Showing 1 - 10 of 380 posts found matching keyword: movies

Spoiler warning: I like movies.

58. (1497.) Trafic (1971)
While not as charming as Tati's earlier works — a result of fewer characters and the more anonymous "modern" setting — his commentary on the transportation industry of the early 70s has plenty of well-earned chuckles.

60. (1499.) Happy Death Day (2017)
The only genre of horror film that I enjoy is the old-fashioned, gore-filled slasher flick, especially ones where the hero gets in the last licks. Happy Death Day delivers all that plus some great character development and romance (with an overt nod and wink to the classic Groundhog Day). It figures that it was written by an established comic book author. It's a lot of fun.

61. (1500.) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
I remember reviewers panning this film for being a shallow example of style over substance. That's true. But there's plenty of room in the market for stylish spy movies in the mold of the Sean Connery James Bond films of the 60s. (Not coincidentally, Ian Fleming played a role in the creation of the original U.N.C.L.E. television series.) I liked it.

62. (1501.) It Started with a Kiss (1959)
The highlight of this silly romantic comedy is the prominence of the Lincoln Futura, the concept car that Chuck Barris would repaint into the 1966 Batmobile. Awesome to see it rolling through Europe.

63. (1502.) Sing (2016)
I thought this movie would be a crass exercise in corporate synergy, Universal using its movie arm to promote its music catalog... and I was right. It's okay, but ultimately hollow and unsatisfying bit of pop music fluff (especially because most songs are limited to short snippets).

66. (1505.) Lady Street Fighter (1981)
I watched this whole thing, and I can't tell you what it was all about. I can say that the title is very literal: some woman with a bad accent got into a lot of fights on streets. So bad it's good. Man, I love TCM Underground.

More to come.

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Neither Mom nor I watch a lot of serialized television. I prefer stand-alone movies. She prefers going to bed with a mystery novel. We've found an overlapping sweet spot of entertainment that we both enjoy in the Hallmark Mysteries and Movies channel.

Most of the following are what used to be called "made for television movies," if that distinction has any meaning anymore in the modern landscape of streaming media. Most of them are based on series of books.

64. (1503.) Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (2015)
We started by watching the misadventures of professional baker and amateur sleuth Hannah (Alison Sweeney). Mom had read and loved the books. The movies are cute, if heavier on the romance than the mysteries. Alas, Sweeney has moved on to other series and will bake no more murders.

65. (1504.) Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2017)
41. (1480.) Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery (2018)
42. (1481.) Emma Fielding: More Bitter Than Death (2019)
Emma Fielding is the Indiana Jane of mystery fiction, an archaeologist who somehow spends more time chasing murderers than relics. On television, she's played by the botoxed face of Courtney Thorne-Smith of Melrose Place fame. I'm okay with these, but it's not my favorite series.

68. (1507.) Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018)
69. (1508.) Morning Show Mystery: Murder on the Menu (2018)
70. (1509.) Morning Show Mysteries: A Murder in Mind (2019)
81. (1520.) Morning Show Mysteries: Countdown to Murder (2019)
82. (1521.) Morning Show Mysteries: Death by Design (2019)
These are based on books co-written by Al Roker about a morning-show celebrity whose entire social network appears to be filled with murderers. Holly Robinson Peete of 21 Jump Street has the lead opposite Rick Fox, who could probably be replaced by a block of wood without anyone noticing. I enjoy this series, partially because I like a bit of ethnic diversity in the otherwise lily-white Hallmark landscape and partially because I'm always able to solve them before the halfway point. (They make me feel smart, even though by design a toddler could likely put the clues together.)

85. (1524.) Darrow & Darrow (2017)
86. (1525.) Darrow & Darrow 2 (2018)
87. (1526.) Darrow & Darrow: Body of Evidence (2018)
Unquestionably my favorite of the Hallmark mystery bunch. The younger titular Darrow is Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who I had something of a crush on in the mid 90s in her pre-According to Jim appearances in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride remakes and the Relativity television series I watched with my girlfriend at the time. I could still watch her for hours, and I have.

So that's what my Mom and I do together — even when it isn't Mother's Day.

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I saw exactly two movies in theaters in April. To no one's great surprise, they were

59. (1498.) Captain Marvel (April 2, 2019)
75. (1514.) Shazam! (April 28, 2019)

Marvel Comics got to call their movie Captain Marvel despite their character not taking that name until the mid-2000s, whereas DC's Captain Marvel movie was called Shazam! despite their character having been called Captain Marvel *until* the mid-2000s. Comics are strange.

Old comics are the best comics

Both films prove the old adage that a hero is only as good as their villain. Marvel's Captain Marvel twists itself in a very unfortunate knot to give her two whole races of badass yet sympathetic aliens to punch. Sadly, the twist doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's far better than the personality-free baddie that DC's Captain Marvel is pitted against. He just wants to fight things, which is fine if all you want from your movie is watching computer generated scenery crumble. Yawn.

