trpdean

IMDb member since August 2001
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Reviews

Manchild
(2002)

Wonderfully written and very funny look at four middle aged sybaritic but charming men
I loved this series! Four wealthy friends about to turn 50 - one single, two divorced and one married - all but the bachelor with children -- are now ready to enjoy the material delights of life in a way they trust will flatter their pride as desirable men. They have ups and downs - and we come to hugely enjoy them despite their ovious lust for decadence, their selfishness (except in reality - they are not) and their self-regard. It's very funny! I'd strongly recommend the series! Nigel Havers as the lead - and voice-over in every episode - is just perfect in his cadences and intonations - and wild sensitivity about his male pride. But all the actors in truth win your heart.

Sweetie
(1989)

Warning! Extreme Tedium Ahead
If you are looking forward to the hopeless long long effort to convince a naked obese rude woman to climb down from a tree, you're in luck! Otherwise, sorry - you've lucked out. This is awful.

World on Fire
(2019)

Political correctness triumphant over all sides in a world war!!
Watch handsome bold men and women in 1939 and 1940 show the future of their war to sheltered boys and girls. See a generation still utterly emotionally crippled by its experiences during the first World War, foisted upon them apparently by the older, rich and greedy! Watch as young men are shown to be feckless, scared and stupid - led by wise, forgiving young women who understand how courage must be shown and have the hearts to give their shoulders to the sobbing young men unable to cope with death.

Yes, it's political correctness regnant on a field of grey urban exploding landscapes brought to you by the BBC!

The two characters you'll most dislike are a hard hearted officious girl who hasn't much of a singing voice, yet somehow gains continuous work with her singing (unfortunately). I'd thought at first we were to pity her inability - but now I feel that the director thinks she CAN sing! She is very obnoxious ("all need me, I need no one - they'd be nowhere without me!" The series apparently agrees of course- men are useless). She breaks up with the soft-hearted English boy who's told her he loves her, breaking his heart - and then angrily accuses him with tears of being unfaithful when six months later, he dates another 1,000 miles away! I chuckled.

The other character you'll quite dislike is that soft-hearted English boy who in the first weeks of the war, employed as a translator by the British government, as Britain has somehow failed in the first three weeks of war to move its island nation a thousand miles nearer to invaded Poland, keeps yelling and ranting "We're doing nothing to help Poland! We're doing nothing! We aren't moving troops to fight Germans in Poland! We're doing nothing! People are getting killed!" It's extremely satisfying that he's sacked. Meanwhile he sobs because he's sure he's not good enough, sure he's let all down (being tricked by the singer into feeling guilty) and most of all, feeling GUILTY because his circumstances are comfortable and he's well-educated (and thus looks for anyone of another race or gender and therefore more morally virtuous - to lead him by the nose). Indeed, it's with this character that you KNOW you're watching the BBC!

I watched 3 hours - and then read that these two characters would be seen in all the remaining episodes - without any prospect of the girl finding true humility, realizing her woeful deficiencies, apologizing to others - or the boy finding his backbone and ready to stand on his hind legs to attack the two girls he's known for betraying him or falsely accusing him of betrayal- and abandoned this idiocy.

Oh, it's bad.

Born to Love
(1931)

Wonderful old melodrama with gorgeous Constance Bennett and Joel McCrea
I write only to mention that there are some reviewers who take this movie as criticism of former divorce laws. The law on divorce and custody at that time is very similar to the present.

One must remember that the husband played by Paul Cavanagh is the legally adoptive father of the child. the other reviewers seem to forget this! This gives him the same rights as a natural parent.

It is this fact - and that his wife wishes to move the child thousands and thousands of miles away from the father - not the fact that his wife bore the child out of wedlock or is the cause of the divorce - that would then and now persuade the court to grant the father custody of the child.

For decades in the middle of the 20th century, this presumption shifted so that mothers always gained custody of children if they sought it.

That is not the case now. There is no longer a presumption in favor of the mother - and if she wishes to make the child wholly unavailable by moving to another country - she's likely to lose custody.

A child with two parents (adoptive or natural) born and living in a foreign country is VERY unlikely to be awarded to a divorcing mother who wishes to move the child thousands of miles away - unless there is something seriously wrong with the father as a parent.

In this case, the father adores the child, treats the baby tenderly, has an enormous fortune to take care of the child, as well as his own doting parents who wish the child to remain. Finally, the child is born in the U.K.

The court would not likely prefer the mother to the father. The laws of divorce and custody are not identical now to 1931 - but in this custodial matter, they have a similar result as in 1931.

Game Night
(2018)

Very entertaining! Inventive, funny, surprising, original!
I saw this on a long plane flight overseas - I'd heard nothing about it. I do like Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, so on that basis alone, I picked it to watch. It began pleasantly - those two are actors I'm very happy to spend time with - and swiftly the movie became very funny and progressively more wild. Again and again, I was open-mouthed with surprise and delight. It's very funny - quite original - and ingenious!

