“Liz and Dick” movie on Lifetime: Boring, boring and more boring


Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Eliza...

Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor from the trailer for the film Cleopatra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are probably rolling over in their graves. I’m sure they would not be happy with the portrayal of their lives in the “Lifetime” movie “Liz and Dick.”

I usually enjoy Lindsay Lohan’s performances although she is a little crazy in her real life.  She doesn’t get a pass this time. Lohan plays Taylor too sweet and restrained.  Taylor’s temper tantrums don’t come across as violent or crazy enough. Plus, Lohan hardly varies her tone of voice. I would say it’s time for her to take a few refresher acting lessons, or stay off the booze and pills. She should also do something about her hoarse voice.

The actor who plays Richard Burton, Grant Bowler, was mediocre to bad. He had Burton’s voice down but, he’s just about as boring as Lohan. The two actors had absolutely no chemistry between them. It was impossible to see them as the two hottest lovers of the 20th century.

I watched the whole thing, and I kept hoping it would get interesting. It never delivered.

I remember the Taylor and Burton Scandal

Back in 1963, everyone was scandalized by the Taylor Burton love affair. At the time Taylor was a real vixen who’d broken up the marriage of Debbie Reynolds (actress)  and Eddie Fisher (a well-known singer.)  They were the  all American couple.  Then Elizabeth’s Taylor husband, Mike Todd, died in an airplane crash. Eddie Fisher comforted her and dumped Debbie and married Liz.

During the making of the movie, Cleopatra, Burton and Taylor fell madly in love.  If you watch this too long movie, there is obvious chemistry between them.

I remember reading about the torrid affair in Photoplay Magazine when I was a teenager.   It was the hottest affair of the 60’s. Burton had a stable marriage, and his wife, Sybil,  didn’t easily let him go. She was used to his affairs, but he usually returned home after he was done making a movie. She couldn’t keep him this time.

Taylor was the  glamorous diva actress of the 60’s. People were consumed with this scandal.  (At least teenagers liked to read about it.)

People finally accepted the Burton’s marriage after about 10 years. But wouldn’t you know it, just when people accepted it, they got sick of each other and got divorced. It was sweet when they got remarried a second time. That didn’t last long. (So much for true love.)
Conclusion

If you watch this movie, realize it’s a watered down version of what probably happened.  Better yet, change the channel. Burton and Taylor deserve better.

What did you think of the movie? Anyone like it?

“Esther and Me” at the CJFilm Festival Inspired Me


I’ve been attending the Columbus Jewish Film Festival for the past few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed all the films. I think independent movies are the best movies being made today.

Today I saw a short little film that really spoke to me. It is called  “Esther and Me.” It was directed by Lisa Geduldig. She made a little film about a very charismatic woman that she met in a Jewish nursing home in New York.

Geduldig meets Esther, a resident of the nursing home, when she runs an activity at the nursing home. . She strikes up a friendship with Esther, who is in her late 80’s.  She used to be a gorgeous fashion model, and then had a career as a stand-up comic. The pictures of her in her youth are particularly striking. Even in her old age,  Esther still looks pretty good.

Her marriage, if she had one, is entirely left out of the film. There is a mention of her daughter, but we don’t meet her. We do know that she has grandchildren because they make an appearance.

Why I liked this film

Although Esther has been sick, and has a shaky hand, she is still vital. She cares enough about herself to still put on makeup everyday. She still makes jokes, and is the life of the party. She enjoys going to the theater and staying up until 11:00 talking to Geduldig.

It reminds us that just because you’re getting old, you’re still a human being who wants and needs recognition, and has something to contribute. Esther seems like she’d be fun to be around. She still has style, and likes to go out. She hasn’t given up on life, and is a fighter, not a complainer!

The most exciting part of the film was when Geduldig gives Esther a chance to do her stand-up act in front of a crowd, and she gets a standing ovation.

