Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Police Detectives

Yup, I am late this week and hope to not be for the rest of the year. I work late Wednesday and didn't have my post written yet. I was going to go to the computer and get it done but hubby put in a movie(The White Countess) and I watched that instead. There are so many police detectives in film that I was wondering which ones to choose plus I was trying to avoid the private eye  type. I will enjoy everyone’s choices so head over to Wandering Through The Shelves and find out what other detective films were chosen. So here are my 3...

1. CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA-1936

I used to watch Charlie Chan movies all the time because I love the mystery and I loved the character and his #1 son. The character is a detective from Honolulu and travels around with his son ending up in all sorts mayhem involving death. Keye Luke played #1 son who later became famous as the old blind man in Kung Fu and Sydney Toland played Charlie. Sydney was...Swedish! I love that fact but he “looked the part" because his grandmother had Mongolian in her lineage.  This is considered one of the best of the Charlie Chan series  which takes place at the opera( no kidding). A lunatic, Boris Karloff,  gets his memory back and escapes bent on revenge. The scene of the crime is behind the scenes of the  opera with the leads as well as others who could all be a possible murderers but Charlie Chan will get to the bottom of it. This is quite well acted, with a good storyline and great costumes especially the one Boris wears.

2. THE BIG HEAT-1953


I am finding out I really like Fritz Lang(Metropolis) films which seem to always deal with social injustice and this is another where Glenn Ford plays an honest cop who finds out that his town is run by some very corrupt a-holes..Lee Marvin being one of them. Many on his police force are also corrupt and Ford takes it to a new level when his wife is blown up in their car(the bomb was meant for him). You made Glenn one very angry cop who ends up working with Lee Marvin's moll(Gloria Grahame) to put an end to these S.O.B.'s. A great film, in my humble opinion, that is brutal for its time.

3. THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN-1976




On to lighter fare with the great Peter Sellers as the fumbling French detective, Inspector Clouseau. I don't like the Steve Martin films which don't even compare to Peter Sellers who portrayed the inspector 5 times, I believe(the last film, Sellers died during the making of the movie, so the film was made around his disappearance). This film starts off where the Inspector visits his former boss, played brilliantly by Herbert Lom who should have received an Oscar Nomination for this role, to see him on the day Lom is leaving the insane asylum, cured of his insanity. Let's just say, within a few minutes, Lom's eye starts twitching and he really wants to kill this incompetent detective. Lom and his evil minions kidnap a scientist and his daughter and hole up in a castle in the Alps wanting money and the nations to kill Clouseau or else. You have the inspector having to dodge his manservant Kato who tries to kill him to keep the Inspector on his toes, funny disguises, a beautiful woman, Omar Sharif and Lom's twitching eye. Poor Sellers couldn't do a lot of his stunts since he had a weak heart, but he is so funny and this is one of my favourites. 

I wanted just one clip from the Pink Panther but, somehow, 3 showed up...oh well...enjoy!

So which 3 would you pick?

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wandering through the Shelves- 2020 Releases

 

What a week! I have a feeling 2021 will be, excuse me, a shitshow, before finally settling down. All we can do is ride the wave. I hope the weeks coming up will be smoother than I think they will be. Wandering Through The Shelves chose  this topic which is a toughy since we have been, mostly, on lockdown. In fact, Ontario is on a major lockdown starting at 12:01 am Thursday. We can only go out to the grocery store, pharmacy, exercise, walk the dog plus we can't be out past 8pm unless we need to go to work and can't work from home. If people would listen, we would not be in this situation. OK enough rant... I have only seen one film from 2020 which I will talk about but I will choose 3 films I do want to see and here they are...

1. MANK

This film stars Gary Oldman as Herman J Mankiewicz who was a Hollywood screenwriter during its heyday and wrote Citizen Kane..er..therein lies the issue since Orson Welles laid claim to co-writing it or actually writing most of it. It depends on which film books you read and which documentaries you watch but you know both had their hand in writing the screenplay which was a veiled story about William Randolph Hearst. I will say that Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, was a gifted comedienne  and did have talent but was shown in negative way in the film. I would read up about Hearst(who tried, with Louis B Mayor of MGM to buy up all the negatives and burn the film), his narcissistic ways, his castle, the parties he gave and then watch Citizen Kane. Anyway, I know this film got mixed reviews but I really want to see it.

2. MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM


I have listened to some of Ma Rainey's music and I do love it. She had a great voice and I love that old style blues. I love the actors in this film who, in my book, never make a bad movie and they rise above the story they are given. Viola Davis plays Ma and the late, great Chadwick Boseman plays her ambitious trumpeter. It is set in the late 20s during an afternoon recording session where you see all the characters interplay with one another from fighting to some lustful events. This film sounds intriguing to me because of the actors and the music.

3. WONDER WOMAN 1984

Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman and I do want to see this sequel even though I heard it is not as good as the first film. I also can't see Kristen Wiig as Cheetah baddie. Poor cheetahs, why should they be bad when they are one of the nicest big cats around. I would not have chosen this gal for this role. We know Wonder Woman is helping her fellow man and has to, somehow, save the world...typical but it's just fun to see. 

4. 1917


This is one film that my hubby and I did see and thoroughly enjoyed since it did come out in Canada in 2020. You follow 2 young men who end up behind enemy lines and must try and find their way back to their own side without being killed. It is well acted and the effects, cinematography and art direction are excellent. It really is a must see. 

Have you seen any films from 2020? 



Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks-Best Picture

Happy New Year everyone! Well, everything is about the same but changes are happening and, I believe, for the good. Now begins a whole new year of weekly themes from Wandering Through The Shelves. Thursday Movie Picks is so much fun and I am always amazed at how many themes can be created. So, this week is the first of a whole new slew of themes, and it is about Best Picture Oscars which is a s@%*load of  films to choose from. Without further adieu, here are my 3...

1. WINGS-1927




This is the very first film, and the only silent film,  to win best Oscar. It beat out some great films like Sunrise, The Last Command, The Crowd, Metropolis but does this make it a bad movie? I don't think so even though the other films, I believe, are better . Wings is is a great film that has some excellent aerial battles. The director, William Wellman, was part of the famous Lafayette Flying Corps so his heart was truly in this film. Wings is about 2 rivals who grew up together and the girl they both end up loving, played by Clara Bow. The boys go to war and become friends especially when a new mate dies soon after they meet him(played by Gary Cooper that catapulted him to stardom). The melodrama is secondary to the war that was very fresh to everyone since it ended only 9 years before. They often show the aerial and land battles in documentaries since so little was filmed during the actual war. This film is worth seeing.

2. HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY-1941

Talk about a big upset that now makes many critics deride this film, unfairly in my book.  Why? This is the year of Citizen Kane, arguable the greatest film ever made( I believe it is better than The Godfather). It also is the year of The Maltese Falcon, The Little Foxes, Suspicion, Meet John Doe and The Lady Eve. Does this make How Green Was My Valley a crappy movie? Not in my books and I really like this film. It stars a young Roddy McDowall who is part of this family of miners led by the patriarch, Donald Crisp. The daughter is the beautiful Maureen O’Hara who loves the local preacher played by Walter Pidgeon. Their lives are shown around this the Welsh village that unites families because of the mines. John Ford directed this film with a gentle hand since he loved his heritage and it shows. One has to look at this film on its own not that it beat out all the other films.

3. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY-1953


This film has an all star cast set just before and during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Burt Lancaster is a Sergeant in the army who is having a lusty affair with Deborah Kerr, the wife of his Captain. You see them famously make out on the beach while the waves crash about them. You have the soldiers in the barracks from the brutal bullet-headed Ernest Borgnine who bullies everyone but especially Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. The climax of the film is the bombing which was really well done for this time. Once again, this film won over the likes of Shane, Roman Holiday, Stalag 17, The Bandwagon and The Big Heat. This film is excellent even if one thinks it should not have won and should be seen , once again, on its own merit. Frank Sinatra won an Oscar and rebuilt his career from the ashes due to this film.

