Showing 1 - 10 of 414 posts found matching keyword: movies

The Hollywood Reporter reports the totally inevitable news that Disney is remaking Bambi as a "live-action feature" as a "companion piece to its remakes The Jungle Book and The Lion King." I can't tell you how much it bothers me that Disney insists on calling its computer-generated eye-candy "live-action." I also can't tell you exactly why.

A large part of it must be related to my distaste for Disney itself. I once had a great deal of respect for the company that Walt built on the back of an animated mouse. Mr. Disney was an imperfect man, but he really did believe in making disposable entertainment into art. His successors less so. These days, the powers-that-be at Disney are obsessed solely in their quest to be the only entertainment company on earth. They'll do anything that gets them an extra almighty dollar, mostly including exploiting pre-packaged nostalgia for Walt's corpse.

However, a bigger problem is the lie itself. Computers are powerful, but outside of Weird Science, they remain incapable of breathing life into binary code. Nothing about The Lion King was live action, but Disney has been very careful to avoid saying so. (For example, they refused to submit the movie for consideration for Best Animated Feature Film Oscar.) I don't know why. Movies aren't real to begin with, so why mislead people about how they are made?

It increasingly looks like we're living in a post-truth society. The man in the White House can't say two sentences without a lie. Facebook will not restrict political campaigns from spreading intentional, demonstrable mistruths in paid advertising. Enemy states are using face-switching technology to promote propaganda on social media. With politicians already doing such a great job at it, why should we let corporations continue to degrade America's tenuous grasp on "reality" any further?

Sigh. I know I'm over-reacting. It's just promotional press for a movie that I won't watch. (Unless they shoot Bambi this time.) I know I'm just getting old and weary. But these uncontested, re-reported lies are really starting to get to me. It feels like 1984 is getting closer ever day, and now it's coming soon to a theater near you.

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Movies watched in 2019: the final batch.

209. (1648.) Bumblebee (2018)
Surprise, surprise: it is possible to make a good live-action Transformers movie! No, really, it's a great combination of coming-of-age and buddy action pictures, intentionally evocative of the best of the Love Bug movies. Wriphe endorsed!

210. (1649.) Jojo Rabbit (2019)
If Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was my favorite film watched in 2019, this is my favorite movie released in the year 2019. I'm so glad it was nominated for Best Picture Oscar. More people need to see it. (In fact, it is be re-released in theaters this weekend. If you haven't seen it yet, consider going. You won't regret it.)

211. (1650.) Made in U.S.A. (1987)
I watched this indie cross-country road picture via TCM Underground, and that was a perfect place for it. The plot, such as it is, doesn't make a lot of sense and there isn't a great payoff, but it is definitely some sort of adventure.

Drink Coke! (Made in USA)
No matter how far you are off the beaten path, there's Coke!

212. (1651.) Bundle of Joy (1956)
This is the Debbie Reynolds musical remake of Ginger Rogers' Bachelor Mother. The original movie is so much better. Don't watch this one.

213. (1652.) Office Christmas Party (2016)
Completely predictable, but not without its chuckles. Besides, who really wants a truly chaotic Christmas party.

Drink Coke! (Office Christmas Party)
Oddly, no one in the entire movie actually drinks a soda.

214. (1653.) The Opposite Sex (1956)
Sex comedy, 1950s style: Yawn. Leslie Nielsen leaves his wife for a starlet who cheats on him, so the ex-wife plots to steal her old husband back. Why, lady? He's obviously not that great a catch.

215. (1654.) This Could Be the Night (1957)
Not a great title for an otherwise charming film. A young teacher takes a job in a strip joint and soon charms everyone, including the audience. A good way to send out 2019.

More to come.

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You can keep your Romero, Nicholson, Ledger, Leto, and Phoenix...

Come hither... and die!

Nope, nothing crazy happening here

A perfect example of how normal people laugh

...*my* Joker is Jack Lemmon from Some Like It Hot.

I'll show them how many boners the Joker can make!

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December is over, so it's past time I started wrapping up movies watched in the last month of 2019. Here's the first batch.

204. (1643.) They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)
The sequel to In the Heat of the Night feels like it takes place in a different universe. That's not to say that this detective story (about finding the real killer of a dead call girl) is bad, exactly, just that it would probably work better if this wasn't supposed to be the same character.

Drink Coke! (They Call Me Mr Tibbs!)
Not a lot to choose from in that soda pop machine, guys.

205. (1644.) The Three Musketeers (1948)
This was the Gene Kelly version, and it may be my least favorite of all I've seen (which is, let's see, this, plus the 1921, 1973, 1993, and 2011 versions). Kelly seems too... *gay* for the role of D'Artagnan, and I mean that in the traditional 1940s MGM musical sense of the word. Watch him dance-fence, and you'll see what I mean.

