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Member's Reviews

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, a review by Antares


I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!





Year: 1968
Film Studio: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Genre: Comedy
Length: 94 Min.

Director
Hy Averback (1920)

Writing
Paul Mazursky (1930)...Written By
Larry Tucker (1934)...Written By

Producer
Charles H. Maguire (1927)
Paul Mazursky (1930)
Larry Tucker (1934)

Cinematographer
Philip H. Lathrop (1912)

Music
Elmer Bernstein (1922)...Composer

Stars
Peter Sellers (1925) as Harold
Jo Van Fleet (1914) as Mother
Leigh Taylor-Young (1945) as Nancy
Joyce Van Patten (1934) as Joyce
David Arkin (1941) as Herbie
Herb Edelman (1933) as Murray
Salem Ludwig (1915) as Father
Louis Gottlieb (1923) as Guru

Review
       The first half of the 1960’s were a watershed in the film career of Peter Sellers; achieving success in Lolita, The Pink Panther and Dr. Strangelove would cast him as an international star and paved the way for what should have been his most creative years. Unfortunately, his roles in the second half of the decade proved that while he was a talented comedian, his choice of scripts left little to be desired. His first missteps occurred in the films, What’s New Pussycat in 1965, followed by Casino Royale in 1967. The former had the potential to be a great comedy, linking Sellers with the up and coming Woody Allen. Sadly, Woody was still getting his feet wet in film comedy and a lot of the material is silly and stale. The latter film proved that too much of a good thing isn’t always fortuitous, as 5 directors and 10 screenwriters forged a film project that tried too hard to be a little of everything for everyone. Never sure if it wants to be a comedy, a spy film or drama, the resulting effort is an overblown and gratuitous mess. Sellers would be redeemed the following year with his role in The Party, but would fall back into mediocrity with the commonplace little comedy, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, that same year.
   
       Taking place in the surreal setting of the psychedelic 60’s, Sellers plays Harold Fine,  a refined and uptight Jewish lawyer who is about to be married to the charming, yet ordinary Joyce Miller (Joyce Van Patten). His run of the mill world is about to be set upon its ear when he meets his hippie brother’s friend Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young). Nancy is the extreme opposite of his fiancée Joyce. Nancy is free-spirited and full of life, un-fettered by the social standards of the day that preclude most of the members of her sex from living their lives as nothing more than potential homemakers. When Harold picks her up hitchhiking after a very bizarre funeral that Harold’s family has just attended, he offers her a place to stay the night. In appreciation of his hospitality, she whips up a batch of Alice B. Toklas brownies for him. For those unfamiliar, Alice B. Toklas was the lesbian lover of Gertrude Stein, though she is now more famous for the cookbook she wrote which featured several recipes using marijuana as an ingredient.
   
       When Harold, Joyce and his parents eat the ‘fortified’ brownies, the drug induces their inhibitions to disappear, setting the stage for the obvious occurrence of Harold leaving his fiancée at the altar to pursue Nancy and her alternate lifestyle. In the beginning, this premise makes for an interesting representation of the time stamp that was the flower power era. But as the film progresses, it becomes weighted down in the predictability of Harold’s disillusion over his new lifestyle and his yearning to return to his safe and stable former life. While it has its moments of humor, it can never escape the fact that it is now a horribly dated picture that may quell the curiosity of those who were born after 1965. If you’re looking for a cute comedic diversion for about ninety minutes, then give it a shot.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

(From I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) on May 24th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

Frozen, a review by Danae Cassandra




Frozen
Year of Release: 2013
Directed By: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Genre: Fantasy, Animation

Overview:
Walt Disney Animation Studios presents a chilly twist on one of the most humorous and heartwarming stories ever told. "Disney Animation's best since The Lion King" (William Bibbiani, CraveOnline) will melt your heart.

Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey — teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven — to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

Bring home Frozen on Blu-ray High Definition — featuring a blizzard of never-before-seen bonus extras with gorgeous animation, memorable characters and unforgettable music. It's dazzling fun for the whole family!

My Thoughts:
Certainly the best Disney movie in twenty years, and also one of the best of all time, Frozen has a great soundtrack, top-notch animation, and a heart-felt story. 

The animation is absolutely stunning.  The choice of CGI over traditional hand-drawn works perfectly for the story here, creating a crisp look, and the gorgeous blue and white palette glistens so much like real snow and ice you'll feel a bit cold just watching. 

I really liked all of the characters, and felt they all had a bit of uniqueness to them.  Even the relatively minor characters like the shopkeeper were memorable.  My favorite character, hands down, was Olaf, who was simply so sweet and endearing as to nearly steal any scene he was in.   

I do wish we had seen more of Elsa, though, and that her part in the story was larger.  She is a very different lady than we have seen before from Disney, and really far more interesting than her sister.  Her story is far from over and continuing with her would make an excellent sequel - if Disney didn't have such an abysmal track record with sequels.

That aside, this movie is a lot of fun, has really positive female characters who save themselves and each other for a change, and I'd recommend it for just about anyone.

Bechdel Test:  Pass

Overall: 4/5

(From Frozen on March 21st, 2014)

Member's TV Reviews

"Stargate SG-1" Marathon, a review by DJ Doena


Disc 3

Between Two Fires
Synopsis: SG-1 attends the funeral service for Omac on Tollana. Omac died recently iof a heart attack. But a few days later the Tollans offer one of their ion cannons in exchange for a rare metal. SG-1 is both pleased and sceptical about this offer.

My Opinion: A very sad episode because you have to assume that most of the Tollans have been exterminated and that Narim is most probably dead. It happened before that entire races have been killed but that were no-names and you've never heard of them before nor have you seen them. This is different.
Ironically the actor who played Narim - Garwin Sanford - will reappear as the boyfriend of Dr. Weir in the Stargate Atlantis pilot.

2001
Synopsis: After a piece of paper came through the Stargate (supposedly from the future) to never to visit a certain planet, the address is locked out of the computer. But on another planet SG-1 meets this race nonetheless: The Aschen. And once again the Aschen have a lot to offer and it seems hard to resist.

My Opinion: Interesting approach to continue the story from 2010. I especially liked that they worked in the smaller storylines, like the beginning relationship between the ambassador and Sam and Kinsey's ambitions to become president.
But it was sad that they killed off the ambassador so soon.

Desperate Measures
Synopsis: After Sam has been kidnapped by unknown forces on Earth, SG-1 tries to find out what happened and where she has gone. For this Jack has to ally himself with Maybourne once again because the trails lead to the NID, the russian Stargate program and a terminal ill selfmade millionaire.

My Opinion: Another episode I liked because they've managed to combine a spy story and science fiction. And that people are willing to make a pact with the devil when the death is near.

Wormhole X-treme!
Synopsis: Martin Lloyd has once again "forgotten" who and what he is. But now he is a creative consultant on the set of a series: "Wormhole X-treme!". It's about three humans and an android who go through an intergalactic portal and fight against aliens. But simultaneously a real spaceship is closing in on Earth that was hidden behind Mars.

My Opinion: One of the funniest episodes (and the 100th) of the entire series. Maybe only the 200th episode is even more fun. Many of the crew of SG-1 had a cameo appearance but the best were Peter DeLuise as director and his brother Michael (who also played in SeaQuest) as the actor of the Colonel. It was also brilliant to point out some typical errors in science fiction series ("If I am out of phase and can go through walls, why don't I fall through the floor?").

(From "Stargate SG-1" Marathon on April 2nd, 2008)