Sooner or later, the versatile, charming, lovely Rachel McAdams will finally become a fixture at Oscars time - so fine in serious drama such as Sunlight, romantic movies such as The Notebook, very funny movies such as Mean Girls and something ingenious and wild like Game Night. She's really one of the best of her generation of actresses - fabulous!

I'd also like to see Jason Bateman in some more serious work - he's so wonderful in comedies.

You'll really like this - it's also suitable for everyone. One of the many appealing things about the movie is that you like the lead characters as much as the end of the movie as at the beginning - that's so untrue of many comedies made in the last 25 years.

Funny, surprising and charming!

Brideshead Revisited
(2008)

A man who hated the themes of Brideshead got control of making a film
The book and TV series of Brideshead Revisited are markers of anti-modernist, deeply Catholic, belief. The depth of cynicism about the modern secular world - in all its fashions from painting to war, from politics to bureaucracy, from its architecture to its preferred social classes - are evident, exhibited on every page and the TV series followed this brilliantly.

Perhaps most of all, the portrayal of religious faith - is brilliant shown as something deeply unpopular and restricting of its adherents in this modern secular world, found stupid by the skeptical rationalist protagonist - and yet irrationally deep and true and charitable and lasting in all circumstances high and low, in all conditions superior and servile.

The book was given to the future director of Kinky Boots, a man who has either NO understanding of the entire underlying theme of the book and TV series - or an unrelenting hatred of what he was to direct - this is a film that completely diverts the themes of the book and first TV series to utterly mistaken ends - seeks to undermine the book for the deviant purposes of the director's own.

DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE - it's awful, just atrocious and has absolutely NOTHING in common with the book's attitudes, purposes, themes, and intent. It's putrid.

Breathless
(2013)

Involving with most disappointed ending of anything I've ever seen
A stylish, involving series with suspense and mystery - beautiful sets and costumes, perfect lighting and sound and brilliantly acted - is betrayed by an atrocious ending that makes you wonder whether the screenwriters understand any thing about the times in which the characters live.

SPOILERS

Throughout the 6 hour series set in the first half of the 1960s, one wonders why the protagonist (played by Jack Davenport, best known for either Pirates of the Carribbean or the TV series Coupling) playing a wealthy and arrogant surgeon and a night-time abortionist for hire - treats his beautiful wife Elizabeth like an utter stranger at home and when they go out - but dotes on his son. The answer given suddenly - sprung from the blue - in the last hour - is utterly ludicrous. Years before, when in the Army in Cyprus - his heavy drinking crashed a car he was driving with Elizabeth and her then soldier fiance as passengers. The soldier fiance was killed - Elizabeth and he survived the crash. Elizabeth was pregnant and the baby survived also. Davenport's character says "As you know, she could hardly return to England pregnant and alone because her fiance was killed - without having been married! her family, her friends would all shun her throughout her lifetime - she'd never get a job. So I married her to avoid the complete shame and pledged to dedicate my life to raise the son and show myself as her husband to the outside world."

First, the screenwriters seem to think they're writing about a cloistered nun in the year 1250 not a sophisticated woman in the 1950s. NEVER in the history of Britain had there been so many pregnant widows of soldiers, pregnant fiances of soldiers killed, pregnant girlfriends of soldiers killed than in the 1940s - due to the War. Attitudes toward having sex with a soldier after they were engaged but before they were married - had changed utterly from the 1800s - and the likelihood of his death was higher than at any time in British history. There were MILLIONS of women in her situation - they were not shunned throughout life!

Second, men responsible for a death due to drunken driving - were never as lightly treated as in the 1950s - particularly compared to today. So to have one of the primary plots be a blackmail by someone that he'll reveal the decades old drunken driving episode - is again ABSURD! And this is finally resolved by the davenport character saying "Who cares? go ahead and tell others" but only after - again INCREDIBLY, the beautiful Elizabeth has felt she had to have sex with the blackmailer! It's just laughable.

Third, the wife of one of the surgeons refuses even to inform her father she's getting married because under no circumstances can her husband learn that her father is working class and a bit doddering - thus she creates a story that her entire family is dead - even as she secretly visits her father to see if he's ok.

The warmth, forgiveness, human understanding of the 1950s-1960s obviously far surpasses today where all are polarized and far more judgmental. A period where all knew what had happened at home during the Second World War - was one with a greater degree of indulgence for individual mistakes. Social hierarchies had been much altered during the War as well - and by the early 1960s one saw routinely - those from the working class making strides in every field - indeed after the 1964 election, Edward Heath (father a carpenter) had become the leader of the Conservative Party!

This series - so beautifully acted - becomes a disaster when one realizes that it reflects yet more patronizing attitudes about an earlier time - by writers so smug and yet ignorant - that they're certain that all before them was benighted.

Sommer '04
(2006)

A twelve year old girl must choose her rapist
As the mother of one of the rapists herself falls for the other rapist - on vacation in a charming north German town.

