Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Oranges 2012

The Oranges     David and Paige live across the street from their best friends Terry and Cathy in New Jersey.  David and Paige have a son and daughter.  Their daughter is living with them while she perfects her resume and works toward pursuing a career in furniture design.  Terry and Cathy have one daughter, Nina, she comes home for Thanksgiving after a five-year absence.  She is 24 years old and had not planned on coming home but a breakup with her fiancé left her at loose ends.  Her parents hope she will get to know Toby, David and Paige’s son. 
     There is so much to dislike about this film, where do I begin?  It’s so predictable you don’t have to wonder at all where this is going from beginning to end.  Terry is 50 years old and he shows a severe lack of judgement.  There were so many times I wanted someone to punch Nina in the face so hard!!  She is like a train wreck causing havoc everywhere she goes.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

90 min, Drama directed by Julian Farino with Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat. 

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 33% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Late Bloomers 2011

Late Bloomers     Adam and Mary attend an award ceremony for an architectural project completed by Adam.  The next morning, Mary has a memory lapse and she doesn’t remember how they got to their hotel.  She has some medical tests that don’t show anything wrong.  Her doctor suggests exercise and getting involved in some kind of volunteer work now that she is retired.  She needs to be more active.  Adam is struggling at the office, the new project is to design a senior living center.  He doesn’t feel this is the type of design work he would like to do.  He starts working with the younger associates on a museum design.  Adam and Mary seem to be growing apart even though they don’t want this and didn’t plan for this to happen.
     This film lets everyone down, all the actors and the viewer.  Hurt and Rossellini deserve better, the screenplay and directing are weak.  The acting brings warmth to the characters but it’s too predictable.  You can feel yourself growing old along with the movie!!  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min, Drama directed by Julie Gavras with William Hurt, Isabella Rossellini, Doreen Mantle, Kate Ashfield, Aidan McArdle, Ara Dobroshi, Luke Treadaway.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 43% critic 35% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Action in the North Atlantic 1943

Action in the North Atlantic

     Survivors from an American tanker sunk by a German U-boat spend eleven days at sea on a raft.  They are in port for a short time and their next assignment is the liberty ship, Sea Witch.  This ship is headed for Murmansk but through the U-boat patrolled North Atlantic.  The ship is sailing with a convoy but they find themselves among a wolf pack of about six U-boats.
     This is good, in black and white but plenty of action.  The Sea Witch is sailing silently to avoid one of the U-boats and this ploy is succeeding until a chain snaps loose and falls into the water.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

126 min, Drama directed by Lloyd Bacon with Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, Alan Hale, Julie Bishop, Ruth Gordon, Sam Levene, Dane Clark, Peter Whitney.

Note:  Imdb 7.0, 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  I found a trivia item about this film that says the normal speed of a steamer would be 10-12 knots and the normal speed of a U-boat is 3-4 knots.  Merchant marines were the crews on these ships.  Murmansk is a port city of Russia in the extreme northwest.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Red 2 2013

Red 2    Retired CIA agent Frank, girlfriend Sarah and best friend Marvin fight an unrelenting onslaught of hired killers, heavily armed terrorists and powerful government officials. They are in a desperate race to prevent a missing portable nuclear device from falling into the wrong hands.
     Guns without number, even more bullets, car chases, plane chases and motorcycle chases.  Car crashes without number and even a semi-truck crash.  A delivery van is cut in half by the onslaught of bullets.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

100 min, Action directed by Dean Parisot with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Lee Byung-hun, Catherine Zeta Jones, Mary-Louise Parker.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 39% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  The first Red movie had these reviews: Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.0 out of 10, 72% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.  The Laser Blue car used in one of the chase scenes is a Lotus Exige S.  Helen Mirren fires twin Glock 34’s out of both the windows in a 360 degree drift. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Never Talk to Strangers 1995

Never Talk to Strangers     Dr. Sarah Taylor is a beautiful, highly professional and reserved criminal psychiatrist.  She is working on a complicated case involving a claim of multiple personalities as the defense for a crime.  The defense attorney is putting pressure on Sarah to reach her conclusion.  She randomly encounters Tony Ramirez in a supermarket, she lets her normal guard down and begins an affair with Tony.  Within a short time, she begins receiving a series of disturbing threats from an unknown stalker.  She thinks it may be Tony and she realizes she doesn’t know very much about him.  Through a private detective she finds out he has a dangerous past and the threats begins to doubt and become fearful.
     There is chemistry between DeMornay and Banderas but additional characters are introduced to complicate being able to figure out who is behind the threats.  3* (This movie is OK)

86 min, Crime directed by Peter Hall with Rebecca DeMornay, Antonio Banderas, Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Miller, Len Cariou, Eugene Lipinski, Martha Burns.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 4.9 out of 10, 15% critic 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  Dennis Miller currently hosts a three hour talk radio program which is nationally syndicated.  He has been a stand-up comic, political commentator, sports commentator, actor and television personality.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Intouchables 2011

The Intouchables
     This film is based on a true story.  Philippe is a paraplegic, he damaged his spine in a hang gliding accident and he is paralyzed from his neck down.  He is very wealthy and lives in a very beautiful home with a housekeeper, secretary and other employees.  He needs an attendant and Driss applies for the job only so he can be signed off as turned down so he can get benefits for unemployment.  Driss is nothing like the other employees or the other applicants but Philippe finds that encouraging and something he wants.  Driss and Philippe become very close and it changes both their lives for the better.
     This is very good, acting, plot, screenplay and the entire feel of the film.   Driss does not let anything get in the way of speaking his mind, doing everything the way he wants and using his demeanor to get his point across.  He does not feel sorry or have pity for Philippe and that makes this relationship really work.  4* (I really liked this movie) 

112 min, Comedy directed by Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano with Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Cyril Mendy.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 8.5 out of 10, 75% critic 93% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  I LOVE the car, it’s almost like another character in this film.  I LOVE the sound of the engine, the speed and the looks.  It’s a 2009 Maserati and it knows the meaning of speed!!  Two models were used, in the opening scene with the night car chase, the 4 exhaust pipes indicate the Quattroporte V.  A newer model was used in the other scenes with two oval pipes which indicates it’s a GTS.  The price range on the Quattroporte V is $119,750 to $133,700.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Morning After 1986

The Morning After     Alex is a washed-up alcoholic actress who drinks until she blacks out.  She wakes up with a dead stranger next to her after a night she doesn’t remember.  She’s in a panic, she tries to get a flight out of LA but all the flights to SF are booked.  She gets a ride with Turner, she meets him in the airport parking lot and then she can’t seem to get rid of him.  Turner keeps turning up until Alex finally decides to let him help her out of this mess.  She also turns to her ex-husband since he’s the only man she really trusts.
     Jane Fonda received an Oscar nomination for her role in this film.  This isn’t as good as Klute but she does a strong acting job. This is just OK and seems dated, there is a secret that you don’t find out until close to the end.   3* (This movie is OK)

103 min, Mystery directed by Sidney Lumet with Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Raul Julia, Diane Salinger, Richard Foronjy, Geoffrey Scott.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 71% critic 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.   

Special Note:  Jane Fonda looks better in this film after her hair is changed from bleached blond with dark roots to a brown shade.  Her appearance has held up a lot better in later years than Jeff Bridges. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Quartet 2012

Quartet      Beecham House is retirement home and also a home filled with retired music performers.  They need to stage a fund-raiser in order to keep their theater program going.  Every year they have a concert on October 20 to celebrate Verdi’s birthday.  A sudden new arrival at the home throws some of the residents into disruption.  Jean, Reggie’s former wife, arrives as a new resident.  A few of the people knew she was coming but they didn’t warn Reggie and he is very upset.  It was Jean’s later career as a soloist instead of part of the quartet with Reggie, Will and Cecily that split up their marriage and friendship.  Her ego became larger as her career grew.
     This script needed to be very good to match the quality of the actors but it is not. Feels stiff, flimsy, very little comedy and lightweight, veering close to boring.   3* (This movie is OK) 

98 min, Comedy directed by Dustin Hoffman with Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs, Gwyneth Jones.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.7 out of 10, 80% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Parked 2010


