Crazy Knitter Reviews

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Without Reservations (1946)

A very cute little comedy. Christoper "Kit" Madden (Claudette Colbert) is a huge new celebrity. She has written a book that has taken America by storm. She is travelling to Hollywood to oversee the movie version of her book starring Cary Grant as the hero, Mark Winston. When she reaches her train she receives a telegram from the head of the studio telling her that Cary Grant has a conflict and can not be in the movie. As she is writing her reply to the executive two young marines, Rusty (John Wayne) and Dink (Don DeFore), sit beside her. When she looks up from her writing she meets Rusty's eye and instantly recognizes him as Mark Winston come to life. However, when the marines make a comment about the book and its radical ideas she decides to keep her true identity a secret. She decides to get Rusty to Hollywood so he can take a screen test for the part. However, a serious of comical events threatens Kit and Rusty's budding relationship.

I really enjoyed this little movie. John Wayne was very impressive as Rusty. Who knew that he could carry himself in a comedy? Colbert was wonderful as the novelist and DeFore was wonderful as the comic relief. I highly recommend this one because it is a very cute romantic comedy.


Monday, January 29, 2007


This is my mom's famous quiche recipe. We have it every New Years Day for brunch. We got a Honeybaked Ham from Jerry's company at Christmas. We had that for dinner last night so I decided to make this tonight with the left overs.

Sprinkle into a greased pie plate:

- 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 1 cup diced ham or 12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/3 cup onion

Mix together:

- 1 cup Bisquick
- 2 cups milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper

Pour into pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until top is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

This is very easy and yummy. My mom always made both but I prefer the ham one. The bacon on is pretty good though also. I put the pie plate on a cookie sheet because it was pretty full and I was afraid that it would spill over. It didn't but it made it much easier to get into the oven.


The Innocent Man by John Grisham - #1

This book was amazing. In December 1982 a young woman by the name of Debbie Carter is raped and murdered in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma. The crime is very violent and rocks the tight community. It seems from the beginning that the police do not seem very concerned with solving the case. They make up their minds that two men in town committed the crime and steer their investigation to them. The men are Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson. Ron has certainly fallen from his heyday as a star baseball player in the town. Several years before he was drafted by the Oakland A's and had dreams of big league stardom. However, an injury cut his career short and he goes home dejected. His fragile mental condition deteriorates until he is the crazy guy in town. It was fairly easy for the police to pin the crime on Ron and Dennis. They are both convicted with Dennis getting life in prison and Ron receiving the death penalty. Now their families and legal teams must fight to save their lives.

This book made me very angry. It should make everyone who reads it angry. We are raised to believe that the American legal system is fair and just but this book makes you question that belief. It is scary to think how close Ron came to death and how the time on the row lead to his deteriorating condition. There are several other stories that Grisham brings forth in the book of men who were wrongfully convicted. This book really solidified my beliefs about the death penalty. I have always believed in the death penalty in theory but that it does not work in actuality. This book proves that to me. I know the proponents say that no innocent person has ever been executed but after reading this book I do not know how they can say that with a straight face. This is a book that really makes you think. Grisham's first foray into non-fiction does not disappoint.


The Return of the Vampire (1944)

A creepy classic vampire film. In 1918 a family is terrorized by a vampire. Armand Tesla (Bela Legosi) is the undead who is stalking the family. After he takes a bite of Nicki, the young granddaughter of Walter Saunders, he takes matters into his own hands. Along with his partner, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort), Saunders locates the vampire's resting spot and drives a stake through his heart. This action frees his slave, Andreas, from his servitude. All is well for 20 plus years until the German blitz on London. Tesla's grave is destroyed by the bombing. Before they bury him again the cemetery workers take the stake out of his heart. This is the wrong move since he comes back to life and decides to exact his revenge. He is going to get to Lady Jane through those she loves most, Nicki and her son John.

I loved this move. It was very short, only 69 minutes, but I was still on the edge of my seat. Legosi was wonderful as always as the super scary Tesla. Inescort was also wonderful as his nemesis Lady Jane Ainsley. If you like classic horror films you have to see this one.


13 Ghosts (1960)

A strange little movie but it was still entertaining. Cyrus Zorba is a scientist with money problems. The furniture in his family's house has been repossessed and they have no money to catch up on their bills. Cy's uncle has passed away and left his house to Cy. He and the family are very excited. Cy moves in with his wife, Hilda, daughter, Madea, and son, Buck. They meet the uncle's lawyer, Ben Rush, who tells them the story of the house. It seems that it is haunted by 13 ghosts. The uncle was also a scientist who invented a pair of glasses that allow people to see into the supernatural world. The family soon learns from the maid, Elaine (Margaret Hamilton aka the Wicked Witch of the West), that their uncle had converted all his investments to cash the day before he died but no one ever found the money. Now Ben wants Buck to help him find the treasure before the ghosts hurt the family.

This was not the greatest movie ever made but it was fun and mindless entertainment. The acting was a little over the top but that is part of what made the movie fun. There was a remake made in 2001 starring Tony Shalhoub. If you like old cheesy horror movies than this one is for you.


