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The Peterville Diamond
(1943)

starts slow.... gets better. really!
When teri doesn't get much attention from her hard working husband, she decides to get him to pay more attention. Somehow. But when they are caught up in a robbery at the jewelry store, things get complicated. And they keep bumping into the thieves. Mistaken identities. Of people. And briefcases. And the president is coming for dinner! The first half of this just drags, but about halfway through, things pick right up. The farce gets a little more exciting with the thief and the chief of police in the same house. Stick with it... it gets so much better! Directed by walter forde. Based on the play from 1932, which had already been filmed as "jewel robbery". Anne crawford (plays teri) died so young at 35. This was the final film for oliver wakefield (the baron); he died young at 47. Donald stewart (mortimer) died at 55. Kind of a cursed cast.

Appointment in Honduras
(1953)

adventure in the (california) jungle
Another drama-thriiler from the 1950's when they filmed somewhere in california, but it's basically a western, set in some far away exotic land. An odd combination of passengers is aboard a ship, but due to a possible uprising, cannot land at it's intended destination of honduras. Corbett (ford) is an american, meddling in foreign affairs of state. He teams up with the prisoners aboard to commandeer the ship for his own purposes. And caught in the middle are the sheppards (ann sheridan, zach scott), a rich couple traveling to central america. Liberal use of backdrops, as corbett brings the sheppards along as hostages, on his own personal mission. Can they survive the jungle, in spite of the dangers all around them? It's okay. The suspense comes from two angles... no-one trusts anyone else, and the critters of the jungle might just get them all! I thought the jungle looked familiar... this film and african queen both did some filming at the LA arboretum. Directed by jacques tourneur, who had done "out of the past" with mitchum. Sadly, sheridan and scott both died young at 51; she was probably best known for "man who came to dinner", about ten years before this film. She made some great films in the 1940s, as did scott and ford.

Il contagio
(2017)

everyone is addicted to something..
This follows the various lives of a large extended italian family. And their neighbors. And friends. And lovers. Some of them are not so nice. Everyone is addicted to something... drugs. Or sex. Money. Power. Some of them owe large amounts of money that they don't have. We know it's not going to end well. It's mostly good. Good buildup of the various people and what their stories are. The apartment building plays a role all by itself... the place where neighbors interact, and what happens behind the closed doors. The ending is more melo-dramatic than it needs to be, but it's mostly good. Based on the book by walter siti.

Look Who's Laughing
(1941)

silly but fun
Holy guacamole, batman. Check out the comedy greats in this one! Neil hamilton was "the commissioner". Lucy. Edgar bergen. Jim and marian jordan, aka, fibber mcgee and molly, who had a huge radio show for twenty years. When edgar's secretary gets married, all heck breaks loose. Edgar and charlie end up in wistful vista, the home of fibber mcgee. Don't open the closet! They land right in the middle of a shady land deal between the town bigshot and a local businessman. Now the wedding may be off, and the mcgees might lose their house. Can they fix all this mess? Fun caper, moves along. Also keep an eye out for sterling holloway in the soda shop... he was winnie the pooh! And charles lane used to hold the record for the most bit parts in film... not sure if he still does. As silly as the story is, the whole point here is to see all the great comedians together in one film. Directed by allan dwan.

In the Money
(1958)

this last chapter is pretty boring.
Huntz hall and david gorcey are in the very last chapter of the bowery boys. Sadly, as dad gorcey had died a couple years before in a freak car accident, leo gorcey (usually played slip) was not part of this, and had left the franchise a couple years back. In this one, sach ends up sailing on a cruise ship, as a courier to smuggle in some diamonds for the bad guys. Co-stars the delicious pat donahue, who was pretty new to hollywood. The storyline is the best part of this, but without slip, most of the jokes just fall flat. I can see why it was the last bowery boys film they ever made. Directed by bill beaudine, who had directed tons of the bowery boys films. Keep an eye out for mike the shop keeper... he was the mayor in andy griffith. It's just barely okay. A real shortie...at just 61 minutes.

