• But I'm a Cheerleader

    But I'm a Cheerleader

    ★★★½

    Recently added to my LGBT Films Ranked

    So cute in a gay way. No, really, so cute in every way. Great send up of homosexual conversion therapy. An intervention organized by her straight-laced parents sends 17-year-old high school cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) to the True Directions camp for correcting sexual disorientation. Fine supporting roles by Cathy Moriarty as forceful camp leader Mary Brown and Clea DuVall as the dykish camper Graham Eaton in danger of losing her inheritance. Well worth watching. See it!

  • None But the Lonely Heart

    None But the Lonely Heart

    ★★★½

    Part of my Filling in the Forties challenge

    In this romantic drama adapted from Richard Llewellyn's 1943 novel and directed by Clifford Odets, Cary Grant is anything but the sophisticated lady killer he usually plays. Instead, he's a cockney fix-it man named Ernie Mott, who prides himself on his perfect pitch and lack of attachments to people, places, or things. When he takes a break from his nomadic existence to drop in on his all-but-forgotten mother, Ma Mott (Ethel Barrymore),…

  • Little 'Tinker

    Little 'Tinker

    ★★★½

    Short Animation - In this MGM cartoon, director Tex Avery introduces us to B.O. Skunk, a lovelorn little stinker whose attempts to woo critters of the opposite sex all fail when the femmes get a whiff of his natural pheromones. There's a hilarious poke at Frank Sinatra (voiced by Stan Freberg), and the ending is both cute and satisfying. Well worth watching.

  • Mister Roberts

    Mister Roberts

    ★★★

    I hadn't seen this war dramedy in so long, I was wondering why I had rated it just three stars. Now I know. Although. the film has an excellent cast (Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, William Powell, Ward Bond) and two A-list directors in John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, it is let down by a steady stream of juvenile humor and a very unfunny ending. Not sorry I rewatched it, if only to confirm my original rating.

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★½

    "A blood debt has to be paid by blood." ~ Xu Wenwu

    Producer Kevin Feige has boasted that this story is unique, because the hero discovers his father to be an evil man, who wants his son to come over to the dark side. There is a climatic battle between the two men wielding neon-ish weapons, one glowing blue and the other reddish orange. Oh, and the hero has a sister he hasn't seen in years, who turns out to…

  • To Die For

    To Die For

    ★★★½

    "You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV." ~ Suzanne Stone Maretto

    Presented in a mockumentary style, this dark comedy from director Gus Van Sant takes a poke at television's power to create instant celebrity for just about anyone. Nicole Kidman plays pretty blonde newscaster-wannabe Suzanne Stone, who marries a lovestruck bad boy named Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon). Even on their honeymoon in Miami, Suzanne makes time to attend a conference of TV executives and meets the keynote speaker…

  • The Protégé

    The Protégé

    ★★★

    This formulaic summer blockbuster ticks off all the boxes.

    ✓ Crime action thriller under two hours (109 minutes)
    ✓ A-list casting (Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson)
    ✓ Exotic foreign locations (Bucharest, Da Nang, Sofia)
    ✓ Female assassin trained from youth (war orphan Anna)
    ✓ Revenge motif (Russian mob killed my adoptive papa)
    ✓ Unlikely romance (sleeping with the enemy)
    ✓ Convoluted plot (deeds past dictate present)
    ✓ Plenty of mayhem (chases, explosions, stabbings, gun play...)
    ✓ Surprise ending…

  • Till the Clouds Roll By

    Till the Clouds Roll By

    ★★★

    Part of my Filling in the Forties challenge

    This musical tribute to Jerome Kern (Robert Walker) starts off with a play-within-the-play of popular "Showboat" tunes sung by the MGM Chorus ("Cotton Blossom"), Lena Horne ("Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"), Virginia O'Brien ("Life Upon The Wicked Stage"), Caleb Peterson ("Ol' Man River"), and others.

    A long reminisce follows of how Kern went from a nobody songwriter to the toast of Broadway. We meet his friend and arranger James Hessler (Van Heflin)…

  • Sand Dollars

    Sand Dollars

    ★★★

    Film #41 among my 52 Films by Women 2021

    Based upon the 2006 novel by by Jean-Noel Pancrazi, Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas bring us the story of a couple of young Dominican grifters who work a beachside community in the resort town of Las Terrenas. Yanet Mojica plays the central character, Noelí, who offers sex and companionship to European tourists and expatriates in return for cash, jewelry, and other favors. Each day, she turns her loot over to…

  • Glimpses of California

    Glimpses of California

    ★★★½

    Short Documentary - This 10-minute film in MGM's TravelTalks Series (1934-54) is about California, again narrated by James A. Fitzpatrick, "The Voice of the Globe." It starts with flowers and quickly moves on to Hollywood, the L.A. Farmer's Market, and other attractions of the state in its mid-century glory. Interesting as a retrospective, but less travelogue than tourism propaganda. I enjoyed the old footage, and you may, too.

  • Henpecked Hoboes

    Henpecked Hoboes

    ★★★

    Short Animation - Director Tex Avery introduces us to the newest post-war MGM cartoon characters, a pair of white-gloved bears named Junior, the big one voiced by Avery himself, and George, the little one voiced by Dick Nelson. These predecessors of Yogi & Boo Boo are ever hungry, and a barnyard hen catches their eye. Attempts to capture and cook her end in mishaps aplenty. Amazing how George changes size so easily, becoming small as a worm at one point. Just silly, with lots of butt-kicking humor... quite literally. Worth a peek.

  • Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

    Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

    ★★★★

    #1 of 12 films in my Adapted Screenplay Challenge (9) (Biopics)

    Singer Linda Ronstadt calls her short autobiography "Simple Dreams - A Musical Memoir," and music is most certainly the focus. Its 242 pages include a complete 22-page listing of her discography. She writes of her childhood in Tucson, Arizona, growing up among talented singers, musicians, and songwriters, joining in harmony not only at parties and family celebrations, but while washing dishes, taking showers, or listening to the radio in…