Showing 11 - 20 of 32 posts found matching keyword: william powell

This is it, the final batch of movies I watched in 2015.

186. (933.) 2 Guns (2013)
I remember this movie getting some bad reviews when it was released, largely because it's a pretty by-the-numbers action/revenge flick. The charisma of the stars, plus some pretty entertaining action sequences, more than overcome the predictability. C'mon. let's face it: no one watches a Mark Wahlberg movie to be surprised.

187. (934.) Pale Rider (1985)
I was certain that I'd seen this movie, but catching the beginning on AMC revealed otherwise. I love High Plains Drifter, and I most certainly would have realized that this was a derivation of that formula if I'd seen this before. In High Plains Drifter, Eastwood is a devil. Here, he's an angel. Same story, different ethics. Frankly, High Plains Drifter is better.

198. (936.) Dick Tracy (1945)
I assumed I must have seen this in the early 90s when my brother was on a big Dick Tracy comic kick. However, like Pale Rider, I had no memory of the actors or the action when I actually put my eyes on it. Unlike Pale Rider, which has some memorable scenes, I doubt I'll remember much about this movie a few months from now.

190. (937.) Despicable Me 2 (2013)
As good as the first? No. But still cute and clever and entertaining. Note to future sequel writers: get the characters right, and everything else will write itself.

191. (938.) The Terrorists (1974)
To cap off the 2015 appropriately, I saved this Sean Connery film for last. Marketed like an action film, I think it was intended to be more of a suspense film. There's remarkably little of either. I recommend against this unless you're a Connery completist.

So there you go, 191 movies watched in 2015. (If you were paying attention, you might notice that the numbering got wonky here at the end. I screwed them up waaay back in July and only noticed it in December. I was busy watching movies, not numbers.)

As a quick recap, note that the actor I saw most often in 2015 was William Powell. Seven William Powell movies in 2015 brings my total count of William Powell films seen to thirty! Long live William Powell. IMDb.com says he was in 96 movies over the course of his career. Obviously, I have to step up my game.

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October movies, round 2 of 2.

169. (916.) The Heavenly Body (1944)
I'm generally ambivalent about the screwball romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s, but this one I hated. Just to get the script moving, the female lead, Heady Lamar, improbably behaves without a brain in her head so that there will be tension between her and her husband played by William Powell. William Powell should never be treated this poorly. Seriously, if any dame ever treated me that way, I wouldn't shed a single tear as the door hit her on the way out.

170. (917.) Morning Glory (2010)
Rachel McAdams is, as always, a delight, but this movie has no depth. What, old people resent being sidelined by youth? Deep, man, deep.

171. (918.) Modern Problems (1981)
Have you ever seen Zapped? This film is like that, but with adults acting like teenagers instead of teenagers acting like teenagers. Not Chevy Chase's best movie. And Chevy Chase has had a lot of "not best" movies.

172. (919.) How to Steal a Million (1966)
Audrey Hepbrun and Peter O'Toole make a great couple in this heist/romance hybrid. One of my pet peeves in movies is when the plot seems to take a right turn sometime during act 2 for no good reason (Terminator 2 springs to mind), but I'll forgive it here. Because Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.

More to come.

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I spent too many hours watching old Veronica Mars episodes in October, and as a result, I watched only 8 new-to-me movies. Here's the first four.

165. (912.) Jewel Robbery (1932)
It seems William Powell always played a debauched lawyer or detective, or a debonair con man or thief. As you can probably tell by the title, in this romantic comedy, he's the latter. Light on plot, this film was the date movie of its day.

166. (913.) Rendevous (1935)
Here William Powell plays a reluctant spy (who's a kind of con man) during The Great War. I spent the entire film thinking that Rosalind Russell's scheming society girl should have been played by Myrna Loy. That might have provided the extra spark this rather dull thriller needed.

167. (914.) Man of Steel (2013)
No, I didn't watch all of this movie. I just couldn't take it. It was worse than I thought it would be. The Kryptonese are assholes. Pa Kent is an asshole. The other kids in Clark's school are assholes. The kids who bully the kids who bully Clark Kent are assholes. Their parents are assholes.... All the conflict in the entire movie comes from people being assholes to one another. The filmmakers seem to have thought that in order to make Superman "good," every other character in the entire movie has to be an asshole. That's such a fundamental understanding of what makes the character of Superman great that it killed any desire I had of seeing how the actual plot was resolved. I hope Superman flew away and went to some Universe that wasn't populated with just assholes.

