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Reviews

United States of Al
(2021)

Give the Show A Chance to Grow and flourish
It's rare and about time that network comedies take a chance on a new challenging premise. Al is an Afghanistan legal immigrant who worked as a translator for the United States military. He comes to Columbus, Ohio where the American soldier and his family welcome him into their home. The sitcom needs time. The cast is fine but the show is stilling trying to find itself. The actor who played Al I'd not Afghani but he is talented an experienced. He was David spade's assistant in rules of engagement and played a Muslim foreign exchange student in another sitcom. I'm glad to see chs exploring other cultures and religions. I only wished they did it sooner.

No One But Me
(2012)

The Unforgettable Annie Ross!
I didn't know much about Annie Ross as a jazz singer but as an actress. The documentary covers her life especially fourteen years with her aunt Ella Logan in Los Angeles and separated from her parents and siblings. Annie is very blunt and talks about her relationships including with her son, Kenny Clarke Jr, who was raised in Pittsburgh by his paternal uncle and aunt. Annie was ahead of her time. She had romances with Kenny Clarke, an African American jazz musician and comedian Lenny Bruce. She battled a drug addiction. She had been awarded the NEA jazz master's award. Sadly she passed away last year.

Rock Story
(2015)

Joyce Dewitt's Best Dramatic Perfornance to date
Joyce Dewitt played Judge Carol Ann Connelly. It's one of her best roles in an independent films. Mandy Bruno and Robert Bogue play lawyers in Middletown, New York. They both want to be rock stars. Mandy's character is in a wheelchair after an accident where she lost her mother. I loved seeing these actors and Justin Deas. Eric Roberts, Keaton Simons and Gilbert Gottfried have cameos. I like the courthouse scenes where the quality comes across. It's an okay film but it's Joyce's performance that was a shocker and totally different than smithing she ever done before. It's a bit king and could have used an editor. I didn't care about the band politics except for Deas' character. I got to watch it for free on a streaming service. I wished Joyce acted more.

Kate & Koji
(2020)

It's not lying, if it is texting!
Brenda Blethyn OBE should be awarded damehood eventually. She has become a National treasure as detective Vera and now Kate who runs a seaside cafe in a dying seaside resort. Koji is an African asylum seeker and a doctor. He can't work while he is seeking asylum. Kate and Koji work out an agreement. The sitcom premise needs a little work but I did miss British comedies like this one. Too bad, they only have six episodes for one season. I wish they were longer seasons. A good supporting cast makes it worthwhile. It's a must for Blethyn fans.

Three's a Crowd
(1984)

It's okay but not great
John Ritter's Jack Tripper finds love with Vicki Bradford (Mary Cadorette) and live in an apartment upstairs from Jack's Bistro. Robert Mandan's Mr Bradford and Vicki's father just bought the building from Mr Angelino. Alan Campbell plays surfer and cook Ez. Vicki's mother was played by Jessica Walter. A great solid cast but it only lasted a season. The same crew from threes company. The series could have lasted another season if given a chance. I remember when three's company ended and three's a crowd came and went. The series would have worked better with guest characters from the original series but they only got Richard Kline's Larry for an episode.

Call Me Kat
(2021)

You're not giving it a chance
Mayim Bialik played Katherine Silver who runs a cat cafe and adoption center. Mayim's Kat Is far more social and less awkward than on the Big Bang theory. Swoosie Kurtz is cast as Kat's mother. Leslie Jordan and Cheyenne Jackson are also in the show. I like the fact that the series is set in Louisville, Kentucky. I wished they cast Adale O'Brien (an established Louisville actress) and Joyce Dewitt in guest appearances. The sitcom is based on the British series. The sitcom needs some work but it's still entertaining.

Superstore
(2015)

How is Superstore Not A Super Hit!
How is Superstore.not a super hit? It's a collaborative effort with s great ensemble. I love watching Dina. Jonah Simms is the character and reluctant employee. He and Amy have instant chemistry. Six seasons and over a 100 episodes, the cast looks like they're having fun and so are we, the audience. I loved Sandra and Glenn. Dina points out that Sandra moved from Hawaii to St. Louis. Glen Is just a lovable manager. I think the series could have gone on further too. It wasn't promoted enough. Once you start laughing, you can't stop at the absurdity. Anyone in retail will tell you the craziness is real.

