Archive for the ‘MOVIES’ Category

Streaming Reviews–week of February 1, 2021   Leave a comment

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1) “London Spy”–Netflix–British limited series–5 episodes—4 hours and 47 minutes– originally on BBC then PBS and now Netflix–as the first episode finished all I could think of was “WOW”! I was hooked and though I hoped it wouldn’t be disappointing I am so glad to report I wasn’t. The center relationship (one of many) captures you just as the spy aspect does. A DEFINITE MUST SEE–AS EXPECTED FIRST-RATE ACTING FROM COMPLETE BRITISH CAST–WHERE AND/OR WHEN IS SEASON 2?
2) “Black Rose”–Netflix–Nigerian movie–2 hours–First hour and 45 minutes is a good film, love story, comedy, look at how other people live and then it all falls apart, especially the last ‘explanation’–DISAPPOINTING
3) “The Highwaymen”–Netflix–Hollywood movie–2 hours & 12 minutes–a true story about 2 lawmen going after Bonnie & Clyde-I would suggest you watch the 1967 “Bonnie & Clyde” starring Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty, directed by Arthur Penn, which is much better in telling the story!
4) “Queen of the South”–originally on USA and now on Netflix–adapted from a Spanish novella–6 seasons (4 on Netflix as of now)–10 episodes each season–running approximately 6 hours and 50 minutes per season–underlying the violence involved in running a drug empire this series has a lot of heart, mainly provided by Alice Braga, who is dynamite, as Teresa, running from Mexico and setting up a narcotics organization in the USA–Alice Braga is a STAR, not to be missed and the series keeps up with her!
5) “The Dig”–Netflix–British movie–1 hour & 52 minutes–based on the true story of the excavation in 1939 on the estate of widow Edith Pretty lead by Basil Brown a self-taught archeologist–it is a typical British film which is a good thing!
6) “Triple Frontier”–Netflix–American film–2 hours & 5 minutes–if you like thrillers with chases and shootouts this might be for you–I don’t so I fast-forwarded through at least an hour–some of the heist scenes were fine but the character interactions aren’t.
7) “The Mess You Leave Behind”–Netflix–Spanish series–8 episodes–6 hours & 3 minutes- -I watched all 8 episodes thinking I have seen all 8 episodes before and I still don’t know if I have!! Looking to see if I reviewed it before!

Posted February 7, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Series, Streaming

Like it was Friday 2019–a THEATRE MOVIE REVIEW “Supernova”   Leave a comment

A year ago February–when I reached 21–I got, as one gift, a gift card to the AMC theatre and a week later the movie theatres shut down, as did the restaurants. For 20 years I went to a movie and then after a bite to eat and now,  all of a sudden, it was watching movies on a TV while eating at home.
After 11 months I was ready, and taking all the precautions, we (Allen and I) decided to go for it. I had to go to Broward General hospital for a COVID-19 test for an outpatient test on Wednesday. My appointment was for 2 PM and the moving picture started at 4:30 PM so it was the appointment, then a bite to eat followed by the movie.
We went to the Peter Pan Diner for a late lunch and to add to the celebration I had a piece of carrot cake! The diner was doing a nice business with all the help wearing masks and only every other table being used. On a plus note, our waiter was one who knew me from the Denny’s on 17th Street where I had at one time worked and where he usually waited on me in later years. I will say neither Allen or myself were pleased with what we got served but that’s another review.
I had read a few excellent reviews of “Supernova” and Terry, in Memphis, said he and Chuck really liked it. It is basically a story of long-term lovers facing the tragedy of one living with early-onset dementia and how they are dealing with it.
The performances of Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as the couple are excellent but, sadly—no pun intended–a 20-25 minute movie is expanded to 93 minutes with way too many hillside shots and road scenes, of their taking a trip in a RV, in spite of the stunning scenery in the English Lake District.
Yes they bicker, banter, show their love for each other but the movie should have started showing 10 minutes of this and then going into the pivotal turn of one of the men hearing a recording as the last 20 minutes are very emotionally moving. The piano solo at the end added time but nothing to what we had just gone through.
“Supernova” is worth seeing for Firth and Tucci’s performances and the last 20 minutes.
By the way, all help at the AMC wore masks, there were hand sanitizer stations all over, distance markings on the floors and the auditoriums are restricted to 40% capacity though I will say only 4 people–2 besides us–were in the auditorium we were and the rest of the theatre looked about the same it was a safe enviroment.

