Review for Under the Skin- Spoiler alert. We hated it. We love Scarlett Johansson, and would love to work with her, despite this atrocious, mind numbing, regurgitation laughingly called a movie. I mean, she's such a Do-Do that when a guy tries to penetrate her she uses a lamp and a mirror to discover her lack of female Genitalia! I mean, REALLY, and that's just the beginning. MINDLESS, ugly guys, ugly scenery, endless roads, interminable pauses, dumb men, unintelligible accents, and a tacky 'reveal' which you already know when she 'peels' off her you know what. Nobody, but nobody should nominate this film for dogcatcher award. UGH!
Terrifying ride into the Macabre great direction and Actors & Based on True Events.
Saw Bad Blood...The Hunger in 2 Festivals (Film has won 17 Major Awards to date) & the story starring legendary 3 time Academy nominee Piper Laurie & Classic Lifelong Film & T.V. Star Conrad Janis, who both Stars & Directs this awesome gorgeous cast & creates an AMAZING Future/Retro "LOOK" sets it in a Class of its own. Can't wait to see it in the Theaters, it truly is, as advertised, 'ROMEO & JULIET....WITH CANNIBALS'. Kudos! When 10 vacationing College students head out for Lake Tahoe, they are chased, then trapped into a bizarre world of would be 'Homey Folks' who turn out to be practitioners of ancient deadly rituals (based on True Events) that leave our young pilgrims in dire straights, and in danger of loosing their Life, limbs, if not their sanity, yet the film never falls into the schlock category typical of this genre. It's character driven, with a glorious combination of a Technicolor/Film Noir look, a great score, and perhaps some of the most tantalizing up and coming breakthrough young actors I've seen. It has a touch of Hitchcock, Nicholas Roeg, & M. Night Shyamalan. A 10 for certain!
Swiss Family Robinson (Jean Lafitte) with Frank Langella & Maria Grimm Heated up Family Show
I saw all the Swiss Family Robinson episodes and liked them fine, but the fire wasn't lit in my belly till the two part episodes with Frank Langella as the Swashbuckling and exciting Pirate Jean Lafitte made a two part pilot appearance opposite a sweet and fresh faced but adorably feisty young actress, Maria Grimm as his co-star. It was an unlikely pairing with her petite 5'3" fantastic figure & baby face with sultry lips and zapping French piquancy and flashing eyes and Langella's Swarthy good looks and secret smile for his concubine Marie Carre just elevated this too 'sweet' series to a sassier, much more exciting adventure. Cameron was a dream and great, as was Neville Brand whose World War II adventures should be memorialized.
79 Park Avenue is a skillful if romanticized version of a Prostitute with a Heart of Gold. Leslie Ann Warren was great casting as was the rest of the other actors, in particular a young 18 year old actress Maria Grimm who plays the role of the one who initiates Marja into stripping. My father was an extra in the audience when they taped that sequence and though Leslie Anne had years of Broadway training as a hoofer, it was Miss Grimm's intense, rhythmically mesmerizing yet innocent 'Strip' that took his, and all our breaths away. It's a good thing we never met her as we might have fought over her. She is HOT and SWEET. Miss Grimm, more than anyone in the series, captured the essence of what a 'Woman-Child' should be, someone who could fit in your heart's pocket but send you to the Moon with her sweet Sass. I'd like to see the entire series, not the cut up version currently occasionally seen on T.V. as the Series is timeless, and the story compelling, and the acting wonderful.
Project U.F.O. Was a wonderful and PREDICTED SERIES by one of its guest Stars Maria Grimm
I was a guest star on one of the episodes & a year earlier had predicted that Caskey Swaim, whom I was dating, would star in a T.V. Series about U.F.O.'s. I wrote this down, dated it & it came to pass, down to the actual day in which he was cast. Later when they needed an Actress who spoke French, I was coincidentally available to Star in it & enjoyed working with my dear friend Caskey who is and was a truly original person and wonderful actor. He is from North Carolina and does a mean impression of Elvis and Brando---his two heroes. I loved the Show on it's own merits as I have had two U.F.O. Sightings in my own life, one in Casablanca Morocco, and one in Anaheim California, so I thought the Series had a lot of veracity. The effects were good for its time. My husband, Conrad Janis has a history of Starring & associating with series about U.F.O.'s i.e. Mork and Mindy and QUARK in which he Starred, (just released on video and it was only 8 shows, so Project U.F.O. deserves a D.V.D. release too.) Conrad also starred in an episode of My Favorite Martian, while I starred in a scary Kolchak called: 'Demon in Lace'----talk about 1 degree of separation. Conrad Janis both Stars and Directs our new film BAD BLOOD...THE HUNGER opposite Piper Laurie, myself and 10 Breakthrough young Stars, and we will be previewing the 2009 Release of our film sometime between Dec. 26th 2008 through Jan 6, 2009 at the H.D.B.H.FILM FESTIVAL @ the Fine Arts Theater, thus our association with Extra-Terrestrial, High concept Horror-Thrillers goes on. Write to the powers that be to get a D.V.D. release on Project U.F.O.
