inkblot11

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Reviews

That Touch of Mink
(1962)

A total delight, one of Grant's last films; too bad the duo didn't make more together!
In Manhattan, Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) has been looking for work. On the day of an important interview, she is splashed by a rushing limo and mud goes all over her clothes. Disgusted, she ducks into a nearby building. However, the businessman, Philip (Cary Grant) has seen the incident and orders his driver to go back around the block. Cathy's not there. Instead, she is in a luncheonette complaining to her best friend, Connie (Audrey Meadows). But, ho ho. The eatery is near the building where Philip works and he spies the pretty lady. Sending his right hand man (Gig Young) over to compensate for his boss, Cathy tells the underling she wants to tell her woes right to the head honcho. But, when she is ushered in, all her sharp words die in her mouth. Philip is gorgeous! After paying for dry cleaning, Philip wants to take Cathy out. Thus, the unemployed gal meets the millionaire. Can this work? This delightful film is a Day favorite and one of Grant's last films. What a shame, as they are a dynamic duo! Also fabulous is the supporting cast of Meadows, Young, John Astin, and others. The sets, costumes, script, direction and cameos by the NY Yankees will charm the viewer as well. If you have only viewed the great Day/Hudson films but have somehow missed this gem, don't delay. One could say this should be required viewing for romcom fans everywhere!

The Little Ponderosa Zoo
(2017)

Sweet and animal lovers will adore it as there are creatures galore!
Charlie (Kena Holmes) is the only child of small-time zookeepers. As such, she can help with most of the animals but not the truly dangerous ones, like the tigers. But, lately, Dad seems worried over the amount of money coming in and going out. Meanwhile, a devious banker in the city has discovered that there is gold on a property nearby. You guessed it, its on the grounds of the zoo. He calls in his wife's delinquent cousin to plan a sabotage operation, that will make the zoo's property go down in value so HIS BANK can buy it at a bargain. Just at this moment, Charlie finds a nugget of gold in the stream and tells her trusted friend, a longtime zoo employee, about it. Maybe this is just what her parents need to save the zoo! This sweet movie has been crafted by a company intent on making family friendly films. Naturally, some of the adult characters are buffoons and the kids and animals smart. Nevertheless, the sheer quantity of creatures and the lovely settings will please the target audience, as will the zany humor. Family film fans, you will like this one.

Life/Drawing
(2000)

Has its moments but falls short of being a must-see for romcom fans
Alex (Mark Ruffalo) thinks the world is his oyster at this moment. He is about to have an art showing at a Los Angeles gallery and he shares a beautiful home with a lovely lady. Alas, the gallery manager cancels his show just as Alex says sayonara to his pizza delivery job. Then, in short order, his girlfriend breaks things off by dumping his stuff on the street and leaving a note on the door. Scrambling, the struggling painter finds an apartment in a rundown complex with a wide variety of nutcase tenants. One of them brings a Spam casserole on his first night, ugh. Yet, Alex keeps painting and soon meets a fellow tenant, Lori (Beth Ulrich) who is quite cute but has interests totally dissimilar to his. They have a brief "thing" but are they truly made for each other? Then, too, at a low point, Alex gets an inspiration for a new style of painting. Will this result in his big break? This offbeat romcom has some great ideas which don't quite fully bloom. Ruffalo and Ulrich, nevertheless, and the unknown secondary cast are funny and charming. The seedy sets of LA contrast with the poshier places but the direction slows the pace too much at times. But, if YOU, like ME, get desperate for an unseen romantic comedy now and again, drop by Apartment 12.

Love Unleashed
(2019)

Unleash time to watch this truly doggone good film
Hailey (Jen Lilley) is an accountant with a wonderful side business. She arranges "puppy parties" to entertain young birthday celebrants and to get the little doggies adopted. On an outing, she meets Ryan (Christopher Russell) , a single dad to Emily, who longs for a puppy. But, father's not sure. Since his wife's death, he and Emmy have done just fine and he's concerned they do not have time to care for a puppy in their home. Happily, Hailey can arrange for Emily to see the dogs at home a couple of times. Complications soon arise when Hailey, who has been advocating for a certain city property to become a dog park, and Ryan, who works for the mayor, knows his boss wants the land for retail. More importantly, Ryan is confused by his growing attraction to Hailey and visa versa. Will solutions and romance arrive? Hallmark should get its own star on the walk in Hollywood for making tons of quality romantic comedies when Hollywood has mostly abandoned the genre's fans. This one is also terrific with a nice cast, charming puppies, great costumes, sets, humor and heart. My only pleas are for viewers to find the film and enjoy it AND FOR HALLMARK TO RELEASE some of its great movies to theaters.

