The Eyes of Tammy Faye

March 6th, 2022 — 6:57am

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

****

Even if they are not our religious cup of tea, we all have heard about the famous TV evangelists such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, and, of course, Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye. This film, directed by Michael Showalter, takes a deep dive into the lives of this duo played by Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain. They both were fantastic in their roles and Ms. Chastain is being recognized with an Oscar nomination. She clearly was able to sing, be the voice of puppets and play the role of a wife demonstrating the complicated relationship with her husband as well as their work as a famous religious duo.

This film gives us a view of the behind the scenes evangelical politics. The storyline traces Tammy Faye’s life from being a little girl, to becoming part of this famous couple and of course her very complicated interaction with her husband. The film allows us to get some insight into the politics, corruption, infidelity, and many other fascinating aspects of their lives. Interestingly, we know very little about the two children of this couple. We see her giving birth to her children, but there is no further mention of them during the film

The movie is unique, well done, and we strongly recommend it.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary, Drama

West Side Story

March 1st, 2022 — 7:31am

West Side Story
****
One of our all time favored Broadway musicals as well as the subsequent motion picture was West Side Story. It first hit the Broadway stage in 1957, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins based on a book by Arthur Laurents and inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The music is by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. In 1961 there was the first film adaptation staring Natalie Wood, which we saw as a newly engaged couple.

There were numerous revivals on the Broadway stage as well as by many touring companies and now there is a new motion picture that had a $100,000,000 budget for this great musical production directed now by Steven Spielberg, starring Rachel Zegler as Maria and Ansel Elgort as Tony.

The storyline highlights the turf battle between the whites and the Puerto Ricans on the streets of Manhattan on the Upper West Side. It features interracial love, gang violence, and a lot more weaved into a fantastic memorable music and dance production. The film not only showed the disrespect that various ethnic groups had for each other but also showed the insensitivity of the police at that time.

While this was an excellent film, we do feel that some of the changes made did not serve to enhance the production. For example, the classic scene which took place in a gymnasium where the two groups were in conflict, which had lots of dancing seemed less ebullient than the original.The scene where the Puerto Rican girls were dancing and singing the praises of America with counterpoint by the Puerto Rican boys yearning for their former home was in memory from the original film, a perfect blend of choreography, color and longing contained on a rooftop setting. In this version, the whole number is opened up, taking place on the streets of Manhattan with a growing number of onlookers joining the dance. Somehow, it felt diluted in its new form and lost the punch of the original. Also, some of the emotional scenes were not as intense as we recall from the original. Nevertheless, we would strongly recommend this classic musical experience. The music, the lyrics, the dancing and the story can’t fail to grab you and keep you engaged. West Side Story continues to be magnificent, beautiful, painful and important.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Musical, Uncategorized

Te Alta

March 1st, 2022 — 7:10am

Te Ata
****

Generally, there is not as much attention paid to the historical treatment of Native Americans as there is to other groups. This film focuses on a young girl growing up in Oklahoma in a small poor town made up mostly of Native Americans from the Chickasaw Nation tribe. Orianka Kilcher inhabits this character magnificently. As we see her growing up, she is drawn to acting and story-telling. She convinces her parents to let her go to a college in Oklahoma on a scholarship, where she comes under the tutelage and encouragement of some of her teachers. She develops a mission to tell the story of her people and does it extremely well. The trajectory from a poor Native American girl to an actress who appears on Broadway and eventually performs at the White House for the President of the Unites States is heartwarming and unforgettable.

This is the true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, best known as Te Ata. She is shown as a beautiful person who is portrayed magnificently by Ms. Kilcher in an unforgettable performance. Both mind and heart are captivated by this important film.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Biography, Documentary, Drama

CODA

February 4th, 2022 — 6:57am

CODA
****

As a CODA (child of deaf adults), Julie is the only one of a family, which includes her parents and brother, who has hearing. They live in a fishing village. Julie, aside from working on the family fishing boat, attends high school, and is developing into a talented singer. This gives her the opportunity to audition for scholarship to the famed Berklee School of Music. There is romance, suspense, drama, music, family conflict, and family love.

Julie is played by Ruby Rossi, who obviously mastered sign language, with which her character was quite facile. The film was well received and broke records at Sundance. The actors playing her family members were obviously also skilled in sign language. Her brother and parents in the film were actually deaf and they are Daniel Durant, Troy Kotsur, and the well-known deaf actress Marlee Matlin.

There was much to navigate and negotiate for this complicated movie production and much of the credit goes to director Sian Heder. The movie is well worth seeing. It is available on Apple TV+ who paid over $25 million to create this film.

While from a different perspective, this is a tale of obstacles and setbacks met with love and resilience. It is one of those films that engages you and allows you to feel both anguish and joy.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

The Tender Bar

January 28th, 2022 — 1:41am

The Tender Bar
****

As this movie was unfolding, we could not help but think that it must be based on an autobiographical experience. We later learned that the story was written by journalist J. R. Moehringer who incidentally was recently chosen by prince Harry of England to co-write his autobiography.

We meet a young boy who was being raised by his mother with the help of his uncle. He knows little about his biological father who is a radio personality in a distant city. He is destined to live out the fantasies and expectations of his loving mother and this leads him to attend Yale University. He falls in love and becomes successful in his work. The details of this film are quite unique and intriguing and allowed the viewer to believe that it had come from real life. Special kudos to the actors who played the young man, Daniel Ranieri, who portrays him as a young boy and Tye Sheridan who has the role of him as a young man. Their acting and the overall cinematic experience reflects the outstanding work by the director George Clooney. Also, compliments to Ben Affleck as the uncle and Lily Rabe as the mother. Another familiar face in the film was Christopher Lloyd as the grandfather.

This is one of those films that is captivating, enlightening and even allows the audience to “feel good” at its conclusion!

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Uncategorized

The Hand of God

January 11th, 2022 — 2:29am

The Hand of God-nf

***

This is an Italian film with subtitles. It focuses initially on a boy who appears to be in his late teens and is very engrossed in following his favorite football (soccer) team. We meet his various extended family members, all who seem to be quite distinctive characters although we really do not get to know anyone of them in great depth. His life is forever impacted by a tragic event. He seems as if he is now exploring the world on a mission, but we do not quite know what it is. His first sexual experience is clearly going to be unforgettable and meaningful as was the intention of the older woman who seduces him.

The film is written and directed and co-produced by Paolo Sorrentino. It appears to be autobiographical and in retrospect, we realize it is showing us the beginning of a journey where the filmmaker will ultimately bring his intense complicated life experiences to the movie screen. It stars Filippo Scotti, who already has received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for his acting. It is also not surprising that the film has been selected as the Italian entry for best international feature film for the upcoming 94th Academy Awards.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign, Uncategorized

King Richard

January 8th, 2022 — 8:00am

King Richard
****

Will Smith not only produced this film but played Richard Williams, the ambitious father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams. We follow this family of five girls from their early days in Compton, California to the world stage where they became the number 1 and number 2 world tennis stars. It is hard to believe this was the plan of Richard, the father, who not only dreamed of their great career from their early ages but trained them and then made decisions and arrangements for their coaching that led to their amazing success.

Aunjanue Ellis plays the mother, Demi Singleton is Serena, and Saniyya Sidney is Venus. The film is very skillfully directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. There are wonderful tennis action scenes intergrated into the interpersonal dialogue. This cinematic magic is seen throughout the film from their early days of learning to play tennis to the dramatic world championship action. The skillful editing of tennis action involved throughout the film certainly will be considered for film awards as well the entire movie.

This is a heartwarming drama which provides insight into the marriage as well as the upbringing of five girls two of whom achieved worldwide acclaim.

