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Tag Archives: 2 Stars

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

This documentary is about Scotty Bowers and based on his book, “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.  Scotty is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who went to Hollywood after the war and became the confident (and lover) of many well-known actors and actresses. The gas station at which he worked became a front for helping them to connect with same-sex lovers at a time when people involved in Hollywood motion pictures were bound to strict ethics codes. The movie should have been very interesting; I was expecting a movie complementary …

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I’ll See You in my Dreams

Blythe Danner is Carol, a middle-aged widow and former musician who leads a monotonous life since her husband died in a plane crash. Encouraged to break out of her routine by her girlfriends, Carol establishes a friendship with her pool man Lloyd, a romantic relationship with Bill (played by Sam Elliot) at the senior center at which she plays cards with her girlfriends and reconnects with her daughter. The movie was barely tolerable. I tend to like Blythe Danner, but in this film, she is working with a script that is not well executed. The character development is shallow; I …

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The Post

Once in a while, I see a movie of which my opinion bucks the prevailing one; this is one of those films. Meryl Streep plays Katharine Graham, who became head of the Washington Post (and first female head of a major newspaper) after the suicide of her husband. Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, one of the Post’s leading editors. The New York Times, main Post competitor, has already broken the story of the Vietnam War cover-up, and this film is the story of how the Post continued to expand on the story that ultimately brought the NYT and the Post …

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Southside With You

This movie recreates what the first “date” with Michelle and Barack Obama might have been like. Tika Sumpter plays Michelle, and Parker Sawyers Barack, both of whom have been featured in other films. I thought Sawyers was the more convincing of the two – he seemed to at least partially capture Barack’s unique speech and mannerisms. Going into it, I did not know, and was let down, by the fact that the entire film is about their first date – and nothing else. The film does capture some of the issues facing Chicago and the context around the Obama’s meeting, …

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Miss Sloane

Jessica Chastain plays Miss Sloane, a powerful, results-driven DC lobbyist who one day leaves her employer to work for an organization trying to pass a gun control bill. The movie begins with her testifying on the hill and then weaves back and forth between testimony and the events leading up to the hearing. Jessica Chastain was great to watch and in characteristically excellent form playing this over-driven woman. And I did like the end. However, getting to the end for me was rather torturous. This is essentially a movie that plays into every stereotype that people have of “corrupt DC” …

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Hail Caesar!

This should have been a really good movie. It is written and directed by the Coen Bothers, and the majority of their films are smart and funny. This movie is supposed to be a satire on the Hollywood film industry in the 1950’s during the McCarthy era and when Hollywood studio heads owned their lead actors and actresses. It has a phenomenal cast – George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, and many others. While there were a couple of scenes that made me laugh, overall, it wasn’t funny, and I don’t think the film got its point across …

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Sisters

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play 40+ year old sisters who discover their parents are selling the family home; the sisters decide to have one last party before the house is gone. Of course, the story is of a party that goes horribly awry. What a strange movie. Fey and Poehler are two very funny people who are usually very funny together. I would say this movie is definitely not their best gig. There are some very funny places in the movie that are worth a few laughs; the humor is very raunchy but doesn’t “hit” consistently. By the end, …

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Big Eyes

Story about the artist Keane whose paintings of the children with the big eyes became quite popular in the 1960’s. Christoph Waltz plays Walter Keane, a San Francisco artist who meets Margaret, played by Amy Adams, at a sidewalk art show. Very quickly, both are married, and through a quick sequence of events, Walter is mistaken for the artist, and he does not correct the error. The movie is the story of how the Keanes, and the art they created, became popular. I found the story to be rather interesting; I remember two of these prints hanging in our house …

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Divergent

based on the first book in the young adult trilogy about a dystopian society in which people are segregated by personality types. While I really enjoyed the trilogy (not as good as Hunger Games, but still a very engaging read), I did not enjoy the movie nearly as much. The film was faithful to the book in most cases; however, the screenplay was rather flat; there should have been a lot more thrilling action and character depth. I found myself filling in the blanks a lot because I read the book; I wondered if people who had not read the …

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