Posted tagged ‘Movies’

Flashdance

June 30, 2020

Last night was movie night, again. This time we went back to the “dancing” theme and watched “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri.

This is the story of a young woman named Alex (played by Jennifer Beals) who works as a welder during the day and dances in a bar/night club in the evening. Her dream is to become a professional ballet dancer. So the manager/owner of the construction business (played by Michael Nouri) recognizes her when he sees her perform in the bar.

So it is a simple story. He meets her and tries to ask her out. She initially refuses but eventually gives in. Then he uses his contacts to facilitate getting her an audition with the local ballet organization. So she eventually does the audition and nails it. She gets the ballet gig and they live happily ever after.

So here is a little that Roger Ebert has to say about Flashdance:

I have a friend who has a simple test for a movie: Is this movie as interesting as the same things would be, happening in real life? A lot of movies aren’t, and “Flashdance” sure isn’t. If this movie had spent just a little more effort getting to know the heroine of its story, and a little less time trying to rip off “Saturday Night Fever,” it might have been a much better film.

See RogerEbert.com

So a manager/owner dating one of his employees is a BAD thing. He shouldn’t have done it and she shouldn’t have agreed to go out with him. But that would have ended the story, wouldn’t it.

So the film runs for about 1 hour 35 minutes and is rated “R” for nudity. Once she gets the ballet gig the show is done. Not much else to say. In comparison with the other “dancing” movies that we’ve seen over the past weeks, Flashdance looks decidedly light weight. We enjoyed it but not the best we’ve seen recently

The movie won the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song and had a few other Oscar nominations. The film was released in 1983. That being said, the movie has a fairly decent sound track. Click here for the Amazon entry.

So this was filmed in 1983. I was amused to see many articles of the time, like pay phones or desk phones. Like when was the last time you used a pay phone? Or not see someone with a cell phone in their hand? The film was filmed in Pittsburgh. Nothing much to say about that. Never been there. Not on my bucket list.

Back to baseball movies in a few days.

Field of Dreams

June 25, 2020

So last night I was thinking about how I was missing baseball. So we figured that the next best thing would be a movie about baseball. There are plenty of “Baseball” movies. So we decided to start off with “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. The film was released in 1989.

We’ll probably watch a few more baseball movies during the next couple of weeks before the 2020 baseball season starts on July 24.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were significant in that eight members of the team were accused of accepting bribes to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The occasion has been known as the “Chicago Black Sox” scandal.

So here is the story line. An Iowa farmer (Ray Kinsella, played by Costner) has a dream that he interprets to mean that he should build a baseball park on his corn field. Then the 1919 Chicago White Sox show up to play in the newly built park.

The players wander in from the corn field beyond left field area in the ball park. Ray Kinsella is nagged by his brother-in-law (Mark) to stop the lunacy. Ray stubbornly refuses to give it up.

The movie received three Oscar nominations but no wins. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing (screenplay based on another medium (book) and Best Music.

We watched the film on Amazon Prime.

Dances with Wolves

June 23, 2020

Last night we decided to catch up on some some movies that we’d seen a long time ago. We decided to watch “Dances with Wolves” starring Kevin Costner and Mary McDowell. This movie was released in 1990. It almost swept the Oscars that year, winning almost every award except for Best Actor and Actress.

One of the reasons that we decided to watch “Dances” was that we had plenty of time. The film runs a little over 3 hours and we had sat down to watch just a little after 8 PM. That’s 3 hours with no intermission. Luckily, we could pause the picture while we took bathroom breaks. When we watched Ben Hur last week, there was an actual intermission. With Wolves, no intermission. You have to make your own intermission.

So we got a new 43” TV last week that has built in ROKU support. That makes it easier to select any of the many streaming services. It’s so much nicer to watch the movie on a large screen. It’s not like a real theater, but it’s better than small screens.

One of the shows we are anxiously awaiting is “Hamilton” which will be July 3 on Disney +. Click here for the trailer. We actually had tickets to see Hamilton in LA in June, but got cancelled due to the COVID-19. This will be the next best thing.

So the story goes as follows. Lt. John Dunbar recovers from a leg wound in a battle in the Civil War. He then leads a charge that wins the skirmish. He is offered any post that he would like and he chooses to go a lonely outpost in the western wilderness.

Then he meets up with the local Sioux tribe and manages to make friends with them. And eventually is treated as a member of the tribe.

This movie was considered a personal triumph for Kevin Costner. We hope to see him again in an earlier film of his, “Field of Dreams

Then he discovers a white woman who was captured by the tribe when she was a young girl. The woman (”Stand with Fists”) becomes the avenue for Dunbar to learn the Sioux language and eventually become Dunbar’s love interest. What is a movie without love and sex?

So it’s streaming on Amazon Prime. Go watch.

Laurel Canyon

June 14, 2020

So we heard about a new documentary the other day titled “Laurel Canyon” on Epix. Epix is a streaming tv channel that is connected to cable tv services. ie. You need to be a cable customer to get Epix.

