Classic of the Week: Roman Holiday (1953)

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Roman Holiday is a 1953 English and Italian romantic comedy film directed by William Wyler and stars Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to visit Rome on her own.

Prin ess Ann (Hepburn) on a state visit to Rome, becomes angry with her life crammed with schedules, she leaves her country’s embassy. Her sleeping medication kicks in and she falls asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Peck), an American news reporter finds her without recognizing who she is. Thinking she is inebriated, he lets her spend the night in his apartment.

The next morning, Joe hurries off late to work and gives his editor, Mr. Hennessy wrong information about a press conference with the princess. When Hennessey tells him the job has been canceled and shows him a newspaper article about her sudden illness, he realizes who is really in his apartment. Joe says he wants to get an exclusive interview with the princess and Hennessey agrees.  Joe runs home and hides the fact that he is a reporter and suggests that he show his visitor who changes her name secretly to Anya, around Rome.

Although this story has much secrecy, it is still a fun film. It is also funny and sweet, but not over the top hilarious or lovey-dovey. It has the right amount of humor and romance. Peck and Hepburn are a wonderful pairing, that come together again wonderfully in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey’s character in Roman Holiday wasn’t your typical curvy Italian sexpot, she was very thin, with no butt, no breasts and no curves, but she was she was still beautiful and classy, the perfect princess. Gregory was equally perfect for his character.

You start out hating Joe Bradley, but as the film progresses, you end up really liking him. Princess Ann is a lovable character, who just wants to experience “normal” life, even if just for a little while. Both Joe and Ann do fall in love, but do they stay together, even after she returns to princess life? You must watch the film to find out.

This is a lovely movie in many ways. It warms your heart, as well as makes you angry and sad. This is a film you must see in your lifetime, that is how truly fantastic it is, one that can be watched over and over again without getting old. 11+ 5/5

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Classic of the Week: Raising Arizona (1987)

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Raising Arizona is a 1987 American crime comedy film directed by Joel Coen and produced by Ethan Coen. It stars Nicolas Cage as H.I. “Hi” McDunnough, an ex-convict and Holly Hunter as Edwin “Ed” McDunnough, a former police officer and Hi’s wife.  The cast also includes Trey Wilson, William Forsythe, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, Sam McMurray and Randall Cobb. The story follows a childless couple that kidnaps another family’s quintuplets, as their lives become more and more troubled.

This is definitely one of the Coen Brothers’ less serious films, and although, it is about a crime, it is still filled with hilarious moments. It isn’t the brothers’ best work in my opinion, but it is still a classic that never ceases to make you laugh out loud at times. Never is this film boring, it is wildly entertaining from beginning to end. With an all-star cast, this is one that can be watched over and over again without getting old.

Nicolas Cage is outstanding as H.I. “Hi” McDunnough and Holly Hunter is equally fabulous  as Edwina “Ed,” his wife. The rest of the leading cast members are great. This film is laugh until you cry funny. This isn’t necessarily a fabulous movie, but it sure hits a home run in the entertainment category. Never a dull moment. Not the best story, but, that doesn’t make this one complete garbage, it is still a very good film. 

This is truly one of the funniest and best comedy films if you’re needing some laughter. The Coen Brothers are film geniuses, whether doing comedy, drama, crime, or all the above. They know how to tell great stories, even though this isn’t their best, they always put together the best cast that are always perfect for their characters, everything they do is outstanding.

This film is not fantastic, but good. It has memorable moments, a great cast and funny lines. 13+ 3.5/5

Ideal Home (2018)

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Ideal Home is a 2018 American comedy drama film directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Alison Pill, Jake McDorman and Jack Gore.

The story is about Erasmus (Coogan) and Paul (Rudd), a gay couple whose life is completely changes when a ten year old boy shows up at their door claming to be Erasmus’s grandson. The boy’s father, who is supposedly Erasmus’s son from a drunk one night stand, winds up in jail for drug usage and selling, alcoholism, drunk driving and child endangerment. The boy escapes when police come to arrest to his dad. Paul and Erasmus become parents to Angel (aka Bill).

This is not a film for super conservatives, because of the homosexual theme, but one for open minded non conservatives that don’t judge sexuality, marriage or family types. It shows that love and families come in different forms.

This film deals with tough issues like alcoholism, drug abuse and child negligence. Lots of inappropriate language is said and inappropriate things done around Bill, that make a good portion of this film really offensive. Bill does pick up on the language, which also adds bad parenting to the list of tough issues. But once you get passed all the hard stuff, the film gets worlds better. Paul and Erasmus learn how to become parents and at first are horrible at it, but then they get better as the film goes on.

