Monday, February 29, 2016

Chappie 2015

     The setting of this film is Johannesburg, South Africa in the near future.  The police department has been using robots from the Tetra Vaal Company as policemen.  This has reduced deaths of human policemen and really helped with the high crime rates in this area.  Deon Wilson is the designer of the robots and Vincent Moore is jealous of Deon.  Vincent has developed a different type of robot called the Moose.  A headset worn by Vincent remotely controls this robot.  Deon has made the leap to Artificial Intelligence but Michelle Bradley, the CEO of Tetra Vaal won’t allow him to use this on the police robots.  He recovers a damaged police robot from the crusher and tests the A.I. platform on him.  Unfortunately, the criminals Ninja, Yo-Landi and Amerika kidnap Deon.  They want him to program the robot to help them with their crimes and they name him Chappie.
     There have been other films using robots as policemen but this is the first using Artificial Intelligence with the robot thinking and feeling.  In RoboCop, parts of an injured human were blended with robot parts.  Chappie’s human like behavior did draw me to him and I was pretty mad when he was getting ‘hurt!!’  Plus, he seems more human than the real human characters!!  3* (This movie is OK)

120 min, Action directed by Neill Blomkamp with Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret, Johnny Selema, Anderson Cooper.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 31% critic 56% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 2297 reviews.
Special Note:  The director Neill Blomkamp also made District 9 and Elysium.  He has announced his next film with be a new addition to the Alien series.  Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Johannesburg, Soweto, Hillbrow, South Africa.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Marked Woman 1937

     This film is somewhat based on the trial of Sicilian gangster Lucky Luciano.  At one time, he controlled all prostitution in New York and he was the head of the Genovese crime family.  Mary Dwight and her four roommates work as nightclub hostesses at a club now run by Johnny Vanning (Lucky Luciano).  Johnny has just taken ownership of the club and he’s out to change everything.  His main goal is income.  He lays his rules on the line for everyone working for him including the hostesses.  Vanning starts to put the moves on Mary but she avoids more involvement with him.  Mary’s sister Betty comes for a visit on her college break and she doesn’t know what Mary and her roommates really do for a living.  Mary is paying for Betty to go to school and she doesn’t want any of this to change.  Unfortunately, one of the men last seen with Mary is found dead in the river. 
     Both Davis and Bogart do a good job in their roles for this film.  The story and characters seem realistic and believable.  In 1937, there were not a lot of job options for single women and the Great Depression started in 1929 and ended in 1941.  The median family income was $1160 from 1935 to 1936, usually with the husband as the earner.  This was $20-25 a week for expenses.  Single women were on the margins and seemed invisible.  Those seeking relief or employment were scorned for taking jobs and money away from men.  Typical employment for women was clerical, factory, nursing and cleaning.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

96 min, Crime directed by Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz with Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell, Rosalind Marquis, Mayo Methot, Jane Bryan, Allen Jenkins, Eduardo Ciannelli, John Litel, Ben Welden, Damian O’Flynn, Henry O’Neill, Raymond Hatton.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 100% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 57 reviews.

Special Note:  This movie was made after Bette Davis walked out on her studio of Warner Bros.  She lost some money but she did it to receive bigger roles.  Code of this era required the women to be called hostesses.

The Letter 1940

     This movie is based on a play by W. Somerset Maugham.  Leslie and Robert Crosbie live and work on a tropical rubber plantation in Malay.  Robert is away and Leslie shoots one of their mutual friends.  She says he stopped by, he was drunk and he made advances towards her?  She carefully relates her experience to her husband, their attorney and the district officer.  Everything is going smoothly until a letter surfaces in Leslie’s handwriting that invites the victim Geoffrey Hammond to visit her.  It will cost Robert $10,000 to retrieve the letter from the widow of Hammond. 
     The widow of Geoffrey Hammond is Eurasian with a mysterious and powerful demeanor, chalky face, bejeweled and dressed in the formal attire of Malay.  She is very sinister and she speaks only in Mandarin.  There is a LOT of drama in this film and you wonder if Leslie is telling the truth?   Even the heat, humidity, the always present full moon and the palms have a role in this film.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