Psycho
(1960)

A classic in chills and creepiness, nuf said
Marion (Janet Leigh) works for a real estate agent and earns, most likely, very little bucks in the late fifties. She loves a handsome gentleman named Sam (John Gavin) but, alas, his divorce has left his prospects dim, as a good deal of his money goes to his ex-wife. In fact, he lives in another California town, behind the hardware store he runs. Marion is getting tired of meeting Sam in cheap hotels and listening to his weak promises. One day, a crooked businessman comes in with $40,000 cash for a house he is buying for his daughter, who is marrying soon. Marion's boss is aghast to hold this much money so he sends Marion to the bank on a Friday afternoon. The money never gets deposited. Going a bit "crazy", Marion takes the cash and runs north, thinking this will allow Sam to marry her. But, a heavy downpour makes Marion stop at an out-of-the-way motel, The Bates. Greeted by the motel's owner, Norman ( a superb Anthony Perkins), Marion soon learns she is the only guest and is given the best room. Norman even brings her a meal, over the objections of his mother, who Marion sees in a window and hears from the 'big house" behind the motel. After she eats, Marion decides maybe she should take the money back in the morning and steps into the shower. Suddenly and ghastly, Marion is stabbed to death by, its assumed, Norman's mother. Norman cleans the place up and sinks Marion's car, along with the money, into a pond near the motel. All too soon, Sam and Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) are looking for her. A private eye goes snooping, too, hired by the man with the bucks, for he can't notify the police. When the PI gets to the Bates, Norman's mother makes short work of him, too. Another car goes swimming and sinks. But, when Sam and Lila likewise trail Marion to the Bates, will more deaths ensue? Is there bigger secrets afoot? You bet! This classic tale of a psychosis and murder is rightly one of Hitchcock's most famous films. DEFINITELY SCARIER THAN SCARY, many folks never take a shower again after viewing it. Perkins is beyond great as the weird Norman and Leigh, Gavin, and Miles do their parts quite nicely. The twist at the end is compelling while, even in black and white, the film's production is stunning. Don't miss this one if you dare!

Ghost Ship
(1992)

Pretty lame knockoff of The Goonies; grade school children might like it
In the Arizona desert, there is a hidden treasure according to an old legend. It seems once the Colorado river was overflowing and a Chinese ship with jewels, gold, and other costly items went aground. Now, there is nothing but sand and an old map which may indicate where the ship is. Two groups collide to find the riches for themselves. One is a duo, with a greedy Brit and a nicer Asian man (Byron Mann) who got the map from ancestors. The other search party is a group of fourteen year olds on a field trip with their science teacher and his girlfriend as chaperones. Supposedly looking for geodes, the kids found the map at a photo shop, where negatives were left, and they switched the map without their teacher's knowledge. Soon, the Brit gets scared, as he sees an apparition of a camel at night and his Asian sidekick gets angry, leaving him to his own resources. Once the teacher finds out the kids are looking for the sunken ship, he, too, is angry, as their supplies are low. But, with great skills, the kids learn to make do and get more clues as to where the treasure is. However, there may be obstacles and bed folks out to stop them. Can they discover the gold and also live through it? This knockoff of The Goonies is okay but certainly not top tier. Young teens and grade school children may like it as the young actors are very attractive and just learning how to kiss! The gentleman and lady playing the two teachers were also quite wonderful as was various secondary thespians. But, the low budget scenery, costumes, and slow direction take away from the total impact of the movie. Nevertheless, if your kids liked The Goonies and other treasure seeking films, Ghost Ship might sail well for your family.

Cop and a Half: New Recruit
(2017)

Cute family film with a clever girl and a fine Lou Diamond Philips
Karina (Lulu Wilson) wants to be a cop like her deceased father. Therefore, at school, she is always snooping and "hall monitoring" and no one really likes having her on their trails. Even the principal (Wallace Shawn) loses patience at times although he wants to cut the fatherless girl a few breaks. One day, Karina somehow runs into a real cop, Detective Simmons (Lou Diamond Phillips), who is also having some trying times. Soon, she is trailing him, much to his chagrin. The town they live in, meanwhile, is being punked maliciously by anonymous; the library has books moved around while other incidents occur at the post office and other government agencies. When Karina is knocked down by a drone, both she and Simmons get the idea that drones are involved with the other activities. But, how do they find the perp? This cute family film, a sorta sequel to the darling first film, has a clever girl and the fine actor Lou Diamond Philips as its primary charms. The sets, costumes, and script are adequate and harmless, with comedy ensuing most of the time. Therefore, if you are looking for family entertainment, this one isn't half bad/

The House with a Clock in Its Walls
(2018)

