Showing 1 - 10 of 284 posts found matching keyword: movies
I'm not sure what to write about today, so I'll do what I do most days when I don't know what to write about. I'll write about movies.
These are the first six films I watched in May.
59. (1118.) Gabriel Over the White House (1933)
What if the archangel Gabriel was elected President of the United States? Despite that premise, this isn't a theological exploration of Christian mores in politics but a fascist political fantasy about how great it would be if the federal government caved in to the irrational desires of the Chief Executive. It's hard to believe that any American would have thought this would be a great idea. Oh, wait a second . . . .
60. (1119.) Lady Snowblood (1973)
This is the clear inspiration for Tarantino's Kill Bill. If you liked that, you'll like this Chinese tale of ultra-violence, assuming you can handle subtitles.
61. (1120.) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
I remember that there was some key plot point that bothered me about this movie while I was watching it that I don't seem to remember now. Oh, well. If you're choosing to watch this, the seventh movie in the "X-Men" franchise, you already know what you're getting into. So far as ridiculous period piece superhero action movies go, it's not bad.
62. (1121.) Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
This sequel isn't as good as the original (mainly because there is less Lady Snowblood in it), but it still manages a satisfying finale.
63. (1122.) King's Row (1942)
I elected to watch this film because Ronald Reagan starred in it. Though I typically think he's stiff on film, he's very good here as the reformed ne'er-do-well struck by a series of terrible fortunes. There's a lot of pitch-black subtext in this critique of small town America that was too dark for 1942, and this movie is probably one of the very few that really needs to be remade.
64. (1123.) The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
I didn't quite know what to expect here, and I was quite surprised at how enjoyable this fictionalized melodrama is. It's about a woman who has three distinct personalities at odds with one another. Well done.
More to come.
Let's finally finish my reviews of movies watched in April, shall we?
55. (1114.) Peeping Tom (1960)
Peeping Tom is a British movie about a British serial killer. The Brits have the best serial killers. Jack the Ripper. Burke and Hare. Emperor Palpatine. Apparently, this was the first movie to portray a serial killer as a sympathetic protagonist, and I can attest that it can be very unsettling at times. Fans of Hitchcock-style suspense will enjoy this.
56. (1115.) Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
This sequel — a dumb send-up of heist films — is better than its predecessor. Charlie Day steals every scene he's in that Jamie Foxx doesn't steal first. Kudos also to Jennifer Aniston for playing against type. Enjoyable.
57. (1116.) Call Northside 777 (1948)
Do you remember when Americans considered reporters to be crusading heroes? (Hashtag Trump's America.) Here Jimmy Stewart plays his best, jaded Clark Kent who goes to bat against the state for the mother of a man imprisoned for murder. I liked it.
58. (1117.) In a World... (2013)
Not every movie has to be about life and death. This is a light comedy that is part coming-of-age film, part sex comedy, part Hollywood lampoon. Lake Bell pulls together a great cast of comic actors (many of them her Children's Hospital co-stars) and each scene ends with a subtle punchline. If Lake Bell wants to make another movie, I'll watch it.
More to come.
I've still got 8 movies to tell you about from April. Here are four of them:
51. (1110.) The Gazebo (1959)
I could not figure out how this black comedy was going to end. According to the Hays Code, which was losing power by the time this film was made, the perpetrator of a crime couldn't get away with his nefarious deed. Was the sympathetic protagonist really going to be punished? The twist ending was exactly what this film needed.
52. (1111.) Captain Phillips (2013)
This thing was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award? What in hell for? I don't mean to suggest that it is bad; it's just thin. There are no great lessons to be learned, no stellar cinematography. It's just a suspense film with Tom Hanks. Go watch a Hitchcock film with Jimmy Stewart instead. (I recommend Rope or Rear Window.)
53. (1112.) The Sundowners (1960)
I really wanted to hate this, but Robert Mitchum is too damn good. He even manages to get away with an Australian accent for the whole thing. Surprisingly engrossing.
54. (1113.) Death Watch (1980)
Hard science fiction is underrepresented in cinema, mostly because the genre is about exploring concepts exploring the human condition (2001: A Space Odyssey) and not just fantasy adventure with futuristic visuals (Star Wars). This film qualifies as the real thing, as it presents many disturbing concepts about a near future world where death is a reality television show broadcast to the masses via cameramen with electronic eyes. Good stuff.
