Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ms. Matched 2016

     Libby Boland and her friend Michelle are wedding planners.  They are setting up their booth at a wedding expo and they meet Ben Reynolds.  He is the author of a new book, Wedding Day Do’s and Don’ts.  Libby and Ben begin to like each other but they are on opposite ends of the wedding spectrum.  Libby wants to plan the dream wedding for her couples and she needs the contracts for her business.  Ben’s book is about forgetting about the expense of the dream wedding and doing everything on a pared down budget.  Annie and Alex have talked to both Libby and Ben.  They get so caught up in the conflict over wedding arrangements that they decide to end their engagement.
     Both Libby and Ben feel bad that this couple has given up on all their dreams because of the stress of wedding planning.  The only thing they can do is to try to repair the damage.  This film is a different slant on the wedding planner movies.  Libby and Ben have chemistry and Michelle keeps Libby grounded.  This area in Vancouver is beautiful and the perfect setting for any wedding.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

85 min, TV movie, Comedy directed by Mark Jean with Alexa PenaVega, Shawn Roberts, Leah Gibson, Elise Gatien, Andrew Francis, Chris Shields, Laura Soltis, Michael P. Northey, David Lloyd, Paula Giroday, Nathan Witte.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, The Movie Scene 3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  PenaVega has also been in the TV Series Nashville, The Mentalist, Courtside and the film Spare Parts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blindspot: Season One 2015:

     A mysterious tattooed woman who has lost her memory is found in a black zippered bag in New York City’s Times Square.  All her tattoos have been recently applied and they cover most of her body.  The designs are very intricate and the FBI believes the tattoos are clues to future events of crime in the city.  Special Agent Patterson is head of the FBI Forensic Science Unit and she has been carefully studying the tattoos.  The FBI has a team of 3 people in their Critical Incident Response Group and they decide to add Jane Doe as they are calling her to their team since she proves she has the ability.  She knows guns, hand-to-hand combat, she speaks many languages and she has courage under stressful conditions.  She may have been trained as a Navy Seal in Special Operations.  Her DNA matches Taylor Shaw, she is a young girl who went missing and she was a neighbor of Special Agent Kurt Weller.  He has always thought he may have been able to save her.
      Every episode is very tense and the team doesn’t usually know what they will face when they get to each crime scene.  This FBI group relies on every member to be constantly on their best game whether in the office or out in the field.  There is the danger of dying around every corner and they take out a lot of people during their work.  The actors are British and Australian actors.  The second season of Blindspot is now being shown on NBC.  4* (I really liked this series)

There are a total of 23 episodes in the first season, 5 episodes on 4 discs and 3 episodes on disc 5, TV Series, each episode 42 min, created by Martin Gro with Sullivan Stapleton, Jamie Alexander, Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza, Ashley Johnson, Ukweli Roach, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Francois Arnaud, Jordana Spiro, Jay O. Sanders, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Michael Gaston.
Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 68% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 39 reviews.
Special Note:  Jamie Alexander has commented that she usually doesn’t say anything when she is actually punched in the nose during one of the fight scenes.  Alexander and Mitchell are both part of the Marvel Universe.  Ashley Johnson was Beth the Waitress in The Avengers. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All of My Heart 2015

     Jenny Fintley is working for an obnoxious chef until she learns she has been left a house by distant relative.  She goes to meet with the attorney to discuss the details and she learns she has half of the house.  The other half was left to Brian Howell, Jenny and Brian have never met before.  They begin to talk after the meeting about what to do with the house.  Jenny wants to open a bed and breakfast and Brian agrees to this plan.  He goes back to his New York job on Wall Street as a trader and Jenny begins work on the house and her cooking.  Brian comes back in a short time because he has no place else to go and he’s lost his job?
     Jenny and Brian are opposites.  She sees possibilities and he sees liabilities?  She fells like she is home and Brian has too much dust in his nose?  I thought this was good, Jenny and Brian have chemistry, the town and the people are interesting and seem realistic.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