168. (915.) The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Steve McQueen plays Paul Newman in The Hustler! Whoo-hoo! I didn't love this film, but I didn't find it nearly as terrible as The Hustler. That's probably largely thanks to McQueen, whose typically mute style (see also: Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford) allowed his card sharp to be a far more sympathetic character than Paul Newman's pool shark.

More to come.

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Movie watching slowed to a crawl in September. I only watched 9 new-to-mew movies, although I did also re-watch Babe and Big Trouble in Little China among other favorites. It's hard to find time to watch new films when you're re-watching the classics.

156. (903.) Star of Midnight (1935)
I have yet to find an RKO movie starring William Powell that wasn't perfectly delightful. I still don't know what the title had to do with this murder mystery, but who cares. All you need to know are William Powell is being chased by Ginger Rogers.

157. (904.) Message from Space (1978)
Japan's answer to Star Wars is really, really terrible. Betrayal, space nuts, Vic Morrow . . . . none of it makes any sense in English. I'm not entirely sure that it could make any sense in any language. Do yourself a favor and just go watch Star Wars instead.

158. (905.) Special When Lit (2010)
If you couldn't guess, this was a documentary about the history of pinball machines. It made me want to own my own cabinet, so it must have done something right.

159. (906.) The Born Losers (1967)
This is the first "Billy Jack" movie. If you know what that means, I'm sorry. I was first exposed to Billy Jack by an art school professor who simply loved small budget, esoteric movies. Professor Marriott was serious about film. But no one takes Billy Jack more seriously than Billy Jack. It's weird that this, an action movie where all of the "action" takes place just out of frame, could inspire a franchise.

More to come.

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Final 8 of 16 movies watched in August:

148. (895.) The Baroness and the Butler (1938)
William Powell again in another romance! Here he plays the butler to a Prime Minister who is elected to parliament as a member of the opposition party — who keeps his job as a butler! That's not as improbable as the fact that the Hungarian Prime Minister's daughter speaks with a French accent.

149. (896.) Expo: Magic of the White City (2005)
Documentaries are easier to watch while coding, especially when they are just a narrator talking about a subject I'm already familiar with, in this case Gene Wilder reading a historical account of the Chicago Colombian Exposition of 1893. (I'm a man of varied interests.)

150. (897.) Winnebago Man (2009)
Another documentary, this time about the search for a man who had become an Internet celebrity as a side-effect of an ill-spirited prank. He reminded me of my dad.

151. (898.) Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011)
This film just followed Conan O'Brien around during the tour he undertook after his unceremonious departure from The Tonight Show. I like Conan, but I thought this made him look petty and compulsive. It wasn't very entertaining, and I'm not really sure what the point was.

152. (899.) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Watched because Myrna Loy was in this, but she's not in it nearly enough. This is NOT my kind of film. Life sucks enough without watching others discovering how much it sucks.

Drink Coke! (The Best Years of Our Lives)
Did you murder people for a country that doesn't love you? Wash that bitterness down with Coke!

153. (900.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
The sequel to this movie will be released on June 3, 2016. If this film is any indication of what to expect, DO NOT GO SEE IT. I wish I could un-see this one.

154. (901.) Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)
This was similar to the Conan documentary in that very little is learned about its star. Whereas Conan is a cypher because he moves at a breakneck pace and never stops for introspection, this film felt like it was a piece of stagecraft and not a real peek into Katy's life. It's funny that she feels like a more genuine person on Entertainment Tonight than she does in her own rockumentary.

155. (902.) Hungry (2014)
A documentary about the sport of competitive eating. Apparently, the Nathan's Hot Dog contest is a fraud. I'm so disappointed. If the NFL is as self-interested, corrupt, and focused on profit as Major League Eating.... Oh, shit.

More to come.

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I have no idea how I managed to watch 16 movies in August. I feel like I spent all my time in front of my computer. But my database doesn't lie. Here are the first 8:

140. (887.) Point Blank (1967)
Say, I've seen this before! This is the movie that Payback was based on. Lee Marvin is always bad ass, but I still prefer Payback. It's my favorite Mel Gibson movie.

141. (888.) Miss Firecracker (1989)
This tale of disappointment in the last remnants of the Old South is part Tennessee Williams, part William Faulkner. It's billed as a comedy, but that's using the Shakespearean definition where "comedy" means a play in which not everyone dies in the end. It has its moments, but they were too few and far between.

142. (889.) Ant-Man (2015)
This was better than any movie remaking Iron Man has any right to be, but it's still not great. Hint to filmmakers: don't use fake science to explain your hero's powers if you're just going to contradict your own explanation at your movie's climax.