Torchwood 'Jumped the Shark...in fact the whole Atlantic Ocean"
Was truly one of my and our friends FAV' shows. Never missed one, and one of the reasons was the sexy Leading Man whose immortality and dark secret kept him somewhat away from our leading Actress. Then,(Warning Spoilers) out of the blue, for no logical, visual, movie star appeal, or dog walking reason, they pair her off with a mediocre actor with ZERO sex appeal, rough manners and no style. Figured we'd hang on, as it couldn't last...and it didn't. Now, the formula for 'HOT' shows are the irresistible force and the immovable object, i.e. the two leads being drawn romantically together against all odds---succumbing at times, and drawing the line right back so we, at home, can HOPE 'someday' they'll get together, in between saving the earth and its moronic humanity. BUT NO...you go and get all 'Politically correct'(Warning, Spoilers)...in some Universe we poor mortals don't dig, relate to, or want to be part of. (Warning big spoilers)Homosexuality is just fine. Married Homosexuals is yummy. But in an Adventure film, sorry boys, but Mr. James Bond, DOES NOT RUN OFF INTO THE SUNSET WITH A 'TOM...DICK...OR HARRY'...no matter how advanced we all become. Why?...simple, Women make up HALF or more of the world population, and we cannot, will not, and squirm with repugnance when one of our few gorgeous hunks of burning love, spends forever( Warning Spoiler) 'Snogging' another MAN (as I believe it's called in England)---so where does that leave us warm-blooded, romantic damsels in need of kisses, hugs, etc.? Where is Cary Grant when you need him? Sorry guys, if some influential producers or directors or writers gave you this advice---IT WAS BAD ADVICE. Let ANYONE else on the show be(Spoiler) homosexual, but NOT our romantic leads---they are what draws us to the show, and what will make us drop you like a decaying apple if you continue in this vein. "Love in the Afternoon" with Gary Cooper sure would have another meaning with you folks in charge of the Romance department, and your show is about Fantasy...not making Politically correct and maybe for some, self-serving episodes that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths...literally. In the U.S. "Jumping the Shark" means 'You've lost it, and it's a matter of time before you are off the air'...so listen to not only a once upon a time 'fan'...but to someone who makes a living writing for films. Good luck, and stop it.
The Brasher Doubloon, Film Noir with all it's magic, and plenty of pizazz to please that genre's true fans.
Mysterious, Moody Mansions, juicy but unexpected villains, great characters, especially Florence Bates as the mother of the 'Poor little Rich Boy', played by youthful fresh-faced and very talented Conrad Janis, whose 'Peck's Bad Boy act', contrasted with his boyish charm, makes you not want him to be part of his mother's dark machinations, and murderous plot to drive poor Nancy Guild over the edge into madness. Nancy Guild's name may not have been as powerful a draw as Lauren Bacall's, or other sultry Film Noir Stars, and George Montgomery may not have had the 'gravitas' Humphrey Bogart so easily exuded, but together this movie is as thrilling these many years later, as our memories are of the more famous Film Noirs of the time. It is not a white knuckle ride, but it is insidiously unnerving, taut, 'shivery' and darkly sensual, and represents a classic style of filming which is layered with conventional ploys of the era in which it was created, but frankly so much more satisfying that most of today's lukewarm fare. Three cheers or 20 for this fun whodunit.
