"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Memorial for Actors and Directors ~ 2019

Hello, everyone.

Here it comes, my last post of 2019, and as usual, I will be honoring and commemorating actors and actresses who are close to my heart in the different works that they've done.

Carol Channing: Actress
January 31st, 1921 - January 15th, 2019
Who could ever forget her? I love seeing her in the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) (that movie is weird, but she is the best part about it) and I love hearing her voice in the movie Thumbelina (1994). Listening to her singing songs from Hello Dolly! is a joy. As soon as you hear her, you know that it is Carol Channing.

Albert Finney: Actor
May 9th, 1936 - February 7th, 2019
I was first introduced to Albert Finney in his role as Daddy Warbucks in Annie (1982). He plays Scrooge in one of my favorite versions of A Christmas Carol, the musical Scrooge (1970), but by far my favorite role of his is John Newton in Amazing Grace (2006). That is one of my favorite movies ever, and his lines are so powerful and amazing, no one else could have done it. I'm sad to see him go, but I am going to watch the movie Big Fish (2003) that has him soon, and I am looking forward to his performance.

Stanley Donen: Director
April 13th, 1924 - February 21st, 2019
I have to credit Mr. Donen here because he directed my favorite movie of all time, Singin' in the Rain (1952). Seriously, I love that movie so much, and it couldn't have happened without him. Other movies of his that I have seen are On The Town (1949) and Royal Wedding (1951). They have all been enjoyable, and looking at a list of all the movies he worked on I am looking forward to those that I haven't seen yet.

Peter Mayhew: Actor
May 19th, 1944 - April 30th, 2019
Ah, this is the man who played the famous Chewbacca. Star Wars is one of my favorite things, and Chewy is one of my favorite characters. Catherine Hawthorn and I already co-wrote a memorial post for him back on May 4th, which you can check out HERE.

Doris Day: Actress and Singer
April 3rd, 1922 - May 13th, 2019
I have not seen many things featuring her, but each one I have seen has been a treat! I first saw her in By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953) which is very sweet and cute, but my favorite of hers has to be The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). She and Jimmy Stewart were brilliant together, but the highlight of the movie is her singing the Academy Award Winning song, "Que Sera Sera". My grandmother always used to say that to me, and to finally see that movie in 2018 was very special.

Cameron Boyce: Actor
May 28th, 1999 - July 6th, 2019
It was sad to hear that he died due to health complications when he was so young. I never watched any of the TV shows featuring him, but I really liked seeing him in the Descendants movies as Carlos. When I read the book The Isle of the Lost this year, I see how perfectly he played him.

I'm sad to know that all of these people won't be with us any more, but I have enjoyed being able to see their movies.

That's all for me in 2019, and this decade, I am looking forward to what is to come in 2020!


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Movie Review: Monkey Business (1952)

Hello everyone!

I can't believe that we are almost done with 2019. It seems like it was just starting! This will be my last movie review in this year, and it is fitting because the film that I am reviewing is one of the first that was new to me that I saw in 2019!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning.

