Since my recent move, I haven’t had cable television, so I watched fewer classic films. But that’s okay. It just gave me more opportunity to view other movies and series that I might not otherwise have had time for. To be honest, I didn’t really love the few classic films I did see in September. And would you believe, I didn’t have any re-watches this month?
SEPTEMBER 2019 BREAKDOWN
24 films/series total
7 new classic films
7 foreign films/series
5 TV series
1 in theater
Favorite Discovery: Ooh, this month gave me a lot of options to choose from for this honor. Among the contenders were Ladies in Black, Jericho, The Professor and the Madman and of course Downton Abbey. But my choice is Blind Date. It is going on my list of all time favorites, hands down.
Biggest Disappointment: Except for Heartbeat, pretty much every classic film this month left me feeling meh…
They first took the world by storm over five decades ago. Since then the Beatles remain an enduring part not only of music history, but of the world’s cultural history. The band and their music has become so iconic, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of them.
As a longtime fan myself, I was thrilled when I first saw the trailer for the film Yesterday featuring a story about the Beatles and their music. It topped my list as my must-see movie this summer.
For ten years, Jack Malik and his childhood friend and manager Ellie have been pursuing his dream of being a musician. After yet another disappointing gig, Jack finally decides to quit against Ellie’s advice. But fate intervenes. During a worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. He awakens to a world with no memory of the Beatles. It’s as if they never existed (along with other random things like Coca Cola, the band Oasis and cigarettes).
Jack decides to perform their music as his own. It’s not long before he is being hailed as a musical genius. His newfound fame takes him far from home and Ellie. As he learns the ins and outs of the music industry, he is confronted with many ethically compromising decisions. Though he finally has the career he’s always wanted, Jack’s guilt plagues him. He begins to see the true cost of his choices, including the loss of Ellie.
This month was TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars when they spend 24 hours each day honoring a different classic film actor. I made it a point to watch films featuring Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Temple, Buster Keaton and a couple of hard to find titles starring Irene Dunne. By default I also saw a few more of Randolph Scott’s and Robert Young’s films.
August 2019 Breakdown
29 films/series total
18 new classic films
5 TV series
Favorite Discovery:The Indian Doctor and Wee Willie Winkie
The world of a J.R.R. Tolkien story is one of mystery, magic, romance, friendship, wars and meaning filled journeys. But what was the world of the real Tolkien like? How did a British born Catholic orphan who survived by the good will of others create not only languages, but a fantastical world which still enchants millions today? These are the questions that the new biographical drama Tolkien attempts to answer.
After the successive deaths of both of their parents, the custody of John Ronald and his brother is given to a Catholic priest. This man ensures that the two boys receive scholarships to a Birmingham school and lodging in the home of a wealthy widow.
In both these places he meets people who will influence and change his life. Despite Tolkien’s initial reluctance to be grafted into their circle, he soon forms a strong bond with students Geoffrey Smith, Robert Gilson and Christopher Wiseman. Together they form a club with the goal of changing the world through their artistic endeavours.
Tolkien also forms a strong attachment with his fellow boarder Edith. She relates to his orphan status and dependence on the charity of others. With her, he is himself, able to discuss his world of fantasy creatures and languages.
As it always does, life intervenes, first through the reality of Tolkien’s reduced circumstances, the expectations of his guardian and finally the advent of a World War. But it is the memories of these valuable relationships which sustain and inspire him.
Don’t you love a good fairy tale? I certainly do. But you can only watch so many versions of Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes a fairy tale with a new story and fresh perspective is needed. And that’s just what Penelope offers.
A long time ago, a witched cursed the Wilherns. The first daughter born into this wealthy family would be born with the face of a pig. The only way to break this curse is for her to be accepted by one of her own kind – a blueblood. After many generations of sons, Penelope becomes the unfortunate bearer of this cruel curse.
