Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nightcap (Merci pour le Chocolat) 2000

Merci Pour Le Chocolat

     This film is based on The Chocolate Cobweb by Charlotte Armstrong.  Jeanne Pollet is an aspiring pianist and she has lunch in Lausanne Switzerland with her mother, her boyfriend and his mother.  Out of the blue, her mother tells a story about when Jeanne was born.  It was at a small hospital and a nurse made a mistake when she showed Jeanne to famous pianist Andre Polonski.  His wife had actually given birth to a son and not a girl.  Now, Jeanne is wondering if she could really be the daughter of Polonski instead?  Jeanne is working on an examination and she drops in on the Polonski family.  She is hoping Andre will help her with her technique.
     Mika, Andre Polonski's first and third wife seems so happy and loving?  There can’t be any unkind thoughts behind this placid face can there?  If anything unusual is happening or has happened it must be due to circumstances or an accident?  It could be due to her unexpected clumsiness?  I don’t want to give spoiler hints about this film!!  3* (This movie is OK)  

99 min, Drama directed by Claude Chabrol with Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Anna Mouglalis, Rodolphe Pauly, Brigitte Catillon, Michel Robin, Mathieu Simonet, Lydia Andrei, Veronique Alain.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 84% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  The scenes for this film were shot in Lausanne, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland.  These areas are French speaking and in the Romandy region.

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Neighbor Totoro 1988

My Neighbor Totoro

     Satsuki and her younger sister Mei move into a house in the country with their father.  They have moved to be closer to their wife/mother because she is a nearby hospital.  The girls begin to have magical adventures in the forest by the house.  There are magical creatures called totoros and the girls become their friends.
     The totoros are not mythological Japanese forest creatures but they were invented by Miyazaki for this film.  Everything going on in the forest is just something that happens and it’s never a threat or dangerous except when Mei runs away.  Their father doesn't doubt the stories the girls tell him about the totoros.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

86 min, Animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki with the voices of Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Lea Solonga, Pat Carroll, Lisa Michelson.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 93% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  This film has been voted the 5th best family film behind Toy Story 2 and ahead of Shrek.  The Anime Encyclopedia also cites it as the best Japanese animated film.  Computers are not used but the scenes are drawn one frame at a time.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hundred Foot Journey 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey

     Political violence in India cost the Kadam family their restaurant business and they also lost their wife/mother to the same fire.  They tried to start another restaurant and establish a home in London but it was not working out.  They decide to try running a restaurant in France.  On a winding mountain road their brakes stop working and they are almost in an accident.  A young woman, Marguerite helps them and they decide to stay in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.  They don’t realize they will be in competition with a Michelin star French restaurant across the street.  Madame Mallory owns this establishment and she does not like competition.
     This film reminds me of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Chocolat.  There are problems here and more than the restaurant competition.  Too predictable and also bland are two problems.  This is supposed to be about spicy Indian food but no spice here.  Also about very intricately crafted French food but there is sameness and themes from other films.  Also, Madame Mallory is so stiff, she is almost lifeless, not far from a window mannequin?  How can viewers relate to her or the complexities of her life?  3* (This movie is OK)

122 min, Drama directed by Lasse Hallstrom with Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya, Michel Blanc, Clement Sibony, Vincent Elbaz.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 68% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  Mirren was nominated for a Golden Globe and Women Film Critics Circle Award for best actress in her role.  Journey is listed as a comedy or musical for the awards but I didn't find this film a comedy?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Laursa 1944


     Laura Hunt has been found dead on the floor of her apartment.  She was shot twice with a shotgun.  Detective Mark McPherson is assigned to investigate the murder.  There are a lot of suspects, Waldo Lydecker, he helped her with her career.   Shelby Carpenter and Laura were supposed to marry Thursday of this week.  Ann Treadwell is in love with Shelby and Laura is not sure if Shelby is cheating on her with a model?  McPherson can’t seem to stop looking at the large painting above the fireplace in her apartment.  He begins to fall under her spell as well.
     The music in this film is by David Raksin and it seems lingering, sentimental and sorrowful but never intrusive.  All the characters except for Laura, her maid Bessie and McPherson care only about themselves, what they want, what they need and how they are going to accomplish getting their wants and needs.  All the suspects have a story to tell but what is the truth?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

