Friday, January 17, 2020

"Little Women" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the latest version of "Little Women" as well as DVDs "Ready or Not" and "Angel Has Fallen."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Whiskey Galore."]

Little Women

The latest version of "Little Women."

When I was a little girl I subscribed to a kids' Book of the Month Club that specialized in classic stories and one of the books I received was "Little Women."  I remember sitting on the basement stairs reading it to my mother while she ironed.  All of us little girls read that book and wanted to be one of the March sisters and if we had any gumption we wanted to be Jo.  Then there were countless movie adaptations but the movie version I remember most was the one starring June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor.  And now we have Greta Gerwig's version which she adapted and directed...and yes, I know, I usually hate remakes...but not this time!

In case you didn't have the privilege of reading Louisa May Alcott's famous book, let me bring you up-to-date.  

The four March sisters are Meg (Emma Watson), the eldest; Jo (Saoirse Ronan), the literary tomboy; Beth (Eliza Scanlen), the saintly one who always seems to be sick; and Amy (Florence Pugh), the one who is a major pain-in-the-butt. The sisters live in Concord, Massachusetts, under the care of their almost too-good-to-be true Marmee (rhymes with smarmy), their always understanding and do-gooder mother (Laura Dern), who must raise her daughters mostly alone because the father is fighting in the Civil War. Through a series of back and forth vignettes in the film, we follow the girls as they grow from adolescence to womanhood.

The family has little money so the hope for all poor families in those days was that the daughter would marry a rich man. But Meg falls in love with a local teacher, which screws her chances of marrying rich; Jo appears to have no interest in romance and would rather write stories; and, like I said, Beth is always sick, so Amy is the family's one hope to marry rich, so Aunt March (Meryl Streep) takes her to Europe to find a rich husband.  And by the way, Aunt March is rich and why she doesn't help the March girls is really not explained except she isn't very nice. But the main focus is on Jo (as were the books, because as we know, Jo was Alcott's alter-ego), and Gerwig has turned her into a 19th century feminist, a young woman easily relatable today, writing her stories, negotiating her book contract by herself and not giving any of her dreams up for a man.

I first knew about Greta Gerwig when she starred in Woody Allen's film "To Rome with Love." But it was her association with director Noah Baumbach and her starring in his films - "Frances Ha" and "Mistress America" - that really brought her to my attention.   She was what could be described as a quirky actress, tall and unconventional looking by Hollywood standards, and I just couldn't take my eyes off of her.  Then she went on from acting to write and direct the fresh and original "Lady Bird" - and now this - well, that just sealed the deal for me. She is one talented lady and I am a big fan!

But now I am going to rant a bit.  

The Oscar nominations for the 2019 film year are now out, and despite the fact that "Little Women" was nominated for Best Picture, Gerwig was not nominated for Best Director.  What is it with Hollywood?  Oh, right, the power is in the hands of old white men. Only five women have EVER been nominated for Best Director, and, though Gerwig was one of them last year for "Lady Bird," the "Academy" deemed her not worthy this year, despite the fact that I found this film even better than that one.  So despite this whole brouhaha about diversity over the last few years, women are still being discriminated against. Here was a chance to put that right - this film is wonderful and the direction was a lot of it - and she was still left out.  Get with the program Hollywood! 

Rant over.  Back to a more pleasant subject - my admiration for this film.

Yes, this story has been told over and over, but Gerwig, who wrote the screenplay as well as directing it, brings it up-to-date by using it as a platform to make some profound statements.  From Amy explaining to Laurie (Timothee Chalamet) why she needed to marry a rich man (a woman had no means to make money except as Aunt March explained running a cat house or performing on the stage, both the same thing in her mind) to the book publisher telling Jo her stories must end with the heroine getting married or dying to the loving relationship among the sisters, Gerwig has images and dialogue that make statements for women and young girls today. For all of us, actually. For example, in the book when Jo does finally marry and inherits Aunt March's house, she and her husband turn the house into a school for boys.  In the film, it's a school for boys and girls. And there is a scene on Christmas morning showing Marmee and the girls taking their breakfast over to a needy family as townspeople are entering a church for the Christmas morning service so they can sit there and feel righteous while the March family is actually doing something righteous.  Brilliant.

