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The Involved Citizen - Common Sense Revisited

> Movie Reviews: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY <

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"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

(Posted: December 3, 2017)

First, the good news. Frances McDormand is still a great actress, although I prefer her wearing a badge and an 8 month pregnancy. Woody Harrelson surprised me. I always considered him to be a B actor. He does much better here. The strength of the movie is in its characterizations; and there are a number of interesting characters, all played well.

Now for the bad news. For a small town suggesting Middle America, there is an awful lot of swearing and foul language, most of it gratuitous. Also gratuitous and out from left field is a major dressing - down of a Catholic priest, obviously for points in some quarters. There are too many story-plot lines, tenuously held together. The mood is incessantly down, unnecessarily so.

In summary, I would still have recommended this movie if it had ended at least 1/2 hour earlier...and had taken the rest of the detritus with it. But not now.

A "C".
GS

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"Victoria and Abdul"

"On the one hand...", this is a study in the Seven Deadly Sins, played out by the British royal household, at least at that time.
"On the other hand...", it is a depiction of the Human Spirit, irrepressible in the person of Queen Victoria.
The story of Abdul, only recently discovered, is necessary but not sufficient. It is Judi Dench who steals the show, as usual for this great actress.
Definitely see this movie  - and then read the book review that appears in the NYTimes Book Review, Oct. 8, 2017: "The Raj Duet", by Man Morris
An "A" for all involved.
GS

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"Wind River"

A beautiful setting, a reasonably interesting but sordid story, a few flashes of good acting...all spoiled by gratuitous gimmickry designed to bust your eardrums.
C-.

GS

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"The Hitman's Bodyguard"

It Works, on several levels. Don't ask for more...JUST GO.
An "A".

GS

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"Dunkirk" [more]

LET'S HEAR IT FOR "FAKE NEWS".
Just kidding, folks.
But here is a fascinating story about Elmyr de Hory:
a Very Original Fake.
My sources here are: a) the article on this real "fake" artist in Wikipedia; and b) "F for Fake", a fine documentary film by Orson Welles (1973 or 1974).
As an "executive summary" - and a real question for the ages - I can do no better than to quote directly from the Wikipedia article:
"In Welles film, de Hory questioned what it was that made his forgeries inferior to the actual paintings created by the artists he imitated, particularly since they had fooled so many experts, and were always appreciated when it was believed that they were genuine. In 'F for Fake', Welles also poses questions about the nature of the creative process, how trickery, illusion and duplicity often prevail in the art world, and thus, in some respects, downplays the culpability of the art forger de Hory and outliers like him."
In any case: A Very Original Fake.

GS

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"Dunkirk"

This is a different movie review: a film that I will not see.
The reason? Read the article entitled:
"The Dumbing Down of 'Dunkirk', by Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ July 21, 2017, Opinion, pA17.
Hollywood should not be forgiven for all of the bouncing boobs and "buttocks", the idiot would-be satirists, the "Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI)" political commentators. And it should not gain from misrepresenting the heroes and heroics of World War ll or of any other war for the sake of "safe-spaces" or a "universal story".
Not from me, anyway.

GS

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TRUE CONFESSION:
I haven't yet seen this movie.  But I surely will. Burt Reynolds is a GREAT!

GS

Burt Reynolds talks Trump, lost loves and his latest movie - Yahoo.Com

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"The Comedian"
(Posted: February 3, 2017)

In deference to Robert De Niro, whom I like,
this movie will not be graded.
In deference to my readers...don't go.

GS

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"Hidden Figures"
(Posted: January 22, 2017)

Two parts infuriating, three parts uplifting.
Altogether, a five star effort by all involved, in all categories.
And the best part: it's a true story!
Another reminder, which we human beings always need, of how low we can descend, and of how high we can rise.
An "A"...and a multi-Oscar accomplishment.

GS

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"Hacksaw Ridge"
(Posted: November 5, 2016)

Excellent.  One of the best war movies I have ever seen, in all categories.  Unless "Political Correctness" infests the Academy Awards, I believe that this is a sure winner, especially for Gibson. And once again in a recent film, utter brutality is successfully combined with sensitive humanity

Could it be that some of today's actors, adept at depicting anything but Life, are growing up?

