Monday, February 27, 2017

Restless 2012

     This movie is based on a novel written by William Boyd.  The year is 1976 and Ruth Gilmartin travels with her young son to see her mother Sally.  She lives in rural Cambridgeshire and Sally tells Ruth that she was recruited as a British spy in 1939.  Sally is really Eva Delectorskaya and she is a Russian refugee.  Her first assignment was to meet with the adviser to the President to find out if the Americans were going to fight in WWII.  Her second assignment was to provide a map to American agents of a planned German invasion of America.  This task did not go well and Eva thinks she was betrayed.  She survives an attempt to kill her and her colleagues begin to die.
     I had a difficult time remaining interested in this film.  So many twists and turns plus you don’t know who is really on what side?  I did like the clothing, hairstyles and cars of the period.  3* (This movie is OK)

180 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Edward Hall with Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery, Michael Gambon, Charlotte Rampling, Thekla Reuten, Adrian Scarborough, Bertie Carvel, Bernhard Schir, Alexander Fehling, Kevin Guthrie, Tom Brooke, Anthony Calf.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in South Africa, Oxfordshire, Cabridgeshire and London, England.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 90 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in South Africa and various locations in England, UK.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Boulevard 2014

     Nolan and Joy Mack are a long married couple and they have always seemed to get along.  Nolan has worked at the same bank branch for a long time.  His boss has recommended him for a promotion at another branch.  Nolan meets Leo when he turns on a different street than he usually travels.  He gives Leo a ride and they start staying in contact with each other.  Leo’s life is complicated and a guy named Eddie bullies him.  Nolan wants to help Leo but it’s making Nolan’s life more complicated.  It’s threatening his marriage and his job plus the possibility his new job
     This is the last movie filmed by Robin Williams.  I really wish it had been a better movie.  There is only so much actors can do with a script and this is a low budget film too.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

88 min, Drama directed by Dito Montiel with Robin Williams, Roberto Aguire, Kathy Baker, Giles Matthey, Eleonore Hendricks, Bob Odenkirk, Henry Haggard, Gary Gardner, Crystal Gray, Joshua Decker.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 51% critic 29% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 2.9* out of 5* with 314 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Nashville, Tennessee.  The script was originally titled, Santa Monica Boulevard.  The address of the bank where Nolan works is 3939 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 3l7216.  There isn’t a bank at this location but a café named Slip Café.

Clouds of Sils Maria 2014

      Sils Maria is a remote region of the Alps.  Maria Enders and her assistant travel to this area for Maria to rehearse a role in a play.  Maria has been selected to act in a revival of a play she did when she was 18 years old.  Twenty years have passed since this role established her career.  This time around, she would play the older woman and another actress will play the younger woman.  Maria is at the top of her career and she decides she wants to drop this commitment.  She feels she would rather play the younger woman again.  Her agent thinks she will face a lawsuit if she takes the step of backing out of the production.
      The problem I have with this film is the scenes with Binoche and Stewart in rehearsal.  Where do the lines of the play drop off and the conversation lines begin?  They seem to merge and blend together until I couldn’t tell the difference?  I couldn’t keep my interest going and kept putting off trying to figure it all out?  If you are looking for a thought provoking film, this is for you.  If action is what you are looking for, look for something different from this film.  3* (This movie is OK)

124 min, Drama directed by Olivier Assayas with Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger, Johnny Flynn, Angela Winkler, Hanns Zischler, Nora von Waldstatten, Brady Corbet.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 89% critic 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 346 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Switzerland, Italy and Germany.  The French fashion house of Channel provided the actresses with clothes, jewelry, accessories and makeup.  Also, some financing was given to allow Olivier Assayas to film on 35-mm film instead of digitally.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Die Another Day 2002