The Wild Geese
(1978)

mil buddies have one more mission.
Burton, moore, harris. Pretty rich cast. A british aristocrat hires a group of expert but aging mercenaries for a mission in africa. Their job will be to rescue limbani, an imprisoned opposition leader, from his captors. They find limbani, bust him out of jail, and that's when the troubles begin. Who's to blame for the goof ups, and how can they escape from the mess in which they are now embroiled? It's quite good drama. Interesting to see the concorde landing, right at the start of the film; they flew from 1976 to 2003, but with the noise, the runway requirements, the high cost to the passengers, and the maintenance difficulties, they have all been grounded. Permanently. Directed by andrew mclaglen, who had also directed john wayne numerous times. Based on the novel by daniel carney. Died young at age 42. The trivia tells us burton was already pretty ill during filming... he would only be around another six or seven years. The film is pretty good. A fair amount of suspense.

The First Nudie Musical
(1976)

silly and ridiculous but fun.
I've been waiting twenty years for this thing to come to some free streaming service. And now it's on tubi. Cindy williams (shirley!) and stephen nathan. When they are out of ideas, harry decides to make a porn based musical. Silly but true. Funny opening theme song. Lots of full female frontal and rear nudity. The director they have to use has no idea what he's doing. And they only have two weeks to make it. The show already has two strikes against it. It's just started, and it's already a disaster. But some really funny bits. And filthy filthy songs. Very adult subject matter, so put the kiddies to bed! Diana canova doing some of the dirtiest material you've ever seen her do! It's all silly, but so much fun. Keep those expectations at rock bottom, but have an open mind and get ready to laugh. Story by bruce kimmel, who also plays john smithee in the show. Directed by mark haggard.

The Trench
(1999)

battle of somme en france
Imdb has this as released 1999, roku has as 2000. Daniel craig, one of the many james bonds, is sgt winter, one of the euro soldiers preparing for the battle of somme during world war one. The soldiers try to hold the front line, while the army waits and builds up the forces. The somme was actually the name of the river in northern france, and the battle lasted for four months, according to wikipedia dot org, with a devastating number of deaths. Some issues, like when the bombs and bullets go right overhead, the soldiers don't even have their helmets on. I haven't served in the military, but i'm pretty sure rule number one is have your helmet on when things are going overhead, in so many scenes. Smaller roles for ben wishaw (his first role) and cillian murphy (early role). It's mostly good. With really fast dialogue, and in the brit accent, it takes a few minutes to figure out that they are saying. So much talking and philosophising. Did they really talk like that? Pretty dark ending. Written and directed by william boyd. The one film he has directed so far. Apparently he had family members who had served in this particular battle. Boyd also wrote "stars and bars", also made into film.

Tonight or Never
(1931)

watch it for the actors in it.
A thirty two year old gloria swanson is nella, opera diva, in this restored version of "tonight or never". She has caught the eye of a handsome stranger (melvyn douglas), but she believes he is a gigolo. He has been spotted on the arm of an older, rich woman (the awesome alison skipworth). Nella is headstrong and impulsive, but she has never known true love; her teacher informs her that until she has really loved someone, she won't be able to put that passion into her singing. But when she finally meets fletcher, it doesn't go anything like she expected. And now she's not sure if she wants a husband or a singing career. Just one of many decisions she may have to make. If she plays her cards right! The film itself is no big deal, but it's fun to see skipworth, douglas, and swanson in an early (pre film code) talkie. Swanson was huge, starting in the silent films. She makes a lot of the same facial expressions she will use again in sunset boulevard, another great swanson film. Small role for boris karloff. Directed by mervyn leroy... was nominated for random harvest. Story by lily hatvany.

Inside Out
(1975)

a lovely little heist
Army buddies get back together thirty years after the big war, for one last mission. Savalas, culp, and mason team up to bust a german officer prisoner out of a high security jail to tell them where the lost shipment of gold is hidden. They get to the location pretty easily, but then things start to go wrong. It's a good caper. Good suspense, nothing too new to show us, but a gold heist is fun to watch. And it's always interesting to see things that aren't there anymore, like the berlin wall... that was up from 1961 to 1989, dividing berlin. It's a fun 98 minutes. Kind of funny to hear a very british james mason trying to do a german accent, but we can overlook that. Directed by peter duffell.

Don't Worry Darling
(2022)

trippy, kind of sci-fi film
The film sets the date with ray charles singing "right time", which came out in 1958. Jack and alice (styles and pugh) are part of some new, experimental residential comunity, which happns to actually be filmed in palm springs. Every now and then, we feel a tremor..and we're never really sure what it is that the husbands do for work. It all has a stepford wives feel to it. When alice goes places she's been told not to go, she starts have odd visions and experiences. And because it's the 1950s, the women are happy to just support the husbands. Or at least most of them. This has a lot in common with truman show, but viewers found out pretty quickly what was going on in that one. Here, we get a lot of answers right near the end. It's good suspense, a bit trippy. Similar to dark city from 1998. And definitely left open for a sequel. Directed by olivia wilde. Who also plays bunny, frank's wife.