This film starts out with the really hard stuff like what happens to Bill’s dad and the language and adult scenes are quite a bit over the top, but it progrosses into a heartwarming story, that teaches that families are all different and that love is love. Steve Coogan is absolutely perfect in his role as Erasmus Brumble, Bill’s grandfather and a TV chef and Paul Rudd is great in his role as Paul Morgan, Erasmus’s director and long-term partner. This film is filled humor, particularly from Coogan. This one is only somewhat warm and fuzzy, but it it’s not altogether terrible, given the great cast. It’s not a must see, but I’d still recommend it to anyone with an open mind. 18+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Chinatown (1974)

af91c0b1-3382-4e00-9609-573313315f6f Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Roman Polanski and stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century. The film has elements of film noir, is part multi layered mystery and part psychological drama.

This film is only inspired by the California Water Wars, so much of it isn’t factually accurate, but that doesn’t make it bad at all. In fact, this is one of the greatest mystery films of all time. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are outstanding together. He brings the super sneaky and violent private investigator to life. She brings the very sly, extremely curious and cheating wife to life. Both Faye and Jack are equally perfect for their roles.

This film does have several slow scenes, but the action, violence and crime make up for it. Yes, this movie is very violent, but without all of it, it wouldn’t be the same. This a film where extreme brutality is one of the things that make it great. From the car chasing, to the beating, to the shooting, everything is done so realistically, it’s incredible. Despite the historical inaccuracies, this is still an excellent film.

Whether you like a lot of brutality or not, or are a Polanski fan or not, this movie is one you must see before you die. It is wonderful from beginning to end. 18+ 5/5

Love, Gilda (2018)

 

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Love, Gilda is a 2018 American-Canadian documentary film directed and co-produced by Lisa Dapolito. The film is about American comedian Gilda Radner. It uses diaries, audio tapes, home movies and interviewing of some of her closest friends at that time, as well as other famous people that have been greatly influenced by her.

Gilda Radner is most known for being on Saturday Nght Live with her two most famous characters Roseanne Roseannadanna and Baba Wawa, a parody of Barbara Walters. But before SNL, she did stand up in her hometown of Detroit and then joined National Lampoon. Her career soared on SNL and then Broadway where she had a one woman show. She did have some downs in her life as well, when her contract ran out with SNL, she suffered a miscarriage with husband actor Gene Wilder and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which she died from. Her legacy lives on though and she has become a huge inspiration and influence on comedians and actors and actresses today.

This film is wonderful because it starts out from when she was born, right up until the day she died. It is neat getting to hear from her friends and family and celebrity fans. Seeing clips of her performing is amazing and you can tell she loved it. She always loved to make people laugh. She was a one of a kind person. You learn all about her life from her miscarriage, to her eating disorder, to her cancer diagnosis. She was truly a wonderful person and always loved to make people laugh and smile.

This is one of the best documentaries I have seen in years. It is great in every way and worthy of an Emmy and Golden Globe award. This is the true story of one of the funniest people of all time. Two thumbs up! 18+ 5/5

Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

 

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Mary Queen of Scots is a 2018 biographical drama film directed by Josie Rourke and starring Soairse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden and Joe Alwyn. The film chronicles Mary Queen of Scots (Ronan) and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie) and the 1569 between their two countries.

Though this film is not completely historically accurate, it is still well done. Soairse Ronan does an outstanding job as Mary and Margot Robbie is equally great as Elizabeth. The film focuses mostly on Mary and very little on Elizabeth. I feel it should have focused on both queens equally and the title should have either both their names or something to do with both of them. The acting in this movie is fantastic from all the main characters, but that doesn’t make the film any less drawn out or slow. There is is also far too much sex. If this film had been more exciting and there had been less sex, it would have been more enjoyable.

I found myself really bored at times, almost falling asleep. For being a big fan of biographical films and both Ronan and Robbie, I was expecting so much more. This film had me wanting it. The scenery was breathtaking, the costumes fabulous and music absolutely beautiful, but all of it combined didn’t make up for dullness this film had. If you’re looking for an incredible historical drama, I wouldn’t bother with this one. This film is good, not great, very boring at times and very slow at times too. I wouldn’t waste time and money seeing this on the big screen, it’s nothing special. Not Golden Globe or Oscar worthy at all. 18+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, loosely based on the 1958 novella by Truman Capote of the same name. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney. The story is about Holly Golightly (Hepburn), a New York City socialite that falls in love with Paul Varjak (Peppard), a writer that moves into her apartment building, but her past gets in the way.

Holly was a call girl and Paul was a struggling writer. Holly through lavish parties in her apartment. Paul is an introvert that prefers nice dinners at home or at cozy restaurants. Both characters are complete opposites that eventually fall in love. Paul falls passionately in love with Holly, despite her lifestyle choices, she falls deeply for  him, despite his more simple life. They see that are meant to be together in spite of their differences. He sees her as a beautiful, but hard headed woman, that is also very sweet. She sees him as a handsome, very loving, truthful man.

This film is filled with humor, provocativeness, sadness and love. I started out not liking Holly, but towards the end, I ended up loving her. She starts out as not a very likable character and you wonder at first why Paul is smitten with her. But as the story goes on, you realize that they may be different, but they were supposed to be together.

