Saturday, December 31, 2016

Nobody's Fool 1994

     This film is based on a novel by Richard Russo.  Sully is a tenant in the home of elderly Miss Beryl.  Clive Peoples, Jr., is her son, he is a local banker and he can’t stand Sully.  He is always trying to talk his mother into throwing Sully out.  Sully has been going to court to obtain compensation for an on-the-job knee injury but he hasn’t been successful.  He received his injury working for Carl but sometimes he still works for him if he can.  Sully hates Carl and he lets everyone know.
     This film takes place in the winter and snow is on the ground.  It made me cold just to watch!!  There is a LOT of arguing and fighting between almost all of the people.  Sully has never taken responsibility in his life.  He has a son with a family and Sully walked away when his son was a boy.  He's never understood why Sully left?  A young Willis and Griffith.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, Drama directed by Robert Benton with Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Jessica Tandy, Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gene Saks, Josef Sommer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 91% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 1518 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Hudson Valley, Hudson, Newburgh, New York.  Paul Newman was 70 years old when this film was released in January of 1994.  This was the last film for Jessica Tandy and she passed away at 85 the following September.

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Mother's Courage 1995

     This film is narrated by George Tabori and it is based on his book.  It is the true story depicting the deportation of 4000 Jews from Budapest to Auschwitz in July of 1944.  His mother, Elsa was on this train wearing a yellow star on her dress to signify she is a Jew.  She was arrested as she left their home, turned over to the Germans and placed on the train.  She didn’t know why she was arrested and she has several bad experiences while traveling on the train.
     I wanted to like this film but there is not much of a plot or substance.  There are many scenes of Elsa smiling into the camera?  Is that showing courage? There is a twist at the end.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

89 min, Drama directed by Michael Verhoeven with George Tabori, Pauline Collins, Ulrich Rukur, Natalie Morse, Robert Giggenbach, Heribert Sasse, Gunter Bothur, Simon Verhoeven, Buddy Elias, Peter Radtke, Otto Grunmandl.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 10 reviews, TV guide 3* out of 4*.
Special Note:  This film is a collaboration between Germany and Britain. Filmed in Brandenburg and Berlin, Germany; Budapest, Hungary.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wedding Present 1936

     Rusty Fleming and Charlie Mason are both reporters in Chicago.  They work on a tabloid paper and they are thinking about getting married.  The city editor is looking for them but they are at the courthouse trying to get a marriage license.  They make it to the window twice but the second time is 5PM and closing time.  They decide maybe they weren’t meant to marry and they should really think this over.  Charlie takes over the city editor job and he wants to prove to Rusty and himself that he can be serious.  Unfortunately, Rusty has met Roger Dodacker and they are getting married.  Charlie doesn’t know what he’s going to do??
     This is dated and there is a LOT of running around in the plot.  Rusty cries in a phone booth when they decide not to get married but she decides she’s through with Charlie.  Up and down, back and forth!!  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)  

81 min, Comedy directed by Richard Wallace with Joan Bennett, Cary Grant, George Bancroft, Conrad Nagel, Gene Lockhart, William Demarest, Inez Courtney, Edward Brophy, Purnell Pratt, Douglas Wood, Gordon Blaker.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 41% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM 3*.
Special Note:  This film is one of over 700 Paramount pictures made between 1929 and 1949 that were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Johnny 2010

     A ten-year old boy lives in a foster home and he has leukemia.  His mother was skilled in a car accident and his latest treatment doesn’t seem to be working.  Johnny’s regular doctor sends him to Doctor Carter to see if there is something else that can be done for him.  Doctor Drew Carter and his wife Julia have been struggling for two years since they lost their son in a car accident.  Doctor Carter agrees to take Johnny into their home as a foster so he can be with a real family before he dies.  Doctor Carter’s daughter Kayla is very happy Johnny has come to live with them but his wife can’t let go of her grief.  She is angry that Drew went against her wishes and brought Johnny to their home.
     Johnny has a positive attitude with everyone he meets.  Even a bully at his new school can’t bother him.  He touches everyone with his spirit because he doesn’t want to give up despite his desperate circumstances.  He’s very happy to live with a real family in their home for as long as he can.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

88 min, Drama directed by D. David Morin with Jerry Phillips, Musetta Vander, Lonnie Colon, Leslie L. Miller, Lee Majors, Mel Fair, Leticia Robles.