143. (890.) The Beginning or the End (1947)
The Amazing True Story of the Birth of the Atomic Bomb! Except that a lot of liberties have been taken with the story, including the addition of a character who dies from radiation poisoning after tinkering with the very same bomb that would go on to level Hiroshima.

144. (891.) One Way Passage (1932)
William Powell falls in love on his way to the gallows. Don't worry about his girlfriend, though. She has an incurable, fatal disease. Ah, romance movies.

145. (892.) The Racket (1951)
Robert Mitchum plays an honest cop hunting the head of a local criminal organization. It's good, but I kept expecting this movie to have a twist ending, like the Adventures of Superman episode "Crime Wave." (Turns out that episode came out 2 years after this movie. Coincidence?)

146. (893.) Ladies They Talk About (1933)
I think I have a crush on Barbara Stanwyck. Even playing the most lowly bitch &hdash; for 90% of this movie, she's truly a bad person who deserves her jail time — she's always tough, resourceful, and beautiful.

147. (894.) The Expendables 3 (2014)
When they say "a cast of thousands," they don't usually mean that's the sum of the ages of the lead actors. I didn't hate it, but Payback is still my favorite Mel Gibson film.

More to come.

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Even more movies! (Some good, some less so.)

22. (769.) Jack Reacher (2012)
Spoiler alert: About halfway through this movie I turned to my Dad and said, "there's only one black guy in this whole movie. Surely they're not going to make him the bad guy." Guess what.

23. (770.) For the Defense (1930)
William Powell can do no wrong! This melodrama is about a lawyer living life close to the edge and the people who take advantage. A character so sleazy shouldn't be so charming, Powell!

24. (771.) All the King's Men (1949)
I'd seen the last 30 minutes of this movie years ago, and it was nice to see it from the beginning. It has a very Sunset Boulevard vibe to it, and I love Sunset Boulevard.

25. (772.) Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Jane Austen has a way of writing that really brings you into the life of the characters and makes them feel real. This film, while clearly expensive, fails to convey that depth. Not terrible, but the book is far more satisfying.

26. (773.) The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Way, way more enjoyable than the the other absurdist Luis Bunuel movie I watched earlier in the month, The Exterminating Angel. It's just as angry about the human condition, but somehow less bitter.

27. (774.) Shall We Dance (2004)
I had no intention of watching this Richard Gere comedy; it just happened to be on television as I was doing some other work. I'm glad I didn't change the channel. It was cute (thanks mainly to the presence of the always amazing Stanley Tucci).

28. (775.) Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
This slice-of-life drama takes place exclusively in New York's Waldorf hotel and frequently feels like an advertisement. But so far as product placement-as-cinema goes, it's plenty entertaining.

More to come.

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The end of the 2014 movie list.

205. (742.) Out of Africa (1985)
This wasn't nearly as pretentious and boring as I feared. Redford was the weak part, but that just proves no one can stand against the immortal Meryl Streep.

206. (743.) Marnie (1964)
Sean Connery, rapist? Ugh. Even Alfred Hitchcock has a few stinkers in the resume. The highlight of the film was Bruce Dern's brief cameo as the sailor/child molester. Ick.

207. (744.) The Male Animal (1942)
The backers of the university football program are so powerful, they divert public funds to stadiums, tell the faculty what they can and cannot teach, and accuse their detractors of being un-American. A completely unrealistic story in 2014.

208. (745.) A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
As much as I enjoy Shakespeare's tragedies, I'm no fan of his comedies, including any production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I thought Dick Powell was especially miscast in the lead, but he wasn't nearly so bad as Mickey Rooney as Puck. Ye, gods. Great sets and special effects for the era, but I fast-forwarded through most of the dialogue.

209. (746.) Gambit (1966)
Micheal Caine and Shirley MacClaine in a heist picture? Sign me up! Every bit as enjoyable as expected. Recommended.

210. (747.) Heavenly Bodies (1984)
Have I mentioned that I love fad exploitation films? The climax of this film involves an aerobics dance-off that makes so little sense, the movie doesn't try explaining it. Outside the aerobics (and the required nods to Flashdance), this is a romance film with lots of on-screen female nudity so that the guys won't walk out. Good choice, director.

Drink Coke! (Heavenly Bodies)

(That Coke machine is a very prominent part of the set, but I didn't really notice the product placement until two girls in leotards walked past the camera just to show us the can in their hands.)

And that wraps up the list of 210 films seen in 2014. For the record, the actor most seen in 2014 was William Powell (as he was in 2012), followed by the late James Garner.

