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Network (1976)
10/10
The script is superb and ferocious while the acting is very special; don't miss it!
20 February 2020
UBS is the fourth network in seventies America, long before Fox. As such, Howard (Peter Finch) is the nightly news person and his ratings are trailing all of the other networks, despite his long, capable years in the business. Therefore, poor Max Schumacher (William Holden), a friend of Howard's and head of the news department, has to give his colleague the bad news. Howard is getting axed. The two go out drinking and think back on the funniest moments in their years together. But, oh, the next night is full of surprises! Howard still has two weeks to go and he announces on air he plans to kill himself on air over his firing. The network's upper bosses are aghast. But, lo and behold, everyone is interested in watching what comes next and the ratings rise. This gives calculating, career-driven Diana (Faye Dunaway) the chance to plan more new shows for the entertainment side of things. Why, terrorism will be featured on one show called the Mao Tse-Tung Hour! And her staff better come up with more insanely great ideas. The attractive but lethal Diana turns Max' head and they move in together, ruining his marriage. More importantly, Howard is such a star now that they let him continue and rant and rave on many topics. This involves the classic scene where he implores everyone to go to the window, open it, and shout "I'm mad as h*ll and I'm not going to take it anymore!" But, even Howard goes too far and now what will the Network do? This movie is one of the best in all of cinema world. In many respects, the ferocious and superb script by Paddy Chayefsky is responsible for its attractions as many of his biting lines are still relevant today and forever. Holden gives a conflicted, masterful performance in one of his last big roles while Dunaway won an Oscar for her extremely unlikeable but attractive turn as the Dragon Lady of television. Fans of quality films, you must not miss Network !
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8/10
Far fetched but lovely modern teen version of Romeo and Juliet
28 January 2020
Natasha (Yara Shahidi) is frantic. As her parents are Jamaican immigrants who have failed to be granted permanent residency in New York City, the whole family is about to be deported back to the island. Tomorrow is the sorrowful day. But, even though her father tells her to pack and prepare, Natasha won't. She says she is going to spend the day finding advocates and lawyers who can stop the deportation. NYC is the only home she can remember and she is avid to pursue a career in astronomy in the States. Off she goes. Meanwhile, Daniel (Charles Melton) is a Korean immigrant whose parents insist that he get into medical school. In truth, Daniel is bright and has studied hard; he has an interview with the prestigious Dartmouth College. Yet, this is not where his heart is, as he writes beautiful poems and loves reciting them at coffee shops. The two of them literally crash into each other, as Natasha is playing music with headphones and fails to see a bicycle about to run her down. Once they meet, Daniel is smitten and begins a long days journey into night telling her how they should become a couple. This is crazy, no? Eventually, Natasha returns this love at a glance affection but with her deportation most likely arriving, how in the world will this work? This modern take on Romeo and Juliet, with Jamaican and Korean partners, is lovely, thoughtful and sweet. The two young stars are quite wonderful and fetching while the scenes in and around Manhattan are fun and pleasant. Tears may fall but they will not quench the bright light of this fine film.
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Little Women (2019)
10/10
The best adaptation ever for a timeless classic; bravo Ms. Gerwig!
26 January 2020
Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) has been tutoring in New York City and writing stories for publication. Although she lives in the attic and sends money home to her family, she has struck up a friendship with a professor, Frederick, who lives in the same rooming house. A family crisis back home sends her returning to the Boston area and her childhood home. While on the train, she reflects on her childhood in a family of four sisters. First, there was oldest Meg (Emma Watson) who was clever and kind while resenting the lack of riches in the family. Then, Jo came next, a tomboy with a talent for writing and a strong personality. Following her was Beth (Eliza Scanlen), a quiet and thoughtful girl who loved music and playing the piano. Finally, but not least in her mind, was Amy (Florence Pugh) who favored art and drawing and whose likewise strong personality and desire for elegance came into conflict many times with Jo. On happenstance, when Meg and Jo are invited to a dance, Jo stumbles upon their neighbor, Laurie (Timothee Chalumet), who is back from Europe and is somewhat shy; nevertheless, he and Jo get on like the dickens. In addition, Laurie has a tutor named Mr. Brooke, who comes to admire Meg very much and a grandfather (Chris Cooper) who is gruff and scary. Going back and forth in time, Jo lays out their struggles and joyful events. Father is away with the North army in the Civil War but Marmee (Laura Dern) is a strong woman who encourages her daughters to be the best they can be. The gals put on plays for neighborhood children, sometimes quarrel, go ice skating, take care of their poorer neighbors, and dream big dreams. Soon, Meg falls in love, Beth gets scarlet fever, Amy acts out at school, and Jo tries to please Aunt March (Meryl Streep) who has employed her as a companion. All too soon, the girls are grown and have new struggles. How will each of them turn out? Will their father be proud of his "Little Women"? This new version of Louisa May Alcott's timeless classic is the best and bravest adaptation ever. First, the cast is just grand; all of them deserve honors. Then, the director Greta Gerwig has chosen to forego a linear tale and go back and forth in time, resulting in a fresh approach to a well-known story. Moreover, the settings, the costumes, the historical recreations, the melodic score and the cinematography are near perfect. Yes, like this viewer, you may have seen many film versions of the novel and read and re-read the happenings of the March girls. But, do not let this discourage you from going once again to celebrate a truly wonderful American classic. Bravo, Ms. Gerwig, for bestowing it on movie audiences one more time.
