Friday, April 17, 2015

Al Pacino's new movie "Danny Collins" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Danny Collins" and DVDs "A Most Violent Year" and "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb."  The Book of the Week is Sophia Loren's memoir "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow."   I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project: "The Decline of the American Empire"]


Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is a hugely successful rock star but jaded and aging.  When he discovers a letter written to him 40 years ago from John Lennon he is inspired to change his life.

Based on a true story (sort of...a bit), the film begins with Danny, a serious young singer/songwriter being interviewed by an editor of "Chime Magazine."  He is just starting his career and the editor tells him he is going to be BIG.  The young Danny looks horrified at the prospect.  You see, Danny is serious about his "art."

Fast forward 40 years and Danny indeed became BIG, but now he is playing big arenas and just singing what everyone wants to hear.  He hasn't written anything in 30 years.  He drinks, snorts cocaine, has a girlfriend half his age and drives a fancy sports car...all of the trappings of fame... but he's not happy.

It's his birthday and his manager, Frank Grubman (Christopher Plummer) presents him with a gift, a framed letter that had been sent to Danny 40 years before from John Lennon. Lennon had read the interview with Danny in "Chime Magazine" and sent a letter of encouragement to Danny, telling him not to worry about fame and fortune being a detriment to his talent.  Lennon included his home phone number telling him to call him. Unfortunately the letter was sent in care of the magazine and was waylaid by the editor, who thought he could sell it to a collector, which he did, and there it stayed until Frank presented it to Danny on his birthday, thus creating the catalyst for Danny to want to go back to his roots. He can't help but think what his career might have been like had he gotten that letter 40 years ago and called John Lennon.

Danny abandons the big house, the young girlfriend and his upcoming tour and moves into a suburban New Jersey Hilton Hotel to find, Tom, the son he has never met (Bobby Cannavale), and along the way Tom's wife (Jennifer Garner) and hyperactive daughter, Hope (Giselle Eisenberg).  He also forges a relationship with the manager of the Hilton, Mary (Annette Bening).
There is nothing like Al Pacino chewing the scenery, and in this he doesn't disappoint, but in a good way.  Pacino hasn't done much since his bravura TV performance as Phil Spector, but Pacino is BACK!  Here he puts in an Academy Award worthy performance that is natural, nuanced and laid-back.  It's a quieter performance than we have come to expect from him and it is wonderful to behold.  It's too bad this film was released so early in the year, though, as it could be forgotten when Oscar nomination time rolls around.

Christopher Plummer also could get a nod with his fatherly role as Danny's manager, adviser and loyal friend.  He gets most of the good lines. Benning is a good foil for Pacino and displays her usual warmth and charm.  Cannavale is usually associated with thugs and mobsters, but here does a great turn as the son who can't quite get over the fact that his Dad didn't seem to take much of an interest in him growing up. Jennifer Garner has a small part as Tom's wife, but she has a warm, affecting quality that she brings to her roles. 

But despite the fact I usually find children in films annoying because they are too often little wise-cracking savants that don't seem to be real children, little Gisele Eisenberg, playing a child with an almost debilitating ADHD that figures prominently in the plot, is a stand-out - funny and real.

Written and directed by Dan Fogelman, "Danny Collins" sometimes verges on sentimentality, but not quite.  But sentimentality is OK, because this is the story of a man of a certain age trying to go back in time to capture something that was lost.  When you do that, it's often a sentimental journey. And add to that the film's score using John Lennon's songs, I challenge anyone alive in the 70's to not feel sentimental.

If I had one complaint, it's a very minor one. The product placement here was pretty blatant. Hilton Hotels must be very happy and Mercedes got quite a pitch too.  But like I said, a minor blip in what was a wonderful movie experience.

Rosy the Reviewer says...The best movie I have seen so far this year. Don't miss it!

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
It's 1981, statistically the most dangerous and crime-ridden year in New York City history and Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) fights to save his oil business from poachers. 
Abel Morales is an immigrant to the U.S. and wants to run a legitimate business.  He runs an oil business that he bought from his wife's father, a less than legitimate guy.  He is in the midst of securing a large property of oil storage containers that will significantly expand his business, when one of his oil trucks is kidnapped.  More and more, his trucks are getting nicked and unsavory types are prowling around his property.  He wants to know who is behind it. When he goes to complain to the D.A. he finds out he is under investigation for possible illegal accounting practices. All of this turmoil is hurting his chances to get that property he needs and he only has three days.
The film explores the dangers inherent in doing business, not just in this "most violent year," but any time. However, I couldn't stop thinking about what a strange little film this was.  It was well-written and directed by J.C. Chador, but I had a hard time caring about the oil wars of 1981.  I know it was a metaphor about how hard it can be to do business and how our values are often compromised to succeed, but it was also a very minor little slice of life.

