Showing 1 - 10 of 549 posts found matching: movies
Monday 8 August 2022
87/2096. Internal Affairs (1990)
Does it take a bad cop to catch a bad cop? This movie suggests "yes." (It's that age-old story where the protagonist's pride leads him to dig his own hole and you just want to slap the bastard and scream "you're doing this to yourself, you dipshit!") Far and away, the highlight is Laurie Metcalf as the straight-arrow lesbian cop.
88/2097. The Spoilers (1942)
Worth watching if only for the giant fistfight at its climax, John Wayne plays a naive but noble prospector who turns to violence when the system is rigged against him. The "spoilers" in this case are the bad guys, who like most Western villains, realize too late the errors of their ways.
89/2098. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Vroom, vroom! 'Merican muscle cars rule the world! Fuck yeah! Matt Damon and Christian Bale put a human face on this marginally fact-based nostalgic love letter to a post-War America when men were men and Capitalistic oligarchs ruled the world. To its credit, this film is very well crafted.
Just like a classic Coca-Cola!
90/2099. Posse (1993)
This opens with a frame story in which Woody Strode hectors viewers about how the Black man was written out of the history of the American West, but the movie that follows is just writer/director Mario Van Peebles giving his own version of his father's blaxploitation films. I'd much rather have watched whatever movie the frame story was talking about.
91/2100. Sid and Nancy (1986)
Want to spend two hours with two idiot losers killing themselves with heroin? Me, neither. Good music, though.
92/2101. Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
Friend Mike describes this as "the third best Bill & Ted movie," and he's right. Too much CGI makes this movie's universe feel small, but the unapologetic platonic loving relationship between the middle-aged protagonists makes up for all other shortfalls.
More to come.
Monday 1 August 2022
81/2090. The Sandlot (1993)
I'd seen this in bits and pieces over the years, but I decided to make myself sit down and watch it all the way through before the Little League World Series this year (because the kids there always list it as their favorite movie). It's heavily influenced by Stand By Me (with a pinch of Field of Dreams), but it's no crime to borrow from great movies.
baseball and apple pie
82/2091. How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968)
Ah, 1960s sex comedies. They always make the repressed sexual politics of the 1950s seem reasonable by comparison. Dean Martin tries to make his friend give up his mistress, but picks on the wrong girl. Somehow, everyone has a happy ending... except the wife. *shrug*
83/2092. Orlando (1992)
Yes, this is weird, but I like weird. The narrative is really several episodes in the life of a 400-year-old gender-fluid English noble. I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere about discovering one's true self. It's certainly a counterpoint to that last movie.
84/2093. Johnny Guitar (1954)
This is no comedy, but it does showcase the typical 1950's viewpoint of how every strong woman amounts to nothing without a strong man backing her up. While the lead villain(ess) is a female Snidely Whiplash sans mustache who hates Joan Crawford's protagonist because they both want the same man, the mob of men that support her are motivated by a very sympathetic cause: maintaining their land and lifestyle against the coming railroad. Sometimes I forgot who I was supposed to be cheering for.
85/2094. Thomasine & Bushrod (1974)
Blaxplotation Bonnie and Clyde. I think this is marginally superior to Bonnie and Clyde, but that's mostly because I really don't like either Bonnie or Clyde. The moral here is that neither love nor insanity is more powerful than the law, by which I mean crazy white racists with guns.
86/2095. Magic Mike (2012)
Everyone talks about all the beefcake, but this is mostly a coming-of-age movie for the two dynamic male leads on opposite sides of the same journey. It's pretty good shlock entertainment, mostly on the strength of Channing Tatum's' screen charisma.
More to come.
Wednesday 27 July 2022
I wouldn't have gotten through the summer of 2020 without frequent (weekly) viewings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The balm of summer 2022 is turning out to be Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia album, which I have listened to every-other day (or more often) since June.
Tuesday 26 July 2022
75/2084. The Beast Must Die (1974)
This which-one-of-these-people-is-the-werewolf movie feels like a made-for-television Hammer horror, and I mean that as praise. The movie literally takes a pause to allow you to make your guess before the big reveal, and I'm happy to say that I got it half wrong.
