Classic of the Week: The Children’s Hour (1961)

The Children’s Hour is a 1961 American drama film directed by William Wyler, based on the 1934 play of the same name by Lillian Hellman. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner and Fay Bainter. 

In the early 1960s, former college classmates Martha Dobie and Karen Wright open a private boarding school for girls. After being egaged to doctor Joe Cardin for two years, Karen finally agrees to a wedding date. Joe is related to the well known Amelia Tilford, whose granddaughter Mary is a student at the school. Mary is a spoiled, manipulative child that bullies her classmates. 

While Mary is being punished for telling a lie, one of her roommates overhears an argument between Martha and her Auny Lily. Lily accuses Martha of being jealous and having an unnatural relationship with Karen. When hearing this, Mary tells her grandmaother and Amelia spreads it around to the parents of the school. 

Karen learns of this and aproaches Amelia about Mary accusing Martha and Karen of being lovers. Mary is hindered at convincing others that she personally saw the interactions between Martha and Karen. Knowing that her roommate Rosalie has stolen items from several people, Mary forces Rosalie to back up her story. 

The two women file a suit of libel and slander against Mrs. Tilford. A few months later Martha and Karen are alone at the school, having lost all of the students and ruined their reputation after the lawsuit. Karen calls off her engagement to Joe when he asks if what was said Martha was true. When she finds out, Martha points out that other female couples have survived after being found out, because of the strength of their love, then admits that she has been in love with Karen for years. Karen says that Martha is just confused about her feelings, but Martha insists it really is love, breaking down in tears. 

When this story first came out in 1934, it was on Broadway and was controversial for its lesbian content and when the play started touring the U.S., some theater owners refused to allow it to be performed. The same thing happened when the film version came out in 1961, some movie theaters refused to show it. Despite this, both the play and film versions were critically acclaimed. 

The film deals with themes of sexuality, romance, theft, lying, spreading rumors and discipline. Lesbianism is the speculative “evil” that pervades the movie sailing between a lie and the heartbreaking truth deep within the lie. When the miserable and tortured teacher Martha Dobie (MacLaine) yells out, “I have loved you the way most people say I have!,” finally confessing her love to heterosexual Karen Wright (Hepburn), it is heartbreaking and painful to watch. She has to endure torture from the spreading of the gossip from Mary and Amelia Tilford. 

The movie draws Martha Dobie as a mistake of nature. She is talked about as being unnatural and unhealthy and sinful. She has had to pretend to be heterosexual to save herself from misery, until one student eavesdrops one night and catches an earful of a  private conversation between Martha and her Aunt Lily and the girl tells her friend and grandmother. Rather than be accepting of Matha as she really is, the parents of the students are so closed minded, religious and conservative that they believe same-sex relationships are a sin and withdraw their daughters from the school, prompting Martha and Karen to have to close down the school. 

Martha never gets to be her true self until the end of the film, but the mystery leading up to that answer is extremely well done and when you finally find out, you are schocked. This film is very dark, despite not being scary. Karen is pretty good-natured, but stern at times, Martha is hardworking and almost too nice at times. Doctor Joe Cardin is romantic and can be sweet, but can also be tough. Mary Tilford is a spoiled brat, bully and liar. She makes you want to jump into the movie and lay her across your lap and spank, whether you believe in spanking or not. She is such a bad child. She ruins the reputations of Martha, Karen and the school. She also puts both teachers out of work. 

There is nothing happy about this film, the entire picture is dark, depressing and very slow. I found myself quite bored many times throughout the movie. If I weren’t such a big fan of Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, I would’ve turned it off. The film centers more on Martha’s secret and Mary and Amelia spreading the rumor, than Karen and her relationships with Doctor Cardin and Martha. This movie should’ve been called either Mary Spreads Gossip or Mary and Martha, as very little time is spent on the other characters. 

The acting is outstanding from the lead cast, but that didon’t make the film that much more entertaining, in fact, I found this one to be quite uninteresting and being a big Shirley and Hepburn fan like I said, I was expecting more. This is the most boring movie of them I have ever seen. But I guess there’s only so mcuh you can do with a story like this. 

