May 2020 Quickie Reviews

MAY 2020 BREAKDOWN

  • 23 films/series total
  • 12 re-watches
  • 4 TV series
  • 3 new classic films

Biggest Disappointment: Jamestown Season 2, Fugitive Lovers

Favorite Discovery: Mr. Right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valkyrie (2008) – Tom Cruise and a host of other great British actors star in this WWII story about a group of German officers who plot to assassinate Hitler.  It really made me think about standing up for what’s right and what I might be willing to sacrifice if I had to choose.

Heart and Souls (1993)– Growing up, this was a favorite of mine and it still is. In fact, I think it was this film that introduced me to the greatness that is Robert Downey Jr. It also doesn’t hurt that Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgewick and Alfre Woodard also star in this romantic comedy with a dash of fantasy and a sweet but meaningful message. For more of my thoughts on this, here’s my full review.

Only You (1994) – Another of my favorite RDJ films, this one stars Marisa Tomei and the fabulous Bonnie Hunt. Tomei is adorable and RDJ makes what could be a very creepy stalker-like character into a love sick but charming romantic hero. Plus, there is all that beautiful cinematography glorifying its’ Italian settings.

Jamestown Season 2 – Despite its’ flaws, season one hooked me, but sadly season two has not been able to sustain my interest. It just seemed to get more and more far-fetched for a historical series and ventured a bit too far into soap opera territory for me.

Yesterday (2019) – My favorite movie of 2019 did not disappoint in the re-watch. I still love it’s use of the Beatles music (while also slightly updating the sound) in a story about a man whose journey has him re-evaluating his value system.  It’s adorable, meaningful and slightly quirky and I love it so much.

Wimbledon (2004) – Here’s a comfort film which never lets me down. A tennis player who’s a long shot finds success at Wimbledon. I love seeing Paul Bettany in a romantic leading role and though I’m not a fan of Kirsten Dunst, I like her chemistry with Bettany. I also think the bromance between Bettany’s character and his onscreen tennis partner is cute.

Cinderella (2015)– Two words. Lily James.  Of course, there is also the glittering crystal blue that are Richard Madden’s eyes as he plays the Prince. Oh, and let’s not forget the stunning dance scene which features a magnificent blue dress. And last but not least, Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother. Enough said.

Night Song (1947) – I remember loving this movie about a rich young woman who helps a bitter, blind pianist…and I still do. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Dana Andrews plays the pianist. Me + Dana Andrews = 4 Eva & Eva!

Mr. Right (2015) – Remember how I said I like dark comedies? Well, this definitely fits the bill. It’s a cheeky, irreverent film about a woman who falls for a hitman who is starting to re-think his line of work. Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell work surprisingly well together. But really it is Rockwell’s performance as a light hearted killer who wants a normal relationship that completely makes this film.

Magnificent Seven (2016) – I honestly can’t remember if I’ve seen the original or not. But I really liked this remake starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke. Pratt stole the show and Peter Sarsgaard made an excellent villain. I have to be in the mood for a Western and this one found me at the right time.

The Gentleman 2020 – I missed out seeing this one on my theater but it was high on my watch list. I could watch this version of the suave, bronzed and perfectly coiffed Matthew McConaughey all day long, even if he is an upper class drug lord. Hugh Grant probably gives the most interesting performance. This is definitely a Guy Ritchie film full of violence and language, but also twists and turns. Overall, I found it entertaining, but I didn’t love it.

The Village Season 2 – It really is a shame that there aren’t more seasons of this show. So many period dramas get compared to Downton Abbey these days and this one does share some similarities in the way it displays and compares the lives of those who live in the manor home versus the villagers whose lives are much simpler. However, this one feels less like a soap opera, more gritty and real even though it portrays some very dramatic personal and national events.

Songland Season 2– My best friend introduced me to this series last summer. I’m not generally a fan of reality tv, but I think this competition show is fascinating. Aspiring songwriters perform their own songs for famous musical artists. The artist chooses the songs he likes and the writers then pair with one of three famous songwriters to tweak the original song. It’s amazing to watch the writing and collaboration process. They all make it look so easy and fun.

Fugitive Lovers (1934) – I’m of the opinion that I can’t go wrong with a Robert Montgomery film and this was one I hadn’t seen yet. So, I was excited to finally watch it. It didn’t quite meet my expectations. Montgomery played against type in an odd story of an escaped convict meets chorus girl on a cross country road trip. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it just felt…off.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) – I’d been wanting to re-watch this one for a while, but was waiting until I could carve out three hours. Turns out I watched it with my mom (who first introduced it to me) on a day when we really needed a laugh and distraction. It was the perfect remedy to a difficult day.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) – Um…I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this one now. I love it, ok? While it deviates a bit from the book, it is still perfection. I particularly love the character of Isola. But my favorite bit is at the end when the screen credits roll and you can hear the characters reading excerpts from their favorite books.

The Mallorca Files (2019) – I’m usually a fan of British cozy mystery series. So this offering from Britbox seemed right up my alley. It features an uptight British detective and her laid-back German partner who solve crimes on the island of Mallorca. I love the premise, the setting and the actors, but I don’t feel the show reaches it’s full potential. It’s lacking charm and also tension. But, I’m not ready to give up on it yet.

Gambit (2012) – While this one doesn’t touch the original 1966 version, if you skip the comparisons, this light crime caper is rather fun. With talent like Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci, how can it not? Honestly, I really miss seeing Diaz in comedies. She’s so great at them. I loved her turn as a Texas redneck in this film.

Carefree (1938) – After re-visiting this one, I’ve decided it is one of my favorite Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals. It has more of a cohesive story line. Astaire’s golf dance scene is very memorable and the dream dance sequence is, well…dreamy. Plus, Rogers gets to wear some of the most beautiful clothes here as well.

Flower Drum Song (1961) -Famed for being the first movie to feature an all Asian cast, this musical had some entertaining numbers. The song A Hundred Million Miracles will stick with me a while. I enjoyed the culture clash between the older and younger generations. Although I watched this for Nancy Kwan’s presence, it is Miyoshi Umeki’s quiet performance which stole the show.

Shall We Dance (1937) – This Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical is famous for its’ roller skating dance scene which I always have fun watching. But more important to me is the comic pairing of character actors Eric Blore and Edward Everett Horton who are absolutely hysterical. I kind of wish they had created a spin off series just for these two.

Too Many Girls (1940) – How could I pass up watching the film that brought Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz together?! Sadly, it wasn’t the Lucy and Desi I was expecting. Ball plays a more serious role in this musical about an heiress with a coterie of secret bodyguards who follow her to college. I did like the New Mexico setting, but the songs were cheesy and the acting was sub-par. However, this is also the first starring role of Eddie Bracken whose performance really saved this film for me.

Picadilly Jim (1936) – I had forgotten how delightful this little comedy starring Robert Montgomery is. In a bit of a twist, while he still plays a devil may care character, he is also the responsible one in his relationship with his father played by Frank Morgan. Morgan is in love with Billie Burke’s character whose noveau riche family is opposing their marriage. Montgomery lambasts this family in his cartoon series.  Meanwhile Montgomery falls in love with a girl only to find out, she too is a member of that same family! It’s convoluted, but rather fun.

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