88 min, Film-Noir directed by Otto Preminger with Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 100% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  Film noir is a genre known for convoluted plots and twists in the screenplay.  Preminger began by producing this film and then became the director.  The original director Rouben Mamoulian started out making a disaster.  Daryl F. Zanuck was the head of the studio at the time of filming and it was a struggle to get this film made.  Zanuck didn’t like the original ending and another was filmed but cut and back to the first ending on the advice of Walter Winchell, a real gossip columnist.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Random Harvest 1942

Random Harvest

     This film is based on a novel by James Hilton.  A military veteran of WWI is shell-shocked which caused loss of his memory and he was in a sanitarium for a while.  One rainy night he just puts on his coat and walks away.  Everyone in the nearby town is celebrating the end of the war and this makes Mr. Smith more nervous since he has trouble talking.  He meets Paula and she believes he doesn’t belong in the hospital.  She is a singer but she quits her job and makes it her new job to rescue Mr. Smith.  They get married and are very happy until Mr. Smith has an accident that returns his memories.
      There potential here to be a real tearjerker, a lot of drama.  It seems slightly removed because of the date of filming, like everything is very far back in time so it doesn’t touch you as deeply.  A modernized update might require a box of tissues?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

126 min, Drama directed by Mervyn LeRoy with Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Philip Dorn, Susan Peters, Henry Travers, Reginald Owen, Bramwell Fletcher, Una O’Connor, Aubrey Mather, Margaret Wycherly.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 89% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 299 reviews.
Special Note:  This film received seven Academy Award nominations but did not win and it was number four box office hit of the year.  Earnings were $8,147,000 and profit was $4,384,000.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Humoresque 1946


     This film is adapted from a novel by Fannie Hurst.  The Boray family comes from poor immigrant stock and they run a grocery store.  Paul Boray has been interested in the violin since he was a child.  His father thought this was a waste of money but his mother encouraged him.  He wants to become a concert violinist, he has talent but he doesn’t have the important connections to enter into this world.  Pianist Sid Jeffers and cellist Gina Romney train with Paul in the National Institute Orchestra.  Paul and Sid perform at a party and Paul is introduced to Helen and Victor Wright.  Helen appreciates Paul’s talent and she becomes his benefactress.
     There is a LOT of drama in this film.  Look out for Joan Crawford, I don’t know what she was like as a person but she is tough in this film.  She doesn’t let anything stand in her way, when she wants something, she just mows down the opposition but she feels everything deeply.  3* (This movie is OK)  

125 min, Drama directed by Jean Negulesco with Joan Crawford, John Garfiled, Oscar Levant, J. Carrol Naish, Joan Chandler, Tom D’Andrea, Peggy Knudson, Ruth Nelson, Craig Stevens, Paul Cavanagh, Richard Gaines.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 60% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM 3.5* out of 5*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 72 reviews.
Special Note:  A 60 minute silent version of this film was also released in 1920 with Gaston Glass, Vera Gordon, Alma Rubens.  Rated on Imdb 7.2 out of 10.  Close-ups of Isaac Stern hands were used for the violin playing.  He began his career at the age of 15 and received many awards.  He was born 7/21/20 and died at the age of 81 9/22/01.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Abuse of Weakness 2013

Abuse of Weakness

     This film is inspired by the true experiences in 2004 of the director.  Maud is a filmmaker and she suffers a large cerebral hemorrhage.  She is hospitalized for five months and she does improve after physical therapy.  She has paralysis of her left arm and hand plus her left leg.  She can get around with a cane and luckily she is right handed.  She is determined to begin her latest film project and she feels ready three years later.  She watches a TV talk show featuring an interview with Vilko.  He is a con man and he is an expert in swindling celebrities.  Maud would like him as the male lead even though he’s been convicted, served time and he’s not an actor.  Over a period of 18 months, he took advantage of her diminished capabilities by asking for a series of ‘loans.’
     This is good, Maud becomes wrapped in a web of spin by Vilko.  He is charming, attractive, available and he is not put off by her physical limitations.  Maud’s world has been severely reduced in scope and her contact with other people has decreased.  Huppert does an excellent job in this role3 ½* (I liked this film) 