     This is the last mission as James Bond for Pierce Brosnan.  Bond is captured and held prisoner in North Korea for 14 months.  There is a prisoner exchange, Bond for Zao who was captured by MI6.  M is concerned that Bond cracked under torture during his 14 months?  Bond explains that he was betrayed to the Koreans but M doesn’t believe his story?  Miranda Frost is another MI6 agent and she is sent to become a friend to millionaire Gustav Graves.  An American agent known as Jinx is also working against Graves and Zao.  Graves gives a presentation of a satellite in space that can project a huge laser beam.  He is calling it the second sun.  Graves is also involved with a large amount of conflict diamonds
     Bond looks very rough when he’s returned to the British!!  He has long hair, a beard and he’s not in the best physical or mental shape.  There is a LOT of ice and water in this film.  I liked the invisibility feature of the Aston Martin.  Sometimes I got the feeling that what is happening in this film couldn’t be possible but it’s a Bond film!!  3* (This movie is OK)

133 min, Action directed by Lee Tamahori with Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike, Toby Stephens, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Kenneth Tsang, Emilio Echevarria, Michae Gor, Lawrence Makoare, Colin Salmon, Samantha Bond.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 58% audience 41% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*,
Special Note:  Filmed in England UK, Spain, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Wales, South Korea, Cuba, Hawaii.  There is a book in a couple of scenes, it’s A Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies’ written by Ian Fleming.  Brosnan didn’t like the gadgets and overblown special effects of this film.  He wanted to make a lot key and darker film.

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words 2015

     Director Stig Bjorkman met with Ingrid Bergman’s daughter Isabella Rossellini in the spring of 2011.  Even though Ingrid, traveled and lived in different countries, she saved the letters she wrote to her friend Mollie.  She also saved records, films and information from her childhood and the childhoods of her children.  Ingrid won seven Academy Award nominations and was a three-time winter.  She loved to travel and she loved acting in films or on stage.  She was in Casablanca of 1942, Gaslight of 1944 and Autumn Sonata of 1978.  She married dentist Petter Aron Lindstrom at the age of 21 in 1937.  He later studied to become a neurosurgeon and they had a daughter Pia Lindstrom.  Ingrid had a relationship with photographer Robert Capa in 1945 during her tour to entertain American troops.  There was a scandal over her relationship with Roberto Rossellini in 1950.  They married and had three children, a son Roberto and twin daughters Isotta and Isabella.  They divorced and she married Lars Schmidt, a theatrical entrepreneur.  Ingrid died August 1982 in London on her 67th birthday of breast cancer.
     This film was released on the 100-year anniversary of Ingrid’s birth.  I thought this was interesting and carefully filmed with a lot of information about Ingrid that I didn’t know.  I appreciated that the material presented was based on interviews with family, friends and her memorabilia.  It’s not made up stories or scandalous material from magazines and newspapers.  She was an unusual and gifted person and she also seemed to have boundless energy.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

114 min, Doc directed by Stig Bjorkman with Ingrid Bergman, Alicia Vikander, Pia Lindstrom, Roberto Rossellini, Isotta Rossellini, Isabella Rossellini, Fiorella Mariani, Sigourney Weaver, Liv Ullman, Jeanine Basinger.
Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 100% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.0* out of 5* with 17 reviews, Netflix 3 ½* out of 5*.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Microbe & Gasoline 2015

     Daniel and Theo are given the nicknames Microbe & Gasoline at school from the other students.  Daniel is Microbe because he is smaller in stature than the others in his grade.  Theo is called Gasoline because he helps his father in his shop before school.  They become friends because they feel separated and isolated from the others.  Daniel is good at drawing and Theo knows how to fix machines as well as build things.  They work together to find parts to turn a lawnmower engine into some kind of car.  They are successful with their project but not allowed to register the car to drive on roads.  They come up with an idea to reinvent their car and they decide a road trip might be just the thing for summer vacation.
     Theo has a tougher life at home than Daniel but they both want to escape their parents.  His Dad is always yelling at Theo and his mother has had two heart attacks.  Daniel’s parents are more understanding but he has an older brother and he's a pain.  The countryside of this area of France is beautiful on their road trip.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Adventure directed by Michel Gondry with Ange Dargent, Theophile Baquet, Diane Bresnier, Audrey Tautou, Vincent Lamoureux, Agathe Peigney, Doublas Brosset, Charles Raymond, Marc Delarue.
Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 91% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 13 reviews.

