Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Accountant 2016

     Christian Wolff has struggled with high-functioning autism since he was a child.  Now he is using his talents as a mental calculator.  He works for numerous criminal enterprises and he has been in prison.  He learned from his cellmate how to immediately disappear, what to keep on hand for currency and not to get attached to other people.  Now, the Treasury Department is working on identifying and arresting this anonymous Accountant.  Ray King is the Treasury Director and he blackmails a young data analyst into helping him with this task.  She doesn't have a lot of information to work with but she is driven to solve this mystery for the Director.
     This film has a lot of action and it’s not just Wolff going through files and calculating gains, losses and possible irregularities in numbers.  Sometimes the answers aren’t what the clients want to hear and they will send assassins to change the numbers.  It helps to have a Barrett M82A1M - .50 BMG rifle with a very nice scope on hand to settle misunderstandings.  The bullets are big, the scope very accurate and they make a large hole from a mile away plus a lot of noise.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)
128 min, Action directed by Gavin O’Connor with Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Benthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, John Lithgow, Jean Smart, Andy Umberger Alison Wright.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 52% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 5127 reviews.

Special Note:  Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.  Wolff has a copy of Action Comics #1 from 1938 in his cache of valuables.  This issue is valued at over 4 million dollars in mint condition.  Anna Kendrick’s character said she did card counting at a casino but Ben Affleck has been barred from several casinos because of his well-known habit of card counting.  Anna Kendrick appears very small in stature standing next to Ben Affleck!!  Originally this was thought to film with Mel Gibson starring with Joel and Ethan Coen directing.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Kubo and the Two Strings 2016

     Sariatu and her young son Kubo are living in feudal Japan.  There home is a mountain cave near a village.  Kubo goes to the village to earn money to keep them alive by magically manipulating origami with music.  He plays a shamisen (Japanese guitar) for the people in the village and tells a story about his missing samurai warrior father Hanzo.  Sariatu has warned her son to return home before sunset but one evening he is late because of the Bon festival that allows them to speak to deceased loved ones.  The sisters of Sariatu, Karasu and Washi rush in to attack Kubo but his mother comes to protect him.  She uses her magic to send him far away to look for his father’s armor.
     The animation is very intricate and beautiful.  It’s inspired by Japanese mediums such as ink wash painting and origami.  There is also a lot of depth to the story and a moral message.  I'm not sure about later scenes but the shamisen in the beginning has three strings?  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
101 min, Animation directed by Travis Knight with the voices of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Meyrich Murphy, George Taki, Rooney Mara.
Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 97% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 1461 reviews.
Special Note:  The Skeleton Demon is based on the Gashadokuro of Japanese folklore and is the largest stop-motion puppet to be built at 16 feet tall and 400 pounds.  This is the longest stop-motion film to date and beating out Coraline of 2009 by one minute.  At least 145,000 photographs were turned into stop-motion.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jason Bourne 2016

     Nicky Parsons is a former CIA operative and she has worked with Jason Bourne.  Bourne is under now cover and she also works with a man who is a whistle blower.  He is out to expose the block ops of the CIA.  She hacks into the CIA computer system and downloads everything on their ops including Treadstone.  Bourne was recruited for and became a part of Treadstone.  Heather Lee is a CIA agent and she discovers the hack.  She brings it to the attention of CIA Director Dewey and he is the man behind the Black Ops Program.  Dewey orders a hunt for Parsons and for Bourne.
      A LOT of the story in this film seems already told before?  Bourne is a bare knuckle fighter to make money to live on but how long can he withstand life as a punching bag?  Nicky Parsons only has a short role, Dewey is in the background being constantly menacing and Lee is playing the now for a future role.  There is an inclusion of a tech company and the founder to add a current element.  In reality, there isn’t much of a story and basically action all the time?  Kill or be killed but the car chase scene is spectacular!!  Just fast-forward to the chase!!  3* (This movie is OK)

