Friday, July 31, 2015

5 Flights Up 2014

5 Flights Up     Alex and Ruth Carver have been married 40 years and they have lived all this time in the same apartment.  They decide they are tired of climbing the five flights of stairs and maybe they need to move to a place with an elevator.  They contact Ruth’s niece, she is in the real estate business and she agrees to have an open house for perspective buyers.  There are a lot of people coming to see the apartment and they get several offers.  It all seems very high pressure.  Ruth decides they need to hunt for another apartment before they sell their place.  They find a nice apartment but there is a lot of pressure with other offers too.
     My vote for the Best Actress Award in this film goes to Dorothy, the Carver’s little dog!!  She has a slipped disc in her back and she needs expensive tests and surgery.  She is very nervous in her little crate at the vet clinic after her surgery and she hasn’t walked yet.  Dorothy extends her small paw with a bandage to Ruth when she comes to visit.  Diane Keaton walking through Manhattan reminded me of Annie Hall.  3* (This movie is OK)

92 min, Drama directed by Richard Loncraine with Diane Keaton, Cynthia Nixon, Korey Jackson, Alanna Blair, Gary Wilmes.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 53% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  You can see Dorothy's little face on the DVD cover.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Paddinton 2014

Paddington     This film is based on the novels written by Michael Bond.  British explorer Montgomery Clyde traveled on an expedition to darkest Peru and he discovered a group of special bears.  Aunt Lucy, Uncle Pastuzeo and a young bear whose parents had died.  Clyde left behind a special hat for Uncle Pastuzeo.  Later, when there was a terrible earthquake in Peru, Uncle Pastuzeo was killed and Aunt Lucy sent the young bear as a stowaway on a ship heading for London.  Clyde had told the bears that if ever they came to London, they would be most welcome.  The young bear waits at the train station but no one seems to take notice of him.  Finally, much later, the Brown family comes to talk to him and they take him home.  Mrs. Brown would not let the family leave the young bear behind and she names him Paddington after the station.
     I really liked this movie.  It’s very funny, Sally Hawkins is perfect as Mrs. Brown and I thought it was a twist of casting to have Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey as Mr. Brown.  They live in a wonderful house with a long curved staircase and the mural of a tree on the wall changes to reflect the mood of the film.  I also liked the animation style of Paddington.  4 ½* (I loved this movie) 

95 min, Comedy directed by Paul King with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Nicole Kidman.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 98% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  This film was nominated for the Alexander Korda Award from the British Academy Film Awards for Best British film and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Empire Awards nominations were for Best British film and Best Comedy Film with a win for Comedy.  Saturn Awards, Best Fantasy Film South Bank Sky Arts Award for best film is pending.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Interstellar 2014

Interstellar     In a future Earth, devastation has come through drought and famine.  Crop blight has left corn as the only crop that will grow.  Huge dust storms circle the Earth and people become sick because of dirt in their lungs and they die.  Everyone believes NASA did not make any of the space journeys they have claimed and the people would not tolerate money being spent by NASA.  Cooper learns that NASA has sent twelve explorers to different planets to the other end of our galaxy near Saturn.  They were sent to collect data and to find a new place for mankind to live.  There is a wormhole and Gargantua, a massive black hole in this area.  Cooper is a former NASA pilot and they want him to take the Endurance to retrieve the data on the planets.  Cooper’s daughter Murph begs him not to go but he feels he doesn’t have a choice. 
     This film is very interesting and it was established from the beginning in the making of the film that nothing in the movie would violate established physical laws.  Any speculations would be based on science and not fantasy.  The main points emphasized are time and gravity plus the loneliness of being in space without other human companions.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

169 min, Adventure directed by Christopher Nolan with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Andrew Borba, Wes Bentley, William Devane, Michael Caine.

