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Gilbert Speaks on “The 9th Life of Louis Drax”

15 Jul

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I found the newest addition to my Granny’s Insomnia Theatre Collection. It begins with the death of a child, but don’t let that dissuade you from watching this magical thriller. Can Louis find a way to tell the staff of the Coma Unit what really happened to him? Find out after the jump. Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks on Alejandro Agresti’s “Valentin”

28 May

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This little gem, which was written and directed by Alejandro Agresti, and is based on his childhood, is a worthy addition to my Granny’s Insomnia Theater collection. Whatever adults say and do is witnessed by their children. Would we live differently, if we could see life through theirs eyes? Valentin is a lesson for all of us. Meet me after the jump Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks On Mary Pickford’s Sparrows

2 May

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It was another sleepless night: my father dropping by with a few recently departed souls; I was stressing out because I’m in the middle of publishing one book as I begin work on another book about the ghosts in my attic. After sending Fred and his friend on their merry way, I decided to watch some television. Whenever I can’t sleep, I always turn to the Turner Classic Movie Channel. This time I was treated to a 1926 film called Sparrows. Do you know who Mary Pickford is? You will after the jump. Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks on “Bubba Ho-Tep

11 Mar

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I’m always on the search for movies that are strange enough to add to my “Granny’s Insomnia Theater” category. Last night I came across a Don Coscarelli’s cult favorite on Watch Comet TV. It was different. It was weird. But, did Bubba Ho-Tep meet all my expectations? Find out after the jump.

Plot

Don Coscarelli is best known Phantasm and The Beastmaster, and I was happy to learn that he was the recipient of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Screenplay for Bubba Ho-Tep which stars Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead franchise) and Ossie Davis.

Bubba Ho-Tep is a 2002 American comedy/horror film about the real Elvis Presley living in a nursing home under an assumed name. The film is based on a novella by Joe R. Lansdale. The film begins with an elderly man recovering from a hip injury at the Shady Rest Retirement Home in East Texas. Sebastian Hall (Bruce Campbell) is really Elvis Presley, but the staff thinks he’s hallucinating or has dementia. We learn that Elvis grew weary of the fast life, drugs and one-night-stands. One day, he switched identities with a down on his luck Elvis impersonator, Sebastian Haff.

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Elvis is the one stuck in the nursing home because all his documentation proving he is Elvis was destroyed in a campground fire, thus cutting him off from his billions in royalties and his family. To add to his dilemma, Elvis broke his hip over twenty years ago in a freak stage accident…he also has a cancerous growth on his penis. Bruce Campbell is amazing as Elvis and, he portrays his character with dignity as Elvis comes to terms with the horrors of old age. We feel every ache and we feel the angst a once famous man must endure via the natural aging process.

Coscarelli’s did something very touching with this film when he added a few insertions showing how Campbell’s Elvis observed the passage of time with the mundane parade of sameness as nurses enter and leave and new roommates come and go. The POV was there for all of us to understand: Death is a frequent visitor at all retirement homes. I did not expect this thoughtful consideration from a low budget horror film, but there it was.

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Elvis has one friend in that home who believes him and it’s no other than President John F. Kennedy. Ossie Davis plays a black man who insists that he is President Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson had him dyed black after the assassination attempt failed. Johnson also had the hole in Kennedy’s head filled with sand. There is a mysterious scar that finally convinces Elvis to believe Jack when people start dying mysteriously at the nursing home. Elvis and Kennedy join forces to save their friends from an ancient creature.

The Mummy

Bubba Ho-Tep (Bob Ivy) is a re-animated ancient Egyptian mummy that was stolen while on a U.S. Museum Tour. Somehow this mummy winds up in a river near to the nursing home when the robber’s bus crashed during a storm.

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Bubba stays alive by sucking the souls from the elderly and with a nursing home full of forgotten senior citizens; this mummy is definitely enjoying the Shady Rest smorgasbord. We’re not told how the mummy became re-animated or why he’s wearing cowboy clothing or boots, but it kind of goes well with the rest of the weirdness.

Conclusion

I successfully talked hubby into watching this film with me and he really enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Bruce Campbell did a wonderful job of reminding us that even the famous must give into the pearls of old age, but that doesn’t mean we should consider them a disability. When there is a battle to be won, the elderly are pretty damn resourceful. Watch this film if you can. You won’t be sorry you did

Gilbert Speaks on “Monkey Business”

11 Feb

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I had planned on knocking out a few more chapters for the last book of my Roof Oasis Series, Warriors in the Mist, along with doing two interviews for Biff Bam Pop on the science fiction books I’ve been reviewing…but sometimes life throws you a curve ball. My plans were changed because of a double ear infection which I am now nursing myself through with the help of antibiotics and lots of hot apple cider.

The good news, at least for my blog, is that I’m stuck on the sofa and watching lots of television. I had the pleasure of watching Monkey Business this morning. Did the film help me forget my fever and chills? Grab your thermometer and find out after the jump.

Plot

Monkey Business is a 1952 comedy that was directed by Howard Hawks and stars Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn and Marilyn Monroe. But, please don’t confuse this film with the 1931 Marx Brothers adventure with the same title.

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Cary Grant, in my opinion, is one of those rare gems who can play any role exquisitely; be it comedy or drama. No matter what film Cary Grant is in, I will watch it, and I am never disappointed. In this film, Cary Grant plays the role of Dr. Barnaby Fulton. Dr. Fulton is a research chemist who is working on an elixir of youth. Dr. Fulton is helped with his research by his wife, Edwina (Ginger Rogers), and his assistant Dr. Kitzel (Henri Letondal). There is one more assistant that lives in the lab and decides to do its own experiment…and this is when the foolery begins. What the chimpanzee accidently concocted makes anyone who drinks the formula act like silly school children.

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As in all of Cary Grant’s comedies, funny antics are involved and Dr. Fulton even gets to flirt with Mr. Oxly’s (Charles Coburn) secretary who is played by a rather innocent, although sexy as ever, Marilyn Monroe. The give and take between Grant and Monroe while Dr. Fulton is under the effects of the elixir is priceless as are the scenes with the chimpanzee mixing up the beakers. Let’s just say that this chimp took away some of the spotlight in the film from its human co-stars.

Conclusion

Monkey Business is one of many films that Cary Grant and Howard Hawks worked on together. We even get to hear Hawks’ voice in the beginning of the film. The film does a great job of showing how differently adults and children react to a situation. The fight scenes between Grant and Rogers while they are under the influence of the elixir are downright hilarious.

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If you enjoy screwball comedy, then you need to watch Monkey Business. It didn’t cure my ear infection, but it sure as hell made my day a lot brighter.

 

 

Gilbert Speaks on Kinky Boots the Film

18 Jan

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I’m happy to inform you that I’ve found another cool film for my Granny’s Insomnia Theatre Collection. Kinky Boots is based on a true story about shoes and the brave shoe factory owner who was willing to think outside of the box to save his company. This 2005 British comedy was written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. It was directed by Julian Jarrold and stars Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nick Frost, Sarah Jane Potts and Jemima Rooper. Were these Kinky Boots able to save the day? Find out after the jump. Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks on the 1934 Babes in Toyland

30 Dec

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Growing up in South Philly, my generation was treated to such classic comedians as The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello and Laurel and Hardy, but it was Laurel and Hardy that I preferred watching the most. The other day I heard a song playing on television. It was the tune for the March of the Wooden Soldiers, but I don’t know what they were selling. Continue reading