West Side Story (1961)

A nostalgic favorite for me. This is the musical version of Romeo and Juliet. On the streets of New York there are two rival gangs - The Jets (whites) and The Sharks (Puerto Ricans). The two groups are fighting over the territory that the Jets have controlled and the Sharks want. One night there is a dance in the neighborhood. Both gangs are there and tensions are high. The real problem begins when a former Jet, Tony (Richard Beymer), sees a beautiful girl across the room. Maria (Natalie Wood) sees Tony also and they fall in love at first sight. Maria is the sister of Bernardo (George Chakiris), the leader of the Sharks. When Bernardo sees his sister with Tony a fight almost breaks out. That is when Bernardo and Riff (Russ Tamblyn), the Jets leader, decide to have a rumble to settle the fight over the turf. Maria and Tony fear that if there is a rumble their family and friends will never accept their relationship. Now they set off to stop the fight before it is to late.

I love this movie. It has a special place in my heart because it was one of my mom's favorites. The music is wonderful. There are a lot of familiar songs - I Feel Pretty, America, Maria and Tonight. The performance were wonderful and the 152 minute film just flew by. I highly recommend this one for all movie fans.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Friends and Lovers (1931)

A story of how friendship can overcome love. Geoff Roberts (Adolphe Menjou) is dating a married woman, Alva Sangrito (Lili Damita). One day Alva asks Geoff to come in to meet her husband, Victor (Erich Von Stroheim). This is when Alva and Victor set their evil plan into motion. They blackmail Geoff into giving them 5000 pounds to keep their secret. Since he is a military man he makes the payment and goes on his tour to India. There he is joined by one of his dearest friends, Ned Nichols (Lawrence Olivier). As they are catching up it comes out that they are both in love. When Geoff goes to Ned's tent he sees a picture of the woman he is in love with - none other than Alva. After a fight they decide that this gold digger is not worth breaking their friendship up over. They are fine until they return to London. They are invited to a dinner party where the newly widowed Alva is also a guest. Now they are both unsure of what they are feeling and how to deal with Alva again.

This was a cute little movie. The acting is a bit over the top but that was not uncommon for this era. However, you can see the glimpses of brilliance that was to come from Sir Lawrence. Worth checking out when it comes on TCM again.


Theodora Goes WIld (1936)

A very funny movie. Theodora Lynn (Irene Dunne) lives a sheltered existence in her hometown of Lynnfield, Connecticut. There she lives with her two aunts and plays the organ at her church. Everything is going along well until the local paper buys the rights to run the newest bestseller, The Sinner. The entire town is up in arms over the scandalous book but there is one major problem. It seems that the book's author has used an pseudonym and is really Theodora Lynn. She travels to New York to meet with her publisher to discuss her next book. There she meets Michael Grant (Melvyn Douglas), the man who did the cover art for her book. He is fascinated by her but he realizes that she is not being totally honest with him. He follows her back to Lynnfield to get the true story of her life. She is so afraid that her secret will get out but she falls in love with him anyway. The problem is that Michael has his own secrets and Theodora decides to help him like he helped her with hilarious results.

This movie was very funny. Dunne was wonderful as the uptight Theodora who eventually comes out of her skin. Douglas was also terrific as the man with his own secrets, Michael. A great movie for a lazy Saturday afternoon.


Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)

Another cute musical. The Wentworth Plaza hotel is about to open its doors for the summer season. One of the many employees is Dick Curtis (Dick Powell), a desk clerk working his way through medical school. He is engaged to the hostess Arline Davis (Dorothy Dare). One of the many guests in the hotel is an eccentric millionaire named Matilda Prentiss. She arrives with her son Humboldt (Frank McHugh), who has been divorced four times and her daughter Ann (Gloria Stuart). Ann is engaged to T. Mosley Thorpe III (Hugh Herbert) but she is not happy about it. Ann makes a deal with her mother that if she is allowed to have fun that summer she will marry Mosley in the fall without a fight. Matilda agrees but pays Dick $500 to chaperon her. As Dick and Ann spend more and more time together they begin to fall in love. Everything comes to head at the annual Prentiss charity show at the hotel with the relationship between Ann and Dick, Humboldt and Arline, a gold digging stenographer and the crazy choreographer.

This movie was very good. The last musical number, The Lullaby of Broadway, was wonderful. Powell was sweet and funny as the young man in love, Dick. It was nice to see Gloria Stuart in something that pre-dates Titanic. The scene stealer is Alice Brady as Matilda Prentiss. When she tries to figure out how much money her son's divorces have cost her it is highly amusing. I highly recommend this one.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

A very cute movie from the 1930s. In the midst of the Great Depression four show girls are out of work and hungry. When Broadway producer Barney Hopkins comes up with idea for a new play they think their luck is about to change. However, it is going to cost $15,000 to get the show going. Brad Roberts (Dick Powell) decides to give the money to Barney but where he got it from is a mystery. Brad writes the music for the new show and his girlfriend Polly (Ruby Keeler) is to play the leading lady. However, on opening night the leading man can not perform and Brad is forced to go on even though he does not want to. The next day it is all over the papers that Robert Bradford, member of one of the richest families in Boston, is starring in the new musical. When his brother J. Lawrence (Warren William) reads the paper he goes to stop Brad's antics. Along with the family lawyer, Faneul Peabody, they decide to bribe the golddigiing Polly. When he meets Carol (Joan Blondell) he thinks she is Polly. Carol and Trixie (Aline MacMahon) decide to keep the trick up and get everything they possible can from the two. J. Bradford and "Fanny" eventually fall in love with the girls and this puts a kink in their plans.

