VICTORIA & ABDUL AND THE FLORIDA PROJECT ARE BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM

We were lucky to see two excellent movies last weekend and they couldn’t have been more different.
Victoria & Abdul is a crowd pleaser – surprisingly entertaining and humorous. There’s nothing funnier than the uptight English making fun of THEMSELVES. Beautifully written, and the visuals of the voluptuous royal lifestyle and the palace are breathtaking. It’s a very personal view of Queen Victoria and her odd friendship with an Indian servant. Heartwarming.

The Florida Project is not easy to like – the theater was more than half empty and several people walked OUT. It starts out with a joyful pack of young mischievous kids – their language is harsh and they know far too much for their ages. It becomes obvious that they live with family members on government assistance in a dreary motel in Orlando, Florida, not far from Disneyworld. My first thought: this is how the other half lives. These families struggled for life basics and their kids seemed doomed to repeat the same mistakes as their parents. It’s a painful dose of reality, but mesmerizing and heartbreaking and wonderful.

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Posted by Janet on October 2, 2017

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Filed Under: Movies > The Florida Project > Victoria & Abdul

CATHERINE DENEUVE SCORES AGAIN IN THE MIDWIFE

Anyone exhausted by the proliferation of summer action movies will probably enjoy the tranquility and social observations in the French movie The Midwife. It’s the story of two very opposite women thrown together by circumstances, who learn to appreciate one another. (Stories about women are always more introspective than those about men.) What a delight to see Catherine Deneuve as the free spirited self-indulgent ex-wife of Catherine Frot’s conservative character’s late father. We recall bumping into Catherine Deneuve a few years ago at the flea market in Hollywood. To say we were SHOCKED is an understatement. She looked beautiful (that skin!) and was happy and friendly as she browsed for amusing items to take back to friends in France. This wonderful film is not for those addicted to speed, but a treat for anyone interested in human behavior.

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Posted by Janet on July 23, 2017

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Filed Under: Catherine Deneuve > Movies > The Midwife

DUNKIRK WARNING: TOM HARDY’S FACE IS COVERED THROUGH THE ENTIRE MOVIE!

Let’s be honest – Dunkirk is a movie made BY men, ABOUT men, FOR men. (There’s nary a female onscreen except for a nurse who died immediately) If you like to watch men fighting and torturing each other nonstop – this is your ticket. Director Christopher Nolan apparently realized that he needed a little something to attract a female audience so he included Harry Styles for the young ones and Tom Hardy for adult women. Unfortunately Nolan put Hardy in a plane, wearing a full helmet and face/gas mask for his ENTIRE performance (what a waste!) so we got no satisfaction. We never got to know and feel for the characters, who appeared and died abruptly, – no backstories, no connections, no sentiment. In spite of all that, it was a well-made film with a haunting soundtrack. Just know what to expect before you buy a ticket.

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Posted by Janet on July 20, 2017

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Filed Under: Dunkirk > Harry Styles > Movies > Tom Hardy

“THE BIG SICK” WILL SURPRISE YOU IN A GOOD WAY

The mere IDEA of a romantic comedy makes us WINCE – picturing the same awkward silly scenes we’ve seen dozens of times with the likes of Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Aniston. For us, having not-so familiar actors like Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan makes a movie more relatable and believable. Experiencing the movie The Big Sick is like reading a very satisfying book – you love the characters and don’t want it to end. It’s smart, well-written, funny and serious- everything you hope for in a story.

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Posted by Janet on July 14, 2017

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Filed Under: Movies > The Big Sick

BABY DRIVER STAR ANSEL ELGORT: KISS YOUR PRIVATE LIFE GOOD-BYE!

Young girls have been hip to Ansel Elgort, 23, for a while now, but until this weekend he could walk down the street relatively unnoticed (despite being 6’4”) Baby Driver opens this weekend and that’s going to change EVERYTHING. It’s a teenage dream movie – great music, cool cars, action galore, and even a sweet romance. Ansel’s provocative role is destined to launch him into stardom a la Jennifer Lawrence. The baby-faced actor does have a real-life girlfriend – his high school sweetheart, who happens to be a ballerina. Somehow that makes him even more appealing. Anyway, Baby Driver is a movie that’s hard not to like, even if you are NOT a fan of action, like us….

Photo Credit: AKM-GSI

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Posted by Janet on June 29, 2017

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Filed Under: Ansel Elgort > Baby Driver > Girlfriend > Movies

WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT WONDER WOMAN

The opening scene introduces the island of fierce Amazons magically protected from men and the outside world. They’re supposedly dedicated to their own peaceful, loving society, but are incessantly and violently training to fight. (It’s the 1940’s – couldn’t they find a more scientific way to defend themselves?) The ridiculously sexy metal and leather costumes seemed over the top until one remembers that male superheroes are equally sexualized. Everyone on the Amazon island was cleverly trained to speak with the same light Israeli accent that gorgeous star Gal Gadot has. We LOVED the way Wonder Woman frequently questioned the morals and intelligence of war-mongering men she encountered when she left the island. And we LOVED her first shopping experience. But the relentless and numbingly monotonous fight scenes just kept interrupting. If an hour of explosive violence were cut out, it would be a better movie.

