Bringing up Baby (1938)

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Hepburn and Grant have more shenanigans to deal with than just the leopard…

Nearly eight decades after it was released, Howard Hawk’s Bringing Up Baby is still as fresh and hilarious and romantic and chaotic as it was when it was released. Parents, if you want to introduce your kids to classic Hollywood at an early age, here is a perfect candidate (and to get them to meet two of the biggest stars the movies has ever had).

In a nutshell, the film stars Cary Grant as David, a paleontologist who is hoping to get an offer of a million dollars for his museum. The problem is, he keeps running into the ever happy-go-lucky Susan, played by Katharine Hepburn. She has inherited a leopard named Baby from her brother in Africa. The situations in this movie are too complicated to explain in words, let alone worthless to try, since they are better to be experienced.

Grant performs effortlessly as David, who is undoubtably the cautious type. Still, it is clearly Hepburn who steals the spotlight (as she did in almost every single one of her movies). Her performance is dazzling. You wonder why it is she is not frightened (most of the time) of the awkward situations she gets into (my favorite is when she is thrown into jail). Perhaps the best answer would be that the role is so like Hepburn in real life that very little acting was required, if any at all.

Parents, there is really nothing to worry about at all for the kids (despite one character saying they went “gay all of a sudden”, but it is mainly played for laughs). Any age is fine with this movie.

I admit some of the parts did confuse me a bit, but they were far outweighed by my laughter, which occurred a lot.

Is this the best movie for Cary Grant or Katharine Hepburn? Hard to say. They each made a trunk load of classics that will be around as long as movie goers search for them. Still, as stated before, it is one that is perfect to start with if you want to see some of the early days of classic comedy.
Overall: Five Stars *****

Get Out (2017)

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Daniel Kaluuya is Chris, the new boyfriend of Rose (Allison Williams) in Get Out.

Ok, seriously, what did I miss here?

As I am writing this review, Get Out has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps it is a good thing I am (as of now) not a paid movie critic, or it would not be at that perfect score.

Fifty years ago, a great movie called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? was released with Spencer Tracy (his last film), Katharine Hepburn, and Sidney Poiter. That movie was about a woman who brings her fiance (Poiter) to meet her parents (Hepburn and Tracy). Throw in horror, cheesy chords of music, and some unreal acting, and you have Get Out.

The people in the movie are talented, indeed. You have Daniel Kaluuya as a photographer named Chris, who is dating Rose (Allison Williams). One weekend, she brings him to meet her parents out in the country. They are Missy and Dean (played, respectively, by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford). There is also her brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), who is creepy, and not, I am afraid, in a good way.

The movie did not scare me at all (save for one moment where it was a “gotcha” moment followed by a high music chord). The movie did, however, make me laugh a lot. This is mainly attributed to Chris’s best friend Rod (Lil Rey Howery). His timing and delivery are perfect, and it is him who had me interested as long as he was on-screen.

The other actors are good (I have always been a fan of Catherine Keener), but it is the party scene that ruined the movie for me. No one in their right mind acts the way Rose’s extended family does. I can’t say why the characters act the way they do without spoiling the movie, except to say that, when you find out the twist, you realize it could not have been anything else.

Parents, it is a hard R rating (no nudity or sex, just a lot of swearing and blood/gore). 17 and above.

It is true that many movies need more than one viewing to potentially appreciate it more. However, after seeing Get Out once, I don’t plan on seeing it again anytime soon.

Seriously, the title screen alone should serve as a warning.

 

Overall: Two Stars

The African Queen (1951)

The African Queen (1951) Directed by John Huston Shown from left: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn

Bogie and Kate, struggling thru the marshes of Africa…

 

The African Queen is known nowadays mainly for being the film that brought the legendary actor Humphrey Bogart his only Oscar, as well as beating out Marlon Brando for A Streetcar Named Desire. While Brando was obviously breathtaking, I feel people tend to overlook Bogart’s performance. It is not his best performance or movie, but it is still wonderful entertainment.

He stars as Charlie Allnut, who pairs along with Rose Sawyer (the equally great Katherine Hepburn, nominated here) on a trip down the river to sink a German Ship in the early years of World War One. In what had to be one of the first movies ever made about survival (LONG before Cast Away, 127 Hours, Life of Pi, and “Gravity), so much should have gone wrong with the making of this movie. Filmed almost entirely in Africa, many (if not all) of the crew members got sick (all but Bogart and Director John Huston due, according to Hepburn, to all the Scotch they drank). This is the early 1950s, so respect must be shown to the filmmakers for going out on a limb here.

The payoff is a grand cinema adventure full of hidden comedy, wonderful romance, and edge of your seat thrills. The main reasoning has to be because of the two leads, who the AFI called the greatest screen legends of all time. Everyone may have their opinions, but it is hard to pass up the talents of Hepburn and Bogart. While actors like Brando practiced “the method”, Bogart approached it naturally (“Acting is like sex: Either you do it and don’t talk about it, or you talk about it, and don’t do it.”). And Hepburn? Well, a record four oscars for acting can speak for themselves.

Parents, there is kissing, but that is really it. It is a 1951 movie, so it is all good for kids (not that it should matter, but it is not even in black and white, so that may appeal to them).

In the end, this movie is one of the classics, a movie that I would NEVER suggest Hollywood remake. There is another word to describe this film that I have not heard others say: It is a lot of fun.

Overall: 5 Stars *****