105 min, Drama directed by Catherine Breillat with Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen, Laurence Ursino, Chritophe Sermet, Ronald Lecercq, Fred Lebelge, Tristan Schotte, Daphne Baiwir, Dimitri Tomsej, Nicolas Steil.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 86% critic 56% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tales from the royal Bedchamber 2013

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber

     Dr. Lucy Worsley is the Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and she takes viewers on a tour of the bedchambers of the past monarchs.  Royal bedchambers became so grand that actual sleeping was often done in smaller quarters.  Some monarchs took their bed with them when they traveled to ensure a night of proper sleep since it was a luxury for the host to have spare beds.  In medieval times, the finest bedclothes were made of the white belly fur of red squirrels.  There was also a problem with fleas and other unwanted creatures.  Silk in large quantities became popular but this could require a year of hand weaving.  Queen Victoria was the first to shut her door on her private affairs since the balance of power had shifted to Parliament.  Victoria also had more privacy than in today’s gossip filled media.  
     At least in these modern times the hunger for every scrap of news from the Reigning monarchy leaves some secrets from the bedchambers out of the news.  This is probably a good thing because previously the royal beds were stages for high drama.  The fates of entire dynasties were determined by births.  Beds were formal meeting places with access to the royal ear.  Quite a bit of interesting information.  3* (This movie is OK)
59 min, PBS Doc directed by Nick Gillam-Smith with Lucy Worsley, Tracy Borman, Sebastian Edwards, Olivia Fryman, Helen Rappaport, Jane Spooner, Neil Thomas, Anna Whitelock, Nicholas Witherick.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, Daily Telegraph 3*, Amazon 3* with 1 review.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

     This film is a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011.  Scenes are also borrowed from the 1960’s and 1970’s Planet of the Apes films.  Caesar, the leader of the Apes, was also in Rise and he was a victim turned rebel and he made a homeland for the apes in the Northern California forest.  This location is where the apes are living now.  A simian flu has struck humans and only remnants of this civilization remain in San Francisco.  The few hundred humans send a scouting party into the forest to investigate activation of a hydroelectric plant that will bring electricity back to the city.  They hope to broadcast a message to try to contact other humans.  The first encounter between the apes and the humans does not go well with a relative of Caesar killed by one of the humans.
I really liked that the apes ride horses and how big they seem when placed near the humans.  San Francisco is really a ruin and not much better than the forest home of the apes.  There are good and bad elements on both sides of the species plus real equals.  The humans have an advantage with their guns and they can heal through medicine.  When the apes obtain guns, the advantage evaporates.   3 ½* (I liked this movie)  

130 min, Action directed by Matt Reeves with Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer Jon Eyez.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 90% critic 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  As a coincidence, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was shown on TV the same day as I watched this.  I will be watching that film soon but this is a reverse order with the newest film first.  A listing of the films is, Planet 1968, Planet 1974 (TV), Back 1981, Behind 1998 (TV), Planet 2001, Video Game 2001, Rise 2011, Dawn 2014, Beneath 1970.  An untitled sequel is scheduled for 2017.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Miracle in the Rain 1956

Miracle in the Rain

     This film is based on a novel by Ben Hect.  The setting is New York City during WWII.  Ruth Wood has a secretarial job and she takes care of her mother, this is her life.  Her father called her mother on the phone and he said he wasn’t coming home anymore.  Since that phone call, her mother hasn’t left the house.  She warns Ruth every day about men.  After leaving the office one evening, Ruth meets a young soldier from Tennessee.  He helps her with her packages because there is heavy rain.  They stop at the deli and he buys more food, he’s invited himself to join Ruth and her mother for dinner?  They start to see each other and fall in love but he is soon sent overseas.  He gives her his mother’s engagement ring and tells her they will get married when he comes back to New York.
     There is a lot of drama in this film, it will pull at your heart and try to make you cry too.  The two lead characters are a very nice couple and you want the best for them.  They seem to have had some hard times in the past so they don’t deserve more.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

