Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Do You Believe? 2015

     This film has a dozen different people are all moving in different directions.  The key element in all of their lives is that they are looking for something more than what they have now.  Their lives begin to intersect on one night. 
     A lot of times I don’t like ensemble movies because they don’t spend enough time on each character.  It’s all driven to a final conclusion from the twelve different stories.  Crash was an ensemble piece and I was surprised it won an Academy Award?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

120 min, Drama directed by Jon Gunn with Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, Sammy Aaron, Brian Bosworth, Valeria Dominguez, Delroy Lindo, Andrea Logan White, Lee Majors, Liam Matthews, Ted McGinley, Tracy Melchior.

Note:  Imdb 6 out of 10, 17% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 1814 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Manistee, Ludington and Muskegon Heights, Michigan.  Adding a question mark to the title of a film is considered bad luck by the movie industry.  Sean Astin and Andrea Logan White worked together in Moms' Night Out of 2014.  The name listed for one of the characters is Pretty Boy but his real name is Percy.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Wind and the Lion 1975

     This film is somewhat based on the true events of the Perdicaris incident of 1904 and the setting is Morocco in the early 1900’s.  Eden Pedecaris and her two children, William and Jennifer, are abducted by Mulai Ahmed er Rasisuli and his men.  He is the leader of a band of Berber insurrectionists opposed to Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco and his uncle, the Bashaw (Pasha) of Tangier.  The reason for the abduction is to embarrass the Sultan and Raisuli demands an outrageous amount for money for ransom.  Theodore Roosevelt is the current President of the United States.  He uses diplomatic pressure and then military intervention to recover the Americans.  The Germans, British, French and Russians also became involved.
     I could not get interested in this movie?  It seemed like a showcase for Sean Connery?  I was surprised that Award Books published a novel based on this film in January 1975.  The film score by Jerry Goldsmith was nominated for AFI’s 200 years of Film Scores in 2005.  Teddy Roosevelt was interested in the kidnapping but he also needed an issue since he was campaigning for president.
119 min, Action directed by John Milius with Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, John Huston, Geoffrey Lewis, Steve Kanaly, Vladek Sheybal, Nadim Sawalha, Roy Jenson, Deborah Baxter, Jack Cooley.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 75% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 568 reviews.
Special Note:  The Pedicaris incident involved the kidnapping of a middle-aged man and his stepson.  They were not hurt during their adventure.  Fay Dunaway was the first choice for the role of Eden Pedecaris.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Life: Season 12007

     Charlie Crews spent 12 years in prison for multiple murders but he was innocent.  He suffered a lot of mental and physical abuse on the inside from fellow prisoners because of their hatred of cops.  He received a high dollar settlement when he was released and he could be retired.  He decided to go back to the same police unit and resume his career.  Dani Reese is his new partner.  He still has to deal with members of the force past and present who were there when Charlie was convicted.  Everyone except his attorney thought he was guilty.  No one thought he was innocent or believed in him.
     Charlie looks at the crime and the suspect differently now that he’s been on both sides of the fence.  It’s much more important to get everything right and sometimes you can’t follow by the book.  Charlie is still working the evidence on his own case to track down who should be in prison.  I thought this series was very interesting.  There is a ‘different’ viewpoint of law enforcement and crime solving.  The individual cases are interesting too.  3 ½* (I liked this series)

45 min, each episode TV series, Crime created by Rand Ravich with Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi, Adam Arkin, Brent Sexton, Donal Logue.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, Metacritic 64 out of 100 with 21 critics 7.9 out of 10 with 250 reviews, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 1101 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed on Stage 33, 43, 44, Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California.  Damian Lewis as Charlie and Helen McCory as Amanda Puryer, head of the security agency hired to protect Micky Rayborn are engaged and have two children.  The background story of Charlie is that he was part owner of a bar.  California prohibits a liquor license for a peace officer or their spouse.  There is a Season Two of this series.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Triple 9 2016

     The Russian mob has contracted with a crew of dirty cops to pull off a virtually impossible heist.  The cops have already done one job but now they are being forced to do a second job to get paid.  The plan is to fake a 999 call so all police officers will respond to this incident and not their robbery in progress.  Chris Allen doesn’t know his partner Marcus Belmont is dirty and Chris is targeted to be the officer down.
     Pay attention to the R rating for strong violence, language, drug use and some nudity.  This may be the most violent film I have watched.  I don’t know what the final body count is but it’s up there in numbers.  A lot of the scenes are at night or in dark places so details are missed by viewers.  Everything about this film is rough, the people, the characters and the plot.  Since it’s filmed in Georgia, almost everyone seems to be sweaty and/or greasy?  I felt the powerhouse actors were wasted in their roles.  I didn’t know the 999 code is broadcasted when an officer down.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

125 min, Action directed by John Hillcoat with Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams.

