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Thursday, December 5, 2013


Based on Hans Christian Anderson's immortal fairy tale, "The Snow Queen," FROZEN beautifully brings it to life on the screen.  Although I usually avoid 3D , this technology enhanced the experience (and I didn't get a headache!).  The voices of the two main characters were absolutely  perfect!  Idina Menzel playing "Elsa" (the Snow Queen) and Kristen Bell voicing "Anna" (her sister) were a joy to hear.. Produced by Walt Disney Studios, Directed by Chris Buck, I found every aspect of this film marvelous. I want to say it was just about sublime -- but that sounds a bit too gushy.  So suffice to say,  I loved it. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Very well done,  realistic and accurate portrayal of folks in small Midwest towns, their conversation, and attitudes.  Premise is that of an elderly (quite old) man (played to perfection by Bruce Dern) who receives one of those, "You  have won a  Million Dollar prize" letters. So he sets off walking in order to collect the money in a neighboring State.   His patient son, who loves his dad, can't talk any sense into him, and figures it will be safer for his dad if he drives him there (Lincoln, Nebraska). Filmed  in black and white --or gray and white, everything looks definitely dismal (no Technicolor). I found the movie depressing,but I admit it was very well made.  My friend (who is from Nebraska) enjoyed it a lot.  She said the dialogue was so true to life  that she almost knew what the characters were going to say next!   So, depending on your own experiences, you may enjoy this film. I did not. 


Judi Dench at her very best  (and that's magnificent!) with Steve Coogan, excellent!   One of the best movies I've ever seen.   All aspects of it excellent.  Totally enjoyable (but bring Kleenex).   Just the right touch of humor at the right moment to offset the Kleenex moments.   Film is worth winning prizes in every category.   Don't miss it!!! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Want to have a good time at the movies?  Run, don't walk, to see "LAST VEGAS!"  It will not disappoint!   What a treat! 
 I apologize for using so many exclamation points, but how else can I even begin  to emphasize how delightfully  funny this comedy is. The all star cast includes (in alphabetical order!): Robert DeNero, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Mary Steenbergen (she sings, and she actually sings well!)  
The dialogue is clever (and funny!), the acting is, of course, flawless, and it has a believable plot.   I laughed a lot, and I mean a lot (and so did the rest of the audience!)
I went in worried that the film might not live up to what you'd expect from these famous actors, but, I loved it!  I could see it again!  Directed by Jon Turteltaub, Written by Dan Fogelman.  Thanks to all those involved; you made my day!


Based on the true story told by Captain Richard Phillips in his book describing the hijacking of his ship by Somali pirates in 2009, this film, starring Tom Hanks (giving  possibly his most outstanding portrayal ever!) is so exciting, but so painful to watch that I almost walked out, because I could barely stand the violence and the suspense!  However, I kept my seat because I had to find out how he was going to be rescued. (By the Navy Seals: Hooray!!!  I felt like standing up and cheering!!!!)
It was worth the sticking it out to the end,  just to see the amazing performance Hanks offers, especially after his rescue, of a man so shattered from the horrors  he has endured, that he can't even speak.   It  is trite to say his performance is "Oscar worthy", because that doesn't even begin to offer the accolades his work deserves!  Catherine Keener, always excellent  plays his wife. Billy Ray wrote the Screenplay; Directed by Paul Greengrass   Fantastic film, but not for the faint of heart.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Grown-up love story with a stellar cast, this excellent film seemed so true to life that I found it kind of sad.  Of course it was hard to know that it was the last movie that James Gandolfini made before his untimely death.  He was so lovable in the movie, and I have heard he was also a really wonderful guy in real life!  Julia Louis-Drefus and he play divorced parents who meet when they are each dreading the "empty nest' syndrome as their kids are about to go off to college. Catherine Keener and Toni Collette complete the roster.  Highly recommended.