Note:  Imdb 8.7 out of 10, 71% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  Academy Award nominations were for Best Visual Effects, Original Score, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Production Design.  An award was received for Best Visual Effects.  The filming took place in Alberta, Canada, Iceland and Los Angeles, California.  Production designer Nathan Crowley planted 500 acres of corn to be used in the scenes with a cornfield on Cooper’s farm.  Giant dust clouds similar to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s were made by using large fans to blow cellulose-based synthetic dust.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

That Certain Woman 1937

That Certain Woman    At a young age, Marry Donnell was married to a gangster and she soon became a widow.  There was a scandal and the newspapers have not forgotten about Mary or about her husband.  She has been able to secure a good job despite her past with a successful lawyer.  She meets the son of a client, Jack Merrick and they elope.  Merrick, Sr. is not at all happy about this turn of events and he breaks up the marriage.  Jack goes to Paris and he marries again to Flip.  Jack has been drinking and they get into a car accident that leaves Flip in a wheelchair.  Jack and Merrick, Sr. aren’t aware that Mary has had Jack's son.  The child is four years old when Jack comes to see Mary.  He finds out he has a son and Merrick, Sr. immediately attempts to take the child.
     There is so much drama!!  Jack and his wife are in a coma.  It’s Jack’s fault his wife is in a wheelchair.  He still loves Mary.  Of course, he wants Mary and the child.  What about the wife in the wheelchair???  In black and white and so many problems, dated but I did like the hairstyles and the clothing.  I liked watching Bette’s expressive eyes.  No wonder there is a song, Bette Davis Eyes!  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

93 min, Drama directed by Edmund Goulding with Bette Davis Henry Fonda, Anita Louise, Ian Hunter, Donald Crisp, Hugh O’Connell.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 23 reviews.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kill the Messenger 2014

Kill The Messenger     This film is based on the true story of Mercury News journalist Gary Webb.  He learned about the CIA’s role in arming the Contra rebels in Nicaragua and the importing of cocaine into California.  He wrote a series of newspaper articles on this subject and he became the target of a smear campaign by the U.S. Government.  Attacking him personally diverted attention from the reports and caused doubts about the validity of the article.
     Even in this country, there is personal risk surrounding exposing information that people want to keep a secret.  They feel the only way to discredit the facts you have brought to light is to open every possible can of worms in the personal life of the reporter.  The person is not safe and their family is not either.  Valarie Plame found this out when she was singled out as a CIA operative as portrayed in Fair Game of 2010.  Her family needed protection, she was not given this and she was out of a job.  The people she worked with in foreign countries were also without protection, which cost them their lives.  3* (This movie is OK)

112 min, Bio directed by Michael Cuesta with Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Robert Patrick, Jena Sims, Robert Pralgo, Hajji Golightly, Ted Huckabee, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lucas Hedges, Matt Lintz.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 77% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  At the end of the film, there is a short video showing the real Gary Webb at home with his children.  Webb wrote a book published in 1998 and a revised version published in 1999. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rosewater 2014

Rosewater     This film is based on actual events and based on the memoir, Then They Came for Me.  The setting is in Iran of June 2009.  Maziar Bahari is a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship reporting in Iran on the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  The people feel his opponent Mir-Hossein Mousavi was the winner and the election was a farce since the results were reported before the poles closed.  Maziar sent footage of the street riots to the BBC and he was detained, interrogated and tortured in prison for 118 days.  The government in Iran believed Maziar was a spy working for the American government and the CIA. 
     This is not a light movie except for the scenes prior to Maziar’s imprisonment.  Publicity and denouncement of the imprisonment from Hillary Clinton and other officials on television aided Maziar in his release because the prison officials hated their comments.  Maziar’s wife was writing letters, receiving attention from the media and leading an international campaign for his freedom.  The officials wanted Maziar to “control his wife?”  3* (This movie is OK)   

103 min, Bio directed by Jon Stewart with Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Dimitri Leonidas, Haluk Bilginer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Golshifteh Farahani, Claire Foy, Amir El-Masry, Nasser Faris, Kambiz Hosseini.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 77% critic 68% audience, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  Prior to going to Iran, Maziar gave an interview to a colleague of Jon Stewart joking that he was a spy.  Maziar’s interrogator always wore the scent of rosewater which is a distillation of rose petals.  $300,000 bail was paid for his release and the promise he would spy for the Iranian Government.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Theory of Everything 2014