Esther gives me some hope

The one message I got out of the movie is you’re not out of the picture until you take yourself out. Although I’m not close to being 89, I am getting close to 65.  It is a little daunting. I always do have the security of knowing I’m not alone. (The Baby-Boomers are quite a presence.)

It also served as a reminder to really talk to the people you admire while they’re still on this earth. Better yet, use your expensive gadgets to document them

Are there older people in your life who inspire you?

Lisa G & Shelley Berman

Lisa G & Shelley Berman (Photo credit: lisagsf)

Go See “Liberal Arts” the Movie: Filmed at “Kenyon College”: Starring Bexley native, Josh Radnor


English: A profile shot of actor Josh Radnor a...

English: A profile shot of actor Josh Radnor at “An evening with the cast of How I Met Your Mother”, January 27, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the movie, “Liberal Arts,” Jessie Fisher ( Josh Radnor) plays a 35-year old college admissions counselor who is facing middle age. He is living in New York city, and life doesn’t seem to be going his way.

We learn that Jessie is a sensitive type who savor books, poetry, and classical music.  He goes back to attend the retirement party of his college professor Professor Peter Hoburg (Richard Jenkins).  He is attracted to Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) who is fresh-faced   sophomore,  who lives in a dormitory. Jessie is longing for the campus life anyway, and is attracted to her.

They have an old fashioned romance. It starts out with her giving him a CD of classical music. They correspond via the US mail. How sweet is that?

The movie is about accepting life, and the aging process. You can’t go backwards, you have to move forward.

The retiring professor, (Hoburg)  tells Jessie, “we always feel like we’re 19 although we may look different on the outside.”  (Being a baby boomer that particular line resounded)

Nat (Zac Effron) plays a new age type who is past the college age, but at least is enjoying himself.  Jessie  and Zac befriend each other. Their scenes provide a little comedic relief. Effron does a great job.

There is a troubled college student (John Magaro)Jessie befriends who is just plain unhappy with everything, and bi-polar. Maybe he represents a lot of people who just don’t try to look at what they do have, or easily fit in to society.

Professor Judith Fairfield( Allison Janney) is Jessie’s former romantic literature professor.  Janney plays her to the hilt. Her performance is one of the best in the movie. She is also aging, and maybe not adjusting in the best way.

Without giving too much away, I would suggest you see this movie if you like too think  and reflect about life. Also, see it, if you value good writing, directing and acting. Radnor did all three. Don’t go see it, if you’re the type of person who likes action, blood and guts.

Maybe it is a little too wordy in places, but

Allison Janney at The Heart Truth Fashion Show...

Allison Janney at The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2008 (cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People of all ages should be able to  relate to this movie.  I found it Intelligent, charming,  and sweet.

“Trouble with the curve “needs a lot of straightening out


Amy Adams at the 83rd Academy Awards

Amy Adams at the 83rd Academy Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe I’m just having a bad day, but I found “Trouble with the Curve” embarrassing.  Poor acting, and an implausible plot.

It’s about Eastwood, an aging baseball scout, who has a poor relationship with his daughter. She helps him on his baseball scouting job because John Goodman (his friend) pleads with her to help good old Dad. She walks away from a good law job where she is trying to become a partner  of a law firm to do this.  She has a lousy relationship with Eastwood in the first place, so why would she want to help him?

Eastwood goes to his wife’s grave to sing “You are my sunshine.” How hokey is that? The date on the headstone is 1945- 1984. That means that Eastwood, who is 83, would be married to a woman a lot younger than him. I don’t think so! ( Unless you are a rich movie star.)

First of all, why would an 83-year-old guy, Clint Eastwood,  be scouting baseball players for a major baseball team? Not only is Clint old, but the other actors who play scouts seem pretty old too. I guess this was to make Eastwood seem like a 50 something kind of guy. (The movie would’ve  been better with a 50 or 60 something actor playing the part.)