Note:  Imd 6.6 out of 10, 56% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 136 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Manistee, Michigan and Santa Monica, California.  Jerry Phillips in the role of Johnny is an adopted foster child.

A Cross to Bear 2012

     Erica wanted to be a dancer and she was dating Trey.  He is working in the music industry.  One day her credit cards are denied and Trey says they are done as a couple.  Erica doesn’t get a chance to tell him she is having his baby.  She ends up on the street and she’s homeless plus she doesn’t have any family.  A woman leads her to a place to stay for the night but her baby dies accidentally.  Fortunately, she finds a home with Joan.  This is a women’s shelter with rules and jobs for new beginnings.  Joan is a former nurse and she practices tough love but offers a helping hand.  Erica finds a chance to turn her life around.
     Erica has trouble with drinking and she doesn’t speak for a while after she goes to live with Joan and the other women.  She’s deep in grief over her baby plus what has become of her life.  Erica can be her own worst enemy at times.  There is a very sad incident in this film.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

89 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Tandria Potts with Parris Franz, Janean Akilah, Daniel Burnley, Ira Carmichael, Benita Carswell, Viviana Chavez, Danielle Deadwyler, Linda Denman, Kim Fields, Jerry Griffin.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 125 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Just Before I Go

     Ted Morgan is feeling very bad about his life in California.  His wife has recently left him and he thinks he has nothing left to live for.  He decides to go back to his hometown and face the people from his past.  He wants to yell at the elderly woman who treated him terribly when she was his teacher.  He wants to hit the bully who made life in school miserable.  He is staying with his brother, his brother's wife and son.  Everything is not going great for his brother either.  Ted meets Greta when she comes to visit her grandmother, Ted’s former teacher.  Greta wants to film Ted confronting his past misery.
     Ted learns he’s not the only one dissatisfied with life.  He’s not alone in his struggles and there are people treading water right along with him.  He still has to determine if he’s going to continue with his original ending of his plan.  This film is lightweight despite the themes.  It’s listed as a comedy but I didn’t find it to be very funny?  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min, Comedy directed by Courteney Cox with Seann William Scott, Olivia Thrilby, Garret Dillahunt, Kate Walsh, Kyle Gallner, Mackenzie Marsh, Evan Ross, Rob Riggle, Connie Stevens, David Arquette, Jack Quaid, Eddie Perino, George Finn, Missi Pyle, Elisha Cuthbert.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 10% critic 59% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 102 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Woodland Hills, California.  Diane Ladd acted in this film as a favor to Courteney Cox and Diane asked her friend Connie Stevens to costar.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Old Fashioned 2014

     Amber Hewson is on the road with her cat and she’s going to end her driving when her gas tank gets empty.  She stops in a town when she can’t go any further.  She looks in the paper and Clay shows her a small furnished apartment that will just suit her.  Clay owns a small antique store and the apartment is above his store.  Clay and Elizabeth start to be a couple but Clay wants to inch along like a snail.  He wants an old fashioned romance and he has outdated theories on love and romance.
     Usually I would like a movie with this plot but I couldn’t get interested.  I didn’t think Amber and Clay had any chemistry together?  The story is supposed to run slowly and thoughtfully but it seems more like going back to the snail theory.  I thought the best actor was the cat!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

115 min, Drama directed by Rik Swartzwelder with Elizabeth Roberts, Rik Swartzwelder, LeJon Woods, Tyler Holloinger, Nini Hadjis, Maryanne Nagel, Lindsay Heath, Joseph Bonamico, Dorothy Silver, Ange’le Perez.

Note:  Imdb 5.3 out of 10, 20% critic 86% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 1/2*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  I was surprised to learn this film broke a box office record for the biggest opening weekend for a film of this type that opened on fewer than 300 screens.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Girl's Best Friend 2015

     Penelope is 11 years old and she likes to be called Polka-Dot instead of her given name.  Her mother is sick and she has a liver disease.  She’s in her 40’s but not sick enough yet to get her name on a liver transplant list.  She’s not doing very well.  Frances and Polka-Dot have just moved to this community of Seal Bay.  They contacted a local pastor to help them if Frances needs to go to the hospital.  This does happen and Polka-Dot doesn’t tell anyone that Frances went to a hospital.  She is afraid Child Protective Services may step in and Polka-Dot spent a month away from her mother once before.  Polka-Dot starts helping out with the police K-9 dogs at their kennel, she especially likes the bloodhound Luey.  She tells Officer Cooper that she is involved with Cops for Kids, a program that doesn’t exist. 
     This is interesting and a good family film except for some sadness near the end.  Luey helps Polka-Dot find the hospital where the ambulance took Francis.  He can find people by tracking the cells people shed from their skin.  Polka-Dot gets courage from her favorite story of Huckleberry Finn.  He was an orphan who navigated a river to a new life.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