Laurel Canyon is located north of Hollywood along Laurel Canyon Blvd. in the Hollywood Hills. It is a nice secluded area with lots of trees and greenery.

First, I had never heard of the streaming channel called “Epix”. So I had to see if our Roku box could get it. It does, though it took some doing to get it enabled.

“Laurel Canyon” is a two-part documentary about a neighborhood in Los Angeles of the same name. Laurel Canyon is located just north of Hollywood off of Laurel Canyon Blvd.. It happens to be an area where several recording artists took up residence in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Here is a map:

Episode 1 covers the bands “The Doors”, “Crosby Stills and Nash”, Joni Mitchell, “The Birds”, “Buffalo Springfield”, Frank Zappa (Mothers of invention), “The Monkees”,etc. I loved the music.

Episode 2 adds stories about Jackson Brown, The Eagles and more. It talks about how the various bands grew to be major stars such that they could no longer perform at Hollywood venues like The Troubador or Whiskey-a-Go Go. Too many fans.

Then the show talks about the eventual decline of the groups. First came the death of Jim Morrison in 1971 in Paris (cause unknown), then the death of Mama Cass Eliot in 1974 (due to heart failure). Of course, heavy heroin use didn’t help much.

I’ve got my playlist on my iPhone set for the next month. Such a short time but a huge amount of music.

Ben Hur

June 3, 2020

So last week Ben Hur was mentioned at our weekly Bible study as an example of adult adoption. We were discussing the idea of Jesus being the adopted son of Joseph, a carpenter in Nazareth.

So we decided to watch the movie “Ben Hur” this week. The movie was released in early 1960. It is the story of Judah Ben Hur. The film runs about 3 hr and 45 minutes, so we decided to watch it over two days. Indeed there is an intermission half way. You don’t see that in films anymore. So we watched it in two sessions.

The movie is available to rent/buy from Amazon Prime streaming video. Click here for the Amazon Prime site.

“Ben Hur” won 11 Oscars, including Best Actor, Best Actor and Best Director. The movie stars Charlotte Heston, Jack Hawkins and Stephen Boyd. The movie was directed by William Wyler.

The movie starts with a parade of Romans bringing the new Roman governor to Judea. As Judah is watching from the rooftop, a tile is dislodged and falls right by the governor. Then the soldiers rush in and take Judah prisoner and send him to off to row in one of the Roman galleys.

So the galley sinks in a battle. So Judah manages to save Quintus Arrius, the captain of the galley. After they are rescued from the sea, Quintus Arrius repays Judah with his adoption.

The movie has several allusions to Jesus. The film is set in Judea. Judah Ben Hur is given water to drink by Jesus during his forced march to the fleet of galleys where he was put to work as a galley slave. Once again, he encounters Jesus during Jesus’ crucifixion march up Golgotha hill. This time Judah is the one providing water to the fallen Jesus.

In the end section of the movie Judah Ben Hur is seen searching for his Mother and sister. He finds her living in a leper colony not far from Judea. He brings her home where he cares for her and she is cured. Not clear how she is cured, perhaps a miracle. Click here to learn more about leprosy.

So we are watching many movies during the pandemic. Next up are “Dirty Dancing” and “Footloose” (Paula’s request). These are two of Paula’s faves.

Friday

April 10, 2020

Here we sit in our lockdown. Not going anywhere. Today is my turn to cook. So I decided to do beef stew. We’re getting lazy. It was almost 9 am when we got out of bed.

Luckily for us we thought of this when we last went shopping. Bought the stew beef, carrots, potatoes, celery and beef stock. Paula dug out the crock pot and I began work.

Our crockpot is over forty years old. We received it as a wedding present. Still works.

Not long ago, we discovered a product called crockpot liners made by Reynolds. You can find them in the supermarket food storage section. Makes clean up easier.

Every time I do this, I make it a bit different. Today’s version has carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and beef. Well it wouldn’t be beef stew without the beef. If you want details on the recipe, drop me A line.

Peel and cut up the carrots. Dice the onion and celery. Add to pot. I like to cut the beef down to smaller pieces than the butcher provides. Add to zip lock bag along with 1/2 c of flour. Brown in frying pan. Add the flour. Add to the pot. Add some beef stock. Turn it on and forget about it.

I can’t emphasize the last step enough. There have been times that I did all the prep work and forgot to turn it on. Oh crap.

In other news, we decided to watch a movie tonight. We decided on an oldie. “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner.

Paula is continuing her deep dive into our picture archive. She has been putting the best pictures into albums and tossing the junk. I will be scanning some of my favorites to post on social media (blog, Facebook, etc,)

Stay safe

TTFN

Joe

Little Women

January 31, 2020

Little WomenLast night Paula and I went to see “Little Women” at the movies. We went to the 5 pm show so that restaurants might be open after the show. Besides, 10 pm is way past my bedtime.