123 min, Action directed by Paul Greengrass with Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd, Bill Camp, Binzenz Kiefer, Stephen Kunken.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 56% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.3* out of 4* with 1705 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Canary Islands, Spain; Berlin, Germany; Iceland; Herfordshire and London, England, UK; Rome, Italy; Herdon and McLean, Virginia; Washington, District of Columbia; Silicon Valley, California; Las Vegas, Nevada.  Alicia Vikander was offered the role of Heather at the same time she was offered Sofia in Assassin’s Creed of 2016.  She chose Heather because she is a fan of Bourne.  Marion Cotillard accepted the role of Sofia.  It took 5 weeks to film the Las Vegas car chase and 170 cars were wrecked!!  The Canary Islands was chosen for filming in Greece because the taxes and bureaucracy in Athens were too high and complicated.  Originally the title was to be The Bourne Resurgence but Independence Day: Resurgence was released in 2016.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rio, I Love You 2014

     This movie is a series of short films set in Rio de Janerio.  Each story is of an encounter about love in a different Rio neighborhood.  New York and Paris have also had films with their cities as the focus.  This film was released before the Olympics were hosted by Rio. 
     A lot of ensemble pieces or short films seem to have the same problem?  For this reason, I usually don't like them!!  There isn’t enough focus on one story and then it moves on to the next.  Everything seems rushed, not explored fully and it becomes inconsequential. 
110 min, Comedy/Drama directed by Vicente Amorim, Guillermo Arriaga and 10 other directors with Basil Hoffman, Emily Mortimer, Rodrigo Santoro, Bruna Linzmeyer, Nadine Labaki,

Note:  Imdb 5.2 out of 10, 9% critic 9% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 7 reviews.
Special Note:  Marcelo Serrado is in the segment with Sugarloaf Mountain.  He is afraid of heights and he used steel cables to lift himself up the mountain.  In post-production the cables were removed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Hollars 2016

     John Hollar is an aspiring graphic novelist and he lives in New York City with his girlfriend Rebecca.  They are about to become first time parents.  John gets a call that his mother has had a seizure at home.  She’s in the hospital in Ohio and she has a brain tumor that requires surgery.  John goes to the hospital and he stays at the family home with his brother Ron.  He learns the family business is underwater and his dad Don has fired Ron because he can’t pay him or the other employees.  Ron has been living at home since he was fired.  Everyone in the family is worried about Sally and her surgery.        
     There are funny moments in this film but sad ones as well.  Ron hasn’t gotten over his divorce from his wife Stacy.  He sits outside her house in his car and she is now married to Reverend Dan.  Ron also misses his two daughters.  John wonders if his ex-girlfriend Gwen still has feelings for him.  So many complications and now Sally has a brain tumor?  3* (This movie is OK)

88 min, Comedy directed by John Krasinski with Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins, John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Randall Park, Ashley Dyke, Isabela Costine, Didi Costine, Josh Groban, Mary Kay Place.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 44% critic 61% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 395 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Brookhaven, Jackson and Canton, Mississippi.  Krasinski and Groban previously worked together on The Office of 2005.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Secret Life of Pets 2016

     This story unfolds in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.  Max lives in an apartment building and his owner is Katie.  His world is turned upside down when Katie brings home another dog, Duke.  Katie found Duke at the pound and she hopes the two dogs will get along plus keep each other company while she is at work.  This isn’t happening and the two dogs are fighting with each other over territory in the apartment.  The dogs are out with the dog walker and Max tries to abandon Max in an alley but everything goes wrong.  They both are picked up by animal control and that starts a very scary adventure.  The only thing that can save them is a group of the other dogs from the apartment building.
     This movie is very funny.  There are so many times the dogs are really in trouble and so many unexpected ways they get out of trouble.  They meet a lot of strange animals too.  All the ideas owners have ever had about their pets while they are away come true and more.  4* (I really liked this movie)

