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Blind Side (1993)
By-the-book psycho stalker movie
A pretty much by-the-book psycho stalker movie. Nothing remotely original here. Decent acting. Okay photography. Annoying direction. Rebecca de Mornay and Mariska Hargitay look quite nice. Ron Silver plays against type as a basically decent person. Rutger Hauer plays it sufficiently menacing and creepy. But overall, this film did nothing for me.
A thoroughly bad movie. Plot was about an international family company and associated financial machinations. Could have at least done better photography on some of the beautiful locations. And it didn't help that the main character was played by Billy Zane, who I have always found highly annoying. A lot of pretty women ,though.
Night Trap (1993)
Pretty bad. The obviously low budget results in fairly poor production values. Also, there was a lot of bad acting. Louisiana accents appeared and disappeared. The opaque plot may have benefitted from some more exposition about Ironside's character. The only redeeming feature I found in this movie was the lovely Lydie Denier.
Night School (2018)
Haddish steals the show
OK, the premise is a little off, and there are a few plot holes. So what? Kevin Hart is still pretty funny. I got some laughs from this movie and thought it was an average-to-somewhat-better-than-average comedy. But Tiffany Haddish is a treasure. I saw her in some middling TV comedy, and liked her OK, but this role was made for her. She steals the show.
The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974)
Minimal budget, and it shows
This film is what made-for-cable movies were in the Eighties. I suppose it played in drive-ins and maybe the "midnight movie" in theaters. The budget was obviously minimal, so it's hard to blame the director. The acting was mostly pretty bad, especially ALL of the male characters. The one unexpected bright spot was the lead actress, Jo Johnston, who was winsome and engaging. Unfortunately, she never seemed to have acted again.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
There are things to like and dislike in this film. Some fine acting performances, and good photography. Unobtrusive direction. The gay stuff was distasteful to see, but, hey, I knew it would be in there, and watched it anyway. I liked Queen, and though I never saw them perform, some friends who did told me it was the best concert ever. The movie is OK, but it never grabbed me the way it seems to have done to many others.
The Favourite (2018)
Good film, great acting, but often ahistorical
I thought this was a good movie, in spite of its flaws. It was only loosely historical, with some anachronisms and modern-sounding language. Plus the director indulged in some annoying camera tricks, especially the fish-eye lens. But when the director played it straight, the photography was beautiful. Awesome performances by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. Definitely worth checking out.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Odor of mendacity
A powerful set of performances by Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and especially Burl Ives, who apparently was not known as an actor before taking on the role on Broadway. The film suffered a little from being obviously made from a play, with only a few sets, most of them interiors.
I've never seen or read the Tennessee Williams play, so had no idea that there were supposedly homosexual undertones to this movie until reading the reviews here. Not seeing things through the lens of the gay agenda, I took it all at 1950's face value, and it was fine. Men, you know, can have close friendships without there being any gayness involved.
Poodle Springs (1998)
Seems to be missing something
This film is not really bad, per se, but it failed to engage as much as the material might have. James Caan does an excellent job with the role of Marlowe, but I feel that he was clearly too old. Dina Meyer and Julie Campbell were just okay, and Nia Peeples was good in a small part. Good photography and sets, evoking 1963 pretty well. I suppose that it's an okay attempt at modern film noir, but it seems to be missing something.
Among Giants (1998)
Nice film, if a bit slow at times
Kind of slow at times. Plus, I had some difficulty following the dialogue due to the character's accents, but then it probably wasn't made with viewers from the American South in mind. The acting performances seemed good, and the photography was nice. I appreciated this movie for not having a super-hero, or being a rom-com, which is most of Hollywood's output these days.
Great work by Kimberly Elise
There are some really good things here, but some not-so-good also. It is a story of pain, suffering, and madness. The supernatural aspects were hard to understand. Oprah Winfrey's acting was as good as Danny Glover's, while he is a professional actor and she is not. This makes me think that acting is really not that hard. (Even though I know that I couldn't do it) Thandie Newton must be acknowledged for playing a very difficult part. I might not have liked the approach, but I am sure that she delivered what Demme asked for. The real acting jewel was Kimberly Elise, and the film is worth watching for her performance alone.
Friends & Lovers (1999)
There are some good things and bad things in this movie. The worst is probably Stephen Baldwin, the least talented of the Baldwin brothers, and that's a low bar indeed. Robert Downey Jr. was also insufferable, and I'm not even criticizing the accent. George Newbern was decent, as was Claudia Schiffer, a non-actress. Impressive were the performances of Alison Eastwood and Suzanne Cryer. There are worse ways to spend 1 3/4 hours.