The theme of same-sex love will turn religious conservatives off and may confuse younger children. Also the character Mary may freighten and/or teach children to lie, steal and bully. There’s really no violence other than a scene where Doctor Cardin spanks Mary, which was a common disciplining method back then and frequently seen in movies and on television, but it may make some people uncomfortable. There’s no foul language, drinking, smoking, or sex. There are a few kisses in the film, but they are brief. There is also a suicide scene and though it is not shown on screen, it is implied and will either confuse or distress kids. Movies don’t get much darker, duller or disheartening than this one. 11+ 2/5

Persuasion (2022)

Persuasion is a 2022 American romantic drama film directed by Carrie Cracknel and based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. It stars Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Nikki Amuka Bird, Mia McKenna Bruce, Richard E. Grant and Henry Golding. 

The story follows Anne Elliot when Frederick Wentworth – the one who got away – comes back into her life, she most choose between putting her past behind her or going with her heart for a second chance. 

Anne Elliot, an Englishwoman of 27, who family moves to lower their payments and lower their debt by renting their home to an admiral and his wife. The Captain Frederick Wentworth, was engaged to Anne in 1806, but their engagement was broken when Anne was convinced by family and friends to end the relationship. Ane and Captain  Wentworth, both single meet again after seven years of seperation, setting the scene for a second chance at love and mariage and many humorous meetings. 

Sometimes changing up well known stories works and sometimes it doesn’t. This film follows the story to extent but adds so much unnecessary stuff that it is hard to watch for the majority of the movie. It add humor and no Austen story is that humorous. There is also lots of drinking of red wine, lying around in bed and crying in the tub. She breaks the fouth in a “Fleabag” sort of style, making the character that was written as shy and introverted seem more talkative and extroverted. 

Dakota Johnson’s Anne Elliot is for prettier than character is supposed to be as Austen had written that Anne was once beautiful but at 27, her beauty is fading and she is nothing but plain at best. Dakota is anything but plain. Also many of the costumes are not 19th century British-esque, nor are many of the hairstyles. Much of this film feels rather satirical than a serious romantic drama. 

I’m not racist by any means and I understand that the director, casting director and producers didn’t want to come off as racist and such, but that just goes against everything Austen wrote and untrue to actual history. There were no black or half black, Asian or half Asian characters in any of her books and maybe she was racist (who knows), also her books were written as romantic dramas with very little humor. 

Captain Wentworth tries to win Anne back many times and she rebuffs him until he gives up until the end. Charles Mugrove Jr., heir to the Musgrove estate, first proposes to Anne and the tells him she doesn’t truly love him. He ends up marrying Anne’s sister Mary. After learning that Anne turned Charles down, Wentworth tries to win her over again. 

Mia McKenna Bruce is great as Anne’s dull and vain sister Mary. Newcomer Nia Towle brings a liveliness to the role to Anne’s sister in law Louisa, making the film seem more like a really long episode of Bridgerton than an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Henry Golding does a really good job as Mr. William Elliot, though it’s hard to get past the fact he’s Malaysian-British and hard to get past his good looks. Cosmo Jarvis is excellent as Captain Wentworth and probably the only realistic portrayal in the whole film. 

This like a  “Bridgerton” and “Fleabag” style retelling of an Austen work. It also feels like Shonda Rhimes wrote and directed it after reading just the Cliff Notes of the book. There is far too many differences from the real story and  too much comedy and drinking. The film is far too focused on romance and not enough on the lives of the character like in book. The movie also has a very sexual feel, though there is no sex, closest thing being kissing, one character grabbing a female character by her waist and quite a bit of flirting. 

Overall, this is not only the worst adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, but also a fiasco of a film that should’ve never been made. It is boring, hardly romantic and not the least bit funny. It seems like Netflix will greenlight just about anything these days. 10+ 2.5/5

Classic of the Week: The Apartment (1960)

The Apartment is a 1960 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and produced by Billy Wilder. It stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Tay Weston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Willard Waterman, David White, Hope Holiday and Edie Adams. 

The story follows an insurance clerk (Lemmon) who, in the hope of climbing the corporate ladder, lets more superior coworkers use his Upper West Side apartment to carry out extramarital affairs. He is attracted to to an elevator operator (MacLaine) in his office building, unaware that she is having an affair with his boss (MacMurray). 

C.C. “Bud” Baxter is a lonely office worker at an insurance corporation in New York City. To climb the corporate ladder, he allows for company managers to take turns borrowing his apartment for extramartital relations. Bud carefully balances the “booking” schedule, but the continuous stream of women in and out of the office convinces his neighbors that he is a playboy, bringing someone home every night. 

