Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Sunday, June 24, 2012


ROCK OF AGES--Directed by Adam Shankman/Starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Russell Brand/screenplay by Justin Theroux, Chris D'Arienzo, and Allan Loeb/from the musical book by Chris D'Arienzo/rated PG-13/2hr23min Bifocal Review by Ageless1der (Barbara Rich) & The Other Guy (B) We viewed this film with our 45 year old son and 13 year old granddaughter (her uncle). I have to admit I was not a fan of the 80’s music, but just watching my son thoroughly getting into the decade and loving the music really made it worthwhile. My granddaughter seemed to enjoy it too. I was disappointed to see so little dancing from Julianne Hough. That is what she does best. For me, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, along with Paul Giamatti as the rock star manager made the movie tolerable. They were very funny. Tom Cruise was quite impressive as a rock star, and quite amusing. It showed off his flexibility by stepping out of his normal roles in Mission Impossible. All in all, it was an afternoon well spent with my son and granddaughter. I’m sure it has generation appeal, but not my generation. I give it 2 binoculars. (OG) Although, I keep thinking that this movie had more negatives than positives (I always say that I’m not a fan of 80s music) I found several segments of the film entertaining, the music was mostly well-selected and I laughed out loud a few times). Julianne Hough is a a better dancer than a singer, but in this film (except for Catherine Zeta-Jones being an Academy Award Winner for doing just that) seeing actors and dancers singing along with the most memorable music of an era was part of the appeal for me. Tom Cruise is perfectly campy. A few days after viewing this movie, all the negatives had slipped away and I now can only remember back to some pretty enjoyable scenes, acting and music. There is so much here that should NOT have worked. First, the stars do not fit the generation who is likely to enjoy this film. Second, 80s rock? Really? And, third, Russell Brand…I’ve never seen him in anything that I’ve enjoyed. However, Brand’s chemistry (if you want to call it that) with Alec Baldwin is hilarious. After all is said and done, this movie (like the musical play from which it is spawned) is not supposed to be anything more than tongue-in-cheek, and leave you with a certain familiarity…like a name you can’t place with the face, which reminds me Malin Akerman was delightful as well. Her PG-13 sex scene with Tom Cruise was hysterical! I’m going to bump this one up to 2 ½ binoculars.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman--Directed by Rupert Sanders/Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron/screenplay by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini and Evan Daugherty/based on a Brothers Grimm Fairytale/Rated PG-13/2hr7min Bifocal Reviews by Barbara and Gordon Rich (B) This film was entertaining and I enjoyed it. I won’t say it was a great movie. What was great, were the special effects. The storyline was what you would expect, so no surprises there. I found the acting mediocre. Charlize’s beauty played well for her, but the harshness of her character did not work for me. I should mention that these types of films are not my favorites, but I’m glad I saw it. Only two binoculars from me and they are mostly for the special effects. (G) Let’s not belabor this. Barbara summed it up perfectly. The special effects were what they should be in EVERY movie…They were special. They were well done and not overwhelming, just enough to add to the movie rather than become the soul purpose for the film’s existence. The alleged “reinterpretation of the Grimm Tale” that we were promised in promotional materials, just never well…never materialized. The acting was sluggish and the writing was often pointless. The sage advice, “if the action shows it, then the characters don’t need to say it,” was never followed. Sometimes a character would say something it seemed, just because no one had said anything in a while, like: “There she goes!” for instance. Two other things kept bothering me throughout the whole two hours plus: 1) When Charlize looked in the magic mirror, wondering if she was the fairest in the land, I found it silly that Kristen Stewart was the source of the worry and 2) How did an Academy Award winning actress overact in this shallow fairytale? I didn’t find it that annoying, but I didn’t actually enjoy myself either. I will give this one two binoculars, for special effects and because I want to agree with my wife.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bifocal Reviews Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii Italy

Here are the next two entries in my journal:

Day five-- Olbia, Sardinia A minor disappointment in some regards was had today. We docked at Olbia, a pitiful representative of the formerly grand Roman empire, but reminded Barbara of seeing older ancestors and hearing them talk passionately about virtually everything. I noticed also that Italian police are about 50% women, and all of the cops look like Italian models.
Day six--Detour to Naples We were scheduled to port in Amalfi...Our driver, Francesco Campion (like champion without the h). Our scheduled destination of Amalfi was cancelled and in it place...Napoli! This was a big bonus for me, since I had wanted to visit Napoli, but was originally told that this cruise just "couldn't go everywhere!" One of my mother's parents was born in Napoli, so I wanted to be able to say that I'd been here. I thought I'd only be able to say that I had been to the land of my "Richiusa" ancestors. The only problem though? The rain.