Showing posts with label Godard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Godard. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2018

"Breaking In" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the thriller "Breaking In" as well as DVDs "Young Adult" and "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story."  The Book of the Week is "My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie" by Todd Fisher.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with yet another Godard (sigh): "Weekend."]

Breaking In

A mother fights to save her children from some bad guys who have broken into their home.

OK, so you remember "Home Alone," right?  It was the 1990 blockbuster comedy about eight-year-old Kevin McAllister (played by a very young Macaulay Culkin) who was accidentally left home alone when his family went on Christmas vacation, and while he was home alone, a couple of burglars, thinking the house was empty, tried to get into the house to steal stuff but wished they hadn't because they met their match when wily little Kevin was able to fend them off in all kinds of devastating but hilarious ways.  

Well, that kind of describes this movie except there are four burglars, Kevin is replaced by Gabrielle Union as Shaun Russell, a mother of two who turns out to be the mother of all mothers, and this time the robbers are already inside the house and Shaun is trying to get in to save her children.  And oh, yeah, it's not supposed to be hilarious.  OK, maybe it's not that much like "Home Alone," but I couldn't help but think of that film while watching this one, because after what Shaun puts them through, those bad guys also wish they had never broken into that house.

Shaun's father, Isaac (Damien Leake), who appears to be of dubious reputation, is dispatched early in a rather gruesome hit and run accident giving Shaun and her two children, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr), a reason to drive deep into the woods to her Wisconsin family home to get it ready to sell.  Right away we discover that Shaun has been estranged from her Dad and has not been home in years.  And likewise, right away, we see shadows and hear things go bump in the night.  They are not alone!  Good thing Glover discovered the heavy duty security system in place and the remote control that controls everything because this house is like Fort Knox when it comes to security. 

So first the kids are grabbed by the bad guys, Eddie (Billie Burke) Sam (Levi Meaden), Peter (Mark Furze) and Duncan (Richard Cabral), one of whom killed Isaac. Because of that, they thought the house would be empty and easy pickings for the millions of dollars they believe Isaac had stashed away in his home safe. Eddie is the de facto leader.  Sam is the young nervous millenial who first got the idea that Shaun's Dad had millions of dollars stuffed in his safe, and Duncan, well, Duncan is just your mean street dude who wants to kill someone.  Peter seems to be there because it seems he is the only one who can open the safe.  Unfortunately, he is the first casualty when he goes after Shawn and he will wish he hadn't. After a scuffle or two, Shaun wins out and ties him up in the woods, which is cool because since Peter is the only one who can open the safe,  Shaun now has a bargaining chip. 

But returning to the house, Shaun realizes that the bad guys have her kids and she is locked out, and so begins a cat and mouse game where the bad guys hold the kids hostage until Shawn tells them where her Dad's safe is. 

The crux of this film is that these guys are not very smart and they have no idea who they are dealing with. Eddie has this misguided idea that as long as they have the kids, Shaun will not leave because mothers would never leave their children.  Of course the house is so remote there is no cell service, but does it make sense to you that a woman would hang around to take on three bad guys when all she had to do was jump in her car and head to the nearest phone to call the cops? But then that would not have given Gabrielle Union a chance to show off what a badass she is. Thus begins a series of plot holes that would make up a lovely hunk of swiss cheese but getting caught up in those "huh?" moments will just ruin your enjoyment of this film, so why bother? 

Written by Ryan Engle, who is having a great year - he also wrote "Rampage" and "The Commuter" - and directed by James McTeigue, this is really a glorified Lifetime Movie, but I will say, despite some problems I had with this film (those plot holes I mentioned), there is a certain catharsis that takes place when one woman takes on four bad guys and wins.  And that's not a spoiler.  You know she will.  Remember, it's the journey.

Union is a good actress who looks like a real woman, which is refreshing.  She is also an activist and feminist who puts her money where her mouth is by choosing to play strong women in her films.  And this film is no exception.

Rosy the Reviewer long as you don't question some of the plot elements, an enjoyable thriller about a woman in danger where the woman gets to do the ass whooping!