Monkey Business (1952):
"We dream of youth."
A professor, Barnaby Fulton, thinks that he has almost figured out the secret to an elixir of youth. What really happens is that a chimpanzee, Esther, figures it out first and dumps the solution into a water cooler. When Barnaby drinks the water, he starts acting like a 20-year-old! Later, his wife ends up drinking it and now has the mindset of a prank-pulling teenage girl! The company that Barnaby works for wants to know how to make it, but can't figure out how to make them tell. Will they ever turn back to their original ages?
"Grown-up men playing with monkeys."
Genre: Screwball Comedy.
Length: approx. 97 minutes.
"The history of discovery is the history of people breaking rules."
Costumes: 6, there are a few times when people aren't wearing shirts, and other times when the costumes are low and really tight.
Script: 10, no bad words! I thought that this line was a very funny play on words and is something I would get mixed up:
"Mr. Oxley has been complaining about my punctuation so I arrived promptly at 9."
Directed by: Howard Hawks.
Written by: Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, I.A.L. Diamond, & Harry Segall.
Cary Grant as Dr. Barnaby Fulton.
Ginger Rogers as Mrs. Edwina Fulton.
Charles Coburn as Mr. Oliver Oxley.
Marilyn Monroe as Miss Lois Laurel.
Hugh Marlowe as Hank Entwhistle.
Henri Letondal as Dr. Jerome Kitzel.
Robert Cornthwaite as Dr. Zoldeck.
Larry Keating as G.J. Culverly.
Douglas Spencer as Dr. Brunner.
Esther Dale as Mrs. Rhinelander.
George Winslow as Little Indian.
Cinematography: 8, seeing black and white movies is always fun for me.
Cinematography by: Milton R. Krasner.
Music: 7, I don't remember anything about it.
Music by: Leigh Harline.
Quotes: 9. "You're only old when you forget that you're young."
Content: 8, there is some drinking, and some suggestive things, enough to make me a little uncomfortable a few times.
'"Imagine people never aging."
"Sounds frightening."'
Originality: 8, this is a fun idea, it had the ridiculous factor needed for a screwball, that's for sure.
Good For: Cary Grant fans, fans of screwball comedies.
Age Range: This would be good for all ages, and I think that little kids might even get more of a kick out of it than I did.
Overall Score: 7.
Bonus thoughts:
I know a lot of people who love screwball comedies, and I know a lot of people who can't stand them. For this one I didn't love it as much as I do others (such as another by this same director, Bringing Up Baby [1938]), but there were times that I laughed out loud and Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers were swell together!

If this was one of the first movies I saw in 2019, then why am I writing a review of it now? Well, Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood are hosting The Second Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Blogathon!
When this was hosted the first time, I wrote a (very late) review of the movie Let's Dance (1950) which just starred Fred, so for this time I thought I would focus on a movie featuring Ginger!

For the blogathon:
"I love you, you potato head."
I don't think I had ever seen a movie with Ginger Rogers where she didn't dance! I know that there are a lot out there, but this was my first. I thought that she did such a good job in this! As I already said above, she and Cary Grant worked so well together. When she has a younger mindset she has such a good whining voice that it was very believable. And, in her 'usual' state of mind, she was so sweet and caring and always helping Barnaby when he forgot things.

Thank you to both Crystal and Michaela for hosting this, and thanks to all of you for reading! I hope that you all enjoyed my last review of this year, and this decade!


Friday, December 27, 2019

Movie Review: Scrooged (1988)

Hello and Merry Christmas to everyone!

Just over a week ago I reviewed The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) which was about Charles Dickens writing his famous classic, A Christmas Carol. We all know that book, right? Whether we've read it or seen a film adaptation we are all familiar with how the story goes. In fact, there are so many movie versions, I can't count them! What I will be reviewing for you today is another one of those that has a modern twist.

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning.

