Archive for the ‘FILM REVIEWS’ Category

Streaming Reviews: 3 mystery series and 3 movies   Leave a comment

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1) “Lucifer–Netflix–American–series–59 episodes–47 hours and 31 minutes2) “Dark Desire” Netflix–Mexican–series–18 episodes-9 hours and 49 minutes3) “Endeavour–PBS–British–series–Season 7–3 episodes–4 hours and 30 minutesOf the 3 mysteries “Dark Desire” is the best as far as being interesting with many twists and turns. The only negative I have is too many male butt and female breast shots. “Lucifer” has run of the mill mysteries but with the Devil, helping the lead female detective, and his assorted cohorts including a brother there are a lot of laughs. (It originally ran for 4 seasons and now has added 2 more–so far I have watched the 13 episodes in the first season and looking forward to the rest.) I am not quite sure about the ‘history’ of “Endeavour”–I think this is the 7th season–but after watching the mystery series “Grantchester” previous Sundays this is pretty disappointing.4)”Adu”–Netflix–Spanish–movie–1 hour and 59 minutes–interesting and confusing–multiple storylines that intersect.5) “Shine Your Eyes”–Netflix–Nigerian film that takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil–1 hour and 42 minutes–a mixture of a detective story, family drama, sibling rivalry and finding one’s identity that I enjoyed while watching it but have forgotten already!6) “7500”–Amazon–German film mostly in English–1 hour and 32 minutes–just another movie–99% takes place in the cockpit of a plane–stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt–boring.

Posted August 7, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, TELEVISION

Netflix & Amazon Pride movie and series reviews week of July 13, 2020   Leave a comment

1) “The Old Guard”–movie–2 hours–action Sci Fi thriller–Took me a few minutes to recognize Charlize with the black hair–she is excellent–breakout turn by Kiki Layne–a good movie–definitely looks like a set up for a series NETFLIX
2) “Stateless” –series–6 episodes–total 5 hours 16 minutes–true story–revolves around 4 people–very involving and interesting–the main location is an Australian detention center NETFLIX
3) #AnneFrank–documentary–1 hour 32 minutes–I’ve read Anne Frank’s diary, seen a play based on the diary, saw the movie based on the diary–she is a part of my growing up–don’t believe I am saying this but Helen Mirren shouldn’t have read the diary as she is distracting. We follow a young girl who tries to recreate Anne’s journey and how she identifies with her today. The horror of the camps, the burying of hundreds of bodies in one grave, are too real to ever forget. “When you destroy children you destroy possibilities.” NETFLIX
4) “Disclosure”–documentary–1 hour 40 minutes–it is about transgender representation in TV and movies and the lack of same in the past–an interesting look at a subject not too many people know about or understand. NETFLIX
5) “ZERO-ZERO-ZERO”–series–8 episodes–7 hours 28 minutes–a film about the drug trade revolving around the cocaine made by a Mexican Cartel, the transportation from America to Italy by an American family and then the Italian crime syndicate will distribute throughout the world. Starts slowly and somewhat confusing but gets to you.  AMAZON PRIDE6) “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”–film–2 hours 3 minutes–I have never liked Will Ferrell and this didn’t help. The only redeeming feature was the appearance of Pierce Bronson. NETFLIX7) “Fatal Affair”–movie–1 hour 29 minutes–watch only the last 15 minutes and you will see a good movie and know what proceeded it without having to watch it. Where is Glenn Close when you need her?  NETFLIXA complete separate review of “Eastsiders” tomorrow because it deserves one–a MUST SEE SERIES!