76/2085. Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
The anthropomorphic personification of Death at the center of this film is a complete ass, and that character deficiency casts an unpleasant pall over the rest of the melodramatic proceedings. I'm sure it makes a better stage play than movie.
78/2087. Dying for Chocolate: A Curious Caterer Mystery (2022)
Another Hallmark Movies and Mysteries original! This one was a little too easy owing to some early seemingly out-of-place exposition during a character introduction, but I'd rather have an easy puzzle than no puzzle at all.
77/2086. The Sapphires (2012)
A spoonful of sugar — or in this case, pop songs — makes the rather harsh medicines of racism, rejection, and death in the Vietnam War go down in this movie very loosely based on a true story. Yes, it's crafted to gather the widest mainstream appeal, but that works in its favor given the subject matter.
79/2088. Born to Sing (1942)
In this Saturday morning matinee kids' fare of the pre-WWII years, a crooked musical promoter steals an ex-convict's songbook then frames the kids who know the truth. The kids plan to turn the tables by putting on the show themselves in a disused Nazi fifth-column meeting house with the help of a gangster with a heart of gold. I wish it was as good as that sounds, but the closing musical number really got on my nerves.
80/2089. Spies in Disguise (2019)
This, on the other hand, is now be my favorite Will Smith-plays-a-pigeon movie. (Snark aside, it certainly doesn't hurt that Tom Holland's protagonist character is named "Walter." That kid has charm.) It's a spy-lampoon that knows what it's parodying and why.
More to come.
Saturday 16 July 2022
70/2079. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)
I think we should all just consider this the official sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. All the toons are awesome, and thanks to >Roger, the script can skip explaining to the audience why they operate on a unique set of physical rules in a world of humans and just get on with the business of making stupid jokes.
71/2080. The Secret Land (1948)
This needed a better title. I'm already having a hard time remembering this is a contemporary documentary about a post-WWII military operation in Antarctica.
72/2081. Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
Yee-ouch. I had a hard time understanding how this plot even works on the stage. And all the critics were right: The plot is bad enough if Evan Hanson is played by someone who looks like a child, but it's unforgivable for an actor who looks ready for a mid-life crisis.
73/2082. Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)
I love the deliciously low stakes of these Downton Abbey movies. Should we accept a house in France? Will the film crew scuff the floors? It's pleasant to be reminded that not everything is a life-or-death situation.
74/2083. Brother Nature (2016)
No offense to Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam, but there wasn't a second of this anti-buddy comedy when I wasn't thinking, "In a perfect world, these parts would be played by Chris Farley and David Spade." Hey, man, I get it. We're all doing the best we can with what we've got.
More to come.
Wednesday 6 July 2022
63/2072. Don't Make Waves (1967)
Notable for being the film that introduced Sharon Tate to audiences, Tate's introduction as "Malibu," a potential love-interest for unlikable protagonist tony Curtis, takes place on a trampoline with slow-motion close-ups of her bikini-clad chest and crotch. Obviously, this is sixties sex-comedy at its chauvinistic worst. The highlight is the literal landslide in the third act.
64/2073. King of Hearts (1966)
Stop me if you've heard this one: during World War I, the pointedly clueless British war machine sends the wrong man into a French insane asylum to diffuse a German bomb. I think the ultimate resolution of this absurdist French film is evident pretty much from the opening scene, so this is a classic case of enjoying the journey more than the destination. I really liked it.
65/2074. Letters to Juliet (2010)
American Amanda Seyfried and her giant eyes go to the beautiful Italian countryside and involve themselves in the half-century-old love affair of a British widow. Because that's the sort of thing that happens in romcoms, which now that I think of it, have a lot in common with French absurdist theater.
66/2075. The Front Page (1931)
This play adaptation grinds its axe on unscrupulous newspapermen and their complete disregard for facts in search of marketable sensationalism. The movie's satirically sharp stick is blunted somewhat by repeated stabs at conniving politicians, clueless ideologues, and frustrated mothers-in-law. The final takeaway is that our society probably gets the newsmen we deserve.
67/2076. Moon (2009)
A truly great bit of hard science fiction performed almost exclusively by Sam Rockwell (with an assist by Sam Rockwell). Highly recommended to science fiction fans.
69/2078. The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
It's hard to tell if some of the things seen onscreen are happening only in Civil War protagonist Henry's head. It's almost like the protagonist really loses his mind in the face of his fears, and it's not entirely clear if he ever recovers. As I understand it, the themes of the book — which I've never read — are pretty much just as ambiguous, so I think the movie's true point of view is revealed in its casting: Henry is played by one of the most decorated World War II veterans, Audie Murphy.
More to come.
Saturday 2 July 2022
For adult men.
To shave their manly faces.
For those who don't know, a fake Barbasol can containing dino DNA was a key element in the original Jurassic Park movie... and apparently the new Jurassic Park movie.
To celebrate, Barbasol has launched a sweepstakes in which the grand prize winner can choose to watch a movie or... go camping. Which, if you've ever actually watched a Jurassic Park movie, seems like the kind of prize that you may want to actually avoid.
But this is America, and Madison Avenue has never let a little thing like logic get in the way of a marketing opportunity.
So grab your razor and get cutting! The future of mankind may depend on it!
Sunday 26 June 2022
57/2066. Piccadilly (1929)
Nine-tenths of this silent movie plays like a love-triangle drama with thriller elements. Then, at the last minute, it becomes a murder-mystery/courtroom drama. My biggest complaint about it is a complaint I have with many silent films: the scenes of people "talking" that pad space between the dialogue cards is just wasted time. Fast forward through those, and it's reasonably watchable.
58/2067. New York Ninja (2021)
This 1984 movie footage was re-discovered, edited, and released for the first time in 2021. The plot barely makes sense, but that's not really the point of these sorts of these indie 1980s martial arts flicks. If you like that sort of thing (and I do), you'll like this.
59/2068. Do the Right Thing (1989)
True confession: I'd never seen a Spike Lee joint before this. For whatever reason (probably related to my early dislike of Spike's 1980s Nike sneaker salesman character), I didn't think I would like them, that he wasn't going to create anything I wanted to see. I admit now that I was very, very wrong. This film is genius and really does have some very important things to say about American (and human) life. Sorry about that, Spike.
60/2069. Varisty Show (1937)
This is a pretty typical Warner Bros. musical of its era: a thin melodrama plus some very stage-bound performances. It's short enough not to be a waste of time, but it's also hardly must-watch territory.
61/2070. Daughter of Shanghai (1937)
In the first scene of this crime drama B-picture, human traffickers very graphically throw their cargo out of a plane to their deaths. That certainly sets the stakes! I wish they'd kept the identity of the evil mastermind secret for a bit longer, but there were still a couple of enjoyable late twists.
62/2071. The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
What's shocking about Miss Pilgrim is that she thinks women should be treated as equal to men. What's charming about this is that she doesn't change her mind when she falls in love with a chauvinist.
More to come.
Thursday 16 June 2022
51/2060. Five Minutes to Live (1961)
The sensationalist title is a very good indicator of the style of this low-budget thriller, but it's a poor description of the plot itself. What you need to know is that Johnny Cash plays a psychopathic killer during a bank robbery gone sideways. You will believe that he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die! While Cash has the starring role, the kid in the movie is played by none other than li'l Ronnie Howard! What a weird pairing.
52/2061. Siren of the Tropics (1927)
This silent movie starring Josephine Baker careens madly through genres: adventure, slapstick comedy, topless sexploitation, murder thriller, romantic melodrama, you name it. Obviously, it has its moments, but its mad mood swings really irritated me.
53/2062. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Another Marvel movie with insultingly stupid plotting. But you're supposed to watch these things for the character interactions, and I won't deny that it is a lot of fun when there are multiple Spider-Men on screen at the same time. But that's the only nice thing I'll say about it.
54/2063. On Golden Pond (1981)
I'm old enough that I can now relate to Fonda's existential dilemma, which could make this movie a real slog. Fortunately, I like Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. It'll never be a favorite, but it was worth a watch.
Drink fast, old man!