Top notch cast, art direction and special effects are found here; story is dark and complex
In 1950's Michigan, young boy Lewis is arriving in the midwestern state to meet his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), whom he has never seen. Unhappily, Lewis parents have died and Lew, scared and upset, doesn't know what to expect from his future life. Jonathan seems strange but friendly and turns out to live in a huge mansion guarded by year round Jack-o-lanterns. Odd. There are noises in the night which initially spook Lewis. Also, his first days at school are anything but enjoyable as the children are not friendly and consider Lewis bizarre for the aviator glasses he constantly wears. However, his uncle soon confesses that he, Jonathan, is a good warlock and nice, kind neighbor Florence (Cate Blanchett) is a good witch. Their immediate mission, as they tell Lewis, is to keep a former and now deceased friend-warlock, Isaac (Kyle Maclachlan) from coming back to upset the world. You see Isaac turned "dark" and has planted a doomsday clock somewhere in the house, with intentions of using it at some point. Eagerly, Lewis wants to learn magical ways, too, and wishes to join in the mission to keep Isaac away. Yet, horrors, one day Lewis makes a mistake which makes the danger nearer than ever. Can this trio defeat the evil Isaac? This film, based on a book which was published 25 years before Harry Potter, has some of the same themes which Potter fans might enjoy. The cast is truly terrific while the sets, art direction and special effects are mind-blowing. Alas, the tale is somber and complex and doesn't always "work". Also, parents who object to witches and dark magic would be advised to find other film choices for their children. Even so, House has a couple of hours of fine entertainment for a goodly number of folks.

Johnny English Strikes Again
(2018)

Rowan Atkinson is tops but this film's script does not match his talent, by far
Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) has been "retired" from the British spy agency. Well, he had been lucky, not skilled or intelligent, in his previous work. Now, Johnny teaches at a school, where the students are enchanted by the way he mixes spy techniques into their lessons. What fun! What's NOT fun is when the Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) receives word that someone is hacking into the Agency's computers and exposing all the identities of the secret agents! Now, while seasoned spies must go into hiding, former spies must be recalled to find out the man or woman responsible for the computer disaster. Guess who gets summoned? Why here's Johnny! With a former sidekick coming on board, the men act as waiters, accidentally burning down eateries to get clues then travel to the South of France where evidence has been found. If the Tour de France is underway and blocking the road, no matter, Johnny just releases a smoke bomb to make them all fall to the ground. Whoa, whoa. A pretty lady becomes their first suspect while a genius computer man, Pegasus (Adam James) has the Prime Minister convinced HE ALONE can solve the problem. Eventually following leads to Scotland, Johnny dons kilts and armor to get the culprit. Can his bumbling ways do so? Ha, right down to using a sword to smash evidence! This mediocre film should be viewed for one reason only: ATKINSON. True, Ms. Thompson gamely garners laughs but without Rowan, this ship would sink. Oh, yes, the scenery, costumes and such are charming but the script doesn't work a good deal of the time. Yet, Atkinson rises above the fray. If you love HIM, don't, don't miss it.

The Hustle
(2019)

Thank God for Rebel Wilson! She is my new heroine; Hathaway fun, too, in a so-so film
Penny (Rebel Wilson) is backpacking through France with her "swindling" ability. She can fake sad stories and exhort money from disappointed men seeking mates. But, alas, she is not big time. Meanwhile, Josephine (Anne Hathaway) lives in Beaumont Sur Mer, where there is a casino and she knows how to win big money through deception. In part, its due to her police officer friend and loyal butler Albert who, when Jo is successful, get their cuts. When Penny and Josephine meet on a train, Jo, who has witnessed Penny grifting a dinner and faking her way into first class, tries to convince the blonde lady NOT to disembark in B Sur M. Penny does not to so but is only fooled for a brief while. Eventually, Penny discovers the rich lifestyle that Josephine pursues and WILL NOT LEAVE WITHOUT professional secrets. So, while each dislikes the other mightily, Jo and Penny team up to deceive their way into even more riches. Soon, they learn a naive tech billionaire may be a great mark and they decide to challenge each other for the prize. Who will win? This remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has its charms, mainly from Rebel Wilson. SHE is the new "it" gal of comedy and Hollywood should take notice. No matter that the script is so-so, Ms. Wilson can mine gold from pyrite. Ms. Hathaway and the supporting staff are fine, fine as well. Then, too, the viewer will be enchanted with the fabulous sets and costumes! Therefore, if you want to laugh these days, and who doesn't, hustle over to the cinema and lay your money down for a Rebel with a Comedic Cause!

