Retirement has me probably watching too many movies and wanting to share. That makes for too much to read at one sitting. You will find movies I enjoyed on two blogs (one for English speaking and the other for subtitled). The ones I found outstanding (10 each) are in either blog, so for my recommendations you need to consider both. Everybody is unique so you might have to dig a bit to find something you would like.
Watching movies is not real
life, but is a mirror to much of life. What draws me in is the story
with character development. Everything else in window dressing,
sometimes an enjoyable art by itself, but mainly an enhancement of the
larger photos are spread over the two blogs and were found to be the most outstanding.
Smaller photos were noteworthy. The other write-ups are well worth
considering. To be honest there were others that you might enjoy, but
too much is too much.
Best of Enemies" (2019) was a lesson in mediation which for me made it
superior to "The Green Book." Altogether I saw six black themed movies
that were all noteworthy http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/11/the-best-of-enemies.html
This was my favorite English speaking movie and enjoyed the special feature with the actual historical figures who are still friends. Directed and written by Robin Bissell. The lead was Taraj P. Henson who for a strong contrast also released in 2019 as lead for "What Men Want." Sam Rockwell and Babou Ceesay were also excellent.
addition to "The Green Book" I also saw "The Hate U Give," "The
BlacKkKlansman" "If Beale Street Could Talk" and "Mudbound." All of them presented
hatred towards blacks and a fight back. See below for a bit more.
*"Green Book" (2018) won 3 Oscars as best movie, best supporting actor for Maharshala Ali, and best original script shared by director Peter Farrelly and NickVallelonga and Brian Hayes Currie. I picked up on the Italian family
life handled by Vigo Mortensen.which rang true as well. A classical/jazz pianist decides to perform in the Deep South where his music is appreciated more than he is. A crude bouncer who is a bit prejudiced is lured by the money and gradually warms up and they bond. Some enjoyable genre crossing music. Until I saw "The Best of Enemies" this was my choice for best English speaking movie. and is still one of the best overall.
was about historical events, but many names appear in current news
including Donald Trump. We all love to see people fooled and this is
about as unbelievable as one gets.
"The Hate u Give" (2018) based on a true story where a young high school student witnesses a murder involving a police officer. The star, Amanda Stenberg was exceptional.
"Mudbound" (2017) was set in a southern rural area after the war. Fighting in
Europe one black resident enjoyed a measure of equality and one white
resident came to respect them. Back home the rest of their neighbors
were just as bigoted as before. The black man stood up for his rights
and was pushed back. He left a lover back in Europe and learned he was a
January saw "Searching"(2018) It was unique. First it was totally filmed as
social media, even when you saw live action it was supposedly videos
shown on a computer screen. It went through the process of how one would
search for a missing person. Second at about the same time as "Crazy
Rich Asians" was attracting attention with an all Asian cast this film
went one step further. Asian actors were used not because the script
called for Asians, but only as substitutes for the usual cast. Told an
interesting story. Special features well worth viewing, especially for
Carer" (2015) was a very pleasant movie. most enjoyable. I think the main
reason is for the young Hungarian woman who played the lead. She was
delightful. The other lead played by Brian Cox was eloquent in an old
codger sort of way with Parkinson's. A pleasant background score.
Earlier I had blogged about Hungarian cinema before which I was
unconscious of their contribution to world film, but this film
illustrates their role. In addition to the lead, much of the supporting
crew was Hungarian http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/12/hungarian-cinema.html
"A Star is Born" (2018) was heavily promoted. I loved the music. This is perhaps the third remake. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The emotions are there. A star on the way is revived after discovering a new talent. She in turn becomes a big star making him feel a has been and she feeling guilty.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" (2018)provides a history of Freddie Mercury, an immigrant with Indian parents who rose to rock fame in Britain. He led a wild life, but sang some top hits including the title.
(2017) while not a documentary laid out facts that I wasn't conscious of. It
changes my vision of the Kennedy family. I knew the father had done a
lot of unethical things to attain the fortune, but except for infidelity
I admired John and Robert Kennedy. Ted Kennedy has been a great
liberal spokesman, but his fidelity and honesty are also maligned.