95 min, Crime directed by William Wyler with Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, Gale Sondergaard, Bruce Lester, Elizabeth Inglis, Cecil Kellaway, Victor Sen Young.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 100% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 121 reviews.
Special Note:  In the role of Leslie’s lawyer is James Stephenson.  He died of a heart attack the following year at the age of 52.  Both Davis and Stephenson were nominated for Oscars.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Belle & Sebastian 2013

     This film is based on novels by Cecile Aubry that were made into a French TV series in the 1960’s and a Japanese animated series in the 1980’s.  The setting is 1943 when the Germans were watching the border in the French Alps between France and Switzerland.  They are stationed here to prevent people, especially Jewish refugees, from crossing into neutral Switzerland.  Sebastien lives in a small village with his grandfather Cesar and his aunt Angelina, Cesar is a shepherd and Angelina is a baker. Cesar believes a large stray dog they call ‘the beast’ has been killing sheep.  Cesar and some other residents of the village go into the mountains to hunt down the dog.  Sebastien has been with the dog, he has named her Belle and he knows she has not been killing the sheep.  Her owner mistreated her and she doesn’t like men but she is Sebastien’s friend.  He goes to save her and he sees that she has a bullet wound above her back leg.  He visits Dr. Guillaume and they go together to see Belle.  Sebastien gives Belle a shot to stop the infection she has from the wound. 
     The DVD I viewed was made in French but dubbed in English, it is a simple story with some complications about a boy and a dog.  The scenery is very beautiful in the different seasons.  There is a lot of wildlife including marmots, rabbits, boar, elk, wolves and chamois.  A chamois is an agile, goat like antelope native to the high mountains of Europe but now rare in some areas.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

104 min, Adventure directed by Nicolas Naier with Felix Bossuet, Tcheky Karyo, Margaux Chatelier, Dimitri Storoge, Andreas Pietschmann, Urbain Cancelier, Mehdi El Glaoui, Paloma Palma, Karine Adover, Loic Varraut.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 543 reviews, Letterboxd 3.3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Belle is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog also known as a Great Pyrenees in North America.  They are strong willed, gentle, confident, patient and affectionate. There is another different breed known as the Pyrenean Mastiff.  There is a sequel to this film titled Belle & Sebastian: The Adventure Continues 2015 and there is also Scottish band with the name Belle and Sebastian.

Secret Beyond the Door... 1947

     Celia goes on vacation to Mexico to get away from New York for a while.  She meets Mark Lamphere while she is there and he seems to be her dream man.  He is handsome, mysterious and he publishes his own magazine.  In a short time they marry and after their honeymoon they move to his mansion.  He has added rooms as a hobby and they depict places where famous murders took place?  There is one room that is always kept locked and Celia is very interested is seeing what is in this room?
     The music is scary but nothing about the film is scary?  Both Bennett and Lang agreed that this film was their weakest effort in their collaborations.  There were a lot of times I wanted to yell at the screen!!  “Don’t marry Mark!!  Don’t’ live in that house!!  Don’t go into that room!! ”  But, how would there be a story without Celia doing everything wrong?  2 ½*
99 min, Drama directed by Fritz Lang with Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere, Barbara O’Neil, Natalie Schafer, Paul Cavanagh, Anabel Shaw, Rosa Rey, James Seay, Mark Dennis.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 54% critic 56% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 23 reviews.

Special Note:  This film was a version of Rebecca from 1940 but it was over budget and over schedule.  Bennett and Lang didn’t agree many times during filming.  Some of the comments about the film at the preview were "beyond human endurance and it stinks!!"