It is interesting to learn that the two real tennis greats did not see the film until it was completed and previewed for them. They approved wholeheartedly of the final result. We think you will also provide thumbs up for the movie and the 2 hours and 18 minutes will zip by as a lightning fast tennis match.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Biography, Drama, Family / Kids, Sport, Uncategorized

Pad Man

January 4th, 2022 — 5:32am

Pad Man. nf
****

This is a quite remarkable story, and as usual truth can be stranger than fiction. Here we have a young man living in India who is concerned that his wife uses a dirty cloth during per periods who goes to the store and picked up a napkin for his wife for her to use during her menstruation and is amazed to find out how expensive it is and how rejected it is by the women of the town. This leads him to see if he can make a similar product by hand that might even be better, safer and cheaper! He goes through all sorts of trials and tribulations to do this. Of course, even discussing the menstrual period is usually taboo. His wife and family and friends and neighbors as well as other people cannot deal with his obsession to make a safer, less expensive and more effective product. His concerns about using a pad instead of the dirty rags that women generally use makes him a particularly aberrant and shunned indidividual

This film came out four years ago in 2018. It is in Indian Hindi language. It is a dramatic film with English subtitles, which recreates a true story about Arunachalam Muruganantham. It is written and directed by R. Balki and features Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, and Radhika Apte. The persistence and dedication of the main protagonist and his product and his belief that this would be revolutionary for women, (which it was) comes up against the cultural belief that this natural biological occurrence should never be openly discussed, especially by men.

There is a very engaging storyline as “Pad Man” tries to get various women to “test” his product. Ultimately not only does he produce a revolutionary pad, which is a safer and more sanitary product and probably save untold lives (who might have come down with infections and died), but he also has created a new industry for the production of his product, in which thousands of women are able to participate. It is amazing to contemplate that prior to the effective, safe and inexpensive production of this product about five days a month for women were eliminated from their lives as they would isolate themselves and certainly would not interact with men. The film deserves the recognition, which it appears to be getting and it is of note as was shown in the film, the Pad Man ultimately received worldwide acclaim and recognition for his accomplishment.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign, Indian Hini language, Politics, Radhila Apte

The Power of the Dog

January 4th, 2022 — 4:49am

The Power Of The Dog–nf
****

This is an American Western that takes place in the mid-1920s. We see ranchers, cowboys, and lots of horses, but there is an occasional 1920s automobile. We meet two brothers who have a large ranch with lots of cowboys working there. One of the brothers, more of the city refined type, marries a widow who has a son in his late teens or early 20s. The other brother is a rough-and-tumble cowboy who does not easily accept these interlopers into his family and the family business.

The film is written and directed by Jane Campion and is based on the 1967 novel by the same name by Thomas Savage. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

The film is a spellbinding example of magnificent character development. To brothers own the ranch where the action takes place. They are seen as quite different and yet quite complex. George marries a woman who hides her own personal problems. She has a son who appears to be somewhat effeminate and is actually a medical student studying to be a surgeon. The other brother Phil is as rough and tough as a cowboy can get. We learn about his hero “Bronco Henry,” who we never meet but is depicted as even more tough, if that were possible. These characters are not always who they seem to be as the story slowly reveals, and that is the magic of this movie.

This film was named as one of the best movies of 2021 by the American Film Institute and received seven nominations at the 70th Golden Globe Awards including best drama as well as many other nominations. After you have seen the film, if you want to try to understand the title, go to:

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance, Western

Don’t Look UP

December 28th, 2021 — 4:49am

Don’t Look Up – nf
***

Great story, fantastic plot, unbelievable cast, and fair to good movie.

An astronomy graduate student (Jennifer Lawrence) shows her professor (Leonardo DiCaprio) that she has discovered a large comet heading towards the Earth on a path which would be expected to completely destroy our planet. They ultimately have a meeting with the President of the United States (Meryl Streep) and her advisors. The usual politics overshadow the threat to the world. There is a possibility of diverting the deadly threat. There are also romances and affairs. In a sense, we are reminded of the current world situation where our planet and civilization are threatened with the destruction of the world as we know it, due to the deadly pandemic or climate change. The squabbles and politics seem to cloud full appreciation of this threat and how we can act together and save our planet.

This movie is directed by Adam McKay who co-wrote the story with David Sirota. Rounding out the cast are Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Perry, Tyler Perry and many other familiar faces. The music by Nicholas Britell is appropriately grandiose and the special effects are done well obviously utilizing the film’s $75 million budget.

Perhaps this cinematic experience is a little over the top- or is it?

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 3 Stars, Action, Drama

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