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Reviews

Call the Midwife
(2012)

Reminds me
As I was a student nurse in the East End of London during the mid fifties,(now an ex-pat living in Mexico) this series brings back many memories. I'm glad that some episodes include general nursing and even male patients as well as midwifery. Perhaps doctors were not always as good as the nurses in those days.I even remember an anaesthetist who sat doing his crossword puzzles during operations and no one dared utter a word of reproach.

Now that the East End is suddenly fashionable, even Shoreditch and Brick Lane, what has happened to Wapping where I trained and which used to be so scruffy?

One thing has changed for the better. In those far off days when a woman was admitted with an attempted abortion, euphemistically called "incomplete abortion", the police had to be notified and a policewoman would sit by the bed (drinking tea with the night nurse) until the unfortunate patient (who probably already had half a dozen children at least) was well enough to be arrested.

The Sound of Music Live!
(2013)

Bad wardrobe
Are we supposed to believe that a novice arrives from a convent with the most glamorous nightwear in her small carry on bag? Then the supposed Young man of "17 going on 18" looked about 30and about to burst out of his little brother's shorts. I could go on and on but stopped watching this travesty about halfway through. As said, my main problem was with wardrobe, especially when compared to that of the Julie Andrewes movie which was so much more realistic. It's very unlikely that there were black nuns in 1930's Austria but the mother superior certainly had the best voice of the whole show.

Will I buy the DVD, thanks but no thanks

The Secret Life of Zoey
(2002)

Excellent film
Being friends with someone who experienced the trauma of a child addicted to hard drugs, I found this movie totally believable. Mia Farrow gives an excellent performance as the mother asking "Where did I go wrong?" as all mothers do when a child, shows a serious lack of responsibility. Yes, a parent would be in denial, and take a "Not my child" attitude at first but coming to terms with the problem would make every effort to overcome it. This film has a more or less optimistic ending but the sad truth is that the majority of addicts tend to relapse after rehabilitation. The suppliers and enablers ought to be locked up under the supervision of their victims' mothers.

Anger Management
(2003)

pathetic
Many of the comments here are fewer than ten lines yet it seems that this is the minimum requirement.

My only comment on this stupid film is that it is pathetic, as are most of Mr. Sandler's efforts. One of the things that irritate me about his performances is his voice. Can he not talk like a normal human being or does he have some kind of speech impediment? If that is the case, I suggest he get help from a speech therapist. I can only assume that the positive comments on this movie were written by the distributors or their agents. This was a total waste of Jack Nicholson's talents, not to mention W. Harrelson and the divine Ms Tomei.

It's All About Love
(2003)

all about stupid
This film is poor, unconvincing and boring. What a waste of good actors! What were they thinking to take part in this drivel? There are plot holes to drive a train through and contradictions such as "is there a telephone?" when he uses a cell phone in another scene. Among other inconsistencies there are poles who don't appear to speak Polish and a champion ice skater who smokes. Does the director really think that, in the future, smoking won't be a thing of the past?

Having said all that I can think of about this truly dreadful waste of time, I have to add that Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors and was the main reason I began to watch this garbage.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
(2005)

In this age of child predators
Is it such a good idea that a young child goes home to tea with a stranger, even one who has hooves? Perhaps, given the age in which we live, it is not the best example to set. I grew up in England during the war in question and well remember a teacher telling us at the age of nine or so, that there was less danger as fewer people had cars in which to abduct a child, (and little or no candy with which to tempt us). Yes this is a delightful film and the effects are astounding, with a touch of "Pan's Laberynth", but perhaps some sort of warning could have been included. The vast majority are kind and would certainly never harm a child but there are exceptions, as we all know.

Frida
(2002)

compare this version to previous film
While I am a great fan of Alfred Molina and Salma Hayek is undoubtedly convincing as Frida, I urge viewers to look out for the earlier version in which Ofelia Medina played the title role. Ofelia Medina portrays Frida's fragility even more convincingly and don't be afraid that the earlier film is in Spanish(with a little French and Russian) and no subtitles! There is in fact only limited dialogue and after seeing the 2002 movie, is quite easy to follow. Both ladies do an excellent job of interpreting this fascinating character and both films are well worth viewing as they give some insight into the turbulent events of the early twentieth century in Mexico.

The Wedding Date
(2005)

Utter bilge
Why oh why do good actors accept parts in such garbage? Minor plot goofs such as sending his ticket by messenger when they were going to meet at the airport anyhow, transporting thousands of dollars in cash etc I could accept but the whole concept was too ridiculous for words. Debra is undeniably pretty but straight hair does not flatter her and why would such a flat chested girl try to attract attention to her lack of assets in that department? being at a loss to waste more words on this item I can only repeat myself as follows: Why oh why do good actors accept parts in such garbage? Minor plot goofs such as sending his ticket by messenger when they were going to meet at the airport anyhow, transporting thousands of dollars in cash etc I could accept but the whole concept was too ridiculous for words. Debra is undeniably pretty but straight hair does not flatter her and why would such a flat chested girl try to attract attention to her lack of assets in that department?