Who can you trust? You are NOT paranoid if someone is chasing you, and Jennifer Barron's life is definitely on the line in this taught political thriller
Who can you trust? This film was a Deja-Vu Experience as it reflects the very real 'Big Brother' scenario we, as a Nation are currently experiencing. No one wants to believe that total corruption can ascend to the heights of the White House, but in this thrilling, character driven plot, what might appear to be fodder for a late night movie, is in fact a blueprint for our current political scene. Jennifer Barron, a strong willed survivor is thrust into a nightmarish scenario where she can trust no one, not even her own Country, and where rogue agencies of our Federal Government take the law into their own hands leaving victims, including her own lover, a duped Secret Service agent whose intentions are honorable but who discovers, too late, that he was but a pawn in an International Consortium which (like today's immoral allies and enemies) have but one goal...to destroy our Political system from within. Her lover, an unwitting assassin for this underground but unimaginably powerful organization is himself killed just before realizing that he too had become too hot to keep alive, and thus he is forced to leave Jenny a computer disk with all this information he has acquired with a code which is indecipherable to all but her, causing her to be pursued by this nebulous but deadly group with the intention of terminating her with prejudice. The human elements and character development of this original story, which doesn't take the normal path of Political thrillers or Horror films by having no motivation for the Protagonist's actions, is, instead, satisfyingly logical, and brings to the Screen a real heroine with brains, beauty and ethics many of our contemporary Politicos should aspire to imitate. This film was not predictable, except if one is a student of history, but rather a warning to ourselves to remain vigilant even while enjoying the wonderful and varied performances of this fast-paced, chilling and exciting film...George Segal and Elliott Gould portray the President and Vice President respectively, and give colorful, unique performances with a startling twist of "NOIR"...while the deceptively charming, erudite attorney 'Frank Donaldsonn' starring veteran actor Conrad Janis, reminds us that all who smile are not angels...his delusion leads us down a chillingly unexpected discovery that turns the movie around, while Paige Turco, as Jennifer Barron is both beautiful, sage, and a woman of action, and Dirk Benedict, her lover, is suave, dedicated to his cause, and with yet another non conventional twist---dead too soon. A very special performance in the role of Jenny's next door neighbor (Maria De la Luz Schultz) played by Maria Grimm adds humor, and pathos when she too becomes a victim to those chasing and destroying all of Jenny's support system, in an effort to recover the compromising DISK, leaving her alone against the odds, a maverick bent on saving the future President and our Country's ideals. Bravo
The Eternal struggle for Personal Integrity and Survival against the Odds.
I was fortunate enough to star in this made for television version of the original FRIENDLY PERSUASION starring Richard Kiley and Shirley Knight, in the role of Lilly Truscott, in a similar characterization of yet another classic film called: "PINKY"...I was to have have been a half white, half black by-product of a secret mixed union, but raised as a 'Lady' who could 'pass' as white. My character's dilemma in this wonderfully directed, and brilliantly acted story, was that of survival, and the kindness of true pacifists who must rise to the challenge of not 'breaking' their faith or rules, but 'bending' them enough to save Lilly and her husband who must pretend to be her slave in order to escape the harsh judgment of those times. I took the role because of that internal and eternal struggle between personal values and integrity weighing the total picture of a less than perfect world, and 'walking the line' without the blinders that most inculcated religions attempt to demand of their followers. This family had to make hard choices, and search their souls, and humanity won out over doctrine, and the result was heroic in it's simplicity...it is as true today in our world of terrorism and dogmatic religiosity versus a universal non-secular 'humanism'. This movie is worth seeing both artistically, cinematically, and as a reminder that we ALL have choices in our daily lives---albeit not all as dramatic as in this film. Enjoy...I did, while filming it.
Censorship...the Bane of all potentially good films. This so affected Studios, writers, Producers and Actors in the 40's and 50's, that they even started believing that being priggish, gossip-mongering, judgmental and dull were the way to go...which is how we got stuck with today's counter culture as a rebellion to those grizzly days, and how real human problems as Mary Hagen's were so sanitized, compromised and sterilized as to become vapid half movies when their potential started out great. I saw That Hagen Girl in my teens, and have looked everywhere on D.V.D. and V.H.S. for it. What's the big deal? A younger woman---an older man? What about the wonderful 'Daddy Long Legs' with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron? What about 'Susan Slept here with Debbie Reynolds and Dick Powell? What about "Love in the Afternoon" with Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn? Cooper also felt awkward doing the film, and looked older than Reagan, though Cooper was a GREAT actor while Reagan certainly never was, but ever since History began more savvy mature men have married younger women---no big deal, but the problem with this film, which despite it's flaws I truly enjoyed in part because of Shirley Temple's irresistible charm, and in part because of Conrad Janis' more realistic performance,(yep, the Conrad Janis who played Mindy's Dad on Mork and Mindy and recently in the November Conspiracy), and who, as in some of his many teen roles played heroic parts, as in Snafu, or Heartthrobs as in 'Margie', or 'Peck's bad boy' roles, as he did in The Brasher Doubloon and That Hagen girl where he is sassy and swaggering and dares to steal Shirley's first 'adult' kiss on film. That was a film history marker. He isn't sympathetic in this role but Shirley's unearned 'bad girl reputation' as a result of the town folks dirty minds, made her fair game, or so he thought, and it precipitates her asserting herself as something other than her reputation would indicate, and ultimately allows her to find true, albeit conflicted love with Reagan. Miss Temple's real life impending motherhood at the too early age of 19 made her self conscious and one dimensional in her responses to the natural exuberance of youth, and made her appear prematurely too 'grown-up' despite her youthful and wonderful face, and maybe just a little dour, but her charm and the 'Happy Ending' her character so obviously wanted should have been committed to wholeheartedly both by the leading actors, namely Reagan and Temple, but especially by the writers, and producers, and distributors---and they shouldn't have tippy-toed around the issue. I'm certain no one yelled 'Oooh...' when Gary Cooper scoops up a young 19 year old Hepburn onto his train, though he certainly looked over 55, even 60---why? Because he and Audrey Hepburn could sell us all the London Bridge twice over, and if SHE believed that love conquers all, as she also showed us in 'Charades' with Cary Grant and that age doesn't have to mean a thing, then WE as the audience would believe it too. Too many prudes in That Hagen Girl, unfortunately, except for, as mentioned the 'bad boy' show-off, but very cute Conrad Janis...and how bad was he really compared to today? No Uzis, no Crack, no raping, rapping, or piercings...so I give it a 9 for being heads above what we are all forced to view these days, and for being sweet, with relatively 'small' problems compared to the mildest Soap Operas of today. Show it more often...and get it on D.V.D. PLEASE. And P.S. I'm 28, successful, but prefer these classics.