Scrooged (1988):
Based on: A Christmas Carol - by Charles Dickens.
"Sometimes you have to slap them in the face to get their attention."
Frank Cross likes Christmas because that is the time when people watch a lot of TV and revenues go up. Everything else that goes with Christmas is just a bunch of wasted time. He is visited by his former boss is dead and is given a warning that he needs to change his ways. After some threats Frank is told that three ghosts will visit him. Frank shakes this off, thinking that he is just so stressed while trying to get together a huge live broadcast of A Christmas Carol and is imaging that it is happening to him. While being worried about being replaced and seeing his old girl friend for the first time in 15 years, the ghosts come one by one. Meanwhile, an employee that Frank fired and ruined his life is out for a vengeance. Will Frank ever realize what Christmas is all about?
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Christmas, Retelling.
Length: approx. 101 minutes.
Costumes: 5, there are some costumes that are really low and skimpy which people talk about, and there is a short bit when someone isn't wearing anything.
"A party! I'm so happy that I wore my pretty dress."
Script: 6, there are quite a few bad words and names callings.
"We don't want to scare the 'Dickens' out of people."
Directed by: Richard Donner.
Written by: Mitch Glazer & Michael O'Donoghue.
Bill Murray as Frank Cross.
Karen Allen as Claire Phillips.
David Johansen as Ghost of Christmas Past.
Carol Kane as Ghost of Christmas Present.
Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk.
Robert Mitchum as Preston Rhinelander.
John Forsythe as Lew Hayward.
John Glover as Brice Cummings.
Nicholas Phillips as Calvin Cooley.
Alfre Woodard as Grace Cooley.
Michael J. Pollard as Herman.
John Murray as James Cross.
Buddy Hackett as Scrooge.
Mabel King as Gramma.
Damon Hines as Steven Cooley.
Tamika McCollum as Shasta Cooley.
Koren McCollum as Randee Cooley.
Reina King as Lanell Cooley.
Kate McGregor-Stewart as Lady Censor.
Tony Steedman as Headwaiter.
Brian Doyle Murray as Earl Cross.
Lisa Mende as Doris Cross.
Ryan Todd as Frank as a child.
Delores Hall as Hazel.
Winfred Tennison as Marvin.
Wendie Malick as Wendie Cross.
Raphael Harris as Older Calvin.
Cinematography: 7, okay, but nothing extraordinary.
Cinematography by: Michael Chapman.
Music: 7, I can't recall any specific score, but I like the songs that are in the soundtrack.
Music by: Danny Elfman.
Notes: There are quite a few cameos, especially from Buddy Hackett and Mary Lou Retton. Additionally, two of Bill Murray's siblings are in this playing his brother and father.
"Niagra falls."
Quotes: 9, my family and I quote this movie all the time!
"Oh, what is this? It's a toaster!"
Content: 5, there is smoking, gross things (like decaying body parts), drinking, scary things, kissing, and some really, really, really, suggestive things.
"Oh my gosh, does that suck."
Originality: 9, I like all of the nods back to the original story and how they made things modern. I could do without a lot of the swearing and content, but other than that the story is really creative!
Good For: A Christmas Carol fans.
Age Range: This is rated PG-13 because of the things that I mentioned, and I would agree with that.
Overall Score: 6.5.
Bonus thoughts:
This isn't the best movie ever (my family and I have a long running joke about '80s movies), but there are good and enjoyable bits. A Christmas Carol is a story of redemption, it debates the question, "Can someone change?" Inspiring and makes you want to do good!
My favorite part of this is definitely Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present. She is a fairy/ghost and is so hilarious! I laugh so much every time she is on screen. Even my mom (who doesn't usually watch movies) will come out to watch her bits. We joke that my sister looks and acts like her.
"Don't vex me Frank!"

Thank you so much for reading! What are your versions of A Christmas Carol? Merry Christmas!!!


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Movie Review: STAR WARS IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Hello, everyone!!!

I saw STAR WARS IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) the other day!!! Aaaahhhhh!!! You read about my thoughts on the trailer, and, now I am here to review it. I've only seen it once and I was way to excited to take notes, so please excuse my paraphrasing for quotes. But, first things first:
My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. 
This review is 100% SPOILER-FREE! There are no spoilers here at all. For any of you who are wondering, "What do you mean by spoiler-free, MovieCritic?" It means that in this review all of the wonderful surprises that are in the movie are still intact and not mentioned here. I just give a plot summary (like a trailer or on the back of a DVD [except spoiler-free]), who plays who in the cast (I exclude anyone who is a surprise), and tell you what content it has, meaning things that could disturb people. I just want to make sure that we are all on the same page.

Secondly, I don't blame any of you at all if you decide to read this after you have already seen it even though there are no spoilers. I was so worried about spoilers everywhere that I avoided the internet (not counting my email and school things) and I didn't even want to know if my sister's friend liked it or not. Haha, I'm a bit extreme, but it is my favorite movie series. So I completely relate to you if you do the same thing. I hope that this review is helpful to anyone who is not sure if they want to see it because they are wary about any possible content.

Third, I am sorry that I have such a long intro, but this is a very important bit. If you haven't seen any STAR WARS movies, it is so, so, so, so, so, so important that you see them in this order:
IV: A New Hope (1977)V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)I: The Phantom Menace (1999), II: Attack of the Clones (2002), III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), VII: The Force Awakens (2015), VIII: The Last Jedi (2017), and IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
Please do this and don't follow the numbers, because there are so many wonderful surprises that you don't want them ruined!

Now, getting down to business, I hope that you enjoy my spoiler-free review!