55/2064. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)
The life story of a husband (storyboarder, art director) and wife (researcher) who worked behind the scenes on many a Hollywood movie. It's told largely through home movies and on-camera interviews, so it's essentially an autobiography with plenty of anecdotes and famous faces.
56/2065. 15 Things You Didn't Know About Bigfoot (#1 Will Blow Your Mind) (2019)
This movie was released at the wrong time and has had a hard time finding distribution, so you may encounter it with a different title. I watched it because it was set in Georgia, and my mind was indeed blown. It is without a doubt the best lampoon of VICE-style clickbait journalism, social media influencers, and Bigfoot hunters you'll ever see.
More to come.
Sunday 12 June 2022
After years of pandemic-driven disruption, the 44th annual Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration returned to its traditional calendar slot this weekend. The highlight of this year's event was last night, when Smallville Superman (Tom Welling) and Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) reunited to re-enact scenes from their television show on stage.
As it happens, the 2022 Celebration is marking the 50th anniversary of Metropolis being the "Home of Superman," a title they gave themselves. While 1972 was inarguably a significant milestone for Metropolis in several aspects, not the least of which is the agreement with National Periodicals to license Superman's name and likeness, many websites, including Wikipedia, mark the start of Metropolis' official relationship to Superman with the June 9, 1972, passage of State of Illinois General Assembly House Resolution 572, which reads:
Whereas, Metropolis is, as everyone knows, the base of operations of SUPERMAN, the Man of Steel, battler for Truth, Justice, and the American Way; leaper of tall buildings in single bounds; overpowerer of powerful locomotives; outspeeder of speeding bullets; changer of the course of might rivers; and performer of other important functions of not inconsiderable civic utility; and
Whereas, the civic leaders of Metropolis, Illinois, have finally decided that their illustrious citizen is, in fact, neither a bird nor a plane but a resource of not inconsiderable civic utility; and
Whereas, the familiar red and blue caped Superman uniform has been seen of late draped on other prominent citizens of Metropolis on important civic occasions (giving one pause to reflect that Clark Kent must have been considerably embarrassed when he last dashed into a telephone booth to strip for action and found that his Superman uniform had mysteriously disappeared);
now therefore be it Resolved By The House of Representatives in the seventy-seventh Session of the General Assembly, that we do hereby commend and congratulate Mr. Robert Westerfield, Mayor J.P. Williams, and Mr. C. Harold Mescher of Metropolis, Illinois, for conceiving and organizing ‘Project Superman’ by which outstanding citizens are honored as recipients of the Superman Award for their contributions to the civic welfare of Metropolis; and we extend the thanks of the civic leaders to Mr. Carmine Infantino of National Periodical Publications, Inc., for his kind permission to use the Superman format and for supplying the original uniform of the television Superman to use in the promotion of Project Superman; and finally we congratulate the Reverend Charles Chandler on his selection as the first recipient of the Superman Award and find it wholly appropriate that a man of his calling be so chosen;
and be it further Resolved, that a suitable copy of this preamble and resolution be forwarded to Mr. Robert Westerfield for acceptance by him on behalf of the Project Superman Screening Committee.
Personally, I'm not particularly confident about that June 9 date or whether the Illinois Senate ever had anything to do with this particular resolution. The actual online records of the 77th Illinois Senate meeting that day do not remark on that specific piece of legislation. Admittedly, that does not necessarily mean the date is incorrect, as the online records themselves warn of their incompleteness. The text above is taken directly from the Illinois House record for April 25, 1972, the date the resolution was introduced and passed the House.
And while we're on that topic, I should mention that House Resolution 572 was just one of many non-binding resolutions passed that day. Resolution 569 congratulated a congressman for staying married to the same woman for 19 years. Resolution 571 gave Chicago Cubs pitcher Burt Hooton a pat on the back for throwing a no-hitter, and Resolution 573 pledged undying loyalty to the Chicago Black Hawks "no matter what."
But the real kicker is House Resolution 575, congratulating Illinois native Gene Hackman for receiving the Oscar for Best Actor (in The French Connection). Though Superman: The Movie would be six years in their future, the Illinois House of Representatives still managed to praise both Superman and Lex Luthor in the very same meeting!
That's congress for you.