87 min, Animation directed by Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney with the voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hanibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Renaud, Steve Coogan, Miachel Beattie, Jaime Camil.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 74% critic 65% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 5262 reviews.
Special Note:  This is the first film to open with over $100 million in the US without being a sequel or based on another released movie.  Max is a Jack Russell terrier, Duke is a Newfoundland, Gidget is a white Pomeranian, Mel is a Pug, Buddy is a dachshund, Chloe a tabby cat, Sweet Pea is a budgerigar, Norman a guinea pig, Pop’s a basset hound, Tiberius a red-tailed hawk, Ozone a hairless Sphinx cat.  The rabbit Snowball is the leader of the Flushed Pets group that hates humans because of mistreatment.  A magician had owned Snowball previously.  There is a mistake with the sign for hot dogs and it says Weiner instead of Wiener. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Disconnect 2012

     Rich Boyd is a hard-working lawyer but he doesn’t take time for his family because he attached to his cell phone.  Cindy and Derek Hull are struggling over the loss of their baby and their current infertility problems.  They don't communicate with each other.  Mike Dixon’s wife died and he’s doing his best to take care of his son Frye Dixon.  Frye is at that teenage boy getting into trouble age.  Nina Dunham is a reporter and she approaches her boss with the idea of a story about a teen working an adult-only web site.  She forms a friendship with the teen because she doesn't want him to think she is just using him to get a story.
     All of the stories connect when a chain of events brings them together.  Rich’s son Ben Boyd is taken in by cyber bullying and one of the perpetrators is Frye Dixon.  Nina Dunham is an employee of the news company that Rich Boyd represents.  Cindy and Derek Hull hire Mike Dixon to help them when their identity is stolen from online information.  Cindy has been on an Internet bereavement web site.  All of the stories are good and complicated.  I think this film is better than a lot of other ensemble pieces because time is spent on each character and their problems.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

115 min, Drama directed by Henry Alex Rubin with Jason Bateman, Jonah Bobo, Haley Ramm, Hope Davis Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paul Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgard, Max Thieriot, Colin Ford.

Note:  Imdb 7.6 out of 10, 67% audience 75% critic on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 289 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Elmsford, Yonkers, Long Island and New York City, New York.  Jason Bateman said this is his favorite movie he has worked on.  Except for Nina Dunham’s iPhone5, all the other phones are iPod Touch devices.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

How Do You Know 2010

     Lisa has been a star softball player but she’s been cut from the new roster for the national team.  George has been working at his father’s company but he has been indicted on charges of securities fraud.  Matty has a multi-million-dollar contract as an ace pitcher with a baseball team and he is a player in life as well.  Lisa and George have both had their worlds turned upside down.  Matty can be pretty clueless.  Lisa doesn’t know whether to stay with Matty or go with George since his girlfriend just broke up with him.
     Where do you go with a film with the three main characters are clueless?  Lisa may be a great softball player and it may be just her age of 30 that’s against her?  George needs to look to his father about these charges he’s facing?  Matty has a stack of women’s clothing in a closet for those fortunate enough to stay over?  George’s father Charles doesn’t have much to work with in his role?  3* (This movie is OK)

121 min, Comedy directed by James L. Brooks with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn, Mark Linn-Baker, Lenny Venito, Molly Price, Ron McLarty, Shelley Conn, Domenick Lombardozzi.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 32% critic 25% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 280 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Washington DC, Los Angeles, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This film also had the title List After List.  Bill Murray was in talks to play Charles but he declined.  Rudd and Witherspoon starred together in Overnight Delivery of 1998.  They also were voice actors in the movie Monsters versus Aliens by Dreamworks.  Witherspoon also worked with Owen Wilson in Inherent Vice.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The BFG 2016

     Sophie is ten years old and she lives in an orphanage because her parents died when she was a baby.  Sophie likes to be awake at night to look out the window and to read in bed.  She sees something very unusual out in the street.  It’s a 24-foot tall man!!  Because she has seen him he has to take her back to where he lives.  If he doesn’t, she will tell everyone what she has seen.  She names the man the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG for short.  They get along very well but in this same area there are other giants that like to eat people!!
     This is an interesting story with interesting characters.  My only complaint with the film is that I think it’s too long?  Some of the repetitive scenes could have been deleted?  3* (This movie is OK)