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Christmas in Rome (2019 TV Movie)
8/10
A new Roman Holiday, very enjoyable
8 January 2020
Angela (Lacey Chabert) works for a walking tour company in Rome and she loves it. Having done it for several years, she knows all of the good spots and all of the zesty details to tell her tourists. However, her boss doesn't like the fact that she sometimes deviates from what he wants her to relate and show, so poof! Angela is fired. Just at this low moment, she runs into Oliver (Sam Page) a workaholic businessman in town to charm a well-known pottery company owner (Franco Nero) into selling his wonderful business to Oliver's conglomerate. Not amazingly, he doesn't know where he is going and Angela points the way. He also begs her to go with him so there can be no mix-up. Thinking he can wrap up the sale in a day, Oliver has a rude awakening, as Angela tells him. Things are different in Rome and Ollie must gain the trust of the older man before he will consider the offer. Thus, Angela becomes Oliver's personal tour guide in Rome, giving him the scoop that should help him along the way. But, with pretty Angie single and Oliver likewise, will romance spring up near the Trevi fountain? This lovely story has the best of Hallmark's matchless films. This would be the great cast (how amazing to see Nero!), a nice storyline, great costumes and ROME. Perch yourself on the sofa, with the tea and cookies nearby, and relish this sweet, sweet tale.
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10/10
Magnificent ending to a great film series; or is it the end?
8 January 2020
Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training on the secretive resistance safe haven planet with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) while Poe and Finn barely succeed in an operative. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has felt a disturbance in the force and goes looking for a Sith finder to gain access to the hidden Dark Side planet. It is there that Kylo learns that the Emperor Palpatine has raised himself from the dead using the Dark Side and has been running the first order from afar since its inception. They discuss Rey and Kylo promises to turn her at last to the Sith side and present her to the Emperor. As such, Rey also senses the same disturbance and comes to the conclusion that she, too, must get her hands on a Sith finder (there are only two in existence) and find out what's what. As the gang of Rey, Chewy, Poe, and Finn go to strange new worlds, the First Order has a traitor in its midst, giving them important clues. Also, Threepio, along for the ride, has valuable info in his being but, because of his programming to never reveal Sith information, the only solution is to find someone to exrtract the hidden data illegally. There is also, very importantly, new information about Rey's parents and grandparents. When Kylo and Rey finally meet, what side will be victorious? This superlative film has it all; great cast, grand story line, sensational settings, amazing art direction, fantastic special effects and a solid direction. Special mention in the cast should go to the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando and newcomer but polished actor Richard E. Grant as the new general of the First Order. Also amazing are the glorious new creatures and alien beings which are delightful. Yes, there is a definite ending to the tale but is it really the last installment? What about the little guy with the broom at the end of The Last Jedi? We shall have to see if this truly is the last hurrah or not. In the interim, go, go, go, go multiple times to Rise.
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Christmas in Montana (2019 TV Movie)
8/10
With Ferguson and Martin as the main stars, this film will please most everyone
6 January 2020
Sara (Kellie Martin) is a widow with a pre-teen daughter, Chloe. Both of them are still smarting from the loss of their husband and father, even though its been a year or two. As such, Sara is a new workaholic who specializes in helping struggling businesses find ways to increase revenue and cut costs. Unbelievably, her boss sends her to Big Fork Montana, to help a three generation cattle ranch. The man who is now in charge, Travis (Colin Ferguson) has sound business sense but also gives some of his assets away, like free Xmas trees for the the townfolk and a free holiday party for the same crowd. Initially, Sara thinks this is way too much but once she sees how everyone in the community pulls together and helps each other, she changes her mind a bit. Chloe loves the area and makes friends while Travis' charms are mighty powerful for Sara's heart. Will Travis have to sell some of his precious acres or will Kellie come up with other ideas, even as Travis obviously is drawn to her, also? First, Colin Ferguson is one of my favorite stars and I would watch anything and everything he appeared in. His good looks and humorous manner just send me in orbit. Likewise, Martin is a fine performer with a sweet and understated delivery. Montana looks so beautiful folks will want to book a trip soon after a view while the plot and script have nice touches of fun. How many Hallmark films can you watch? If you are like me, there is no limit.