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


Young Adult (2011)

A writer who hasn't quite gotten her life together travels back to her hometown to try to rekindle a romance with her old boyfriend despite the fact that he is married with a newborn baby.

I don't know how I missed this film the first time around.  I think I thought from the title that it was a teen film so I wasn't interested since I'm not a teen. But since seeing and loving the latest Diablo Cody-Jason Reitman collaboration "Tully," I decided I needed to go back and see this one too and discovered that, not only did this one also star Charlize Theron, but what it's really about is an adult stuck in the vagaries between youth and adulthood. 

Mavis Gary (Theron) lives in Minneapolis, is the ghostwriter for a series of young adult novels and her lifestyle looks like she herself hasn't moved very far from young adulthood despite the fact that she is looking 40 in the face.  She is narcissistic, lives in a soulless high rise, is divorced and alone, sleeps with men indiscriminately, drinks too much, eats cartons of Haagen Dazs and is full of regrets. You know, the single life.  

When Mavis receives a birth announcement from her old hometown boyfriend, Buddy (Patrick Wilson), she has a meltdown and then decides to go find him. When she arrives back in her small town of Mercury, Minnesota, she calls her ex and makes up a reason why she is in town and he offers to meet her for a drink.  But before that happens, Mavis heads to the bar on her own and meets Matt (wonderfully played by Patton Oswalt), another fellow she went to high school with, though she doesn't remember him even though he reminds her that her locker was next to his. He also reminds her that he was "The Hate Crime Guy," a kid who was beaten up in school because the bullies thought he was gay (he wasn't) - "It was just a fat guy crime," Matt tells her - and when Mavis sees his crutches, oh, now she remembers him but, of course, Matt isn't the kind of boy the beautiful high school Mavis would have noticed.

You see, Mavis was one of those pretty and haughty high school Prom Queen girls. She still thinks of herself that way, the beautiful successful high school princess who got out of Mercury and is now the beautiful successful thirty-something who made it in the big city of Minneapolis. She was one of those mean girls in high school and now she is a kind of mean adult.  She has returned to Mercury thinking everyone will remember her and that she will easily get her old boyfriend back.

After several shots, Mavis tells Matt her plan, but Matt already has Mavis's number - that she is up to no good - and he has no problem telling her that,  but nevertheless the two form an uneasy alliance.

Now it's time to meet up with Buddy and Mavis gets all dolled up so she can win him back.  She meets his wife (Elizabeth Reaser) who has to be one of the most understanding women on the planet since it's obvious Mavis is after Buddy, but when all is said and done, Mavis eventually realizes that despite her disappointment in her life as it is now, she did get herself out of Mercury and made something of herself, whereas Buddy is still Buddy, kind of a dolt, not having done much with his life and still living in their hometown.  And know you can't go home again.

This dark comedy explores the question: When and how do we go from being a young adult to a full-blown adult and what does that mean exactly?  

I have to hand it to Charlize for making interesting acting choices.  She won an Oscar for "Monster," where she played a serial killer with bad hair and teeth; she was beaten up and bloody in "Atomic Blonde;" and gained 50 pounds for the aforementioned "Tully." For a glamour girl, she doesn't necessarily feel she needs to look glam and this film is no exception.  Many a night Mavis gets drunk, falls asleep on her bed with all of her clothes on and wakes up with her mascara running down her face. 

And Patton Oswalt is wonderful here too.  His character, Matt, is a wonderful foil for Mavis's narcissism and acts as a truth teller. He may not have made it out of Mercury, either, but he sees through Mavis's delusions about herself and that the two have much in common.

Writer Diablo Cody has a way with character and dialogue.  You feel you have known these people and said those words yourself and director Jason Reitman knows just how to showcase Cody's screenplay.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman are an extraordinary team.  I look forward to many more wonderful film experiences from them.  And Charlize ain't half bad either.  Highly recommended.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017)

Who knew Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr, was also a genius investor?

