Many people consider this one of the most frightening films they have ever seen. I wouldn’t exactly go that far…but for a suspense film, it’s top-notch. Maybe one of the reasons some folks see it as more of a horror movie than a thriller is that the main character is blind and it is a little more dastardly to taunt and threaten a person with a disability of some sort. The blind person, in this case, is Audrey Hepburn, who is quite convincing as a person without sight. You never really think…oh, well she’s just acting. You actually believe her blindness… forgetting that she’s Hepburn and, of course, not really blind. Hepburn’s boyfriend gets unintentionally tangled in a drug smuggling ring and through a series of events, the man looking for his drugs comes after Hepburn. Even though the entire films packs suspense, the finale is the part that really will have you jittering if your seat.

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A touching, heartfelt film that does a perfect job of not being too sappy or weepy. I mean, I cried, but I don’t think this film intentionally takes the audience on a “false” emotional roller coaster. In this film, all of the emotions are sincere and come from the remarkable performances and the delicately-tuned script. The story is basically about two men…Michael is content at a home for the disabled until Rory comes to live there. Rory is paralyzed from the neck down and Michael has Cerebral Palsy and is barely verbal, though Rory can understand him perfectly. Rory makes Michael see how unfulfilling life at the home is and introduces Michael to the world of pubs, women and independence. Michael and Rory’s are two lost souls…Michael is unaware that he is a lost soul and Rory is painfully and VERY bitterly aware that he is lost forever—lost in world of movement and mobility. Together, these two men teach each other so much about life and love and respect. They are good and bad for each other at the same time…when Michael moves out of the home and into an apartment with Michael, I was SO UPSET. I thought this would lead to NOTHING positive for both men. But, the independence Michael develops and the love he feels for both the nurse they hire to care for them (romantic love) and for Rory (platonic love) teaches him so much about life…things he never would have learned by just staying in the home. Even though some of these lessons lead to heartache, they enrich both Rory’s and Michael’s lives immensely. This is a hard film to watch without feeling that emotional roller coaster but at least in this case, the ride is realistic and worth it.

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Dustin Hoffman might like to “drive slow on the driveway,” but his brother prefers to take the classic 1957 Buick Roadmaster out on the highways for a spin. Since Hoffman’s character is autistic, this film often gets misjudged as a story about him and his illness. Where, at its heart, it is the tale of two brothers on the road together, getting to know each other for the first time. A little on the sappy side but not enough to keep you away from this film which won a well-deserved Best Picture Oscar.

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What is it about this movie that makes me so uncomfortable? Is it the continual mentioning of racial issues? Is it Selina, who is visually handicapped? Is it the way Selina’s mother treats her? Well, it is all of the above…and more. This film is a striking piece of 1960s cinema…in the heart of the Civil Rights era, it demonstrates much of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others preached…that we are all human—black, white or whatever. It also shows how truly colorblind love (all kinds of love) can be. Selina plays a very emotional abused and used blind girl who happens to encounter a distinguished Black man one day in the park. She, of course, cannot see that he is Black. He can see that she is White, but befriends her since he feels completely sorry for the situation she lives in. Yes…a Black man feeling sorry for a White girl in the 1960s. Well, like I said, this movie is about being truly BLIND to color. It’s about the human condition and the soul of a person, rather than the race. The platonic love Sidney Poitier’s character feels toward Selina has nothing to do with her being White. And, the romantic love Selina feels toward Poitier has absolutely nothing to do with his color, since she doesn’t even know what he looks like. A fabulous film about how racial and social situations matter very little compared to matters of the heart.

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Rear Window stands as the first highly successful film director Alfred Hitchcock made after a string of critical and commercial flops in the late 1940s and early 1950s. And what a comeback it was! James Stewart, who was appearing here in his second of four Hitchcock films, plays L.B. Jefferies, a man whose leg is broken and his heart is torn between his lady love (Grace Kelly) and his wild, adventurous travels as a freelance photographer. With the broken leg, Stewart is confined to a wheelchair with nothing better to do than look out the windows of his courtyard apartment. While looking out at all hours of the day and night, he sees something that he cannot explain. Was what he saw a murder or just a coincidence? This film, like other Hitchcock films Dial M for Murder and Rope, has the capacity to be a mundane movie, since most of the filming takes place in one room. But, in the hands of master director Hitchcock, mundanity never even enters the picture. The courtyard becomes an intricate part of the story, allowing Hitchcock to open up the movie beyond just Stewart’s apartment. Hitchcock also uses the perfect camera angles to heighten suspense at ever turn. Not only one of Hitchcock’s best, but also the film that marked the return of the true Master of Suspense.

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