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Are You Here (2013)
8/10
Very brave content, not quite successful but always interesting
22 December 2019
Steve (Owen Wilson) is a successful weather reporter in Annapolis, where he is less successful in creating an established relationship. Also, curiously, he is always broke but, we soon learn the reason. A childhood pal, Ben (Zach Galifianakis) has bipolar disorder and can't work, depending on Steve for daily expenses. To be truthful, the duo also has a pile of money go up in "smoke", literally, as they have a need for weed. One day, things take different path. Zach's father has passed away and the two go back to the small North Carolina town where the dad was a big wheel, with a town's store and a large farm. Unhappily, they soon run into Ben's sister (Amy Poehler) who is a bee-itch to the endth degree. Also present at the funeral is Ben's father's second wife, who is much younger, beautiful, and quirky. At the reading of the will days later, surprises are put forth. Sis gets a couple hundred thou, the widow gets a small inheritance, as was her wishes, and Ben gets the huge rest of the money and property. Sis is miffed. Ben, confused, stays in a daze on the farm, while Steve must return to Annapolis and visit on the weekends. Soon, Ben is filled with wild and crazy ideas for the money, which prompts Sis to take him to court for a psychological evaluation. Who will ultimately inherit and is there future happiness for Ben and Steve? This very interesting film, by the creator of Mad Men, is brave in its depiction of mental illness. Galifianakis is great as the troubled Ben; he is a most fine actor. Wilson does himself proud, too, in one of his most meaningful roles while Poehler will shock viewers in her role as the bad-tempered, selfish sister in an amazing about-face of her typical humor. The scenery is lovely and direction careful and sweet. Are you here is a great watch for those who like films far from the usual Hollywood fare.
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The Christmas Choir (2008 TV Movie)
8/10
The embodiment of what Christmas means, very inspirational
15 December 2019
Peter (Jason Gedrick) is a workaholic accountant who doesn't see his warped focus, truly, until his fiancee breaks their engagement. Citing his seeming want for "different things", the split, nevertheless, sends Pete to a drinking establishment. Its there that he listens to a fine pianist/singer, who invites the accountant to his home in an act of friendship. But, whoa, his "home" is a shelter run by determined Sister Agatha (Rhea Perlman) and the family is a group of down-and-out souls who have lost hope. As expected, Peter's eyes are opened and his evolution begins. Wanting to do something to better the men and earn them some money & a better self image, Pete starts a men's choir for the approaching holidays. Although only a few show up for the first practice, the number grows and a new lady of Peter's acquaintance suggests they sing in the subway waiting area. This runs afoul with city ordinances but, after an official tryout, the choir performs near the rails. But, with continuing estrangement from his own father and some ups and downs, can Peter and the chorus do good this year? This movie is the embodiment of what Christmas means, showing kindness to others and giving the gift of love not expecting anything in return. Gedrick is very nice as the changed man as is Perlman as the feisty nun. All other cast members, sets, script and direction are way above the average, too. If you need to rediscover the true meaning of the holidays, watching this film is an excellent way to begin.
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Norma Rae (1979)
9/10
Field gives a grand performance as a courageous woman in a small town, fighting the establishment
8 December 2019
Norma Rae (Sally Field) lives in a small town in NC where she is employed in a textile factory, the only major work source in town. The hours are longer than is safe for the employees, the working conditions are rough, and the wages are not what they should be. As a single mother, Norma has had bad luck with men and her children don't know their fathers. Unbelievably, she reconnects with Sonny (Beau Bridges), a former beau who is newly divorced. They marry, after a spell. But, then so-called trouble arrives. A NYC union organizer, Reuben (Ron Leibman) comes to town for the sole purpose of convincing the textile workers that they would better their lives to form a union. This is touchy business, for the owner of the textile mill is as hostile as an anaconda. No one wants to stick their neck out, including Norma's parents who also work the mill. Yet, sensing a bright head in Norma, Reuben meets with her time after time, laying out the plan. At great personal risk, Norma is convinced Reuben is right and joins him in the quest to bring a better life to their small town workers. Not even her minister will help as he won't give them a place to meet! Will Norma lose her job, her kids, her new husband? This classic movie is one of the great films on labor, unions, and greater power for the workforce. Seeing the place and jobs these textile workers do brings shame and horror, for they are not safe yet do the bidding of management and owners. If ever there was a place to bring a change in the conditions of menial but important jobs, this is a great example. As Norma, Field won her first Oscar and she deserved it; Norma is funny, sweet and courageous. Liebman and Bridges are also quite fine, as are all of the cast. Seeing it now reminds the viewer of the late seventies and its fashions and home decor, rather weird to behold but totally correct. These things are not important at all; the heart-grabbing story is paramount and its telling delivers a powerful punch.