When you can’t go to the theatre…   Leave a comment

BroadwayHD is the answer! 
TV Film reviews Week of July 6 2020

1) “Miss Saigon”–2 hours and 21 minutes–film–was supposed to be our next touring company in Miami and then the virus hit–the first time I saw it when it came to Fort Lauderdale (thanks Chuck) and fell in love with it–okay, I am a crier but I can’t recall crying so much watching any other show. This was filmed while being performed on stage in London celebrating its 25th anniversary.  EXCELLENT!
2) “Billy Elliot”–2 hours and 50 minutes–film–this was also filmed in a theatre at a live performance. When it comes to dancing in shows I still remember how thrilled I was seeing “West Side Story” at the Winter Garden when it opened on Broadway and to me it was amazing. It wasn’t until “The Newsies” came along did I feel I hadn’t breathed during all the dance numbers. The most singular dance turn I have ever seen on stage was Donna McKechnie as Cassie’s 8-minute solo “The Music and the Mirror” in “A Chorus Line”.  Almost equal to that is Jamie Bell’s solo “Electricity” describing how it feels to dance in the second act of “Billy Elliot”–check it out on youtube.  EXCELLENT!
3) “The Last 5 Years”–1 hour and 34 minutes–film–strong leads—good score–tired story–we meet the couple after they have broken up and it goes back in time.
4) “Gypsy”–2 hours and 33 minutes–Bette Midler delivers in this made for TV version in 1933–this is the 5th person I have seen in the lead and all excelled and Midler doesn’t disappoint. “Gypsy” is always referred to as one of the best Broadway musicals.
5) “Mucho, Mucho, Amor”–documentary–1 hour and 36 minutes–Netflix–a very famous pioneer of television who was a flamboyant Puerto Rico-born astrologer who made Liberace look ‘butch’!! I had never heard of him and there were a lot of interesting aspects to the man but he should have stopped while he was ahead. Worth seeing for many reasons including seeing Lin Miranda-Manual awe when meeting him.
6) “Eric Andre: Legalize Everything”–one-man standup (‘comedy’?) show–51 minutes–Netflix–Loud? Yes! “F” word and much cursing? Definitely! Dirty? Check! Screams? Check! Shows bare chest multiple times? Yes! Why? Don’t know. Have audience member’s parents come up on stage and start having sex–why? Who knows! Gets completely nude at the end and, again, I don’t know why. Complete waste of time!

Disney Plus   Leave a comment

Disney Plus

I basically got Disney Plus for one month at $6.99 to see the filmed on-stage production of “Hamilton”
though I saw the touring company when it was here and wasn’t ‘thrilled’ by it. The film didn’t increase my enthusiasm but the touring company is  scheduled to come back in the 2020-2021 season so it will have one more chance if the theatres are back in business!
In addition, I watched “Bambi” and was really glad I did because I felt like a 6-year-old again. Having experienced a good time with that I decided to try a few more from “Dumbo”, which was very disappointing, “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” and sang along with the dwarfs about whistling while they worked but right after Bambi “The Lady and the Tramp” was the second big hit. The scene of the Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti will always rate high in love scenes on the movie screen! Just hearing Peggy Lee’s singing is a treat.
I think that’s it for Disney Plus and I back to Netflix and Prime Video but Bambi and The Lady and the Tramp were definitely worth $6.99.

Posted July 9, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Movies, Series, Documentaries on Netflix–Reviews   3 comments

movies and series Netflix week of June 8 2020

1) “13 Reasons Why”–I tried, I really tried, but I had to quit after the 4th episode. I could not get interested in the story or any character. 4 seasons–49 episodes–average time per episode is 57 minutes.
2) “Atlantics”–movie–1 hour and 44 minutes–forget it unless you really LOVE ghosts!
3) “Lenox Hill”–Documentary–8 episodes–about 7 hours–I watched 4 episodes and that was enough! Interesting but not enough to involve me for 4 more episodes.
4) “Queen of the South”–series–4 seasons–each episode about 41 minutes. I saw this series when it started on the USA channel and I ‘fell in love’ with Alice Braga who kept me glued to the TV set. Then I cut the cable and figured that was it but it is now on Netflix starting where I had left it. She is mesmerizing as a lowly money changer in Mexico and then becoming the head of a drug cartel. There is a bit too much violence for me but I can’t/won’t take my eyes off Braga.  Yes, some of it is silly but there is a lot of suspense and a first-rate cast.
5) “Cargo”–movie–1 hour 43 minutes–Forget it even if you are into zombies. A double bill of “Atlantics” and “Cargo” could make you give up TV forever!!
6) “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich”–Documentary–4 episodes–3 hours and 44 minutes in total. The women/girls most under 21, get a chance to tell their side of the story. The men all deny whatever the women say. Alan Dershowitz is ‘lower’ than Epstein which is saying a lot! You can skip the middle 2 episodes and watch the 4th which gives their women their day in court!
A Bonus: Only if you have watched all of “Money Heist” see “Money Heist: The Phenomenon”–a 57 minute documentary with a lot of spoilers. It tells how the series became such a big hit plus how and what happened to the actors! The series alone was worth cutting the cable and getting Netflix!

