Showing 1 - 10 of 351 posts found matching keyword: movies

Time to finish up August movies:

150. (1379.) The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)
Movie continuing the adventures of the British television show that is every bit as irreverent and uncomfortable and funny as the source material.

151. (1380.) Out of Time (2003)
More Denzel Washington in a mediocre noir-ish suspense film.

152. (1381.) The Mad Miss Manton (1938)
A fun, light screwball comedy / romance / mystery film that's at least as entertaining as anything on network television these days.

153. (1382.) Be Cool (2005)
The derivative sequel to Get Shorty isn't nearly as good as its predecessor. The highlight is Cedric the Entertainer's rant about race relations, but the rest is probably best avoided.

154. (1383.) Moonlight (2016)
White guilt stole La La Land's best picture Oscar! Ok, I admit that this film isn't bad. It's just that while I can relate to La La Land's story of heterosexual, rich young white creative people in love, I have a much harder time relating to Moonlight's story of homosexual, poor younger black oppressed people struggling to get by. Your mileage may vary.

155. (1384.) Gringo (2018)
Naive but enjoyable thriller about an honest man pushed to his breaking point faking an international kidnapping.

156. (1385.) The Mechanic (1972)
This is the Charles Bronson original, not the Jason Statham remake. Personally, I preferred the latter as it has a better defined narrative structure.

157. (1386.) The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
Fictional tale of a German plot to assassinate Churchill in the waning days of World War II. Michael Caine is the best part by far.

158. (1387.) What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Mockumentary about a bunch of vampires in New Zealand ad libbed by the Flight of the Conchords cast. If you like that sort of thing.

More to come.

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Burt Reynolds died yesterday at the age of 82. In addition to being a football player for FSU, he starred in one of the best football movies, The Longest Yard. That alone is enough to earn a mention of his passing in this Batman/Football Month.

But wait, there's more!

According to, Reynolds admitted in his 2015 autobiography that he was up for the lead role of television's Batman that eventually made a star of Adam West. Can you imagine? I can.


And, of course, the Batmobile would have been a Pontiac. Yeah, I'd've watched that.

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I watched 21 movies in August and have so far only mentioned 3 of them. Time to speed up.

139. (1368.) The Letter (1940)
Did Bette Davis kill her lover by accident or was it premeditated? I felt it was damaged by the "crime doesn't pay" Hollywood ending.

140. (1369.) The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Referenced in the theme to Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Day of the Triffids is a very enjoyable British apocalyptic sci-fi tale.

141. (1370.) Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
When the wife is Myrna Loy, how could she lose? (Side note: this film follows the exact same format you would expect in modern rom-coms.)

142. (1371.) Pat and Mike (1952)
The highlight of this film is seeing prim Katharine Hepburn beat up young gangster Charles Bronson late in the run time. Lots of fun.

143. (1372.) Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
A thin plot and lack of characterization (and a completely ridiculous villain) damn this action film. I should have spent the time playing the video games it is based on instead.

144. (1373.) The Naughty Flirt (1930)
Not much of a plot here — an airheaded debutante pursues a young lawyer — though I only had eyes for Myrna Loy in the role of the scheming villainness. (Have I mentioned lately that I'm sweet on Myrna Loy?)

147. (1376.) Big Top Pee-Wee (1988)
For years, I've avoided this film because I was told that it wasn't as good as Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. I've been a fool. While it is true that Big Adventure is superior, this isn't without its joys.

149. (1378.) The Howards of Virginia (1940)
Cary Grant makes a very unconvincing American revolutionary in this uninspired melodrama.

More to come.

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A little different start to August movies, as I'll go ahead and lump these three directed by Antoine Fuqua together.

145. (1374.) The Equalizer (2014)
146. (1375.) The Equalizer 2 (2018)
148. (1377.) Training Day (2001)

I watched Denzel Washington's Equalizer because Dad wanted to see the sequel. It was good, both suspenseful and violent. Unfortunately, the sequel was not its equal. Instead of going to the theater to see the new one, watch television reruns of the original instead.

Afterwards, I sought out Training Day because it was the first collaboration between Fuqua and Washington. I had heard so many good things about it over the years, and it won Denzel a Best Actor Oscar. The word of mouth was justified, and Ethan Hawke was also great. I'd watch it again.