Note:  Imdb 6.3 out of 10, 53% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 98 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Atlanta, Decatur, Buckhead, Georgia.  Casey Affleck is chewing a wad of gum in almost every scene.  Irina Vlasov’s name is incorrect. Since she is a woman, her last name would be the feminine version Vlasova in Russian.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sound of My Voice 2011

     Peter and Lorna are a young couple working together on a documentary film in Los Angeles.  They have joined a mysterious and secretive cult.  Maggie is the leader of the cult and she claims to be from the future, specifically 2054.  Peter and Lorna believe she is a fraud but they want other people to see Maggie and inside this cult.  They begin to waver because of her charismatic persona.  Lorna wants to leave the cult when Maggie asks Peter to bring one of his grade school students to see her.
     If something seems like it might be fake, smells like it might be fake and never stops being weird, wouldn’t that make you think it was fake and weird?  I couldn’t see why anyone would stay or come back after the first meeting with Maggie?  She has an agenda that just hasn’t been revealed in the beginning!!  Another Earth, also with Marling is much better than this movie.  2 1/2* (This movie was just so-so)

85 min, Drama directed by Zal Batmanglij with Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Davenia McFadden, Kandice Stroh, Richard Wharton, Christy Meyers, Alvin Lam, Constance Wu, Matthew Carey.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 75% critic 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, CinemaBlend 4* out of 5*, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 136 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Los Angeles, California.  Originally this movie was filmed in parts because it was intended to be an ongoing web series.  This idea was changed and it was made into a feature film with more films to be added to form a trilogy.  At this point, it isn’t known in more films will happen.  Britt Marling wrote the character Maggie and she intended to play this role. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Beaches 2017

     This film is a remake of the 1988 movie with the same title that starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.  CC Bloom and Hillary Whitney meet each other at a Southern California beach.  CC is a singing for money donations and Hillary is the daughter of a lawyer.  They promise each other that they will write and be friends forever.  CC realizes her dream to act and sing.  Hillary goes to law school and she marries.  It’s a long time before the two see each other again in person.  Hillary comes to visit CC with her husband.  They realize they don’t have things in common like they used to and their friendship is broken for a time.
     I have seen the original film and I thought it was better than this versioin.  In the beginning of this film, I couldn’t connect with the two leads.  It took a while for me to care about what happened to them but then the story starting getting better.  3* (This movie was OK)  

87 min Drama, directed by Allison Anders with Idina Menzel, Nia Long, Daniel Letto, Antonio Cupo, Sanai Victoria, Colin Lawrence, Barbara Beall.

Note:  Metacritic 56 out of 100 with 10 critics 3.6 out of 10 with 5 reviews, 57% critic 27% audience on Rotten Tomatoes,
Special Note:  Filmed in Coquitlam and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Bigger Splash 2015

     Marianne Lane is a famous rock star in the style of David Bowie.  She is taking a break to rest her vocal cords.  She is living with her photographer and documentarian boyfriend Paul De Smedt and they are staying on the remote Italian island of Pantelleria.  Marianne’s former boyfriend/record producer Harry Hawkes surprises them with a visit.  He brings along his newly discovered adult daughter Penelope Lannier.  Marianne and Paul would prefer to be alone and Marianne has been advised not to talk for the present.
     The character played by Ralph Fiennes (Harry Hawkes) is very vocal!!  I could not finish this film because I couldn’t listen to anymore of his spouted drivel!!  There just didn’t seem to be a payoff for this kind of torture in the remainder of the script!!  I couldn’t understand why the other characters didn’t ask him to ‘shut up!!’ 1 ½* (I really didn’t like this movie)

