Monday, July 27, 2020

Marty

 I saw the film Marty decades ago. I remember that I liked it, and I have a soft spot for Ernest Borgnine. On this watch, I was reminded of what a sad character Marty is. In the 50s a man in his mid-thirties was regarded as a problem. Marty is sincere and caring. This a story worth watching.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Zandalee

The crazy love story of Zandalee is a wild ride. Infidelity and uncertainty drive the plot. There is a very aggressive dance sequence that is impressive.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Ball of Fire

When a sincere group of professors encounter a brassy nightclub singer, they have truly met a Ball of Fire. They encounter the mob and mischief while exploring the world of language through slang. Very funny story of intellect meets the street. What a classic.

The Best Years of Our Lives

In The Best Years of Our Lives military men return to their civilian lives after surviving the horror of war. Their relationships are challenged and they persevere. This drama is heartfelt and honest. I liked this classic a lot more than I expected.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pecker

 A young man finds fame in the film Pecker and it is quite a lesson for all involved. His passion and talent for photography brings a notoriety that all involved must figure out how to deal with in the art world. Themes of creativity, family, friendship, fame, exploitation, community, kindness and loyalty are woven well in this entertaining, risque story. Thank you John Waters.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Spaceballs

 The sci-fi parody Spaceballs is a fun ride. The galaxy is so funny and the characters are so goofy. I watched this movie when I needed a good laugh, and boy did it deliver! So silly. So good.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Inside Daisy Clover

The making of a star is told in Inside Daisy Clover. Daisy has high aspirations and she achieves many of them. The Hollywood star-system is her nemesis, but she deals with it as best she can. "I'll bet my simple healthy instincts against your any day." Natalie Wood is elegant, even as a feisty tomboy, and there is a haircut that comes full circle. There is no lack of drama and the performances are excellent. I liked this film a lot.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Teddy Bear

 You would not expect the story of a young bodybuilder to be told in a film titled Teddy Bear, but it turns out to be very fitting. The bodybuilder is socially awkward, but longs for connection. He is fine in the comfort of the gym, but struggles in day to day encounters. His Mother holds him back from getting out in the world unless it is for a competition. When he ventures outside of his comfort zone, he ultimately finds what he is looking for. This story is very sweet and well told. I liked this film a lot.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Trapeze

 The ambition of a performer leads to some harrowing situations in The Trapeze. The result is a love triangle with lots of drama. The story is simple, emotional and predictable. The aerial work is astounding. This was a fun film.

Harvey

 The classic film Harvey is about a lot of things. Control, societal norms and keeping up appearances make people think that Elwood P. Dowd is crazy, when what really motivates him is kindness. People judging things they don't understand get a good hard look. This film is a good lesson in compassion.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

What's Up Doc?

 Movies like What's Up Doc? remind me of what a good comedic actress Barbra Streisand is. The mayhem caused by a robbery, identical overnight bags and some snappy dialog make this a delight to watch. The sincerity of Streisand's character, and the way she delivers her lines moves the madcap story along at a good clip, and never misses a laugh. I thought this was a very funny film.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Mame

The musical version of Mame showcases Lucile Ball's gorgeous physicality. The way she walks, the way she dances, the way she gestures, all look dynamic and effortless. She is as much fun to watch as she is to listen to. The life of the outspoken Mame is portrayed with heart and humor in this film. Mame's declaration of , "open a new window every day" is a declaration of optimism and hope that we all can use.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Mucho Mucho Amour: The Legend of Walter Mercado

 The story of Walter Mercado in Mucho Mucho Amour: The Legend of Walter Mercado is a love letter to passion. This creative, enthusiastic, upbeat person had a very popular TV show where he would work his magic. He had flair, a distinctive style and was beloved. This is an uplifting documentary.

Ride with the Devil

The brutality of the Civil War is brought to the screen in vivid detail in Ride with the Devil. There are lots of guns, lots of hatred. This film is beautifully shot, with excellent performances, but this is tough one.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Jackie Brown

The film Jackie Brown gives us a strong, no-nonsense woman. This is a story of cons conning the cons in a brilliant web of dialogue, performance, music and violence. Pam Greer shines in this crime film. Well done.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Dangerous When Wet

 In the film Dangerous When Wet I learned of the talents of Ester Williams. Not only was she a phenomenal swimmer, but a talented actress. Her natural charm plays well on the screen in the story of a young woman attempting to swim the English Channel. It is a family venture and we are treated to a story of ambition, hard work, romance, adventure and accomplishment. This is a very entertaining film with a fun animated sequence. I liked this film a lot.

The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover

 For more history, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover takes us to all of the messy situations in government under 8 administrations. The FBI was Hoover's world and he ran it his way. A lot of these situations don't seem much different from present day politics. This is a film full of real life drama. Well done.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

The Great Escape

The classic film The Great Escape is a harrowing prison story. Hearing prison called "the cooler" sets you in World War II, the language of the prisoners is key. The actual escape is the classic, tunneling-out method, but once they are out the real adventure begins. This is based on a true story and takes place on the 4th of July. I'm glad that this was my Independence Day film. Appropriate

Friday, July 03, 2020

Father of the Bride (1950)

 Spencer Tracy shines in Father of the Bride (1950). The dated view of women and relationships is a little hard to take, but if viewed in the setting of the times it feels historic. Elizabeth Taylor shows why she was a big star. The tropes of wedding angst are played for entertainment. I liked this film.

Hamilton

 In 2016 I fell in love with the cast recording of the Broadway musical Hamilton. The compelling story of Alexander Hamilton and the birth of a nation is full of drama, battles, love and scandal. These elements make for perfect theater. The team that put the musical together filmed one of the last performances of the original cast. In 2019 I was treated to a performance of Hamilton on Broadway in NYC, and later that year, saw a road production with the Angelica Company. Such a delight. The film was sold to Disney and the original plan for releasing the film was a theatrical release in the fall of 2020.  When Broadway shut down in March of 2020 and we were trapped in lock-down by a pandemic, they decided to release the film to Disney + on July 3rd. That morning I woke at 6am and watched the film. What a pleasure to watch the original cast work inside a piece they had been performing for over a year. I'm glad that I saw this in the theater, because the sets and movement around the set is hard to capture in a film. They concentrated on the story and the performances. It is such a joy to be able to watch this whenever I want. Thanks to the creators and Disney +.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Blazing Saddles

 One of the first risque movies that I saw in the theater was Blazing Saddles. So edgy, so inappropriate, so funny. Watching it now, much of the humor is cringe-worthy, but somehow, still very finny. Not your typical western. The finale is off the rails. This movie still makes me laugh.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

A New Leaf

 In A New Leaf we have a scoundrel, a wealthy man who as lost everything. His solution? Marry a rich woman. The premise is unseemly, but is carried off by the performance and writing of Elaine May. This is a very dark comedy that is well crafted.