Unexpected Uncle

Very Misguided and a Waste

Very bad romance starring the lovely Anne Shirley, the very handsome James Craig, and the always delightful Charles Coburn. The problem is that Craig plays a spoiled and entitled alcoholic whom Anne falls head over heels for. I don’t know why, because when he is not trying to control and manipulate her he rudely ignores her and is mean to her. He treats her like crap. Instead of Coburn, The Unexpected Uncle, talking some sense into her and finding her a sweet humble boy for her to love, he actually helps him get her back when she finally sees the light and leaves him. Turrible.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

August 29, 2020

Too Many Wives

For Anne Shirley Fans Only

I admit I only watched this one because I have a soft spot for Anne Shirley. Anne was fine in the role. She was matched up with John Morley. Also fine with a Dick Powell like appeal. I enjoyed seeing Jack Carson in a very early bit part and Gene Lockhart. The plot is silly: Its lack of wit is masked by it’s frenetic pacing, fast talking, and wacky but unfunny plot. Barry, unable to get a job as a journalist, is taken up on his offer to be the “fall guy” to distract disgruntled subjects of the paper’s stories. He will placate them leaving those responsible unbothered by the public’s complaints. To shield him from getting fired, he also pretends to be a young married father just trying to support his family. Unfortunately, Betty, his new love, has a complaint against the newspaper and is shocked to learn he is married and a father. Chockful of misunderstandings which still only manages to stretch the length out to 60 minutes or so, it was too long even at that.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

August 28, 2020

It’s Love I’m After

Just Tiresome and So Very Shrill

I was attracted to this movie by the stellar cast. I was very disappointed. Some reviewers seem bewildered as to why this screwball comedy has been forgotten and is relatively unknown. Yeah, well I know why. It was loud, over-acted, and disjointed. All of the characters were very silly and their motivations were nonsensical. Their actions and reactions made no sense. I blame the director. I usually love Bonita Granville, but her performance was an example of what was wrong with this movie. Absolutely embarrassing.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

May 31, 2020

The Tall Girl

Well, I Loved it.

I thought this was funny, romantic, and touching. I guess I missed the insensitive to those who have had to have caesareans caesarean reference. I think some people take things way too seriously and go out of their way to look for “triggers.” And I think it IS hard for some girls to be tall in high school. I loved the alternative to the much criticized and rightly so Pretty in Pink ending. Am I the only reviewer who likes teen movies and romantic comedies? Yes, I root for nerds and underdogs. No, it wasn’t great and groundbreaking and thought provoking (or depressing).Yes, it was full of clichés and stereotyped characters, but it was a cute movie, and ended the way I wanted it to.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

September 16, 2019

Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta

Clever Changes to fit the Story to the Black Community

Well done and clever riff on Pride and Prejudice. Incorporates the black community in 2019 very authentically, I think. Although it mostly matches scene for scene, with its own interpretation, of course, there were some differences which were more welcome then not. Welcome because an exact copy would just be boring. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett had a happy marriage, and Jane was a widow with a young son, for example. Updates include Lizzy being a community activist, Darcy running for public office, Bingley being a professional golfer, Mr. Bennett is the pastor of an urban church. The Georgiana character was cut. Very enjoyable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

June 3, 2019

Twice Blessed

Interesting Variation of the Parent Trap plot, with None of its Charm

The appeal for this movie is its similarities and differences from Parent Trap. In this case the twins know each other and their non-custodial parents even though they rarely see them. So we miss the emotional epiphanies when the two discover each others existence. In this movie, the mother is an uptight famous child psychologist engaged to a Senator. The dad is scruffy newspaper man. The twins are 16 or 17 years old when the movie starts, so teen romance does play a large part of the plot. Mom’s daughter is a conservative intellectual genius, Dad’s is a dumb blonde and a jitterbug queen. Hilarity ensues when they decide on impulse to change places. Sounds pretty good, right? It would have been very good indeed had this movie had the great stars and performances (and charm) of either the Hayley Mills led project or the Lindsey Lohan vehicle. But no. All of the players are pretty pedestrian, and so is this movie. Oh well, glad I saw it anyway. Can’t believe I was unaware of this until I saw it listed on TCM. I’m a huge Hayley Mills and Parent Trap fan. I read the book (Lottie and Lisa) when it was finally re-issued in English in 2015.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

June 2, 2019

Swashbuckler

Pederast!