Remembering to Dream---MARGIE---weaves Magic Spell
One of my 5 favorite films of all times. I spent years away from my home America, and first saw this film when I was 14. But each time I see it, I laugh, cry, and remember what all butterflies must feel as they leave their chrysalis to become the lovely free spirits we so admire---Such is Jeanne Crain's sentimental journey through her teen-age angst towards a young emancipated woman. In her earnest struggle to 'fit in', and be popular like her best friend the beautiful and racy Mirabelle, a.k.a. Barbara Lawrence and her boyfriend 'Johnnikins' (a young and dashing Conrad Janis), the high school heartthrob(Move over DiCaprio) for whom Margie carries a heavy torch with his Beaver Coat and Pork Pie hat, (and way cooler 'moves' than Brando ever had). Yet she is humiliated and passed over at every turn not in small part due to her proclivity for losing her bloomers at the most inopportune times, including in front of the 'yummy' new French School teacher (Glenn Langdon). But despite a series of wildly comedic misunderstandings, (what is youth for, if not confusion?) she finally finds her true footing and purpose when she delivers a spectacular political speech that is as relevant today as it was in 1946, or actually the Roaring Twenties (when this film was set), wherein she bravely fights her own need for acceptance, against her admiration but embarrassment over her grandmother's militant views, and the small town that confines her dreams to its mundane outlook. All this lovely romantic lunacy, plus Rudy Vallee's nostalgic, heart-warning songs, glorious, unmatched Technicolor, the masterful direction of one of the legends of Cinema, Henry King, the innocence of an era we ALL deserve to experience if only in our hearts, manage to coalesce in Margie's own nature, through Jeanne Crain ethereal but strong willed performance allowing her emergence as a true 'Belle of the Bal', not via today's facile, surface cinematic crutches, but more from an inner beauty, that transforms the shy, insecure Margie into a radiant star. A Cinderalla story with substance, heart and a debatably 'Happy ending', as I have always been drawn to more swashbuckling heroic types---still, I'll watch this joyful classic forever, and hope for it's arrival on D.V.D. Why can't they make movies like they use to?
Sonny Boy---Gives Home abuse a bad name and a Chilling thrill.
Strange...Dark...Compelling. Very good and original performances by the entire cast who seemed to have embraced this definitely 'cult' style film, as a mother Swan might embrace the ugliest duckling in the pond. Caradine gives a brave, toothless, transvestite 'Mother of the Year' award performance against his/her demoniacal husband's (Paul Smith's)lumbering, grotesque, almost cartoonish 'Big Daddy' gone mad act. Brad Douriff as one of the 'baddies' manages to re-invent four letter words after every syllable in a suitably frightening manner, while Conrad Janis, in the role of 'Doc', a quasi 'Mad Scientist---with a heart of gold', sporting a Raider's of the Lost Ark hat and a ten day beard amazingly manages to imbue some of the strangest dialogue ever uttered by an actor, with depth, heart and compassion, and yes, credibility, as the erstwhile, and reluctant Saviour of the poor mistreated, mutilated 'Sonny Boy'. Obviously a bravura directorial hand guided this disturbing yet quixotic film, and Robert Martin Carroll wove this brooding dark magic carpet into a flight not of fancy but of the stuff nightmares are made of.