Monday, May 27, 2013

Douglas Captures Flambouyant Liberace Character

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon were very brave to do “Behind the Candelabra,” an entertaining biopic of legendary gay performer Liberace.  Kudos go to the makeup artist or digital genius who transformed the actors from old to gay and back again.

Grotesque, vain and stupid best describe the characters in this melodrama.  Douglas plays Walter Lee Liberace and Damon is his young lover Scott who is not the brightest bulb.  Google Scott Thorson to update his sad story.

Noteworthy are the performances of Debbie Reynolds as Lee’s mom and Rob Lowe as the quack plastic surgeon and happy go lucky drug dispenser.  Reynolds does her Zsa Zsa imitation and Lowe is grotesquely transformed into a 70s nightmare.

For those who lack HBO, this is worth a view on DVD.  The costumes and sets are over the top and it captures the excesses of the era. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Leonardo is Believable as J, Gatsby

The wealthiest Americans indifference to the poverty surrounding them is a theme in the new “Gatsby” at theaters now.  None of the characters are likable in the latest adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby”
What is incredibly tacky is the music, with hip hop signaling the arrival of the African Americans and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” when affluent whites are on screen.
The excessive party scene is overkill and reminiscent of a similar scene in “Moulon Rouge,” also directed by Baz Luhrman, an Australian.
The History Theater here is performing “This Side of Paradise” which has a reference to Fitzgerald’s disillusion with Long Island which may explain Gatsby.
The actress playing Daisy Buchanan whispers and mumbles so I need to get the DVD with closed captions to decipher that mess.  She also has two moles on the side of her neck which look strangely like vampire bites but I don’t recall her in any clinches with Ian Sommerfield or Paul Westerly on “Vampire Diaries.”
The movie is also available in 3-D but I don’t know why.
Leonardo Decaprio look like a leading man in this film as opposed to the sad sacks he played in “The Aviator” and “J. Edgar.”  He is believable as J. Gatsby.  It’s all an illusion.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


In her late career circus movie “Berserk,” an aging Joan Crawford in skimpy attire loses the center ring spotlight to Golda Casimir who plays a singing, dancing bearded lady.  More than a five o’clock shadow, Ms. Casimir sports whiskers that jut out at a 90 degree angle.  Daniel Day Lewis should have been so lucky in Abe Lincoln.  This hilarious bit has to be seen to be believed.
Also unbelievable is the screen affair involving Ms. Crawford and Ty Hardin, a 20 something square jawed hunk who appears shirtless.  Needless to say with the voluptuous Diana Dors involved, both ladies compete for Mr. Hardin’s attention.  Ms. Dors is at her best and treats us to a knock down cat fight with other ladies in the circus troupe.  This inept mess involves murders and a crazed daughter of Crawford played by Judy Geeson.
Crawford recycles her tough broad role bit she is known for in “Johnny Guitar” and “Rain.”  This movie has something for everyone:  Crawford for fans of golden age movies, Hardin for the ladies, Dors for dad and Casimir for fans of the weird.


For her cinematic revival, Barbra Streisand should have picked a circus venue rather  than a road trip with Seth Rogen in “Guilt Trip.”  Fortunately for us and Chevrolet the movie didn’t involve much slapstick with the Chevy Aveo in which they were entombed throughout.  But what was disturbing was the stereotypical Jewish mom role that Streisand recycles here.
Much of the movie is quite boring.  One wonders if Striesand had teamed up with hubby James Brolin for a remake of “Amityville Horror” would it have been more enjoyable?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Entertaining Topp Twins Combine Music and Comedy

The Topp Twins champion equal rights for gays, lesbians and the native New Zealand Maoris in the Topp Twins documentary available on DVD. 
The lesbian ladies take aim at the Kiwi middle class.  In this spot-on comedy bit they shun their quaint every day attire for over the top girlie garb and the dialogue goes something like this:
“You really need to feature gays in your parties and events because they bring so much color.”
“Oh yes, I agree.  They have color.”  (So gays are an entertainment option for straight upper middle class events.)
The triumphs and trials of the sisters are chronicled in this entertaining documentary.  Although the twins appeared in the U.S., I was not aware of their presence on the global stage until a couple of friends recommended the film.  This is definitely time well spent.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Hot Springs Cabins Haunted By Zarkin, Roy Rogers

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. -- A 40 plus year reunion for me was held this past week at the Historic Log Cabins in Hot Springs, S.D.  Last time I was here was September 1969 when I was driving from Boise to Minneapolis to start Fall Term at the University of Minnesota.
I  had dreams featuring Bob Berg and Mrs. Cook, people from my life in the 60s, while at the Roy Rogers cabin.  Photos of the Republic Studios cowboy great decorated the wall.
Last week our group of five enjoyed a one night stay in the historic cabins, only a few blocks from Evans Plunge which was not open when I wanted to go. 
Hot Springs also features a “historic” movie theater and given more time I would have seen “GI Joe” there.