“Argo” is a good flick. I hope it wins best picture!


“Argo” is an attention grabber. It keeps you engaged in the story  from beginning to end. . It’s a movie depicting the Iranian crises that took place in 1980. The Shah of Iran was deposed by the Ayatollah  Khomeini, an Islamic extremist. The Shah was accepted in America.

The Iranians were so angry, that they took over the American embassy and took hostages. Six Americans  managed to escape  the embassy and went to the home of the Canadian ambassador. They successfully hid out there for several months.

The CIA knew it was only a matter of time before the Iranians at the embassy would figure out that the six were missing.  The movie is based on an actual incident.

Affleck portrays a CIA agent, Tony Mendez,  who has to think up a way to spring the six Americans.   He decides the way to rescue the Americans is to pretend they are all making a movie together. Affleck plays the agent to perfection. He knows how to do his job.  Affleck

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed Ameri...

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed America in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

also directed this movie!

If you’re a baby boomer, and remember this time, the movie will bring the whole hostage crises back to life. There are clips of Walter Cronkite and Ted Koppel  Suddenly you remember how upset we were when our hostages were taken by the Iranians. It took 444 days to get them home. Luckily, nobody was physically harmed. Who knows what emotional consequences they suffered?

Standout actors are John Goodman and Alan Arkin who portray the Hollywood types who aid Affleck in his endeavor.

Today, on CNN, President Carter said that the movie “didn’t give the Canadians enough credit.”

Go see it! And Ben Affleck , you should have been nominated in the best director category at the Oscars. I hope the movie wins Best Picture. That would be sweet.

What do you think?

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Imitation of Life: We’ve come a long way: A movie about racial differences and independent women


Imitation of Life (1934 film)

Imitation of Life (1934 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to see how far our society has advanced since 1934, watch “Imitation of Life.” The prejudice of the time is reflected in this movie.  It also tells a story about  women trying to make it on their own.

The story revolves around two women, Beatrice Pullman (Ms. B), a white woman,  portrayed by Claudette Colbert, and Delilah, a black woman,  portrayed by Louise Beavers.  They both have two daughters, the same age, but Delilah’s daughter is light-skinned and desperately wants to pass for white. She’s figured out that in 1934, life’s a lot easier in the white world. Fredi Washington, a black actress, gave the character believability.

Ms B is a widow with a young child Jessie, and Miss B. is trying to make a living selling maple syrup on the Boardwalk. She offers Delilah and her young child, Peola, a room in her house in exchange for Delilah’s  housekeeping. Although they have an almost equal friendship, Delilah’s total devotion to Ms. B might bother you. In one scene she is rubbing Miss B’s feet and telling her how important it is for her to find love. (Why doesn’t Miss B tell Delilah she should find love too?)

Miss B is delighted when she tastes Delilah’s secret family recipe for pancakes. She knows Delilah’s pancakes will sell better than maple syrup.   She decides to open a restaurant featuring Delilah’s pancakes,  then markets her mix and they both make a lot of money. Ms. B. offers Delilah 20% of the company. (This seems hardly an equal partnership.)

After they get rich off of Delilah’s recipe, Ms. B meets a potential husband, Steve Archer (Warren William) at a posh party she throws in her fancy New York apartment. Delilah and Peola have to sit outside the party dressed in their finery. You can feel Peola’s heartbreak.

The plot surrounds the girls upsetting their devoted mothers. Peola doesn’t want anyone to know she’s black, so she doesn’t want her mother hanging around. Jesse Pullman (Rochelle Hudson) plays your average sweet rich ingenue. Let’s just say that she takes a shine to her mother’s boyfriend. That’s all I’m going to reveal.

Although this movie will embarrass you at times,  it’s worth watching.

This movie was recommended for Best Picture in 1934. It didn’t win.  Why would it? It was about independent women and friendship between a black and white woman. Miss B eventually shows Delilah more concern and caring, but we know who is the most valuable person.

Although these actors are all long gone, their performances still hold up. It’s really amazing when you think about it.

I caught in on AMC, but it is sold on Amazon. I understand there is a version with narration, that explains what life was like in the good old bad days.

