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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.)