It's an astounding film - as the family - outwardly normal - has attitudes toward the rape of children that are utterly casual and indifferent. At one point, the 16 year old son (one of the two rapists) says he's unconcerned that the child victim is out with a man in his 30s who will take him away from her.

The mother asks her son what he thinks the child - who's failed to return home - is now doing with the man in his 30s. The son tells his mother "they're [the 12 year old child) probably having sex" right now.

He's confused why his mother (to whom the girl's family entrusted the child for this vacation) is interested in such a rape. "After all", he says, "you wouldn't be concerned if I were raping her - why be concerned if Bill is?" No one raises an eyebrow.

It stuns.

She's All That
(1999)

Rachel Leigh Cook is quite special - and her chemistry with the sweet Freddie Prinze Jr. make it memorable
At last, in November 2019, this 64 year old bachelor New York lawyer watched She's All That - and loved it. I'd heard of it often before - but it's so FAR outside the realm of movies that I or my friends ever saw or wanted to see - that I never thought of seeing it. I have now - and it's given me a wonderful quiet special romantic feeling this evening.

The plot only somewhat resembles Pygmalion (it's really the man's sister who transforms his Galatea -- and that only in appearance). It's really a straightforward high school movie circa 1999 - with much music, the traditional high school castes and cruelty. But the screenplay is often quite funny.

The movie has a BIG and positive impact however from Rachel Leigh Cook - who, manages to portray a girl bereft of her mother, from a lower middle class family, and expressing her dour pessimistic outlook on life in her art, and yet at 17 years old, has an opening - the slightest of apertures - for other possibilities. That is filled by a candid, sweet, smart, popular, handsome, athletic character played perfectly by Freddie Prinze, Jr. It's an unusual character - hugely popular, successful at everything - yet oblivious, self-doubting, rather nice and vulnerable.

Cook and Prinze really do create romantic magic - with the help of a wonderful song "Kiss Me" sung by Sixpence None the Richer.

I loved this movie - and am so glad I saw it. Cook should be in MUCH - she's special - at no point does she over-act, over-dramatize, make one feel that she is acting. She's rare. I want to see much more of her - in movies now as adult as she - a relatively young woman (just 40) I want Hollywood to put her in more - much more.

Thanks to all who made this film charming, memorable and lighted up my evening.

Sleepless in Seattle
(1993)

One of the several dozen movies that define a decade
This is a romance - between an imperfect woman (undecided, sometimes deceptive, essentially false in her relationship to a man who is willing to commit his life to her) and a rather perfect man, a widower who deeply cares for his son and is lonely, deeply missing his wife. The chief obstacles to fruition of the adults' feelings are: i) logistical (one is in Seattle, the other in Baltimore), ii) the woman's inability to break off a relationship to another that she fears may not be fulfilling, and iii) the fact that the child is really the woman's only contact on the man's side - in fact, it is only the father's confession of woe on national radio that woos the woman.

There are many humorous one liner sorts of remarks - good supporting characters, and a wonderful last scene.

Yet I must admit on seeing this yet again (my third or fourth time? First time was definitely on a date in the theater) that much of the movie is logistics -How will the woman discover the radio man's identity? How will she communicate with him? How will the son reply? On what pretext will the engaged woman go to Seattle? How will the woman go to New York? Why and how will the man get to New York? How and when will the woman break off her engagement to be married to a man who had the defect of many allergies (always fatal in movie romances)? And frankly those logistics are rather boring.

But when Hanks and Ryan are in a scene together - whether in Seattle or New York - the movie is magical! :))

Locke
(2013)

When an entire film flows from a moronic decision that causes you to dislike STRONGLY
The protagonist one is probably supposed to like and care for - the movie didn't work. And that's where I am on this.

*** SPOILERS THROUGHOUT BELOW ***

In order to arrive at a hospital well after the time a woman for whom he doesn't care is to have a baby he inseminated nine months before, our man - an extremely highly paid executive, driving a fabulously expensive car, decides to abaondon his job at the climactic moment in his industry's European history (the greatest, largest concrete pour (non-military, non-nuclear) in Europe in centuries of construction).

Yes, he knows this will cause him to be terminated - and his high paying job will very unlikely ever return - and thus the lives of his wife and children and any future child - will truly be blighted -

he knows that explaining this infidelity to his wife will end his marriage and live-in fatherhood for his two sons

and he knows that he cannot be there for the birth of this illegitimate child -he hasn't time to get there. And he makes sure the woman knows he has no fond feeling whatever for her or the child (indeed, he continues to tell her he does NOT love her) tells the hospital he is NOT the next of kin, and tells his wife that the woman is "no European painting" and describes the mother continuously (at 43) as VERY old.

And so why does he want to ruin his life - for the possibility that this woman may allow him into her room to wave hello before he drives back to a motel in London

Apparently it's only so that he can feel morally superior to his father - who apparently often abandoned the family.