Despite that, I can't say that one movie is really better than the other. Captain Marvel is aimed at a more mature crowd and I did enjoy it more, but I suspect kids will enjoy what they've been given in Shazam!. Everyone has to watch their first superhero movie eventually, and Shazam! would be a fine enough place to start. It's not amazing, but it is comparable to the super hero films I had access to as a kid. Condorman is no Casablanca, but I remain a fan.

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In 1996, I was in the mood to watch a sad movie, so I asked my co-workers at the Chili's in Toco Hills for a recommendation I could take to the Blockbuster Video across the parking lot. Their suggestion was Two Moon Junction. I don't have a great memory of that film, but I do remember ultimately being disappointed by it. It was sad enough, I guess, but not in any poignant way. It's no The English Patient. (Which is just as well. I hated The English Patient.)

That's really the thing about movie reviews: it doesn't matter so much whether a critic likes or doesn't like something, it matters whether you and the critic like the same things. Therein lies the value of a film critic.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution used to have a critic named Eleanor Ringel. (She still writes criticism for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Why the Atlanta Business Chronicle runs movie reviews is another question altogether.) Ringel has long been my favorite critic because I know that anything she likes, I'll hate, and vice versa. She has the anti-Walter's taste in film. For example, she hates The Incredibles and loves Avengers: Infinity War. That's just wrong. Wrong, but useful. Compare Ringel to Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers, who earned his reputation by giving any blockbuster summer movie a great pull quote to use for their marketing. That's not useful.

Anyone who is capable of separating what they like from why they like it can be a critic. Sadly, that's too high a bar for most. I mean, it's fine if you like Aquaman, but you have to be able to explain why for anyone else to find value in your subjective opinion. "It was a fun thrill ride" is not a helpful blurb if my idea of fun is an episode of NOVA about the construction of medieval cathedrals and yours is watching idiots eat Tide PODS® on YouTube.

For going on 8 years now, I've been obsessively tracking on this site the movies I watch. I do that mostly for my own benefit, though I do try to put what I've watched into some context of why I did or did not enjoy it. If that helps anyone else find a movie to watch, great. But stay away from Two Moon Junction. It's not good.

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54. (1493.) The Quiet American (1958)
Anderson Cooper introduced this movie on TCM and made it clear that the moral of the film — which essentially argues that those savage in Vietnam need American intervention to straighten them out — was the exact opposite of the moral of the original book. That means if you were doing a book report on The Quiet American, your teacher knows if you read it or not.

55. (1494.) Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much (2018)
The totally true story of how one man broke The Price Is Right according to that one man! Actually, it seems pretty plausible, but it does take a long time to get to the important bits. In some ways, it feels like a very entertaining court deposition.

56. (1495.) The Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For (2019)
How come in all these Hallmark mystery movies, the amateur detective protagonist has to get romantically involved in a police officer? Are cops the only people allowed to solve crimes on tv? Whatever happened to the private detective genre? Rockford needs love too.

57. (1496.) Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt just want to win a dance contest. Was this the inspiration for John Waters' Hairspray?

More to come.

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More movies watched in April.

48. (1487.) What's Up, Doc? (1972)
The biggest problem with this callback to the screwball comedies of the 1930s is Barbara Streisand. Not only is her character about as charming as nails on a chalkboard, I just don't buy her as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Something about her on-screen presence really, really rubs me the wrong way. The net effect of this film was just to remind me that I could be watching the much better movies that inspired it instead.

49. (1488.) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr. (2009)
Speaking of movies that make you wish you were watching the movies that inspired them: don't watch this. Jim Carrey makes the originals work, and his absence here is painfully glaring.

50. (1489.) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
I'm on the fence about this one. It's charming in its way, but it is somehow simultaneously stale. Perhaps I'm just weary of Tim Burton's aesthetic. Hrm. Maybe it's me. I can see myself watching this again one day.

51. (1490.) Lifeforce (1985)
Space vampires! This feels like a Hammer horror, which I suspect was the goal.

52. (1491.) Jour de Fete (1949)
Jacques Tati's first full length film is a delight. It occurred to me about halfway through that general tone of Tati's films is what Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful was trying to replicate in the late 90s. I hated Life is Beautiful because the protagonist is an inherently selfish lout. Tati's protagonists maybe oblivious and occasionally rude, but they are never unlikable. I wish someone had pointed me towards Tati sooner.

More to come.

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This is an introductory paragraph telling you I'm about to talk about movies.

40. (1479.) Asterix and the Vikings (2006)
I first met Asterix in, as I recall, 1981 on the bookshelf of my friend, Greg. Greg and I grew apart after I skipped the 4th grade, but I've retained a nostalgic fondness for the comedic adventures of Asterix and company. This movie contained several dated pop culture references, though if this encourages viewers to hunt down a volume or two of the original comics, the dissonance is worth it.

43. (1482.) My Girl (1991)
After so many years of resisting this movie, I think I might have guilted myself into watching it. It's not bad. Dan Aykroyd reprises the well-intentioned but generally clueless character he played in Driving Miss Daisy, and Jamie Lee Curtis reprises the street smart, free spirit she played in Trading Places. Their protagonist is their daughter, and the film works best, as a sort of female Stand By Me, when the focus stays on her.

