Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mirage Men 2013

Mirage Men

     Instead of covering up UFO's, ET visitors and alien technology, what if the US Government encouraged theories and stories to cover up real military activity?  This effort could hide all types of clandestine technologies and operations that were really going on at Government bases.  In this film some of the victims tell their stories and reveal tragic events that have occurred.
     During watching this film, I wondered if all information about UFO’s and aliens is always discussed in cheap hotels?  I wonder how the Government employees can live with themselves knowing a man was committed to a mental hospital because of their intervention in his life?  It all seems unconscionable and unethical with even just a slight review of their practices?  There is a lot of repetition in this film and if you were watching this while tired or it was close to the time you usually go to bed, it could be a powerful sedative!! 1 1/2* ( I really didn't like this movie)

85 min, Doc directed by John Lundberg, Roland Denning, Kypros Kyprianou with Rick Doty, Paul Bennewitz, Greg Bishop, Walter Bosley, Stephen Broadbent, James Carrion, Richard Dolan, Robert J. Durant.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.6* out of 5* with 39 reviews.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Presidents' Gatekeepers 2013

The Presidents' Gatekeepers

     The White House Chief of Staff is one of the toughest jobs in Washington D.C.  The men serving in this position are on call to the President 24 hours a day.  They arrive early, stay late and they can get calls at any time during the night.  They are prepared with the news of the day every day for the early morning briefing of the President.  This film shows interviews with former Presidents and the men who served as their Chief of Staff.  Each President is a different individual with their own style of working with Government and relating with people.  The First Lady of each President is also different.  The Chief of Staff must adapt and also prepare to be disliked by the press and other members of Government.
     This is interesting, especially the information about the governing and personal styles of the different Presidents and their First Ladies.  This is an all-consuming job and many times it doesn’t last the entire term of the President.  It is common for the job to last 1 to 1½ years.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)   

172 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Gedeon and Jules Naudet with Kevin Bacon as narrator, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Leon Panetta, Rahm Emanuel, Barbara Bush, John Podesta, James Baker III, Howard Baker, John Sununu, Samuel Skinner, Marvin Watson, Jacob Lew.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, Metascore 62/100, Newsday 83/100, New York Post 75/100, Hollywood Reporter 70/100, NY Daily News 60/100.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orphan Black Season One 2013

Orphan Black: Season One

     Sarah Manning has just returned after being away for 10 months.  Kira is her young daughter and she has been in the care of Mrs. S who was a foster mother to Sarah and Felix.  Sarah wants to reconnect with Felix, her foster brother and try to get Kira back.  At the train station, Sarah witness a young woman who looks a lot like her jump in front of the moving train.  She takes the woman’s purse that was left on the platform and decides to steal her identity for the time being.  She doesn’t know there will be a lot of complications due to this choice. 
     This series is very good and one actress plays more than one role.  There are a lot of mysteries with more information revealed as the series moves along in episodes.  Both Sarah and Felix are outside the typical norm and there are also questions about Mrs. S.  I don't want to give too much away about what the basic premise is of this series.  4 1/2* (I loved this series)

Each episode 44 min, TV Series, Action created by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson with Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Hanchard, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Skyler Wexler, Evelyne Brochu.

Note:  Imdb 8.5 out of 10, 92% critic 96% audience on Rotten Tomatoes,
Metascore 73/100 with 20 critics, User Score 8.8/10 with 312 ratings, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 8,585 reviews.

