Category Archives: Movies

Throwback Thursday-Lost In Space (1998)

Sometimes, a film producer or director has what they think is a brilliant idea. They take a classic television show from their early years and attempt to reboot it for a new generation.

An example of this is the movie reboot of the classic 1960’s television show, Lost In Space (1998). The movie mirrors the plot of the television series. The earth, as we know it to be, may soon be no more. The Robinson family, led by Professor John Robinson (William Hurt) is charged with colonizing another planet in hopes of saving humanity. But something goes wrong, as it always does. Dr. Zachary Smith (Gary Oldman) is the something that goes wrong, a villain, who as usual, has less than honorable motives. Will the Robinson’s ever return home or are they fated to be lost in space for eternity?

Bear in mind, that I have never seen the original series in its entirety, so this review is strictly based on the movie. As a standalone movie, it’s fine, but I have a feeling that fans of the original series might have objected to the reboot. While the cast is excellent and Gary Oldman excels, as he usually does as the antagonist, it’s merely ok for me. There is nothing spectacular about this film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Mini Trailer

Yesterday, director Ron Howard announced the title of the upcoming Han Solo stand alone movie. It’s called Solo: A Star Wars Story. Set to be released next May, it’s not a surprise that the details of the movie, other than the general plot are being kept under wraps for the present. What is known is that the film is a prequel to Episode 4 and will tell the story of Han’s life before he met Luke, Leia and company.

Given the success of Rogue One and The Force Awakens and the hype surrounding The Last Jedi, I hope that this prequel/standalone film will only add to the luster of the Star Wars legacy and given fans a new reason to be loud and proud of their fandom.

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Part III-Is it a generational thing?

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last week, he tried to defend himself. He claimed the following:

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

I have mixed feelings about this statement, though I think it is still bullsh*t.  The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of change in America. Women were starting to not just enter the workplace in greater numbers, but they were also starting to work in fields and positions that previously were open to men only. At the time, some men might have chafed at  working with women on an equal level. I call it bullsh*t because we are not living in either the 1960’s or 1970’s anymore.  But he seems to think so.

Weinstein is trying to defend himself, but his defense does not hold water. His defense does not hold water because not only did he know exactly what he was doing, but he also is not the only male to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There is a whole generation of men who grew up in the era, I doubt every single one of them used their professional positions to procure sexual favors from female subordinates.

It is also not a generational thing because this kind of abuse has been going on for time immemorial. It’s time we admitted it, faced the truth and stopped this abuse once and for all.

 

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Victoria and Abdul Movie Review

We sometimes forget that legends are human too. We may not think of them that way, but sometimes we have to move past the legend to see the real human being underneath.

Queen Victoria is one of those legends.

The new movie, Victoria and Abdul, takes place at the end of her reign and life. She is celebrating her Golden Jubilee. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a young man from India chosen to celebrate the Queen’s 50th year on the throne by presenting with a gift from her Indian subjects. It’s supposed to be a one shot trip.  But the Queen is taken by the intelligent and entertaining young man. Abdul not only teaches her about his world and his life, but he becomes a favorite. This, naturally does not go over well with Victoria’s son and heir, Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and her household. The question is, will this unusual friendship last and how far will those around Victoria go to remove Abdul from her life?

This movie is based on a book, entitled Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, by Shrabani Basu. I have not read the book, my review is strictly based on the movie. The cast is nothing but stellar. My favorite performance came from Eddie Izzard. While he started his career as a performer in comedy, he clearly has the chops to play a serious or dramatic part. I would not be surprised if a few nominations came his way during award season. His Bertie is a man who has been chomping at the bit to sit on the throne and is not happy that this Indian man is placing one more obstacle in the way of getting to the throne.

That being said, the movie was disappointing. It was disappointing because there were moments in the narrative that felt like endings, but they weren’t. By the time the credits rolled, it was a relief that it was over.

Do I recommend it? I would love to say yes, but I have to say maybe.

Victoria and Abdul is presently in theaters. 

 

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Part II

Since I last wrote about the Harvey Weinstein scandal last week, the floodgates have opened.

He was fired from Miramax, the production company he founded with his brother. His wife will soon be his ex-wife and the many women he took advantage of or tried to take advantage of have come forward. Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan (whose twitter account was locked) and Mira Sorvino are some of the bold-faced names who claim to have met the former movie mogul under less than honest and moral circumstances.

