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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #481
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The Night Manager

The Night Manager - 2016 - 6/10



Acclaimed thriller about night manager of ritzy Cairo hotel involved with filthy rich armaments dealer.
His reasons are personal - ethical - and old-fashioned vengeance.
A nest of lies and intrigue enhance suspenseful plot. Talent, locations, photography, all superb.
Hugh Laurie marvelous as the cynical, suspicious, amoral Richard Roper.
Watch it, then move on quickly, because you do not want to rethink this one.

Clichés run the gamut from hero who cannot refrain from forbidden fruit,
to the wary kingpin who lowers his guard, to the same kingpin not layering himself.
What else? Hotel manager, really? Yes, it is terribly swank.
Would manager of trendy high-end shoe store have worked? Posh wine seller? Mercedes Benz dealer?
Watch - don’t think.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #482
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Wife Wanted

Wife Wanted - 1946 - 6/10



Diverting potboiler about fading screen actress venturing into real estate.
The office works hand in hand with the next door lonelyhearts club.
Small fish waste their money in the dating agency, or fall prey to blackmail.
Real estate rubes are sold Arizona oil wells.
Film percolates along, though it is no great shakes.
This was Kay Francis' (30s Pre-Code siren) last movie.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #483
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Kafka

Kafka - 1991 - 7/10



Non-descript insurance clerk (and part time writer), Franz Kafka, finds himself entangled with revolutionaries, secret police, anarchists, spies, and the imperious palisade known as The Castle.
Highly stylized film by Soderbergh is part Noir, part Gothic.
Unsettling narrative steeped in paranoia and anxiety.
Third act “Castle” sequence borrows heavily from Brazil. The same black humour abides, though in Kafka it is more brittle, less fatalistic.
Dialogue often conveyed multiple meanings so one has to keep alert.
Outstanding set design (Prague) of empty streets, endless midnight.
Kafka’s works, like Orwell’s, grow disturbingly relevant to our era.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #484
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The Trip To Spain

The Trip To Spain - 2017 - 6/10



Another in the series of "road movies" from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
As characters, they are growing on me. Mind you, they continue to play scripted versions of themselves.
Anyway, this time they go to Spain to bicker and bait each other.
Gourmet food is an afterthought in this encapsulation of the series.
Meals might have more time in actual episodes, but this duo works better for me in small doses.
An acquired taste, though ruminations of aging and fleeting fame are slyly presented.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #485
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The Trip To Italy

Trip To Italy - 2014 - 6/10



Sequel to The Trip (2011) which I had looked forward to viewing, but ended up disliking.
So why I put this on ... more fool me.
Once again Coogan and Brydon tour a series of top restaurants, crack wise, bitch, and chase tail.
Well, not Coogan who seems more restrained in this film, subdued, as if he was not keen on the project.
Nor would most relish spending weeks with Rob Brydon who excels as an annoying prat.
Breathtaking scenery, mouthwatering food, with added bits with family back home.
At one point Coogan’s son visits - as played by an actor.
The journey is scripted. Coogan and Brydon play themselves, yet they are reading lines. OK - fake, not a doc.
If you go into this knowing both men play versions of themselves, in a story otherwise utterly fictitious, you will perhaps enjoy this more.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #486
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The Trip

The Trip - 2010 - 6/10



I had been looking forward to this.
Road trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, spending a week driving from one hotel & gourmet restaurant to another.
Some food, of course, yet this was more a character study of a fading, almost-star and a regional player.
Throughout, both acted like prats in a pissing contest.
Depressing in a way, as viewers observe Coogan grasping that his youth, and his "moment" have passed.
Impressive impersonations of Sean Connery and Michael Caine.
Darkly ironic, since Coogan and Brydon are dwarfed by comparison.
Fill your boots, man!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #487
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Re: A few reviews

I quite like some of that, especially the way Brydon annoys Coogan. Loved the Jagger impressions.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #488
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Home For The Holidays

Home For The Holidays - 1995 - 7/10



When I first got married, my father offered sound advice,
“Start your own traditions.”
Growing up, I had witnessed my parents try and fail to do just that.
Season after season, our family bundled into the car and spent the holidays with Dad’s parents or with Mom’s.

Home For The Holidays shows grown children making the yearly pilgrimage to their parents home.
They have already started their own families, their own traditions, their own story, yet it is so hard to break free.
Old resentments surface, siblings who have become strangers - if they ever knew each other to begin with, observing the parents, once so vibrant, growing old, becoming frail.
The Thanksgiving get-together gone to hell.
Movie shifts from laugh out loud funny to poignant to almost desperately sad.
Charles Durning sums up the next holiday nicely, "I can't wait for goddamned Christmas."

Another reminder of why I never visit my family or Zelda's family during the holidays.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #489
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Doghouse

Doghouse - 2009 - 5/10 (Zombie scale ratings)



A dining alternative.
Handful of London blokes decide to take recently divorced mate for an outing to Moodley.
Once there, they realize every male in the hamlet is dead.
Murdered by women who have all become ravenous, cannibal zombies.
Mayhem ensues.
Misogynistic and funny. Lot of lad humour.
Designed more for laughs than gore.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #490
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Pieces Of April

Pieces Of April - 2003 - 7/10



The "other" great, cautionary Thanksgiving film.
Katie Holmes shines as the rebellious, once self-destructive daughter who invites her estranged family to NYC for turkey dinner.
Patricia Clarkson superb as the mother who sadly cannot recall a single warm moment with April, and for whom the expiration stamp is imminent.
Alison Pill as fussy, hovering daughter rounds out a terrific female trio, as the males - all excellent - seem more supporting roles.
While the family drives towards NYC, April realizes the oven is dead.
Warning flags of disaster flap furiously.
Touching, memorable film.
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