108 min, Drama directed by Rudolph Mate with Jane Wyman, Van Johnson, Peggie Castle, Fred Clark, Eileen Heckart, Josephine Hutchinson, William Gargan, Marcel Dalio, George Givot, Barbara Nichols.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 91 reviews, TCM 2.5* out of 4*.
Special Note:  Jane Wyman was the first wife of Ronald Reagan, they married in 1940 and divorced in 1949.  She was born 1/5/1917 and she died at the age of 90 on 9/10/2007  This film was held in a vault for a long time and not released again until 2/6/07, a month after she died and 51 years after the original release!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carve Her Name With Pride 1958

Carve Her Name with Pride

     This film is based on a book with the same title written by R.J. Minney.  The setting of is the early years of WWII in London and it is based on a true story.  Violette Bushell is the daughter of an English father and a French mother.  She meets a young French soldier in the park and she’s determined to ask him for dinner with her family since it is Bastille Day.  In just a few days, Violette and Etienne Szabo fall in love and get married.  They have a baby girl and on Tania’s birthday, Violette receives a telegram stating her husband was killed in North Africa.  She is invited to join the Special Operations Executive unit because she would be a valuable asset.  She can speak both English and French.  She is sent into France in the spring of 1944 to salvage a resistance unit.
     This movie is very good.  Violette wants to do what she can to help the British in the war effort but she has a difficult time leaving her young daughter.  At least she has her parents to look after Tania while she is gone.  These missions are very dangerous and Violette is surprising calm plus she is very well trained but the Germans are not easily fooled.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

119 min, Bio directed by Lewis Gilbert with Virginia McKenna, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner, Denise Grey, Alain Saury, Maurice Ronet, Anne Leon, Sydney Rafler, Avice Landone, Niocle Stephane, Bill Owen, Billie Whitelaw.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 34 reviews.
Special Note:  Virginia McKenna also stared in Born Free which is about the lioness Elsa.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Giver 2014

The Giver

     This film is based on a novel of the same title by Lois Lowry.  Her book sold over 10 million copies and received the 1994 Newbery Medal.  Jonas lives in a perfect world, there is no pain, war, suffering, color, love and memories.  At 18 years old, each person is selected for the job they are best suited for.  Jonas is worried because he doesn’t know what his job will be.  Everyone else has a talent that leads to the most suitable job.  Jonas is the last one selected and he is chosen to be ‘the Giver.’  He will train with the current ‘Giver’ to learn the memories of the past that will make him ‘the Giver.’  When Jonas sees what the world used to be like, he knows everything in his community is created and not real.
     There are a lot of similarities to Divergent in this film.  At a certain age the young people in Divergent are given a test to determine their choice of jobs and in The Giver they are selected.  Kate Winslet was the leader of the Divergent world and Meryl Streep leads The Giver world.  The Giver world is filled with ‘sameness’ and the film has a hard time rising above this sameness?  3* (This movie is OK)

97 min, Drama directed by Phillip Noyce with Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay, Alexander Jillings.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 36% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  The acting talents of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep seem to be wasted in these roles.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pioneer 2013


     The setting is the early 1980’s, the Norwegian oil boom is just getting off the ground.  Very large oil and gas deposits are in the North Sea and a pipeline is planned from a depth of 500 meters.  Petter is a deep-sea diver, he’s good, disciplined, has the strength and is courageous enough to take on this task.  Petter and his brother Knut go down together on the training dive.  They have been practicing depth adjustment in a dive chamber prior to this mission.  Two American divers have been working with the Norwegians.  There is a problem and Knut is dead.  Petter is more than grief stricken, he’s determined to find out who is responsible.  A police investigation will not be enough to satisfy him. 
     This is complex but very interesting and is based on actual events.  The divers are really being used as guinea pigs and depths this deep are dependent on accurate gas mixtures. These mixtures are experimental and are being tested along with the limits divers.  This first test dive was conducted at 300 meters instead of the 500 meters of the projected pipeline.  3* (This movie is OK)

