Friday, August 28, 2015

"American Ultra" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "American Ultra" and DVDs "Taken 3" and "Big Hero 6." The Book of the Week is Ann Rule's "The I-5 Killer."  I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with Luis Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel."]

American Ultra

Jesse Eisenberg plays a CIA field operative who is so deeply under cover he doesn't even know he's a CIA agent.

Mike (Eisenberg) is a stoner and a total screw-up.  He works the night shift at a convenience store and lives with his long-suffering girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart).  Mike has issues.  He can't leave the town they live in (Liman, West Virginia) because he has a panic attack whenever he tries to  leave, and he screws up so much, I started to think that Phoebe was Mother Teresa.  What can she possibly see in this guy?

However, enter CIA agent Lassiter (Connie Britton) and we discover that Mike is no ordinary screw-up stoner.  No, he is actually a CIA agent screw-up stoner who was part of an experiment to create super agents.  When the program was deemed too dangerous, it was called off and Mike was "de-activated" and now remembers none of his life before coming to this small town. But when Lassiter finds out that Mike has been targeted for extinction (he was her pet project), she finds him and reactivates him. So when CIA killers come looking for him at his convenience store (and they keep coming no matter where he goes), his early fighting skills and programming start coming back to him, and he doesn't understand any of it.

Mike says to Phoebe: Something very weird is happening to me: I keep killing people! There's a chance I may be... a robot!

It was at this moment that I realized this movie was a comedy.  A very dark and bloody one, but a comedy nevertheless.

Eisenberg continues to play against type as he did in the recently reviews "Night Moves" and show what a versatile actor he has become.  Likewise, Kristen Stewart continues to show she is an actress of substance as she did in "Clouds of Sils Maria."  Those Twilight movies did not do her acting cred any justice so it's good to see her starting to mature as an actress.  I think she actually smiled in this movie too. Eisenberg and Stewart have real chemistry here (they were together before in "Adventureland" in 2009). Connie Britton moves away from her starring stint in TV's "Nashville," to good advantage on the big screen.

John Leguizamo has a funny cameo as Rose, Mike's drug-dealing, conspiracy theory spouting friend and Topher Grace makes for a dapper bad guy.

Written by Max Landis and directed by Nima Nourizadeh, who directed "Project X," this film is original, exciting and fun.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Quentin Tarrantino meets "The Terminator."

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Taken 3 (2014)

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) returns, this time accused of a murder he didn't commit.

The movie has one of those cold openings where Russian mobsters kidnap a guy and make him open a safe because his boss owes them money.  It's not pretty. This kind of opening is designed to show us just how badass these bad guys are and the biggest badass is Malankov (San Spruell), who of course will show up later to vex our hero.

Roll opening credits.

Bryan shows up at his daughter's apartment to present her with a giant stuffed panda for her birthday.  He is no longer married to Lenore (Famke Janssen), but he invites her to dinner to celebrate their daughter's birthday.  She declines but later shows up at his apartment to complain about her current marriage and to let Bryan know she wishes she was back with him.  Bryan wishes it too.  However, Lenore's husband, Stuart (Dougray Scott) doesn't and he later visits Bryan to tell him to please stay away from Lenore.

The next day Lenore asks to see Bryan for breakfast and bagels and when he returns to his apartment with bagels, finds Lenore dead in his bed.  Not good.  The cops are there almost immediately and assume Bryan is the killer, which Bryan also realizes is not good and he had better get the hell out of Dodge.

So goes the rest of the movie as Bryan uses his immense talents to wiggle out of every sticky situation to try to prove his innocence and find Lenore's real killer as per the earlier films in this franchise, "Taken (2008)" and "Taken 2 (2012)"

The tag line for this third installment of the "Taken" series is "It ends here," and all I can say is "Thank the Lord!"

The first one was pretty good.  Liam's daughter was "taken" and he had to find her before it was too late.  Out of that one came the famous lines,

 "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you,"

delivered as only Liam could in his deep Irish brogue.  Good stuff.