This movie was very funny. Since it was a pre-code film there is a lot of innuendo in the movie. The acting was wonderful and the musical numbers were terrific, especially The Forgotten Man number at the end. It is very poignant when you think of the time period. Look for a young Ginger Rogers singing "We're In the Money" in Pig Latin at the beginning of the movie. There were two previous versions of the film, The Gold Diggers in 1923 and Gold Diggers of Broadway in 1929. There were also three movies that followed this one. Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) and Gold Diggers in Paris (1938).


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

A very funny and entertaining movie. It all starts in London while the full moon is rising. Lawrence Talbot (Lon Cheney, Jr) places a frantic phone call to the baggage department in America where two large crates have arrived. Before he changes into a werewolf he warns Wilbur Grey (Costello) to keep the crates there until he arrives. However, when the owner of the crates, Mr McDougal, comes to take them to his house of horrors Wilbur's boss, Chick Young (Abbott), forces Wilbur to deliver them. It seems that the cases contain the remains of Dracula (Bela Lagosi) and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange). The only problem is that they are still alive. It seems that Dracula wants to give the monster a new brain so he can be controlled better. With the help of Wilbur's girlfriend, Dr Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert), Dracula decides that Wilbur's brain would be perfect for the monster and sets off to get it.

This movie was a lot of fun. Costello was hilarious like he always was. Cheney and Legosi were wonderful as the characters that made them famous. This one is worth seeing if you like horror and comedy and especially if you like to laugh when you are scared like I do.


DreamGirls (2006)

All I can say about this film is WOW!! The Dreamettes - Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Deena (Beyonce Knowles) - have just lost an amateur talent competition. However, losing could have been their lucky break. They are asked to sing background vocals for James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy) since his singers quit because of the affair he had with one of them. They go on tour where romance blooms between James and Lorrell and also between Effie and Curtis Taylor, Jr (Jamie Foxx), a sleazy manager. Curtis wants to help the group break the color barrier that black musicians faced in the 1960s. However, Thunder is not an easy person to work with and Curtis decides to give the girls their own act. The Dreams are give their own show but there is one difference - Deena will sing the lead instead of Effie. As time goes on tensions rise in the group and Curtis decides the best thing to do is replace Effie. She returns to Detroit broken hearted and blows through her money in two years. In the meantime, The Dreams become a huge act and Curtis marries Deena. Effie attempts a comeback with the help of Marty Madison (Danny Glover), Thunder's former manager. When Curtis finds out he does everything possible to derail her career. However, he has not always done everything legitimately and that may come back to haunt him.

I could not believe this film. It was absolutely amazing! The entire cast was wonderful. Beyonce had a innocence I was not expecting from her. Eddie Murphy was terrific as the complicated Thunder. However, Jennifer Hudson stole the show. I feel that the scene where she sings "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" (which is the finale of the first act of the play) is what will win her the Oscar. I am very surprised this was not nominated for Best Picture. If you love musicals you have to see this one for sure! I can not wait until this comes out on DVD to watch it again.


Friday, January 26, 2007

We Are Marshall (2006)

Another excellent tearjerker. On November 14, 1970 the Thundering Herd of Marshall University lost 17-14 to the East Carolina State Pirates. On their way back to Huntington their plane crashed just a few thousand feet from the airport where they were supposed to land. All 75 people aboard were killed including the players, coaches, athletic director, university officials, fans and boosters. The small town and university struggled with what to do next. The players who were left behind because of injury were dealing with the guilt of not being with their team mates. The assistant coach, Red Dawson (Matthew Fox), must live with the fact that he gave up his seat on the plane to another coach who wanted to go to his granddaughter's piano recital instead of a recruiting trip. Eventually the president of the university, Donald Dedman (David Strathairn), decided to keep the program going. He is contacted by Jack Lengyl (Matthew McConaughey), the only person who wants the job. Together they attempt to put the football program back together to heal the university and the town.

This movie transcends sports but also shows how sports can bring people together. The acting was wonderful and touching. The only complaint I had was McConaughey did this weird lip curl thing during the entire movie. However, I have since read that he studied Lengyl's mannerisms so I can forgive him for that. There are two scenes in the movie that gave me chills - the We Are Marshall chant outside the admin building and the speech Lengyl gave the team in the cemetery before their first home game after the crash. I highly recommend this movie it was wonderful.