111 min, Thriller directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg with Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, Stephanie Sigman, Johanthan LaPaglia, Ane Dahl Torp, Jorgen Langhelle, Andre Eriksen, David A. Jorgensen, Eirik Stubo.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 54% critic 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  Aksel Hennie plays Petter in this film and he’s been acting in Norwegian films for 20 years.  He has a role in Ridley Scott’s adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Martian.  The rights to Pioneer have been purchased by George Clooney’s production company, Smokehouse Films and is scheduled for an English language remake.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Wind Rises 2013

The Wind Rises

     This film is fiction but based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi.  Jiro is a young man living in Japan and he’s very interested in airplanes, flying them and designing them.  He would very much like to fly but he has nearsighted vision so instead he flies them in his dreams.  His inspiration is the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni.  He devotes himself to his studies and gains a reputation as a genius in the aeronautical field.  A major Japanese engineering company hires him in 1927 to immediately begin airplane designs for them.  The major events in Jiro’s life are shown, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and the entrance of Japan into war.
     This is very good and uses what may have been slightly boring information and presenting it in a very relatable format.  It’s very interesting and you can really experience Jiro’s life and appreciate him as a person.  You also see Japan and the people from a different side than usually featured.  4* (I really liked this movie)

126 min, Animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki with the voices of Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miori Takimoto, Masahiko Nishimura, Mansai Nomura, Jun Kunimura, Mirai Shida, Shinobu Otake.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 89% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  Director Hayao Miyazaki is 73 years old and he announced this film will be his last.  Nominated for an Oscar in 2014 for Best Animated Feature Film but lost to Frozen.

Monday, March 16, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Rules of Engagement 2014

When Calls The Heart: Television Movie Collection

     This film is based on a series of books by Janette Oke.  Jack Thornton has returned to Coal Valley after delivering an outlaw gang to justice.  He plans to resume his courtship of teacher Elizabeth Thatcher.  When the stagecoach arrives in town, he’s very surprised to see his former fiancĂ© Rosemary LeVeaux step down from the coach.  Rosemary broke off their engagement, she wanted ‘more.’  She has changed her mind since her attempts at an acting career in New York were not as successful as she hoped.  Elizabeth doesn’t know anything about Jack’s former engagement and she’s very surprised by Rosemary.  Through the efforts of her family back East, Elizabeth receives an offer to teach at a very prestigious school.  Abigail is helping investigator Bill Avery prepare a case again the coal mine company because of the death of 46 men including her husband and son.
     The town and people seem very realistic for the frontier period.  This is about problems in the town and relationships between the people living there.  Everyone is trying to provide for their families and do their jobs the best they can sometimes under trying circumstances.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

43 min, TV Episode, Drama directed by Neill Fearnley with Erin Krakow, Pascale Hutton, Jack Wagner, Martin Cummins, Daniel Lissing, Lori Loughlin, Chelah Horsdal, Charlotte Hegele, Ty Wood, Rachel Pawluk.

Note:  Imdb 8.5 out of 10, Amazon 4.9* out of 5* with 14 reviews.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Archipelago 2010


     Edward is getting ready to leave for a year of volunteer service in Africa.  His family decides to return to a remote island where they have gone since Edward and his sister Cynthia were young.  Edward’s mother Patricia is expecting her husband and the father of Edward and Cynthia to join them later.  Their painting teacher Christopher is invited to give them painting lessons on their getaway.  They also have a cook who comes daily to prepare their meals.
     This is a very slow moving film with a lot of tension between the family members.  Patricia is getting very angry when Edward and Cynthia’s father is delayed.  She was hoping he would be able to buffer their arguments.  The scenery is beautiful but spoiled by family behavior.  The area of filming is really the star of this film and uncredited as such?  2 ½* (This movie is so-so) 

114 min, Drama directed by Joanna Hogg with Christopher Baker, Kate Fahy, Tom Hiddleston, Andrew Lawson, Lydia Leonard, Amy Lloyd, Mike Pender.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 95% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4* with 20 reviews.
Special Note:  I think the dvd cover spells out with their body language the relationships of the characters in this film.  They are all separated from each other and disconnected.  Both Patricia and Cynthia have their heads down as well.  Edward and Christopher plus the woman behind them are more hopeful and open with their faces raised in expectation.