Few people probably remember Hedy Lamarr, but back in the day she was every bit as beautiful and talented as Elizabeth Taylor and Vivian Leigh.  But she had one asset they didn't. She was very, very smart. 

At the beginning of WW II, with composer George Antheil, she invented a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping to avoid jamming by the Axis powers.  It was called hopping technology which eventually played a role in future bluetooth and wifi technology.  This work led to her and Antheil's induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. 

But Lamarr was also very, very beautiful.  She was the model for Disney's animated Snow White and inspired Cat Woman.  But as this film points out, beauty can also stand in the way of being taken seriously.

Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, this documentary not only explores Lamarr's life growing up in Austria and her film career, but her personal life that led to six marriages and divorces with her ending up a recluse at 64.  It's a tale of beauty as a hindrance and contains little known information about Lamarr. Fleming Meeks, a reporter for Forbes Magazine, interviewed and recorded Hedy in 1990 when she was 76 so we also get to hear her tell her own story.

Hedy, born Hedwig Keisler, always longed to be known and appreciated for what she was rather than her beauty.  At an early age Hedy liked to take her music box apart and put it back together.  She was intellectually curious and wanted to know how things worked.  She adored her father - he had wanted a boy - so she wanted to please him.  She grew up in Vienna in a wealthy and artistic Jewish family.  In a different era, she might have been a scientist but that was not an option for very many women then so at 16 she went off to make movies.  She was sexually free and made "Ecstasy" in 1933, a shocking film for it's subject matter and nudity (the title alone tells it all).  Though the film was denounced, the film would make her world famous.

At 19, Hedy married a man 19 years older than she.  He was also an arms dealer and Hitler supporter so she made a harrowing escape from that life and was able to find an agent who renamed her Hedy Lamarr and took her to Hollywood.  She spoke no English but came to the attention of actor Charles Boyer who was smitten and wanted her in his film "Algiers."  Remember "Take me to the Casbah?"  She was a star and a sex symbol, but always a reluctant one.

There are many little-known facts about Lamarr revealed in this film:

  • Howard Hughes was the worst lover she ever had but she liked his mind and advised him on his plane designs.
  • Her invention of radio controlled torpedoes that couldn't be jammed came from her desire to help the British deal with the Nazi U-boats but the Navy rejected the invention.
  • When good parts became scarce she produced her own films.
  • She revived her career with "Samson and Delilah" in a time when sexy biblical movies were a thing.  At the time of its release, it was the third highest grossing film ever behind "Gone with the Wind" and "The Best Years of Our Lives."
  • She was one of Dr. Feelgood's victims and became addicted to speed
  • She never made a dime off of her patent which was the basis for wifi, GPS, cell phones and bluetooth because it expired and she didn't know how to renew it - a patent later worth $30 billion - and she died broke.
  • She hated being a sex symbol

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fascinating celebrity documentary that is less about celebrity and more about the curse of beauty.

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

141 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Weekend (1967)

What starts as a weekend trip to kill their parents for the inheritance turns into a weekend from hell...for not just them but anyone watching this film!

Oh, geez.  Another Godard.  When does this end?  For some reason the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" gods decided that I needed to see eight of his films or my life wouldn't have been worth living, but actually I consider that about 20 hours of my life I could have been doing something else.  Though I semi-enjoyed a couple, mostly I found his films to be unwatchable and this one was the worst of all.

A couple (Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne) go away on a weekend trip where they are up to no good but they also get more than they bargained for.

In the first scene, Godard uses the annoying technique of filming people in shadow, and even more annoying, it's a scene with a half-naked girl recounting a sexual experience in graphic detail to a man sitting nearby, also in shadow.  OK, so I'm thinking, this is a sex film but turns out it had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie which was a shambles about two people off on a weekend trip.  Since that entire first scene was filmed practically in darkness, I wasn't even sure if those two in that scene were the two in the rest of the movie.

Anyway, as the two travel to their weekend, they get in a big traffic jam where people are beeping their horns, having picnics in the road, throwing balls to one another from car to car.  It's a crazy scene that goes on forever. I mean the camera pans silently over the line of cars for TEN MINUTES! 

