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Friday, December 30, 2011


Jamie Bell is "Tintin,"  intrepid young (teenage?) reporter  (excuse me, he calls himself a "journalist"),  accompanied by his intrepid dog "Snowy," solves crimes and writes about such escapades.  Steven Spielberg is the intrepid Director (and one of the Producers) of this intrepid adventure.   (Me motto is, find a word I like, and use it, me hardy, aargh.)  That was a Clue:  the story has to do with Pirate Ships and the not one, not two, but THREE !  model duplicates of "The Unicorn." Hidden in one (or all?) of the models is a secred coded message, of course.  I liked this film, but as you know, I don't like lots of noise, and it was, really, really over the top in decibels, including cannons on the high seas.   Last of the "Haddocks"  (not the fish, the seafarng men of that name) Andy Serkis is "Captain Haddock."   This movie was made using the special technology of starting with live actors, and then superimposing computerized animation over them.  Actually, I like the result.   I also liked the dog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


As seen through the eyes of Colin Clark, the 23 year old writer portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, "Marilyn" (Monroe, of course, who else is known by this first name only except this world famous star?)  perfectly portrayed by Michelle Williams.  With a fantastic cast, including Kenneth Branagh who was magnificent (I have to add brilliant!) as Sir Laurence Olivier, and the inimitable Judi Dench every inch Dame Sybil Throrndike, and one of my favorite actors, Derek Jacobi and other excellent performers you will recognize, I was delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Lots!  Michelle Williams was spot-on as Marilyn Monroe-- not a cariature, but a living breathing, actually likable ( and certainly lovable by men!) human being.   Directed by Simon Curtis.  Congratulations to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Yes, I saw this Woody Allen triumph for the second time the other day, and I enjoyed it possibly even more this time!   Knowing what was coming, I could appreciate the details of each moment.   Thought I should let you know, and encourage you to do the same!


The irresistable and marvelous (as always), Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as "Sherlock" and his friend and partner in crime-solving, "Dr. Watson," in this somewhat complicated plot, sprinkled with lots of fisticuffs, which I'm not fond of - (or,  "of which I'm not fond" -- for those who expect  acceptable grammar herein ).  Directed once again by Guy Ritchie, the "...Game of Shadows" is bound to delight Holmes fans.  (When I saw it, the audience applauded at the end.  Oh, and do stay and watch the final credits roll, nicely done!)  Stephen Fry as Sherlock's brother, "Mycroft Holmes" has a few scenes, one of which is totally, hysterically, straightfaced memorable! Rachel McAdams is "Irene Adler."  Jared Harris is the evil "Professor James Moriarity" (hiss-boo).   'Nuff said.  Go see it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Of course you know it's based on the John le Carre novel of the same name.  The part of the British spy-master of MI6 (known as the "Circus"), our hero, "George Smiley," is inhabited (as we professionals, say), by Gary Oldman. I didn't recognize the names of any of the other excellent actors (and they're all excellent). Of course I did recognize Colin Firth  (Who can forget him after "The King's Speech." ??)   I was unable to hear a lot of the dialogue (yes, I know, I definitely need a hearing aid) but nevertheless I was fascinated with the film, so it must have been marvelous!  Obviously a lot of credit for the success of the film must go to the Director, Tomas Alfredson. The story is about trying to unmask the "mole" in the upper echelons of MI6. A double agent?   (Saw this one Wednesday the 14th December)


Ah,  Young Love!   Actually, because of the marvelous performances by Felicity Jones as "Anna" and Anton Yelchin as "Jacob," under the expert inventive Direction  of Drake Doremus, I found myself caring about the characters and wanting to know how they would overcome the obstacles (her expired student visa, she's from England, he's an American) to their romance.  Wonderful photography.  The love scenes were sweetly beautifully artistic without having to be graphic.   Only near the end of the film, after some plot changes, I have to admit I was getting weary, and started to get bored, and then, fortunately, it was over.  I guess the film is supposed to be a tribute to "true love" -- the ideal idea of "soul-mates that cannot be denied.".  It shows some of the realistic pitfalls to long distance affairs.   Anyway, I especially appreciated Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhend who play "Anna's" lovely British parents.  It was wonderful for a change to see parents portrayed as nice people!


