Generations are haunted in the film Relic. Is it a specter? Is it the house? Is it reality? Getting to the bottom of strange goings on is a good horror ride. Sometimes reality is more frightening than the supernatural.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020
When I first experienced the Empty Nest in the late 90s I had more time to watch movies. My older daughter was a bit of a cinephile, and I was fascinated when she and her friends would see a film on it's opening weekend. I liked movies, but did not consume them as voraciously as she. As my idle hours increased this changed. I got used to going to the cinema by myself and trips to the video store were frequent. In 2002 my daughter started talking about something called Netflix. I was skeptical of getting DVDs in the mail, but she signed me up as a birthday gift. And what a gift it was! As I merrily scrolled through the library, adding films to my queue, I realized that many titles I tried to find at the video store or the library were now at my fingertips from the comfort of my home. In no time I eased into a routine of renting 3 movies a week. Quite a value and great entertainment.
My other form of movie consumption was the cinema. Every weekend I would follow my daughter's lead and head to that room in the dark to see the latest releases. From big studio blockbusters to art house gems, I was a consumer. If the reviews on a film were so-so I would put the title in my Netflix queue for a low risk, high value viewing at home. Over time, I learned how to get the latest releases and classic gems delivered to my door.
A few years ago, I was approached to be part of a group to promote the newly branded Netflix service dvd.com. Swag arrived at my door and reward points could be earned by posting on social media and participating in activities.#DVDNation #ad I was even fortunate enough to meet the people in this Directors group on a visit to one of the Netflix distribution hubs. Seeing the process of how they turned around thousands of DVDs a day was fascinating. We joked about who had the most movies in their queue and reveled in the joy of our mutual love of film and physical media.
When we went into lock-down in March, the closing of theaters made sense. Though I understood, it left a void in my film world. The comfort that I took in my Netflix subscription was valuable. Movies delivered to my house? Sweet! Since I had been to the hub and knew that they sanitized the discs, I was not worried about exposure. The USPS handled the deliveries like a champ. At first, I leaned toward light fare and comedies, but I was feeling and unsettled restlessness. Renting the 1927 film Wings taught me a lesson. I found comfort in a film made over 90 years ago. The themes of comradery and loyalty, along with some amazing cinematography was very comforting. Then the movie Auntie Mame (1958) was recommended as a movie to watch with the family. Once again I was comforted by a film of a certain age. The movies kept coming and I kept finding satisfaction in films from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. The best part was never leaving the house to get them. The service from the dvd.com hubs and the USPS has been flawless. I have never appreciated their services more. Since March, I have made sure to write my thanks to both the USPS and Netflix on the return envelopes. I hope they know how sincere those messages are. If you love movies DVD.com is the way to go with the best DVD library around and unbeatable service. Thanks so much to Netflix!
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Based on an interesting true story, in Birdman of Alcatraz a convicted murderer becomes an expert on birds while in prison. This film has very cool cinematography and great performances. This is a classic worth seeing.
Monday, September 07, 2020
In Dial M for Murder a man decides that the revenge for his wife's indiscretion is murder. This film is highly stylized and well written. The intrigue makes this a satisfying mystery. I especially loved the costumes. This is one of Hitchcock's best thrillers.
Alice at the Palace is a delightful adaptation of Alice in Wonderland from the New York
Shakespeare Theater circa 1982. It is dynamic and creative with wonderful
songs.There are also familiar faces that made this fun to watch.
The concert movie Divine Madness brings us Bette Midler at her finest. The staging of this is divine, the performance is divine, the artist is divine. The film is well named. I especially liked the the last half hour. What a performance.
Sunday, September 06, 2020
Oh the talent in the 2016 revival of Falsettos. Thanks to a subscription to Broadway HD that I was gifted, I was able to enjoy this gem at home. The unique staging, the wonderful music, a heartfelt story of love and life and performances that knock it out of the park made this a true joy. What a musical!
Every once in a while you need a little Fosse. All That Jazz delivers in the story of his life through the character Joe Gideon. Based on Bob Fosse's life and persona, we follow his struggles and his triumphs. In his personal and professional endeavors there is plenty of drama, humor and dance. Awesome performances make this classic easy to enjoy.