Game of Thrones
(2011)

Late to the party, I am blown away by this fantastical, medieval-type world; beware of its R-rated elements for sexual themes and violence
In a world created in books by George R. R. Martin, Westeros mimics Middle Ages Europe with magical elements. As such, the once ruling family, Targaryen, was deposed when the last king went mad and was killed by a guard. The remaining family members, Viserys and Daenerys, were whisked across the Narrow Sea to a strange country with little hope of regaining the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, new king Robert has gone from magnificent warrior to careless ruler and his scheming wife Cersei has many devious plans. When a close adviser to the king dies, the ruler of Winterfell, the far Nothern country, is asked to go become the Right Hand of the King. He doesn't want it but can't refuse. His large family of children is broken in two when his wife must remain behind to care for an ailing son. There is also a dwarf brother to the Queen, a 700 wall keeping out the wild neighbors on the cold North and five other countries where leaders dream of "taking over". Who will win the Game of Thrones? This magnificent series has it all, a great cast, settings, costumes, and story. Don't miss it!

Long Shot
(2019)

Although I liked many elements of LS, I was ultimately lukewarm to the entire film, especially its R rated scenes
Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is a successful Secretary of State to a President who clashes with her opinions, at times. In truth, this Head of State was once an actor and he doesn't truly enjoy his greatest role. Meanwhile, Fred (Seth Rogen), a muck-raking journalist for a small Brooklyn newspaper, quits when a Murdoch-like media mogul takes over the paper. In serious need of cheering up, Fred's close friend takes him to a glamorous party where Boyz 2 Men are singing. Of course, Charlotte is there, too, and has just learned the President will not seek re-election and wants to throw his support behind HER. But, wait! Fred KNOWS Charlotte from long ago, when she was the 16 year old babysitter to his 13 year old hormones raging self. Back then, she was seriously earnest, ultimately losing a class election by concentrating more on ecology than a "second prom" touting opponent. After re-connecting at the party, Charlotte wants Fred to join her election campaign, for his humor is much needed for her new image creation. From jetting to Sweden to concoct a global ecological "pact" to being under fire at an island on the Philippines and then whisking away to tango with more nabobs in Argentina, is Charlotte getting interested in Fred romantically? And visa versa? This sometimes pleasing romcom has one beautiful star in Theron and one funny star in Rogen. They are quite charming and fun. The supporting cast has great vibes, too. Naturally, the world scenery is exotically lovely while Theron's costumes are ever-changing and ever-glamorous. But, the script has some problems, especially its R-rated themes which this viewer believes went way too far for comfort. What a shame, for this ultimately left me NOT wanting to view it again. Listen up, Hollywood, sexual tension and comedy does not need blue elements like those found here! But, other viewers may decide differently after attending Long Shot. Therefore, this viewer doesn't want to be discouraging, only wary, so take a shot at this movie if you dare.

While We're Young
(2014)

Conversation driven film with attractive stars, voluminous ideas; sophisticated viewers will like it
In Greenwich Village, documentary filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and his lovely wife, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are not happy with their lives, at the moment. Now in their early forties, they tried for years to become parents and, despite thinking they had let this dream go, they are suddenly pondering it again. This is largely due to close friends of the same age group who have just welcomed their first child. Strong emotions come rushing back. More importantly, Josh is having trouble completing his latest film which bothers Cornelia a great deal. Perhaps this is because her father Leslie (Charles Grodin) is also a famous creator in the non-fiction film category who could help Josh but the younger man insists on going it alone. One day, as Josh delivers a guest lecture at a college nearby, he is startled to find two folks auditing his class. They are Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) a married couple who shower Josh with praise for his previous work. Whoa, how nice is this! Jamie, in fact, admits he aspires to the same type of career and would love to hobnob with Josh to learn pointers. Soon, the foursome are meeting for dinner at Jamie and Darby's place, where J &C discover a bohemian atmosphere they admire. Not only that, the younger couple ride bikes everywhere and many zany interests. Even though its difficult, Josh and Cornelia try to keep up. They all attend a mystical weekend event, take mind-altering drugs and let loose. But, truth is important to Josh and he soon finds Jamie likes to fabricate parts of the truth if it suits him and his situation. In fact, was Jamie ever interested in being friends are just picking brains? This conversation driven film has its moments of humor and life lessons that make it attractive to the sophisticated film viewer. Also, the stars are terrific, not only the main actors, but all of the supporting cast as well. Those who love Manhattan will enjoy the many sights and sounds of a vibrant city. Do you see yourself as a film fan who likes Woody Allen and other movies where conversations are everything? You will like this one.

