Welcome to the 767th edition of my series. Tomorrow, I start training for a new placement in my work. Unfortunately, the company I have worked for over five years with is doing away with Concentrix. I do not know what the future holds after my eight weeks of training but I will just make the most of it while I'm there. I hope everyone is staying safe and I will just get to my selections for the week.
The Immigrant (2013): This is part five of my five-part Joaquin Phoenix series. James Gray directed this film that takes place in 1920s New York. Marion Cotillard stars as immigrant Ewa Cybulska who along with her sister Magda, played by Angela Sarafyan, are immigrating from Poland to the United States. Magda is found to be ill and is quarantined while Ewa is about to be deported but is saved by Bruno Weiss, played by Phoenix. This comes at a price where she is forced into a life of burlesque and prostitution but is willing to do what she must to reunite with her sister. Jeremy Renner co-stars as the dashing magician Emil who takes a liking to Ewa and tries to help her escape the life she has. Dagmara Dominczyk, Jicky Schnee, Elena Solovey, Maja Wampuszyc, Ilia Volok, and many others co-star in this film. This is pretty decent period piece with Phoenix good as always with that intensity only he can bring. This is available to watch on imdb tv so it is free with ads.
Jojo Rabbit (2019): Taika Waititi directed this WWII satire that is based on the book CAGING SKIES by Christine Leunens and also co-stars as a rather idiotic Hitler. Roman Griffin Davis stars as Jojo who is part of Hitler's army and whose life is turned upside-down when he learns his mother Rosie, played by Scarlett Johansson, is hiding a Jewish girl, played by Thomasin McKenzie, in the attic. Hitler is an imaginary friend to Jojo who must confront what he has learned so far. Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates, Luke Brandon Field, Sam Haygarth, and many others star in this comedy. This could have easily been a very tasteless comedy with this subject matter but they manage to avoid that happening while also showing how horrible times were at this time. This could be a good double feature to have along with Chaplin's THE GREAT DICTATOR.
Rich and Famous (1981): George Cukor directed this film which is based on a play by John Van Druten. Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen co-star as friends Liz and Merry Noel who are both authors and have gone different routes in their writing careers. This takes a look at the ups and downs of many years of friendship. David Selby, Hart Bochner, Steven Hill, Meg Ryan, Matt Latanzi, Daniel Faraldo, Nicole Eggert, Joe Maross, and many others co-star in this film. This was Cukor's last film where he brought us Meg Ryan who makes her debut in this film as Merry Noel's daughter Debby when she was 18 and portrayed as a child by Nicole Eggert who was a childhood crush on BAYWATCH. If I didn't already know Ryan was in this movie, I might have mistaken her for Alicia Silverstone. Cukor had a lot of better movies but was still worth a look for Bisset and Bergen in their younger days as well as a young Meg Ryan.
The Hand (1965): This is on of two animated shorts I am featuring this week. Jiri Trnka directed this Czechoslovakian animated short film which centers around a potter that is invaded by a hand. This hand demands to have a statue made of himself through threats and bribery and the potter refusing to do this deed. This was a very bizarre short film to say the least which is usually the case in with Czechoslovakian films in my experience. This was originally banned in the country by the communist regime for depicting a restrictive environment. This can be seen on Youtube.
Things to Come (1936): Now I bring a Sci-Fi selection which was directed by William Cameron Menzies and based on the novel by H.G. Wells. This centers around a global war that starts in 1940 and is many decades long. Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Sophie Stewart, Derrick De Marney, Ann Todd, Pearl Argyle, and many others co-star in this very complex sci-fi film. This takes a look at the start of it in 1940 into years later in 1965 and then in the year 2035, where progress is happening but others trying to stop it. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Godzilla Raids Again (1955): Motoyoshi Oda directed this sequel the 1954 classic film. Everyone believes Godzilla has been destroyed but is back and in addition to Godzilla, we also get the addition of Anguirus. These two Kaijus are going at it with full force while also destroying the town of Osaka in the process. This is the second movie feature Godzilla and I guess is the start of Godzilla taking on other Kaijus. Anguirus would appear in other Godzilla movies both as an enemy and at times an ally but would never go onto have his own movie. George Takei has a bit role as the voice of a commander and is his first film project. Some may recognize actor Takashi Shimura from Japanese films like IKIRU. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel among other Godzilla movies.