One can only assume that the preceding comment was written by the distributer.

Good Boy!
(2003)

Delightful!
Unlike the previous reviewer, I thought this film was quite delightful. Some well known actors give the canines voices to match their personalities (caninalities?) while both humor and pathos abound. Children will no doubt enjoy the ET-like story, but there is more than one message for dog lovers of all ages. The young boy is not unlike the main character in ET, a lonely child who needs a friend, and Liam performs extremely well in the role. I also found the supporting cast convincing and not at all "cheesy". Three cheers for the different breeds who take part in this movie, my only regret being that my favorite, Samoyed, was not included.

The Omen
(2006)

knives on plane?
I'm not sure why I have to write ten lines when many comments are shorter but here goes:

1. When the Ambassador's wife is hospitalized, she would most certainly have private nurses, day and night.

2.How would Robert get on a plane with a set of knives in his hand or was this supposed to be before 9/11 in spite of the opening shots?

3. Rottweilers of the world unite! They are maligned in this movie, just as Albinos were in "The Da Vinci Code" and "Foul Play".

4.Finally, I went to see the movie, here in Mexico, and hoped to see scenes of London but found none. The church with two spires is obviously Central European.

East Is East
(1999)

Better than "Greek Wedding"
This film is the story of an immigrant father straining to retain his native culture while his family of teenagers want to assimilate. It is a thousand times better than the much vaunted "Big Fat Greek Wedding" which dealt with a similar situation. The issues of race relations and sexual prejudice are dealt with in a sympathetic way from both sides of the fence, as it were, while at the same time carrying a serious message. The family conflict is at times entertaining, at times violent and at times sad. The father in this film happens to be from Pakistan but he could be Central European, Latin or of any religious background. This is definitely one of the best films I have seen on this subject.

Heaven Can Wait
(1978)

Heaven can wait (1978) Here comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
How is it no one ever mentions that the 1978 movie was a remake of an excellent black and white version made in 1941? I saw the earlier version quite by accident on TV one slow Saturday and was struck by how much the later one resembled the original. While the 1941 film features Joe as a boxer and the later one as a footballer, the rest of the plot is virtually unchanged. While greatly admiring all participants in the 1978 movie, I do think some acknowledgment is vastly overdue. Old movies can be quite awe inspiring, especially when we remember how limited facilities were in those days. Viva old movies, especially those in black and white. Down with the obnoxious idea of coloring them!

All the Pretty Horses
(2000)

Fake Mexico and fake Mexicans
Despite the presence of many fine actors I found this film most unconvincing: I like Penelope Cruz well enough but why oh why do they have to use a Spaniard instead of a real Mexican beauty? (They did the same thing in Spanglish which, by the way, has a trailer giving no indication whatsoever of the reason for the title).

The plot was plain stupid and didn't make sense. Mexican aunts who live on a ranch would never wear so much make-up for one thing and girls don't use high heels except in big cities. The Hollywood typecasting was plain awful and whoever was in charge of wardrobe should visit the real Mexico some time and see how people really dress.

Grégoire Moulin contre l'humanité
(2001)

Hilarious late-night viewing
I caught this film by accident during a bout of insomnia and thought it side-splittingly funny. Reminded ever so slightly of "After Hours", a Martin Scorsese black comedy where a young man goes out one night and endures a series of misadventures before turning up in a full body cast at his office next morning. This, however, is lighter, funnier and definitely more entertaining as Gregoire gets into some far fetched but equally dangerous situations when everyone around him seems to be on drugs, armed and dangerous. These include a taxi driver whose German Shepherd takes the wheel. A few of the incidents could happen and have happened to all of us, such as the attempt to get photo copies or a call for telephone information form a coin operated call box.

Faust
(1989)

Ordered this version from Belcanto and won't Ever use them again
I adored this opera having seen it at the (old) Met in 1963 and was delighted when the IMDb page showed a source for opera on video but I was bitterly disappointed in the video I received.

Poor Mirella is the only worthwhile performer in a ghastly cast with dreadful mise en scene. Why oh why do they mess up our favorites in this way? The jewel song is performed on wash day for unknown reasons; the returning soldiers look like worldwar I veterans (no sword handles ward off Mephisto)and instead of the uplifting finale with Marguerite being taken to heaven by an angel we get her in a strait-jacket while a child plays hopscotch. Ugh and double ugh!

Worse still, they sent me a version with Japanese subtitles

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