The Lifeguard 1976


     Rick works full-time as a lifeguard for the beaches of Los Angeles.  Even though he’s now in his 30’s, he still likes what he does and he doesn’t see a reason to change.  He’s good at what he does, he saves lives and he teaches his assistant for the summer about the job.  He goes to his 15-year high school reunion and he looks up his high school girlfriend.  He’s heard she is recently divorced and she invites him to her house.  She has a young son and she works at an art gallery.  One of Rick’s friends tells him about a job opening as a salesman at the local Porsche dealer.  Cathy would prefer being with a car salesman rather than a lifeguard?
     The hairstyles of the men are funny with the medium long hair look.  The teen boys are always causing trouble at the beach, old men don’t want to listen to the lifeguard and odd people show up from time-to-time. 3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

96 min, Drama directed by Daniel Petrie with Sam Elliott, Anne Archer, Stephen Young, Parker Stevenson, Kathleen Quinlan, Sharon Clark, Steve Burns.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 117 reviews.
Special Note:  Rick drives a very nice dark green 1969 Corvette Stingray C3 convertible.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Green Mansions 1959

Green Mansions

     This film is based on a 1904 novel by W.H. Hudson.  The time period is 1959 and the story of a woman who lives in the Venezuelan jungle and she is called Rima the Bird Girl.  The local native tribe of this area has captured Abel and there was a chance he would be killed by them.  He is in this area because he has heard there may be gold and he wants to finance an uprising against the brutal Venezuelan government in Caracas.  Rebels have taken charge, Abel was nearly killed and his father was killed.  He saw the Chief has gold and he sees Rima has gold.  He just needs to convince them to tell him where he can find gold.
     I could not get interested in this film.  It seems so hazy and farfetched, you wonder if you drank too much caffeine, your eyes are not seeing clearly or your brain is not working?  2* (I didn't like this movie) 
104 min, Adventure directed by Mel Ferrer with Audrey Hepburn, Anthony Perkins, Lee J. Cobb, Seesue Hayakawa, Henry Silve, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Pate, Estelle Hemsley.
Note:  Imdb 5.6 out of 10, 31% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 54 reviews.
Special Note:  At the time of filming, Audrey Hepburn was married to the director Mel Ferrer.  It was one of the few critical and box office failures of her career.  There was a loss of $2,430,000 at the box office.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Will for the Woods 2014

A Will for the Woods

     Clark Wang is receiving treatment for lymphoma.  After his diagnosis, therapy kept his illness at stable but now he’s running out of time and luck.  He decides he would like a green burial instead of any process that takes from the Earth instead of giving back.  Clark is a musician, psychiatrist and folk dancer.  While investigating options locally, Clark and his partner Jane inspire a woman at a funeral home to prepare a business plan and present this option to her company.  Clark has picked out a space in a North Carolina forest, he will not be embalmed and he has had a coffin made from repurposed wood.  Clark tries to make the most of the time he has left and do as much as possible within his physical limitations.
     This is an unusual and different film.  Clark has lived his life the way he wanted to with respect for the environment and he would like to finish in the same way.  Many states are now offering this as an option and the method is like the ceremonies of the 1800’s.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

93 min, Doc directed by Amy Browne, Tony Hale, Brian Wilson, Jeremy Kaplan with Clark Wang, Jane and their friends and family.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 73% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 8 reviews.
Special Note:  As you can see at the top of the DVD cover, this film has received several film festival awards for Audience (3 total), Environmental, Programmer’s, Jury, Best US/International Feature Documentary, Fork in the Road.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If I Stay 2014