44. (1483.) Quicksilver (1986)
Someone said, "Let's make a movie where Kevin Bacon quits his lucrative stockbroker job to become a bicycle courier and runs afoul of a drug-dealing pimp." I wish it was as good as it sounds.

45. (1484.) Rabid (1977)
This is fundamentally a zombie movie where the outbreak is caused by experimental plastic surgery. Ugh. I don't think I like David Cronenberg films. One of these days, I'll probably force myself to watch Naked Lunch, but I really do think that will be the last one. They're just not for me.

46. (1485.) Mystery Street (1950)
Ah-ha! A great police procedural staring Ricardo Montalban. Highly recommended if you like that sort of thing (and judging by CBS's primetime lineup, most people do).

47. (1486.) John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Rubbing some of the mystery off of the original world teased in John Wick serves only to lessen the thrill, but I still liked it. There will always be room at my mental multiplex for stylish action films.

More to come.

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They can stop making super hero movies now.

53. (1492.) Aquaman (2018)

What a film. Those underwater effects, especially that CGI hair! That chemistry between the male and female leads! And all that that murder! (Our heroes kill, what, hundreds? Thousands? Bah, they had it coming! Get 'er done!) I don't have the words. Simply indescribable.

I suppose if I wanted to pick at nits, I could ask how someone with skin strong enough to resist grenade blasts could get a chest full of tattoos. Or why he wears his boots in the water. Or why he can swim faster by not kicking his legs. Or how he knows the secret Atlantean technique to spin a trident that his brother, the trained Atlantean warrior, doesn't. Or many, many other things. But Aquaman doesn't care about such things. Who's got time for details when you've got a whole ocean of things to kill, dude bro!

Hands down, my favorite quote was when Aquaman was riding in his girlfriend's magical underwater car and says "Shit happens." Boy, does it!

Good luck topping that, Shazam!.

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February movies, part 3 of 3:

35. (1474.) Warcraft (2016)
Yee-ouch, does this movie need a script doctor. They clearly threw a tractor-trailer of money at it, and the effects on the screen are top notch. Only the story and any attempt at characterization are lacking. What a shame that a studio with this much money to spend on a fantasy movie didn't have anything interesting to say.

36. (1475.) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Who is the protagonist in this thing? Rage! Violence! Cars! If this is all the world has to offer, let it burn. (Great cinematography, though. The world might be completely, unenjoyably hostile, but at least it's beautiful.)

37. (1476.) Rachel, Rachel (1968)
This is Paul Newman's directorial debut. I found the horrible characters in Mad Max more engaging than Rachel, the mouse of a rural, stunted 30-something finally growing up in this very narrow character study. Once again, this isn't poorly made. It just wasn't the movie for me.

38. (1477.) The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018)
This movie is not so well made. It meanders badly in parts as it turns Lisbeth Salander into a super hero and reduces her sometimes-partner Mikael Blomkvist into a mere damsel in distress. The climax feels unearned. Watch Mad Max and Rachel if those are your sorts of films, but I'd advise against this.

39. (1478.) Boyz N the Hood (1991)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the movie! Friday covered this territory better. (Yes, I know which came first. But it's like trying to read the Emerson after every other Transcendentalist has stomped that ground to death. The original just feels... dull.)

More to come.

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Movies from February (that aren't Aurora Teagarden mysteries), part 1:

21. (1460.) Young Mister Lincoln (1939)
Henry Fonda as Abraham Lincoln has its moments (most of them being Fonda's plainspoken impersonation). Unfortunately, the courtroom drama in the second half isn't very engaging.

26. (1465.) CBGB (2013)
This is also a biopic, focused on the rise of the famous club in New York City that launched the American punk scene, especially Blondie and the Ramones. I'm a fan of the music and the actors involved, so of course I liked it.

28. (1467.) Sherlock Gnomes (2018)
A worthy sequel to the underrated Gnomeo and Juliet. I solved the mystery plot easily, which means I'm probably ready to graduate to tween fare. (It's an animated kids movie featuring talking lawn gnomes, not a sequel to Gone Girl, Walter.)

29. (1468.) Young Winston (1972)
Sort of the opposite of Young Lincoln, Winston Churchill as a young man in his own words really doesn't get moving until the second half, which may also be an apt description of the man's actual career.

31. (1470.) The Accountant (2016)
I found star Ben Affleck's portrayal of autism as a super power to be the only thing that didn't work in this otherwise enjoyable action thriller. (To be clear: the concept isn't so terrible. Affleck's acting is.) The supporting cast is particularly good.

34. (1473.) Young Tom Edison (1940)
If you didn't know that the real Tom Edison died in 1931, you might think he wrote and directed this ridiculously glowing biopic of his younger days himself. What fools we all are to not recognize what a great human being Tom Edison was! That was sarcasm. I didn't care for this.

More to come.

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To be continued...