Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Blue Lightning Anne Cleeves

Murder at birding institute.  Head scientist (beautiful woman).  Was it her cuckolded husband?  A jilted grad student?

Subplot:  two boys on the island are gay--upsetting family of one. 

Solution:  another scientist, years earlier, had worked with the beauty.  an affair, pregnancy, birth--but dad not told.  He marries, has child, child dies.  The couple come to work on the island.  Wife sees the son of the beauty-scientist. Boy looks just like her dead boy.  She figures it out, confronts woman, "accidentally" kills her.

Cleeve tells a good story, but this recurring "unlikely female murderer" technique is wearing thin

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Great start. Neighborhood in Mexico City.  Family with servant girl.  Gentle pacing.  Servant girl tells madre of house she is pregnant.  Mother has her own worries--father has gone off to Quebec on a suspicious trip.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dunkirk 2017 movie

1917 brings to mind this film, another movie-magic war film.  Not the editing, but the massive scale of the film

Dunkirk is a 2017 war film written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Its ensemble cast includes Fionn WhiteheadTom Glynn-CarneyJack LowdenHarry StylesAneurin BarnardJames D'ArcyBarry KeoghanKenneth BranaghCillian MurphyMark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The film was distributed by Warner Bros.

1917 film by Sam Mendes

American Beauty/Skyfall

WWI story filmed "all in one shot" sort of.  Can't have been too many shots, though there are a few times when you can tell they're reloading film.  (Screen goes black after one explosion and the protagonist is knocked cold . . . screen goes watery blue when he goes over a waterfall and stays underwater and out of view).

Amazing filmmaking, sets.  What a challenge!  Pretty mundane plot though.  Two soldiers need to get a message to a major to avert a charge-of-the-light brigade disaster.  They face a series of dangers (mines exploding, airplanes, Germans). One dies, the other gets the message to the major in time to keep the second wave of assault from taking place and thus saving many lives, but not all of them (21st century, not 1950.)

Saw this at Majestic Bay matinee.  would never have made it on TV

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Peaky Blinders 3 (episodes 1-3)

Taking itself a little too seriously. 

Tommy is forced to steal tanks for the White Russians fighting the Bolsheviks.  He wants to go straight. He's also involved with a dispute with the Italian gang in London.  PB's burn down a tavern and shoot a guy in the legs.  At a big shindig put on by Tommy, someone tries to kill him but they kill Grace (his wife) instead. 

Tommy morose.  Tommy wants to torture the lead Italian. His brothers stop him by shooting the guy before Tommy can cut him up. 

Now . . . the big plan to steal the tanks and get them away.  The danger? A traitorous priest who is giving information to the Bolshies.


Giant ants in New Mexico as a result of nuclear testing.  1950's horror film that is mildly entertaining, but nothing to get too excited about. Movies on TV gives it 3.5 stars. 2 stars is more like it.  Perhaps the "nuclear" warning at the end caught the reviewers attention.

James Whitmore Fess Parker

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star.

Noah Baumbach directed--Squid and the Whale; Margot at the Wedding

I liked both of those, especially Margot, but this not so much.  Main flaw: way too long.  It's really a divorce story.  Charlie (Driver) is hot=shot theatre director in NYC. Nicole (SJ) is actress who gains stature with his group, but was known before for a teenage romp (filmed in LA) in which she appears topless.  They have one child.  So, it's Charlie's hotshot career vs. Nicole's supporting actress career.  NYC vs. Los Angeles.  Sort of in the middle is their child, but he seems oddly passive, goes with the flow.

Three or four arguments about whether or not Charlie promised to spend time in LA or not.  Three or four arguments about whether Charlie respects Nicole's ambitions and talent.  

Movie is well over two hours.  At ninety minutes or so, it would have been much better

Big, screaming fight in Charlie's apt (he punches wall) ends with Charlie sobbing.  This long fight really looked like a bid for an academy award to me.  Similarly, Charlie sings "Being Alive" at a bar after divorce goes through (cue the tears) and Scarlett does an entertaining little song and dance at a party for her child (see--she's really talented).  

Laura Dern and Ray Liotta were great as nasty divorce lawyers.  Alda had bit part as divorce lawyer who gets fired. Court scenes were completely unrealistic