I'm breaking movies watched in June into categories. The first category is movies where the writer was also the director. This category includes Night of the Comet, which I reviewed last week.

I didn't set out to watch a bunch of movies with a writer/director, it just sort of happened that way. Generally speaking, writer/director movies tend to be both more stylish and less traditional than movies in which the roles are divided. Films by Ed Woods, M. Night Shyamalan, and John Carpenter illustrate my point.

90. (397.) The Cyclops (1957)
The first half of this 50's sci-fi B-picture sets up a compelling mystery reminiscent of another B-picture, Dr. Cyclops (or, if you are of a certain age, Dr. Shrinker). The second half is comparatively disappointing, as once the mystery is gone, the film limps along until the heroes flee the monster. Cliche and boring.

91. (398.) I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Existential detectives? The concept immediately reminded me of the original holistic detective, Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently. This movie doesn't have the same absurdist sensibility as Adams, but it does take the world just about as unseriously. Fantastic and recommended.

94. (401.) The Palm Beach Story (1942)
This Preston Sturges-written/directed screwball comedy reminded me of Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, including its ridiculously off-the-wall ending. Anyone who has seen Some Like It Hot will recognize that as high praise. Recommended.

103. (410.) H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer (2004)
This documentary falls into this category, but only on a technicality. I don't typically care for serial killers, but I just finished The Devil in the White City and I wanted to know more about the history of this story. I can't say this film did expanded my knowledge significantly, though I do highly recommend The Devil in the White City.

104. (411.) Night of the Creeps (1986)
This film is a love letter to the b-movies of the 50s. It's an effective mix of sci-fi, horror, and comedy that succeeds. The script is stupid, but it's supposed to be. On the other hand, the dialogue that is intended to be serious (not the jock-speak of the sorority and fraternity kids) sounds surprisingly authentic for this sort of film. I liked it.

Honorable mention:

102. (409.) White Hunter, Black Heart (1990)
No, this movie does not have a shared writer/director, but it is about one. And it has a shared director/actor in Clint Eastwood. Are you going to be the one to tell Clint Eastwood he doesn't get to be included in this category?

Eastwood plays legendary writer/director John Huston, a character so much larger than life he's impossible to believe. Watching Eastwood play another famous director made me think about Eastwood's own body of work. Indubitably, the man is one of Hollywood's eternal legends.

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To be continued...


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