My only criticism of this lovely film is the fact that Gerwig chose to tell the story in a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, almost in a series of vignettes, rather than in a linear fashion, which I think might make it difficult for those who are not familiar with the story.  But that's a little thing compared to the beauty of this film.

And the acting is flawless.  

Ronan is one of our very best young actresses but Pugh is also a stand-out as Amy.  She has been making a name for herself in just the last three years, starting out as a cold-hearted young wife in "Lady Macbeth," moving on to a comedy in "Fighting with my Family" and then on to some horror with "Midsommar." Her range is incredible. Streep has a small role but gets all of the zinger lines and Dern is fine as Marmee, though I prefer her in roles like the attorney in "Marriage Story," which gives her more to do and for which she is sure to win an Oscar. 

Watching this film, I was transported back to those basement steps, an eight-year-old girl, reading to my mother as she ironed, inspired by plucky Jo March to be anything I wanted to be.

Rosy the Reviewer says...the screenplay is fresh, the acting is impeccable and it's a return to childhood, all wrapped up in a beautiful- to-look-at film.  Utterly and wonderfully charming.

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


Ready or Not (2019)

The in-laws from hell!

Grace (Samara Weaving) has married Alex (Mark O'Brien), a rich guy whose family manufactures games. In fact, the Le Domas family is THE manufacturer of games and that made them a pile of money. And fittingly, it's a family tradition that whomever marries into the family must play a game on the wedding night.

"At midnight, you have to play a game.  It's something we do when someone new joins the family."

The new family member draws a card out of a sinister box and whatever game is written on the card - that's the game that must be played.  It might be "Old Maid" or "Monopoly," but what you don't want to draw is "Hide and Seek."  Gee, guess which card Grace draws?

Similar to the film "The Most Dangerous Game," a classic film where humans are hunted, this game of "Hide and Seek" pits Grace against Alex's family members who believe that she must be killed by sunrise or they will all die. What a lovely bunch of people (I'm being sarcastic). We have Tony (Henry Czerny) and Becky (Andie MacDowell), Alex's parents; Daniel (Adam Brody), Alex's alcoholic brother; Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), his drug addicted sister; Charity (Elise Levesque), Daniel's snobby wife; Emilie's ineffectual husband, Fitch (Kristian Bruun); and the malevolent looking Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni).  Grace doesn't get it at first, that this is a deadly game, just that her new in-laws are, shall we say, a bit eccentric, so off she goes to hide, but it all soon becomes clear as the in-laws, armed with guns, axes, knives and cross-bows, try to find her - and kill her -- in the big, dark gloomy mansion.

And what's the reason for all of this?

Well, supposedly, their ancestor, Victor Le Domas, made a deal with someone named Le Bail.  Le Bail would make sure the family made a fortune if they would participate in this ritual. Okay. Odd.  But anyway, the night wears on with Grace being stalked by her new family, but of course, our Grace is plucky and she soon turns the tables.

The film, written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy and directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, plays like a Lifetime Movie.  But as you probably know, I rather enjoy Lifetime Movies and I loved this movie.  It's all very gothic with many of the gothic tropes we have come to love: darkness, isolation, madness, the artistocracy, death. But there is also lots of humor.  Yes, folks, this film is quite funny, and I hope it was supposed to be because that's what I liked about it. Black comedy is my thing and this is about as darkly funny as you can get. Lots of over-acting, lots of over dramatic characters and a great metaphor for unfriendly in-laws! It's also a great metaphor for today's political world - the rich hunting the poor!

The ensemble acting is quite wonderful but Weaving steals the show.  When she grabbed the big gun and strapped on that bandolier, I knew all hell was going to break loose...and it did!

Rosy the Reviewer says...Comedy-horror.  I loved it!

Angel Has Fallen (2019)

Another installment in the "Fallen" series ("Olympus Has Fallen; "London Has Fallen"), this time secret service officer, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is framed for an attempted assassination of the President (Morgan Freeman) and must try to clear his name while at the same time evading capture.


In "Olympus Has Fallen," Secret Service agent Banning must save the President from terrorists.  In "London Has Fallen," he has to save all of the world's leaders from assassination and now once again, for the third time, their is yet another assassination attempt on our President (Morgan Freeman - just how many Presidents has he played?), and Banning must save him - again.  I mean, do you see a theme here?  How many times are they going to recycle this same plot?  But Butler seems to be Teflon Man when it comes to the box office.  These movies keep making money so I guess that's why they keep making them.  We want to see Butler getting blamed for stuff but then rise to the occasion and save the President yet again, over and over again.