Oscar Isaac seemed to come out of nowhere to get Oscar buzz for his fine performance in "Inside Llewyn Davis." Now he's everywhere ("Two Faces of January," "X-Men: Apocalypse" and the new upcoming "Star Wars:Episode VIII.)"  He puts in a fine performance here too.
David Oyelowo plays Lawrence who is investigating Morales and Jessica Chastain plays Morales' hard as nails wife who shows her true colors later in the film.  Chastain was nominated for a Golden Globe for this performance and it was deserved.  She is another actor who seems to be everywhere these days and can be counted on for a great performance.
 Rosy the Reviewer says...See it for the acting.

Larry (Ben Stiller) is back for a third installment of this franchise, this time traveling to the British Museum to try to save "the magic."

After two other movies, Larry is now completely comfortable with everything in the museum coming alive at night.  In fact, he's so comfortable that the museum is now holding programs at night for the public showcasing it and making big money.  But on one particular fund-raising night where everything is scripted for a huge spectacle, something happens.  The Egyptian tablet that is the source of the "magic," i.e. everything coming alive at night, also seems to be cursed. It is deteriorating and causing the exhibits to go nuts.  Ben and his friends travel to England to the British Museum to try to find the answer.

Everyone is back:  the crazy monkey, Jed, the cowboy (Owen Wilson), Octavius, the gladiator (Steve Coogan), Attila (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) and Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt, sadly in his last role and Ricky Gervais as the museum manager.

Rebel Wilson plays the guard at the British Museum and she adds her usual raunchy fat girl humor and Dan Stevens, once again stepping out of his Matthew Crawley role, plays Sir Lancelot, a "knight in shining armor."  We've also got Ben Kingsley, Hugh Jackman, Andrea Martin, Dick Van Dyke and a cameo from Mickey Rooney, also his last film role.  You would think with all of that star power this film would indeed be magical.

Sorry.  The magic has died.

Ben Stiller's deadpan reactions usually make me laugh but they are not as much in evidence here as he plays it straight, and though Wilson and Coogan are funny and the fight inside the Escher painting was original, none of that nor the all-star cast are enough to save this sad attempt at comedy.

What is it about sequels?  Exhibits in a museum coming to life was funny in the first movie, but how many times can you work that premise?  Two sequels later it's not funny anymore.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this should have been called "Night at the Museum: The Curse of the Sequel."  The magic has indeed died and these exhibits need to stay asleep.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***
267 To Go!


Four male French-Canadian academics are preparing a meal while talking about sex.  In the meantime, their female guests are working out at a gym, and, guess what?  They are talking about sex too.

Why its a Must See:  " a radio interview, one of the women asks whether the 'frantic drive for personal happiness' is 'linked to the decline of the American empire.' Atcand's film ironically explores this question. All the characters are hell-bent on finding happiness; yet everyone is frustrated and desperate...This, Arcand hints, is the fallout of a society where sexual gratification is elevated over all other values...[This film] is at once bleak and funny; we may not like these people, but they're ceaselessly fascinating to watch."
---1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

I wouldn't go that far.  The idea was a good one, but not very well executed. Right, I didn't like these people, and in fact, at times, I found this film quite offensive.  The characters reminded me of "The Real Housewives," --- even the men!  Except "The Real Housewives" don't even talk about sex as much as these folks. Could be my age, but I find endless discussions about sex boring, whether it's on film or in real life, so I have to disagree that this was "fascinating to watch."
It's also all very 80's with the Mom jeans, the headbands, the big glasses and the shoulder pads and doesn't translate well to the 21st century.  I felt like I was in an Olivia Newton-John music video.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I could have slept easily in my grave without seeing this one.
(In French with English subtitles)

***Book of the Week***
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life by Sophia Loren (2014)
 Loren finally tells her story.

Born in 1934 and growing up in poverty in war-torn Naples, Loren overcame her nickname of "Toothpick" to become one of the screen's most beautiful and voluptuous actresses.  Raised by a single mother, she was able to travel to Rome after winning a beauty contest and through hard work and perseverance, she rose quickly to stardom in Italian cinema.  From there she was discovered by Hollywood and went on to have an acting career that spanned six decades and included two Academy Awards.

Loren comes off just as you would expect her to.  She is confident of her beauty, her accomplishments and herself.  But she pulls no punches.  She shares the story of her love affair with Cary Grant, her difficult pregnancies, her 17 days in jail and the difficulties she and husband Carlo Ponti had getting their marriage recognized in Italy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a satisfying autobiography from a screen legend.

Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"How You Know You Are Not Just Getting Old,

You Are Already There!"



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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" and click on that. Then 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, April 14, 2015



I ran across this word recently and it got me to thinking.

No, it's not a disease.

Well, maybe it kind of is.

Anglophilia is defined as "unusual admiration or partiality for England, English ways or things English."

I guess the key here is "unusual" so I guess it does sort of fall into the "disease" category, disease being defined as "a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people."

Now I wouldn't say that Anglophilia particularly adversely affects those who exhibit it, but who knows?  My friends might be sick of my calling the trunk of my car a boot, asking them if they want their tea M.I.F. or T.I.F. or watching episodes of "Eastenders" when I should be spending time with Hubby.

I have made no secret of my admiration for England and all things English. 

I have always wanted to live there.  I'm not sure when it started.  It could have started with The Beatles, the fashion of Carnaby Street and Twiggy

or maybe even sooner than that because my mother was a bit of a Royal watcher.  You see, Prince Charles and I were born the same year, so perhaps she thought her daughter might grow up to marry a prince?  I did grow up to marry a prince, but it wasn't Prince Charles.

I wrote about my love of England in my post "Why I Love England," but I never thought of it as a disease before.

But I guess I might have some symptoms.

If you are thinking that you, too, might be possessed, er, I mean affected by this, let me give you some tell-tale signs of Anglophilia:

---You are such a "Downton Abbey" fan that Maggie Smith has a restraining order against you.

---You've been to England so many times the flight attendants on British Airways not only know you by your nickname, but they know what you like to drink and your bra size* (*long story, but suffice it to say you have had many long chats with them en route).

---You break into a cold sweat between 3pm and 5pm if you can't get a cuppa and a scone.

---A chip butty actually sounds delicious to you

---When talking about driving in England you never say they drive on the wrong side of the road.

---You dream of having a red call box in your back garden.

(Not to mention that you say call box instead of phone booth and back garden instead of back yard)

---You know more of the TV shows on BBC than NBC and you have actually been to the BBC.

---You haven't missed an episode of "Eastenders" in over 25 years and you have actually met one of the cast members.

---You can translate this sentence: "Eat your bubble and squeak, then get up those apples to bed, and Adam and Eve it, I will be coming up later to have a butchers to be sure you are asleep." (Cockney rhyming slang for "Eat your leftover veggies (Bubble and squeak), then get up those stairs (apples and pears) to bed, and believe (Adam and Eve) it, I will be coming up later to have a look (butcher's hook) to be sure you are asleep.")

---You still have every episode of "Absolutely Fabulous"  --- on VHS.

---You actually like Seattle weather.  It reminds you of England.

---You have been to more National Trust properties than U.S National Parks.


---You say "don't get your knickers in a twist, "I'm going to the loo," "She looks like she was pulled through a hedgerow backwards,"  and you call a baby carriage a "pram," even though your friends roll their eyes and don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. However, they give you a pass, because they know you have issues.

---You have a Princess Diana doll with all of Diana's iconic clothes.  You tell your friends she is for your granddaughter except you don't have a granddaughter and you are secretly playing with the doll yourself.

---You have the Union Jack on everything from your purse to your pillows.  You even have it tattooed on your...

---You often find yourself queuing up behind people who have merely stopped to look in a shop window.

---As soon as the sun comes out, you have a picnic, even if it's on the side of the road.

---You like your dogs better than your children.

If you say yes to 5 or more of these, you have a problem with Anglophilia. 

And don't think Anglophilia is the only disease of this kind out there.  There is Francophilia, Germanophilia, Italianophilia.  It goes on and on.

I admit that I have a certain fondness for England and English ways and always dreamed of living there. At my advanced age, I realize that probably won't happen now, especially since I don't believe in Bucket Lists. (I have an Un-Bucket List, though).

But I am not even close to suffering from Anglophilia as described.

I am merely providing a public service with my blog, as I like to do for my readers, so you can determine if you suffer from any of these diseases and if so, seek help.

