Toy Story 2 1999 3* (Toy Story 1 1995 original 5*)

Favorite catchphrase: "to infinity and beyond" (astronaut Buzz). Previews: #2 #1.

Story starts for me when Cowboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks) anticipates annual alone time with owner Andy at Cowboy Camp, but is left home after his arm breaks. (Why not fix then?) While he rescues Mr Wheezy, damaged voice-box penguin (Joe Ranft) from a yard sale, Woody is stolen by Al (Wayne Knight), Toy Barn owner.

Film, however, begins confusingly inside a video game, then adds bits for every toy box resident and dog Buster. Action slows, sidetracked throughout, by homages to other movies, especially prequel, that go over my head and drop my rating.

The complete 1950s TV Roundup Gang with Jessie (Joan Cusack), Stinky Prospector Pete (Kelsey Grammer), and faithful mount Bullseye (silent but personable) will bring big bucks if personally flown to a Japanese Toy Museum. Pete offers Woody choice "You can go back or stay with us and live forever". Astronaut Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) leads the gang of Mr Potato Head (Don Rickles), (Tyrannosaurus) Rex (Wallace Shawn), Slinky Dog dachshund (Jim Varney), coin bank (called "slotted pig" by deluded Buzz), and Hamm (John Ratzenberger).

While Tour Barbie guides our team around the Barn, our Buzz gets trapped and replaced by another. New Buzz is like our old Buzz was at first; he believes his job is to save the Universe from Zurg, that his powers, such as laser beam, are real. Exciting chases run through streets, Al's store and high-rise home, airport luggage conveyor belts. Final jump from moving airplane imitates the TV last episode of unfinished Roundup Gang series. Too much imitation, homage throughout, flies over my head.
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Spoilers:
Al, Pete, and evil Zurg - like Darth Vader, he is father of hero Buzz - are the villains. Jessie has to trust Woody, jump off without seeing TV show conclusion, not knowing if they will survive. Of course everyone goes home intact to Andy's bedroom. Andy sews Woody's arm back, creating a one-sided muscle-like bulge. Why could Woody perform stunts in airport as if arms both worked?
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Final credits run beside repeated imitation real-life gag reel of script and action adlibs, bloopers. Mrs Potato Head (Estelle Harris) packs extra inside her hubbie. Bug's Life 2 sneak-in.

Extras: (yawn)
1 Toy Story 3 new characters - Whoopi Goldberg, Timothy Dalton, Michael Keaton, more
2 Buzz Mission Logs Episode 2 - real International Space Station astronauts exercise
3 6 Pixar Artists - began varied ways, do different specific jobs, say "find what you love to do" like them
4 Sleep Deprivation Lab - 4 years work in 6 months stressful but successful
5 2 "studio stories" with black line drawings
5.1 Pinocchio - dolls thrown into ceiling "because we had no girlfriend", tall narrator Sweetland threw Pinocchio whose nose stuck and pants fell down
5.2 The Movie Vanishes - When 20 seconds accidentally deleted and regular backups were bad, narrator with newborn baby, work-at-home mom Susman, had backup at home
6 Pixar's Zoetrope - sculptures spin under strobe light in California and Hong Kong Disney Exhibits
7 Joe Ranf - died in 2005 car crash, interview, storyboard demo, others remember him, dedications in Cars and Corpse Bride films
8 ad for digital copy

Commentary by Dir John Lasseter, Co-Dir. Lee Unkrick and Ash Brannon, Co-Writer Andrew Stanton

Opening computer game to shock audience with Buzz adventure just threw me off. Flying rocks were mistake, but worked, so kept. Game done last so full of foreshadow, homage to Star Wars and other sci-fi wasted on me, not a trivia accumulator. Dog expected to be bad is friendly, mostly to show off animation innovation of fur, individual hairs. Again, didn't seem to be logical start to story yet.

New room looks just like old Toy Story 1, so wasted deliberate reproduction. Also threw me, hops so fast through cast, didn't know was review for audience. Arm rip is to remind us that they are fragile because he doesn't age. Ace of Spades is death card and references nightmare from earlier movie, again wasted, just confusing, because I did not remember.

Ranft is in present tense, before he died. Mr Wheezy brought back from lost in 1. Creepy. To them big deal that lights dim slightly outside when arm torn off is not noticeable without this commentary - more wasted effort.

Fear of yard sale meant to mimic #1 fear of birthday party new gifts. Yard sale items review house, enemy Sid's house, even other movies, ad from Toy Barn in 1. Again, I forgot 1, so all these references are wasted. For me, story starts here, Woody taken by 50s collector. Again, tribute to 50s wasted on me - costume, hair, collection, nothing twigged.

"Second act sag" had to take his arm off "just a popped seam" fixable not morbid human. Woody doesn't have to decide anything, he cannot leave without arm. Al has nose hairs, 4 o'clock shadow, I missed. Plant jungle Buz leads gang through are all from Bug's Life. Why would I notice or care? Music only when toys moving under traffic cones, rest of time is noisy crash sound effects. They're so happy to use restorer character in Geri's Game from Bug's Life videotape, cross-over. Scene cut like live action. Whoop-de-doo.

Brought back deluded Buzz, funny part of 1, with new, even more deluded Buzz. Also referenced Star Trek good Kirk meets bad Kirk episode. Despite watching re-runs every day, now second time through, still did not connect for me.

Barbie dance party uses Ann Margret Viva Las Vegas. Okaaaayyy. Rex chases like Jurassic Park, out same time as #1. Line 1965 order shortage of Buzz toys was true, 9M built since then.

Mis-direction Woody thinks Jessie turned on TV, doesn't believe her denial. Jessie mourning loss of owner Emily deliberately reminds parents of children growing up, made everyone cry, needed laughs. RockM SockM robots built at time Tyson bit Holyfield's ear, so blue guy misses part of ear.

Insane Buzz wears helmet and belt, but others accept, used to his previous attitude. Zurg has eye in back of head because real Steve Austin $6M man figure had vision hole. Calling Mr Potato Head "Vegetable Man" was left out of first movie, other nicknames from #1 when Buzz first met them. Matched with opening "so audience know". We do? Another shot does homage to Cape Fear. Cape - huh?

When Bullseye stands up and shyly holds hooves as if naked was animated early, had no place to slot for long time. Joss Whedon screenwriter had Potato Head eye as remote camera, never used idea in #1. Double Buzz, didn't need split screen or trickery like Freaky Friday. Reverses #1 many places, here Buzz gets to echo "You are a toy". Woody "I can't stop Andy from growing up but I wouldn't miss it for the world" is for parents too.
Set up to trust Pete, surprise when turns, was always bitter because never bought. In Museum he said Woody would be loved, but Buzz says "behind glass" "never touched" not loved. Zurg comes back and "wears a skirt". "I am your father" Darth Vader's line.

Floor goes to 11, homage to Spinal Tap. Elevator muzak is from Bug's Life. Like #1 Pizza Planet truck comes out of nowhere. Zurg throws baseball to son, deliberately "Field of Dreams". The little aliens were so big in Japan, they added into dangling air freshener.

Airport detail from work on Bug's Life. Got tour of San Franncisco airport baggage area. Background kids patticake turns into punch. "Butte" Montana sticker on Buzz' bottom I did notice. Comeuppence reworked many times. Packed beside Barbie, her cheek has face-paint, her owner "an artist" Woody grabs reins literally and is real cowboy, risks all to rescue soul-mate with horse and rope. Andy has little sister Molly nobody mentioned. .

Like 1 had match blow out, need moment here. Instead of Jesse slips like stereotypical damsel in distress, voice Joan Cusak said switch so he slips and she rescues. Everyone who makes the movie, makes the movie. The second plane suddenly flies out of nowhere for another phew.

Ending gives everyone a moment. They say just right, I find long, anti-common-sense. Al is in Japan yet does live ad? Mr Wheezy suddenly Robert Goulet deep opera splash. Why neighbors across the street move in and drinking cofee? Barbie background singers in sequins - they don't try to make sense.

Previews
Toy Story 3 Andy goes to college. Buzz reset to .. Spanish, and deluded again.
Beauty and the Beast musical

True Grit 2010

"True Grit" 2010 Jeff Bridges Preview does echo John Wayne 1969. Both are probably equally sad, funny, deathly exciting, memorable, and watchable again and again.

PG-13 (disturbing images, parental guidance for under-13s) seems old fashioned with video games like Hitman available. Obscenities borderline "pencil neck son of a bitch". No romance, but ouch the violence.
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Spoilers:
Moon's fingers cut-off, half Quincy's bloody face, LeBoeuf gurgling beneath near bit-through tongue (worst, FF fast forward, close eyes), snakes hiss in skeleton, trail of corpses accumulated on her back trail seen in delerium, faithful horse Little Blackie collapses, sacrificed, all agree for adults.
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"Leaning in his everlasting arms" oboe and orchestra reverberate soft and sweet while the grandfatherly hero holds and carries her miles to save her life. Once is not enough for this film; I would buy if I bought DVDs. Also, I have requested Charles Portis' based-on book, and John Wayne 1969 version.

In 1875 West, to avenge her father Frank's cold murder and robbery by hired hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) 14 sets out in winter, aided by inherited Colt's Dragoon revolver, drunken "old fat" one-eyed Marshal Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and boastful dandified Texas Ranger LeBoeuf (Matt Damon). Though drunkard of limited vision depth, Cogburn has poise, extensive practical experience, courage, "true grit". Heroine is witty bargainer, knows Latin and law but not guns, grows to respect and believe his reputation.

End has closure with beginning by voice-over from Mattie, same image of coffin into train, same light falling snow. Such details become evident when seen again, increases humor, appreciation, characters, set, costume, foreshadowing (snakes), continuation (storekeeper Bagby), dialogue ("I have previous business" in the jakes), tears, everything - proof of excellence.

Opening quote "The wicked flee whene none pursueth", biblical with "eths" is indeed Proverbs 28:1. "You must pay for everything in this world .. There is nothing free except the grace of God." Reminds us they did speak act believe differently then and there. Like education - where does Mattie learn law "writ of replevin" bargaining for her father's ponies then fireside chats with Ranger, also conversant?

The manner of speech is a catchy combination of old-timey full words rather than contractions, slang, and odd grammar.
sofky = Indian "osafki" ground dried corn bits hominy or (wild) rice stew, meat optional
Any suggestions for meaning of "stickers" in "but about six trees between there and Canada, and nothing else grows but has stickers on it"? My guess is a prevalence of Scotch, Russian tumbleweed, or other thistle weeds with burrs limiting farm cultivation?

