Archive for September, 2016

Trailer Thursday 9/29

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on September 29, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

There is a lot of darkness going on in the world and in the movies these days, so how about something lighter (and foreign). Enjoy the trailer for this little film that won some awards when it was released, Amelie.

Drive Hard

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2016 by Mystery Man


Former racecar driver Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) traded the winner’s circle for a beginners driving instructor. But his life shifts into overdrive when mysterious out-of-towner Simon Keller (John Cusack) shows up for a driving lesson.

What people are saying:

“Big fan of John Cusack, but I can only assume producers had kidnapped his entire family, before making him take part in such a big stinking turd-bomb. Drive Hard… to avoid this movie at all costs!!! ” 1/2 star

“You probably won’t want to watch this but you should. The gunfire effects are somewhat cheesy, the image isn’t terribly high-def but the script crackles and the acting is great (everyone involved) and it’s solidly directed. Just watch it for a while and get past the low-budgetness. Worth your time. I think the negative reviewers may haven’t actually watched the film?” 4 star

“Painful to watch. Only one decent car chase and it wasn’t even with one of the classic cars. Thomas Jane’s character was such a wuss and John Cusack was just annoying the whole time. Total waste of time.” 2 stars

“light on crime, light on comedy. shame. could’ve been much better” 1 star

“I expected a routine action flick but got a funny caper film that I really enjoyed. I like John Cusack and think he is one of those fine actors who can speak volumes with his eyes and facial expressions. Thomas Jane was amusing although I hated the hair/wig/dead animal perched on his head. All in all, a satisfying movie.” 3 stars

Call Northside 777

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by Mystery Man


Discovering that a man convicted of a murder over a decade before may in fact be innocent, a Chicago journalist embarks on an investigation in search of the truth. This drama was based upon the true story of journalist Jim McGuire and wrongly convicted prisoner Joe Majczek.

What people are saying:

“one of the most mundane legal thriller/newspaperman activist stories the world has ever seen” 2 stars

“Not bad, if not pretty good. Call Northside 777 is good mystery and dramatic film; with all the departments doing a good job telling the story. In a nutshell, it’s not the greatest or most memorable, but still interesting nevertheless” 3 1/2 stars

“no tension, no suspense – rather dull, even with Jimmy Stewart’s usual charm” 2 1/2 stars

“Professional, paced, and a little too polite. Stewart’s personality helps carry this, but unfortunately this film lacks the excitement of many of the upstart B pics in this genre. Admirably down to earth, but less memorable.” 3 1/2 stars

“Good noir–suspenseful (despite the fact that it’s not hard to figure out how it will end) and surprisingly optimistic for the genre.” 4 star

Serving Sara

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by Mystery Man


Joe Tyler gets more than he bargained for when he’s asked to serve divorce papers to Sara Moore. Unwilling to give up the money she helped make for her cattle baron husband, Sara proposes a deal: If Joe helps her, she’ll cut him in on the proceeds.

What people are saying:

“not very funny, or well-directed, mathew perry in his lesser funny movie role, and elizabeth hurley with her too annoyingly english accent. the comedy is heavily laboured and could only work with the chemistry between the two main characters, which, alas is not present during the whole film, even when things get slightly steamy. cedric the entertainer gives us the few entertaining scenes and one-liners in the film, and even the scene where mathew perry has to do something with a bull and sticking his hand up its ass to get it to have sex with a plastic cow, might have worked well in another movie, with better actors, better director, and better comic writers, but every necessary element is missing, creating a pointless ” 2 stars

“The biggest hurdle this movie has to overcome is the overwhelming screen presence of Elizabeth Hurley. Her beauty and glamour easily outshine anyone that stands next to her, dwarfing any co-stars or supporting characters who dare to share the screen with her. Matthew Perry does an admirable job, but he just seems so lacking next to Liz. There really is not much chemistry there. There is some humor in this movie, but not a whole lot. Perry is his usual saracastic self, and it is refreshing – but it is hard to accept him as a wise-cracking tough guy who can use different accents at the drop of a hat. The story is not the least bit believeable, but the audience will be drawn in and kept by Hurley alone. Not a must-see, but if you have a free spot in your queue you might want to give this one a try.” 3 stars

“Cute, if mindless, fun. Its one of those movies you watch while doing something else, but still good.” 4 stars

“The only really good thing about this movies…Elizabeth Hurley in a short skirt.” 2 1/2 stars

“Ok, so it’s not a great film, it’s got some humor to it but it’s not a Barrel of laughs and a story that kinda holds together. But then it’s got the great Bruce Campbell in it, the gorgeous Amy Adams, the also attractive Liz Hurley and funny man Matthew Perry. Entertaining.” 2 1/2 stars

