September Movies

We watched a lot of movies, and a lot of TV shows in Sept. Most of the time spent was enjoyable, some not so. Here’s a brief rundown of those movies worth mentioning:

Already reviewed:

The rest:

Laura (1944)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037008/

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb

An interesting film-noir. The song is famous and it’s melody is as haunting as I find the movie. Clifton Webb is perfect in this part, and Vincent Price is a treat in a non-horror roll. I adore Judith Anderson as an actress – she is so evil in REBECCA, and carries some of that over into this part. Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews need no comments from me. Every time we watch this I see more little details and find the experience enjoyable. A good mystery, with excellent cast and direction. Recommend.

Oklahoma! (1955)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048445/

Visit the Oklahoma territory at the turn of the twentieth century, and meet cowboys, a traveling peddler, an evil ranch hand, Aunt Eller and others as love and jealousy rule the day.

Stars: Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones (movie debut), Gene Nelson, Charlotte Greenwood, Eddie Albert, James Whitmore, Rod Steiger

I admit that I’m biased toward this movie. As a young teen, my school choir did an abbreviated version of this musical. It was my first exposure to being on stage, and while I never went on to a stage career, it was a fascinating experience. I love the cast in this version, the cinematography, the songs—everything. I’ve always wondered how Barbara Lawrence (Gertie Cummings) managed that horrid horse laugh? LOL My only gripe is the terrible transfer to dvd. Sound track is wretched and picture is fuzzy at times. It would be grand if someone would clean this up and release it on blu-ray. Still, for cast, content, music—the total experience—we highly recommend this musical.

Long, Long Trailer (1953)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047191/

Nicky and Tacy are going to be married. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels–a trailer. After the two are hitched, they …

My first thought was that someone had colorized the movie. HA! I’ve only watched this on a B&W TV. It wasn’t any better in color. Sure there are a few funny moments, but not enough. I’d rather watch old episodes of I LOVE LUCY. Hubby gave this movie a recommend, I don’t.

The Peacemaker (1997)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119874/

A US Army colonel and a civilian woman supervising him must track down stolen Russian nuclear weapons before they’re used by terrorists.

Stars: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Marcel Iures

  • The first film released by Dreamworks SKG.
  • The “Vienna” car chase scene, ending on a square with a fountain was actually shot in Bratislava, Slovakia. (imdb)

A rewatch for us, and still a good action-thriller. When we first saw this movie, the first bombing of the World Trade Center was on our minds. Now as we watch, we think of 9/11, the Boston bombing and other horrible terrorist acts and realize that this movie was less fantasy than we first thought, and that’s discouraging. Still it’s a good vehicle for Clooney and Kidman (who I’m not a fan of—she’s wooden), and it is a good few hours of action.

Frenzy (1972)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068611/

A serial killer is murdering London women with a necktie. The police have a suspect… but he’s the wrong man.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Alec McCowen

Excellent cast. Clive Swift has a small role. He’s such an enjoyable actor, just adore him as ‘Richard’ in Keeping Up Appearances. Jean Marsh as the secretary was also good. Excellent cinematography, and the opening sequence is terrific. Very unsettling movie to watch with rape and murder. Also a good deal of female nudity. I can only take it every 3 years or so. Recommend for those who enjoy Hitchcock movies.

Silk (2011)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1717455/

BBC series about life at the Bar, the dilemmas and problems that modern day barristers have to face, and what it means to become a silk.

Watched first ep of this show from BBC on Masterpiece Theater. Really interesting and we’re both anxious to know how things go from here. Next two eps recorded.

It Happened One Night (1934)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025316/

A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who’s actually a reporter looking for a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Writers: Robert Riskin (screen play), Samuel Hopkins Adams (based on the short story by)
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly

“The little movie that could” is how the host for ‘Essentials Jr’ on TCM described this movie. No one wanted to star in it. No one wanted to make it. Everyone thought it was horrid, the worst movie they’d ever made. Yet it was the first movie to sweep all five major categories at the Academy Awards.

Without knowing the trivia behind the movie, we spotted the Bugs Bunny connection, at the end we thought of Runaway Bride. Of course, Clark without an undershirt delivered a blow to the sale of men’s undershirts. An excellent romantic comedy.

Along Came Jones (1945)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037508/

A good-natured saddle tramp and his sidekick mistaken for a ruthless outlaw with a price on his head and his sidekick.

Cast: Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, William Demarest

Mistaken identity in the old west. Only movie Cooper is credited with producing. Backdrops in the outdoor scenes are sad. LOL! Good cast. Decent plot. Light hearted. A delightful movie. Recommend.