"I do not know this man .. (hung high) Possibly in the belief it would make him more dead". "If them men wanted a decent burial, they shoulda got themselves kilt in summer." The clear air, clean outdoors is mostly pleasant, but hints at the hardships of riding. The music over the end credits is hymnal in sweetness, softly unobtrusive in the soundtrack, songs relevant tuneful tearful memorable.

Cogburn "I never shot nobody I didn't have to.. If it ain't loaded and cocked, it don't shoot.. I always go backwards when I'm backing up.. " only accepts Mattie's hire when she hands him $50 reward up front "for expenses". "They tell me you're a man with true grit". LeBoeuf (Matt Damon, all pronounce Labeef as if translated from French) Texas Ranger, has been "ineffectually pursuing" "half-wit" (Mattie's terms) Tom under aliases from Texas for murder there. Mattie catches up for the first night out, but after mutual insults, LeBeouf bids "Adios" (ay-deeose).
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Spoilers:
Forster (Ed Lee Corbin), heavily bearded medico and tooth extractor, the whole head of a bearskin above his own (Bear Man in credits), in drawn-out syllables, sends them for shelter from a snowstorm to the dugout of "the Original Greaser Bob", but unfriendly occupants order them to "Ride on". When Mattie blocks the chimney to force them out, they shoot through the roof at her. Quincy and leg-shot partner "Kid" Moon cooked up a mighty mess of "shofky" and stock over-much whisky. Threatened with losing his leg and offered good lawyer by Mattie, Moon reacts to description of powder mark gunshot scar on Tom's cheek. Quincy chops off Moon's fingers, Cogburn blows half Quincy's head away. Done for, Moon confesses they expect the Lucky Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper tee-hee) gang Tom is reputed to have joined.

LeBoeuf arrives unexpectedly just before the gang, also sent by Forster, making me needlessly suspicious that he was in disguise, perhaps Tom) disrupting Cogburn's 1 1/2 on seven ambush. "You put a kink in my rope, pardner.. The scheme did not develop as I had planned." Two of dead own a silver mine in Winding Stair Mountains, the next goal. Through snow and desert, LeBoeuf and Mattie discuss Latin legal terms "malum in se", the one-eyed drunkend Cogburn and injured-arm LeBoeuf compete shooting at tossed-up cornbread. Finally in a rainstorm, finding the Parmalee mine empty, Tom gone, Mattie and LaBoeuf mutually apologize for misjudging the other before LaBoeuf leaves.

Fetching water the next day, Tom doing the same, underestimates her, allows her to take the bag out of her pocket, unwrap the gun, even tells her to cock the revolver, and approaches as she shoots him in the leg. Ned likes her, orders psychopathic Tom to stay, no pay if he hurts her. Tom strangles her, stopped by LeBoeuf.

Cogburn takes down three of Ned's four riding in opposition, but falls, helpless until LeBoeuf's long shot takes down Ned. Tom knocks out LeBoeuf. "Even a blow to the head could silence him for only a few short minutes". But Mattie remembers to cock LeBeouf's rifle; the shot knocks Tom over the cliff. Cogburn sucks out her snake-bite venom, carries her to help, stays after her arm cut off, only till out of danger.

She writes to remind of $50. He finally sends her a Memphis Wild West show flyer 25 years later 1903, but she arrives three days after his death. The closing scene is the aged spinster, snow swirling down on a green plain, giving last respects at gravestone where she had his body moved in order to visit.
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Special Features encouraged me to watch all over to absorb details more than primary action:

1 Mattie interview. First movie. Made up, curled long hair instead of braids, she seems older. Mother sewed burlap skirt, Salvation Army outfit for audition. Father took her to shooting range before using guns, so knew to pretend kick back absent with blanks on set. Rode English "couple of years ago", so learned Western quickly.

2 Costumes 1875 "Bustles to buckskin". Designer Women long hair, men face hair, more hoops than bustle, no "cowboy hats", mostly worn-out city or Mexican sombreros, Stetson asthmatic son invented 4" brim and crown. Bridges helped choose hat, patch, boots, custom coat, dressed to bulk up. Damon - flashy dandy, only one in all buckskin, spurs, trim hat. Pepper wooly chaps in book too, front angora back leather, custom. Outstanding aging department. Brolin animalistic, costume fits badly as if stolen. Whole cast like composition, voices harmonized, collaboration.

3 Fort Smith set. Granger Texas. Sources b&w, so kept sepia feel. New paint job has to look old. Wide streets for wagons turning. Dirt over cobblestones. Did snow once, rare for real. Hide present-day post office in daily use. Manually pluck leaves from trees for hanging in winter. Wrapped phone pole in bark to fake tree. No plywood. Real legally qualified steam train produces own electricity.

4 Cast. Clips and comments more than hoo-rah praise, synergy. Damon calls lead "imperfectly perfect". "Hilarious" actors and result. Hailee didn't recognize Pepper without broken twisted face make-up.

5 Previews:
1 Ten Commandments restored in Blue-Ray 55th anniversary Charles Heston as Moses.
2 Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon 27 July 1969 Moon landing plus extra mission on dark side transformer alien enemies.
3 Thor 3D. highlights action, omits humor and sadness
4 Super 8 boy in small town makes movies with friends, only ones to believe and stop enemy released from army train wreck
5 The Fighter true boxer Micky Mark Wahlberg makes good but brother Dicky Christian Bale goes to jail

Timeline 5*

Preview. 4* Exciting action overtakes predictable plot, more sad than fun so lower despite my Gerard crush. Archaelogist Andre Marek (Gerard Butler) recognizes unusual sarcophagus from 1400s France, wherein a knight with a lopped ear clasps the hand of his lady beside for all time. Professor Johnston (Billy Connelly), father of Chris (Paul Mark), is lost in 1437 April 4, the night the French conquer La Roque castle and neighboring Castlegard village, provoked by the death of Lady Claire. Students convince Francois (Rossif Sutherland) to join, because he is the only competent French speaker.

But English invaders demand he translate "je suis un espoin", kill the "interpreter" for "confessing" and three Marines sent as backup. One Marine, dying, presses his return control "marker". His forbidden grenade explodes the experimental equipment in the present.

From first landing into rushing river, the dwindling members run, hide, escape, battle, and pause for guilt at deaths, but no thought to lost descendants. Casual sword slices and arrow strikes, massive trebuchet catapult, flaming bombs smash stone walls. Realistic re-enactments are way better than phony computer effects.

Marek repeatedly saves delicate-looking tough-fighting Lady Claire (Anna Friel), sister of French leader Arnaud (Lambert Wilson), defying history, of course getting his ear chopped. Chris and his brave sweetheart Kate (Frances O'Connor) lead French through the secret underground tunnel from the monastery so the French still win the day.

Based on Michael Crichton book I now want to read. Online excerpt.
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Spoilers:

Villains die in both times. Damaged equipment is repaired in the last minutes of the six-hour window allowed. In present-day, sarcophagus inscription describes happy life of Andre, Claire, and three children, one named after Francois.

Fifth Element

3* for contemporary Bruce Willis, I'd watch him fight almost anything or anybody. Preview. Bizzzz-arely overdone humor, crazy 1997-era outer-spacey special effects, fights, action, memorable in flashes, not overall. I caught snippets, intrigued enough to stay up late when more popped onto my radar, then again I think, but never saw the beginning or knew the name. Browsing InnerSpace spacecast website to enter Hobbit film contest found 1-7 Feb 2013 cross-Canada Cineplex Digital Film Festival of supposedly well-rated entries. I recognized all but two: Fifth Element and Oldboy.

Futuristic Bruce Willis in orange overall is retired agent brought back. With orange-hair instant-English-learner girl garbed in decorously placed white strips, they embark on mission to save the world in strange method, lots of fighting and special effects. Would change DVD Reviews in blog heading to Film, but DVDs include Extras I discuss and rate. This is a place-holder while I interlibrary loan search for DVD.

Red Dawn 1984 original

4* for outdated now, but still credible tear-jerker. I might have adored teen Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze) leading classmates if I had seen the first 1984 version of this scary patriotic war story then as an America teen. Even now my eyes teared up. When boys had their hair long, girls permed, both in tight jeans, everyone was afraid of the Reds (Russian and Cuban Communists), atomic bomb, armageddon. Waking up to enemy invasion was absolutely real. Is rousing even now for teen viewer to identify with high school kids fighting back against cruel authority.

Patrick Swayze is dead from cancer now, a hero in another way, then visibly muscular jock Jed Eckert. With his brother Matt (Charlie Sheen), knowledgeable about mountain survival, they camp, fish, hunt, start guerrilla warfare, scrawling Wolverines, school team mascot name on wrecked enemy vehicles. Downed pilot Lt. Col. Andy Tanner (Powers Boothe) is object of affection for girl ("tell me about your wife" I'll never love again"), rather than leadership. Captured doomed father Tom (Harry Dean Stanton) in prison camp has cameo "Avenge me!". Lots of sickly sweet tear-jerker moments I would have appreciated more when younger, less cynical.
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Spoilers:
At the end, reduced to four, the brothers sacrifice themselves attacking the headquarters as diversion while Erika and Danny flee to liberated territory. The Cuban Colonel, himself originally a guerrilla, waves the Eckerts free (to die). Jed shoots the Russian hunter who took them down, shouting "You lose", but is shot himself. Jed carries (dead) Matt to a (familiar?) park bench "we'll wait for dad, he's coming soon". Torture was implied then "you don't know what they do" from unwilling traitor Daryl turned in by mayor father then forced to swallow tracking device.
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I may see the remake, looks to have older cast; baby boomers have aged. Probably keep lots of shooting and explosions, may be more violent and bloody. Tough lesson, but important, to remind those who have not had to go to war about some of suffering by those who have.

MacGyver: 5* Atlantis, Doomsday

MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) starts both adventures in London: posh accents, castles, elite universities and museums.

Atlantis seeks key in underground trap labyrinths, then under a volcano for treasure. Doomsday has more deaths and injuries. Former KGB and greedy millionaire team to build nuclear weapons.

As always, hero saves innocent pretty girls and bystanders, even traitors, with whatever lies to hand, seconds to spare. He knows how to play tough, cool, ingenious, never overacts. Betrayals seem obvious, not surprises.