81 min, Comedy directed by Peter DeLuise with Lacey Chabert, Brennan Elliott, Edward Asner, Greyston Holt, Daniel Cudmore, Heather Doerksen, Barbara Pollard, Patrick Sabongui, Drew Tanner, Paul McGillion.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 190 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Vancouver, Canada.  Lacey Cahbert was previously on the TV show Party of Five.  Brennan Elliott played an entirely different character in the series Cedar Cove. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Danish Girl 2015

     The setting of this film is Copenhagen, Denmark of 1926 and it is based on a fictional novel by David Ebershoff.  Gerda Wegener is married to Einar and she is a gifted Danish painter.  Einar also does some painting but he sticks to the same landscape subject from his past.  Gerda starts to paint Einar as the woman Lili Elbe and she starts to have success in her career with these paintings.  Unfortunately, changes begin in their relationship and in their marriage.
     This film is not an actual biography because many elements of Einar Wegener’s story have been changed.  I didn’t know anything about the subject of this film, I only knew there was a lot of buzz during the award season.  I wonder, if this story is interesting on it’s own, why was a fictional novel used as the basis and how can it be listed in the biography category?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

119 min, Bio directed by Tom Hooper with Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Adrian Schiller, Emerald Fennell, Henry Pettigrew, Ben Whishaw, Pip Torrens, Matthais Schoenaerts, Richard Dixon.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 69% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 1000 reviews.
Special Note:  There was controversy over Vikander’s Oscar Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role instead of Leading Actress.  Gerda has more screen time and more dialogue than Einar and Redmayne won for Best Actor?  This film won many awards including Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design.  The dog is this film is very cute and her name in the film is Pixie but Hvappe in her real dog life.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Confirmation 2016

     Anthony is eight years old and he is going to spend the weekend with his father.  His mother Bonnie and stepfather Kyle are going away for the weekend.  Walt is a carpenter and he’s down on his luck plus he’s an alcoholic.  They are both uneasy about spending the weekend with each other.  Walt’s truck breaks down, Anthony doesn’t stay in the truck like he was told to do and Walt’s woodworking tools are stolen.  Walt is very unhappy because he has a job for the next week but he needs his tools for the job.  Another event is that Walt is locked out of his house because of nonpayment of the rent.  Walt will need to stay in Bonnie’s house, drive her car and they also need to see if they can find out who stole the tools.
     During his confessions, Anthony usually doesn’t have very much to tell the Priest.  He has a LOT after his weekend with Walt.  A LOT of things happen and a LOT of things are done that Anthony is usually not involved in!!  The bottom line is that Walt and Anthony are having a really good weekend together and bonding even though there are a lot of difficulties.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

101 min, Comedy directed by Bob Nelson with Clive Owen, Jaeden Lieberher, Maria Bello, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Spence Drever, Michael Eklund, Ryan Robbins, Tim Blake Nelson.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 90% critic 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 69 reviews,
Special Note:  Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Jaeden Lieberher was 11 years old when he began this film. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Royal Night Out 2015

     Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret request to be allowed to join the celebrations for V.E. Day in 1945.  Their parents, the King and the Queen are very hesitant to let them go.  The King asks for two officers to be sent over to escort the Princesses and to bring them back to Buckingham Palace at exactly 1AM.  Elizabeth and Margaret manage to escape their escorts and they mistakenly get on different buses.  Elizabeth meets Jack Hodges and he helps her track down Margaret.  Both Princesses narrowly escape having more of an adventure than they bargained on.
     There is a possibility that this film could be loosely based on facts but there is no way for this to be proven.  It would be interesting if this was a true story!!  Princess Elizabeth went gone on to rule as Queen for 64 years and counting.  Her father in this film was King George VI.  The Queen Mother (the Queen in this film and also Elizabeth) was in this position for 50 years.  Princess Margaret went on to have a more public life and she married a commoner.  The ending of WWII qualified as a reason for a public celebration for all of Britain!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

97 min, Comedy directed by Julian Jarrold with Sarah Gadon, Bel Powley, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett, Mark Hadfield, Jack Laskey, Jack Gordon, Tim Potter, Anabel Leventon, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Jack Reynor.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 75% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 27 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, England, UK and Brussels, Belgium.  The Trafalgar Square scene was filmed on May 8, 2014, the 69th anniversary of V. E. night.  There is a mistake, the bus ticket machine didn’t come into use until early 1960’s.