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Posted by Janet on June 13, 2017

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Filed Under: Gal Gadot > Movies > Wonder Woman

WE LOVE BRAD PITT, BUT HE’S NO CLARK GABLE

One of the main reasons to see Allied is the revelation that Brad Pitt is absolutely gorgeous in vintage 1940’s apparel. He is a dream walking in gabardine and bears more than a slight resemblance to Clark Gable. But sadly, without Gable’s charm! For whatever reason, Brad’s character is stiff and humorless. It’s an old-fashioned love story set during WWII, but while Marion Cotillard’s character is radiant and fun, Brad’s spy character almost never smiles. It’s a beautiful to look at tragic love story, but we never shed a tear. Something was missing…

Photo Credit: Pacific Coast News

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Posted by Janet on November 23, 2016

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Filed Under: Allied > Brad Pitt > Marion Cotillard > Movies

HIDDEN FIGURES: IT’S MORE THAN ROCKET SCIENCE

The holidays always bring out the best of the movies and this season is a bonanza. Our favorite holiday movie so far is Hidden Figures. It’s the true story of three brilliant black female friends and their amazing – and unheralded – contributions to the NASA Space Race. Taraji P Henson plays a mathematics genius turned physicist and space scientist whose calculations helped John Glenn orbit the earth and return safely. Octavia Spencer plays a forward-thinking computer programmer who worked on the IBM original, and Janelle Monae’s character fought prejudice to earn a degree in engineering. Most of all, this film shows what life was like in the business/government world in Virginia in the 60’s. Women were treated badly and black women faced unimaginable situations, the least of which was bathrooms labeled White Only. White male superiority prevailed and shameful treatment of everyone else was tolerated. Despite the subject, this film is funny and sweet and romantic – entertaining AND important.

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Posted by Janet on November 20, 2016

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Filed Under: Hidden Figures > Janelle Monae > Movies > Octavia Spencer > Taraji P Henson

DANNY SAYS: THIS IS NEW YORK AT ITS COOLEST

We told you about this film before and this is a reminder that DANNY SAYS opens in Los Angeles this Friday, September 30th at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas in West Hollywood and will also be available on Amazon Video, and VOD.
This movie, Danny Says, is so much fun we didn’t want it to end. If you are fascinated by the revolution of pop culture in New York in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, (or if you were THERE) you’re gonna LOVE this film! Danny Fields was a Harvard educated wannabe hipster who landed in the Village in the 60′s and started writing for Datebook – a teen music oriented magazine. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s and was thrust into the world of The Beatles, Warhol and The Stooges. He developed a crush on Jim Morrison and declared himself press agent to the up-and-coming Doors, thus opening up new career opportunities. Danny is loaded with hilarious anecdotes – many involving drugs – and comments about the celebs he encountered. He landed a job with Electra Records sniffing for new talent and the crazier they were, the more Danny loved them. Interviews with Danny’s acquaintances and musicians (like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed) add to the humor. Eventually Fields discovered and promoted The Ramones, who wrote the song “Danny Says” – hence the title. This film presents an insiders comical view of a great time in history – we can’t say enough good things about it.

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Posted by Janet on September 30, 2016

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Filed Under: Danny Says > Documentary > Movies

COME HELL OR HIGH WATER – DON’T MISS THIS MOVIE!

Hell or High Water is a classic American movie that we can all be proud of. It’s far better than we could have imagined. And this is coming from a WOMAN sick to death of all-male violent movies! But, good is good. How often do you find a brilliant and sensitive script combined with exquisite photography and perfectly cast actors? Who knew Star Trek robot Chris Pine was such a touching and appealing actor! He finally got the role that will change his career. His relationship with his bat-crazy brother, played skillfully by Ben Foster, is what life is all about. Even if this movie doesn’t appeal to you on paper – give it a chance. You won’t be sorry.

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Posted by Janet on August 21, 2016

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Filed Under: Ben Foster > Chris Pine > Hell or High Water > Movies

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  • HOLLYWOOD WHODUNIT: LOOK WHO’S NOT TALKING ABOUT HARVEY WEINSTEIN !
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    We love every one of Harvey Weinstein’s female accusers – but what about the actresses who AREN’T talking? One actress who won an Oscar in the 90’s has been CONSPICUOUSLY SILENT about the casting couch scandal. It’s because SHE has had a long-term “arrangement” with Harvey in which she traded sex for showbiz favors and it must have been awful, but her career prospered. Now this A-lister is horrified at the prospect of being found out! And, guess what – she’s NOT the only one who’s conspicuously silent!
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