The Theory of Everything     This film is based on the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking.  Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde are students at Cambridge in the 1960’s.  At 21 years-old Stephen was diagnosed with motor neuron disease that would take away all muscle control of his body and kill in him in two years.  He had been an intelligent but unmotivated student and he became a changed man.  Jane was an arts student and they married.  Over time, they had three children and Stephen became comparable with Einstein.  His body was out of his control but his mind flourished. 
     I really felt for Jane because she took care of Stephen for a long time alone because he didn't want outside people coming in to care for him.  She had three children and a home to run plus help Stephen with his work.  The woman behind the man without the praise.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

123 min, Bio directed by James Marsh with Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior, Sophie Perry, Finlay Wright-Stephens, Harry Lloyd, Alice Orr-Ewing, David Thewlis, Thomas Morrison, Michael Marcus, Gruffudd Glyn, Emily Watson, Frank Hawking.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 80% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  Scientists have complained about omissions, simplifications, falsities and other failures pertaining to his theories.  This film was nominated for Best Picture, Actor Best Actress, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.  Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor.  Hawking is now 73 years old and he can only move a single muscle in his cheek that is attached to a speech-generating device.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Imitation Game 2014

Imitation Game     This film is based on real events beginning in 1939 at Bletchley Park, England.  Alan Turing was a genius at math and he is asked to work on solving the Enigma Machine used by the Germans to send their coded messages during WWII.  He selects other very intelligent people to work with him.  Alan begins to construct a machine that was a forerunner for the computer.  He feels this will be the fastest way to break the code but the other members of the team feel this is taking too long and they need him on the code work.  Alan is under tremendous pressure and a one-month deadline to get this job done.
     Alan Turing didn’t have any social skills and that caused him to be teased in school plus not very well liked as an adult.  Joan Clarke is the one woman on the team and she is thought to be a secretarial candidate when she arrives to try out for the code team.  There is a lot of tension because breaking the code can save many lives.  Even after the codes are solved, the team can't allow the Germans to know they have broken the code.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

114 min, Bio directed by Morten Tyldum with Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, James Northcote, Tom Goodman-Hill.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 89% critic 92% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  Allen Leech in the role of John Carincross is played by Tom Branson, the Irish chauffeur on Downton Abbey.  Tom Goodman-Hill is acting as Sergeant Staehl and he is in the role of Mr. Grove on Mr. Selfridge.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Golden Boys 2008

Golden Boys     This film is adapted from a novel titled Can’n Eri by Joseph C. Lincoln.  The setting is Cap Cod of 1905.  Three 70-year-old retired sea captains live together in a home that needs a lot of tidying.  They are not very good at cooking either and even the cat doesn’t like their fish cakes.  Their solution is to advertise for a woman to marry one of the men.  They decide by heads or tails and the lucky man is Captain Jeremiah Burgess.  Captain Zebulon Hedge and Captain Perez Ryder escape the marriage noose.  They are surprised to get a response from Mrs. Martha Snow and she is a widow living in Nantucket.  When they go to the train station, there is a mix-up of suitcases and they see the wrong woman.  She is a frightening sight and they run to hide from her in an old fishing shack until the coast is clear.  She is not Mrs. Snow and the real Mrs. Snow is nice and good looking.
     This is slightly slow paced and it wasn't very clear about the suitcase as an identifier of Mrs. Snow?  It is also somewhat predictable.  You might need to be interested in this area or the subject of the men to relate to this film.  3* (This movie is OK)
97 min, Comedy directed by Daniel Adams with David Carradine, Rip Torn, Bruce Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Charles Durning, Jason Alan Smith, Christy Scott Cashman, Angelica Page, John Savage, Julie Harris, Stephen Russell.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 28% critic 20% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 37 reviews.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Miss Meadows 2014