Special Note:  Theo wants Daniel to enter a drawing contest for under ages 12.  Daniel thinks Theo should enter but it’s really Daniel that could pass as under 12 and not Theo.  The setting of this film is Versailles, France. The director, Michel Gondry grew up in this area.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Finding Dory 2016

     Dory is a blue tang fish and she has trouble remembering things.  She started having problems when she was a young fish.  Now that she is older, she remembers she must have had parents and they must be wondering what happened to her.  Two clownfish Nemo and Marlin are her friends and they are father and son.  The group of three sets out on the journey to find her parents.  They think it’s possible that her parents are at the Marine Life Institute.  This is a conservatory that houses different types of ocean creatures.
     There is a lot of color and characters in this film.  Many instances of on the edge of your seat!!  Wondering if the characters are going to get out of the fix or danger that they are in?  There are a lot of split second decisions and a lot of dealing with Dory not remembering what they are trying to do.  This film is good for both children and adults.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

97 min, Animation directed by Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane with the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Sloane Murray.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 94% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 3132 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed at Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville and Walt Disney Feature Animation, Burbank, California.  Hank the octopus has seven tentacles and he should have eight.  The animators couldn’t fit eight onto his body.  The license plate on a truck is CALA113.  A113 is in all Pixar movies and it reverences the Cal Arts room where many Pixar animators studied.  Ellen DeGeneres has talked about getting this movie filmed since Finding Nemo was released in 2003.  Dory has over 25 million likes and is the most liked character on Facebook from any Disney or Pixar film.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates 2016

     Mike and Dave have a sit-down at their parents’ house with their sister Jeanie and her husband-to-be Eric.  Their father Burt and mother Rosie have compiled footage of the times Mike and Dave have wrecked family gatherings.  Mike and Dave would have denied any wrongdoing but there is pictorial proof!!  With Jeanie and Eric’s marriage happening soon, their relatives advise Mike and Dave to bring dates to the wedding.  They don’t want to see them ogling and flirting with women at the event and causing their regular devastation!!  The guys set out to follow all the rules but will their dates Alice and Tatiana cooperate? 
     This film has an R rating for crude sexual content, language, drug use, some nudity and violence.  I think this move would’ve been better and had a larger audience without some of these items?  I basically ignored a LOT of these instances and concentrated on the mess-ups of the guys and their dates.  The bride adds some of her own drama into the mix.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

98 min, Adventure directed by Jake Szymanski with Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Lavell Crawford.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 35% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 205 reviews.  Jake Szymanski previously directed segments of Saturday Night Live.

Youth 2015

     Fred is a retired composer and conductor staying at an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps.  He has been coming here for vacations for 20 years.  He used to come with his wife but now he visits with his long time friend Mick.  Mick is working on a screenplay for what may be his last important film.  Fred receives a visit from an emissary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.  They would like to attend an event featuring Fred as a conductor again.  Fred spurns their offer since he doesn’t intend to come out of retirement.
     This film is listed first as a comedy but I didn’t find it to be funny?  It is an ensemble piece and I think it suffers because of this genre?  There are a lot of characters, they have a lot of problems but not enough attention is given to each character or their problems?  The reasons aren’t given for the problems and no solutions either?  How can we have empathy for the characters and what they are going through if everything is watered down and stretched thin?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)
124 min, Drama directed by Paolo Sorrentino with Michael Caine, Harve Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Alex Macqueen, Madalina Diana Ghenea, Jane Fonda.
Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 74% critic 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 237 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Kanton Graubunden, Kanton Bern, Switzerland; Venice and Lazio, Italy; London, England, UK.  There are three Oscar winners in this film, Caine, Fonda and Weize plus Keitel was a nominee.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

GoldenEye 1995

      A deadly satellite weapon system has the name Goldeneye.  Control of this system has fallen into the wrong hands and Bond is sent to Russia to recover the stolen access codes.  The weapon can fire a devastating electromagnetic pulse from space toward the Earth.  Bond begins working with 006 but he is killed.  A Russian assassin, Xenia Onatopp is a formidable foe on the wrong side.  Bond also finds out another key player has built up years of simmering hatred toward 007.
     The Aston Martin starts out in the film but then the Bond car becomes a BMW Z3.  There aren’t as many gadgets but there is wonderful section with Bond driving a tank and a LOT of fight scenes.  There is an impressive train and a LOT of explosions too.  It seems the character Natalya has nine or more lives and is impervious to explosions?  Xenia does much of her own driving in a mountainous car race between her fabulous red Lamborghini and Bond’s silver Aston Martin.  Bond has unlimited endurance and he can be beaten to a pulp but still hang onto helicopter skids!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

130 min, Action directed by Martin Campbell with Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Gottfried John Alan Cumming, Tcheky Karyo, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond, Michael Kitchen, Serena Gordon, Simon Kunz.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 78% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 848 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Russia, Monaco, France; Surrey, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Vauxhall, Hertfordshire, Piccadilly and London, England, UK.  In Licence to Kill of 1989 a contest was held for advertising purposes and the selected person given a cameo role in the next Bond picture.  Golden Eye was not started until 1995 and the woman winner is in a scene at the Baccarat table with Bond in Monaco.  Famke Janssen broke a rib during a sauna fight scene.  The body count is 47 for this film and the highest bungee jump from a structure in a movie is in an opening scene.  The drop was over 722 feet.  Imbd has the longest list of trivia I've seen for a film?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Love and Mercy 2014

     The Beach Boys reached their professional peak in the 1960’s.  Brian Wilson paid a high mental and physical price for his innovative talent.  His father was his manager at one time.  He was abusive and Brian lost most of his hearing in one ear due to physical blows.  He felt he could never manage to please him.  Brian began to suffer more and more from mental illness until he was unable to function.  He was under the care of Dr. Landy in the 1980’s and he was taking advantage of Brian.  Melinda Ledbetter meets Brian when he comes into a Cadillac dealership to buy a car.  She falls in love with him and the attraction is mutual.  She observes the dominance of Dr. Landy and she gathers evidence to bring charges against the doctor.
     I didn’t know any of this history of Brian Wilson before watching this movie.  I thought it was very interesting with a lot of information about Brian and his band mates.  Many musicians become sidelined with drugs/alcohol and many aren’t able to turn themselves around mentally or physically.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)  

121 min, Bio directed by Bill Pohlad with John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Brett Davern, Graham Rogers, Erin Drake, Joanna Going, Bill Camp, Nick Gehlfuss.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 91% critic 85% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 5133 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in various locations of Torrance, Hollywood, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California.  The producer of this film, Bill Pohlad also worked on Brokeback Mountain and 12 Years a Slave.  Some of the actual events in Brian’s life were so unbelievable that the film team considered toning down or falsifying events.  Murry Wilson, Brian’s father did sell off the band’s publishing company but not in 1967, it was 1969.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Whisper of the Heart 1995

     The actual title is If You Listen Closely (Mimi Wo Sumaseba).  Shizuku is a young teenage girl out of school for summer vacation and she checks out a lot of books from the library.  She begins to notice another person is checking out many of the same books.  She wonders who this could be?  One day she is riding on the train and she sees a cat riding by himself?  She decides to follow the cat to see where he lives and also to have an adventure.  She discovers a different part of town she hasn’t seen before and she meets Seiji.  He is an older boy who is learning to carve violins and he wants to go to Italy to study this craft.  Shizuku is impressed that he already knows what he wants to do with his life.  She feels behind because she is trying to discover her own talents.
     There is a LOT of feeling in the animation of this film.  We experience Shizuku’s life living in a cramped apartment and the stresses of the first day of school after summer vacation.  Shizuku also experiences the angst of first love and worrying about her future.  What is she good at doing and what does she like?  What will she do with her life?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

111 min, Animation directed by Yoshifumi Kondo with the voices of Cary Elwes, Brittany Snow, Ashley Tisdale, David Gallagher, James Sikking, Jean Smart, Harold Gould, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Martin Spanjers, Mika Boorem, Abigail Mavity, Deanna Russo.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 91% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 375 reviews.
Special Note:  This is the only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo.  Studio Ghibli hoped he would become the successor to Hayao Miyazaki and Takashi Tachibana.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 1998.  The Cat Returns released in 2002 focuses on the Baron, a minor character from this film.  There is a scene in this movie of a billboard advertising this movie.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tomorrow Never Dies 1997

     Elliot Carver is working on building his global media empire.  His next step is to obtain broadcasting rights in China.  His plan is to provoke both the British and the Chinese to start WWIII.  Bond is surprised to meet his former friend Paris and she is now the wife of Elliot Carver.  Bond teams up with Wai Lin in his battle with Carver and his men.
     There is a LOT of action in this film and the body count of 197 is the highest in a Bond film.  There are also a LOT of gadgets, special effects and stunts.  My favorit gadget is the BMW driven by a small remote control.  The car is bulletproof, hammer proof and emits a deadly gas.  Plenty of firepower and other items added to the car also.  There doesn’t need to be much of a story line.  You have the standard bad guys and plenty of chase and shooting scenes.  Just sit back, relax and let the action play out!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

119 min, Action directed by Roger Spottiswoode with Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Joe Don Baker, Vincent Schiavelli, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 57% critic 53% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 626 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Hamburg, Germany; Phang Nga Bay, Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand; Rotherhithe, London, Middlesex, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Devon and Oxforshire, England, UK; Bayonne, Pyrenees-Atlantiques and Paris, France; Rosarito, Baja California Norte, Mexico; Florida.  Pierce Brosnan commented later that filming this movie was like “pulling teeth?”  The original title was going to be Tomorrow Never Lies but a typing mistake on an early script draft was selected instead.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Shallows 2016

     Nancy goes to surf at a secluded beach in Mexico.  She has dropped out of medical school after the death of her mother from cancer.  This beach was a favorite place for her mother.  Nancy doesn’t know she has stumbled on the feeding ground of a great white shark.  She is only 200 yards from shore but she can’t reach the beach without being attacked by the shark.  She gets on top of a dead whale that the shark as been feeding on.  Then she moves to a rock in the water that will be covered with water when the tide comes in.
     It would seem that making this film would be difficult for Lively.  In the water a LOT, hair constantly wet and she does some of her own surfing.  It’s not only the shark, there is also coral waiting to cut her skin and jellyfish with stinging tentacles.  There is a LOT of tension and you don’t know what is going to happen to Nancy or the other people she encounters.  3 ½* (I liked this movie.

86 min, Drama directed by Jaume Collet-Serra with Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey, Ava Dean, Chelsea Moody.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 78% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.6* out of 5* with 1176 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed on Lord Howe Island, New South Wales; Mount Tamborine, Oxenford and Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.  The level of the rock in the water varies between shots and it doesn’t seem to have a relationship to the tide?  Some of the scenes were shot in a giant swimming pool.  The seagull’s real name is Sully and he is on the rock with Nancy.  He is now living in a seagull sanctuary in Australia. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Inside Out 2015

     Riley has lived a settled life in Wisconsin but her parents decide to sell the house and move to San Francisco.  Riley is 11 years old and she has the same emotions that we all have.  There are five animated characters that represent her emotions.  Joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger.  Her emotions live in headquarters and this is the control center of her mind.  They help to advise her through everyday life.  Riley has a lot of new emotions in San Francisco.  A lot of them are based on sadness for what she’s left behind.  Her memories are shown as softball-sized spheres with color codes.  The memories are stored as short-term, long-term or tossed away.
     I liked the premise and the story for this film but maybe I could have related more if a little bit of the adult brains had been shown too?  This is very colorful and I'm sure the target audience would really enjoy this.  3* (This movie is OK)

95 min, Animation directed by Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen with the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan, Paula Poundstone, Bobby Moynihan.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 98% critic 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 8460 reviews.
Special Note:  Originally 27 different emotions were considered.  Some of the memory balls have pictures of other Pixar movies.  The sport game being shown was changed to either hockey or football (soccer) depending on the country of the release.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Paradine Case 1947

     Anthony Keane is a brilliant lawyer practicing in London.  Sir Simon Flaquer asks him to defend Maddalena Anna Paradine on the charge of murdering her husband.  Keane takes the case and he believes Mrs. Paradine is innocent.  He thinks Andre Latourthe, the long time valet to her husband, is the guilty party.  Gay Keane, the wife of Anthony is worried that her husband is falling in love with Mrs. Paradine.  Gay believes Anthony must get a not guilty verdict for Mrs. Paradine.  If she were to die, Anthony would love a dead woman and Gay would not be able to compete.
     This is an interesting film, only Anthony Keane is 100% sure Mrs. Paradine is innocent.  Otherwise, how could he be in love with a murderer?  He sets out to prove that Latour is guilty even over the objections of Mrs. Paradine.  Keane believes she must be defended and proven innocent to everyone.  Gay knows it won’t do any good for her to get up in arms over this situation.  She can only let it play out in the courtroom.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