88 min, Family directed by Terry Ingram with James Denton, Lilah Fitzgerald, Laura Mennell, Kristen Robek, Chris Gauthier, Dalias Blake, Michael Kopsa, Zantha Radley, Jordan Ashley Olson. Bronwen Smith.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 45 reviews.
Special Note:  This film is also titled My New Best Friend.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Lodge 2011

     Mary Tobin and her boyfriend go for a weekend hike in the woods that she loves.  They help Charlene when they find her with a sprained ankle and unable to get back up a hill with her dog.  When they take her home, they learn that she lives in the Christmas Lodge.  Her Dad is Jack and Mary has known him for a long time.  Mary’s family used to spend a lot of their Christmas time at at the lodge.  She’s upset to see that the lodge has fallen into disrepair.  Mary’s job is to find funding to restore properties in the city.  She hopes she can obtain financing to restore the lodge for Jack, Charlene, her family and others.
     This is a different take on a Christmas movie.  Mary and her family really want to turn things around for the lodge but they aren’t sure it’s financially or physically possible.  It represents a lot of memories and closeness for the family.  The closeness is something they would like to get back.  The scenery in this area is very beautiful.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

86 min, Drama directed by Terry Ingram with Erin Karpluk, Michael Shanks, Rukiya Bernard, Rebecca Toolan, Michael Kopsa, Victoria Banks, John Innes, Michael Patric, Scott E. Miller, Peter Benson, Michelle Creber.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 2444 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It Happened Tomorrow 1944

     This black and white film takes place at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Larry Stevens is a newspaper reporter and he tells his friend Pop Benson that he would like to know tomorrow’s news today.  Later, Larry sees Pop on the street and Pop gives him a newspaper.  Larry doesn’t pay much attention until the next morning.  When he looks at the paper, he sees that the paper is for the next day!  He uses the paper to publish a scoop about a robbery at the opera house.  Inspector Mulrooney runs Larry in because he doesn’t believe any of his story about how he got his news?
     This film reminded me of the TV show Early Edition, I liked that program.  Everything is going somewhat smoothly until Larry sees a headline that has him worried.  Is it possible to change what is reported in this next day’s news?

85 min, Comedy directed by Rene Clair with Dick Powell, Linda Darnell, Jack Oakie, Edgar Kennedy, John Philliber, Edward Brophy, George Cleveland, Sig Ruman, Paul Guilfoyle, George Chandler, Eddie Acuff.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 16 reviews, Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4*, average viewer rating 4.11 out of 5.
Special Note:  Linda Darnell is very beautiful in this film and she was 21 years old.  Her career ran from 1939 to 1965 when she passed away. The Screen Guild Theater broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of this film on September 25, 1944 with Dick Powell and Linda Darnell in their roles.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Max 2015

     Kyle Wincott and Max are a team in Afghanistan.  Max uses both his nose and his training to help the soldiers in the company.  He tells the men where weapons are hidden and whether to move forward or remain stationary.  Unfortunately Kyle is killed and Max is unable to accept another handler.  Kyle’s family is notified about Max and they agree to take him into their home.  This is easier said than done.  Max begins to accept Kyle’s brother Justin as his new handler.  Kyle’s father Ray wonders if Max had anything to do with Kyle’s death?  Tyler was in Kyle’s company and Ray gives him a job at the storage unit Ray owns.
     This film is very realistic and I had a cramp in my stomach when bad things were happening to Max.  There is probably the statement at the end of the film that “no animals were harmed in the making of this movie.”  Max’s real name is Carlos and he had various stunt doubles too.  There are other dogs in this film but Max is the real star and he does better in his acting than some of the people!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

111 min, Adventure directed by Boaz Yakin with Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitlali, Dejon LaQuake, Jay Hernandez, Own Harn, Josephy Juilian Soria.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 34% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 1867 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in North Carolina.  This film is dedicated to the 26 dogs and 25 handlers killed in military service.  Max was also in the film Project Almanac and he is a Belgian Malinois, a type of Belgian Shepherd.  The two main breeds of police dogs are Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd.  The cost can be about $8,000 for the dog and then training $12,000.  Rin Tin Tin was disqualified from winning the first animal best-actor Oscar because of his non-human status but he earned the most votes!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Detectorists 2014