One of the most unintentionally funny lines ever! It’s never good to hurl an insult that the intended target might need to look up in the dictionary. This is a fun pirate movie with a stellar cast. Critics hate it and it goes on my list as one of my guilty pleasures. It is a very long list, I admit. Major crush developed on Robert Shaw, even when I was a college student when I first saw this movie almost 40 years ago. I remember I bought another ticket the next day to see it again. It’s a shame he died so young. At the time, A pirate movie was way off the zeitgeist of the time, and as a girl who was raised on swashbucklers on film and on the page, I was totally hooked.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

March 27, 2019

Little Women

Jarring Jo

Perfectly enjoyable modern take on Little Women. I really liked the choices made to modernize the story. Some examples: Beth dying of cancer and Jo shaving her head for solidarity. Professor Bhaer being Jo’s supportive(and very attractive) but critical professor at college. Father home from Iraq. I loved his relationship with his wife (the always appealing and talented Lea Thompson) and his girls. Straitlaced Meg going a little crazy and getting drunk and making out (briefly) at a party. Jo being an aspiring fantasy YA writer. Devotees of the original Little Women will immediately be able to compare these with similar plot points in the original. The two thing that bothered me was A) the casting of Laurie. The actor did not look the part, though I did love the way they updated the character. The major problem (B) was the character of Jo. She was spoiled, arrogant, petulant, and immature throughout. She was a real drama queen and made even more irritating by the hammy acting on the part of the actress. She was also rather stupid. Had the character been better written and acted, I would have given this a 7 or 8.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

February 10, 2019

Emma

A Worthy Production Crippled

I have seen this version of Emma at least 3 times, and on this viewing, bumped my rating up 2 stars. The casting of Doran Goodwin is still a major sticking point. Though she gives Emma more complexity and is the truest to Jane Austen’s portrayal, her older looks, pasty complexion, and lack of charm, fight with the positive. She is not helped by an unfortunate choice of hairstyle: severely scraped back to an inch of it’s life with tight ringlets pulled out and sometimes glued against her forehead. Ugh. The other main problem I have with this production is two poorly done major scenes. The picnic on Box Hill is a waste. Practically meaningless with several important characters missing in action, it has none of the drama or importance in character development of any of the recent remakes. The second scene is Emma and Mr. Knightley’s conversation after Mr. Knightley rescues poor Harriet from Mr. Elton’s rudeness. It is crucial in the relationship building between Emma and Mr. Knightly in all of the other remakes. It is almost meaningless in this one due to the direction the actors were given. The ending is way too drawn out as well. Never thought I’d say that about a movie. I usually love my endings to be long and detailed. Of course, filmed in 1972, almost 50 years ago(!) it is stagey, claustrophobic, and the production values are not what we are used to, these days. I don’t count that against it. **7 stars out of 10**

April 30, 2018

Falling for Grace

Hallmark Type Movie Kicked up a Notch

This was basically a Hallmark romance plot but with a great cast, and much better writing. But since Hallmark movies are my guilty pleasure, this one was right up my street. The cast was very intriguing: obviously someone has some very good friends. A quick perusal of the cast reveal some very respected and high profile actors and comedians. Bobby Flay even makes a cameo and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted fame has a bit part. I would love to know what got BD Wong so much in a twist that he felt he had to disavow his participation in the movie. He certainly hasn’t directed or produced anything since. It was a warm, amusing, unpretentious, romantic movie with the usual conflict, misunderstandings and a good subplot. I loved the fact that the family spoke Chinese with subtitles. Don’t know why, I just liked listening to it.**8 stars out of 10**

October 15, 2017