Showing posts with label Blonde Cobra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blonde Cobra. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Toy Story 4" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Toy Story 4" as well as the DVDs "Five Feet Apart" and "Monrovia, Indiana."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Blonde Cobra."

Toy Story 4

"Toy Story"  is back!

Whenever I watch a sequel (and you know how I generally feel about sequels as in "meh"), I always ask myself, "Was this sequel necessary?"  In the case of the "Toy Story" franchise, it seems that "Toy Story 3" had the perfect ending. I cried my eyes out. All was resolved.  Did we need yet another one?

I can't believe I am saying this, but the answer is yes!  Who wouldn't want to continue to spend time with these delightful characters?

When we left the Toy Story gang, "their kid," Andy was leaving for college and he gave his toys to his little sister, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw).  Now as this latest addition to the franchise begins, Bonnie is getting ready for kindergarten and the kindly cowboy doll, Woody (played by the kindly Tom Hanks - I think Woody and Tom are one person!) doesn't really seem to fit into Bonnie's choice of games anymore and has been relegated to the closet.  But that doesn't mean he isn't still the caring, responsible Woody.  When he sees that Bonnie is frightened about going to kindergarten, he smuggles himself into her backpack to keep an eye on her during her first day.

And it's a good thing he does, because Bonnie has a bit of trouble fitting in.  One of her classmates sweeps her art supplies into the trash until Woody manages to rescue them.  

And that's when Forky (Tom Hale) is born!  

Forky is a spork that Bonnie imbues with colorful pipe cleaner arms and popsicle stick feet and some wonky eyes.  Forky is basically made of trash and he literally wants to return there. It's where he feels most secure because, after all, he is made up of bits of trash. Let's face it.  He's trashy, but it's his place in life. There is comfort in knowing that.  So he keeps trying to get away from Bonnie so he can jump back into the trash where he feels secure.  And that's where Woody comes in.  He may feel a bit rejected by Bonnie, but Forky makes her happy and now Woody has a purpose again - to keep Forky with Bonnie.  

And so the adventures begin.

Bonnie bonds with Forky.  He's her favorite toy, but when the family goes on an RV vacation, Forky makes a getaway forcing Woody to go after him.  Forky and Woody end up in a town at an antique shop and Woody finds Bo Peep (Annie Potts) again (she had been given away by Andy's other sister, Molly).  They reunite and Woody discovers that Bo Peep is a "lost toy" out in the world and she likes it!  But Woody also discovers Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a kind of Chatty Cathy doll who is no longer "chatty," because she lost her voice box.  She laments no child will ever want her without her voice so she sets out to get Woody's with the help of some malevolent and creepy ventriloquist dummies. They take Forky hostage in order to force Woody to give up his voice box.

Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) has left the safety of the family's RV to find Woody, and after a stint as a carnival toy in a carnival game (long story), Buzz and Woody all find each other, and along with pocket toy cop Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki) and Canadian stunt man toy Duke Caboom played by a hilarious Keanu Reeves, set out to save Forky, who has been kidnapped by Gabby Gabby and her evil dummie friends.

And let me just say a bit about Keanu Reeves.  I know I have been really hard on him lately what with that egregious "Replicas" and "Destination Wedding," which I also didn't like.  But lately he has made up for all of that with his self-deprecatory stint in "Always Be My Maybe" and his comic turn here.  So forgive me, Keanu, I see you in new light!  

I just happened to go see this film by myself on a whim and was blown away by how much fun and FUNNY it was! Live action comedies can take a lesson from this film directed by Josh Cooley not to mention all of those other very funny animated films - where the animated films are funny and live action comedies are not!

The animation is absolutely amazing too and don't miss the end credits - the story keeps going - hilariously so.

Rosy the Reviewer the answer to my question, "Did we need yet another one?"  Maybe not, but I'm glad we have this one.  It's a joy to spend time with these characters. Just wish I had had a kid sitting next to me to enjoy it with!

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


Five Feet Apart (2019)

Two teens with cystic fibrosis meet in the hospital but must stay clear of each other.

Yet another dying teen movie joining the ranks of "The Fault in our Stars," "Everything Everything," "Midnight Sun," "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," and countless others.  A dying teenager is romantic I guess.

Stella (played by a very talented and appealing Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse, another appealing young actor) meet in the hospital, which is decidedly unromantic. Both are suffering from cystic fibrosis. He is there for a drug trial and she is there for treatment, one of many. In fact, Stella has been in the hospital for treatment so much that her room looks like a hotel suite.  Will and Stella slowly fall in love but must remain six feet apart at all times so as to not topass along life-threatening bacteria to each other.  

In addition to cystic fibrosis, Stella also appears to have OCD.  She is very good about following her treatment protocol but Will is less responsible and that drives Stella crazy.  But as their relationship grows, Stella loosens up a bit and decides that they will stay "five feet apart" instead of six and they use a five-foot long pool cue to measure their distance as they walk the corridors together.

There is a touching scene where the two show each other their battle-scarred bodies and the fact that they can't touch is actually a bit romantic and sexy.  When you can't have something, you want it more, right?

Those suffering from cystic fibrosis produce an over abundance of mucous in their lungs that can lead to lung infections.  They are not supposed to get close to others with the disease, because they run the risk of transmitting a possibly fatal bacteria. So no touching, no hugging and, god forbid, no kissing. Life expectancy for those with cystic fibrosis is not good. The film shed some light on a disease that we don't hear so much about.  That's a good thing, but what seemed strange to me was the fact that cystic fibrosis sufferers couldn't be in contact with each other but why was it okay for people without the disease to come in contact with them?  Couldn't they likely catch something from anyone?  Very confusing and very distracting. But I guess that's just me.