STAR WARS IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019):
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
Kylo Ren is looking for Sith lords of the past, searching for the entrance to the Sith domain. Our rebels have found a base and Rey is continuing her training. When a mysterious message is heard, Rey must journey with Finn, Poe, Chewy, and droids to find a hidden clue that could show them the way to defeat the evil in the galaxy. Can they rise to overthrow something so huge?
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action.
Length: approx. 145 minutes.
Costumes: 8, the costumes are all very suitable, but nothing super fancy.
Script: 8, a few bad words.
"Don't be afraid of who you are."
Directed by:  J. J. Abrams.
Written by: J. J. Abrams, Chris Terrio, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, & George Lucas.
Daisy Ridley as Rey.
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.
Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.
Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron.
John Boyega as Finn.
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.
Naomi Ackie as Jannah.
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.
Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux.
Richard E. Grant as General Pryde.
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.
Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico.
Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata.
Keri Russell as Zorii.
Greg Grunberg as Snap Wexley.
Shirley Henderson as Babu Frik.
Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix.
Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont.
J.J. Abrams as D-O (voice).
Josefine Irrera Jackson as Young Rey.
Cailey Fleming as Young Rey.
Annie Firbank as Tatooine Elder.
Cinematography: 9, there are a some really neat shots in here! Wow!
Cinematography by: Dan Mindel.
Music: 10!!! I love it!!!!
Music by: John Williams!
Notes: There are some references to the Sci-Fi book Dune - by Frank Herbert which both my parents and I spotted.
Quotes: 8, once again, please forgive my paraphrasing.
"They win only by making us think that we are alone."
Oscars won: N/A.
Content: 7, explosions, fighting, killing, death, a suggestive thing, and a graphic death. Some themes in here are healing, rebirth, and sacrifice, which might be weird to some people, but I thought that they did a really good job on that bit.
Originality: 10, it is so neat how they tie in the other STAR WARS movies as well as other themes and messages. I would never have thought of it, but it was a perfect finale.
Good For: STAR WARS fans, anyone who is finding themselves.
Age Range: This movie is rated PG-13 for a lot of violence in fighting and explosions. Because of that, I would say it depends on each person's tolerance level, but it would probably be fine for a lot of 10 year olds, even.
Overall Score: 8.5!
Bonus thoughts:
What do I even think? Man, ever since I saw it my head has been in a crazy whirl. I needed to think about it before I could even say if I liked it or not. When my family asked me about it I said, "I don't even know." After all of this thought, what did I come up with?
I liked it. To me, and my family, it was the only ending that could have been the end this epic saga. Something that I was hoping to happen did, which pleased me greatly. There were a lot of plot holes, but I still enjoyed it and am willing to overlook all of those except for the one very impossible thing. STAR WARS is one of my favorite things, and seeing it come to an end is very bittersweet. My mom keeps saying that in another 20 years there will be more, and that is probably true. I am so attached to all of these characters, they are so relatable and I find myself asking the same questions that they do. Another bittersweet bit was the fact that Carrie Fisher is in it. I was so surprised about how many scenes they filmed before she passed away, and I shed a few tears there and through the entire thing. Also that Peter Mayhew passed away this year. Can I tell you how happy I am that Lando was there?? He is one of my favorites. Though, there was one character who there was not nearly enough of...
Now, some people might not like this, and that's okay. I loved what they brought in and used. The only thing is a pretty huge plot hole around a big point and while it was creative, and I would never have expected it, I am still very confused. To me this one doesn't beat A New Hope or The Last Jedi (which are my two favorites), but it is still very high on the list. I'll probably go see it again in theaters, and that is something that I never do, but it means that much to me.

I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas! I meant to have this review up sooner, but as I said, I couldn't decide of what I thought about it! Have you seen this? Let me know your thoughts on STAR WARS because I would love to discuss it with you!

Thanks for reading, and as always,

"May the force be with you."


Thursday, December 19, 2019

The 12 Days of Christmas Movie Tag

Hello, everyone!

I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to blog tags. I love being tagged, but once I am I forget about it completely for months. For this tag I wasn't officially tagged, but the creator, Hamlette, said that anyone who wanted to could do it. I have other tags that I am looking forward to getting around to doing, but I can't put this one off long because it is Christmas themed! I was originally planning to do it in the 12 days of Christmas, but I thought that I would be on top of things for once and do it ahead of schedule. Way to go me! I am trying to avoid using the same answers that anyone who has already done it has used.

If I have reviewed these movies there will be a link to my review if you want more information on it.