Trailer Thursday 9/22

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on September 22, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

This week’s trailer is Weekend at Bernie’s

I have 2 reasons for choosing this. First, today is the first day of fall (even if it doesn’t feel like it), and the beach party setting for this film reminds us of those lazy, hazy days of the summer. Second, I’ve been seeing memes replacing Bernie with one or the other of our “distinguished” presidential candidates lol


To Catch a Thief

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Romantic, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

John Robie (Cary Grant) is a retired infamous jewel thief or “cat burglar”, nicknamed “The Cat”, who now lives in a hilltop villa in the French Riviera growing grapes and flowers. The modus operandi of a recent series of robberies leads the police to believe that Robie is active again; they attempt to arrest him, but he gives them the slip.

Robie visits a restaurant. The staff are his old gang from his French Resistance days, paroled based on patriotic war work as long as they keep clean. Bertani, Foussard, and the others blame Robie, because they are currently all under suspicion while the new Cat is active. Still, when the police arrive at Bertani’s restaurant, Foussard’s teenage daughter Danielle (Brigitte Auber), who has a crush on Robie, spirits him to safety.

Robie can prove his innocence if he can catch the new Cat in the act. He enlists the aid of an insurance man, H. H. Hughson (John Williams), who reluctantly obtains a list of the most expensive jewelry owners currently on the Riviera. Widow Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Frances (Grace Kelly) top the list. Robie strikes up a friendship with them. Jessie’s delighted but Frances offers a pretense of modesty. When Robie and Frances run into Danielle at the beach, Robie keeps up the mask of being a wealthy American tourist, despite Danielle’s jealous barbs about his interest in Frances.

Frances sees through Robie’s cover as an American industrialist. She seduces him, dangling before him her jewels, teases him with steamy tales of rooftop escapades, and offers herself as an accomplice who might share his crimes. Fireworks fill the night sky.

The next morning, Jessie discovers her jewels are gone. Robie is accused by Frances of being merely a distraction so he could steal her mother’s jewelry. The police are called, but Robie has disappeared.

To catch the new Cat, Robie stakes out an estate at night. He struggles with an attacker, who loses his footing and tumbles over a cliff. It is Foussard, who dies in the fall. The police chief publicly announces that Foussard was the jewel thief, but, as Robie points out privately in the presence of the abashed Hughson, this would have been impossible because Foussard had a wooden leg, and could not climb on rooftops.

Foussard’s funeral is marred by Danielle’s loud accusation that Robie is responsible for her father’s death. Outside the graveyard, Frances apologizes to Robie and confesses her love. Robie needs to continue his search for the Cat. He asks Frances to arrange his attendance at the masquerade ball the coming weekend, when he believes the Cat will strike again.

At the ball, Frances is resplendent in a gold gown, Robie unrecognizable behind the mask of a Moor. The police hover nearby. Upstairs, the cat burglar silently cleans out several jewel boxes. When Jessie asks the Moor to go get her “heart pills”, Robie’s voice tips off his identity to the authorities. Upon his return, the police wait out Frances and the Moor as they dance together all night. Finally, Frances and the Moor go to her room, and the mask is removed: it was Hughson, a switch to conceal Robie’s exit.

On the rooftop Robie lurks. His patience is finally rewarded when he is joined by another figure in black. But just as his pursuit begins, the police throw a spotlight on him and demand he halt. He flees as they shoot at him, but he manages to corner his foe with jewels in hand. Unmasked, his nemesis turns out to be Foussard’s daughter, Danielle. She slips off the roof, but Robie grabs her hand before she can fall. He forces her to confess loudly to the police of the father-daughter involvement, and that Bertani was the ringleader of this gang.

Robie speeds back to his villa, and Frances races after to convince him that she has a place in his life and home. He agrees, but seems less than thrilled when she says her mother will live with them


One of the films that has been sitting in my Netflix queue for quite some time now is To Catch a Thief. Why did I put it off? Well, at the time when I was originally going to watch it, I noticed that I had viewed a slew of Cary Grant films and wanted a break. News to me is the fact that this is a Hitchcock film. Does it stand up to the other classics in his library? Let’s find out.

What is this about?

Suspected in a series of gem heists in the French Riviera, reformed thief John Robie sets out to catch the real culprit with the help of pampered heiress Frances Stevens. Robie’s plan backfires, but Frances, who believes him guilty, plots an escape.

What did I like?