Then "Taken 2" came along and, OK, you know how I feel about sequels.  This time his wife was taken and the whole thing seemed familiar.  Hey, isn't this just like the first one?

But now, in "Taken 3" no one is even "taken."  It's Liam being framed for his wife's murder and his being chased all over the place.  Of course that doesn't mean he is not going to turn things around and STILL hunt those bad guys down and kill them.

Luc Besson is back as the screenwriter (along with some others), but I think he should give this character a rest.

The music is melodramatic and this entire affair is cartoonish.  I'm not sure how Liam could keep a straight face.  And even Forest Whitaker as the cop trying to find our Bryan can't save this thing.

Liam Neesan has admitted he does these movies because they pay him too much to turn them down, but, Liam...listen to me.  I love you madly because you are a nice big handsome man who is a good actor.  Pleeeez, no more of these or you will ruin any acting cred you have and I will no longer love you madly.

NOTE: I had decided that I was only going to review movies that I could recommend, hoping that I would turn you on to some films you might not have put in your queue at Netflix or watched On Demand or however you get your DVDs.  I am going against that vow here because this movie has a relatively high profile and you might just want to grab it off the shelf.  DON'T!

I decided that you needed to be warned.

Rosy the Reviewer says...This movie is terrible!

Big Hero 6 (2014)

An unlikely group form a super-hero team.

Hiro is a robotics genius in a futuristic San Fransokyo (what if Japanese immigrants rebuilt San Francisco after the earthquake and named it San Fransokyo?)  He and his brother, Tadashi, are being raised by their Aunt Cass, because their parents died when Hiro was three.  Hiro spends his time participating in illegal robot fights and getting into trouble.

When Hiro's brother invents a robotic nurse, Baymax, at his school, Hiro decides he wants to get into his brother's "nerd school" and invents "microbots," swarms of tiny robots than can create anything you think.  This is how it works:  if you can think it, the microbots can become it. Need a giant gun?  The microbots can become one. Need a tank?  Think it and the microbots can become it.  When Hiro shows his invention to  Callaghan, the head of the school, Callaghan is impressed and lets Hiro enroll.

Meanwhile Alastair Krei, owner of Krei Tech, hears about the microbots and wants to buy the invention but Callaghan warns Hiro that Krei is a questionable sort, so Hiro says no, staying at the school instead. But when the school catches on fire, Tadashi and Callahan are killed.

Depressed, Hiro activates Baymax and together they discover that someone has been manufacturing microbots.  When they find them being manufactured in an abandoned warehouse, they are attacked by a man wearing a mask.  Hiro and Baymax team up with Tadashi's friends, GoGo, Honey, Wasabi and Fred, to form a superhero group to find out who has stolen Hiro's superbots invention and why.

You have your stock characters:  the feisty girl, the scared guy, the clueless hippie and the smart girl but Baymax is the fun part of this film.  He is like a giant sweet and very loyal marshmallow. 

Writers Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird have adapted a Marvel comic into a screenplay that lives up to the high standard we have come to expect from Disney and it has a moral, which is also very Disney: using teamwork, you can think your way out of the problem.

This is Disney's 54th animated feature and based on Marvel Comics superheros of the same name, their first action hero themed film.  It also won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2014.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like the "Iron Man" films, you will like this.  Personally, I liked this one better!

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

295 to go!

The Exterminating Angel (1962)

Guests at a dinner party find that they are unable to leave.
Upper class guests arrive at a dinner party at Senor Nobile's (Enrique Rambal) mansion following an opera.  After dinner they retire to the drawing room, where after listening to a piano sonata by Blanca (Patricia de Morelos), one of the guests.  After the music, instead of leaving the men remove their jackets and ties and everyone settles down to go to sleep. 