Now if you will excuse me, it's 4pm, the sun is out, and I am going to take my Princess Diana doll and my favorite poodle for a walk in a pram and have a cuppa and a scone on the side of the road followed by an episode of "Eastenders!"

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday
for my review of Al Pacino's
new movie
"Danny Collins"
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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Friday, April 10, 2015

"Woman in Gold" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Woman in Gold" and the DVDs "The Equalizer"  and "The Rewrite." The Book of the Week is "Audrey and Bill: A Romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn & William Holden" and I alert you to some noteworthy television:  "Sinatra: All or Nothing at All."  I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with: the Iranian film "Taste of Cherry." ]


The true life story of Maria Altmann, a Holocaust survivor, who takes on the Austrian government for restitution for the art stolen from her family by the Nazis - most notably, Gustav Klimt's "Woman in Gold."

Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), who left her homeland of Austria as a young woman to escape the Nazis, discovers, when her sister dies, that paintings that were once owned by her wealthy Jewish family and stolen by the Nazis now sit in the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. She especially wants the Gustave Klimt painting, "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," also known as "Woman in Gold," because it is a portrait of her Aunt Adele, an aunt to whom she was especially close.  Maria seeks out the son of a friend to give her legal advice as to her rights to get the paintings back especially in light of Austria's 1998 Art Restitution Act.  The Klimt painting alone is worth over 100 million dollars, but it's not about the money.  She wants the stolen paintings back because they also symbolize her stolen life, the life she was forced to flee.

Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a descendant of the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, is a young lawyer with limited experience but is basically railroaded into helping Maria until his own fervor for the cause kicks in. However, the Austrian government is not happy to let loose of one of its most famous paintings.  After all, they sell refrigerator magnets with that picture on them.  So Maria and Randol have a long and arduous fight ahead.

Helen Mirren has made a career out of playing imperious women who can wither those she disapproves of with a single glance - I mean, she's played Queen Elizabeth more than once, for god's sake, and is currently starring in that role on Broadway.  And didn't she play this same character in "The Hundred-Foot Journey," except with a different accent? It's starting to be a bit one note. And Mirren's portrayal of Maria is not played as a particularly sympathetic character until the end and by then, it's too late. 

However, the film is saved somewhat by the counter story of her younger self (played by Tatiana Maslany, who has made a name for herself in "Orphan Black") escaping Austria during the Nazi occupation.  But Mirren as an 80 year old?  I think not.

It's good to see Ryan Reynolds again.  He hasn't had a big film role for at least a year and those he has had since 2012 haven't done that well at the box office. I mean, tell me you have heard of "The Captive" or "Mississippi Grind" or "R.I.P.D." If you have, you must be either a huge Ryan Reynolds fan or a much more rabid movie fan than I.  I figure he is trying to shake the pretty boy rom-com typecasting, but, hey, I really liked "The Proposal."  I say, when you are good at something, why not stick to it?  Or maybe he just wanted to enjoy his marriage to Blake Lively. Here it looks like they have tried to "dumb down" his looks, or should I say make him look smarter (he plays a lawyer) and more like the real life person he portrays, by giving him false teeth and glasses.  A shame because he is such a handsome guy.  The director must have not wanted us to be distracted.

Austria is not painted in a particularly good light except for the presence of the journalist (Daniel Bruhl, "Rush") who wants to help them so as to make reparations for the fact his father was a Nazi as in "not all Austrians are bad."

But the film belongs to Mirren and Reynolds, so one wonders why Katie Holmes would choose to play the small role of Schoenberg's wife, and even more mysterious is why Elizabeth McGovern would want the few minutes she gets as the judge who allows Maria's case to go forward in the United States.  Doesn't playing Lady Cora on "Downton Abbey" pay enough?  Oh, sorry. She's married to the director. OK, I get that, then. But why would Jonathon Pryce want this miniscule role as the Chief Justice on the Supreme Court or Frances Fisher hers as Randol's mom?  Charles Dance as Randol's employer in his law firm at least gets some good lines for his short time on film.

But despite all of that talent, the film just didn't gel.  It didn't make me really care whether or not Maria got her paintings back or not.

Directed by Simon Curtis with a screenplay by Alexi Kaye Campbell, the films stands as a grim reminder of the atrocities visited upon the Jews by the Nazis during WW II, only some of which was their stolen art.  In that, the film is a success.  As a piece of film art on its own, not so much.