1 Lost Treasure of Atlantis - Annoying past professor with Atlantis obsession has one of those bellowing loud-volume voices that pierce sensibilities, void credibilities "one of my best students"; not even good comic relief. Nasty Balkan ethnic cleanser general foiled when MacG trapped in shed with engine-less jeep and rocket ammo. Boom!

2 Trail to Doomsday - I never trusted the surviving brother and "ex-KGB good friend of the family" cutey, so no surprises. Big hair 80s had plumper ideals than scrawny models today; architecture always classic beauty. Starts with murder of "good friend", hasn't seen for years, some friend, and girl's body; double funeral. Run, chase, close calls, injuries. Scarier. First almost slapstick by comparison.

Anderson is tall and handsome, my ideal Air Force hero in Stargate team planetary explorations. Even in a Santa hat, his face is fine. Official Site

Journey to the Center of the Earth 2008

1-2* "Journey to the Center of the Earth" 2008 must have had a low budget; effects are mostly laughable. Could barely watch through, kept hopping up for snack or excuse. Heiress Martha Dennison (Victoria Pratt) enlists professor Jonathon Brock (Rick Schroder) to find missing husband Edward Dennison (Peter Fonda), helped by nephew Abel and Alaskan Russian Sergei, finding dinosaurs deep underground, not deadly as claimed. Adam Stuart Smith UK plesiosauria, pt4 Film 9:20 "most deadly dinosaur", pt1

Dakota 1945 2*

Preview. Black and white. Weak comebacks from disobedient new wife who spends money irresponsibly without consulting new husband. John Devlin (John Wayne) arrives in top hat at 1870 mansion. New wife Sandra (Vera Hruba Ralston climbs down from window without luggage but with $20K (and supposedly Gainsborough painting we never see), pursued by papa (signs telegram Marko Poli?), owner of railroad they board.
(Aside: How not to get top acting talent. Shining blonde (wig?) Czech figure skater married already-married head of studio. She claimed different ages. To Hitler's "Would you like to skate for the swastika?", she said she retorted "I'd rather skate on the swastika. Good publicity.)

John aims for California, but Sandy says all the flowers there give hay fever and buys tickets for Dakota. At her father's, she overheard railway plans to extend, buy land in Fargo. John looks forward to quiet and "making love". Colonel Jim Bender and sneaky Collins connive to make Devlins' acquaintance, take same stage and boat, despite help request from big rancher Anson Stowe burned out by raiders framing Indians, then shot dead.

Steamer captain (Walter Brennan) berates bosun Nicodemus "Yassir" "darkie boy" for comic relief. Scenery backdrops of river and buggy looks fake, flat. Sandy unloads John's bullets, so bandits get away with start-up stash just before boat runs aground. Sandy volunteers to tell widow Stowe of her bereavement.

Fargo residents in folk costumes for celebration, meeting Collins again in company of bandits. Bender signs up the wheat-growers to forfeit their land, and puts Collins in as marshal. Devlin pretends to leave town and talks fast to take over the contract, but seeing her father's land buyer Geary come into town secretly, she blurts out the news to Bender. Dance girls in sparkly low cut gowns are the excuse for a song number "Call me". The bar music is the background to action outside.

Old-fashioned punches are fist-to-jaw, with small sound effects even when thrown obviously wide. Hits and and throw-into-wall contrast greatly with martial arts and vigorously physical (Israeli agents' Krav Maga) techniques sifting into modern film fight styles. Self-defence classes should be required for everyone, starting at day-care, through high school; even/ especially seniors need confidence training brings.

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Spoilers:
Bender has the contract stolen and old man in charge killed. Climax is big blazing bang. Bender shoots Geary, accuses Devlin to attempt lynching, sets fields on fire to get land that spread to settlement. Collins shoots Bender trying to leave with money first, attacks John. Satisfying result on villain, not so much when too-lovely wife says 'sorry honey, sunk (my pun) our travel money into boat, even though railroad coming'.
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Animation Express 0*

"Animation Express" 26 French/English shorts with subtitles. Sad dull boring and horror.
Disc1
1 Madame Tutti Putli - horror, silent girl rides train, organ theft
2 Forming Game - letters shapes music India baby
3 Hungu - patterned aborigines arrow equines, ma cries for baby who ages, skull to instrument at start
4 Rosa Rosa - flickers lovers narrate war baby color normal "life goes on"
5 Rains - railway highrise umbrellas traffic violin clear piano birds
6 Retouches - plunk-notes wiper flakes orange road hand stair paintbrush man lines volleyball lines green
7 Subservience - bleak plain, panting servant rolls red carpet, drinks, violins ballerina 2 carpets contiguous servants sink for binocular wipe, alone high view
8 Spare Change -Montreal "dont talk to me about sunny skies" grey shade outlines bums bum asshole St Peter flame "go to Hell" rock color "do it" amoeba
9 The Spine - codependent counsellor fingers, cowboy Dan (Gordon Pinsent) body parts fall off fuck balloon songbird Mary deflates pink-green spine marriage
10-13 The Man who Slept, How People got Fire, Robes of War, Drux Flux

Disc2 - not worth a glance, but here's the titles in case you're searching
Sleeping Betty, The Necktie, Come Again in Spring, HA' Aki, Here and There, Flutter, Engine 371, Invasion of the Space Lobsters, Sainte Barbe. Paradise, Vive La Rose, Land of the Heads, Runaway

Igor 2008 *5

More comedy than horror, starts slow, picks up fast, funny, sweet. When clouds covered the farming land Malaria, King Malbert (Jay Leno) declared an annual Evil Science Fair competition in Killiseum, for worst global threat to blackmail world leaders for $1M.

Every mad scientist has a hunchbacked Igor, graduated from Igor school to help, and a girlfriend, really Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge) in disguise, to steal best for perennial winner Dr Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard). She is Heidi for incompetent Dr Glickenstein (John Cleese) whose accidental death allows his Igor (John Cusack), hunchback differentiated by enormous appealing eyes, to create life, gigantic lopsided Eva (Molly Shannon), sweet aspiring actress with enormous appealing eyes, one brown, one blue. She thinks she is auditioning for the musical Annie. The only songs I liked, the others felt intrusive, were the final two, "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" and "I can see clearly now the rain has gone".
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Spoilers:
In the Killiseum contest, invisible announcer Carl Cristall (Arsenio Hall) introduces battle of the monsters. Dr Schadenfreude activates her evil bone, her eyes turn black, but Igor repeats her line "I'd rather be an good nobody than an evil somebody", and adds advice "Everyone has an Evil Bone. We can choose whether to activate it." Meanwhile Igor's secret inventions, bottled Brain (Sean Hayes) and immortal feline Scamper (Steve Buscemi) destroy the king's weather ray, so as Eva sings "the sun will come out", the sunlight blasts down on everyone. Finally at the Malibar Theatre, blind orphans sing "xxx", and Igor offers to build a pet to care for with Eva.
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Extras
Commentary with a director (and fan voice) Tony Leondis high, writer Chris McKenna deep, and a producer Max Howard English
Opening scenes co sunny golden orange is color of hope, that increases. Every image tells story, so Igor's first outfit resembles prisoner: stripes, straitjacket, handcuffs. Who knew? Not me. Long Igor voice-over exposition to establish weird world and odd characters. Permanent marker "BRIAN" on Brain's jar is darkest for his intro, wiped so softer, less intrusive after joke. His mouth is an electrical current. Huh again. I just thought it zizzled when he got excited.

Dr Schadenfreude's castle is supposed to be tacky like Liberace museum in Las Vegas. Who? Tony sounds gay, is that relevant to wanting Liberace look? Jaclyn-Heidi is homage to Jekyll-Hyde, visually always snake-like, Heidi busty wholesome bovine milkmaid, Glickenstein crocodile-like. Nope. Didn't get any of that. Animators pointed to voicer Jennifer's facial expression. King is armadillo-cockroach, sleazy survives all. Igor had to be cute, I got the large eyes, but the nose was tweaked lots.

No straight lines in whole movie, all asymmetrical, off-kilter. Glicky's lab not matte painting, totally 3D, visible from any angle, because we spend so much time there. "Pull the switch" to make life turned into joke when Scamper refuses yell, requires please. John makes us take Igor seriously, real hopes and dreams, not bumbling idiot. Homage to original Frankenstein movie to see monster first from behind. Hole in wall was created from outside by mistake, so she has to fall backward. Enh. Without commentary, I'd never know or miss details and homages. "Blind orphans get everything" is Sean ad-lib. Homage to Frankenstein merges coming across little girl and blind hermit. Eva starts to glow.

Jaclyn dressed snaky pop 60s? Block colors I see, snake no. The DVD was so popular, well-used, scratched, spots skip, gags drop, plot shorts (sometimes I just jumped scenes), but I did catch a Frankenstein homage staggering up to tower (lightning bringing life is just tradition). Brain Wash is combination of car wash, insane asylum padded cells, torture chamber eyeball openers, brain helmet. I was confused by killer spy suddenly followed by car wash owner; formerly scene between then no time to build a spider. Original intention was to include many horror film references, so Jeff the Fly was deliberate, for Jeff Goldblum movie "The Fly", Vincent Price look for original "The Fly". Oh dear, this is way beyond me.

TV interviewer James Lipton (as himself questions acting teacher for Eva's Brain Wash lesson) accepted being on show by announcing while interviewing John Cusack. Axe Murderer to Actor's Studio is a play on words? No, Tony, I did NOT "get it". All the little things you all enjoyed, the coffee maker, Employee of the Month Award, I didn't notice. But I did try echoing Eva's elocution exercise "A box of mixed biscuits and a biscuit mixer" is a doozy I could not do, said "pss pss". Her list of "things to do" actressy ambitions "adopt children from all over the world" rings a peal on my beloved odd Angelina Jolie who took husbands and children from her film sets, Madonna, probably others; "become an environmentalist, but fly private when necessary" is so hypocrite Prince Charles.

Action carriage chase written in three hours, smashing, serious unmasking. "Paparazzi! Why can't those vultures leave me alone?" is not so funny if Princess Diana's death was a big deal, 2008 not before, maybe too long after. Simple shapes and textures rather than realistic was time-money decision, yet earlier they claim no decisions dollar-based. Igor chases Brain with axe for admitting he used remote to set Brain Wash TV station programming to acting lesson. Like cartoon, no fear.

None of actors recorded together, yet onscreen relationships impact. Invisible Carl represents press (reporters), interview studio is homage to Leno's actual set. Leaders manipulate in our real world; this movie empowering to question authority.Eva's collar is wings of angel, like her. It is? Cozy in castle to represent like Christmas with fire, candles. Like Wizard of Oz, three friends get gifts, heart, etc. Cohorts lines were changed, Scamper's tooth and Brain's buzzy lips made easy.