Posted February 6, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

Streaming reviews week of January 10, 2021   Leave a comment

1) “LUPIN”–French Mystery Series–Season 1–5 episodes–2 hours & 51 minutes–first I was extremely impressed by the actor Omar Sy, including his acting, as the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin based on a series of French books written in 1905–I was ‘lost’ a few times by the story but I am definitely ready for season 2–A MUST SEE
2) “Pieces of a Woman”–American Movie–2 hours & 6 minutes–opens with a 28-minute harrowing segment watching a woman giving birth at home which ends in tragedy–the rest of the movie is about what happens to the woman–Vanessa Kirby is excellent and the movie has been getting rave reviews but after that opening, I kept waiting for something to happen–I am still waiting!
3) “Rich In Love”–Brazillian Movie–1 hour & 45 minutes–no difference between a Brazillian and Hollywood romantic comedy–losing a bet a rich kid plays poor–if you enjoy the latter you’ll enjoy this–nothing special but okay.4) “San Pa Sins of the Savoir”–Italian Documentary–season 1–5 episodes–5 hours–I tried, I really tried, but couldn’t get past the 3rd episode so just went to last 15 minutes–about heroin addicts and a man who tried to save them and became a controversial figure–boring.5) “Pretend It’s a City”–American documentary–limited series–7 episodes–3 hours & 23 minutes–Martin Scorsese interviews and follows Fran Lebowitz around New York–Lebowitz, in many ways, is the stereotypical New Yorker–it could have been an episode or two shorter but then it wouldn’t have been about New York or New Yorkers–I enjoyed seeing a lot of the places I used to hang out–this is for New Yorkers and/or those who don’t know any New Yorkers.
6) “Alice Junior”–Brazillian Movie–1 hour & 27 minutes–Alice, a transgender teenager, finds herself in a small, conservative town and in a co-ed Catholic school–a sweet, short movie that covers a lot of territories. 
7) “Equinox”–Danish series–season 1–6 episodes–4 hours & 30 minutes–a fantasy mystery thriller that was recommended to me–wish I could remember who recommended it because I won’t ever watch another show they recommend!

Posted January 15, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Series, Streaming

Streaming reviews–week of November 15, 2020   Leave a comment

1) “The Crown”–Netflix–series–Season 4–10 episodes–5 hours and 50 minutes–the best season so far–strong performances by Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II, Gillean Anderson as Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana commanding the main roles with the latter going from a shy, deer in the lights, a girl growing into a woman with a secondary Emerald Fennell as Camilla, who certainly will be more in front in season 5. Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Tobias Menzies as his father Prince Philip shows the weaknesses and strengths of men ruled by women with the former almost making you feel sorry for him.  A MUST SEE!

2) “Diana In Her Own Words”–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour and 52 minutes–There is no way a person can NOT feel sadness for and about her. I watched this after “The Crown” which was a smart move–watching a fictional series like The Crown you know that private scenes and conversations between people are made up by the writer and you hope there is some reality in what they say and do–Diana In Her Words makes a lot in The Crown more real. A MUST SEE!

3) “The Life Ahead”–Netflix–Movie–1 hour & 34 minutes–how dare Sophia Loren get old?!? Most people who watch this will remember the Oscar-winning actress at the height of her fame and her ‘lusty’ appearance–she still has that ‘what made her a star’ glow and the movie is a ‘small’, sweet, entertaining film–I originally saw Simone Signoret in the first movie version of this, called “Madame Rosa”, and Loren’s performance is as effective as Signoret’s as the Jewish former prostitute who takes care of sex workers children and still bares the number given her in a concentration camp–a must-see for those who remember Loren in her fame days.

4) “Dash & Lily”–Netflix–Season 1–8 episodes–3 hours & 22 minutes–Dash is anti-Christmas while Lily loves everything about it–through puzzles in a red notebook the two finally meet–a cute, fun series and a good ‘get in the Christmas mood’ start for the holidays–wonder what season 2 will be about–enjoy.

5) “I Am Thinking Of Ending Things”–Netflix–Movie–2 hours & 14 minutes–don’t waste a minute seeing this unless you want to see Toni Collette give a very rare bad performance!

Posted November 20, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Streaming

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

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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

“A Good Liar”–movie review   1 comment

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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

“Pain and Glory”–a must see movie–review   Leave a comment

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I have been a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar since 1983 when I saw his “Dark Habits” and have seen about 15 of the 20 movies he has directed.  This, without a doubt, is one of his best if for nothing else the writing and direction of a scene between Banderas and Julieta Mallo though this is just one of many scenes that grab and hold your attention. I defy you to take your eyes off the screen in the scene between  Asier Flores, playing the young Salvador Mallo, and Cesar Vicente, a laborer with artistic abilities, that provides another scene with the older Salvador, played by Banderas, bringing back the past.
Many of Almodovar’s films have featured and/or revolved around beautiful women with one being Penelope Cruz who in this film plays the young mother of Salvador but in this one it revolves around 4 beautiful men, including Banderas who grows better looking every day he grows older!
Talking about Antonio Banderas, there is no doubt in my mind he gives one of the best performances, not only of his career but, of this year. There are so many facets to this story of an old(er) man and his journey to where and who he is today and the actor deliveries in every scene. Whether in flashbacks or current day we follow him every step of the way and the complex life he has lead.
“Pain and Glory” is in many ways a perfect film but not an easy one to watch as there is a lot of pain and a little glory.
PS If for no other reason I will have to see it again and find out what I missed those first 15 minutes!