Certainly, I am not a Shakespearean  scholar.  I am obviously not a "Highbrow.
      I had the audacity to thoroughly enjoy "Romeo and Juliet."  Some of the Critics panned it, probably because it did away with the Shakespearean lingo, and all the characters spoke so that you could easily understand what they were saying. I liked Hailee Steinfeld as an innocent kind of "farm-fed" sweet young girl, and Douglas Booth was perfectly cast as handsome Romeo.  One of my favorites, Paul Giamatti was delightful as the wonderful Friar Laurence, who helps the young couple.  Worthy of note is excellent Lesley Manville who plays Juliet's Nurse.
        Screenwriter Julian Fellowes adapted the Bard's classic tale, and Carlo Carlei Directed the film.
        The two friends who saw the movie with me both enjoyed it, and --and they are not dummies!
         So, if you're willing to just see a romantic/tragic love story with an excellent cast, go see 'ROMEO and JULIET."   Perhaps you will like it; I did!


Saturday, September 7, 2013


Forest Whitaker as "The Butler" who served through eight Presidential terms (have fun trying to identify the well known actors who took those roles!) must surely win the Oscar!   And Oprah Winfrey, as his wife, might easily take home her own statuette for supporting role.
     "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is worth all the accolades it's been given.   For me, however, the depiction of the racist discrimination and persecution of the Negroes back in the era of the Butler's early life in the South was so painful, so awful (and undoubtedly so accurate)  that I left the theater  horrified and deeply disturbed.   (I spent my early childhood in Minnesota, where there were very few people of color. Then moved to California, in 1942 where I grew up, near Hollywood and Beverly Hills, a similarly "white" area.)   The harsh reality of History is never pleasant, and often truly horrifying to see.


Seldom does a move exceed my expectations, but this one certainly did! Fabulous,  amazing cinematography, outstanding martial arts scenes (and I'm not a martial arts aficionado by any stretch of the imagination). Stellar acting. The lead, who plays the legendary "Ip Man" is mesmerizing.    Masterfully directed by Kar Wai Wong; I was astounded by the excellence of this film, and how much I enjoyed it!    Bravo to all concerned!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


LAKE BELL is the name of the writer and director and star (playing "Carol") of this interesting film about the daughter of the most popular ( in the industry) of all the "Voice Over" actors. (Played by Fred Melamed.) Voice over actors  often introduce films, you never see their faces on screen.  For years, it has been only men who do this job, but Lake Bell breaks that tradition and competes with her father (Melamed) for a particular gig.  Very interesting and entertaining film.   


Steve Carell must be trying to present himself as a serious actor, instead of the wonderfully funny guy we are used to..  Well, sorry to say, he achieves that goal, and then some!  As the boyfriend of a single mother, played by Toni Collette, he picks on her 14 year old son, "Duncan" (Liam James)  saying mean and vicious things to him, to the point where I was hoping someone would shoot him.  What a depressing film!  What a lousy mother to let anyone treat  a child that way.  The only redeeming feature of the story is the part of a nice employee of a nearby Water Park played by Sam Rockwell, who befriends Duncan.   Frankly, I'm not a big fan of "coming of age" stories (I came of age a long, long time ago!) and that's what this is billed as.  It halfheartedly tries to end on a positive note (as if the mother finally , but not entirely, shows some fondness for Duncan.  Boo to Steve Carell -- please do NOT "play against type" ever again; I don't want to have to hate you.   (Acting is good, but story is depressing.)   Director: Jim Rash

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Both Cate Blanchette ( "Jasmine") and Sally Hawkins (who plays her sister), offer Oscar winning performances.  In fact, every member of the cast is outstanding.  That being said, I have  also to say that Blanchette's portrayal of a woman going from the proverbial riches to rags, having a nervous breakdown, and resorting to booze and pills is so brilliant and heart rending that I left the theater almost in tears.  What a depressing, downer!!  (Instead of crying,  I went home and ate an entire pint of Vanilla ice cream.  It helped a little. {Carmel Ice Cream would have been even better.}) 
Other truly excellent, worthy of mention actors include Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K. (surprise:  he can act!) Peter Saarsgard, and Michael Stuhlbarg.  Directed by Woody Allen.  I guess he's lost his sense of humor. Humor used to be the redeeming feature of his neurotic films.  Sigh, moan groan, ugh.  (But, the acting is flawless throughout.)