Everything upside down, monsters sweet, pretties nasty. In Schadenfreude's sauna, Igor being lured to the dark side, motif is snakes, S-shapes everywhere, crazy straw. Really? French love Magnum PI, so French animators drew mustache on Schade's igor with Hawaiian floral shirt (Christian Slater cameo). Trivialest of trivia, have a contest. Commentators are fans of Guthman movies (who? dunno any of his movies) where actors let loose and characters dominate, harder in animation.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1103765/bio
http://10starmovies.com/profiles/Les_Guthman_220193/

Color drains from her and movie as Eva learns truth. Drama vs melodrama balance, understand why she leaves with Schade. In France, they put Igor's hands on her front chest, American director moved to shoulders. Igor stands up for himself in body as well when spirit does, speaks in front of others without slur. Mixed 2D matte with 3D for cost. No people in arena, too costly. Scamper has reason to live now. They don't think he looks like cat. He does. Brain has his arc, "you're the only hunchback who can stand tall and fight for her", "smartest thing you ever said".

Inspiration for passage was Paris catacombs, walls patterned with bones and skulls. Igor discovers the blue sky above the clouds, morality of our own world, our politicians mislead, allegory (?) is we have to stand up and be responsible for the role we play. "We've got Annie" is for "musical theatre fans" like Tony. Compositing is shadows and blurs, important. Fans of Rank and Bass (Rudolf, Mad Monster Party stop motion). Who? Okay. Backgrounds all dark so light faces and people pop out.

Final big fight, Eva singing dressed as Annie battling monsters, bizarre, absurd, surreal. Annie people gave rights because same message, believe, hope. Here Schade's large red goggles remind me more of Elton John than Liberace. Eva pulling arena down with ropes wrapped around arms looks like Hercules to me. Igor's journey brings the sun out for everyone. Crowd is repeated from before, cost. Jaclyn changes into Igorette, "I'm going home to change" is adlib. Igor gets beginning wish, crowd chants his name. At end he has yellow tuxedo because whole kingdom bright. Seeing bright world from stage echoes start balcony view dark world. Okay. 7 1/2 mins credits. Oy. They lived based in Paris almost 2 years, but animation in Vietnam, all Jan 2008 - costs? quality? Recorded around the world, Thailand, New York. I do not like the credit song or others, but Annie, "I can see clearly", the movie and message great,

Alternate opening starts with news report ten years after King Malbert spread cloud cover, started blackmailing world with winning evil invention from Science Fair "Who will have the strength to stop them?" Igor narrates the lives of nobody hunchbacks, his inventions ignorant "brain with no brain", "talking rat who can never die", finally his planned hope "to change all that" (Eva).

Concept Art Galleries:
1 Characters - tiny Igors, group, others same
2 Set & Production Design - vehicle drawings and models, rooms mostly empty in sketch and color, Eva with broken wall hole, buildings
3 Storyboards - Chase scene in pairs of simple sketches with illegible labels
4 Posters - Name Igor in many styles - fave multi-color lab bottles, lit castle, fave - lead trio, simple unfamiliar Igor (& Eva) sketches

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time 5*

"Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" from Jordan Mechner and his video game of same name. Preview. PrinceWiki PrinceWikiFilm

Reminiscent of childhood favorites Ali Baba, Scheherazade, magic, brave youths rewarded, secret underground passages booby-trapped, sword clashes.... Fast fun fight for family, truth, justice - and to save the whole world. "We make our own destiny" encourages the hero.

As the sun rises (opening and closing scenes) on the DVD, I almost miss the moral that Destiny connects some. A voice-over frames the history. Missed more than I realized on TV (King orders Dastan to marry captured Princess, burns from poisoned robe. She flees with him and tries to stab him for enchanted dagger he accidentally rewinds time for alternate events. "Give me the strength not to kill her". They flirt and fight on the way to the King Sharaman's funeral.)

I liked what I saw, from evil Nizam ordering out sorcerer "Hassansin" assassins. Found DVD, but the whole is mostly better. He kills a dreadful number of (his own loyal royal Persian) soldiers. The defiant ostrich racer-promoter Sheikh Amar (Alfred Molina) defying taxes on behalf of "the small businessman", decrying "secret government killing activity", is out of place, comic relief goes too far. The knife-throwing Seso (Steve Toussaint), a famed Ngbaka "Scourge of the Numidian Plain", convinces the "slightly dishonorable entrepreneur" Amar to "nobility" of action.

Questions: Why does the poison cloak not affect the servants who touch it first? Why don't we see Nizam''s burned hands earlier? How does Dastan find Tamina again alone among the dunes after the funeral? Why bother with magic and dead eyes when Hassasins terrifying for deadly skill alone?

Still think film could edited pre-amble, credit to plot that stands alone fine starting later. Perhaps starting, with one orphan boy saving another, saved in turn by king, draws in niche audience? Chase over (really, the rooftops) city does set scenery. Dastan's actions show his rebellious contentious attitude - in a fight, buddy betting, ignored in disharmonious council. Climbing to open the Eastern Gate yet while invading Alamut show his creativity, courage, bruising acrobatics, warror skill, achievement, and goals "to save lives". Eldest son Tus observes: "You've never excelled at following orders."

Brave handsome youngest prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), adopted from "gutter", fights their treacherous power-hungry uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley), for a magic dagger guarded by courageous beautiful Princess Tamina (Gemma Arteron). Pressing the weapon handle top can turn back time briefly; misuse can release an apocolyptic sandstorm. Arabian nights desert scenery, sandstorms, venomous snake-wielding Hassassins, sword clashes, martial art conflicts, flying knives, shiny armor, fierce battles, massive explosions, falling stone, fiery pit, sacrifice ... gauzy flowing costumes, romantic glances, sweet kisses. Palette sandy, humor rare "welcome to search me for it", action over-the-top, emotion and wide-screen effects believable. song over lengthy credits is piercingly unpleasant; throughout was appropriately unobtrusive.

Prince Garsiv (Tony Kebbell) has lean, narrow, few-days-growth almost-beard Joseph Fiennes style for brotherly resemblance, normally ignored in entertainment casting. Muscled body on fuller faces, very short hair, seems to be common lead look these days. Though attractive for models, I prefer more unique actors, especially with deep rumble-my-heartstring (not North American accent) voices. Eldest heir Tus (Richard Coyle) is not my style, but they make a fine trio.

Spoilers: Shocking when all three Princes including Dastan, Ngbaka, and Tamina all die in turn. Tears swell. Entirely believable. The happy ending turning back time to save them relieves deeply. The luck to rewind just after the entrance to Alamut is the perfect point to start all over. Well done helping the viewer recognize with Dastan where we are in time. Though he meets Tamina without their history, his love is in his eyes, his gift of the dagger a hint that "We hardly know each other well enough. I look forward to the day that we do".

Some films I saw (part) on TV first before finding DVD. Older DVDs have no extras, extras sometimes take more time than film itself, so regular play may be posted first.

Bonus Features:
Making of ..
"Epic period piece"
- Cast/ crew - first see person labelled by name title then bit bites illustrate words by example, hold attention even of ADHD
- I watched 3x and could again
- real sets, props, vipers, scorpions, hidden valley ahs one narrrow path
- "exquisite detail" leather - cheese grater to age heavy costumes "feel like clothes" "look like paintings"
- (Pirates of Carib. designer Penny Rose)
- army of 500 not CGI
- "fantastic craftmanship", 30 tries for Dagger,
- all on the spot artisans hand-made
- took Marrakesh metal, wood, materials to England Pinewood 007 studio (9/11 stages turned over 3-4 x = 30-40 sets), for duplicate castle
- black-red warrior Nasaf Persia contrasts with Hindi gold-blue Alamut
- "rewarding visually" stunning, film watchable without sound
- genuine action in Morocco at hottest time, Aug over 100F, rain
- "hysterical sequence", pro jockeys never on ostriches before
- 3th-6th Century Morocco
- "actual God-given action hero can fight, jump, clamber", swing, flip, bounce, climb, ride, "Parkour" from game
- wires for safety, not stunt moves

- 3 ads I ignored
- we have to pay to get more ads? GAK. Why I frequent public libraries.
- ads for Blue-Ray, sorry Blu-Ray, who cares, obsolete in months anyway.
- I like previews I can choose, others I FF Fast-Forward.
- Tron, I saw - fun effects, happy ending, no need to watch again
- Toy Story 3 - Sunnyside Day Care has evil Teddy, traitor Ken, who trap our old favorites. I caught the last half on TV.

Sneak Peeks:
ad for DisneyRewards.com, Blu-Ray, Disney Zeke and Luther
Sorcerer's Apprentice
A Christmas Carol - animated musical, Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge
Fantasia , Fantasia 2000, Destino short
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 talking dogs, too cute, for $50K show prize, "families are stronger together than we are alone"
Lion King HD (once was bad enough)





Nanny McPhee 5*

Catching the sequel on TV revived smiles from original, even better than sequel that emphasizes special effects. Popular library DVDs have scratches, skips that lose crucial events and dialogue, despite captions. Enough remains, but extras also suffer, at least frozen scenes are glorious to stare at, compensate somewhat. I still want to see again.

Nanny's magic, method, and results are unforgettable. When her stick pounds down, drastic damage revises misbehavior. As discipline restores order, her disfigurements and bulk melt away. When everyone is happy and loving (again), Nanny (Emma Thompson) must leave.

Lonely widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) talks to the empty pink armchair of his recently passed wife (Agatha in deleted intro), despairs of his seven progeny, acting out their grief, badly. Eldest, Simon (Thomas Sangster), thinks dad cares nothing now because he spends less time with them. Cook Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) has bright red frizzy mop above bulging blue eyes, angry with "pustulant tykes". Haughty Great-Aunt (on wife's side) Lady Adelaide (Angela Lansbury unrecognizable aged in cupid-bow lipstick and hook nose) did support household, but will cut off monthly allowance unless he marries within the month, and adopt one of the girls to lessen his tribe.

I'd forgotten many delightful details. Large Victorian family composed of eccentric individuals. Greens and blues shimmer in glow of soft oil lamps, behind kites flying through a seaside sky. Hot pinks and red outfit on Selma and waistcoat glimpse (beneath velvet jacket, then tie beneath sad greyish vest) on Cedric illustrate vivid external and internal passion. Persecuted ex-Army Cook takes revenge with "tasty gristle" sick-room broth. Twin beagles sympathize expressively.