Miss Meadows     Mary Meadows can be described as very prim and very proper.  Even the adjective ‘very’ may not be a strong enough word?  She wears gloves all the time and she wears socks with her shoes and she always has metal taps on the soles.  She also combines a lot of colors and patterns in her perfect dresses.  She works as a substitute grade school teacher and the children like her very much.  They would like her to be their full time teacher but she says she likes to remain a substitute.  They don’t know that Mary moves to a new town every year.  She starts dating the local sheriff and he soon learns that Mary may be involved in some vigilante style murders of criminals in the town?
     I don’t know if I will be able to forget all the quirks that abound and surround Mary?  I wonder the reasoning and the idea of selecting Katie Holmes for this role?  I would not of thought of her having any of these qualities personally?  Somehow you need to get into a ‘mood’ to watch this film and like it?  3* (This movie is OK)

88 min, Drama directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins with Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey, Jean Smart, Mary Kay Place, Ava Kolker, Stephen Bishop, Kate Linder, James Keane.

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 28% critic 32% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in 17 days.  Most of the movie was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Introducing the Dwights 2007

Introducing the Dwights     Tim Dwight is in his early 20’s and he works hard, he’s dependable and he tries to help his mother and brother.  Jean works long hours at a Sydney canteen and then she does stand-up comedy at night.  Her young son Mark is disabled and she’s divorced from their father.  They’ve bought a moving van and Tim makes money helping people move.  He meets Jill, they start to date but Jean doesn't like Jill because she wants to hang onto Tim.  He thinks she might be the ‘one!'
     Jean is a very dominant personality and both Tim and Mark are struggling to break away from her apron strings.  It doesn't help that Dad is not in the picture very much.  This film needs something to make it better?  I think the plot is weak and the actors have to really work to keep this going.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

105 min, Comedy directed by Cherie Nowlan with Brenda Blethyn, Rebecca Gibney, Khan Chittenden, Richard Wilson, Russell Dykstra, Emma Booth, Katie Wall, Philip Quast, Frankie J. Holden, Tracie Sammut.  Justin Martin.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 52% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 9 reviews.
Special Note:  This is an Australian movie and it was also titled Clubland.  It was nominated for eleven American Film Institute awards, received a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival and opened in the United States on the 4th of July Holiday weekend.  The first Australian film to open on this day. 


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Outlaw 1943

Outlaw     Pat Garrett is living in Lincoln, New Mexico and he’s a newly appointed sheriff.  He is glad to see his old friend Doc Holliday arrive in town.  Doc is on the trail of his stolen horse.  Billy the Kid is in possession of the horse but he says he bought the horse and he did not steal it.  Surprisingly, Doc and Billy become friends but this causes a cooling of the friendship between Doc and Pat.  Billy is shot in the leg and Doc takes him to Rio’s place to recover.  Rio lives with Guadalupe and Rio is Doc’s girlfriend.  Billy treats Rio badly but she begins to like him.
     There is not much of a plot in this film and there just a few characters.  The acting is not very good, everyone seems wooden and the dialogue is bad.  The horse is a better actor and the favorite of everyone!!  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so) 
116 min, Drama directed by Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks with Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell, Jane Russell, Walter Huston, Mimi Aguglia, Joe Sawyer, Gene Rizzi.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 89% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 78 reviews.
Special Note:  There was a scandal at the release of this film because of the scenes involving Jane Russell.  This was her first acting role and there was a battle with censors.  This story is fiction and not based on any real events between the cowboys.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sweetland 2005