Freedom Writers (2007)

An excellent movie. Erin Gruwell (Hillary Swank)is a fresh young teacher. She starts her career at Wilson High in Long Beach, California shortly after the LA riots of 1992. Wilson was once one of the best schools in the district but it has degraded significantly in just a few short years. Erin is given the grunt job of teaching freshman and sophomore English. She soon learns that her job is not quite what she expected. She has no help from the administration and the students are not interested in learning. Her students have no motivation because they have been told their entire lives that they are not worthy of an education and that they will never amount to anything in life. They have turned to gangs because that is their only way to survive. Erin begins to slowly win their respect by showing them that they can be better and they are not worthless. Eventually they begin writing their stories in a journal which eventually becomes the book this movie was based upon.

This was a very touching and terrific movie. Swank was wonderful as the naive teacher who becomes a hero. It is also a very difficult film to watch. It was so sad to see the administration at that school who did not care about these kids. They were so immune to the plight that they became part of the problem. Unfortunately I think this happens in the American school system more than we realize. Make sure you bring some tissues with you because this movie will make most people cry.


Marooned (1969)

An excellent movie. Ironman One has made its way to space with three astronauts on board - Pruett (Richard Crenna), Lloyd (Hackman) and Stone (James Francisus). The men have been in space for several months and NASA decides to bring them home because there is a hurricane brewing. However, there is a problem with the ship's engine and it will not fire. The three men are stuck in space with no way to get back. The space program director, Charles Keith (Gregory Peck), works on a rescue plan but there is one major problem. There is only enough oxygen to keep the men alive for 55 hours. The men begin to deteriorate both mentally and physically as they just sit and wait for the inevitable. On the ground Keith is racing against the clock and the impending storm to get a rescue mission off the ground and save the three men.

I really enjoyed this film. It could have been cut about 20 minutes shorter but it was still good. The acting was excellent. This is not an action filled movie it is more of a character study. The thing I found most interesting is that this movie was filmed a year before the Apollo 13 incident that was almost identical to what happened in the movie. If you are a space junkie like me than you will love this movie.


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Great Man Votes (1939)

A cute little movie. Gregory Vance (John Barrymore) is the father of a young boy and girl. He is also an out of work philosopher who is an alcoholic. Gregory's son, Donald Ainslee Vance, is being bullied at school by Davy McCarthy. Davy is the son of Iron Hat McCarthy, the local district leader. One day after school a fight between the two boys breaks out and Donald pushes Davy into a vat of cement. Scared of what will happen to him, Donald and his sister Joan decide to run away. They do not want to cause their father any more problems than he already has. They decide to jump on the Ainslee Dairy truck and ride it out to the Ainslee farm. Their mother, who is deceased, was an Ainslee and they are hoping that they can stay there. However, their father hates the Ainslee's and would not be happy with the children running there. When the Ainslee's, Chester and Phoebe, realize what has happened they decide that they have to take the children away from Gregory. Since he does not have a job it will be easy for the Ainslee's. Luckily for Gregory the Old Party, and Iron Hat, need district 13 to vote a straight ticket and Gregory is the only voter in that district. He is promised a job but will Iron Hat follow through so Gregory can keep his kids?

This was a very cute film. Barrymore was terrific in a role that hit way to close to home. The children were mildly annoying but it did not ruin the movie. A nice depression era flick.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

64th Annual Golden Globe Awards

ETA: Out of 23 categories I got 10 right. Not very good at all. I also think it's unfair that Jennifer Hudson and America Ferrera both made me cry!

Ok here we are again. The Golden Globes are tomorrow night and I will be going on the record with my predictions. My predictions are italicized and I will bold the winners tomorrow.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
- Babel
- Bobby
- The Departed
- Little Children
- The Queen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
- Penelope Cruz in Volver
- Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
- Maggie Gyllenhaal in Sherrybaby
- Helen Mirren in The Queen
- Kate Winslet in Little Children

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
- Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
- Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed
- Peter O'Toole in Venus
- Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness
- Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
- Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation if Kazakhstan
- The Devil Wears Prada
- Dreamgirls
- Little Miss Sunshine
- Thank You For Smoking

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
- Annette Bening in Running With Scissors
- Toni Collette in Little Miss Sunshine
- Beyonce Knowles in Dreamgirls
- Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
- Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
- Sacha Cohen in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation if Kazakhstan
- Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Aaron Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking
- Chiwetel Ejiofor in Kinky Boots
- Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Adriana Barraza in Babel
- Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal
- Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada
- Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls
- Rinko Kikuchi in Babel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Ben Affleck in Hollywoodland
- Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls
- Jack Nicholson in The Departed
- Brad Pitt in Babel
- Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

Best Animated Feature Film
- Cars
- Happy Feet
- Monster House

Best Foreign Language Film
- Apocolypto
- Letters From Iwo Jima
- The Lives of Others
- Pan's Labyrinth
- Volver

Best Director - Motion Picture
- Clint Eastwood for Flags of Our Fathers
- Clint Eastwood for Letters From Iwo Jima
- Stephen Frears for The Queen
- Alejandro Inarritu for Babel
- Martin Scorsese for The Departed

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
- Babel
- The Departed
- Little Children
- Notes on a Scandal
- The Queen

Best Original Score
- The Painted Veil
- The Fountain
- Babel
- Nomad
- The Da Vinci Code