So which 3 would you choose?

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks:TV Edition-Space/Aliens

 

May I first say a huge thank you to everyone who always comments on my blog from Alex, Sandra, The great Shady, Pat, Liz, Bluebeard & Elizabeth to Cathy, Denise, Janie, Brittani, Dell, John and the wonderful Joel who loves many of the same films I do. I know I have missed some great blogger buds and, for that I apologise but you are still close to my heart. I have been bad in not replying like I often wish to do but time gets away from me. I always strive to do better but I do read all of them and mark down films I wish to see that you have mentioned. It is the end of a year like no other and the beginning of a new one. Nothing will change right away but, I bet, next year at this time, we will be able to hug people we love. I love this weekly themed series that Wandering Through The Shelves has created and hope it never ends. The last one seems to fit since this year has been quite alien in so many ways, who would have thought? Now let's begin...

1. HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY-1981


I watched this show back in the late '80s or early '90s and found it hilarious and it is, in every sense, a British comedy. There are not that many episodes but they are so unique even if the effects are not that great(not nearly as bad as Blake 7 which I talked about quite a while back) but you don't care because the writing and acting is brilliant. It starts off where a man of no major importance, is saved by some alien before the earth is blown up to make way for an intergalactic freeway. We meet a 2 headed man who has his own spaceship, his lovely assistant and his very depressed robot. It goes from there into one weird but fun episode into another. I still have to see the movie.

2. STAR TREK:THE NEXT GENERATION-1987-1994

I love all the Star Trek tv shows and films except for Depp shit 9..er..Deep Space 9(maybe I should try that one again) and the latest one - STD...yes, I like calling it that.... Oh, ok Star Trek: Discovery. Many people often cite TNG series as their favourite over the original but, for me, it is apples and oranges for various reasons although my heart does follow Jean Luc Picard. He would be the one to broker peace while James T Kirk would take the flag of peace and smack you with it. The first year was a bit shaky trying to figure out the characters, the overuse of music and the smacking over the head with some do-good deeds but there are some gems like when the Enterprise is infected with something very similar to what happened on the original Enterprise as well as the episode where Picard plays a 1940's private eye on the Holodeck only for the Holodeck to "lose control" sort of speak. I love Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg, a very old(not looking it) alien who heads ten forward-the place where everybody knows your name. I love Q who lives forever and always creates havoc for Picard and his crew whenever he visits(love the Robin Hood theme episode). The Ship's counsellor, Deanna Troi, went from being a very lack lustre type of character to one of my favourites. Marina Sirtis truly made that character her own. One of my top 3 favourite episodes is when Picard is hit by a tractor beam and is sent to live a whole life time on this planet, finding love, having a family, only to learn that this world will end. To say Patrick Stewart acts well in this is to say the Pope is just a catholic. 

3. THE ORVILLE-2017-PRESENT


Seth McFarlane, famous for The Family Guy, Ted etc... created this gem, stars in it and has written many episodes. He clearly loves Star Trek and pays more homage to the famed series than makes fun of it. To me, he understand Gene Roddenberry's idea of Star Trek more than STD ever could. The spaceship is bright, comfortable but it is a ship to explore new worlds. There is a robot, 2 guys who "steer" the ship but can be such idiots, His first mate is his ex wife and the doctor is lusted after by some green amoeba goop voiced by Norm McDonald. It is funny but it has serious overtones as well and has much more depth than STD has. 2 short seasons have already been on and the 3rd has been delayed, partially because of Covid19. I hope the 3rd season will air in 2021 because I miss it. 

Happy New Year to all of you no matter if you stay up until midnight or go to bed by 10. We can all bitch about 2020 but let us remember what we do have as we cross into this new year and know that even though roses have thorns, let's not forget the thorns have roses. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks-Holiday Action Movies

 

Nothing says Christmas than an action film where one sees a Christmas tree in the movie....that's about it. Well, maybe there is a party going on before carnage explodes...literally. Let’s check out Wandering Through The Shelves and find out which films everyone else has chosen. I am late because it is Christmas Eve and I celebrate tonight so I had a lot to do....anyways, here are my 3...

