Category Archives: Movie Review

A Series About Chess

Without knowing anything about it, I would think it would be about as exciting as watching the grass grow. And in saying that, reveals an ignorance about the game on my part.

But having just finished the 7 part Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, I am watching it again to fill myself in on the detail I missed the first time.

It is based on the novel by Walter Tevis, published in 1983.

The novel’s epigraph is “The Long-Legged Fly” by William Butler Yeats. This poem highlights one of the novel’s main concerns: the inner workings of genius in a woman. Tevis discussed this concern in a 1983 interview,[the year before his death.

It was originally to be made into a movie with the late actor Heath Ledger acting and directing.

It concerns a 9 year old girl, who is sent to a Catholic orphanage in the late 50s. She becomes a chess prodigy, having initially learned the game from the orphanage’s janitor.

And like most geniuses, has her struggles with her past, and substance abuse.

I can remember in 1972, American Bobby Fischer winning the chess word championship against the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky. Like hockey, chess was a game that the Soviets owned.

It is a story of ultimate redemption, and gave me an appreciation for the game.

Netflix has really produced some great series and movies.

11-25-20 here is a nice behind-the-scenes video about the making of the series

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NASA’s Finest Hour

Lately, with this COVID-19, there has been an unexpected benefit. Yes, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

One theater chain has been showing a lot more “classic” movies. And for the most part, I think the classic movies are better. How much of the current releases will be fondly remembered 25-50-75 years later? Who won the Best Picture award this year?

Does anybody care?

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Filed under History, Movie Review

I’d go

Posted by lex, on May 7, 2006


Andrew Klavan in the LA Times suggests it’s time for Hollywood to get on board for the big win:

We play with our children, read books, go to work and enjoy recreations only because people with guns stand ready, willing and able to kill other people with guns who would kill us if they could.

It’s sweet to forget this and therefore difficult to keep it in mind. “It is hard for those who live near a Police Station to believe in the triumph of violence,” as T.S. Eliot wrote. That’s us — we Americans, protected by a mighty military that by and large obeys the rules of our republic — safe enough, and keeping much of the world safe enough, so that we find it hard to believe in what would happen if that protection failed.

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Filed under by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Media, Movie Review

Too soon?

Posted by  lex, on April 3, 2006


Universal Films is making a 9/11 movie: “United 93.” (Link goes to a trailer.)

Ed Driscoll notes that certain people think we’re not ready for it yet – that’ it’s too soon. And too controversial: We might get angry, or something. Launch another one of those anti-Arab domestic pogroms like the ones that happened in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Interested to hear your thoughts…

(H/T to Glen(n) for the link)

Update: Chap certainly sounds ready. Which leads me to a sad realization: People like Kris in New England don’t need to see this movie – their lives are filled with the awareness of loss. Many of us engaged one way or another in the fight don’t need to see it – we’re committed.

But maybe some of those who need to see it most, simply won’t – that market that I mentioned in comments works two ways.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Movie Review


Awhile back, I was writing about a well-regarded series I saw on Amazon Prime, Dead Like Me. I learned that the creator left after only a few episodes, over differences with MGM.

I was thinking a screenwriter’s life could sometimes be rather frustrating, with revisions sought by the studio and even actors. Like trying to write a book with a lot of fingers on the pie – “No, don’t make the character like that….this is how it should end…why do you have the character doing…this?”

One would think that if a studio is sold on the pilot, then let the writers keep doing what they want with a minimum of interference.

Judge them by their own creativity.

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The Mighty Eighth


Last year, I screened The Cold Blue, which was an amazing film. In WW2, 5 famous Hollywood directors, William Wyler, John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens, and Frank Capra went into harm’s way with small film crews and documented the war. John Ford, for example shot – I believe- the only footage of Midway as it was being attacked.

I’m in danger of swaying into this fascinating story, but I will say one thing. The war affected them all, and it can be reflected in their post war work. George Stevens, for example, having seen so much death and destruction in Europe, in making Shane, thought gunfire and being shot should be portrayed realistically, a first for a Hollywood Western.

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Filed under Air Force, Army Aviation, Movie Review, Patriotism, USAF, Valor

Dead Like Me

It was said in the early 2000s that we were in the golden age of television. At last on the cable channels. Not the big screen, not the networks, but on shows like HBO, Showtime…

If you were a screenwriter, the place to be was here.

Not wanting to spend $150/month out here to get those channels, they passed me by.

But, the good thing is that many of these shows are now available to stream.

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Filed under Humor, Media, Movie Review

Letters From Iwo Jima

I have a post coming for the 75th anniversary of the Iwo Jima landings set to come out next month. I also watched the companion movie to Letters (they were made simultaneously)  Clint Eastwood made in 2006  –  Flags of Our Fathers. So you had 2 movies of Iwo Jima – from the perspectives of both sides.

It is all too easy to lump a wartime enemy into “they” with monolithic stereotypes and behavior.

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The Definitive Carroll Shelby Documentary

I have to admit, I have a bit of a compulsive nature. Ever since I saw the movie Ford v Ferrari and posted about it, I have been interested in learning more about specifically Shelby American and their cars.

And I’m even more amazed at what this small company achieved in international racing.

This Netflix documentary really covers it all. With narration from Shelby, his sons and grandsons, Edsel Ford and his son, Henry Ford III, Peter Brock…the list goes on and on.

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Ford v Ferrari

A bit on Carroll Shelby

In my car club, we have someone whom I would call a character and a free spirit. There are a number of stories about him, but the one I will mention tonight involves a claim of his of some years ago.

Tony casually told me that he had a dinner with Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, and Carroll Shelby.

You can imagine what I thought about that.

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