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
- A Father's Way from The Pursuit of Happyness
- Listen from Dreamgirls
- Never Gonna Break My Faith from Bobby
- The Song of the Heart from Happy Feet
- Try Not to Remember from Home of the Brave

Best Television Series - Drama
- 24
- Big Love
- Grey's Anatomy
- Heroes
- Lost

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
- Patricia Arquette in Medium
- Edie Falco in The Sopranos
- Evangeline Lilly in Lost
- Ellen Pompeo in Grey's Anatomy
- Kyra Sedwick in The Closer

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- Patrick Dempsey in Grey's Anatomy
- Michael C. Hall in Dexter
- Hugh Laurie in House
- Bill Paxton in Big Love
- Kiefer Sutherland in 24

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
- Desperate Housewives
- Entourage
- The Office
- Ugly Betty
- Weeds

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
- Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives
- America Ferrera in Ugly Betty
- Felicity Huffman in Desperate Housewives
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus in The New Adventures of the Old Christine
- Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
- Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock
- Zach Braff in Scrubs
- Steve Carell in The Office
- Jason Lee in My Name is Earl
- Tony Shalhoub in Monk

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Bleak House
- Broken Trail
- Elizabeth I
- Mrs Harris
- Prime Suspects: The Final Act

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Gillian Anderson in Bleak House
- Annette Bening in Bleak House
- Helen Mirren in Elizabeth I
- Helen Mirren in Prime Suspects: The Final Act
- Sophie Okonedo in Tsunami: The Aftermath

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for television
- Andre Braugher in Thief
- Robert Duvall in Broken Trail
- Michael Ealy in Sleeper Cell: American Terror
- Chiwetel Ejiofor in Tsunami: The Aftermath
- Ben Kingsley in Mrs Harris
- Bill Nighy in Gideon's Daughter
- Matthew Perry in The Ron Clark Story

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Emily Blunt in Gideon's Daughter
- Toni Collette in Tsunami: The Aftermath
- Katherine Heigl in Grey's Anatomy
- Sarah Paulson in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
- Elizabeth Perkins in Weeds

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

- Thomas Haden Church in Broken Trail
- Jeremy Irons in Elizabeth I
- Justin Kirk in Weeds
- Masi Oka in Heroes
- Jeremy Piven in Entourage


You Can't Take it With You (1938)

A very cute comedy. A. P. Kirby (Edward Arnold) is a very rich banker who is trying to make himself even richer. He is trying to buy up 12 blocks to start his new monopoly. There is only one problem - Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore). Martin lives in a house on one of the blocks A.P. wants to buy and he is not willing to sell for any price. Also living with Martin are an assorted group of characters - his daughter, son in law, granddaughters and more. One of those granddaughters, Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur), is the secretary for A.P. Kirby's son, Tony (Jimmy Stewart). Alice and Tony have fallen in love and they want to get married. Of course Tony's society parents - especially his mother (Mary Forbes) - do not approve. Now Alice wants them to meet her family but Tony does not think that is such a great idea. Will Alice be able to win over the stuffy Kirby's or will her happiness go up in smoke?

This move was very funny and touching. The performances were all terrific. Barrymore was very funny as the insane patriarch of the family. Arthur and Stewart show the magic that continued the next year in Mr Smith Goes to Washington. There were two made for TV versions of this movie made. One was in 1979 with Jean Stapleton and Blythe Danner and the other in 1984 with Jason Robards. However, please see the original - the wackiness is so much fun!


Red Planet Mars (1952)

A different sci-fi movie from the 1950's. Chris and Linda Cronyn (Peter Graves and Andrea King) are a husband and wife team of researchers. Their new project is contacting life on Mars with their powerful transmitter. They are brought into the offices of some other scientists who are taking pictures of the surface of Mars. Within a week the ice caps on Mars that are the size of the Rockies have melted and been put into reservoirs. Linda is afraid of what will happen if they keep trying to get answers from Mars but Chris convinces her to keep trying. Eventually they come up with the perfect way to contact the Martians and messages start coming through. As the government begins to crack the codes the messages are released to the public. The stories from Mars cause the economic system of the country to collapse. Soon the government finds out that the Russians are intercepting the messages. Now with national security in jeopardy what will Chris and Linda do about their transmissions?

This was a very intelligent movie. It really makes you think about what would happen here on Earth if their was contact with life on other planets - even if the other life forms were friendly. Even though there are no little green men this movie does not disappoint. If you want a movie that makes you think this one is for you.


To Have and Have Not (1944)

A wonderful Boggie and Bacall flick. Steve Morgan (Bogart) is living on the French island of Martinique during World War II. He has a boat and runs fishing tours for people on the island. While his friends work for the Free France movement he decides to remain neutral. That all changes when he meets Slim (Bacall). She is a young American woman who does not have enough money to get back to the mainland. After Steve has his money and passport taken by the local police captain he decides that he needs to work in the smuggling business to help get Slim off the island. He agrees to smuggle a French soldier and his wife from another island but they run into trouble. They exchange fire with the local authorities and the soldier is shot. Now the police are onto Steve and his illegal activities. For their safety Steve and Slim need to leave the island but will they be able to?

