The Wipers Times

July 27, 2022

Internet Movie Database

Three soldiers in the trenches in WWI France find a printing press and start a newspaper.

This was a pretty good movie for a docudrama; Mr. Otter and I were printers ourselves once upon a time, and we love anything to do with printing and writing. The story here is funny and poignant (WWI, obviously not a completely happy time) but the characters are good and the ups and downs make for a very enjoyable movie.

Michael Palin plays the General who is supportive of the project, as opposed to his underlings who are dead set against it. The rest of the actors were new to me, but all were good.

An interesting, and entertaining, look at WWI.

The Silent Partner

July 27, 2022


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From the novel

A timid bank teller finds out that a robber is going to hit his bank, and steals the money before the robber gets there. Which is brilliant…until the robber comes after the money…

CoyoteRambles picked this for our Saturday Night Zoom Movie session; he is a dedicated noir enthusiast, and I’m always happy to see Elliott Gould in pretty much anything. Susannah York and Christopher Plummer are also in this suspenseful thriller, and are both well worth watching.

This starts out slowly, as Gould has all his emotional crises at once; need of money, opportunity of stealing it, moral dithering, and decision making. But once he and Plummer are contending for the money, it’s riveting.

An excellent noir thriller!

Gone Are the Days!

July 27, 2022


Internet Movie Database

From the stage play called Purlie Victorious; the movie can be found under both titles.

This was one of our Saturday Night Movies that we watched during the shutdown (and are continuing to do so) on Zoom with CoyoteRambles. This was Mr. Otter’s pick, I think because he had seen it once upon a time and wanted to see it again.

The story is about a young man who, now a preacher, returns to the plantation where he grew up, and wants to buy an old barn from the owner so that he can turn it into a church for the Black folks who are still there. He talks his fiancee into impersonating the last living member of the family to get money from the old curmudgeon, and of course hijinks ensue and fun is poked at attitudes about race.

This was funny in some places, cringeworthy in others. The cast of characters (Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Godfrey Cambridge and Alan Alda as the plantation owner) is excellent, and the story is good…it was just a little heavy-handed for me.

Mrs. Pollifax – Spy

July 27, 2022

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From the book (first in a series) The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

A bored retired housewife applies to be a spy with the CIA, and ends up with more adventure than she bargained for.

I loved these books as a young Otter, and read the whole series through a couple of times…I remember seeing the movie in the theater when it came out, but then it disappeared until recently, when Mr. Otter and I found it streaming and watched it.

Yes, the premise is silly, but there are reasons in both the book and the movie for the CIA to use this elderly housewife as a spy, mostly because nobody would ever suspect her. Rosalind Russell (Serious Honey) plays Mrs. Pollifax wonderfully, with lovely comedic timing, and her foil is Darren McGavin, as the crusty American spy in the Albanian prison they end up escaping from.

The movie is fun and a good version of the book; the changes that have been made have good reasons behind them (like Mrs. P’s children in the movie knowing that she is a spy and freaking out when she disappears, which never happens in the book.)

Worth watching, mostly for the actors.

Nothing But a Man

July 27, 2022

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A Black man who is part of a crew laying railroad tracks meets a preacher’s daughter and marries her; this being 1964, they face prejudice and discrimination.

This was the first of our Saturday Movie Series; during the shutdown, Mr. Otter, CoyoteRambles and I spent every Saturday night on Zoom watching a movie together (CoyoteRambles lives 400 miles away from us) and then discussing it afterwards. Nothing but a Man was his pick, a favorite movie that he watched many times with his father.

This was very good! It was a low-budget movie, so the filming was not slick and professional, but the story was excellent. The characters were true-to-life, and the situations as well. The guy the story was about, Duff (played by Ivan Dixon, who was my fav guy on Hogan’s Heroes when I was a young otter) was an ordinary guy pushed into situations by the actions of others that made him both worse off, in that he lost several jobs and had other problems, and better, in learning to face his own problems and (at the end of the movie) fight for what was right.

Very satisfying, and worth watching.

Oh, What a Lovely War

July 1, 2022

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A history of World War I, told through contemporaneous songs, animations, and live action, focusing on one family’s sons.

The filmmakers based this on a stage play, but kept the nonstandard structure of the original: for instance, there is no dialogue as such; there are bits of talking, but most of the movie is made up of songs from the time used to show what was happening both at home and at the various fronts, such as Maggie Smith’s awesome musical number used to recruit men to volunteer for the army.

There are some animated bits, usually to show the bigger picture, or animated cartoons from the papers.

And of course there are scenes from the war, also with current songs, showing how awful it was.

The film starts with a look of cheerful music-hall settings but gets serious pretty fast, which is appropriate considering what WWI was like… and of course this was released in 1969, during the Vietnam War.

This is kind of an odd duck of a movie, neither traditional musical nor war movie nor regular narrative, but it’s very very good, and well worth tracking down.

Rosemary’s Baby

July 1, 2022

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From the novel of the same name by Ira Levin.

Rosemary and her husband move to a new apartment with eccentric neighbors. She gets pregnant. Then things start getting REALLY WIERD.

This is an iconic horror movie, directed by Rpman Polanski and starring John Cassavetes and Mia Farrow. I remembered having seen it as a young otter, but didn’t remember anything about it, so I was happy when we watched it on Saturday Movie Night, although I warned Mr. Otter and CoyoteRambles that if it got oogie, I’d leave.

And as wierd, atmospheric and creepy as it was, it was never oogie.

What it was, after hearing jokes about it (including an excellent Mad Magazine parody) for fifty years…was pretty damn good. The suspense builds, the neighbors start out a little odd and get stranger and stranger, her husband is reassuring but not helpful, and the web around here closes in as you watch and can’t do anything.

A classic that’s well worth revisiting.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

July 1, 2022

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From the manga series My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi

This is another ‘school for extraordinary beings’ series. In this story, about 80% of the people all over the world have developed ‘quirks’, superpowers, and there are schools to train the good ones to go up against the bad ones. Izuko is a young teenage boy who has shown no evidence of a quirk, but the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, has gotten him a place in the Superhero Academy anyway because of his potential.

This is a hugely popular manga series, and is a lot of fun to read. There is an anime series, but this was a standalone movie released in theatres.

And it was good. Predictable, especially given the two hour (instead of a series0 time frame, but well written, with good characters and storyline. If you’re a fan, or just like some anime now and again, try this one.


July 1, 2022

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A biopic about Judy Garland toward the end of her life, when she did a five week show in London.

Renee Zellweger was amazingly good as the older, addicted, broke Garland; her performance was excellent. The film shows Garlands current life (two kids, four divorces, so broke she has to leave the kids with an ex and go to London to do a show and make some money, which is this movie). There are many flashbacks to her earlier life, all well done, and the ending is upbeat, although she died less than a year later.

This is a really thoughtful and interesting look at one of Hollywood’s iconic stars.

Frozen II

July 1, 2022

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The second in yet another blockbuster Disney franchise.

Elsa is called to the mysterious forest by music only she can hear, and of course fixes the problem after much angst and Benji-peril. And of course Anna, Kristof and that damn annoying snowman go with her, because why leave someone behind to actually run the kingdom?

I liked the first Frozen movie, but this was just silly, annoying,  and preachy (Earth, Air, Fire and Water are imbalanced and must be brought back into harmony <rolls eyes>).

Only for little girls who are obsessed with the series. I really don’t get it, but whatever.