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I've noticed an influx of so called "Cozy Mysteries" in print, being churned out by the dozens. They all have one thing in common....they all work by a formula and don't need much imagination to figure things out.
I've read that this one is based on such a book series.
While the actresses and actors are decent enough and somewhat funny, it's way too predictable. Heroine gets involved in a mystery (usually a murder), and seems to have a knack to getting herself into trouble, usually with the real killer and the law. While traipsing thru the evidence, which the police obviously overlook, she gets the bad guy. End of story.
The scenery is gorgeous, the actors are all attractive but the movie lacks depth. It also lacks a real identity. Since this is on the Hallmark Channel, I don't expect great drama, but they have made better mysteries based on books.
I love mysteries and read them all the time. I also watch them. This one is just too lightweight for me. Someone wrote that there's just too much "cute" in this movie. I have to agree. It's also annoying that the heroine, Aurora, doesn't give a second thought that this was a real person who was murdered. And the skull of a real person she carries around.
One Magic Christmas (1985)
Let's teach Ginny the REAL meaning of Christmas
Warning....This review contains major spoilers.
Ginny is grouchy, and doesn't like the idea of Christmas. Her husband lost his job and there's no money for presents for the kids.
SPOILERS - WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD! Soooo. An "Angel" comes down and ta-da!! They kill off her husband by having him shot to death by a bank robber. Then they drown her kids by having the bank thief get into the dead husband's car and drive the car into a lake.
That'll teach Ginny a lesson! After the traumatic events we all see on the screen, with our kids no less, we get Santa Claus to the rescue. What Santa and an "Angel" have to do with each other is never explained since one comes from the heavens and the other is just a present giver.
After the audience including young children go through this gut wrenching chain of events, they turn around with one of the most schmaltzy, syrupy twists to make it better. Through the miracle of Santa.
So all ends well for Ginny and family. They learn the TRUE meaning of Christmas.....Thanks to Santa Claus who can bring back the dead. There's presents for all.
As someone else wrote......How on earth did Disney wrangle a "G" rating with all this violence and especially drowning of children. What twisted soul at Disney thought of this additional part is beyond me.
I guess that in today's world, no one blinks an eye when a real parent kills off his or her own children. So this form of "entertainment" is now acceptable. Gee, I wish Santa could them back.
Perhaps if I wrote him a letter........
The Big Fisherman (1959)
We had Turkey for Christmas Eve
Yikes, this was a bad movie! The color cinematography was hideous, the dialog laughable, music was overbearing, sets were cheesy. Oh, and every "B" list actor was in it, except for Howard Keel who only made musicals at the time.
I was certain that this was one of those movies shot in Italy cheaply, then re-dubbed in English. To my shock, it was not only made here in the U.S., but by the Walt Disney Company....with a larger budget than the far superior "Nun's Story." Did Disney really make this to actually compete with "Ben Hur?" Unbelievable.
The fact that it made it to the nomination stage is actually because no other good movies were set to compete against "Ben Hur" and "Nun's Story." They knew they would lose hands down.
When did Walt Disney pass away?
Anyway, we usually have Turkey for Christmas day. Turner Classic Movies served this up to our family on Christmas Eve. We had a good laugh.
Dracula 2000 (2000)
Dracula croaks and so does Virgin (product placement much?)
If it's a Dracula movie, you know how it turns out. The ironic thing is that the Virgin Store where all of the massive "Product Placement" occurs.....went the way of Dracula. Geez, could they be more obvious? The Virgin Store in New Orleans shut down not too long after this movie was made. I lived there at the time. So much for death of everything tied to this movie. Gerard Butler is Yummy, the young British actor is cute too. Justine Waddel is annoying with all her breathless running around (with a Virgin t-shirt no less). The premise is laughable. I didn't think the movie was as sucky as some. As I said.....Gerard Butler is yummy.
Doc Martin: The Admirer (2007)
Ugh! Love the series, hated THIS episode
BEWARE....SPOILER AHEAD!! I absolutely love Doc Martin....minus this one episode. I have nothing against senior citizens having sex, but I don't think seeing a heavy-set, dowdy "Auntie Joan" with her legs spread open, bumping and grinding with a young guy on her kitchen table is exactly entertainment. Apparently, neither did the Doc, who unfortunately witnesses this scene. It could have been done with more taste, but I never really warmed up to the caustic Auntie Joan character anyway. They really over-played the bit about her having Osteoperosis, as though she had Cancer! And taking hormone replacement therapy made her instantly sex crazed (it doesn't). I was glad when they bumped her off later.
The Third Man (1949)
I love Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, either together or singularly in movies. This one I saw for the first time a few years ago on TCM. They played it again this morning.
If there was a way to play a movie on "Mute," and still get the gist of the acting, I would do it. What a horrific decision to make use of a Zither as the major music score. The repetitive pounding of the same score was maddening! In case you have any tympanic membrane left, be forewarned....A "Zither" is a musical instrument that sounds like a cross between a Mandolin and a Screeching Cat. The music goes loud, then low (during a funeral), fast then slow.... but rarely stops for more than 5 minutes at a time. It's the same tune too. Forget waterboarding: just play this music score to your enemy and they'll beg you to take their secret info.
The movie is often shown in angles, as though they tilted the camera. Tall shadows of unknown persons in the city at night were supposed to add to the thriller aspect. Oh yeah, it seems that this city is always empty except for the movie crew and actors. Odd.
