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Jay B. Lane "professional audience member" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA USA)
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Romance & Cigarettes
Romance & Cigarettes
DVD ~ Kate Winslet
2 used & new from $9.88

5.0 out of 5 stars You've NEVER Seen Winslet So Outrageous!, August 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Romance & Cigarettes (DVD)
Brace yourself! This hard R-rated romp from 2005 is almost impossible to categorize. Is it a comedy? Is it a romance? Is it a musical? Is it a farce? By the time you see Christopher Walken sing "Delilah" beneath the window of his lost love, it no longer matters. When the Coen brothers produce a quirky movie, you KNOW the soundtrack will be memorable.

Art house favorite John Turturro ("Fading Gigolo") both wrote and directed this goofy little thing (IMDb calls it "down-and-dirty") and look who he enlisted to help:
* James Gandolfini ("Enough Said") is Nick, an unfaithful husband, sorta repentant, but still tempted. He's cheating on...
* Susan Sarandon ("Tammy") Yeah... Can you believe it? She is Kitty, his beleaguered wife, trying to understand him.
* Kate Winslet ("Divergent") Once you see TULA, you understand. You have NEVER seen Winslet so outrageously seductive and wild (or hear such a potty mouth!).
* Elaine Stritch ("30 Rock") is Nick's mother who...Oh you know Stritch. She's unique all over again.
* Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk Empire") is one of Nick's co-workers. Their chats during their lunch breaks, perched on the structural steel of a new high rise, are unforgettable peeks into his x-rated brain.

Of course we have an assortment of daughters, their boyfriends and all the conflict THAT engenders, plus some fellows circling Kitty, hoping that she'll pull the plug on her marriage.

I wish I could remember who recommended this to me. I've checked with the usual suspects and they all claim they are innocent. I have this one in my personal collection, otherwise no one would believe me! I got mine from Amazon.


The Wind Rises (Region A Blu-ray) Studio Ghibli (English & Chinese Subtitled) Japanese movie a.k.a. Kaze Tachinu
The Wind Rises (Region A Blu-ray) Studio Ghibli (English & Chinese Subtitled) Japanese movie a.k.a. Kaze Tachinu
DVD ~ Hayao Miyazaki
3 used & new from $39.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Admire the Exquisite Art, August 18, 2014
When people see "Animated" they automatically think "Aha! It's for kids!" and bring them to the theater. Imagine their surprise when they figure out that this movie is biographical, about an ill-fated love affair and the man who designed Japan's ferocious "Zeros," Mitsubishi's World War II fighter planes. Dialogue about "extruded aluminum alloy" and "flush rivets" for a "smooth skin" probably went right over the kids' heads, don't you think? This is just as well because children won't automatically think of Pearl Harbor or the War in the Pacific.

I was dismayed to discover that the version I attended was in English, so I'm afraid I missed a lot; I expected it to be in Japanese with subtitles. When I realized my mistake, it was too late to go to the lobby and ask for closed-caption glasses. Oh well... My companion filled me in as best she could afterwards.

There were many "name brands" providing the English-speaking voices, but I'd rather talk about the characters:
* Jirô Horikoshi is our main character; we follow him from childhood, see how he is inspired to design airplanes by reading about an Italian aeronautical designer, then we see his engineering studies and his demanding employment at Mitsubishi. (We also see some of the failures.)
* Caprioni is the Italian designer. (He has wild dreams and a large family!)
Honjô is Jirô's friend and fellow employee at Mitsubishi. It is so satisfying to see two honorable gentlemen treat each other with respect.
* Nahoko Satomi is the lovely (doomed) young woman our hero loves. Her illness was another aspect of the film that escaped the youngsters in the audience.
* Kayo Horikoshi is our hero's sister; she was one of my favorites because she was in a perpetual snit, which masked her loving heart.

We also have an impatient boss, a Swiss acquaintance, parents, military fellows (both Japanese and German), landladies and various other characters. (Miyazaki creates delicious characters whose movements are authentic and breathtakingly real.)

To me, however, the main reason to watch this Oscar-nominated film (Best Animated Feature) is to admire the exquisite art work. Every frame deserves to be mounted on a wall somewhere. There is nothing quite like Hayao Miyazaki's meticulous artistry, whether he is writing the story, drawing the frames or directing the movie, he is one of a kind. His previous works include "Spirited Away," "Howl's Moving Castle," and "Princess Mononoke."

This is PG-13; it includes no profanity, nudity, warfare or gunfights. We see the Great Kanto Earthquake which occurred in 1923, but again, no blood or horror. It includes a tuberculosis epidemic, but we mostly see patients wrapped snugly at a sanitorium. We also see heavy cigarette smoking because pretty much everyone smoked in the 30s and 40s, so that is a non-issue.