Friday, September 23, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane 2016

     Michelle and her fiancĂ© Ben have a fight and she decides to leave.  They live in New Orleans and she is driving through rural Louisiana.  She is involved in a car accident and her car rolls down the side of the road.  She wakes up and she’s in an underground bunker with Howard and his neighbor Emmett.  Howard tells her he has saved her from a disaster that has happened to everyone on earth and they are all dead.  She keeps thinking they must be lying because this cannot be true?
     This film is a sequel to Cloverfield from 2008.  While in development, this film was titled The Cellar and it was filmed in secret at Bad Robot productions.  Even cast members were not told the final title.  Watching is like riding a roller coaster?  You don't know and Michelle doesn't know what really is the truth?  Goodman adds a real creep factor to his character and you don't know what to believe about him either?  Sometimes the characters are getting along and other times they are after each other.  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Drama directed by Dan Trachtenberg with John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer, Braadley Cooper, Sumalee Montano, Frank Mottek.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, Rotten Tomatoes 90% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.0* out of 5* with 202 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Hahnville and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi 2016

     Based on a best-selling novel by Mitchell Zuckoff.  This film relates what happened at the US diplomatic compound and the Annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  Many Islamic militants attacked both buildings.  Benghazi was named one of the most dangerous places in the world and many countries have closed their embassies.  The compound is not an official embassy but it has been kept open.  Less than a mile away is a CIA outpost called the Annex.  Private military contractors from Global Response Staff are assigned to protect the building and the people working there.  They are former military special operations personnel still doing this type of work but no longer active duty.  Jack Silva has been at Benghazi before and he is back on another tour.  There is political and social chaos in Benghazi and it is difficult for the GRS team to know who are militants and who are friendly to the US. 
     There are a lot of tense moments and a lot of shooting scenes.  Ambassador Stevens notices men taking pictures of the compound and he notifies security.  That night, a group of militants from Ansar al-Sharia begin an attack on the compound.  The local guards are working for $28 a day and they leave their posts.  This allows the attackers easy access to the building.  The Ambassador is told to get his bulletproof vest and immediately head to the safe room.
     This film has a LOT going on and everything has a very real feel.  The only advantage for the US is that the men are well trained, willing to put their lives on the line and not concerned about stepping on leadership toes if their plan doesn’t seem a good idea.  They have plenty of ammo, guns and infrared equipment to see the attackers in the dark.  They are doing a very good job until the militants up the attack with larger weaponry.  4* (I really liked this movie)

144 min, Action directed by Michael Bay with John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Max Martini, Alexia Barlier, David Costabile, Peyman Moaadi, Matt Letscher, Toby Stephens, Demetrius Grosse, David Giuntoli, Kevn Kent, David Furr.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 51% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 5836 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Mosta, Malta and Morocco.  Michael Bay said he wanted to make this film because he has worked with military veterans in all of his films as actors and technical advisors.  Currently, the US does not have an Ambassador in Benghazi.  The US increased security worldwide at diplomatic and military facilities at the time of this event.  An investigation was conducted after this attack and the State Department was criticized for their denial of requests for added security prior to the attack and during the attack. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Conversation 1974

     Harry Caul lives in San Francisco and he's an electronic surveillance expert.  He owns and operates his own small business and he’s considered to be the best.  His latest job is to record a conversation between a man and a woman in San Francisco’s Union Square.  This is not easy because there are many people in the Square and the couple moves around with the crowd as they talk.  Caul is to supply “the director” a copy of their discussion and pictures of them talking.  When he goes to collect his money and fulfill the request, he is not allowed to give them to “the director.”  Caul leaves and he worries if he will be making a mistake to provide the tapes and pictures?
     There seems to be a lot going on and everything is secretive and tense.  But, there isn’t much going on after all!!  The scenes of the couple in the square are played several times.  There are scenes of Caul worrying about this job and scenes at a surveillance convention.  More of the action is in Caul’s mind than actually happening on the screen.  3* (This movie is OK)

113 min, Drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola with Gene Hackman, John Casale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, Michael Higgins, Ellizabeth MacRae, Teri Garr, Harrison Ford, Mark Wheeler.

Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 98% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 353 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed at Potrero Hill, Cathedral Hill, Financial District, Hayes Valley, Steiner Street, Stockton Street, Powell Street, Embarcadero Center, Post Street, Maritime Plaza, San Francisco, California.  In 1998, Gene Hackman plays a former NSA agent and he is again a surveillance expert in Enemy of the State.  Images of his character as a younger man are taken from this film.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Deception 1992

     This film is also titled Ruby Cairo.  Elizabeth Faro is married to Johnny and they have three children, two girls and a boy.  She receives the unexpected news that Johnny has died in a plane crash in Veracruz, Mexico.  She goes to his air cargo business but she finds out many bills have gone unpaid and there isn’t any money.  She has a moving sale to get money for food and living expenses.  She takes a plane to Mexico to identify his body and make the funeral arrangements.  In Veracruz at the airline’s terminal, she finds an envelope with baseball cards under the desk.  She notices Johnny’s system for marking betting slips at racetracks on the cards.  Then she realizes they may indicate bank accounts instead.  When she goes to withdraw money at one of the banks, she learns the account is in the name of the player on the card.  She gets a durable power of attorney from a local bank and she starts out on trips to find the money.  She goes to banks in Panama, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Germany, Athens and Egypt.
     This is like a treasure hunt around the world.  Bessie doesn’t know if or how much money she will get at each place she stops.  She’s never done anything like this either, taking chances and flying to famous and exotic places.  She misses her children very much but they are in good hands at home.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Mystery directed by Graeme Clifford with Andie MacDowell, Liam Neeson, Viggo Mortensen, Jack Thompson, Chad Power, Monica Mikala, Kaelynn Craddick, Sara Craddick, Luis Cortes. 

Note:  Imdb 5.0 out of 10, Rotten Tomatoes 23% audience, Amazon 5* with 1 review.
Special Note:  Filmed in Egypt, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Los Angeles, California.  Andie MacDowell’s character wears a baseball cap during her moving sale and the team name is Gaffney Indians, this is the name of her hometown in South Carolina.

How to Be Single 2016

     Loosely based on a novel by Liz Tuccillo, she is also the author of He’s Just Not That Into You.  Alice has been dating Josh for a long time.  She decides she’d like to separate for a while, she thinks she’s never been single and she would like to before they get married.  What she doesn’t know is that Josh will move on and he will start dating someone else.  Alice doesn't have a choice about finding out what it’s like to be single now.  She gets a job at a law firm and she meets Robin, if anyone knows how to be single its Robin.  Alice has been living with Meg but her landlord finds out and this is a one-person apartment.  Now Alice has to find a place and live by herself too.
     Alice meets other singles in New York but a lot of times she still feels alone.  The character played by Wilson is over the top but seems one-dimensional and she sometimes gets on your nerves.  A lot of holidays are thrown into this movie too?  3* (This movie is OK)

110 min, Comedy directed by Christian Ditter with Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Alison Brie, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy, Jason Mantzoukas, Colin Jost, Mickey Gooch Jr.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 49% critic 48% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 1051 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in New York City and Brooklyn, New York; Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Lily Collins was originally cast in the role of Alice but she declined. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

In the Heart of the Sea 2015

     This film is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 non-fiction book.   The setting of is the winter of 1820.  The Essex is a New England whaling ship heading out to fill the hull with whale oil.  They run into a storm and Captain Pollard disagrees with Owen Chase on how to handle the ship and the sails.  Even though Pollard is inexperienced, there is no choice but to do what he says even though it’s wrong and causes them to nearly sink the ship.  The crew sights their first whale, a bull sperm whale and the kill is a success.  Three months pass and they have no further sightings of whales.  Pollard decides to sail past Cape Horn to the Pacific.  In Atacames, Ecuador they learn from a Spanish captain that a massive white whale destroyed his ship.  In 1850, author Herman Melville came to visit Thomas Nickerson as the last survivor of the Essex.  His interview was partly the basis for the book Moby Dick.
     I could not help it but I felt more sympathy for the whales than the whalers.  I also hated the scenes of the harpooning.  The white whale had many reasons to seek vengeance on the ship and the men.  3* (This movie is OK)