There are also all kinds of accidents as our characters make their way on their trip and then they pick up some political activists and then get waylaid by anarchists. From the looks of this film, you can't go away for the weekend in France without witnessing at least five car crashes or getting abducted by political activists or hanging out with anarchists.  

With Godard, you wait a very long time for things to happen and then when they do you go "Huh?" For example, there is a girl dressed as Bo Peep.  I have no idea why.  Then we watch an earthworm in close-up for a minute or so.  Then there is a guy playing Mozart on a grand piano in a barnyard and that takes forever as the camera scans the trucks, tractors and the farmers standing around.  I think this was supposed to be a comedy and the car wrecks were probably a metaphor for something but after so much crazy stuff who cares? The whole film is punctuated by overly dramatic and strange music that doesn't seem to fit but after trying to remain engaged in this chaotic mess, the music was the least of the problems.

Since I have seen seven others of his films, I am sure he was saying something about the decadence of contemporary culture and life itself, but geez.  When I am watching a film, I don't like to have to work that hard to try to figure out what the director is trying to say.

Why it's a Must See: "[This film] might be the wildest and wooliest of all of Jean-Luc Godard's films -- which is saying something."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...That's for sure.  Now I am going to say something.  It's unwatchable.  Thank the Lord this is the last one of his I have to watch!

***Book of the Week***

My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher (2018)

A memoir of growing up with his mother, Debbie Reynolds, and his sister, Carrie Fisher.

You might expect that a celebrity biography by the child of a famous person would be a hatchet job - remember "Mommie Dearest" and "My Mother's Keeper?"  Or a Hollywood memoir would be written by a famous member of the Hollywood community.

This memoir is unique because it is neither of those.  Written by Todd Fisher, the son of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and the sister of Carrie Fisher, this is a love letter to his mother and sister and it's written by someone who never chose the spotlight.  Todd chose to work behind the scenes as a filmmaker which gave him and us, the readers, a unique perspective on two Hollywood superstars.

It's all here: Eddie Fisher leaving Debbie and running off with Elizabeth Taylor.  Eddie was the most famous singer of the early 1950's and Elizabeth Taylor was arguably the most beautiful woman in the world.  But when Eddie left Debbie, who was considered America's Sweetheart, he was dubbed a cad and his career took a nosedive.  Elizabeth was considered a hussy.  

But Debbie recovered only to have subsequent marriages where her husbands took all of her money and she had to do endless Broadway and Las Vegas shows to pay back their debts. However, Debbie was also responsible for rescuing many of the famous MGM costumes when the age of the big studios ended and MGM was being dismantled.

Todd also talks about Carrie's struggles with bi-polar disorder and drug abuse and her early death at 60 with Debbie following her in death 24 hours later. Todd believes that Debbie willed herself to go so that Carrie wouldn't be alone. Keep hankies handy.

You can't make this stuff up, folks.  These lives are every bit as tragic and interesting and engrossing as a Hollywood movie and Todd was there during all of it.  

But this book isn't just about Debbie and Carrie.  It's also Todd's story.  He lived a charmed Hollywood life.  I mean, his mother bought him his own tank, for god's sake, so he could film war movies in his back yard.  He also had a full-sized western town set up there.  But he had some things to go through too. He had his share of sex and drugs as well as heartbreak - his second wife died of cancer - and losing his mother and sister within 24 hours of each other certainly was a tragedy.  But his Christian faith has sustained him throughout his life.

This is a candid but loving memoir with 32 pages of never-before-seen photos so if you were a fan of Debbie and/or Carrie or just like well-written memoirs, you will be in celebrity bio heaven.