Come see the amazing artwork! This version in Japanese with English subtitles is available now with Amazon.


Corona De Lagrimas
Corona De Lagrimas
DVD ~ Victoria Ruffo
Price: $14.96
29 used & new from $12.52

3.0 out of 5 stars LOTS and LOTS of Tears!, August 17, 2014
This review is from: Corona De Lagrimas (DVD)
Corona de Lagrimos (Crown of Tears - 903 minutes)

This lives up to its title: Victoria Ruffo stars and she is the queen of tears. The third time one of her sons says, "Don't cry, Mama!" I echoed their sentiments! As I watched the schemes of her ambitious oldest son Patricio (Alejandro Nones) I was reminded of Walter Scott's line: "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." Embarrassed by their poverty, this bright law student lies about his family, his address, his wardrobe and his lack of a car. On the other hand, his mother Refugio (Victoria Ruffo), is so tone-deaf she insists on showing up where she clearly is NOT wanted, causing him endless problems with his nasty new in-laws.

By Disco Dos, the plot becomes nicely complicated. Our heroine and all three of her sons have their own separate issues, as we see a wrongful job termination, a high-risk pregnancy, drug dealing, and unrequited love. (Round one of Who's Your Daddy?" has been resolved.)

The villain, Rómulo Ancira (Ernesto Laguardia), is the cleverest, most manipulative, slyest lawyer I ever hope to see in action. Between him and his ever-present cigar, we are watching a professional in action! We can't help but admire the verbal traps he springs on his victims, smiling all the while.

His bi-polar daughter Olga (Adriana Louvier), set her sights on Patricio and got him, for better or for worse. Her powerful papa has made it very clear to his son-in-law what will happen if his darling daughter becomes unhappy.

By the time this is over, villains are vanquished, maternal is love restored, the family is reunited and we watch a happy christening, but we relish the treatment doled out to that hateful lawyer and hope there is more of it! That makes for a happy ending!


La Usurpadora
La Usurpadora
DVD ~ Gabriela Spanic
Offered by Handstamp Studios, LLC.
Price: $7.75
23 used & new from $2.90

3.0 out of 5 stars No English captions...sob..., August 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: La Usurpadora (DVD)
I would probably like this one if I spoke Spanish. I overlooked the fact that there are no English captions, so, sadly, I had to get rid of it. My fault entirely.


Toast
Toast
DVD ~ Helena Bonham Carter
Price: $7.46
47 used & new from $1.72

4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE "If You Go Away" by Dusty Springfield, August 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toast (DVD)
This 2010 TV movie boasts some gently adult British humor centered around a petulant schoolboy who just wants a decent meal...and maybe some fresh vegetables. His ailing mother is strictly a canned peas kind of cook but she usually has to fall back to fresh toast.

Inspired by food writer, television personality and journalist Nigel Slater's memoir, this bio-pic set in the 1960s is all about FOOD. You've never seen cooking like his mum's; it's no wonder he wanted to do it himself. But wait until the cooking competition starts between him and his new step-mother.

Director S.J. Clarkson ("Bates Motel") used these ingredients:
* Oscar Kennedy (Lots of TV) is young Nigel Slater, frustrated by his mother's cooking, his dad's short temper, and misled by a school chum's worldly advice.
* Freddie Highmore ("August Rush") is adolescent Nigel, daring to follow his bliss and still striving for his father's approval.
* Ken Stott ("One Day") is Dad, suffering from loneliness, bad digestion and a rebellious son.
* Victoria Hamilton ("Lark Rise to Candleford") is Mum, it's no wonder she can't cook, she's very ill.
* Helen Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech") is Mrs. Potter, that upstart from Council (Public) Housing who shows up in Nigel's home and seduces his father with her suggestive housekeeping moves. (You have to see it to believe it.)

Of major note is a beautiful father/son montage backed by Dusty Springfield singing "If You Go Away" that illustrates how much both of these fellows miss Mum. BTW, if you are tempted by luscious food, better stay away from this DVD! (But it DOES have Closed Captions.)


Abrazame Muy Fuerte
Abrazame Muy Fuerte
DVD ~ Fernando Colunga
Offered by Handstamp Studios, LLC.
Price: $7.25
22 used & new from $2.82

2.0 out of 5 stars No English Captions - My oversight, August 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Abrazame Muy Fuerte (DVD)
No English captions. If I had taken the time to read the specs I would have known. I suspect I would like this one a LOT because I'm a big fan of Fernando Colunga. I wish Amazon had a feature where we could request notification when a disc is re-released with English captions!