More to come.
Cinnamon Frosted Flakes are a real thing now. I haven't had them yet, and after watching this commercial, I can tell you I never will. We'll be right back after this message.
Did you hear that guy at the end of the commercial say that Cinnamon Frosted Flakes "tastes like victory"? Does Kellogg's know where that line comes from? Have they never seen Robert Duvall as the satiric Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now?
Once upon a time, art and literature employed allusions to previous works audiences would be familiar with in order to reinforce concepts. In modern America, corporations still uses allusions, but they no longer expect the audience to understand them rationally. They only want to trigger an emotional connection. "Oh, yeah. I remember Apocalypse Now. I liked it. I bet I'd like Cinnamon Frosted Flakes."
Kellogg's doesn't care if the actual reference is to napalm, a weapon used to burn people to death. Nor does Dodge care if their products are pitched by Star Wars' oppressive evil Empire. Six Flags gladly names roller coasters after DC Comics serial killers.
So good luck with your new product, Kellogg's, but I still pay attention to who is trying to sell me something. Kilgore can keep his cinnamon. I'll stick with my Sugar Frosted Flakes, the cereal that Superman says is the best.
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It's going to be a busy weekend.
This is the first Blu-Ray I've ever bought, and it came with a separate DVD disc. I guess I'll just have to watch both to see which one I like better. (Sometimes, the things take two or three repeat viewings to be sure.)
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I'm on a movie-watching tear so far this April! Here's the first batch of films seen.
46. (1105.) Dreamgirls (2006)
I didn't like it. I'd rather not spend three hours of my time with a bunch of people finding old and unexciting ways to ruin their own lives. (And if I want to hear a Supremes pastiche, I'll just listen to The Supremes.) Eddie Murphy is the highlight, and he kills himself. I didn't blame him.
47. (1106.) Journal of a Crime (1934)
A housewife is unable to come to terms with someone else paying the price for the crime she committed. The best part is her confession to the scapegoat that ends up making her feel worse. Good crime melodrama!
48. (1107.) Easy to Love (1934)
Screwball comedy about a wife who cheats on her cheating husband and the ensuing hijinks. Cute. Like Journal of a Crime, the brevity of this film (just over an hour) keeps it from dragging.
49. (1108.) Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
The last apprentice of a kung-fu Master has to track down his five previous students — each trained in a different deadly animal-inspired style — and stop them from destroying the Master's legacy. Where has this movie been all my life?! Really, really fun.
50. (1109.) Woman of the Year (1942)
The first Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy pairing. Hepburn comes off great (no surprise if you read the title), leaving the audience wondering what she sees in Tracy's chauvinistic sports reporter. They do have good screen chemistry, though.
More to come.
Movies watched in March, 3 of 3:
40. (1099.) The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)
Jackie Robinson plays himself, St. Jackie Robinson, in this sanitized true story. You won't be surprised if I tell you that Robinson was a better ball player than an actor.
41. (1100.) Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Like Brigadoon, something about this film left me cold, though I did greatly enjoy some of the more inventive cinematography, like the piano concert filmed through transparent keyboards. However, I definitely prefer Sinatra movies where Frank doesn't sing (and Gene Kelly isn't a sexist pig).
42. (1101.) Test Pilot (1938)
Myrna Loy makes this sad/sappy love story work thanks to her ability to deliver the snappiest of dialog with a sly wink and a nod. She's still the best! (Side note: No offense to Ms. Loy, but I just can't accept than any woman as smart and sure as her would instantly fall for the sort of cocky, selfish cads that Clark Gable generally plays. Aw, what am I talking about? These days, we'd elect him president.)
43. (1102.) Tammy (2014)
This was designed to be a girly equivalent of a raunchy buddy road comedy, but it's soaked with a chick flick's treacly sentimentality that generate sympathy for the characters and prevent the rougher humor from getting the laughs it should. The highlight is Kathy Bates, who arrives for the third act and steals every scene she's in from stars Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon.
44. (1103.) Scanners (1981)
Nope, I'd never seen Scanners. Here's a textbook example of a movie with script problems. The final hero/villain confrontation is very clumsy with exposition that really should have been handled (or at least hinted at) earlier. However, the gory special effects are a lot of fun, and sometimes that's enough.