Leatherface
(2017)

I found the mother to be interesting
How did the sawyer family become heartless killers and get away with it for so long? How come the sheriff didn't arrest the whole family? The killing and violence is unnecessary really. The family matriarch is the one I want to know more about. How did this family evolve? Lili Taylor is superb as the mother. We all know leatherface and his family were disturbed but it is how and why they became monsters. How come nobody looks for the victims? It's like free and legal to kill in sawyer country. The sheriff must have a gun. They could take the family down or into custody.

77 Minutes
(2016)

One of the Earlier Mass Shootings in Depth!
Charlie Minn means well but he doesn't try to be objective about the fact that it was one of the first mass shootings in the United States. The massacre occurred on July 18, 1984 in San Ysidro, California right by the Mexican border crossing. The shooter was from Ohio. Minn does not mention the shooter's name as respect to the victims and survivors. Since the shooting happened at a McDonalds fast food restaurant in San Ysidro. There were two in the same city. The casualties were 29 plus the shooter. The police and swat team were unable to determine how many shooters were in the restaurant. The shooter had a home arsenal of firearms. The compelling interviews are with the survivors who still live with the horrors. Why did the shooter do it? While I was enlightened by the news footage. The documentary does show actual police footage which included the deceased victims and the shooter as well. At the time, it was the biggest mass shooting in the country's history. It now comes in at 5th place with the casualties. The shooter was executed by a Sniper. I don't think anyone was prepared for it in 1984. We now have active shooter drills in public schools. We've had many more shootings but the McDonalds massacre should be studied more. The director does pay respect to the victims. I think Minn's final statement was out of line though. You can't blame for police and law enforcement for why they didn't take action sooner with the shooter. I still find the documentary compelling but I didn't like the director's approach.

Unforgotten: Twenty-Five Years After Willowbrook
(1996)

Willowbrook still brings tears to Geraldo Rivera!
The story of the Willowbrook mental institution on Staten Island in New York City shocked the viewers in the early seventies. The institution closed and the survivors and their family members recount their stories. Danny Aiello is the narrator here. While I would have enjoyed a more narrative account of Willowbook with the shocking footage, the documentary focused on two specific families of Patti Ann and Luis who were residents there. I still think the documentary is relative to understanding why we don't have these institutions. I wished there was a more backstory to Willowbrook. Geraldo Rivera had tears in his eyes recounting covering the place.

Crownsville Hospital: From Lunacy to Legacy
(2018)

A Rich and Troubled History
Crownsville Hospital was built in the rural away from the nearby Maryland capital of Annapolis, It was built originally for African American mental patients on 500 acres. The documentary does a detailed history with interviews, archive footage and history about the place from inception to the closing in 2004. What is left behind has been discussed for future use. It's an interesting and sad documentary about the place.

Scattered, Smothered & Covered Christmas
(2020)

Also Known as A Waffle House Christmas
Two years ago, they taped this stage production of an original musical with Joyce Dewitt (Rita) in it and a colorful cast of characters. Kay Gobbell is a godsend as Peggy Inscoe who names her children after rock and roll performers like Steve Tyler and Joe Elliott. Danny Procter and T. Graham Brown are also in the cast mixed with Nashville professionals and local Henderson, North Carolina locals. It is a production with new music set on Christmas Eve at a Waffle House in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This musical was played at a dinner theatre in Nashville. Some of those original performers have returned for a once in a lifetime production taped in front of an audience. Now while the Waffle House set is fine and pleasant. There are musical numbers done well by the cast. Of course, the biggest attraction for me is Joyce Dewitt as Rita. You will know more once you watch it. It's an enjoyable two hours where it lifts your spirit. I wished Joyce Dewitt was on television more. She prefers the stage and she is clearly in her element. While the storyline and character development might need some improvement, I enjoyed the fact that I could see it on television. I love Kay Gobbell too. When you watch, you enjoy it and not take it seriously. The last song was my favorite, "I am Christmas Day."