This is a wonderful film. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are are outstanding together. I can’t imagine Marilyn Monroe as Holly, which was Truman Capote’s choice, because the role was made for Audrey. Her character has become an icon around the world and this is her most famous role. The famous little black dress, pearls, gloves, kitten heels, tiara and sunglasses have been copied since the film’s theatrical release.

This is a truly spectacular film, with many famous scenes and lines. Hepburn and Peppard will still live on in hearts for generations to come. 16+ 5/5

Classic of the Week: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. It stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a temperamental marketing executive, who meets Del Griffith, played by John Candy, an extremely positive, outgoing and chatty shower curtain ring salesman. They engage in three days of misadventures trying to get Neal home to Chicago from New York City for Thanksgiving with his family.

This film is definitely laugh out loud funny. I put it right next to Groundhog Day and the National Lampoon’s films in misadventure comedy. There is one disaster after another. But, in just those three days of bad luck, a friendship is formed. Neal becomes a friend to Del, whose wife had passed away and he had no one else in his life. They fight and hate each other at first, then become pals in the end. Neal decides  to invite Del to his house for Thanksgiving, so he doesn’t have to spend it alone.

This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Martin and Candy are a terrific pairing in this film, both perfect for their roles, both equally funny and unique. Neal is a high strung businessman and Del is an annoying jabber mouth that sales shower curtain rings and lies saying they are valuable to make more money. Both men are complete strangers when meeting and have almost nothing in common, but over the few days they spend together, they bond, through good and bad, mostly bad. Selfish Neal learns to think of others in need and not to judge others either after meeting Del.

Though this is a comedy film filled with catastrophes, it still has powerful messages, to always learn from mistakes, never judge others, always put others first and to help others that are lonely and/or in need. This is a film that will never cease to make to you laugh and in the end, make you smile. A truly great movie. 18+ 4.5/5

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

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Ocean’s 8 is an American heist comedy film directed by Gary Ross. The film is both a continuation and a spin off from Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy. It stars Mindy Kaling, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina. The movie follows a group of women lead by Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean, who plan a complex heist of the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

This film with its A-List cast, all of whom have either been nominated for or won awards, or both, you’d think this film would be great, but it’s only good, not great, yet fairly entertaining. It is no where near as good as Soderbergh’s trilogy, but combined with the 2001 Ocean’s 11, it is better than the 1960 original O’s 11. 8 is pretty funny at times and every actress is really good, except Rihanna, who to me, should just stick to music and dancing because she’s better (great) at that.

Although this film does have many laugh out loud and some cheesy moments, it also has lots of  vulgar ones too, that make it tasteless at those times. This could really do without all the vulgarity. This film takes adult humor a bit too far. There is also a good bit viloence and after several of those scenes, there is comedy, which is offensive, because violence is not funny. The violent humor isn’t slapstick like The Three Stooges, but that’s usually what you get from a comedy heist movie.

The acting isn’t outstanding from any of the leading ladies, but that is because of their characters and the way the film is written and directed, so this most likely won’t be receiving any Golden Globes or Oscars. Overall, this film is pretty entertaining and funny, but nothing spectacular, not that I was expecting it to be, but I did expect it to be at least a little better. This was a bit of a let down for the most part. Not great, not awful, just okay. 13+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Paper Moon (1973)

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Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and stars Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn and John Hillerman. It is shot in black and white and is set in Kansas and Missouri during the Great Depression and is about a con man named Moses (Moze) Pray meeting 9 year old Addie Loggins at her mother’s funeral, where the neighbors believe he is Addie’s father.

This is a very unique film. It is entirely without color, making it seem a lot older than 1973. This isn’t completely exciting film, but it’s not completely boring either. A lot of this movie takes place on the road with Addie (Tatum) and Moze (Ryan) selling bibles door to door and with Trixie Delight, an exotic dancer and her destitute African American maid Imogen. The relationship between Moze and Addie is mostly harsh, both are demanding, hardheaded and enjoy bossing each other around.

Addie is not a typical 9 year old girl living in the Great Depression. She is clamorous, a tomboy, foul mouthed, picky, sneaky and a smoker. She would rather dress in overalls or jeans, than dresses and bows, even though Moze and Trixie force her into them. She does learn to appreciate girly clothes towards the end of the film.

The father and daughter duo Ryan and Tatum O’Neal and Madeline Kahn are all three equally outstanding in their roles. They portray their characters perfectly. The film is well directed and well written, taking you back to poor small town south during the GD. You learn how people struggled to make money and live.

This film has lots of anger, sadness and struggles, but also some humor. Most of the film is outdoors, traveling in southern small towns, mostly farming towns and that scenery, though black and white, is still beautiful.

This one of a kind film is a true work of art, a masterpiece in cinema that will still be cherished (like it was then) for decades more. Not many films come even close to being as original and artistic as this one. This is not a family film, it involves fighting, sex and a spoiled, smart mouthed girl that smokes and steals. Older kids may appreciate this movie better and it is better suited for them. Overall, this a wonderful film, one that needs to be on every movie bucket or must see list. 11+ 5/5