Coco (2017 film)

I finally saw Coco.

Fantastic.

The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living and to reverse his family’s ban on music.

The concept for Coco is inspired by the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. …

97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pixar truly is the best in animation.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

CBGB – 2013 film

I had a PUNK stage.

It was ME New Year’s Even crashing off the dance floor, knocking down the drums at the Calgarian Hotel. The pogo dancing was fierce.

I threw up in a Volkswagen Beetle — woke up in a closet atop all the winter boots.

CBGB is a 2013 film that follows the story of Hilly Kristal‘s New York club from its concept as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock ‘n’ roll and punk.

Opened 1973, the dive became a famed venue of punk rock and new wave bands like the RamonesTelevisionPatti Smith GroupBlondie, and Talking Heads.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

From the early 1980s onward, CBGB was known for hardcore punk. …

The club closed upon its final concert, played by Patti Smith, on October 15, 2006. …

CBGB’s two rules were that a band must move its own equipment and play mostly original songs …

In 1978, new wave songwriter Elvis Costello would open shows for The Voidoids, while The Police played at CBGB for their first American gigs. …

Hilly Kristal died from complications of lung cancer on August 28, 2007. …

wikipedia

This was one of Alan Rickman’s last films. He died unexpectedly of pancreatic cancer age-69.

OMFUG stands for Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers.

PERFECT Hollywood Blockbuster – Top Gun 2022

Increasingly critical of Hollywood, I couldn’t have been more impressed with Top Gun: Maverick.

It’s one of the few films I was happier to see on the big screen rather than streaming.

Jennifer Connelly is gorgeous.

Ed Harris awesome, as always.

In fact the entire cast is made up of beautiful people. Stars.

Special effects were totally convincing for me.

Fans love it. 97% of 431 critics on Rotten Tomatoes like it.

YES it’s cornball and over emotional at times. But I cried, so didn’t feel it weakened the film for me.

In the end, this is a Tom Cruise film. He’s onscreen most of the time.

And Tom Cruise has never let me down before. This might be his best movie yet.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Death on the Nile – 2022 film

Thought I wasn’t all that impressed with Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express (2017), this film with the director playing Hercule Poirot is excellent.

Death on the Nile has a great cast of characters ALL of whom have a good motive to have committed murder.

Of course the fantastic Egyptian landscape helps.

In addition, I really liked Sophie Okonedo as Salome Otterbourne, jazz singer.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden is a novel by American author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck. Published in 1952, the work is regarded by many to be Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel  …

Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: “It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years,” and later said: “I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.”  …

I liked it less well than the author, but am still pleased to have made it through the lengthy, rambling saga.

Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. In fact, he appears as himself as a small boy in this novel.

Racism is a fact in this era. But one of the two smartest and best characters is Lee, an American born Chinese servant.

The other character you want to spend time with is Samuel Hamilton, the patriarch of one family.

Steinbeck books frequently explore the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists. For example, Of Mice and Men.

The female characters are not nearly as important or well drawn as the men and boys.

The title comes from Genesis, Chapter 4, verse 16. The story of Cain and Abel.

Two sets of brothers are the main characters in this book. And one of the four is named Adam.

There are weird love triangles complicating both sets of brothers.

There’s something of a reimagining of the biblical story woven into a history of California’s Salinas Valley.

My two highlights reflecting back on this epic:

  • the STORY telling is memorable and entertaining
  • the philosophical discussions

James Dean played in one of the movie adaptations.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Belfast – Kenneth Branagh

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Kenneth Branagh — brilliant, but sometimes too self-important.

But his recent semi-autobiographical film is fantastic.

Belfast is a 2021 British coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. …

Branagh’s “most personal film“, follows a young boy’s childhood in BelfastNorthern Ireland, at the beginning of The Troubles in 1969. …

The film received seven nominations at the 94th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning for Best Original Screenplay. …

The film chronicles the life of a working-class Ulster Protestant family from the perspective of their nine-year-old son Buddy during The Troubles

Wikipedia

Jude Hill as Buddy is by far my favourite character.

Ciarán Hinds as “Pop”, Buddy’s grandfather, is wonderful too.

Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Balfe are fantastic as Buddy’s parents. Caitríona so beautiful.

Judy Dench, of course.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Cloud Atlas 2012 film

This movie is either BRILLIANT. Or a disaster. I’m not sure. 🤔

It’s included on various “Best Film” and “Worst Film” lists.

Cloud Atlas is a 2012 epic science fiction film written and directed by the Wachowskis (Matrix) and Tom Tykwer.

 Based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell, it has multiple plots occurring during six eras in time, with the cast members performing multiple roles.

I watched mainly because it was one of the only Tom Hanks films I’d not yet seen.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Wow.

What a fantastic book.

Richard Powers is my age. The main difference between us is that he won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Overstory. 😀

I’m saving that long book for a long outdoors trip.

Bewilderment is his 2021 book set in the near future amid the environmental degradation of the planet. 

It follows widowed astrobiologist Theo Byrne and his volatile nine-year-old son Robin, who is diagnosed with Asperger syndromeobsessive–compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Theo resists psychoactive medication for Robin, turning instead to an experimental neurofeedback therapy in order to help his son.

It’s part science fiction. Part science. Part philosophy. An important father and son story.

Extremely well written.

The author must have been inspired by Flowers for Algernon.

There’s a character much like Greta Thunberg.

The bad guys are a Trump-like President and his enablers. Anti-science. This time the losing President cancels election results in 6 States he lost and calls a new election.

Black Bear Pictures and Plan B Entertainment acquired the feature film rights.

Click PLAY or watch the author on YouTube.

Bombshell (2019 film)

Great cast. Not much a film, however.

Too preachy. And I felt they tried to include too much. Fewer story lines would have made it better.

 Charlize TheronNicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie star in this film based on the accounts of the women at Fox News who set out to expose CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. …

After co-moderating the 2016 Republican debateMegyn Kelly faces numerous insults from Donald Trump, who is upset because she asked him about his offensive comments toward women. …

Fox eventually paid the victims of sexual harassment $50 million, while paying Ailes and O’Reilly $65 million in severance.

wikipedia

Roger Ailes died age-77 in 2017.

Rupert Murdoch hired him in 1996 to become the CEO of Fox News. In 2016 Ailes was fired, taking a $65 million golden handshake. He was under investigation for sexual harassment from Megyn Kelly and many other women.

Other FOX old men accused of harassing blonde women included:

Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz
Fox Business Host Charles Payne
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly
Fox News Latino vice president Francisco Cortes
Fox News co-President Jack Abernethy

It was the culture of FOX. Hopefully things are better now.

Personally I wish some billionaire would buy FOX News and fire most of the opinion talking heads.