Despite everything that has happened, this time Banning has been made head of the Secret Service despite the fact that he has insomnia, chronic migraines and takes meds for back pain. It's no wonder after everything he has been through in the first two films.  He is assigned to  protect the President on a fishing trip but when there is an assault on the President and he is left in a coma, Banning is blamed and arrested.  However, he escapes and spends the rest of the movie trying to solve the mystery of who attacked the President and prove his innocence, a plot line we have seen many, many times.

With a screenplay by Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook and Ric Roman Waugh and directed by Waugh, this film provides many opportunities for car chases, explosions and Butler to say the "F" word a lot with a conclusion you can see coming from a mile away.

Rosy the Reviewer says...nothing new here. Didn't love this one.  Didn't even like it!

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

47 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Whiskey Galore (1949)

It's what happens when an isolated Scottish village runs out of whiskey.

The inhabitants of the fictional Scottish island of Todday, part of the Outer Hebrides, love their whiskey.  It's a very isolated island, and there is not much else to do there except drink.  But it's also WW II, and when rationing occurs, the whiskey dries up and gloom descends on the island.  Life is no longer worth living.

"From that day, everyone went into mourning."

But then a boat carrying 50,000 cases of whiskey to America runs ashore, and the islanders figure out a way to get it, foiling the teetotalling by-the-book English Home Guard Captain Waggett (Basil Radford), who is working with government officials to reclaim the "salvaged" whiskey, which the locals have hidden all over the island.

Meanwhile, romance is in the air. George (Gordon Jackson) wants to marry Catriona (Gabrielle Blunt) and Sergeant Odd (Bruce Seton) wants to marry Peggy (Joan Greenwood).  George's mother is a harridan and doesn't want anything to do with Catriona and Peggy's father doesn't want anything to do with Odd.  But whiskey has a way of changing things.

Directed by Alexander MacKendrick and based on a true incident, it's a slight plot - the islanders run out of whiskey; they go into mourning; a boat carrying whiskey runs ashore and they figure out how to get it - but it's a charming and funny ride with quirky, lovable village folk getting it over the pompous rich folk who think they run the show but who get their comuppance, all held together with that dry British humor.

This film was a feather in the cap of the Ealing Studios, which earned a reputation for producing high quality British comedies, and the film received a BAFTA Best Film nomination in 1950.

Why it's a Must See: "The universal appeal of the film's antiauthoritarian humor lies in its idealization of a remote, isolated village world full of eccentrics, cards, pretty lasses, and gutsy, commonsensical folk pricking the balloons of the pompous and bureaucratic types opposing them."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fun little romp - but did I need to see it before I died?  Not really.
(In b & w)

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.

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Bombshell" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Bombshell" as well as the DVDs "Hustlers" and "Red Joan."  The Book of the Week is "Still Here," a biography of Broadway actress Elaine Stritch.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with Ingmar Bergman's "Hour of the Wolf."]


An expose of the toxic atmosphere that prevailed at Fox News under the leadship of Roger Ailes.

"Bombshell" is an apt title for this film about Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News from 1996-2016, and the "bombshell effect," his preference for blondes wearing short sheath dresses and showing lots of leg.  But it also refers to the bombshell Gretchen Carlson dropped when she sued him for sexual harassment and other women followed suit, leading to his resignation.

Fox News has become the leading television station for conservative news and is a favorite of our current President. Owner and arch conservative Rupert Murdoch hired Roger Ailes to head the Fox News channel in 1996 where he ruled with an iron hand and fulfilled his penchant for pretty blondes. Former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, fit that bill as did Megyn Kelly, both of whom were Fox News anchors.

As this film begins, anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is at the top of her game and getting ready to co-moderate the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Debate. Even though she is advised against it, she asks Donald Trump about his previous comments about women, something he did not appreciate.  After the debate, he sends out tweets trying to hurt her reputation and she becomes the story, which upsets her.