Book Club (2018)
A sweet, group romantic comedy
A sweet, group romantic comedy, with an all-star cast. The cast are all Very accomplished actors and actresses, and it shows. Like all rom-coms, some aspects are formulaic, but hey, what do you expect? I was particularly impressed with Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen. Not a movie I would buy, but worth a look on cable, or a Netflix rental.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
A thoroughly decent drama with an all-star cast
A thoroughly decent drama with an all-star cast. While none of the male characters were fleshed out, that simply wasn't the focus of the movie, and I understand that in the source play, none of them ever appeared on-stage. The women were all very strong, if sometimes foolish, and the acting was first-rate. Nice photography of Natchitoches.
The Meg (2018)
Nothing really redeeming here
Nothing really redeeming here. It is a semi science-fiction/monster movie. I didn't know of Jason Statham, and he didn't show me anything. Bingbing Li and Ruby Rose were as good as the material allowed. The megaladon was scary enough, but I guess the next time someone tries to make a shark movie, they'll have to top this and make it 120 feet long. It's really not worth your time.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Constance Wu was terrific
Constance Wu was terrific. Michelle Yeoh was very good also. Otherwise, we have a fairly formulaic romantic comedy, and there's nothing wrong with that. The film does subtly show that the characters that are fabulously wealthy aren't necessarily any happier than middle class folks. Nice photography and direction.
North by Northwest (1959)
A wonderful suspense-filled spy caper
Among Hitchcock's best, which is saying a lot. I was long under the belief that this was a black-and-white movie, but I realize now that I thought that because I first saw it on television in the Sixties, before my family had a color TV. Cary Grant largely plays Cary Grant, which was fine for this film. Eva Marie Saint and James Mason were highly sophisticated in their evil...or not. A wonderful suspense-filled spy caper.
Imaginative, visually striking, but boring
I'm not sure what the target demographic was for this film, but apparently it isn't me. It seems rather too dark for children, though I suppose older children would maybe enjoy it. It is imaginative, and visually striking, but honestly, I was bored by it.
Demolition Man (1993)
Stallone is an average actor at best
Stallone is an average actor at best, and usually somewhat annoying. That holds true here. The fighting scenes are somewhat cartoonish, deliberately so, I think. The fish-out-of-water aspect was mildly amusing. The only real appeal was the earnest and beautiful Sandra Bullock. Can't really recommend this film to anyone.
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
Stale Allen humor
Have to say that this one is better-plotted than most Woody Allen films. Allen and Diane Keaton reprise, if not the characters, then their personas from Annie Hall. Everyone acted well, but often the characters talked over one another, making some of the dialog hard to follow. In the Seventies, Allen's wry commentary was different and fresh, and funny, but still doing the exact same thing has become stale and only a little amusing. Cannot recommend.
Flesh and Bone (1993)
Has flaws, but enjoyable nonetheless
In spite of some flaws, I liked this movie pretty well. Yes, some of the plot turns were highly predictable, but I don't spend my time with a movie trying to predict what's going to happen. I just enjoy it (hopefully). Dennis Quaid was Ok here. I've never cared for him that much, but he is playing a taciturn character, and people always criticize that as bad acting. I disagree. Meg Ryan looked adorable, as always, and played her complicated role very well. I say check it out.
Pretty good, as a psychosexual drama
I thought it was pretty good, as a psychosexual drama. It took a respectful tone to the Orthodox Jewish community, even as it completely rebelled against its strictures. Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams performed very well in the two leads, and most of the rest of the cast rang true, especially Alessandro Nivola.
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Engrossing and entertaining
A Howard Hawks/Cary Grant collaboration with which I was unfamiliar. I found it engrossing and entertaining. For its time, the aircraft special effects were very good. Grant's character was largely unlikeable, a bit of a departure for him. I wasn't very familiar with Jean Arthur, but she looked great, and came off very well. I might not have recognized the young Rita Hayworth. It had a good story, and told it well.
Red Sparrow (2018)
Pretty good film
A lot of commenters are trashing this movie for no obvious reason. I thought it was pretty good. Jennifer Lawrence was quite good, whether she completely mastered a Russian accent or not. Good work as well by Charlotte Rampling, Joely Richardson, and Mary-Louise Parker. Lawrence's character, Dominika, was passionate, but highly controlled, and came off quite stoic. This makes sense for someone who could rise to a high level in world-class ballet.
Checks all the boxes for a "historical" epic
I saw this film in the '90's, and really didn't remember liking it all that much. But viewing it again the other day, I found it quite enjoyable. It checks all the boxes for a "historical" epic. Yes, the MANY historical inaccuracies are a concern, since so many simple folk consider these sort of movies their education in history. But putting that aside, it is well worth watching for its entertainment value. Special kudos to Sophie Marceau and especially Catherine McCormack on their performances and their beauty.