"[A] popular question is 'What's it like growing up in your mom's shadow?'  A time came when my sister Carrie would bristle at that question.  Not me.  I happen to think that growing up in the shadow of Debbie Reynolds was a safe, beautiful, privileged place to be, and I thrived in it...My family, my life, and my experiences are gifts as far as I'm concerned, gifts that could be taken away if I stop being grateful for them and start taking them for granted...[This is] a long love letter and thank-you note to the two most pivotal, extraordinary women I've ever known.  It was hard-wired in me from the day I was born that they were 'my girls,' and they always will be...I owe my girls a thorough, honest, unapologetic account of the life I've lived with them and without them, because neither of them would have tolerated anything less from me.  And so in their honor, here, through my eyes, is the true, no-holds-barred story of Debbie, Carrie, and me."

Pass me the tissues.

Rosy the Reviewer says...wonderful and refreshing!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of 

"Book Club"

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." 

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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.

Friday, April 13, 2018

"A Quiet Place" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movie "A Quiet Place" as well as DVDs "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Father Figures."  The Book of the Week is "Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Two or Three Things I Know About Her."]

A Quiet Place

There could be monsters in our future.

Imagine having to go barefoot everywhere, live in a basement, communicate in sign language, eat off of lettuce leaves so plates and cutlery don't make noise, play Monopoly with cloth tokens or, worse, give birth in complete silence so that you won't call attention to yourself and get eaten by a monster.

Such are the lives of the Abbott family.

It's some time in the apocalyptic future and somehow really, really ugly and scary monsters have taken over the world. There is no backstory as to how that happened, but it doesn't really matter.  They are here and now everyone has to deal. The good news is that they are blind.  The bad news is that they have very good hearing and track their prey - you - through sound, so even the slightest sound out of the ordinary can bring those monsters a calling.

Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and their three children - Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who ironically is deaf, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward) - have all worked out a routine of living in silence, but one day on an outing to pick up supplies in the deserted town Beau finds a little toy rocket ship.  Lee takes it away from him and removes the batteries, but young Regan, feeling sorry for her little brother, secretly gives it back to him not knowing that he has also grabbed those batteries.  On the way home he fires up the little rocket which makes a loud noise and as soon as that happens he is grabbed and eaten by a monster right in front of his horrified family.  These monsters are not playing!

So now it's a year later and it's just the four of them. Regan is wracked with guilt and the family is grieving but they have figured out a way to survive even though 
Evelyn is now pregnant. One wonders how that's going to work out.  Not only does Evelyn have to give birth quietly but they will have to keep the newborn baby quiet somehow. Life is not easy for the Abbotts. 

This is what I call "adult horror." 

It's slow to get started as we get to know the family and settle into their lives.  Like most horror films that bank on huge amounts of blood and gore to make you clench your armrest, this one doesn't, but that doesn't mean the film isn't scary.  It is, but what is scary is watching ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, parents trying to take care of their children against all odds. Instead of the cheap thrills of chainsaws and blood spewing everywhere, this film is all about people who could be you or I having to adjust their lives to a life of intense silence in order to survive, every day, every hour, every minute, a war of survival as they try to stave off the inevitable sound that will bring the monsters while still living their lives, loving and protecting their children. We are the Abbotts, and though it's slow going at first, once this film gets going, there are plenty of jolts to go around.

Because the family must live in silence, they communicate in sign language and there is little dialogue. There is an irony in the fact that the monsters have acute hearing and Regan is deaf, though that explains why the family knows American Sign Language and her deafness also is a plot line that plays into the ending of the film, another irony.  The silence gives the actors the opportunity to show off their acting skills, because they must rely on facial expressions and body language to express themselves and their characters and this ensemble cast is up to the job.  It isn't long before you are drawn into their world and you become part of the silence. 

Emily Blunt is wonderful here but we are used to seeing her in dramatic roles.  Such is not the case with Krasinski, who is Blunt's real life husband and who is more known for comic roles than dramatic ones, but here he holds his own with his wife. Millicent Simmonds, who made a big splash in "Wonderstuck," and who is deaf in real life, has a wonderfully expressive face, and young Jupe, who you might remember as Jack Will, Auggie's friend, in "Wonder," rounds out this impressive cast.  Oh, and the monsters do their part, too.  They are also impressive.