122 min, Action directed by Ron Howard with Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley, Tom Holland, Paul Anderson, Frank Dillane, Joseph Mawle, Edward Ashley, Sam Keeley, Osy Ikhile, Gary Beadle, Jamie Sives.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 43% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 1550 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Lanzarote and La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain; Leavensden Studios, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK.  Hemsworth played Thor and Holland played Spider-Man.  Owen Chase and his family relocated to New Bedford, MA and he was the captain of whalers for over 20 years.  He became wealthy enough to have his own whaling ship, the Charles Carroll.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

45 Years 2015

     The story in this film takes place over six days.  Kate and Geoff Mercer have been retired for five years.  They didn’t get to celebrate their 40- year wedding anniversary because Geoff had heart bypass surgery.  To celebrate their 45-years they pan to invite dozens of friends to a party in a grand hall.  Before the party, Geoff receives a letter from Switzerland that tells him that Katya his lover in the early 1960’s has become visible in a melting glacier.  She fell into a crevasse on a guided hike over 50 years ago.  Both Kate and Geoff begin to think a lot about Katya as well as the upcoming party.
     There is a lot going on in this movie in six days??  Can a marriage of 45 years withstand several onslaughts from the past??  Information is conveyed in watching their faces as they go about everyday life.  I thought this was good an interesting.  Returning to smoking is a big clue about the inner turmoil of Kate and Geoff.  4* (I really liked this movie)

95 min, Drama directed by Andrew Haigh with Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells, David Sibley, Sam Alexander.
Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 97% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 204 reviews.

Special Note:  Filmed in Norfolk, England, UK.  David Sibley’s character tries to convince Tom Courtneay’s character to play the ukulele and Tom just smiles.  In real life Courtenay is an avid ukulele player.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Haunted Honeymoon 1940

     Lord Peter Wimsey is getting married to Harriet Vane.  Peter is an amateur detective and Harriet writes crime novels.  They have promised each other they will retire from solving crimes and writing novels after they are married.  Harriet has small charm bracelets made for them so they can remember their promises.  Peter purchases an old Jacobean home called Tall-boys as a surprise wedding present for Harriet.  She grew up in this area.  The day after their arrival, the body of the previous owner is found in the cellar.
     No matter how hard they try to keep their promises, how can they let a murder in their new home remain unsolved?  It’s a little complicated keeping the characters and who they are in order. 3* (This movie is OK)

93 min, Comedy directed by Arthur B. Woods with Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings, Leslie Banks, Seymour Hicks, Robert Newton, Googie Withers, Frank Pettingell, Joan Kemp-Welch, Aubrey Mallalieu.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10.
Special Note:  Filmed in Denham Studios, Denham, Buckinhamsire and Devon England, UK.  Originally Maureen O’Sullivan was to appear in this film and she sailed on the Queen Mary for London.  She was forced to return to the United States when the film was cancelled due to WWII.  There is another film with the same title but a different story released in 1986 with Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Dom DeLuise, Jonathan Pryce.

Friday, September 16, 2016

In the Cool of the Day 1963

     This film is based on a novel by Susan Erz published in 1960.  Murray Logan and his wife Sybil were in a car accident and Sybil has a scar on the right side of her face.  She is very self-conscious about it and she doesn’t like people to stare at her because she believes they are looking at the scar.  She spends most of her time at home because of both her physical and emotional scars.  Murray is a publisher and he is a good friend of Sam and Christine Bonner.  Christine suffers from emotional problems and difficulties with her lungs.  She thinks Sam doesn’t treat her as a wife but more as a child.  Murray attempts to help Sam and Christine with their problems but he has his own problems with Sybil.
     I almost turned off this movie but it did get better as it went along.  Jane Fonda as Christine has very different hair and her makeup is severe.  Angela Lansbury as Sybil is a bit hard to take and even though she is not social, she doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind.  The scenery in Greece is very beautiful.  2 ½* (This movie is just so-so)

89 min, Drama directed by Robert Stevens with Peter Finch, Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, Arthur Hill, Constance Cummings, Alexander Knox.