Location. Ever look around where you live and wonder what it would be like to live in an exotic location of some sort? I tend to do that quite often. For me scenery plays a big part in how effective a film is or isn’t. For instance, the rich people in this film wouldn’t be hanging around some stuffy hotel just anywhere when they could have jetted off to the French Riviera, a truly beautiful location. I found myself getting distracted from the actual film and just watching the background.

Cat-man. When was the last time we heard of a man being called “the cat”? It seems since the character of Catwoman has been growing and growing in popularity we don’t get this anymore. Cary Grant as the retired, world famous cat burglar, “the Cat” is his usual suave, sophisticated persona that we have all grown to love, but with a bit of a sarcastic edge to him that I really enjoyed.

Style, elegance, and Grace. What a beauty Grace Kelly was! They should have cast her as Helen of Troy in one of those moves about that era that came out during her day. Aside from her looks, Princess Grace has a commanding screen presence and is able to go toe to toe with Cary Grant, one of Hollywood’s heavy hitters, and not back down. I was expecting her to be just eye candy or the damsel in distress, but instead it turns out that she is a fully fleshed out character, which I enjoyed more than expected.

What didn’t I like?

What a twist! I won’t spoil the ending, but it should be said that the twist was nice, but ineffective. I say this because it is almost crystal clear who was actually behind the crimes more and more as the movie went along. I would have preferred to be surprised with the revelation. Instead, I felt a sense of the “ho-hums”.

Music. Films today have soundtracks that consist mostly of popular songs, a few lines from the film, and maybe a couple of orchestral excerpts from the score. Back in the day, though, the music was the thing that helped sell a lot of the films. Think about Psycho and how different that shower scene would be without the shockingly effective score of Bernard Herrmann. I wish this film would have had something memorable like that, even if it is just a theme in the score that could easily be hummed along, but it doesn’t. Truth be told, the music for this suspense film is rather forgettable.

English…do you speak it? Unless I missed something, Cary Grant is playing an American who goes to England and then retires to the French Riviera. So, how is it this American talks with a perfect British accent? For that matter, how is it everyone else speaks with their native tongue, as it were, but he has to fake his accent, or whatever it is he’s supposed to be doing, for this character? I don’t know, maybe I’m making too much out of nothing, but something about that really bugged me.

Final verdict on To Catch a Thief? Surprisingly, this is a fairly light hearted thriller from Alfred Hitchcock. In the first few minutes, I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy. That said, I found nothing but enjoyment watching. All the performances were great, the story is well thought out and executed, and there is beautiful scenery all around. The few gripes I have with this picture are minor and shouldn’t keep anyone from watching this classic masterpiece. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Liberal Arts

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by Mystery Man


Newly single and uninspired by his job in college admissions, the introverted Jesse Fisher (Josh Radnor) lives with his head buried in a book. His deep nostalgia for his own alma mater in Ohio – the dining halls and dorm rooms, the parties and poetry seminars – makes him wonder if his best days are behind him. So when his favorite professor (Richard Jenkins) invites him back to campus to speak at his retirement dinner, Jesse jumps at the chance. Meeting Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) – a precocious classical music-loving sophomore – awakens in Jesse long-dormant feelings of possibility and connection.

What people are saying:

“This was funny and smart without being in-your-face intellectual. As much as I love How I Met Your Mother it’s great to see that Josh Radnor can not only act but also has a really promising future as a writer/director. Wonderful job with casting.” 5 stars

“Liberal Arts maneuvers its story in a philosophical way that is anything but detached. There’s a warmth here that reminds audiences why college — and, dare we say, their core curriculums? — matter.” 4 stars

“Great movie, but I can’t relate to the artistic romanticism ideals and the too-frequent “books are better than tv” commentary. I’ve read books, and I’ve seen tv. I’ll choose tv every time. This movie makes me feel unsophisticated and simple, and I hate that. Zac Efron’s character was totally hilarious though!” 3 stars

“”Liberal Arts” is an enjoyable, cleverly written film that should strike a note with college students current and former. The witty writing and earnest cast make its few pretentious missteps easy to brush off affectionately.” 4 stars

“Liberal Arts is, more or less, “Ted Mosby: The Movie”. It’s not similar to How I Met Your Mother really at all, but Radnor’s Jesse feels like a just pre-HIMYM Ted. I’m not sure the ending of the movie did the rest justice, but the cast is all around talented (Efron kills it in his small role) and Radnor shows he is capable of strapping on the writer/director helmet and be throughly impressive. The movie is witty and insightful, and is a romance film that doesn’t just sink into cliches like the rest.” 3 1/2 stars