125 min, Crime directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn, Ethel Barrymore, Louis Jourdan, Alida Valli, Leo G. Carroll, Joan Tetzel, Isobel Elsom.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 75% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 66 reviews.
Special Note:  Alida Valli was a popular Italian actress as famous as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.  She acted in The Third Man, The Miracle of the Bells and Walk Softly, Stranger.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Once Upon a Summer 2009

     Lisa and Andy are best friends and also cousins.  When they were kids, they were inseparable, they did everything together including getting into trouble.  They created adventures they still remember now that they are adults.  Andy faints while she is out for a run and she learns she has cancer.  There isn’t a treatment because her cancer is aggressive and has already spread to her major organs.  Lisa is going through a rough time and has filed for divorce from her husband.  She drops everything and meets with Andy to help her face her diagnosis. Andy has a young daughter and she worries about leaving her.  Lisa has a son and daughter.
     In this film there is more focus on Lisa and Andy when they were children.  They spent a lot of time with their grandparents because their parents didn’t seem to be involved with them.  In the summer, they try a lot of different activities with varying degrees of success.  3* (This movie is OK)     

98 min, Drama directed by Rob Diamond with Savanna Kylie Lewis, Stefania Barr, Susanne Sutchy, Bus Riley, Heather Beers, Clara Susan Morey II, Marianna Wood, Chris Laird, Danny Allen, Colton Tran.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 33% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 281 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Provo, Utah.  Heather Beers has also been on the Everwood TV Series.  There is another film with the same title based on a novel by Janette Oke from her Seasons of the Heart series.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Gordon Family Tree 2013

     Freemont Gordon is from a prominent family and he works as a successful architect in Los Angeles.  He reaches his 30th birthday and he feels he is not making the best of his life in this job.  He gets an inspiration when he goes to the home of his boss.  He learns the two sons of his boss have the materials for tree house and no one has the time to build it for them.  He decides to secretly do the job and he gains inspiration for a new life.  He starts a road trip and along the way he builds a tree house and/or a shed for families.  He only asks for a place to stay, meals and money for cost of the materials.  His desire is to give kids a fun place to play and do something he loves.
     I understand that Gordon was at a crossroads and he does find something helpful for himself and others as a job.  I thought this was based on a true story and real people but it’s not?  This is just not interesting enough for a fictional story?  It’s very slow paced with not much going on in a lot of the scenes.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)
107 min, Adventure directed by Marc Hampson with Richard Karn, Corbin Bernsen, Jennica and Ryan Schwartzman, Brace Harris, Jason O’neil Hudson, Mark Landon Smith, Cassie Self, Vanessa Rose Parker, Kait Bradley.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 123 reviews.

Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Writer Ryan Schwartzman wrote this story to honor his father Ira Schwartzman.  Ira built craftsman style homes in Northwest Arkansas.  The role of Dr. Burke Gordon is played by Ryan's former theater teacher in high school.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Common Chord 2013

     Kyle Foster is struggling with the responsibility of being a father to his young daughter Teigan.  Her mother has recently died and her grandfather would like to have sole custody of Teigan.  Bill, her grandfather is willing to battle in court with Kyle over who is the best person to be in Teigan’s life.  The social worker on the case is trying to help Kyle fully accept his role as a father.  She believes Bill is too elderly and he has too many health conditions to be the sole guardian for Teigan.  Kyle and Bill are carrying a lot of resentment towards each other because of past events.  Bill wishes his wife had not passed away because she could help him get through all of these problems.
     The scenery in Alberta is beautiful.  Parents and grandparents both don’t always have the right answers when it comes to parenting children.  It’s an everyday challenge to do the right thing.  When you are struggling in your own life, the right decisions don’t come easily.  There are times when everyone resents the social worker. They need to try to remember that she is a neutral party and able to make the best recommendations without emotional ties to the family.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