The story is an interesting, though small, one but it is just too pat and clichéd in its depictions to make us care very much. It's a typical Daniel vs. Goliath formula.  And there are some preposterous scenes such as when searching for her Aunt's will in Vienna, Maria and Randol are confronted with a room full of rows and rows of files that they must search through by hand in one night and naturally Randol finds the relevant file. The whole time they were searching I was thinking, "But can he read German?" 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "Philomena," you might like this film, but it doesn't have the power of "Philomena."  It's just an interesting idea turned into an ultimately disappointing film.

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

The Equalizer  (2014)
A mysterious man with a mysterious past tries to live a quiet life, but is called into action when he meets a young prostitute who needs his help.

Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall.  McCall lives alone in Boston in an immaculate apartment, works at a Home Depot-like store and is helping his young colleague, Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis), lose weight so he can get a job as a security guard there.  McCall also can't seem to sleep because he spends most of his nights sitting in a diner reading classic novels. He has a bit of OCD as he is constantly straightening the salt and pepper shakers on the diner's table and timing everything he does. He also seems to be too controlled, as if he is poised to attack at any minute.

He meets Elena, whose street name is Teri, a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz, "Carrie, "If I Stay") and they strike up a friendship.  When he finds out she is being used by a Russian crime ring and that they beat her up, his vigilantism begins.  He shoots up a restaurant which acts as a headquarters for the bad guys, which brings him to the attention of the head honcho, Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich).  Pushkin sends his baddest bad guy, Teddy (Marton Csokas), to deal with McCall.  Teddy is a very bad guy (Teddy is a strange name for a bad guy, don't you think?), who reminded me of a young Kevin Spacy in "Seven,"  one of the creepiest movies of all time.  However, Teddy has no idea who he is dealing with.

The film is slow to start but trying to solve the mystery of McCall's past is as much fun as the action that will soon ensue. If you stick with it, it gets really good with lots of action and violence.  Denzel is one calm, cool and collected kick-ass action hero.  There is a grand finale bloodbath in the Home Depot-like store where, let's just say, Denzel makes use of the many tools that are available there.

Denzel is a credible action hero and gives another one of his great performances.  One can't help but compare him to the original Equalizer, Edward Woodward, but that would be a disservice to Denzel.  Denzel is less like the original Equalizer and more like his character in "Training Day," which is not surprising since this film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, the director of that film too.  Fuqua has created a gritty, moody milieu for Denzel to be one big bad ass, but Denzel exudes a sensitivity that keeps McCall from turning into a cartoon character.  The screenplay (Richard Wenk) is sharp, sometimes humorous and fast paced.

From the ending shot, this appears to be a prequel so expect some sequels.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a smart, riveting action movie.  You will never see a Home Depot the same way again.

The Rewrite (2014)
A Hollywood Oscar-winning screenwriter has writer's block and can't get a job, so takes a job teaching screenwriting at a college in the Northeast.

Hugh Grant plays Keith Michaels, a writer whose screenplay "Paradise Misplaced" won an Oscar, but now he can't even get hired to do a reality show.  He's also a kind of sleazy guy. He hasn't talked to his son in a year. His agent gets him a teaching gig at Binghamton College (not to be confused with SUNY Binghamton), where he almost immediately manages to insult the woman who teaches Jane Austen (Allison Janney) - not a good idea - and he clearly doesn't know what he is doing so he tells his class to come back in a month.  He is just basically a sarcastic, jaded Los Angelean who is disdainful of what he perceives as "the boonies." Enter Marisa Tomei, an "older" serious student who is trying to get her life together and you can tell what is going to happen from a mile away.

Where is our stuttering, cute little Hugh who thrilled us ladies to the core in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill?"  I know, we all get old.  But that doesn't excuse him from sleepwalking through this thing. I should have realized what I was in for when I saw him on talk shows recently promoting the release of this DVD.  He was sleepwalking then too.

J.K. Simmons is Dr. Lerner, the Head of the Department, an ex-marine who "likes to follow the rules."  Too bad "our hero" doesn't.  He shags a student and chooses his class from their pictures on Facebook (pretty girls and geeky boys), rather than on the merits of their submitted screenplays. His class is like something out of "Welcome Back, Kotter," except each of them is obsessed with something. You have the sex-obsessed girl, the guy obsessed with Star Wars, the girl obsessed with "Dirty Dancing," the know-it-all girl obsessed with hating "Dirty Dancing" and you have the usual kooky mix.  Where is Vinnie Barbarino when you need him?

Chris Elliott shows up (where has he been? - I used to love him in "Get a Life") - but doesn't bring the kookiness of his past.