Alongside predictable plot lines, surprises remained. Illiterate scullery maid Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald) wants education to read romances, secretly carries an inappropriate torch for her likewise unknowingly infatuated employer, but the children (Sebastion (Samuel Honywood), Chrissie, Lily, Aggie, baby) believes she helps them only for wages, step-mothers are always evil.

In the troubled household, Nanny McPhee's voice echoes everywhere, "The person you need is Nanny McPhee", until thunder-claps announce her arrival - warts, front tooth overlaps lip, huge bulbous nose. She asks his main concerns: go to bed when told, get up, get dressed, say please and thank you. The lessons start when rampaging in the kitchen becomes dangerous and exhausting, and continue with fun and frolics. When potential marital candidate, thrice-widowed Mrs Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie), arrives for tea, pranks peak, and backfire.

(Spoilers:
-----
Adelaide's visit for tea coincides with Nanny's afternoon off. Adelaide, blind, mistakes animals (donkey, pig, hens, beagles) dressed in feminine finest, for her grand-nieces. When Nanny insists one must go to Stitch Manor with Adelaide, Simon knows Evangeline's desire to better herself, so she is the optimal volunteer. To save Selma from pranks after she downs worm tea sandwiches oblivious, Cedric must grab her close, but she misinterprets and accepts the on-his-knees proposal.

At the wedding, Eva enters majestically, reincarnated as "fairy princesss". Admirer recognizes her instantly, reacts "nonsense, she's always looked like that". When people love, one look tells all. "Behave"-"Bee-have" buzzing infests rainbow wedding. I had to play the finale again and again. Letty's dyed lambs. Food fight. Children engineer proposal. Snowflakes clothe everyone in bridal white. And magically cleanse and transform clothes to pure white of course.
-----

"What.. What .. What.." sounds like Dr Who - BBC TV - Is this a Brit expression? I'm on tenterhooks for upcoming December special. Nanny 2 takes place present day. Animated credits likewise echo plot. Could there be a futuristic Nanny 3?

Finding images for this review, I found "NM & the Big Bang", unfortunately an alternate title for #2, not #3. Thankfully, searching for #3 plans found Emma Thompson has written "futuristic .. out in space", "depending on whether this one (#2) makes any money. Oh dear. How much is "any"? Studio "want modern one next".)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeL3aNtFV3k
Box office $27M enough?
http://www.movieweb.com/movie/nanny-mcphee-returns

Emma is hilarious off-screen too (oops x-rated)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IePWkcpeufo interview 3-11'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEWC-YCnOSE in Brave, Kelly rejoins Emma

Previews
Over The Hedge animated, raccoon introduces wildlife to suburbia for ulterior motives. (William Shatner) (Wanda Sykes), hyperactive squirrel
Curious George Flatly animated monkey(Drew Barrymore) follows explorer (Will Farrell) from
Polly World flat cartoon school-girl Barbie wannabe
Leave it to Beaver TV show S1-2 B&W 1950s sweet wholesome Cleaver family features trouble-making youngest son

Languages: English, Spanish, french, Commentary

Bonus Features: Fascinating
Casting the Children - Finding and coping with kids, beach really cold and windy
Village Life - 3 A built from scratch for fairy tale look
Nanny's Makeover - skip-over, lost

Deleted (for overall length, momentum) Scenes (with Director intros)
except #7 gag

1 Alternate opening: nannies of the world - too long: silent with dinosaurs, pyramid, Japan, to Agatha's gravestone, tall top-hatted funeral parlor makeup artist Cedric, corpse mouth drops open when fleeing nanny cries "they've eaten the baby"
2 Jowls and Wheen walk at night - after locking up, discuss practical joke on Cedric, jumping out of "coffins is funny, cupboards ain't" - at the wedding I thought they were a gay couple because this scene was cut explaining who they are (lost in skips), why they break into laughter so easily when cake-d,
3 Mr Brown and Eva - and letters, lost, does show holding arms, end more believable
4 Mr Sapless and the pink chair - buyer offers one sovereign (Charles Dickens' early weekly wage), Cedric says "I suppose we must, dear" as if answering wife
5 Jowls and Wheen surprise Mr Brown - chorus "we get you that time" out of coffins, asks corpse "what was your wife like", reads aloud refusal from date Prudence
6 Tea Party - sped-up silent black and white version confused child test audience, let me see antic scratches lost
7 Nanny in disguise - while cook relaxes for her scene, Colin, job finished two weeks before, dresses and makes up to surprise everyone with Nanny's trademark line for applause and laughter

Gag Reel - lost

How Nanny Came to Be
I'm convinced to eagerly seek Brand books. Academy winner Emma for Sense and Sensibility used three Nurse Matilda books (first, Town, Hospital) for characters (Adelaide, Eva, cook), scenes (fake measles, dressing donkey, adoption, changes) "the ugliest person you ever saw in your life" "front tooth sticking out like a tombstone". Original differs: many un-named children, mother alive, out-tdated term "Nurse", "Matilda" used by Dahl.

Author Brand told her great-grandfather's stories. B. 1907 Malaysia, lived in India, educated from little girl in convent, adored order, sense of family. Lovely photos. First crime novel "Death in High Heels". Awards. 1955 Nurse M. Her cousin Edward Ardizzone illustrated, heard same childhood tales b.1900 Vietnam. The drawing stills here increase my desire for books.

Two Commentaries
Poor DVD quality limited time to part of each. First has sense of set chaos, efforts to control loudly bored crisp cruncher and commanding dramatists in competitive chorus. Emma lights up interviews with bright warm wit. Feminine outlook contrasts. I would watch this over and over, commentaries, other languages, any-ever. The visuals cheer a dreary winter.

I Director Kirk Jones (questions to direct) kids
(Names http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanny_McPhee
(Simon (Thomas Sangster), Tora (Eliza Bennett), Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), Eric (Raphaël Coleman), Sebastian (Samuel Honywood), Chrissy (Holly Gibbs) and baby Aggie (Hebe and Zinnia Barnes)))
too much chat, so divide points in fives, only include start

Took opening shot ten minutes away from home by helicopter
Fascinated by chair as highly emotionally charged image, accidentally broke under Colin one day, Kirk wrote memo "treat as one of the cast"
"They ate the baby" prank "chicken" answer kids
May have been Emma's mom Phillida Law who suggested Nanny's new name

Holly got blister on ankle dragging around on Colin's ankle
Sam did not like jam all over, hates showers, thought only one take before this job
(Sam eats crisps, Kirk chides, acts silly, others ask for toiler, "Raph" "nobody listens to these things, boring")
Remote control mouse needed bigger wheels for over stone tiles
Rubber bat to hit cook
Jenny shocked at first sight of NM, kept a wart, others kept noses, that rot

Kirk couldn't see Emma in Nanny, even her posture changed, wanted "little bit scared"
Jenny (?) loved bassett hounds so much her mom bought one on Ebay
Kids named and kept teddies
Cook tied down on table, gagged, for 5 days "no adult torture"
Kitchen special effect simple commen-sense, person under table
Cook's red frizz is her own hair

2 Producer Lindsay Doran, Actor-Writer Emma Thompson
(I'd love to see all through many times, but skips so, continued with second commenters)
Angela's first fake nose, first job in 20 years
Modestine donkey from book, dancing is puppet
Third time watching, vivid sunset Adelaide & Eva ride into
Wonderful patchwork quilts on beds
Gradual 5 changes: hairline, ears and lobes shrink

170 steps to freezing seaside
Measured height to Nanny's nose to set round window center height
Real steam from her tea
Lesson 4: To listen, was father's lesson

By wedding, Nanny's hair lovely smooth blonde waves
When Selma drops in curtsy, hand across bosom was not humility, but for "Puritan" Americans
Eva's posture rigid from deportment lessons
Bee buzzing from book #3
Emma's mother sits behind Angela

Everyone happy in food fight till food hardened over days, smelt, hurt
Angela fearful, Emma took responsibility, stuck on days, while reading
Norwegian proverb "That which is loved is beautiful"
(In http://thinkexist.com/quotes/norwegian_proverb/ not http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Norwegian_proverbs)
See love, not goo
In book, tooth flies away, here subtle, everything changes in paper-bits snow
Emma wrote line "snow comes together to form magical veil", "cannot tell you" satisfaction coming together, sadness at end not acted

Nanny McPhee Returns aka & the Big Bang 5*

5* Preview has unused footage and top highlights, but I could see them over and over again, and there are more. For rainbow visuals and computer-less food fight, I liked #1 better. But how can I fault #2 for amazing special effects?

Both have 60s-style cartoon play on plot over credits that I watched twice. When I watched the whole thing again, I re-rated up to the maximum for overall frolic and frissons. "When pigs fly" usually means never; piglets perform acrobatics and synchronized swimming. I strongly hope for more sequels, especially Emma's "already written futuristic in outer space" (see end of Spoilers: Interview).

Star (and writer and director) Emma Thompson "must come when needed but not wanted and must go when wanted but not needed". WW2 mother Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) struggles to keep five children and the family farm of her husband Rory (Ewan McGregor). Though away fighting, his automatic piglet brusher connects to a Happy-o-meter. I can't read all the settings: 1 ?, 2 tickled pink, 3 cloud nine, 4 ecstatic. His brother Phil (Rhys Ifans) badgers "Izzy" to sign away her share; sale would discharge his secret gambling debt.

Misses Topsy (Sinead Matthews) and Turvy (Katy Brand) "heavies" threaten to remove Phil's kidneys first. Then, the experienced taxidermists, owl as evidence from bottomless Gladstone bag, prepare to stuff him as an example to other welshers at the casino doorway.

Basis is Nurse Matilda series by Christianna Brand over 50 years ago. Nanny's ugly deformities - bulk from heavy black clothes and large bonnet, frizzy grey hair (wig), warts, joined brows, bulbous nose, enlarged ears (I missed), front tooth overlapping lip (how did Emma learn to talk clearly?) - fade as her charges learn their five lessons: Peace, sharing, helpfulness, bravery, faith. (Where is lesson "appearances deceive"?)

The vivid greens remind me of #1: village shop of Mrs Docherty (Maggie Smith), Phil's suit, growing woods. Red trim on the adorable hats of the well-dressed hit women are a spark of red stop-light danger (for urban London say Extras but I like my theory better). Watching with the sound off is gives the best impact. Should try with #1.

