Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie for the Letter F

Hello ABC Wednesday visitors! 

We're six weeks into the alphabet, so if this is your first time to the blog, welcome. My name is Molly the Cat, and I'm writing movie reviews for this ABCW round. The Missus Lady, one of my humans and the writer of this blog, is letting me try out my words. Nice of her, don't you think?

Missus Lady usually has two or three choices for me to pick from. Today's pick is one that the Missus Lady saw more than several years ago, way before my time. I chose it anyway because the Missus Lady liked it so much, and it introduced her to Gerard Butler. Purrrrrrr.

Dear Frankie (2004)

Setting: Greenock, Scotland

This is a story about a mother who loves her young son so much that she is willing to lie about his father.

Nine-year-old Frankie, his mom, Lizzie, and grandmother are constantly moving because they are running away from Frankie's abusive dad. But, Frankie doesn't know that his dad is a bad dude or that they're avoiding him. Frankie believes that his father is a merchant seaman, and the two write to each other on a regular basis. The truth is Frankie has been  corresponding with Lizzie who postmarks the imaginary dad letters from Glasgow.

Shortly after moving to Greenock, Frankie reads in the paper that the ship that his dad is on will be coming into port soon. Meeewwwwwww. Lizzie gets busy trying to find a seaman to pretend to be Frankie's dad. Enter Gerard Butler's character who Lizzie hires. Frankie meets him, and they instantly hit it off, to Lizzie's amazement and concern.

Will Lizzie and the stranger fall for each other? Will Frankie's dad find him? Will Frankie find out the truth about everything? And, how will he react?

Lots of unconditional love going on in this sweet story. Purrrrrrrrr.

A note from Su-sieee! Mac: Tis the letter B at ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out other F posts by cool bloggers from around the world. Maybe you'd like to link up to the meme. Thanks, ABCW team!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie for the Letter E


I had a great day yesterday. The Missus Lady and Hero Man said it was my birthday and that I was seven (seven!) years old. I got extra petting, extra cooing, and extra time outside. I also caught a bird which I brought into the house. The Humans had no idea I found it until almost dinner time. Purrrrrrrr.

In honor of my bird day, I picked this movie for you this week.

The Eagle Huntress (2016)

Setting: The plains of Mongolia

This is a documentary about
Aisholpan, a 13 year old nomad girl, whose father is teaching her to be a golden eagle hunter. That is a very cherished profession in their culture, which is passed on from one generation to the next. Only the males can become eagle hunters, because, as it usually goes, females do not have what it takes to handle eagles while galloping on horses. Aisholpan's father, having no sons, was not going to let his profession die with him. Good for him!

From the start of her training, Aisholpan shows that she has what it takes. Purrrrrrrrr.

Every year the eagle hunters of all over meet for a friendly competition. 
Aisholpan enters it. Will the men let her compete? Will she freeze? Will she win? How does the father really feel about his daughter's skills and talent?

Hero Man and Missus Lady liked the movie. They did groan at the start when they saw the subtitles. They don't like subtitles that are printed too small or when the white print is shown on a light part of the film. That means Missus Lady reads the subtitles out loud because the print is too hard for Hero Man to read. As they got into the movie, which was fairly quickly, the Humans didn't seem to mind the subtitles anymore.

A note from Su-sieee! Mac: Click here to join Molly and me to read what others wrote about the letter E at ABC Wednesday. Maybe you'll want to link up with this weekly meme as well. Thanks, ABCW team!

Before you go, here's some cuteness from seven-year-old Molly.  That girl!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie for the Letter D

Gidget. The Flying Nun. Sybil. Norma Rae. Smokey and the Bandit. Murphy's Romance. Punchline. Where the Heart Is. Those are some of the TV shows and movies that starred, says Missus Lady, the spunky, good-hearted, awesomely talented, versatile, delightful Sally Field. They were all before my time. But, not this movie I'm talking about today. 

I love Sally Field. She's a cutie, a darling, and a sweetheart. Like me. Purrrrrrrrr.

Hello, My Name is Doris  (2016)

Setting: New York City

Doris is a 60-something single, never-been-married, woman who had been living with her mother for maybe most, if not all, of her life. The story opens with us learning that Doris's mom recently passed away and being encouraged by her brother, and indecently urged by the brother's wife, to downsize their mother's belongings, which Doris ignores. Good for her!

Doris has flights of fancy, so she sometimes gets caught looking weird and goofy. Doris has a crush on John, the new guy at work, who is about 25 or so years her junior. In one scene she's standing several feet in front of John, imagining that he's half naked and they're kissing deeply. She gets shaken from her daydream when John asks Doris if she's okay, because she's standing in a kissing pose with her eyes closed and mouth half open. That scene cracks me up every time I see or think about it. Mewwwww.

