Sunday, May 31, 2020

Funny Girl

When you sing like an angel, but can't dance a lick, it helps to be a Funny Girl as Fanny Brice learns. This charming woman rises to stardom and falls in love. There are bumps in the road, but she handles them with humor and love. I really liked these performances. I really liked this movie.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Boy

Poor parenting lies at the heart of Boy where a young family lacks a father. When he shows up, his effect is not good. He is using his son to find ill-gotten treasure. Though the father is presented in a whimsical light, the darkness of his motives are quite clear. The boy is so desperate for his Father's approval, he'll do anything. Sad story. Wonderful performances. There is a dance number at the end that is worth watching.

The Last Word

What would it be like to choose the person who writes your obituary? In The Last Word we find out when a wealthy woman, who is not very well liked, starts to worry about what her legacy will be. She approaches a writer at her local paper to write her obituary and goes down a road of self-examination that leads to showing her true heart. There was a lot more to this story than I expected. A solid rental.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hannah Gadsby: Douglas

Hannah Gadsby took the world by storm with her first stand up special. In her new special titled Douglas we go for a comedy ride that is no nonsense, smart and brave. She has a wry way of responding to the world that I really enjoy. Loved this special and look forward to more from this thoughtful person.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Lost Girls

A family's anguish in Lost Girls is raw and heartbreaking. A mother searches for her daughter, who she is sure has met and unfortunate demise. The police are little help and the victim shaming gets in the way of progress. All of the characters are flawed, but the Mother persists no matter what. This is based on a true story and the outcome is not a happy one. Somber film with excellent performances. 

The Red Shoes (1948)

The drama of the world of ballet is at the center of The Red Shoes. A young ballerina rises to stardom and falls in love. The complexities of mixing her personal life with her professional ambitions is a classic tale. This is a very pretty film. The performance at the center is dreamy and elegant. I liked this film a lot.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Million Dollar Mermaid

The film Million Dollar Mermaid is the biopic of Annette Kellerman. A passionate swimmer, she found a way to monetize her talent in the entertainment world. This film is beautifully shot, the costumes are great and the performances are top-notch. Interesting to see the evolution of entertainment. Good film.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Third Man

I have had The Third Man recommended to me many times. This masterful mystery is full of drama, door work, log shots and intrigue. The cinematography is intricate, working shadows for every ounce of drama. I'm glad I finally saw this film and look forward to watching it again.

Janie Jones

I first saw Janie Jones at Tribeca Film Festival. On a rewatch I am reminded of the dramatic family circumstances with an underlying sweetness. There is trauma, struggle, rejection, growth, maturity and music. This film holds up. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Mikey and Nicky

In a disturbing way, Mikey and Nicky is a buddy film where the buddies are at odds. They are childhood friends, but staying one step ahead of a hit-man adds stress to an already tense relationship. This crime thriller is well written with excellent performances. Lots of drama. Good rental.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Sullivan's Travels

A Hollywood director has an idea for a research project and Sullivan's Travels begin. The film has some great Hollywood scenes. They depict the nightmare movie theater experience and the ideal movie theater experience. It's a great contrast. When Sullivan gets where he wants, things turn ugly and the drama turns dark. This is an excellent film I really enjoyed.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Photograph

Romance is alive and well in The Photograph, when 2 people meet because of a photograph and a reporter's story. Sexual chemistry and investigating the photograph become an equation for love. Life decisions come down to a realization that, "we need to make our own things without asking permission." There is substance to all of their actions. I liked this film a lot.

Strangers on the Train

Two Strangers on the Train meet and a thriller quickly develops.The two men share relationship details and one takes things a bit too far. Bourbon fuels his actions, I have never heard the euphemism, "boiled" for inebriation. Hitchcock guides the twists and turns in this excellent thriller. Glad that I finally saw this classic.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Top Hat

The theme of mistaken identity is played for comedy in Top Hat when a dancer notices a woman and observes, that "her niceties are very nice." The observations and relationships in the film would not fly today so it is a bit of a time capsule. Rogers & Astaire are magical when they dance together. The grace combined with athleticism is a joy. Now I know where the song Cheek to Cheek is from. Astaire's tap dancing is mind boggling. what a talent! I liked this classic.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Night of the Hunter