Trees Lounge
(1996)

who knew buscemi was a writer and director ?
Written, directed, and starring ....steve buscemi. While it's sometimes a warning signal when the same person does all three roles, in this case, it's pretty good! Kind of "a week in the life of tommy", played by buscemi. Tommy spends all his time at the bar. He's a user, and a taker. And can't seem to hold a job. But his friends like him anyway, in spite of all his goof-ups. Carol kane (probably best known for taxi) is connie, the barkeep. Her hair is long and straightened out in this one... the first time i've ever seen it that way. Anthony lapaglia is rob, his former boss. Who married tom's ex. Not a lot of action in the film, but it's interesting to watch the world of tommy go by; it's kind of like a reality television show. Steve's son and brother are both in here, along with samuel jackson. Buscemi did this right around the same time as fargo. And check out the bio here for actor rockets redglare... that' s an interesting story. His buddy (mark boone) has made tons of films with buscemi. The film is pretty good... just a slice of life.

Where's Poppa?
(1970)

fun, mostly due to the actors involved.
It's funny, mostly because of the actors involved. It's pretty light on story. George segal did a ton of films in between virginia woolf and his television series. And anytime ruth gordon is involved, you know it's going to be a goofy, offbeat film. Have you seen harold and maude, or rosemary's baby? So gordon (segal) hires louise (trish van de vere) to look after his mother (gordon). But he's already fallen in love with louise, and wants to marry her. It's a bit walter mitty-ish... every now and then, it goes into fantasy mode, where we see what gordon is thinking. But it's not actually happening. The running gag where gordon's brother keeps getting mugged in the park. Lots of sight gags, where the taxi won't pick up the black lady, but is perfectly willing to pick up the guy in a gorilla suit. A statement of the times. Small role for rob reiner, the director's son. A couple years before his big break all in the family. The trivia section tells us rob's wife penny marshall was a courtroom spectator. Garrett morris is one of the thugs in the park. Ron leibman is sidney. Vincent gardenia. All kind of cussing in this one, and some pretty rough stuff. And a gay cop, who sends flowers to sidney. In 1970. It's so odd, i would have thought it was written by ruth gordon. But it's not. Directed by the awesome carl reiner, who some know as allen brady on the dick van dyke show. Written by robert klane, who also wrote weekend at bernie's. Van de vere and ruth gordon both made awesome episodes of "columbo"... check em out!

I'll Love You Forever... Tonight
(1992)

lgbt group takes a weekend in palm springs
A film from 1992 where (some) gay folks are treated with some level of respect by the director. A rarity, in those days. This one was written and directed by edgar bravo, his first film. Couples from los angeles spend time in palm springs, and it all hits the fan. It's complicated. Jealousy. New boyfriends. Old boyfriends. A hustler. It was good to see the familiar mountains and palm trees as the backdrop; too bad we didn't see which resort they stayed at. Or maybe they never left LA to film. One of the characters had a horrible childhood, and wants to discuss it with his father, but we're not told exactly what happened. No discussion of hiv/aids, which were so prevalent in the early 1990s. But on the plus side, none of the gay characters were knocked off simply for being gay. Filmed in black and white, to give it the extra gritty feel. The new, white, seven digit california license plates start with a 2! It really was made in the 1990s. It's mostly good. Script needed souping up...it felt like they were trying to recreate the carefree, footloose days of the 1970s,1980s. Not bad for a first effort.

Holiday for Lovers
(1959)

odd chemistry between actors
Clifton webb, jane wyman are the deans, who send their daughter meg (jill saint john) off to south america on holiday. When she decides to stay for a while, they drop everything and troop off to sao paolo. They meet senor barroso (paul henreid), who is so much older than meg, so mom and dad already don't approve. The strengths: there are some clever lines in here, in between all the misunderstandings. Sooo many double entendres! It's kind of fun and exotic to zip off to south america, although the actors may never have actually left the studio. There's a real fun version of chattanooga choo choo about halfway through. And flamenco dancers. The weaknesses: much of the sound quality is just terrible. Many loud echoes. And some of the lines are delivered with odd timing or a cardboard delivery. There's an odd chemistry between the actors for most of the film. We can tell the film code was long gone by this time... gary crosby plays a sex starved military guy chasing the younger sister. Who enjoys being grabbed and kissed by a soldier she just met. And the soldier isn't very polite to the parents, when he asks if he can marry the daughter. Military guys are typically very respectful to parents and superiors. Directed by henry levin. Based on the play by ronald alexander. It's just okay. Not my favorite film. So much fighting. A visit to sao paolo should be fun and happy! Webb only made one more film after this, and died a couple years later.