Bud solicits great performance reviews from the four managers and gives them to personnel director Jeff Sheldrake, who then promises to promote him – but Sheldrake also demands to use the apartment for his own affairs, starting that night. As compensation for his short notice, he gives Baxter two theater tickets fot that evening. Bud asks his secret crush, Fran Kubelik, an elevator operator in the office building, to join him. She agrees, but first meets up with a “former fling,” who turns out to be Sheldrake. Sheldrake discourages her from breaking up with him, promising to divorce his wife, they go to Bud’s apartment, as Bud waits, stood up outside the theater. 

Later, at the company’s terrible Christmas part, Sheldrake’s secretary, Miss Olsen, tells Fran that her boss has had affairs with other female employees., including herself. Later, at Bud’s apartment, Fran confronts Sheldrake. He confesses true love for her, but then leaves, going back to his family in the suburbs, as usual. 

Bud – having realized that Fran is the woman Sheldrake has been taking to his apartment – let’s himself be picked up bya married lady at a local bar. However, when they arrive at his apartment he finds Fran, passed out from an an apparent suicidal overdose of his sleeping pills. He sends away the woman from the bar and calls Dr. Dreyfuss, a medical doctor living in the next-door apartment, to save Fran. Bud at first makes Dr. Dreyfuss believe that he was the cause of the incident. The doctor scolds Bud for this and instructs him to “be a mensch.” 

While Fran spends two days getting well in the apartrment, Bud cares for her and a bond grows between them, especially after he confesses his own suicice attempt over unrequited feelings for a woman who now sends him a fruitcake every Christmas. When Sheldrake learns that Miss Olsen told Fran about his affairs, he fires her, but she fights back by telling it all to Sheldrake’s wife, who quickly throws her husband out. Sheldrake believes this situation makes it easier to persue his affair with Fran. After promoting Bud to higher position at the firm, Sheldrake expects Bud to loan out his apartment again, be instead, but gives him back the key to executive washroom and quits the firm. After learning about Bud quitting the firm, Fran realizes she is in love with Bud and runs to his apartment. 

This was a controversial film upon it’s release, for depictions of infidelity. The film does seem at times to act like that is no big deal by making light of the issue, but later in the movie, the main characters having the affairs, realize what they’re doing is wrong and do eventually end it. This movie is partly a comedy and adultry is no laughing matter, which makes some of the humor a bit uncomfortable, but some of it is laugh out funny. 

Jack Lemmon plays C.C.Baxter, a lonely man who loans out his apartment to executives of his company who string him along with hopes of promotions and raises. His neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen) hears the nightly sounds of affection through the wall and thinks Baxter is a steadfast lover, when in fact, Baxter is pacing  out front, looking up woefully at his own window because he can’t even go home to peace to and quiet. 

Baxter starts out as an unlikable character who will do anything to climb up the corporate ladder, even if it makes him even more lonely. He then turns into a more likable character when he starts to care for Fran after her overdose and he realizes he needs to a better person and cuts off all the liasons at his apartment. Fran is a rather dull character that for some reason several employees go after. Perhaps it’s because she was an easy nab and was easily persuaded. 

Jack Lemmon is outstanding in this movie as C.C. Baxter. Fred Mac Murray is great as Sheldrake and Shirley MacLaine is also great as Fran. This film is equal parts awkward, funny, dramatic, romantic and heartwarming. Some might be uncomfortable with the infidelity in this one, and yes, it is a bit much for much of the movie, but this is still a wonderful film regardless. It is a motion picture that doesn’t rely on heavy costumes and makeup, CGI or a really strange or very unrealistic plot and many movies today are not like this. The storyline is just simple enough that it is not boring but will make you laugh and cry and it will warm your heart as well. This is what you call not just a classic but a truly spectacular film! 4.5

Classic of the Week: Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude is an American black-comedy drama film directed by Hal Ashby. It incorporates themes of dark humor and existentialst drama. The story follows the adventures of Harold Chasen (Bud Court), a young man who is obsessed with death, and who rejects the life his disconnected mother (Vivian Pickles) gives to him. Harold develops a friendship and then romatic relationship, with 79 year old Maude (Ruth Gordon) who teaches Harold about the importance of living life gto the fullest. 

Harold is so intrigued with death, he reenacts suicides, drives a hearse, reads obituaries and goes to funerals of random people, most of whom he doesn’t know. Maude is elderly, but doesn’t act like it all. She loves funerals too, but also steals, drives too fast, breaks the law by speeding, running stop signs and red lights and blasting music. She is young at heart, which is why Harold falls in love with her. Harold wants to marry her, but his mother refuses to allow him, given Harold and Maude’s 60 year age gap and the fact she doesn’t have many years left in her life, despite her seemingly perfect health. 