1. LETHAL WEAPON-1987

Nothing says Christmas until a bad guy comes through a window and kicks the Christmas tree over. Mel Gibson plays a man on the edge( how appropriate) after he loses his wife, and is ready to commit suicide. Oh yes, he is also a cop and is partnered with a 50 yr old veteran, played by Danny Glover who is ready to  retire and is too old for this shit. Although they clash at first, they become great partners and good friends. This is a film all about ruthless drug people and a nutso Gary Busey(could there be any other but him acting nutso?) whom you know will meet his end at the hands of equally nutso Mel Gibson. This takes place during Christmas and it is the first time, but not the last, where Glover’s home is damaged including the poor tree.

2.  DIE HARD- 1988

I bet this will be a very popular choice and, no, I do not consider this a Christmas movie. It could have been a party any time of the year, the execs decided to choose Christmas as the  time to kick some ass. This film takes place in a big tower with the people, working for some nice mega business guy, are having a Christmas party. His right hand man is the estranged wife of Bruce Willis who is a cop. Enter bad guys lead by the superb Alan Rickman whom I still miss as he died way too young. His right hand man is played by Alexander Gudonov who was actually a top ballet dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet. In the 70s , when the Bolchoi came to New York City, he asked for  political asylum which caused a major incident between the U.S. and the Soviet Union even making a TV movie about this called Flight 222. It was quite intense since the Cold War was going on but Gudonov was able to stay. It’s sad that he died of acute alcoholism. Oh yes, back to this movie. Good rebel cop Bruce realizes something bad is afoot and he does his best to kill almost every bad guy in the film as he loses more clothing to show off his beefcake look. His one ally is a copy on the ground who believes him when other cops don’t because they are morons.

3. BAD SANTA- 2003

This is a very dark comedy but filled with some action. Billy Bob Thornton plays a self hate, alcoholic, bad ass who, along with his midget friend...sorry...little person, played wonderfully by Tony Cox dress up as Santa and his merry elf to work in the department stores so they can rob the place and take off with the huge amount of loot when the stores close for the holidays. Tony Cox is fed up with his safe cracking alcoholic Santa who pisses himself in the Santa chair and tells kids that his wife is “unclean”. John Ritter is the head of the store who now regrets hiring these 2 and asks the head of security, played Bernie Mac to keep an eye on them. John Ritter was perfect as the Puritan but creepy manager and this was, sadly, his last film. Bernie Mac was great as the head of security and Billy Bob is priceless as this most decrepit Santa you will ever know. He does have a heart(believe it or not) when he meets the sad kid who is bullied for being a true oddball kid. He stays at the kid's home with grandma played by Clovis Leachman(so funny) since  the kid’s dad is in prison. The ending is a big shootout as Bad Santa tries to bring snotty kid a pink elephant. It is dark, full of vulgar language and well, he does piss himself while sitting in the Santa chair but I love this film. It is not for everybody.


Merry Christmas everyone! I have a picture of my library and we are get a big storm so a white Christmas..I’m so excited. I have also given a video of Gudonov as a ballet dancer...a big difference from his turn as a bad guy in Die Hard. 





Thursday, December 17, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks-Films Directed By Female Directors

 

Female Directors have had it rough to be able to direct anything with a few early exceptions from the very early great Lois Weber to Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino. Now, we are seeing more female directors than ever before but it is still a tough business. I am looking forward to what everyone else will choose this week as the director of choice for each film. If you wish, check out Wandering Through The Shelves who has come up with these weekly themes. Here are my 3...