125 min, Drama directed by Luca Guadagnino with Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Corrado Guzzanti, Alessandro Ferrara, David Maddalena, Salvatore Gabriele, Livio Franco Blandino.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 89% critic 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.1* out of 5* with 82 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Sicily and Milan, Italy.  There is confusion about Penelope’s age?  The police state that Penelope is 17 but her passport shows her age is 22?  Nothing is said about the possibility that her passport is fraudulent?  Originally Swinton didn’t want to do this film or any other because of the recent death of her mother.  She proposed the idea of her character being unable to speak to add a twist.  There is another film from 1974 with the same title but different cast and plot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Age of Adaline 2015

     Adaline Bowman was in a car accident at the age of 28 at the time of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge.  After that fateful day, she has not aged one day and she still looks 28 even though she was born at 12:01AM on January 18, 1908.  During her life of almost eight decades, she has changed her name and identity many times because she doesn’t want any scrutiny of her life.  Flemming, her daughter looks old enough to be Adaline’s grandmother and that is what she tells people.  Adaline does not have relationships with men because she can’t explain why she doesn’t age.  On New Year’s Eve at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, she meets Ellis Jones.  He doesn’t give up on seeing her. 
     I liked the fact this film was located in San Francisco.  Adaline can answer any question with certainty about the past in board games.  There is a twist at the end that changes everything for Adaline and Ellis.   I thought this was good and a very interesting change in a Dorian Gray type of movie.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
112 min, Drama directed by Lee Toland Krieger with Blake Blively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Lynda Boyd, Hugh Ross, Richard Harmon.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 54% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 2307 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Coquitlam, Vancouver, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.  There is a mistake when Adaline is pulled over near the beginning of the film.  Her driver's identification has a zip code but they were not introduced until 1963 and this is supposed to be 1953.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Man in the High Castle: Season Two 2016

     In this season, Juliana gives an important film reel to Joe and he flees on a fishing boat.  Trade Minister envisions a world where the Nazis had not won WWII.  Juliana needs to make a decision on how to save her life.  She wants to see Joe Blake but he’s gone to Berlin.  Frank and Ed have a payment due to the Yakuza.  John Smith has a lot on his plate with his family.  Joe learns more about his past during his time in Berlin.  Juliana continues to work for the Resistance.  Frank learns that Ed has a secret.  Tagomi and Kido work together to get a film to Berlin.
     There is once again a LOT going on in this Season and there are a LOT of surprises.  The Resistance is trying to push forward but both the Germans and the Japanese have their own plans for their sections of the United States.  It’s easy to get in HOT water wherever you are located or what you are doing!!  Individual and collective decisions have ripple effects!!  5* (I really loved this series)
60 min each episode, 10 episodes, created by Frank Spotnitz, with Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Joel de la Fuente, Rufus Seawell, DJ Qualls, Lee Shorten, Chelah Horsdal, Arnold Chun, Brennan Brown, Quinn Lord, Rick Worthy.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 63% critic 91% audience Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 30,734 reviews.
Special Note:  The titles for this Season are The Tiger’s Cave, The Road Less Traveled, Travelers, Escalation, Duck and Cover, Kintsugi, Land O’Smiles, Loose Lips, Detonation, Fallout.  There will be a Season Three in 2017 but the date has not been released.  Filmed in Roslyn, Seattle, Monroe, Washington; Vancouver, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Brunaby, British Columbia; New York City, New York.  The opening theme song Edelweiss was written for the Sound of Music. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Thousand Words 2012

     Jack McCall is a wheeler and dealer literary agent.  He wants to sign spiritual guru Dr. Sinja to a book deal so he can publish Dr. Sinja’s book.  An interesting item Jack doesn’t know is that the book is only five pages.  A copy is sent to Jack’s office after the deal is made.  Jack doesn’t believe in anything Dr. Sinja’s is talking about until a bodhi tree shows up in Jack’s backyard.  Every time Jack speaks a word, a leaf falls off the tree and it’s possible Jack will die when the tree dies?
     I almost didn’t watch this film but it started to become interesting because of the tree theory.  Murphy is as crazy as ever in his comedy.  It is funny when he needs to talk to people with as few words as possible or no words.  He is usually belittling people and being a ‘big shot!!’  3* (This movie is OK)

91 min, Comedy directed by Brian Robbins with Eddie Murphy Cliff Curtis, Kerry Washington, Emanuel Ragsdale, Jill Basey, Greg Collins, Allison Janey.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 0% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 191 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Bel Air and Los Angeles, California.  DreamWorks produced this film in 2008 but it was not released until 2012.  The opening in the US was a disaster.  The UK release was dropped in spite of theaters and trailers advertising the release.  At one time the dropping of the leaves doesn’t match Jack’s number of words?