117 min, Adventure directed by Steven Spielberg with the voices of Mark Rylance, Jemaine Clement, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Michael Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Jonathan Holmes, Chris Gibbs, Paul Moniz de Sa, Adam Godley.  The real people are Bill Hader, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Marilyn Norry.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 75% critic 58% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Amazon Video 4.4* out of 5* with 894 reviews.
Special Note:  The source material for this film is from a Roald Dahl book and this film been in development for almost 25 years.  Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison worked together on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial of 1982.  This is the first time Spielberg has directed a full-length picture for Walt Disney Pictures. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

All My Sons 1948

     This film is based on a play of the same name by Arthur Miller.  Joe Keller is a successful businessman.  He’s a self-made man now in middle age.  He has been owner managing and manager of manufacting business with his partner Herb.  His son Larry is missing in action in WWII.  His other son Chris believes Larry is dead but Joe’s wife and Larry’s mother Kate believes he is alive.  Chris tells Joe that he is in love with Ann but she was supposed to marry Larry.  Another aspect is that Ann’s father is Herb and he is now in prison because the manufacturing company shipped defective airplane parts.  The failure of these parts caused plane crashes and deaths.  George, Ann’s brother comes to visit the Keller’s and he tries to convince Ann not to marry Chris.  George has visited his father Herb in prison and he believes Joe is guilty and he framed Herb.
     This is a complicated film.  Kate Keller believes her son Larry is still alive and she doesn’t want anyone to say that he’s dead.  Joe doesn’t know how Kate will stand it if her son Chris and Ann marry because that says Larry is dead.  Is Joe lying about being sick on the day the defective parts were shipped and leaving the shipping responsibility to Herb?  Is George making this all up about Joe framing his father Herb?  Is George just sour and sore because his father is in prison?  A lot of questions!!  This was a powerhouse movie with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster together!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

94 min, Drama directed by Irving Reis with Edward G. Robinson, Burt Lancaster, Mady Christians, Louisa Horton, Howard Duff, Frank Conroy.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 28 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4*.
Special Note:  Filmed at Culver City, Universal City, Santa Rosa, California.  The Broadway production opened January 29, 1947, ran for 328 shows and won the 1947 Tony Award for the Best Play.  There was a one-hour radio adaption of this movie on May 1, 1950 on Lux Radio Theater.  The Screen Guild Theater also broadcast a half-hour radio adaptation on November 11, 1948 with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster.  The band Twenty One Pilots got its name from the lives lost because of the faulty parts.  They began performing in Columbus, Ohio in 2009 with three members.  Currently the founder Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun are still performing.  Nick Thomas and Chris Salih left in 2011.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

War Dogs 2016

     This film is based on a book written by David Packouz and on a true story.  David Packouz had been a massage therapist and then he bought high thread count sheets in bulk to sell to retirement homes.  He wasn’t doing very well with this business until he met Efraim Diveroli.  They knew each other in school and he learns from Efraim that they can make big money bidding on U.S. Military contracts.  They start to do very well for themselves until they get in over their heads.  They bid on a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military.  They end up with very shady people and investigated by the U.S. Government.
     This is the classic tale of rags to riches and then a downfall.  In this case the riches are very rich and the downfall is very hard.  It seems as if David and Efraim had a play list of step by step what not to do.  They take everything very glibly but the odds of getting killed grow as they take more and more chances.  There is lots of swearing and language.  3* (This movie is OK) 