The old Muppet theater in Hollywood is in ruins, and the apathetic Tour Guide, AlanArkin, grudgingly shows visitors around .  However, "Gary" -
played by Jason Segel - who also shares writing credits; and Amy Adams, perfectly cast as his fiancee, "Mary" (as usual the quintessential sweet young thing),  visiting from Smalltown USA accompanied by "Gary's" brother "Walter"(yes, they have grown up together, and seemingly never noticed until now that "Walter" is really not a person!) decide to try and find where the Muppets are these days. "Miss Piggy" has become a fashion editor at Vogue (of course!), but the others have fallen upon much harder times.  Even "Kermit" (our  hero) needs some rescueing.  But with the help and encouragement of the three visitors, "Kermit" decides to round them all up. He finds the downtrodden old gang and nearly utters those immortal words ( with due respect to Mickey Rooney's classic line, "Hey kids, let's put on a show.")  There are at least 10 cameo appearances of famous faces you will recognize, along with roles by Jack Black and Chris Cooper who are important to the plot.  Yes, there is a plot, more than I've included here (mainly the need to raise a lot of money to save the old theater) along with singing and dancing --  I have to say, I found, the group dancing in Smalltown, near the beginning of the show really annoying, but overall, bottom line,  I had fun.    (Note: I saw it on Dec. 7th, over a week ago.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


If you're going to see this in 3D (which is its main, and probably only,  real selling point), be sure to get to the theater early enough to sit about half way up, middle of the row, so  you are looking directly at the screen.   Alas, I was unable to take this excellent advice (courtesy of Guruka Singh) and found myself as a latecomer, forced to sit quite close to the screen.  So, already, I've got a headache.   Granted, I suppose, the camera work by the renowned Director, Martin Scorsese, seemed as if it were quite excellent (hard for me to really tell), with lots of winding staircase scenes and running through the streets of London, and peeking out through the huge clock, inside of which is Hugo's bed, his home, and where he daily winds the clock to keep it running.  My favorite actors in this are: handsome Sacha Baron Cohen who plays the "Station Inspector" from whom Hugo is always running (in order not to be caught and sent to an orphanage) and the always superb Ben Kingley as "Georges Melies" the famous 'inventor' of motion pictures.  There's also a minor plot device in which Emily Mortimer (another excellent actor) is the flower girl, "Lisette" for whom the "Station Inspector" has a thing.  Oh, and yes, there's another small romance brewing between a much older couple which seems hopeless because the lady's dog keeps biting the would-be suitor.   If only the lead ("Hugo" - in case you've forgotten) had more than one rather boring expression throughout the picture.  Sorry, Asa Butterfield, it's probably not your fault; the Director was probably much too busy workiing with the 3D phenomenon (phooey, I say!)   Chloe Grace Moretz, is a charming young actor. As "Isabelle," she tries to help "Hugo."  Meanwhile, back to the story, which unfolds so slowly I wish I'd gotten the large size popcorn, so I'd have something substantial on which to gnash my teeth:   Hugo's father, now deceased (well played by Jude Law) only shows up briefly to establish that he was working in a museum (?) where he found an old broken Robot (Automaton), which he is trying to restore. He has left Hugo with a book listing parts needed, which Hugo steals (and gets caught stealing by the shop owner) and loses the book.   Anyway,  movie buffs and historians may find the history (actually interesting, and kind of fun)  of how movies were first "discovered" and created by Melies, worth the effort to sit through "HUGO."   This review is perhaps  unfairly negative, due to  the factors first mentioned.  Mea Culpa