When they awake in the morning, they all realize they can't leave.  Though nothing physically is stopping them from leaving, psychologically none of them are able to leave the room.  Conversely, for some strange reason, after preparing dinner the night before, all of the servants except one were compelled to leave. As time goes by and all of the food and water start to run out and the guests realize they are stuck together in this room for who knows how long, these so-called upper class people start to become hostile, hysterical and animal-like.
Likened to Sartre's "No Exit," where we discover the characters are in hell, here we don't know why they can't leave.
Spanish auteur Luis Bunuel ("Un Chien Andelou," which is de rigeur in any history of film class, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," "That Obscure Object of Desire"), a leader in avante-garde surrealism, made this film at the end of his 18 years in Mexico.  Here he explores class conflict, religion, politics and morality.

Bunuel is recognized as one of the great movie directors of all time.  He made films in Spain, France and Mexico in practically every movie genre and his work spanned from the 1920's to the 1970's. Six of his films are included in "Sight and Sound's" 2012 critics' poll of the top 250 films of all time.

Woody Allen alluded to this film in "Midnight in Paris" when Gil (Owen Wilson) meets Bunuel (Adrien de Van) and suggests a story to the young Bunuel about guests who arrive for a dinner party and can’t leave. Buñuel asks, "But why can’t they leave? I don’t understand." After Gil leaves, Buñuel is still muttering to himself, "...What's holding them in the room?..."  A very Woody moment.
Why it's a Must See:  "One of Bunuel's most celebrated Mexican films, [this film] appears to wear its political satire lightly, but beneath the banter, the diretor's sardonic hand delivers one of its most powerful blows.  This group represents the hypocrites who believe they have raised themselves above the morass of the lower classes and beyond whatever judgment should be passed on them for their deeds. They are the Spanish elite, the supporters of Franco, whose duplicity Bunuel despised."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

This film is considered by Mexican film critics as the 16th best film of the Mexican cinema and one of the best 1000 films by the New York Times.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a strange but delicious skewering of the upper classes that is not to be missed!


***Book of the Week***

The I-5 Killer by Ann Rule (1984)

Randall Woodfield looked like the boy-next-door but he was anything but.  Trolling up and down 800 miles of Highway 5, he managed to kill 44 women.

Woodfield was an unlikely killer.  He was a good student and star athlete.  He was drafted to play for the Green Bay Packers and chosen by Playgirl Magazine as a centerfold candidate.  So why did he choose to rape and kill?

Ann Rule reigned as one of our best true crime writers until her recent death at the age of 83.  She was writing right up until the end, her last book "Lying in Wait" was published in 2014. 

She wrote 36 books in the course of her 30-year career as a true crime writer, mostly about crimes in the Pacific Northwest, where she also lived.  This one was only her 3rd book, written right before one of her most famous books, "The Stranger Beside Me (1986)," her true story of sitting beside Ted Bundy at a Seattle suicide prevention hotline, unaware that he was a serial killer. That book brought her fame along with "Small Sacrifices (1987)," the story of Diane Downs who tried to kill her children and "Green River, Running Red (2004)," the story of the Green River Killer in Washington State.

Though this book is an early example of her work, her later style is already apparent.  She wrote her books with meticulous care for detail, making you care about the victims and the law enforcement personnel who tried to solve the murders.  This was particularly apparent in "Green River, Running Red," where serial killer Gary Ridgway targeted prostitutes, hoping no one would miss them and no one would care.  Rule created portraits of the young women that did make you care.

In "Small Sacrifices," Rule told the story of Diane Downs who shot her three children and pretended she and her children had been shot by a man trying to carjack her car. One child died and the other two were seriously hurt, but were finally able to testify against their mother.  Diane was in love with a married man and she thought if she got rid of her children, he would marry her.  Rule wrote such a compelling tale of this terrible deed that it was made into a TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal.  It was this book that turned me into a true crime fan and no one wrote true crime quite like Ann Rule.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this one is for those of you who have read Rule's other books. If you haven't read Rule before start with "Small Sacrifices" or "Green River, Running Red," when she was at the top of her game.  Rest in peace, Ann Rule.  You were the Queen of Crime Writers and you will be missed.


Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"Why Movies Matter"


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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.


Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

 Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What I Have Learned From Magazines

Magazines have shaped my life ever since I discovered my older sister's stash of "Seventeen" magazines when I was seven years old.

And it wasn't all good.


Imagine a chubby, red-headed little precocious 7-year-old with a Dutch boy haircut finding out at an early age that she was supposed to be reed thin, have long blonde hair, know how to talk to boys and wear a girdle (it was the 50's).

As I matured it got even harder.

I learned from magazines that I was fat (though when I look at pictures of my young self, I now know I wasn't), not pretty, and socially inept as I flunked all of those Cosmo quizzes.

From the quizzes, I discovered I wasn't a good lover, couldn't handle money and was destined to never get married (well, one of those was true).

I couldn't stop trying to emulate the models in the magazines and live up to the images and articles being sold there.  It never occurred to me that the models were air-brushed and photo shopped into those ideal pictures. And can you imagine anyone trying to be as skinny as "Twiggy?"

Magazines also fed my clothes addiction. 

I would go to great lengths to find some of the outfits featured in the magazines, which in turn led to some hefty credit card bills that did not make for happy Dads and Hubbies.

But all of those clothes didn't necessarily help my self-esteem either, because once I found the outfit, I could never figure out why it didn't look as cute on me as it did on the model.  Twiggy.  Me.  Me. Twiggy.

But on the plus side,

I had cute clothes, and all of that sleuthing to find the clothes from the magazines taught me to be very persistent and imaginative.  Maybe that's why I was such a good reference librarian later in life.  So there's a plus - magazines taught me ingenuity.

I also learned how to put on make-up (great for the aspiring actress that I was), iron my hair straight, how to create cute ensembles, and

I also learned how to model.

My first fashion show.  Note my attention to detail as I hold the towel in a nonchalant way.

Later, the placement of the feet and the nonchalant expression were key.

But as I matured, the feet were still good, but I learned that a nonchalant expression could also be interpreted as a "resting bitch face, (learned that from a magazine too)" so decided the nonchalant expression didn't look so good on a 60-year-old.  Smiling, holding your head up and making sure the picture was taken from above minimized bitch face, turkey neck and just all-around lumpiness.

However, in addition to fashion tips, growing up, I also learned some practical things from magazines such as the "spoon test."

If you can remember back to the 60's and 70's, many of us women eschewed bras.  Some of us shouldn't have.  So the magazines were very helpful in providing information that would tell you if you were a candidate to go braless. 

The test involved your placing a spoon under one of your breasts and if you could hold it there and it didn't fall out, you probably should not go braless.  If, on the other hand, you couldn't hold the spoon, then your breasts were small enough that your going braless would not cause a sensation.  That's what the magazines said anyway. 

However, looking back, I think the point was to actually cause a sensation. 

But I was not well endowed, so I not only didn't pass the "spoon test," I couldn't find a place to put the spoon. 

However, to get past "The Parent Test," I sometimes had to place some band aids strategically.  That was another tip I got from the magazines.

But despite those few positive tips and tricks, I can't say that magazines helped my self-image much when I was younger. 

I beat myself up a lot as many young women do as they try to meet the "ideals" portrayed in the fashion mags.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age, I don't need magazines to tell me I am old, overweight, a bad lover or anything else because when you get to a certain age, you don't have to prove anything to anyone and you don't care what anyone else thinks.  Or you shouldn't. 

You've paid your dues and can now rest on that big butt of yours and enjoy the rest of your life.

Oh, that reminds me of another thing I learned from magazines (and if you read my blog, I quote it often).  French actress Catherine Deneuve said, at 30 you had to choose between your bottom or your face, meaning you can't have both a young and beautiful face and a small and beautiful butt.  Want to save your face as you age?  Then don't get too skinny.  Want to have a plump unlined face?  Let that big butt reign!

I am sitting on my big butt right now.

I still read magazines, though "Seventeen" and "Cosmo" have been replaced by "Cooking Light" and "Good Housekeeping."  My desire to wear the latest fashions and look like the models has been replaced by my desire to keep my produce fresh and my wine cold.