Note:  Imdb 5.1 out of 10, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 6 reviews, TV Guide 1* out of 5* with 2 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Athens, Greece; Chelsea and Herfordshire, England, UK.  Audrey Hepburn was originally offered the role of Christine but she did not accept. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Agatha 1979

     In 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared, her damaged car with her expensive fur coat on the seat were found on a country road.  The authorities believe she has committed suicide because her husband has asked her for a divorce.  He is in love with his secretary Nancy Neele and he wants to marry her.  Colonel Archibald Christie believes she did not kill herself and he is not cooperative with the authorities.  American newspaper columnist Wally Stanton had planned to interview Mrs. Christie and he decides to investigate her disappearance instead.   
     In real life Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days and there was never an explanation for this event?  It is also true that Archie asked her for a divorce just before she left and he wanted to marry Nancy Neele.  Agatha was already suffering from depression due to overwork on her books and her mother’s death earlier that year.  The idea of divorce could have pushed her over the edge since she still loved her husband.  It has been speculated that Agatha intended to embarrass Archie and she didn’t expect the way the authorities and the press reacted.  They were divorced two years later.  In 1930, Agatha married archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, they met on an archaeological dig.  This was a happy marriage and it lasted until her death in 1976.  This film outraged the Christie heirs and they brought two unsuccessful lawsuits to try to prevent release.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Drama directed by Michael Apted with Dustin Hoffman, Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy Dalton, Helen Morse, Cellia Gregory, Paul Brooke, Carolyn Pickles, Thimothy West, Tony Britton, Alan Badel.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 82% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 1/2*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 65 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in North Yorkshire, Somerset, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, London, England, UK.  Dustin Hoffman was suffering from depression during the filming.  He was ready to quit film acting and return to the stage.  Stanley R. Jaffee and Robert Benton changed his mind and he accepted the role in Kramer vs. Kramer 1979.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wild at Heart 1990

     Lula Fortune and Sailor Ripley go to a dance together but it ends with Sailor killing a man who came after him with a knife.  Sailor spends some time in the Pee Dee Correctional Facility and Lula is there to pick him up when he gets out.  They decide to ignore Sailor’s probation orders and they head for California but first to New Orleans.  Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune loses her mind every time she thinks about Lula with Sailor.  She hires a killer to hunt down Sailor. 
     The violence is over the top in this film, too much for me and too harsh.  Some scenes are not fully shown in the beginning and they are shown again with all the details.  There are many flashback scenes to a fire at Lula's home.  Both Lula and Sailor have problems from things that happened in their childhoods.  Director David Lynch likes his films to be a jigsaw puzzle of ideas.  2* (I didn't like this movie)

125 min, Comedy directed by David Lynch with Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, J.E. Freeman, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Calvin Lockhart, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton, Grace Zabriskie.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 65% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 185 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in El Paso, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Los Angeles, Pasadena, Colton, Palmdale, North Hollywood, California.  Before filming started, Dern and Cage went on a private road trip to Las Vegas to bond and define their characters as one.  The snakeskin jacket worn by Sailor belonged to Cage and he gave it to Dern after filming.  Dern’s cousin was Tennessee Williams and her parents, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern met during a stage production of Orpheus Descending.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Cheyenne Social Club 1970

     John and his friend Harley are working as cow pokes for very little pay.  They are holding down and branding cattle on a ranch in Texas.  John receives a letter that has been to all of the previous places he’s been staying and working.  He learns that his brother DJ passed away and left him The Cheyenne Social Club.  When John and Harley arrive in Cheyenne, they go to the attorney handling DJ's estate.  John receives over $1000 and it the most money he’s ever had.  John gets himself cleaned up and buys new clothes too.  They find out the Club is on the outskirts of town by the railroad tracks.  There are six women living in a double story home and it doesn’t take long for John and Harley to figure out what type of club this is.  It goes against John’s grain but he learns the house is on railroad land and can’t be sold. 
     After a short time, John and Harley realize they really don’t know anything about each other after 10 years?  They have just been working and traveling together.   Some issues arise with a man who has a deep mean streak and he has a lot of relatives.  Inheritances and money can change your life but sometimes not for the better.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