The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3
DVD
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Plot? Nah....., August 17, 2014
How did director Patrick Hughes ("Signs") summon such a list? Talk about calling up all the old war horses. I haven't seen such an array of hair pieces since the French Revolution. In my opinion, screenwriter Stallone ("Homefront") has generously handed this movie to Antonio Banderas, whose non-stop chatter steals every scene he's in, e.g., (to Luna with an optimistic leer) "Wanna hold my gun?"

A hi-tech prison break in the opening scene establishes the whiz-bang skills of our testosterone-laden team; I missed much of the macho bantering because of late arrivals climbing over me, one flashing a cell phone to signal her date, who also had to climb over me. Grrr....

At least the movie was a LOT of fun. Just look at this cast!
* Sylvester Stallone ("Grudge Match") Barney Ross is the team leader for a group of men who are considered expendable by the CIA. They do the dirty work, so he has blood on his hands.
* Jason Statham ("Parker") Lee Christmas always flies in the right seat and insults his boss.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger ("Sabotage") Trench is back, big grin, big cigar and big gun!
* Dolph Lundgren ("Universal Soldier") What's that gizmo on Gunner's wrist? Some sort of gadget for kids?
* Wesley Snipes ("Blade") The outrageously staged prison break during the opening scenes were for Doc; he has been in prison ...for tax evasion...
* Mel Gibson ("Machete Kills") Stonebanks is a CIA black-ops agent gone rogue. This makes him a foe worthy of our team's best effort.
* Harrison Ford ("Ender's Game") Drummer is the boss, even when they don't agree with him...
* Kelsey Grammer ("Think Like a Man Too") Bonaparte helps Barney assemble a new team when the old one shows its age.
* Antonio Banderas ("Ruby Sparks") Galgo is funny from the first moment he opens his machine-gun mouth, and he REALLY needs the job!
* Ronda Rousey ("Fast & Furious 7"- 2015) This MMA champ has some great lines and Luna gets to mix it up with dozens of bad guys.
* Glen Powell ("Sex Ed") Thorn is a techie, which is not to say he can't handle firearms...
* Kellan Lutz ("The Twilight Saga") Parkour? Motorcycles? Smilee can't decide which he prefers.

And I've left out quite a few actors. Should I elaborate on a plot? Nah... probably not. Suffice it to say, this is PG-13, so the language is (sorta) mild and there is not one kiss, but you should expect endless fisticuffs, continual gunfire and a LOT of blowie uppie stuff! I've pre-ordered this one from Amazon.


The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plot? Nah.. But Who Cares!, August 14, 2014
This review is from: The Expendables 3 (DVD)
How did director Patrick Hughes ("Signs") summon such a list? Talk about calling up all the old war horses. I haven't seen such an array of hair pieces since the French Revolution. In my opinion, screenwriter Stallone ("Homefront") has generously handed this movie to Antonio Banderas, whose non-stop chatter steals every scene he's in, e.g., (to Luna with a leer) "Wanna hold my gun?"

A hi-tech prison break in the opening scene establishes the whiz-bang skills of our testosterone-laden team; I missed much of it because of late arrivals climbing over me, one flashing a cell phone to signal her date, who also had to climb over me. Grrr....

At least the movie was a LOT of fun. Just look at this cast!
* Sylvester Stallone ("Grudge Match") Barney Ross is the team leader for a group of men who are considered expendable by the CIA. They do the dirty work, so he has blood on his hands.
* Jason Statham ("Parker") Lee Christmas always flies in the right seat and insults his boss.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger ("Sabotage") Trench is back, big grin, big cigar and big gun!
* Dolph Lundgren ("Universal Soldier") What's that gizmo on Gunner's wrist? Some sort of gadget for kids?
* Wesley Snipes ("Blade") The outrageously staged prison break during the opening scenes were for Doc; he has been in prison...for tax evasion...
* Mel Gibson ("Machete Kills") Stonebanks is a CIA black-ops agent gone rogue. This makes him a foe worthy of our team's best effort.
* Harrison Ford ("Ender's Game") Drummer is the boss, even when they don't agree with him...
* Kelsey Grammer ("Think Like a Man Too") Bonaparte helps Barney assemble a new team when the old one shows its age.
* Antonio Banderas ("Ruby Sparks") Galgo is funny from the first moment he opens his machine-gun mouth, and he REALLY needs the job!
* Ronda Rousey ("Fast & Furious 7"- 2015) This MMA champ has some great lines and Luna gets to mix it up with dozens of bad guys.
* Glen Powell ("Sex Ed") Thorn is a techie, which is not to say he can't handle firearms...
* Kellan Lutz ("The Twilight Saga") Parkour? Motorcycles? Smilee can't decide which he prefers.

