Showing 1 - 10 of 421 posts found matching keyword: movies

I watched most of these in the Before Times, so my memory of them may be skewed by the fact that was back before the world ended and I could afford to be selective about what I watched.

36. (1690.) Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Oh, so close to being a great movie! It has many of the same elements that would make Rocky Horror Picture Show a success a few years later: good music, literary underpinnings, a pop culture-infused storyline about good and evil and free will and rock and roll... but somehow it all fails to gel here. I can't put my finger on why, exactly, it just feels under baked. (I much appreciated the homages to German Expressionism cinema. Too bad it didn't stick the landing.)

37. (1691.) The House (2017)
Rewatching Zoolander recently, I was reminded of how much more enjoyable Will Ferrell's antics are when in a supporting instead of a leading role. For example, having Amy Pohler and a great stock of comic actors really helps here, injecting a lot of welcome silliness into a light dark comedy.

39. (1693.) The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
The obvious inspiration for most of Disney's Aladdin. It's a lot of fun, including the badly outdated special effects for the genie.

40. (1694.) Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)
Awful, just awful. If this is what Jason Statham has been reduced to, someone please put him out of his misery.

41. (1695.) Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
Not the strongest entry in this series, but that plays into the film's theme of the comfort of old friends in need of moving on to new horizons. Lean in!

42. (1696.) White Lightning (1973)
The 1970s sure were obsessed with hillbilly action films.

More to come.

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There's been not much else to do lately other than watch movies.

27. (1681.) Naughty Marietta (1935)
In this musical romantic comedy in the vein of Taming of the Shew, opera-singing Marietta (not her real name) is "naughty" in the same sense as a headstrong child, not a burlesque dancer. I only figured that out once I realized they were all singing that high-falutin' opera stuff. (Opera fans don't care for titties.)

29. (1683.) Girls Trip (2017)
Stealing every scene and delivering all the laughs, Tiffany Haddish deserves her status as breakout star in this, an otherwise unremarkable raunchy sex comedy. Which is not to say that it's bad. Raunchy sex comedies by their very nature aren't trying to break new ground in cinema. The genre is dependable comfort food, much like Coca-Cola for the eyes.

Drink Coke! (Girls Trip)

What's that, you say? You think a disposable cup in a street scene isn't intentional product placement? Ok, fine. How about this?

Drink Coke! (Girls Trip)
Case Closed.

30. (1684.) Pygmalion (1938)
Once upon a time, my father, discovering I hadn't seen My Fair Lady, said, "Aw, just tell everyone it's a remake of Pygmalion." Now that I've finally seen Pygmalion, holy shit. It's exactly the same film, minus the songs. I always thought Rex Harrison was a dick in My Fair Lady, but that's not his fault; it's the part. Sorry, Rex.

31. (1685.) Manhattan (1979)
An utterly beautiful movie better watched with the sound off. Woody Allen goes out of his way to make his own life miserable in almost all of his movies, and he doubles down here, dating a child and sleeping with his best friend's mistress. Yeah, that's going to end well.

32. (1686.) The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
I suspect that the reason Ryan Reynolds' roguish charm works in this film is due in no small part to Samuel Jackson doing his best to one-up him. They seem like they're having fun, and that's often infectious for the audience.

34. (1688.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
While I really appreciated the cynical comedy in this, it's the ending that really sticks with you. Is this a Shakespearean comedy, or a tragedy cut off just before the fine act? A good conversation piece.

More to come.

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I always like to separate these cozy Hallmark mystery movies out from the others I watch because they feel like their own thing. In point of fact, most of them feel like the same thing, that is, over-long episodes of Hart to Hart. Still, I kind of like 'em.

28. (1682.) Dead Over Diamonds: Picture Perfect Mysteries (2020)
This is the second of the series, but the first one I watched. Herein, a photographer tries to figure which of too many subjects is involved in a very improbable theft from an art gallery that every police detective could solve over morning coffee.

33. (1687.) Picture Perfect Mysteries: Newlywed and Dead (2019)
The original is..., well, I don't want to say "better" than its sequel, but maybe it is. At least it's more colorful, and I liked that. (See, she's a visual artist, so the color is supposed to represent her artistic sense. That's about as deep as character development gets in these things.)