Ashamed of her daughter, Jessica Wilhern has hidden her away in the family home for most of Penelope’s life. But in recent years, she has been working with a professional matchmaker to find an aristocratic man willing to marry Penelope and break the curse. Edward Vanderman, the most recent man to reject the sweet natured “pig-girl” has teamed up with Lemon, a journalist holding a long-standing grudge towards Jessica. They hire Max Campion, a gambler they believe to be a fallen blue-blood. Max agrees to secretly snap a picture of Penelope for a pay-off thousands of dollars.
But Penelope is gun-shy and doesn’t show herself to Max right away. Instead he is forced to make multiple visits to the Wilhern mansion. With a one-way mirror between them, Max and Penelope develop a friendship through many conversations. However, the individual plans of Jessica Wilhern, Edward, Lemon and Max all go awry when Penelope finally decides to run away from everyone’s plans for her. What will happen to a girl who has lived in seclusion all her life, when she finally discovers the world? Can the curse truly be broken or will Penelope find another way?
To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
So, this year was an extremely productive year for me when it came to watching films. I watched over 180 new to me classic films. Wait, what? That’s right almost 200 films. I honestly don’t even know how that is possible, especially considering I also read over 120 books while working as well. That number of course doesn’t include the new releases, documentaries, television series, Hallmark movies etc. which I didn’t bother to keep track of.
This year’s classic film binge included me filling in my filmography gaps for stars like Rita Hayworth, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor, George Brent, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando and others. I watched my first Esther Williams films and finally found one I liked. And I finally discovered why Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are considered a great pairing. Continue reading “2018 Film Year in Review”
As a classic film aficionado, I’m not generally a fan of remakes. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but generally I avoid them. This is why I had no plans to watch the latest reincarnation of A Star Is Born. I’ve seen three of the previous films, including the Constance Bennett vehicle What Price Hollywood?, and excluding the version featuring Barbara Streisand. I had no desire to see yet another interpretation. But then the reviews started rolling in from fellow classic film lovers and they were all positive. So, I decided I had to watch it to decide for myself.
Each version of this film revolves around the same story. An established and famous male star, discovers a new talent. He then acts as mentor and eventually lover to this woman while guiding her through the process and pitfalls of fame. However, as her star rises, his declines thanks to his increasingly bad public behavior while battling his demons in the form of toxic addictions. There are differences among all five versions of this film. However, they are not significant as to change the main story line and character arcs. In the latest version of A Star is Born the names of the main characters are changed from Esther Blodgett and Norman Maine to Ally and Jackson Maine. Also, unlike the first three films, Ally and Jackson are singers and not actors. Continue reading “Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)”
Growing up, my parents exposed me to many popular musicians of the Seventies, artists like Simon and Garfunkel, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas and one of my mother’s favorites, ABBA.
In 2008 a new generation was introduced to the Swedish band ABBA when their songs were featured in the musical film Mamma Mia! Despite some criticism of the film, it became an indisputable success. Exactly ten years later, the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again allows fans to revisit all that they love about the original. It continues the story begun in Mamma Mia!. It also depicts the story of how Donna found herself in Greece and met Sophie’s three fathers.
A year after her mother’s passing, Sophie is finally fulfilling her mother’s dream. The hotel Bella Donna is all set for a Grand re-opening. However, Sophie’s triumph feels bittersweet. She desperately misses her mother, two of her three dads are unable to attend and she and Sky have hit an impasse in their relationship. Fortunately, she has some support from her mother’s friends Tanya and Rosie, her third dad Sam and the new hotel manager Fernando Cienfuegos. Sophie will need all the help she can get as processes her grief and faces unexpected obstacles in preparing for the re-opening.
Meanwhile, back in 1979, Donna Sheridan graduates from school and begins her search for freedom and identity. Traveling through Europe, she meets a young man in Paris. Though he feels a special connection with her Donna cannot stay. She believes her destiny is yet to be found on a small Grecian island. Continuing her journey, she meets a young sailor who happily transports Donna to the isle of Kalokairi aboard his boat. Upon her arrival, Donna settles into an abandoned farm house. She also lands a job singing at the local café and meets another young man who will play an important role in her future.