Sweet Land     This film is based on a 1989 short story, A Gravestone Made of Wheat by Will Weaver.  Inge is German and in 1920 she travels from Norway to rural Minnesota to become a bride in an arranged marriage to Olaf, a Norwegian farmer.  She doesn’t have the proper papers and the local minister doesn’t want to marry them.  He is also worried about her German background because of WWI.  He writes to her hometown for more information about her.  She stays with the Torvik family and they have nine children.  It’s a happy family but there isn’t much room.  Later, she moves to Olaf’s farm and he sleeps in the barn.  The minister doesn’t think this is proper and he preaches a sermon against them.  The wheat harvest is ready to be reaped and none of the people in town will help them or use their equipment on Olaf’s land because of the sermon.  The Torvik family is behind on their mortgage and their home goes up for auction.  Olaf bids $7000 on the property but he doesn’t have the money.  He doesn’t know why he made the bid?  If he can’t come up with the money, the auctioneers will take his farm.
     This movie begins at the end of the story with the death of Olaf and then goes back to the arrival of Inge.  This is slow moving but the characters become interesting and also the drama of their lives.  Later in the movie, there is a change in the townspeople because how Olaf and Inge behave.  3* (This movie is OK)

110 min, Drama directed by Ali Selim with Elizabeth Reaser, Lois Smith, Patrick Heusinger, Stephen Pelinski, Tim Guinee, Robert Hogan, Alan Cumming, Alex Kingston, Paul Sand, Jodie Markell, Sage Kermes, Kirsten Frantzich.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 85% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 168 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Dawson Minnesota.  There is a mistake, the Farmall “F” series tractor was not made until 1932.  In the original short story, the gravestone made of wheat referred to Inge burying Olaf on the farm property.  Extra seed was used on his grave to make a larger area of wheat in that place.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Birthday Girl 2001

Birthday Girl     The setting of this film is the London commuter suburb of St. Albans.  John has been working at a bank for 10 years and he's lonely.  He orders a mail-order bride from Russia through an online agency.  He waits at the airport but he doesn’t see her until he turns around from the arrival gate.  She is standing by herself observing him.  When he finds out she doesn’t speak any English, he tries to contact the agency to send her back but he gets no response.  Things start to get better until one of her cousins and his friend arrive to celebrate her birthday.  John doesn’t know how long they plan to stay but he’s had enough and asks them to leave.  This action starts a different ball rolling in an unexpected direction.
     Nicole Kidman looks different in this film with dark hair and a lot of black eye shadow.  This is a watch on DVD movie and not worth seeing in a theater if it was playing.  The plot stretches believability after the cousin and friend arrive.  There are many different ways this could have gone and you question the choices made as it unfolds?  3* (This movie is OK)

93 min, Drama directed by Jez Butterworth with Nicole Kidman, Vincent Cassel, Ben Chaplin, Mathieu Kassovitz, Kate Lynn Evans, Stephen Mangan, Alexander Armstrong, Sally Phillips.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 58% critic 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 98 reviews.
Special Note:  The budget of this film was $13 million and it grossed $16,171,098.  Kidman worked with someone at the Russian Embassy in Australia for help speaking Russian.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

50 to 1 2014

50 to 1     This film is based on a true story from 2009.  Mine That Bird was an underdog of a racehorse but a group of Mew Mexico cowboys cared about him and had confidence he could be a winner.  David Cotey purchased Bird for $9,500 from a yearling sale in 2007.  Bird started his racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada.  He was then sold for $400,000 to the New Mexico partnership of Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine.  His training was taken over by Chip Woolley.  His jockey, Calvin Borel used a technique that was a ground-saving, rail-skimming riding method that he had used before in a Kentucky Derby win.
     I thought this was good and it has good character development.  You really want this team to win and especially after the way their group is treated at one of the races.  The feeling is clearly broadcast that these are country boys with a low chance of winning.  Throwing money at a horse doesn’t guarantee a win!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, Drama directed by Jim Wilson with Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch, Todd Lowe, David Atkinson, Calvin Borel, Jessi Badami.
Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 17% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 243 reviews.