"A".

GS

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"Reacher: Never Go Back"
(Posted: October 23, 2016)

A good movie: in plot, in characterization, in acting, and in editing of all the fight scenes that otherwise would have produced death or maiming of the actors.

In fact, this is a rare time when I can compare it with the book, which I read on a recent cross-country trip. (I rarely read fiction).

An "A".

GS
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"Deepwater Horizon"
(Posted: September 30, 2016)

They certainly get the pyrotechnics and the deafening sound right, although at the expense of hearing the dialogue. They also try to develop individual characters, although ultimately superficially. But does a person, in panic and pain for sure, need all of that time to get off that rig that is about to incinerate you - and JUMP INTO THE WATER?

But my main criticism is not with those details, but with the bigger picture: there was a crime; there are many victims; but there is no Punishment.

And don't talk to me about money damages.  PEOPLE NEED TO GO TO JAIL. That theme was barely implied in the movie. Not so with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal who, addressing the many examples of corporate crime, has drafted the "HIDE NO HARM ACT", which would finally make responsible corporate individuals criminally liable for corporate criminal acts perpetrated under their control. That should have been the message of this movie, "based on a true story".

What: too politically incorrect?

A "B-".

GS

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"Sully"
(Posted: September 16, 2016)

Everyone has seen the real-life movie "...On The Hudson".  So, is this a sequel?

In any case, this movie is well-done and worth-while. That's not to say that it could not have been improved with better sequencing of the flash-backs and forth, with fewer agonized phone calls between Sully and his wife, and with a somewhat broader range of emotion by Tom Hanks in a reprise of his stoic acting in the Maersk ship pirate story.

What was very good were the flight sequences and the emotions of the just plain folks caught up in all of this.

A   B+.

GS

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"Florence Foster Jenkins"
(Posted: September 3, 2016)

I don't recall ever walking out of a movie that featured Meryll Streep...before this one.  And that, despite the fact that I had promised myself beforehand not to do so, in deference to Ms. Streep.
But that I did. I am not into cruelty or sadism, not toward animals and certainly not toward fellow human beings.

You might want to read the story of Ms. Jenkins life in the Wikipedia account. Perhaps I should have done that before going.

Anyway, I have nothing good to say about those who surrounded her in real life.  And as for Ms. Jenkins, my diagnosis is Tertiary Syphilis and related psychosis. Was there not one person who loved her enough to shield her from her delusions?

So, did this movie, hurtful and once more depicting man's inhumanity to man, have to be made at all?

No Grade.

GS

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"Jason Bourne"
(Posted: July 29, 2016)

This movie gets all "A's" from me.  And I believe that it is also Academy Award material in several categories.
The only minor criticism I might offer is that the demolition derby toward the end of the film is a bit too long.  Perhaps the price for scrap metal is was peaking when the film was being made.
Very Good.

GS

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"Independence Day: Resurgence"
(Posted: June 25, 2016)

I walked out after 35 minutes.  I tired of holding my nose.

GS

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"Battle of the Bulge"
(Posted: May 28, 2016)

MEMORIAL DAY, 2016:
What to remember....

We remember and honor all those who fought and died in all of America's wars.
And for those who can't remember because they never learned in the schools of recent decades, I offer a movie tutorial "to make the medicine go down".
"BATTLE OF THE BULGE", 1965.
A gritty, real-life and unsparing depiction of war.
Among a group of great WW ll movies, this stands out.
Watch it and remember, or learn for the first time what being an American means.

GS

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"London has Fallen"
(Posted: March 3, 2016)

This movie will go ungraded by me, since I left early...to wash all of the blood off myself.

I hope Londoners will see this, and then perhaps start worrying about all the Muslims in their midst...who are even allowed their own exclusive neighborhoods - AND THEIR OWN SHARIA LAW.  Insane!

GS

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"Where to Invade Next" by Michael Moore
(Posted: February 27, 2016)

This movie is worth seeing, a "B" overall.

It has to be called a documentary, since all of the "actors" are real people, always a plus. It is also a cleverly crafted screed that avoids the term "diatribe" appropriately attributed to his earlier works. It achieves this with dollops of honey and effective humor that cover for the occasional comments like referring to the history of American slavery as "genocide" tantamount to the Holocaust.

