Welcome to the 792nd Edition of my series. It's been a long week training for a new line of business and with rehearsals but I still manage to bring you this for the week. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE is April 23-25 in Alexandria so if in or around the area come see me becoming Teddy Roosevelt. I don't have much else to say right now so I'll just get on with my selections.
TR: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt (1996): I start the week out with this PBS documentary series. Obviously, this is about the ups and downs of the life of Roosevelt from his early childhood where no one thought he'd live, to being the leader of the Rough Riders, his presidency and other things. Jason Robards provides the narration to this mini-series that has four episodes of about an hour. As some may know, my part in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE is Teddy Brewster who believes that he is Teddy Roosevelt so I thought I'd check this out and see if there would be anything significant to my performance. This is a very insightful documentary of the camera friendly historical figure.
Goodbye, Christopher Robin (2017): I go from a documentary from a former president to the author of an iconic children's story. Domhnall Gleeson stars as Alan Cline who struggles in his writing but some toys of his son Christopher Robin, played by Will Tilston and Alex Lawther in the later years, inspire him to write a story about these animals. He also made one of the characters of his son thus making him a big celebrity. They did a lot of tours essentially exploiting his son and forgetting that what he needs most is his father. Margot Robbie co-stars as Alan's wife Daphne. Kelly Macdonald, Vicki Pepperdine, Stephen Campbell Moore, Richard McCabe, Geraldine Somerville, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and many others co-star in this film. This is a pretty compelling biopic of what can be the effects of fame if not careful. This really deserves a look and pretty accurate from what I can tell.
What Women Want (2000): Now I go to a romantic comedy which was directed by Nancy Meyers. Mel Gibson stars as advertising executive Nick Marshall who is rather cocky and chauvinistic. He gets passed up for a promotion by someone on the outside named Darcy Mcguire, played by Helen Hunt. Things happen where he gets a new gift, maybe curse, in being able to read the thoughts of women. He puts this newfound ability to use with his boss Darcy and as things go on, he is able to form a better understanding, most notably with his teen daughter Alex, played by Ashley Johnson, and a very depressed employee in Erin, played by Judy Greer. Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Mark Feuerstein, Lauren Holly, Delta Burke, Valerie Perrine, Sarah Paulson, Ana Gasteyer, Lisa Edelstein, Loretta Devine, Diana Maria Rivia, Eric Balfour, and many others co-star in this comedy. I really enjoyed this one with the humor and really a good message. I think my favorite element was with Judy Greer's character. Maybe we all need 24 hours to hear the thoughts of the opposite sex in order to understand one another better.
Voyage to the Sky (1937): This is my short film for the week which was directed by Jean Painleve. This depicts imagined landscapes and on a universe on our own. Painleve directed many of these educational shorts from France that look at something scientific. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel among many others.
The Silent Partner (1978): This is my tribute to the late Christopher Plummer who recently left us. I needed something that was available to stream and understand everyone expects THE SOUND OF MUSIC which I'm aware Plummer was not favorable toward. I found this one that I had not heard of so I jumped right at this one. Daryl Duke directed this crime film which is based on the novel THINK OF A NUMBER by Anders Bodelsen. Elliott Gould stars in this film as banker Miles Cullen who is robbed but is able to outsmart the robber, played by Plummer. This does not sit well with the robber and targets Miles in a deadly game. Susannah York, Celine Lomez, Michael Kirby, Sean Sullivan, Ken Pogue, John Candy, Gail Dahms-Bonine, and many others co-star in this film. This is in some ways a holiday film as it does take part around Christmas and involves Santa at one point. This is a very intense film with Plummer as villain to the core having no redeeming qualities whatsoever and was able to match up with Gould very well. This is available on the Criterion Channel and hope to get this one more exposure.
La Poison (1951): This is my French film for the week which was written and directed by Sacha Guitry. Michel Simon stars as Paul Braconnier who tires of his wife and when seeing a commercial for a sly attorney that has gotten many acquittals. When talking to the attorney, Paul puts forth his plan to murder his wife and then retain the services of the attorney. This is a very well done dark comedy with Simon playing his role to perfection. This is also available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964): Ishiro Honda directed this creature feature of first battle of the iconic creatures. The premise is that Mothra's egg is stolen by greedy entrepreneurs after it gets washed up ashore provoking Mothra to retrieve it. Godzilla also washes up from ashore and does battle with Mothra. What more can I say about this film. This has some really good action and a decent enough story to be very watchable. This was an early era where they had a universe kind of like what Marvel does now. This is also available to watch on the Criterion Channel and many others movies featuring Godzilla.
The Farewell (2019): Lulu Wang directed this comedy/drama which centers around a Chinese family. Awkwafina stars as Billi, whose parents moved her to the United States in her youth and goes back to China upon learning of her Grandmother, played by Shuzhen Zhao, being terminally ill. The family decides to keep her in the dark about the terminal illness while Billi struggles to go along with it. X Mayo, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Becca Khalil, Aoi Mizuhara, Xiang Li, and many others co-star in this film. This is based on a true story of Wang's real-life family in a very similar situation. This was a rather moving film and a good look at the clash of eastern and western cultures. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
A Place in the Sun (1951): This is part one of a possible Elizabeth Taylor trilogy. George Stevens directed this film which is based on the novel by Theodore Dreiser and the play by Patrick Kearney. Montgomery Clift stars as George Eastman who has struggled all of his life and leaves for California in hopes of a better job under his wealthy uncle. He starts out in the assembly line where he starts seeing his co-worker Alice Tripp, played by a young Shelley Winters. When getting promoted, he meets Angela Vickers, played by Taylor, who shows him a more upper society world. He falls in love with Angela only to learn that Alice is pregnant and tragedy ensues. Anne Revere, Keefe Brasselle, Fred Clark, Raymond Burr, Herbert Heyes, and many others co-star in this film. This has always been a favorite of mine but really hard to explain in words what makes it that way. This is a great story of a love triangle with a good story as well as good performances. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
The White Countess (2005): I end the week with this period piece which was directed by James Ivory in his last movie. This takes place in 1936 Shanghai and stars Ralph Fiennes as blind former American diplomat Todd Jackson. Natasha Richardson co-stars as Sofia, a Russian Countess who must take odd jobs to support herself and her family. They form a relationship but in a time of war. Lynn Redgrave, Madeleine Potter, Madeleine Daly, John Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Allan Corduner, Lee Pace, Hiroyuki Sanada, and many others co-star in this film. This was quite the family affair with Richardson, her mother Vanessa Redgrave, and her aunt Lynn Redgrave. This is mostly a highlight to see Fiennes and Richardson together. Those who enjoy a good period piece should like this one. This is also available to watch on Amazon Prime.