The movie is where Boggie and Bacall fell in love and you can see that happening on screen. Bacall was so sexy as Slim - especially when she gives the famous line "You know how to whistle don't you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow". Walter Brennan steals the movie as Steve's drunk sidekick, Eddie. The movie has been remade two times. In 1950 as The Breaking Point and in 1956 as Wetbacks. However, nothing can compare to this original classic.

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Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

Another great one from the Thin Man series. This time Nick and Nora are investigating a murder at the race track. One of the jockeys has been shot and the assumption is he was killed because he did not throw the race like he was told to. Once the investigation begins two rival reporters, Paul Clark and Whitey Brown, are hot on the case. Paul uses his connections to get into the office of a bookie hoping that he can learn what happened. Unfortunately Brown has the same idea. The two end up fighting and Whitey ends up dead. Now Nick and Nora must prove that their friend Paul is innocent of murder. Once Nick figures out who the guilty party is he does his usual round up of suspects to unmask the killer.

This was the fourth film in the Thin Man series and it does not disappoint. Myrna Loy and William Powell were again at their best as the husband and wife detective team of Nick and Nora Charles. Be on the look out for a young Donna Reed as Molly, Paul's girlfriend. Once again this series is wonderful and a definite must see.


The Last Man on Earth (1964)

A story that had potential but fell short. Dr Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the last man on Earth. Four years earlier a virus wiped out the entire population except for him. The major problem with the virus is that it causes people to come back from the dead as vampires. Every day Morgan goes out to find the vampires, drive a stake through their heart and burn their remains. At night he locks himself in his home and tries to survive the monsters outside. One day he is out and about and he finds two dead vampires that he was not responsible for. That is when he realizes that he is actually not alone. He finds a young woman and brings her into his home. Now he needs to find out if she is infected or not.

The movie started off very well but short of fell short. The movie was moving along nicely and then all of a sudden it ends. I do not know if they ran out of money or what but it seemed to rush through. Price was very good though considering he was alone through most of the movie. There have been several versions of this movie made. Soy leyenda from Spain in 1967, The Omega Man in 1971, Night of the Comet (a favorite from my childhood) in 1984 and finally there is I Am Legend starring Will Smith to be released later this year.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Madhouse (1974)

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this movie. Paul Toombes (Vincent Price) is one of Hollywood's most successful actors. He has starred as Dr Death in several films that were written by his good friend Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing). One New Year's Eve Paul and his fiance, Ellen, host a party. There they screen one of the many Dr Death films. After a fight with Paul, Ellen goes upstairs alone. There she is beheaded. When Paul finds her body he has a mental breakdown. Of course there are hushed rumors that Paul actually killed Ellen because of the fight. A few years later Paul is on his way to London to see his old friend Herbert. There is a new Dr Death series that is going into production and of course they want Paul to reprise his most famous role. The only problem is that there is a series of mysterious murders involving the people around Paul and he begins to breakdown again. Is Paul the killer or is someone trying to get rid of him?

The movie was not the greatest but it was pretty entertaining. Price and Cushing were wonderful as they always were. Adrienne Corri stole the movie as Herbert's disturbed wife, Faye. The film also shows clips of old Vincent Price movies and that is interesting to see. This movie is worth checking out when you are in the mood for a good horror flick.


Armed and Famous

Another reality TV show that I feel the strange compulsion to watch. This one has five "celebrities" - Jack Osborne, Wee Man, La Toya Jackson, Trish Stratus and Eric Estrada - who train to be poice officers in Muncie, Indiana. The first episode shows the training they have to go through and how they get paired up with their partners. It is interesting to see these pampered celebrities out and about and having to enforce the law. I was also happy to see how seriously they all took the job. All in all it is not a bad show and is fun for an hour of mindless entertainment.


Death Takes a Holiday (1934)

A haunting film. Death (Frederic March) is curious to know why humans are so afraid of him. He comes to Duke Lambert to ask him a favor. Death wants to take three days off to see how humans live first hand. He is hoping to find out the reason why he is so hated. The Duke reluctantly agrees and promises not to tell the other house guests who he really is. Death takes the human form of Prince Sirki, a friend of the Duke's. As he begins to spend time with the assorted group he begins to fall in love with Grazia, the daughter of one of the house guests, Princess Maria. Now all the guests except for Grazia are beginning to become afraid of Prince Sirki. His holiday is almost over and he decides to take Grazia with him when he leaves. Will the guests be able to save Grazia or will she go with death willingly.

This movie was wonderful. I can imagine in 1934 it was very disturbing. Fredric March was scary as death/Prince Sirki. Evelyn Venable was also terrific as the object of death's love, Grazia. There have been three remakes of this movie. There was a made for TV version in 1971 with Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas. There was also a 2004 version that was made in India. However, the most famous remake was Meet Joe Black in 1998 with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. I feel though that the original version is well worth the effort to find and watch.