The film also focuses on Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), a young religious conservative, a character who is an amalgam of the many young blonde women who populated Fox News.  She is a new hire, hired to work with Gretchen Carlson, but Kayla is also ambitious so when she gets a chance to work on Bill O'Reilly's show, one of the most watched shows on Fox News, she jumps at the chance.  Wanting to get ahead, she finagles a meeting with Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), who takes an interest in her, an unsavory interest, and it's not long before he asks her to twirl and then, later, to pull up her dress so he can see her legs in a particularly unpleasant scene.  As time goes by, her career advances, but her cheerful demeanor changes.

Meanwhile, Gretchen Carlson is demoted by Ailes from co-anchor on the highly rated "Fox & Friends" to an afternoon show (the dead zone for TV news), because she was getting a bit too political and dare I say, feminist?  When she does a show for National Girls Day wearing no makeup to show little girls they can be themselves, Ailes warns her about her content and eventually fires her.  And that's when Carlson decided it was time to expose Ailes for the sexual harasser that he was.  His predilections were well-known and Carlson felt she would have no problem getting other women to come forward.  Little did she know how difficult that would be.

Directed by Jay Roach, this film is all about the acting, especially Theron.  Watching her play Megyn Kelly, I thought I was actually watching Megyn Kelly.  Not only was her make-up spot on, but her voice and mannerisms were Kelly's.  Likewise, Kidman was good as Carlson and Robbie was believable as a young, innocent, who wanting to get ahead, was driven to acts she would never have dreamed of doing before meeting Ailes.  There is one particular cringe-worthy scene where Ailes asks her to show him some leg - more, more, more... That one scene captured the kind of horrible experiences young women have endured at the hands of powerful men.

And speaking of powerful men, John Lithgow as Ailes, is just amazing.  I didn't think he could outdo himself as Winston Churchill in "The Crown," but he does here, capturing the unctuousness of a lecher and the drama and meanness of a man in power who doesn't care if anyone likes him or not.  He will get his way or else.

I also have to give a big shout-out to Kate McKinnon, who plays a lesbian producer who doesn't buy the Fox News politics but needs to make a living.  McKinnon plays it straight here, no mugging or other mannerisms we have come to associate with her comedy, and she was really, really good.  I enjoyed seeing her shed those comic crutches and try something new.

But the other big stars in this film are the makeup team led by Vivian Baker and Colleen Atwood's costumes. If you were to put pictures of the actors up next to pictures of the real-life people they were portraying, you would see just how uncanny the transformations are.  From Megyn Kelly to Ailes to Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell), all just picture perfect.

So with all of that said, did I like the film as a whole?  

Yes and no.  Yes, because the acting is spot on and the film is an important reminder of what women have often had to go through in order to get ahead. Written by Charles Randolph, the film reminded me a bit of "The Big Short."  Well, no wonder, Randolph co-wrote "The Big Short," with Adam McKay. I loved "The Big Short," but this one, er, fell a bit short.  It just wasn't as sharp and stylish, nor, despite the subject matter, did it seem to have much depth. The film didn't really anger or inspire me as I felt it should.  In fact, it left me with more of an "ick factor" feeling.  Maybe that was the point, but it didn't really feel I had a satisfying film experience.  And despite the fact the film is not flattering to Fox News - it's not "fair and balanced," nor was it meant to be - I don't think it's going to stop people from watching Fox News or that much will change there.

Speaking of which, I just saw a blurb from "Fox & Friends (and no, my peeps, I don't watch Fox News, I saw it on "Late Night with Seth Myers" which I do watch) and one of the women anchors... wait for it now...was a blonde, wearing a tight sheath dress and showing lots of leg!  So, Ailes is gone but have things really changed?

Rosy the Reviewer says...all in all, worth seeing because it highlights something that was a precursor to the #MeToo Movement and the performances and the makeup are extraordinary.

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


Hustlers (2019)

Some former strippers band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street clients.

Unlike the women at Fox News (see review above), here is another way to get back at men who abuse you.  Don't sue them, fleece them.

Adapted by director Lorene Scafaria from a 2015 New York Magazine article, this is the story of two strippers who come up with a plan to deal with their own financial crisis of 2008.  The film begins in 2014 with ex-stripper, Destiny (Constance Wu), being interviewed for a magazine article by writer Elizabeth (Julia Stiles).  Flashback to 2007 when Destiny was working at the strip club, Moves, barely making a living, where she meets older, wiser and flashier stripper, Ramona (Jennifer Lopez).  Ramona takes Destiny under her wing and shows her all of her moves, a crash course in working the pole (I've asked for one for my birthday), and the two form a team and make lots and lots of money - "more money than a brain surgeon."  