The movie is all about Doris finding ways, which are middle-school girl ones, to get John to notice her. Doris even goes to a nightclub at which the young crowd thinks she's the cat's meow. Someone asks her if she'll model for an album cover, or something like that. Doris also creates a fake Facebook account, helped by her best friend's granddaughter, and becomes friends with John. You know that's not going to end up well.

Missus Lady had several good-size belly laughs, which was good because Tiny Old Lady had gone to Heaven several months before we saw the movie. Hero Man also thought the movie was ha-ha funny. Tiny Old Lady would've enjoyed it, too. Purrrrrr.

A note from Su-sieee! Mac: The letter D is the theme for this week's ABC Wednesday. Click here to join Molly and me to read what others have written. Maybe you'll want to link up with the meme, too. Thanks, ABCW team!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie for the Letter C

Missus Lady can watch a great romance story over and over. And over again. I don't know how many times she has watched the different versions of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. She always stops at Two Weeks Notice, with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, when she's channel surfing and Hero Man is not sitting next to her. If he is, she grabs for the remote and flips to the movie during commercials.

Hero Man is fine with watching any movie once. But, he might think differently about this week's movie pick that they both enjoyed. It's another British film, by the way.

Cuban Fury (2014)

Settings: Office and dance floor, somewhere in England.

Bruce is 39 years old, shy, overweight, and unhappy, trudging from home to work to home day after day. At work he is hounded by his disgusting colleague Drew. If Bruce ever fought back, he would winMeeeeewwwwww!

Bruce used to be full of energy and spirit when he was a youngster. He was in fact a junior salsa dancing prince. He lived to salsa. Then one day, while he was in costume heading for a competition, he got beat up by a bunch of imbecilic boys.

Poor Bruce. That was the end of his salsa career. And, joy.

Back to the present. One day Bruce gets a new boss, Julia, who is a gorgeous, smart, and witty American. Bruce is in love. But he thinks he has no chance when creepy Drew tells him that he's going to have Julia. By chance (of course) Bruce learns that Julia loves to salsa

Out of shape, can Bruce salsa again? Can he win Julia's heart with his salsa? Can he feel joy again with salsa?

Bruce is played by Nick Frost, who is Simon Pegg's partner in a whole bunch of comedies, such as Paul, The World's End, and Hot Fuzz. Missus Lady thinks Mr. Frost is a teddy bear of a cutie. Both she and Hero Man loved the dance scenes and were impressed that Mr. Frost did his own dancing. Salsa music is fast-paced and long. A lot of constant movement going on. Very tiring. Meeewwwww. Prior to the shooting of the movie, Mr. Frost practiced salsa in the dance studio six to seven hours, five to six days a week, for seven months.  That's dedication!

The movie was based on an idea by the talented Mr. Frost. This was a fun and sweet movie. Purrrrrrrrrrr. 

A note from Su-sieee! Mac: Tis the letter B at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join Molly and me to read what others have written for the theme. Maybe you'll want to link up with it, too. Thanks, ABCW team!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie for the Letter B

The Humans watch a lot of British black comedies because the Missus Lady loves the quick, dry wit of the British writers. They don't even have to try to be funny, she says.  I don't know what she means. Purrrrrrr. I hear no complaints from the Hero Man so he must think the same way.

The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015) 

Setting: In and around Glasgow

The Missus Lady says this film is wonderfully absurd. The main character is meek, bland barber Barney Thomson who has no customer service skills, so over the years he got pushed further into a corner where no customer wants to sit.

One evening after the barber shop closes, Barney and the manager have a heart to heart about woeful Barney that ends in an inadvertent push and shove, the manager dead, and a finally living large Barney. It was an accident so why didn't Barney quipppp just say so instead of hiding the body? Hero Man says if that was the case, there would be no movie.

Because the shop is shorthanded, Barney gets more customers. His confidence is boosted. Good. But, then Barney accidently kills another fellow barber and becomes the police's number one suspect. The police actually thinks Barney is a serial killer. Barney does his best to be one step ahead of the police.

The funniest lines, according to Missus Lady, belong to Emma Thompson who is purrrrrrrrty hilarious as Barney's way-out mum. She has no problems helping Barney dispose of the bodies, to Barney's misfortune. Here's an amuuusing fact: Ms. Thompson is a few years older than the actor who plays her son.

Cool cat Robert Carlyle, the actor who plays Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon a Time, plays Barney. He also directed this movie. For a first-time director, he did quite well. The movie won the best feature film in the 2015 BAFTA Scotland Awards.

'A note from Su-sieee! Mac: Tis the letter B at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join Molly and me to read what others have written for the theme, and maybe link up, too. Thanks, ABCW team!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Molly the Cat's ABC Wednesday Movie

The Humans in this household like to watch movies in the afternoon. Three or four times a week, they do. Their movies come in the mail in a red envelope. I like it when one comes because the Lady or the Hero Man holds up that something-red and announces gleefully, "We got a movie!"

I heard the Lady say that she has seen so many movies she can't remember one from the next. A couple times they got a movie that they've already seen. But they don't seem to mind.

The Hero Man lets the Lady choose the movies. She's purrrrrty even-handed, choosing a sci-fi movie for him for every girrrly movie for her. Both like comedies. Sometimes a movie ends and the Lady says, "That wasn't a comedy."

The Lady decided to do a movie theme for the new round of ABC Wednesday, even creating a list of movies she might write about. But she ran out of steam. "You do it, Molly," she said.

Mewwwwww. So I am. Here's my first pick. Purrrrrrr.

Albert Nobbs

Setting: A fancy hotel in Dublin during the late 1800s.

Albert Nobbs, a butler, pines to have a marriage like his good friend Hubert Page, the hotel painter.  So, Albert sets off courting Helen Dawes, the maid who is in love with Joe, the new boilerman and a big, gross bully. Albert is a reticent mousey-looking person compared to vibrant handsome Joe. Let's see, quiet vs. buzzy? Bland vs. ooh-la-la? Who will stand by Helen when she becomes pregnant?

A straight-forward story, you're probably thinking. Not at all. Adding to the complexity of the tale is this: Albert Nobbs is a woman who chose to pose as a man in order to be steadily employed. His friend Hubert is also a woman disguised as a man.

The movie is based on the novella The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs by George Moore.
It was directed by Rodrigo Garcia, coming out in 2011. Glenn Close played the part of Albert Noble, having first performed the role on stage in 1982. It took her about 30 years to get the stage play made into a movie. Ms. Close was purrrrrrrrrrty awesome. So were the other actors.

A note from Su-sieee! Mac: ABC Wednesday begins round 21 under the new administrator Melody and her new team. It also has a new home. Happy Trails, new ABCW team!  To check out the other participants writing about the letter A, along with linking up, if you're interested, click here


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray

I don't care what the movie reviewers say, I like Rock the Kasbah, the latest Bill Murray film. One reviewer, who began his review by saying how much he liked Murray, panned the movie because Murray was in nearly every scene. Hello. Murray was the main character. The story was about his journey. Duh?

Maybe some reviewers couldn't handle Kate Hudson's character, Merci, a sultry, golden-hearted prostitute, in love with Bill Murray's character, Rich, an older, down-on-his-luck music promoter. Why not? The pairing reminded me of Goldie Hawn and Walter Matthau in Cactus Flower. Matthau's craggy look was quite handsome in my eyes.

Perhaps the reviewers couldn't believe the story taking place in Afghanistan. That it was really quite a stretch to have Murray play someone who was able to persuade an Afghan American Idol-like show to let a young woman from a small remote village sing on national television.

Or, maybe the reviewers felt it was too unbelievable for Murray to play a character that straightforwardly negotiates with everyone who has a gun in his hand. It's a movie. A fantasy. Not real life. Golly, gee.

What do I know? I also liked Bill Murray in The Razor's Edge.

I'm glad I don't pay attention to the critics.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From Bela Lugosi to Tina Fey

By Screenshot from "Internet Archive" of the movie Dracula (1931)
( [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Blogger friend Birgit of BB Creations is a movie maven. (I don't know anyone else who has seen Start the Revolution Without Me.) Several days ago, she did a post around the concept of six degrees of separation. Within five moves, she connected Strangers on a Train to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in five moves.  Check out the post yourself.

After reading Birgit's post, I wondered if you could connect any two actors within six moves.  Bela Lugosi and Tina Fey, for instance.  Birgit made the connection, but she's giving me a chance to make my connection before unveiling hers. If she hadn't, I probably wouldn't.  Researching the question was fun and didn't take as long as I thought it would. 

So, here you go: How Bela Lugosi and Tina Fey are connected.

1. Bela Lugosi and Greta Garbo co-starred in Ninotchka.

2.  Greta Garbo was in Grand Hotel with Joan Crawford.

3. Joan Crawford starred in "Eyes", an episode on Night Gallery, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

4. Steven Spielberg directed Lincoln, in which Joseph Gordon Leavitt portrayed Robert Todd Lincoln.

5. Joseph Gordon Leavitt played an uncredited cameo bit in The Brothers Bloom starring Mark Ruffalo.

6. Mark Ruffalo had a role in Date Night starring Tina Fey


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Top 10 Movie Characters, Part 2

Last Tuesday, I wrote about the first five of my 10 favorite movie characters. Today, I give you the second half of my list. I presented my top characters in ABC order by their first names. If you missed the first half of the list, here's the link. Thanks, again, to Birgit of BB Creations for the suggestion. That woman loves her movies.

Lucy Kelson in Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is an activist and public-interest attorney who has agreed to work for corporate I-only-care-about-a-good-time George (Hugh Grant) in exchange for the company not demolishing the community center in her parents' neighborhood in New York. Nearly right away, Lucy is at George's beck and call to help him decide on such personal things as the color of his tie. Why doesn't the hardworking, competent Lucy draw the line between George's legal and personal needs? Simple. She cares too much for George, but she doesn't want to admit it.

This is one of my favorite girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy movies. It has one of the best Cinderella scenes in my book: The usual disheveled Lucy is gussied up in a designer dress and hair combed up and back in an ooh-la-la look. George sees her and something sparks in his brain and crotch. He realizes he loooooooooves her. They shyly meet in the center of floor and dance.

But, unlike Cinderella, the spoiling boom isn't midnight, it's the kiss-ass, gold digger replacement for Lucy, who lets it slip that George's company is going to demolish the community center.  After two more great Lucy "Damn you, Replacement!" scenes, Lucy turns a very cold shoulder to George. Was he be able to unfreeze it?

Phil in Groundhog Day (1993)
Phil (Bill Murray) is arrogant. When I first saw the movie, I was ready to bail out after the first scene, because Phil is full of himself. But, Phil is played by Bill Murray so I hung in there. I liked how Phil changed for the better. He goes from having very low esteem and being disliked by people, which is why he's so full of himself, to being confident, friendly, and helpful and very well-liked and loved. Best of all, Phil is able to give his heart unconditionally to the woman (Andie McDowell) he loves.

For those who haven't seen Groundhog Day, the premise is this: Phil's day, which is Groundhog Day, keeps repeating itself until he gets everything right in the minds of the Infinite Wisdom. It had to have taken a very long time because Phil takes up piano lessons and is playing classical and jazz songs by the end of the movie.

Steve Meyers in The Man Who Sued God (2001)
Steve Meyers (Billy Connelly) is my kind of guy.  Others see him as a slacker, a ne'er do well, a loser. Not me. He's intelligent, witty, and sincere. (And, he's portrayed by Billy Connelly.)

Steve's a lawyer who no longer practices. I forget why. Instead, he simply enjoys his life, turning the other cheek. Until his insurance company won't pay for the destruction of his boat from lightening because that was an act of God. Angry, Steve sues God by suing the churches. Ha! He got the church leaders sweating. After all, what if Steve should win.

Spoiler alert: Steve eventually drops the case. His reason: I'm not telling you. Simply know that I found Steve's reason very uplifting.

Susan Cooper in Spy (2015)
Susan (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA special agent whose job is to be the eyes and ears for her handsome partner  (Jude Law) in the field. By monitoring the surveillance cameras, Susan tells handsome partner through his earpiece where the danger is in the room.

One day, handsome partner gets killed and she becomes his replacement to find the bad guy to the chagrin of the other agents. Susan is miffed that she must disguise herself as fuddy duddy ladies. Doesn't matter. Susan is anything but fuddy duddy.

I love Susan's transformation into a fierce warrior woman who cannot be stopped. Best part was that she had all that good stuff inside her all the time. Worse part, she didn't do anything about it because she fell in love with the handsome partner. That's okay, without the worse part, we wouldn't have a story. I think Wonder Woman would be happy to have Susan as an ally. Wowza! I can already see it. What a duo.

When the movie ended, I actually said, "I'm satisfied." I don't recall ever feeling that way about a movie.

Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
I like to think that every girl/lady/woman who marches to a different drum beat has at least one favorite teenage movie in which the awkward girl gets the guy in the end. Some Kind of Wonderful is mine and Watts is that girl for me.  She's described as a tomboy, because she likes to play drums, and wears jeans, boy's shirts, and Converse shoes. That does not make a tomboy. Watts acts tough, but she really isn't. That's her bluff to maintain sanity. Her best friend is a guy (Eric Stoltz) who thinks he's in love with a cheerleader. Watts being the loyal friend helps him go after the girl. 

The writer was true to Watts. She didn't have to dress up in girly-girl ooh-la-la fashion to get the guy to think, "Wowza! She's beautiful. I love her." Not at all. The guy realizes he loves Watts when he finally sees Watts for who she is, which she may not—sweet, confused, tender, hard, funny, and supportive. And, when was that? After Watts taught him how to kiss a cheerleader.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Top 10 Movie Characters

Birgit of BB Creations wrote a list of her 10 favorite film/TV characters and invited other bloggers to come up with their own list. Two things I like to do—making lists and watching movies.  It took me awhile, but I finally came up with 10 of my favorite movie characters. I didn't want to try ranking them, so I present them to you alphabetically. And, because I ramble, I give you my first fave five today. I'll post the second five this coming Saturday.

Bruce Garrett in Cuban Fury (2014)

Bruce Garrett (played by Nick Frost) is a teddy-bear English guy in his 40s who wants to win the heart of the new woman (Rashida Jones) in his office. Until she entered the scene, he had been going through the motions of living ever since he stopped dancing in salsa competitions as a young teen. When Bruce learns that she loves to salsa, he finds a reason to salsa again. That's the premise of this British romantic comedy movie.

Frost took salsa lessons everyday for several weeks before shooting began on the movie. It shows as he brings Bruce alive. The big dancing scene is between Bruce and his creepy co-worker (Chris O'Dowd) who has the hots for the same woman. They do a salsa dance-off in a parking garage. Wowza!

I wondered whether I liked Bruce because I like Frost. There is some of that. But, nope. I like the character because he is a wallflower who finds himself, and finally realizes there's no shame in him showing his passion through salsa.

Uncle Buck in Uncle Buck (1989)
The lazy, goofy, and sweet Uncle Buck was my introduction to John Candy. He was a perfect match to the three kid actors (Jean Louisa Kelly, Macaulay Culkin, and Abby Hoffman) who played his nephew and nieces. I don't think any one of those actors stood out more than the others.

If Uncle Buck had showed up at my door when the Only and Older Bionic Brother and I were kids, I would probably burst into tears and demand that my parents come home right now. (Yes, when I was very young, I was known to cry when strangers appeared in our house.) I would eventually learn that Uncle Buck gets me and has my back. I would come to love how clumsy he is about doing grownup things. And, I would cry when it is time for him to go home.

Bunny Watson in Desk Set (1957)
Desk Set, a romantic comedy, was a late-night movie on TV that I saw when I was an impressionable teenager. Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is the head reference librarian at a large company. She has wit, style, intelligence, and character. She's in her 30s or 40s and unmarried. She has a cute boyfriend (Gig Young) who is taking his sweet time in asking her to marry him.  Then along comes Richard Summer (Spencer Tracy), a somewhat absent-minded, odd, and humorous consultant who has great repartee with Bunny. I bet you know which guy I root for.

As a teenager, I wanted to be like Bunny. I wanted a job that involved books. Check.  I wanted my own office in a company. Check. I wanted to be a single woman living in my own apartment in a big city. Check. I wanted to grow a philodendron plant which vines wrapped around the room. Check. I wanted to meet a man with whom I could talk about anything under the sun and enjoy our conversations. Check and Check.

Amazing, huh?

Calamity Jane in Calamity Jane (1953)
Calamity Jane was another late-night movie on TV that I saw for the first time when I was a teenager. It's my favorite Doris Day movie.  I think the actress had a lot of fun being Calamity Jane. I certainly have a lot of fun watching it each time.

Day played Calamity Jane with a lot of spunk, bravado, and heart. Her singing and dancing was flawless. She jumped up and down from bars, stagecoaches, and horses effortlessly. When I watch the movie, I don't think that's Doris Day singing, dancing, and jumping around. Uh-uh. It's Calamity Jane herself. 

King Louis XVI in Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
"I thought it was a costume ball," said King Louis XVI, greeting his guests at a formal ball. He's dressed as a chicken.

That was the best, and funniest, line and scene in Start the Revolution Without Me. I don't remember anything else about the movie other than Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder play two sets of identical twins who were switched at birth. One set of twins guard King Louis, while the other twins  take part in overthrowing the king. The twins are continually being mistaken for each other.

The King is played by Hugh Griffith, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1959 for a role he played in Ben-Hur. He should've gotten an Oscar for King Louis.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Tuesday Ramble

In 1969  I saw a movie called If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium starring Suzanne Pleshette, who was a bus tour guide in Europe. I recall only two things about the movie. Pleshette's character fell in love with someone to whom she had an immediate disliking (of course) and one of the older American tourists took toilet fixtures from the hotels where they stayed as his souvenirs. I also remember wanting to become a tour guide after seeing the movie.

So, what got me thinking about that movie? Well, it's Tuesday. I'm not in Belgium, but the Husband and I are about to drive over to Freedom (yes, there's such a town in California) to purchase cat food for Molly the Cat. What we will do for that cat.

Big, BIG Waves
Have you ever dreamed of ocean waves higher than the tallest buildings in your town coming towards you? I had one of those dreams a couple nights ago. The waves came in two or three times. Each time, I was able to find shelter and hang on.  One of these days, I'll attempt to draw a picture of my dream. The waves in the distance were amazing. Almost like a disaster movie.

I don't think dreaming of big, BIG ocean waves is anything ominous. I didn't wake up feeling unsettled. Well, I did feel unsettled, but not like something bad is going to happen. I searched a bit online about the meaning of waves. It could mean very strong emotions brewing way down deep or waddling in procrastination. I do a lot of the latter, that's for sure.

Staying Creative
The photo above is my June calendar. Every day I draw the date.   Miss Jane Austen was kind enough to be like Vanna White for the photo.  Unlike Vanna, Miss Austen won't be earning $8 million for her pointing work.

Until later.

P.S. I found a clip for If it's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


A few months ago, the Husband and I resubscribed to Netflix  which means were back to seeing movies and chomping on popcorn in the afternoons. So, now and then, I'll talk about a movie that I want to share with you, dear readers.

My first share is a comedy and love story called Cuban Fury. It's a British film starring Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, and Chris O'Dowd. You may not recognize their names, but I'm sure you know them when you see them on screen.

Bruce, played by Frost, was a child salsa prodigy. With his sister as his dancing partner, he won contest after contest. Then, on his way to a dance competition wearing sparkly clothes, a bunch of insane jealous boys from his school called Bruce names and beat him up. That was the end of dancing for Bruce.

Twenty-some years later, fat and out of shape, unhappy and lonely, Bruce meets the woman of his dreams (Rashida Jones) who loves to salsa. Yup, you got it. Bruce wants to get back into the salsa groove. But, can he? And, when he does get his groove back can he win the heart of the woman of his dreams? Bruce has competition, of course, for her attention in the form of a tall, handsome, but creepy, co-worker (Chris O'Dowd) who also dances. Bruce and the co-worker have a dance-off in a parking lot that's both funny and impressive.

Nick Frost is amazing in this film. This is the first time I've seen him without Simon Pegg. Maybe you saw them in Paul, the hilarious movie about the alien the two picked up while on vacation in the United States. Pegg does show up in Cuban Fury for a split second. He was brilliant.

Okay, back to Frost. All that salsa dancing he does in the film is all him. He trained for six weeks, nearly every day, prior to the start of the filming. I greatly admire an actor who wants to go the distance rather take the easy way out with a stand-in to do the hard stuff.

I'd see this love story again. And, again . . .

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Seeing "Hyde Park on Hudson"

Our local movie house offers a Wednesday series of independent films. They are the type of movies that if you live in a small city out in the boondocks you have to schlep over the hills or up the far-away freeway to a large nearby city. Yesterday was the first time the Husband and I took advantage of the series. Unfortunately, it was the theater's last offering. Who knows if, and when, it will offer another series.

The movie was Hyde Park on Hudson, which was about the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley, a distant cousin. It was a good-size audience for the late afternoon screening—about 24 and 30—especially when you consider where we live.  We were all  uhem in the grey-haired age group. The Husband and I were probably among the youngest there. I whispered my observation to the Husband.
 "I still think of myself as being in my 20s," he said.
"I do, too. But, we're not."
"I thought we were middle-age."
"We're beyond that now." After all, we did purchase senior citizen tickets.
"Are we elderly?" he asked, as the lights went down.
"Far from it," I said, thinking about the Mama.

Okay, the movie. Neither the Husband nor I had any idea what it was about. We just wanted to see Bill Murray in the role of FDR. He did quite well, thank you. The story of  FDR and Daisy is actually based on Daisy's journals and correspondence that were found after her death. The movie focuses on a particular historical event in 1939: The weekend that the young King George and Queen Elizabeth visited FDR at his private residence. The king had come to seek help from the United States in the eventual war with Nazi Germany.

Some people may think that the movie sounds too serious, kinda stuffy, or boring. Far from it.  For instance: FDR drives up and down the country roads like a mad man. The King stays in a bedroom wallpapered with cartoons of British soldiers in the War of 1812. FDR admits he took up stamp collection because it was a good way to get girls.

Then there is the scene in which the King whines to the President, "They didn't want me as their king." The President replies, "I didn't think they voted for that in England." And, of course, there is the evolution of a quiet spinster lady who doesn't smoke, drink, or drive into a quiet spinster mistress who does do all that. Not to say the spinster and the President's secretary are both okay about being at the President's beck and call whenever he needs a quickie. Oooh, did that last part intrigue you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thinking Back: Shirley Temple

I grew up watching Shirley Temple movies on TV. The story lines were simple and basic. Little Shirley usually portrayed a child who lived with a loving father, grandfather, or another relative, or a waif who lived in an orphanage. She often played matchmaker to a wealthy man, woman, or couple who eventually adopted her. And, in most, if not all, of her movies Temple sang and tap danced her heart out. Perfect fare for a Sunday morning.

I was probably a teenager when I learned that Shirley made her movies in the 1930s, during the middle of the Great Depression. Much later, I learned that the movies were very popular and brought hope and cheer to many people. I wonder if they still would.

To learn more about the actress and person, who became a U.S. ambassador in her later years, check out these links:
Stowaway is a movie that Shirley did in 1936 when she was 8 years old. She played an orphan in China called Ching Ching. One of the songs that Shirley sang in the movie was "That's What I Want for Christmas." And, that, dear readers, is your Christmas song for the day. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

When a Writer Isn't Working

Here's what this week looked like for a professional writer who hasn't been doing much writing lately. Be forewarned: You may fall asleep. That's okay. I may already have.