     Fred Dalno returns to Ireland but he has nowhere to live except his car.  He applies for assistance but is turned down several times, supposedly because he doesn’t have a “real” address.  Cathal O’Regan is a dope-smoking 21 year-old who parks his car beside Fred’s car. They start an unlikely friendship that brightens up Fred’s lonely world.  Cathal encourages Fred and he meets attractive music teacher, Jules, at a swimming pool.  The three outsiders change their course and change their lives.
     Sometimes the person you least expect can help you find your way home.  This has an unexpected ending and you really feel for Cathal.  It shows sometimes your family doesn’t interact and know you like other people do.  They only see what they don’t like about you.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

94 min, Drama directed by Darragh Byrne with Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Ahlroth, Stuart Graham, Michael McElhatton, David Wilmot, Tatiana Ouliankina.

Note:  imdb 6.5 out of 10, 67% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cloud Atlas 2012

Cloud Atlas
     This is adapted from a 2004 novel by David Mitchell and made by a German independent film company.  Various narrative threads weave in and out of each other plus in and out of several different historical time periods.  They illustrate mankind’s quest for tolerance and peace throughout the ages from 1849 to 2321.  Everything is connected, a diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific, letters from a composer, a thriller about a nuclear power plant, a publisher in a nursing home, a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea, a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii.  Each actor in the basic ensemble appears in multiple roles as their stories move through time.
     The subject matter here are deep, heaven and the afterlife, karma and the transmigration of souls, the ancient belief in life as a repetitive cycle with eternal recurrence, the uncertainty principle, the theory of relativity, transformational experience and déjà vu.  To condense this down to a basic idea, I think it is personal freedom and safety.  I found my mind wandering and distracted by  trying to keep track of the core group of actors in spite of their different disguises.  There is a lot packed into this film and it’s long!!  3* (This movie is OK)  

172 min Drama directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer with  Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 7.6 out of 10, 66% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stoker 2013

     India Stoker is an only child, she lives in a big house but she doesn’t have any friends.  She’s the girl at school who always studies, does her homework and gets good grades but she doesn’t mingle.  Unexpectedly her father passes away in an auto accident and Uncle Charlie comes upon the scene.  She didn’t know there was an Uncle Charlie?  Her aunt Evie comes to see them but this creates a lot of strife and tension.  They were supposed to have a housekeeper cook but she didn’t show up?  Charlie turns out to be a wonderful cook as well as well traveled.
     This film makes you believe that India and Charlie have some kind of special powers that make them different from other people.  They do seem to hear and see more than others but not powers like in Beautiful Creatures.  There are some disturbing events but just a gray secret and not a deep dark black secret.  3* (This movie is OK)

99 min, Mystery directed by Park Chan-wook with Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermon Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till.

Note: Blockbuster 3*, imdb, 7.0 out of 10, 68% critic 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer

     Jack takes a horse and cart to the market to sell the horse for his uncle.  His parents have passed away and his uncle needs the money to fix the roof of their house.  He stops at a play being performed and defends the honor of a young woman who turns out to be the daughter of the King.  When he goes outside, he finds the cart has been stolen.  The castle guards are hunting for a monk who stole unusual beans from the castle.  He tries to buy the horse from Jack with the beans, Jack says no but when he turns around the monk is riding away on the horse.  His uncle is not very happy when Jack returns home without the cart, without the horse and with a small pouch of beans.
    This is just too long, it’s OK but needs to end about 15 minutes before it does.  There are a few funny scenes but not very many.  Some interesting special effects.  3* (This movie is OK)

114 min, Fantasy directed by D.J. Caruso, Bryan Singer with Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner, Ian McShane.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 52% critic 57% audience on

