Green Book (2018)

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Green Book is 2018 American biographical comedy drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. It is set in 1962 and is inspired by the true story of a tour in the Deep South by Jamaican American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Marhershala Ali) and Italian American bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen)  who was Don’s bodyguard and driver. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a 20th century guidebook for African American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green, to help them find restaurants and motels that would accept them during the time of major racial segregation and sunset towns.

Tony Vallelonga was bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City, but is looking for work when the club closes for renovations.  He eventually gets  interviewed by “Doc” Don Shirley, an African American pianist who is looking for a driver for his eight week concert tour through the Deep South and Midwest. Don hires Tony. The make plans to return to New York for Christmas Eve. Don’s record label gives Tony a copy of the Green Book to help find motels and restaurants that will accept African Americans.

At first Tony is a bit racist and also stereotypes blacks. He realizes that Don is not a typical negro, as Don has never heard many popular black singers like Little Richard and Aretha Franklin and has never eaten fried chicken. Don’s life is both good and bad. Whites often treat him bad and like a normal black guy. He isn’t allowed to buy a suit at white man owned store, he can’t use the main bathroom at a mansion he’s performing at, doesn’t get proper dressing rooms and can’t eat with Tony at a restaurant and hotel he’s playing at. Tony and Don eventually become friends and Tony stands up for Don.

This film shows how negros were treated during racial segregation and Jim Crow. It teaches us about friendship, standing up for yourself and others, that race doesn’t matter and to believe in yourself and the ones you care about. This film featuring racism is one, if the best right next to Hidden Figures, The Help and Do the Right Thing. This story is so powerful and Ali and Mortensen are outstanding. Truly the best film of 2018 and one of the best I believe of all time. Not one second is it boring, it’s wonderful from beginning to end.

You laugh, you cry, get angry and your heart is warmed. This film deserved every award it received and the ones it didn’t. Every piece of music is perfect from the doo-wop and Motown to the Don Shirley Trio. Viggo and Marhershala’s finest work. Even if this film isn’t one hundred percent accurate, the story and what you learn from it makes up for it. This film that will stand the test time and is one to add every movie collection. Two thumbs WAY up! 18+ 5/5

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The Kissing Booth (2018)

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The Kissing Booth is a 2018 romantic comedy film written and directed by Vince Marcello, based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reekles. It stars Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney and Molly Ringwald. The story is about a Los Angeles teenager named Elle (King) whose prospective romance with bad boy high school senior Noah (Elordi) jeopardizes her lifelong friendship Noah’s younger brother Lee (Courtney).

This film is somewhat cute, but at times it seems like just a typical teen rom-com, nothing original, nothing too exciting. Sure the lead stars all do a really good job in their roles, but that doesn’t make it any better. It doesn’t have a John Hughes (here’s to you Ringwald) feel. He was known for his teen rom-coms and maybe if he were alive, he could have made this film whole lot better.

I didn’t find this film boring, just a bit too typical teen and bit too cutesy. Teens getting drunk, that seen has been done to death, Sixteen Candles, 10 Things I Hate About You, Easy A, etc. An unlikely romance, so overdone, just pick up a Nicholas Sparks book or whatch any film based off his work. The popular “hunk” falling in love with an unpopular and awkward girl, yep, it’s been done sooo many times. Nothing really sets this apart from other teen romantic comedies, except the story of falling in love in a kissing booth. I’m amazed that the book even got published.

I have seen much better teen films than this, ones that weren’t so cutesy and that had more originality. It is so cliched and filled with typical cheesy lines, that come from a bad script and book. It focuses too much on Elle and Noah’s relationship and not enough on her friendship with Lee. There are far too many kissing and making out scenes, that it is like, “Okay, I get it, you’re in love, move on.” I don’t get how this film became so popular, just like the book, there is nothing that makes it spectacular. It is a bit misogynistic and has a rather stereotypical storyline.