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”–movie review   1 comment

beautiful day in the neighborhhod

I may be one of the very few who never saw Mister Rogers’s show and though I heard of him I didn’t know what a nice guy he was and hard he worked to be one.
If anyone could play him it had to be Mister Nice Guy Tom Hanks but in spite of the role he is playing, with his name and picture the only ones in the ads, he is more of a supporting player. Yes they show bits and pieces of him interacting with people, doing songs and using hand puppets on his television show but the main character is Matthew Rhys. His role as Lloyd Vogel, a writer for Esquire magazine, brings him in touch with Fred Rogers as he is on an assignment to do a 400 word story of the man as a hero.
The main story revolves around Vogel and his father Jerry, played by Chris Cooper, who is an alcoholic and left his wife and children when she was dying. Without giving any spoilers his interview with Rogers turns into Rogers questioning him and learns about Vogel’s father when the latter returns upon his daughter’s, wedding day. I believe it is the first time the sister and brother have seen their father since he walked out.
By this time you know exactly where the story is heading and where it will end and you keep on waiting for something to happen! Like Rogers this film is a nice film about a nice guy and Hanks plays him to perfection. Once you would like to see him explode but the closest he comes to doing that is banging on the lower keys of the piano. I have seen his wife Joanne Rogers, played in a brief role by Maryann Plunkett, on interviews these past 2 weeks and I wanted to ask her how was it living with a constantly nice guy!
Matthew Rhys does a fine job as Vogel and it was great seeing Susan Kelechi Watson, from “This Is Us”, playing his wife. I don’t know who’s choice it was for him to have that ‘5 o’clock shadow’ but it was a bad choice.
I was surprised to see one of my favorite actresses in the role of the Esquire editor Ellen played by Christine Lahti though the role demands nothing from her. Chris Cooper as the father does his usual fine job while Enrico Colantoni role in an abbreviated role as a publicist for the show.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is a nice film but too low key.

Posted December 3, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Knives Out”–movie report   1 comment

Either I have been going to the movies far too long or I have become jaded–maybe a combination of both!
I’ve seen at least a dozen different films in this genre with one of my favorites being “Murder On The Orient Express” with Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall . It was an Agatha Christie movie made with a group of stars revolving around who committed a murder. In this case the screenplay and direction is by Rian Johnson which brings in some current hot topics like immigrants with references to Lin-Manuel Miranda  and a snippet of a song by Steven Sondheim among other things.
The story is basically about patriarch Harlan Thrombey, played by  Christopher Plummer, has become a multimillionaire by writing novels. We meet him at his 85th birthday on the night before he  accidentally killed himself or was accidentally killed by  his Latina immigrant nurse Marta, whose mother is here illegally. She is played by Ana de Armas who, as Marta, is filled with kindness and always throws up when she tells a lie.
In the cast are Daniel Craig who appears as  private detective Blanc, hired secretly, and uses a horrible southern accent without reason, Jamie Lee Curtis as Harlan’s daughter Linda, married to Don Johnson and they are the parents of ‘Ransom’ played by Chris Evans. Curtis gives the best performance in the movie,
Michael Shannon as Walt is Harlan’s youngest son, is married to Riki Lindhome, playing Donna, and they have a child, Jacob, played by Jaeden Martell, who is sort of an ‘odd’ bird. Toni Collette is Harlan’s daughter-in-law who was married to his deceased son and Harlan’s granddaughter  Megan, played by Katherine Langford. The latter’s character was completely unnecessary to the movie and whose major scene could have been cut without an effect one way or the other except cutting the film down to a 2 hour running time.
Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan are detectives involved in the mystery who seem to allow Craig’s detective take charge though it really doesn’t make sense that they do.
Three other characters are played by Edi Patterson as Fran, Harlan’s housekeeper and K Callan as Wanetta, Harlan’s mother—remember Harlan is 85!—and Frank Oz as Harlan’s lawyer.
The only interesting aspect to me was the Gothic house which has layers of hidden doors, windows and rooms and when you see all the things in the house you will feel sorry for the poor housekeeper!
“Knives Out” was a disappointment to me but in the film’s defense most critics seemed to love it!