But he says repeatedly that he's going to abandon his new child and the woman who just gave birth - the NEXT DAY!

Obviously the hospital would name the child his last name if the mother says they are in agreement.

So the only explanation of the man's action is suicidal.

This movie makes no sense.

Trenchcoat
(1983)

Funny, completely charming - with two great leads who have real chemistry
If you liked Margot Kidder as Lois Lane in Superman - and Robert Hays in Airplane - you'll like them together in a charming, funny, well-plotted mystery set in Malta.

The movie does have some twists and turns - and suspense and danger for Kidder's character - but at no point does it cause one to forget that this is a captivating fun film with two lead actors who really like each other - the romance seems very natural.

Kidder and Hays are also so good looking! :) If you liked Romancing the Stone and its sequel - you'll like this - it's VERY similar in premise - equally charming - but Robert Hays and Margot Kidder are more easy going, less intense than Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

Executive Stress
(1986)

PLEASE make available for Region 1
There aren't greater actors in a situation comedy than Penelope Keith, Geoffrey Palmer and Peter Bowles - Americans have loved them in their various series for decades

Yet for some reason, this series is unavailable to rent or purchase in Region 1 DVDs. PLEASE make them available!

Crooked House
(2017)

Atrocious - do not see
Easily the worst film adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery I've ever seen - by far. As I watched (and fell asleep, awoke, fell asleep, awoke, fell asleep, awoke) rewinding constantly to catch what I'd missed - I realized the fault was that of the screenwriter and director. They're completely incompetent.

Excruciating tedium, a narrative that just does not further the story for an hour at a time, an ending that simply TELLS you in the last five minutes the entirety of the mystery - and a waste of many fine actors (Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, Julian Sands, Max Irons (son of Jeremy, whom I liked very much in The White Queen), the wonderful Terence Stamp - WASTED them all! - make the viewer actually angry at the film.

How do you ruin Agatha Christie? Even when it's not been done very well (e.g., the played for broad jokes in the 1950s versions with Robert Morley and Margaret Rutherford), it's FAR more interesting than this real mess. And to think of the many dozens of wonderfully made versions starring Joan Hickson or Geraldine McEwen or David Suchet models is to realize it can't be a near-impossible task to create an entertaining in fact engrossing film of Agatha Christie.

The director should not have been allowed the financing to make this movie - he is incompetent.

Cold Feet
(1997)

Deeply Unlikeable Characters Sometimes Get in Funny Situations SPOILERS
I've only seen two episodes thus far - in Season 2- and will change this review if seeing further episodes alters my opinion - but thus show revolves around six characters - four are married. The three women are truly detestable.

One cannot imagine why the boyfriends and husbands put up with them - except that the women are available for sex - and that is the thing about which the men obsess .

One unattractive woman (though on this board people are blind) sleeps around, becomes pregnant, tells the likely father (whom she says she loves and who obviously loves her) that she's traveling to London to have their wonderful baby - and arranges its killing!!! The father devotes the time until he next sees her - to redecorating their home in preparation for the baby. When he learns the truth, he's upset at the slaying for a few days and they happily get back together!!!!!! Hard as it is to imagine, perhaps if I loved a girlfriend enough, I would want to resume dating her even if she had with premeditation stabbed to death my parents or siblings- but it's very hard to imagine. Obviously it's impossible to imagine her killing my child - who's never had the opportunity to live. Could I ever fall asleep if she were near? Who knows what she might do!

Another woman, a wife, has ugly fantasies of sleeping with her husband's best friend - tells her husband she doesn't love him - confides it to her diary - and then tells the best friend. whom she kisses passionately When the husband learns this from her diary, the best friend confirms it (and lies about kissing her) - incredibly the husband wants to continue living with the wife who say she doesn't love him, and to remain friends with the best friend (who said "Hey, I don't love your wife though she loves me!" so it's ok apparently). It's the WIFE who doesn't want to sleep with her husband because he read her diary! LOL!

The third woman - attractive but rather cold - attacks her husband for being a workaholic, failing to spend time with their toddler. He is terminated - comes to realize he loves being home with the toddler for a few weeks, fails to look for a new job (though he lies and says he is) and rather than being pleased at his response to her sarcastic attacks, the wife gives him an ultimatum --- she will support him financially "but NOTHING ELSE" as his spouse. And she insists that he make a big dinner for her associates - though she knows he can't cook - presumably to mock and insult him when it comes off badly. A woman with an ugly ugly heart - whose routine coldness toward her husband is matched by his obsequious submissive behavior.

The single man - is as promiscuous as anyone you'll ever see in movies or television - needing sex as much as air - willing to sleep not only with best friends of his girlfriend, but to do so the day he's sleeping with the girlfriend. He lies to obtain sex, deeply hurts others' feelings to get sex from others, accepts back the killer of his child so he can have more sex. Perhaps some of the motivation is that he's nothing else in life- he's very dim mentally and works at a no-hoper job. What an ugly ugly personality.