The everyday clinging dresses, natural fabrics, and pointy high heels back then seem so fancy dressy now. At first I thought mama in her "moment alone" had put up her hair especially, but second time think updo is for housework.

Cousins' chauffeur Blenkinsop (Daniel Mays), I've only seen before in recent serious dramas: Treasure Island, Outcasts. He seems to be a genuinely sympathetic with the poor little rich charges. He keeps a straight face as his shiny patent leathers descend deep into manure.

Cyril has the decidedly curly girly look common to old photographs. Fashion-frantic Celia goes slap-dash slapstick, as the other tend towards, Phil the worst.

Mrs D can advise "have a little faith" leaving 17 drawers full of syrup, because mother cleans up. I liked the original echo of Nanny herself "The person you need is Nanny McPhee", chorus from tins pots and jars in shop just add techno-flourish. When cousin Cyril smashes their full-year saved-up sugar ration for dad-at-war in jam jar, slow motion does emphasize the severity of the deed.

As in #1, Nanny arrives with a clap of thunder. "An Army nanny .. I have been deployed" reassures her employer, as before, of no need for payment. "Small c, large P" in straight face brings back Poo fascination from barnyard opening. I'm not sure if the extra chins are just the way she holds her chin, cheek bulges fake - artificial faces are usually awful (Mission Impossible #1 was on TV last night. Were the faces artificially unreal so the viewer remembered?)

On first viewing, action was all compelling, quibbles unnoticed. Why does adult wedding dress fit child? Falling on thistly fields during pig chase is not so funny for former farm-dweller remembering ear-piercing shrieks of piglets having teeth removed, and trying to run on rough ground in rubber boots. Impossible though acrobatics are, pigs look real.

Deserves re-watching for more missed moments. When the goat enters, mama sniffs "ew", but so does the goat to human odor.

Farmer McReady (Bill Bailey) acts real. Accent like Harry Potter's Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). Perhaps he made indelible voice impression on Dr Who Wardrobe Christmas special 2011. Preview. Wiki.

The enemy bomber does not look like a Japanese or Nazi German, and (their Movement Director) is not. His bomb inspires alternate "Big Bang" title. We hoped for the ending but cannot be sure until the last minute.

-----
Spoilers:
Pretty new clothes crushed into ubiquitous farmyard "poo", fashion-fussy Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson) dons treasured wedding dress; veil tears while trapping roaming piglets. Cyril (Eros Vlahos) faces his cold father Lord Gray (Ralph Fiennes) "important in the War Office", disproves the parent-assigned attribute "weak-willed", asserts "We know you are divorcing, at least help your sister in love stay married". Truth will out, when Phil changes a war office telegram from MIA to KIA, Missing In Action to Killed, and a conjured baby elephant steals away his pens.

(Dame) Smith is expert master of understated "oh". Tears well to the eye when the telegram comes. Many know what that meant in wartime, even us younger folk.

Defusing a fallen bomb teaches the last of the lessons. Magic wind harvests the hay and blows away the hit women. Nanny departs as wounded father (Ewan McGregor) comes home to tearful eyes. He of quiet walk and Nanny of meaningful looks stand tall above others' slapstick exaggerated acting styles.

When Nanny bids farewell, Aggie, Mrs D, waves her rattle. I remember the baby in #1. How could a barely talker, not even walker, remember goodbyes from that young?

Emma is delightfully funny in person as well - Interview.
-----

Extras:
Spoken Languages: English, Español, Français
DVS (Descriptive Video Service for blind)
Commentary w director Susanna White
Subtitles: English SDH, Español, Français
(I prefer subtitles in case I cannot understand an actor, accent, or word)

Deleted Scenes:

1 Thats MY lemon drop - Alternate opening is narrated by Tony Sedgewick (Movement Director plays Enemy pilot - I knew he wasn't Japanese or Nazi) instead of by mama

2 A fully fledgling professional - Mr Docherty (Sam Kelly) used to be Mr Spolding but acted married onscreen - works. Newly appointed warden may arrest "suspicious characters" - Phil's request for arrest in kitchen makes no sense because this is deleted.

3 Heart of darkness - Cousins ride to "Deep Valley Farm" on dark lane. Aged sign would emphasize inheritances if kept.

4 I'm covered in poo - Talking drawer scene ends with Mrs D saying "Nanny McPhee", so we would know of her previous connection before end - better in. More children chasing - alright out. Celia screams at poor Blenkinsop, we feel less sorry for her, car leaving splashes her - better out.

5 Piglet carousel - When kids laugh at pigs swimming, they really laugh at Emma cavorting in pond, pretending to be pig. Unfinished animation of pigs circling tree in air - good, would be boring after terrific swim.

8 Thanks but no thanks - Youngest, Vincent, cheers up Cyril - dull, better out.

9 Funny at the time - At picnic Celia sees unibrow gone. Nanny explains why "big black bird" called after opposite, little white flower "Edelweiss". Does need explanation. I thought he was transformed human.

10 Yoo-Hoo 1 - Misses Topsey and Turvey describe their surgical skills "without anaesthetic".

11 Yoo-Hoo 2 - Dark humor of Miss Turvey's kidney dish "welcomed by British family audiences but made Americans "squeamish". What about us Canadians? Some eat steak and kidney. Hospital kidney-shaped dish "fits two".

12 Wires in the wind - In harvest, people blown away by giant fan on grain stalks. Hit-women really do somersault and spin - I thought fake. Re-watching shows point where Phil's pants pulled up by wire clip.

13 Nanny McPhee's gift - Alternate ending has table set with unbroken jam jar.

14 Roses bloom - Wedding circlet comes to life.

Featurettes

1 New film, new story: Interview bits, not in costumes. Emma gorgeous. Unseen footage. Animals loved in #1 so more in #2. Different from #1 - country, absence - pa physically absent. Steaming fresh poo spurts from cow's behind.

2 Magical moves: "Movement Director" teaches physical comedy where kids fight selves.

3 Mr Edelweiss: I thought all fake. Raven in script too large. Six jackdaws do different things. Her familiar is not, as I thought, transformed human. Emma rewarded tricks with treats.

4 Emma becomes Nanny: 2 hours sped up - nose, ears, skin, brow, warts, cheek pads, top false teeth, wig. Wig looks fake, never noticed ears.

5 Pigs: #1 excited with "dance of the donkey". Piglets trained 3-6 weeks, easier than dogs. Spots added by Lord of the Rings make-up artist. I looked back, some do have spots, visible on one in climb, 2 in swim.

6 Mud: Fake smells better for sure, sticks and slows whatever pushing through. Forms snow-like balls for fights and men.

A Look Inside: Unseen footage - mama climbs on couch. Nanny has unorthodox methods.

Commentary with Director Susanna White
"Big Bang" title used here. Barn is real, built house and other outbuildings. Field is in another county.
Like modern woman trying to "do it all", caring for young and old. "The mother everybody would want". Saw thousands of children, final decisions ranged from experienced Cyril and Vincent to novice Celia and farmer Megsy.

Phil was flatmate in Notting Hill movie. Clip shows him say "yogurt", "Thank you God" and he does "go outside" and model for the press. Ah, him. Decidedly "unforgettable in his underpants".

Since men our away at war, even thugs are women. Ah. Their black, white, touch red costumes are colors of urban London later. While shut down for Rhys' broken ankle, specially planted 30 acres of heritage long-stalk barley turned perfectly golden.

Rolls-Royce really was purple? Looks dark red to me. Susanna married to farmer, knows mud, really Mud is toothpaste-like material dyed brown. Needed 7 chauffeur uniforms for fall in pond rehearsals (wetsuit underneath). In company of masters like Dame Maggie, both Maggies, and others, increased children's talent. Spilled syrup was sign for her to do film.

Favorite scene is standoff between boys over jam shot, in style of Serge Leone western low angles looking up. okay. score also homage. gothic CGI opening. iconic intro same costume, surprise - Phil. Parents would recognize coming home to disaster, maybe calm nannies.

Violence turns against themselves. ah. Movement director taught mime and puppeteering skills. 3 weeks to shoot. Rubber on floor, foam on wall, china made of wax. Absent dad drew little pictures on his letter. Ok. This bird is CGI to carry letters, react emotionally. Kids did freeze for real, not camera. Filmed restored room before smashed room. Hear clock in silence. missed.

Bedroom in attic, delightful painted decorations out of place for poor family. Even if talented, mama would not have time. Her updo was for bath. Real goat walked up stairs. Real Jersey cow did not like to walk out of clean trailer in morning into "mud". Real elephant caught virus and died, CGI based on that footage. Seems normal for Nanny to pull fully lit lantern from under skirt. Animals in beds really "inflated balloon-like things".

Hard to find real moments of emotion such as lavender sprig in papa's letter. Contrast with Phil (Rhys) upside-down in hole. He caught real itchy dose of stinging nettles. Piglets disliked lying down all together, so collection of single images. Hmm. Do I mis-remember cozy heap asleep on mother pig, or is that only younger piglets?

Emma skill writing (award for Sense and Sensibility) meant children not bored with rote repetition, could have fresh lines. Pig hole was styrofoam for lens. Cyril reads newspaper because his father would. ok. Glamorous wedding dress and score nod to screen era. Kids got along well, other children, hard to get arguing. One tutor for all. Oscar learned to read, write, maths, lost teeth, wore false teeth. Missed pink bow on Celia's galoshes.

Pigs liked being caught and cuddled, so porridge treat out of view. Spots for breed "Gloucester Old Spot", went through batches over many months. Farmer McReady improvises Scrabble playing pig with Phil. Oscar's explorer helmet used by her daughter for school play, once on, never off.

Look for Mrs G so we could meet her in our time. Though American, picked up accent from voice coach. Bill Bailey is naturalist, knows country. Bill Bailey has delightfully contagious chuckle. Feels hot and sunny, really was rainy lots, especially at picnic. Adults like Danny May play so real, bring tears, Celia's mom is "very busy", helps children be real. Delicate score moving without overwhelming screen.

Picnic field with tree in center again another couuty away. Art department planted flowers. If everyone auditioned for Edelweiss' burps, who was chosen? The World of Dad's Army Air Raid Warden role known to British audiences. ok. Rys plays telegram sorrow real, no hint of deception. Rhys' braces real and extending for silly stretch. If kids learned from adult actors, shall we watch their futures?

Emma loved motorbike with side-car, she rememers her father had one. She and other women all lost their fathers at "early age". Real Chelsea pensioners salute Nanny. Nelson statue played by movement director, lion CGI. Real Household Cavalry agreed, shut down Regent Park, and she rode with them. Feather on army helmet and shape of brown uniform mimic usual silhouette.