One Day at a Time
(2017)

Your favorite book is the Chamber of Secrets. Why can't you keep them?
Norman Lear always had a knack in creating bonafide hits. While I am grateful for the reboot of one of my favorite sitcoms, "One Day at A Time," has Penelope Alvarez (a divorced mother) living with her overbearing mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno) and her two teenage kids. It's set in Los Angeles, California and not Indianapolis, Indiana. I was glad to see Mackenzie Phillips return to the series. The character Schneider is back as the superintendent and best friend played by Todd Grinnell. Stephen Tobolowsky played Penelope's boss and doctor and Lydia's companion. I haven't seen much of the series only the two episodes from the fourth season. While I am always grateful for a Lear series, it doesn't feel much like one. Penelope is a bit affront about everything. She's no Bonnie Franklin who was much more subdued in the role. I don't know Justina Machado's background. Rita Moreno's Lydia is almost obnoxious and overly annoying at times. I love Moreno but I just wished the writers would take it a step back. Moreno is a larger than life performer who has won every award imaginable. Stephen Tobolowsky is barely used. The kids in the series don't seem well-developed for me. They're just a one-dimensional character to me. What I enjoyed about the original was the reality and the interaction among the cast. I'll keep watching and hoping that it will get better.

The House That Dripped Blood
(1971)

No, I mean I saw him. Just last night before you came back from the theater... And again... just now!
I saw this on the Movies channel last night. It's quite entertaining about a house in the English countryside. I enjoyed watching Jon Pertwee; Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in their roles. Pertwee played an actor who has played a vampire in many horror films. Lee played Mr. Reid, a widower and single father of a strange daughter, who moves in with secrets. Nyree Dawn Porter played the girl's tutor. That was quite an episode of horror and built slowly. It was probably my favorite. There was one where a single mature man moves and becomes infatuated with a wax statue at the wax museum in town. It's an entertaining horror film that should be shown around Halloween.

Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992
(2017)

Definitely More Relevant Than Ever
John Ridley's powerful documentary is mandatory viewing on Los Angeles, California from 1982 to the Rodney King beating in 1991 and the riots in 1992 after the verdict of not guilty against the four policemen acquitted by a largely white jury. You had video footage of the beating.

The two hours was riveting viewing last night three years later on television. It was edited on television. I wished they showed the entire documentary. The director had different perspectives which helped broaden our views.the director had views from African Americans; Korean Americans; police officers and others.

In 2020, this documentary speaks more than ever.

Million Dollar Listing San Francisco
(2015)

Just Watching for the Scenery
Three very different realtors, all male, who sell in the Bay Area. I just watched it for the views and scenery. Unlike Los Angeles, San Francisco has better views overall. Roh is married to a woman, has a son and is practicing Muslim in suburban Hayward. That's rare on reality television.

Justin lives with a friend, his wife and child in the city. Andrew is gay and engaged to Paal. Andrew isn't keen on kids at all. I'm not surprised that it only lasted a season. It's not as competitive and vicious like the others in the franchise.

It's Alive
(1974)

Underrated horror gem!
I caught this film on movies channel. Sure it started slowly but builds up the drama. John Ryan and Sharon Farrell were excellent as the parents of a mutant killer baby in this independent horror film. The director never shows the baby until the end. At first the father and others want it destroyed but the mother slowly recognizes the baby's need for parents. The baby must have been the smartest baby ever to come out killing and escape the hospital all over Los Angeles. Hard to believe the baby wasn't caught quickly? That's the hard part of the film to swallow for me. When I finally did the complete film, I got it. Farrell and Ryan gave stellar performances as parents. The director did a great job with low budget.

Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'
(2003)

Not a terrible expose!
When three's company debuted, it was groundbreaking sitcom and instant hit. The movie is only tip of the iceberg. Looking back, I can see why Suzanne did what she did. 40 years later, sexism and misogyny is alive and well in Hollywood. Ritter was earning $150,000 while Somers and Dewitt earned $30,000. That's a big difference. Don't forget that Priscilla Barnes referred to her time as three worst years of her life. There was plenty going on behind the scenes. Thankfully Joyce and Suzanne made peace in 2012. We lost John too soon.

