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

Being The Ricardos

December 25th, 2021 — 12:19am

Being the Ricardos
****

If you grew up in 1950s as did we and were fortunate enough to have a TV set, you certainly watched “I Love Lucy” every week. Lucille Ball played a flakey red haired woman who was married to Ricky Ricardo, a Cuban bandleader. Their neighbors were Fred and Ethel Mertz, and in every episode there was something interesting happening in their lives and with their relationships. It was probably one of the all-time most popular television programs and certainly at the time there was very little competition.

Aaron Sorkin, best known for creating West Wing, wrote and directed this biopic and cast Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Ricky, with J. K. Simmons taking on William Frawley who played Fred Mertz in the TV series while Nina Arianda covered Vivian Vance who was the actress playing Ethel Mertz.

The filmmakers condense their story into a one-week period during which time, some seminal events actually occurred and had great meaning in Lucille Ball’s life. She was falsely accused by Walter Winchell, the famed newspaper columnist, of being a communist (which was a big deal in the 1950s). Also, Lucille Ball became pregnant and wanted this worked into the storyline whereas pregnant women were never shown on TV at that time. Also, there were rumors of infidelity on the part of Ricardo. There was also an attempt to explore the relationship between Ricky and Lucy. This was all done supposedly showing one week in the life of this couple.

If you have any memory of being captivated by the most famous couple on TV, you will most likely be completely engaged in this film. You will also be blown away by the concluding words on the screen about what happened to the relationship of this couple one week after the TV series completed its final show.

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

Rita Moreno-Just a Girl who Decided to Go For it

December 14th, 2021 — 2:48am

Rita Moreno – Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It
****

The title of this movie is the iconic actress’ self-proclaimed model. This film traces the famed actress from her humble beginnings to the gigantic success that she was on Broadway and Hollywood. She initially accepted the stereotypic roles as a Puerto Rican woman who could dance and sing and when she wanted to do so, could have a Spanish accent or not. This documentary film records her life going back to when she was a co-star with Marlon Brando and they were also lovers. It traces other relationships including her long marriage to a Jewish man who was not in show business and her raising of her one daughter. There are comments by people who knew her and worked with her such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan, and many other well-known names. The movie was directed by Mariem Pérez Riera. The release of this documentary coincides with Steven Spielberg’s new film, which is a remake of the 1957 famed musical West Side Story in which Ms. Moreno had a major role. She has a strong part in the new West Side Story as well. This documentary is a loving and carefully curated depiction of Rita Moreno’s life story.
Certainly, her warmth and her talent burst forth in this most enjoyable film. We especially appreciate the vibrant personality that she has now as an octogenarian and it is clear that she is one of great talents of our time.

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

Passing

November 22nd, 2021 — 10:09pm

Passing – nf
****

This is a complicated subtle film which deals with a very sensitive subject.

We meet two women who are apparently old friends but have not seen each other in a long time and come upon each other in a chance meeting. They are both light-skinned black women who have gone on different paths since they were friends in the past. Irene (Tessa Thompson) identifies as being black and is married to a black physician(Andre Holland). They have two sons and live in an upper-class lifestyle in Harlem in Manhattan. Clare (Ruth Negga) on the other hand, while similarly light skinned has identified as white and is married to a white man (John Skarsgard) who not only does not know about her true black identity but is openly bigoted against anyone black. By the appearance of the cars shown, the time period is the 1930s.

Unbeknownst to her husband, Clare attends some social gatherings with Irene and her husband, where she can identify as being black. There is a suggestion of an attraction or perhaps an affair between Clare and Irene’s husband as well as a hint of a sexual attraction between the two women. Things culminate where both couples attend another social gathering and things come to a fatal ending.

The film, based on a novel of the same name operates on multiple levels of the theme of “passing”. The main depiction is shown in the term used for a black person who is “passing” as a white one. It is also noted in the possibility of a gay man “passing” as straight. We see, also, a fraught relationship “passing” as a strong one. As one of the characters, thoughtfully states, “things are not always what they seem.”

It is interesting that Director Rebecca Hall is a white woman with a Black Grandfather who passed as white or Native American and this may have been part of her motivation to deal with this sensitive, contemporary and important subject.

The film is well worth seeing.

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

Tic Tick Boom

November 20th, 2021 — 8:22am

Tic Tic Boom -nf
*****
We just watched this great musical on Netflix. It is in the tradition of great Broadway musicals. In fact, it has a close connection to one of the greatest shows that ever was on the Broadway stage.

This is the true story of Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield), a young musical writer who is nearing an important birthday and is putting together a musical which he hoped would be his Broadway debut before he turned 30. The story takes place in the early 1990s. This was the time AIDS and gay men were being struck down with this fatal disease which is poignantly discussed in this movie via one of the characters who is a friend of the playwright. The main focus of the story is on Larson as he struggles to complete writing his show so he could put on a scheduled workshop where potential Broadway producers have been invited and will be attending including the legendary Steven Sondheim. At the same time Larson is putting together his final musical piece for the show, he is parting with his long-time girlfriend who will be leaving town to pursue her career which provides a very dramatic poignant moment. The music is terrific, the story is breathtaking and riveting. It reflects the dedication and heartbreak behind the scenes which is portrayed magnificently with song and dance.

The entire musical experience becomes even more meaningful when you know the behind the scene story upon which this movie is based. We see in the film, that this show did not make it to Broadway. In reality, Jonathan Larson did not give up. He put together another show called “RENT” which was destined to be one of the all-time Broadway successful musicals. However, sadly, Jonathan Lawson died of a fatal aneurysm the night before the show was to open. It is therefore quite fitting that another Broadway icon Lin-Manual Miranda produced and directed this film which we were pleased to give 5 stars.

Readers are encouraged to put any opinions or comments about the film and this review. - Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography, Musical

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