206. (1645.) Tapeheads (1988)
The spiritual predecessor of Will Ferrell movies. I'd've loved this in high school. (Note: Tim Robins played the art nerd here the same year he was a hotshot pitcher in Bull Durham. Boy had range!)

207. (1646.) Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
A small-time crook gets mixed up in a meandering, hapless bounty hunt for a man who is already dead. It doesn't end well for anyone involved, including the dead man and especially the viewer. Obviously, I'm not a fan.

Drink Coke! (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia)
Also bring me a Coke!

208. (1647.) Phase IV (1974)
Science fiction fable about how humanity's hubris results in its death at the hands of super-smart ants. I mean, considering how many ants I've killed in my backyard, I guess we all have it coming.

Drink Coke! (Phase IV)
Obviously you can't make a movie about an army of ants without a sugary beverage.

More to come.

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Friend Randy complained when my last movie post promised eleven movies and only delivered five. I correct that omission here.

198. (1637.) Terms of Endearment (1983)
Several times during the movie (which is surprisingly more of a comedy than a tragedy), I asked myself "Why am I still watching this." I don't have an answer. The acting is good, yes (in fact, the cast is phenomenal), but the subject matter really isn't that engaging to me. Whatever. Just not my thing.

Except for the Coke.

Drink Coke! (Terms of Endearment)
Spoiler: Teddy is not careful.

199. (1638.) Smithereens (1982)
More my thing, at least in spirit. The actual story — a girl constantly making the wrong decisions in life — wasn't particularly captivating for a whole two hours, but the "indie" (read: cheap) filmmaking style was immersive, like these were real, heavily flawed, people. Felt like a Warhol film.

200. (1639.) I Am a Thief (1934)
A detective mystery (with a little romance) set on a train. Thin and lightly contrived, but still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

201. (1640.) Downton Abbey (2019)
I told Mom I wanted to go to the movies, and she said she wanted to go, too, so long as we saw this. So we did. I'd never seen an episode and can't believe they are all as good as the film was. Mom assures me they are. I was particularly thankful for the recap the theater ran in front of the actual film so that I had at least an inkling of who the houseful of players were. The most impressive thing about the plot is the incredibly low-stakes plot. There have been many, many dramas that have managed to do far less with much more.

(Sidenote: Mom and I weren't the only two in attendance. A couple of rows in front of us were three people who, it turned out, were watching the film again in anticipation of a vacation to visit the filming location, Highclere Castle.)

202. (1641.) In a Lonely Place (1950)
Is Bogart a murderer or just a bad guy? Is he aware of his own flaws? Is he deserving of love? Overall, a great noir movie. (There's a running gag in the movie about Bogart's screenwriter character having not read the book he's turning into a movie. Apparently, that was the case for this movie and the book it's based on. Meta!)

203. (1642.) Image Makers: The Adventures of America's Pioneer Cinematographers (2019)
TCM closed their month-long salute to cinematographers with this documentary highlighting the accomplishments of some of the best film has to offer. As a film buff, I found it engrossing, especially the anecdotes about the early days of Hollywood.

More to come.

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I only saw 11 new-to-me movies in the month of November. I'm no numerologist, but that seems an appropriate number.

193. (1632.) Caged Heat (1974)
This was the first movie that Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) directed. They grow up so fast! No, really, it looks only slightly more professional than the average women-in-prison exploitation flick. Hard to imagine while watching it that the guy behind this went on to Philadelphia.

194. (1633.) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
TCM spent the month highlighting films chosen by the The American Society of Cinematographers, and I'm so glad they did. This silent film directed by the legendary F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) with the assistance of two great cinematographers (Charles Rosher and Karl Struss) is almost as perfect as a movie can be. There are very few title cards; the movie simply doesn't need them. This should be a must watch for everyone who loves movies.

195. (1634.) Fashions of 1934 (1934)
A comedy of errors? A screwball? A romantic comedy? A little bit of all of them. Not quite a classic, though it does feature a pairing of William Powell and a criminally underused Bette Davis, for those who love such things.

196. (1635.) The Big Picture (1989)
Kevin Bacon is put through the wringer of the Hollywood system in this satire a la The Player (with less murder). I didn't love it. Didn't hate it. Maybe it just didn't speak to me.

197. (1636.) Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
After watching a Murnau movie, I decided to watch this, a fictional re-telling of the making of Nosferatu as if the vampire was a real vampire. I remember William Dafoe promoting this on the talk show circuit at the time. It's a pretty good atmospheric horror. I liked it.

More to come.

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Late in the season, I'm way off the pace for movies in 2019, and it only gets worse as we get to the end of the football season. I've only got two eyes!

Anyway, here is the final batch of movies watched in October:

186. (1625.) Ghost World (2001)
I think I really enjoy coming-of-age movies more when they are based on comic books. Fantastic stuff here, really. Especially that ambiguous ending.

