June 2019 Quickie Film Reviews

Since I was out of the country for the last half of June, my viewing stats are a bit down this month. For once, my choices were almost evenly balanced between classic films and contemporary offerings.

  • 23 films and series total
  • 6 re-watches
  • 13 classic films including one foreign title
  • 2 Television series/mini series

Favorite Discovery: Agatha Raisin and Book Club

Small Town Girl (1936) – I adore Janet Gaynor and this is just the type of role she’s great at. It’s a fun little marriage of inconvenience story that is improved by her presence.

Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) – I always enjoy revisiting this Sturges comedy. I love seeing William Demerest in a larger supporting role. Of course there are so many other great supporting characters, that give him stiff competition in stealing screen time away from the main stars.

Irma La Douce (1963) – As a fan of Jack Lemmon, I couldn’t pass this one up. It’s got come cute moments, but I didn’t love it. I think the running time should have been trimmed, but I have no complaints with Lemmon or Shirley MacLaine’s performances.

Desperate Journey (1942) – Who else but Errol Flynn, Alan Hale and Ronald Reagan could make a war movie about airmen trapped behind enemy lines a frolicking adventure? Flynn and Reagan are charming even if this is a bit of an improbable tale.

Agatha Raisin (2014 – ) – I absolutely adore this series about a successful PR company owner who moves to the English country side and becomes an amateur detective. The characters are so fun and quirky.

Good Omens (2019) – I haven’t read Neil Gaiman’s book, but I do hear that this adaptation is excellent. It’s certainly been a guilty pleasure for me. It’s irreverent, funny and the character portrayals are excellent. I really love the bromance between the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley.

Aladdin (2019) – This was not my favorite Disney cartoon and I wasn’t sure I would see this re-make. However, after positive reviews I changed my mind. I really loved this version and appreciated the few tweaks they made to update the story, in particular making Jasmine a stronger female character.

Always Be My Maybe (2019) – Another original rom-com from Netflix. I’m so glad Netflix is filling the gap that has been left in the theaters. I’m always a fan of  old sweethearts and/or friends to lover stories. Plus, I loved Keanu Reeves brief appearance in an atypical role.

Rhapsody (1954) – A gorgeously made Elizabeth Taylor film, with the equally beautiful Taylor herself. I like the story about a spoiled heiress who must compete with a violin for a musician’s love. And I think the pianist who falls for her is sweet, but the film is a bit slow and goes on a bit long.

That Night in Rio (1941) – Confession: I am NOT a fan of Carmen Miranda. But I do have a like Don Ameche who is charming playing dual roles here. However, I felt this story was much better in the earlier Folies Berger than it is here.

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960)– It’s been so long since I saw this Doris Day/David Niven comedy, I had forgotten most of it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was a smarter film than I remembered and Day and Niven were extremely credible as a long married couple who really love each other.

Laws of Attraction (2004) – I’ve always liked this rom-com with Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan. They have a special chemistry together. Having just seen Michael Sheen in Good Omens, I was shocked to see him play such a different role as a bad boy rocker in a smaller role here. He really is an exceptional actor

The Age of Adaline (2015) – I never get tired of this romantic drama. I was happy to re-visit it once again. I love the actors, costumes and story line equally.

Breathless (1960) – This is such a well-regarded classic I felt I had to watch it. As a fan and not a film critic or student, this just didn’t appeal to me. For me the adorable Jean Seberg is the film’s saving grace.

Their Own Desire (1929) -A second viewing did not improve my opinion of this Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery vehicle any more. In fact, it’s worse than I remember, the story is silly, the production values shaky and  the performances are stagey.

Finding Your Feet (2017) – I thought this would be more of a comedy than the drama it is. But I liked it quite alot. I really appreciated the story line of two disparate sisters living together when one of them goes through a divorce. It’s a story about finding yourself and with a stellar British cast, including Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, Joanna Lumley, Timothy Spall and more, it is very well acted.

Book Club (2018) – I saw this comedy on a plane, so my fears of it being a bit too raunchy were unfounded. I actually enjoyed this one much more than I expected too. Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen are excellent. But I believe this is one of my favorite of Diane Keaton’s performances in recent years.

Athena (1954) – This Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds musical was a bit weird to me. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the leading men or the quirky story line.

The Moon Spinners (1964) – Watching this gave me a sense of deja vu. That is because I believe I’ve read the Mary Stewart book this film is adapted from. I like seeing Hayley Mills in a more dramatic role and Eli Wallach is suitably creepy as the villain of the picture.

Fools for Scandal (1938) – This Carole Lombard movie has received so much bad publicity over the years, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I actually found it rather entertaining. I wasn’t a fan of Fernand Gravet as her love interest and believe the film would have been better with someone like William Powell in this role.

The Seventh Sin (1957)  – I’m a huge fan of the story The Painted Veil and the original film starring Greta Garbo. This re-make starring Eleanor Powell varies from that movie a bit. Powell is excellent in her role and George Sanders is great as always in an unusually sympathetic part.

Juliet Naked (2018) – Thinking this to be a quirky romantic comedy I was really looking forward to watching this. Especially since it featured Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd and Ethan Hawke. Sadly, I found it slow and dull. In reality the story line was more about coming to term with life choices and personal growth. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I think my false expectations set me up to be disappointed when the film wasn’t what I thought it was.

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