More to come.

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I skipped two movies in my July wrap-ups. It's not so much that they deserve extra attention, they just needed to be kept together.

132. (1361.) Mamma Mia! (2008)
137. (1366.) Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Mom wanted to see the sequel in theaters, so I watched the original in preparation. I like musicals, and I like ABBA. (It's got a beat and you can dance to it.) Unfortunately, both of these films had flaws that I can't easily forgive.

Mamma Mia! is clearly a corny, nostalgic stage musical adapted for the screen. Its characters exist just to bridge the gaps between songs. Therefore, I can't get too mad at Pierce Brosnan for his ill-advised decision to take a singing role or Amanda Seyfried's bridezilla for the way she selfishly tramples on everyone else's life then runs away. I was more dissatisfied that "Waterloo" is included in the end credits as a mere afterthought.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, however, is first and foremost a movie musical. It bends over backwards to put on a show with fancy dance staging and camera tricks. It almost works, too. The "Dancing Queen" number is a showstopper. I mean that literally. I should have walked out of the theater right then, before Meryl Streep's (bittersweet) and Cher's (unearned) cameos crashed the party and killed the mood as the movie limped to the finish line.

Also, how is it that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again takes place in 1979 yet fails to include any footage of ABBA in their heyday? Does ABBA not exist in the Mamma Mia! universe? Opportunity missed!

I hope all these problems are addressed when the inevitable third entry in the trilogy (Mamma Mia! Does It Show Again?) hits theaters in 2028.

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Movies watched in July, part three:

133. (1362.) Executive Suite (1954)
Thanks largely to a fantastic cast, I found this to be a very entertaining board room drama. Also: Coke!

Drink Coke! (Executive Suite)
I can see what's going through your mind, Bill Holden, and it looks like Coca-Cola.

134. (1363.) The Colossus of Rhodes (1961)
The Colossus of Rhodes is my favorite ancient wonder. This movie, however, is more boring than counting sand.

135. (1364.) The Little Hours (2017)
It takes time for this "comedy" based on The Decameron to get to the funny, but I eventually chuckled in spite of myself. Or maybe I was just desperate for entertainment following The Colossus of Rhodes.

136. (1365.) Fast and Loose (1939)
This husband/wife mystery/comedy wants so badly to be The Thin Man. It's not. All it did was remind me that I could have been watching The Thin Man instead.

138. (1367.) Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
Mom was eager to see this documentary of Fred Rogers, and I was glad I went with her. It's so, so good. I recommend it to anyone interested in Mr. Rogers or the history of television or, for that matter, historical American pop culture.

By the way, remember the letter I wrote to the editor of The Red and Black in 2003 that I posted last week? Here's the Mack Williams cartoon that ran above the editorials in that day's paper:

Last Trolly out of town

More to come.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added a new category to the Oscars to reward movies that the general public likes. I think this is a bad idea. There's already an award for movies the general public likes. It's called money.

The new category is to be for "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Movies," which in addition to being an award dedicated to pandering, is also an insult to other, "unpopular" movies. How bad is Hollywood's current output that they can't combine "popular" and "quality"? Best Picture winners Rocky, The Godfather, Titanic, and Gladiator didn't need special treatment. Why should Ready Player One?

I get where they're coming from. The Academy views the Oscar telecast as an advertisement for movies, and last year the telecast had the lowest ratings in history. (Note to the Academy: everything on television was down year-to-year in 2017 as millennials cut every cord they could find.) They hope adding a new category specifically to feature movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom will cause more people to watch the telecast, and therefore, encourage more people to go out and watch movies. Specifically, movies they've already seen.

I don't have access to the information the Academy sees, but from where I sit, this seems an entirely unnecessary move. Why water down the value of an Oscar to promote the movies that are already making more than a billion dollars? Disney has released three billion-dollar-plus movies this year. Why not just give them a dedicated statuette? I'm sure they'll be glad to send that ice queen from Frozen to pick it up. That'll bring in the millennial audience in droves.

Essentially, what this new award comes down to is Hollywood telling you that if you like a movie, it probably isn't very good. The worst of it is, they're probably right.

