December 20- 26, 2009
Of course Christmas threw this week completely and totally off. My mom was supposed to be helping me watch movies but we were decorating and cooking. I had fun! But this week? HOME STRETCH!! I gotta buckle down. 19 movies in 5 days. Yikes.
714. Paper Moon. Ryan & Tatum O'Neal star as swindlers-- a bible salesman takes an orphan on the road as she helps him get over on people. Umm... I can see why people were so up in arms about a father allowing his daughter to play a role in this film. Despite that questionable decision, I mostly enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
715. Carefree. 1938 musical starring Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers. The amount of dance numbers is shockingly sparse in this film. Surely they had complaints about that which is why their other films were packed. This worked better actually. They could've stood maybe one more dance. Still cute. A lot of old musicals skimped on story lines for dance numbers. This one had a nice balance. 4 stars
716. Jazz Baroness. HBO documentary about jazz great Thelonious Monk's friend, a rich English woman from the famous Rothschild family. The film is made by her great-niece who unnecessarily insinuates herself into the film. Both Monk and Pannonica (the friend, also known as Nica) were dead by the time the film was made. Monk Jr. provided a bit in the film but nothing earth-shattering. Nica's 5 children declined to participate. A semi-interesting start that quickly unraveled. It really veered off course, away from the relationship between Nica and Monk to the history of the time, which is the much less interesting and unusual, untold story. The timeline was very difficult to follow as it jumped all over. Some crazy bad shots in the interviews including lighting, framing and angle issues. It seemed like there were a couple of pictures and short video clips that included both of them and were used repeatedly. Far longer than it needed to be with the lack of information and interviews from either party and lots of unanswered questions even things as basic as the nature of their relationship. 2.4 stars
717. Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven. HBO documentary about the famous NY restaurant and his three sons who have followed him into the family business. Interesting profile-type film as they close the original Le Cirque and open a new one. Some great access to the family. I enjoyed seeing some chefs I watch as judges on Top Chef appear but the restaurant and ideas seemed as antiquated as the first NYT review in the film made it sound. I did not want to go there. The best scene in the film was probably the one of the sons in a very familiar and unexpected eating establishment. Hilariously strange. The music was a bit odd but worked. 3.4 stars
718. In the Cool of the Night. Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury. A man's attempts to fix a failing marriage turn into infidelity. Titular song sung by Nat King Cole. I'm glad studios have mostly stopped with the titular songs. They were too often really really bad. The film itself was pretty boring. Lansbury was crazy young and still like 40! Lol. It did make me want to go to Greece, though!
719. Elevator to the Gallows. 1957 French film about a couple who commits the perfect murder of the woman's husband until there's an elevator issue. Awesome jazz and an interesting story line. Loved it! 4.6 stars
720. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Don Knotts stars in a kids movie with a supporting role from Dick Sargent about an aspiring reporter but bumbling idiot in Kansas who hopes to get the scoop on ghosts in a so-called haunted house. Pretty corny at first but it actually got better toward the end. Then it slipped back to corny. I can see kids liking this movie. 3.2 stars
721. Champion. Documentary about the actor Danny Trejo, of the "checkered past." Interesting story with absolutely no reason for the interviewers to be in the movie so much. They were a distraction and too amazed by his life. They needed some detachment. It was a string of interview clips strung together with almost no archival footage which because of the lack of audio blending became difficult to watch at times. The story line pattern became repetitive and almost boring if not for the actual interviews from Trejo's life. Eventually you needed a break from the endless interviews. There were some really cool interview setups sometimes though. 3 stars
722. Ballad of a Soldier. Russian film about a brave soldier who goes on leave and helps people along the way. This girl looks like Jessica Alba when she has her mouth closed. Cute story in a stark Russian sort of way. Lol. The music was a little ridiculous sometimes. And the story line as a whole got a bit heavy-handed at the end. 3.9 stars
723. Lilies of the Field. Sidney Poitier stars in the classic film about a black man who by chance begins to work for a group of German nuns. The music is a bit ridiculous. Fun and amusing film. I was not expecting that at all based on the title. 4 stars
724. The Miracle Worker. Classic story of Helen Keller and the woman, Anne Sullivan, who helped her communicate though deaf and blind. Anne Bancroft & Patty Duke both won Oscars for their roles in this film. And both more than deserved it. WOW!! This movie made me wonder why I hadn't seen it yet and for the first time made me feel slightly betrayed by my mother for not exposing us to good movies. Great books, yes. Great movies? No. Anne Bancroft was a g. As was Anne Sullivan. Unequivocal 5 stars
725. (500) Days of Summer. Zooey Deschanel is the atypical girl (doesn't want a relationship) to Joseph Gordon Levitt's atypical guy (desperately wants a forever relationship). Both are cute & cute together. The narrator was funny. I had this feeling that it was going to stop being quirky and do some predictable things. It did but not many. The ending was kind of lame thought. Decent movie. 3.9 stars
726. All About Steve. Sandra Bullock movie about a goofy stalker. Really bad. 2.3 stars
727. Conflict. Humphrey Bogart film about a man who wants to murder his wife to get with her sister. Of course things get all turned around. Some fun and interesting suspense. 3.9 stars
728. For Me and My Gal. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly (in his screen debut). Sounds like a great combo. Individually they were great and together on stage, but as a love connection a bit flat. The story line wasn't terribly good either. 3.2 stars
729. The Natural History of the Chicken. PBS documentary about people who love chicken, but not necessarily to eat... as pets. Hilarious start! I didn't know what to expect watching this but I was immediately sucked in. Then it got cheesy with this recreations. Obvious recreations but still ridiculous. Oh Lord. When they go into the chicken factory I KNOW the animal rights people lost it!! I can't say I loved it. Sends a definitive message via showing the chickens in the factories and with text on screen. The text is almost heavy-handed. The music is silly and the title is misleading. Some hilarious moments in the film. The effects took away from that a bit but some very creative story telling. The first woman is the documentarian's DREAM. I love her. Some serious hilarity. A fun watch. The corniness of the effects and music (to say nothing of the poor title choice) keeps this film at just 3.7 stars. Still worth watching.
730. Christmas in Connecticut. 1945 film in which Barbara Stanwyck stars as a magazine writer pretending to be a married mother who cooks fabulous meals except she's none of those. That poses a problem when her publisher comes calling on Christmas. Cute and funny. 3.9 stars
731. 400 Years of the Telescope. PBS documentary with a really boring title. But the last doc I watched with a really boring title was actually interesting and amusing so I decided to give this one a try. Not the case. I wish these types of films were under an educational category rather than documentary on Netflix. The narration put it squarely in the staid educational, belongs in a science class when there's a sub, category. I disliked it from the start. And there was really a much heavier focus on the advances in the last 25 or so years for more than half of the film so the title could've stood to be more accurate. 2 stars