What Women Want
(2000)

Classic romantic dramedy. funny and meaningful
Nick (Mel Gibson) is your classic male chauvinist who doesn't know he is so. As a top advertising executive, his ads feature sexy themes and are successful. He definitely believes his boss (Alan Alda) is on the verge of promoting him to be his right hand guy at the firm. But, elsewhere, Nick is less successful. His beautiful first wife (Lauren Holly) divorced him for womanizing and he barely sees his teenage daughter. Yet, when his ex remarries, he is going to be in "charge" of this teen lass for a period of weeks. In addition, although Nick believes he is a stallion in the bedroom, women may not always appreciate his moves. Now, here comes change! Instead of getting the promotion, a beautiful, talented woman Darcy (Helen Hunt) gets it. Boss explains they need to reach more women with their ads and this is the way to do it. Nick is miffed. Pretending to be a fan, he truly wants to sabotage Darcy's job. Yet, at home testing women's products to get a better understanding of what women use, Nick has an accident with the blow dryer and a sink full of water. Now, when he comes to, he can LITERALLY read females' minds. All too soon, he discovers his daughter thinks he's a jerk and he tries to change her attitude. A lovely lady (Marisa Tomei), who works in a store at the same office building, teaches him how to please women in the sack. But, is he still eager to take down Darcy and won't it be infinitely easier now that he can read her thoughts and stay one step ahead? This classic romantic dramedy has an abundance of humor, mixed with great lessons on, you guessed it, what women DO want. As Nick, Gibson is a delight as he learns how to be a far better human being. Hunt matches him in smarts and charm while the rest of the cast is wonderfully supportive. What great costumes, sets, lines and direction as well! What you want for entertainment tonight is this fine and funny flick!

Stolen
(2012)

Okay, its a big over the top, but the story is still thrilling, the acting still quite wonderful
Will (Nicolas Cage) is a master thief and the leader of a group which also includes Vincent (Josh Lucas) and Riley (Malin Ackerman) in magnificent New Orleans. Will, despite his profession, dotes on his young daughter Alison. One unhappy day, a major heist of the group is foiled by the FBI, with Will taking the fall for the others. Stupidly, Vincent rashly went against Will's orders and got himself seriously wounded in the leg, but gets away. Flash forward eight years and Will is just getting out of prison, determined to go straight. But, first, he tries to contact his loved ones. He finds Riley working in a bar, also leading the non-criminal lifestyle. But, Alison is not friendly and hops a cab when he tries to talk to her. Alas, it is the cab from HELL as a pegleg and embittered Vincent is kidnapping the young teen to make the money start flowing which he believes Will made of with alone. Can Will rescue his child? This ordinary thriller has a great cast and location which makes it come alive. Cage is great while Lucas is scary as the hideously changed bad guy. Do you like Cage and fine action films? Get Stolen!

The Two Faces of January
(2014)

Stunningly beautiful but dark thriller, the trio of leads is superb
Sophisticated and rich Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and his younger and gorgeous wife, Colette (Kirsten Dunst) are traversing Greece near Athens. We soon find out this is the result of the husband being on the run from folks he fleeced back in the US, without Colette's knowledge. Also near Athens, is a handsome Yankee tour guide, Rydal (Oscar Isaac), who mostly attracts the attentions of wealthy, female tourists, mesmerized by his appearance and smile. In truth, he sometimes shortchanges the women when they need to change dollars into Greek currency. Due to Colette's beauty, Rydal is intrigued by the couple and, along with an heiress with her eyes on the tour guide, the foursome goes out to dinner. Its there that Colette leaves a special gold bracelet behind by chance and Rydal is determined to return it. But, what horror! When the younger man enters the 5th floor of the couple's hotel, Rydal finds Chester dragging a comatose man back into an empty room. According to Chet, the man is drunk and he could use Rydal's help to carry the inebriated gent. The next day, however, the man's death is reported in the papers. Chester then admits that the deceased was an American detective sent to confront the "thief"; when the P.I. pulled out a gun, Chester shoved him, the man hit his head and passed out. Now, Chester and Colette, who packed in haste and left their passports behind, could really use Rydal's connections in Greece to get new passports and leave the area. Rydal agrees to help but, what are his motivations? As the trio hops a bus and passes on to Crete, can Chester and Colette indeed make a getaway? This intriguing and dark thriller, based on a book by Patricia Highsmith, is so stunningly beautiful it has to be seen, despite some weaknesses. First, the three main actors are very fine indeed. Secondly, the time is the sixties and the costumes are sensational, with Dunst looking so lovely and Mortensen so equally dapper. Then, the scenery in Greece and Crete are brought to beautiful perfection by the cinematographer. What glorious ruins and what an allegory for the lives of three people, brought on by greed? Lastly, the story gains strength subtly and incrementally, until it loses a bit of power near the end but is very fitting. Do you admire stylish thrillers and travel films? This is the best of both worlds!