E! True Hollywood Story: Three's Company
(1998)
Episode 38, Season 2

I wished there was more!
I got to see Joyce Dewitt as Mother Superior in Nunsense at a nj dinner theatre. Priscilla Barnes didn't contribute to the book. While Somers may have been wrong but she was right. She and Joyce deserved to be paid like John Ritter. No offense to Ritter but he was getting paid 5 times their salary rate. That's obscene. Somers may have been wrong in approach but she wasn't wrong overall. She was just asking for equal pay. I liked Joyce Dewitt who has gone on to perform mostly in theatres across North America. Joyce did protest when they tried rescind a raise and didn't appear in one episode. I felt bad for Priscilla Barnes, Joyce Dewitt, Jenilee Harrison and yes Suzanne Somers. It was a toxic working environment at times. The producers should have known that Ritter's salary would cause problems. Suzanne Somers bounced back though. ABC hired her for "Step by Step." Joyce and Suzanne reunited in 2012 on her talk show. It was never personal between them. It was Somers versus the network establishment.

Goodfellas
(1990)

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster.
I don't know how I didn't review this movie before. It's still an absolute masterpiece. I just loved Ray Liotta's performance with Joe Pesci; Robert DeNiro and Lorraine Bracca. Based on the true story of Henry Hill, he narrated the story of his life in crime almost unapologetically at times. Martin Scorsese was a genius in recreating the era with sounds, music, costumes. Too bad, the film lost best picture to "Dances with Wolves." Liotta's performance of Henry Hill was once in a lifetime for him. He played him beautifully. Robert DeNiro's Jimmy Conway also was brilliant as well. Joe Pesci deserved his Academy Award for playing Tommy DeVito. Mama Scorsese played Mother Devito in the movie. When the film credits rolled, the musical rendition of "Layla," was just unforgettable and intertwined with the scenes of those dead bodies in the pink cadillac and frozen in the truck. The cast was brilliant as everything in the film was. A true classic that we don't get tired of watching ever.

Rabid
(1977)

I Saw This Film befote the Pandemic on TV but I had to get the DVD
I caught only the last hour or less on television back in February before the pandemic. I just had to get the DVD of it and it was worth the wait and cost. Marilyn Chambers' Rose is quite compelling from a porn Star to a legitimate actress. Chambers was a good choice.

David Cronenberg did a great job with a low budget horror film. The cast was exceptional but not familiar. What I don't understand is how Rose became infected with the phallic appendage stinger in her armpit in the first place. The film doesn't clarify how it happened. It couldn't have been the skin graft? Why were some killed while others were infected with rabies?

I will probably watch the director's commentary next time to get a better understanding. It was just eerie that this movie aired right before the pandemic. I keep thinking about it the last couple of months.

Old School
(2003)

Fill it up again! Fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it's so good!
I am usually fine with Will Ferrell movies but this isn't one of my favorites. An all star cast can't keep the film up to comedic standards. The film is like a modern day Animal House with thirty year olds. Yes, there are lot of gross and uncomfortable parts in watching this film. There is vulgarity, profanity and some unsuitable material for anybody really. The cast was great with Vince Vaughan; Owen Wilson; Artie Lange; Andy Dick; Ellen Pompeo; Leah Remini and more. The script was terrible. Jeremy Piven was perfect as Dean Pritchard in the movie.

The Post
(2017)

Do you know what my husband said about the news? He called it the first rough draft of history.
Before Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein, there were the Pentagon Papers scandal. This film covered how the Washington Post published actual reports over several presidential terms about the Vietnam War. Meryl Streep was devine as Katherine 'Kay' Graham, the head publisher who inherited her husband's newspaper. Tom Hanks was Ben Bradlee, the editor in chief. Hanks and Streep were marvelous in their roles. The cast was superb in telling a story that needed to be told. I had no idea about the Pentagon papers at all. I thought this was more about Watergate. The film was done first rate. Hanks, Streep and Spielberg finally worked together and brilliantly to tell the story.

Broke
(2020)

It's not that bad! Too bad the network didn't give it a chance!
Too bad, the network had canceled the series. Sure there are problems but it can be workable. I liked the sisters who look and act like sisters in real life. There are some good moments if you watch other episodes.

Crocodile Dundee II
(1988)

I know you're up there. Come down, or I shoot your friend.
The original Nick Dundee is back and living in New York City with Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski). When she gets kidnapped, Nick goes back on an adventure. It's not that much of storyline though. He has to get the bad guys and save the woman he loves. There is a gorgeous shot of the twin towers that once stood proudly tall in Lower Manhattan in the opening sequence. They get to back down under too. Nick sticks out like a sore thumb in New York City but he's become a resident. It's enjoyable for a time.

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