Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Capsule Reviews:Random (36 Hours,Unfinished Life, Boarding House Blues)

Lets put on a show is a wonderful record of Black Vaudeville, but not a particularly good movie

This movie is less a film than a collection of routines from the black vaudeville circuit. The results are decidedly mixed as a movie but as a record of the routines and acts it contains its a historical document (then again many historical documents are not very entertaining) The plot has Jackie "Moms" Mabley running a boarding house for various performers. When times get tight they put on a show to help Moms out. Its threadbare and simply the excuse to hang the various routines and songs on. The bits are certainly better than the whole and while I did enjoy said bits, I was left feeling rather empty at the end. Definitely worth a look or two if you love vaudeville, or the history of comedy. Actually its worth a look see if you want some laughs and aren't particularly picky about annoying things like plot. As they say its worth a bag of popcorn.

Unfinished Life
Story of love and healing starring Robert Redford,Morgan Freeman and J-Lo. Redford hasn't forgiven J-Lo for the death of his son ten years earlier. She shows up on his door on the run from an abusive boyfriend with the grand daughter Redford never knew existed (he was too angry for j-lo ever to tell him she existed). Good and almost cliche ridden story of how everyone heals and comes together. Worth a look if you accept you know what you're getting going in. The problem is J-lo, who looks out of place with everyone else by looking so beautiful. She's been in one bad relationship after another and is living on the cheap and she looks way too perfect.(Lopez apparently wants an oscar and she's been told not until she puts her dues in with some non-glamorous roles and the high living "society" crap she gets in the paper with. I agree, if she dresses down and goes sans makeup maybe she'll get that oscar- in 20 years)

36 Hours
James Garner plays an intelligent officer who is captured in the eve of the D-Day invasion. The Germans try to trick him into think six years had passed and that the war was over in order to get him to reveal what he knows.

Off beat spy yarn is a clever idea but never quite gels. Give it points for not going in the direction you'd expect, it doesn't take long before Garner figures out its ruse and then things don't go as you'd think.

I like the film more for what it tries to do rather than for what it accomplishes. Its an interesting misfire, thats worth seeing for that reason

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