The Knot
(2012)

KNOT a film for all being VERY VERY DISTASTEFUL, at times, but still has moments to enjoy for romcom fans
Happy Day, a couple is getting married! Alexandra (Talulah Riley) is certain Jeremy (Matthew McNulty) is the man for her and visa versa. Both of them submit to videographers, who have also chronicled such wild events as showers and bachelor-bachelorette parties. Now, its hours before the wedding and the couple doesn't know how difficult the day is going to become. For Jeremy, his grroomsmen have played pranks on him, from sabotaging his toothpaste to casting doubts on his desire to wed Alex. For her part, Alexandra has experienced a bridesmaid gone AWOL, a new hairdresser, nervous parents and an equally nervous stomach. When one of the groomsmen tears his tux jacket and thwarts the car rental, Jeremy banishes him until he finds a tailor and a new limo to meet the couple after the ceremony. Another of Alex' bridesmaids has to take a detour for emergency stitches. Then, too, there is a church mix-up, with the later couple wreaking havoc, with repetitive interruptions, on an African couple at a chapel with a similar name. Will this ceremony happen at all? This pleasing and funny romcom is marred seriously by a plethora of objectionable material, from sexual scenes to crude bodily function scenarios. Most fans of light romance will probably want to fast forward through some of these depictions. Smart idea. Nevertheless, Riley and McNulty are delightful and so is the supporting cast, including Mena Suvari. The venues in London are wonderful and the costumes quite fetching while the script has numerous funny ideas and the direction is fast-paced. Beware, romcom fan, of the R rating but if you dare to rent it, you will be laughing and sighing.

Edge of Tomorrow
(2014)

Amazing film, in concept and in visual majesty; one of Cruise' best performances ever
Major Cage (Tom Cruise) has been sent to Britain from America to chronicle and film the battles against an alien enemy, the Mimics, who have overtaken Europe. As England fears the huge, insect-like aliens will soon cross the Channel, they are preparing another D-Day invasion. Astonishingly, Cage has never been trained in battle, despite his rank, as he is an information specialist. Yet, the General in charge of the invasion expects Cage to lead soldiers on the field. He can't, he explains. Soon, the General orders Cage's arrest, the American is stripped down to the rank of private, and ordered to a squadron of paratroopers. The invasion is the next day and Cage, in an elaborate suit of armor he knows nothing about, will take part. The result is ghastly, Cage is overcome with fright and sees the fearsome aliens mow down one soldier after another. But, there's a twist. As Cage fires on an exceptionally large alien, called an Alpha, the human is covered in Alpha blood as they both die. In the next moment, Cage is back in time to the point of his discovering himself to be a private and hauled off to meet the squadron. Again. Along the way, he meets an exceptional soldier, Rita (Emily Blunt), who has destroyed many of the Mimics by herself. She explains why. IF you receive alien blood, even on the surface, you are part of Einstein's fourth dimension, time. Therefore, you now have the ability to "loop back" indefinitely and learn from each encounter on how to fight the Mimics and take them down. As Cage and Rita live, die, and repeat, will they be successful in freeing the Earth of these hideous Mimics? What a thrill ride this movie is! No, the concepts aren't totally original but borrowed and embellished very well and the visuals of the movie are majestic. How terrifyingly real are these aliens and how epic each battle is. Cruise has rarely been better, from scared civilian to strong fighter and Blunt is equally fine and regal. Even a casual sci-fi fan will be enthralled by this one!

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America
(1996)

Very funny, very repulsive
Beavis and Butthead wake up and look at the place in the living room where their beloved television is supposed to be. ITS GONE. Eventually, they look out the window and see thieves loading it into a car but they are too late to reclaim it. Now, they must find a new tellly or just go bananas. Their first choice is to just "borrow" one from the school but this ends in disaster and they are expelled. But, soon they spy a motel which advertises big TVs and they think they can just walk in a room and plop themselves down for a view. That's when they happen upon motel guest Muddy (voice of Bruce Willis) who believes these two young clowns are the "hit men" sent by a colleague. For Muddy wants his ex-wife Dallas (voice of Demi Moore) offed and a special virus in her possession stolen. As he explains to B & B, he wants them to "do" his wife. Instantly excited that they will score with an older woman, they agree and board a plane for Las Vegas where Dallas is. After creating havoc in the coach, in the cockpit, and everywhere on the plane, they land. Wow, are their new digs posh! Dallas, too, is fetching but, before the big score, Dallas hides the virus in a pocket of Beavis' pants and sends the boys on the run to a tour bus traveling cross-country. Now, Muddy, the Feds, and many others are after them, huh, huh, huh. In the meanwhile, the boys are primed to damage Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, and more. Can they make it to D.C. to re-unite with Dallas and FINALLY HAVE their close encounters with the beautiful lady? This extremely funny film is also very repulsive with sick, twisted humor. I laughed til I cried but felt as dumb as B & B in the process. So, if you are easily offended, don't watch this one. Nevertheless, if your desire is to laugh at the worst of humanity, you will choose well to choose this funny animated winner.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
(2005)