The husband and I bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Although several friends had recommended it, I did not put it on our list of choices because of the cost.  At the store, we got curious and looked at it. Then all of a sudden Jesus appeared. "Can I help you?" he asked politely. (Really, the sales guy's name was Jesus. Not Hay-soos, but Gee-sus.)

Very long story short, with Jesus' confidence about the machine and the store's return policy, we decided to invest in the machine.

I vacuumed part of the house. Result: Three containers full of dust.

The mama made a mistake on her absentee ballot, so I took her down to the courthouse for a replacement. As we headed up the stairs, she said, "I feel so ashamed for making a mistake." In all her 50 years of voting, this was her first boo-boo on a ballot ever.  I did my best to reassure her that it happens a lot to everyone. Of course, she didn't believe me. When the mama was signing a replacement form, I asked the election lady if it is common for people to ask for replacement ballots because of mistakes. The mama was relieved when the lady said, "All the time."

I vacuumed the rest of the house. Result: Three more containers full of dust. I can't believe I'm telling the world how dirty the house was! And, how awful of a hobbyist of a housekeeper I am. The vacuum cleaner was worth buying. So far.

Between rooms, I drove the mama to the courthouse so she could drop off her absentee ballot. As we were walking back down the stairs, she said, "I can handle these stairs. We should come here some time so I can practice. Would they get mad?" I wonder if they would. The steps were the right height for the mama to climb up and down with minimal help. I could see it gave her instant gratification of accomplishment.

The husband and I did a few errands around town, including a stop at a farm to buy fresh eggs. While there we checked out its Halloween corn maze. We've done the maze in previous years. This year, we admired it from up high.

Have you ever watched and heard wind as it moved through a field of corn? It's amazingly wondrous. Check it out yourself. That other sound you hear on the video is the American flag flapping in the wind above where we were standing.

If you want to hear the sound of the husband's beard flapping in the wind, click here.

On a whim, the husband and I decided to go to the movies. The senior discount rate saved us a whole 50 cents for a matinee. How I love senior discounts.

Our choice was Red, which stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freedman, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, and Richard Dreyfuss. Willis, Malkovich, Freedman, and Mirrin play retired CIA agents. Red is code for Retired and Extremely Dangerous. Willis' character is the Red one. He seeks out the other retired agents to help him and his girlfriend-to-be (played by Parker) figure out who is trying to kill them.

The movie was even better than I expected. Very enjoyable. Definitely a lot of tongue-in-cheek gun play and explosions. Some scenes made me think of a comic book coming to life. After the movie, I learned that Red is based on a graphic novel. So there you go. I'd see Red again, just to watch Malkovich be loony and Mirren stand elegantly strong as she machine-gunned the bad guys.

Here's a clip of Red for you.


That's today. All I can say is I'm hooking up at Follow Friday 40 and Over!  Come with me to check out what other participants are blogging about today.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Other Guys

For our last 23rd date, the husband and I decided to go see a movie.  For once, our local theater was showing several that we wanted to see: Inception, Deception, Nanny McPhee Returns, and The Other Guys. Ah, choices. We decided to go with something light, silly, and fun. So, off we went to see the The Other Guys.  All we knew was that it was a farce about cop movies. But we were assured (well maybe the husband was more than me) that anything with Will Ferrell ought to be decently hilarious. We weren't wrong. There were several scenes that had us laughing out loud and long. I ask you, have you ever seen a movie with cops driving a red Prius in a car chase?

Ferrell and Wahlberg play two NYPD detectives, who mostly do paperwork. Ferrell's character, Allen Gamble, is happy about it, while Wahlberg's character, Terry Hoitz is furiously not. They are made fun of by the other detectives for not having done any heavy-shooting, car chasing detective work. Terry wants to know why Allen doesn't want to out on a case. Allen, who was once a forensic accountant, says that he has almost cracked the case on a guy who didn't get building permits for his scaffolding, and that guy has a lot of scaffolding around New York City.

The guy turns out to be a big-time financier who has been scamming his millionaire clients out of their money. He must somehow return a billion dollars to one of his clients or he is dead meat. From where he gets the money is really a shocker. At least, for me it was. It wasn't until the end of the movie, especially when we were sitting through the credits, that I realized that the movie was making a statement about white collar crime, Ponzi schemes, and outrageous corporate decisions and CEO salaries. Very sly and commendable of the director, writers, producers, and actors, and crew.

That's all I'm going to say about the movie, other than I'd see it again on DVD. Here's a taste of The Other Guys for you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Marx For You

Sooo, I like Julius, Leonard, Arthur, Herbert, and Milton. I do. Does that make me a Marxist?

Happy Father's Day to all you papas and mamas who are also papas!