Song of the Sea 2014

     A Selkie is a woman in Irish and Scottish legends that can transform from a seal into a woman.  Saoirse is a young girl and her mother Bronagh was a Selkie.  She has her father Conor and her older brother Ben but her mother left soon after she was born in October 1981.  Six years have gone by, Conor misses Bronagh very much, Ben blames Saoirse for Bronagh leaving.  Granny comes to pay a visit for Saoirse's birthday and she takes the children back to her home in the city.  Ben draws a map of how to get home and then their sheepdog Cu finds them.  Ben is sure he can find their way back home with the help of Cu.  Conor has kept Saoirse’s white sealskin coat and Saorise starts to become sick.  Ben learns that Saoirse needs her coat and she must sing the Song of the Sea or she will die.
     This film has beautiful animation and a wonderful story both for children and adults.  There is a calmness and quietness of the pacing that pulls you into everything.
93 min, Animation directed by Tomm Moore with the voices of David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan, Lucy O’Connell, Jon Kenny, Pat Shortt, Colm O’Snodaigh, Liam Hourican.

Note:  Imdb 8.2 out of 10, 99% critic 92% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 4126.

Special Note:  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards of 2015.  The same company also made The Secret of the Kells of 2009.  The animation is carefully hand-drawn with spirals of color and pastern with wisps of details.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington 1987

     Based on a novel by Agatha Christie published in 1957.  Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy is a friend of Jane Marple and she is coming to visit Jane for Christmas.  Her train passes another train running parallel and she witnesses a woman being strangled.  Of course, Elspeth is very upset and she reports it to a ticket taker but he doesn’t believe her!!  Miss Marple believes her without a shadow of a doubt and they check to find out where the trains passed each other.  There is a large estate known as Rutherford Hall near this location.  Miss Marple contacts her niece Lucy Eyesbarrow and she is a professional housekeeper.  The Crackenthorpe’s, the current owners of the Hall, hire Lucy and she goes undercover to try to locate the dead woman’s body.
     I love the names of the characters in this film.  There is a LOT of mystery and who-done-it about this film too.  Tiny clues make a big difference in obtaining a solution to the puzzle.  Lucy is close to being a housekeeping robot, she thrives on hard work and efficiency.  She also a good cook and that is a big help too.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, TV Movie, Crime directed by Martyn Friend with Joan HIckson, Juliette Mole, David Beames, Mona Bruce, Nicholas Blane, Katy Jarrett, Leslie Adams, David Horovitch, Ian Brimble, Rhoda Lewis, Jill Meager.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, Amazon 4.9* out of 5* with 60 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Somerset and London, England.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mr. Holmes 2015

     This film is based on the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin.  The setting of this film is England of 1947.  Sherlock Holmes has been retired for a long time, he is now 93 years old and he lives in a Sussex village with his housekeeper and her young son.  Holmes is having trouble with his memory and his doctor recommends he keep a notebook with a black dot and the date each time he has trouble remembering.  Holmes travels to Japan to obtain a prickly ash plant to improve his memory.  He has been using royal jelly from his bees but without success.  The prickly ash jelly tastes terrible and it doesn’t seem to be working either.  Holmes wants to remember the details of his final case in 1917 and the case that caused him to retire.
     I thought this was interesting and enjoyable.  The scenery of the countryside is very beautiful.  McKellen is very good in his role and also Milo Parker.  I wondered how old McKellen really was but I found out he was made up to look older.  Maybe he didn’t mind but I don’t think actresses would enjoy that very much?  He said he may not reprise his role in another film because the clothing was terribly itchy!!  3 ½* (I liked this move)

104 min, Drama directed by Bill Condon with Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, Milo Parker, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam, Philip Davis, Frances de la Tour, Charles Maddox, Takako Akashi.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 87% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Hatfield, Herforshire; London; Chatham Kent; East Sussex, England and Japan.  Ian McKellen is 76 years old and he really doesn’t have as many wrinkles or as big a nose.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Dog Skip 2000