Episode Titles:  Natural Selection, Instinct, Variation Under Nature, Effects of External Conditions, Conditions of Existence, Variations Under Domestication, Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner, Entangled Bank, Unconscious Selection, Endless Forms Most Beautiful.
Special Note:  This series has the highest number of reviews on Amazon of any title I've checked. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Maleficient 2014


     There are two realms, one is the moors which is a peaceful forest kingdom without a king.  The other realm of humans is ruled by a King who comes with his men to invade the forest but they are unsuccessful.  Maleficient is a fairy and she has grown up in the forest kingdom.  One day, as a young girl she met Stefan.  He is a farm boy living in the human realm who has stolen something in the forest.  She rescues him and has him return the stolen item.  They become friends for a long time until one day he doesn’t return again.  Maleficient misses him but she begins to put their friendship in the past.  When Maleficient is a woman, he returns to see her as an adult, she forgets and forgives him for his absence.  Maleficient falls asleep because Stefan has given her a sleeping potion in a drink that has made her sleep.  What she doesn’t know is that Stefan has come back for a reason. 
     Maleficient doesn’t know about the feelings that rule the human realm.  Jealousy, envy, strife, desire for conquest and battle.  She learns a lot of these things when King comes to invade and more after she wakes from her sleep.  I thought this was very good and a different twist on Sleeping Beauty.  4* (I liked this movie)   

97 min, Action directed by Robert Stromberg with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 49% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Boxcar Children 2014

The Boxcar Children

     Four orphaned brothers and sisters appear in a small town one night in the summer.  Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are looking for a new place to live and where Henry can earn money to take care of them.  They are afraid of their only other relative, a grandfather because they have never met him and he wasn’t ‘interested’ enough to visit them while they still had their parents.  They find an abandoned boxcar in the woods and they make this their home.  Henry starts working for a doctor in the town.  He mows the grass, picks fruit and vegetables.  They are happy and the love the boxcar.  They also find a dog in the woods with a thorn in his paw, he becomes their watchdog and friend.  Henry wins a race at an event in the town and he wins $25.  Everything is going very well for them until Violet gets too sick for them to care for her.  Henry makes the right decision to take her to the doctor’s house. 
     Henry and the other children are having a great summer on their own.  They don’t know that the doctor is on their side and he is looking out for them.  He has also seen a notice in the paper about their grandfather looking for them.  The children are very good and they really take care of each other.  You want them to have a good life and find someone to take care of them.  They need to be going to school in the fall and not worrying about their future.   4* (I really liked this movie)

86 min, Animation directed by Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippe, Kyungho Jo with the voices of Illenana Douglas, Mackenzie Foy, Zachary Gordon, Joey King, Jadon Sand, Martin Sheen, J.K. Simmons, D.B. Sweeney, Audrey Wasilewski.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 5* with 63 reviews.
Special Note:  I thought this film was about the children in London who were sent to the countryside because the Germans were going to be bombing the city in WWII?  They were called the boxcar children because they were evacuated by train.  I didn't look at the information about the movie before watching. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cold in July 2014

Cold in July

     This film is based on a novel by Joe Lansdale.  Ann Dane wakes up in her Texas home and tells her husband Richard that she hears someone in the house.  Richard gets up right away and he takes his gun from the closet.  When he enters the living room, he sees a man wearing a hoodie in the room.  The man shines a flashlight into Richard’s eyes and Richard fires the gun.  The man is dead and the police come to take statements.  A short time later, Russel comes to town and it was his son who died.  He wants to scare and enact vengeance upon the Dane family.  Russel is a murderous and dangerous ex-con.
     In the beginning, there are a lot of scary scenes and then they change to a mystery.  Richard and Ann are very worried about their young son.  They are afraid Russel will kidnap or kill him.  Russel shows up outside the school and their house is broken into.  The later scenes go beyond scary and are more than I wanted to know or see!!  I liked the beginning portion of this film but not the second half.  2*( (I didn’t like this movie)

109 min, Crime directed by Jim Mickle with Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw, Wyatt Russell, Sam Shepard, Bill Sage, Nick Damici.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 85% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  Maybe I was more interested in what was happening but I didn’t notice the retro details in this film?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Drop 2014