I thought the movie was fine, but not worthy of most accolades. Just a modest post-war thriller of sorts. Orson Welles shows up in the last third of the movie. The thrill part comes mostly from his interaction with Joseph Cotton and others, and the plot point is finally revealed. Big Deal!! Geez....I don't think I've ever spent so much room of a review on the music alone. BUT It's the music that jangles every nerve in my body and ruins what otherwise would have been a good movie experience.
Eastwood (both of them) Falter in this Disappointment
First of all, Clint Eastwood should have remembered a few basic lessons in film making, such as NEVER hire your relatives. In placing his daughter, Alison Eastwood, foremost in this dog he did the movie in before it had a good start. She can neither act nor sing. Unfortunately Daddy gives her lots of film time doing both. Alison is so dull, monotoned, and stilted it's horribly boring.
Clint should also have known another rule of filming a major motion picture.....hire REAL actors!! Darn if he doesn't place lots of Savannah citizens in speaking roles. Geez, these people stand out like sore thumbs. Yet oddly enough they outshine Alison Eastwood.
The only reason why I gave this horrible movie two stars is due to the very good acting of Jude Law as the explosive Billy Hanson and Jack Thompson as the down-home lawyer, Sonny Seiler. No one would ever believe that Law is British and Thompson is Australian. I'm from New Orleans and I believed these guys as true Southerners.
Yes the book was terrific. However I was very willing to give the movie a shot because of the wonderfully talented actors such as Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. But they are badly directed and the screenwriters gave them the silliest roles.
One of the worse in Clint Eastwood's cinematic history.
This Series Keeps Sinking Lower, If That's Possible
I watched "Ordeal by Innocence" for the first time last night on PBS. Again, a group of scriptwriters, who think they can do better than Agatha Christie, have slaughtered another one of her books. Again, the "mystery" does not engage the watcher because the characters are not developed enough to show any remotely interesting drama. Again, the title is misleading from the start because this is not Agatha Christie's mystery as she wrote it and it's unrecognizable to the book. While I wouldn't have a problem with some changes and even looked forward to this series in the beginning, it's just a dreadful mess.
As I've watched this Miss Marple series unfold, I've notice that they've made Miss Marple more frail, more feeble, more twittering and twinkling as time goes by. This is both a physical and intellectual transformation. In Bertram's Hotel (shown just before this one), she looked very poor indeed. In "Ordeal" (appropriately named), she's dressed like a homeless waif and acts like she's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. This crew does not allow Geralding McEwan to show the intelligence and cunning that Miss Marple had, even as an elderly spinster. The degradation of her character as time goes by is shocking. Her makeup is dreadful and makes her look even more like a simpleton. One of my favorite mystery characters and few Females in the mystery genre, is disappearing. If you watched "Bertram's Hotel," you'll know this is a truism, because they actually pushed Miss Marple aside to let the young maid do the detection and summation of the crime.
A new group bought controlling interest in Agatha Christie Ltd, so that explains the difference between previous and current productions. Obviously the group owning rights to Christie's books are mindless, unimaginable twits.
Superb Adaptation of Bertram's Hotel
I've been an Anglophile since I was a kid, but only recently had the patience to read Agatha Christie's books (so much detail!!). Bertram's Hotel became one of my favorite because Miss Marple goes to the big city and visits places she knew as a child. We get a bit of Little Jane and what she enjoyed.
The British have always been great at adapting books to film. This Bertram's is an excellent example. It maintains the integrity of a book while condensing it into a short span.
Bertram's Hotel is all that and more. The plot, characters and environment are beautifully done and wonderful to watch. An aging Joan Hickson (one of her later Marples) appropriately plays the aging Miss Marple. A friend replies "She must be 100 years old," or something to that effect.
The mystery is intriguing and I love seeing one of my favorite sleuths still able to see everything for what it really is, while fooling everyone with her elderly appearance. I love the actress who plays Bess Sedgwick. She hits the mark as Christie wrote her and she's fun to watch. I actually cared a great deal about her although some things about her character are not so hot. That pretty much goes for all the characters with one exception. Vadislaus Marinovsky is appropriately arrogant, still in keeping with the book.
This episode of the Miss Marple series with Joan Hickson is absolutely wonderful. I bought the DVD set and watch it often.
ONE WORD OF WARNING: If you're a newbie, do NOT mistake the two series. The new Marple series with Geraldine McEwan is terrible!!
Murder Most FOUL
Like many here, I was really thrilled to see that there was a new Miss Marple series in the works. But yikes! This series is beyond bad. It should have been a comedy because it doesn't have the feel or look of a mystery. I have to admit that I also found the characters foolish and at some point didn't really care who did what. There was no depth to any of them. I think the people who put the series together just wanted to employ a slew of older, maybe out-of-work actors. Everything spins so quickly, with no real character development that it's hard to understand how anyone fits in. When things are explained at the end, they use that time to even introduce characters (like the priest) who are supposed to be part of the mystery. I was annoyed and confused as to how these people fit in because they weren't interacting in the episode. I also found the ending totally stupid, allowing the maid to do the explaining. A real insult to Miss Marple fans. Geez!! Forget the old adage that the "Butler Did It", in this episode "The Maid Did it." Or should I way the producers let the maid do it. They pushed Miss Marple out of the episode. This is Murder Most Foul indeed.