45. (1104.) Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)
Whoa, the first half of this movie was exactly the movie I wanted it to be as we followed around the detectives in a police department like a lighthearted Dragnet. Then it turned into a dumb crime/love story. Still, not bad. Not bad at all.
More to come.
Movies watched in March, batch 2 of 3:
35. (1094.) The Late Show (1977)
The 1970s saw a rebirth in hard boiled detective noir films. Most of the ones I've seen are pretty good. This one, produced by Robert Altman (whose quest for realism on film is a perfect fit for this genre), is no exception. Art Carney and Lily Tomlin make a great odd couple.
36. (1095.) The Long Voyage Home (1940)
This film rubbed me the wrong way. Though the cinematography is great, few of the characters were tolerable, and their stories were all painfully predictable. I admit that I have a bias against sea voyage movies (because I have a bias against the sea), but it really seems a criminal misuse of John Wayne's "talent" to cast him as a nearly mute, happy-go-lucky Dane.
37. (1096.) Deliverance (1972)
No, I had never seen Deliverance before now. That's because I suspected I would hate it. I hate camping, white water rafting, and hillbilly rape. After watching, I was surprised at how well made a suspense thriller it is. That said, I was right. I didn't care for it and, frankly, never want to see it again. Once was one viewing too many.
38. (1097.) The Nut Job (2014)
This is another of those movies that should be delightful but somehow fails to equal the quality of its parts. It has a great cast, high-quality character design and animation, and a clever twist on a screwball caper plot (with animals and humans attempting simultaneous overlapping robberies that collide in the climax). However, like Epic, the film fails because it plays it too safe and loses its sparkle amid the mundane. Oh, well. They can't all be classics.
39. (1098.) -30- (1959)
Jack Webb makes my kind of movie. Webb plays the editor of a newspaper, and we follow him and his motley crew of reporters and associates over the course of one day presented in Webb's signature "just the facts" style. If you like Dragnet, you'll like this. (And if you don't like Dragnet, what's wrong with you?)
More to come.
Five movies watched in March:
30. (1089.) Creed (2015)
This is a fine movie for a Rocky film. I mean, it is a Rocky film, so there's not much in the way of suspense. (I laughed and sang "Montage" from Team America: World Police during the obligatory training montage scenes.) But if you like Rocky films — and who doesn't? — this definitely is one.
31. (1090.) The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Ah ha! So they can make a fun, lighthearted Batman film. This movie is a tribute to all levels of Batman fandom. It's not perfect (pacing is an issue as the movie reaches its inevitable it's-all-about-the-Bat-family climax (which, let me say, is something that the DC Comics haven't understood for years), but it is plenty good enough. Recommended.
32. (1091.) Terminal Island (1973)
Not that I need an excuse to watch a 1970s exploitation film, but I watched this specifically because TCM advertised it featured Tom Selleck. While "feature" might be overselling it, Selleck is present and does play an important, if smallish, role. This wasn't a complete waste of time.
33. (1092.) Unbroken (2014)
While I certainly don't want to belittle the accomplishments of the protagonist, I found the execution to be a little too dry to be all that engaging. The dryness is common in films written by the Coen brothers, as this one was, though when they direct their own work they are generally able to inject a bit of wry irony that probably wouldn't have been appropriate here. I guess my takeaway here is that not every subject is right for every writer.
34. (1093.) Madea Goes to Jail (2009)
This is the first Medea film I'd seen, and I have to say, "I get it." (Not every movie has to be a grab for Oscar.) The character is the life of this picture, and every moment she's on the screen is enjoyable. Too bad that Medea plays a subplot in her own movie. The main story, a successful lawyer dealing with a mistake of his past, is a dull waste of cinema. However, I do now look forward to seeing some more Medea movies.
More to come.
After several years of tracking the "new-to-me" movies I've been watching, I decided it was finally time to try and compile a list of every movie I've ever seen.
You can see that list — currently at 2,742 movies and counting — here.
I'm sure it's not a complete list of everything I've ever sat through. For example, I remembered I'd seen Side Out just yesterday when a friend and I discussed rewatching The Hitcher (the original, not the remake). There must be a bunch of movies I've seen over time that made little to no impression on me. I suspect I'll be updating that list for a while to come.
In the meantime, if you don't see your favorite film, let me know. There's a good chance I haven't seen it, and I'm always on the lookout for something new worth watching.