Lord Gray ("Ray" Fiennes) first choice, agreed to only two days, powerful influence on boys' performance. He projects dark threat even without the echo of Lord Voldemort. He does soften and approach. If Army never sent any telegram, much harder than if Phil only changed MIA to KIA.

Celia had piercing scream, pretending to see mouse, but her voice wore out, needed substitute. Rhys jumps on table because he fears everything, broke pot for real making continuity issues. His own idea to threaten kids while kneeling at their own level. Improvisations to sign by dabbing blot with finger, to cook omelet while handcuffed near stove. Beams were real, from ship. Pen that disappears was on wire, later painted out.

Call for Nanny is copied from #1. Bomb much larger than real, for fun. Deliberately chose girl for dangerous defusing job instead of usual boy. Warning dials, numbers, lights, to up threat.

Boom-swinger referred to hit-women as heavies, added to script. Their bottomless Gladstone bag is nod to Mary Poppins' bag. I can see the wire pulling at Phil's pants, now I know where to look.

Hard to leave field looking untouched with vast crew. Cartoon noises on swollen balloon Edelweiss so child viewers not scared. 2M CGI barley stalks. Harvest was real, over two days, with old-fashioned farm equipment, modelled after stacks seen in Romania. Slides were distraction so Nanny could slip away. Kids loved. Would toy copies of their medals be big sellers?

Perfect sky for home-coming finale. Ewan comes from storm, week of rain, to moment of sun coming out. Ewan only on set 2 days yet believable as family. Like #1, credits 60s style cartoon play on plot, plus beeps, vrooms, burps, oinks, and dings. Fun to watch that first part all through and smile (turn down trumpets, quit when background turns black).

Previews:
1 Despicable Me Preview.
I thought I saw this, cannot find review, maybe not so memorable?
Already sequel coming 2013 Preview2
2 Little Engine that Could - "dreams and toys need to be delivered" "with courage and determination anything is possible"
No. Not "anything". Silo or water tower (Whoopi Goldberg), clown (Jamie Lee Curtis), giraffe? (Corbin Bleu - who's he? what about the hero, who voices him?)
3 Back to the Future Trilogy 25th Aniv. I never get tired of the reruns. Preview.
4 Ad for digital download BluRay FF
5 Barbie, a fairy secret

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 4*


Preview. Fights, explosions, foot chases, car chases, falling, injuries, high-tech gadgets fail. Instead of depending on impossible fake face masks and imitative voice-boxes, his stick-to-the-glass-window-of-the-highest-skyscraper special glove zizzes (no mis-spell) out, and the trio (who have secrets and hidden agendas from each other) depend on plain ordinary courage and fibs. I watched in bits - advise continuous view, interruptions spoil buildup of tension and momentum of increasing troubles.


Pretty girls more tough than skin exposed in more skimpy outfits than traditional male suits - plus points. She wears the obligatory skin-tight dress, low-cut, but long, and instead of kisses the villain gets .. . no spoilers here, so no more details ...

Like James Bond, Mission Impossible is exotic locals, spiffy gadgets, pinch humor, afore-mentioned adrenaline action, and America rules. Viewers know what we want, and the films deliver, so maybe should be 5*. But lead Tom Cruise just isn't one of my favorite actors anymore; Simon Pegg seems narrowly restricted to comic relief; Paula Patton is basically eye candy.

Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence s1 5* Partners in Crime

From bookbookseries. Tuppence, Prudence Cowley (Francesca Annis) and Tom Beresford (James Warwick) first appear in "The Secret Adversary". Married, their agency "Partners in Crime" short stories are light-hearted flirting and clever deductions. Visually, TV versions are both soothing and stimulating, colorful and pastel symmetry fashionable in 1920s deco set to music of the times. Passive theatre-style conversations swamp modern action-thrillers. But Agatha Christie is beloved for her complex eccentrics, murder resulting from ordinary situations.

P.I.C. "solved four baffling murder mysteries, rounded up a gang of counterfeiters, ditto gang of smugglers ... one jewel robbery, two escapes from violent death, one case of missing lady reducing her figure, one young girl befriended, an alibi successfully exploded, and alas! one case where we made utter fools of ourselves." Next, "N or M", "By the Pricking of My Thumbs", then fifth and last case, "Postern of Fate". Beresford

Softly tinted elegant Art Deco 1920s paintings of flapper, cloche ladies, and fedora gentlemen characters are background for opening credits and commercial-paced break intervals. Theme :41 series stills. Leader, all 10 credits. Bouncy ragtime instrumentals are piano, horns, trumpet - mute is wawa, plunger, or anything. King Oliver. Video. Ellington.

Stage-style almost operatic acting grates, one word bouncing into multiple syllables. Settings sweetly evoke happy time, carefree rich society (like P.G. Wodehouse's idler Berny Wooster and butler Jeeves), deserve greater attention but treated again like theatre, faux cardboard murals.

Logo entwined fish trio circle is from "House of Lurking Death" approved by Agatha 1966. Wiki Section 4.2 References to Actual

1 The Sunningdale Mystery adapted by Jonathan Hale, credits overtop golf costumes Wiki

Re-enactments to background narration enliven third-hand tedious "he said, did, she said, did". Cameo of servant Albert (Reece Dinsdale) recalls books, his adoption from rough.

Tuppence's new cloche bonnet is red and silver winged and dangly bobble-sided aviator cap. Over tea, she corrects his full meal order to cheesechake and milk "Ugh. All slimy and yellow", chides rudely, scribbles in tiny notebook. He narrates misty re-enactment to errie upper flute and cello ominous bass half-melody. Body found.

Respectable Captain Antony Cecil, well-known figure on links, wearing typical blue jacket, suddenly "foozles" his shots, rattled by two on a distant footpath, man conversing with tall woman in brown. Close friend and business partner Mr Wilfrid Holloby Sr (Edwin Brown) of Porcupine Assurance was last to see him alive. Another twosome approach, Major Barnard (Terence Conoley) and Mr Lecky (Denis Holmes), see blue coat storm off in temper. Pretty typist Doris Evans (Emily Moore) was arrested because blonde hair and "flame" threads found on the body.

At the railway station she asked directions to his cottage, then returned disheveled, disturbed. She claims she offered him sweets in a cinema, and he offered her an umbrella and tea after. The charming gentleman claimed to be a widower, and invited her to his cottage next weekend for a meal. He acted strangely, with an emphasis on the big knife slicing ham, and after, walking behind golf course, threatened her with gun found next day in bushes.

Intimate details pop out from nowhere. Mrs Cecil is short. Porcupine is bankrupted by embezzler. Doris has bobbed short hair, no need for hatpin. In flattering dark finger waves, dipping seductively close to a pencil thin brow, Tup guesses the Hollobys embezzled, and the killer is male, framing woman with hatpin. On the golf course, Tommy finds a hidden hut, where killer hid to change clothes and appear as woman. Doris, arrested weeks later, never saw the body, met imposter, Holloby Jr (Denis Lill), not Cecil. How does Tommy know villain was not at inquest and identifiable? Driving home, Tuppence again twists hubby around little finger, and their Happy Ever After triumphs over murders.

2 The Ambassador's Boots adapted by Paul Annett, credits over garden party top hat tails costumes Part1. Boots. Pt2. Wiki.

American Ambassador Randolph Wilmot (T.R. McKenna) thanks fellow who returned his monogrammed toilet bag, with bath salts, boots, minor stuff, taken in error disembarking ship, but real owner disclaims exchange. Valet Richards (Clive Merrison) helped Miss O'Hara (Jennie Linden), who collapsed outside door inside cabin, Ashore, valet jumps off bridge to death, to midnight chiming of Big Ben.

Vision in lilac, Miss March answers ad, wakes Tom aka Mr Blunt from nap. Bearded foreigner Rodriguez (Michael Carter) threatens them, but is lassoed by Albert, let go by Tom. Miss March says Miss O'Hara hid paper in cut boot lining but she stole after. Apparent bible verse list folded into boat for nephew's bath, water reveals tracing of harbor. Tom suggests spy mapped defences, accompanies March to her Bond St cosmetics salon.

Tup re-unites with wartime VAD Voluntary Aid Detachment. In Estelle's (Norma West) off-whites parlor, Poppy (Tricia George), in floral black-cream print, misses wartime ambulance driving. Vividly made-up Gwen (Jo Ross) in man's suit and itchily hoarse false-deep croak, encourages the chattering girls to help misty grey clad "Blunt" to salon. Treatment room has silent mud-dabbed faces, bearded foreigner behind curtain. Miss March is Miss O'Hara.

(Spoilers:
Rodriguez tries to lock door so March, can chloroform Tommy. Mud faces are girls. Genuine beauty shop. Bags were swapped to smuggle in diplomatic luggage. March blackmailed. Bath salts tins measure short on inside, hide powder - cocaine. March invented bath-watered spy map to kidnap apparently credulous detective. Why bother? If she kept away from him, he'd never solve. Fun when caught up, layers of deception, do not hold up to inspection.)

3 The Man in the Mist adapted by Gerald Savory, image of priest in round-top wide-brim hat, white collar, cassock robe, crucifix necklace
PIC TMITM Pt1. Wiki

In a classy pillared, fern-bedecked restaurant (sigh, unlike today's fast-food slums), the pair mourn failure of last case, Tom still dressed as priest in hopes of inducing confession from suspect. Actress Gilda Glen (Linda Marlowe) upset by acquaintaince Bulger (Constantine Gregory) joking about shortcut to train station, Morgan's Lane police ghost. Fiance Lord Leconbury (Patrick Marley) accosts her, urging marriage date. She leaves note, asking Tom meet her at 6 in Lane. Irish hot-head James Reilley (Tim Brierley), "you may have heard of me" pacifist poet, angrily denounces unfaithful Glenda, engaged to "muck-heap".

Eerie footsteps sound in the fog, but Police Constable Bamford (Christopher Johnston) is real, and chatty. Despite the maid hearing a sceam, Mrs Dorothea Honeycott (Anne Stallybrass) denounces at length the desire for divorce of her foolish sister Julia, before allowing them upstairs. But Glenda lies dead on her bed, suspects Bulgur with golf club, Lord L with grappling hook, "Nothing ever happens in Adrington", so the house has no phone, and Tom fetches back the constable. Where is the blood covered blunt instrument that coshed her head?