35. (1689.) Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder (2019)
I find Lacey Chabert more irritating than charming in these Crossword Mysteries. Amateur detectives have to be a little pushy, I suppose, but damn, girl. This episode also suffers badly from too much Checkhov's Gun, tipping its hand long before the reveal. Just careless storytelling.

38. (1692.) Riddled with Deceit: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery (2020)
Mom thinks the male lead in this series, Jesse Metcalfe, is good looking, so we watch these regardless of whether the mysteries are any good. This one centers around another improbable art theft. The tacked on twist ending comes out of left field, even assuming you remember the throwaway line in the first act that sets it up. Funny how a bad ending can ruin an otherwise enjoyable adventure. Good thing that guy is good looking.

More to come.

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Finally getting to movies watched in February.

21. (1675.) Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Before I sat down to watch this, I expected I wouldn't like it. I didn't. I watched it anyway because I'd already seen the other two entries in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time" series. Those Coppola/Scorsese gangster glorifying movies just aren't for me.

22. (1676.) The Heavenly Kid (1985)
This is more my speed. A dead 60s greaser is sent back from purgatory to earn his wings helping an 80s nerd, er, get laid. Come to think of it, the general plot's not substanatively different than a reverse Back to the Future. Must have been something in the water in '85.

Drink Coke! (The Heavenly Kid)
Or something in the Coke.

23. (1677.) Rough Night (2017)
If this comedy had been made a decade or two earlier, it would have been much, much darker. To be sure, there are plenty of dark parts, but they're all played for outright laughs. I enjoyed it.

24. (1678.) The Front (1976)
I enjoyed this one too, despite Woody Allen's on-camera presence. As I've said before, I find that I tend to enjoy Allen movies where he writes or directs but does not act. He neither wrote or directed this historically-inspired dramedy. Maybe that's the difference. Or maybe it's because the McCarthy-inspired "Hollywood Blacklist" era seems so close to modern sentiments that I thought some lessons could be learned.

Drink Coke! (The Front)
Lessons like "drink Coke!"

25. (1679.) Ghost in the Shell (2017)
I really did not enjoy this live-action remake of the celebrated manga/anime, mostly because it had been so insultingly watered down to reach a wider (read: dumber) audience. I was also disappointed by Scarlett Johansson, who just seemed too soft (emotionally, physically, intellectually) for the part of the Major. I'd much rather watch any of the existing anime adaptations again.

26. (1680.) The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)
Unlike Once Upon a Time in America, which is a beautiful fiction glorifying gang life, this is a much more dour documentary style that watches much like a "crime doesn't pay" PSA or a Dragnet episode. Much more my speed.

More to come.

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If I don't finish up my list of movies watched in January, I'll never get to February. So here goes.

13. (1667.) The Yakuza (1974)
Robert Mitchem vs the Japanese mafia! It's two great tastes that actually taste pretty great together.

14. (1668.) Scary Movie (1991)
This is not the comedy that launched the career of Anna Faris but an independent horror movie with a very unusual twist on the Halloween concept. It also reminded me of Clerks in all the best ways. I'm sure it's not everyone's bag, but I found it very worthwhile.

15. (1669.) Gourmet Detective: Roux the Day (2020)
16. (1670.) A Beautiful Place to Die: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery (2020)
17. (1671.) Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement (2019)
We'll stick these three together because there's not really a lot to separate them. All of them follow some variation of the familiar Hallmark Movies & Mysteries format of an amateur detective (usually the woman) slowly becoming romantically involved with the law enforcement professional (usually the man) officially charged with solving an improbable murder. Most of these couldn't care less about things like probable cause and due process, and few of them are better put together than a below-average episode of Murder, She Wrote. The enjoyment is trying to solve the puzzle the writers have written before the movie reveals it (at the 1:50 mark). The answer is usually yes.

18. (1672.) Moonstruck (1987)
Some people love this romcom. But then, some people love Cher. I'm lukewarm on both. (Nic Cage is the weakest part of this by far. Could he ever act convincingly?)

19. (1673.) Deathsport (1978)
The movie poster could have said "Motorcycles and Tits in the Future... to the Death!" and that would have made as much sense as anything that happens on screen. The best part is trying to pick out the intentional Star Wars influences.

