Category Archives: Movies

Happy Father’s Day-Star Wars Rap Battle Edition

Happy Fathers Day to all of the amazing fathers out there, especially my own.

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Flashback Friday-Labyrinth (1986)

Babysitting from the outside looking in, appears to be simple. But it is not so simple, especially when the baby one is baby sitting will not stop crying.

In the 1986 movie, Labyrinth, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is not happy about being forced to babysit her baby brother. When the baby is unable to stop crying, she makes a wish to the Goblin King, Jareth (the late David Bowie) to take away her brother, her wish is granted. Sarah quickly regrets her decision and asks Jareth to return her brother. But Jareth refuses and Sarah has until midnight to rescue her brother. If she does not, he will become a goblin. Teaming up with fantastical creatures, can Sarah rescue her brother?

What makes this movie stand out for me is not just the fact that it is Jim Henson film, but that David Bowie, as both an actor and a musician has a unique take on his role. If he was just an actor and not a musician, the role would have come across differently on-screen. I also appreciate that the female lead is not the typical female lead who follows the typical narrative.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Drop Dead Fred (1991)

Many of us have imaginary friends during our childhoods. As we grow older, the imaginary friends are replaced by real friends. But what would happen if the imaginary friend from our childhood came back to us during adulthood?

In the 1991 movie, Drop Dead Fred, Lizzie Cronin (Phoebe Cates) is dealing with the very adult situation of a less than faithful husband and a helicopter parent of a mother. Just when the chaos seems to be at its peak, her childhood imaginary best friend, Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall) comes back into her life and creates more chaos.

This movie is an interesting one for me. There are comedic elements that appeal to the young ones in the audience, but there is also a message about being an adult and finding your way as an adult when everything seems murky and unclear. If there is one thing that I take away from this movie is that is it possible to traverse the uncertain mountain that is adulthood and still come out reasonably sane.

I recommend it.

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Wonder Woman Review

It’s no secret that the world of super heroes is a boys club, especially the old school super heroes. Wonder Woman is an exception to the rule.

Last week, Wonder Woman hit theaters. Stepping into the very famous shoes that Lynda Carter wore in the 1970’s television series is Gal Gadot. The movie starts with Diana’s childhood on the idyllic island of Themyscira. The daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the Queen Of The Amazons, Diana is protected from the outside world by her mother and her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright), who is the general of the Amazons.

While Diana’s curiosity is temporarily quelled by her elders, it will soon be made unquenchable by the unexpected arrival of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Saving Steve from death, he becomes her conduit and her guide to the outside world. World War I is raging on and Diana, believes that she can end the war. She will soon learn that the world is not as simple as she believes it to be and sometimes, meeting our destiny means learning some hard truths.

The problem with many super hero films that are based on comics is that the films are often short on narrative and long on action. They also have a mostly male cast with a male director. If there are any women, they are either the token female or the damsel in distress love interest. This film contains neither. The character arc in this film is exactly what it should be. Diana starts off not exactly naive, but very gung-ho and eager to complete her mission. Steve, on the other hand, starts off as believing himself to be the traditional dominant male, but will learn quickly that Diana/Wonder Woman can easily take care of herself.

The film was also very funny, which is not often the case of the film of this genre. Many films take themselves a little too seriously.

I absolutely recommend it.

Wonder Woman is presently in theaters.

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Flashback Friday-Radio Days (1987)

When a writer mines for ideas, sometimes the best ideas come from their childhood.

The 1987 movie, Radio Days, is based on the childhood memories of writer/director Woody Allen. Growing up in Rockaway Beach, NY during World War II, Joe (played by Seth Green as a child and voiced over by Woody Allen as an adult) associates the various aspects of his life with the radio programs of the era. Told through the memories of the adult Joe, the film is a love letter to not just childhood, but also a time when radio was the medium that the world relied on for news and entertainment.

