Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Thursday, June 26, 2014

JERSEY BOYS (movie)

Jersey Boys (the movie)—Directed by Clint Eastwood/ starring John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli; Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio; Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi & Vincent Piazza as Tommy Divito/screenplay written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice based upon their stage play/2 hr. 14 min./rated R.

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR) I went into this movie, expecting to be disappointed because of the reviews I’d read. I feel very close to this story, because I grew up in the same neighborhood, at the same time. My brother was in a band, which Tommy Divito and Joe Pesci would frequent after hours. On some nights, Joe Pesci would play cards with us. Joey was quite a good singer. In the movie, they make Tommy out to be kind of cheap. I don’t remember him that way. My ex-husband was also a musician, with the same group as my brother and they hung out in the same circles. Tommy Divito somehow showed up at my son’s second birthday. When Tommy found out what was happening, he puIled a $20 bill out of his pocket (a lot of money in those days) and handed it to my little boy (of course, he may have just made a big score gambling). I want to be non-bias, but when this movie was over, I was very proud to be from Jersey. I would see this movie again, if for no other reason than for the familiarity and nostalgia it held for me. This is a good story and I thought it was well done, with just a few campy scenes. I believe the story should have ended with the last words uttered by the Frankie Valli character, “When all is said and done, it was about the music,” and I believe it was also about a unique sound and a loyalty of a group of guys from New Jersey. I give this film a healthy four binoculars.

(OG) I have to say that I unexpectedly enjoyed Clint Eastwood’s version, in some ways a little more than the play, even though it was obvious that the writers (of both) were trying to stay true to the stage version. In fact, the only scene that rubbed me completely as inappropriate came at the end credits, when the screen actors put together a big production finale. I thought that was completely unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the play well enough to have seen it three times. I’m not as intimately involved with the characters, as Barbara is, but I am well aware of the price of fame (especially in the entertainment fields), and can appreciate the truthfulness of the storyline. Part of the fact that my expectations were exceeded may have come from some slightly negative reviews, possibly from those who are confusing Clint Eastwood’s questionable past political decisions with his movie-making abilities. Ultimately, I have to give this one four binoculars. It was much better than average, not great, but well worth the time.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla--Directed by Gareth Edwards/starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe with Bryan Cranston, and a brief appearance by Juliette Binoche/ screenplay by Max Borenstein from the story by Dave Callaham/2 hr 3 min/rated PG-13

Bifocal Review by The Other Guy and His Dad

(OG) Barbara refused to see this remake/update of the King Of Monsters story since she never saw the original and generally doesn’t respond well to science fiction. So, since a twelve-year-old boy lives in all grown men, no matter how old, I asked my 94-year-old father to see this one with me. His comments are below. Here’s what I thought:
It was just what I expected, and then some. I thought that it kept the campy air of the original but used some pretty good special effects—and a very slight plot twist--to keep the attention of a newer audience. The crowning moment for me was a wide, long shot at the end of the film, when Godzilla was called a savior of the city of San Francisco and the audience could see the skyline, including a destroyed Golden Gate Bridge burning in the background. Immediately I wondered what the City by the Bay would have looked like if Godzilla hadn’t been there to save it. I give this one 2 ½ Binoculars.

(OG’s Dad) It was better than I thought it would be, almost good. It made me smile at times.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Best Way to Travel?

...With paid accident insurance. That could have been the title of the following Bifocals Podcast, which details our brief trip to Rio. In addition to Barbara's injury, when we came home we found out that I'd forgotten pay my travel/accident insurance policy premium. Our regular insurance did cover most of the hospital bills, but our flights, hotels, transfers and tours were all lost. Oh well, as bad as it seems, there are certainly people who have suffered far more than Barbara and I, even on this trip.
Take a look at our trip to Rio, last year.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Other Woman

The Other Woman--Directed by Nick Cassavetes/ starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nicki Manaj/Rated: PG 13/running time: 109 minutes.

Bifocal Reviews by  Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR) I can make this brief. This one was totally a chick flick, a no-brainer that I saw with my daughter for a girls-night-out. It is not for the men-folk. In fact, there was only one man-folk in the theater at the time we watched this one. He didn’t leave, but the movie is particularly degrading to men. I certainly hope that all men are not like the cheating husband in this film. Cheating husband? This guy was cheating on his wife AND three other mistresses! The only good guy  in the movie is a Chicago Fire regular (Taylor Kinney), who not only single-handedly restores faith in male-kind, but is easy on the eyes. I cannot say it was a great film. It was predicable, but enjoyable. Movies like this give the gals a couple of laughs. I cannot, however award more than two binoculars out of five. I recommend it as part of a dinner and a movie (less than two hours) with the gals.