The Drop

     This film is based on a screenplay from Dennis Lehane.  Bob Saginowski works at a bar with his cousin Marv as his boss.  Marv used to own the bar but now the owners are Chechen mobsters.  A lot of people don’t know that this bar is a money drop.  Money from gambling is delivered to the bar and 'dropped' into a safe with an automatic time lock.  One night after closing, two men with hoodies and masks rob the bar of the gross for that evening.  Within a short amount of time, the Chechen mobsters are at the bar and they want to know what is being done to get their money back.  Bob finds a puppy on the way home from work one night and he meets Nadia.  She helps him buy what he needs for Rocco and they become friends.
     This is a tough movie and Bob is a lot tougher than he seems.  Marv is not happy with anything in his life and he may be making a lot of things worse for himself because of his choices.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

106 min, crime directed by Michael R. Roskam with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Micahel Aronov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esper, Ross Bickell.
Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 89% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix 1 ¾* out of 5*.
Special Note:  The last role for James Gandolfini was Jack Stone in a completed but not shown TV Series Pilot.  This role as Cousin Marv was his last film role.  He passed away June 19, 2013 at age 51.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Belle Starr 1980

Belle Starr

    Western outlaw legends, the James gang, the Youngers and the Dalton boys also rode with Belle Starr.  She did the research behind their selection of the trains, banks and other robberies.  Belle lived with her son, Ed Reed on a small ranch near a small town.  She has a daughter, Pearl Younger but she lives in town where she is learning to be a lady.  Belle doesn’t want Belle to have any kind of a life like she is living.  Her son is becoming jealous of his half sister since he works hard on the farm but Pearl lives in a fine house in town.  He’s also jealous of Belle’s relationship with the men of the outlaw gang.
     I enjoyed this movie and it was unusual because Belle stands up to the law and the townspeople.  She lives her life as she sees fit and she hasn’t met another woman yet “that she would want to be like!”  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

97 min, TV Movie, Western directed by John A. Alonzo with Elizabeth Montgomery, Cliff Potts, Michael Cavanaugh, Gary Combs, Fred Ward, Jesse Vint, Alan Vint, Geoffrey Lewis, Sandy McPeak, David Knell, Michelle Stacy.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 9 reviews,
Special Note:  Belle Starr has been featured in other films from 1928 through 2013.  Many times historical accuracy was not important in the film.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 2014

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

     This film is based on a 1972 book by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.  Every day is a bad day for Alexander Cooper and he’s 12 years-old.  His family thinks he is exaggerating because they don’t have a bad day every day.  At midnight on the day before his 12th birthday, he makes a wish on an ice cream sundae with a candle that his family would experience a bad day like the days he has.  That morning when everyone gets up, it starts out as a very bad day for everyone.  Alex explains to the family that he made this day bad for them but they don’t believe just wishing would make all this bad happen?
     This film is funny and it has a good message, there are bad days and we just have to get through them.  Even if they start out bad, they can sometimes end as ‘not so bad!’  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

81 min, Comedy directed by Miguel Arteta with Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Elise Vargas, Zoey Vargas, Sidney Fullmer, Bella Thorne, Megan Mullally, Mekai Curtis.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 62% critic 61% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  I noticed one mistake about and event that happens to the dad at the restaurant the family goes to before prom night for the oldest son.  Also, I think it's funny that everyone on the DVD cover except Alexander looks terrible!!  I like the bad hair on Carrell and Garner!! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five 2011


     This film consists of five stores of lives impacted by breast cancer.  Charlotte has to say goodbye to her young daughter.  Mia thinks she is going to die so she makes a lot of choices she later regrets.  Cheyanne see the life she is living vanish.  Lili doesn’t want her mother and her sister to be there for her surgical procedure.  Pearl is an oncologist and she finds herself in the same situation her patients are facing.
     I liked this film and also the way some of the stories connect together.  Just the word ‘cancer’ is very scary!!  This is a positive film with a lot of information too.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

87 min, Drama directed by Jennifer Aniston, Patty Jenkins, Patty Jenkins, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Penelope Spheeris with Patricia Clarkson, Rosario Dawson, Lyndsy Fonseca, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jeanne Tripplehorn.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 20 reviews.
Special Note:  This film was made before the other ensemble film about mental illness, Call Me Crazy 2013. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Life as a Dog 1985

