Showing 1 - 10 of 341 posts found matching keyword: movies

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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Mom and I watched these movies together in June:

111. (1340.) Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery (2015)
112. (1341.) Murder, She Baked: A Peach Cobbler Mystery (2016)
116. (1345.) Murder, She Baked: A Deadly Recipe (2016)
117. (1346.) Murder, She Baked: Just Desserts (2017)

There are five Murder, She Baked movies, all based on the Hannah Swensen series of mystery novels by Joanne Fluke. Mom had read several of the novels, though none that were the basis for these movies.

The obvious "Murder, She Wrote" connection is intentional. These were made for the Hallmark family of television channels, and they do have a very "television" vibe to them. The first is the worst, as the template there feels like a daytime soap opera. However, the others all have a different director and feel much more movie-like. They reminded me of the directorial style Twilight series, which I would call competent if not showy (or especially noteworthy). Things like setting and continuity are almost afterthoughts.

Hannah isn't as good a detective as she is a baker, but she's not up against The Maltese Falcon. Most of these films tip their hands early, and none of the solutions came as a surprise. But solving the crimes isn't really the point. The movies spend most of their time focusing on Hannah, her family, and most importantly, her love life as she vacillates between Mike the policeman and Norman the dentist. (For the record, I rooted for the dentist.)

Recommended for those who enjoy the cozy mystery genre and spending a rainy evening with a mystery that won't tax the little gray cells.

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Superman celebrates Independence Day the same way I do: watching 1776. He just has a better seat.

Not a dream! Not an imaginary story!

That's the opening splash panel from "Die Now, Live Later" in Action Comics #463, published in the summer of 1976 with a nod to the nation's bicentennial. This might blow your mind, but this Superman comic book is not a 100% accurate depiction of the events of July 4, 1776.

I'll run my quill pen through it!

See what I mean? Everyone knows that Franklin had retired from day-to-day publishing pursuits in the 1740s and had divested all ownership of the Pennsylvania Gazette by 1766!

In addition to the occupation of Old Man Franklin (who in July of 1776 was a Medicare-eligible 70 years old — two years younger than our current Chief Executive), there is one other bit of historical inaccuracy presented herein. See if you can spot it:

No, it's not that the room is only 3/5th full of men

Both Franklin and the narration in this panel are correct. While Congress agreed on independence on July 2, the text of the declaration of that independence vote was indeed approved on the 4th. (We're really celebrating bureaucracy and paperwork today, not independence.) But that declaration wasn't signed on July 4th! The Declaration of Independence as we know it wasn't signed by John Hancock or anyone else until August 2, 1776.

Besides those tiny gaffes, I assume the rest of this comic book can be treated as a historical document suitable for elementary school classrooms. Superman himself explains how he became involved in this previously unknown bit of American history, and Superman would never lie to us.

Everything is clear now--Karb-Brak sent me back in time...after he used his psi-machine to erase my memory of being Superman! Then he programmed me... and everyone else here... to believe I was a reporter who lived in 1776! I've been wearing my Superman costume all along--which means my colonial outfit was only a hypnotic illusion projected by the psi-machine--an illusion which vanished when I regained my memory!

An alien named Karb-Brak? Yeah, that sounds legit.

Happy Birthday, America!

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Five movies watched in June:

102. (1331.) Life Stinks (1991)
This was the last remaining movie written & directed by Mel Brooks that I hadn't seen. (Achievement complete!) I suspect that even he would say that it wasn't his best, but that's not to say it was unwatchable. To his credit, Mel Brooks is funny even at his worst.

103. (1332.) Loose Shoes (1980)
This "film" is a loose collection of mock movie trailers in the vein of (the much superior) Kentucky Fried Movie. As to be expected in an anthology of this sort, it's uneven. It's got a few good bits if you've got the patience.

104. (1333.) The Peanuts Movie (2015)
I don't consider myself the biggest Peanuts fan, but I was really bothered that this movie, which is in some ways really loyal to the source material, put Peppermint Patty in Charlie Brown's class. She goes to a different school across town, people! Good grief. (I also want to point out that the movie "borrowed" its War and Peace subplot from a season 2 episode of Cheers.) By the end, I was actively cheering for Lucy to pull the football.

105. (1334.) The Disaster Artist (2017)
I admit it: about halfway into this, I forgot that it was James Franco playing the lead. What a good job. Funny, too.

106. (1335.) Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
I've noticed a trend in these 1960s relationship comedies. Generally speaking, they seem to focus on the humor in individual scenes with marginal regard for the overall narrative. That can be real frustrating when you want a nice bow on the end.

More to come.

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May movies, part 3 of 3.

