Showing 1 - 10 of 332 posts found matching keyword: movies

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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You've probably heard by now that the Great Nazi Newnan Rally of 2018 this past Saturday was more fizzle than sizzle. I get the impression that the news media is disappointed that no one burned down our historic 1904 courthouse.

Estimates are that somewhere between 24 and 50 Nazis showed up, opposed by "hundreds" of counter-protesters, and 700 police. Police outnumbered everyone else 2-1. I don't know what the Nazis were rallying for, but what they got was a police state. I'm sure they felt comfortable. Newnanites pride themselves on being gracious hosts.

The only people arrested were counter-protesters who had the gall to cover their faces with bandanas. That may seem a little extreme, but how else were the police to know that they weren't secretly insurgents out to incite a riot? Or maybe they were crisis actors. Damn those crisis actors!

For the record, I didn't attend the rally. My Mom wouldn't let me. Instead we spent the day at home watching movies. Anne Frank wouldn't have needed a diary if she'd had RedBox.

The next time the Nazis think about coming to town, I'll be glad to recommend a film they could watch instead. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok. It's a pretty good way to pass an afternoon.

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At last! The final batch of movies watched in March:

59. (1288.) The Magnetic Monster (1953)
Mid-century cautionary tale about the unknown dangers of splitting the atom. It starts like a documentary, though it mostly plays like stale drive-in cliche. Not entirely terrible, but hardly a classic.

60. (1289.) Death Wish (2018)
Also not a classic. I've seen all the Bronson Death Wish movies multiple times, and none of them are quite as dumb as the movie Bruce Willis finds himself in. I'm not entirely sure whether this interpretation of Kersey was a bumbling idiot because the writer/director/studio wanted to downplay the danger of a self-appointed vigilante a gun or whether they just think most people are that foolish. *shrug*

61. (1290.) Johnny Handsome (1989)
A mad scientist gives a disfigured criminal a new face, but he can't fix his broken heart! No, seriously. Lance Henriksen, Ellen Barken, and Morgan Freeman play comic book villains, but this hokum comes across surprisingly earnest thanks entirely to Mickey Rourke. Not bad for a crime movie of its era.
(Footnote: early in the film, Henriksen is driving through the streets of New Orleans and a Coca-Cola storefront sign is visible out his rear window. As the sign clearly wasn't placed for the shot, I don't think it qualifies as product placement, so no screenshot appears here. But it is clearly a Coca-Cola sign so I'm still talking about it.)

62. (1291.) The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)
Kurt Russell is the only actor I've seen in multiple movies so far this year. Here in 1968, he plays a pre-teen member of the title band (headed by Walter Brennan and Buddy Ebsen). Forty-seven years later, in 2015's Bone Tomahawk, he played an aging Old West sheriff. I'm glad he's still acting. In both roles he was great. This entire movie was pretty enjoyable, in fact, with good songs and a tight (if slight) story. There's a reason the Disney brand has been so strong for so long.

63. (1292.) Walkabout (1971)
Two children become lost in the Australian Outback and are saved by a young aborigine. Was anyone truly saved? Is the film being cynical, honest, or allegorical? It's like the Apocalypse, Now! of coming-of-age movies. The only thing I'm sure it's saying is that everyone goes through their own life alone. Honestly, I watch a lot of movies and rarely come across anything as weird and haunting as this. I'll remember Walkabout for a long time.

More to come.

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More March movies:

54. (1283.) Weekend at Bernie's (1989)
Man, it must be fun to play a corpse. Bernie seems to be having a ball in this surprisingly-lighthearted-considering-the-subject-matter farce. I enjoyed it in part because of the always delightful Catherine Mary Stewart and in part because everyone in this film seems to be enjoying a Coke!

Drink Coke! (Weekend at Bernies)
Bernie is the one person in the movie who doesn't drink Coke!

55. (1284.) Charlie Varrick (1973)
I read afterwards that Walter Matthau didn't like this crime thriller, calling it too confusing. I have to agree. I thought I was paying attention, but I still didn't understand what was going on at the climax until after reading about the movie on IMDB. (I don't think it was entirely my fault, either. It's hard to puzzle out deeper character motivations when every other man onscreen is thinking only about money and sex and every women onscreen is there just to be paid for sex. Charlie Varrick doesn't live in a very deep world.)

56. (1285.) The Chase (1966)
This is another of those "narrowly misses being a great movie" movies. As always, it's not entirely clear why this fails, though I think it's mostly because there is nothing to hold onto in the first two acts. The audience needs a protagonist that, if not a genuine surrogate, is at least worth rooting for. If that character is missing or unclear, there can be no investment and the action slides by indifferently, like water in a muddy creek. In other words, having a cast of great actors isn't a substitute for having a cast of great characters.