(Spoiler:
Scream was Reilly's, seeing Gilda dead. Angry husband who refused Glenda's divorce was Bamford, now the constable outside her house, his truncheon the weapon.)

Other YouTube clips
Agatha Listing
Pink Pearl
House of Lurking Death
TPOMT The Pricking of My Thumbs with JM Jane Marple, My Review



Agatha Christie's Miss Marple s1 - Murder at the Vicarage - in progress


Christie took for granted long clingy silk dresses, swooping hats, soft high white leather gloves, elegant swooping hats (why are these called "garden" dresses and hats?), bouncing curls, bright red lips, glowing dewy complexions shaded by, oh those marvelous wonderful hats. Impressive big open automobiles ("car" sounds too brief for such ostentatious up-to-scratch elegance), tiny flimsy sporty models, both with genuine wood and leather, throaty powerful roars. Flowers from rooftop to winding rock path, lavish lawns for parties.

Soft lighting, ancient family portrait and landscape masterpiece gathering dust in corners, hand tatted lace, genuine silk and velvet, inherited jewels, add opulence to the shabbiest after-war room. Lush unapologetic furs. Prim tweeds and cameos.

Her books dwell on the characters within. But the visual extravaganza of the simplest country village and gentlefolk manner .. ahh. When recording actors beside roles, the creativity of their terribly English names is evident. Accents plus poor sound recording or playing loses some without captions. Odd to see rain on windows and car bonnets, but never on screen.
TMATV (G. Mc) Pt1


v1 Murder at the Vicarage
First day artist Redding arrived in village, caught eye of Anne, wife of snobbish bigwig Colonel Protheroe, whose was safe burgled by French girl, staying at manor with her grandfather, visiting professor. Inspector Slack, having his own marital troubles, has to sort through confessions protecting each other.



Banter:
"Money is the root of all evil"
"I'll give it space in my garden." servant even minor roles get brilliant lines

J:"Ordinary people do the most astonishing things."
J: "How clever. How wicked."

"They were set up as pasties."
Slack: "Patsies."

S: "I don't know whether to buy her a box of chocolates or kick away her stick."
J: "I'd prefer the chocolates."

... "I owe you a box of chocs. Nothing gets past you , does it."
"Hardly ever." JM

"Two for Tea - artist and sleuth

On BBC TV series Primeval 2007-now (ick for 2012 New World series, by December already 11+ torn-up corpses), Jason Flemyng is a brave save-the-world hero, so when arrested and he confesses, as does his sweetheart, I am hornswoggled all-round.

"He was not a stranger."
AP: What mistake did we make?
JM: You were the same woman. You hadn't said goodbye forever to the man you loved.
Unlikely (unlike book?) flashback to wartime farewell choosing spinsterhood over love.
"I've got it, Inspector."
Double hanging execution is a gruesome juxtaposition with tea in the flowers, horrid.
Raymond Chandler "The Art of Murder"

Cast:
role - actor
Jane - Geraldine McEwan
Rev Len Clement - Tim McInnerny
Griselda Clement - "Bunch" Rachael Stirling
Dennis Clement - Julian Morris
Ronald Hawes - Mark Gatiss (younger priest)
Dr Haydock - Robert Powell
Mrs Sylvia Lester - Jane Asher (boozer others disapprove of)
Anne Protheroe - Janet McTeer
Colonel Protheroe - Derek Jacobi
Lettice Protheroe - Christina cole
Lawrence Redding artist - Jason Flemyng
Augustin Dufosse - Herbert Lom (son betrayed to Nazis)
Helene Dufosse - Emily Bruni Brit flown in for French Underground
Miss Hartnell - Angela Pleasence
Frank Tarrant - Paul Hawkyard
Mrs Tarrant - Ruth Sheen
Young Miss Marple - Julie Cox
D.I. Slack - Stephen Tompkinson
plump extra - Miriam Margolyes

Extra #1 Behind the Scenes clips and interviews

1 "Body in the Library"
"Rather thrilling"
Geraldine McEwan conventional setting, macabre
no training, intuitive, so Agatha witty, romantic side (means idealistic)
village cozy and reassuring
Joanna Lumley Dolly Bantry
odd couple flash jane in big hotel, fish out of village
Simon Callow Colonel Melchett cross her in the way, catches on to her cleverness
Agatha writes on behalf of solid citizens shocked at murder in midst
Jack Davenport Supt Harper - plunged into other place and time, costume, Joanna - makeup always three paces behind stodgy old lady

2 "Murder at the Vicarage"

Tara Fitzgerald Adelaide Jefferson red lips strong eyeliner "first time? maybe in U.S."
spend first half of book meeting quirky characters
innocence strained
Adam Garcia Raymond Starr shifty hustler Argentina dancer
Derek irascible deaf cantankerous, hell to live with
when he was young, prime holiday read, racks in railway stations, never guessed right
great fun plunging by uncomfortable costume into learning how they would have reacted in those days.
Janet McTeer confides in at least one person "Make do and mend"
constricting time and costume, structured, controlled.
From her losing her own married lover to The War, knows after shed, not lost only love
From her garden, she had to see vicarage, cottage, but not into French windows where murder, scouts couldn't find anywhere in SW England, combined separate locations in film.
Jason - Geraldine more sprightly than one before; Derek - she twinkles

3 "A Murder is Announced"

Zoe Wanamaker (Letitia Blacklock) - "Nothing to do in small village, so all come to play a game, and then the game goes wrong"
Sienna Guillory (Julia Simmons) - "Classic party game, so many characters. Who is not who they say they are?"
Robert Pugh (Colonel Easterbrook) - "Played alot in the (post) war years, gather round to spice things up"
"People really did alot of things regretted, in a small village skeletons stay firmly locked in the cupboard. Everyone had something to hide."
Clocks strike deadline
Frances Barber (Lizzie Hinchcliffe in suit and tie, lezzie)"Daft. Camp. And then mayhem."
Gunshot in the dark. Bleeding ear, flesh wound on Letitia.
Elaine Paige (Dora Bunner) "Crikey. Elaborate. That's the genius of Agatha Christie."
Geraldine also knitted for refugees, father was POW, so all very vivid time.
Cherie Lunghi (Sadie Swettenham) - "Sadie, Sadie, the married lady" nursery rhyme I remember too. Single mother, stigma, had child in 1920s, so covered past.
Easterbrook sends away Sadie.
Geraldine - I love my detectives. Jane is flirtatious, she loves young men.
Rare to have detective woman and humble; Holmes and Poirot proud. Jane sweet, grandmotherly, razor-sharp mind.
Frances - She knows everything, but puts on façade.
"One of us must have shot Letitia."
Christian Coulson (Edmund Swettenham) - Ger has amazing warmth makes you want to open up, like Jane.
Frances - couldn't imagine anyone else, Ger exudes benign quality, calming to be around, eyes never miss a trick, sees and hears everything.
Zoe - today especially we want to retreat where sweet little old lady can solve all your problems

4 "4:50 From Paddington"

Pam Ferris (Elspeth McGillicuddy) - Train sequence "one of most exciting" seeing murder (how about Hitchcock's "Rear Window"?) . Ger plays with a touch of "magnus" (Latin for magnificence) insanity, on the edge of funny, dangerous - wonderful
Rutherford did this (by same title?), hefty, clomping countryside seeking corpse, despite nosy small fry hanger-on. But here Jane asks young niece Lucy to work at Hall and search.
Amanda Holden (Lucy Eyelsbarrow) - "I'm a young Miss Marple, but with more lipstick. Lucy ahead of times, traveller, adventurer.
Ger - plots complex but foolproof.
Griff Ryhs-Jones (he sounds like an Agatha name until you read "Dr Quimper") - sense well-oiled elaborate construction before pen to paper

"Are you up to something Miss Marple?"
JM: Am I?

JM: What were the victim's feet like?
IS: "Her feet? Why?"
JM: Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

Niamh Cusack (Emma Crackenthorpe) - "One of most dysfunctional families I've ever come across, all capable of murdering each other." Not at all. Agatha is expert on such: "Crooked House" Leonides, "Appointment with Death" Boyntons, "The Underdog and other stories" Astwells, Hallidays, Lemesuriers, Pengelleys, and every couple as well, and on.
"Twisty, so much tragedy, nothing going right for any of them."
Ben Daniels (Alfred Crackenthorpe) Lush "due to inherit, bankrupt financially and morally, alcoholic, blackmailer, nice chap"
Ger "As in life, people are revealed by their circumstances and how they react."
Knebworth Hall, Hertforshire. JM: "The real prize. That would be worth killing for."
Ger "Great admiration" for complex Agatha. "I love Miss Marple, she's still evolving. ". I look like her, not myself.
John Hannah (Inspector Campbell - Scots of course) "You never know who did it. She's a master of her craft.
Michael Landes (Bryan Eastley, copper?) "Now all forensics. In innocent times not as easy, makes better drama."

Extra #2 TV & Film - 8 screens of words

Debut 30 Dec 1956 (a most unusual year for births) "A Murder is Announced" starred Gracie Fields from Britain. "Zaftig stage actress (I say they always over-act) Margaret Rutherford" did "uproarious comic portrayal", even "vigorous swordfight" (original, no Christie book). Vastly out of character from book. Next Angela Lansbury "too young", I agree, perhaps that is why 1980s "Murder She Wrote" Jessica Fletcher still in reruns. Helen Hayes 1983,5
"over-age". Joan Hickson 1985-92 I remembered as young maid killed in Rutherford's "4:50 From Paddington", very like Ger 2005+. credits Charles Silet "Talking Murder: Interviews with 20 Mystery Writers" (Persea 1999).

Extra #3 Biography (1890-1976) - 4 word screens
Extra #4 Photo Gallery 20 slides during filming
Extra #5 6 Actors, 1-2pg "selected" stage and screen appearances "Filmographies"
- Geraldine McEwan 5pg, Derek Jacobi pg, Janet McTeer, Miriam Margolyes, Jane Asher, Rachael Stirling

Tried to find first clip of several for episode:

pt1/6 Marple & Tuppence & Tommy - BTPOMT By the Pricking of My Thumbs (my review)
pt1/12 ABH At Bertram's Hotel (see my review)
MBS Man in the Brown Suit
TSM The Sittaford Mystery
JM TMF The Moving Finger (G.Mc)
JM WDTAE (JMc) Why Didn't They Ask Evans (Julia McKenzie)
JM TPH (JMc) The Pale Horse
JM TMCFSS The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (Joan Hickson)











"Bad luck."