But when the 2008 financial crisis hits, fewer men have the cash for lap dances and private strip shows, so Destiny, who is supporting her grandmother and now also has a baby, finds herself short of cash so she reunites with Ramona who has come up with a new scheme.  With two other strippers, Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) and Mercedes (Keke Palmer), Ramona and Destiny target rich men at bars, drug them, take them to a strip club also in on the con and max out their credit cards, justifying what they are doing by saying that the men are hustlers too and nobody gets ahead playing by the rules. It's their way of making those Wall Street guys who caused the crash to pay!

Ramona says, "This whole city, this whole country, is a strip club.  You've got people tossing the money and people doing the dance."

Here is how it works.  One of the women lures a man in a bar and then her "sisters" show up.  None of the women drink.  They just pretend to while at the same time putting drugs in the man's drink.  Then they take him to a club, one they are "promoting," get the guy's credit card and run it up to the limit.

And all goes well doesn't.  Ramona starts to get a bit reckless and hires some girls who are sloppy, namely Dawn (Madeline Brewer) and the whole con comes tumbling down.

Yes, these ladies are conning men, but you root for them because the men who like to prey upon women, leer at them taking off their clothes and pay for sex, are horrible, not to mention those Wall Street types who caused the crash and never had to pay the price. They were conning people too.  Writer/director Scafaria, whose style here has been compared to Scorsese, doesn't judge these women.  It is what it is. But in addition to the con angle, this film is also about female friendship and comradery which also makes you root for them.

This film just reinforced how much I love Jennifer Lopez, and at fifty years old, sheesh, what a specimen of womanhood.  She certainly has the stripper moves on the pole down. I mean, what can't this woman do?  But her beauty aside, this film is also a reminder of what a good actress Lopez is.  This performance is one of the best of her career.  Frances Wu is also really good in a role that is a far cry from her roles in the movie "Crazy Rich Asians" and the TV show "Fresh Off the Boat."  Lopez and Wu together have great chemistry and form a believable partnership, and even better, a believable friendship.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a lot of fun!

Red Joan (2018)

Fictionalized true story of Melita Norwood, who as an old woman, was exposed as the KGB's longest-serving British spy.

Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) is a fictionalized version of Norwood, and, when the film begins, it is the year 2000, and she is an ex-librarian and suburban pensioner (that's Brit speak for a retired person), who has been discovered to have been a spy for the Russians.  How did that happen?

Well, flashback to her early days at Cambridge in the 1930's where Joan (Sophie Cookson) is a studious young girl, a physics major.  She meets Sonya (Tereza Srbova), a "fast" girl who climbs in through Joan's dorm window one night after being out after hours partying.  Sonya introduces Joan to her cousin, Leo (Tom Hughes), a Jewish German boy who is also a Communist.  Turns out both Leo and Sonia are Communists, something that really wasn't that unusual back in the 30's and 40's, and you know what can happen when a young woman falls for a guy.  Joan isn't the first young woman to have her political leanings swayed because of love and, when Joan starts working at a top secret atomic bomb research facility, Leo eventually gets her into sharing her research with the Russians, though it turns out Joan had her own reasons for doing it. Sonia is in on it, too, telling Joan that no one will suspect them because they are women. Right. The film goes back and forth from old Joan being interrogated by MI5 and her youthful self as she is pulled into handing over secrets about Britain's atomic bomb project to the Russians. 

Though Judi Dench is the seeming star of this film, her role is much smaller than Sophie Cookson's, who plays the young Joan and is the focus of most of the film. But props to Judy for looking her age. I am sick of 80-year-old women who look like they are 50 (do you hear me, Jane?). And Tom Hughes as Leo made me go gaga. Ahem.  I'm just sayin...

The Brits know how to make compelling historical dramas and this film written by Lindsay Shapero and directed by Trevor Nunn is no exception. This film reminded me of one of my all-time favorite films about spies - "Pack of Lies," a TV movie about a friendship between two couples who are neighbors and the devastation felt by one of the couples when they learn the other had been spies the whole time (coincidently "Pack of Lies," before being made into a TV movie, was first a play starring Judi Dench)! This whole issue of seemingly ordinary people living secret lives is certainly a compelling one and this film does that story justice.  A reminder that perhaps we don't really know our neighbors or our friends, or even our own mother, as well as we think we do.