57. (1286.) Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Aaaah! What is this? A western? A horror film? A character study? The weird genre mix takes some getting used to. (I assure you, whatever you think you're watching, you are NOT ready for act three.) Pretty good if you've got a strong stomach.

58. (1287.) Doctor Faustus (1967)
This, on the other hand, is not good. I mean, it's faithful to the famous 400-year-old play. But Richard Burton's Faustus seems more obsessed with Elizabeth Taylor than power or whatever he sold his soul to his devil for. Let's call this a curiosity strictly for theater people or Burton/Taylor enthusiasts and leave it at that.

And lest you think we've finally finished with March movies, no, we haven't. I watched 25 in all, meaning we sill five to go. More to come.

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Since I obviously don't have much else to say right now, let's just keep going with movie reviews, shall we?

50. (1279.) Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Nostalgia is insidious! I distinctly recall that I was no fan of "gangsta" rap back in the day, but watching this movie I caught myself thinking how much better NWA was than the hip hop I've heard recently. That realization made me ask myself whether I like the older music just because it's more familiar? By the same regard, did I enjoy this movie, or did I just enjoy revisiting my past? Dammit! Fuck you, nostalgia.

51. (1280.) Power Rangers (2017)
Another nostalgia trip, if you liked Power Rangers on TV, I don't see why you wouldn't like it here. Unless you hate Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I admit this product placement feels a little too forced.

52. (1281.) Macon County Line (1974)
A different sort of nostalgia for the Korean War generation, this unnecessary bit of youth-in-revolt thriller cinema was written by The Beverly Hillbillies' Jethro, filmed with southern California standing in for Georgia, and probably shouldn't be watched by anyone. I share this piece of product placement as a public service announcement:

Drink Coke! (Macon County)
That Coke is the only good thing to happen to him in the whole movie.

53. (1282.) Return to Macon County (1975)
Macon County made its producers a lot of money, so the next year they came back with this, a sequel in name only. This one stars before-they-were-famous actors Nick Nolte and Don Johnson as drag race wannabes. (I was more excited to recognize the gun-happy waitress as Robin Mattson, the sister-in-law of the titular "Ricky" in one of the best episodes of The Incredible Hulk.) Don't let all that star power excite you, this is just as boring as its predecessor, though this was at least filmed in Georgia, which might explain why Coca-Cola doubled down on the product placement.

Drink Coke! (Return to Macon County)
Smile, boys. You're having a Coke!

That's still not the end of March movies!. More to come.

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It's been 3 days since I posted last. I try to post every 2 days, but I've been busy with several projects, including spot-fixing the bugs popping up from the latest migration. Add to that my social calendar has been full (I'm driving 6 hours today to see a movie with Dad in Dothan, Alabama. DEATH WISH!) So this post is just marking time. I'll try harder to have something entertaining to say on Thursday. Thank you for your patience.

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Hey, look! March movies, part 2:

44. (1273.) Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
I really enjoy Robert Mitchum movies, which is a good thing here as he's one of only two principal actors in the cast. Pretty good.

45. (1274.) The Marriage-Go-Round (1961)
This is as risque as sex comedies got in the early 60s. I sure like the idea of Julie Newmar throwing herself sexually at an intelligent man, but the one-note concept wears thin long before the movie finally gives out.

46. (1275.) Hercules (2014)
Everyone knows that Hercules was more myth than man. What this movie presupposes is... maybe he wasn't? Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson doesn't look very Greek to me in this big, dumb action film. I admit that I watched it mostly on fast forward.

47. (1276.) Five Star Final (1931)
Edward G. Robinson plays a tabloid newspaper editor who hounds an accused murderess, driving her and her new husband to suicide and ruining the life of their daughter. Very cynical. I loved it.

48. (1277.) The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Yes, the story is crap, a transparent excuse to justify prurient admiration of the beautiful bodies of a young girl and boy, but at least the cinematography is generally well crafted. Pornography can be art. This movie isn't ("Hey, look! Those turtles are fucking, just like us!"), I'm just pointing out that it's possible.

49. (1278.) Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Director Robert Aldrich saw that his Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? made a lot of money so he decided to make it again, this time adding a dash of Gaslight. Not a success.