The Argyle Secrets
(1948)

some familiar faces in this noir
In this noir, bill gargan is harry, reporter for the herald. When a bigshot turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, harry is at the top of the list of suspects. And everyone is looking for the missing album of shameful secrets. More bodies are piling up, and harry always seems to be in the room. Some fun smaller roles; barbara billingsley (mom cleaver!) is in here as the secretary. John banner (schultzy!) is winter, using a very different accent here. It's pretty good. Done with a tongue in cheek... nothing is to be taken too seriously, although there are numerous moidas. Recently restored by UCLA. With only 454 votes, clearly this is pretty new to TCM. Written and directed by cy endfield, who moved to england after allegedly being connected with the HUAC witch-hunts in the 1950s.

The Black Bird
(1975)

script needed a souping up
George segal is sam spade junior, in the black bird, a parody of the maltese falcon. Some fun faces in here. Ken swofford (police academy) and vic tayback (mel, for those old enough to remember) are police detectives. Lionel stander (max, for those old enough to remember). Effie and wilmer are played by the original actors from bogart's version! Although in this one, effie is a loud, ornery shrew, who hates her boss. It starts out strong, but loses steam about halfway through; the trivia section here tells us that the writers, producers, and directors were all fighting, which didn't help. I love the premise, but after a while, it just tries too hard. And the anna character just brings it to a halt every time she speaks. Where's madeline kahn when you need her? They really wasted vic tayback... he did this in between the film "alice doesn't live here" and the tv series alice. The first and last film directed by david giler. Segal did this one about ten years after "virginia woolf". Too bad. I really wanted to like this one.

Cinderella Liberty
(1973)

navy man in dry dock
When navy man john baggs (caan) has a medical issue that makes him miss his sailing, he has to hang around town for a couple days. So he spends a couple hours with maggie, from the bar (mason). And a couple hours turns into a couple days. Baggs meets up with some old friends along the way. Maggie's kid is pllayed by kirk calloway... only did ten things, then seems to have moved on. Keep an eye out for some fun faces in smaller roles. Burt young (paulie !), bruno kirby is shore patrol. Eli wallach, dabney coleman. It's pretty good. A gritty "thinker" 1970s film, in an unspecified year. Although there is a picture of nixon on the wall. Some real ups and some real downs in this one. I guess the theme is finding your family, wherever you can. Mason was probably best known for goodbye girl. "liberty" was directed by mark rydell, who was nominated for "on golden pond". Story by darryl ponicsan, who had several novels made into film. And really was in the navy! This was nominated for three oscars... marsha mason and two for music.

Where the Crawdads Sing
(2022)

where DO the .....
1969. When a body is found in the marsh, it's a mystery whether he was knocked off or if he just accidentally fell to his death. But more and more it looks like it has something to do with "marsh girl".... the wild child who has been living in the swamp, on her own. Flashing back to 1962, we see her story, and how we arrived at this point. Clearly, she has always been let down by the men in her life, including her own father. Lots of courtroom drama. Life in the bayous. It's good. We're shown the dilemma right at the beginning, but we don't get answers until the very end. Directed by olivia newman. Based on the novel by delia owens. This was offered on redbox for a time, and is currently showing on netflix. Apparently, the title was something the author's mother used to say.

Hustle
(2022)

well done by adam sandler
I usually watch adam sandler films with a grain of salt. And now that the other streamers have pulled so much content off of netflix, it's getting harder to find things on netflix that haven't been produced by netflix incorporated. Sandler is stanley sugerman, a hoops scout, who has just been made assistant coach. But when the new owner puts him back on the road as scout, he needs to re-evaluate, to think about what he really wants. He finds a really talented player in spain (juancho hernangómez geuer), but of course, the owner's family isn't convinced and there are other complications. Queen latifah is stan's wife teresa, who is the only one who gets him. Dr. J. irving plays.... dr. J. and doc rivers plays .... doc rivers. ...dirk, tobias. It's a good story. Hernangomez really did play in the nba for a couple years. Definitely a step up for an adam sandler film. Hopefully more like this from sandler in the future! Directed by jeremiah zagar.