If I Stay

     This film is based on a novel by Gayle Forman.  Mia Hall loves the cello, she loves classical music and she lives in Portland.  She is the only one in her family interested in this type of music and she wonders why they all like rock and roll?  She’s really surprised when she meets Adam, he’s like the rest of her family, into rock and roll.  Mia applies to Juilliard and she has one more year of high school.  Adam graduates and he’s the lead singer and guitarist of a band that is touring and starting to get recording offers.  Mia’s family gets the day off for a snow day and they finally convince her to go with them.  It’s a family drive through the pristine snow on their way to see a friends and their new baby.  Amid the peacefulness, everything changes in an instant.
     This is good, I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out.  There are definitely two possible endings.  There are also slight undertones of Nicolas Sparks in this film?  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

107 min Drama directed by R.J. Cutler with Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 36% critic 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  The novel If I Stay has a sequel, Where She Went.  There was a lot of publicity buzz about this film when it was showing in theaters.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jersey Boys 2014

Jersey Boys

     This film is a biography based on the Tony Award winning musical and a tribute to the Four Seasons.  The film opens in 1951 when Frankie was 16 and working in a barbershop.  They began as a group in the 60’s and their name changes, rise to fame, tough times, personal problems and clashes are shown.  Frankie Valli was a small young man but he had a wide voice range and he could reach high tones in his singing.  There were gambling debts, Mafia threats and issues with families.  This group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they managed to perform for over four decades.
     I liked this movie, every time a song was featured, I remembered hearing it on the radio.  I’m surprised about the low reviews?  It seems to capture the spirit of people from New Jersey and the life of rock entertainers.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

134 min, Bio directed by Clint Eastwood with Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Steve Schirripa, Christopher Walken, Kathrine Narducci, Lou Volpe, Johnny Cannizzaro, Michael Patrick McGill, Michael Lomenda.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 53% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 1,512 reviews.
Special Note:  I was surprised that this film was directed by Clint Eastwood, I just didn’t picture him wanting to work on this type of film based his previous work.  I didn’t know he is a music aficionado and he directed Bird about jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker in the late 80’s and he has written the musical score for several of his movies including Million Dollar Baby.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The One I Love 2014

The One I Love

     Ethan and Sophie are seeing a therapist because they feel their marriage has become lifeless.  They used to have such fun together and there was a spark between them.  Even when they try to recreate events that made them happy, it doesn’t work.  Their therapist gives them the keys to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway together.  Everything starts off very well and they are having a fun and romantic adventure.  They discover there is also a guesthouse on the property.  Ethan is the first to learn that when he enters this separate house, different things happen in this house.  At first he doesn’t understand and he doesn’t believe what is happening.  Sophie goes into the house and she also experiences strange events.
     This film is very different and really gets interesting when unusual happenings begin to occur.  Ethan and Sophie begin to discuss and compare their experiences.  At first, they want to run away from these houses.  Then, they start to become drawn to and involved with their situation.  They still don’t know what to think or how this will end?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

91 min, Drama directed by Charlie McDowell with Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson, Kiana Cason, Kaitlyn Dodson, Lori Farrar, Marlee Matlin, Tim Peddicord, Ryan Pederson.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 80% critic and 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Turks & Caicos 2014

Worricker: Turks & Caicos

     This is a Johnny Worricker movie.  He is a former MI5 agent and he has traveled to the islands for a break.  An encounter with a CIA agent leads him to a meeting of American businessmen from New Jersey.  They are on the islands because they are the tax-exile place to be.  They are supposed to be meeting for a conference on the global financial crisis.  Later, one of the men is found drowned in the sea.  They have a financial public relations specialist and she claims to be in the dark about a lot of information.  Johnny needs her to fill him in on what the men do for a living and why they are here. 
     This is the second Johnny Worricker movie I’ve seen and I just don’t think they are very good?  The other movie I watched was Salting the Battlefield.  The only reason I watched Turks & Caicos is because it was recently shown on Masterpiece Theatre on PBS and Salting the Battlefield was also recently shown.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

95 min, TV Movie, Action directed by David Hare with Winona Ryder, Christopher Walken, Bill Nighy, Hansel Piper, Dylan Baker, James Naughton, Zach Grenier, Julie Hewlett, Helena Bonham Carter.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 27 reviews.