Archive for the ‘FILM REVIEWS’ Category

“Cruella”–movie theatre review–a few words about ‘normal’   1 comment

There are only 2 reasons to see “Cruella” and they are 1) the soundtrack and 2) Emma Thompson. The former is a great mixture of previous hits and the latter is a delight in her various costumes and looks! Otherwise I would say skip it!

This is my second week of going back to ‘normal’ after 15 months and normal was going to see, in most cases, a good movie matinee in a movie theatre and then get a late lunch. For various reasons normal is not as great as it had been. Yes, I love seeing a movie on a large movie screen instead of a TV screen no matter how big!

The first 2 movies I have seen on a movie screen have been losers. In a sense streaming has spoiled me in that I could fast forward over many scenes that I didn’t like or were boring and I loved that I could subtitle all films as I have found that many times I will miss important scenes due to the sound being very low.

A perfect example of both is that last week’s movie “Port Authority” makes my videos look like  Oscar winners as not only was most of the soundtrack  too low to hear but the photography was so bad most of the movie was unwatchable. The fast forward button on the first film would have gotten a workout because “Cruella”, at 2 hours and 16 minutes, was about 45 minutes, at least, too long!

I am keeping my fingers crossed that next week “In The Heights” will take me back to the normal—a good movie–of enjoying a film on the big screen and not feeling I am missing something watching a movie on a TV screen!

Posted June 4, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“A New York Christmas Wedding”–film review   Leave a comment

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ny-christmas-wedding-collage.png

I have finally found MY must-see Christmas film every December! “A New York Christmas Wedding” opens with a bright, shining, Manhattan and from there hits every cliche you could ask of a sentimental film with a twist! Based on “Trust your heart. Be Brave” and “You really shouldn’t underestimate the power of love around Christmas” how can one go wrong?

How about a Gay Guardian Angel?? How about a woman having to decide between the life she is currently living or living the life she would have had if she had made a different decision 20 years earlier? Being a Christmas movie there is, of course, a love story but this film has two of them both revolving around the same woman.

Otaja Abit, who directed the film, also wrote the story and the screenplay not to mention playing one of the leads and as in most cases, not all, I find someone who takes on too much in one film usually is lacking in one of the jobs where someone else could have picked up the slack and that happens with the story here. There are too many holes in the story which at times makes it cheesy but still holds your attention.

In spite of that, it very quickly has become one of MY best 10 love stories, reminding me of ‘they don’t make movies like that anymore’ of the 1950s! A happy ending? Of course, it is a Christmas story!

I must add that at about the 50-minute point, Chris Noth–yes, that Chris Noth also known as Mister Big–as Father Kelly, gives a sermon that most “christians’ probably will never watch because of what comes before but Christians will listen, understand and might even open their hearts to what he says.

There is suspense, over the top romance, a feel-good theme, warmth, don’t forget that Gay Guardian Angel and, being a Christmas movie, has a happy ending. There are twist and turns and though not a perfect movie is brings something new to the Christmas holiday library of movies.
Abit told the New York Post that ‘it is gritty, urban, with black and Latino leads and a real romance between two women’. No, that is not a spoiler as the film opens in 1999 but takes place in 2019.

“A New York Christmas Wedding” is a mix of Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix movies and I wasn’t expecting much but I know every Christmas from now on I will spend an hour and twenty-nine minutes watching a movie that I fell in love with Christmas 2020!

Posted December 29, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Streaming reviews–week of September 7-11, 2020–Netflix   Leave a comment

Inline image
1) “Borgen”–Danish series–3 seasons–fiction–10 episodes each season with each episode running about 58 minutes–it is a look behind the scenes of the Denmark politics when the first woman is elected Prime Minister–with a first-rate production and cast headed by Sidse Babette Knudsen as the Prime Minister “Borgen” keeps on moving whether dealing with the 3 branches of government, the various political parties, what goes on behind the scenes and people who run it plus showing how it affects the Prime Minister’s home life you get involved with what is being presented as a political drama along with their personal lives. A 4th season has just been announced coming in 2022–EXCELLENT!