This is film is billed as a dark comedy, but I see almost no humor. I don’t think suicide is something to laugh at, real or not. I also don’t think someone’s loved one dying is funny either. I see this movie as more of a drama with romance thrown in. The scene where Maude coaxes Harold into them stealing a car and she speeding away is pretty funny, but other than that, no humor. 

This movie is a bit disturbing. Just the fact the lead character is obsessed with dying and ways to die is unsettling and the fact he falls for an elderly woman. This silm is far too dark for a PG rating. I can’t imagine letting an eight year old watch it and them understanding and enjoying it. Too dark, or really just plain inappropriate for kids. 

Harold should have been institutionalized, as his love for death is deeply disturbing. Maude should not have been allowed to drive, or even let outside, since she likes to prey on much younger fellows. The acting is great throughout. But this film is far too dark. Had there had been more light, more sun, it would likely been  at least a little more enjoyable. I just don’t understand all the hoopla with this movie and why it is a film school staple. It has hardly any redeeming qualities aside from the excellent acting and Cat Stevens soundtrack. It is slow, dark, boring and depressing. No wonder it was a box-office bomb when it was first released. 

The movie’s soundtrack is by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. The theme song is the feel good “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Stevens and after seeing this film, one will never hear this song the same way again. They will only associate this song with the film and it dark themes and sad scenes. 

Great acting and music doesn’t help in the enjoyment department, as this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I found myself feeling so uneasy and so bored, I was glad when it was over.  

Don’t waste your time on this movie. It may be a classic, but it is far from being a masterpiece. 13+ 1.5/5 

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Where the Crawdads Sing is a 2022 American coming of age crime film directed by Olivia Newman, based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Delia Owens. It stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, Sterling Macer Jr. and David Strathairn. 

Catherine “Kya” Clark is an imagainative girl grwing up in a North Carolina marsh on the coast during the 1950’s. Her poor family live in a shack with their alcoholic and abusive father who gambles their money away. After her mother and sibling leave one by one, due to the abuse, Kya is left alone with him. Over time he softens up and then leaves her without word, a fews after the only day she spends in school. Now at the age of seven, she is completely alone, but learns how to survive, and the only way she makes any money to buy gas for her boat and food is to sell mussels she digs up herself. The other residents of Barkley Cove know little about Kya, nicknaming her “The Marsh Girl.” 

On the same day her father leaves her, Kya takes his boat as far as the ocean and gets lost trying to find her way home. Luckily she runs into an older boy named Tate Walker who shows her the way home safely. He was a friend of her older brother, Jodie and had known Kya since she was very little. Tate begins visiting her in the marsh and they become good friends as teenagers. He teaches her to read, write and even loans her books. Both share an interest in natures and they eventually start a romantic relationship. However, she gets left behind when Tate goes away to college and fails to keep his promise of visiting her on the fourth of July. 

Over the next few years, as her knowledge and skills of biology grow, Kya sends her artwork and research to a publisher, as Tate encouraged previously and the payment from the book helps her keep her family’s property. The publishing of the book leads her to seeing her brother Jodie again, now a military veteran. He tells her that her mother wanted to reunite with her children became sick leukemia and died. Jodie promises to visit her when he can. 

By 1965, now 19 years old, Kya gets into a tryst with Chase Andrews, Barkley Cove’s popular quaterback, who promises her marriage. When Kya finds out that Chase is already engaged to another girl, furious, she ends their relationship. Meanwhile Tate returns to town wanting to appologize to Kyra for leaving her behind and rekindle their relationship, but she is unsure. Chase keeps to get Kya back and wants to contunue their sexual relationship, but she rejects him. He then violently hits her and tries to rape her but Kya successfully fights him off and threatens to kill him if he messes with her again. The threat is overheard by a local fisherman. 

Later Chase is found dead at the bottom of a fire tower, from which he had fallen. The tower is located in a muddy and wet bog that gets flooded at high tide. The surrounding area had no tracks from the killer and no fingerprints were found on the tower. A shell necklace Kya had given Chase was missing and he had be wearing it the evening of his death. The next day Kya is charged with murder and the townpeople jump to the conclusion that she is guilty. 

This film is like Fried Green Tomatoes meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which makes it sound like it would be a great movie, but it is good at best. Based off a bestselling novel that is actually really good, you’d think the film version would be too. The acting is eqally great from all the main cast, the scenery is absolutely beautiful and they costumes are period and setting perfect. The soundtrack is also really good. The main problem with this one is it is really slow for much of the movie. Many scenes seem to drag on and I found myself getting rather bored many times throughout. 