Friday, July 26, 2013


Was the original "RED"over the top violent?    I don't remember it as such, but I can tell you, the current film is extremely violent!     But, the redeeming feature is the clever dialogue (I laughed a lot), and the outstanding performance  of  each member of  the stellar cast, particularly  John Malkovitch, who was a hoot!   I've never been a great  fan of his, but I  am now! He was hilarious.. (You've got to love the cap with furry ear flaps he wears.) His inimitable facial expressions,  convey exactly  what he's thinking.  
Then there's the always wonderful, Bruce Willis (despite (or perhaps because of?) being bald, he looks as young as ever) . He' really likable..  
The inimitable Helen Mirren shoots straight as often as necessary (which is a lot), reprising her role from RED (though she doesn't have as much screen time in this sequel as I would have wished.)  
Surprisingly, Mary Louise Parker more than holds her own among this excellent group.  I think it's the best work she's ever done.   If you can get past the really heavy duty opening violence, the movie is great fun, so with that caveat, I recommend it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


The boundaries of decency were not only pushed, they were knocked over, kicked and trampled to a pulp by the constant foul language coming out of the mouths of the two lead actresses.  How DEGRADING for Sandra Bullock (playing an FBI agent) and Melissa McCarthy (portraying a Boston Cop) who star in this "comedy." .  Yes, there were laughs, but the vulgarity and constant use of  the "F" word was beyond "offensive."  (to say the least!)  
  The question in my mind is, "would THE HEAT have been just as funny without the disgusting language?   
            How sad to hear fine actresses willing to utter such consistently vile dialogue.    Shame on the Director and the actresses who bought into this script. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Despite a negative review in the LA Times by Keneth Turan, the film critic,  my friends and I loved  "THE LONE RANGER!"  (and so did the rest of the audience who applauded enthusiastically  not only at the end of the film, but several times during the show. Handsome Armie Hammer wore the white hat and the badge of the loneTexas Ranger, and  Johnny Depp made the role of TONTO his own, in a dead-pan, and hilarious portrayal.    Hiss, boo to "critics" who don't understand that movies are for entertainment, and this one was definitely FUN!   (OK, it wasn't a "great" film, but so what?   (I didn't particularly like the opening  showing a little boy visiting an old west museum, viewing a statue of an ancient "Noble Savage" and having it spring to life while he's looking at it.   (Of course, it's Tonto, of a very advanced age --)
And SILVER,  that quintessential horse was outstanding-- his intelligence and grace was  obvious -- and unique.   (See him -  galloping at high speed through several cars of the train.   Very enjoyable film.   Fooey on critics!


Very well done documentary featuring the usually un-credited, seemingly  anonymous  singers who create with their marvelous voices the rich accompaniment that enhances the performances of the lead singers.  Personally I'm not a fan of this particular type of music, which consists of powerfully belting out the syllables.  They do know how to make the most of harmonies --- unfortunately, I'm about 20 years  too old to enjoy this era.    

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Interesting documentary by Sarah Polley who interviews various members of her family, asking  (nearly) the same questions of each, and getting various "stories" ( responses) in reply.   Everyone is quite articulate, and the  mystery of the true identity of her birth father is revealed.  No big spoiler really, as it had (has?) been hinted at throughout her life.   Anyway,  it's a good film.   (I was very tired when I went to the theater, so probably am not as enthusiastic as some reviewers have been, who probably were in better shape than I was at the time.)

