A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)There’s a key scene about halfway through A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in which cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), utters under his breath, "he's about the nicest person I've ever met.” Of course, Lloyd is talking about Fred Rogers, the host of ...

Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (2007)What has the world come to when the director of Sasquatch at the Mall can't get a gig? That's what horror auteur Harry Penderecki is wondering. Once considered a horror legend, with a string of hits like Bowel Movement, People Pesticide and I'll Take the Ring Back and the Finger Too, he now finds himself  ...

MidwayHollywood needs more war films. Despite the pig-headed durability of the world’s war machine providing an unending supply of source material, the genre has largely become abandoned with only the occasional passion project popping up from time to time around Veteran’s Day. For decades, the underserved ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: Thunder On The Hill (1951)

In which the nuns get it done! Thanks to the crackling cinematography of William H. Daniels (Six Bridges to Cross, Harvey, Winchester ‘73) and the performance of Claudette Colbert as Sister Mary who is haunted by the past, Thunder On The Hill roars off the screen with a fury that is relatively unmatched  ...

Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

Interior: DARK, GIN-SOAKED MOVIE THEATER CAMERA - SLOW PAN LEFT TO RIGHT. It was a dark and stormy night. Flickering frames of light pierced the smoky darkness, casting shadows on the tattered silver screen. The projector’s jittery rays revealed the forlorn faces of a checked-out audience while the stormy night’s deafening ...

Black RainbowThe mystery! The murder! Corruption inside America’s Bible Belt!  That’s the territory of Black Rainbow as writer/director Mike Hodges blends genres, creating a movie that takes on chemical plants and spiritual links to the After Life ...

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)There are few directors out there that have the distinction of making sequels to hit films that not only reach the quality of the original, but surpass it. James Cameron is one of them. He is an auteur that never rested on his laurels, always coming at things with a fresh take for a follow up and never settling for ...

The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)

Make no mistake about it, The Flesh and the Fiends is a righteous horror film, drooping left eye and all, as experimental vivisections rule the day. Lost men! Lost souls!  With no apologies issued to the dead, The Flesh and the Fiends begins in a spooktacular fashion as a body is torn free from  ...

The Little MermaidWith Disney’s current dominance at the box office, it is difficult to believe it, but they weren’t doing so well (theatrically) in the latter half of the 1980s. They had experienced, especially in the animation realm, a series of costly underperforming features and the sure thing that used ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

Because not everyone can be saved. Inspired by the Great Brink's Robbery of 1950, Six Bridges To Cross makes its targets known early: trigger-happy cops and unrepentant criminals.  Civil unrest.  That’s what happens when a police officer (George Nader) shoots a kid during a robbery ...

Zombieland: Double TapThe road trip through the zombie apocalypse continues with Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland: Double Tap, which comes some ten years after his Zombieland caught the front end of the zombie resurgence in the ‘90s and rode it into undead lore. ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

An Act of Murder, in which a very uncompromising and stubborn judge learns a tough, tough lesson about guilt and morals, is perhaps one of the most forward-thinking film noir offerings in that it comes from the point of view of a man who defends a very strict and outdated view of law and  ...

WaterworldThe last decade of the 20th Century in movies saw the pinnacle of star-powered excess-driven extravaganzas peak with Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. One of the biggest stars in the world, at the time, he could write his own ticket, dictate all terms, and will anything he wanted into existence. That ...

Haunted Honeymoon...in which the Golden Age of Radio meets the Chiller Comedies of the 1940s.  No wonder Haunted Honeymoon was a box office bomb, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be ignored.  The film, with over-the-top characters and spooky atmospheres, is damn funny ...

Gemini ManRarely does conventional wisdom hold in Hollywood. Particularly with regards to the notion that less is more and that simplicity is superior to elaborate embellishment. Take, for instance Jerry Bruckheimer, the titan of TNT, who subscribes to the theory that if a candle is needed ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

“Two gin slings . . . with ice.” With that famous line, Alan Ladd (Shane) as American pilot, Neale Gordon, begins to fall for Virginia Moore (Gail Russell, The Uninvited).  He doesn’t want to, but he can’t help himself.  Hell, one look at her engaging beauty and I would, too.  Holy cow is she a looker ...

Hellboy II: The Golden Army2004’s Hellboy was a well-received if unspectacular performer at the box office, and the studios were not in a hurry to spend on another one. Undeterred, Guillermo Del Toro pressed on pitching various iterations of what could be the follow up. Oh, and since he had some time to kill ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume IOkay, so A Bullet for Joey, directed by Lewis Allen (Appointment with Danger, The Perfect Marriage) and starring Edward G. Robinson and George Raft, doesn’t exactly fit so tidily into the whole film noir genre, but that doesn’t keep it from sharing certain elements of that cinematic world ...

Western StarsSomewhere in Colts Neck, New Jersey there sets a horse farm owned by Bruce Springsteen.  And on those 378 acres there is a two-story barn which, on certain nights, doubles as a performance area for Springsteen, his wife Patti Scialfa, and some close friends.  The voices coming out from  ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

From stunning, widescreen vistas in Colorado's Royal Gorge National Park to some deftly handled underwater scenes (filmed in Santa Monica, California), Big House, U.S.A. does not disappoint, going dark with the gruesome murder of a kid at the beginning  ...

Breakthrough (2019)Movies like Miracles from Heaven and Heaven Is for Real tell allegedly true stories of divine intervention. The latest such movie is 2019’s Breakthrough. About four years ago in Missouri, teenager John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) fell through the ice of a frozen lake. After 15 minutes underwater he clinically died. But when ...

Pretty in Pink (1986)

“You don’t want to go out.  You don’t want to go home.  What do you want to do, Andie?” The pink, volcanic ensembles.  The cast - Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader, and Andrew McCarthy - bringing their best acting to a BRILLIANT script ...

Joker (2019)Joker was frightening proposition for this reviewer, who has been a lifelong Batman fanatic. Firstly because it presumed to make the focus of its narrative on one of the greatest antagonists in storytelling history, without the hero; secondly because it wasn’t going to stick with ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

Classic film noir - with its emphasis on atmosphere and futility - simply doesn’t get any more claustrophobic than in Cornel Wilde’s directorial debut, Storm Fear.  A classic thriller which has West (The Naked Prey) starring, producing, and directing  ...

Rambo: Last BloodTenacious is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Sylvester Stallone. He was once one of the highest-paid and most successful actors in cinema’s history, and, like most, has had his fair share of career highlights and—lets be kind—lulls. ...

Yeti: The Giant of the 20th Century (1977)

It begins, hilariously enough, with some fairly shitty-looking stock footage of glaciers sliding off into the sea.  Big budget this Yeti flick is not.  Relatively quickly, we are whisked away to a fishing trip that quickly gets ruined by a ...

It CHapter TwoWhen Stephen King’s doorstop novel was adapted for TV in the 90’s, it accomplished what shouldn’t have been possible. King’s novel is a behemoth tome, with dozens of characters, and was one of his truly graphic forays into the horror genre for ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume I

“You’ll eat my dinner or one of you walks out of here with a bullet in his head.” John Garfield, one of the original rebels in film cinema, is absolutely on fire in He Ran All The Way and, sitting right next to him, is Shelley Winters, a true partner in crime, as ...

It's a Wonderful LifeThere are touchstone pictures that transcend any generation, no matter when they were born, that fall under the MUST WATCH category. They are masterpieces. Films like Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of Sierra Madre, (I know! Bogart nut) it doesn’t matter. If you are a film aficionado, a general viewer, a ...

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume IThe “witness” in this film noir title is Barbara Stanwyck.  The murderer is George Sanders.  I’m not spoiling anything for those who have never seen Witness to Murder.  In fact, we see the murder happen in the very first scene as Stanwyck as Cheryl Draper looks out her apartment ...

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