Crazy Knitter Reviews

The place where this crazy knitter reviews books, TV, movies and recipes

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Thin Man (1934)

The first and best of the series. In this adventure we find Nick and Nora in New York. They are newly married. Nick has retired from his job as a detective and is enjoying Nora's inheritance. He bumps into Dorothy, the daughter of an old acquaintance, Clyde Wyant. Come to find out that her father has disappeared. It seems he had a fight with his mistress because he wants to give some bonds to Dorothy for her upcoming wedding. The only problem is that his mistress, Julia, has cashed them in and refuses to give him the money. Clyde then disappears and Julia ends up dead. As the mystery unravels Nick determines who the killer is and decides to throw a dinner party for all of the suspects and do the big reveal there.

This is a wonderful movie. While the chemistry between Myrna Loy and William Powell was amazing in all the films in the series it was top notch in the movie. Maureen O'Sullivan is also wonderful as the young bride-to-be whose father is missing. A little bit of trivia - The Thin Man is actually Clyde Wyant. However, everyone kept referring to Nick Charles as the Thin Man so the producers decided to keep the title for the other films. This is a must see film for all movie buffs.g


Monday, November 27, 2006

Sisters (1973)

Someone on IMDB called this movie Nancy Drew on acid and I agree. Even though it was kind of out there I enjoyed it. The movie stars Margot Kidder as Dominique, a beautiful young model. She goes on a game show called Peeping Toms pretending to be a blind woman who begins to undress in a men's locker room. She invites the man from the show over to spend the night at her apartment. The next day he hears her arguing with someone in the next room. Dominique informs him that it is her twin in the next room and that it is their birthday. Well one thing leads to another and the man ends up dead. Dominique and her accomplice would be able to hide everything but a nosy neighbor named Grace Collier, who happens to be a reporter, sees everything and calls the police. As her investigation unravels, Grace learns that Dominique and her twin Danielle are the famous Blanchion Siamese twins who were separated the prior year. Now the question is which twin is the killer?

This movie is strange but interesting. The murder scene is very violent but the blood is laughable because it has the consistency of maple syrup. The split screen images Brian De Palma employs are wonderful. Margot Kidder is terrific as the twins and one can not help but wonder if her own mental health issues helped her in her performance. This movie was remade this year with Chloe Sevigny as Grace Collier and some other unknowns in the other roles. Not a bad movie for a dark stormy night.


Friday, November 24, 2006

The Prestige (2006)

So I did not think this movie was as great as the buzz out there says it is. It was alright but the ending totally killed it for me. I will not give away the ending for those who have not seen it but it was very hard to follow. The movie follows two magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) in the early 1900s. They work together as plants for another magician. Their precarious friendship ends when tragedy strikes the magic show. They both move on and attempt to become the greatest magician alive. When Robert finds out that Alfred has created a trick called the Transported Man he becomes obsessed with learning Borden's secret. He sends his assistant Olivia (Scarlet Johansson) to spy on Borden. When she steals his notebook for him Robert follows Borden's clues and goes to Colorado. There he meets with the man, Tesla, who can build him a machine to make the trick better. However, once back in England something goes wrong and Angier dies - and it appears that Borden has killed him. The film is told in flashback sequences which I really do not like. I did not care about the characters and like I said earlier I hated the ending. I wish I did not waste my $9 on this movie.

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Rebecca (1940)

One of my favorite films. Joan Fontaine stars as a young woman (we never learn her name) who is a paid companion for a older rich woman. While they are in Monte Carlo she meets Max deWinter, a rich man who lost his wife the previous year. The begin to spend time together on Monte and fall in love. They are married and Max takes the second Mrs deWinter to live at the family estate - Manderley. When she arrives she soon realizes that this is not the happy home she pictured and that her husband may still be in love with his first wife. The main tormenter to the second Mrs deWinter is Mrs Danvers - the maid who adored Rebecca. She makes no attempt to hide her displeasure of the new lady of the house and does everything she can to make the second wife miserable. However, things are not always what they seem and there is a twist ending to the film that is wonderful.

This is my favorite Hitchcock film. It was the only film of his to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I saw it for the first time as a little girl and just fell in love with it. I was always scared of Mrs Danvers because she seemed to be pure evil. Now as an adult I see that she is not pure evil but is, like all of us, a complex person. She feels she is doing what is right even though she is way off. Joan Fontaine and Lawrence Oliver are wonderful as the deWinters. If you love suspense movies then who must see this film.