Friday, July 19, 2013

Price Check 2011

Price Check
     Susan is the new boss trying to turn around a sinking supermarket chain.  She is very strong willed, emotional and demanding.  She fires a man who’s been there for 12 years as her first effort.  Pete used to be in the music business but that failed and with a wife and son he needs more money.  He’s surprised things start to look up and Susan doubles his salary.  It’s a lot more work and he really wants to spend time with his family.  He gets caught up in corporate life and Susan’s whirlwind.
     I didn’t think this was a comedy?  Posey’s character is nearly manic, she begins to wear you down and she’s not at all funny.  The ending feels like there was nowhere else to go and you are supposed to fill in the blanks between the last blow-up and the final scenes.  3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Comedy directed by Michael Walker with Eric Mabius, Parker Posey, Annie Parisse, Josh Paris, Edward Herrmann, Remy Auberjonois, Amy Schumer.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.3 out of 10, 67% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fun Size 2012

Fun Size
     Wren lives with her younger brother and her mother, their father passed away.  She can’t wait to finish high school and start college away from home.  Wren and her best friend, April, receive an invitation to the biggest Halloween party in the area with the coolest guy in the senior class.  She cannot pass this up and she thinks she’s home free until her mother tells her she has babysitting duty for Albert.  Of course, Albert manages to get lost and she doesn't know if she will make it to the party.
     This was made for tweens and teens by Nickelodeon.  You may like it if you fit into that category, otherwise beware!!  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

86 min, Comedy directed by Josh Schwartz with Victoria Justice, Thomas Mann, Jackson Nicoll, Chelsea Handler, Johnny Knoxville, Jane Levy, Ana Gasteyer.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.1 out of 10, 26% critic 50% audience on

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hit & Run 2012

Hit & Run     Charlie Bronson was getaway car driver placed in the witness protection program after he testified against his fellow bank robbers.  He feels he’s living in a very small dead end town but he meets Annie.  She’s a professor and she wants to move to LA to start a new teaching department.  Charlie doesn’t want her to go without him so he decides he will move with her.  The only complication is the other bank robbers were released and are in LA.
     If only they would just drive the cars and stop talking about passive problem solving and relationship issues.  Most of the cars are from the personal collection of Dax Shepard.  Since Dax trained with at the Groundlings Theater for imrov and sketch comedy, shouldn’t this be lot less tedious and sleep inducing?  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

101 min, Comedy directed by David Palmer, Dax Shepard with Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Kristen Bell, Joy Bryant, Michael Rosenbaum, Ryan Hansen, Kristin Chenoweth.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.0 out of 10, 48% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stand Up Guys 2013

Stand Up Guys     Doc was the only friend who kept in contact with Val while Val served 28 years in prison.  He’s the only friend who comes to drive him home when Val is released.  They pick up their other friend Hirsh in a stolen car and Hirsh outruns a police car.  What about Val, just released from prison, in a stolen car and Doc is carrying a gun?
     I don’t know how I made it to the end of this film.  It’s not good and it’s boring on top of not good.  It’s like old stereotypes and clichés combined together to mean nothing.  I only liked the car!!  It’s a Dodge Challenger SRT8, with a 6.4 liter HEMI V8 with standard 5 speed automatic with sequential shift control or an optional 6 speed manual and 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.  2* (I didn't like this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by Fisher Stevens with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies, Mark Margolis, Lucy Punch, Addison Timlin.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.5 out of 10, 38% critic 49% audienceon Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mama 2013

Mama     Young girls Victoria and Lilly had their lives entirely changed in one day.  At the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis their father, Jeffrey, had a breakdown.  He shot their mother (his estranged wife) and his business partners.  He kidnapped the girls and was driving very fast on a snow covered road.  The car went off the road but they were able to walk to a cabin in the woods.  Jeffrey was going to kill them but something stopped him?  Jeffrey's brother, Uncle Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel have searched everywhere for the girls.  Five years later, two trackers with a bloodhound find the girls living in the same cabin.
     This is good, Jessica Chastain has short dark hair, she plays in a rock band and she doesn’t look like the other characters she has played.  Twists and turns keep you interested but you know when someone will be taken down.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

100 min, Horror directed by Andy Muschietti and executive producer Guillermo del Toro with Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Carpentier, Isabelle Nelisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.3 out of 10, 66% critic 58% audience on
Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hemingway & Gellhorn 2012