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Fast Girl (2008)
7/10
Decent film about a lady determined to become a race car driver, against the odds
6 December 2019
Alex (Mircea Monroe) loved her amateur race car driving dad, who taught her all about cars and repairs. Unhappily, the man died in a blazing crash when she was ten. Her uncle Bill still operates a race track and trains drivers; he has hinted that Alex's father may have been too reckless. Yet, its still Alex's dream to be a race car driver herself. Now a waitress at the local diner, where her boss (Caroline Rhea) is sometimes unhappy she is late to work, Alex has worked on making her own vehicle for the track at home. But, after replacing many parts, it still won't run. One day, this pretty young woman meets a handsome race car driver, Darryl (Justin Guarini). Not only does he ask her out on a date, he finds time to look at her car and recommends the part that may be causing trouble. Lo and behold, when Alex replaces this element, the car runs great. Now, this aspiring driver must win over her uncle, who thinks she is not ready for the track, and also overcome a phobia to "turn eight" , the point where her father died. Also, with Darryl asking for part of her time, will she get everything her heart desires? This decent film about a lady race car driver is enjoyable but not a must-see. Yes, girls may be inspired with Alex's never-give-up pursuit of her dreams, especially in a sport dominated by men. Monroe and Guarini make a lovely couple, too, while Rhea gives her usual lively performance. Car enthusiasts may also enjoy the scenes of driving around the track with speed. Does this sound like a film for you?
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A Christmas Proposal (2008 TV Movie)
6/10
I propose that you only watch this one if you are a dyed-in-the-wool romcom fan
3 December 2019
Rick (David O' Donnell) thinks he has the world on a string. First, he works for a rich developer (Tom Arnold) and is getting wealthy. Next, he has had the good fortune to become quasi-engaged to the boss' daughter, Reagan (Sarah Thompson), who also works for daddy dearest. But, ho ho ho, the power couple is sent to Rick's small hometown to tell the folks of the Big Boss' new plan. This is bulldoze the town, with compensation to home owners, and make it into a ski resort/spa. Everyone can just build a new house somewhere near the new resort. Naturally, some folks are very resistant to this concept, including Rick's ex-girlfriend, Lisa (Nicole Eggert). As the small town's main lawyer, Lisa has the power to know how to fight. At a town meeting, it appears fight she will. As Rick and Reagan speed away to tell Papa, Rick is so upset he wrecks the auto. Now, the couple is "stuck" in Dullsville, with entertainment options like bowling and going on a hayride. But, as Rick spends more time in his childhood home and with his lovely ex-gal, long forgotten sparks may be rekindled! This film is fair but has some tedious moments. The cast is just fine, with the above players being good and supported by the very funny David DeLuise as the autoshop owner. Scenery and costumes are above average, too. The problem lies in the script and direction, with a slow pace that ruins some of the film's progress and the outcome being predictable from the first ten minutes. Nevertheless, romcom fans will probably like it while they wrap presents for the season and sip cocoa.
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Skyfall (2012)
10/10
Superlative is Skyfall, do not miss it film fans
1 December 2019
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is in Istanbul, tracking an evil hitman Patrice. This bad dude has killed a British agent and now James has to begin a wild chase to prevent him from getting away. Backing him up is lovely Eve (Naomie Harris). The two agents chase him through streets by car, then James jumps on a motorcycle to follow through markets and over rooftops. Finally, Mr. Bond jumps on a train Patrice has boarded and the two fight it out on the train's rooftop. Ordered by M (Judi Dench) to take a shot, poor Eve ends up wounding James, who falls into the water. Patrice gets away and Bond is presumed dead and gone. But, not so. After a brief hiatus, Bond appears in London again, when the Secret Service building is set on fire. M is very glad to see him, because Patrice's boss has captured a disc with agents' names all over the world and M herself is getting scary messages. Traveling to Shanghai, Bond again wrestles with Patrice on a high rise and Patrice is thrown to his death. Nevertheless, James melts the heart of a beautiful underling Severine and they travel to meet the top evildoer, Silva (Javier Bardem). Silva, once an agent for Britain, makes clear his plans to continue killing. But, oh, Bond gets the upper hand and takes Silva prisoner to London, where he is sentenced to prison. But, is this really where Silva will go or does he have ingenious plans to break out of his chains? Unfortunately, the ex-agent does and its all out war between Silva and the Brits. How will it end? This film deserves ten stars for its superlative cast, plot, cinematography and every other element. Craig is so good as his own battle weary type of Bond while Bardem is one of the top villains in Bond history, being evil, mad, but somehow to be pitied. All of the others, including Dench, Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw are also topnotch. As for the scenery, it is sumptuous while the direction by Sam Mendes is beyond terrific. Bond fan or not, don't, don't, do not MISS SKYFALL.
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Our Christmas Love Song (2019 TV Movie)
8/10
If you love music and romance and Xmas, you will love this one!