Friday, May 24, 2013


It is said that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while starring in the movie "Cleopatra."  When I saw it the other day (re-released celebrating its 50th Anniversary), I could certainly believe it!   Wow, what a film!  What I didn't know in advance was that it ran for four hours (plus a fifteen minute intermission half-way through.)   A real epic extravaganza, with hundreds of extras cast as members of the Legions of Rome, and of course there are battles with Egypt as the home ground for Cleo.   Sadly, in the end,she does die of the fatal bite of asps, when she receives a false report that Antony is dead.  He finds her resplendent in her best finery lying atop her tomb and of course manages (with a little help from a friend) to kill himself in despair.   I noted that in addition to being gorgeous,  ET was actually  a  good actress.  And each of Burton's syllables were enunciated pitch perfectly! I hope you get a chance to see it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


If you like fishing (I don't) you will probably like this film. 
 (I didn't. ) Yes, the acting was excellent, the photography (ahem, "cinematography") was excellent.  Story was good.  But I simply am not and was not interested in all the detail (albeit excellent) shown about fishing, gear, etc.   Of course, I was lured (pun, ha ha) to see "Mud" because of the positive reviews -- and the star, Matthew Mc Conaughey.  (He's definitely got the muscles to go without his shirt through most of the film.)  It didn't hurt to have Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepard in the fine cast.  I especially liked the two young boys who find Mud on an island,  ala Huck Finn.  Director: Jeff Nichols.  It's somewhat of a "lost love" story.   So, I was disappointed, but then, that's just me.   Sorry.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Remember the movie a few years ago called,  "My Dinner With Andre"?   (Conversation between two friends.)  Well this picks up on the life of the taller, thinner man (not the one who lisps)  quite a few years later  -- and it's  wonderful!   Gregory is quite charming and articulate.   It's filled with clips of photos of his childhood and youth and his career as an actor and a director (though I must admit I'd never heard of him other than the previous "Dinner" movie.)     I believe it was "written" and filmed by his daughter.   I  highly recommend it.

I have to admit that the "Reluctant Fundamentalist" was an excellent film, but it was much too accurate in portraying India and Afghanistan which made the whole thing, despite the excellent acting and probably realistic plot a very unpleasant experience for me.   I guess my memories of India are not positive ones.  

Now I want to read the novel on which this movie was based, because I imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is great..  However,  the film was painful to sit through!   Over the top production (Bas Luhrnan directing) with wild, frantic, blaring, soundtrack! (I wouldn't call it "music")     Exhausting!    Leonardo DiCaprio was marvelous as Gatsby.  He has really become a fine actor   (and it doesn't hurt that he's so handsome!)    Tobey Mcguire, however, as Nick seemed too bland.   (intentionally?)  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Directed by Francois Ozon, this French film is involved, unique, and somewhat uncomfortable to watch, but worth seeing.  Uncomfortable because the main protagonist, a sixteen year old is a clever but twisted ( I want to say "evil" -  but I don't know if that's exactly correct) boy who writes a series of excellent "chapters" telling of the  experiences he has after insinuating himself  into the house of one of his classmates.   His English teacher 
("M. Germain") is superbly played by Fabrica Luchini, who is fascinated by the essays his pupil writes, a blend of fact and the boy's  imagination.  Kristin Scott Thomas, in one of her finest performances plays the wife of the English Teacher.  The boy is enamored of the beautiful mother of one of his schoolmates, and seduces her after going to live with that family.  But, that''s not all.  He eventually seduces the wife of the English teacher.  He manages to  ruin a lot of people's lives. This is a very French film.   (I am not familiar enough with French actors' name to credit each of them, but they are all excellent.)  Not a happy movie.