It would have been helpful if sometime in my life I had managed to read the novel Little Women. It would help me understand all the characters what they were about.

So in case you haven’t ever read Little Women, let me explain some of the basics. The story is about four young ladies in the March family living with their mother in Concord, MA. Their father is off acting as a pastor in the civil war. (I didn’t quite understand this until he appears late in the film.)

The story is told by Jo March (played by Saoirse Ronan). She tells the story as she writes her novel about she and her sisters and how the are determined to live their life on their own terms.

So the four sisters (Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth) are living with their mother (played by Laura Dern. They live in a small brown house in Concord, MA. The house still exists and is available for tours. I had some trouble keeping the four girls straight. Reading the book beforehand would have helped immensely. One last thing, if you haven’t read the book and aren’t intending to, go read the synopsis in Wikipedia.

So our goal is to try to see all of the Oscar Best Picture nominees before the Oscars are awarded. So we’ve seen 1917, The Irishman (actually Paula only saw half, I saw the whole thing on Netflix), The Two Popes (once again Paula didn’t care about seeing this one, I’ve seen it on Netflix spread over a couple of days), Ford v Ferrari. Probably won’t see the Joker or Jo Jo Rabbit. We will probably see “Once upon a Time in Hollywood” next week on Amazon Prime.

In other upcoming movies there is “The Call of the Wild” starring Harrison Ford due for release on Feb 21. Paula and I are interested in seeing this. I’ve even started reading the book. This is based on the book of the same name by Jack London. The promo banner at the theater kind of had us hooked.

Call of the Wild

 

1917

January 25, 2020
1917 (2019)

Thursday was movie night. This time we went to see “1917“. 1917 is the story of two British soldiers in WW1 who have been given the task of delivering a message to another infantry unit across enemy territory. The message is intended to save the unit from an enemy trap.

The film was written and directed by Sam Mendes.

There are two things that stand out for this film.

First is the set design. Truly impressive. One really believes that you are in the trenches of WW1.

Second thing (or maybe first) is the cinematography. The movie is shot using a technique called “One Shot”. You never lose sight of the two main characters as they make their dangerous journey across the no mans’ land to get to their final destination. In order to do the one shot they had to rehearse for about six months before they could begin shooting. Click here for a Wikipedia entry on One Shot Cinematography

The film has been nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Directing. We saw the movie at The Terraces in Rancho Palos Verdes. Tickets on Tuesday and Thursday are $5. We went to a 5 pm showing so that we could go out to dinner after the show. It seems that most of the restaurants in this area close at 9 pm on weeknights. Go see this film, it’s worth it.

Ford vs Ferrari

December 28, 2019

We got back to going to the movies last night. We went to see “Ford vs Ferrari” starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale and Jon Bernthal.

This is the story of Ford Motor Co. working on challenging Ferrari to win the Grand Prix motor race at .Le Mans.

Matt Damon plays Carroll Shelby as the designer of the race car and Christian Bale plays Ken Miles the driver of the car.

It depicts the struggles between Lee Iacocca and Henry Ford and Caroll Shelby. There is a lot of car racing action, crashes and spin-outs.

Film runs about 2.5 hours. A little bit long but a fun movie to watch.

We saw the film at the Regal Promenade Cinema in Rolling Hills Estates. This theater has wide seats that recline. Very comfy. Took us a while to get up to Rolling Hills Estates but the comfort was worth it.

I would give the film a thumbs up.

Only downside was it started at 6:15 pm and ran 2.5 hours. Early closing times are typical here for a week night. Which meant that most of the restaurants we were interested in for going for a bite after the film were closing or already closed. So, we had to settle for Coco’s. They were shutting off the lights as we were getting ready to leave.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

November 28, 2019

Last night we went to the movies to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks.

I should say this right at the beginning. This is not a movie to take the kids to see. It is rated PG and tells the story of relationship problems

This is the story of a writer for Esquire magazine who was tasked with writing an article on Fred Rogers for the magazine. The writer’s name was Lloyd (played by Matthew Rhys). Lloyd was having problems with his father. Lloyd was not happy about the assignment.

So Lloyd tries to blow off Fred Rogers attempts to help him get right with his Dad. Mr Rogers persists and manages to get Lloyd right with his father.

So Tom Hanks nails the performance of Fred Rogers. All the mannerisms and affects are there. By the end of the movie, one really believes that you are watching Fred Rogers.

We went to an early show so that we could have time to go out to dinner after the show. Wednesday’s are usually $5 for Seniors, but not last night. Apparently producer has rule about no bargain nights on first two weeks of theater run. So price was $10.

Dinner at a small Chinese restaurant in San Pedro. Hot and Sour Soup, Moo Shi Chicken and Beef Chow Mein. Now we have leftovers for this evening. We were the only people dining in the restaurant, though lots of take out orders getting picked up.