Read My Older Blog Posts here

Visit my previous Blog "Movies and More: Positively Personal Reviews" for my earlier (pre-May 2011) reviews and ramblings.

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.