It's been at least ten years since I walked out on a movie, but after about 20 minutes of  watching a plethora of nearly naked girls cavorting;  lots of strange camera work accompanied by an ear 
splitting sound track that was as noisy as a battlefield, I'd had more than enough Pain, and no Gain.   So I walked out and was able just in time to see a different film ("In the House*).   I don't go to the movies to be tortured.   I had been lured to this one by the names of Mark Wahlberg, Dwane  Johnson, and Tony Shaloub.   Maybe if you are a teen-age boy, you might like it.  I'm not, and I didn't.  Directed by Michael Bay. (* see separate review.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Written and directed by Pablo Berger, this clever Spanish re imagining of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is replete with a really evil stepmother, I mean really evil! - (almost a caricature),  Shot in black and white, with no sound track, it is a worthy tribute to the silent melodramas of yore. (Old fashioned captions periodically- as needed.) 
The unique feature of this take on the immortal tale of Snow White, is that she is the daughter of a famous bull-fighter and becomes a famous bullfighter herself, starring with a troupe of, (what else but?) seven Dwarfs.   Oh, and because of an accident, she has lost her memory, and doesn't know why or how she learned to be a bullfighter.  I fell in love with the actor who played her father. (Sorry, I'm not familiar with the names of the Spanish cast, all of whom were marvelous.)  Photography was excellent; noteworthy! Scene is set in Southern Spain in the 1920's.   I thoroughly enjoyed this film. (Though it is melancholy.)  

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The title, "42"  refers to the number that Jackie Robinson wore when he finally made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers team.   It was a shameful time in America where prejudice against Negroes was widespread, and he endured outrageous taunts and  curses from opposing team members, and even his own team guys were not happy to have them join him.   But his magnificent ball-playing skills soon became evident, and with the unflinching backing of the team manager played by Harrison Ford (whom I nominate for an Academy Award as supporting actor!) he opened the door for the integration of color-blind teams around the country. Overall,  I loved this movie.  Every actor was excellent and the story was an important one that was well told with a fine script. (And I'm not, nor have ever been a baseball fan!)  Highly recommended.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Alan Arkin (one of my favorite actors), Steve Carell, and Steve Buscemi headline this comedy about a magic act partnership forged by two young boys who grow up to be headliners at the Bally in Las Vegas whose genial owner is played  by that wonderful actor (James Gandolfini), best known for his very different role in "The Sopranos."

Although somewhat uneven (not consistently funny) there are enough laugh-out-loud scenes to make it worth your while to pay your admission. Plus some fun magic tricks, and an outstanding, absolutely hilarious ending trick that by itself makes the film a "must see."

Oh, and lest I forget, Jim Carey is absolutely at his most insane as a street magician competing with the Burt Wonderstone duo for fame and fortune. He  has never been more outrageous.  His 'talent' seems to be an immunity to pain  (self-inflicted) which he demonstrates on the sidewalks of Vegas to 'entertain' passersby.

I guess it helps if you appreciate stupid slapstick humor.  Mea culpa

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


OK, I may be a country bumpkin, but I was cheered and uplifted  by the songs performed by an enthusiastic (really enthusiastic!) group of young Australian Aborigine  girls of varying shades of black who  (in real life) actually went on a USO tour to perform for the troops in Vietnam in 1968.  
                         I LOVED THIS FILM! 

"The Sapphires" started singing country-western style but under the guidance  of Chris O'Dowd playing their "white" (not Aborigine) self-appointed manager, they switched over to  60's "pop-soul" songs, which went over big with their Army audiences.   Sure, the story line is corny, and certainly not original, but let's face it,  I felt great after seeing (and hearing!) this "feel-good" movie!   It was very well done in all areas, including the film-clips of Martin Luther King's speech just before his assassination, and President Kennedy's speech, plus actual footage from the war in Vietnam.   Despite the fact that in places it's a tear jerker the singing  balances it out on the plus side.

 I learned that all Aborigines are not half-clad short  (pygmies?) dark-black people carrying spears, but come in all shades, and have a history and a culture I'd never heard about.

Unless you're too "sophisticated" and intellectual  to simply relax and enjoy the exuberant outpouring of  entertainment by these wonderful girls,  I highly recommend "The Sapphires."