Midnight in the Switchgrass
(2021)

loosely based on a real story
The fbi (willis and fox) is investigating human trafficking, while a florida state trooper crawford (hirsch) is tracking down an unknown, suspected serial killer. When the two cases tangle together, things get confusing; the florida cops don't really want to cooperate with the feds. Except for crawford. He just wants to stop the bad guys from killing. We're shown pretty quickly who the killer is, but crawford is a long way from knowing what we know. Some of the weak points are willis, with his medical diagnosis, and all the over-the-top arguing between willis and fox, and hirsch and his bosses. And the oldest trick in the book, when the phone picks up, it takes a while to realize that the caller is talking to voice mail. Isn't there something better you could have written? The strengths: the performances of the two leads, emile hirsch and lukas haas. The story was already quite laid out, as this appears to be partially based on the southern state truck stop murders by robert ben rhoades in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. Check out that entry in wikipedia dot org. Although the film ending is quite different than what is written in wikipedia. It's okay. Not bad, not great. Just okay. Directed by randall emmett. Having been involved on many films as producer, imdb says this was his first as director, and he has another currently in the works.

The Bounty Hunter
(2010)

you're never really finished with the ex
Jen aniston, gerard butler. Nicole is running down the street, away from her ex husband milo. Now we go back in time to see what brought us to this point. Flashback! He's a bounty hunter, and his next job is to bring his ex wife into court. But when he does find her, she's too busy working on a newspaper story to deal with the court stuff. It's a battle to try to get her to court, but now some bad guys, possibly dirty cops, are on their tail. Will they ever get to court? It's pretty good. A bit corny. The awesome christine baranski (doctor dick!) is nicole's mom. But in such a small role. Too bad they didn't use her more. Jason sudeikis, carol kane, jeff garlin. Gotta love the painted door to the stripclub. Directed by andy tennant. Story by sarah thorpe. Has some funny moments.

The Other Guys
(2010)

formula but pretty good!
Will ferrell and marky mark are gamble and hoitz, in a cop duo comedy. Along with so many huge names in medium or small roles. Some running gags, where gamble's car and shoes keep getting stolen. Funny bits that get turned into a whole scene. Some work and some don't, but they just keep moving along. There's a bare bones plot here, where they try to get to the bottom of an investigation into an investment manager. He's been embezzling the funds from his clients, and the guys want to figure it out before it all becomes public. Of course, the captain is shutting them down, but they keep on rolling. A whole lot of swearing in this one. Directed by adam mckay. Who currently has nine films in production. And has made a ton of things with ferrell. It's fun. And like any will ferrell film, not meant to be taken too seriously. Stick around for the credits, in addition to a scene at the very end... there are some interesting statistics shown during the credits.

The Gunman
(2015)

mostly good... some flaws
Sean penn, javier bardem. When private security guy terrier knocks someone off in the congo, he must leave, and go into hiding for a period of time. But when he resurfaces, he finds he is still the wanted target. Good story line, but so many inconsistencies. After killing someone in a foreign country, why would he go back to that country?? And he's worried about staying off the grid, so he goes to the hospital and gets a cat scan. And he keeps getting in fights in bars and restaurants... i thought he wanted to lay low? All kinds of blood and guts in this one. And cameras that circle around and around and around. Annoying. The basic story is solid. Mostly good action and suspense. Just some silly little things that keep it from being even better. Small role for idris elba . Directed by pierre morel. Based on the book by jeanpatrick manchette.

The Chocolate War
(1988)

lame ending
The only name I recognize is bud cort, from harold and maude. He's one of the brothers teaching at the catholic school. When one student, renault, decides he won't sell candy for the fundraiser, one of the brothers takes it personally. But this catholic school has it's own gang. And when brother leon leans on the gang to persuade everyone to sell, sell, sell, they wonder what leon's motivation really is. Kind of a tempest in a teapot, as they say, but that's our story. But then things escalate, and it gets more violent. The trivia tells us that the book was a smidge controversial, as parents were not happy to read what may or may not be occurring at the catholic schools. Apparently the ending was quite different in the book by robert cormier. I can see why this didn't do well at the box office; the ending didn't make sense. It wasn't even a real boxing match. What kind of competition let's one kid get in a bunch of hits before the other even has a chance to throw a punch? Disappointing ending. The first film directed by keith gordon.

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