The only likeable person is the husband whose wife loves another and fantasizes about him all day long - yet the husband is routinely insulted, and disparaged by men and women.

The series does however hold one's interest because it establishes one embarrassing situation after another - and the situations are sometimes skin-crawlingly funny - but it should have been called "Appalling Women" or "The Despicable 30s". What a series! It's far inferior to dozens of other TV comedies - and cannot compare with the best, including, He & She or Love on a Rooftop, Friends or Frasier, As Time Goes By or To the Manor Born, Good Neighbors or Taxi, Cheers or Seinfeld.

Rizzoli & Isles
(2010)

An unusual police detective pair - decent mysteries, involving, very warm family atmosphere
I've always liked this show - and am glad it's being repeated now on independent stations. When Angie Harmon starred on Law & Order, her character's pushiness and arrogance, her deep rasping voice and model's gait - really put me off. But on this show, the actress, playing the two lead detective, Rizzoli, has grown on me - her character is given a family background, allowed to show a variety of emotions, and Harmon has simply become a much better actress than years ago.

I really liked Sasha Alexander, who plays the other lead character, pathologist Isles, when she starred on NCIS and was very disappointed when she left the program (after its first year?). She's utterly charming, obviously bright (good as very necessary for this character!)

The plots are not ones you'll want to rewind to see how the complex pieces fell into place (this isn't Columbo) but they are involving enough to carry forward the narratives of the shows.

The supporting characters are well-enough written - though the humor is often hokey.

The warmth of the ensemble is very noticeable - one senses not only that the characters are supposed to like each other - but that the actors really do. It's a strange thing to say that a police detective show is heartwarming - yet this is.

As one comes to like the characters more and more, it's their back stories and their concurrent personal stories that make this a very welcome watch.

There's nothing BIG about the series - it's modest, light, and has its own charm and warmth. I really like it.

The Girl on the Train
(2016)

Wonderful possibilities - but alas poor execution by screenplay, director
As others wrote in their reviews, my interest in the film was also sparked by seeing Gone Girl. The fact that the movie was set in a town near where I grew up (and my family still lives) - the nearby town of my high school sports rival Ardsley (though apparently shot in two adjoining towns, Irvington (where Washington Irving lived , his house is preserved as a museum - and near where he set such stories as Rip Van Winkle and The Headless Horseman) and Hastings on Hudson - increased my natural curiosity.

Girls see things on trains - I recently saw again on television, "Lady on a Train" with Deanna Durbin. As this site states: "While in a train halted at a station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder committed in a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy ..." I own and saw several weeks ago, the movie of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mystery,"4:50 from Paddington". As this site says: "A friend of Miss Marple's sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. When police cannot find a body and doubt the story, Miss Marple enlists professional housekeeper, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, to go undercover".

Well, Emily Blunt's character rides a train each morning and looks forward to peering out the window at a couple at the same house in Ardsley. (the train stops at Ardsley station near the house, so she has time to peer). We learn later that the couple consists of her former (unfaithful) husband and the mistress during that marriage,whom he's since married and with whom he continues to live in the same house in which he had lived with Blunt while they were married.

The film revolves around Blunt's character and her friend (with whom she lives), and two married couples - her former husband and mistress now wife, and their governess and her husband. One of them goes missing- suspicion falls on more than one of the others - and the difficulties of an alcoholic's memory which would at least shed light on who done it.

The movie has much in common with the wonderful domestic suspense thrillers of a few decades ago - particularly with Richard Gere and Michael Douglas: A Perfect Murder, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, Final Analysis, Primal Fear, Unfaithful. Unfortunately each of those was superior to this

One of my chief criticisms is that we are shown flashback after flashback after flashback throughout the film (perhaps 75?) only to be told later that they were false - and merely the mistaken understanding of the person apparently remembering. This causes us to mistrust EVERYTHING WE'RE NOW SEEING. Perhaps all will be revealed as false. Thus, suspense cannot be developed - maybe it's not happening.

Another criticism arises from the deliberate and repeated changes of time. Again and again we are told on the screen "Last Friday" or "Two Months Ago" or "Four Months Ago" or "Six Months Ago" or "One Month Ago" involving different characters - and we just never know when that earlier time period is no longer what is being shown. Nothing says "Now ladies and gentlemen, back to the Present" And there's no reaasn whatever for any of those flashbacks - why not show us chronologically?

Another criticism is that two of the characters are simply made flat - the charming and beautiful Rebecca Ferguson (who was astonishingly good in The White Queen series) and the husband of the governess. Perhaps there was far more in the book - but in this film, they are simply not made interesting. They react as anyone would to anything happening around them

Another criticism is that the movie fails to acknowledge or even attempt to explain why - one character has an appeal to women that rivals Errol Flynn - every woman adores him (at first) and wants nothing more than to have him impregnate her. The movie doesn't seem to understand that this is what it is telling us.