Dramatic license perhaps tilts the impact, but they do seem consistent
with the known facts. Well presented
*"The Journey" (2016) an
imagined conversation between Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein leader, Martin
McGuinness. They had a history of hating each other in the viiolent conflict of northern Ireland. The two actors (Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney) are very good. Toby Stephens
played Tony Blair and had been a major supporting actor for Bollywood
film : "Mangal Pandey" Ireland has had a troubled history, but these two men swallowed their difference setting the path for a peace agreement. Directed by Nick Hamm and written by Colin Batemen
"Hotel Mumbai" (2018)brought home the notion that other countries have suffered from terrorism. In this case we learn about fanaticism that allows for casually killing the "enemy." As you watched the staff and guests move around you felt they could be discovered any second. Dev Patel and Anupam Kher played Indian roles with Armie Hammer played an American tourist.
Despite reading some criticisms that I agreed with felt "The
Public" (2018) was credible. Emilio Estevez wrote, directed and was the lead
actor. It forces you to think about homelessness, mental illness.
Librairies are used for relief from extreme heat and cold. Also with a
reference to how reading changing one man's life pointed out the
importance of the free flow of information.
Apart" (2019) gave me a better understanding of Cystic Fibrosis. One of the key
factors is that those who have Cystic Fibosis can worsen it in other
people who already have it. In fact they are to keep six feet away.
The "five feet" in the title is like a declaration of freedom, only
there is always serious restrictions between patients, even though they
have something in common and can empathize with the dilemma. Haley Lu
Richardson is very impressive.Directed by Justin Baldoni.
*"The Irishman" (2019)covered a
hit man over the years. What I found most fascinating was the
connections between the Mafia and politics, especially the Kennedy
family. Also the Mafia connection to Cuba. Also pointed out that what hardened the hit man played by the ever excellent Robert DiNiro was his experiences in WW II. Directed by Martin Scorcese.
"On The Basis of Sex" (2018) was sort of a followup to
the documentary seen last year, "RBG". In some ways it was more
dramatic and made Ginsberg more human. The documentary captured more of
her life. She is one of the most key people in America today as her
health could tip the scales disastrously.
(2019) was very confusing, but pulled together towards the end. A very direct
statement at the end pointed out that the government we voted for
(specifically American represented the very rich who developed
fraudulent opportunities for unscrupulous people to take advantages of
honest people. Actual names were used hitting home. My concern is
that the little skits were not tied together as well as they might have
been, but applaud the effort.
appreciate modern movies it is good to watch older movies. Not just to
see the beginnings of modern technology, but to understand the importance of a story.
"Runaway Jury" (2003) had lots of twists. It seemed a little extreme
about jury tampering but in fact there have been many jury tampering
efforts as a key offshoot of jury consulting. Having not read the book I
learned that there were differences as John Grisham used the tobacco
industry as an emotional case instead of the gun lobby used in the
movie. They just wanted to have a divisive issue to illustrate
corruption in the system. The special features brought that actors
have contratct that allow them to work on other films/prijects meaning
there are time constraints on the director. John Cusack at his best,
Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman and Rachel Weisz were all excellent. Very
similar in key ways with "Miss Sloane" http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/09/miss-sloan-under-rated-movie.html
in Paradise' (1932) was a masterpiece of its time and is still enjoyable
today. The director Ernest Lubitsch was on the edge of bending
censor. The actors were all very smooth, especially Herbert Marshall,
Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis. Brought over from Germany. The
writer Samson Raphaelson wrote the play that was used for the first
talkie, "The Jazz Singer.." the two teamed on a number of critically
acclaimed films"Heaven can Wait" and "The Shop Around the Corner." Read more: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/04/ernest-lubitsch.html
"How Green was
My Valley" (1941) was one of many John Ford directed movies seen. This one of the more popular ones that was released despite concern over union content Others included "The Quiet Man" (1952)
"Stage Coach" (1939) "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940). You can read more at: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/07/john-ford.html
McQueen with "Papillon," (1973) " Cincinnati Kid," (1965) and "The Getaway" (1972). He defined "cool" more than anyone in Hollywood.
Surprised to learn he wanted to get away from action movies so he could
be noted as a real actor. "Soldier in the Rain" (1963)and "Love with The Proper Stranger" (1963) demonstrated that he was a very versatile actor, not always playing "cool."
"Dinner at Eight" (1933) was the
only Marie Dressler movie I could find in either of my two librairies. I
had only read about her and what I saw didn't fit the profile of big
movie star. Born in Cobourg Ontario where apparently there is a museum
dedicated to her. She had been a star in silent films, but lost her top rank.