I Love New York

Another guilty VH1 Celebrealty "gem". This time our favorite bitch from Flavor of Love is the one picking the guys. In the first episode New York and her mother get to know the 20 men who have been picked to fight for Tiffany's heart. There is a very interesting group of characters who show up at the house. During the party some of them get along and others do not. Some also conflict with her hot headed mother. One man in particular, Chance, had a knock down fight with Sister Patterson. He is a real thug and New York's mother is sick of her daughter being attracted to those type of men. At the end of the show five men are given the boot and the other 15 will stay in the house and try to win New York's heart and her mother's respect. While this is not the best shoe on TV it is fun mindless entertainment and that's what I like in my shows.


Once More, With Feeling (1960)

A delightful movie. Victor Fabian (Yul Brynner) is one of the most famous orchestra conductors in the world. He is also very hot headed and temperamental. He is married to a harpist, Dolly (Kay Kendall in her last film role), and treats her as badly as he treats his musicians. One night he is home alone and is going to audition a 12 year old singer. However, a beautiful 21 year old woman arrives instead. When Dolly comes home she catches him and the young lady and leaves him. Victor's career goes downhill because of the break up while Dolly begins to shine. She teaches at a local college and has met a new man whom she wants to marry. She goes to Victor to ask for a divorce but there is one major problem -they were never married. When an offer comes in to conduct to London Symphony Victor has a plan. He and Dolly will get married quietly to avoid a scandal. He will give her a divorce after he performs with the orchestra. This will help him since the head of the symphony board and her son both hate Victor and love Dolly. Will they make it thorough this "marriage" without falling in love again?

The movie was very cute. It is not out on video or DVD so you will need to catch it when it comes on TCM (it will be on Friday 1/19 at 2:30 pm). Brynner was his usual charismatic and imposing self. Kay Kendall was wonderful and it is very hard to believe that she was dying of leukemia when this movie was being filmed. If you love romantic comedies this is a must see.


Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941)

A wonderfully cute film. Joe Pendelton (Robert Montgomery) is a boxer training for the biggest fight of his career. As he is flying to New York for the big event his plane begins to go down. When he comes to he is heading toward heaven with his messenger. The only problem is that the messenger took him from the plane before it hit the ground and he was not meant to die then. In fact, he had another 50 years to live. His case is then taken over by the mysterious man in charge, Mr Jordan (Claude Rains). He tries to make it back to his body but his manager, Max (James Gleason), has had him cremated. Then Mr. Jordan has no choice but to find another body for Joe. He decides to place him in the body of a millionaire playboy, Farnsworth, who is being murdered by his wife, Julia (Rita Johnson), and her boyfriend (and Farnsworth's assistant) Tony Abbott (John Emery). There he meets a young woman, Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes), and they begin to fall in love. However, Joe wants to get back in the ring and have his big shot at the title. How will Mr Jordan be able to get Joe to meet his destiny?

This was a fun and cute movie. Robert Montgomery (father of Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery) was wonderfully fun as the boxer Joe. Claude Rains was his usual distinguished self as the mysterious Mr Jordan. Evelyn Keyes also shined as the beautiful Bette. There was a sequel made in 1947 called Down to Earth that starred Rita Hayworth. There were also two remakes of this film. Heaven Can Wait in 1978 with Warren Beatty and Down to Earth in 2001 starring Chris Rock. However, for classic movie fans the original is worth checking out.


Monday, January 08, 2007

New VH1 Celebreality Shows

So I will admit that I am a reality TV addict. I especially love shows with celebrities. I will admit that I tend to know way more about the lives of stars than I should. So VH1's Celebreality shows are right up my alley. Yesterday was the premire of two new shows.

First up is The Surreal Life Fame Games. This is where a group of former Surreal Life cast memebers get together to compete to see who is the most famous. There are challanges each week and the losers mover from the luxury A-list accomodations to the run down B-list. For a bunch of people who seem to think that they are more famous than they are these challanges could be a real wake up call. I felt so bad for Chyna Doll yesterday when she was crying because only one person wanted their picture taken with her. This should be an interesting show.

Next Shooting Sizemore. This show follows actor Tom Sizemore as he leaves rehab and goes through his appeal of an assault conviction on ex-girlfriend Heidi Fleiss. This show is very raw, even crazier than Breaking Bonaduce. Tom seems more willing to open up every aspect of his crazy life where as Danny wanted to hde things. I found myself feeling so bad for him during the first episode. This show is kind of life a car accident. It is ugly to watch but you can not turn away.

Tonight is the premire of I Love New York with everyone's favorite wench from Flavor of Love. I am recording it while I am watching Supernanny (I told you I was an addict) so I will have to report on that one later this week.


The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

This was a very cute comedy. Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) is on his way to Ohio for one of his popular lectures. While there he and his assistant, Maggie (Bette Davis), are going to have dinner at the home of Ernest and Daisy Stanley (Grant Mitchell and Billie Burke). On his way into their home he slips on a patch of ice and breaks his hip. He forces the Stanley's to let him stay at the house by saying that he is going to sue them for his accident. The Stanley's reluctantly agree to allow Sheridan to stay at their house and he bulldozes over them. He takes total control of their household and inspires their children to follow their dreams of being a photographer and marrying the wrong man. However, Sheridan's problem begins when Maggie falls in love with the owner of the local paper, Bert Jefferson. She wants to get married and move to Ohio with Bert. Sheridan decides to make sure she does not have her happy ending. He invites an actress friend of his, Lorraine Sheldon (Ann Sheridan), to visit in hopes that she can steal Bert away from Maggie. Now will Sheridan get his way like a spoiled child or will Maggie get her fairytale ending?