I join others in praising Emily Blunt's performance - deliberately made quite ugly looking, a sodden drunken mess in every way, coarse, gross, profane, and we believe this is who this character is - completely. It's quite a performance!

The November Man
(2014)

Very fine - complex but not too much so - great performance by Brosnan
The first thought is "Another James Bond?" In physicality, yes, certainly. Brosnan is in amazing shape - and just as active, energetic, ferocious as in any Bond. In terms of special effects, no this is a more serious and grounded movie than any Bond. Unlike the James Bond films, this deals with quite serious real-world issues - loosely based on headlines from Bosnia-Hercegovina and Russia in recent decades.

The movie is deeply suspenseful, fast-paced, complicated (but you can follow), very well- acted - but most of all it's a superb Piece Brosnan as a truly world-weary, cynical, older, former secret agent - pulled back into the game. - and vicious antagonists. The Bond girl is an excellent co-star!

You'll like it! I hope there are more with Brosnan's character - remember the name, Devereux!

Midnight Lace
(1960)

A good standard suspense-filled story of murder threats to an upper middle class matron in London
Doris Day is the reason to watch this - it's as if she truly became her character - and she IS terrified by the creepy threats made from disembodied strange voices when outside, from the telephone when inside ... and is being driven mad. The plot of this mystery is ... ok ... like the plot of most TV mysteries (say an average TV movie) but the difference is that Day IS this woman - and it's very unsettling - and worth seeing. Day in fact swore never again to take on a suspense movie - it almost gave her a nervous breakdown!

Other benefits from this movie - it's lavish - you're looking at a quite upper middle class English couple in late 1950s, early 1960s London - the clothes, the settings, the furniture and accents - are all appealing. Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy, Herbert Marshall, John Gavin, Roddy McDowall comprise a big and fine cast.

Day's character is NOT at home - but in London, a foreign land, she's relatively newly married to Rex Harrison, she's not feeling the utter security she might in other circumstances - and then awful things threaten.

It's easy to like the movie - if you start to watch it, you'll finish it. I enjoy Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy, Herbert Marshall and John Gavin in all they've done done You'll enjoy it - but don't expect something GREAT.

While You Were Sleeping
(1995)

Very funny and heartfelt, utterly charming and sweepingly romantic
I love this movie - if you've ever wondered why comedies made in the 1930s or 1940s were far better than anything in more recent decades - it was really the writing. Well, this film is written as well or better than any comedy in the last half century - the overall plot is wonderful - the actors perfectly chosen - and all the small steps each character makes are entirely believable, consistent, revelatory of character, and gently leading - inevitably - to what a resolution viewer wants to see.

This will stay in your mind - you'll want to see it over and over - you'll want to tell your friends - you'll want a sequel and a prequel. You'll want to remember each line of dialogue, to replay scenes, to make sure you have the quotations you tell your friends exactly right. Seldom mentioned in these reviews is also the beauty and feel for Chicago. It's underplayed - but there throughout - the Els, Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, the bridges and the skyscrapers and the lovely houses in the residential neighborhoods. Nothing is said about them - they're the background - but so well chosen.

I would love to see a sequel - now 23 years after the film was made. Bullock and Pullman as a middle-aged married couple - Peter Gallagher's continued quest for the perfect woman, the sister Mary - and the reminiscence of the passing of the previous generation - of Boyle and Warden, Glynis Johns, and the others.

The strange thing is that the two brilliant writers of this film seem hardly to have written ANY other film before or since!! Is it possible they used pseudonyms for this one? I would beg them to write a sequel for these characters.

Don't doubt my review - this will become for you a beloved movie you'll never forget

Dunkirk
(2017)

Quite disliked it
I was bored so much of the film - the plethora of characters about whom one knows nothing - and thus cares little; the remarkably confusing story line (three story lines - which cover one week, one day and one hour - in which we are supposed to see one line's incident reflected in the other story line at an earlier or later time - but this means we wonder which of the 17 times we see a ship blown up is significant to which point in another story line at a different point in the movie? Which of the planes we see knocked down is one we saw at another point - or shall see at another point from a different perspective? We don't care); the indifferent film score - nothing too grand, no real crescendo, nothing that could be described as patriotic; long long stretches in which nothing happens; the deliberate undercutting of the idea of the people as having an idealism great than self-interest - and many of the principal characters deliberately sabotaging the overall effort - or deceiving others - or acting in a xenophobic way - or committing suicide out of fear ... anything to undermine a "spirit of Dunkirk" emotional feeling; All this is quite deliberate by the director - and to have just spent $50 ($23.50 for the IMAX seat, another $27 for a hot dog, soda and popcorn) - simply makes one far more reluctant to attend a movie - no matter the many (wrong-headed) plaudits.

Via Dolorosa
(2000)

Articulate - even eloquent - but hopelessly wrong
I missed his performance of Via Dolorosa in New York but was intrigued by what he thought of Israeli/Palestinian issues and therefore rented the DVD of his performance.