97. (1326.) The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)
The first filmed Perry Mason mystery! It's a bit dry, and Perry is quite unlike what those of us used to Raymond Burr would expect (any lawyer who behaved this way on a regular basis would soon be answering to the bar). That said, the mystery was good and the twist ending was a nice touch.

98. (1327.) Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter (1939)
This was the third Nancy Drew movie ever made, and the third of four to feature Bonita Granville in the title role. (I've reviewed the others here and here.) I'd say this was my third favorite.

99. (1328.) Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
There's a lot I didn't like about this adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic: too much CGI, too many Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes-style action scenes. However, Kenneth Branaugh's Poirot is delightful, and the film, as a whole, is so very much better than the dull 1970s movie adaptation that no one ever needs to watch that one ever again.

100. (1329.) Battle of the Bulge (1965)
Robert Shaw is the prototypical Nazi tank commander in this vast oversimplification of one of the most well-known battles of World War II. I find little to recommend here.

101. (1330.) How to Be a Latin Lover (2017)
This is a light comedy about a delusional, selfish man learning to be part of a family. It's cute. Not a terrible way to pass a couple of hours.

More to come.

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More movies from May:

92. (1321.) Spy (2017)
From trailers, I was expecting this Melissa McCarthy movie to be a gender-swapped The Man Who Knew Too Little, but it manages to treat everyone (except Jason Statham) with at least some modicum of sympathy and respect. I enjoyed it.

93. (1322.) Baywatch (2017)
I can't say this film was exactly respectful of its characters (truly, the villains were all so paper thin, their names didn't even matter), but it wasn't nearly as ruthlessly deconstructive or lunkheaded as so many dramatic-television-shows-turned-comedic-movies tend to be. I enjoyed this, too.

94. (1323.) It (1927)
No, this isn't the killer clown movie but the silent film that made Clara Bow a household name as The "It" Girl. I didn't care for the predatory aspect of the gold-digging shop girl trying to land her rich boss, or the complication that he'd turn his back on her after a misunderstanding over what may be her child, but it has held up well enough that it wouldn't be too out of place in, say, Jennifer Lopez's filmography.

95. (1324.) Lady Bird (2017)
Every bit as good as advertised. (I admit I'm an utter sap for a good coming-of-age yarn.)

96. (1325.) There Goes My Heart (1938)
This romantic comedy starts with some really snappy dialogue. It needs this early good will when it struggles to get over the inevitable third act "will they or won't they" hump on its way to the inevitable "yes."

More to come.

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Movies from May! (Why do I break them up by month? I don't know. Because it's easy?)

86. (1315.) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Not a great cinema experience. It's really a villain's story, the first half of an obvious two-part episode, and far too much of it is spent in pointless battle scenes with an outcome never in doubt. Frankly, it's everything you'd find in a major comic crossover event (thank you Secret Wars) for good or ill.

87. (1316.) Razorback (1984)
A weird Australian exploitation horror film about a monstrous killer hog. For some reason, it kept reminding me of Tremors. I didn't hate it, but I liked Tremors better.

88. (1317.) The Florida Project (2017)
Is this really what the underbelly of America's consumer society looks like? At least it's colorful! I suspect there is more truth here than is entirely comfortable. (I loved the ending, and I can certainly appreciate why Defoe was nominated for so many awards as the one character in the film trying to save the children from... well, everything.)

89. (1318.) The Bank Dick (1940)
W.C. Field's most famous movie for a reason. It's simultaneously very clever and very silly. Well worth a watch.

90. (1319.) Mame (1974)
Lucille Ball's last movie was this terrible musical. Oh, she kept working for years afterwards in television, she just never worked in a movie again. For obvious reasons. (What a waste of Robert Preston!) The highlight here is Bea Arthur, who looks like a drag queen impersonating Bea Arthur.

91. (1320.) Logan (2017)
In many ways, this retreads the same ground as 2006's Children of Men with comic book trappings. I didn't care for it much then, either. (I'm not a huge fan of post apocalyptic movies films.)

More to come.

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Finishing movies watched (by me) in April, here's the final eight:

78. (1307.) Good Neighbor Sam (1964)
Romy Schneider was beguiling, but I watched this film primarily for the 60s fashion, home decor, and rampant product placement. If you watch it, don't expect an ending. There isn't one. None of the plots are resolved. Very irritating.

79. (1308.) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
As much as I love Jane Austen novels (Emma is the best), I didn't really want to see them mashed up with horror tropes. But for the most part, this film managed to be surprisingly loyal to Austen's original characters and plot. If this introduces audiences to classics of English lit they would otherwise turn their nose up at, it's not a waste of film.

80. (1309.) Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
The villain here isn't Vincent Price, but it might as well be. Price's later House of Wax is a very similar plot with similar effects. This falls more into the "plucky newspaper reporter solves a mystery" category than horror, and I liked that.