20. (1674.) The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)
This was the fourth (and last) of the original Magnificent Seven movies (the "Conquest of the Magnificent Seven," if you will). It's a very thin and entirely unnecessary retread of concepts in earlier movies in the series. The highlight is the plethora of 1970s character actors filling the motley crew. What can I say? I'm a sucker for Ed Lauter.

More to come.

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So far February has been light viewing for new-to-me movies, but I still have quite the backlog from January.

7. (1661.) The Juggler (1953)
This is the last Kirk Douglas movie I saw before he died. He plays a German who survived the Holocaust with severe mental trauma trying to hide from authorities by playing a juggling clown in a post-war Israeli settlement. I missed the start of the film and went looking for it with a Google search on "Kirk Douglas juggler." The title might have been a little too on-the-nose, but Douglas' commitment to the part was noteworthy. What a great actor.

8. (1662.) Knives Out (2019)
There's not much I can say about this murder mystery without spoiling the experience except that it is both keenly aware and deserving of its reflection of the best the mystery genre has to offer. Very enjoyable. (I'd love to see more of Daniel Craig's Detective Benoit Blanc.)

9. (1663.) Despicable Me 3 (2017)
I smiled at this movie several times but didn't laugh once until the "Spy vs Spy"-inspired end credits sequence. I admire the craftsmanship, but I think there are some fundamental problems with the all-over-the-place plotting and stock characterizations. (An '80s villain? Incompetent Millennial bureaucrats? Pig-farming millionaires? Who was the target audience for this thing?)

10. (1664.) Aurora Teagarden Mystery: A Bone to Pick (2015)
This is the first of the Aurora Teagarden series (which I am seeing last because that's how I roll!). To it's credit, it does some good world-building and lays groundwork for character relationships to come. I still don't like the main character, though. I'm still hoping she gets murdered.

11. (1665.) Making Mr. Right (1987)
Leave it to John Malkovich plays both a genius roboticist and his android in a bizarre twist on the standard romcom formula. It's simultaneously silly and charming. As a bonus, everyone in it is drinking either Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray or Coca-Cola.

Drink Coke! (Making Mr. Right)

12. (1666.) Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
I've seen hard-boiled detective Phillip Marlowe played by Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet), Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep), Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake), and Elliott Gould (The Long Goodbye). This movie was Robert Mitchum's turn. I love Mitchum as a street-smart tough guy (a la Out of the Past), but I don't really buy him "deducing" the solution to this sort of convoluted mystery plots.

More to come.

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New year, new movies.

1. (1655.) The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)
Just your run-of-the-mill buddy road action romance comedy spy movie for chicks. Being a mash up of so many genres, it stuck mostly to the established stereotypes of each. That there were so many moving parts (and actors having fun) kept it from being stale. I enjoyed it.

2. (1656.) Chopping Mall (1986)
Imagine Short Circuit with Johnny Five replaced by Micheal Myers and you get this so very 1980s slasher flick. Recommended to fans of Friday the 13th (I'm talking to you, Keith).

Drink Coke! (Chopping Mall)
There were better Coke shots before this, but I wasn't ready.

3. (1657.) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
I liked this as a work of fiction, but I just could not accept Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. (And although the protagonist is based on a real person, I think it's ridiculous to call a film about a fictitious person a biography.) Therefore, the highlight of the film was the miniature sets used for establishing shots and transitions. If you want to see a movie about Mr. Rogers, I'd recommend last year's Won't You Be My Neighbor documentary instead.

4. (1658.) Kansas City Confidential (1952)
Good, suspenseful noir about a man-done-wrong chasing down the men who did him wrong. Enjoyable.

5. (1659.) Magnificent Obsession (1954)
This is dreary melodrama follows a horrible, trust-fund cad (Rock Hudson) who falls for the woman whose life he destroyed (Jane Wyman) and becomes the world's best brain surgeon to fix her. Ugh.

6. (1660.) The Lodger (1927)
Alfred Hitchcock's third film was obviously heavily influenced by the German expressionism films of the era. As so many silents do, it sags a bit in the middle, but it's totally worth a watch for Hitchcock fans. (It contains the first Hitchcock cameo appearance, by the way. His back is to camera in an early shot of a newsroom. I missed it.)

More to come.

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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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To be continued...