Saturday, September 05, 2020
Friday, September 04, 2020
Thursday, September 03, 2020
War stories are rough. The Outpost is a story of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan under less than optimal conditions. Poor equipment, missed communications and longing for home, these soldiers brave a lot. Impressive and intense story.
Monday, August 24, 2020
The philosophy in Arsenic and Old Lace is, "What we've been doing is a mercy." This film was probably the first dark comedy I saw. Well worth a re-watch. So funny. So weird. So clever. A true classic.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The story told in the film American Son is disturbing. This is an important film regarding race and justice. The situation is compounded by a broken relationship. This must have been so powerful live on Broadway. I am grateful that this film is available on Netflix, I hope a lot of people see it.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Sunday, August 16, 2020
I saw Tap when it came out in theaters. I love to watch tap dancing, especially when it's Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr. and Savion Glover. Three of the best. Suzzanne Douglas has chops too, and Joe Morton brings it as the heavy. Really like this film.
I usually don't like battle scenes with immortals, but the fight choreography in The Old Guard is outstanding. Theron and Layne are great as the heroes protecting the world as they know it. This movie is worth a watch.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Fear City: New York vs The Mafia is a docu-series chronicling the history of mafia activity in NYC in the 70s and 80s. The structure of the organization and how the feds went after them is intriguing. This is a little drawn out but interesting.
Friday, August 14, 2020
When 2 high profile comedic actors are cast as a couple in Downhill, a light comedy is expected. Not here. These comedic
actors handle serious roles well in a story of a relationship on
the rocks. This is a heavy drama that's uncomfortable to watch. One of
the final scenes is a good example of use your words. This is a powerful drama.
"If you don't like the way that I look at you, then show me something different."
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Music with a message delivers in Trolls World Tour. The messages? Tolerance, diversity, kindness, friendship, creativity and unity. It feels like a lot at some points, but the heart of the Trolls are in the right place. This is a cute movie.
Sunday, August 09, 2020
The documentary John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky is the gentle story of the making of the album Imagine. The story of the collaboration between John Lennon and Yoko Ono is interesting and creative. The archival footage is fascinating and comforting. A lovely piece of music history.
The film Planet of the Apes ventures into so many genres. Drama. Sci-fi. Adventure. Politics. Justice. Social Commentary. This futuristic society with apes as the dominant race and humans as the underlings is very well formed. The script is profound and dramatic. It's impressive how quoted it is. A true classic. Well worth watching.
I re-watched The Birds and was impressed with how this film holds up. The story is rather strange, but the quirky factors give a very disturbing situation a touch of charm. The production value is excellent. This film is dramatically shot. There is suspense and drama galore.I liked this film when I first saw it decades ago and I'm even more impressed with it now.
Saturday, August 08, 2020
Thursday, August 06, 2020
In The Underneath this story goes from family drama to heist thriller. A gambling addict returns to his hometown and tries to make up to family and friends. This is an interesting film telling an interesting story with a few twists. Decent rental.
Tuesday, August 04, 2020
scientist creates an android in his image for space exploration in Making Mr. Right. In the
process, social situations are explored and relationships develop. Fun,
sweet, funny, sweet, thoughtful, sweet, clever and did I mention sweet?
John Malkovich gives a brilliant dual performance.This is a very entertaining film.
Sunday, August 02, 2020
The biopic Basquiat follows the rise and fall of the young street artist Jean Michel Basquiat. He was a popular artist in the Andy Warhol circles in the 80s and enjoyed success as well as disappointments. This is an interesting story with a great cast.
Saturday, August 01, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
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
Saturday, July 25, 2020
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
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
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
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
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 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
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
Saturday, July 11, 2020
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.
Friday, July 10, 2020
Sunday, July 05, 2020
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.
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
Friday, July 03, 2020
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.
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
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
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.
Sunday, June 28, 2020
A creative deep dive into film history is the base of The Watermelon Woman. Researching an actress from the 30s, sheds an unexpected light for an industrious film maker. The detailed fictional creation of what-if is very satisfying. I especially liked the surprise revelations. Good film.
