Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s been a busy few days with SF Beer Week activities and some minor household issues (leakage in rental apartment) but aside from that… pretty nice. Here’s just the rundown on a few movies that we saw over the week… and a special trip into the jungle… sorta.
First up is Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Rope” starring Jimmy Stewart. Two college chums kill a former classmate in their apartment in the first few seconds… place his body in a trunk… and then immediately hold a dinner party with his family & friends… placing some of the food & decorations right on the trunk in the middle of the room… to pull off the “perfect crime”. I’m still not quite sure how that part was going to work out… but this was made in 1948. Maybe it was a LOT easier to get away with murder back then. Anyway, one of the friends invited though… is their former college instructor (Stewart) who starts to suspect a few things as the evening progresses… and the guest of honor doesn’t show. Now, it’s a fairly simple premise & obviously adapted from a play (since it takes place all in one room over the course of about 80 minutes). However, as you may have heard, Hitchcock knows how to properly build suspense… and is a master of the craft of moviemaking. The entire movie is maybe a dozen (or less) continuous shots of dialogue, following them across the room, other actors entering & exiting, while maintaining the focus of the audience’s attention exactly where it needs to be. One of my favorite scenes in particular, is one towards the end when the party is wrapping up… and the camera basically focuses with the trunk on the left, the hallway to the dining room, and off camera to the right is the actors that you’re hearing. The maid is cleaning up the presentation on top of the trunk… and over the course of about three minutes, the camera doesn’t move… she’s cleaned off the trunk… and now is heading back with some books to place in the trunk… GASP!!! Okay, so to stop right there, go check this movie out. Like right now! If you haven’t seen it & you like suspense movies, rent this & see how it’s done. Great flick! I’d happily watch it again. Besides… it’s Jimmy Stewart in his prime…

Next up was “30 for 30: The Price of Gold” which is ESPN’s sponsored documentary about the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan that was later found to be linked to rival skater Tonya Harding and her husband Jeff Gilluli among others. This film focuses on Tonya Harding from growing up in Portland, Oregon… being raised as a bit of a blonde lower-middle-class tom boy… rising the ranks of the figure skating world… and after just missing out on the 1992 Winter Olympics… now she had another chance in 1994… but it wasn’t going to be easy. You’ve all heard the story I’m sure. During trials, Nancy Kerrigan is whacked in the knees by an unknown attacker… then within days, it’s found that the whole thing was orchestrated by Tonya’s husband Jeff Gilluli… but then it’s a question of “Was Tonya behind it?” There’s a lot of hearsay & circumstantial evidence… so Tonya is allowed to go to the Olympics… with Nancy who trained ferociously to go (in place of Michelle Kwan). However, this movie goes into a little more detail than even I knew… so yeah, definitely give it a gander. It’s worth it. It’s quite the interesting character study if you want to put it that way.
Last up is “Harlem Nights” starring Eddie Murphy & Richard Pryor. Murphy also wrote, produced & directed the movie… so you know it’s good, right? Sugary Ray (Pryor) owns an illegal casino in 1930’s Harlem and along with his trusted right-hand man Quick (Murphy), they struggle against a lot of organized crime, corrupt cops & other factors trying to force them out of business. It was recommended by Max on Netflix as an action-comedy… and with a cast featuring these two comedy legends as well as Redd Foxx, Arsenio Hall, Miguel Nunez, Della Reese and yes… even Charlie Murphy, it did have its funny moments. However, it was not exactly rip-roaring fun by any means. Mostly it was just a lot of curse words… some somewhat funny scenarios, but poorly executed… and a few parts were just plain bad. And no, I didn’t go into this movie expecting it to be a true-to-history piece about 1930’s Harlem or anything like that… but yeah, it just wasn’t that thrilling. The most disturbing part I think was watching the Madame played by Della Reese (“Touched by an Angel”) and just… well, she’s horribly foul-mouthed… gets in a street fight with Quick… just not exactly what you’d expect from Della. I’d say pass on this one… but thought that I’d share it with you.
Saturday, while running around during SF Beer Week, we stopped by Easy Bay Vivarium (reptile habitat) because… you may not know this… but Dizzy loves animals. Basically anything with four legs or less, she considers absolutely adorable… even reptiles. Don’t worry, I took a few pictures of some of the selections readily available at this establishment for you… and we'll call it an APOCALYPSE UPDATE on the size of some of these bastards...


We also stopped by an aquarium where...
they were obviously slashing prices by...
about .04%

Anyway, that’ll do it for this entry. GO SEE ROPE!!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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