29 November 2019
Melody (Alicia Witt) left her small Indiana city quite awhile ago to pursue her country music singing career. A rising star, she has just sung an original Christmas song, The Heart of Christmas, on the stage of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. But, oh no, a former star of the Opry named Connie calls at once, to accuse Melody of stealing the tune from her hit The Heart of Tennessee. Knowing she wrote the song long ago with her Dad as a teenager, Melody goes back to Madison Indiana to look through the attic for her old sheet music compositions. Everyone welcomes her! But, at her mother's house, she can not locate the sheets. Nevertheless, Melody begins spending time with her sister, her aspiring singer-niece, and, most importantly, a former flame, Chase (Brendan Hines). This handsome beau, also a singer and guitar instructor, had to take over the family business when his father passed away and provide for a younger sister. As the town folk urge Melody to attend the Christmas Tree lighting with Chase, will rekindling a romance be a bad idea? And, with Connie continuing to telephone and pester, will Melody find her original music or have to share the wealth of the already hit song? This lovely Hallmark film has all of its usual wonderful ingredients that make the network's films so special. It has a lovely duo in Witt and Hines, a beautiful setting, a heartfelt script and a zesty direction. In addition, this one has one more element: melodious music and original songs. Romcom and Christmas fans will be humming happily after any viewing!
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The Box (I) (2009)
5/10
Not to be believed or watched; one of Matheson's stumbles
26 November 2019
Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) are a middle class couple with ordinary problems and struggles. One thing not ordinary is that Norma's foot was damaged long ago by a doctor and, after toe loss, she wears a prosthetic insert. On the other hand, Arthur is a scientist for NASA and has just made Norma a new set of toes that is much better, much more comfortable. Their young son goes to the private school where Norma teaches but, oh, she has just learned that the tuition discount given to instructors is going to be taken away. Their son will have to attend public school. One day, very early in the morning, a stranger rings the doorbell. This man (Frank Langella) gives Norma a box with a secret inside. Then, he disappears. Once opened, the box has a tantalizing conundrum. If a button in the box is pushed, Norma and Frank will get a million dollars but SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD WILL DIE! What will the couple choose to do? This story might have some power on paper, for Richard Matheson, the author, is quite a writer. Among his works made into movies are Somewhere in Time, I am Legend and many episodes of the Twilight Zone. But, really, kill an innocent person for money? Yes, its tempting but no one with a heart is going to do it. Diaz, Marsden, Langella and all the rest do a respectable job but there is no way to redeem a tale like this one. Skip The Box, its not to be taken seriously.
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Alone for Christmas (2013 Video)
7/10
Ok film but, The Dog Who Saved Christmas is much better!
25 November 2019
Dad (David Deluise) and his family are going to Grandma's for Christmas. But, their two dogs, Bone and Columbus, get into trouble before the trip. Basically, a crying baby doll under the tree makes Columbus go berzerk and open the package. But, Dad thinks it was Bone's fault and tells the family that Bone will have to be boarded while they are away. The kids are upset but Mom insists. However, a scheming dog kennel owner, who takes Bone, has an elaborate deception going on. While the families are away, this man knows which houses are empty and has a team rob the places. Unbelievably, both Bone and Columbus break away from family and head back to the house, just as the thieves break in. What happens next is a variant of Home Alone, where the doggies set traps for the robbers and the guys end up bruised and angry but don't give up! This includes one (Kevin Sorbo) who gets the "electric shock" of a lifetime and staggers out of the house. Can the dogs hold off the perps until the family comes home? This take on the classic film of Home Alone is ok and has some funny scenes, although some of the humor is a bit harsh, such as the teen who ends up in the laundry shoot with darts aimed at his bottom. The dogs themselves are a total delight and so is Sorbo. The rest of the cast is nothing remarkable, with Deluise getting no chances to prove what a fine comedic actor he is. Nevertheless, children and families could do worse than watch Alone for Christmas.
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Father and Scout (1994 TV Movie)
7/10
Typical but nonetheless enjoyable family movie
20 November 2019
Spencer (Bob Saget) is a writer and happily married, with one son, Michael (Brian Bonsall). He spends time with Michael, going to his soccer games and taking him to movies and has a fine relationship with his son. However, his wife Heidi, although she confirms he is a good dad, would prefer Spence do a few "manly' things as well, such as going camping. A perfect opportunity arrives when the school's sixth grade boys are all taking part in a camping trip to Catalina island. Reluctantly, Spencer agrees to take Michael. From the ferry ride across, Spencer meets a variety of other parents and kids. This includes an obnoxious firefighter whose "macho" attitude criticizes Spencer's jokes and complaints. Once there, the food is less than palatable, the cots somewhat uncomfortable and the activities, such as archery, challenging for Spencer and Michael. Worst of all is a cave exploration, for Spencer has claustrophobia. Yet, it is important, for a treasure hunt there will follow. Will Michael be proud of his dad or chagrined to the max? This "fish out of water" trip between father and son is typical but still quite enjoyable. Since this viewer bought the film for a dollar, even more so. Most families will enjoy the acting, sets, and funny lines. Enough said?
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The Big Sick (2017)
8/10
Lovely new take on Romeo and Juliet, this viewer liked all except the title!
