Monday, June 30, 2014

Goin' South

Goin' South (1978) starring Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd, John Belushi, Veronica Cartwright. Directed by Jack Nicholson. Western comedy in which Nicholson plays an outlaw who escapes the hangman's noose by marrying Steenburgen, a spinster (it's a local law). This was Steenburgen's first film, and she's great to watch. Also Belushi's screen debut. Unfortunately, this movie has one of the dumbest scripts I've ever seen, with many improbable events and things happening that are later forgotten. Some people like this movie, but I found it really stupid. (It does offer English subtitles for the hearing-impaired.) Grade: C-

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom (2009) starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, Maximilian Schell.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 (1995) starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan. For fans of space travel, this is a movie not to be missed. The ill-fated Apollo 13 flight is depicted brilliantly, warts and all. The glitches started early, with astronaut Ken Mattingly (Sinise) being bumped from the flight and replaced by Jack Swigert (Bacon). Jim Lovell (Hanks), commander of the mission, reassures his wife Marilyn (Quinlan) that 13 is just the number that comes after 12. But 13 indeed proves an unlucky number, as an explosion disables the spacecraft and forces the crew of Apollo 13 to go into survival mode. As we see in this movie, they just barely survived. It's an exciting and intense film, and even though I knew the outcome, I got caught up in the drama of the moment. Very, very good. (English subtitles for the hearing-impaired are available on the DVD.) Grade: A 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alex and Emma

Alex and Emma (2003) starring Kate  Hudson, Luke Wilson, Sophie Marceau. A writer (Wilson) must write a book within 30 days to pay off his gambling debts, or die. He hires a stenographer (Hudson) to help him get the words down on paper. Naturally, they fall in love. This movie is extremely lame, with a weak script and so-so acting by Wilson and Hudson. I fell asleep watching it (though admittedly I was sleep-deprived). (English subtitles for the hearing-impaired are available.) Grade: C 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump (1994) starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Forrest Gump (Hanks) is a simple-minded man with an IQ of 75. In this movie, we see him grow up from boyhood to adulthood. He becomes a college football player, war hero, owner of a gigantic corporation, and fathers a child by his lifelong love, Jenny (Wright). I found the film to be utterly charming and very likeable, both funny and romantic. It won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. (The English subtitles for the hearing-impaired are highly legible.) Grade: A-   

Monday, June 23, 2014


Arthur (1981) starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Jill Eikenberry. Perpetually drunk young millionaire Arthur (Moore) is supposed to marry Susan (Eikenberry) in an arranged marriage, but he falls in love with Linda (Minnelli), a poor working girl. Moore does a great job of acting drunk; but although the movie is hilarious, I can't quite reconcile myself to condoning alcoholism, as the movie seems to do. I was thoroughly entertained, but I kept thinking, would both of these beautiful women really fall in love with someone who is always falling-down drunk? So I can't wholeheartedly recommend this film, but if someone asked I would say, See it, by all means. It's a very well made movie, and it won two Academy Awards, one for Best Song, and one for Best Supporting Actor (Gielgud). (English subtitles for the hearing-impaired are available on the disc.) Grade: B+    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The King of Marvin Gardens

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) starring Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn. Nicholson and Dern play brothers David and Jason. Jason has wild plans to set up a little empire on the small Hawaiian island of Tiki, and David at first goes along with him, hoping and praying that his brother's plan has merit. But David soon comes to see that the plan is just a wild pipe dream, and that the expected financing is not going to materialize. Burstyn plays Sally, an increasingly unstable woman who was Jason's lover, but is now being replaced in his affections by Jessica, her stepdaughter. This is a pretty entertaining movie, with lots of colorful characters, and a setting in Atlantic City. (Subtitles in English for the hearing-impaired are available on the disc.) Grade: B