The story line contrasts individualistic America with several socialistic nations of Europe and elsewhere - where the citizenry are just happy to be taken care of from cradle to grave without too much effort on their part. It does appear to work for them, especially after the living memory of a disastrous first half of the 20th century.

What really gets this movie off on the right foot is his first "invasion"...of Italy.  Several believable sequences interviewing real and personally attractive people. And what bad can you say about his original description:
"Italians always look like people who have just had sex".
That got me hooked.

GS

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"The Finest Hours"
(Posted: January 31, 2016)

Here is a movie that needed to be made - and that should have been made a long time ago - because it is A TRUE STORY, going back to 1952.
True stories don't need to be hyped, and very often don't need special effects. They certainly don't need or deserve a post-mortem analysis of those effects, as is often served up in some other movie reviews.

This movie is well-done and - after my self-analysis of my own reaction - is worth an "A". Initially, I found myself irritated by the amount of time spent over the "courtship" of the two main characters. But that was and is the other point: the courage and tenacity of the partner left behind...to wait and worry and raise the kids and pay the bills...and rarely to play a critical role in actually saving the life of their loved one.  These are the other heroes, rarely acknowledged. And this story brings that fact out. Thank you for that.
One fault that I can find is in the depiction of the commanding officer.  A leader is a leader when his subordinates are confident in his judgment and want to follow him...not because he orders them to do so.  This leader fails in this test; and we don't learn why.

Finally: A PERPETUAL "ATTA BOY" TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD.

GS

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"The Revenant"
(Posted: January 8, 2016)

As I've noted before, a book can be analyzed on four fronts:
the Plot, the Characterizations, the author's message / intent, and what the author unintentionally revealed about himself or herself.

Here, the story is based at least in part on a true story, that of the frontiersman / trapper Hugh Glass in the 1820's.  But how he survived and why he continued trying to survive is not clearly established for  most of the film. The "survival instinct of man", faced with all of these challenges, by itself would not cut it for me. Seeking revenge is always a powerful motivator - but that kicks in much later.

The characters, and the characterization are great acting. And the main actor is the environment, a beautiful - deadly travelogue that would be worth the price of admission by itself.

What is the message of the author and the director? That revenge should give way to '"Vengance is Mine. I shall repay", sayeth the Lord."
What is their message that they unintentionally reveal, at least to me? That revenge itself is a good enough motivator.
An "A" in all categories.

GS
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"The Revenant"
(Posted: January 1, 2016)

MOVIE REVIEW...A "PREQUEL".
Here's a movie that I promise not to walk out of.

GS

The extremes Leonardo DiCaprio went to for ‘The Revenant’ - TheDay.Com

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"Trumbo"
(Posted: December 5, 2015)

First the good news: it's worth seeing.  "B" acting.  An engaging and true story.  A "B - " overall.

But now, the other news.  Two hours in length; but it seemed longer, lingering on the family disruptions.  The efforts to depict well-known personalities with actors bearing a vague resemblance was not very successful - and was distracting. The Trumbo character himself was not fully formed.

And disturbing to me was the failure to put the "Red - Baiting" in full context: the World War immediately followed by the not-so-Cold War, with the hated Soviets dropping an Iron Curtain over half of Europe, engaging in domino aggression including Korea, stealing the Atom Bomb and very likely also the Hydrogen Bomb, and with home-grown Communists increasingly feared and suspect as representing a "Fifth Column"...especially in government. This does not relieve the authorities from flouting Constitutional protections and fundamental fairness.

However, neither are the powers and players in Hollywood relieved of blame for their unfair and often self-serving attacks on their colleagues and fellow citizens. 
And that's my point.  Everyone seems to have an excuse, aka "reason" for his or her base actions.  Trumbo even describes all involved as "victims".  The Hell they were.  They were all responsible for their actions.  Of course, that idea, personal responsibility, would be too un-PC for the Hollywood and its followers of today.