And I've left out quite a few actors. Should I elaborate on a plot? Nah...probably not. Suffice it to say, this is PG-13, so the language is (sorta) mild and there is not one kiss, but you should expect endless fisticuffs, continual gunfire and a LOT of blowie uppie stuff! BTW, the "Colonel Bogey March" is whistled in the trailer because the words to this old standby from the U.K. are NOT PG!


Bajo Las Riendas Del Amor
Bajo Las Riendas Del Amor
DVD ~ Fonseca
Price: $9.63
26 used & new from $5.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yawn...., August 12, 2014
This review is from: Bajo Las Riendas Del Amor (DVD)
Bajo las riendas del Amor (Under the Reins of Love - 723 minutes)

Even though this is the first time I've seen Gabriel Soto move to leading man from his usual side-kick role, I was not impressed. There are several problems with this one:
* 1) A weak script with some fairly good plot lines wasted.
* 2) A heroine who failed to connect with either the viewers or the hero.
* 3) Technical problems with the sound (sometimes loud, other times very quiet).
* 4) Very sketchy editing. Major plot points are only alluded to in the past. I'm accustomed to filling in the blanks with telenovelas, but this taxes my skills.
* 5) Poor makeup and costumes. The overly oiled hero is too, too tan, while the heroine has singularly unattractive clothes.

We have Montserrat (Adriana Fonseca), a privileged young woman who competes in formal horseback events, although we will NEVER buy that double who does all the riding for her. Her coach is demanding but fair. She is semi-engaged to good-looking Victor (Victor González) but dragging her heels, because something isn't quite right. Of course, WE in the audience can see he is a money-grubbing cocksman working at the behest of his ambitious mother - his father is going broke - so they need her family's money.

At night our heroine peeks through her bedroom window to watch Juan Jose (Gabriel Soto), the handsome fellow next door, as women in his apartment often strip quite willingly. Naturally she and her chums assume he is quite the lady-killer. Of course she is mistaken: He is a photographer and the women are models.

As soon as they meet, sparks fly, they fall in love and everyone is against them. Her devious "fiancé" Victor, her treacherous cousin Ingrid (Admari López), and her parents.

When Juan Jose's sister Yolanda is murdered, he mistakenly blames Montserrat's family and much of the third and fourth discs are devoted to his vengeful cruelty toward her. Of course, she believed the lie that he had impregnated her evil cousin, so she isn't blameless, either. I've left out sub-plots and "who's your daddy?" games, but all in all, I'm not impressed with this one. Time would have been better spent with more time devoted to seeing Yolanda's murderer confess and less time to watching a horse lope around a very mild steeplechase track. Yawn....


Maria Mercedes Telenovela 3 DVD
Maria Mercedes Telenovela 3 DVD
Offered by sancristobal
Price: $8.31
5 used & new from $6.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Did I mention clichés?, August 9, 2014
Maria Mercedes (674 minutes)

This 1992 telenovela would have had a greater impact if I hadn't just watched Corazon Indomable with Ana Brenda Contreras. They share a similar story arc: dirt-poor señorita meets wealthy young señor, but here, Maria Mercedes (Thalia) doesn't master many new skills. She meets a young man when she washes his windshield at a stop light.

That young man had recently had his brand-new bride shot dead in his arms just outside the church where they were wed, so he is traumatized and grieving.

We are mostly focused on his evil mother who has every intention of inheriting the house where they live from her chronically ill nephew, who is equally evil. As the invalid rests on his patio, a young flower vender tries to sell him flowers...or a lottery ticket.. .she is a very enterprising young woman... and he is charmed. She is nice to him with no expectations, so eventually he marries her (on his deathbed) and makes her his heir, simply to thwart his evil aunt as a final slap from beyond the grave. The poor girl did NOT want to marry him and the promise of wealth had no appeal, but he had twisted his logic in such a way that she had reluctantly agreed. She knows she can always sell flowers, wash windshields and sell lottery tickets to support her drunken father and her three siblings. (Did I mention clichés?)

Now she is the villain who “stole” everything from her dead husband's relatives and the war is on! They decide the best way to circumvent the conditions in their dead relative's will would be for the grieving young man to marry the lottery ticket girl.

This goes as expected with one minor disappointment: One young man who promised to be a villain had his story line edited out of the DVD set. I recognized a very young Fernando Colunga in one of his earliest roles. This gifted actor has gone on to a note-worthy career in other, far better ...sigh... telenovelas.

Expect evil plots, conniving (but sexy) young women, a saintly sister-in-law, a Tarot card reader and lots of pretty clothes. The actor who plays the “hero” didn't show me much and his evil mother is too over-the-top. Oh well.


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