Posted October 18, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Lucy In The Sky”–movie review   Leave a comment


Was it titled “Lucy In The Sky” just so a few lines of the Beatles’ song could be sung? Maybe.
I hadn’t been to a movie theatre for 11 days and though I watch movies on TV it isn’t the same! My choices were “Jexi” which I would have liked to have seen but the schedule was wrong or “Joker”–NO WAY!—or “Lucy In The Sky”. I like Natalie Portman when I see her but I usually don’t go to a movie just because she is in it so off I went.
“Inspired by real events” the names have been changed—to use the title song?—and is based on a female astronaut attacking a lover who has been seeing another woman.
The picture starts off showing Lucy (Portman) in space, lost in thought and asking for just a few minutes more. After landing, and at the first opportunity, she signs up for another trip not comfortable on earth anymore with her husband (Dan Stevens). In a brief conversation they decide she will have another child after she returns from the next trip but she knows that will never happen and so the affair with Mark (Jon Hamm), another astronaut, starts. It is here the film goes completely off track.
Lucy looks, feels different, even states that she never felt so alive and instead of following why the change, what happens physically and mentally when you go into space, we get into the melodrama.
The script by Noah Hawley, who also directs, Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi misses the chance to approach a space movie from a different and interesting angle. Hawley’s direction does many  tricks with the camera to try and see Lucy’s big world out in space and the small world she has returned to only making the screen annoying.
Natalie Portman does fine as does  Dan Stevens and Jon Hamm but Ellen Burstyn is wasted, as is the title tune!
“Lucy In The Sky” is too long at 126 minutes to hold your interest but as your mind wanders what it could have been helps the time past.

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

“Non-Fiction”–movie review   Leave a comment


In 1927 Al Jolsen sang and spoke in a movie instantly making ‘silents’ become ‘talkies’ and for many years most movies had a lot of talk with some silence and then the “Star Wars”, “Indiana Jones” among others brought the more action than talking in films. “Non-Fiction” is definitely a talking movie with, maybe, 3 minutes of silence, no dialogue!

There is a lot of talk mainly about books being published, print versus digital, where blogs are the novels, documentaries, etc., and what Truman Capote in 1966 called a non-fiction novel an author here refers to his work as ‘autofiction’, works based on his real life with names, places and, possibly, events changed.

Leonard (Vincent Macaigne) the author is having an affair with Selena (Juliette Binoche) the wife of his editor, Alain, (Guillaume Canet) who is having an affair with Laure (Christa Theret) who Alain has brought into the company to head the digital department.  The only one not having an affair is Leonard’s wife, Valerie, (Nora Hamzawi), who is aware and okay with her husband’s affair, (hey folks this IS a French film!) as she is very busy helping a Socialist candidate running for office.

The film starts with Alain telling Leonard that he won’t publish his latest book which leads to many very interesting discussions about today’s publishing world and what it may be tomorrow.  Even with scenes of the various couples in, and out of, bed there is talk about writing, reading, authors and what the latter use for source material. Here and there other, non-literary, topics are discussed, some for humor others to explain their relationships but it all gets back to what Leonard’s new book is about and the ‘autofiction’ that pleases the woman, Selena, he is having the affair with or his wife, Valerie, who doesn’t want to know anything about the affair.

“Non-Fiction” though well acted and interesting belongs more on PBS or a Hollywood Reporter round table session as it needs a more intimate setting than a theatre auditorium and a large movie screen and you very seldom hear me suggest that!


Juliette Binoche and Guillame Canet reunite with acclaimed director Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Carlos) for this wry, slyly seductive tale of sex, lies, and literature. Set amidst the bohemian intelligentsia of the Parisian publishing world, Non-Fiction traces the romantic and emotional fallout that results when a controversial writer (Vincent Macaigne) begins blurring the line between fact and fiction, using his real-life love affairs – including a passionate fling with an actress (Binoche) who happens to be married to his editor (Canet) – as fodder for his explosive new novel. Balancing dry wit with keen observations on the tensions between art, commerce, and technology, Non-Fiction is a buoyant, breezy delight from a master director at his most effortlessly brilliant.


Movie trailer

“Booksmart”–movie review   1 comment

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Every time I walk into a movie I have high expectations and every time I see a boring, stupid ‘comedy’ and don’t even laugh once, the first thing I ask myself is “Why didn’t I walk out?” and the second thing I do is tell myself “At least I won’t see anything worse the rest of the year!”
Sadly I didn’t walk out of “Booksmart” and I hope it is the worst movie I will see this year! I really have nothing positive to say about the cast except to ask if today’s teens are really this vulgar, this dumb or is it the screenplay by 4 writers and the director showing them to be this way?
The worst part–and that is saying a lot–is the cringe-worthy performance and lines by Lisa Kudrow as a parent. We won’t even talk about the ‘father’!

Trying to be positive–and not understanding why–Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 97% rating by professional critics and 74% by the audience while Meta Critic had a 84% rating by critics and 5.6 out of 10 by the audience.

Please, please if you see it let me know what YOU think of “Booksmart” though you would be smart not to go!


The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.




The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.



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