Blades of Glory (2007): This is my sports comedy for the week which was directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck. Will Ferrell and Jon Heder stars figure skating rivals Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy. They end up tying for a gold medal and their tension gets the best of them when they get into a big fight during the ceremony. Three years later, a loophole is discovered that they are only banned from individual skating and Jimmy's coach, played by COACH himself Craig T. Nelson, sees potential in them. Michaels and MacElroy must work to overcome their tensions. Will Arnett and Amy Poehler co-star as a sibling figure skating duo who will do anything to stay at the top. Jenna Fischer, William Fichtner, Romany Malco, Nick Swardson, Andy Richter, Greg Lindsay, Rob Corddry, Remy Girard, William Daniels, Luciano Carro, Luke Wilson, and many others co-star in this comedy. There are also a few cameos from the world of figure skating. This was very enjoyable for me and wish we had more personalities like these in figure skating. I loved Ferrell's rendition of MY HUMPS by the Black Eyed Peas. Ferrell and Heder played off each other so well with the differences in personality.
Come Back, Little Sheba (1952): Daniel Mann directed this film which is based on the play by William Inge. Burt Lancaster stars as Doc Delaney who is a recovering alcoholic and in a rather unhappy marriage with his wife Lola, played by Shirley Booth. Lola is kind of in her own world after they lost a child and is convinced their dog Sheba will return. They rent out a room to a young suitor named Marie, played by Terry Moore, who Doc becomes interested in but she has two suitors of her own age. Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ober, Edwin Max, Lisa Golm, and many others co-star in this film. This is a very intense film where Lancaster took on some very deep projects for that time. Booth plays Lola in the original Broadway production and makes her film debut here. This is also available to watch on the Criterion Collection.
101 Dalmatians (1961): This is my Disney selection for the week which is based on the children's novel by Dodie Smith. Dalmatian couple Pongo and Perdita have a puppy litter of 15 and are abducted by the mean Cruella De Vil and her henchmen in order to make fur coats. Pongo and Perdita set out to rescue their puppies with the help of some of their dog and other animal friends. Rod Taylor, J. Pat O'Malley, Betty Lou Gerson, Martha Wentworth, Ben Wright, Clarence Nash, and many others lend their voices to this Disney classic. This is a very enjoyable movie to watch with all kinds of dogs. The henchmen in this movie are very inept. I don't think much else needs to be said here except this is an enjoyable watch the whole family can enjoy. This is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Ryan (2004): I end the week with this animated documentary short which was directed by Chris Landreth. Landreth sits down for an interview with Ryan Larkin who did a lot of work in the 60s and 70s as an animator and has fallen from grace as they say. Larkin reflects on when he was on his rise and into the modern-day where he is an alcoholic. Landreth also tries to do an intervention. This has always been one of my favorite short film. This has some extremely clever drawings of each person and physically reflects their personal issues. Larkin got to make a little bit of a comeback in Canada but unfortunately died in 2007 of lung cancer. This can also be found on Youtube and is really worth a few minutes to check out.
Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back my segment "The Bookworm Corner". Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Laura Linney, Joan Cusack, Leonardo DiCaprio, Fred MacMurray, Julie Christie, and many others.
THE BOOKWORM CORNER
Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (2017): I have not really been focused as reading as much lately having the play I was in. I also tried the historical politics route but that really did not do it for me. I did want to get back to the reading and I was at Dollar Tree and decided to look at the books that were only a dollar. This one really stuck out at me and when reading the description and seeing reviews by authors, I decided to give this a shot. This centers around single mother Lindsey Scott who was in an abusive relationship with a man named Andrew and they had a daughter named Sophie. She took their daughter and got away and Andrew went to jail. Now, years later, Lindsey seems to have her life together but learns of Andrew's release and things begin to happen that resemble the things he has done in the past. I realized that for me, books with fairly short chapters are easiest to read. This usually has no more than 10 pages a chapter, some a little more and I was usually able to read a couple chapters at a time. Each time, I looked forward to seeing what happens next. When the book got to the climax, then I could not put it down. This is the latest from Chevy Stevens and has written quite a bit of mysteries including her debut STILL MISSING that went on to become a bestseller. This was obviously worth to me what I paid for this book but now I'm inclined to possibly purchase some of her books. Learn more about Chevy Stevens at https://chevystevens.com/ and give this a go.
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