Had this film not been so slow, it would have been more enjoyable. Also, their is lots of kissing and sex, which I know this is also a romantic movie, but the director could have dialed that back a little, as we already knew the characters were in love without so much of that. This being mainly a murder myster film, made it fairly entertaining, but not captivating, though I love a good mystery and I like romance, as I am a hopeless romantic. 

I really wanted to love this movie as much as I loved the book, but I just didn’t. With the book, I couldn’t put it down, with this film adaptation, I was thoroughly bored for a good bit of it. I am so disappointed I couldn’t like the movie as much as novel. I just don’t understand why it had to be so slow, why so much making out and sex and unlike the novel, why such little time was spent investigating the death of Chase. This film will very likely not win any Best Picture awards, probably not any Best Director awards either, but could possibly win a Best Actress or Actor trophy or Best Original Song for Taylor Swift’s “Carolina.” 

Do I recommend this movie? Don’t waste your time and money with this one in theater. If you really want to see it, wait for it to go to Redbox or streaming. Another pretty disappointing film based on a phenominal book. 18+ 3.5/5 

120 Greatest Teen Films

  1. Clueless – 1995
  2. Rushmore – 1998
  3. Dirty Dancing – 1987
  4. Heathers – 1988
  5. Grease – 1978
  6. Superbad – 2007
  7. The Hate U Give – 2018
  8. Juno – 2007
  9. Mean Girls – 2004
  10. The Breakfast Club – 1985
  11. Love, Simon – 2018
  12. The Last Picture Show – 1971
  13. Dazed and Confused – 1993
  14. Dead Poets Society – 1989
  15. Rebel Without a Cause – 1955
  16. Fast Times at Ridgemont Hight – 1982
  17. Lady Bird – 2017
  18. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1986
  19. Blinded by the Light – 2019
  20. The Harry Potter Series – 2001-2011
  21. The Edge of Seventeen – 2016
  22. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – 1989
  23. Easy A – 2010
  24. Say Anything – 1989
  25. American Graffiti – 1973
  26. 10 Things I Hate About You – 1999
  27. Back to the Future – 1985
  28. Moonlight – 2016
  29. Freaky Friday – 2003
  30. Welcome to the Dollhouse – 1995
  31. Pariah – 2011
  32. Stuck in Love – 2012
  33. 13 Going on 30 – 2004
  34. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – 2005
  35. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – 2012
  36. Cry-Baby – 1990
  37. High Scool Confidential – 1958
  38. Submarine – 2010
  39. Yes, God, Yes – 2019
  40. The Lost Boys – 1987
  41. Anna and the Apocalypse – 2017
  42. Cooley High – 1975
  43. Some Kind of Wonderful – 1987
  44. If… – 1968
  45. Pretty in Pink – 1986
  46. Bend it Like Beckham – 2002
  47. Real Women Have Curves – 2002
  48. Love & Basketball – 2000
  49. To Sir, WIth Love – 1967
  50. Boyz n the Hood – 1991
  51. Sing Street – 2016
  52. Almost Fmous – 2000
  53. Juice – 1992
  54. Friday Night Lights – 2004
  55. Bring It On – 2000
  56. The Kings of Summer – 2013
  57. Dope – 2015
  58. The Half of It – 2020
  59. National Lampoon’s Animal House – 1978
  60. The Sure Thing – 1985
  61. See You Yesterday – 2019
  62. Divines – 2016
  63. Brick – 2005
  64. The Karate Kid – 1984
  65. Better Off Dead… – 1985
  66. Carrie – 1976
  67. Sixteen Candles – 1984
  68. Real Genius – 1985
  69. The Outsiders – 1983
  70. Ghost World – 2001
  71. Risky Business – 1983
  72. River’s Edge – 1986
  73. Rumble Fish – 1983
  74. Show Me Love – 1998
  75. Blackboard Jungle – 1955
  76. Hairspray – 1988
  77. West Side Story – 2021
  78. Prcious – 2009
  79. The Man in the Moon – 1991
  80. The Fault in Our Stars – 2014
  81. Holes – 2003
  82. My Bodyguard – 1980
  83. Less Than Zero – 1987
  84. Over the Edge – 1979
  85. Center Stage – 2000
  86. Peyton Place – 1957
  87. Little Women – 1933
  88. The Flamingo Kid – 1984
  89. West Side Story – 1961
  90. Lord Love a Duck – 1966
  91. Cruel Story of Youth – 1960
  92. Absolute Beginners – 1986
  93. Where the Boys Are – 1960
  94. A Summer Place – 1959
  95. Little Women – 1949
  96. Foxes – 1980
  97. The Miseducation of Cameron Post – 2018
  98. Boy Erased – 2018
  99. Speak – 2004
  100. Edge of Seventeen – 1998
  101. Little Women – 1994
  102. The Way He Looks – 2014
  103. East of Eden – 1955
  104. Palo Alto – 2013
  105. Little Women – 2019
  106. The Virgin Suicides – 1999
  107. Back to the Future – 1985-1990
  108. Scream – 1996
  109. Breaking Away – 1979
  110. Valley Girl – 1983
  111. The Way Way Back – 2013
  112. Skate Kitchen – 2018
  113. Maidentrip – 2013
  114. Whiplash – 2014
  115. The Blind Side – 2009
  116. Bowling for Columbine – 2002
  117. An Education – 2009
  118. Persepolis – 2007
  119. American Honey – 2016
  120. Licorice Pizza – 2021