Special note of appreciation for Chris O'Dowd.  Excellent actor who knows exactly how to deliver his lines for maximum effect.   I loved him!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The  "NO" of  the title refers to the outcome of the referendum ("plebicite" {however you spell it}) that took place in Chile that deposed  (or refused another term) to Augusto Pinochet who had ruled the country --- more as a Dictator than his title of President would suggest.  During his regime, people disappeared,  were killed, etc., etc.    The reason the vote was held was the result of international scrutiny of the situation there. Despite knowing that the result would be "NO." the film was so well done that the suspense factor was never lost!  Starring Gael Bernar, who played the Advertising expert who created the excellent winning "No" campaign, I was enthralled by him.   I highly recommend this film  Really well done.  (Sorry I didn't note the Director's name, because obviously he deserves a lot of credit.)

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Because of the rave reviews from all the critics, I broke my longstanding rule of avoiding 3D movies.    My error!   Yes, the cinematography was brilliant -- and that's probably why I actually hated this film!   I don't do well being violently storm-tossed and  washed overboard again and again and again in the middle of a raging ocean.   I was practically seasick!   The acting was flawless. And the Tiger who shared the lifeboat with "Pi" was wonderful -- great use of, what is it called?  "CGI"  technology?) The problem with "The Life of Pi" was not the fault of the film; it was totally my own queasy stomach.   My opinion on this is probably a minority of one.   The friend with whom I saw "Pi" liked it a lot.  So feel free to ignore my negative experience.


Hiss, Boo!   Sorry,  I didn't like this film.  (though the acting was fine.)    I actually had to have my friend explain the ending  to me.    You may like it; I didn't.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Occasionally the critics are right.  This is one of those times.  Admittedly, this is not a very good movie, however,  I enjoyed it anyway.   With Al Pacino (who looked really scraggly and scroungy -- as he emerged from over 20 years in jail) and Christopher Walken, his previous criminal buddy who met him at the gate, and Alan Arkin  (one of my favorite actors) whom they 'rescued" from a care facility, leaving his oxygen behind,.The acting was first class.   I can only blame the script/dialogue. The concept : one final caper to  eliminate the really bad guy just didn't have what it needed to support the idea.   I forget the name of the lovely young girl who played the waitress -- she was charming and wonderful.   Go in with low expectations and just appreciate the cast.   Whee were the good writers hiding when this film was written?   (Spoiler:   I liked the ending -- guns blazing.).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


There was a time when I was known to have a great tolerance for  film violence.  This one, however, was way over the top and beyond anything I expected.  Yes, I was forewarned and prepared for an opening sequence of torture, so I braced myself for that.  But then I expected it would provide a "police procedural"   plot revealing the 14 years of clever detective work by "Maya" - the government agent expertly portrayed by Jessica Chastain.  No way!  It was totally violent all the way through.  If I had been alone, I would have walked out of the theater.  Unfortunately, I had gone with two friends and so I suffered and cringed through the whole thing.  We all came out needing tranquilizers!   No review, either on line (that I could find)  or in the LA Times newspaper mentioned the constant violence throughout.   I HATED THIS MOVIE!!!   Yes, the acting was worthy, the cinematography excellent, the music good,  but yegods and little fishes!!!!  I must be getting soft in my old age.   I can take a lot of shooting (Remember,  I loved "Ganster Squad"), but "Zero Dark thirty" was horrible.  I know the Critics raved about it.  I was not  "entertained."  