My Life as a Dog     This film is adapted from a novel by Reidar Jonsson.  In 1959 Sweden, 13-year-old Ingemar’s mother is very sick.  She has two sons, Ingemar and his older brother.  The boys are always fighting and creating messes.  His mother doesn’t know what to do with them.  Ingemar is sent to live with his aunt and uncle to allow his mother to rest. He is surprised when he meets people that really like him and he makes memories during his summer away from home.  The boys go back home but their mother goes to a hospital so they are sent away again.  Ingemar is not dreading his stay this time and he asks his uncle to try to find his dog that he had to leave behind.
     Ingemar’s mother has tuberculosis but in 1946, the antibiotic streptomycin was an effective treatment and cure.  Her treatment seems to be rest and there isn't any mention of any medications?  The cause of tuberculosis is a bacteria and it is spread through the air from an infected person.  People can have tuberculosis that is drug resistant if they take part of their medication and they don't finish their treatment.  I've seen this movie before but it was good both times.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

101 min, Drama directed by Lasse Hallstrom with Anton Glanzelius, Tomas von Bromssen, Anki Liden, Melinda Kinnaman, Ricki Rundgren.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 100% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 87 reviews.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Captains Courageous 1937

Captains Courageous

     This film is based on a story by Rudyard Kipling.  Mr. Cheyne doesn’t know what to do about his son Harvey.  He is a spoiled brat and has been dismissed from school.  Mr. Cheyne is very wealthy but he is very busy too.  He knows he needs to spend more time with Harvey and they go on a trip aboard and ocean liner.  Harvey plays a prank on two other boys and it ends badly.  Harvey accidently falls overboard into the ocean.  Fortunately, a fishing boat picks him up right away.  The boat is heading out for the beginning of the fishing season and the captain refuses to take Harvey back to the ocean liner.  The fishermen can’t afford to arrive late at the fishing area.  Harvey tries to bribe the crew into returning him but they don’t believe him.
     This is good, interesting with a good ending.  Harvey learns some real life lessons on this fishing trip.  He starts working with Manuel who is a hardworking Portuguese fisherman.  Harvey tries and experiences many things he’s never done before.  Plus, he learns how to be honest and hardworking.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

117 min, Adventure directed by Victor Fleming with Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Charley Grapewin, Mickey Rooney, John Carradine, Oscar O’Shea.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 92% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 188 reviews.
Special Note:  This film received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Film Editing and Best Writing Adapted in 1938.  Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for Best Acting in a Lead Role.

Monday, February 16, 2015

They were Expendable 1945

They Were Expendable

     This film is based on the real life stories of Lieutenants John Bulkeley (Brickley) and Robert Kelly (Ryan) between December 1941 and April 1942.   A squadron of PT-boats and their crews are in Pearl Harbor during the attack by the Japanese.  They scramble the boats and try to shoot down as many planes as they can plus protect the boats from being hit.  After this battle, they are moved for service in the Philippines. 
     This film is good and interesting.  John Wayne is funny in his role, he doesn’t like the nurses because they are dressed in potato sacks!  He also doesn’t like being in the hospital and missing the action when he needs treatment for shrapnel.  President John F. Kennedy received  a Purple Heart after his Navy service on PT-109 in WWII.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

135 min, Drama directed by John Ford, Robert Montgomery with John Wayne Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson, Paul Langton, Leon Ames, Arthur Walsh, Donald Curtis.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 88% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 172 reviews.
Special Note:  All the men have nicknames, Lt. John Brickley (Brick), Lt. (J.G.) Ryan (Rusty), C.B.M. Mulcahey (Boats), Ens. Gardner (Snake), Ens. Andrews (Andy) Lt. (J.G.) Long (Shorty), T.M. 1c Mahan (Slug), SC 2c Larsen (Squarehead).  Lieutenant was later a Vice Admiral and he was awarded the Medal of Honor and Lieutenant Kelly was awarded the Navy Cross.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