After talkies appeared and despite her age and weight she became a major
star. Jean Harlow and she shared a memorable dialogue.
Hurricane" (1999) was a movie I had refused to see when it came out as I
had been led to believe it was inaccurate. In another blog I
remembered my refusal and imagined that I had been wrong. Well I think I
was wrong. the movie was very believable and years later I am aware
that there are lots of injustices. Denzil Washington was outstanding.
Patch of Blue" (1965) with Sidney Poitier in a racially tinged drama. A
young uneducated and somewhat abused blind girl develops a relationship
with a black man, not realizing it would lead to problems with
"A Christmas Carol" (1951) is my favorite version of this classic. Originally its title was "Scrooge" The main attraction for me is Alastair Sim, but I have to add the parts that are supposed to be scary really are scary. I love Scrooge's laugh at the end.
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)I didn't appreciate how great it
was until watching the special features. It follows one character from
the Boer War, World War I and obviously part of World War II.
Whales of August" (1986) has a noteworthy cast with Bette Davis and
silent star Lillian Gish. They and Vincent Price and Ann Sothern
portray the narrowing choices of age.
"I know my first name is Steven" (1989) relates a parental nightmare based on a real events. It is a very disturbing realistic tv mini series. http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/05/i-know-my-first-name-is-steven.html
*"Touch of Evil" (1958) with Orson Welles, (who also directed and wrote the screenplay) Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh was about corruption. Bit parts for Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Russell Metty was the cinematographer and in this film the introduction is regarded as a classic shot using cranes. Walter Murch was involved in the 1998 re-edit. Walter had been featured in a book on editing written my Michael Ondaatje who wrote "The English Patient and admired Murch for helping to keep the film faithful to the book. Henry Mancini wrote the music inserting a jazzy feel to it.
Frankenstein (1931 )special features gave credit to Boris Karloff for changes
William Powell in the Thin Man series is something that escaped me until this year. and My Man Godfrey
"Annie Hall" (1977) written, directed by and starring Woody Allen. Diane Keaton.
"Coming Home" (1978) was all about returning soldiers from Vietnam. Jon Voight, Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern were excellent.
"The Petrified Forest" (1936) with Humphrey Bogart, Leslie Howard and Bette Davis.
"Evita" (1996) had low
ratings, partly I think because not a traditional musical and thought
to be fanciful history (mostly accurate). it is a breakthrough in realism
with great music. Madonna, Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas.
"Destry Rides Again" (1939) with James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.
"Gentleman's Agreement"(1947) explored anti Semitism including among those not thought to be prejudiced. Gregory Peck played the level headed person remembered from "To Kill A Mockingbird" (1962).
Time," black and white from 1936 was touted as the best of Fred Astaire
and Ginger Rogers and it is impressive for dance routines. Glad to
have seen the special features. The music was memorable and it was
pointed out that lyricist Dorothy Fields was very unique--"A fine
Romance" is a very delicate mix of emotions, but also wrote a favorite
"The Way you Look Tonight ' Jerome Kern wrote the tunes with some help
from R Russell Bennett (who jazzed up one tune to please Astaire) Still
another son, "Pick Yourself Up" was adapted for a Barrack Obama
speech. Bojangles in blackface apparently common Bojangles, very
talented helped develop breakthroughs--he refused to put on black face
(blacks were expected to exaggerate their features) and appeared with
Shirley Temple and on one occasion touched her. Although dated this is
one of my favorites of the year. Directed by George Stevens.
"Quills," (2000) had got my attention with a brief quip while channel hopping many years ago has finally been seen in full. Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet are brilliant. It recounts a time when the Marquis de Sade was in prison and somehow managed to write pornography that beat the censors.
Day at the Races (1937) featured the Marx Brothers and they certainly
produce mayhem. Groucho is considered one of the best with sarcastic
quips. "A night at the Opera,"
"Flame in the Streets" (1961) was a British take on racial relations and coming from the early 60's it was rawer in some ways. John Mills plays a union man who fights to gain a promotion for a Jamaican and then learns his only daughter is thinking of marring a Jamaican. His wife is very upset and he is concerned for the hardships he expects his daughter would encounter. The movie ends with a violent racial clash and the parents not happy about the reality, but struggling to accept.