However, the intended re-pairing of enemies Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (who was recast after the drama got to be too much) did result in one very intentional bit of Coca-Cola product placement, so the story goes. Because Crawford had married into an executive position at Pepsi, Davis had Coca-Cola machines on set. In addition, she had a Coke truck drive across a shot to obscure a scene intended for Crawford.

Drink Coke! (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte)
Drink up, bitch!

More to come.

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No time like the present to get a jump on March movies watched, so let's get started!

39. (1268.) An American in Paris (1951)
Should I have seen this movie before now? Yes. Am I disappointed I waited so long? No. Music, set design, and choreography are great. But Gene Kelly plays his usual, self-centered asshole, and I just don't really like spending time with him.

40. (1269.) The Cisco Kid and the Lady (1939)
Not so long ago, Mom pointed out that the relationship between The Cisco Kid and his sidekick Pancho were the template for Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick Baba Looey. That led me to this Caesar Romero western/comedy that was actually quite charming.

41. (1270.) Pixels (2015)
Frankly, it's not as bad as all the reviews make it out to be, but that could be partly because I wasted too much time (and too many quarters) in video arcades in the 1980s and am tolerant of many of the film's indulgences. Don't mistake that previous sentence as an endorsement. The editing is terrible and the movie-watching experience would be better if you walked out before the ridiculously stupid third act started. All I'm saying is it isn't The Worst Movie Ever™ as some critics have portrayed it. (I *still* say that's Armageddon.)

42. (1271.) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
I loved, loved, loved the first half of this movie. The pace congeals somewhat in the second half, adding Rihanna's character is a huge mistake, and it really should have been called Valerian and Lauraline (Cara Delevingne is actually the best part of the entire movie), but the action-packed sci-fi of the first half is alone worth the whole price of admission.

43. (1272.) Darkest Hour (2017)
Damn, can Gary Oldman act! I had to remind myself it wasn't actually Churchill appearing in this biography. Totally worth a watch.

More to come.

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Today's movie list is a little longer than usual as I finish off February, so bear with me.

32. (1261.) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
I might be the only person in America who still resists The Rock as an A-list actor, but his charisma is undeniable as the centerpiece of this teenager adventure fantasy. My enjoyment was much improved by the fact that the night before watching this, I started playing Far Cry 4, which might as well be the video game the movie makes fun of.

33. (1262.) Heist (2015)
Who doesn't enjoy a stripped down, European-style action film? It started so slowly that I almost gave up on it, but I'm very pleased that I stuck it out. Fun.

34. (1263.) A Passage to India (1984)
Amazing cinematography frames a story best described as "Life Sucks for Everyone." Beautiful.

35. (1264.) The Joneses (2010)
David Duchovny and Demi Moore star as heads of a fake family planted in suburbia in a corporate guerrilla marketing exercise. I would have liked a little more bite — what Paddy Chayefsky or Billy Wilder couldn't have done with this concept! — but what I got wasn't entirely unsatisfying, thanks largely to the stars.

36. (1265.) Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Another musical I'd seen most of in clips but never in one sitting. Great songs marred only by Betty Hutton's often overly-broad performance more suited for the stage than the screen.

37. (1266.) Turbo Kid (2015)
I posted the trailer for this movie back on October 2015. I'm very pleased to say that the movie is every bit as good as promised. I'm going to watch it again.

38. (1267.) Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)
There was a lot of talk about this musical mystery movie back when I was in elementary school. I'm glad I didn't watch it then. It takes some tarnish to understand the nostalgia and appreciate the weirdly bittersweet ending. (Also, speaking in hindsight, it's fun to see Joey Pantoliano wearing a bald cap and wig.)

February turned out to be a pretty good month for movies. Let's see if March can raise that bar.

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Another advertisement also spotted in the March 1, 1918 edition of The Newnan Herald:

My dear Mr. Sears: I have been waiting patiently to see my Chero Cola calendar pictures but as yet in vain. Please let me know the minute they are ready for distribution. Now I am going to ask a great big favor of you. Is it possible for me to have this original painting? Oh, I'd be just so proud and pleased if I could have it, and would give it the place of honor in my home. With my very best wishes for the continued success of Chero Cola and for you a very Merry Xmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Sincerely, Ruth Roland

Pay close attention to that last part:

"THESE CALENDARS WILL NOT BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN."

Why not? Kids love cola. Kids need to know the days of the week.

What "special pose" could sweet, dear Hollywood darling Ruth Roland, star of The Matrimonial Martyr, The Devil's Bait, and The Neglected Wife, be showing that's so inappropriate for the little tykes of Newnan?

Suck it

Well, I never! Get that thing out of your mouth, you floozy! Scandalous!

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To be continued...

 

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