View this very funny flick to cheer your after a terrible day!
Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) wakes up one fine morning to see a dozen bulldozers outside his modest home. Seems the local authorities want to build a road just where Arthur's home lies. Naturally, Art falls in front of a machine and tries to call his attorney. Suddenly, a close pal, Ford Prefect (Mos Def) appears. As he distributes beer and snacks to delay the demolition, Ford hauls Arthur off a pub to break the BIG NEWS. He, Ford, is an alien and earth will be blown up in ten minutes. Yet, since Arthur saved HIS life once, Ford will take him above the fray and escort him through the galaxies. It happens. The evil Vogons arrive and tell the earthlings their time is up. Yet, Arthur and Ford make it to a hidden, sort of, chamber on a Vogon ship. Once there, after a horrid encounter with Vogon poetry, Ford leads Arthur on to another vessel, The Heart of Gold, where the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod (Sam Rockwell) is flying here and there with beautiful Trillian (Zooey Deschanel). But, wait! Trillian is from earth and was the gal Arthur fell in love with at a party, before Zaphod came traipsing in. She reminds him that she told him she longed to travel, so it should be no shock. Whatever. Soon, the Vogons will be trying to stop all of them with their evil doings. Will Arthur adjust to life in the vast universe? Or will he become majorly depressed like Marvin the Robot (voiced by Alan Rickman)? This funny, funny flick, based on the books by Douglas Adams, is just the antidote everyone needs after a terrible day on earth. It is nonsensical fun of the highest degree and has a great cast, costumes, script, special effects, and a dedicated direction. Many of the cast members got their first big break right here, including Rockwell, Deschanel, Def, Freeman and more and they are terrific. So, whats stopping you from viewing this film right this minute?

Hell or High Water
(2016)

High praise due for Hell or High Water ; excellent story, acting scenery
In the dry plains of West Texas, Toby (Chris Pine) has enlisted his brother, Tanner (Ben Foster) in a grand scheme of deception. They will rob banks, with ski masks, until they have enough money to reverse a "reverse mortgage" with which a bank fleeced their newly deceased mother. Not just any bank, the bank branches of the offending financial institution. Tanner, an ex-con, just wants the thrill of the plan but Toby wants to save the ranch for his two sons. What's more, they have planned it out in many ways to cover their tracks, such as burying getaway cars. Naturally, after the first two successful robberies, the Texas Rangers are called in. Marcus (Jeff Bridges) is on the verge of retirement; his partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham), a half-Comanche, wishes he was about to rock in a rocking chair. By studying the methods used so far, Marcus gets an idea about what bank may be next. What's more, Tanner does one job on the spur of the moment and leaves clues. As the brothers get closer and closer to completion, will Marcus find them first? This excellent, sometimes violent, film has one sensational story. But, likewise, the cast is fabulous, the scenery is vividly desolate, and the direction is smooth. Are you a fan of old Westerns and cat-and-mouse plots? You will find H or HW a dream come true.

Casablanca
(1942)

A classic, in romance, in story, in cast and everything else
Rick (Humphrey Bogart) once lived in Paris, before World War II broke out. An ex-pat American, he now runs a cafe, named after him, in Casablanca, Morocco. Its 1942 and many folks who want to escape Hitler arrive in Morocco to look for a visa to go to the United States. Not very many are successful. So, Rick sees desperate people every day at his establishment. Most of the time he is unmoved, as for some reason, Rick is a jaded fellow. However, he does come across a pair of valuable visas when someone trusts him to hid them in his piano player Sam's instrument. Not long after, "THE WOMAN", Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) comes into the place, asking Sam to play a song Rick has forbidden him to play. When he comes rushing to chastise him, he meets Ilsa. Flashing back, we learn that Ilsa had a grand love with Rick in Paris, just as the Nazis were getting closer and closer. Yet, when they made plans to escape on a train, Rick was jilted on the platform. No Ilsa arrived. Now, will Rick learn why this happened? Yes! Ilsa had a huge secret which comes spilling out, only to make Rick hurt all over again. In the meanwhile, the Germans in town are trying to find an escaped hero of their concentration camps, Victor (Paul Henreid). He is the most wanted man in Africa and word has it he's coming to Casablanca. Can Rick be an uncaring spectator forever? This beautiful, classic film has everything, as you have probably heard. It's a fine romance, with grand passion indeed. The story is a heart grabber and the cast is superlative. Made before anyone knew how long Hitler would remain in power, and at a time when he was winning the war, one sees how all of Europe wanted to escape his clutches. If you have never taken the time to watch Casablanca, don't delay. Almost every movie fan agrees that it is a top ten listing every time.