Special Note:  Actual race footage is included in the film and Calvin Borel is the actual jockey.  Bird finished 2nd in the Preakness Stakes and 3rd in the Belmont Stakes.  Bird had a racing career in Canada and the United States from 2008 to 2010.  He retired on 11/6/2010.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Valley of Light 2007

     This film is based on a novel by Terry McKay.  Noah Lark is returning home from serving in WWII.  He has PTSD but that term was not considered or diagnosed during this time period.  He travels to his family farm but his parents have died and someone else is working the land now.  He also learns that his younger brother Travis is serving time in prison.  Noah decides there is no reason to remain in this town and he sets off on a journey.  He is a good fisherman and he can provide food for himself from the lakes and streams along the way.  He meets Hoke, he’s an elderly man who tells him about a nice town in the Valley of Light just over the ridge.  Noah finds this is a nice town, good people, catfish to catch and also a very large illusive bass in the lake waiting to be caught. 
     This is a Hallmark Movie but it is interesting and pleasant.  The characters draw you into the film.  Noah gains a reputation as a good fisherman and the townspeople want him to enter the local fishing contest.  The same man has been winning the prize of $20 for several years.  $20 was a good some of money at this time.  I liked the cars, trucks, buses, hairstyles, clothing, the simple life and manners of this period.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

97 min TV Movie, Drama directed by Brent Shields with Chris Klein Gretchen Mol, Zach Mills, Jay O. Sanders, Jeff Perry Geoff Pierson.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 30 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Oregon but it’s supposed to be in a southern state.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Thicker than Water 2005

Thicker Than Water     After the passing of Natalie Jones’ father, his secretary, Abigail Jordan gives Natalie a box from him.  She learns from papers inside the box that her father was married to another woman before her mother.  Surprisingly, she was a rodeo queen.  Charles Jones was a judge and this seems so out of character for him that Natalie doesn’t believe what she is reading.  She decides to track down Maggie Mae and she finds her daughter, Jess Jarrett.  Natalie makes up a story that she is writing a book about former rodeo riders and she is doing research. 
     I liked this movie and the countryside scenes are beautiful.  Maggie Mae made sure the local wild horses had water and Jess is determined to carry on this work for her mother.  It’s not easy because the spring has dried up and they need to deliver water to a trough.  Jess has a lease for the land but it does not allow drilling to find water.  Natalie is an attorney, she’s not used to simple people, a simple life and people telling the truth.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

120 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by David S. Cass Sr. with Melissa Gilbert, Lindsay Wagner, Brian Wimmer, Lindy Newton, Nan Martin, Robert Mailhouse, Grainger Hines.

Note:  Imdb 6.3 out of 10, 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 118 reviews.
Special Note:  Melissa Gilbert was Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series Little House on the Prairie.  Lindsay Wagner was in The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whiplash 2014

      Terrence Fletcher is a respected professor at a prestigious New York music academy.  He has very strong opinions and he believes it is a disfavor to students to tell them what they did was a good job.  That sets them up for failure because a good job is not good enough.  Andrew is practicing his drumming and Mr. Fletcher takes notice of him.  He invites Andrew to play in his ensemble jazz band.  Mr. Fletcher demands perfection and he doesn’t care what he has to say or how much he needs to bully the musicians to get perfect sound and tempo.
      Part of this film is based on the actual experiences of the director, Damien Chazelle.  As a viewer you learn right away it’s the wrong thing to do to tell Mr. Fletcher anything about you personally!!  He throws everything he knows back in everyone’s faces without any compassion or humanity.  It seems Mr. Fletcher may not have any humanity?  How much can he abuse and push without breaking the spirit of all the students in the band?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

107 min, Drama directed by Damien Chazelle with Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, Damon Gupton, Suanne Spoke, Max Kasch, Charlie Ian.

Note:  Imdb 8.6 out of 10, 94% critic 95% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  Miles Teller has played the drums since he was 15 and he actually received blisters that bled onto the sticks and drum set during the intense drumming scenes.  J.K. Simmons suffered two cracked ribs in one of the scenes but he continued to work with the injury.  This film was shot in 19 days, it was edited and submitted to Sundance Film Festival in 10 weeks.  Academy Awards received by this film are for Supporting Actor, Film Editing and Sound Mixing.  Other awards were received from AACTA, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and Satellite.