May in the Summer 2013

May in the Summer

     May Brennan is visiting her family in Amman Jordan.  She has had success with her first book and she is with her family to plan her wedding to Ziad.  He has stayed behind in New York to teach but will join her in two weeks.  May has a difficult time adjusting to her mother Nadine and her sisters, Dalia and Yasmine.  When you throw into this mix her estranged father Edward, there is ‘some’ tension.  May has not been able to make any progress on her second book and she is reconsidering her marriage plans?
     The only thing different about this film is the setting and cultural variations.  Otherwise, it’s everything we’ve seen before in many other films.  There isn't enough background information about May and Ziad to draw you to them as people or to have any investment in their lives.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

99 min, Drama directed by Cherien Dabis with Hiam Abbass, Nadine Malouf, Cherien Dabis, Elie Mitri, Ritu Singh Pande, Bill Pullman,  Alia Shawkat.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 62% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, New York Times 2 ½*.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Four Daughters 1938

     This film was adapted from the novel Sister Act by Fannie Hurst.  Adam Lemp has four adult daughters.  He is the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation and all of his daughters are interested in music.  They live with their father and Aunt Etta in a home they’ve had for a long time.  Mr. Lemp likes the classics especially Beethoven but the girls are interested in popular music.  They are thinking and wondering about marriage and speculating about the type of person they would like as a husband.
     I had a difficult time in the beginning telling the daughters apart and that could be because three of the daughters are sisters?  I also couldn’t keep up for a while with which man belonged with what daughter?  After a little time, I was able to sort them out especially after drama starts happening.  This film has good values regarding discipline, respect and caring about others.  3½* (I liked this movie) 
90 min, Drama directed by Michael Curtiz with Claude Rains, John Garfield, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, May Robson, Gale Page, Dick Foran, Vera Lewis, Tom Dugan, Eddie Acuff, Donald Kerr, Pricilla Lane.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 100% audience 80% critic on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 21 reviews, TCM 3.5* of 4*.
Special Note:  There were sequels to this film, Daughters Courageous, Four Wives and Four Mothers.  This 1938 film was remade as Young at Heart in 1954, Imdb 6.9/10 with Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.  I like the movie poster with the makeup and hairstyles of this period.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Good People 2014

Good People

     Tom and Anna Wright are Americans living in London.  They inherited a large house from a relative and Tom is doing the renovations.  They are living in a rented house and getting very strapped for cash.  They don’t have the money for their rent and Tom was served with a two-week eviction notice.  They have sublet the apartment below them to get a little more cash every month.  The tenant is becoming a problem because he watches a lot of TV and he likes the sound very loud.  Tom and Anna go into the apartment to talk about the noise and they find him dead?  He passed from a drug overdose.  When they go through his things to pack them up, they discover a lot of money in pounds stashed in a bag above a ceiling tile, $400,000 in dollars.  They decide to quietly take only the money they need for their debts.
     Tom and Anna don’t know there was also a suitcase filled with liquid heroin stashed near money.  Another thing they don’t know is that a group of very deadly men are searching for the money and the drugs.  They don’t care what they need to do to get their property back!!  If I had been beaten up and had two fingers broken like Tom, I would not be running around but I would be in the hospital on heavy painkillers!!  This film seems like a check-off list of just about everything that’s been done before in a thriller movie?  Did Franco and Hudson want a paid for trip to London?  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

90 min, Action directed by Henrik Ruben Genz with James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Spruell, Michael Fox, Diarmaid Murtagh, Francis Magee, Omar Sy.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 11% critic 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  As if we needed more clues to determine the good and the bad sides, does the last name for Tom and Anna need to be Wright?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Destination Tokyo 1943

