends to be dead in a casket.  Two women come to the viewing, his former girlfriend and a stranger.  He follows the stranger to see who she is, turns out she is a drug addict living in a seedy room.
     Trying to keep suspense creates a major problem with this film.  For nearly the entire movie, you don’t know who the passengers were in the taxi?  Back and forth through Dylan’s dreams some details are revealed but there are too many mix-ups in the screenplay.  3* (This movie is OK)

93 min, Mystery directed by Omar Naim with Nick Stahl, Rose McGowan, Amy Smart, Ben Marten, Brian Lynner, Kim Grimaldi, James Serpento, Jack Mishler.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.4 out of 10, 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hercule Poirot: Series 1: Murder in the Mews 1989

Product Details     Miss Jane Plenderleith calls Inspector Japp at Scotland Yard to report the murder of her friend, Mrs. Barbara Allen,  lived in Badsley Garden Mews.  Charles Laverton-West, a rising young government MP, had recently asked for her hand in marriage.  Mrs. Allen had a male visitor the previous night according to a neighbor, Poroit and Japp believe he was blackmailing her?  They find out he is Major Eustace, an unsavory gentleman.
     This is good, I love the names of the characters!  It’s important to pay attention to Poroit and Japp as they look for clues at the scene.  4* (I really liked this move)

51 min, Mystery directed by Edward Bennett with David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran, Juliette Mole, James Faulkner, Daviel Yelland.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sparkle 2007

Sparkle (2010)     Sam is a waiter and has been living with his mom in Liverpool; she is a singer in the same pub.  Sam learns an apartment will become available and he wants to move to London.  His mom doesn’t want to move but he wants to get a job in the public relations field.  They do move into the apartment in London.  Sam meets Sheila and charms himself into working for her in this field.  Then he meets Kate and he really likes her. 
     The complaints I have about this film are that is doesn’t define the family relationships until later on and it’s not funny.  You don’t know two characters are brothers; two other characters are the parents of another character.  Isn’t this important and relevant information?  3* (This movie is OK)

100 min, Comedy directed by Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter with Stockard Channing, Shaun Evans, Anthony Head, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, Amanda Ryan, John Shrapnel.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*,imdb 5.9 out of 10, 78% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Campaign 2012

      A North Carolina district has incumbent congressman Cam Brady running uncontested.  He’s not doing a very good job but that doesn’t matter since there isn’t any opposition.  Two powerful men recruit Marty Huggins, a very unlikely candidate, to run against Cam.  A professional campaign manager is hired to run Marty’s campaign and groom him for this political contest.
     Very funny, it does have some raunchy scenes that could have been eliminated for a better movie.  Since politics has gotten so bad that anything can happen, unbelievably, some of this has happened.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

85 min, Comedy directed by Jay Roach with Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Jay Roach, Shane Harwell,

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 66% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Can Go Through Skin 2009

Can Go Through Skin ( Kan door huid heen ) (2009)     Mariekes is nearly drowned and strangled during a brutal assault by a man delivering pizza.  She was saved by the intervention of a girlfriend.  They both press charges against the man but it is a long drawn-out process.  They don’t know if there will be justice.  Mariekes leaves the Amsterdam, Holland to live in a run down cottage in the Zeeland countryside.  She’s afraid of any visitors and worried about any sound.  Finally, over time, she accepts the help of John, her closest neighbor.
     Mariekes is mentally disturbed and she needs treatment by a medical professional.  She tries to heal herself but she really struggles.  I would have liked for this movie to follow the events as they happened and not add in scenes.  You don’t know if they are real or imagined?  3* (This movie is OK)

94 min, Drama directed by Esther Rots with Rifka Lodeizen, Wim Opbrouch, Chris Borowski, Tina de Bruin, Mattijn Hartemink.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.9 out of 10, 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Monogamy 2010

     Theo and Nat live in Brooklyn, they are an engaged couple getting married soon.  Theo is a wedding photographer but he’s bored with the set routine of taking this type of pictures.  He comes up with a side business called Gumshoot, this is a service where clients hire him to take pictures that are not posed but part of their everyday life outside their homes.  He becomes infatuated with a woman with the client name of Subgirl.  He’s obsessed with following her above and beyond the photography job.  Nat develops a staph infection in a cut on her thumb; she is hospitalized for antibiotics to combat the infection.  Instead of taking care of Nat, Theo abandons her to the loneliness and boredom of her hospital stay so he can fixate on Subgirl.
     Not very much going on here, Theo has a job with a lot of freedom and a side job with more freedom but he wants even more freedom.  When do you reach a point where you have so much freedom that you are not in the relationship anymore?  He’s so involved with himself that he has nothing left for Nat and she’s not asking for very much.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so) 

96 min, Drama directed by Dana Adam Shapiro with Chris Messina, Rashida Jones, Meital Dohan, Zak Orth, Ivan Martin.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.5 out of 10, 46% critic 32% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Darkness 2011

     The true story of Leopold Soha, he risked his life to save a group of Jewish men, women and children.  In the beginning, he’s only interested in their money and property.  He’s a thief and burglar but he becomes drawn into hiding this group for 14 months in the sewers of Lvov in the former Poland.  They all lived in the ghetto but a few of the men dug through the floor of one of the rooms to the sewer. When the Nazi’s came through the ghetto killing everyone, many people went into the sewer.  Soha realized right away that he could not provide food for so many and established a dozen as feasible.
     In Darkness is a very apt name for this film, everything is dark except outside the sewer.  It’s winter and the ground is covered with snow and it is somewhat dark there too.  This film made my eyes tired because of the sharp contrast between dark and light and the subject is tough too.  3* (This movie is OK)

145 min, Drama directed by Agnieszka Holland with Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Furmann, Agnieszka Grochwska, Maria Schrader, Herbert Knaup.

Note:  Blockbuster 4 ½*, imdb 7.1, 90% critic 82% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dirty Girl 2010

     The year is 1987, Danielle is the “bad girl” of Norman High School in Oklahoma.  She’s in trouble again and sent to the principle, he sends her to the special education class.  The class splits up into teams to experience being parents using a bag of flour to represent a baby.  Danielle and her chubby 35% gay partner Clarke are not very successful in the beginning.  Danielle doesn’t want to become part of a Mormon family when her mom marries.  Clarke doesn’t want to go to military school.  They run away taking their baby with them in Clarke’s dad’s car.  They use his dad’s credit card to finance a trip to California to meet Danielle’s dad.
     This is funny but has a serious side too.  Danielle has a vintage red Mustang convertible; this brings her credibility up several notches.  She can snap her fingers and attract the cute and popular guys until she’s paired with Clarke.  Everything changes for both of them on their trip.  4* (I really liked this movie) 
90 min, Comedy directed by Abe Sylvia with Jeremy Dozier, Juno Temple, Zach Lasry, Johanthan Slavin, Marcella Lentz-Pope, Mary Steenburgen, Milla Jovovich.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.2 out of 10, 27% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  The hairstyles of Mary Steenburgen and Mill Jovovich are worth a look at this movie.  The stock of hairspray companies must have doubled during the filming!!  I could not take my eyes off their hair in all their scenes.