My other problem is the actress, Amy Adams, who plays his daughter.  I do think she should go to acting school. She used the same tone of voice through the movie, and it was annoying. She does have nice long hair which she flips around a lot.

I had trouble buying that she would be Clint’s daughter, but Eastwood did have his 30 something son playing a  minor part in the movie. (Clint is a movie star, after all.) In real life, Adams would’ve passed for his granddaughter.  Their relationship seems so distant that it’s hard to believe she would leave her important law job to help him.

Justin Timberlake plays her love interest.  He does take off all his clothes, except his underwear if you’re looking for a little thrill. There is practically no chemistry between Adams and Timberlake.

The story is one of those feel good movies with a happy ending. If you like baseball trivia, you might enjoy some of the patter going on between Timberlake and Adams. If you can suspend your belief system, you might be able to buy this movie.

I have to give Clint credit for acting although he’s too old for the part.  He’s about the only one besides John Goodman who seems to know how to act.

If you are  a baseball fan, like the actors, and enjoy a predictable story—this movie is for you.

My View of the documentary, “Obama’s America”


Cover of "Dreams from My Father: A Story ...

Cover via Amazon

Sept 9, 2012

Obama’s America is a documentary by Writer/Director Dinesh D’Souza, an Indian born intellectual. It’s based on some writing he’s already done on Obama. D’Souza’s formerly worked for Ronald Reagan. He’s now president of a Christian conservative college in New York.

He traces Obama’s parentage. He claims the biggest influence on Obama was his absent father, a Kenyan native political figure who hated colonialism.   He even goes so far as to bring in a psychologist to discuss Obama’s possible feelings toward his absent father. It reminded me of Clint Eastwood talking to the empty chair at the Republican Convention.

If you know anything about Obama’s life, you will know that he only spent one month with his father. Obama’s mother was an anthropologist who pushed Obama to get a good education. When Obama was in high school he lived with his white grandparents in Hawaii to attend a good private school.  If you heard his speech at the Democratic Convention he referred to both of them. His grandfather served in WWII, and was a mediocre salesman. His grandmother worked her way up the career ladder in a bank. You would guess that maybe they influenced him more heavily than a man he spent a month with, and corresponded with on and off.

D’Sousa also takes sections of “Dreams From my Father” to make his case. It’s all out of context, and he plays fast and loose with it.  He makes a big deal of the fact that the book is not entitled “Dreams of my Father.”  I though it was  a pretty big leap. He even tracks down one of Obama’s half-brothers who is living in a shack in Kenya. I guess this is to prove that Obama isn’t a nice upstanding individual. He can’t get the  half-brother to bad-mouth Obama. He does try.

He also brings up all the old conspiracy theories again. At least he doesn’t question where Obama was born. According to D’sousa Obama was born in Hawaii. Last time I heard it was part of the USA.

He spends half the movie following Obama’s path during his childhood.  He even goes to Indonesia to guess what Obama might have gotten out of living in that country with his mother and step-father. It reminds D’Sousa of India. (I guess that’s why he doesn’t want to live in either place.)

If you’re an Obama supporter you’re not going to like this documentary. Your going to think he doesn’t prove any of his points. If you are suspicious of Obama, you will probably agree with everything suggested by D’Sousa, irrational as it may sound.

The most important thing is that D’Sousa, like Michael Moore, can express their opinion and make documentaries to support their points of view. Let’s face it. That’s what makes America great.

This is my view not a review.  From my point of view, don’t waste your time.

If you’ve seen it, I’d appreciate your comments!

.

Guys and Dolls: The 1955 Movie: They don’t make em like that anymore!


Guys and Dolls (film)

Guys and Dolls (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Columbus, Ohio, the Ohio Theater ―a palatial old refurbished theater—plays old movies in the summer. Sometimes, it is fun to watch the old movies in a big beautiful theater with a big screen. It’s usually fun to watch them with other people too.  Chances are, they’ll be your age. In this particular theater there is a fine musician playing the organ before the show and during intermission

I had seen the musical, Guys and Dolls,  in various school productions, and even in a semi-professional theater when I was a teenager.  I knew all the words to all the songs, and I don’t even recall consciously learning them.