Octopussy 1983

    British Agent 009 was murdered and he was holding an irreplaceable Faberge egg.  Agent 009 had been playing a clown at a circus and he was stabbed in the back.  This was done by one of the twin brothers in the knife-throwing act.  Bond is sent to an auction to sell the egg so he can find out who will be bidding on the egg.  Kamal Kahn from India buys the egg but he later meets up with Russian General Orlov.  Bond is sent to India and he meets Kamal Kahn while he is cheating at a gambling game.  Bond sees Magda with Kamal and she was also with him at the auction house.  Bond also meets Octopussy.   He later sees her at her compound in India and at the same circus troupe where Agent 009 was killed.
     There are lot of complications in the plot but no sharks and underwater diving scenes?  If you ever wanted to see Bond at a circus, you get your chance with this film.  He is involved in a lot of stunts with cars, motorcycles, trains and elephants.  None of this can be taken too seriously even if some events literally come down to the last second of time left.  3* (This movie is OK)

131 min, Action directed by John Glen with Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff, David Meyer, Tony Meyer, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Lois Maxwell.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 42% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 444 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in India, Germany, England and Utah.  One of the characters, Penelope Smallbone received her name because model Perri Small told Albert Broccoli her real last name was Smallbone.  Maud Adams was also in The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 and not credited in A View to a Kill 1985.  She is the only woman to appear in three Bond films.  Moore was born in 1927 and Maud in 1945.  There was 18 years difference in their ages in 1983.

Thunderball 1965

     This is the fourth film in the Bond series.  It’s based on a story by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming.  Bond’s mission is to recover two stolen warheads that have been taken by SPECTRE.  Bond travels to Nassau, he meets beautiful Domino and her guardian Emilio Largo.  Largo has a large yacht named the Disco Volante and it is suspected Largo knows where the warheads are hidden. 
     Originally, this was to be the first Bond film but there was a long legal battle between the story writers.  An out of court settlement was reached and the film was able to proceed.  Fans who like many gadgets and daring stunts will be satisfied with this installment.  The $6 million dollar budget supplied plenty of trick vehicles and underwater weapons.  The box office take was rewarding with $141 million for a $135 million profit!!  It seems the more is more theory did offer a good-sized payback!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

130 min, Action directed by Terence Young with Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Guy Doleman, Molly Peters, Martine Beswick, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 86% critic 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 677 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in England, France, Bahamas and Florida.  Originally, the title song was Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang sung by Dionne Warwick but it was changed at the last minute.  Four versions of Mr. Kiss were recorded including one sung by Shirley Bassey.  Tom Jones sings Thunderball because the song needed to reflect the title.  The Jetpack was not flown by Connery.  Engineer Bill Suiter flew it and he was one of only two people qualified to fly this equipment.

Friday, January 20, 2017

For Your Eyes Only 1981

     This film opens with the head of SPECTRE in control of a helicopter that just picked up James Bond because of an emergency.  The pilot is electrocuted through his headphones and Bond needs to get control of the helicopter right away if he wants to survive this flight.  He manages to turn the tables on Ernst Stavro Blofeld.  A fishing boat that is really a communications ship with a secret communication device known as ATAC is sunk by a large mine caught in their fishing net.  Bond is sent to keep the Russians from obtaining this device from the sunken ship.  He links up with Melina Havelock, her parents have just been murdered on their ship by a hired assassin.  Bond also meets Aristotle Kristatos and Milos Colombo.  They accuse each other of having links with the Russian government.  Melina and Bond use her father’s submersible to locate the fishing boat and recover the ATAC but this isn’t the end of the mission.
     There is interesting action and it seems a lot of the Bond movies must have underwater scenes that include large man-eating great white sharks?  It was suspenseful with Bond and Bouquet menaced underwater by a diver in a large diving suit with dangerous arm attachments.  Bond is shown hanging from the side of a mountaintop trying to climb to a fortress without falling or being seen.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

127 min, Action directed by John Glen with Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris, Jill Bennett, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Jack Hedley, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 74% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 438 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Bahamas, Greece, Italy and London, England.  At the time of filming, Carole Bouquet in the role of Melina Havelock was 23 years old.  She seems too young for Bond who is 53 years old?  Only a difference of a mere 30 years?  The title is a variation of the term 'eyes only' meaning restricted to certain personnel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In the Mood for Love 2000