Overall, this movie did not fascinate me. It was rather disappointing and a total waste for Netflix, who is known for having some really good original films. Don’t know if I’ll watch the sequel, because it will probably be just as bad as this one. Don’t waste your time with this one. 13+ 2/5

Classic of the Week: Diner (1982)

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Diner is a 1982 comedy drama film directed by Barry Levinson. It stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin. This is Levinson’s directorial debut.

The story takes place in Baltimore, Maryland during the last week of 1959. It centers on a circle of male friends in their early twenties, who reunite for the wedding of the guys in the group. Part of the story also includes the Baltimore Colts winning the 1958 NFL Championship Game. This film is semi-autobiographical and examines the changing relationships with these friends as they become adults through what is mainly portrayals, rather than a typical narrative.

This is for the most part a very funny film. It does have its share of sexual innuendoes and jokes, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. There is no real plot, just a group of guy friends getting together at a favorite hangout before a wedding. They share laughter, sad stories, happy stories, memories and good food and drinks with a tabletop jukebox playing. It isn’t the most entertaining film I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the most boring either.

Levinson did a perfect job in casting, because every actor is perfect for their roles  and do equally great acting-wise. A good bit of this film takes place in the diner, but I wish it would have had more places. Not the director’s best in my opinion, but not his worst either, although not nearly as good as The Natural or Rain Man. This film focused too much on the male characters and not enough on the females, who are important too, even if they aren’t protagonists.

This is pretty much a guy film, so women may or may not enjoy it. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it was pretty slow in several parts and it needed more scenery. It wasn’t a complete two thumbs up, but it wasn’t just awful either, it was somewhere in between, it’s just good, not great. 18+ 3.5/5

51 Greatest Music Biopics

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  1. The Rat Pack – 1998
  2. Song Without End – 1960
  3. Selena – 1997
  4. Cadillac Records – 2008
  5. I’ll See You in My Dreams – 1951
  6. Bohemian Rhapsody – 2018
  7. Greetings From Tim Buckley – 2013
  8. The Runaways – 2010
  9. GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE – 2011
  10. Lady Sings the Blues – 1972
  11. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – 2010
  12. La Vie En Rose – 2007
  13. It’s All Gone Pete Tong – 2004
  14. Bird – 1988
  15. I’m Not There – 2007
  16. Miles Ahead – 2016
  17. 8 Mile – 2002
  18. Ray – 2004
  19. Nowhere Boy – 2010
  20. Get on Up – 2014
  21. 24 Hour Party People – 2002
  22. Bound For Glory – 1976
  23. The Glenn Miller Story – 1953
  24. Hilary and Jackie – 1998
  25. Coal Miner’s Daughter – 1980
  26. THIRTY TWO SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD – 1993
  27. Walk the Line – 2005
  28. Born to be Blue – 2016
  29. Control – 2007
  30. Shine – 1996
  31. Yankee Doodle Dandy – 1942
  32. Sid and Nancy – 1986
  33. Sweet Dreams – 1985
  34. Love & Mercy – 2015
  35. La Bamba – 1987
  36. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – 2015
  37. Behind the Candelabra – 2013
  38. WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? – 1993
  39. The Pianist – 2002
  40. ‘Round Midnight – 1986
  41. Amadeus – 1984
  42. The Buddy Holly Story – 1978
  43. The Karen Carpenter Story – 1989
  44. Eight Days a Week – 2016
  45. The Doors – 1991
  46. Velvet Goldmine – 1998
  47. Elvis – 1979
  48. Gimme Shelter – 1970
  49. Purple Rain – 1984
  50. Shine a Light – 2008
  51. No Direction Home – 2005

Classic of the Week: Baby Doll (1956)

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Baby Doll  is a 1956 black comedy drama film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach. The story is about a feud between two rival cotton gin owners in rural Mississippi. After one of the men commits arson against the other’s gin, he fights back by attempting to seduce the arsonist’s nineteen year old virgin bride, hoping to get an an admission of her husband’s guilt from her.