Written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis and directed by Justin Baldoni, the film follows the usual formula: two attractive teens, a disease, a tragic sidekick, the message to live life to your fullest even if it will kill you - and an over-melodramatic ending.

Rosy the Reviewer's all pretty predicatable stuff but these two young actors are engaging and if this is your thing, it won't kill you to see it, er...sorry.

Monrovia, Indiana (2018)

A documentary about a small town in the middle of America and how it represents the cultural and political influences at work today.

Director Frederick Wiseman's documentaries document America's institutions and in the past he has focused on high schools, hospitals, race tracks, zoos, libraries and more.  Here he focuses on a small farming town in Indiana.  How do we know it's a farming town?  Well, we know that because Wiseman uses long, and I mean long, lingering shots on the landscape, farm equipment, and for some reason, cows. And then some pigs.  OK, we get it. It's farm country. The cinematography is beautiful but let's get on with the film, already.

Next on to the town: lots of white people, a barber shop, old guys hanging out in the diner and talking about what they eat when the wife is away and telling jokes, someone getting inducted into the Masons, people shopping at the grocery store (lots of close-ups of fruits and veg), a baby shower, a tattoo parlor, a city council meeting where the most important topic of conversation is whether there should be one bench or two in front of the library and, of course, guns.

Wiseman's process has been described as "observational," which means no narration, no interviews, just the camera following people around and listening in.  His films don't necessarily have a beginning and a conclusion either nor does there seem to be a point of view.  As the much over-used expression says, "It is what it is."  And yet, we know that a filmmaker edits what he films into the product he wants us to see, and ultimately, a point for us to think about. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what Wiseman wanted me to think about.

Now I have made it clear that I love documentaries.  I do.  And I particularly like one without narration or exposition, but what I don't like are those really long lingering shots on cows and vegetables, and a film that moves really slowly.  And I am not fond of films over two hours long, either, unless there is a very good reason.  This one is two and a half hours long and I didn't really get why.  Some of those long lingering shots on cows could have been edited out.  And did we really need to spend five minutes watching people shopping at the grocery store?  Watching paint dry came to mind.

Since Wiseman doesn't shove his point of view down our throats, we are left to our own devices to figure out the point.  I just wondered if there was one. Is this film trying to help us understand Trump voters?  Is this meant to remind us that middle America, and probably most of America, is mired in the petty details of everyday life?  Are we supposed to feel that no matter where we live we are all alike or are we supposed to make fun of these people?  I like documentaries because they are real and I will give Wiseman that. This film is real, but did I really need to watch people trying out mattresses at a mattress show in the school gym or watch a guy try to decide what beer he wanted at the liquor store?  Now I know more than I ever thought I needed to know about Monrovia, Indiana.

Though Wiseman is a reknowned film maker and has been called "one of the most important and original filmmakers working today" by A.O. Scott, film critic for the New York Times, and I was impressed with the access he was able to get to everything and everyone in Monrovia, but I actually wish he had put his point of view into this thing.  I usually love documentaries, but, as it is, it was just a major snooze fest for me.

I grew up in Middle America, less than 300 miles from Monrovia and this film reminded me why I moved to California.

Rosy the Reviewer says..... ZZZZZZZZ

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

87 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Blonde Cobra (1963)

An homage to Jack Smith, who was a photographer, writer, filmmaker performer and "queer muse" in the avante-garde New York arts scene of the 60's and 70's and who died of AIDS in 1989.

Directed by Ken Jacobs, who edited this film from material that Smith and collaborator Bob Fleischner shot, this is an audiovisual pastiche comprised of a series of sequences of Smith, interspersed with long stretches of blacked out film where Smith tells funny stories, rants about sex and laughs crazily. However, I didn't particularly find his "story" about nuns doing naughty things with their rosaries very funny.  It was just strange.

The 60's were a wonderful but weird time but even the weird part doesn't explain why this film would get recognition.  Maybe everyone was on drugs?  There is a reason why these kinds of films are called "underground," because in my mind that's where they belong.  We have a tendency to give accolades to something we have never seen before, even if it's terrible or we don't understand it.  Think of the completely black canvas paintings by Robert Rauschenberg.  So he thought to paint a canvas completely black and call it art -- and we bought it!  Andy Warhol is another artist and filmmaker who I feel is overrated, especially his films, such as the five and a half hour film called "Sleep" which is just a naked guy sleeping.  He did the same thing with kissing and eating ("Kiss," "Eat").

This movie falls into a category that I call "Why?"

After watching a few movies lately from the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book that I actually liked, I was starting to think the worst was over -- but then this one came along.  Geez, it's just awful and anyone who deems this a worthy and necessary movie, one I need to see before I die, is either on something or having a laugh. Thank goodness this was only 32 minutes long (but it was one of the longest 32 minutes of my life)!

This film looks and feels like a couple of teenagers got a hold of a video camera and decided to make a film and clown around.

Why it's a Must See: "Generally considered one of the masterpieces of the New York underground film scene..."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...really?  Here's what I think...ZZZZZZZ
(Available on YouTube)

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday




The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

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 

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

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

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.