Krasinski stars but has also written and directed the film (screenplay co-written with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods), and this is 90 minutes of nail biting intensity, though I have to say that the ending, though empowering, was a bit too pat.  But that doesn't mean this wasn't a really, really good horror film.  It was and is one of the best.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a terrifying experience and one of the runaway hits of the year that you don't want to miss. 

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


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Four teenagers are pulled into a video game and must figure out how to win the game in order to get back to reality.

This is the sequel (of sorts) to the 1995 original which I have already forgotten, but homage is paid here to the first film when a kid finds the Jumanji game on a beach and gives it to a friend.  The friend puts it on a shelf where it stays until it transforms from a board game to a video game.

Fast forward to the present day where we meet Spencer (Alex Wolff), a nerdy teen who is also a nervous germaphobe; The Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), a high school football player; Bethany (Madison Iseman), who is obsessed with selfies; and Martha (Morgan Turner), the smart girl who really wishes she was a hottie like Bethany.  All four of them find themselves in detention together where they find the old Jumanji game which has transformed into a video game. They turn it on and when the game tells them to choose their avatars, they do, but instead of just playing the game, they are pulled into the video and become the game.  

Spencer has transformed into Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson). 
True to his name, Bravestone looks like a dashing character known for his brave exploits and smoldering look.  Unfortunately, in real life Spencer is a scaredy cat. The academic Martha has become sexy Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan); the big, tall football player Fridge is now the short, wimpy Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart); and Bethany, thinking Shelly was a girl's name chose Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) as her avatar, not realizing that Shelly was a male cartography professor. Right from the moment they all start the game they are fending off monsters and on the run from bad guys.  I knew detention was bad but not this bad.

They eventually figure out the point of the game: to lift the curse of the Jewel of Jumanji and return it to it's rightful place.  It had been stolen by the evil Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) from the eye of the jaguar statue and a curse fell over the land.  The four must use their skills to return the jewel to the jaguar's eye and thus get themselves out of the game and back to reality.

"Return the jewel and lift the curse!"

Directed by Jake Kasdan with a screenplay based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the film showcases a series of comic adventures as the four seek to find the jewel and return it to the statue, but it's also the story of four diverse school kids who would never have been friends in real life, but just as the four game characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, so, too, do the real life kids and they all come to know and respect each other for those differences. 

The actors all do a good job of playing their characters within their characters.  Despite their video game personas, we never forget who they are in real life.  For example, Jack Black may look like a chubby professor but the self-absorbed fifteen-year-old Bethany is still apparent. Kevin Hart is, well, Kevin Hart, a particular favorite of mine.  His double takes, wide-eyed expressions of fear and mumbling asides under his breath always make me laugh. Karen Gillen, who I remember as Nebula in the last "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie pulls her weight here, which isn't easy with those two comedic power houses to deal with.  

And then there's The Rock.  I am fundamentally opposed to body-builders and wrestlers becoming actors and leading men.  It's just wrong so I have never wanted to like Dwayne Johnson but, darn it, I can't help it.  He is just so damn likable and self-deprecating, and he is very good at these action films. Here he does a good job of looking like a he-man but reminding us that he is really the nerdy and fearful Spencer.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you can suspend disbelief, it's a lot of fun.

Father Figures (2017)

When two fraternal twins find out their mother has been lying to them about who their father was, they hit the road to try to find their real Dad.

It can be quite a shock to realize that not only the man you thought was your Dad wasn't really your Dad, but also that your mother was kind of a slut.

Such was the case for Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) when their mother (Glenn Close) tells them that she had lied about their Dad.  He didn't die when they were young.  She just told them that because she wasn't sure who their Dad was.  Hey, it was the 70's!  When they find this out, Peter and Kyle, who up until now had not been that close and had lived very different lives, embark on a comic odyssey to find their real Dad.

Peter is a doctor but he's not happy and it doesn't help that he's a proctologist and has to deal with a**holes all day long - literally.  He is divorced and his own son doesn't even really like him.  He's a lonely guy and a bit of a sad sack.