This film was condemned Roman Catholic National Legion of Decency, and I do agree that it is racy. It is still a classic and true work of art. The film starts out slow in  small town Mississippi, then gets some action and rather inappropriate flirtation and relationships. Baby Doll, despite being nineteen, still sleeps in a crib, wears childishly short nightgowns and sucks her thumb and Carroll Baker portrays her outstandingly. Her husband Archie is an alcoholic that likes to spy on Baby through a hole in the wall of  their ramshackle antebellum mansion. Karl Malden does an equally great job as Archie, the mean, heavy drinking and abusive husband. Eli Wallach is spectacular as Sicilian Silva Vacarro, Archie’s competitor, that steals all his business with a newer and more modern gin.

This film is has competition, poor living, loss, gain, retaliation and very inappropriate relationships (especially for the time period). The script is well written, the acting is great and spot on and everyone is perfect for their roles. This film is very adult for 1956, before the film rating system was born. After it came out it was given an X, then R rating, which fits it perfectly. This is a very, VERY mature classic pic, that still shocks and astonishes people today. It doesn’t seem like much of a comedy to me, but pretty much a drama. You may find this film to be too crude, but despite all the controversy, it is still a tour de force. 18+ 4.5/5

David Lynch and Criterion Releasing 51 Minutes of Lost Footage From ‘Blue Velvet’

Every David Lynch fan is going to want to get his or her hands on the Criterion edition of “Blue Velvet.”

via David Lynch and Criterion Releasing 51 Minutes of Lost Footage From ‘Blue Velvet’ — IndieWire

Top Critically Acclaimed Adult Films

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  1. I am Curious (Yellow) –1967

  2. Shame – 2011
  3. Crash – 1996
  4. Henry & June – 1990
  5. Last Tango in Paris – 1972
  6. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom – 1975
  7. Blue is the Warmest Color – 2013
  8. Cat People – 1982
  9. American Gigolo – 1980
  10. Lolita – 1962, 1997
  11. Lila Says – 2005
  12. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down – 1989
  13. Sex and Lucia – 2001
  14. Double Lover – 2018
  15. Lust, Caution – 2007
  16. High Art – 1998
  17. Young & Beautiful – 2013
  18. Water Drops on Burning Rocks – 2000
  19. The Piano Teacher – 2001
  20. Eyes Wide Shut – 1999
  21. Quills – 2000
  22. Pola X – 1999
  23. Betty Blue – 1987
  24. Secretary – 2000
  25. The Last Mistress – 2007
  26. The Wayward Cloud – 2005
  27. Damage – 1992
  28. Sea of Love – 1989
  29. Bluebeard – 2009
  30. The Mother – 2003
  31. Fatal Attraction – 1987
  32. Red, White & Blue – 2010
  33. Angel Heart – 1987
  34. Live Flesh – 1997
  35. I Am Love – 2000
  36. Mulholland Drive – 2001
  37. In the Realm of Senses – 1976
  38. Dressed to Kill – 1980
  39. Blue Valentine – 2010
  40. The Untamed – 2017
  41. Bound – 1996
  42. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – 1988
  43. Venus in Furs – 2013
  44. A Bigger Splash – 2016
  45. The Cook, The Theif, His Wife & Her Lover – 1989
  46. Y Tu Mama Tambien – 2001
  47. Dangerous Liaisons – 1988
  48. Stranger By the Lake – 2014
  49. The Piano – 1993
  50. The Duke of Burgundy – 2014
  51. Weekend – 2011
  52. The Last Seduction – 1994
  53. Blue Velvet – 1986
  54. The Handmaiden – 2016
  55. Sex, Lies and Videotape – 1989
  56. Call Me By Your Name – 2018
  57. Exotica – 1994
  58. Belle Du Jour – 1968
  59. La Belle Noiseuse – 1991
  60. Body Heat – 1997
  61. The Draughtman’s Contract – 1982
  62. The Lives of Others – 2006
  63. The Game – 1997
  64. Persona – 1966
  65. The Virgin Spring – 1960
  66. A Clockwork Orange – 1971
  67. The Exorcist – 1973
  68. Irreversible – 2002
  69. Straw Dogs – 1971
  70. Pretty Baby – 1978
  71. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer – 1986
  72. Baby Doll – 1956
  73. Kinsey – 2004
  74. Melancholia – 2011
  75. Battle Royale – 200
  76. American History X – 1998
  77. Requiem for a Dream – 2000
  78. The Deer Hunter – 1978
  79. Deliverance – 1972
  80. Full Metal Jacket – 1987
  81. Taxi Driver – 1976
  82. Midnight Cowboy – 1969
  83. Greetings – 1968
  84. Titicut Follies – 1967
  85. Drugstore Cowboy – 1989
  86. Peeping Tom – 1960
  87. Psycho – 1960
  88. Viridiana – 1961
  89. Rosemary’s Baby – 1968
  90. The Wild Bunch – 1969
  91. Brokeback Mountain – 2005
  92. Precious – 2009
  93. My Own Private Idaho – 1991
  94. Paris, Texas – 1984
  95. The Thin Blue Line – 1988
  96. Moonlight – 2016
  97. In the Mood for Love – 2000
  98. Pink Flamingos – 1972
  99. Polyester – 1981
  100. Gloria – 2013