1. DANCE, GIRLS, DANCE(DOROTHY ARZNER)-1940

I have not seen this film in decades but I remember it so well because it stars Lucille Ball (who met Desi when she was making this film) as Bubbles and a young, beautiful Maureen O'Hara as the wholesome Judy, an aspiring ballerina(that would never happen as her ampful ta-ta's would be in the way). They meet in a struggling dance troupe headed by the little gnome, Maria Ouspenskaya who sees potential in Judy as a ballerina. When Bubbles and Judy are in some New York Dance thingy, they meet a wealthy numbnut and both fall for him. Can we see a cat fight coming on? You bet your booties because Bubbles wants her man. There is more to the deceptively naive plot and one I have to see again. 

2. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (PENNY MARSHALL)-1992

Penny Marshall went from playing Laverne on Laverne & Shirley (actually they started on Happy Days) to becoming quite a good director in her own right. This film is based on a true story when the men were fighting in the Second World War, the sports people decided to start up a woman's baseball league which became more popular than anyone would have thought. We see these women be picked for the ability to play ball(something I sorely lack in) with Geena Davis as the star player much to her sister's chagrin. Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna shine as fellow ball players and Tom Hanks is excellent as a boozy, tobacco chewing, probably smelly, manager of this team. We get to see all the issues women have to face playing on the team and come to care for all of them even smelly Hanks who realizes he has a true team in his hands. I know my brother will know all the facts about this time in baseball. 

3. THE PIANO (JANE CAMPION)-1993

Holly Hunter shines in this film as a bride to a wealthy plantation owner in New Zealand set in the mid 1800s. She comes with her young daughter(Anna Paquin, who won the Oscar for her role) and her piano. Oh yes, she does not speak but we quickly get the feeling she feels she can not let her guard down when it comes to men especially her jerk of a husband. Enter, in this hot climate, the sweaty worker for her husband played by Harvey Keitel..yup, good ole Harve has the hots for this dame who doesn't speak a word but loves to play the piano. It is sweaty, steamy and has oodles of sensualness throughout this film with Harvey dropping his clothes to show his..um...vulnerability. It can steam up your glasses and with that....I need a cold shower.

Which films would you choose?

I just heard that one of the blogger friends I know, and many of you know as well, has passed away on December 16th. Jo(Jo on Food, Life and a Scent of Chocolate) went quietly and she did not suffer which is good. It was always fun to read her blog about her day's events, recipes and her love for asparagus. She was a sweetheart.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Busy little Canuck Beaver

 i fell by the wayside, for the most part, in commenting on your blog posts and for that, I am so sorry. Last week I took the time off work to decorate my home. I have to do this now because I just am too tired after work. I have to rest in between too which sucks. I have little Christmas bits all over the house but here are some picks of the main stuff I have done...


I have Santas in my TV room plus the hallway plus a few hanging out in the kitchen and library. The picture, with the red poppy, is my dad who loved Christmas and said, "If Christmas is just for kids, then I'm the biggest kid of all." I agree with that statement.


My Advent wreath is the first to be hung out and I surrounded it with a garland that has a musical motif which includes the orchestra of cherubs.


My garland in the TV room with some Santas and snowmen in the mix. In the background are the famous Moriskan dancers I inherited from my mom and the cabinet holds my mom's Faberge style eggs she created. 


This garland just reminds me of garlands I have seen in Germany and Austria. I have all sorts of fun things i place on this garland.



My village with the church on one end and the cathouse on the other. All of them are hand painted mainly by me but a couple my husband did with me. here is a close up of the cathouse and you will see a bum sleeping on a park bench in the other...must have some reality in a pretty village:) 



Here is my nativity scene...

Now, finally the tree and, yes, it is a real tree.

I don't have a tree theme, just mainly decorated with glass ornaments from fish to an actual devil's head which comes from an old German Bavarian mold apparently. I also have many eggs that my mom made and will show 2 here that just happen to be angels...

This egg is from a basic chicken egg and the one below if from a goose egg. Now, let's see if any of you can guess what my mom used to create the angel's dress and sleeves? If you guess correctly you win one trillion dollars! Let's see if any of you guess it correctly:)


There are more decorations placed here and there plus I always decorate the kitchen light but this is enough to show. I shall be back on Thursday....Merry Christmas!!