The stories of a group of gay and lesbian people in the documentary Word Is Out are powerful and important. Made in 1977, one of the subjects referred to "faggotry in the late '50s" as sissy, lilies, pansies, limp wrist, faggoty. This terminology was jarring to me, and drove home one of the levels of disrespect that is experienced. There are also stories of human rights issues that are just as problematic and need to be addressed. Over the years, some have, but there is still work to be done. This is an important documentary for awareness and activism. wordisoutmovie.com
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Sunday, June 21, 2020
There is a charm to Topper that is extraordinary. The story of a charismatic couple meeting their demise and then roaming the earth as spirits, has the perfect level of whimsy and humor. Their banter as they move from situation to situation shows their devotion to each other and their love of the life they have left. I saw this film as a kid and I think it was the first time I heard the word ectoplasm. This film has a lot of creativity and joy. Fun film.
On an invitation by her sister, in Summer Stock a young woman lets a group of performers use their farm to stage their performances. The line between the survival of the farm and putting on a musical becomes blurred by best of intentions. Two different goals must be met and the conflicts supply the drama and comedy. The music, dance and performances of both are great.
Friday, June 19, 2020
A ways into the film Saint Frances I thought to myself, "Frances is no saint." A relationship develops and evolves. Things don't always go right and consequences are real. For all of the uncomfortable moments, there is satisfaction. Good rental.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The fear of discrimination lies in the motivations of the characters in the film Victim. Blackmail and injustice make for high drama. The performances in this film are great. Lifestyle and morals play a big part in 60s London. My favorite line? "If you're old enough to vote, you're old enough to choose your own way of life." Good film.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
The post-Vietnam war story Da 5 Bloods starts as a reunion and turns into a treasure hunt. There is high drama when the soldiers return to Vietnam to find a treasure. There is camaraderie and betrayal, violence and compassion. This was an adventure I did not expect. The writing, directing, music and performances are outstanding. Worth a look.
In a story of class and infidelity Our Betters looks at whether the upper class is really better. In what way? The characters are awful, yet make excuses. The subject matter is disturbing, but the performances and costumes are great.
Friday, June 12, 2020
I saw The Shawshank Redemption many years ago, I knew I liked it, but had forgotten many of the details. On a re-watch, this film really holds up. The story of friendship, rehabilitation, perseverance and escape is compelling. The performances are great. I can see why people watch this film over and over. It's that good.
Thursday, June 11, 2020
After listening to interviews with both Angelika Houston and Barry Levinson, I realized that I had never seen The Addams Family. The lives of the Addams' is funny and also rather sweet for a family of horror figures. When con-artists try to get at the family fortune, hilarity ensues. This film is very clever and very entertaining.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Love Story was a book I read over and over when I was in middle school. It was made into the film Love Story in 1970. The brash characters' story of falling in love, captures a clash of class and culture. It takes a tragic turn, but love is always the centerpiece. This film still holds up.
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
Discussing the injustices of racial inequality, 13th is an important film. It focuses on the prison system and the blatant racism in those systems. It is necessary to raise awareness of this history and the times we are living in.
Sunday, June 07, 2020
Friday, June 05, 2020
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
In a present-day version of Cyrano, The Half of It has a young girl helping a fellow student woo a girl that she has a crush on. The character of Ellie is so charming and endearing and she really carries the story and the film. This is a wonderful film.
Monday, May 25, 2020
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Friday, May 08, 2020
Thursday, May 07, 2020
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Friday, April 17, 2020
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
Thursday, April 09, 2020
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Friday, April 03, 2020
Thursday, April 02, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
"Fashion is about authentic expression." ~ Damon Dash
"To be fresh is to be recognized." ~ Pusha T
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Sunday, March 08, 2020
Saturday, March 07, 2020
Friday, March 06, 2020
Wednesday, March 04, 2020
Monday, March 02, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Sunday, February 09, 2020
Friday, February 07, 2020
Monday, February 03, 2020
Saturday, February 01, 2020
Friday, January 31, 2020
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Blinded by the Light
The Dead Don't Die
Fighting with My Family
Ford v Ferrari
The Last Black Man in San Fransisco
Once Upon a Time...In America
Pain & Glory
The Peanut Butter Falcon
The Pieces I Am: Toni Morrison
Spiderman: Far From Home
Toy Story 4