     This film is based on a memoir by Willie Morris.  Willie lives with his mother Ellen and his father Jack.  Most of the families living in Yazoo City on the delta in Mississippi in 1942 have more children in the family.  Willie is shy and he doesn’t have any friends plus he gets bullied a lot at school.  Ellen talks to Jack about getting Willie a puppy.  Jack thinks Willie is too young but Ellen goes ahead and gets a Jack Russell puppy.  Jack says the puppy needs to go to another home but Ellen doesn’t relent and Willie names the puppy Skip.  Everything starts to change for Willie and most of the people in the community know and love Skip.  He starts to teach Willie about making friends, being brave and girls can be OK.
     I thought I’d seen this before but I’m not sure?  I enjoyed it anyway and it’s a good personal story and Skip is a very good actor!!  Skip becomes a big part of this family and also the people in the town.  He really gets around and is probably the only critter in Yazoo to get free bologna just by stopping by.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by Jay Russell with Frankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Bradley Coryell, Daylan Honeycutt, Cody Linley, Caitlin Wachs, Peter Crombie, Clint Howard.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 73% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 548 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Mississippi and California.  Skip’s real name is Moose and he is well known for playing Eddie in Frasier.  He passed away of natural causes in June 2006.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The End of the Tour 2015

     The story of the interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and novelist David Foster Wallace that lasted five days.  The time was 1996 right after the publication of Wallace’s novel, Infinite Jest.  Lipsky is staying with Wallace and following him doing readings to publicize the novel.
     I found it unusual that after the major effort both for Lipsky and Wallace, the interview was never published and the audiotapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet.  They never met again and the film is based on Lipsky’s memoir about this encounter using the tapes.  Lipsky began writing the novel after the 2008 suicide death of Wallace.  A caveat about this film is that it is not a biography of Wallace and it doesn’t promote or discuss his novel.  I wonder if the real crux of the interview and the resulting novel written by Lipsky are a type of riding the coattails of Wallace for self-promotion and profit?  You have nothing of your own so you take from someone successful and they aren't able to challenge your efforts?  I had a hard time getting through this film because it is mainly Segal and Eisenberg conversing for 106 minutes?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

106 min, Drama directed by James Ponsoldt with Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner, Becky Ann Baker.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 91% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Michigan, Minnesota and Massachusetts.  The novel Infinite Jest is lengthy and complex about a junior tennis academy and a nearby substance-abuse recovery center.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jaws 3 1983

     Michael and Sean Brody are the sons of Amity police chief Martin Brody.  They have gone to work at a large new Sea World park in Florida.  There is a man-made lagoon and about 40 feet under the water there is the Undersea Kingdom.  There are underwater glass tunnels that have their own control room.  Shelby Overman is one of the working divers and he suddenly vanishes.  Since everyone is worried about the disappearance of  Shelby, Michael and the Sea World head scientist Kathryn Morgan start a search for him.  They find a baby great white shark and come up with the idea to display the first shark in captivity.  Unfortunately, the baby shark dies but what they don’t know is that the mother is coming to look for her baby.
     This did play in theaters but it seems more like a straight to DVD film.  The structure itself is so ridiculous, it’s just inviting a shark to come in and have a few snacks.  Everyone is so oblivious to any danger or any malfunction of the equipment.  Everything about the park is perfectly built and there can't possibly be any problems?  3* (This movie is OK) 

99 min, Horror directed by Joe Alves with Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr., John Putch, Lea Thompson, P.H. Moriarty, Dan Blasko, Liz Morris, Lisa Maurer, Harry Grant, Andy Hansen.

Note:  Imdb 3.5 out of 10, 11% critic 18% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.3* out of 5* with 402 reviews.
Special Note:  This film is the only Jaws film that doesn’t include Roy Scheider and Lorraine Gray.  They were in the fourth film, Jaws: The Revenge released in 1987 but only in archive footage and a photograph.  Filmed in Florida.  One of the goofs is that sharks can't swim backwards but this shark is shown backing out of a vent pipe used as a hiding spot?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Howl's Moving Castle 2004