Isn't It Romantic
(2019)

Isn't it great to finally have a romantic comedy at the theaters? This one is darling!
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a minor architect at a NYC firm, where she mostly designs parking garages for other projects. As such, she lives in an average apartment, with average clothes and no boyfriend on the horizon. What she can't see is that Josh (Adam Devine), a co-worker, actually has a crush on her. Likewise, fellow employees often give her tasks they would rather not do, like throwing away their own takeout cartons! Yet, Natalie tries to please. One day, after a creep attempts to mug her as she exits the subway, Natalie gets a severe bump on the head and ends up in the hospital. When she regains consciousness, the world is changed. Everything looks like a fairytale romantic comedy and she even has a version of Julia Roberts dress and hat from Pretty Woman. Stores are lit up with girlie colors and her own apartment has been redone to look like heaven. In addition, a rich client, Blake (Liam Hemsworth) comes on strong to take her out. Whoa, this is one crazy parallel universe. What's worse, a beautiful yoga ambassador (Priyanka Chopra) develops a "thing" for Josh. Is this new world a good thing after all, when Nat sees her best pal Josh drifting away? What a joy to find a romantic comedy at the theaters and one which makes laughter an essential ingredient. Wilson is adorable and funny while the rest of the cast is charming, too. Add on fabulous sets, fine costumes, a terrific script and a lively direction and the result is titanic fun.

Designer Pups
(2015)

Cute, but not memorable
Stacy (Teagan Sirsee) lives at home and helps out with the family dog grooming business. Secretly, this 20 year old longs to be a fashion designer and has a booklet full of promising drawings. Her two darling dogs give a running commentary, unheard by humans, of how they can nudge Stacy in fabric selection, for they also have a keen eye for fashion. On the day she has an appointment with hotshot designer Michel (Torrey Halverson), a last minute dog grooming assisnment leaves Stacy unkempt for her interview. It doesn't matter. Michel is an egomaniac and dismisses her ideas with insults. However, an actress named Chloe has an accidental meeting with Stacy and loves her drawings. Asking the young lady to design an outfit for a fashion show, Stacy scores a bit hit while Michel's entry tanks. Soon, Stacy is climbing the ladder of the LA fashion scene while Michel is going down, down, down. Desperate, Michel gets an idea to kidnap the dogs, thereby throwing Stacy off kilter. Will his plan to ruin Stacy succeed? This sweet and cute film, while hardly memorable, has an attractive young star in Sirsee and a hoot of a bad guy in Halverson. Also, the dogs, a Pekinese and a Chihuahua, are just darling. Kudos to the scenes and fashions, too, while the script/direction are acceptable. If you love dog films and fashion, you would be content for an evening view with this one.

The Humanity Bureau
(2017)

Blade Runner meets Mad Max via Logan's Run; not for all but this viewer liked it
Noah (Nicolas Cage) is a dirty deeds henchman for a future American dystopian society. Global warming has turned much of the country into desert and ruins. In the city, the ruling class makes the decisions for all by running the Humanity Bureau. As such, all citizens are "watched" and if they can't really eek out a living in the parched earth, they are given orders to be escorted to The New Eden, a supposed Utopia development. One of those in charge, Adam (Hugh Dillon) delights in getting folks off the governments payrolls and into Eden. Thus, out drive men like Noah, who give the bad news to citizens and takes them, by hook or by crook, to their new home. However, there are rumors that Eden is no paradise but, instead, like a concentration camp. If Noah comes for them, they don't want to go. In fights, Noah uses the ultimate force and takes them down. One day, he is sent to a single mother, Rachel (Sara Lind) and her darling eleven year old, Lucas (Andrew Davies). She appears to be doing the best she can but Noah goes over the figures and says she and her son must go to the New Eden. Yet, when push comes to shove, Noah can't do it. There are secrets in his past which make him, instead, go on the run from the authorities with Rachel and Lucas. Can three little people fiee a well armed government with all available technology? We shall see. This average science fiction film has many similarities to classic ones like Blade Runner, Mad Max, and Logan's Run. One positive is its art direction, which has created a shiny, metallic, cold city and a ruined earth everywhere else. Another plus is the cast, for Cage is always great while Lind. Davies, and Dillon do great work, too. There is comic relief, in small part, by an African American actor whose name escapes me. But, in the end, the movie just rises slightly above lameness, with a meandering script and direction, while a sadly violent ending jolts the viewer to repulsion. If you like Dystopian movies, you will like this one, too; but most viewers will probably want to pass it by.

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