     Andy and Lance are best friends and their favorite thing to do is get together with their metal detectors to see if they can find gold.  They haven’t found gold yet but it could happen at any time.  They also belong to a local club with other detectorists.  Their biggest find could be a fabled trove of Saxon loot reported to be in their region.  They get exclusive searching rights to a large field from a local owner.  This gets them into a battle with another club and two other searchers determined to work this land too.
     This is interesting and good.  The characters are just a little bit different, each in their own way.  The countryside where they search for treasures is beautiful too.  There are rules to follow in detectoring and they need to be strictly followed!!  3 ½* (I liked this series)

30 min each episode, TV Movie, Comedy with Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Pearce Quigley, Gerard Horan, Divian Ladwa, Rachael Stirling.

Note:  Imdb 8.6 out of 10, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 78 reviews.
Special Note:  Mackenzie Crook plays the role of Andy, he is the writer of this series and he is also a detectorist.  He owns the yellow Triumph TR7 that appears in the episodes.  Diana Rigg and Rachel Stirling are mother and daughter in real life.  Filmed in Framlingham and Suffolk, England, UK.

Queen & Country 2014

     This film is a sequel to John Boorman’s Hope and Glory of 1987 that was nominated for five Oscars.  Nearly ten years have gone by, Bill is now 18 and he starts two years of compulsory basic military training in the early 1950’s.  Bill and Percy become friends and share a room together.  They spend most of their time getting into trouble and battling with Sgt. Major Bradley.  It is possible they could be sent to Korea but while they wait, they constantly test ‘by-the-rule’ Bradley.  Their superiors begin to feel infinitely put-upon by the stories of their diversions, shenanigans and girl chasing.
     I have not seen the prequel, Hope and Glory but I wasn’t expecting the story line of this film.  I didn’t think it was very funny, it’s very repetitious and two male characters don’t endear themselves because of their constant silly behavior.   I thought it was more about the relationships between the soldiers and their wives/girlfriends.  Some scenes are included with girlfriends but the relationships are minor plots.  Apparently, both films are autobiographical about John Boorman’s youth.  Rating numbers probably are based on the point of view of the viewers and overall situation portrayed.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

114 min, Drama directed by John Boorman with Callum Turner, Caleb Landry Jones, Pat Shortt, David Thewlis, Richard E. Grant, Vanessa Kirby, Tamsin Egerton, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Miriam Rizea, Sinead Cusack.

Note:  Imdb 6.3 out of 10, 79% critic 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 3.1* out of 5* with 65 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in England and Romania.  This film was shot in seven weeks, one week in London, UK and six weeks in Romania.  Hope and Glory has 7.4* out of 10 on Imdb.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

We're Not Married 1952

    A new Justice of the Peace performed five weddings before his license was valid.  The Court sends out five letters to the couples telling them they are not legally married.  Each of the five couples has a different reaction to the letter.  Couple #1 is a radio team.  Couple #2 is Mrs. Mississippi switching to Miss Mississippi.  Couple #3 doesn’t have anything to say to each other.  Couple #4 is a millionaire and his wife wants a divorce.  Couple #5 is a young soldier shipping out and his wife is going to have a baby.
     This film is in black and white and it is interesting how not really being married changes each of the couples.  Some get married again but some do not.  Some are happy to not be married.  I thought the clothing of this period, the cars and hairstyles were interesting.  3* (This movie is OK)

86 min, Comedy directed by Edmund Goulding with Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe, Victor Moore, Fred Allen, David Wayne, Eve Arden, Paul Douglas, Eddie Bracken, Mitzi Gaynor, Louis Calhern, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 37 reviews.
Special Note:  Originally there were supposed to be seven couples.  Hope Emerson and Walter Brennan were one of the deleted couples.

A Brilliant Young Mind 2014

     Nathan Ellis has difficulty connecting with other people and processing the changes in his life.  His father was killed in a car accident when he was nine years old and this has left a huge gap in his life.  His mother, Julie Ellis tries very hard but she doesn’t understand math.  Nathan is more comfortable with numbers than people.  Mr. Humphreys is one of the teachers at Nathan’s school and he agrees to take Nathan on as a math pupil.  Nathan wins a place on the UK team to attend the International Mathematics Olympiad.  He goes with a group of sixteen other math whizzes from England to Taipei for a summer camp.  In Taipei, he will work with Chinese math students so both groups can hone their skills.  Only six students will be selected from each country to attend the Olympiad so the stakes are high.  Nathan has trouble interacting with the other students and Taipei is a sensory overload for his system.
     When Nathan goes to the summer camp, you really wonder how he is going to set aside his food needing to be prime numbers.  He also needs to eat at certain times of the day.  He starts studying the language of Taipei on the plane and he’s as soon as good at this as he is in math.  Nathan finds it hard to believe that other students do not bully the math teens in Taipei because they are ‘different?’  Nathan faces constant bullying in England.   This film is an interesting study in material that has been covered in other films about excelling in one field but having problematic social maturity.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

111 min, Drama directed by Morgan Matthews with Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann, Jake Davies, Alex Lawther, Alexa Davies, Orion Lee.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 86% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 380 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England and Taiwan.  This film is based on Daniel Lightwing and his story as a teen and as a mathematician.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ricki and the Flash 2015

     Linda had a husband and three children, two boys and a girl.  She also had the dream of being a real rock star.  Years have gone by and Linda is now Ricki and she does have a band called The Flash.  She also works as a grocery store checker for a steady income.  Pete, her ex-husband calls from Indiana to tell her that their daughter Julie has had a breakdown.  Julie’s husband left her for another woman.  Ricki has not been to see her children in a long time and they are all adults now.  She feels she really needs to be there for Julie so she takes the next flight out of Los Angeles.  Julie isn’t overjoyed to see Ricki and she doesn’t leave much doubt about her feelings.  Julie does start to perk up a little in a few days and Ricki also gets to see her boys.  Jack is getting married and Ricki doesn’t expect to get an invitation.  Ricki and Pete’s wife Maureen exchange angry words before Ricki flies back to LA.
     Director Jonathan Demme has made several Neil Young documentaries.  Diablo Cody wrote the script and she also wrote Juno and Young Adult.  There isn’t one single surprise in any scene of this film?  Everything goes by a standard check-off list?  I see how makeup can make Mamie Gummer look like she hasn’t slept for two weeks?  Streep did her own guitar and singing which isn’t bad.  Rick Springfield is her backup guitar player and boyfriend.  Joe Vitale is the drummer from the Michael Stanley Band. On the organ is Bernie Worrell from Talking Heads.  On bass is the late Rick Rosas who played with Neil Young on the album Heart of Gold from 2006.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

101 min, Comedy directed by Jonathan Demme with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick Springfield, Ric Rosas, Jow Vitale, Bernie Worrell, Ben Platt, Peter C. Demme.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 65% critic 44% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 3.3* out of 5* with 727 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Piermont and Yonkers, New York.  Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer in the role of Julie are mother and daughter in real life.   Streep looks younger than her 66 years but the rocker hairstyle and heavy makeup age her in this film.  Streep was in Sophie’s Choice with Kline in 1982 and Streep was expecting her daughter Mamie Gummer!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Water Diviner 2014

     Joshua Connor lives with his wife in Australia of 1919.  It's just after WWI and he’s a farmer plus he is able to find water for wells.  He had three sons who fought and died in the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 four years earlier.  He meets hotel manager Ayshe in Istanbul and she helps him to get to the former battlefield in Turkey.  He is searching for the graves of his dead sons.  
     Russell Crowe also directs this movie plus he has the starring role.  There was political controversy caused by this film and over 16,000 people boycotted it on Facebook.  Descendants of the victims were angry that the Turks were portrayed as victims.  At the same time, the Turks were committing crimes against their minorities.  Film critics and Greeks also claim this film is a distortion of history.  There were other complaints because the film was released on April 24.  This is the day commemorating Armenian Genocide.  Despite all the controversy, I thought this film was good and it is also very somber in a lot of the film.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

111 min, Drama directed by Russell Crowe with Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Russell Crowe, Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, Dylan Georgiades, Steve Bastoni, Isabel Lucas, Salih Kalyon, Megan Gale, Ryan Corr.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 63% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, 4.1* out of 5* with 1114 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Mugla, Kayakoy and Istanbul Turkey, South Australia, New South Wales, Australia.  This film was released 100 years to the day of when Australian and New Zealand Army Corps becoming involved in a bloody war that lasted from 4/15 to 1/16.  The British lost 205,000 men, French 47,000, Turkey 251,000.  The horse that Russell Crowe rides in the Australian scenes is his own horse Honey.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Desert Dancer 2014