Many of Hare's expressed assumptions are false. Thus, for example, though Hare may be nominally Christian, Hare believes that Christianity no longer has any essential meaning for Westerners; I don't know why - he seems only to speak for himself. And thus, the Jewish settlers' application of religious belief as a basis for anyone's "real present day world" belief about politics or morality is treated by Hare with "slap on the forehead" incredulity. It is offensive, and more indicative of Hare's absence of religious belief than of anything peculiar about the settlers, to hear Hare speak of religion as an absurd basis for action or belief.

Time and again, Hare states the central problem for Israel as the necessary primacy of a certain consciousness, set of attitudes or "thoughts" over mere "ownership" of "stones" (i.e., sovereignty over land). It is apparently this reluctance to cede ownership of territory that Hare believes is at the root of the mutual enmity of Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Hare assumes that the Palestinians' central desire is mere sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip - and with these desires granted, all will be well: Arabs may want stones - Israel should not care about them.

Yet even by this double standard, Hare is mistaken. if the Arabs formed the PLO years before 1967 with the express intention of destroying any Jewish homeland in the Middle East - and in fact the vast majority of Arabs sought the eradication of Jews from Palestine before 1948 - then what does this say about Hare's assumption that somehow relinquishing control over particular land acquired in 1967 would end the enmity? But the desired conclusion of the Arab "struggle" is the termination of a Jewish state - check any opinion poll.

The majority of Jews in Israel have no descendants who ever lived in Europe - they or their parents or grandparents fled from elsewhere in North Africa or the Middle East. Hare gives no sign of understanding this - and sees Israel somehow as an offshoot of Europe. It was not the absorption of the West Bank that caused Jews to be persecuted and expelled from the rest of North Africa and the Middle East.

Thus, Hare's astonishment that some Israelis could disagree with the Oslo Accords in 1993 because those accords contemplate the emergence of a Palestinian state, is strange when the existence of such a state would constitute another step in the intended destruction of Israel.

Hare is also blind in his reference to the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "conquered territories". All inhabited territory on earth has been conquered from other peoples. E.g., England IS conquered territory - certainly from the time of the invasions by Jutes, Angles and Saxons through the Danes to the Normans. They didn't leave.

Following World War II, within a few years of the creation of Israel, there were expulsions of people from territories, and expropriation of property, on a vast scale around the globe - in Tibet, in Inner Mongolia, in Taiwan by the retreating Nationalists, in the Sudetenland by the Czech government. Such expansion and contraction, the emergence and disappearance of peoples and states are true throughout the world and throughout history.

Thus, even if Hare were correct in his assumption that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian enmity were the cession of the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- --why is Israel (a very small country) alone to be required to lose much if not most of its territory? Simply because they failed to force the Palestinians to emigrate to surrounding Arab countries? This makes little moral sense.

Hare also speaks of the terrible poverty in the Gaza Strip. There is poverty - but neighboring Egypt and Jordan are more impoverished. Indeed, the West Bank is the most affluent non-oil producing Arab majority area in the world. If the Arabs in the West Bank are indeed wealthier there than in neighboring countries - and continue to live there rather than emigrate - obviously the humiliation of checkpoint searches (and who can say THOSE are unnecessary given the horrors of the violence against civilians?), is insufficient to motivate people to improve their lives by moving. There's no Iron Curtain preventing emigration.

Hare strangely appears to assume that a nation's sovereignty should never cost the lives of those in its defense. At one point, he repeats the statement by an Israeli military officer that though Israel had lost 20,000 lives to violence since its creation, the loss had been justified by the creation of a sovereign country for the Jews. Hare sees this as somehow wrong - an improper elevation of "ownership" of land and of "stones" over human lives and "thoughts".

Would Hare say that the vastly greater losses by the USSR in World War II were not worth it to avoid the loss of "land" (i.e., the country) to Germany? How much of the USSR should have been given up to Nazi Germany to avoid those losses - because its "real value" lay in the performance of Tchaikovsky's symphonies or the reading of Turgenev, rather than there mere "stones" of Russia? The preservation of sovereignty always costs lives - many of them - and if successful, is deemed worthwhile by survivors.

Hare's assumptions that religion is a terrible basis for conduct and belief, that acquisition of the West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute the whole of Palestinian desires, that Israel's acquisition of these areas was somehow different from all nations' acquisition of their own lands, that defense of the homes of countrymen constitutes a wrongful elevation of mere stones above the "intellectual heritage" of the people - all strike me as very wrong-headed.

A Fever in the Blood
(1961)

Bold, exciting, twists and turns - sometimes over the top
I watched this recently on TCM. I had always liked the actors - Jack Kelly (perhaps most famous for Maverick where he and James Garner shared the honors), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Angie Dickinson, Don Ameche (and a host of character actors from Jesse White to Carroll O'Connor).