     The setting of this film is Hong Kong China of 1962.  Chow Mo-Wan is a newspaper editor and he moves with his wife to a new building.  On the same day, Su Li-zhen also moves into the same building in an adjacent apartment.  Su is a secretary and her husband is an executive who travels a lot.  Chow and Su become friends since their spouses are away a lot traveling.  They both frequent a nearby noodle shop and they are interested in martial arts.  Chow is writing about martial arts and Su starts to help him with his work.  Their friendship becomes stronger when they find out that their spouses are seeing each other on their business trips.
     There is a lot going on in this film but it often seems inconsequential.  Just everyday life filled with people but also with loneliness.  I had to pay attention because of the subtitles but I didn’t want to?  I just didn’t see much to watch and think about?  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

98 min, Drama directed by Kar-Wai Wong with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu, Tung Cho ‘Joe” Cheung, Rebecca Pan.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 90% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 197 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed in Thailand; Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia; Macau, China.  Tony Leung has been acting since 1982 and he has been in a lot of films.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Man In The High Castle: Season One 2015

     This series is based on a novel by Philip K. Dick.  The premise of this film is that the Western Section of the United States is now controlled by the Japanese after WWII.  The Americans have lost the war and the Eastern Section is controlled by Germany.  There is a neutral zone separating the Western and Eastern zones.  The Japanese and the Germans have an uneasy peace between each other.  The Germans have supersonic planes and also an enriched uranium powered weapon of mass destruction so they have the advantage.  The Man in the High Castle is collecting film reels that show footage of WWII.  There is a resistance group that is smuggling the films to this Man.  Juliana Crain becomes part of this group when her sister Trudy is killed.  She meets Joe Blake and he is transporting one of the tapes.  Frank Frink is Juliana’s boyfriend and he works in a machine shop with Ed McCarthy.  Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith is in charge of German operations and the Trade Minister Nobusuke Togomi is high up in the Japanese organization.
     I thought this was very good and it’s difficult to just watch one episode at a time.  Sometimes I could figure out what was going to happen but other times it was a surprise.  There is a lot of secret activity happening in both of the States and we don’t know what it’s like in the neutral zone in this season.  We don’t know who the Man is in the High Castle and why he wants the tapes.  We don’t know where the tapes come from either.  What is true, what happened on the tapes or what is happening in their lives in the States?  There is a LOT of retribution for being outside of the law and it includes consequences to families as well.  5* (I really loved this series)

60 min, TV Series, 10 Episodes, Drama created by Frank Spotnitz with Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rufus Sewell, Lee Shorten, Chelah Horsdal.

Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 79% critic 89% audience, Metacritic 77% critic with 77 reviews 7.0 out of 10 user score with 266 ratings, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 104,697 reviews.  (Available on supported devices from Amazon)
Special Note:  The episode titles for this season are The New World, Sunrise, The Illustrated Woman, Revelations, The New Normal, Three Monkeys, Truth, End of the World, Kindness, A Way Out.
Special Note:  This series is listed for Mature Audiences and you can tell about each episode by the number of squares after the MA rating square.  If there are two squares for the rating it will be not too bad, if there are three squares, at least one person will be killed.  Filmed in Roslyn, Monroe and Seattle, Washington; New York City, New York; Vancouver, Coquitlam, New Westmister, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mistress America 2015

     Tracy Fishko is in her first semester attending college at Bernard in New York.  She doesn’t seem to be meeting anyone and has no friends.  Her divorced mother is getting remarried and her mother suggests that Tracy contact her soon to be stepsister Brooke.  At first, Tracy thinks this is a bad idea but then she thinks, what does she have to loose?  Tracy and Brooke become friends and Tracy wants to help Brooke get the money she needs to open a restaurant.  They travel to Connecticut to see if Brooke can get the money from Dylan.  Brook has a complicated history with Dylan and his wife Mamie-Claire.  Mamie-Claire stole Dylan from Brooke and she also took Brook’s idea for starting a t-shirt business.
     Meeting Brooke encourages Tracy to try harder to make friends and she decides to start a literary club.  She had joined the literary society but didn’t seem to be able to fit into this group.  There are a lot of funny moments in this film and also funny characters with different problems.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

84 min, Comedy directed by Noah Baumback with Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Nat Baldwin, Michael Chernus, Cindy Cheung, Shana Dowdeswell, Kathryn Erbe, Clare Foley, Charlie Gillette.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 83% critic 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 49 reviews.
Special Note:  This film premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2015.  Gerwig and Baumback collaborated on the writing of this film.  The hallway of the dorm where Tracy lives is the same hallway where Greta Gerwig lived when she attended Barnard.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Never Say Never Again 1983

     The head of SPECTRE, Ernst Blofeld steals two nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles from a US Air Force Base in the United Kingdom.  NATO is asked to pay a ransom of billions of dollars to SPECTRE to keep the missiles from being launched.  Before Bond is sent to investigate, M thinks he needs to go to a health spa to lose weight and get back into 007 form since he failed a routine training exercise.  Overseeing the detonation plan is Maximillian Largo.  His girlfriend Domino’s brother Jack is being used to obtain the missiles because he is in the US Air Force as a pilot.  Jack had a retina transplant to match up with the retina of the US President in order to release the missiles.  As soon as he has done his small job, Fatima Blush eliminates him.  Bond finds out the missiles are in an underground facility near the Ethiopian Coast. 
     It’s been twelve years since Sean Connery was in a Bond role.  During filming he is 52 years old, this is his seventh film and his last.  Kim Basinger is 29 years old and she started acting in 1976.  There is a mere 23 years between their ages.  A lot of the plot in this film is from Thunderball of 1965.  There must be diving scenes and sharks!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

134 min, Action directed by Irvin Kershner with Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey, Alec McCowen, Edward Fox, Pamela Salem, Rowan Atkinson.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 63% critic 37% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 817 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Malta, France, Monaco, Bahamas, England and Florida.  The title came from a comment made by Sean Connery after Diamonds Are Forever that he would NEVER do another Bond film.

The Lineup 1958

     This film takes place in San Francisco.  A taxi driver is helped to steal a suitcase by a porter on a ship docked in the city.  Things start to go wrong when the cabbie runs over a policeman.  The cabbie has a car accident and he is killed too.  Two police inspectors learn that the suitcase belongs to an antiques collector and a statue in the suitcase contains heroin.  Another gangster, his partner and their driver are heading out to pick up other heroin shipments hidden in the luggage of other travelers.  A mother gave her young daughter a Japanese doll, it contains heroin and the men go to their apartment.  They are looking for the doll and they are rough with the girl and her mother.
     It is interesting to see all the different places in San Francisco in the period of 1957.  The inspectors drive a 1957 Dodge sedan, sometimes a Custom Royal Model and other times a Coronet Model.  I liked the story and the cars, clothing, hairstyles and mannerisms of this time period.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

86 min, Crime directed by Don Siegel with Eli Wallach, Robert Keith, Richard Jaeckel, Mary LaRoche, William Leslie, Emile Meyer, Marshall Reed, Raymond Bailey, Vaughn Taylor, Cheryl Callaway.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 83% critic 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 19 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in The Embarcadero, Cliff House, Russian Hill, Kent Street, Jackson Street, Steinhart Aquarium, War Memorial Opera House, Nob Hill Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Fort Scott Road, U.S. Custom House, Bayshore Boulevard, Legion of Honor Museum, DeYoung Museum, Mark Hopkins Hotel, Pier 41, Sutro Baths, Fulsom Street, Madela Parkway, Oakland, California.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Moonraker 1979

     This film is the 11th Bond film and the 4th with Roger Moore.  A space shuttle is mysteriously hi-jacked and Bond must find out right away who is behind this.  Drax Industries is the maker of the shuttle and it was on loan to the United Kingdom.  Bond starts with Hugo Drax and he meets astronaut Dr. Holly Goodhead.  Bond is nearly killed when Drax’s henchman Chang changes the settings on a centrifuge chamber.  Connie Dufour works for Drax and she is killed when Drax finds out she was helping Bond.  Four moonrakers lift off and head to a space station protected by a cloaking device.  Bond and Goodhead pose as pilots on one of the moonrakers.
     The plot to this film is complicated and even though it is about space, there must also be a boat chase with a gondola turned into a speedboat.  There are a lot of gadgets in this film too and everything doesn’t need to make sense.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie.

126 min, Action directed by Lewis Gilbert with Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Toshiro Suga, Emily Bolton.

Note:  Imdb 6.3 out of 10, Roger Ebert 3*, 60% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 523 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in the Atlantic Ocean, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Guatemala, Italy, France, London United Kingdom, Florida, California.  There are about 50 sets were constructed for this movie and they required 220,000 hours to build?  The budget was more than the total budget of the first six Bond movies added together?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reclaim 2014

     Steven was out drinking one evening and his wife Shannon had to come to pick him up.  Shortly after, their car was hit on the driver’s side by a large truck.  After the accident, Shannon hasn’t been working and another complication in their lives is that she is unable to have children.  The couple decides to adopt a child and they start working with International Rescue Adoption with an office in Puerto Rico.  They want to adopt Nina, she is from Haiti and rescued after the Haitian earthquake.  They take a flight to meet Nina and they fall in love with her right away.  They need to wait three days for her passport to be ready so she can travel with them back to the United States as their daughter.
     This film has low reviews and it seems most of the criticism is of the plot.  The plot has been done too many times before.  I thought the scenery was beautiful and the actions scenes were convincing.  They make you want to yell at the television?  One positive element of this film is it does focus on adoptions.  3* (This movie is OK)

96 min, Drama directed by Alan White with John Cusack, Ryan Phillippe, Rachelle Lefevre, Jackie Weaver, Luis Guzman, Brianna Roy, Jandres Burgos, Veronica Faye Foo, Alex Cintron, Millie Ruperto, Oscar H. Guerrero.

Note:  Imdb 5.1 out of 10, 0% critic 26% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.0* out of 5* with 113 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Puerto Rico.  Briana Roy does an excellent job as Nina.  At the time of filming she was eight years old.  She has been in FabLife and Recovery Road, both TV programs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Terminator Genisys 2015

     In 1997 Skynet caused machines to think independently and they began to eliminate people through nuclear annihilation.  Sgt. Kyle Reese is sent back from Judgment Day of 2029 to 1984.  His assignment is to protect Sarah Connor.  She will be the mother of John Connor and he is the future leader of the human resistance against the machines.  Sarah has had a machine guardian since she was 9 years old.  There is a fractured timeline with John Connor returning as a machine, Cop/T-1000 is out to get them and seemingly unable to be destroyed.  The new Genisys operating system is due to come online soon and it will upload every phone, tablet and laptop into one system.  Genisys must be stopped in order to save humanity from the end of the world as we know it now.
     This is the fifth film in the Terminator Series and the first one I’ve watched.  Some scenes from the original Terminator are included with a very young Schwarzenegger arriving on Earth through time travel.  John Connor and Cop/T-1000 are made from liquid metal and that was also done in Terminator 2 of 1991.  There is a big action scene on the Golden Gate Bridge with a school bus.  3* (This movie is OK)

126 min, Action directed by Alan Taylor with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K, Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith Courtney B. Vance, Byng-hun Lee, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 25% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Rober Ebert 2*, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 13,896 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Redwood City, Nicasio, Marine Headlands, California.  Paramount has scheduled two sequels to this film.  After 2019, all the film rights to the Terminator series revert back to James Cameron.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Rooster Cogburn 1975

     This film is a sequel to True Grit.  Minister Goodnight and his daughter Eula are working at a small village in the Indian Nation.  Hawk Jordan and his gang of outlaws, really a band of drunken thugs, come to the village.  They kill and attack the Indian people.  They shoot Goodnight when he tries to stop them.  Rooster Cogburn comes to the village on the trail of the thugs.  They have a wagon full of nitro they have stolen and they plan to use it to rob the bank in town.  Despite his protests, Wolf, one of the Indian boys and Eula want to go along with Rooster to trail the thugs.
     The scenery is very beautiful and anyone watching this would also want to go out as a posse against the gang.  They don’t have one redeeming quality!!  They would shoot each other and anyone else in a heartbeat.  The only thing they are careful about is the nitro.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

108 min, Adventure directed by Stuart Millar with John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Jordan, John McIntire, Paul Koslo, Jack Colvin, Jon Lormer, Richard Romancito, Lane Smith, Warren Vanders.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 50% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 439 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Rogue River, Grants Pass, Smith Rock State Park, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon; Universal City, California.  John Wayne tended to argue with everybody, especially the director.  Katharine Hepburn told him at the cast party on the last day of filming that she was glad she didn’t know him when he had two lungs!!