Thursday, July 28, 2016

A REMINDER FOR ME

These are my older siblings on our stoop in the late 1930s toward the end of The Great Depression. There was another one who died as an infant a few years later, then I came along in 1942. They're all gone now except for my sister Irene, the child on the lap of the eldest. No one wanted the world economy to ever again be as bad as it was then, and thanks to FDR and Democratic reforms, it hasn't been, until Bush Jr. and 2008, when even those who supported the policies that brought on The Great Recession thought there was gonna be another Great Depression. But Obama's policies kept that from happening. Whatever else he may have gotten wrong, his presidency saved the world from repeating the 1930s.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

FIRST NIGHT OF DEM CONVENTION

Proud of my Senator Cory Booker. Great Speech.
Proud, got a crush on, wish she'd run for president, of my First Lady. Historic amazing speech.
Proud of I wish she was my Senator too, Elizabeth Warren. Obliterated Trump speech.
Proud of a man I've agreed with and supported for decades, Bernie Sanders. Long, but necessary and smart, unifying speech. (Hope his followers heard it and understood it, though one California delegate interviewed who said she'd vote for Jill Stein obviously didn't.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

CAFE SOCIETY

As I've written before, I have never been disappointed by a Woody Allen movie since PLAY IT AGAIN SAM. Some are much better than others, and several are masterpieces. CAFE SOCIETY isn't among his classic achievements, but like all his flicks it's entertaining and engaging, even if slight.

If you had told me who was playing what character in this fable of 1930s Hollywood and Manhattan, I'd have said they're mostly miscast. Except for Jesse Eisenberg as the Woody-Allenish lead. But Blake Lively as the second choice love interest? Kristen Stewart as the first? Steve Carell as a classic Hollywood mogul? Etc.

But there's a reason why most film actors want to work with Allen, he always brings the best out of them. I was never impressed with Kristen Stewart and didn't get her appeal at all, especially as a romantic lead. But I'm impressed now and I do get it. In fact CAFE SOCIETY is worth watching for the performances alone. If I tried to isolate one or two, like Corey Stoll's or Jeannie Berlin's (or Parker Posey's or Anna Camp's) I couldn't do it, obviously.

And there are even a few jokes that hark back to Allen's early years as a stand up and some of his monologues in the leading roles of his earlier films. Those too are worth the price of admission for any Allen film fans, like me. Oh, and did I mention the gorgeous cinematography, and how much I wish some of those old-time styles were back again, at least sometimes (like the summer shorts Stewart's character wears that I remember finding so alluring when I was a boy).

The theater in Jersey me and my friend saw this in was so packed (after we had to wait because even though we got there an hour and a half before the showing we wanted to catch, it was already sold out, so we had to get tickets for a much later one) with mostly greyheads like me, that there actually was a feeling of opening night electricity. Pretty good for what? his thousandth movie? (Not, but he sure has been prolific and continues to be.)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE INFILTRATOR

So-so movie with a few reasons to watch. On the big screen for Bryan Cranston's mug, and Juliet Aubrey's. They've been trying to make a movie star out of Cranston since his mega TV stardom from BREAKING BAD, and THE INFILTRATOR is just the latest attempt. Because the directing and writing is a mixed bag, it'll probable fail. But seeing Cranston's multi-lined aging face on the big screen I found pretty fascinating, like an old time movie star.

As I also did Brit actor Juliet Aubrey's too beautifully subtle performance probably for the small screen, but a wonder to watch on the big screen (she plays Cranston's character's wife enduring the tension of his undercover drug cartel customs officer work).

There is also some excellent screen acting work from the usually reliable Amy Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, John Leguizamo and others, including an old Hollywood friend back in the early '80s, but who I haven't seen in person or on screen in what seems like forever, Michael Pare (remember him?) whose small supporting role performance is worth the price of admission.