Best quote:
George Fury: “A dead body! That’s the way the law says it. Corpus delicti. Means that if they got a corpse, you’re delicti! Before this, even if they hung ya, we could have proved it was a mistake.”

Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042200/

The story of the great sharpshooter, Annie Oakley, who rises to fame while dealing with her love/professional rival, Frank Butler.

Stars: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Louis Calhern
Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin

No matter the story, when it’s music by Irving Berlin and sung by Howard Keel, it doesn’t get much better. Story is historical-fiction, cast is good, pace is good and all around, it’s a fun watch. Of course, I back up and listen to Keel sing his songs at least twice. Recommend.

Saboteur (1942)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035279/

Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, Otto Kruger

Although not one of Hitchcock’s best efforts, it is a decent offering. If you view it with an eye to the time frame it was released, it’s a fresh offering with plenty of tension, intrigue and a little romance tossed in for dressing. While the term “Nazi” was never used, it’s obvious that’s who the enemy is, and I found myself cheering their misfortunes. I thought the movie set a good pace, and the ending was most satisfactory. One of my favorite spots was when the two guys actually sang the words to “Tonight We Love” from Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor by Tchaikovsky. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the words before, and that’s surprising as this Concerto is my favorite piece of classical music, and hearing any portion of it always brings fond memories to the forefront for me.

We recommend this movie for those who enjoy Hitchcock, film-noir, thrillers and maybe just a good movie to watch.

My favorite quote comes from a fancy dress party where our two hero’s are in attendance by force:
Patricia “Pat” Martin: I’m afraid we’re not behaving very well.
Barry Kane: What’s the difference, we’re not invited anyway.

I Confess (1953)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045897/

Refusing to give into police investigators’ questions of suspicion, due to the seal of confession, a priest becomes the prime suspect in a murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, O.E. Hasse

The movie begins and ends with death. In between is romance, suspense, frustration and pure Hitchcock. The B&W effects add to the darkness of the story, and lend extra tension to the movie. My only pick would be that Clift and Baxter do not have on-screen chemistry, and so the romance aspect never worked for me.

While not as thrilling or exciting as “The Birds”, or “Frenzy”, or even “North by Northwest”, I found this movie to be an intriguing offering from Hitchcock; and I recommend it.

Murphy’s Romance (1985)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089643/

Emma is a divorced woman with a teen aged boy who moves into a small town and tries to make a go of a horse ranch. Murphy is the town druggist who steers business her way. Things are going …

Director: Martin Ritt
Writers: Max Schott (story), Harriet Frank Jr.
Stars: Sally Field, James Garner, Brian Kerwin

What a delight! Good casting, good storyline, sweet old car, small town life. I want to play Bingo, visit a real soda fountain, and maybe even ride a horse. Always an enjoyable watch for us. Highly recommend.

Angels & Demons (2009)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808151/

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: David Koepp (screenplay), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer

Based on another boring book from Dan Brown. There was a story, but the pacing was so slow the story got lost. I enjoyed Ewan McGregor, but otherwise the cast was not much.

  • My comment: Care to know the best thing about this movie? I wasn’t feeling well and was able to sleep through major chunks of it, wake up and not be lost.
  • Comment from hubby, who did stay awake through it all: What a waste.

Don’t recommend.

Darling Companion (2012)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1730687/

The story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband. And then her husband loses the dog.

Stars: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest (who I loved in The Associate)

I don’t remember why we picked this, but I’m glad we did as it’s a decent comedy/drama. Odd characters, odd relationships, a gypsy, a wedding and a dog. Can’t say the pacing was great, but it held our interest. Might not appeal to those under 45. Ha!

Best line of the movie, and if you’ve been through this procedure, you’ll get the line, if not … your time is coming:
Maybe my kidney stones will pass in time for my colonoscopy.

Key Largo (1948)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040506/

A man visits his old friend’s hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Director: John Huston
Writers: Richard Brooks (screenplay), John Huston (screenplay)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor

Excellent performances by a grand cast, with Claire Trevor winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Final Bogart-Bacall film. Recommend.

Payback (I) (1999)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120784/

Porter is shot by his wife and best friend and is left to die. When he survives he plots revenge.