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Arnold deserved a better vehicle (no pun intended) to mark his heralded return to the big screen  than this poor film replete with corny dialogue, and made up 90% of noisy and violent car chases which I hated!    All of the actors in the few scenes in between car crashes were fine, even Schwarzenegger, playing the righteous local sheriff in a small town in Arizona acquitted himself admirably. And I always appreciate the professional acting of Forest Whitaker, this time as an FBI Agent.  Apparently (according to the credits) it took three writers to craft this sad excuse for a movie. It was (mis)directed by Ji-woon Kim.    Not only do I hate car chases, but they are actually boring!   I hope someone gives Arnold S. a decent movie to star in next time.  This one was just awful ( though I liked his performance, corny as the dialogue was.  Could it have been intended as a spoof of the genre?)   Sigh.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Wonderfully violent (watching it is a great way for some of us to vicariously express and diffuse our "inner anger and rage!) with a first class cast, headlined by Josh Brolin as the heroic,  admirable,dauntless police officer who took down the infamous mobster boss Mickey Cohen (excellent portrayal by Sean Penn), who held sway in Los Angeles  circa 1949.)   Having lived in Hollywood in that time period  ( I was 20 years old in 1949) I especially appreciated recognizing many  familiar landmarks, plus the automobiles of that era -- and, oh yes, the red trolley cars that ran along Hollywood Blvd that I used to ride to Hollywood High School in the mid- 'Forties.  Fortunately I was not concerned with gangsters or mobsters at the time -- never went to Slapsy Maxie's night club, but sometimes read about the "clubs" in the Newspaper.   Got a kick out of the scenes of Carmen Miranda performing, decked out in her trademark outlandish technicolor costume.   I should not admit this, but I  really enjoyed this movie, and came out totally relaxed! It was very therapeutic for me,  You can go to  to see the names of the other fine actors, including Nick Nolte who played (the honest)  Police Chief Parker.  (I may be mistaken, but I think that the hats the mobsters wore (all the men wore hats in the 'forties) had a white band above the brim.  Helped to tell who were the bad guys during the numerous gun fights.  Mickey C. (ego-maniac, psychopath or is it sociopath?)  didn't wear a hat,but his guys did.)  Oh, and most of the police and most judges had been bought off by Cohen until our hero (I forget the real officers name, busted up the whole empire that Cohen was building - controlling money placed for all betting, instead of it being controlled from Chicago.  There..   that's more than you  needed to know.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Shakti's OSCAR PREDICTION:   Daniel Day-Lewis to win for best Actor!  He was truly superb in this marvelous film.   Be advised, the movie lasts over two and a half hours, but it kept me fascinated throughout!  I'm guessing "Lincoln" may go head to head with "Argo" for best picture.  Suffice to say,  don't miss "Lincoln."  Sally Field plays Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd (whom history has labeled  "mentally challenged," to say the least.)   Tommy Lee Jones, one of my favorite actors is great (as usual) as one of the members of Congress as they deal with the question of Abolition of slavery.   "Lincoln" is a must-see film, not just for this year, but I think for many years to come, DON'T MISS IT.  (I was pleased to see Hal Holbrook, even if briefly.)


THREE films for your consideration:
"Quartet" is a fascinating story of relationships among  folks who are living in an elegant - prestigious  home for retired musicians. Splendid acting (Maggie Smith, Billy Connelly , Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay) Flawlessly directed by Dustin Hoffman (recent recipient of one of the Kennedy Honors for his outstanding lifetime body of work). Lovely music, too!

"Barbara" is a German film that has earned rave reviews from the critics.  The titled heroine plays a nurse in an East  Germany hospital, awaiting her travel papers to enable her to join her fiance in West Germany.   Sub-titles, of course, translate the sparse dialogue. (I always appreciate sub-titles!)  Barbara genuinely cares for and about her patients, and even about other patients in the hospital, who are not her responsibility. Her smiles and comforting presence work wonders, and her final sacrifice (SPOILER ALERT) of her passport to freedom demonstrate and prove her "heroine" status.  Unlike a Hollywood treatment of the story, it seems to move slowly, and is definitely more subtle.  In retrospect, it stays with you -- favorably.

"Guilt Trip"  got all the way from luke-warm to bad reviews, so I went in with low expectations. (Always a wise approach to an "iffy" movie.)   It's certainly not great, but it was better than I expected.  Barbra Streisand plays the stereotypical obnoxious "Jewish mother" and Seth Rogan plays her son.  They go tooling across the country  for several days.  It has some very annoying scenes, some quite funny ones.  Take your chances.