I enjoyed this movie. First of all, there was a young Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jeanne Simmons. They all had chemistry and stage presence that popped out from the screen. It also starred Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, and Sheldon Leonard.

The choreography, scenery, costumes and acting were good enough to make me forget it was 2012.

It really brought back the old days. Another time with old over-sized cars, men wearing actual hats, and women wearing dresses.

The main characters even took a trip to Havana, Cuba, to have a romantic interlude. There were no bedroom scenes, only a kiss.

It  portrayed Jean Simmon’s character as being very naive. Luckily, women’s roles have changed in 45 years.  Her character didn’t know that milk laced with alcohol would get her drunk. Maybe there are still naive women like that out there, but I doubt it.

There was also nothing but white actors in the movie. Back in those days, the races didn’t mix. In that respect, times are better.

it proved to be a very sentimental escape from me. It brought back memories of my childhood and family. It brought back the days when my life was ahead of me, and I could fantasize about what would happen to me when I grew up.  It was fun to connect with my true inner child.

If you get a chance to rent this movie, turn off the lights, and maybe you’ll go back in time too.  Sometimes, it’s fun to revisit the past. You never know what memories might surface.

“Rock of Ages” the Movie was just okay


Rock of Ages (musical)

Rock of Ages (musical) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before I left to see Rock of Ages, I checked out some quick reviews. It wasn’t really going over with the critics, but I went to see it anyway.

I enjoy the rock music of the 80’s and I enjoyed the songs, and the choreography.  The story was secondary, and it was pretty weak. The story took place in 1987. I also liked the costumes and the scenery.

The movie  features Juliana Hough, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Katherine Zeta Jones, Mary J Blige, Julianne Moore, and Diego Boneta

I knew what I was in for a few minutes after it started. Julianna Hough (Sherrie Christian) starts singing on the bus to Hollywood and the other people riding along joined in. It was hokey, but cute. The poor girl gets off the bus, someone says “welcome to Hollywood,” and steals her suitcase. A little reality there.

Boneta ( Drew Boley) and Hough are the boy and girl who fall in love. They both seem pretty nerdy. You really didn’t care whether they fell in love or broke up.

Tom Cruise (Stacee Jaxx) depicted a self-centered star who drinks, drugs, and sleeps around. I’m guessing this role wasn’t a big stretch for him. He just misses with his portrayal, but it was almost on target. His singing was surprisingly good.

Juliana Hough is adorable, and has a good sweet voice. Unfortunately, she didn’t dance much except on a pole, and she didn’t really do much on it. (She used to be on Dancing With the Stars) .

Mary J. Blige has a fantastic voice, but she had a very minor role. She also had a lot of charisma for the brief time she was on the screen.

Hough was adequate as the main character who is sweet. It was familiar. She played the exact same character in the latest version of “Footloose.”

The other Julianne Moore was good as an uptight reporter who loosens up toward the middle of the movie. Her acting was the best, but that’s not saying much.

Alec Baldwin (Dennis Dupree) and Russel Brand ( Lonny) served as the comic relief. Somehow, Alec Baldwin, wasn’t that great. I couldn’t forget he was Alec Baldwin playing a role.  There is a homosexual moment in the movie. Even that wasn’t that interesting.

Catherine Zeta Jones (Patricia Whitmore) over-acted, and her American accent sounded forced. To her credit she is beautiful, and she can sing and dance.

Some of the familiar songs were, “Hit Me With your best shot,” Harden My Heart, Can’t Fight This feeling, and “Anyway you Want it.” There were more songs, and I liked them all. They picked the biggest hits.

I do judge movies on whether or not I’d be willing to watch them again. Not this one.

I give it a C+. The plus is for the music.