Classic Films, Uncategorized

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

First Thoughts:

Love the title of this film, such a play on words.  “Hidden”, unknown.  “Figures”, as the women in the film are experts in math and numbers.  And “figures” as in notable persons.

Story:

The film covers several themes which I found fascinating.  I’ve always loved NASA’s early space program and even what they’re accomplishing now, regardless of government cut-backs they still make something happen:  flyby of Saturn, discoveries on Pluto, and landing on the Moon often which no nation has yet accomplished.

But the historic backdrop is blurred by the underlying racial prejudice of those times, in the South, in the state of Virginia.

Separate sections in the library for whites and “coloreds”.  Separate bathrooms, waterfountains, busses, etc. etc.  This was in the 1960s as Dr. King was calling for equal rights among all races.

The characters in our play are confronting these sitauations daily and it’s fascinating watching them counteract each, as their counterparts tell them that “that’s the way it is!”

The film is based on actual occurrences.

The acting was superb.  The personal sidenotes, such as the proposal of a man to one of the ladies was cute and you’re pretty cold-hearted if you shed no tear!

Final Thoughts:

If you want to see why the USA’s space program, after many failures, finally beat the Russians and achieved winning the Space Race, and how a prejudiced South was not enough to dissuade three amazing Black women in overcoming these obstacles, pick this up!

DVD has great features and is a must-watch.

Highly Recommended.

hidden-figures-750x315_orig

Classic Films, Comic Books!, Science Fiction Movies

Movie Review: The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-IMAX-HR-2The Avengers: Age of Ultron
First Impressions: Full of action, pathos and humor, not canon but I didn’t care.

Storyline:

Basically Tony Stark comes up with a perfect machine capable of protecting the Earth. Or so he hopes. By sarcastically saying “peace in our time” (alluding to the same phrase spoken by Chamberlain as he signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in 1938 – we know how that went down!) Ultron clicks on it and finds that Man, full of the lust of war and greed, decides he will bring that kind of peace, too – the quiet of a graveyard!

Special effects:

Great stuff with Jarvis and Ultron. Even the colors contrasted well! The banter scripted was at times annoying as Jarvis slowly (too slowly to save himself) realizes Ultron, coming online faster than anyone realized, begins assimilating Jarvis! Yikes!

Evil large supply of robots built by Ultron, flying through the sky. Only one instance of an exploding fireball. Always must include one fireball in these kinds of films.

Pathos:

The beautiful sadness of Bruce Banner and Black Widow (yikes, what would Kirby say?) was a bit maudlin and sad. Your girlfriend would probably like this part. It was “OK.”

Revenge:

The whole film was based to a greater or lesser degree on revenge. Is revenge a good enough motivation for killing? Only Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can answer that.

Take Over the World:

There’s always an element like that. Love how the origin of the Vision has changed to a Stark/Ultron hybrid who has none of Stark’s smart-aleck jokes, nor Ultron’s death wish. Vision was the most under-rated character of this film as he brings the team together.

Credit Scene:

In this film, the credit scene is in the middle of the credits, not the end.

Final Words:

Whedon did a great job putting this together. He gave just enough to the fan boys to make us wanting more; he appealed to a general audience that does not read comic books (Muggles); and he didn’t overdo it on the special effects.

Pros & Cons:

Pro: Dream sequences and Easter eggs. See the Roy Thomas Band in Cap’s dream?
Con: Tony Stark’s bad jokes; Hawkeye’s scenes slowed the film considerably.
Great: Stan Lee Cameo! Iron-man’s Hulk-buster!
Not so Great: No Pepper Potts! Wait until the year 2018 for an Infinity Gauntlet!

Recommended from this DC fan!

Classic Films, Thrillers, Uncategorized

Classic Film Review: The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946!

Classic Film!

(Minor Spoilers)

I do enjoy the old movies, especially the Academy Award winners. For 1946 or so, the entry The Best Years of Our Lives was an interesting drama.

First Impressions:

Three guys all going back to the old hometown to see what’s changed and to return to their families.

One guy was married to a blonde floozy and went off to war, quite decorated, and quite shy about talking about his war experiences. His occasional flash-backs and the crush he has on a buddy’s daughter, make for some tension. He was a bomber and highly decorated, yet can’t make his marriage work and is relegated to the same job he quit: a soda jerk!

Another is a Navy man, who lost both hands in a fire on a ship. He has “hooks” and is pretty versatile with them. Unfortunately in small town USA, people are not as forgiving and easily shocked. His mom sobs that her son is so crippled. His girlfriend actually doesn’t mind, but he’s too much feeling sorry for himself to notice. This character was hard for me to like, wallowing in self-pity. He did finally snap out of it, though. 

Finally we have an older guy who is returning to his wife and kids. The wife is played well by Myrna Loy (of Thin Man fame) and her comedic style pops out once in awhile as she plays a straight part. Her daughter falls in love with the airman with the blonde floozy and swears she will break up the marriage and take him for herself. “Who are you, God?” intones her father. A

Bottom Line:

Interesting story on how each man deals with family and how things have changed since they shipped out. Acclimating to a new life is hard, and going into denial through alcohol or wallowing in self-pity just don’t work. One of a kind film.

besty2

Features:

Interviews with two actresses, elderly now, express a lot of what was going on with the set, the director and the actors. Quite entertaining.

Directed by
William Wyler
Writing Credits
Robert E. Sherwood … (screen play)

MacKinlay Kantor … (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)

Cast
Myrna Loy Milly Stephenson
Fredric March
Dana Andrews
Teresa Wright
Virginia Mayo