The problem is that what Harvey Weinstein has been accused of is not limited to just the entertainment industry. This heinous act is repeated every day in every corner of the globe. It could be a male teacher with a female student, a male boss with a female employee, etc. It’s just so disgustingly pervasive that we don’t have to read about or hear about a similar story.

The one small nugget of hope that I have in all of this, is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The men who commit these horrible acts will get the message that what they are doing is wrong and will think twice about doing it.

Perhaps then, we will be one step closer to being truly equal.

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Flashback Friday-Mystery Men (1999)

Sometimes superhero movies take themselves a little too seriously.

In 1999, the genre was given the satirical treatment in the form of Mystery Men.

When the local superhero Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) is captured by the local super villain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush), it’s up to a ragtag group of superhero wannabes to save the day. Led by Furious (Ben Stiller), the group includes Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) and Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), this bunch of second-rate superheroes must band together to save their city and their superhero from destruction.

As I recall, what I enjoyed about this movie is not the DC, Marvel Comics type movie that many fans of the superhero and comic book genre have come to expect. The film had an underbelly of dark satire that was unique to the genre and made the audience laugh.

And of course, what a late 1990’s movie without the requisite theme song sung by Smashmouth?

I recommend it.

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The Last Jedi Trailer

The official trailer for The Last Jedi has come finally been released. I got very excited when I saw the trailer, but as usual, Lucasfilm is not surprisingly cagey with the details.

The only thing I know that I am more that stoked and I will definitely be needing a box of Kleenex for the rumored sendoff for Carrie Fisher.

BTW, the duel between Finn and Captain Phasma looks amazing.

December is coming quickly. 🙂

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Thoughts On The 30th Anniversary Of The Princess Bride

A few weeks ago, The Princess Bride celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Fred Savage plays a young boy who is home sick from school. His grandfather, played by Peter Falk reads the boy a story. The story is The Princess Bride.

Buttercup (Robin Wright) is a young lady from a poor farm family chosen to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). While she has agreed to go on with the match, she is mourning the loss of her true love, Westley (Cary Elwes). It has been five years since he was murdered. Needing a break from the craziness  of her upcoming wedding and her memories of her late beloved, Buttercup goes out for a ride. The rest is movie history.

This movie, except that it is pure genius. While the basic narrative to heavily steeped in classic fairy tales, the humor is modern and is can be very adult.

If I had to choose a favorite scene, it would be the one with Billy Crystal and Carol Kane. It is comedy at it’s best.

Here is to the 30 years of laughs from The Princess Bride. I hope that in 30 years, we will continue to laugh.

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal

It’s nothing new to hear of powerful men using their stature and/or name to gain sexual favors from less powerful women in trade for something else.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s name has recently been added to this list. Several women have come forward, claiming that over the past few decades, Weinstein has set up meetings with young actresses, who believe that they are meeting with him to advance their careers. Instead, he meets them, expecting sex.

If nothing else, this story reminds me that not only is feminism alive and well, but it still continues to be necessary in 2017. While we have no doubt come very far, there are also many battles to fight. Mr. Weinstein is not the first man, nor will he be the last man who believes that not only is he immune from the law, but that young actresses willingly submit to the casting couch to work in their chosen careers.

I keep hoping that as these men are publicly outed and vilified, that things will change for the better.  Women will not be seen as mere sexual playthings, but as full fledged human beings.

Mr. Weinstein will get what is coming to him, either in this world or the next. Perhaps this will finally send a message once and for all about how women are still being treated in 2017.

Perhaps is the key word here.

 

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Flashback Friday-My Week With Marilyn (2011)

There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold. The same could be said about Hollywood and the movie stars that fill up our screens. Behind the performer is the real human being who is dealing with the same sh*t that we all deal with.

In the 2011 movie, My Week With Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) is in London in the mid 1950’s to film The Prince And The Showgirl. Being directed by and starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), Marilyn is not the easiest performer to work with. Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is a young film student who gets a job as a part of the film crew. As time goes on, Marilyn reveals that there is much more to her that the on-screen sex goddess and Colin begins understand some truths about people and life that only time, experience and maturity bring.

What I really appreciated about this movie was that it revealed some truths that many of us, regardless of whether we are a Hollywood star or a John or Jane Doe, deal with on a day-to-day basis. I also appreciated that the film humanized one of Hollywood’s best known icons and brought her down to a level that makes us appreciate and respect her as a person, not as a performer.

I recommend it.

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