Hemingway & Gellhorn

     Novelist Ernest Hemingway and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn meet in a Key West bar in 1936.  Hemingway is married to his second wife Pauline and they have two young boys.  Gellhorn is single and she’s on her way to Spain to see the Spanish Civil War and report back for Collier’s Magazine.  Hemingway sees a chance for adventure and also to get to know Gellhorn, he goes to Spain to file his own report.  They stay in Spain together until 1939.  Hemingway divorces Pauline in 1940 in order to marry Gellhorn.  They stay together until 1945 when she asks him for a divorce.  She became a prominent writer also.  Gellhorn was the inspiration for Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
     I thought this would be good because of the acting abilities of Kidman, Owen and Strathairn.  But, this film seems just lukewarm and the script lets everyone down.  The colorful life portrayed of the couple and the efforts of the actors don’t come to life.  Archival footage is used in a lot of the scenes in other countries during the conflicts investigated by Hemingway and Gellhorn.  3* (This movie is OK)

154 min, Drama directed by Phillip Kaufman with Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, David Strathairn, Parker Posey, Robert Duvall, Rodrigo Santoro, Molly Parker.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 50% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Parker 2012

Parker      Parker masterminds a job to rob the take for the Ohio State Fair.  He’s out with a new crew but Hurley is a veteran thief and he set up the job.  The job gets off course and people get hurt.  Then the crew wants Parker to kick in his share along with their take to set up another job worth more money.  Parker doesn’t want to go along with their scheme and this causes a lot of problems.   It’s not a good idea to think you can put something over on Parker.
     This is better than I expected but the body count number is high.  Parker doesn’t let anyone stop him and you don’t see how a normal person could keep going.  He does keep his word and stand by those helping him.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 
118 min, Mystery directed by Taylor Hackford with Jason Statham, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Clifton, Collins Jr., Micah Hauptman, Wendell Pierce, Emma Booth.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.1 out of 10, 41% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson 2012

Hyde Park on Hudson     This film is an adaptation of a BBC radio play written by Richard Nelson chronicling the affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Daisy.  The time period is just before World War II breaks out in Europe.  The King and Queen of England came to visit the President at his home in Hyde Park in 1939 to seek the support of the American government.
     I don’t know why the reviews are so low for this film?  I thought Bill Murray did an unexpectedly good job as FDR and Linney is good as his cousin.  I did not personally know very much about FDR, I knew more about Eleanor.  I loved the hairstyles, clothing and the cars!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by Roger Michell with Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Olivia Williams, Elizabeth Wilson.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 38% critic 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Compliance 2011

Compliance     Sandra is the manager of a fast food chicken restaurant.  Becky is one of her employees and she usually does a good job.  There was a problem with one of the employees leaving the freezer open and they lost a lot of food.  On this busy day they will be short on bacon and pickles.  Sandra receives a phone call from a policeman telling her a woman has complained that she was a customer and Becky stole money from her purse.  Becky denies doing this and says she would never steal.  The policeman says they are at Becky’s house and are searching it because Becky’s brother has been involved in crimes before.
     This film caused walkouts and shouting matches when it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.  The point is to show people will do things out of character when asked by a person of authority and it’s based on real life incidents.  This is stretched out and it becomes tiresome as it continues down the same path but just getting more far out as it goes along.  The entire movie, you are hoping that you would not be this stupid!!  3* (This movie is OK)

90 min, Drama directed by Craig Zobel with Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Matt Servitto, Pat Healy, Philip Ettinger, Ashlie Atkinson, Nikiya Mathis, Ralph Rodriguez, Bill Camp.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 89% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Safe Haven 2013

Safe Haven     Katie lives in Boston.  One evening she runs to a another house with bare feet and only a few items in a pillowcase.  She cuts her hair, changes the color from brown to blond and takes a Greyhound bus out of town.  A policeman is right behind her trying to keep her from leaving.  She manages to get out on the bus and out of the depot without him finding her.  She gets off the bus at one of their stops in the small North Carolina town of Southport.  She finds a job as a waitress and begins living in an isolated cabin.  She meets Alex, he’s a widowed store owner with two children.
     This is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel so that gives you a lot of information about this film.  Slightly predictable but a lot of the information about why she ran away is told later on in flashbacks.  3* (This movie is OK)