Director: Brian Helgeland
Writers: Donald E. Westlake (novel), Brian Helgeland (screenplay)
Stars: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello

Not a happy movie, but an interesting look at the seedier side of life. Everyone is either an anti-hero, or just plain evil. Violence abounds, as does course language, drugs and sexual content. There are parts of this movie where I close my eyes and plug my ears. I watched it and wondered what we once saw in this movie. The cast, pace, and photography are all good. The best line is when ‘Pearl’ (Lucy Liu) says: “Hubba, hubba, hubba.”

Recommend for those with a strong stomach.

Red River (1948)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040724/

Dunson is driving his cattle to Red River when his adopted son, Matthew, turns against him.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Writers: Borden Chase (screenplay), Charles Schnee (screenplay)
Stars: John Wayne, Walter Brennan, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru

Only movie that Harry Carey Sr and Harry Carey Jr appeared in together, but they had no scenes together. Also Sr’s final film.

Decent offering. The cast is filled with lots of recognizable faces to those who enjoy westerns, as well as a face from Rockford Files. The story line is good, although the pace is a bit slow in spots, still it held my interest and the ending was excellent. Recommend.

Robot & Frank (2012)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1990314/

Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team.

Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: Christopher D. Ford (screenplay)
Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon

We saw a preview for this movie on another dvd, and thought it looked interesting, with a decent cast. The scenery is grand, the cast *was* good, the one premise of the story about family and friendship was okay; but ultimately this was a very sad movie. For that reason, we don’t recommend—but we are in the minority.

Funny quote (and maybe the only really funny spot in the entire movie):
Robot: You should not drink those, Frank. It is not good for gout.
Frank: I don’t have gout.
Robot: You do not have gout. Yet.

The Muppets (2011)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1204342/

With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon.

Director: James Bobin
Writers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Stars: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Jack Black

Fart shoes!

One of my favorite quotes:
Uncle Deadly: … Looks like it’s I who will have the last laugh!
Tex Richman: What does that mean?
Uncle Deadly: It’s an idiom, you idiot, because you cannot laugh! Ha ha!

Not the best Muppet movie, mainly because there were too many ‘humans”, but still funny and delightful. Recommend.

Foreign Correspondent (1940)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032484/

On the eve of WW2, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Charles Bennett (screenplay), Joan Harrison (screenplay), 3 more credits »
Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall

Another of the Hitchcock offerings from TMC. It’s been years since I’ve watched this and found it still held my interest, was compelling, good story line and character development. We could use more real reporters like Johnny Jones (aka: Huntley Haverstock). Recommend.

Family Plot (1976)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074512/

Lighthearted suspense film about a phony psychic/con artist and her taxi driver/private investigator boyfriend who encounter a pair of serial kidnappers while trailing a missing heir in California.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane
Score composed by John Williams, his only score of a Hitchcock film.

For Hitchcock fans, this film is special simply because it was his final film (his 53rd!). Still, I found it tediously slow, and had a hard time keeping my eyes open. Recommend? Yes, if you are a Hitchcock fan; no if you aren’t.

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Fire Along the Sky by Sara Donati

Book #26
Fire Along the Sky
Donati, Sara

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Pages: 688 (chunkster)
Book 4/6 in “Wilderness Saga”
Recommend

I started this series in 2011, but I don’t remember how, why or who. Likely someone mentioned them on a book list, or a friend from the library said they were good reads. If the person who suggested this series to me is reading this: my thanks.

As with the last story in this series, this was a wonderful read with a good blending of history and the author’s imagination. There are rich characters that draw you in and make you wish you were part of this family—or at the very least, a close friend. There is suspense, danger, love, hatred—all the human emotions that make us who we are. My heart thrilled over the joyous news and events, and broke over the difficult.

My one dislike is the same as always, the intimacy is a bit much for me and I don’t think it advances the story, so I skip parts. If intimate scenes bother you and you can’t skip them, then skip this book. Otherwise, pick it up and dive in. It’s an enjoyable read for rainy weather.

Definitely recommend this series.

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The Family (2013)

IMDb: The Family (2013)

The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.

http://www.imdb.com/rg/em_share/title_web/title/tt2404311
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Luc Besson (screenplay), Michael Caleo (screenplay) …
Stars: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron …

Went to the movies to see this. After all, it’s billed as a comedy and other friends of ours had watched it and liked it.

I really do try to find something good to say about any movie we’ve watched all the way through, but I’m having a hard time with this movie. Actually, it’s impossible for me to say anything good about this movie. We found NONE of the main characters likable—their answer to every little irritation was to beat up, maim, kill, blow up, torch, bomb, etc. The movie was over the top in f-bombs and other crude language. Worst of all, we had an adult male teacher having sex with a high school girl. I realize this family was in France, but this movie was made for American audiences, and this is pedophilia and illegal. DISGUSTING! We really should have walked out at this point, but we sat there like toads on a log and watched this entire movie. We were disgusted with ourselves, and worse, we were disappointed with our fellow movie viewers. Why? Because they cheered when our main characters killed other evil characters. There was nothing worth applauding about one criminal shooting another criminal.

If any of you saw this and found it enjoyable, know that I’m okay with you liking it. Just don’t ask me to like it, or be happy for you.

Don’t recommend.

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The Jackal (1997)

The Jackal (1997)
http://imdb.com/rg/an_share/title/title/tt0119395/
An imprisoned IRA sniper is freed to help stop a brutal, seemingly “faceless” assassin from completing his next job.
Stars: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier

What can I say that is positive about this movie? Willis has hair, his disguises were great, and Gere does a decent Irish accent. There you go. Otherwise I found this movie needlessly gory, and the language is unnecessarily crude. The plot has holes like Swiss cheese—with the worst being a scene in the subway with the passing trains. If you have watched this movie, you know the scene; if you haven’t watched this movie it might be fun to pop the dvd in, fast-forward to near the end, find this scene and then enjoy a good laugh. Yes, laugh. That is what I did—I laughed out loud. Had to pause the dvd and rewind. I’m all for suspending rational thought and beliefs for movies, but this was ridiculous.

At the end, the Jackal was made to look like a crazy, foolish man, and the Jackal was never crazy, nor foolish. He was a cold blooded, cold hearted, methodical, purposeful killer; but he never acted like a crazy nut.

The only reason I could follow the plot for this movie was because I’ve watched the original The Day of the Jackal, as well as Patriots Game (both of which I highly recommend). Different authors, different storyline altogether, but The Jackal mixed them together and regurgitated out this mess of a movie. I can understand why Forsyth asked that his name be removed from the credit.

With such a good cast, I had hoped for a decent movie. That wasn’t delivered, so obviously I do NOT recommend this movie.

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Lady in the Water (2006)

Lady in the Water (2006)
110 min – Fantasy | Mystery | Thriller
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452637/

Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Bill Irwin, small role for Jared Harris

Story based on a bedtime story that M. Night Shyamalan wrote for his children. It was published as a children’s book, and released on the same day as the film.

For me, this story is one of hope. Hope that people—ordinary people—with nothing in common, can come together and accomplish something good without demanding anything in return. We meet the do-nothings, the do-gooder, the angry lady, the sad “has been”, the man who wants to hide, and the man who does hide. One of the best characters is the young lady who acts like she doesn’t care and just wants to party, yet she helps the landlord with books, translates for her mom, and is pivotal to the whole story. As with all fairy tales, there is mystery, suspense, evil, laughter, hope, and a happy ending. What more could you ask for? I enjoyed this movie and recommend it.

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The Apostle by Brad Thor

apostle

Book #25
The Apostle
Thor, Brad
Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 357
Recommend

As a long time fan of Brad Thor’s ‘Scot Harvath’ series, I expect certain things in each book: patriotism, adventure, political conflicts, terrorism, and a good read that keeps me interested and entertained. The Apostle met all my expectations and then some.

The characters, both friend and foe, were well developed; the settings fit the story; and I found myself cheering at the end of chapter 60.

By the time I reached the very end, I was glad for a break—yet wishing there was more to the story. Best of all, I felt proud to be an American; and, sadly, I seldom feel that way with our current president. I’m thankful for the freedoms I enjoy, and I’m deeply grateful to every man and woman who serve (and have served) in order that I might live in this wonderful country.

I join the heroes of this book in the closing words of this book:

With that, all of the men in the room raised their bottles and in unison said, “To the United States of America.” – The Apostle (Brad Thor), page 357

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Lil BUB’s Lil Book

Book #24
Lil BUB’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet Hardcover
by Lil BUB
Genre: Pictures / Animal
Pages: 128
Highly Recommend

Little book filled with 128 totally delightful pages of pics of “Lil BUB” on an adventure. This book brought a smile to my face. Actually, just thinking about it makes me smile. Okay, I’m a cat lover and Lil BUB makes me smile. She encourages me. She doesn’t care that she’s different. Her disabilities don’t stop her. She never gives up. She’s a reminder of God’s grace and love. I adore this cat (who I’ve never even met), and I adored this lil’ book.

Buy this book. Buy several and give them away. You’ll be glad you did.

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