Les Miserable


If you’ve never seen the Broadway play of Les Miserable, maybe you’ll appreciate this clip from a 10th anniversary special. These were all the professionals who played the main parts.

I did enjoy the movie, but I was a little haunted by all the big voices I was used to hearing when I saw it live. This play is a particular favorite of mine.    I’ve seen it several times. What do you think?

Les Miserable : Review A+ The movie lives up to expectations


Sometimes, it’s really worth your time, money and energy to attend the movies. If you want to see something you’ll really enjoy, go see Les Miserable.

Although nothing can trump seeing the live musical, this comes close. Unlike the play, you can see some unbelievable  scenery and powerful  camera shots.   The costumes are realistic, and the makeup makes everyone look pretty miserable (the pathetic crowd).  Since the movie is so up close, you get a better idea of the characters and their relationships to each other. You get to see the nuances of expression, and  feel the characters emotions.  I could lose myself in this movie, and I was unaware of the time it took to watch. (It is over 2 hours).

There’s been much made out of the fact that the director made the actors actually sing their parts instead of using recorded soundtracks. He also uses a lot of closeups. . You can actually see every mark on their faces, and some of their neglected looking teeth. I liked the fact that they were really singing when it was filmed.

Anne Hathaway plays Fantine  to perfection, and her singing doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t take her long to turn into a prostitute. It’s almost painful to watch her go through her misery. Although she isn’t on screen that long, her part leaves a lasting impression.

Hugh Jackman  makes a good  Jean Valjean, our hero and makes  a good transformation from a convict (stealing bread) to a moral person. He certainly looks pathetic in the beginning of the movie, and looks like a dashing hero for the rest of it.  His voice is fairly strong, and his acting is excellent.  If he doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know who does.

Russell Crowe has the least powerful voice in the production, but I think it’s adequate.( It seems hard to believe the director couldn’t find someone with a bigger voice to play the role.)  He plays the villain, Javert convincingly I had heard he was inadequate in the part, so I was pleasantly surprised. I managed to hate him during the movie.

I think Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the slimy innkeepers steal the show when they’re on screen. They both have a lot of charisma that comes through even though their characters are unsympathetic.  All the children in the production also do a terrific job, especially the little boy who plays a rebel.

My favorite female in this production was Samantha Brooks as Eponine. When she sings “On My own” in the rain, I loved it. She’s beautiful and has the voice we’ve come to expect when we see a live production of this show.

Amanda Seyfried as the adult Cosette was very believable. She looks the part and her voice is sweet.

If you’re looking for the biggest voices you’ve  ever heard in this production, you might be disappointed, but the group choral numbers are quite strong, and Eddie Redmay as Marius lives up to expectations.   If you’re looking for a moving story, fantastic scenery, a great reprieve, and something that will bring a tear to your eye, go see this movie.

I would give this production an A!

A Baby Boomers Take on the Academy Awards


The Academy Awards reminded me of  watching a sitcom.

Best Actress Academy Award

It’s just not the same for me since all the movie stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, James Garner, James Stewart, and the perennial host, Bob Hope aren’t with us anymore.

Billy Crystal did a great job though. He beats out whatever they did last time. I liked Chris Rock’s bit. He’s the only one who made me at least chuckle.  I thought the “Focus Group” on the Wizard of Oz was cute.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey did a bit that was almost funny.

Some of the winning was a yawn. Meryl Streep was correct, it was tiresome to watch her win her third academy award. She is a great actor, but there must be some others just as good. (Revision: I just saw Iron Lady she really deserved it! )

“The Artist” winning for best picture seemed contrived to me.  They were applauding creativity and nerve. They couldn’t have been rewarding the trite story.

The best actor category was a disappointment. I think people who say dialogue deserved to win more than the actor from “The Silent Movie.” I was rooting for George Clooney, although he doesn’t need my sympathy!

It was nice that Christopher Plummer won an academy award. I did see the movie and he was great.

I couldn’t help thinking that “The Help” should have gotten more recognition. Nothing new, I guess.

But, I will give it a go next year too. It’s a tradition. But, with my movie stars gone, it’s never going to be the same.

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