81. (1310.) Super-Sleuth (1937)
The title is ironic. An egomaniac Hollywood actor believes he's the detective character he plays in movies. He's not. There's not even much mystery here, as the audience is shown the murderer's identity from the beginning. Not RKO's best.

82. (1311.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Hey, it's 2002's Spider-Man all over again! I watched it imagining Micheal Keaton's Vulture as the real hero. It's better that way. (By the way, this is the second movie this month I watched with Zendaya in it. In both, I asked myself "what is her character doing here?" In both, there is no good answer to that question.)

83. (1312.) Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951)
This British comedy/drama lampoons the mid-century British equivalent of Hollywood. It has its moments. (TCM informed me that this film's American title was Bikini Baby. Don't expect to see many bikinis here. There's only one in one scene. But there wasn't an Internet in 1951, so I guess you ogled what you could get.)

84. (1313.) Hollow Triumph (1948)
Film noir in which a man finds his lookalike and, you know, kills him. (By the way, IMDB credits this as Jack Webb's first movie. Sunset Boulevard would come much later. That's what everyone knows Jack Webb from, right?)

85. (1314.) Alfie (1966)
The movie that made Michael Caine! I didn't love it. The character, Alfie, is a horrible person. I know that's kind of the point (the fact that he calls all women "it" is intentionally insulting, even for the era), but I never like spending time with horrible people, even if they're charming and fictional. Call it a character flaw.

That finished April (21 movies in all!). More to come.

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Walter reviews more movies he watched in April!

71. (1300.) The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
Disney advertised the shit out of this back when I watched the Disney Channel in the 1980s, and I just finally saw it. (The House of Mouse gets us all in the end.) It's a good-looking adventure yarn for kids in the White Fang vein, and I enjoyed it.

72. (1301.) Isle of Dogs (2018)
Best movie of 2018! No, that wasn't sarcasm. I'm all-in on Wes Andersom movies.

73. (1302.) Warrior (2011)
Warrior is not a winner. Friend Keith loves it, and I guess I can see why. But the schmaltzy ending doesn't work if you don't care for all the characters involved, and I didn't. Go to hell, Tommy.

74. (1303.) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Best movie of 2017! Friend Mike let me borrow this, and I'm so glad he did. I watched it, like, 4 times. It's really, really funny with a James Carpenter vibe and 80s synthesizer soundtrack. Marvel can't possibly make a movie better than this.

75. (1304.) Battle of the Sexes (2017)
I was expecting less biopic and more sports action, but I'm never disappointed in Emma Stone. Even when she's a lesbian.

76. (1305.) Coco (2017)
Honestly, I don't get what everyone loves about this movie. Beyond the creative set design, it's a predictable snooze-fest populated with stock characters. I would say it is easily Pixar's worst film. (And yes, I've seen Cars 2.)

77. (1306.) The Greatest Showman (2017)
Hey, Randy! I've seen The Greatest Showman. It delivers what it promises: a throwback to 1930s MGM musical spectacular! I agree that it is too light on reality and too heavy on CGI. But who can't enjoy a film with a character named Walter the Dog-Boy? Not me.

More to come.

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April movies!

65. (1294.) Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961)
The second Gidget movie is much more comedic than its predecessor, and I admit that I prefer Sandra Dee over Deborah Walley. However, Hawaiian Gidget is not without its charm. The third act comedy of errors is especially entertaining.

66. (1295.) A Face in the Crowd (1957)
This is more or less a remake of All the King's Men, trading politics for television. Andy Griffith is particularly good, though Walter Matthau has all the best lines. Worth seeing for the lampooning of television product placement if nothing else.

67. (1296.) Stalag 17 (1953)
Damn, this is a good movie. I'm rather disappointed I hadn't seen it earlier. Highly recommended. (I think Billy Wilder is often judged purely on the strength of Some Like it Hot, but I think it might be my least favorite of his films. It seems every one I see is better than the last.)

68. (1297.) Paper Moon (1973)
Also highly recommended. You know, it's a rare thing to see a "modern" movie pull off a Depression era period piece so convincingly, both in style and content. This could just as easily have been made by Preston Sturges in the 1930s. Fantastic.

69. (1298.) Breakheart Pass (1975)
I felt this story was damaged considerably by the surprise twist reveal at the start of the third act that turned what had been an entertaining mystery into a rather boring spy thriller. Oh, well. They can't all be great.

70. (1299.) Spotlight (2015)
Back on the horse! Another amazing film, completely worthy of a Best Picture Oscar. Micheal Keaton is especially delightful. He impresses me more and more. Does anyone remember the debate about whether he was a good enough actor to play a Batman? Damn. In hindsight, he might be the best actor to ever play a Batman. (Take that, Affleck!)

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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