Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Drop

The Drop--Directed by Michaƫl R. Roskam/Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bob Saginowski/ written by Dennis Lehane, based on his short story/rated R/107 min

Bifocal Reviews by “Ageless1der” Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR):I just wanted to get a break from the intense heat and cool down in
the theater.  I was pleasantly surprised. Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace
are well cast in this film. Tom Hardy, especially impressed me with his quiet yet powerful delivery, very reminiscent of Steve McQueen, who said so much with so little dialog. I also realized how much I am missing James
Gandolfini. He was just perfect in is final role as Cousin Marv who owned a bar where money drops were made to keep the dirty cash moving.  As with most of the films this year, the stories are lacking. The cast of actors and their performances raised the bar.  Last year had much more clout in its storylines.  Nevertheless, I was entertained and comfortably cool.

(OG): Other than the fact that this was James Gandolfini’s final performance, I knew nothing about the movie. For that reason, there were several elements that were pleasant surprises, Tom Hardy being one of them. He was perfectly cast and basically dominated the screen, even when it was obvious that his character was trying to look inconspicuous. Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini are the epitome of professionalism. They always act at the exact level as everyone else in the scene. That was perfect for this film, because the story, if examined closely, might have been a little thin. The great acting helped me to suspend disbelief and accept the basic premises of the movie. In the end, that’s all one can ever ask for. I give The Drop a three as well, so the average (with Barbara’s score) is Three Binoculars.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

And So It Goes

And So It Goes--Directed by Rob Reiner/starring Michael Douglas, Dianne Keaton, Sterling Jerins, Annie Parisse/written by Mark Andrus/PG-13/ 1hr34min

Bifocal Reviews by Ageless1der Barbara Rich and The Other Guy

(BR): This was a senior version of When Harry Met Sally, only not as good. It was amusing and entertaining (to some degree) and very predictable. Other than being directed by Rob Reiner, and having Michael Douglas and Dianne Keaton together, what else can I say? I felt they really pushed the envelope when Keaton voice was hailed as good enough to earn $1500 a week (or a month, I can’t remember for sure, but really) in a night club. Come on now; get real. And So It Goes had some nice scenery, which was shot on location in Connecticut and I didn’t hate watching these fine actors for an hour and a half, but in the end I can only give this film two binoculars our of five.

(OG): I love Rob Reiner’s films (usually). I think Michael Douglas and Dianne Keaton are great character actors (ordinarily), and I’m not opposed to a realistic love story, regardless of the age demographic that is being targeted. However, the point of irritation for me in this film turns on the term: realistic. For some reason, the plotlines were forced to mold to too many implausible elements, not the least of which are that Dianne Keaton is a great singer and that a shrewd real estate agent would live in an apartment that he owns, right next door to the woman he’ll fall madly in love with during the coarse of the film, but whom he hasn’t noticed until his (Douglas’s) son is allowed to drop off a young daughter/granddaughter character on his way to prison. The son being a good hearted recovering alcoholic who is now convicted of a crime he did not commit, but one that is needed to get the granddaughter into the apartment complex. I’m glad this movie only lasted ninety minutes. At that, it was tolerable and worth 1 ½ binoculars from me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Jersey Spotlight--Bifocals

Here is our latest adventure in entertainment. The show is all about New Jersey. If you don't get why we're doing a special destinations show on the little state that is "next door" to New York, well...you're probably not from New Jersey. However, as Barbara points out in the show: Every place on Earth is special to those who grew up there. Below is a preview of what will be shown on Channel 6, a few weeks from now.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Message in a Bottle--Comedian Mike Marino

We will be featuring comedian Mike Marino--New Jersey's Bad Boy--on an upcoming BIFOCALS for Channel 6 and L&L Magazine, which spotlights New Jersey, along with Poet Pat Lico and the Jersey Boys Movie. This Message in a Bottle is a portion of Barbara's telephone interview with Mike, after he performed in Laguna Woods to a sold out and very appreciative audience...

Pat Lico's Message

Here is The Poet of Howell, Pat Lico's Message in a Bottle, built in part from the interview Barbara did with him for our special Spotlight New Jersey Bifocals (for Channel 6 and L&L Magazine) coming soon.  If you like this and the Mike Marino Message you are going to LOVE the New Jersey episode.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


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.