114 min, Comedy directed by Todd Phillips with Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Steve Lantz, Gregg Weiner, David Packouz, Eddie Jemison, Julian Sergi, Daniel Berson, Edson Jean Daimion Johnson, Bethuel Fletcher, Ana De Armas.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 60% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 1261 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Bucharest, Romania; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; El Centro and Burbank, California; Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia.  The singer performing at the Hilldale Retirement home is the real David Packouz.  The real Efraim Diveroli did not want to meet with Jonah Hill.  The original title was Arms and the Dudes after the title of Packouz's book.  Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf were in talks at one time to star in this film.  Jonah Hill gained 44 pounds for his role.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ben-Hur 2016

     Messala is the adopted brother of Judah Ben-Hur and he falsely accuses Judah of treason against Rome.  Judah is a Jewish prince and Messala is a Roman army officer.  A young zealot boy needed medical attention and he has been staying with Judah and the family.  He shoots an arrow from the balcony and kills a Roman soldier.  Judah accepts the blame and he is sentenced to serve on the ships of Rome in the galley as a rower.  His mother and his sister are sentenced to crucifixion.  Judah spends five years plying the oars for Rome.  There is an intense sea battle with Phoenician ships and his ship sinks.  He is able to float on a ship mast and make it to shore.  Sheik Ilderim finds him and he is trained as a chariot racer.
     Times are very difficult during this period between the Jews and the Romans.  There are rebellions by the Jews and brutal push back by the Romans. The chariot races are very tense and exciting!!  All the action goes by very quickly.  The cost for production was $100 million plus marketing and distributions costs.  The gross was $94.1 million so this is considered to be a bomb?  I found it to be right on the mark time wise, the story is interesting, the characters good and spectacular action with the races.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

123 min, Action directed by Timur Bekmanbetov with Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi, Aylet Zurer, Pilou Asbaek, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Morgan Freeman, Marwan Kenzari, Moises Arias.

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 25% critic 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 3.9* out of 5* with 876 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Basilicata, Lazio, Apulia, Italy and Mecca Hills, California.  The lead role of Judah was offered to Tom Hiddleston but he chose the role of James Conrad in Kong: Skull Island of 2017.  The original version of Ben-Hur from 1959 is 89 minutes longer.  Bekmanbetov insisted that the chariot arena be real and CGI only used where necessary.  Freeman has very unusual hair and elaborate costumes for his role as the Sheik!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Deepwater Horizon 2016

    In April of 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig was the largest drilling platform and it was drilling to the deepest depth.  The BP oil company is in charge of this project and there have been many technical difficulties.  Jimmy Harrell is the operational supervisor and Mike Williams is his Chief Electrical Engineer.  They are both concerned that there will be potential dangers.  BP executives are visiting the rig and they are concerned by the long delays, the curtailed site inspections and the slanted system testing used to make up for lost time.  Williams has been protesting because of the lack of proper safety procedures.  On April 20, structural and system flaws begin a catastrophic series of failures.  They have the potential to cause a massive oil blowout and explosion.  This can threaten every man on the rig and cause a terrible environmental disaster in the Gulf area.
     There are two parts of this film.  The first part is meeting the crew and the second part is the disaster itself.  There are a lot of technical details and conversations about the state of the rig equipment during the meeting the crew portion.  There are a lot of aspects to the disaster scenes, fires, structures collapsing and the men tossed about by the falling equipment.  There is a LOT of tension during the fires and explosions.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

107 min, Action directed by Peter Berg with Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest, Gina Rodriguez, Brad Leland, John Malkovich, David Maldonado, J.D. Evermore, Ethan Suplee.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 84% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 2185 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Chalmette, Louisiana.  The oil rig used for the scenes was built specifically for this film.  It’s said to be the largest set piece ever constructed.  Many oil field workers in the Gulf were against the making of this film.  They thought it would dishonor the men who died.  This project first began with J.C. Chandor as the director.  Graham McGinnis plays the Coast Guard Lieutenant and he is an active duty Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer stationed in New Orleans.  This is the first time Kate Hudson has worked with Kurt Russell but they share only one scene.  This is Wahlberg’s seventh film based on a true story.  Patriots Day, Lone Survivor, The Fighter, Pain & Gain, Invincible, Perfect Storm.  I personally know someone who spent time in the Gulf during the cleanup of this disaster.  Oil spill responder ships were mandated after the Exxon Valdiz spill in Alaska and they were on site for a long time cleaning up.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Girl Was Young 1937