Beautifully shot, The Night of the Hunter is a solid thriller. Set in the depression, an evil preacher chases two children for money their Daddy stole and hid, swearing them to secrecy. The preacher is vile, the children are clever, and the cinematography is stunning. The writing has it's own lilt, and words are used in a poetic fashion. Children singing "Hing, Hang, Hung" is a bit jarring, but the pronouncement that "children are man at their strongest. They abide and they endure" is powerful. I really enjoyed this film, it was a solid rental and I'll bet it would be impressive on the big screen.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Becoming

The documentary Becoming follows Michelle Obama on the book tour for her memoir, Becoming. The doc also tells of her life story and time in the White House. At this time, watching the large events for her tour, the phrase "the power of gathering" was rather poignant.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill

Jerry Seinfeld's latest standup Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill is the legendary comedian more comfortable on stage than I've ever seen him. The material follows his traditional style, but his performance is relaxed, and makes a lot of sense when he does a bit about how he feels about his age. His ease and manner onstage come across well, and The Beacon Theater looks great. I liked this special a lot.

Heathers

Almost every talk around high school movies references Heathers. The story of clicks and bullying is not new, but where they take it is rather shocking. The dark tone is an interesting take, and I can see why this film is held in such high regard. As disturbing as the story is, the writing and performances make this more watchable than I would expect. What a rental.

Gypsy (1962)

My new love for Rosalind Russell had me renting the 1962 version of Gypsy.I have seen this story in several community theater versions and the 1993 version played over and over in our house back in the day. This version has the pizazz of old vaudeville, along with performances that flesh out the characters well. Russell plays the brash, lovable personality of Rose with a flair, while Natalie Wood's subtle vulnerability as Louise is masterful. I liked this version a lot.

Friday, May 08, 2020

M*A*S*H

The film M*A*S*H was a cultural phenomenon when I was a teenager. On the news, we were watching scenes from the conflict in Vietnam, and to see this story set in Korea hit pretty close to home. That it was dealt with with humor and irreverence struck a nerve with some, but for most it was much needed. The writing, performances and direction are outstanding. The Last Supper tableau for Walt is visually effective. Altman is a master. This is an excellent rental, the film really holds up.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Drop Dead Gorgeous (2010)

I was a bit taken aback by the premise of Drop Dead Gorgeous. This mockumentary within the world of high fashion takes a very dark turn early on and I'll say that I found it more disturbing than funny.This film was recommended to me because I like mockumentaries, but this was not for me.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Sweet Charity

The first time I can remember my parents going to the movies was when they went to see Sweet Charity with their friends in the theater. They talked about it for weeks after. I was 12. They bought the soundtrack album and I knew all the songs, and I have seen clips of the dance number over the years, but had never seen the film in its entirety. Today I fixed that. The story, the music, the choreography, such a fun film. I really liked the Laugh-In references, Fickle Finger of Fate and Sock it to me. The sign of the time Rythm of Life Church played well portraying the era, Big Daddy is the jam. His take on the Ten Commandments are so great. Church of the Month Club served Oscar well. The sass and determination in Charity and her friends is admirable, and lyrics like "get up get out and do it" are empowering. Smatter in a few declarations of  "up yours" and we know exactly how they feel. I'm glad I saw this on DVD because there is an alternate ending in the extras, which I preferred.This is a wonderful movie, and I did go back and watch all of the dance numbers before I returned the disc. Great rental.

A Star Is Born (1937)

The original version of A Star Is Born is interesting to watch after seeing the other 3 versions. Again, the story of a young actress' rise to stardom and her successful actor husband self-destructing, is a dramatic story. This version features performances that paint the characters a little more sympathetic. Janet Gaynor's performance takes her character from wide-eyed innocence, pronouncing "I'm gonna be somebody," to down to earth practicality in the wake of stardom. I liked it when Norman says to her, "a star is born," at the premiere of The Enchanted Hour. And when he asks her to marry him the first time she says "No thank-you." An interesting visual is the hand-prints on Hollywood Boulevard bookend the film. This was a fun journey, all 4 versions are worth watching.