So what I thought were practical tips in my younger years ("The Spoon Test") have been replaced by tips that relate to me now:

Here's one:

I learned that 65 is the new 45. 

That's very encouraging.


                        45                                                              65
So do your math to figure out your "real" age!

Also, you know how you are in the shower and you want to shave your legs but you forgot to bring the shaving cream into the shower with you?  And you would have to leave the shower, dripping wet, to retrieve it and possibly slip and fall and break a hip? 

Hair conditioner. Conditioner works great as a shaving cream.

Where did I learn that?  From a magazine.

I have also learned the importance of decluttering, having emergency supplies on hand, not just at home but in my car as well (I heard THE BIG ONE IS COMING), and how to keep my kitchen clean by doing one small task every day (Day 1 - wipe down your appliances.  I can do that.  Day 2 - Mop the floor.  Not so much).

Here are some other things I have learned:

  • Add an apple to a potato bag to keep the potatoes from budding
  • Freeze grapes to have a handy, quick way to chill a glass of white wine
  • Egg cartons are a great place to store your Christmas tree ornaments
  • If you want your ice cubes to be clear, freeze boiling water
  • Remove pet hair from your couch by using a squeegee
  • Hang a coat rack low on the wall to keep shoes off of the floor in your mudroom
  • If you don't have a particular ingredient for a recipe, make something up (that tip actually came from me)!

For good or ill, magazines have played a large role in my life, and I have made no attempt to conceal my love of magazines and, though you may judge me about it, you can see that I have learned some practical things which I have now shared with you.

And that's because I always try to be educational and inspirational in my blog posts.

So, you are very welcome.

And hey, have some tips to share that YOU learned from magazines?

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"American Ultra" 

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Friday, August 21, 2015

"Irrational Man" and The Week in Reviews

[I review Woody Allen's new movie "Irrational Man" and DVDs "Tangerines" and "Serena."  The Book of the Week is "Bright Lights, Big Ass," a Millennial's view of life in the Big City .  I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with the classic film about getting old, "Make Way for Tomorrow"]

Irrational Man

In this new Woody Allen film, Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) is the new professor of Continental Philosophy at Braylin, a small liberal arts college in Rhode Island.  He is not a happy man until he finds a new purpose: committing the perfect crime.

When Abe arrives at Braylin, everyone is all atwitter because Abe is a famous writer with an exotic past.  However, Abe is having an existential crisis calling his own path in life, philosophy, nothing more than "verbal masturbation."

He embarks upon a relationship with one of his students, enthusiastic, wide-eyed A-student Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), while at the same time having sex with one of the other teachers, married but bored Rita Richards (Parker Posey).  Jill has a boyfriend, Roy (Jamie Blackly), but is drawn to Abe's dark, brooding personality. 

What is it with women and the sad types? As many women do, she thinks she can fix him.  But nothing makes him happy until Jill and he overhear a woman in a booth behind them at a restaurant complaining about her custody issues and how unfair the judge is being to her.  The idea comes to Abe that for the greater good, he needs to get rid of that judge.  Creating the perfect murder gives Abe a new reason to live.  He is even able to rationalize that what he is doing is the the right and moral thing to do.

Unlike many of Woody's recent films, this film has a plot.  He has tackled murder mysteries before, "Match Point," being one.  Here Woody casts his eye on the lengths people will go to to find meaning in their lives.

Nobody does tormented like Joaquin Phoenix and he gets to twitch to his heart's content here.  His monotone delivery is in keeping with the characters angst and I couldn't take my eyes off of the decided beer belly he has given his character.
Must be all of that single malt Abe seems to love.

And no one plays wide-eyed like Emma Stone, because she has the biggest eyes of today's young actresses.  She appears to be Woody's latest muse ("Magic in the Moonlight").  He seems to always need one.  The last one was Scarlett ("Match Point" and "Scoop"), and then most famously Mia ("Alice") and Diane ("Annie Hall" and others) with Mariel ("Manhattan") and Penelope ("Vicki Christina Barcelona") and others along the way. But that is understandable because Woody writes great roles for women, because it's obvious he loves them, though his neuroses obscures exactly how he feels about them. 

Parker Posey has been an indy darling for years and is starting to look it but she puts in a great performance.  One couldn't help but wonder why she never broke through into superstardom.

There are certain things you can always count on with a Woody Allen movie:  He will put one out every year, it will have black and white opening and closing credits, there will be jazz (this time Ramsey Lewis), a young beautiful muse (as mentioned earlier), a life is meaningless theme and biting satire, Woody Allen Style.  Woody Allen is not a happy man either.  His views on life have always been existential, but it doesn't matter, because he is also a very smart and funny man.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a smart movie for smart people.

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Tangerines (2015)

As the Georgian-Abkhazian (1992-1993) conflict breaks out in Georgia, Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak), an Estonian, has stayed behind to help his neighbor harvest his tangerines.  He is minding his own business until soldiers from conflicting sides are wounded on his doorstep.

Most Estonians living in the Georgia region have left since the war between the Georgians and Chechens began.  But Ivo and another farmer, Margus (Elmo Nuganen), have stayed behind to tend to their tangerines and they aren't bothering anyone.  The tangerine orchard belongs to Margus, but Ivo makes wooden boxes to contain the tangerines. Together they will harvest them. However, when  a scuffle breaks out on the road in front of Ivo's house between the two opposing sides, all are killed except two who are left wounded, one Chechen, Ahmed (Giorgi Nakashidze), and one Georgian, Niko (Misha Meskhi).  Ivo rescues them and tends to them in his house.

Ahmed swears that as soon as he is better he is going to kill Niko, but out of respect for Ivo, says he won't do it under Ivo's roof.

An uneasy alliance develops between the two.  When they do finally get the opportunity to kill each other, the story takes an unexpected turn.

It's a familiar story showing what can happen when opposing forces can sit down together as humans.  Take politics out of the equation and we are all the same.  When we can see inside the everyday lives of each other, our humanity comes out.

This film was  nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014.  It's a quiet film directed by Zaza Urushadze that is all about Ivo and his humanity.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a familiar story told in a touching, unfamiliar way.
(In Estonian and Russian with English subtitles)

Serena (2013)

George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) has a thriving timber business but his life becomes complicated when he meets Serena (Jennifer Lawrence).

It's 1929 and George has a thriving timber empire in South Carolina.  He goes to Denver and meets upper-class Serena.  They fall in love fast and hard.  They get married and George brings Serena back to his lumberyard in the country.

Serena's father was also a timber man so Serena wants to be involved in George's business. She can give and take as good as any man.  However, George's cronies are not happy about that.  At the same time, there is talk about turning the Smokey Mountains into a National Park, which would definitely hurt George's timber interests.

The sheriff (Toby Jones) is trying to get Pemberton's land for the national park.  He offers him $400,000.  Pemberton wants a mil.  Buchanan (David Dencik), George's friend, is secretly brokering the deal for the sheriff and Serena is suspicious and tells George he "needs to do something."  She plants the seed that Buchanan needs to have an "accident."

When Serena discovers she can never have children she becomes obsessed with a child one of the mountain girls had with George.  The out of wedlock baby is a constant reminder to her of her inability to bear a child and when she finds that George has kept a picture of the baby, she loses it.  Serena is a jealous cow and George starts to get the picture.

Galloway (Rhys Ifans), a strange, quiet loner becomes Serena's henchman his blind mother prophesized that a woman would save him, so when Serena does in fact save him he feels he must pay her back.  Serena goads him into killing the child.

Where did this movie come from?  Jennifer Lawrence AND Bradley Cooper.  How did this movie slip everyone's notice?

This is Jennifer Lawrence as you've never seen her.  She and Cooper supposedly had a "thing" during the making of this movie and their chemistry is palpable.

Directed by Susanne Bier and based on the book by the same name by Ron Rash, it's very much like the Gene Tierney film, "Leave Her To Heaven," featuring an obsessive psycho woman who doesn't want to share her man with anyone, not even a child.  There are some plot twists you can see coming a mile away.  It's a predictable psycho girlfriend drama, but it's enjoyable because of the star power chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a bit of a Lifetime Movie feel to this one, but it's still an engrossing story starring two of our biggest stars.  If you like Southern Gothic, you will like this.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

296 to go!

When an elderly couple lose their house and neither of their five children can take both of them in, they are forced to separate.

Lucy (Beulah Bondi) and Bark Cooper (Victor Moore) have five adult children but when they lose their home, none of the children step up to house the both of them.  Each goes to a different child's home 300 miles apart, forcing them to separate for the first time in 50 years of marriage. This is the 1930's when a long distance phone call was a big deal and very expensive.

It becomes apparent right away that both parents are an annoyance to their children and are in their way, disrupting their lives.  The children are condescending toward the parents.  Bark seeks friendship with a local shop owner to whom he confides: "I sometimes thin children should never get beyond the age that you tuck them in every night." The separation is supposed to be only for three months, but when the child who was going to take both of them renigs, they are forced to separate seemingly for good:  Bark to California and Lucy to a nursing home.

The message seems to be and acceptance that though parents like to think that their children love them, like them and will feel gratitude for all that was done for them, in the end, the generation gap is such that there is no understanding or even patience from the young toward their parents when they age.

This same theme and storyline was adopted to great affect in the recent John Lithgow-Joseph Molina film "Love is Strange," which I reviewed back in January and the classic Japanese film "Tokyo Story" also tackles this issue.

Why it's a Must See: "In this one-of-a-kind masterpiece by one of the greatest American directors...Leo McCarey's beyond praise.  All of the actors are expansive and natural, and the generosity McCarey shows toward his characters is unstinting...There is nothing contrived about McCarey's handling of the story, and thus no escaping its poignancy."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

McCarey directed many classic films:  "Going My Way," "Duck Soup" and "An Affair to Remember," to name a few, but this was McCarey's favorite film. When McCarey won an Oscar for his film "The Awful Truth," he told the Academy they had given him the award for the wrong film.

The film begins with a quote on the screen: "Honor thy father and mother," but if the title ironically implies that when we get old we need to be carted off to a nursing home to "make way" for the younger generation, then just shoot me now!

Rosy the Reviewer says...a classic film that still resonates today.  A must-see for adult children and their parents.

***Book of the Week***

Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? by Jen Lancaster (2007)

What it's really like to be young and living in the big city.  "Sex and the City" it's NOT!
Of course, this is Chicago we are talking about here, not the Big Apple, but Lancaster is the author of "Bitter is the New Black."  Anyone who writes a book with a title like that, I'm there!

Here she disabuses the reader of a Carrie Bradshaw life in the Big City.  Manola Blahniks?  Not likely.  Lobster and champagne for breakfast?  What a laugh!  It's more like shopping at "The Holy Trinity (Target, Ikea and Trader Joe's)," rude neighbors, unemployment and Lucky Charms for breakfast.

The one drawback is that this is a pop culture book that is eight years old.  Might as well be a 1000 years as far as TV and the Internet go, but some things have no timeline:  feeling fat, going to the ob/gyn (which we ladies all know is no fun), working as a temp, watching too much TV when we know we should be working and the fear that we are really shallow human beings (thinking that while watching really bad reality TV like "Bachelor in Paradise*" and telling your Hubby to pipe down).

Rosy the Reviewer's a self-deprecating, sometimes hilarious and bitchy satiric look at how unglamorous city life can be.  If you like snarky pop culture essays from a Millennial, you will like this.

*I updated the reference because you probably wouldn't remember the ones she mentioned: "Temptation Island" and "Paradise Hotel."  I am now going to go into the bathroom and talk to myself in the mirror for being shallow.


Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"What I Have Learned from Magazines"

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Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."