19 November 2019
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is the son of Pakistani-American immigrants to Chicago. They long for him to be a lawyer and to marry a nice Pakistani-Am girl they find for him. So far, Kumail is going in his own direction. This includes his pursuit of a career in stand-up comedy, driving for Uber and a so-so attitude toward the young ladies visiting his house for a dinner, etc. One night at a comedy club, with Kumail on stage, the comedian is given a woo-woo by a lady in the audience, Emily (Zoe Kazan), in appreciation for making her laugh. This leads to a post-show conversation, a couple of drinks and a return to Kumail's apartment for a romantic encounter. Wait a minute! This won't please Kumail's parents. The next morning, Emily admits she had a nice time but confesses that as a master's student in psychology, she doesn't have time for a relationship and tells Kumail not to call. Yet, despite the ground rules, the couple keeps seeing one another, although neither introduces the other to the parents. One fateful day, Emily finds a shoebox full of photos, ones of the ladies his parents have introduced to him. At that moment, Kumail is forced to admit his parents don't know about Emily (he lied) and they are actively trying to match him up with a Pakistani gal. Heart broken, Emily storms out and says its over. In a few weeks, however, a friend of Emily's calls Kumail, telling him to get to the hospital at once, Emily is very sick. The Uber driver makes it there before Emily's parents arrive, forcing him to sign papers that permit doctors to put Emily in a healing coma. As physicians search for a cure, Emily's parents meet Kumail, tell him they know what has happened, and wonder why he is there. Slowly, this changes and they become friends, while Emily is still comatose. But, what will the future hold? This crossed lovers tale has a fine twist in the Pakistani immigrant meeting a non-Pakistani girl and falling in love. Family traditions are paramount in Pakistani broods and this time is no exception. Working out the details, therefore, is beyond difficult. The young stars, Nanjiani and Kazan, are attractive and wonderful while old pros Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, along with several Pakistani actors, delight the audience. Sets, costumes, the heartfelt and Oscar-nominated script and the careful direction make for one fine movie. However, The Big Sick, really, is that the best title out there? How about Eastern Boy and Western Girl, Love at a Glance, Love, Impossible Style and other creative ideas? But, , don't miss The Big Sick or you will be sorry you did.
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Micro Mini Kids (2001 Video)
7/10
Silly fun, families will like
18 November 2019
Josh (Chad Gordon) is a senior in high school with a bad self-image. He's short, 5'3". Everyday he leaps out of bed and measures his height on a wall ruler but is always disappointed. Nevertheless, he is an ace science student and has just perfected a mini Nautilus boat from 20,000 leagues under the Sea to win the next fair. Best pal Rudy offers support for Josh's image problem and gets an idea. It seems Rudy's bizarre pal Molly is a computer whiz; perhaps she can find a solution on the Internet. Amazingly, Molly does find a "growth" formula in a secret, protected site. Rudy and Josh head home and make the concoction before heading to a party given by beautiful Courtney (Lauren Petty). Although C has an obnoxious boyfriend, Blake, she may have eyes for Josh and personally invited him. Yet, when they get to the party, two things happen. One, Josh shrinks instead of growing and becomes small enough to fit in his wee Nautilus; this is good as he ends up thrown in the aquarium. Two, the mad scientist Krackle (Debra Mayer) is plenty peeved that her formula was stolen and is out to make the hackers pay! How will events end? This silly film is still plenty entertaining for families, as it is colorful, funny, and clean. Most everyone loves movies where the folks shrink down to ant size and this one is no different; kids will love the little guy in the submarine, dodging hungry goldfish. Therefore, although it is fluff, families will be macro-happy over the micro mini-kids.
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The Eye (2008)
7/10
Seeing too much can be hellish, as a cornea transplant recipient soon learns
17 November 2019
Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) has been blind since she was five, the result of an incident with firecrackers. Yet, she has been successful getting around on her own with a white cane and dedicating herself to music, becoming a first chair violinist for the Los Angeles Symphony. Big sister Helen (Parker Posey) is there when Sydney needs help and is very protective of her sibling, believing that she, Helen, was responsible in part for Syd's handicap. Good news arrives when doctors decide to do a cornea transplant operation; one Sydney had at age twelve failed. It works. Sydney can see. But, oh horrors, soon Syd is seeing visions of terrible events; fires, dying children and the like. The surgeon recommends a therapist, Dr. Paul (Alessandro Nivola) as he often works with patients of newly restored sight. In the beginning, no one believes Ms Wells, including handsome Dr. Paul, that she is having visions. Eventually, however, the doctor agrees that something odd is happening and believes Syd when she says she MUST KNOW the donor of her new corneas. In due time, the couple travels to Mexico to uncover secrets. Are their lives in danger? This interesting film, somewhat a descendant of previous movies dealing with cornea transplants and the consequences, has some scary images but is not a true horror film. Yes, its part fantasy in the visions Sydney inherits but it mostly deals with real people grappling with real problems. Alba and Nivola are wonderful as the two main characters and the script, direction, sets, and costumes are quite fine. Why not keep your eye out for the dvd or download in the future?