     This movie is adapted from a British novel by Diana Wynne Jones.  Sophie is an 18-year-old young woman working in a hat shop.  Her father had opened the shop years ago.  An elderly and very large witch comes into the store and complains about the shabbiness of Sophie and the shop.  She is displeased because Sophie and the wizard Howl have become friends.  Because Sophie stands up to her and asks her to leave, the Witch of the Waste casts a spell on her that turns her into a very elderly version of herself.  Sophie decides to set out on her own which leads her to Howl’s castle that moves along the land.  Calcifer is a fire demon turned into this by Howl and he is the one who moves the castle.  Calcifer makes a deal with Sophie, if she can break the contract he’s under with Howl, he will lift the curse on her.  She becomes a cleaning lady for Howl and he does a lot to help her.
     It is interesting how the castle moves along the land on long legs powered by the fire.  There is also a war going on in the Waste Lands between two kingdoms and there are many bombings in the city.  There are different types of characters, wonderful scenery, a message against war and unusual machinery.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

119 min, Animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki with the voices of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer, Josh Hutcherson, Billy Crystal, Jena Malone, Crispin Freeman, Mark Silverman.

Note:  Imdb 8.2 out of 10, 87% critic 93% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 1125 reviews.
Special Note:  Christian Bale viewed the film Spirited Away by the same team and he immediately wanted to play any role in Howl’s Castle. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Gilmore Girls: The First Season 2000

     Lorelai Gilmore is 32 years old and she has a very close relationship with her teenage daughter Rory.  Lorelai has an estranged relationship with her parents until she needs help with the tuition for Rory to go to a prep school.  She asks her parents for money but plans to pay everything back to them.  One condition her mother has is that Lorelai and Rory come to dinner every Friday night. 
     The Gilmore Girls live in the fictional town Star’s Hollow in Connecticut near Harford.  Everyone knows the business of everyone else.  Lorelai and Rory drink a lot of coffee and they hang out at a diner every day.  There is good writing and acting in every episode of this series.  4* (I really liked this series)

44 min, TV Series, Comedy created by Amy Sherman-Palladino with Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Melissa McCarthy, Liza Weil, Liz Torres, Jared Padalecki.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 476 reviews.
Special Note:  This series was filmed in Canada and California.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Short Stay in Switzerland 2009

     This film is based on a true story.  Dr. Anne Turner is married and she has three children, two daughters and a son.  She has just lost her husband to a neurological disease that left him totally incapacitated.  Soon after he passes away, she is diagnosed with the same condition.  She can’t believe it, the doctor can’t believe it and her children cannot either.  She begins falling down, she can’t take care of her house and she knows what is coming.  She just wants to die peacefully before she can’t do anything anymore.  Her children do not what her to die either naturally from the disease or by suicide.  They want her to live regardless.
     This is a very touching story and more so since it is true.  It was devastating for the family to lose their husband/father and then to see their mother experience the same illness seemed unbelievable.  It is more magnifying since Anne is a doctor and she has also witnessed first hand her husbands experience with this disease.  Relatable characters and good acting. 3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

90 min, TV Movie, Bio directed by Simon Curtis with Julie Walters, Stephen Campbell Moore, Lyndsey Marshal, Liz White, Michelle Fairley, Will Knightley, Patrick Malahide, Harriet Walter.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 10 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Surrey, London and Zurich, Switzerland.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Jaws 2 1978

     Amity is a small island resort town and it is tying to recover from the financial setbacks from four years ago.  A very large shark attacking people on the beach resulted in large financial losses for the community.  A new developer is bringing a new resort to Amity that could help them recover.  Mary Larry Vaughn is hoping everything will work out well with local developer Len Peterson.  Two scuba divers are exploring the area where Quint's boat the Orca sank and a large shark attacks both of them.  There is a close-up picture of the eye of the shark on one of the underwater cameras they brought with them.  Soon after, a mother is driving a boat pulling her water-skiing teenage daughter.  The shark grabs the daughter and causes the mother to accidentally blow up the boat.  A killer whale is found washed up on the beach with huge bite marks.  Mayor Vaughn and Peterson are in denial but Chief Brody knows another huge great white is in their waters.
     This film is funnier than the first one but follows the same patterns.  It's not as scary to watch because we know without any doubt that this is a fake shark.  Everyone is mad at Brody and thinks he’s crazy or making this all up.  All they can think about is the new development going through and they are not having any of this shark scare business again.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