GS

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"Creed"
(Posted: November 28, 2015)

Formulaic...but the formula still works. And the acting is very good, especially the work of Stallone. Rocky can act!
Now, if I could only hear all of the dialogue.

A B+ overall.  And could this be the end - really - of a movie dynasty?

GS

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"Spotlight"
(Posted: November 27, 2015)

Excellent in every respect...as a movie, though sad and demoralizing as a reflection on the worst of human nature. 
'"Judgment is Mine.  I shall repay", sayeth the Lord". (Romans).

Meanwhile, this grave injury to the Catholic Church did not end with the story.  At an event which I attended in disbelief, Cardinal Bernard Law was honored before his exile to Rome at a massive ceremony in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Norwich, Ct. attended by nearly 80 Bishops and other clergy from throughout the nation.
I have not lived a sheltered life and thus had never been scandalized...until I witnessed that event.

And in Rome, the Cardinal is hardly wearing sackcloth and ashes.

What else can I say and continue to act as a Christian?

GS

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"Bridge of Spies"
(Posted: October 25, 2015)

First, the good news. This is a well-crafted movie, with excellent acting, a story that follows closely most of the actual facts about Rudolph Abel and James Donovan, his attorney. 
Now for the not-so-good news. Attorney Donovan, who had served as an attorney for the OSS and who had reportedly served at the Nurnberg Trials, thus knowing the importance of national security, especially at the height of the not-so-Cold War, is depicted has having stubbornly jeopardized his mission regarding the captured U-2 pilot whose information whose information in Soviet hands would have put his nation at great risk.  This, to secure the simultaneous release of an American student who had independently and stupidly gone to East Berlin to study. Had this entire project failed for that extraneous, although however noble  reason, Donovan would have and should have been charged as a criminal.  But it went off well...and Donovan returned as a hero, which reputation he held for the rest of his life.
I know a bit about this period, having been in Frankfurt, Germany from 1960-62 as a physician with the U.S. Army Medical Corps.  When the Berlin Wall was built, our hospital and the 3rd Armor Division, whom we supported, were placed on 3 hour alert for a possible push into Russian occupied Germany. Not too "Cold".
Back to the movie: a B+ for the movie, an A for the acting...and a C for the lesson evidently sought to be taught.

GS

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"The Martian"
(Posted: October 9, 2015)

JUST USED A ROUND - TRIP TICKET TO MARS.
"The Martian" is engaging...as is Matt Damon in all of his work. 
Of course, I  got lost in much of the scientific basis...but who cares.
An "A" for Damon and for several of the supporting cast.  A "B+" for the movie.
In addition, one of the best parts is a piece of advice that the Martian gives to a class of aspiring astronauts (paraphrased):
"There will be a time when everything - and I mean everything - goes South. It will happen.  At that time, will you think that you're gonna die? Yes. So you accept that.  And then you start solving the problems, one at a time. Then you will live".
My addition: whether you "die" or live, you will live.

GS

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"A Walk in the Woods"
(Posted: September 19, 2015)

Definitely worth the walk or ride to your theater, especially in a summer replete with JUNK. 
Nick Nolte is TERRIFIC. An "A".
Robert Redford is... well, Robert Redford. And boy, does he look old.  Was that makeup? A "B".
The Ladies are great. A "B+".
The story, and especially the opportunity for personal growth would have benefited from some acknowledgement of "spirituality" and of the "eternal".  But there studiously was none - except for looking up at the wonder of a few billion (trillion?) stars.  A lost opportunity, without having had to get "religious". 
Remember: the last words on the lips of an atheist as he or she is about to die are "Thank God I died an atheist".

GS

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"San Andreas"
(Posted: June 26, 2015)

The movie review of this movie is another example of the evident inability of some (many ?) members of our younger generations to recognize and appreciate human emotions. I believe it is the result of broken homes, a drug culture, and the cyber - culture in all its forms. Have we already reached the "Singularity"...and don't recognize it.  The movie review gives passing recognition to the emotions depicted, and gives credit to Hollywood's ability to create "disasters".  But it still gives the movie a "2 star" rating.
WRONG.  This is a fine movie, even a family movie for teenagers and older adults. And it also accommodates a theory of mine: that viewing depicted true-to-life disasters in some way may prepare an individual to deal with a real disaster if encountered. My only fault with this movie is that they did not give high billing as "Supporting Actor" to GOD.  B+.

GS

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"Woman in Gold"
(Posted: April 25, 2015)

Had this movie tried to tell a different story, it would have bordered on melodrama.  But given the true events relating to one of the darkest periods of world history produced by the bestial Third Reich in the 1930's and 1940's, it is riveting, sad and enraging. And its Nazi actors are not yet off the stage.  A very elderly former death camp official just recently brought to trial thought it was important to say that their "procedures were very orderly". "'Judgment is Mine.  I shall repay', sayeth the Lord".
See it, to become informed, sad and enraged all over again.

GS

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"Belle"
(Posted: February 6, 2015)

Terrific movie: A.  That's all, folks.

GS

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"American Sniper"
(Posted: January 24, 2015)

I resisted as long as I could, since I'm not a fan of blood and guts.  But I kept hearing about the psychological aspects of the story.  And it's true.  This could more aptly be named American Warrior - and Victim.  It certainly demonstrates the trauma of War, for all involved.  It also demonstrated once again to me something I have repeated in this section recently: we cannot avoid World war lll with boots on the ground in the Middle East at this time.  That can only be achieved by the "moderate Muslims" themselves, effectively motivated by America and the Western World.

Very well done, in all categories - especially in acting.  Definitely Academy Award material.  An "A".

GS

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"The Imitation Game"
(Posted: January 17, 2015)

This well-crafted narrative is much more a psychological puzzle than a historical thriller.  Certainly, Alan Turing was not "normal", Thank God.  For it is estimated that his work reduced WW ll by two years and by 14 million more dead.  And his experience provides yet another reason to lionize Winston Churchill.

From the first scenes I began my diagnostic efforts, almost immediately focusing on the possibility / likelihood that he suffered (in a very real sense) from Asperger's Syndrome.  And a Google search will confirm that I am not alone.

In any case, good story and great acting (as only the English can seem to manage).  An "A".

GS

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"Wild"
(Posted: December 20, 2014)

This cannot be a movie review, since I left after the first hour.  But I can offer the following:

a) it is worth seeing;
b) fine acting;
c) great scenery.

And it has a message which may or may not have been intended. Ignoring the obligatory...and perfunctory... copulation scenes to earn an R rating, it is a good movie for this Christmas Season.  The quest for meaning through Nature is a surrogate for "the reason for the Season": our Creator.

GS

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(Post Script: November 23, 2014)

INTERSTELLAR - The Movie; The Message...

About one week ago, I posted a Movie Review on this current offering on this web-site.

Two days ago, David Brooks published a fine column on the same subject, entitled "Love And Gravity"(in NYTimes Friday, November 21, 2014, OP-ED, pA27).  His is much more in-depth; but we agree entirely.

This is a love story about the ultimate Love: God's Love for His ultimate creation, and about His one Command: Love thy God; Love thy neighbor. How could Hollywood have produced this? Is there really hope?

The whole matter brings to mind a famous quotation from the poet John Keats:
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness:"

GS

"Interstellar"
(Posted: November 16, 2014)

After groaning through three execrable coming distractions, I surprised myself by staying through this 2 1/2 hour movie.  It wasn't the references to Quantum Theory or Relativity or black holes or worm-holes...or the believable cinematography.  It was a combination of excellent acting by Mathew McConaughey and the impression that this is the closest that today's Hollywood can come to making a religious movie.  "Love makes the world go 'round." And we know that, although never mentioned here, "God is Love".  A "B+".

GS

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"Saint Vincent"
(Posted: October 26, 2014)

A good antidote after having seen "Fury", especially if you have dry eyes.

Actually very good, with "A " acting by all and a "B" for plot.  The latter is my reaction to "a stroke of luck" followed by a plot twist that is not "a stroke of genius".

GS

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"Fury"
(Posted: October 26, 2014)

Hollywood has certainly learned how to "do War right".  I came out of the theater with shrapnel wounds all over me.

Very well done and acted, particularly with the plot unfolding into the eyes of an innocent "Everyman" that we can all relate to.

But why, despite a good sense of hearing, do I miss 30% of the dialogue in the cacophony of Dolby?  Not a good thing.  A B+.

On a personal note, I value among my greatest blessings in a life well-blessed the fact that none of my three sons had to go to war...and that my part in the Service was healing, not killing.

GS

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"The Judge"
(Posted: October 10, 2014)

...with Robert Duval and Robert Downey Jr.

Excellent.  Where did this come from?  Except for a rare excess, like the "snapping turtle ex machina", and a gratuitous "R" rating, this is 'Grade A" all the way.  Both Duval and Downey deserve Academy Award nominations.

GS

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"This is Where I Leave You"
(Posted: October 3, 2014)

The perfect title for this movie.  It took me 30 minutes to act out the sentiment. Good acting...or was it simply these actors acting out their own lives? Hard to say these days, given the epidemic of personal and societal dysfunction.  Besides, two of the main thespians were Jane Fonda's synthetic boobs.

A "C-".

GS

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"My Old Lady"
(Posted: September 28, 2014)

...with Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.  You can't go wrong with these three superb actors.  But there is too much dialogue and monologue - and even operatics - which impair the flow of the story.  Thus, a failure in the cutting room, despite a movie of just 103 minutes.  Worthwhile, but could have been better.

A "B".

GS

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"The Drop"
(Posted: September 21, 2014)

Definitely an "R", and not for sexual content...so don't bring the kids.  This is a 21st century "Film Noir"...very "noir".  But don't try to learn anything about its plot beforehand.  Let it unfold before you.  A hint: James Gandolfini is a main character.

Excellent: an "A".

GS

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"Blazing Saddles"
(Posted: August 25, 2014)

Beautifully presented at The Garde Theater in New London, Ct.  this masterpiece of kitch and inspired slapstick should be viewed at least every 40 years (eg. at this, its 40th anniversry), and PRN for any "down days".

Of course, I would be happy to see and hear Madeline Kahn do "I'M TIRED" every Friday. 
An "A" for everything.

GS

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"The Hundred Foot Journey"
(Posted: August 23, 2014)

This is another example of following the work of excellent actors and more recently of movies with an Indian motif.

A fine movie in all respects.  The only issue for me was understanding some of the dialogue, as always presented in that clipped - English style characteristic of Indian actors.  But the spare dialogue is worth paying careful attention to, except perhaps when you have to wipe away a tear.  I give it an A.

GS

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"America: Imagine the World Without Her"
(Posted: July 19, 2014)

Any time a movie title starts with the word "America" and Roger Moore gives it *1/2, I've got to check it out.

"...rambling, mis-titled...."  True. ' "America" sets itself up as a piece of documentary counter-history..."  Not quite, as it counters the revisionist history pushed by the Far Left regarding seminal events in American history.  This the author, Dinesh D'Souza, does pretty well.

Indeed, the best evidence of this is the difficulty the public will have finding a movie theater that will run it.  Censorship?  "We report; you decide."  In any case, this movie is worth seeing - if you can find it.  I give the movie a B-.  I give any movie theater that offers it, like the Olde Mistick Village Art Cinema in Mystic, Ct., an A.

GS

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"A Million Ways to Die in the West"
(Posted: June 7, 2014)

This story starts out with at least a kernel of promise (especially with the great southern Arizona scenery).  But very shortly it eats its seed-corn in an avalanche of over-done. If it was trying to shock: nobody gets shocked any more.  You've got to do better than that.  So, using the same metric I used for the "...Budapest Hotel":
1:10 PM: Made Mistake;
1:40 PM Corrected Mistake.

GS


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"Million Dollar Arm"
(Posted: May 27, 2014)

I give it an "A" in all categories.  And it's also a short travelogue in India.  Just try to skip the "Coming Attractions".  UGH...

GS

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"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
(Posted: April 5, 2014)

1:05PM.  Made mistake.
1:50PM.  Corrected mistake.

GS

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"Before Midnight"
(Posted: April 5, 2014)

Definitely an "R", but in context and with "redeeming social value".  A good story line - unfortunately too common in this world of broken marriages and "parentus interruptus". And very good acting.  In fact, at one point I felt guilty eaves-dropping on their miseries.  The only weak point I found was the dinner scene in Greece; to paraphrase the old TV serial "Duffie's Tavern: "Where the effete meet to eat".     A solid B+.

GS

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"Monuments Men"
(Posted: February 8, 2014)

The real news is that there have been so many reasonably good movies in 2013 and entering 2014...instead of the usual tripe.

The not-so-good news here is that George Clooney can't decide what kind of movie he wants to make. The result is worth seeing, particularly for its important war story. But don't look for much characterization or gravitas...or involvement on a personal level.  Overall, a C+.

GS

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"Saving Mr. Banks"
(Posted: December 30, 2013)

It has been noted that good...even great...movies get created mainly when the country is down in the dumps.  The Great Depression was one example of this.  Are we witnessing another such period, when truly good movies rise above the wasteland?

Here is yet another movie that is definitely worth the price of admission, and also the price of a box of Kleenex.  Emma Thompson is great, and is now my pick for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.  Tom Hanks is also very good.  But he may have to settle for "Best Supporting Actor", although I'm not sure of that one. 

For "Best Actor", I'm sticking - so far - with Bruce Dern in "Nebraska".  

And I haven't walked out of a movie in months.

GS


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"Nebraska"
(Posted: December 11, 2013)

My streak of good luck continues.

As another real movie reviewer said, sounding hyperbolic, "Almost Perfect".  This story is filmed in black and white; and both that and the story itself are  "black and white".  No shades of grey here.  And yet it turns out to be, in a strange way, a Christmas story...without any merriment. 

So far, this makes my choices for Academy Awards: Bruce Dern as best actor; his story mother as best supporting actress; and maybe even best cinematography. Now how's that for sticking my neck out?

GS


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"Philomena"
(Posted: December 6, 2013)

YET ANOTHER MOVIE NOT TO MISS...but don't read any reviews beforehand.

...with Judy Dench and Steve Coogan, is Grade A all the way...despite or because of the terrible subject matter: the Irish Magalena Laundries.  But, to the movie reviewer who suggested that it might have started out as a comedy, I award a consultation with a psychiatrist.

GS

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"All Is Lost"
(Posted: November 16, 2013)

I award it an A for photography, a B for acting, and a D for "script", such as it is.  In fact, if Redford's character had substituted his one-word monologue with another word (...), he and we would have been much the better for it.  As regards some of his nautical decisions, I must be a bit more circumspect to avoid receiving loud guffaws from my kids.  "DUCK-TAPE, DUCK-TAPE".  But I do have some specific questions to put to these real sailors...after they have seen the movie.   Overall, a "B".

GS

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"Last Vegas"
(Posted: November 11, 2013)

HAS HOLLYWOOD GONE MAD?  HERE'S ANOTHER IN A STRING OF VIEWABLE MOVIES:

Smiles, laughs, tears, a message...and what a treat to see these greats interacting.
Despite the fact that "PG - 13" stands for nothing anymore, I give it an "A-".

GS

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"The Fifth Estate"
(Posted: October 27, 2013)

COULD IT BE...ANOTHER WORTH-WHILE MOVIE?

I give it an A: in plot, in characterization and acting, in telling us what the makers had in mind, and in what they revealed without intending to. 

As I left the theater after viewing this movie, a statement made in another movie immediately came to mind:

"You want the Truth?  You can't handle the Truth"! (Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men".).

And that' s the way it really is.  We human beings could not bear to see ourselves as we really are or at times can be, the result of a completely transparent world that the Internet threatens to produce.  And the outcome would be merely to replace the hierarchy of  society - such as it is - with the anarchy of the Mob.  Is that what you want?

GS


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"Blue Jasmine"
(Posted: October 14, 2013)

FUGGEDEBOUDED.

Populated by paper cutouts of real people...except for the "heroine", all too real in today's cynical and amoral world.  I walked out within an hour.

GS

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"Captain Phillips"
(Posted: October 13, 2013)

...worth seeing, but a B-.

GS

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"Fast"
(Posted: October 13, 2013)

Great: an A, and not for the races or the racy scenes.  Great characterizations, great acting,and fine directing by Ron Howard.

GS



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