Speaking of which, my only criticism is a swipe at librarians when Joan's son finds out his mother was a spy and says, "I thought you were over-educated for a librarian."  Sheesh.

Rosy the Reviewer intelligent and compelling historical film for adults about love and idealism.

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

47 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Hour of the Wolf (1968)

A gothic tale about an artist who has an emotional breakdown and disappears.

The film, directed by Ingmar Bergman, begins with Alma Borg (Liv Ullmann, a Bergman favorite) talking directly to the screen, saying her husband, Johan (Max von Sydow, another Bergman favorite), is missing but she knows why because she has his diary. From the diary, the film pieces together what happened to Borg.  

Johan was an artist and he and his pregnant wife, Alma, had moved to an isolated island and at first seemed happy.  But as time went by, Borg became obsessed with images of demons, his nightmares, and his own repressed urges. He also struggled with sleeplessness.

"The old ones called it 'the hour of the wolf.'  It is the hour when the most people die, and the most are born.  At this time, nighmares come to us.  And when we awake, we are afraid."

Johan and Alma discover they have a neighbor, Baron von Merken (Erland Josephson, yet another familiar face in a Bergman film), who by the way looks eerily like Bela Lugosi in this, and considering what happens next, I guess that was the point. The Baron lives in a castle with a bunch of strange folks.  He invites Johan and Alma to dinner, one that starts out well enough but soon turns ugly. Johan is preyed upon by the guests and eventually humiliated as he finds himself in full clown drag and teased by his mistress (where did she come from)?  After all of the macabre shenanigans, we are left to wonder if it was all in Johan's imagination or he was having one great big nightmare.

And yes, in fact, it's a nightmare, not just in content, but in the fact that I didn't know what the hell was going on most of the time.  But even so, I never once fast forwarded because whether I get it or not, Bergman makes a compelling film.  I couldn't take my eyes off of it.

And, hey, it's Bergman. You're not supposed to get it!

Why it's a Must See: "...yet another variation of Bergman's recurring motif concerning the predatory relationship between the artist and his audience."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

That's what it's about?

Rosy the Reviewer says...I didn't get it but, hey, it's Bergman.
(Available on Youtube - In Swedish with English subtitles)

***The Book of the Week***

Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch by Alexandra Jacobs (2019)

Biography of Broadway star, Elaine Stritch.

Unless you are a Broadway maven, I would guess that most of you reading this post will not have heard of Stritch.  Somehow, despite her fame on Broadway, she never made it big in films. However, she was the consummate performer. When I lived in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of seeing her perform "The Ladies Who Lunch," her signature song in the Broadway touring company of "Company."  With her cocky persona and smoky voice, it was something to see.

Born into a Catholic middle class family in Detroit and growing up during the Depression, Stritch made her way to New York City in 1943, an exciting time for theatre.  She hung out with the likes of Brando, Tennessee Williams, Bea Arthur, Harry Belafonte, Noel Coward and others (Coward known for his witty repartee - such as how to make the perfect martini, filling a glass with gin and "waving it in the general direction of Italy") and, she became the darling of the gossip columnists.  She was a virgin until she was 30, but once she got started she had highly publicized romantic relationships with actors Ben Gazzara and Gig Young (who famously shot his wife and himself in a murder suicide - good thing Elaine dodged that bullet, pardon the pun. I am capable of witty repartee too)!  She was also a hard-drinker and bon vivant, who made a name for herself on Broadway with show-stopping numbers in musicals and some TV shows, but then she hit a low point until Hal Prince cast her in Stephen Sondheim's "Company," where she put her stamp on the song "The Ladies Who Lunch," which also became her signature song.

Stritch later married, lived in London, went on and off the wagon and gained a reputation for being difficult and entitled, but when she starred in her own one-woman show "Elaine Stritch - At Liberty," she was hailed an icon and at 77 won her first Tony Award, Broadway's highest honor.  She died in 2014 at the age of 89.

Rosy the Reviewer is your chance to find out about Stritch.  You need to know who she was.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Little Women"


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.