Shall I get a jump on reviewing new-to-me movies watched so far this year? Yes, I think I shall.

1. (1230.) Arabesque (1966)
Director Stanley Donen was clearly trying to recapture the success of his earlier Charade with this lighthearted spy thriller/comedy. I advise watching that one instead. Arabesque has a nice twist near the climax where you think Gregory Peck has screwed it all up, and there are some unusual bits of cinematography that are memorable even when they don't quite work out. But the rest is largely forgettable (and occasionally a little stupid.)

2. (1231.) Gay Purr-ee (1962)
Ugh. I cannot imagine sitting a child in front of this and expecting him/her to enjoy it unless she/he just loved Judy Garland. (Perhaps the "gay" in the title isn't supposed to be punny.) This film is probably most famous as the project that got Chuck Jones fired from Warner Bros., ostensibly because of a breah-of-contract. I wouldn't be surprised if the quality of this script (which Jones co-wrote with his wife) didn't have something to do with WB showing him the door.

3. (1232.) Nightcrawler (2014)
Now this here, this is a pretty good movie. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a sociopath who decides to get involved in the gorier side of television news. It's creepy, warped, and probably way too close to realistic for comfort. I liked it a lot. Just fucking dark.

4. (1233.) Malaya (1949)
James Stewart and Spenser Tracy smuggle rubber out from under the nose of the Japanese in World War II. It wants to be Casablanca without the romance but lacks the charm. Even it's great cast and some good one-liners can do little for the dull, plodding pace.

5. (1234.) Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016)
The worst Madea movie by far. As you know, I've found Madea to be a real charmer in supporting roles in other Tyler Perry movies, but here in a lead role, she's dim-witted while every around her is mean-spirited. I've heard Perry say in interviews this film was just a quickie cash grab, and it shows. As the saying goes, a man dressed as a woman has got to know his limitations.

More to come.

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To be continued...


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