Marisa Tomei is always good and is the bright light here, but she and Grant have zero chemistry and in fact, this is not really a rom-com at all.  She is here more to help Keith out of his slump, so if you are expecting our usual charmingly clumsily romantic Hugh, you will be disappointed.

Writer/Director Marc Lawrence and Grant have collaborated several times, most notably "Music and Lyrics" and "Two Weeks Notice."  Unfortunately, things have gone downhill since "Did You Hear About The Morgans?"  And now this.

Basically this is your typical "fish out of water" story where our hero learns from those he originally disdains and they learn from him (Yawn), and I guess the theme here could be: Sometimes our "rewrite" isn't exactly as we would write it for ourselves but at least we get a second chance.  If Hugh continues to sleepwalk through his films, he might not get another one.

This must have gone directly to DVD because I don't remember it in the theatres at all.  Good thing, because if I had spent real money on this I would have been even more disappointed.

Rosy the Reviewer says...for a movie about writing a brilliant screenplay, too bad this wasn't one.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***
268 to go!
Have YOU seen this one?

Taste of Cherry (1997)

An Iranian man drives around Tehran looking for someone to bury him under a cherry tree after he kills himself.

Why it's a Must See:  [Director] Kiarostami] is a master at filming landscapes and building parable-like narratives whose missing pieces solicit the viewer's active imagination.  This even extends to the film's surprisingly cheerful, self-referential coda: profound isolation radiates with wonder and euphoria."
---1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Despite the fact that I know you all respect me as a serious film-goer and though I can appreciate the originality of the story and the artistry, there are four things that can mar my enjoyment of a film:  No women, bleak desert locations, long monotonous periods of time where nothing happens and non-stop talking. Unfortunately, this film had all four and translates to me as boring. Maybe I am not such a serious film-goer after all, but despite the "art" part of a film, in my mind, it must also be an enjoyable movie experience.
This wasn't.
Rosy the Reviewer says...I didn't get it and not really sure it's a movie I must see before I die.

***Noteworthy Television***

Sinatra: All or Nothing at All

(Showing on HBO through mid-April)

The life and career of "Old Blue Eyes."
Alex Gibney, who brought to the screen "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," turns his lens on Frank Sinatra, the "Poet Laureate of Loneliness" and shows what a brilliant documentarian he is. 
This two-part HBO series begins in 1971 with Sinatra's first "retirement" concert.  Sinatra chose the songs for his swansong to illustrate his life and Gibney uses those songs as a jumping off point through this series to focus on aspects of Sinatra's life.  He backtracks to Sinatra's early years, his strong-willed midwife mother, his desire to be the next Bing Crosby, his early marriage to Nancy, his obsession with Ava Gardner, his so-called Mob connections, his views on race and women, his women, his acting career, the kidnapping of his son, what he did to elect President Kennedy and Kennedy's subsequent snub, Sinatra's marriage to Mia Farrow and the denouement of. his career  It's all here and I dare you not to be moved.
Sinatra would have been 100 this year so there are few who remember the phenomenon that he was.  Hysterical "bobby soxers" screaming for Sinatra predated the hysteria that Presley and the Beatles unleashed.
Sinatra exuded the cool that the TV series "Mad Men" has exploited but he also wasn't able to change with the times.  Women were "dolls," smoking and hanging with the Mob were cool and rock and roll mystified him.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Sinatra never wrote an autobiography so this serves us well as a full homage to the legend that was Sinatra and Gibney does him proud.


***Book of the Week***

Audrey and Bill: A Romanic Biography of Audrey Hepburn & William Holden by Edward Z. Epstein (2015)

Reveals the love affair between Audrey Hepburn and William Holden during the filming of the movie "Sabrina."

Audrey Hepburn, with her elegant gamine looks, has remained a cultural and fashion icon despite the fact she passed away 22 years ago.  Holden, possibly not as well-known today, was known for his American manliness.  Both were Oscar winners and when they met on the set of the movie "Sabrina," a love affair ensued, despite the fact that Holden was married.

However, when the much younger Hepburn learned that Holden could not have more children, she broke off the affair and despite affection from afar, they were never really together again.

So the title of this book is a bit of a misnomer. However, it is a well-written dual biography of two of Hollywood's greats.

Rosy the Reviewer says...despite the fact the title is a bit misleading, this is a good run-down on the lives of two popular actors from The Golden Age of Hollywood and who should not be forgotten.

Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

(and no, it's not a disease. 
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