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8/10
Infused with George Michael's music and Emma Thompson's grand wit, this dramedy has much laughter, tears, and heart
17 November 2019
Kate/Katarina (Emilia Clarke) is an immigrant to Britain, with her family, coming after Yugoslavia broke up. Once singing in church, she longs to make it in musical theater. However, life has thrown her off track. Her mother (Emma Thompson) is overbearing, her sister is a successful lawyer with sharp disagreements with Kate, and our Katarina has health problems. So, now, Kate works at a year-round Christmas store, as an elf-saleslady under the direction of store owner, Santa (Michelle Yeoh). Its a living? Well, yes, but Kate has been couch surfing and has no permanent home but her parents house. One day she meets a handsome man on a bicycle, Tom (Henry Golding) who advises her to "look up". Its akin to stop and smelling the roses but Kate wants none of this gooey philosophy, at first. But, on subsequent encounters, Kate begins to notice things she's never seen before and to appreciate the friendship/love Tom has been offering. Can Tom change Kate's life for the good? This lovely new addition to the repertoire of Christmas cinema has a strong foundation in its script by Emma Thompson, a wonderful cast, lovely sets and costumes, and the eternally grand music of George Michael in its soundtrack. Be prepared for laughter and tears, as unexpected happenings keep arriving. But, in short, don't be last in line for Last Christmas!
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5/10
Totally trivial, totally disappointing, especially for an Affleck fan like this viewer
13 November 2019
Jack (Ben Affleck) is a hotshot and thriving writers agent in Hollywood. He built his company from the bottom up and has a fine crew of folks working for him, too. Not only this, he lives in a gorgeous house in Malibu and is married to a beautiful lady, Nina (Rebecca Romjim). Also in the house is Jack's father (Howard Hesseman) who has had a stroke and is subject to bizarre behaviors. Surprisingly, Jack is not happy and signs up for a nighttime writing class taught by a stuffy Brit (John Cleese). There, he is told to start a journal, which will not only improve his writing but will give clues to his psychological needs and wants. Reluctantly, Jack does this. But, there are pitfalls ahead. A former classmate, who knows Jack is very famous, has sent ten screenplays written by his girlfriend (Bai Ling) for Jack's evaluation and has never gotten a reply. Now, this man is out for revenge. He breaks into Jack's house and beats up the agent, while taking the diary. Since the perp's gal works for a minor newspaper, the rag is about to print Jacks every secrets. Also, there is trouble between Jack and Nina, deep trouble. How will Jack work his way out of this crisis? Despite the fine, fine cast, which also includes Gina Gershon, Mike Binder, Kal Penn, Adam Goldberg, and Jerry O'Connell, in addition to the ones listed above, this film is a big flop and a big mess. Oh, there are a few funny scenes, like Jack and his crew faking karate stances across from the employees of a Chinese restaurant who are doing the real moves! Also, Ling is pretty funny as the evil lady of blackmail. Yet, the movie is, in this viewers opinion, totally pointless. Especially surprising is the ending, where romance burnt to a crisp might still rekindle. Affleck is one of my favorite actors and this is his worst film, worse than Gigli. Thank God he went on to true glory with Argo, State of Play, and many other fine flicks. As for this one, avoid it by a wide mile.
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8/10
Powerful film of a totally forgotten episode in history; not for the faint of heart
12 November 2019
In 1960, Nigeria receives its independence from Britain. Twin sisters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are eager to celebrate their freedoms in new ways for African women. Olanna moves to a different city where she hooks up with a radical professor Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor); they are smitten. The prof has a loyal houseworker, Ugwu (John Boyega) who cooks and cleans. One day, Odenigbo's country mother shows up and creates trouble. First, she dislikes Olanna, calling her a witch, and she is aghast the Ugwu does the work. Naturally, the couple in question fights and goes separate ways for a short while. During this time, the prof sleeps with another woman who becomes pregnant. Amid sadness, Olanna forgives and eventually becomes the adopted mother to the child, a girl they call baby. Meanwhile, Kainene becomes the wife of a British immigrant, Richard (Joseph Mawle) and they, too, have trouble at times. More importantly, there are three main Tribes in Nigeria, with the twins Tribe, Igbo, always resented by the other two; perhaps, because they are Christian. Horrible violence against the Igbo breaks out in the North, with Olanna and Odenigbo fleeing for their lives to the Southeast, where most of the Igpo live. Many Igbos don't make it there; some are shot, others are killed with hatchets. Those that do decide to break away from Nigeria and form the new country of Biafra. But, because oil reserves are in Biafra, the other two Tribes blockade the country and food cannot get through. Will Olanna, Kainene, Odenigbo, Ugwu and others survive? This film has, first, a terrific cast, with Newton the main character. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world and gives a touching, heartfelt performance. Then, too, the landscape of Nigeria is shown here as lovely and colorful, giving the world a chance to appreciate its unknown beauty. Costumes, likewise, are just fantastic. But, alas, the violence, though brief, is horrific and those who choose to watch may want the fast forward button handy. Most importantly, the Igbo genocide is a totally forgotten event, with over two million of the Tribe perishing. All of those who view this film will want to seek out more information, read the book the film is based on, and spring to action to help the Igbo tribe even at this late date.