Opinion Post: Do Superhero Films Deserve to be Best Pic Nominated?

Superhero films are continually all the rage in Hollywood. With special effects for special characters, a top 40 sounding soundtrack, it makes for an awesome experience at the theater or at home. But almost all of them seem to be either mostly action and very little story, or too much of both. With Disney owning Marvel now, the majority of superohero flicks are produced by them, leaving DC in the cold. Marvel makes more money and has won more awards. Have hero films gotten bad, not necessesarily, but most are average at best and it seems like a joke to put it in the Best Picture catergory against great films like Green Book and A Star is Born. Sure, there is an audience that think it’s only fair to nominate superhero films for Best Pic too. But is there any merit from these movies? Do we learn anything? Are they important films like Schindler’s List? No. They may have great effects, costumes and soundtrack, but does that mean it should be in the running for Best Picture? There are always going to be more worthy films. To go from watching a Marvel or DC film to a biopic, it seems like a joke once again. Although the hero one may be more entertaining, that shouldn’t be more important than merit, story, meaning, education, or powerfullness. A realistic story in film has been Proven to have a lasting impact. People remember more from The Godfather than The Dark Knight. Overall, I believe that movies with meaning and depth should be nominated and films like Black Panther should stay out. But to each their own.

Classic of the Week: Double Indemnity (1944)

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Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, Jean Heather and Tom Powers.

The film follows the story of insurance salesman Walter Neff (MacMurray), housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck), who wants her husband dead and Barton Keyes, a claims adjuster whose job is to find bogus claims.

You first believe everything that Phyllis says about her husband being abusive, then you learn she made it up and wants him dead, because she had fallen in love with Neff. She and Neff try to make a “double Indemnity” clause in her husband’s life insurance policy, from a plan to make the murder of him seem to be an accidental fall from a train. You then learn that Phyllis was never in love with Neff and that she was the abusive one to both her husband and daughter Lola.

This film is outstanding in its portrayal of slyness and criminality. The writing is excellent. Fred MacMurray is exceptional as Walter Neff, as is Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson. Edward G. Robinson does a fine job as Barton Keyes, and though their roles aren’t as big,  Jean Heather as Lola Dietrichson and Tom Powers as Mr. Dietrichson, did very good as well.

The character of Phyllus Dietrichson, is an iconic one. She is extremely smart, book, street and criminally. She can make a person believe just about anything. Mr. Dietrichson, you learn, wants to divorce Phyllis because of her treatment towards him and their daughter. Lola wants to run away with her boyfriend Nino Zachetti, (who is a little foul mouthed and rude), because of her mother. She wishes her parents would just get divorced.