However, Kyle is living the good life in Hawaii.  He is the face of a BBQ product that has made him millions.  He is the opposite of Peter.  He's happy and positive.  The two come together for their mother's wedding and that's when they discover their Dad was not who they thought he was.  In fact their mother tells them their real Dad is ex-football star Terry Bradshaw.

So it's a road tripping buddy film as the two brothers fly and drive across country to try to find their real Dad.  Kyle lists their top mission: Find Dad.  However, Kyle also has what he calls some sub missions - Get Peter laid followed by eating some salt water crabs and swimming with dolphins.

First stop, Terry Bradshaw.  Peter couldn't be happier.  A real life Hall of Fame football player is his Dad!  When they meet Terry, Terry remembers their Mom, thinks it's possible that Peter and Kyle could be his sons, embraces them, and invites them over to his house where they all bond. However, they soon discover that Terry is not their Dad and so, disappointed, they are on to the next possibility: Roland Hart (J.K. Simmons).  

Roland lives with his Mom, played by June Squibb (If you need an actress to play a foul-mouthed old lady, she's your gal) and paints himself as a repo man, but is in fact a car thief, and when the brothers accompany him to a "job," they get embroiled in the theft of a Ferrari, Roland ends up in the hospital and they discover their blood types don't match so possible-Dad number 2 - nope.

On to possible Dad #3 - who turns out to be a dead cop.

And so it goes.

In the meantime, there is a funny scene when the brothers pick up Katt Williams, an amiable hitchhiker.  They make him swear he's not a serial killer and then tie him up in the back seat just to make sure.  

Oh, and Peter finally gets laid.

I have to say, I know that fraternal twins don't necessarily look alike but Owen Wilson and Ed Helms are not even in the realm of familial possibility.  But maybe that was the joke and I just missed it. Wilson has made a name for himself playing happy-go-lucky and often irritating surfer dudes and here he is again.  He is a likable actor so I don't really have a problem with him.  But Ed Helms?  I just don't get him at all.  Maybe it has something to do with his teeth.

Directed by Lawrence Sher with a screenplay by Justin Malen, once again here I am with hopes high, watching a comedy and... I don't think I laughed. More and more I am questioning my sense of humor.  Why?  Because I never find any of these newer comedies to be very funny.  They are rife with old ladies saying inappropriate sexual things, pratfalls, and cheap puerile humor, not to mention far-fetched scenarios. For example, for all of the predicaments the brothers found themselves in - stealing cars, getting hit by a train, Peter thinking he has slept with his sister - there are no consequences for any of it. 

But, my peeps, in the interests of not becoming redundant in my bitching about the state of comedies in the world, I have decided to lower my standards. I will try to at least chuckle a couple of times.

Rosy the Reviewer says...So I will say, I didn't hate this film.  Katt Williams made me chuckle a couple of times.

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

148 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967)

Only Godard could tell the story of a bored Parisien housewife/prostitute (Marina Vlady) and manage to work in the Vietnam War and the evils of commercialism.

The film is narrated in a whisper, as if the narrator is telling us things we aren't supposed to know.  The movie is already irritating me.

Director Jean-Luc Godard was a huge influence on many American directors, but sometimes when I watch movies like this, movies that are so far beyond comprehension that you must dig deep to figure out the point, I can't help but think that the director is having a laugh at our expense and there really isn't a point.

From what I can figure, this film is about the Vietnam War, the evils of commercialism and TV, we are all slaves to the industrial complex
and we are all going to die.  Godard also doesn't seem to like women much. He also likes to use the Brechtian technique of distancing us from the actors and reminding us that that is fiction. I found it to be unwatchable.  

I had to drink way more wine than usual to get through this film.  It's one thing to try to use film to make a statement, to educate, even be poetic but when you create a film that requires that I spend more time trying to figure out what the hell is going on than enjoying the story or caring about the characters, then what is the point? And speaking of telling a story, there really isn't one. It's just people going about their boring mundane lives living lives of quiet desperation. But does a movie have to be boring to make the point that most of us live boring lives?  Do I have to be made to feel desperate while watching this to understand that most of us are?  Even if I understood what was going on here, the film would still not be enjoyable.  For me, a film needs to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience on some level at least.  And this wasn't.