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The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2009 TV Movie)
7/10
Wooferific! Families will love this tail of a dog and his new family at Xmas
8 November 2019
The Bannisters, George (Gary Valentine) and Belinda (Elisa Donovan) and their two kids have just moved into a new home! Its very large and beautiful so Belinda gets worried about burglars, especially when she sees a notice that a house nearby was robbed. This lady wants a home-security system but George suggests they get a fine watch dog. Wow, do the children love to hear this, but Belinda is skeptical. On his own, George goes to the pound and adopts Zeus (voiced by Mario Lopez) who was once a police dog and who is much like the dog George has as a child. Belinda is not happy he went behind her back! Not only this, Zeus doesn't bark so how can he be a good protector of the house? Yet, George and the kids just love this pooch. Also, they work on a gingerbread house to take to Grandmas, the one thing she really wants. Wouldn't you know, Zeus gets jumpy at the wrong moment and destroys the house? Therefore, Belinda says the dog will have to stay home from the trip to G-ma's and will be returned to the pound when they get back! Poor Zeus. Yet, two bumbling burglars (Dean Cain and Joey Diaz) are prowling the neighborhood and like the Bannisters house, with Zeus "home alone". Can Zeus redeem himself? This funny, wooferific film will delight families with its darling dog, affable actors, and crazy antics! Anyone would love to receive it in their stocking hung with care!
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8/10
A rousing old-fashioned and funny look at the dawn of aviation
3 November 2019
In London, Lord R (Robert Morley) has a spirited daughter, Patricia (Sarah Miles) who longs to go up up up in an airplane. Fortunately, she is, as yet unspoken, engaged to Richard (James Fox), who spends his weekend flying in his small plane. But, bother, Richard hasn't taken her flying YET. The Lord is also enamored with the small planes and proposes a race, from London to Paris, for amateur flying fans. Entries start coming from France, Germany, Japan, and even America, where wild west Arizonan Orvil (Stuart Whitman) makes the trip. At once, Orvil spies Patricia, where he promptly makes her lose her skirt and show her bloomers! Glancing at each other with eager eyes, Patricia can't make his acquaintance, for there is no mutual friend to introduce them. Yet, they will meet again and again. Meanwhile, a Brit (Terry Thomas) makes plans to try to sabotage other planes so he can win. What fun to see the German, in practice, not be able to stop his plane and taxing over all the farmland ! As Orvil and Patricia get more fond of each other and Richard still claims her affections, who will win the race and who the lady? This rousing, old-fashioned film has so much going for it. There is the nice cast, the gorgeous sets and costumes and the beautiful cinematography. Most importantly, the depictions of the early planes is priceless in its accuracy. The only flaw is, perhaps, a bit too long running time. Nevertheless, many a viewer will take a joyride uppity up up and downity down down at any showing.
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Home Alone 3 (1997)
7/10
Cute, cute, really cute but goes a bit overboard with the booby traps
25 October 2019
At the airport in Chicago, four international thieves lose an important package and make plans to search a neighborhood where they believe it was delivered. Meanwhile, Alex (Alex D. Linz) is a darling youngest child who, after working for an older neighbor lady, doesn't get paid in money. Instead, she got a remote controlled car delivered to her by mistake and she gives this as payment. Bummer. At home, Alex feels itchy and goes to the bathroom, where, after seeing his reflection, starts screaming. His older brother and sister (Scarlett Johanssen) immediately begin razzing him for what they believe he is screaming about. But, no, its chicken pox. Since mother and father work, Alex will be alone at times, with the neighbor lady keeping an eye on him. This is just the moment the four thieves come into the area, pretending to dogwalk and jog in order to find the package. Inside, you see, is a valuable microchip they could sell for mucho bucks. All too soon, when Alex starts playing with the car, they know what house they want. Will Alex be able to do what Kevin McAlister did and foil the evil adult criminals? This cute third installment of the Home Alone movies has a darling child in Linz and some funny thieves. Watch out for Johanssen, future superstar, as a teen actress. The sets and costumes are great, too. The script, which is indeed from John Hughes, has some funny lines and ideas. But, in truth, how many times can we see the bumbling adults fall into a child's booby traps? Imaginative are the ideas, yes, but they go on and on to almost excess. Nevertheless, for a film with few known actors, this film is a good time for families who want an entertaining choice on movie night.
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