The best films are timeless because there is a universal quality to them. Despite the physical location and the time period that the film is set in, anyone from anywhere will find an aspect of the film that they can relate to. This movie is universal because it is about childhood, family and the memories we have long after we have become adults.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies, Music, New York City

Flashback Friday-Bringing Up Baby (1938)

There are romantic comedies and then there are romantic comedies. Some are so horribly predictable and forgettable that it makes bad, predictable action films look good. Then there are the classics, that after generations, still make audiences laugh and are still as highly regarded as they were when they first hit theaters.

One of these classics is Bringing Up Baby (1938).

Good natured Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a paleontologist and a professor who has spent the last four years putting together a Brontosaurus skeleton. With the skeleton completed, he needs only the intercostal clavicle bone and one million dollars to complete the project. Wealthy and widowed Mrs. Random (May Robson) can provide the money, but first David has to go through Mrs. Robson’s lawyer, Alexander Peabody (George Irving). In addition to getting past Mr. Peabody, David also has to deal with Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn), Mrs. Random’s ditzy niece who always seems to make trouble for David and make him look bad. Susan has recently adopted a leopard, named Baby, who seems to get David in as much hot water as his human mother.

Can David finish the project or will Susan (and his slowly to burn affection for her) for her stop him from seeing the skeleton in its complete form?

This movie is one of the essential romantic comedies. It is funny, it is charming and it has two of the best actors of the era playing the leading characters. Cary Grant was one of those actors whose good looks belied a comedic sense that is often repeated today, but never duplicated. Katherine Hepburn was not just a smart and independent woman off camera, but on camera as well. There are very few performers, especially female performers, who have the ability to smartly play down their intelligence to play up the comedy. Katherine Hepburn was one of those performers.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Randy Rainbow, Donald Trump & The Day After Tommorow

Once again, Randy Rainbow has released another brilliant video about the man who should not be in The White House, but is.

Speaking of Donald Trump, he announced yesterday that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

I could state the obvious reasons why this a huge mistake, but I think the scene in The Day After Tomorrow when New York City is destroyed by a tsunami says it all.

While many scientists agree that the abrupt climate change depicted in the film is not quite accurate, the nugget of the idea is very much based in reality.

This man needs to get out of The White House, like yesterday.

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Filed under International News, Movies, New York City, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Flashback Friday-Golden Door (2006)

For millions of immigrants, Ellis Island was more than the gateway to America. It represented the opportunities and freedoms that did not exist in their previous homelands.

In the 2006 movie, Golden Door, Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) is a poor farmer from Sicily whose wife has died. Together with his surviving family, they hope to emigrate to America. On the ship bound for Ellis Island, he meets Lucy Reed (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who hopes to enter the US as a Mrs. and not a Miss. They agree to marry. But when they get to Ellis Island, both Lucy and Salvatore are in for a rude awakening. Before they can leave the island and truly become Americans, they have to pass a series of examinations and hope that the customs officials are satisfied with the results.

Like many Americans, my immigrant great-grandparents were part of the millions who passed through Ellis Island. What I appreciate about this film is not just the entertaining narrative, but it sheds on the lengths that many went through so they could truly call themselves Americans.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday- 54 (1998)

Studio 54 is one of the most notorious and infamous nightclubs in New York City’s history.

In 1998, the movie 54, told the story of Shane O’Shea (Ryan Phillippe), a young man who was employed at the nightclub during’s its heyday in the late 1970’s. Parallel to Shane’s downward spiral is the club’s downward spiral.

This movie is interesting. It is interesting because from outside of the velvet rope, Studio 54 was the hottest nightclub in town that most people could only dream of seeing with their own eyes. Inside, it is another story, especially from the point of view of a young man who is still growing into himself and unaware of the temptation that exists once he walked in the door.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Why We Need Planned Parenthood

For many women, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline that is vital to their health and their future. But at the same time, there are many who would savor the day when Planned Parenthood ceases to exist.

Film and movie director Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) presents a world without Planned Parenthood. Frankly, it is scary and a little too real for me. But it is a dose of reality that we would be facing if some people had their way.

I could go on and on about the reasons that Planned Parenthood is vital and necessary, but I think the video does a pretty good job of doing that for me.

#IstandwithPP

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