116 min, Romance directed by Lasse Hallstrom with Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, Irene Ziegler, Jon Kohler, Tim Parati, David Lyons, Noah Lomax, Mimi Kirkland.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 13% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lore 2012


     This film takes place in the spring of 1945, Adolf Hitler is dead and the Allied forces advance through Germany.  Lore is 14 years old and her father is an SS officer, he comes to Bavaria to move the family to a secluded farm.  They don’t expect their father to return but their mother tells them she must report to a camp or they will come to take her to the camp.  She tells Lore to take her four younger siblings to their grandmother’s mouse in Hamburg.  They encounter many hardships along the way but things change when they meet Thomas.  They meet them him at a school where other refugees are temporarily staying.  He begins traveling along with them, he protects them, feeds them and helps them as far as he can go on their journey.
     This is very good and an Australian-German coproduction.  You don’t know how the children are going to survive the trip, especially the youngest boy who is still a baby.  4* (I really liked this movie)

108 min, Drama directed by Cate Shortland with Saskia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, Mike Weidner, Ursina Lardi, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Nick Holascke, Andre Frid, Mika Seidel, Kai Malina.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.1 out of 10, 93% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Secrets of the Dead: The World's Biggest Bomb 2011

Product Details    During the 1950’s, American and Soviet scientists were in a race to see who could build and detonate the world’s largest bomb.  There was a lot both groups did not know about this process.  Many American bombs were exploded on the remote Bikini Atoll.   The inhabitants were moved to another island location.  America’s biggest bomb had many more megatons of power than estimated and the blast vaporized three coral islands.  The scientist building the biggest bomb for the Soviet’s had only three months to build the bomb and he reduced the amount of power produced.
    This is good, I remember films of the early detonations of nuclear bombs and the people viewing were asked to wear dark glasses!!  Nuclear energy was an unknown in these early days and many mistakes were made!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

53 min, Documentary with Harold Agnew, John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Richard Rhodes, Andrei Sakharov, Joseph Stalin, Earl Warren, Andy Webb.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time 2003

A Wrinkle in Time

     This is a made-for-TV adaptation of a novel by Madeleine L’Engle.  Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace travel across time and space to save their father.  Meg’s school friend and neighbor Calvin goes along with them.  They receive help and guidance from Mrs. Watsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.  Dr. Jack Murray is a physicist and he was experimenting with fifth-dimension time travel when he disappeared without a trace.  Everyone in the family really misses him and the children are hoping to bring him back through their own travel in time.
     You can tell this was made for TV because of the spacing left for the commercials.  I enjoyed reading this novel but it was quite a while ago so I don’t know how closely this film follows the book.  I think the book was probably much better using your imagination because the special effects are dated.  3* (This movie is OK)

138 min, Family directed by John Kent Harrison with Katie Stuart, David Dorfman Alison Elliott, Kate Nelligan, Kyle Secor, Gregory Smith, Alfre Woodard.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 5.7 out of 10, 46% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sorry Wrong Number 1948

Sorry, Wrong Number

     This was first released as a 22-minute radio suspense feature by Lucille Fletcher.  Leona Stevenson is bedridden with heart problems.  She is alone one night and becomes frantic because her husband is usually home by 6PM.  She has staff to help her but they all wanted the same night off.  While trying to call him, the telephone switchboard mixes up her call and she hears two men planning to murder a woman at 11PM that night.  The murder will happen when the train goes by so any sounds will be muffled.  She tries to be reconnected to the number but has no success and the police are too busy to help her.
     This is very good, a lot of twists and turns and background plots.  Agnes Moorehead was originally cast in the 1943 radio program as Leona and she had hoped to star in this film as well.   The radio program was played constantly on the film set to keep Barbara Stanwyck in the right mood.  4* (I really liked this movie) 

88 min, Mystery & Suspense directed by Anatole Litvak with Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Ed Begley, Sr., Harold Vermilyear, Leif Erickson, William Conrad.

Note:  Blockbuster 4*, imdb 7.5 out of 10, 86% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

A Good Day to Die Hard 2013

A Good Day To Die Hard     Komarov is a Russian whistleblower and powerful people would like to see him silenced.  John McClane and his son Jack work together to protect Komarov from formidable opposition.  Russian politics are in shambles and there may be a nuclear weapons theft in Chernobyl.  It won’t be easy for them to make any kind of standoff anywhere near Chernobyl.
      This is not good, you don’t need to read the Russian subtitles, it doesn’t make any difference.  The dialog was written by third graders and action is the only thing this movie has going for it.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

98 min, Action directed by Noam Murro, John Moore with Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney7, Sebastian Koch, Cole Hauser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir.

Note:  Blockbuster 2 ½*, imdb 5.4 out of 10, 14% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga 2010

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga     Taiga is in Siberia and this film focuses on the village of Bakhtia at the river Yenisel.  The 300 indigenous people make their living mainly by trapping in the subarctic forest.  Their daily lives have not changed very much over the last centuries.  The cultural traditions of one of the trappers is shown through the four seasons of the year.  Chain saws, outboard motors and snowmobiles have lightened their load slightly.
     This is interesting and almost beyond our comprehension due to the immense differences between this small village and traditional civilization of today.  You really need to know what you are doing in order to survive and meet your basic needs.   
3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Doc directed by Dmitry Vasyukov and Werner Herzog.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 87% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Masquerade 2012

     A historical drama set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty and inspired by a mysterious 15-day gap in the history of the country during a very turbulent era.  Totalitarian King Gwanghae is afraid his life is in danger and he asks for a royal body double to be found.  Ha-seon is a village performer and peasant who looks exactly like the King.  Soon after, the King lapses into a coma and it’s discovered he has been drugged.  At first it was feared that he had been poisoned.  It’s time for the body double to start an intense training session to take the place of the King.
Masquerade     This is epic in proportions with beautiful scenery of the country.  The body double has almost everyone fooled but the King’s bodyguard thinks his hands are different?  It is noticed that the King laughs more and he’s a lot nicer?  What is going to happen to the country and to the body double when the real King comes out of his coma? Takes a while to find out.  3* (This movie is OK)

131 min, Drama directed by Choo Chang-min with Byung-hun Lee, Seung-youn Ryoo, Hyo-ju Han, In-kwon Kim, Gwang Jang, Eun-kyung Shim, Myung-gon Kim.

Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 7.6 out of 10, 100% critic 89% critic on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Here Comes the Boom 2012

Here Comes the Boom     Scott Voss was a wrestler in college, now at 42, he teaches biology at Wilkinson High School.  Scott doesn’t get along very well with the principal and he strongly objects when he hears the music program will be eliminated.  His friend Marty, the school music teacher, will be out of a job when this program is closed.  The reason is lack of funding and it will take $48,000 to keep the program going. 
     Adam Sandler is the executive producer of this film and that tells you a lot about the movie.  It’s over the top in violence with Kevin James as an almost full-time punching bag.  His reasons for fighting are good but this is not a funny movie.  3* (This movie is OK)
105 min, Comedy directed by Frank Coraci with Kevin James,  Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Greg Germann, Bas Rutten, Mookie Barker, Joe Rogan.
Note:  Blockbuster 3 ½*, imdb 6.4 out of 10, 39% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Side Effects 2013

Side Effects     Emily and Martin Taylor are a young married couple.  They seem to have it all and it’s the life of Emily’s dreams until Martin is sent to prison on an insider trading charge for four years.  Everything falls apart, they lose all they have worked for and their charmed life.   Emily starts seeing Dr. Victoria Siebert for depression until she moves back to New York to wait out the four years.  When Martin is released, Emily begins seeing Dr. Jonathan Banks because of a suicide attempt.  She starts taking one medication after another for relief and because of side effects.
     The first three-quarters of this film are very good but it’s a big letdown at the final quarter and I didn’t like the end.  It seems like a run out of ideas ending or get this over quickly.  I’m not sure how the ending could be better but it needed to be better than this one?  3* (This movie is OK)

107 min, Mystery directed by Steven Soderbergh with Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Polly Draper, Ann Dowd.

Note:  Blockbuster 3*, imdb 7.2 out of 10, 84% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.