     This film was originally titled Young and Innocent and is based on the novel A Shilling for Candles by Charles Bennett.  Robert Tisdall is walking on the cliffs above the beach and he sees a woman wash up on the sand.  He runs down to assist her and then he runs for help.  Two women see him running away and they think he has murdered the woman.  She has been strangled with a raincoat belt.  Robert has had his raincoat stolen and the belt is from his coat.  The police arrive and they don’t believe Robert’s story but they do believe the women.  He’s taken to the station and given an attorney.  He thinks the only way to clear his name is to escape and track down his stolen raincoat.  He meets Erica Burgoyne, she is the police constable’s daughter and she believes his story.
     I thought there must have been another release of this movie but I must have seen this twice?  I liked Erica’s car with the crank handle start!!  There is a cameo of Alfred Hitchcock but I didn’t see him while I was watching.  I thought the story and the characters were good.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

83 min, Crime directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby, Mary Clare, John Longden, George Curzon, Basil Radford, Pamela Carme, George Merritt, J.H. Roberts.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 100% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 39 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in London, Pinewood Studios and Lime Grove Studios, England, UK.  The original copyright holder did not renew the copyright and anyone could make a VHS/DVD copy and put it up for sale.  Even though this film is based on a novel, the scriptwriters used only about one third of the novel.  The identity of the murderer was also changed.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mickey Blue Eyes 1999

     Michael Felgate is an art-house auctioneer, he’s in love with Gina Vitale and he asks her to marry him.  She runs away after he pops the question and he finds out where she is so he can ask her why.  It’s because her father is a major New York mobster and he was in prison until she was eight years old.  Other friends and family members are also mobsters.  Gina is afraid they will interfere with their marriage and she doesn’t want that to happen.  Michael and Gina decide they will have rules and set boundaries with the family and the mob members.
     It sounds good in theory to set boundaries but Michael is in a prime business for the mobsters to do money laundering.  At first it starts off on a small scale but begins to escalate.  There is an incident at Michael’s apartment and the FBI gets involved too.  There are many funny moments!!  I was surprised to see so many actors from The Sopranos TV series. Tony Sirico, John Ventrimiglia, Aida Turturro, Vincent Pastore, Joseph R. Gannascoli and Frank Pellegrino.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

102 min, Comedy directed by Kelly Makin with Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Caan, Burt Young, James Fox, Joe Viterelli, Gerry Becker, Maddie Corman, Tony Darrow, Paul Lazar, Vincent Pastore.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 45% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 120 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Greenwich Village, Manhattan and New York City, New York.  During filming, James Caan nicknamed Hugh Grant Whippy after the Whippet dog.  This is an English breed that shivers a lot?  I was surprised to see the low stars on Roger Ebert.  It was thought Grant was wrong for his role?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Marriage Retreat 2011

     A group of three couples learn about a marriage retreat in the mountains sponsored by their church.  They all believe their marriages could use help.  Dr. Sullivan and his wife Katrina challenge them to confront their own problems to heal their marriages.  All three of the couples don’t know if this retreat is going to help them at all or are they headed for divorces?  
     Bobby and Melody are arguing over Bobby’s constant gambling.  Melody is afraid one day they will be flat broke.  James and Donna argue over the acting career of James.  Donna believes he only thinks about himself.  Mark and Claire argue over Claire wanting a child.  Mark had an abusive father and he’s afraid he doesn’t know how to be a father.  At times everyone is arguing at once?  I didn’t know how this was going to turn out?  3* (This movie is OK)

90 min, Comedy directed by David Christiaan with Jeff Fahey, David A.R. White, Anna Zielinski, Victoria Jackson, Andrea Logan White, Tommy Blaze, Matthew Florida, Caroline Choi, Reginald VelJohnson, Leticia Robles.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 5* with 1 review.
Special Note:  Filmed in Burbank and Valyermo, California.  I don’t know why Victoria Jackson as Katrina Sullivan could not have better-looking hair?  All the other women do?  It’s blond with a lot of dark roots?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pete's Dragon 2016

     Pete is a young boy traveling with his parents in a car going through the forest.  There is an accident and the car turns over killing his parents.  Pete climbs out of the wreckage and he’s very scared but he finds a pal right away.  A dragon named Elliot lives in the forest and he takes care of Pete.  They are living happily together for six years until men come into the forest to log the trees.  Pete meets Grace and she’s a forest ranger.  She takes him to the hospital and then to her home with her husband and her daughter Natalie.  They don’t know about Elliot but they find out when one of the loggers shoots Elliot with a tranquilizer dart.
     Elliot definitely does not like it when he awakens in a large garage building.  Pete and Natalie are going to drive the truck that brought Elliot to the building but Natalie’s grandfather Meacham takes over.  It’s not easy but they get Elliot back to the forest and away from the men.  The logger who shot Elliot just wants to use him as money making attraction.  In a short time, you forget that Elliot is CGI because of the way he feels about Pete.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

102 min, Adventure, directed by David Lowery with Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban Isiah Whitlock Jr., Marcus Henderson, Aaron Jackson, Phil Grieve.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 87% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 420 reviews
Special Note:  Filmed in Otago, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Waikato and Rotorua, New Zealand.  David Lowery is married to Augustine Frizzell and she plays Mrs. Swanberg.  This is the second time they have worked together.  The year of this film is supposed to be 1983 but some of the cars are 1990 or later models.  There is an animated version of Pete's Dragon from 1977.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Midsomer Murders Season 14

     DCI John Barnaby works on solving several murders at a girls’ boarding school.  A social services investigator is murdered.  A woman drowns in a bathtub.  A new age cult is investigated.  A farmer is found murdered just before the spring equinox.  A government inspector is missing.  There is vandalism and violence at a cloistered nunnery.  There is a murder among ornithologists. 
     This is the first DVD of this series that I’ve seen.  Each episode takes place in different villages of the fictional country of Midsomer.  There is a LOT of good British mystery and detective work.  Some changes to the cast have been made over the years.  3 ½* (I liked this season)

Each TV episode is about 100 minutes with 744 min on the DVD, created by Caroline Graham with John Nettles, Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, Peter Smith, Renny Rye, Richard Holthouse, Nicholas Laughland, Alex Pillai, Simon Langton.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 53 reviews.  Titles are:  Death in the Slow Lane, Dark Secrets, Echoes of the Dead, The Oblong Murders, The Sleeper Under the Hill, The Night of the Stag, A Sacred Trust, A Rare Bird.
Special Note:  This is a British drama that has aired from 1997 until 2015, Seasons 1 through 18.  The series is based on the books by Caroline Graham.  Filmed in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey, England, UK.  Many of the actors have appeared in more than one episode and even after they were previously murdered?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Homeland Season 6 2017

     Carrie Mathison is living with her daughter Franny in New York.  She has left the CIA and she is working as an advocate for Muslim Americans.  She is also secretly briefing the President-elect Elizabeth Keane on strategy. Her friend and co-worker Peter Quinn was mentally and physically damaged by a saran gas attack on him in Germany.  He was in a VA Hospital but he now living in a basement apartment at Carrie’s residence.  Later, he is taken to a safe house and Astrid travels from Germany to take care of him.  Dar is working secretly behind the scenes because he believes Keane will be against the CIA when she assumes her presidency.
     This is a very taunt series with many story lines and lots of behind the scene sub-plots and it may be the best season ever.  Carrie is trying to live a normal life for her daughter but she keeps getting pulled into government activities.  Dar is like an evil twin working against everything and everyone.  Saul goes to Abu Dhabi concerning the possibility of an alternate hidden nuclear program.  Quinn is still very involved in spite of his mental and physical limitations but sometimes he mixes up how he should react to circumstances.  Elizabeth Keane could represent Hillary Clinton if she had been elected as President?  Of course, the final scene in the final episode leaves you with questions??  4 ½* (I really liked this series)

