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Movies, Movies, Movies! #27 March 3, 2020


Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!  Please notice my new banner, designed and created by my younger son.

High-Rise (2016)
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes
Director: Ben Wheatley
Synopsis: The best description I can give of High-Rise is contained hedonistic dystopia. Imagine a giant parking lot surrounded by five giant high-rises that look like grasping fingers. Only one is completed. The focus is on class and staying with your own class, where it is designated in the building by what floors you live on. The head honcho, played well by Jeremy Irons, aka The Architect, lives in the luxury suite at the top. The main character in the story is played by Tom Hiddleston, a physician in physiology and a new tenant on a floor near the top. Those of his class as well as those of the other classes, draw him into their twisted and hedonistic intrigues. He is caught like a deer in the headlights. I wanted to like this movie, and seeing Hiddleston nude sunbathing was a treat, but the plot felt too ambitious. It was trying to make a satirical political statement but crammed too much in. Neat freaks will be very uncomfortable watching it. It may be a wake-up call for hoarders!
Grade: 6

Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes, Ruth White, Jennifer Salt, Bob Balaban
Director: John Schlesinger
Synopsis: Another one in the Academy Award winner series I’ve been getting from dvd.com (netflix dvd service). It is the first time seeing this as an adult, and in Blu Ray no less. The film takes place in NYC. Joe Buck (played by Jon Voight) is a good-looking hick from out west who has a notion that he can make it as a boy toy to rich socialites in the big city. He’s a tenderfoot in a bright cowboy’s outfit. He randomly meets a squirrely (or should I say ratty?) little guy, Ratso Rizzo (played by Dustin Hoffman,) who survives on his street smarts and a prayer. The two have a rocky start but end up being friends in shared desperation. They each have their dreams, but it’s difficult to keep dreams alive when you’re being eaten alive by the ugly things in a big city. Flashbacks, flash forwards, and small conversations help fill in the origin stories of these two hapless characters.
Grade: 9.5 +
Etc.: Won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Film Editing (Hugh A. Robertson becomes the first African American to be nominated for Best Film Editing); in total, the film was nominated for 28 awards and won 15 of them. The DVD special features had multiple interviews with people involved in the making of the movie that added even further appreciation for the film.


The Way Back (2010)
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Dragos Bucur, Gustaf Skarsgård, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Alexandru Potocean
Director: Peter Weir
Synopsis: blurb from netflix:

After narrowly escaping from a wretched World War II Siberian labor camp, a small band of multinational soldiers desperately undertakes a harrowing journey to traverse Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on foot.

Yes, you read that right, they walked 4000+ miles to get to safe territory. It goes without saying that film focuses on pushing the limits of endurance, both physical and emotional.  The ensemble had good chemistry between them.  A comment from imdb says:

The film begins with the following statement: “In 1941 three men walked out of the Himalayas into India. They had survived a 4000 mile walk to freedom. This film is dedicated to them.” This is accurate and based on historical evidence, but those 3 men were not Slavomir Rawicz or others from his largely fictitious escape story. The BBC reported in 2010: “We learned of a British intelligence officer who said he had interviewed a group of haggard men in Calcutta in 1942 – a group of men who had escaped from Siberia and then walked all the way to India. And then from New Zealand came news of a Polish engineer who had apparently acted as an interpreter for this very same interview in Calcutta with the wretched survivors. These stories are second-hand, and far from conclusive proof, but for Mr Weir [director Peter Weir], they convinced him that there was an essential truth in the story that he wanted to retain: ‘There was enough for me to say that three men had come out of the Himalayas, and that’s how I dedicate my film, to these unknown survivors. And then I proceed with essentially a fictional film.’ This is why the film has a new title, ‘The Way Back’, and why the central character is not called Slavomir Rawicz.”
Grade: 7-7.5
Etc.: Nominated for Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup. Nominated for a total of 5 awards and won 4 of them.



Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Geoff Meed, Robert O’Connor, Beth Grant, Steven C. Parker, Jerry Giles
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Synopsis: badfinger20 recommended this one to me (Thanks Max!) It is a road trip comedy with a rickety yellow bus/van full of 3 generations of family bursting with personality. The story focuses on getting the girl to a Little Miss Sunshine pageant in time, but everybody in the van has a story that is being told along the way as well. As different as each person is, and no matter how much they may get on each other’s nerves, they are there for each other when it counts. A heartwarming and extremely laugh-out-loud funny movie. Look at the star power of the cast, which shines as bright as the sun. The little girl will steal your heart!  Great soundtrack!
Grade: 7.5

The Good Liar (2019)
Starring: Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Russell Tovey, Jim Carter, Mark Lewis Jones, Laurie Davidson, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Dino Kelly, Phil Dunster, Celine Buckens, Michael Culkin, Nell Williams, Patrick Godfrey, Lily Dodsworth-Evans, Stefan Kalipha, Bessie Carter
Director: Bill Condon
Synopsis: It’s a game of cat and mouse between the two main characters, McKellen and Mirren. The trick is to figure who will be the cat and who will be the mouse.  Or neither either?  Or both both? I would recommend any older person (or any person, really) who does online dating to watch it. Some con artists are extremely practiced and slick at what they do, and many people have been fleeced and had their hearts broken – or worse! — by them. I like the concept of the story, but there was something about it that didn’t sit quite right with me. Maybe it was an imbalance in the focus of the characters. McKellen got an awful lot of screen time.
Grade: 6-6.5

15 thoughts on “Movies, Movies, Movies! #27 March 3, 2020

    1. Jim, I daresay I could guarantee you would love this movie. I didn’t realize it about the line, maybe it’s an east coast thing? I know the Nilsson song reminds me of the movie. They looked at a lot of different people to play Joe Buck. They chose well. It’s surprising Jon Voigt didn’t have a bigger career than he did. The only other movie I can think of that he was in that made it big was Deliverance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Voight was in Runaway Train with Eric Roberts and Danny Trejo, Heat with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro and Catch-22 with Orson Welles, Alan Arkin and Martin Sheen. He also played Jim Phelps in the movie Mission Impossible (1996), a murderous government bureaucrat in Enemy of the State (1998), and the father of the title character (played by his real-life daughter, Angelina Jolie) in Lara Croft Tomb Raider. Voight received a supporting actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the sports broadcaster Howard Cosell in the biopic Ali (2001). Voight’s later films included the fantasy Holes (2003) and the adventure movies National Treasure (2004) and Transformers (2007).

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lisa. Loved Alan Arkin playing the granddad. It was a very good independent movie.
    The last scene that the granddad dreamed up was priceless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks again, Max. Yes, Alan Arkin was not your average granddad in a lot of ways. Yes that last scene is memorable. I think the message is clear what the filmmakers thought of “little miss” beauty pageants.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Little Miss Sunshine is sooooo good!
    I love these posts of yours because they really help me decide whether I want to see something or not. My life feels enriched because I watch a lot more movies now. Thank you for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear, you are very welcome. It’s nice to share my impressions of them with someone who is interested. I try to talk with my kids about movies and often they roll their eyes or give each other significant looks as if to say, “here she goes again on some movie we couldn’t care less about!”

      Liked by 1 person

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