89 min, Drama directed by Deric Olsen with Jason Cermak, Pete Seadon, Ashlin Malik, Douglas MacArthur, Erin Bourke-Henderson, Andrea Jacques, Avaah Blackwell, Stuart Bentley, Aaron Taylor, Devon Brayne.
Note:  Imdb 6.6, The Dove Foundation 4*, Christian Cinema 4* with 3 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.  There are not very many reviews for this film?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The World is Note Enough 1999

     An oil tycoon is murdered at the headquarters of MI6.  James Bond is sent to protect his daughter Elecktra King since she may be the next target.  Previously,  Elektra was kidnapped by Renard.  Her father and MI6 refused to pay the ransom money.  Renard is secretly planning to destroy a pipeline being constructed by Elektra.  Renard has a bullet in his skull that cannot be removed and eventually it will kill him.  The bullet gives him extra power and strength.  Dr. Christmas Jones helps Bond contend with a Soviet submarine and the reactor.
     This is the 19th James Bond film.  His car is a beautiful titanium armored BMW speedster instead of an Austin Martin.  Includes plenty of action.  There is a powerboat on the Thames, a hot-air balloon, skiing down a mountain pursued by para-sailers that convert into snowmobiles and a helicopter transporting rotary tree-trimming blades.  I wonder about the casting of Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist?  But, she doesn't need to know, just look like she knows?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
128 min, Action directed by Michael Apted with Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese, Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 51% critic 49% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 1036 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Bibi-Heybat Region, Azerbaijan; Bilbao, Vizcaya, Pais Vasco, Spain; Shadwell, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, Lambeth Bridge, River Thames, Stowe Gardens, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, Tower Bridge, London, England, UK; Bosphorus, Turkey; Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, France.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

10.000 Km 2014

     Alex and Sergi are living together in a flat in Barcelona.  Alex receives an email inviting her to come to Los Angeles to live and work on her photography.  She will receive a grant for her expenses.  Sergi wants her to take this opportunity but it is difficult for both of them to be so far away.  Sergi is studying for his board tests in education.  He is working now as a teacher.
    The beginning of this film is the two characters interacting together in person.  Then it is the two characters interacting with each other on the computer.  There are a lot of scenes of Google Earth too.  That seems to be the theme of Alex's photography?  I think Sergi acts like a spoiled brat several times and the couple seems to have a thin connection with each other.  They claim to be in love but this may only be physical and not as much emotional love?  I just didn't find very much going on in this film?  There are subtitles so you need to pay attention but there isn't much to pay attention to?  2* (I didn't like this movie) 

99 min, Comedy directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet with Natalia Tena, David Verdaguer, Sirius Flatz.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 83% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 2.7* with 78 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  The opening scenes last 22 minutes.  Barbara Lennie was originally cast in the role of Alex but she was unavailable.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bear With Me 2005

     Emily is 11 years old and she had a pet bear that she released into the Great Bear Rain Forest.  Poachers had wounded the bear cub and the family nursed her back to health.  She misses her bear a lot and she overhears her 16-year-old sister Melissa planning to go to the forest to take pictures of the logging company work.  She is going with her high school friend Daniel and they believe the logging company is not following the established guidelines for clear cutting.  Emily meets John Ours and he helps her find her way to the forest.  Right away Emily encounters a bear that she thinks is her bear but this is a different bear.  Emily uses her whistle to make the bear leave logging camp.  Melissa warns Emily that it was dangerous to work with a different bear that she doesn’t know.  Emily accidentally falls into the creek, Melissa follows her in a raft but it overturns.  Their community will need to launch a search before darkness sets in.
     This is a good family film.  The scenery in the forest is very beautiful and the scenes of Emily with her bear and the other bear are interesting.  The parents are very worried about Emily and also worried that she is with a bear since they are not sure it is her bear?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

96 min, Adventure directed by Paul Ziller with Kaitlyn Burke, Michael Ontkean, Helen Shaver, Kimberley Warnat, Gordon Tootoosis, Eric Johnson, Kristian Ayre.

Note:  Imdb 5.6 out of 10, 30% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 207 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.  A reviewer on Amazon said the DVD they received omitted several scenes with Gordon Tootoosis?  His character is John Oursand he is a Native American medicine man in this film.