Elvis (2022)

Elvis is a 2022 epic biographical musical drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann. It stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley with Tom Hanks, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natash Bassett, David Wenham, Keven Harrison Jr. and Kodi Smit-McPhee in supporting roles. 

In 1997, Elvis Presley’s manager, Coloner Tom Parker is on his deathbed looking back at how he met the future King of Rock and Roll. In the early days Elvis has bettled a poverty-stricken childhood with his parents Vernon and Gladys. He finds music to be his redemption, even though he his picked on by his friends because of his love for African American music od Memhis’ Beale Street. Parker is a carnival peddler who calls himself a modern day PT Barnum. 

Although Parker is already managing country singer Hank Snow, as soon as he hears Elivs on the radio, he is impressed by what he hears and has dreams of becoming his manager. He eventually meets and coaxes Elvis to let him take control of his career. However, not all of the public is impressed with the young performer. Many parents believe that his ruining their children and racist politicians also attack him. After a violent incident at a concert, Elvis is faced with a possible jail term. However, Parker persuades the government to draft Elvis into the US Army as a way of avoiding anymore legal compications. During his time in the service, Elvis suffers the sadness of his mother dreaking herself to death. 

While stationed in Germany, Elvis meets Priscilla Beaulieu, and upon his discharge, he resumes his career making concert tours and movies while Parker’s control of his life grows stronger. After Parker locks him into a long contract at a Las Vegas hotel, Elvis starts to grow tired of his deceitful manager and tried to fire him, only to be sued by Parker for a substantial amount that will leave him broke and he will lose everything from his house, to his cars, to all his Elvis merchandise. A brutal argument develops, where Elvis has to admit that he has no choice but to keep Parker, although they grow apart and rarely see each other afterwards. Elvis’ life eventually goes downhill as Priscilla takes their daughter Lisa Marie and leaves him over his prescription drug addiction, which grows even more after she is gone. 

When I saw a preview for this film for the first time. I couldn’t see Austin Butler as Presley, but after watching it, I do see it one-hundred percent. The fact that he acts, sings, dances and plays the music is amazing. He brings the King of Rock and Roll back to life and you learn so much about Elvis’ life. The Elvis voice, singing, music playing and dancing done by Butler is spot on. He does the bouncy voice, the shaking and gyrating so perfectly, you forget you’re watching an actor and you feel like you have stepped back in time with the real Elvis. 

Oliva DeJonge does an outstanding job as Priscilla Presley. She looks the part perfectly and you’d never believe she’s actually Australian. Tom Hanks does a great job as Colone Tom Parker, though his accent does get pretty annoying and makes you wonder if Parker actually talked like that (if you didn’t already know). Helen Thomson does a great job too as Elvis’ mother Gladys Presley. Richard Roxburgh does a fine job as his father Vernon Presley. Luke Bracey is really good as talent manager Jerry Schilling. 

The story, acting, costumes and makeup and scenery and props are all spot on, period perfect. This film introduces young(er) generations to Elvis’ music and other music of the 50’s to 70’s. You learn so many things about the life of Mr. Presley, his childhood, his music, his relationships, fandom and addictions. The movie is really long at a nearly three hour runtime and could have been quite a bit shorter, as some scenes are really drawn out. You do wonder if the film is ever going to end, but other than that, it is extremely entertaining and makes you love Elvis’ music, either for the first time or all over again. 

This movie is as shocking as it is entertaining and Butler, DeJonge and Hanks all deserve awards for roles. Fantastic film from begining to end! 18+ 4.5/5 

Adam Sandler has the #1 movie on Netflix and critics are raving about it — BGR

At this point, it’s no exaggeration to note that Adam Sandler — the star of Netflix’s new original movie Hustle — basically has whatever the Hollywood equivalent is of the Midas touch. The pattern is quite familiar by now. He releases a new Netflix movie, for example, and it shoots right to the top of […]

Adam Sandler has the #1 movie on Netflix and critics are raving about it — BGR

tick…tick…Boom! (2021)

Tick…Tick…Boom! is a 2021 American biographical musical drama film directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and is written by Steven Levenson, based on the stage musical of the same name by Jonathan Larson, it is a semi-autobiographical film story about Larson writing a musical to try to enter into the theater industry. The film stars Andrew Garfield as Larson, alongside Vanessa Hudgens, Robin de Jesus, Alexandra Shipp, Joshua Henry and Judith Light. 

In 1992, Jonathan Larson performs his rock monologue Tick…Tick…Boom! at New Theater Workshop with his friends Roger and Karessa. He describes an annoying ticking sound he hears in his head and begins to tell his story. An unseen narrator explains the films is the true story of Larson, “except the parts Jonathan made up.” 

In early 1990, Jonathan balances work at the Moondance Diner in SoHo with getting ready for a workshop for his musical Superbia. He feels pressure to be successful before he turns 30: with his birthday just over a week away, he sees the workshop as his last chance. He has a party at his apartment with his friends, including his former roommate Michael and his girlfriend Susan. Susan tells Jonathan about a teaching job at Jacob’s Pillow and asks him to come. Michael, who recently left theater for a mediocre advertising career, sees Susan’s offer as a chance for Jonathan to consider a serious future and invites him to join an advertising focus group at his company. Jonathan’s producer asks him to write a new song for Superbia because the story needs it. This depresses him, as his idol Stephen Sondheim told him the same thing at a composong workshop several years prior, but can’t come up with anything and he only has a week. 

Jonathan finds himself unable to concentrate on getting ready for the workshop as he thinks about Michael and Susan’s offers. His worries grow when he learns from Carolyn (friend from the diner) that Freddy (also works at the diner), is HIV-positive, has been hospitalized. Susan angry at Jonathan’s hesitance to make a decision and obsession with his career, breaks up with him. 

To get money for a full band for the workshop, Jonathan attends the advertising focus group. However, he purposefully ruins it, making Michael mad, who feels Jonathan is wasting the chance to have a life with the person he loves on an unstable theater career, something Michael can’t do as a homosexual man in the AIDS crisis. After getting a promising call from his agent Rosa, Jonathan tries to write the new song, but his power get cut off. He goes to a swimming pool to rant his frustrations over his personal life and the workshop, before coming up with the new song at last. At the workshop are friends, family, industry professionals, including Sondheim. Jonathan recieves praise but no offers to produce Superbia. Discouraged, Jonathan begs Michael for a job in his company, but Michael changes his mind after seeing the workshop and urges Jonathan to continue with his theater career, revealing that he is HIV-positive. 

Though I haven’t seen Tick…Tick..Boom! on stage, I did enjoy Larson’s Rent on stage and the film version, though it was not as good as the stage production. Rent is a wonderful story filled with wonderful music. I thought it was terribly cheesy and depressing at first, but once I saw both the movie one and the stage one, I fell in love with it and I now wish this musical could continue on stages forever just like other greats like Chicago and Fiddler on the Roof. 

Andrew Garfield does an outstanding job as Jonathan Larson, giving him a perfect New York accent, as well as acting, singing and playing the piano and keyboard himself. Most of the songs are super cheesy, but that’s musical theater for you and Garfield performs the songs with the perfect cheese factor with song and in several scenes with dancing too. Most of the songs, besides being corny, don’t sound like a mature adult wrote them and since the movie is filled with those kind of songs, it does get a bit annoying and makes the film almost unenjoyable at times. 

Alexandra Shipp is great as Susan Wilson, based on the real life Janet Charleston, Jonathan’s girlfriend, a former dancer. Robin de Jesus does a fine job as Michael, Jonathan’s best friend, based on the real life Matt O’ Grady, who left theater to work in advertising. Vanessa Hudgens is also great as Karessa Johnson, although she has very little dialogue and mostly sings and dances. Joshua Henry is very good as Roger Bart, Jonathan’s friend and performer in Superbia and Tick…Tick…Boom! Bradley Whitford is superb as Stephen Sondheim. 