     This film is based on the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends in Iran from 1999 until the 2009.  The government frowns on their people dancing and you can be killed if the morality police catch you.  Afshin has wanted to dance since he was a young boy and he was criticized for dancing at school until he moved to the Saba Arts School.  Later, Afshin and his friends from the University of Tehran form an underground dance company.  They need to be constantly vigilant and extremely careful that no one but the group knows about their dancing.  They decide to dance in the desert where they can be free to express their craft and like-minded Iranians can come to see their presentations.  In 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected as the President of Iran but opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi demanded a recount that caused protests.  During the protests, it was extremely dangerous to be seen as different.
     The dancers were inspired by banned videos of Michael Jackson, Rudolf Nureyev and the Dirty Dancing film.  There are three story lines woven into this film.  The formation of the dance group, the view of Iranians in general about the 2009 elections and the romance/friendship between Afshin and Elaheh.  She is a young woman taught to dance by her ballerina mother.  There is a lot of brutality from the individuals driven to purge any differences from the Iranian people.  In their view, they deserve death from beatings and stabbings?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

104 min, Bio directed by Richard Raymond with Freida Pinto, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen, Reece Ritchie, Simon LKassianides, Marama Corlett, Akin Gazi, Neet Mohan, Makram Khoury, Mourad Zaoui, Gabriel Senior.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 30% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, 4.4* out of 5* with 50 reviews.
Special Note:  A British release filmed in Casablanca and Erfoud, Morocco; Paris, France and London, England.  

Longitude 2000

     During the 18th century nautical navigation at sea was following a coastline all the way.  You could not travel to the West Indies from Europe or to the Americas.  The sun or stars would give the latitude but not longitude unless crosschecked with an accurate clock.  There were many disasters because of navigational errors.  The British Parliament offered a substantial prize for the best way to find longitude at sea.  John Harrison began work on an accurate and sea worthy clock.  In the 20th century, Rupert Bould worked to restore the clocks made by Harrison.
     There was the possibility for this film to be boring since it’s all about clocks!!  Clocks are being built, inspected, logged, compared, taken apart and restored.  In this day, we have accurate time at our fingertips.  We don’t have to worry about where we are since we have GPS.  Britain’s Queen Anne announced the prize mentioned and it was 20,000 pounds.  Quite a tidy some in the 1800’s!!  Miscalculations at sea meant crashes on rocky shoals and a nearby location with fresh food and water could me missed.  Scurvy deaths were also a problem since fresh food with vitamin C could not be kept for long periods.  Longitude is time, one degree corresponds to 8 minutes of the 24-hour day.  The clocks of this period relied on pendulums and the motion of the ship would not allow a pendulum to be accurate.  This film is interesting at every turn because of a focus on the people involved and the complexities of solving the problem.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

250 min on two discs, directed by Charles Sturridge with Jonathan Coy, Christopher Hodsol, Jeremy Irons, Peter Cartwright, Gemma Jones, John Nettle ton, Michael Gambon, Nigel Davenport, Liam Jennings, Anna Chancellor, Frank Finlay, Geroffrey Hutchings, Andrew Scott.

Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5 with 166 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Antigua, Barbuda; Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, Brill, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Leavesden, Hertforshire, Oxforshire, Susssex, England, UK; New York City, New York.  There is a mistake in this film.  John Harrison explains longitude to the crew of the ship and later he makes remarks to the Board of Longitude.  Harrison was well known for an inability to express his ideas clearly.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

All Dogs Go to Heaven 1989

     Charlie and Carface are dogs in the casino owning business.  They are fierce rivals and Carface has Charlie killed.  Charlie arrives in Heaven since all dogs go to heaven.  He doesn’t deserve to be there because of his behavior and he wants revenge on Carface.  He’s warned he will go to hell if he goes through with his revenge plan.  The only way for him to get back to Heaven is to prove he is worthy.
     I’ve seen this before but I didn’t remember anything about the story.  There is a LOT of action and a LOT of gambling and shady dealings for an animated movie!!  There are also songs and music, rich colors and a definite moral.  Some children are afraid of dogs and this film does illustrate them in a different way.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