103 min, Comedy directed by Gene Kelly with James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Shirley Jones, Sue Ane Langdon, Elaine Devry, Robert Middleton, Arch Johnson, Dabbs Greer, Jackie Russell, Jackie Joseph, Sharon DeBord.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 245 reviews, Letterboxd 3.2* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch, Eaves Movie Ranch, Santa Fe, New Mexico and West Hollywood, California.  There is a sign in the club listing the names of the women.  For years after this film’s release, the sign hung in writer James Lee Barrett’s home.  The director, Gene Kelly, is a dancer and choreographer.  In 1970, a lot of the great western directors had died or left the profession.  Only John Wayne and Clint Eastwood continued to work on westerns.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Firecreek 1968

     Johnny Cobb is a farmer and a family man with two boys.  His wife is expecting a new baby too.  He is also the Firecreek sheriff and he gets paid $2 a month for this side job.  Usually the town is quiet with no problems for him to solve.  A group of hired killers and their leader Larkin decide to spend the night in town.  Larkin is suffering from a gunshot wound and he needs some time off his horse.  They are also going out of their way to try and evade a posse.  The men have hair triggers and it doesn’t take much for them to be set off.  They get a lot of wrong ideas about the town and the people too.  Larkin knows he can only go so far in controlling these men.  A lot of drinking doesn’t help their temperaments or behaviors either.  Johnny receives word that his wife is having a difficult time and he goes back to the farm to help her.
     The hired killers are used to working the ranch wars where anything goes.  They believe anything goes in this town.  They challenge everyone to stand up to them.  They don’t believe the $2 a month sheriff will risk his neck to rein them in.  Everyone in the town starts to take stock of what kind of person they really are and how far will they go for each other and their town.  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Romance directed by Vincent McEveety with James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens, Gary Lockwood, Dean Jagger, Ed Begley, Jay C. Flippen, Jack Elam, James Best, BarBara Luna Jacqueline Scott, Brooke Bundy.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 246 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Sedona, Arizona, Agoura Hills and Burbank, California.  Four of the actors have been in Star Trek films.  Gary Lockwood, BarBara Luna, Morgan Woodward, Brooke Bundy.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Assassination 2015

     This film takes place in Korea in 1933.  The Japanese army now occupies the country.  Warriors of the resistance against the occupation were forced into exile in China.  The news reaches the exiles that the highest commander of the Japanese army will be visiting Korea.  It is decided assassination will be the only way to eliminate him.  The best sniper and the only one able to make this shot is Ahn Ok-yun but she is in a prison in Shanghai.  Agent Yem Sek-jin is able to get Ahn and her comrades out of the prison but he sells the information about their escape to the Japanese. 
     There are several problems with this film, the long running time, many characters and many complications in the plot plus the addition of reading the subtitles.  In a lot of instances it seemed almost impossible to engage in all this information?  3* (This movie is OK)

140 min, Drama directed by Dong-hoon Choi with Ji-hyun Jun, Jung-jae Lee, Jung-woo Ha, Dal-su Oh, Jin-woong Jo, Kyeong-yeong Lee.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 80% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 41 reviews.
Special Note:  Novelist Choi Jong-rim filed a lawsuit on August 10, 2015 against director Don-hoon Choi.  Choi feels that elements from his book Koreran Memories published in 2003 were used in this film.

Friday, September 9, 2016

99 Homes 2014

     The setting of this film is Orlando Florida.  Dennis Nash lives with his mother and his nine-year old son in their family home.  He is three months behind on his house payments but the judge said they have 30 days to clear this up.  The family is very surprised when the sheriff’s department and Rick Carver show up to evict them from their home.  They have two minutes to pack up personnel items and then all their possessions are placed on the front lawn.  They have 24 hours to remove their goods or they will be available to the neighbors for the taking.  The family moves into a shabby and possibly dangerous motel.  Rick Carver is a real estate broker with a gun and a charming personality.  He offers Nash cash to come to work with him.  What choices does Nash have, he can’t seem to get another job and he needs to provide for his family.  Essentially, he’s made a deal with the devil!!
     The real story is this eviction process happened to a lot of people because of the housing crisis in 2008, the economic crash and crooked lending practices.  The bank told you one thing and the judge told you another.  It all ended up with you losing your home and possessions.  Carver carries a gun because a lot of homeowners would rather shoot him than leave their homes.  It’s usually safe to expect Michael Shannon to be the BAD guy!!  3* (This movie is OK)

112 min, Drama directed by Ramin Bahrani with Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Noah Lomax, Doug Griffin, Randy Austin.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 92% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 4.0* out of 5* with 636 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In some documentaries about this subject on television, the homeowners were given one hour to get their things from their home.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

All Roads Lead to Rome 2015

     Maggie is trying to reconnect with her teenage daughter and they go on a trip together to Italy.  Maggie is a single mother and college writing teacher in New York.  Her daughter Summer is in the midst of teenage angst, she has a lousy boyfriend and she’s doesn’t see any reason to go to Italy.  Maggie wants Summer to see the beauty and experience the Tuscan village Maggie loved in her younger days.  Maggie reconnects with Luca and he is a former friend who lives with his daughter and his 80 year-old-mother Carmen.  Summer and Carmen leave together to set out on their own and they steal Luca’s car.  Carmen is planning to get married in Rome the next day and Summer wants to go back to New York.  Luca and Maggie set out after them.
     This may have looked good on paper but it’s not very good.  There really isn’t much going on but it’s all contrived to look like something important is happening.  There is just a lot of running back and forth.  The amazing countryside is the star of the film and the best feature.  Sarah’s hair and makeup plus her clothing don't do her any favors in this film?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

90 min, Comedy directed by Ella Lemhagen with Sarah Jessica Parker, Rossie Day, Raoul Bova, Claudie Cardinale, Paz Vega, Nadir Caselli, Shel Shapiro, Marco Bonnini, Rocio Munoz, Gianclaudio Caretta.

Note:  Imdb 4.8 out of 10, 0% critic 12% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 2.7* out of 5* with 111 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Rome, Italy.  There is a mistake, the camera crew can be seen in the reflection of the Alfa Romeo Spider as it’s parked beside the road and out of gas.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ride the High Country 1962

     Steve Judd is a former Union soldier and he was also a marshal.  He is hired by a bank to transport a gold shipment from the mines up country.  He hires his old partner Gil Westrum and his young friend Heck to ride along with him.  What Steve doesn’t know is Gil and Heck have made a plan to steal the gold and split it into two shares.  Along the route they meet up with Elsa Knudsen.  She wants to marry one of the men up at the mines.  She’s tired of her stern fundamentalist father slapping her around.  She feels like she’s never been anywhere or done anything.
     The scenery is beautiful but it is rugged, life is tough in cities, on farms and out in the mining camp.  Judd has his hands full before they even get to the mining camp.  The camp is full of dirty put together shelters and rough men.  There are some women in the camp but they have a hard life too.  Character and justice are two emphasized themes in this film.  3* (This movie is OK)

94 min, Western directed by Sam Peckinpah with Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Mariette Hartley, Ron Starr, Edgar Buchanan, R.G. Armstrong.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 93% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 152 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Calabasas, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Los Angeles, Merrimac, California.  This is the first film for Mariette Hartley and she is still acting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hell or High Water 2016

     Toby and Tanner Howard grew up on a farm in rural Texas.  Toby took care of their mother until she recently passed away.  Tanner spent a lot of time in jail or prison.  They meet up again because the farm has been reverse mortgaged and the local bank will foreclose on it soon.  Somehow they need to get enough money to pay off the loans because oil has been found on the property.  Toby also owes money to his ex-wife for child support.  He has two boys and he’d like to see the cycle of poverty broken and not passed on to the boys.
     Everything is different and bigger in Texas!!  You need a pickup truck and you can open carry a gun.  If you want to commit a crime, there can be several regular people able to take you out.  They don’t mind chasing you on foot or in their pickup truck!!  There are funny moments but serious moments too.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

102 min, Crime directed by David Mackenzie with Jeff Bridges, Dale Dickey, Ben Foster, Chris Pine, William Sterchi, Buck Taylor, Kristin Berg, Gil Birmingham, Keith Meriweather, Jackamoe Buzzell, Katy Mixon.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 98% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Metascore 88/100 from 45 critic 8.4/10 from 78 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Clovis, Portales, Tucumcari, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  There is a mistake in this film.  Jeff Bridges and his partner are on the road and Bridges is driving.  Just a little bit later his partner is driving and there isn’t any explanation for the change?