Why it's a Must See: "[This film] is one of several ...Godard films that take prostitution as a metaphor for life in the modern capitalist state.  For Godard, a woman selling herself for money provides a perfect image of how what is most personal and life-enhancing --the sexual act -- becomes, like everything else, a commodity.  The human being becomes alienated from herself, a mere thing to be bought and sold."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Godard's movies are lovely to look at but this felt like an in-your-face blatant diatribe about commercialism and human stupidity.  I didn't need to sit through 90 minutes of this to figure that out, though I felt stupid watching it.  Eight of his films made the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book. I just don't get it.  Godard supposedly didn't work from a screenplay but rather improvised as he went along.  It shows. 

And I never did find out the two or three things...

Rosy the Reviewer says...I have one more Godard I need to see as part of my "1001 Movies" project and then I am done with Godard!

***Book of the Week***

Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman (2018)

The inner workings of "The Bachelor" revealed!

How is it that a 69-year-old long-time-married woman finds herself reading a book by a 32-year-old single woman and agreeing with her on everything?  What could those two possibly have in common?  Why the same guilty pleasure as millions of others: "The Bachelor!"

Kaufman clears up many questions and suspicions and I learned some things that I didn't know, though not as much as I had hoped.  Mainly what I learned was that I already knew way more about "The Bachelor" than I should.

What I suspected:

  • The producers do ask the Bachelor to keep on certain women who are "good TV," even if they don't have a chance at the Final Rose.

  • Producer Mike Fleiss is related to the notorious Hollywood Madam, Heidi Fleiss.  They are cousins. Must be something in their genes that tells them how to market what people crave: love and sex.

  • Yes, there is sex in The Fantasy Suite. Duh.

What I learned:

  • The Bachelor Mansion is called Villa de la Vina and is located near where the Kardashians live and is owned by Marshall Haraden.  He and his family live there ten months out of the year and leave when production for "The Bachelor" is underway.  Twice a year the production staff removes everything from the house and then spends two weeks setting everything up the way they want it including repainting the walls and adding props - big lanterns, stone sculptures and over-sized candlesticks are popular. 

  • The big room in the Mansion where everyone hangs out is called "The Mixer Room" and the foyer that leads to it is called the "Tink Tink Spot," because that's where Chris Harrison stands and taps the glass to get everyone's attention.

  • Believe it or not, the Mansion only has three bedrooms and contestants sometimes sleep in bunk beds twelve to a room.  Everyone does their own laundry and cooking and absolutely no distractions are allowed - no TV, no books, no computers.  And the contestants have to bring all of their own clothes.

  • The editing process is done by staffers who never have any interaction with cast members.  Loggers - employees who watch the raw footage - transcribe it all and give it to the story producers who tell the editors how they want an episode to go and then "Frankenbiting" is used to create certain narratives.  A "Frankenbite" is a sound bite that has been re-cut so that it has a different meaning.  For example, if the Bachelor says "I do not want to go on a date with Mary," an editor can take out the words "do not" and change it to "I want to go on a date with Mary."  Just think of the possibilities there!

  • Warner Brothers has a whole consumer line of Bachelor products - wine, candy and the "Will You Accept This Rose?" Bento Box.

Kaufman imposes a little armchair psychology to the whole proceedings:

"I think we watch The Bachelor because we're anxious about our own love lives, and the show gives us an outlet to express our fears about the modern dating world.  It allows us to see a world filled with courtship, chivalry, and romance -- and while we may scoff at the helicopters and hot tubs, deep down I think many of us still long for those kinds of things while we're spending hours swiping left on Tinder."

Rosy the Reviewer says...well, like I said, Kaufman is 32 and single but that certainly doesn't explain what I'm doing watching "The Bachelor!" If you just can't bring yourself to watch every week, check out Reality Steve.  He has the whole thing figured out before it even airs. 

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of 

"Isle of Dogs"

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." 

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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.