This is one of the best, not just crime films, but greatest films of all time. It has stood the test of time. It isn’t exciting at all, but intense without being overly gory or scary. Judging by posters of this movie, you think it’s a romance, but it’s actually not, all that turns out to be fake. This is an extremely well written, well acted, masterpiece, that never fails to bore. A one of a kind film, no, one in a million work of art. True originality from beginning to end. 16+ 5/5

100 Greatest Films in The Criterion Collection

  1. 8 1/2 – 1963
  2. Notorious – 1946
  3. The Silence of the Lambs – 1991
  4. The Princess Bride – 1987
  5. Rebecca – 1940
  6. A Hard Day’s Night – 1964
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – 1964
  8. All That Jazz – 1979
  9. Some Like it Hot – 1959
  10. Mulholland Drive – 2001
  11. Stagecoach – 1939
  12. Rashomon – 1950
  13. The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
  14. The Philadelphia Story – 1940
  15. The Breakfast Club – 1985
  16. On the Waterfront – 1950
  17. Paris, Texas – 1984
  18. Paths of Glory – 1967
  19. Midnight Cowboy – 1969
  20. Rosemary’s Baby – 1969
  21. The Graduate – 1967
  22. In a Lonely Place – 1950
  23. His Girl Friday – 1940
  24. Modern Times – 1936
  25. My Man Godfrey – 1936
  26. Being There – 1979
  27. Bicycle Thieves – 1948
  28. La Dolce Vita – 1960
  29. The Night of the Hunter – 1955
  30. Wings of Desire – 1987
  31. Ikiru – 1952
  32. M – 1931
  33. Sid & Nancy – 1986
  34. Shoah – 1985
  35. The Red Shoes – 1948
  36. City Lights – 1931
  37. The Passion of Joan of Arc – 1928
  38. The Manchurian Candidate – 1962
  39. My Darling Clementine – 1946
  40. Fantastic Mr. Fox – 2009
  41. Fanny and Alexander – 1982
  42. The Battle of Algiers – 1966
  43. La Strada – 1954
  44. They Live By Night – 1948
  45. Sweet Smell of Success – 1957
  46. Broadcast News – 1987
  47. The Kid – 1921
  48. Breathless – 1960
  49. Grey Gardens – 1976
  50. The Gold Rush – 1942
  51. Weekend – 1967
  52. Odd Man Out – 1947
  53. The Third Man – 1949
  54. Belle de Jour – 1967
  55. Persona – 1966
  56. Nashville – 1975
  57. The 400 Blows – 1959
  58. Boyhood – 2014
  59. Five Easy Pieces – 1970
  60. Eyes Without a Face – 1960
  61. Safety Last! – 1923
  62. Repulsion – 1965
  63. Tootsie – 1982
  64. Bowling for Columbine – 2002
  65. Anatomy of a Murder- 1959
  66. Autumn Sonata – 1978
  67. The Phantom Carriage – 1920
  68. Jules and Jim – 1962
  69. Ride the Pink Horse – 1947
  70. Vengeance is Mine – 1979
  71. Bitter Rice – 1949
  72. Spartacus – 1960
  73. Hoop Dreams – 1994
  74. The Golden Age of Television
  75. Ace in the Hole – 1951
  76. Grand Illusion – 1937
  77. The Thief of Bagdad – 1940
  78. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – 1972
  79. Billy Liar – 1953
  80. The Times of Harvey Milk – 1984
  81. Do the Right Thing – 1989
  82. The Virgin Spring – 1960
  83. Harlan County, USA – 1976
  84. Knife in the Water – 1962
  85. Missing – 1982
  86. For All Mankind – 1989
  87. Viver Sa Vie (My Life to Live) – 1962
  88. Make Way for Tomorrow – 1937
  89. Pepe Le Moko – 1937
  90. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels – 1975
  91. Army of Shadows – 1969
  92. Seven Samurai – 1954
  93. Floating Weeds – 1959
  94. Viridiana – 1961
  95. A Woman Under the Influence – 1974
  96. I Know Where I’m Going! – 1945
  97. Through a Glass Darkly – 1961
  98. Diabolique – 1955
  99. The Thin Blue Line – 1988
  100. Night and Fog – 1956