This film does a splendid job telling of Larson’s journey to become the next great musical theater sensation, even though it is a bit of a cheeseball at times. The songs, choreography, and acting are all eqaully fantastic. This is drama filled, song filled movie that will have you tapping your feet at times, getting angry at moments and also crying at times too. It teaches you to never give up on your dreams and that the great things you do will live on forever after you die. 

There is song and dance, drama, heart and passion in this film that make it such an entertaining watch. There is fighting, sex, rejection, drinking, smoking, disease, cursing and selfishness that make this movie inappropriate for really young viewers. Teenagers and adults will enjoy this one much more. Tremendous film!  13+ 4/5 

Men (2022)

Men is a 2022 folk horror film written and directed by Alex Garland. It follows the a widowed young woman (Jessie Buckley) who goes on holiday alone in the English countryside but gets disturbed by the men in the town (all played by Rory Kinnear). 

Harper Marlowe decides to spend a holiday in the small village of Cotson following the suicide of her husband James. In flashbacks, it is revealed that Harper is fed up with James’ abuse and emotional outbursts, intending to divorce him, leading him to threaten her with killing himself and hitting her when she continues to reject him. Harper locks James out of their flat and sees him him fall from upstairs balcony to his death. 

Sometime later, Harper pulls up to the house she is renting, where she is met by its owner, Geoffrey. She goes for a walk in the woods and finds an old railroad tunnel. A mysterious figure appears at the end of the tunnel and start chasing her, but she gets away. Coming upon an open field, she takes a picture of it on her phone, capturing a naked man standing near an abandoned building. Later, as Harper is video chatting with her friend Riley, she notices the naked man in her yard, having followed her from the tunnel. She calls the police and he is arrested. She goes to a church and meets a young boy with a female cartoon character like mask and a vcar, who both  bear similarity to Geoffrey and the vicar tries to rationalize James hitting her.  At a pub in town, one of the policemen (who also looks like Geoffrey) tells Harper that the naked man was released as they had no legal evidence to keep him detained. 

Harper tells Riley this and she agrees to come in the morning, but as Harper tries to send her the address her service is interrupted. She sees the policeman in her yard, but as her lights flicker, he changes into the young boy, who chases her into the house. She defends herself with a knife and a window breaks in the kitchen. Geoffrey arrives and finds that the window breaking is do to a crow flying into it, which he then kills by breaking its neck. As Geoffrey goes into the yard, he is changed into the naked man, who chases her again. When he tries to reach her through the mail slot, she stabs him, but he manages to pull his arm free, the stuck knife ripping his arm in two. Both the boy and the vicar appear in the house, both of them correspondingly injured. The vicar tries to rape Harper but she stabs him and runs out of the house. 

A24 is known for extremely bizarre, disturbing and quite confusing movies. This film starts out really good, but takes a major nose dive, like much of A24’s motion pictures. It just gets stranger and stranger, stupider and stupider as the fillm reaches the climax and then just ends abruptly. The trailer for this movie makes it look like a great bizarre thriller, which, great it is not, bizarre it is and thrilling, pretty thrilling in lots of scenes. Most of the scenes towards the end, will have you saying “WTF?!” Because they are so weird, just plain stupid, they make no sense whatsoever. 

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was an outstanding film, so I was expecting something just as good and this was a HUGE disappointment. I don’t understand how anyone could find this film even remotely good, as I found it just plain bad. It starts out good, but very slow and rather disturbing, being the scenes of domestic violence and suicide . The acting is great, the scenery is beauty, as is the music, but story is too strange and unsettling and at times, confusing. 

One male villain covered in blood, giving birth to another one and then that one and so on until Harper’s dead ex-husband is reborn is about as weird as it gets for a movie. It’s never explained how Geoffrey could turn into all those male characters and how he knew about her situation when she didn’t rent the house under her married name and he had never even met her before. The director has you guessing about so many things that never get answered and I’m sure that’s what he was going for, but that made it hard for me to watch. 

Being a big fan of horror and art films and reading the rave reviews, I was really hoping to like this movie, but it was nothing more another typical A24 production. Now I don’t hate all of their films, I really like Ladybird and Moonlight, but it just seems that most of the motion pictures they put out are like Men and Herediary. Don’t waste your time with this stupid, disgusting, mess of a movie. 18+ 1.5/5