For one and all, a bit of Chico and Harpo from The Big Store.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

I had no idea what this movie was about. I didn't know it was directed by Terry Gilliam. Nor did I know this was the last movie in which the late great Heath Ledger acted and Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell stepped in to play his role after he died.  Netflix categorized the film as fantasy/science fiction, so I  stuck it in the queue for the husband. I'm glad I did.

The movie is stunning. I can't think of any other word for it. The story, the acting, the direction, the scenery, the camera work, everything about it is incredible. The storyline is simple, yet intricate: Dr. Parnassus makes a deal with the devil for immortality. Flash forward a thousand or so years, the man falls in love. He makes another deal with the devil so that the woman will fall in love with him. The catch: Should Dr. Parnassus have a child, the child becomes the devil's when she turns 16. Just before her birthday, Dr. Parnassus tries to make deals with the devil to change his mind. How Gilliam presents that plot is amazing. There is a lot of interweaving of the past and present as well as of reality and the fantasy world behind a carnival mirror. Sometimes it was hard for me to distinguish which side was reality.

Christopher Plummer plays Dr. Parnassus. It's the first time I ever saw him play a drunken, down-in-the-dumps character.  He was a far cry from Captain von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." Heath Ledger portrayed Tony as a dark character who gives a sense of hope to Dr. Parnassus and his troupe. And, yes, Depp, Law, and Farrell were believable as Ledger's character when it was each their turn to play Tony in the fantasy world.

After seeing this movie, I now understand a bit more of the breadth of  Heath Ledger's talent. I am so sorry that he died. Depp, Law, and Farrell were all friends of Ledger, according to what I've been reading. They volunteered to play Ledge's character for Gilliam, and then donated all their earnings from the movie to Ledger's daughter. Their selflessness act, too, was stunning.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


What do I like about this movie? Let me count the ways.

Summertime starred Katharine Hepburn. She played Jane, a middle-aged single lady from the United States. Shy and lonely, Jane decided to take a risk and vacation alone in Venice. She fell in love with Venice, as did I, when I saw this movie for the first time.

David Lean, the director of Summertime, seduces me each time with his slow panning of squares and canals, as well as lingering shots of statues and buildings. When I finally saw Venice in person, it was exactly as the director portrayed it. Sigh. I also like how Lean captured the nuances of rapture, seduction, love, fear, joy, and all the range of emotions of the main and minor characters.

What else do I like about Summertime? That Jane let herself go and fell in love with Renato, a local man, who is played by Rossano Brazzi. The scene in which Renato checked out Jane for the first time is so sexy. When I first saw the movie, as a teenager, I didn't get the attraction Jane (Hepburn's character) had for him. But as I grow older, each time I watch Summertime, Brazzi becomes even more handsome to my eyes.

Summertime is high on my list of romantic movies. Maybe in the top seven. My introduction to the movie was on a black-and-white TV. When I saw it many years later in color, it was just even more stunning.

For a synopsis of the play, check out this entry at Wikipedia.

The movie is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents. You can read the play at Google Books by clicking this link.

And, for your pleasure, here a clip (via YouTube) of that first meeting of Jane and Renato in the piazza de San Marcos.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Departures is a film directed by Yojiro Takita. It is a simple, but elegant, story that won the 2009 Oscar for best foreign language film. Be forewarned. There are no scenes of violence, crashes, bombs, car chases, or graphic sex, but there are scenes of death. Essentially, the movie is about people and their humanity.

The main character is Daigo Kobayashi. He is a cellist. When his orchestra is dissolved, he decides that he is not talented enough to continue his career as a professional musician. Because they cannot afford to live in Tokyo, he tells his wife Mika that they will move back to his hometown.  Mika supports Daigo wholeheartedly, but she is upset to learn that he had recently bought a high-priced cello without first talking with her.

Finding work is difficult for Daigo because he has no skills besides playing his cello. He reads a newspaper ad for an agent who assists with departures. No experience necessary. Daigo thinks that it may be a job with a travel agency so he applies. It turns out that the ad had a few misspellings. The job is for an "encoffinment" assistant who dresses the deceased before they are put into their coffins. This funeral ceremony is performed before a dead person's family and friends. Although disgusted at the thought of the job, Daigo takes it because the salary is too high for him to refuse. But, Daigo does not tell the wife what he does.

In this movie, departures refer to many things—the recently deceased, of course, and to how loved ones react to the recently departed. It is also about people who abandon their family, as Daigo's father did when he was six years old. Then there is the leaving Daigo takes from his beloved job to one that seems out of the norm to his wife and others. To top off Daigo's troubles, he is unable to communicate his feelings except through his cello, and later through the solemn, graceful, and moving steps he performs in his new job.

Departures is a loving tale of truth that no review or summary can describe or explain. You just have to see it. Trust me.