2) “Away”–American series–10 episodes each between 47 to 75 minutes–8 hours and 19 minutes–I am not a sci-fi fan but I am a Hillary Swank fan and almost gave up after the first tear-jerker episode but I hung in there and by the third episode I was hooked on the stories of the 5 astronauts making the first trip to Mars that will take 3 years–the effect of space on their bodies, minds and relationships while also dealing with keeping the space ship in mechanical perfection got to me as did the acting of the cast. VERY GOOD!

3) “Loaded”–British series–8 episodes each running 41 or 42 minutes–5 hours and 31 minutes–about 4 nerds who become multi-millionaires and their need to come up with another game–I did get 1 0r 2 laughs from each segment but the only one who held my interest was Jonny Sweet as the nerdiest of the nerds whose story arc is the most interesting–if you watch it you will enjoy it and if you don’t you won’t be missing it–just OKAY.

4) “Love, Guaranteed”–American film–1 hour and 31 minutes–if you start watching it and are too lazy to change the movie the courtroom scene will get you if you are a romantic–the plot is contrived and is about a guy who signs up with a dating app that, yes, guarantees you love and after 986 dates doesn’t he sues them–the best part of the movie is the disclaimer at the end–NAPPING MATERIAL.

5) “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”–American film–2 hours and 14 minutes–couldn’t give you a spoiler even if I wanted to–have no idea what it was trying to say–I am not a fan of writer-director Charlie Kaufman and I wish he hadn’t started they film–BORING!

Still loving “Rake” and “My Mother’s Killer”!

Posted September 11, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Netflix, Series, Streaming

7 Netflix reviews   Leave a comment

Inline image 1) A MUST SEE–“IMMIGRATION NATION”–DOCUMENTARY–6 EPISODES–6 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES–I don’t care how much you think you know about immigration in the United States you don’t know anything!! Do you have any idea how many veterans have been deported after serving as, say, a Marine, honorably for years who has done no wrong has been deported and can’t get back into the States? Do you know how many billions of dollars ‘illegal’ immigrants pay in taxes every year? Do you have any idea how many kids are taken away from their parents? Do you know how much private companies in cooperation with ICE make for each immigrant ‘caught’? Do you know our laws are being broken by our law enforcers? Do you have any idea how many immigrants don’t get paid for the work they do for contractors with ties to politics? PLEASE WATCH THIS!
2) John Leguizamo’s “Latin History For Morons”–solo stage performance–1 hour and 30 minutes–he is a brilliant actor and comedian and there is a lot to learn here plus a lot to laugh at if only he would clean the language up (but that’s my ‘thing’!)
3) “The Claudia Kishi Club”–short film–17 minutes–Having seen “The Baby Sitter’s Club” figured I might watch this–basically shows how an Asian character affects other characters–as the ‘Club’ this is mainly for teenage girls.
4) “The Governor”–Nigerian series–Season 1–13 episodes–9 hours and 37 minutes–your head will spin seeing the costume changes of the lead actress who becomes  Governor after the previous Governor dies. I’ve watched 5 episodes so far and a lot of the acting is off-putting as are some of the secondary storylines but Caroline Chikezie as the new Governor is a winner. Also, the main story of a woman handling a ‘man’s job’ is strong.

5) “Work It”–the movie–1 hour and 33 minutes–Teenagers in high school enter a dance competition. Nothing new but goof free form dancing except the female lead who really can’t dance.
6) “As Long As I’m Famous”–the movie–1 hour and 32 minutes–name dropping trash but not even good trash!
7) “The Lost Husband”–the movie–1 hour and 30 minutes–seen this type of movie a million times but the ‘hot farmer’ is hot! Sadly no chemistry with the female lead.

Posted August 14, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Streaming, TELEVISION

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

Inline image
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

%d bloggers like this: