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Turtle Hill, Brooklyn (2013)
I can certainly give this film an 'E' for effort, although by the time it was over, I found myself wondering why I'd bothered. The answer is that there are so few really good gay films out there, that I wanted to give it a chance. And perhaps, I kept hoping that it would get better as the party progressed.
For some reason, the film made me think of that old classic 'Boys in the Band', although it was neither as good nor as dramatic as that particular conic gay film.
The people in attendance at Will's birthday party were all too believable, and reminded me why as a gay man, I don't particularly like most gay people, especially those portrayed on film.
Other than Will, there weren't even any especially good-looking men in the cast. Will had a nice body, but was apparently too lazy to shave. I would certainly like to see the actor in another film, and given more material with which to work.
American Assassin (2017)
Good, even if it didn't follow the book
Other than the names of the central characters, this movie bears only passing resemblance to the book. That being said, it works, most of the time. Mitch Rapp is totally believable. Michael Keaton is in darn good shape for a man his age, and his character is believable.
It's too bad that the producers bowed to the cancer of political correctness and made Irene Kennedy black. That was so out of keeping with the Mitch Rapp books. Shame on Hollywood for bowing to pressure.
All in all, the movie was worth the price of the ticket, and I only hope it does well enough at the box office to ensure that the series continues.
Crazy All These Years (2016)
Believable Story, Excellent Writing
This story of a thirty-three-year-old coming home after an absence of fifteen years to look after his dying mother is totally believable. I watched it last night with my partner of 22 years, and some of the scenes between son and mother when he was helping her in and out of bed made him think of a recent experience taking care of his grandmother. "That's exactly what it was like," he said several times during the movie.
There was no love lost between son and mother and we began to understand why he'd left home at the age of eighteen.
The writing - especially the dialogue between mother and son - was superb.
I wear hearing aids and even without closed-captions (which would have been great) most of the dialogue came through with clarity.
They wasted a lot of money making this epic? film.
I don't know whether it was bad acting, a bad script, or a combination of the two, but it mostly didn't work. Then there's the fact that the historic Alexander was blond, and Colin Farrell isn't. During the first part of the film, his blond hair looked like nothing more than a really, really bad wig. Then, in the scenes in Babylon, when his hair was long and parted it was better. Unfortunately, the many close-ups of his face revealed a heavy black shadow, if not stubble. This was a serious distraction. In a few scenes, he was clearly recently clean-shaved, and looked okay, but only a few THey should have hired a real blond to play the role.
I won't even waste time on the overly long battle scenes. They could have done so much better with a lot less money.
Dull, silly, and stupid
The first Guardians movie was fresh, funny, and clever. Sadly, the new one is just the opposite, dull, silly, and stupid. It's hard to believe that the same creative team is responsible for both. We came close to walking out of the theater and demanding a refund, given the high cost of seeing films in IMAX 3-D, but we stuck it out to the bitter end, hoping against hope that it would get better. It didn't.
Gods of Egypt (2016)
All Flash, No Substance
And not particularly good flash, at that. The computer generated effects were too often, too overdone, and not very interesting.
The characters wound up at the edge of a thousand foot precipice several times too many. Sure it was for effect, but there's such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The writers of this movie borrowed ideas from many other movies. For example, the stone bridge crumbling under the guy in a cavern while he makes his way to safety. It's all downhill from there.
If you like costume dramas, the price of admission might be worth it, but for everyone else, stay home and save your money.
Major Crimes (2012)
I watched a few episodes of this series, with high hopes for its success, but it was not to be.
Those members of the cast who are holdovers from The Closer do their best, but without the character of Brenda Leigh Johnson to bounce off of, there just isn't any chemistry.
Capt. Raydor has a face of stone, and displays no emotion at all. One has to wonder if she is capable of expressing emotion? Kyra Sedgwick was smart to quit while she was ahead. The Closer was one of the best-written series to ever grace the tube, but this spin-off, continuation, or whatever you call it is a dud.
Woman in Gold (2015)
A Stunning FIlme and a Must-See
Warning; review contains spoilers The title of this stunning movie refers to a famous painting. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (better known as The Woman in Gold) is a 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt. The first of two portraits Klimt painted of Bloch-Bauer, it has been referred to as the final and most fully representative work of his golden phase.
Adele Bloch-Bauer (18811925) was a refined art-loving Viennese woman, a patron and close friend of Gustav Klimt The painting was among the thousands of valuable works of art stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis, and the movie details the true story of Maria Altmann's struggle to regain possession of the painting. The subject of the painting was Altmann's aunt, and Altman was present when Hitler's Nazi thugs looted the artwork from the family home in Vienna.
Helen Mirren gives yet another stunning performance as Maria Altmann, who, after the funeral of her sister discovers letters and papers in her sister's effects that prompt her to begin her journey to recover the painting.
Mirren is one of those rare actors and actresses who actually "become" the role they're portraying. Meryl Streep is another such actress. For example, when you watch a Tom Cruise movie, you're always very much aware that you're watching Tom Cruise at work. When you watch movies with actresses like Mirren and Streep in them the actresses become the character. They somehow have the ability to make you forget that you're watching someone plying a role. Mirren was totally convincing as an aging, machine gun toting, spy in Reds, and she is totally convincing in this film, as well.
Ryan Reynolds portrays the young lawyer who helped Maria Altmann recover her family property, and he showed in this film that he can be so much more than the sexy pretty boy he played in Green Lantern.
During their attempts to recover the painting, the story of Altmann's family, and her escape from Nazi-occupied Austria is told in a series of flashback, and we are reminded yet again of man's inhumanity to man.
Maria Altmann began her fight to recover the painting when she was 82 years old, and she died in 2011 at the age of 94.
At the risk of being repetitious, I will say it again, this was a stunning film. And a moving one.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
This was a great action movie, and it was visually stunning
I shelled out major bucks to see this film in the nearest Imax theater, expecting to be disappointed. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised.
I can't believe that the reviewers who panned this movie actually watched the same film - maybe they were in some sort of alternate universe.
The plot was predictable, but that's probably true of most action movies. The acting was credible, and the visuals were absolutely stunning.
My partner and I were afraid that too much of the film would take place on earth, rather than in space, but that too, turned out not to be the case.
My recommendation: go see the film, but leave your preconceived notions at home - where they belong.