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The Ghost Breakers (1940)

This was the cutest little movie. Paulette Goddard is Mary. She has just inherited a island off of Cuba that is known to be haunted. As she is preparing to head to her new home she meets Lawrence Lawrence (played by Bob Hope). He is a radio star who thinks he has shot a mafia hit man. He hides out in Mary's trunk and he and his servant Alex are off to Cuba with Mary. Of course Lawrence and Mary fall in love on the voyage but they meet up with Geoff Montgomery - a man Mary is acquainted with. He offers to show them around the island once they arrive. When they all finally arrive at the mansion they realize that they are not alone and they try to unravel the mystery before it is to late.

I loved this film. While I was not scared I thought it was very cute and entertaining. Goddard and Hope were a great paring. She kept his screwball antics centered. They also starred together in the Cat and the Canary (1939). Also in the movie was a young Anthony Quinn as twins who run across Lawrence's path. There were two versions of this movie that were made before this one. The first was made in 1914 and directed by Cecile B. DeMille and the second was made in 1922. This movie was also remade in 1953 as Scared Stiff starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. This is a very nice comedy to watch on a rainy afternoon.


The Last Picture Show (1971)

A wonderful look into the lives of people in a small Texas town in the 1950s. Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms are best friends Duane and Sonny. Duane is currently dating Jacy (played by a young and innocent Cybil Shepard) - the prettiest girl in town and the daughter of the town tramp. Jacy's mother Lois does not approve of Duane. He is from the wrong side of the tracks and she does not want her wealthy daughter to ever have to struggle. Sonny has feelings for Jacy as all the boys in town do. However, he starts an affair with Ruth (Cloris Leachman in her Oscar winning role), the wife of his basketball coach. As their lives spin out of control Duane and Sonny's friendship is put to the test. Eventually the entire town is turned upside down and the consequences are deadly.

This is a sad and gritty story. The fact that is was filmed in black and white only adds to the sadness. This is a story of how we sometimes do not even notice that our lives are out of control until it is to late. The characters are very complex and seem real. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, who also wrote Terms of Endearment and the Oscar winning screenplay of Brokeback Mountain. The actors are also wonderful. Leachman and Ben Johnson both won supporting Oscar roles and Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn were both nominated for their roles as Duane and Lois, Jacy's mother. The movie was followed by Texasville in 1990. I have never seen that film but I am told that it is not bad as far as sequels go. However, this is one of the finest films ever made and a must see for all movie lovers.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dancing with the Stars - Week 10

I can not believe that it is time for the finale already. This season has flown by! It is three dances for Mario and Emmitt tonight. Here we go!

Dance #1 - Same song (Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder) and they are both doing the samba

Emmitt Smith - why do they insist on putting him in those colored shiny shoes? They are so ugly! He was wonderful, upbeat and fun.

Mario Lopez - another great performance. I love the precision he brings to his dancing. This should be an interesting night.

Dance #2 - Their favorite from the competition

Emmitt Smith (Mambo) - I loved this routine the first time and I loved it again. I'm glad Bruno finally gave it the 10 it deserves

Mario Lopez (Paso Doble) - another terrific performance. This is the best final yet!

Dance #3 - Freestyle

Emmitt Smith - that was great! It took me back to being 14 again going to Barnstormers for New Years Eve.

Mario Lopez - again that was great. I was reminded again of my childhood. This is the best competition yet!

I have no idea who will win. They are both very deserving. This is going to be very interesting tomorrow night!


Slander (1956)

If you see this movie it definitely makes you think twice about buying that supermarket tabloid. I do not know if the tabloids still work the same way they did in 1956 but it is very scary to think about. It follows H.R. Manley, the publisher of one of the country's most popular gossip rags, Confidential. He is bound and determined to get the dirt on a famous Broadway star and hunts around in her past. When he does he learns that one of her childhood friends, Scott Martin the new child TV icon, has spent time in prison. He tries to blackmail Scott by telling his wife that he will go public with the story if he does not come up with the dirt on his friend. Being a man of honor Scott does not want to cave into the threat but his agent and wife try to convince him to. Once everything is over a tragedy occurs that changes the course of all of their lives.

This movie is a sad portrait of gossip mongers. A modern day version might be the story of a paparazzi instead of a publisher. Steve Cochran is excellent as the sleazy Manley. His scenes with Marjorie Rambeau, who plays his disgusted mother, are excellent. Van Johnson and Ann Blyth are also wonderful as Mr and Mrs Martin. While it is not out on DVD it is worth catching the next time it is on TCM.


Casablanca (1942)

One of the best romances ever made. Rick Blaine is happy living his life in Casablanca, Morocco. He runs the most popular joint in town that serves people on their way out of occupied France and into Lisbon. When the leader of the French resistance, Victor Laslow, and his wife, Ilsa, arrive at Rick's Cafe his life is turned upside down. It seems that before Rick fled Paris he and Ilsa shared a romance. While he has turned off his emotions and managed to get on with his life seeing her again opens old wounds. As the flame between Ilsa and Rick begins to reignite Victor is in danger. The German soldiers believe he murdered two of their own and are after him. Now Rick must decide if he escapes with Ilsa or allow her to leave with her husband.

