Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Films about women entrepreneurs

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I've seen lots of clips from it and know what it's about. I love movies about women entrepeneurs. So I've decided to use this topic for this month's Cimilar Cinema.  I've added three examples below that you should see if you want to be inspired to make millions as Joy did, selling mops!

From 1987 we watch Diane Keaton in Baby Boom go from an executive to a very successful self employed business woman. Her great idea strikes in the midst of a challenge. Career-driven Diane Keaton is a new mom. It's not really her baby, but that's beside the point. She quits her demanding job to focus on the baby and in the midst of a breakdown, she discovers an unserved market with a huge demand in natural baby food. The lesson is - opportunities are everywhere — if you’re paying attention!

In 1988 Melanie Griffith shows us how to get to the top in the financial world in Working Girl. This film directed by the late Mike Nichols tells the story of a Staten Island secretary working in the mergers and acquisition department of a Wall Street investment bank. When her boss, played by Sigourney Weaver breaks her leg skiing, Tess uses her absence and connections, including her beau (Harrison Ford) to put forward her own idea for a merger deal.

How about Mildred Pierce? It's a classic film from 1947 starring Joan Crawford who wants to succeed in business and does, but the rest of her life is a mess. In order to please her bad seed-like daughter (played against type by Ann Blythe) Joan starts a chicken restaurant which becomes very successful and makes Joan rich. Unfortunately she has a bad habit of choosing the wrong men and this is ultimately her downfall. 

Two other great examples of female entrepeneur films would be Coco Before Chanel and the greatest of all time business women, Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Do you have a favorite?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Eiffle Tower Films

I know we're all in shock after this past weekend and the horrible events in Paris. I thought I'd do a tribute to the Eiffel Tower - such an iconic part of Paris. So this post will be devoted to films that feature this magnificent landmark.

First from 1949, the film The Man on the Eiffel TowerIn Paris, a down and out medical student Johann Radek (Franchot Tone) is paid by Bill Kirby (Robert Hutton) to murder his wealthy aunt. A knife grinder (Burgess Meredith) is suspected, but Radek keeps taunting the police until they realize that he is the killer. The police and Maigret (Charles Laughton) are led on chases through the streets and over the rooftops of Paris and finally up the girders of the Eiffel Tower. 

From 1951 is the film, The Lavender Hill Mob. Remember this one? A meek clerk (Alec Guinness), his buddy (Stanley Holloway) and crooks melt hijacked Bank of England gold into Eiffel Tower souvenirs. Hilarious adventures follow - some on the Eiffel Tower itself.   

James Bond (Roger Moore) got in the act in 1985 with some great shots from the Eiffel Tower in A View To a Kill. This is the 14th in the James Bond series.  Watch for a very young Christopher Walken and a very weird Grace Jones.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Films From the South of France

I just returned from the South of France where my daughter's wedding took place. It's a beautiful area. The town where she and her husband were married is called Crest. It's in the Drome area very near Provence.

So I thought for Cimilar Cinema this month I'd showcase some films that were filmed in the south of France. Most of them were filmed along the Riviera. Beautiful scenery. How could a film be bad with that kind of a backdrop?

First is a film from 1956 by Roger Vadim and starring Brigitte Bardot - And God Created Woman. This was quite a controversial film at the time. I'm sure it was banned in lots of places. Although it was panned by the critics, it became a smash hit with the public and made Bardot a star.

Then from 1988 is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which was filmed on the French Riviera. This film is hilarious, if you haven't seen it, you really should rent it. Steve Martin is in top form. I think it's one of his funniest performances


And from 1995 is French Kiss starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. There are wonderful scenes of
Paris and the Riviera in this film plus it's really enjoyable and fun.

These are the three films for September/October. Hope you get a chance to see 1 or 2 of them.

And now a couple of photos from the wedding:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drug Lords in Film

Wow! $5,000,000 reward. Who will turn El Chapo in? Is it worth the money to be gunned down by the drug lord's cronies. I don't think so.

El Chapo must have watched lots of films about drugs and dealing. That's probably how he got so rich. There are dozens and dozens of films of this genre. Here are some of the best. But don't get any ideas and try to emulate these characters. You'll see that crime doesn't pay.

My very favorite drug movie is Blow starring Johnny Depp. To watch him go from naive drug dealer to hobnobbing with South American cartels is really mesmerizing. I think it's the best acting job ever by Depp. And what an interesting insight into the whole drug trafficking business. And it's based on a true story. Fascinating.

The next film, Traffic, is so realistic, it's downright scary. Didn't it start out as a TV series? Anyway it's a really interesting and well made film about the drug business. It stars Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta Jones, etc. Douglas plays a judge who is appointed by the President to spearhead America's war against drugs. And then finds out that his daughter happens to be an addict.