55 min each episode,TV Series,12 episodes, Action, created by Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon with Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, Maury Sterling, Sarita Choudhury, Nina Hoss, Elizabeth Marvel, Shaun Toub, Hill Harper, Claire and McKenna Keane, Patrick Sabongui.

Note:  Imdb 8.4* out of 10, 79% critic 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.8* out of 5 with 741 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Charlotte, Mooresville Concord, North Carolina, Queens, New York City, New York; Tel Aviv, Israel.  Carrie's name was originally Claire until Claire Danes accepted the role.  Some of the scenes in the opening credits are of Danes as a young girl.  This series is based on the Israeli drama series Prisoners of War from 2009.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Man Who Knew Infinity 2015

     This story takes place in the 1910’s.  Srinivasa Ramanujan lives in Madras, India.  He lives and breathes mathematics and he is confident that he knows what he’s doing.  It’s an instinct for him.  He is invited by G.H. Hardy to attend Trinity College at Cambridge, England, UK.  Janaki is his young wife and he must leave her behind with his mother in Madras.  G.H. Hardy recognizes the genius in Ramaujan but he’s hard on him at the same time.  He forces Ramanujan to show the proofs for his calculations. 
     It’s a struggle for Ramanujan at Trinity and no one knows just how difficult it is for him because he doesn’t acknowledge his problems to anyone.  He can’t eat in the dining hall because he is a strict vegetarian.  The students and other professor believe he doesn’t belong there because he’s from India.  When WWI breaks out, the soldiers believe he should be fighting too but he’s not a British citizen.  He doesn’t have the comfort of letters from home because his mother hides all letters to and from Trinity.  4* (I really liked this movie)

108 min, Bio directed by Matt Brown with Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair, Raghuvir Joshi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Stephen Fry, Arundathi Nag, Devika Bhise, Padraic Delaney, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 61% critic 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 559 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed at Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cabridge, Cambridgeshire and The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London, England, UK.  There is a mistake after WWI begins, Zeppelins did not bomb Cambridge.  Also, the memorial to those from Trinity College who died in WWII is visible behind Ramanujan.  Stephen Fry and Jeremy Northam previously acted together in Gosford Park of 2001.  I was surprised about the very low review on the Roger Ebert page?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Infiltrator 1995

     This film is based on the book In Hitler’s Shadow published in 1989.  Yaron Savray is a Jewish freelance reporter.  He travels to Germany to gather information for an article on neo-Nazi’s.  He witnesses a gang of skinheads attack people at a Turkish refugee camp.  The police arrive and he is arrested with the skinheads.  This gives them the impression that he is a sympathizer for the Nazi cause.  He begins to slowly infiltrate the group.  He becomes appalled and disgusted by what he is witnessing.  He’s determined not to give up but to learn as much as he can.  The Nazism is deeper and more powerful than he anticipated. 
     There is a LOT of violence in this film from the beginning to the end.  Oliver Platt could seem to not be suited for this role but he does a good job. The neo-Nazi’s are not known for their tolerance or their kindness!!  Hate and evil pass onto those who come in contact with them or they shun these practices and try to prevent them.  It is possible to look at history and resolve to move forward, learn from the past and not return to fanatic actions.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

92 min, Drama directed by John Mackenzie with Oliver Platt, Arliss Howard, Tony Haygarth, Michael Byrne, Julian Glover, George Jackos, Alex Kingston, Jonny Phillips, Peter Riegert, Alan King, Colin Stinton.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 59% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 14 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Hamburg, Germany.  There is another film with the same title from 2016 with Bryan Cranston.