116 min, Horror directed by Jeannot Szwarc with Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo, Jeffrey Kramer, Collin Wilcox Paxton, Ann Dusenberry, Mark Gruner, Barry Coe, Susan French, Gary Spinger, Donna Wilkes, Gary Dubin, John Dukakis, G. Thomas Dunlop.

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 53% critic 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.0* out of 5* with 427 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed at Okaloosa Island, Navarre Beach and Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida.  Also filming at various locations in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Still Alice 2014

     Dr. Alice Howland is teaching at Columbia University in New York and she is 50 years old.  She is a noted linguistics expert and she is married with three adult children.  She starts to forget the words she wants to say and she finds herself lost on one of her daily jogs around the campus.  She visits a neurologist who tests the physical condition of her brain and how well she can do on memory tests.  She is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her mental abilities will slowly degenerate and progress until her death.  She also learns that she is carrying a gene that can be passed onto her children.  Her father probably passed this gene onto her.
     Alice has a difficult time with her illness since she specializes in speech and her illness will eventually cause her to lose her speech.  Not because of a physical defect in her voice but because she doesn’t have the words anymore.  It’s also really hard on her family because she doesn’t remember her questions or the answers so there is a lot of repetition.  Then, she doesn’t remember who her family members are and this causes them a lot of pain.  4* (I really liked this movie)

101 min, Drama directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland with Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Seth Gilliam, Stephen Kunken, Drin Drake, Daniel Gerroll.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 88% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  The co-director Richard Glatzer has ALS, he used a text to speech app on iPad to direct this film.  Julianne Moore won an Oscar and this is the 5th consecutive actor to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a film concerning mental illness.  Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969

     This is the sixth film in the series and first Bond role for George Lazenby.  His mission is to hunt down Ernst Stravro Blofeld one more time.  He needs help from Draco and he has become close friends with Draco’s daughter Tracy.  He saved Tracy from drowning at a beach in Portugal.  Marc-Ange Draco is the head of the European crime syndicate Unione Corse.  Bond goes to Switzerland where he poses as Sir Hilary Bray to learn the secret plan of Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.  Irma Bunt is in charge of Blofeld’s clinical allergy-research institute and there are guards covering security for the facility.  The institute is really brainwashing women patients to distribute bacteriological warfare agents throughout different parts of the world.  Bond endeavors to trick Blofeld into leaving Switzerland so MI6 can arrest him.  Instead, Blofeld threatens to destroy agriculture worldwide by having the women release the bacteria.
     This is a long film considering the pattern already established by
Bond films and it more closely follows the Ian Fleming book.  There are a lot of 1960’s fashions included in Bond’s clothing and the clothing of the women.   Sean Connery is suave, Roger Moore is proper and George Lazenby is slightly stiff in his acting style.  The ending is different.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

144 min, Action directed by Peter R. Hunt with George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Gabriele Ferzetti, Ilse Steppat, Lois Maxwell, Geroge Baker, Bernard Lee, Bernard Horsfall, Desmond Llewelyn, Yuri Borienko.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 82% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 658 reviews.
Special Note:  The Duke of Kent (Edward Windsor) and the Duchess of Kent attended the Royal World Premiere of this film on December 18, 1969.  This film grossed $64.6 million worldwide and was one of the highest grossing films of 1969.  It was also one of the most popular movies in France.  George Lazenby is from Australia, he started his career as a model and Sean Connery started as an art college life model.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Spy Who Loved Me 1977