Destination Tokyo

     This film was made during WWII and it features the secret mission of a U.S. submarine to the shores of Japan off Tokyo Bay.  The ship leaves for its mission from Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo California and makes its way under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California to head out to sea.  Their mission is to bring a Navy meteorologist onto the coast of Japan to survey Japanese weather conditions for a major Allied assault (the Doolittle Raid in 1942).   The scenes of the pharmacist’s mate performing an emergency appendectomy are based on true stories of this actual procedure happening more than once.
     Some of the scenes are with a submarine but some are from models and reconstructions.  A lot of the underwater scenes are done with models except when the ship is on the surface. The very wide passageway shown in this submarine is very different from the narrow aisle in a real ship.  Everything possible is done to conserve space within the limits of the hull.  I know this from personal experience since I have been aboard a submarine.  The ship was the USS Silversides but the name was changed to USS Copperfins for the film.  This is interesting and good.  The scenes of the entrance to Tokyo Bay with the extensive minefield and protective net are chilling.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

135 min, Adventure directed by Delmer Daves with Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale, John Ridgely, Dane Clark, Warner Anderson, William Prince, Robert Hutton, Tom Tully, Faye Emerson, Peter Whitney, Warren Douglas.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 169 reviews.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sneakers 1992


     Martin Bishop manages a group of experts who test security systems.  They start a fire in the safety deposit box room of a bank.  Martin withdraws a large sum of money and he recommends improvements in the security force and account management for the bank.  Government agents blackmail Martin, they say they will clear his name of previous federal charges if he will steal a top-secret black box.  The box is a code-breaking machine developed by a mathematician.  Martin finds out the people he talked to are not from our Government but they are Russian. 
     I thought the computers and the phones from this period were funny!  This not an edge-of-your seat thriller that keeps you wondering the entire length of the movie!  The plot, methods and the equipment are dated.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

126 min, Crime directed by Phil Alden Robinson with Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, Mary McDonnell.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 81% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mutiny on the Bounty 1935

     This film is based on a 1932 novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norton Hall.  In 1789, a team of naval officers from the HMS Bounty go into a local bar to round up sailors to complete their crew.  The men don’t want to go but they don’t have a choice.  One man definitely doesn’t want to go and his wife tries to convince the men not to take him.  They have a baby son and the ship will be gone for a long time plus he may not come back.  None of the crew knows what a tyrant Captain William Bligh will be on this voyage.
Mutiny on the Bounty     I’ve seen this film before but it was still good and interesting.  In almost every scene, you want to have Captain Bligh flogged, stretched on the yardarms, keelhauled or thrown below deck.  He has no values, honesty and he cares nothing about human life.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

132 min, Adventure directed by Frank Lloyd with Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Herbert Mundin, Eddie Quillan, Dudley Digges, Donald Crisp, Henry Stephenson, Francis Lister, Spring Byinton.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 94% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 139 reviews.
Special Note:  This novel and film are based on the true story of the mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh.  He served as Commanding Lieutenant of the Bounty.  Fletcher Christian set him adrift with other members of the crew and he sailed 3,618 nautical miles to Timor.  Everyone on the boat was almost dead from hunger and thirst.  This was not his first leadership position but since the Bounty was an armed vessel, he could command the crew under British articles of war.  I read that Captain Bligh was not as bad as portrayed and the real reason for the mutiny may have been the men wanting to remain in Tahiti.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Life After Beth 2014

Life After Beth

     Beth Slocum is happily hiking alone in the woods but she dies from a venomous snakebite.  Her parents and her boyfriend Zach are deeply affected by her death.  Zach begins hanging out with the Slocum’s but they begin to avoid his calls and they don’t answer the doorbell.  Zach sees Beth through the window.  What Zach doesn’t know and her parents are not fully aware of is that Beth is now a zombie.  Zach is very happy he has the chance to do and say everything to her he didn’t get a chance to do before she died.  Her parents and Zach still love her but her unusual behavior and the strange events happening around town cause life with Beth to be overly complicated.
     All the actors deserve better material.  Zach and Beth’s parents are trapped in grief and hanging constantly onto any thread of Beth.  Beth doesn’t remember anything about what happened to her in the woods.  After her return, she doesn’t realize what she has become and her father doesn't want her to be told.  Her dilemma creates a definite behavior box for her as well.  3* (This movie is OK)

89 min, Comedy directed by Jeff Baena with Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick, Eva La Dare, Thomas McDonnell, Alia Shawkat.