This is a movie about politics in a state in mid-20th century America. The ambitions of three men to become Governor: the current U.S. Senator, a prominent state court judge in the largest city in the state, and the famous District Attorney from that state. Their party lost the last election for Governor - they have reason to believe their party will succeed this time around. Each wants the job - very much.

Kelly plays (wonderfully) a man with a poor slum background - he's risen to be the D.A., he is aggressive, articulate, driven. His life has risen to this point - he wants the Governorship desperately - a loving wife, two happy children in his 1950s suburban home - he feels he's got to move up.

Zimbalist is the product of a wealthy background - he rose naturally to be a judge - his wife was an invalid a long time - then died. He has no children - no particular interest except fishing alone. He is lonely, and says repeatedly that he seeks the Governorship out of interest, to give his life more meaning. He lives year-round in the posh residential suite at the nicest hotel in the biggest city of the state.

Ameche is the current U.S. Senator - in middle age, he won the love of a beautiful blonde woman (Dickinson) who had been in love with Zimbalist (who was married to his invalid wife). Ameche is insecure, childless, deeply cynical, fast thinking, and far older than his wife. He suffered a heart attack the previous year - and wants desperately to win the adoring love of his wife - feeling that if he defeats her former love (Zimbalist), he'll have proved something.

Three smart men - all in the same party - and one job they seek. The screenwriters do a wonderful job of focusing this ambition upon a murder trial - over which Zimbalist presides - and Kelly is the prosecutor. And the defendant in that murder trial is ... the nephew of the former Governor of their party.

Possible - and actual - deals of alliance - offers, rejections, reneging on those deals - create the twists and turns of this political drama.

The movie is deeply cynical - sometimes I felt too much so. (I was sometimes out of sync with the movie - and felt that the characters' actions were not so unjust - or unfair - than the movie wants us to think).

It's a film about character, about ambition, about modern politics - in the last 1/4 of the movie, it goes off the rails repeatedly - with crazy turns and twists that seem implausible and wild - and yet the movie is BIG, the twists and turns remarkable - its ambition to show America the world of modern politics very admirable - even if sometimes too moralistic.

I loved watching it - it's exciting, fresh, the performances are just great (not only by Zimbalist, Kelly, Ameche and Dickinson - but by all the actors).

I suspect if you get the chance, you'll really like it - and remember it.

Performance: After the Dance
(1992)
Episode 4, Season 2

Fine, very moving, quite witty
I've seen this three times now - as a DVD included among the Rattigan box set. I'd read a collection of Rattigan's plays - but this wasn't among them. As the director of the recent Olivier award winning National Theater production of "After the Dance" has stated, the failure of the play to run a long time in 1939 caused Rattigan to exclude it from his "Best Plays" collections. The play had received great acclaim by critics when it opened - and was doing fine business for two months - but then the War began - and the emotional ends of theater-going changed rather dramatically. The play closed soon afterward.

It's a superb play. I'm delighted that it's been revived to such a heralded response in London. It conveys a specific set of people - London based, upper class, only just too young for the First World War -who partied through the 1920s and the 1930s - ostensibly occupied with something, but not with true dedication. Eccentricity, a studied nonchalance, an affected boredom with the serious are the style of conversation - and gossip the substance. They now face a Second World War, a new generation - and themselves. There is considerable self-blame for their indulgence, wistfulness over age, self-questioning whether they can revivify, and wonder whether their characters are sufficiently supple or strong to start anew - as a new generation grinds alongside.

The play is quite realistic - and sad - and funny. The performances here are fine - you may, as I, wish to see it time and again. It's that fine a play.

The Boys Are Back
(2009)

How not to raise children
This is one of the poorest movies I've seen - I'd no idea what it was about, but generally liked Clive Owen, so thought I'd rent it. It's the only film I can remember in which I actually yelled two or three times at the TV screen "End. END!" Owen plays the most Uriah Heepish parent I've ever seen. Extraordinarily passive - yet deceitful in many ways (Not least, as a top newspaper's sports editor who lies to all at work, and to the nation about covering the biggest international sporting event held in Australia each year - one can only hope he was fired, though there's an odd failure to mention the consequence).

I've never seen a parent apologize each time his child deserves punishment. Child throwing things? Apologize. Child hits him repeatedly in the head? Apologize. Child refuses to get in the car to go somewhere? Apologize. Child won't get up from having a tantrum on the floor in public? Apologize. Child wants to throw things in the house? Apologize. Child cries because he wants to swim instead of be in school? Apologize.

Say that you're deeply deeply sorry for every breath you take, every move you make - you get the idea.

This is a creepy movie - the parent abandoned his vows to God, his son and his spouse to be true until death - and is somehow not made to feel the terrible consequences of his abject despicable treatment of his spouse. Why did he leave her? "I got (this sexy babe) pregnant".

I constantly wished the worst for the protagonist - which I don't think the film intends.

I loathe this movie.

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