Posted November 29, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“Ford v Ferrari”–movie review   Leave a comment

Ford 2
I can count on 1 finger how many racing car movies I have seen and though I may recall who was in them I don’t remember any of them and, sadly, because I had heard good things about “Ford v Ferrari” it will probably be in the same category. Based on a true story, the screen writers Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller, juggle 4-5 different stories to add human drama to the film while eliminating any one of them would have brought the movie in at a reasonable showing time, way less than the 2 hours and 30 minutes it runs.
At the same time the director James Mangold has one too many race scenes, one too many shots of a foot hitting the brakes, more shots than necessary to prove Ken Myles is eccentric or business owners and their employees can be  underhanded and ruthless.
 Caitriona Balfe, though a bit difficult to understand, impressed me playing the wife of Christian Bale, who as driver Ken Myles, has been getting raves for his role, left me cold and also hard to understand. Matt Damon is, as always, impressive in a strong, somewhat silent way, as former champion driver and now designer of race cars. Tracy Letts in the role of Henry Ford II has a 2 minute moving and at the same time funny scene while being solid in the rest of the film. Josh  Lucas as the boss’s right hand man is an effective villain even if the role is a bit overwritten and obvious.
The banter between Damon and Bale tells a lot about both men but one segment, meant to be funny is only funny due to the reaction of Balfe while Bale’s scenes with Noah Jupe, just right as his son, shows the man to be a good father.
The behind the scenes of business life certainly isn’t new but the behind the scenes of the racing sport and business aspect of it and car companies is interesting.
Though you may know who the winner is, or will be, in “Ford v Ferrari” it will entertain you if you can get through the 30 to 40 minutes unnecessary segments.

Posted November 22, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“A Good Liar”–movie review   1 comment

Liar 2

Go into the theatre, buy your popcorn (or not) sit down for 109 minutes and be entertained by two charismatic, professional stars as they do their job. When you leave the theatre don’t start questioning the screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, because some of it didn’t make any sense.
Bill Condon directs the two stars in sparkling locations and backdrops whether it be in London or Berlin. Time frames are today and back in the 1940s and, thankfully, the younger actors playing the older ones are real and not movie ‘magic’.
Talking about that it seems most movies today have flashbacks when in most cases the movie can be told in linear fashion whereas in this movie we do have to go back to explain the present.
Is it a love story? A story about scams? Con artists? A comedy? Drama? A mystery thriller? Are the people who they say are? It is all of these and yet when you leave the theatre all you will remember is Helen Mirren’s smile and Ian McKellen’s hangdog face plus their playing off and to each other.
“The Good Liar” is just an entertaining movie, except for two quick violent scenes (unless violence entertains you), that was a perfect way to spend this very rainy afternoon.

Posted November 15, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Parasite”–movie review   1 comment


After 10 minutes I was ready to leave “Parasite” but I can count on one hand how many movies I have walked out on so I decided to stay and find out why word of mouth was being so positive about the film.
Basically it is the story of how a very poor family of 4, parents, son and daughter scams their way into the home of a very wealthy family of 4 consisting of the parents, daughter and son. Really can’t talk about the movie itself without giving spoilers, though none of them jolted and/or surprised me.
The movie is 2 hours and 13 minutes of which 13 minutes could have been cut very easily or spent in explaining some relationships that are sort of glossed over.
“Parasite” takes place in Korea and the differences between the classes are made immediately. The film has subtitles that took me a few minutes to get used to but to which I adapted fairly quickly.
I left the theatre glad I didn’t walk out but at the same time I really can’t see recommending it while, on the other hand, Allen thought it was a classic whodunit.

Posted November 8, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

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