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 45% critic 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Splendor in the Grass 1961

Splendor in the Grass

     The period of this film is 1928 in southeast Kansas and the land is rich with oil.  The Loomis family is doing OK but the Stamper family is rich.  Deanie Loomis and Bud Stamper are in high school and they are in love.  Bud is a popular football captain and Deanie is a sensitive soul.  They are good kids and their parents expect a lot from them.  Bud’s dad makes him promise he will go to Yale and not marry Deanie until he finishes college.  Bud has learned from the path his sister has taken that a girl can gain a bad reputation quickly.  Deanie’s mother is very worried about her daughter and she questions her every time she comes home from seeing Bud.
     This is good and doesn’t seem dated plus I liked the clothing and the cars of the period.  A lot of times parents mean well but they sometimes are unable to separate what they wanted from their own lives and they project this onto their children.  Pressure is put on to follow a different path than the children intended that can change their lives and their future.  4* (I really liked this movie)

124 min, Drama directed by Elia Kazan with Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Zohra Lampert, Fred Steward, Joanna Roos, John McGovern, Jan Norris, Martine Bartlett.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 85% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 219 reviews.
Special Note:  The quote about splendor in the grass is from a poem by William Wordsworth.  "That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower.  We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Born Free 1966

Born Free

     This film is based on a true story and a book written by Joy Adamson.  George and Joy Adamson live in northern Kenya where George works as a senior game warden for this region.   One of his jobs is to track down dangerous animals that threaten humans, livestock and crops.  George and his team kill a man-eating lion and they have to kill the lioness when she charges them.  They didn’t know she was protecting her three young female cubs.  George brings them home and they try 17 different formulas until finally they get the cubs to eat.  They were very worried the cubs would die since they wouldn’t drink anything.  As they grow, two of the cubs are sent to Rotterdam Zoo.  Elsa the smallest stays behind because Joy can’t bear to let her go.  When she becomes full grown, George and Joy attempt to teach her to live in the wild.  Joe believes Elsa would hate living in a zoo but she knows nothing about being a wild lion.
     This is very good.  Even though this is from 1966, I didn’t watch this earlier because I was worried it would be too difficult to see but it’s not that way at all.  There are setbacks and fears but it’s interesting and worthwhile.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

95 min, Adventure directed by James Hill, Tom McGowan with Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Geoffrey Keen, Peter Lukoye, Omar Chambati, Bill Godden, Bryan Epsom, Robert Cheetham, Robert S. Young.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 92% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 323 reviews. 
Special Note:  A lot of reviewers have seen this movie multiple times.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Million Dollar Mermaid 1952

     This film is set in the 1890's, it is the story of Annette Kellerman and she was a proficient Australian swimmer.  She was born 7/6/1986 in Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia.  When she was a child, she was stricken with polio and had to wear leg braces.  She start swimming in a pond on her father’s property.  He didn’t know where she disappeared to every day but one day he followed her and found her swimming.  She was able to strengthen her legs, she was able to walk and later she was winning many trophies for swimming.  The Australian economy was suffering and her father lost most of his music students which provided their income.  She met a promoter who became her manager and she turned the world around by wearing her one-piece bathing suit on a public beach. 
     This is a good story and interesting.  Annette could not do distance swimming in the yards of material pantaloon costume that was worn by the women of this period.  Esther Williams is in the role of Annette. She was born 8/8/1921, she set national and regional swimming records in her late teens.  Due to the outbreak of WWII, she was unable to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics.  Between 1945-1949, she had a least one movie in the top 20 highest grossing films of the year.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

115 min, Bio directed by Mervyn LeRoy with Esther Williams, Victor Mature, Walter Pidgeon, David Brian, Maia Tallchief, Howard Freeman.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 24 reviews.