     A British Royal Navy Polaris submarine with sixteen nuclear warheads disappears on a patrol mission.  James Bond and Major Anya Amasova from the Soviet Union are sent to find out what happened.  They suspect wealthy Karl Stromberg had something to do with the event.  Karl has a henchman known as Jaws, he is a giant of a man with a mouthful of very strong metal teeth.  A solution to the missing warheads must be found quickly before they can be fired at selected targets. 
     This is a Bond film with a bigger budget and more gadgets.  There are exotic locations too with scenes of Egyptian antiquities at night.  Stromberg has two major countries on edge with each other but working together.  He has the unusual Liparus Supertanker and his spectacular Atlantis home.  This time the Bond girl is more of an equal with rank, intelligence and commitment to the cause.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

125 minutes, Action directed by Lewis Gilbert with Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jurgens, Richard Kiel, Caroline Munro, Walter Gotell, Geoffrey Keen, Bernard Lee, George Baker, Michael Billington, Olga Bisera.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 79% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 340 reviews.
Special Note:  The theme song is Nobody does it Better sung by Carly Simon.  Filming locations were England, Canada, Switzerland, Scotland, Italy, Egypt, Bahamas, Malta and Japan.  In the scene of Major Amasova driving a stick shift, she actually couldn’t shift and the lines are unscripted.  Richard Kiel in the role of Jaws was 7' 2" tall and he lived to be 74 years old.  He had jobs as a night club bouncer and cemetery plot salesman before film and TV roles

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Furious 7 2015

     Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Connor and their team defeated Owen Shaw and he was hospitalized in Furious 6.  The team thought they had left the criminal and mercenary life behind.  The brother of Owen, Deckard Shaw has begun a vendetta against the crew for revenge.  He kills Han in Tokyo and a bomb explodes Dom's house.  The crew becomes caught up with a Somalian terrorist and a government official along with their mission against Deckard.  They are competing to steal a computer terrorism program with the unusual name of God’s Eye.  The Eye can turn any technological device into a weapon.  In order to prevent more deaths, the crew will need to go to war against Deckard and obtain God’s Eye too.
     It takes a LOT of action to demolish over 230 cars!!  Sometimes I wanted to yell, no don’t wreck that car!!  There are many stunts, fights, including Michelle Rodriguez fighting with women, driving scenes, bikini wearing women and shooting from buses and helicopters.  It does have a hint of sadness with the loss of Paul Walker in a car accident.  There is a tribute to him in the final scenes that is very poignant.  The budget for this film was estimated to be $190,000,000.  The previous film, Furious 6 had a budget of $160,000,000.  More stunts and crashes must have resulted from the extra $30,000,000.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

137 min, Action directed by James Wan with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 81% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  Filmed in United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Canada, Colorado, Georgia and California.  This is the twentieth film and the first Furious to gross over $1 billion.  After the death of Paul Walker, body doubles, stunt doubles and computer generated images were used to complete his role in the film.  Caleb and Cody Walker, brothers to Paul were brought in for voice over work.  I think I could spot some of the times Paul was computer generated because he looked the same face on but not in a side view?  The red car seen in Dubai is a W Motors Lykan Hypersport.  W Motors is a Lebanese company that plans to make only seven of these cars.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Satisfaction 1988

     A group of teenage girls and one guy living in Baltimore have a band called Mystery.  They have enlisted Jennie Lee as the lead singer and they go to the coast of Florida to audition for a summer gig.  They will be playing all summer in a bar and the deal includes living accommodations.  The ad didn't say it was one undesirable room for all of them to live together?  This is the summer of their lives.  They hang out at the beach they play at the bar at night.  They meet a lot of new and different people.  
     There is some goofiness, bad hair and bad clothes but the band and the songs are surprisingly good.  Everyone is young and it’s interesting to see the actors who have lasted in show business.  Those still in the business are Justine Bateman, Trini Alvarado, Scott Coffey, Britta Phillips, Debby Harry and Michael DeLorenzo.  Of course, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts have had a lot of success.  Julia was 20 and Liam was 35 at the time of filming.  Justine Bateman played she was the love interest for Liam Neeson, she was 22 so there was 13 years difference in their ages.