The 12 Days of Christmas Movie Tag: Created by Hamlette:
#1 Use a different movie for each prompt
#2 Add photos and/or explanations of how your choices fit the prompts
#3 Tag a few friends to play along

1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree -- movie that involves agriculture:

Um, so this one was nearly impossible to come up with. Field of Dreams (1989). It is about a farmer in Iowa, Ray Kinsella, who hears a voice in his corn field telling him, "If you build it, he will come." Ray feels that the voice means to make a baseball diamond. When he does, baseball players mysteriously come out of the field and start playing games, but only those who believe can see. This is such a weird movie, but it is my sister's favorite of all time.

2.  Turtledoves -- movie about a long-lasting relationship:

Up (2009). This movie only has a short bit featuring it, but it shows when Carl and Ellie meet as kids and when they get married and grow old together. This movie gives me so many feelings, I love it!

3.  French Hens -- movie that takes place in France:

Hugo (2011). It is all about a boy who lives at a railway station in Paris. He is takes care of the clock that directs all of the trains, but no one knows he is there, until he makes friends with a girl. A fabulous cast and it won several Oscars. It is based on the book by Brian Selznick. It is really good, I'll review it one of these days!

4.  Calling Birds -- movie where people talk on the phone:

Bye, Bye, Birdie (1963). There is a musical scene called "Telephone Hour" where a bunch of teenagers are calling each other and gossiping about two of their classmates becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.

5.  Golden Rings -- movie with multiple romances:

Emma (1996). Miss Taylor marries Mr. Weston. Emma loves Frank Churchill, or does Mr. Elton love her? Harriet loves Mr. Elton. Wait, or is it that Harriet loves Frank? Mr. Knightley? Or is it that farmer, Mr. Martin? Does Jane Fairfax have feelings for Mr. Knightley or Mr. Churchill? Who does Emma love in all of the matchmaking? Some of these are true, some aren't, you have to figure it out. Heehee. But yeah, there are a lot. I count five couples by the end. Hey, I didn't even realize how perfectly that fits this question!

6.  Geese A-laying -- movie with a birth or that features babies:

Gone With The Wind (1939). This was the only one that I could think of. In the middle of the movie Melanie is having a baby when Atlanta is burning down. A famous line from the movie is when the servant, Prissy says, "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!"

7.  Swans A-swimming -- movie where someone goes swimming:

Dangerous When Wet (1953). This movie is all about a girl going to swim the English channel and a famous scene is when Ester Williams swims with animated Tom and Jerry. Sadly I've not seen the end of this movie, but I really enjoyed the first half when I saw it a few years ago.

8.  Maids A-milking -- movie with cows:

This one took me forever to think of. Home on the Range (2004). It is all about three cows who decide to catch a infamous cattle rustler to get the reward to save their ranch. It is one of Disney's lesser known movies, but it has always been one of my favorites.

9.  Ladies Dancing -- movie with a dance scene:

When in doubt, go with Disney. Beauty and the Beast (both 1991 & 2017) both have gorgeous dance scenes. I love it so much!

10.  Lords A-leaping -- movie about athletes:

A Knight's Tale (2001). This movie is about a man, William, who pretends to be a knight in order to joust in tournaments. Lots of action and good times. This movie is hilarious.

11.  Pipers Piping -- movie with someone playing a musical instrument:

Coco (2017). A boy wants to be a musician in a family who bans music. He steals a guitar to perform in a talent show, and is transported into the land of the dead. He needs his family's blessing, but they will only give it to him if he promises to not play music anymore. He goes on a journey through the land of the dead looking for a way to get home. So much music in here, and lots of guitar playing! Such a beautiful movie.

12.  Drummers Drumming -- movie with characters in the military:

I don't watch a lot of war movies, but I do like Monuments Men (2014). It is about a unit in World War II who are looking for art and sculptures that the Nazis have taken and hidden. Plus, part of this movie takes place at Christmas and has a really beautiful scene.

I tag:
Lilah at The Singing Writer
Mary Kate at Sarcastic Scribbligs
Fawnabelle at Geeky, Nerdy, and Proud of It

I won't be online at all really for the next few days because I will be desperately avoiding Star Wars spoilers, but I will be back in a few days to post a review about The Rise of Skywalker after I see it!

Thank you so much for reading! What do you think of all of the movies that I mentioned?

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles