Showing 1 - 10 of 447 posts found matching keyword: movies
Saturday 14 November 2020
Since today's UGA football game has been postponed (due to COVID, what else?), let's watch some movies!
170. (1824.) Guys and Dolls (1955)
Nope. I'd never seen Guys and Dolls. Now I have. (Sinatra playing a mobster again? What range!) It's pretty good, at least all the scenes without Brando. I don't have any idea what The Method would say about someone who lives in a reality where people break into song about their most intimate feelings, but Brando must have been insufferable for a few months. Sinatra must have been a saint to resist having him iced.
171. (1825.) Springfield Rifle (1952)
For the first half hour of this bland Western, you think, "why is this film about spies and cattle rustling and runaway children called Springfield Rifle?" Then they tell you and you're like, "how much did the Springfield Rifle company pay for that?"
172. (1826.) Blockers (2018)
A very modern sex comedy about a group of helicopter parents trying to save their children's virginity. Is there anything John Cena can't do?
173. (1827.) Enter Laughing (1967)
It took two tries for me to get through Carl Reiner's directorial debut (based on his debut novel). The play within the play is quality stuff, but most of the rest of the time spent in the protagonist's life can be a dull drag.
174. (1828.) The Hospital (1971)
This "modern" medical murder mystery film is a delightful black hole of cynicism. My only gripe is the abrupt, uncomfortable brutality of the scene in the middle of this where George C. Scott damn near has a mental breakdown in his office and then forces himself sexually on (a willing) Diana Rigg. That's the pivot point of the plot, and it's cynical even about honestly, but it's both too predictable and too preposterous to be satisfying.
175. (1829.) Sidewalk Stories (1989)
A mostly silent take on the sort of movie Chaplin would have made but with Black leads, which serves to underscore some of its more serious points. A good film.
More to come.
Monday 26 October 2020
Movie reviews part 1821 through 1823 in a series of indeterminate length:
167. (1821.) Reckless (1935)
This movie's script is, frankly, bad. (What starts as a romantic musical comedy collapses into bland melodrama based on current events with a preachy ending.) It seems the studio paired William Powell and his sweetheart Jean Harlow with the intention of overcoming that shortcoming. I don't think Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone could have saved it.
168. (1822.) People Will Talk (1951)
This anti-hypocrisy morality play could only work with someone like Cary Grant in the title role. Dr. Noah Praetorius' self-righteousness would be insufferable without Grant's impish charm.
169. (1823.) Lost in America (1985)
Albert Brooks and Julie Haggerty yell at each other across America. The comedy exists largely in what is not said, as the characters are blind to their own absurdity. It definitely has its moments, not the least of which is when the couple's RV travels through Atlanta and the delightful hamlet of Newnan, Georgia:
Thirty-five years later, Lagrange Street still looks like this on the way to Newnan High School. Of course, in 1985, that sign was pointing to I-85 Exit 8. They now call it Exit 41, which is just as well since they added an additional exit just up the road when they moved the hospital from Hospital Road to Poplar Road to accommodate the giant Summergrove residential community built on the east side of the Interstate back at the turn of the 21st century. They call the new exit 44, which is probably a better name than 8½.
More to come.
Sunday 18 October 2020
Life's been rough lately. So time for some of my favorite escapism: movies.
162. (1816.) Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
I actually enjoyed this sequel more than the original Ant-Man, though probably only because it hews a little closer to the silliness of the Silver Age comic books that inspired it.
163. (1817.) Holiday in Spain (1960)
This movie was originally called Scent of Mystery and was designed to be smelled as much as viewed. (In the original release, scented oil was pumped into the theater air to match what you were seeing on screen.) Like the worst 3D movies, the story is secondary to the gimmick and is probably worth viewing only as a novelty. ("See if you can guess what this scene is supposed to smell like!")
164. (1818.) This Land Is Mine (1943)
A poignant WWII tale made all the more pointed by its sympathetic portrayal of the fascists and those who would choose to support them. It does a great job of illustrating the corrupting evil of collaborationism with good intentions. I wish it wasn't relevant in today's world.
165. (1819.) The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
A documentary (with some staged scenes) featuring the heavy metal bands in the Los Angeles music scene of the late 80s. It's like a real world version of This is Spinal Tap (a connection I'm sure was intended by the filmmakers). I loved it.
166. (1820.) Battle Circus (1953)
Humphrey Bogart is the chief surgeon falling for nurse June Allyson in a US Army MASH unit during the Korean War. Its strength isn't the romance but the many great scenes showcasing the difficulties facing the unit so near the front lines. If you like Altman's film or the television show, you should see this.
More to come.
Monday 12 October 2020
As I type this, news is breaking that the Atlanta Falcons have fired head coach Dan Quinn. Now he'll have some time to watch some movies. May I make a few suggestions?
157. (1811.) King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)
Arnold Rothstein was a notorious gambler who is widely believed to have played a significant role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. This loose biopic barely touches on that, focusing instead on Rothstein's betrayal of his friends. It could only have been improved by casting someone other than emotionless David "The Futgitive" Janssen in the lead role and a much-too-old-for-the-part Mickey Rooney as his whiney best friend.
158. (1812.) The Lost World (1960)
Another misfire of a movie in which dull 1950s-style adventure (and outdated cultural attitude) meets zero-budget special effects. I actually feel bad for Jill St. John for having to be in this as one of two obligatory damsels in need of saving. (I also feel bad for her toy poodle, Frosty, who exists only for comic relief.)
159. (1813.) Loan Shark (1952)
George Raft goes undercover at great personal risk to take down the loan shark operation that killed his sister's husband. That sounds a little cliche, doesn't it? It is. But revenge flicks never have or need the most original plots. Everyone wants to see justice served.
160. (1814.) Wuthering Heights (1939)
Speaking of cliches, this is just a terribly sappy melodrama about a pair of star-crossed lovers. That sort of story never works! Seriously though, Laurence Olivier spends the entire film being a true asshat to literally everyone else on screen, *especially* the girl he supposedly adores. That's not love; that's domestic abuse. I cannot believe that anyone ever really enjoys watching this.
161. (1815.) Skyjacked (1972)
Thrillers in the 1970s always had very little plot and expected the audience to be entertained by constant threats to the life of their ensemble cast. I'd say the biggest name in this film (which, as its name suggests, is all about James Brolin's determination to hijack an airliner and escape to Soviet Russia) is arguably Walter Pidgeon, but Charlton Heston has the big role and faces the most danger (including the wife he is cheating on with a stewardess). For fans of the genre only.
Hang in there, Danny boy. There's more to come.
Saturday 3 October 2020
It's finally October, so let's get to some movies.
151. (1805.) Promise Her Anything (1966)
Softcore pornographer Warren Beatty does some very questionable things with a child in order to bone the kid's mom. It's a very 1960s take on 1950's idea of a sex comedy.
Planning to get a widow so drunk she'll let you in her pants? Don't forget the Coke!
152. (1806.) Illegal (1955)
Imagine what a John Grisham book might have looked like in the 1940s and you'll have something near this pretty good legal thriller. Edward G. Robinson plays a crackerjack attorney who makes a mistake that destroys his world. (The innocent who is put to death for a crime he didn't commit is a young DeForest Kelley!) The road to redemption is very rocky indeed.
153. (1807.) Dream Wife (1953)
Cary Grant unintentionally discovers that when you educate a young, subservient middle-eastern Islamic woman in the ways of America, she'll make your life miserable! As close as the 1950s was capable to getting to women's lib.
154. (1808.) Sitting Pretty (1948)
This is the movie that introduced the character of the perfect butler Mr. Belvedere to the screen. There's some dated sexual politics misadventures in this, too, but they're handled with a more empathy for women's point of view. Very enjoyable.
155. (1809.) McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Robert Altman's idea of a Western is an iconic representation of his style, but it's not an entirely satisfying cinematic experience thanks in no small part to a very weak narrative. (We're all just prostitutes doomed to live in shit and die. Fun!)
156. (1810.) The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947)
The always delightful William Powell plays a corrupt and stupid old Senator who tries to blackmail his way into the White House. With a little plot tightening, this would be the perfect digestif to the unrealistic optimism of Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I liked it plenty even before discovering the film closed with an uncredited appearance by Ms. Nora Charles herself, Myrna Loy! Hooray! (This is their last movie together. Boo!)
More to come!
Tuesday 22 September 2020
The Miami Dolphins offered 13,000 tickets to their game on Sunday. Only ~11,000 were sold. Is that because people were scared of the pandemic, the weather, or being forced to watch the Miami Dolphins play "football"?
We all should have watched movies instead. Perhaps movies like these:
145. (1799.) The First Wives Club (1996)
Great cast, mediocre result. I'm always game for a buddy revenge comedy, but the movie lost me at the high-rise window washer scaffold misadventure, which would have been too silly for most sitcoms.
146. (1800.) The Red Shoes (1948)
Put this film in the category of movies disappointed by a bad ending. I admit that the dancing is pretty darn good, but having a real ballerina acting the part of the put-upon artist/romantic lead left an insurmountable hole at the center of the film, a flaw that was left badly exposed by the abrupt conclusion.
147. (1801.) Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
Frank Sinatra really loved gangsters, didn't he? His film roles are filled with bad guys with a heart of gold, such as here, where smuggling, counterfeiting, and gunfights are presented as victimless crimes. On the up side, this does A) prove that Peter Falk was a great comedic actor and B) introduce the world to "My Kind of Town." So not all bad, then.
148. (1802.) Smorgasbord (1983)
Nothing about this anthology series of loosely connected vaudeville skits *should* work, and very little of it actually does. There are a few genuine chuckles, but most of the skits are either terrible, one-note ideas or have had the comedic timing destroyed by director Jerry Lewis indulging performer Jerry Lewis's ego. (The editor is Gene Fowler, Jr, who also edited the abysmally paced It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. So he probably deserves some blame, too.)
149. (1803.) Brewster McCloud (1970)
There's no way to describe this movie without making it sound absolutely nuts, so here goes: A bird-obsessed boy living underneath the Houston Astrodome avoids sex and builds a flying machine while under investigation for a string of murders. See? Nuts. There's also no disputing the fact that I loved it! The Player is still my favorite Robert Altman-directed film, but there's a new entry at second place.
150. (1804.) Never So Few (1959)
Is being a commando soldier really any different than being a gangster? Watching Frank Sinatra in the role, the answer would appear to be no. This dawn of World War II movie's plot examining the absurdity of the Rules of War is made nearly insufferable by the shoehorned inclusion of a romance with Gina Lollobrigida.
Take it from Steve McQueen: drinking Coke makes you cool!
More to come.
Monday 14 September 2020
I've only finished 3 movies so far in September, but maybe that's because I watched 25 in August. I should probably get a start on reviewing that backlog, so here goes.
139. (1793.) Winchester '73 (1950)
An anthology Western movie loosely organized around a rifle that keeps getting passed around. Jimmy Stewart is the star, but the cast also includes Rock Hudson, Shelley Winters, and Tony Curtis among others. Very good.
140. (1794.) You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
The Taming of the Shrew is the basis for the plot in this Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth musical comedy. Astaire plays his usual manipulative skirt-chasing character, but Hayworth is the highlight.
141. (1795.) Hit the Deck (1955)
This film is a mess. It feels like the studio (MGM) had a bunch of stars they wanted to stick in the same movie, so they had someone write something where the sole criteria was "get all these people on screen." Debbie Reynolds is a good example; her character serves no role in the plot other than giving an excuse to get "Debbie Reynolds" on the marquee. The fruit salad of movies.
144. (1798.) Game Night (2018)
This sort of misadventure comedy — sibling jealously and a series of coincidences lead to a life-or-death situation milked for laughs — is the bread and butter of Jason Bateman's career, but Rachel McAdams is the star player. (She never disappoints.) I enjoyed it, especially the scene with the $17 bribe.
142. (1796.) Thirty Day Princess (1934)
Someone else who never disappoints is Preston Sturges, who wrote but did not direct this permutation of the premise of The Prince and the Pauper. I enjoyed it, too.
143. (1797.) Sabotage (1936)
As much as I like Preston Sturges movies, I love Alfred Hitchcock's work. I think I've often quoted his "if you show the crowd the bomb, you can't let that bomb go off" philosophy, which was very clearly a revelation he came to *after* making this movie. Very watchable and far less predictable than I would have expected.
Coca-Cola in 1938 London! What, what?
Many more to come.
Monday 31 August 2020
It's almost September, so let's go ahead and get these last July movies out of the way.
133. (1787.) The Daydreamer (1966)
Rankin-Bass would films are so, so slow, which I'm sure is why their television work is so much better known. A 30-minute Christmas special is far more entertaining than a drawn-out ninety-minute slog through children's fables.
134. (1788.) The Breaking Point (1950)
A sailor makes a series of bad decisions that destroy his life. It's a pretty great noir, actually. Recommended.
135. (1789.) Insignificance (1985)
Golly, I want to like this more than I actually do. There's such a great idea at it's core: what if Marilyn Monroe's attempts to spend the night with Albert Einstein were disrupted by Joe DiMaggio and Joe McCarthy? It's such a crazy allegory, it just might work. But then it doesn't, in part because the characters come across as exaggerated waxworks instead of real people.
136. (1790.) 4 for Texas (1963)
In this case, the four are Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg, and Ursula Andress. It's a comedy that no one really seems interested in being in, Sinatra least of all. Having seen it, I can't blame him (although Ursula Andress appearing in a back lit doorway wearing a sheer negligee isn't nothing).
137. (1791.) Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968)
Think Help!, but replace the Beatles with Herman and his Hermits and replace a stolen ring with a dog and remove the criminals.... You know what, never mind. It's just a thin excuse for some silly songs and a romp through 1960s London.
138. (1792.) Love, Simon (2018)
I've said it before, but I'm a sucker for coming of age movies, apparently even when they are also coming out movies. It's a total fantasy, sure, but I watch movies to get away from the reality of what coming of age is actually like.
More to come.
Saturday 22 August 2020
What's Walter watching? Let's find out.
127. (1781.) The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938)
Edward G. Robinson is a doctor who becomes a criminal to research crime only to learn that it doesn't pay. He could have saved himself some trouble and just watched some Edward G. Robinson movies.
128. (1782.) The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (1974)
Part anti-establishment romantic comedy, part anti-war tragedy, this film earns high marks for bringing a reasonably light touch to several real issues. (The movie was produced by Playboy, and you can totally feel the magazine's mid-seventies vibe in the finished product.) If you can tolerate the inevitable tonal see-saw, you'll probably enjoy it.
Crazy Goes Better with Coke! ®
129. (1783.) Three Strangers (1946)
The Chinese goddess of destiny brings three flawed but related people together for a share of a fortune with predictably tragic results. It's like a long, forgettable episode of The Twilight Zone.
130. (1784.) The Killing Fields (1984)
Feeling depressed about the state of global political affairs in 2020? Then don't watch this (more or less) true story about reporters caught up in the chaos following America's withdrawal from Cambodia in advance of the murderous Khmer Rouge in the mid 70s. That there are monsters in the world who would do these sorts of things.... The devil is real, and he is human.
Killing Goes Better with Coke! ®
131. (1785.) The Boston Stranger (1968)
My string of uplifting movies continues with this pile of horseshit. Though it pretends to also be a biopic, it's really nothing more than an exploitation film trading on the horror of some real murders. I have to assume that all the great acting talent involved must have been unaware that the producers were going to turn their work into such dreck.
132. (1786.) White House Down (2013)
When a self-described terrorist group led by a right-wing decorated former secret service agent invades the White House, it's a race against time for "Charmin'" Channing Tatum to save President Not-Obama and unravel their evil plot. There are some fun action scenes, but the movie's big problem is that the enemy's plan is so dumb and obvious that every government bigwig comes across as a fucking moron for failing to decipher their true intent before the last 5 minutes. Wait, was I supposed to be cheering for the terrorists? Stupid liberal Hollywood.
More to come.
Friday 14 August 2020
My coffee maker broke, and the machine we bought to replace it, the only one Target had left, is defective.
Goddamn it, 2020, you need to fucking step off or we're going to have some real beef.
An Innocent Man is an underrated masterpiece.