92 min, Comedy directed by Joan Freeman with Justine Bateman, Liam Neeson, Trini Alvarado, Scott Coffey, Britta Phillips, Julia Roberts, Debbie Harry, Chris Nash, Michael DeLorenzo, Tom O’Brien, Kevin Haley.

Note:  Imdb 4.7 out of 10, 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 77 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in South Carolina, Maryland and California.  Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts were engaged to be married during the making of this film!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Gift 2015

      Simon and Robyn are a married couple who have moved from Chicago to a Los Angeles suburb.  They were living in a condo but now they have a big house.  Simon has received a promotion, Robyn is staying home for a while and she is a freelance designer.  Simon and Robyn are in a home furnishings store and Simon runs into an old friend from high school.  Gordo gets their phone number and he comes to their house.  He stays for dinner and then he invites them to his house for dinner.  He lives in a big house and he says he is getting a divorce.  He says he has two children so it’s particularly difficult.  Simon tells Gordo friendship between them is not working out.  Robyn starts having trouble sleeping, the fish that Gordo gave them for their pond die and their dog is missing.  They call the police but they need solid information and a warrant to search Gordo’s home.  It turns out he invited them to the home of a couple who were on vacation and he was returning a car.  He was working as a chauffeur and had the keys to their house.  Simon doesn’t want to talk about the past but Robyn is growing more and more uneasy.
      As things progress in their new life Robyn is not sure she really knows her husband at all and he seems to switch moods quickly.  She begins to be constantly afraid at their home, the one place she should feel secure.  The house has too many large windows and Gordo could be outside at any moment and at any time?  Simon isn’t helping anything because he wants to leave everything about the past in the past.  I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand up and there were many times I wondered what was going to happen next?  Is a lot of this in Robyn’s imagination?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

108 min, Mystery directed by Joel Edgerton with Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Toman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps, Adam Lazarre-White, Beau Knapp, Wendell Pierce, Mirrah Foulkes, Nash Edgerton.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 93% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 952 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in different locations in Southern California.  Jason Bateman, Wendell Pierce and P.J. Byrne worked together on Horrible Bosses of 2011.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Frequencies (OXV: The Manual) 2013

     This movie takes place on an alternate Earth.  The ranges of human frequencies or bio-chemical vibrations determine luck, love and destiny.  Zak has a lower frequency, he is classified as a negative and his prep school wants him to go to another school but he wants to stay.  He really likes Marie but she has a much higher frequency so he has little chance of being her friend.  She is more of a machine type person, she has an IQ of 210 and a lot of people like her but she doesn’t have these feelings.  When Marie and Zach spend more than one minute together, it puts the universe at odds and strange things happen.  Rain falls only on Zach and an airplane drops luggage onto the grass.  Science and romance will have to collide for Marie to be in love with Zak as he is with her.
      The school children wear ties and then later scarves of colors that reflect their frequencies.  Those with higher frequencies wear ties of the higher frequency colors.  Colors frequencies are determined by how they reach the eye.  The lowest on the scale is a dull red followed by orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.  I thought the ideas presented were interesting and the continuance from prep school to adulthood.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Mystery directed by Darren Paul Fisher with Daniel Fraser, Eleanor Wyld, Owen Pugh, Dylan Llewellyn, Georgina Minter-Brown, Tom England, Charlie Rixon, Lily Laight, Ethan Turton, David Broughton-Davies.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 100% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.3* out of 5* with 1001 reviews.
Special Note:  The requirement for Mensa is at or above the 98th percentile on standardized IQ or other approved intelligence tests such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the minimum IQ on this test is 132.  The minimum for Cattell is also an intelligence test and the minimum is 148.  Mensa is a group with no racial or religious distinctions with the goal of fostering human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, encourage research in the nature, characteristic and uses of intelligence and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities. Nicole Barr is 12 years old living in Britain, she has a score of 162 which is higher by two points than Stephen Hawking and more than Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.