*"The Day the World Stood still" (1951) The cover makes it seem cheap, but being over 65 years it is quite thought provoking. Released as nuclear tensions were gearing up. As others have said it takes an outside force to make enemies talk to one another. In the end it doesn't seem resolved, but meant to make the viewers think. During the commentary with the director it was pointed out for him rehearsals were a luxury, because as soon as an actor was on the set they had to be paid even if the shooting didn't start for several weeks. Billy Gray from Father Knows Best. a show I watched with my family for several years. Patricia Neal was an actress I have seldom seen, but associate her with having a stroke and being abandoned by beloved (?) children's author Roald Dahl. Michael Rennie was brought in as a new face who played the space alien pretty much as a regular human. Sam Jaffe had a supporting role and soon after was black listed. The science fiction employed a few special effects, but nothing like is normal today. The point as good science fiction is to take an extreme story to make a stronger human point and in this case well done. Directed by Robert Wise
Inter-title really refers to silent films and actually includes foreign films, but they all have English titles.
"The Hoodlum" (1919) with America's sweetheart, Mary Pickford racist is some dialogue
of the House" (1925) by Danish director/writer Carl Theodor Dreyer who
was considered one of the finest Danish directors. the special
features pointed out that he was one of the best for concern over
details and I see he also was editor, art director and set designer. A
typical comedic story of a arrogant husband who has his comeuppance.
"The Freshman" (1925) glasses--stunts Harold Lloyd photo for this or Zorro
Mark of Zorro" (1920). Had to see the swashbuckler who was one of the
founders of United Artists. Orson WElles did an intro and commented on
the fallacy that silent stars couldn't do talkies using the example of
Francis X Bushman who Welles hired for some of his radio programs after
movie career ended.
Little Prince" (2015)used both CGI animated and stop motion techniques. A
story that I have been aware of, but never actually read in English (I
did in French at one time for school and just translating is what I
mostly got out of it). Done as a story within a story giving extra
"Princess Mononoke" (1997)is listed as Japanese, but as an animated film is
easily dubbed by Americans. Japanese writer/director and Joe Hisiashi
*"Moana"(2016) aimed at children is delightful with infectious music. Directed by Ron Clements who also co-wrote.
*"This Changes Everything" (2015) was based on, but updated from a book bought a few years ago by Naomi Klein. book updated--Danny Glover exec producer The book was excellent and the movie made the ideas more accessible.. http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/02/this-changes-everything-deserves-major.html
you be my neighbor?" (2018) very mild mannered, but involved with social
issues--we all develop our habits and outlook as very young
children--dealt with racism, autism, assassination trauma, death divorce
bullying. Not yet seen the Tom Hanks drama
"Rumble. The Indians who Rocked the World"
(2017) Most of us grew up thinking that blacks brought us rock n roll, but
overlooked was the influence of indigenous musicians. It was pointed
out that most of the Africans brought over as slaves were men. Even as
slaves they mixed with aboriginals, and as runaways they mixed with
Indian tribes. There were a number of surprising Indian descendants
such as Jimmy Hendrix. The Band was driven by Mohawk Indian Robbie
Robertson. Influences extended to performers like Tony Bennett.
Animals" (2017) was a mind bender. Focused on factory farms that are gaining
legal protection. They cause serious health and environmental
problems. A problem not discussed what will done to the animals after
we all convert to veganism: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/01/what-happens-to-farm-animals-when.html
"The High Cost of Cheap Gas" (2015) tells of the problems of fracking (earthquakes, poisoning).
"The Burden of Dreams" (1982) recounts the many ordeals and determination to film "Fitzcarraldo." a movie set in a remote part of South America. More details of this movie and of Werner Herzog can be read at: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/08/werner-herzog.html
"The Uncondemned" (2015) told the story of the effort to charge rape as war crime in Rwanda.
from Masanjia" (2018) documents cruelty in China. The Falun Gong seen as challenge to
communist government. A victim was tortured and his wife fearing for her life divorced, later wanted to remarry, but more difficulties.
Five" (2018) chronicles five Russian hockey players who helped the Detroit Red
Wings win the Stanley Cup. Had lost interest in hockey years ago, but
loved watching their international style of play with a greater emphasis
on passing. Also for many it was a surprise that they were human.
A lot of politics to free them up. Check out http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/09/the-red-army.html
Check out the subtitled post It may seem strange, but I actually found more outstanding movies, including my 2 favorite overall in the subtitled category and hope you will check them out. Part of the reason is there are more movies to choose from.
To check on my enjoyable movies seen in 2018: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/12/2018-movies.html