When I started this project in 2012, I thought watching 150 new-to-me movies was going to be a hard target to reach. But without much trying, I'm routinely getting over 200 each year. Will that streak continue in 2015? We'll find out in 12 more months.

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Where was I? "162"?

162. (699.) Double Wedding (1937)
More William Powell and Myrna Loy romantic comedy. A good one, too. (As if there are any that aren't.) I will see them all, oh yes, I will.

163. (700.) Ziegfeld Follies (1945)
More William Powell as Florenz Ziefeld. Ok, so he only played the role twice, but now I've seen both. Frankly, the standout scene in this vaudeville-style movie isn't the dance with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, although that is pretty good, but a comedy routine by Red Skelton, which is just amazing. (Keenan Wynn and Fanny Brice have comedy skits in the movie as well, but they both fall far short of the bar that Skelton sets.)

164. (701.) The Lego Movie (2014)
Maybe I expected too much, but this movie bored me. I never forgot that I was watching a 2-hour toy commercial. (And I'm hardly one to criticize someone else for being misogynistic, but ouch. Cringe-worthy. I hadn't realized Legos were only for boys.)

166. (703.) Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Now this was the movie I was hoping Lego was. I kicked myself for not figuring the Big Bad earlier than the reveal, but I didn't mind a bit. Lots of fun visual and vocal gags in this great animated Disney movie. (How could Disney go from this to Frozen a year-and-a-half later? Blech!)

167. (704.) Detective Story (1951)
Maybe I watch too much noir, but this story was on rails. Too obvious at every turn, the only thing that made this worth watching was Kirk Douglas' powerful on-screen charisma.

168. (705.) Dinner at Eight (1933)
I watched this entire comedy of manners feeling that everything was exposition for the titular dinner. "When will the dinner start?" I kept wondering. The dinner starts just before the closing credits roll! If there was a settlement to any of the story's many, many conflicts, I missed them. (As everyone goes to dinner, there is a sensation of detente, but not resolution.)

169. (706.) Battleship (2012)
Oh, this is a Big, Stupid Action Movie. But it knows its place. It never strives to be anything other than a Big, Stupid Action Movie. The writers and director competently put all the pieces and place and hit all the necessary character notes to achieve the desired outcome. (Yeah! Take that, aliens!) I was very surprisingly entertained throughout. You should take notes, Micheal Bay. (I think this has all the makings of a cult classic.)

170. (707.) Love in the Afternoon (1957)
The rising action was a little slow for my tastes, and the age difference between the male lead, Gary Cooper (playing a 60-year-old man), and the female lead, Audrey Hepburn (playing a college student), was too disparate for me to tolerate. I guess it's a rule that if you want to make a movie focusing on inappropriate March-December sexual relationships, you have to cast Chevalier? (Fun fact: GiGi turns my stomach!)

And that's all my movies watched in September.

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What's the best way to kick off Football and Batman month? That's right, with movies! August movies, part 2 of 3:

142. (679.) Queen of Outer Space (1958)
Really stupid and really boring. But I think everyone involved knew it. Except maybe Zsa Zsa Gabor. She seemed to be taking this story about a race of women living on Venus hell-bent on destroying all "mankind" on Earth a little too seriously.

143. (680.) High Pressure (1932)
William Powell plays a con man in the world of big business. It's almost a documentary about how Capitalism works in 2014.

144. (681.) Von Richthofen and Brown (1971)
This Roger Corman movie was also titled The Red Baron for obvious reasons. I've read reviews of the film that praise the flying shots and pan everything else. Personally, I felt the flying was the boring part, and the campy scenes on the ground were the good stuff. To each his own, I guess. Speaking of actors who take themselves too seriously: Don Stroud.

145. (682.) Predators (2010)
A worthy sequel to one of cinema's greatest sci-fi/action movies. Exactly what you want when you go to a movie with "predator" in the title.

146. (683.) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Ed, the manager of a local comic shop, described this movie as "charming." I thought that was a ridiculous thing to say about a giant budget Disney movie, but it turned out to be pretty accurate. Charming, indeed.

147. (684.) Hotel (1967)
I loved this movie. That took me by surprise. I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting to love this movie. Great, great stuff.

UPDATE 2021-04-03: Hotel was just on TCM, and I didn't remember that I had seen it. I couldn't remember the plot or details. I just knew that it was on my list and that I'd said I liked it. So I watched it again. And I still love it. For future reference: Rod Taylor is the general manager of an outdated, doomed New Orleans hotel during its last days filled with a sad sack thief, a conniving house detective, a kept woman, and a fallen nobleman. Worth watching again in 7 more years.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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