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Movies watched in July, part two:

125. (1354.) Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Should I have seen this before now? Yes. But boy, howdy, am I glad I didn't. At least Robert Vaughn got a paycheck.

126. (1355.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
I was told that this sequel was better than its predecessor. Maybe it is, but it's hard to tell when the bar is so low. Maybe I'm getting too old for this shit.

127. (1356.) C.C. & Company (1970)
A run of bad movies continues with this biker exploitation film notable only for its inclusion of "Broadway" Joe Namath. Namath plays the "best" of a band of idiot bikers fighting over Ann Margaret. (They make a good couple. Neither can act.) The movie starts with an extended sequence of Namath stealing promoting name brand products in a grocery store. I only mention that because this:

Drink Coke! (CC & Company)
Coke supports your right to ride! (But keep it clean.)

128. (1357.) Incredibles 2 (2018)
I didn't find this quite as satisfying as the original, but I still really, really enjoyed it. I will be watching it again.

129. (1358.) Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
There aren't a whole lot of Eastwood films I haven't seen, and now there's one less. It's hard to sum up this road / bromance / heist / revenge / adventure / suspense / dramedy film in one sentence. Instead, I'll just show you the good stuff:

Drink Coke! (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot)
The Daisy Wagon is proud to serve Coca-Cola to children.

130. (1359.) Countdown (1967)
Robert Altman directed this very un-Robert Altman-like fictional depiction of the first man on the moon. There's too much talent in front of and behind the camera to make a film this boring.

131. (1360.) Captain America: Civil War (2016)
I had avoided this for years because I didn't like the first two. It was as bad as I expected. I admit that the fight between the heroes at the airport was great fun. It's a shame the fun was sandwiched between a contrived premise and a moronic ending.

More to come.

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Movies watched in July, part one:

119. (1348.) The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Historic romantic fiction isn't my thing, but I was captivated by Bette Davis' commitment to playing Queen Elizabeth I, including a pretty severe haircut. Not bad. Not bad at all.

120. (1349.) The Petrified Forest (1936)
Having just watched Bette Davis command the screen playing a queen, it's shocking to see her as a mousy waitress in this crime drama made just three years earlier. Wow.

121. (1350.) Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)
This animated film, while still taking full advantage of its medium, couldn't have been any more loyal to its source material if they had made it in 1966. Loved it.

122. (1351.) Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
The sequel to Return of the Caped Crusader, this one pits Adam West against William Shatner. Yes, please. What a shame there won't be any more. (Rest in peace, Adam West!)

123. (1352.) High Society (1956)
The musical remake of The Philadelphia Story is not an improvement unless you enjoy watching Grace Kelly perform her comedic impression of Katherine Hepburn. The only way this is better than the original is when comparing songs, though only because the original had none.

124. (1353.) Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)
I hoped to extend the joy I experienced watching those other Batman, but no. Is this what Batman: the Animated Series would have been if it hadn't needed to be kid friendly? Thank you, network censors? By all means, go watch the original cartoons instead.

More to come.

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Let's finish off June movies:

107. (1336.) Way Out West (1937)
Laurel and Hardy perform a series of Vaudeville gags, some more effective than others.

108. (1337.) Deadpool 2 (2018)
On first watch, I think it was better than the first one, though it does have less "heart" and did sometimes seem to be trying too hard.

109. (1338.) Oblivion (2013)
As you might expect from a Tom Cruise action film with hard sci-fi trappings, there's about 30 minutes of story here (and the plot doesn't stand up to critical thought).

110. (1339.) He Knows You're Alone (1980)
A dull, bloodless slasher flick whose only bright spot is Tom Hanks in his first ever movie role.

113. (1342.) The Young Doctors (1961)
Everything you think is wrong with the modern healthcare industry in America is in this entertaining 57-year-old movie.

114. (1343.) Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989)
I'd call this a farce, as I found the comedy too broad to be truly satirical, and the best part is Jacqueline Bisset.

115. (1344.) Nothing Sacred (1937)
This screwball comedy starts well with some great dialog, but loses its edge as the romantic leads fall for one another.

118. (1347.) The Package (1989)
Gene Hackman plays an old Popeye Doyle and Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones in this mediocre political thriller.

More to come.

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To be continued...