84 min, Animation, directed by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Dan Kuenster with the voices of Burt Reynolds, Dom Deluise, Judith Barsi, Melba Moore, Daryl Gilley, Candy Devine, Charles Nelson Reilly, Vic Tayback, Rob Fuller, Earleen Carey, Anna Manahan, Nigel Pegram, Loni Anderson.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 50% critic 62% audience, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 444 reviews.
Special Note:  Don Bluth and the other writers reached a deadlock for several weeks in the beginning stages of working on this story.  Robert Towne came to help them and he gave a simplified sum-up of the story after reading what they had come up with.  Robert Towne is a director and he’s worked on television and screen.  Outer Limits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Chinatown, Shampoo, Heaven can Wait, Days of Thunder, Mission: Impossible II are examples of his work.  Don Bluth formerly worked for Disney but he led a group of artists away to his own operation.  He also worked on The Secret of NIMH.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs 2015

     All twelve living CIA directors and top CIA operatives are interviewed about the work of the CIA.  The topics are torture, secret prisons, drone warfare, assassinations and threats of attack.  The United States knew there would be some kind of terrorist attack at the time of the attack on the towers.  They just didn’t know what kind of attack and when.  We didn’t have enough security measures in place to keep known terrorists out of this County.  There are security camera pictures of the perpetrators coming in through the airports.
     The basic question is how far should the United States go to protect the population and borders.  Are we willing to torture or is that going to far?  Are we willing to drone attack known terrorists who are surrounded by their families to prevent an attack?  How much collateral damage are we willing to allow?  A lot of very important questions and the answers change depending on the person making the decisions.  This is a very interesting and informative film.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

120 min, Doc directed by Gedeon and Jules Naudet with John O. Brennan, Robert Gates, Michael Morell, Gedeon Naudet, Leon Panetta, Mandy Patinkin, David Petraeus, George Tenet.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 90% critic on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic 65 out of 100 with 5 critics 7.6 out of 10 with 5 reviews.
Special Note:  Mady Patinkin plays the head of the CIA character in the Homeland Series.  Produced by Showtime Networks.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Louder Than Bombs 2015

     Isabelle Reed was a photographer and reporter with conflict zones her specialty.  A celebration exhibition is going to be held after her death in a car accident.  Some events in her life are shown in flashbacks.  Her oldest son Jonah has come back to attend and visit with his father and younger brother Conrad.  Gene is trying to connect with his two sons but they are all still struggling with the death of an important person in their life.
    There are a LOT of complications and feelings in this film about birth, life and death.  Gene, Jonah and Conrad have different viewpoints, emotions and memories of Isabelle.  There is a truth not revealed to Conrad that Gene and Jonah know.  They don’t know if Conrad can handle what they know.  I could not get interested in this film?  2 1/2* (This movie is just so-so)
109 min, Drama directed by Joachim Trier with Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppet, Devin Druid, Amy Ryan, Ruby Jerins, Megan Ketch, David Strathairn, Rachel Brosnahan, Russell Posner.
Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 72% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 3.2* out of 5* with 76 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in various locations in New York.  The title was changed to Back Home for release in France because of the terrorist attacks.  The character played by Jesse Eisenberg is a professor of Sociology.  Jesse’s father is a college Sociology professor.  Jesse's hair is completely different from his usual style.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

London has Fallen 2016

     The British Prime Minister has passed away and all the leaders of the Western world will converge on London to attend his funeral.  Everything is being done to insure the safety of spectators and attendees.  In a short time, everything falls apart and many of the famous structures of London are blown away in explosions.  Many people are shot on the streets and the President of the United States is facing capture and a possible execution televised by the media.
     There is a LOT of action but care is not taken with continuity, believability, there is predictability and lack of realism.  Some of the dialog is corny and real acting seems to be a furrowed brow?  If you like a lot of explosions that you know are not real, you could be interested in this film? 2 ½* (This film is just so-so)

99 min, Action directed by Babak Najafi with Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 26% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert ½*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 3335 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in New Boyana Film Studios, Sofia, Bulgaria; India, Cutty Sark, Greenwich, London, Langley Sough, Berkshire, Clifotn Street, EC2A 4DW London, Dunsford Aerodrome, Surrey, Earl Street, EC2A 2AL London, UK.  The prequel to this film, Olympus Has Fallen was released in 2013 and the plot here is about 6 years later.