Posts Tagged ‘movies’

2011: the Daughter, niece Alex, niece Rebecca


Antarctica’s ice sheet may be approaching an unstoppable collapse

John Oliver Goes For Blood To Rip Dialysis Companies

An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

On Memorial Day we ought to remember the dead, not celebrate the Empire

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments

The complicated origin of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows

Frank Deford, who wrote about sports with panache and insight, dies at 78

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

AMONGST THE STARS by Kelly Sedinger is now available for purchase

Mamet Threatens Fines Over Post-Show Discussion of His Play

Why I Stopped Going to Movie Theatres: The Death of Etiquette

Jaquandor: The Force will be with you always

Uncle Sam’s gonna want my apples

I divorced my husband but forged a lasting bond with his ex-wife

The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies

Elaborate senior photos allow students to live out their fantasies in yearbook

Now I Know: The Kitchen Utensil that Woofed and The Mexican Art Tax and Room for Two

From Dan – Hebdomadal: “Spell checker likes it. Means something that happens once a week every seven days, used especially for organizations. It’s not considered archaic, although usage was more common in the 1800s. Saw it in a (paper) book first published in 1986 that I am currently reading, used without a trace of irony.” Wouldn’t “weekly” do?

Everyone Gets a ‘Trophe

Nobody Did It Better: Thank You, Sir Roger Moore, and from Maverick: Season 4

Rowan Atkinson interviews Elton John

Weird Minor-League Strikeout by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitcher

Arthur’s household hints Read the rest of this entry »

The Wife wanted to see a movie that the three of us could all watch, and Gifted seemed to fit the bill. From the IMDB: “Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.”

This is a subgenre where its success is dependent on certain factors. In this case, one is the mutual love that Frank (Chris Evans, Marvel’s Captain America) and Mary (Mckenna Grace, from the TV show Designated Survivor) have for each other, without the kid being so obnoxious that you can’t stand to see him or her on the screen. On that level, the film succeeds.

Of course, one Frank stops homeschooling Mary so she can have friends her own age – all she has besides Frank is his landlady Roberta (Octavia Spencer) – it becomes obvious to her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) that Mary has amazing skills.

Reading the Rotten Tomatoes reviews (64% positive), some critics think that Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) is “too vicious to be persuasive, and [writer Tom] Flynn undercuts her morally by stressing her lust for recognition.” That’s not my reading of the woman, as villain. She seems more wounded, estranged from her son, as she had been from her late daughter, and even from her current husband.

Fred, the one-eyed cat, also features prominently in the storyline. Yes, it’s all melodramatic, with a courtroom scene, and a Big Reveal, where Frank has to make a tradeoff to resolve the issue.

Gifted is a relatively simple, straightforward film, somewhat formulaic and almost certainly manipulative. But I laughed aloud more than once – to the irritation of the Daughter – and got sucked into the lives of the principals. It’s not a great film, but enjoyable enough on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany.

Jaquandor saw this making the rounds, so he did it on Facebook. Naturally, I’ll post mine to the blog. I must say that some of the categories I find a bit fuzzy, but if you’re not worried about that, I won’t be either.

Most Hated Movie Of All Time: Fellini Satyricon, which I saw in college
Movie I Think Is Overrated: The Shining
Movie I Think Is Underrated: Her
Movie I Love: Casablanca,, which I saw outdoors
Movie I Secretly Love: Hairspray (the original)

Favorite Action Movie: Men in Black
Favorite Drama: 12 Angry Men, which I saw on TV, then subsequently got the video through some Cheerios coupons
Favorite Horror: Alien
Favorite Comedy: Young Frankenstein
Favorite Romance: Love Actually

Favorite Fantasy: The Wizard of Oz
Favorite Disney Movie: The Incredibles
Favorite Science Fiction Movie: the original Planet of the Apes
Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Animated Movie: The Iron Giant

Favorite Superhero Movie: Spider-Man (2002, Tobey Maguire)
Favorite War Movie: The Best Years of Our Lives, which I saw on TV
Favorite Thriller: Rear Window, which I saw in the cinema
Favorite Cop Movie: The Fugitive
Favorite Musical: Fiddler on the Roof

Favorite Chop-Socky: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I do not know what the category means)
Favorite Documentary: Hoop Dreams
Favorite Bad Movie: Reefer Madness or Howard the Duck
Childhood Favorite: West Side Story
Favorite Franchise: Back to the Future

Best Trilogy: original Star Wars
Guilty Pleasure: Titanic (I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures)
Favorite Director: Woody Allen
Favorite Actor: Tom Hanks
Favorite Actress: Meryl Streep

Favorite Movie This Year So Far: Hidden Figures
Worst Movie So Far This Year: No entry.
Movie I Have Recently Seen: Kedi
What I Thought Of It: I enjoyed it
Favorite Movie Of All Time: Annie Hall

Jonathan Demme died at the age of 73 from esophageal cancer. The Boston Globe called him a populist of the best sort.

From Rolling Stone: “In 1987, Demme was nominated for a Best Music Video, Long Form Grammy for his work on “Sun City: Artists Against Apartheid.” Van Zandt co-founded the Artists United Against Apartheid with Arthur Baker and they produced the anti-apartheid song ‘Sun City‘ and the album of the same name.

“‘[Demme’s] contribution to ‘Sun City’ was pivotal in getting Nelson Mandela released and ending the South African apartheid,’ Van Zandt added. ‘He was a saint…'”

Also: “[Bruce] Springsteen won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Streets of Philadelphia,” which was featured in the Demme-directed film Philadelphia that stars Tom Hanks. Demme also directed the music video for the song.”

Of Demme’s most famous documentary, Wired wrote: “Stop Making Sense Is Still the Concert Film All Others Try to Be.” I’m very partial to that vintage of Talking Heads’ music, since I saw the band at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on that tour, one of my two favorite concert experiences ever.

I was a big fan of Demme’s breakout film, Melvin and Howard (1980), and of Swimming to Cambodia (1987 Spaulding Gray documentary), but I’ve never seen his Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs, though it was on HBO when I was visiting my parents at one point.

WATCH AND LISTEN to these Jonathan Demme works:

Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid

The Demme video here and here
The pop-up video here
Just the music here

Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen

Jonathan Demme video here and here

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

Trailer of Demme film here and here

In The Still Of The Night – the Neville Brothers

Red Hot and Blue (TV Movie) segment directed by Demme here

I’ve been reading a book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Anthony Walton called Brothers in Arms, about a black tank battalion during World War II. It’s one of several books he has written, and I would have probably finished this one by now except I became ill.

During the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2016, Abdul-Jabbar was one of the speakers. Someone I vaguely knew commented to another, “I thought he was just another dumb jock,” expressing surprise at how intelligent and articulate he was. Being familiar with his background, I was bemused.

He has been an eloquent spokesperson for his faith ever since he converted to Islam and changed his name from Lew Alcindor in 1971. From Wikipedia: “Abdul-Jabbar has been a regular contributor to discussions about issues of race and religion, among other topics, in national magazines and on television… In November 2014, Abdul-Jabbar published an essay in Jacobin magazine calling for just compensation for college athletes, writing, ‘in the name of fairness, we must bring an end to the indentured servitude of college athletes and start paying them what they are worth.'” In 2012, he was selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a U.S. global cultural ambassador.

But I cannot forget the basketball prowess. Even as a kid in upstate New York, I read about him as a 6-foot, 8-inch player, leading the “Power Memorial team to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record.”

Then “from 1967–69, he played under coach John Wooden, contributing to [UCLA’s] three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses… During his college career, Alcindor was twice named Player of the Year (1967, 1969); was a three-time First Team All-American (1967–69); and played on three NCAA basketball champion teams (1967, 1968 and 1969).

As a pro: “Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points and won a league-record six MVP awards. He collected six championship rings,… a record nineteen NBA All-Star call-ups and averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game… He is also the third all-time in registered blocks (3,189), which is even more impressive because this stat had not been recorded until the fourth year of his career (1974).

“In 2015, ESPN named Abdul-Jabbar the best center in NBA history, and ranked him No. 2 behind Michael Jordan among the greatest NBA players ever. While Jordan’s shots were enthralling and considered unfathomable, Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook appeared automatic, and he himself called the shot ‘unsexy.'”

Beyond all that, Kareem appeared in one of my favorite comedies, Airplane, where he played Roger Murdock; great first name, that. And the role has affected his real life.

Kareem was the celebrity JEOPARDY! champion on the episode that aired Friday, November 6, 1998. Why on earth would I know that without looking? Because my JEOPARDY! victory was Monday, November 9, 1998.

In 2016, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar turns 70 on April 16.

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