(OG) Thankfully, I was not required to see this movie with Barbara and was mercifully replaced by our daughter. So, I have no opinion about it, other than the one instilled in me by my wife. Reading what she wrote, all I can say is: Whew! That was a close one.


A Million Ways to Die In The West

A Million Ways to Die In The West--Directed (and partial produced) by Seth MacFarlane/ starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and a host of cameo-stars/written by Seth MacFarlane/116 minutes/ rated R

Bifocal Reviews by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR) I am completely torn on my view of this movie. There were some parts that were so funny, and I laughed so hard that I almost split my sides. On the other hand, it was far too vulgar, too often, for me to leave the theater feeling completely satisfied. I think men will find this even more side splitting, because of the vulgarities that I found offensive. I don’t think I’m stereotyping here. Men seem to love the Blazing Saddles, flatulating humor movies more than women. However, it is my obligation as a journalist to warn the audience about what to expect. If you can go with the flow of the comedy vulgarities, then you will enjoy this movie. There’s no real steal the show scenes or performances for me. It was pretty well balanced, but I have to admit that Seth MacFarlane has the most unique sense of humor. Because of my split feelings on this film, I can only give it 2 ½ binoculars.

(OG) I’m one of the adolescent-male-joke-enjoying men that Barbara is talking about. However, I too was pushed to the brink of acceptance in at least one of the scenes (by the time anyone reads this, it will probably be all over the Internet that Neil Patrick Harris’s character defecates into not one, not two, but three hats, in open view of a crowd of on camera onlookers and everyone in the theater audience, who (like me) cannot believe what he’s seeing and therefore doesn’t look away even after the second hatful. If I had looked away, I would not have finally been witness to Neil’s character kicking over one of the overflowing hats, which spills onto the big screen in all its glory (should a hatful of human waste have any glory, at all). Luckily this came near the end of the movie, so I was somewhat expecting the usually unexpected. I also have to warn those who are easily offended by religious, sexual, religious-sexual, and drug humor to stay clear. Two people in the theater walked out near the beginning of the film when Sarah Silverman (a brazen and open prostitute) declares that she wants to wait to have sex with her boyfriend because, “we’re both Christians.” By the same token, I also just about died laughing in more than one place, and I think I haven’t had this level of sustained laughter in a movie since Mel Brooks’ The Producers, or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. One drug experience scene (the accidental overdoes by MacFarlane’s character at the hands of Cochise) will stay with me forever. My Binocular rating therefore comes with a serious caveat…Don’t see this movie if you are easily offended, but I give it four out of five Binoculars.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Belle--Directed by Amma Asante/written by Misan Sagay/ starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson/rated:PG/ running time:103 minutes

Bifocal Reviews by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR): This is the kind of movie that I usually enjoy, a Downton Abby feel. In fact, the character of Aunt Mary, was played by one of Downton’s own. However, this one left the impression of being too long, because there were points where it just seemed to drag. I found no fault with the performances. Costumes, scenery, and set direction all worked well, immersing me into the period piece. Honestly, I’m still trying to put my finger on what bothered me. This was based on a true story that was interesting, but I always felt the need to push it along while I was watching it. The problem might have been influenced by the fact that I was freezing, as the air-conditioning was on overdrive and I was sleeveless. I have enjoyed Gugu in other performances and hoped she would get this kind of well-deserved vehicle to showcase her talents. I don’t want my personal opinions about this true story to influence my view about the value of entertainment and human interest, in Belle, so I give this film three out of five binoculars.

(OG): Whenever I see a movie, or read a book that highlights the manufactured pomp and puffery which has too often been favored by segments of humanity, it always leaves me feeling slightly embarrassed to be part of the species. I’ve never shared Barbara’s interest in the Upstairs-Downstairs stories that seem to proliferate from Britain; after all, they still hold tightly to their monarchy, albeit largely symbolic. I grow weary whenever I hear a “the rule of law” as the justification for intolerance or prejudice. I can’t help thinking, “How would we react if baboons or other apes started acting superior because they wore wigs, or hats or had somehow distinguished themselves from other baboons as a ‘rule of law?’” However, this film also had the added historical perspective of how these same Brits were able to disable the slave trade (another unfortunate human circumstance that still exists today) a hundred years before we were able to accomplish it in the U.S. Belle also features the true story of people who could easily look past the color of someone’s skin, even in an atmosphere of tolerated ignorance. Also, the acting and the sets and cinematography in Belle are excellent. I too thought the script was a bit slow and plodding, but in the end, I’m glad I saw this film and give it three binoculars as well, and I’m not even wearing a funny hat or a wig when I write this.