This is without a doubt one of the best films ever made. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are at their best as the torn lovers Rick and Ilsa. The scene that has been dubbed the dueling anthems is the turning point of the film and is one of the best scenes in the movie. Any movie lover needs to see this movie.

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Girl Missing (1933)

This movie follows Kay Curtis and June Dale, a pair of golddiggers. The are in trouble since their latest victim has left them high and dry in Palm Beach with a $700 hotel bill. When they read in the paper that one of their former rivals, Daisy Bradford, is engaged to the wealthy Henry Gibson they figure they can get some money from her. However, Daisy acts as if she does not know them which really ticks them off. They weasel their way into some money and train tickets from Daisy's former flame Raymond. Once they hear that Daisy has disappeared on her wedding night they know that something is not right. Once they learn that Henry is offering a $25,000 reward they see a chance to make their big score. I really enjoyed this short little movie. It was a fun and light comedy. A nice movie to watch on a rainy weekend day when it comes on TCM.


Double Indemnity (1944)

The all-time film noir classic. Fred MacMurray stars a Walter Neff, an insurance salesman. He is fine living his every day life until he meets Phyllis Dietrichson (played by Barbara Stanwyck)a woman of questionable morals. When Walter falls in love with Phyllis she sees a way out of her loveless marriage. She convinces Walter to con her husband into purchasing accident insurance. Once Walter tricks Mr Dietrichson into signing the policy he convinces Phyllis to make her husband's "accident" occur on the train to cash in on the double indemnity clause. They seem to get away with the plot until Walter's conscience gets the best of him. He also learns that Phyllis may not be the person she seems to be. As his life begins to unravel he sees that he has been duped and tries to set everything right.

I love this movie. The story is interesting and relevant even today. Stanwyck and MacMurray are wonderful and believable in their roles. The only complaint I have is with the fake looking blonde wig Stanwyck wears in the film. However, I guess it was month into filming before Billy Wilder, the director, decided it looked stupid and at that point it had to stay on. Although in a way it helps add Stanwyck's mystique. A definite must see for all classic movie fans.

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The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Prince Prospero is running amuck in the local village until the red death takes hold. He then takes refuge in his castle to save himself from the horrible disease. However, before he hides away he kidnaps Juliana, a local peasant, her father and her love Gino. Prospero seems to be enamored with Juliana and wants to keep her for his own. However, death is after the Satan worshiper and nothing can stop his fate.

I am amazed I made it through the movie. I did not enjoy this film at all. In fact I thought it was pretty stupid. The acting was bad -and not in an enjoyable cheesy way either. The ending was pretty bad as well. Many people find this movie to be a cult classic but all I know is that it was 90 minutes of my life I will never get back.


Monday, November 13, 2006

The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)

This is the 5th of the Thin Man series. In this version, Nick and Nora Charles have decided to go visit Nick's parents on vacation. Of course once they get into town everyone assumes they are there on business. Once a man is shot to death on his parent's front porch Nick is back in business - much to his disappointed father's chagrin. While Nick is somewhat reluctant to move ahead Nora goes off and running, following the man she is sure committed the crime. Eventually the usual round up of suspects occurs where Nick reveals the killer and makes his father proud.

This is another excellent film from the series. Although, because of war time rationing, the drinking in the movie is non-existent. However, this adds to the humor. No one can believe that Nick does not drink and due to some circumstances it is easy to see why they think he is still a drunk. Powell and Loy have a wonderful chemistry as always. This is a nice and cute mystery in a wonderful series.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dancing with the Stars - Week 9

It is hard to believe that the semi-finals are here already! Once again it is two dance - their favorite ballroom and Latin style. and away we go ....

Ballroom Round:

Mario Lopez (tango) - once again he is wonderful. The footwork was excellent.

Emmitt Smith (waltz) - that was great. Although I was slightly distracted by his shiny silver shoes.

Joey Lawrence (quick step) - another great performance. I also love that he dedicated it to his grandpa - how sweet!

Latin Round:

Mario Lopez (cha cha) - another great one for Mario. He is terrific.

Emmitt Smith (cha cha) - I LOVED it! It was such a fun dance. Plus this time I was not as distracted by the shiny shoes.

Joey Lawrence (rumba) - another winner!

This is going to be a hard week. I am not sure who is going to go home because they are all so wonderful. I mean three perfect scores is amazing! This has been a great semi-final!