I've read that Al Pacino's role of Scarface is one of the best characterizations of a drug lord. I haven't seen the film but I definitely will add it to my Netflix que. Then I'll decide if Johnny Depp or Al Pacino should win the prize. What do you think? Or do you have another favorite drug dealer role?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Films About Immigration

Isn't the news horrible right now - about all those poor souls trying to get from their war torn countries to Italy, Spain or anywhere they can get to on overcrowded, dangerous boats - in search of a better life. It made me think of a few films about immigration.

The first one is from 1983, El Norte. If you haven't seen it, you should rent it. It's one of the best ones I've seen about the immigration experience. It's about a brother and sister from Guatemala who trek North and end up in Los Angeles. You'll cry about their difficulties getting across the border, you'll laugh at their culture shock trying to navigate around life in Los Angeles. It's a heartwarming film that lets you feel every emotion of their experiences.

The next film is a little lighter. It's Green Card starring Gerard Depardieu as a Frenchman wanting to stay to the United States. The only way he can do it is by getting married to an American. So this is where Andie McDowell comes in. She agrees to marry him (there is a trade off, you'll have to see the film) just until he gets his green card. And then they will supposedly get a divorce and everyone will be happy. It's a fun movie. I especially love the part where he gives a piano concert to a group of socialites. Hilarious


The Visitor is another excellent film about the immigration experience. Tarek, a Syrian and his girlfiend, Zainab are living in a NY apartment they've rented illegally not knowing that it is owned by Walter, a college professor from Conneticut (Richard Jenkins). Walter surprises them when he's decided to stay in his apartment in New York for a while. Walter reluctantly allows the couple to stay in the apartment with him and they develop a friendship. A friendship later develops between Walter and Tarek's mother. She's come to NY to try to get Tarek out of a detention center where he was sent because of a subway infraction. This is a really wonderful film. It's actually more about Walter and  how he is inspired by Tarek.  But there's plenty here about the injustices of the immigration system. Richard Jenkins was nominated for an Oscar for this role.

There are other excellent films about the immigration problem. I just wish that some kind of progress could be made to help those who are trying to stay here in search of a better life.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Weather in Film

I was watching a film the other night which gave me an idea for this month's Cimilar Cinema. I've decided to do this post about weather in film.

This is the film that I recently saw. It's Rain with Joan Crawford and Walter Huston. This 1932 classic is about religion, redemption and rain, lots of rain. Joan plays the prostitute, Sadie Thompson, Huston plays the hard nosed missionary. It's a wonderful film, I think my favorite role for Joan Crawford. You can watch the entire film here. See what you think.

The next film, The Wind, I saw quite a while ago. It's one of the most depressing and suffocating films you'll ever want to see. It was filmed in 1928 and the cinematography is absolutely amazing.
Lillian Gish stars in this film that deals with human suffering. I suffered all the way through it! But it's so interesting to see. It was the last silent film from MGM.

Here's another film I suffered through because it was so depressing. But it's so good at the same time. The acting is phenomenal and the weather scenes are fantastic. The film is Ice Storm, directed by Ang Lee and stars Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and Elijah Wood. It has a nice Mad Men quality to
it because of the 1970s atmosphere. The film is about relationships, family and ice, lots of ice.

Have I missed any other weather films? I thought of Twister, but I've never seen it so wasn't sure whether to include it or not. But it sure works for the category.

Stay tuned for next month's post where I will focus on films about... (Oh, I don't want to tell you now and spoil the surprise).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Boys and Their Pets

I was watching The Red Balloon Saturday and I thought, "Hey, this story is so familiar." What did it remind me of. It reminded me of several Boy and His Pet movies. I don't mean films like Lassie Come Home or Old Yeller. The pets I'm thinking of are a caterpillar, a balloon and an alien. I dare you to binge-watch these three films and see how much the plots resemble each other. It's uncanny. Or is it just the fact that all stories come from the same plot?

Why do I think these plots seem similar? Well, they're all about a boy getting a pet, boy gets attached to the pet, enemies try to do away the pet, boy has to let the pet go. Sob.

First we have the strangest of the three films. It's called Once Upon A Time, from 1944. It stars Cary Grant and a little boy and his caterpillar. When I saw it, I was shocked that Cary Grant would have signed on for this silly movie. But I guess in the old studio days, the actors had to star in whatever movies were assigned to them. But watch it and see how similar the plot is to The Red Balloon and ET.  It's a very interesting comparison. This trailer is not great. The boy and his caterpillar never make an appearance. But it was the only one on YouTube.

The Red Balloon was filmed in 1956. It's an incredible film. I don't know how they filmed it in the days before computers. The director of the film, Albert Lamorisse, used his son as the main character. And what a cutie he is. Perfect for the part.

ET The Extra Terrestrial, a film by Steven Spielberg from 1982 is about the boy, Elliot who befriends the alien. You all probably remember this film. But wouldn't it be fun to rewatch it along with the other two.?


It's an interesting trio. See what you think.