This movie was very cute. Monty Woolley was wonderful as the gruff Sheridan Whiteside. Bette Davis was superb like she always was. Jimmy Durante was also terrific in his small role. This movie has been remade three times. The latest remake was a made for TV movie in 2000 starring Nathan Lane and Jean Smart. However, the original is a gem worth seeking out.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

In the Good Old Summertime (1949)

A wonderful remake of The Shop Around the Corner. Andrew Larkin (Van Johnson) is the head salesman at Oberkugen's Music Store. He is corresponding anonymously with a young woman via letters. One day when he is coming out of the post office he runs right into a young woman. A quite comical interlude occurs where the woman and Andrew try to fix her hat. Andrew heads to work on his bike and eventually the young woman from the post office arrives at the store. He learns that her name is Veronica Fisher (Judy Garland) and she is looking for a job. Andrew says no way but when she sells a very expensive harp the owner, Mr Oberkugen, gives her a job. As they work together they realize that they really do not like each other very much. The problem is that they are the pen pals who are falling in love through their anonymous letters and they are about to meet. What will happen when they realize that their enemy is also the person they are growing to love?

This movie was wonderful. Van Johnson is terrific as Andrew. Judy Garland is brilliant like always. The song and dance numbers are wonderful and I could listen to her voice all day. The person who steals the movie for me is S.Z "Cuddles" Sakall as the proprietor Mr Oberkugen. Make sure to watch for a two year old Liza Minnelli in her movie debut at the end of the film. If you love romantic comedies this is a must see.


Song of the Thin Man (1947)

The sixth and final movie in the Thin Man series. This time Nick and Nora Charles are at a society gathering aboard a gambling ship. There is a jazz ensemble playing aboard the ship led by Tommy Drake (Philip Reed). Drake has taken another job and decides to leave New York. However, he owes $12,000 in gambling debts to the owner of the boat. When Tommy's agent, Mitch Talbin (Leon Ames), refuses to loan him the money he goes below deck to break into the safe. There he is shot by an unknown assailant. Nick and Nora are once again on the case. This time they are aided by a clarinet player, Clarence "Clinker" Krause (Keenan Wynn). There is the ususal bunch of suspects who all seem to have motive. Once again Nick and Nora decide to host a party, this time on the boat, to have the final unveiling of the killer.

While this was still a good movie it is by far the weakest of the series. Myrna Loy and William Powell just did not seem to have their hearts in the movie. Be on the lookout for a young Dean Stockwell as Nick and Nora's son, Nicky. This is one of the best film series ever made and I highly recomend it.


Love Affair (1939)

A wonderfully touching movie. Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) is one of Europe's best known playboys. His picture is in the paper all the time and whenever he is seen with a woman it is assumed that she is his next conquest. However, he has decided to settle down and get married. He crosses the Atlantic to meet his fiance in New York and on the passage he meets Terry McKay (Irene Dunn). Terry was in Europe on business for her boss, who is also her fiance. As Terry and Michel begin to spend time together on the ship they slowly begin to fall in love. However, Michel is embarrassed because he has never had a job so they decide to wait six months so they can both make their way in the world. They decide to meet on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. However, on her way there Terry is hit by a car and is paralyzed. When she does not show up Michel is heartbroken. Will they ever meet again or will their love affair end?

This movie was wonderful. Boyer and Dunn are amazing as the couple. This movie has been remade twice. First in 1957 as An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The second remake was in 1994 starring Warren Beatty, Annette Benning and Katherine Hepburn in her next to last role. However, I think the original is terrific and worth watching.


Royal Wedding (1951)

A very cute movie musical. Tom Bowen (Fred Astaire) and his sister Ellen (Jane Powell) are the hottest musical act in show business. Their run in New York has ended and their agent Irving Klinger (Keenan Wynn) has booked a run in London with his twin brother, Edgar, producing. The run also coincides with the royal wedding of Princess (eventually Queen) Elizabeth. While crossing the Atlantic, Ellen meets Lord John Brindale (Peter Lawford). The two begin to spend a lot of time together, both on the boat and in London, and begin to fall in love. With Ellen off with her English Lord, Tom wonders the city alone. One day he meets a woman, Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill - Winston's daughter), on the street on his way to cast auditions. He soon realizes that the woman is heading toward his audition. Soon they begin to also fall in love. Both Tom and Ellen want to get married but what will happen to their act?

This was a wonderful musical. Two of Astaire's most famous dances - with a hat rack and where he dances on the walls and ceiling - are in this film. Jane Powell is wonderful. Her voice is amazing and so nice to listen to. The best song and dance sequence for me is also the song with the longest title in Hollywood - "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life". All in all a cute movie for a Saturday in.