187. (1626.) This Gun for Hire (1942)
The original story of a hit man with a heart of gold! No, not really. He's actually kind of a jerk, but he does have a legit beef against some crooks worse than he is. Highlight here is Robert Preston as a crack-shot cop.

188. (1627.) The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Swedish silent film about paying for your sins in the afterlife. Great atmosphere if light on actual plot. Highlight here is the bit of trivia that the axe-through-the-door scene was the inspiration for a similar shot in The Shining.

189. (1628.) The Sheepman (1958)
Glenn Ford goes so far out of his way to play a cad that it's nearly impossible to accept that he would end up with town hot potato Shirley MacLaine in the end. Highlight here is Leslie Neilsen as a villainous cowpoke.

190. (1629.) Atomic Blonde (2017)
This very stylish action film wants to be John Wick, but the unreliable narrator aspect and resulting questionable reality are a detriment. Highlight is the 80s soundtrack.

191. (1630.) Here Come the Nelsons (1952)
This film uses a traditional sit-com setup, so it feels like a long TV episode. Highlight is that it is the first visual adventure of Ozzie and Harriet and family.

192. (1631.) The Dawn Patrol (1938)
Always-smiling Errol Flynn and his real life best pal, David Niven, leads their WWI flying aces into combat and inevitable deaths! Highlight is the chemistry between the leads.

More to come.

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The streaming entertainment service from the Conglomerate That Walt Built is now publicly available. I will definitely not be subscribing, as I have confirmed that the service will not include two of my favorite men, Condorman and I-Man.

As a public service announcement to all the young viewers out there who will be watching, let me say:

Han shot first.

Enjoy your revisionist history, kids.

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Where was I with movies? Ah, yes.

178. (1617.) Late Nite (2019)
What starts as a biting commentary about the state of late night television ends as a feel-good buddy comedy of sorts. I liked but didn't love it.

179. (1618.) Lafayette Escadrille (1958)
A very cliched tale about early World War I pilots. The highlight is Clint Eastwood in a bit supporting part. That guy has charisma.

182. (1621.) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Until now, the only Woody Allen film I'd seen and liked was Midnight in Paris. This film covers much of the same sort of ground — the siren's lure of artificial worlds and those who make them — just as masterfully. If you liked one, you must see the other.

183. (1622.) Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)
Weak material elevated by a great cast, especially Carol Kane.

185. (1624.) Buck and the Preacher (1972)
Sidney Poitier directed and starred in this tale about poor race relations in the American Old West. It has the atmosphere of Clint Eastwood's Westerns. If you like that sort of thing — and I do — then it's a pretty good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

More to come.

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Contrary to what you might have read, I do watch movies that aren't Hallmark movies.

168. (1607.) The Quiller Memorandum (1966)
Another Cold War spy movie that is long on drama/suspense yet light on action. That works to its advantage, especially considering the delightfully gray ending. (How did George Segal start his career with roles like these and end his career on sitcoms? That guy has range.)

169. (1608.) The Emoji Movie (2017)
Critics railed against this movie, calling it among the worst ever made. I don't think it's *that* bad, but it is too little material spread too thinly over some poorly-thought-out scenes with a moral that makes no sense given the initial premise. In summary: Meh.

172. (1611.) Brother John (1971)
I read online someone called this the "blackest film ever." It's a fitting description. Silent, judgy Sidney Poitier is a, what, an angel? An alien? I watched this twice, and I still don't know. I really enjoyed guessing, though. I'd watch it a third time.

The movie takes place in a small Alabama town filled with racists and rapists. Almost everyone is knee-deep in petty sin. It's a weird place to put so much Coca-Cola product placement.

Drink Coke! (Brother John)
You can't see it here, but there's even a Coca-Cola clock on the wall behind Bradford Dillman.

173. (1612.) The Three Musketeers (1921)
Damn, d'Artagnan was a total dick in this silent adaptation by Douglas Fairbanks (in the role of... d'Artagnan). There's a lot of fun in the swordplay, so it's not a total loss.

174. (1613.) Belladonna of Sadness (1973)
I can sum this animated film up with three letters: W.T.F. In a slightly longer summary, it's about a young wife in medieval Europe who is raped by nobility on her wedding day, discovers she likes sex (a lot), and eventually makes a deal with the devil to... have more sex, I guess? Her endgame isn't exactly clear. She's burned at the stake, and the French Revolution happens. The end. Seriously bonkers. Some of the animation is quite impressive, though.

175. (1614.) Riders to the Stars (1954)
To prove that space travel is feasible, three men are launched into space to find out why metal fatigues so quickly outside of the Earth's atmosphere only to discover that the human mind is the most fragile material of all. Reading that back, I realize that sentence is far better than the movie itself. Avoid.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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