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  ...

V: The Original Mini SeriesIn the late 70s and early 80s, the short form ‘mini-series’ was a chance for networks to stretch their muscles with event storytelling. Long before HBO and Netflix and Amazon showed that feature film budgets and top shelf talent could not only match the quality of storytelling in cinema, but best ...

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 ...

Crawl (2019)What could be worse than being in Florida with a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on the state? No, the answer is not “waking up to discover that you now live in Boca Raton.” The answer we’re looking for is to awaken from the nightmare of your neighborhood now ...

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  ...

Halloween (1978)This low budget ($300,000 USD) slasher film, made by a recent (in the 70s) USC graduate, would spawn countless sequels and give its backers some serious profits, the world horror auteur John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis. Those things make the love for this ...

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 ...

The Shining (1980)Stanley Kubrick was a director of unparalleled technical mastery in his time. There isn’t a film fan, or filmmaker out there that hasn’t delved deep into the many works he produced over three decades before his untimely death. His subject matters were always ...

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  ...

Star Trek TrilogyThis reviewer is a little slow to update to new technologies. When it came time to replace some of my old equipment, I dove deep into the pros and cons of the next (and many say last) generation of home movies: 4K. The pros and cons of yet another format are involved and not a blanket statement. For example ...

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 ...

E.T. The Extra-TerrestrialOne look at Spielberg’s filmography and it’s hard to imagine the man has ever set a foot wrong. But alas, just before the 1980s dawned, he took a misstep with the (at the time) expensive comedy 1941. Not to rest on his laurels, he doubled down in 81 and 82 and introduced the ...

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 ...

Serenity 2005Back in the early Noughties, Joss Whedon was synonymous with punchy genre series that, more often than not, dealt with strong female protagonists and thrilling plots. As if cursed by his own success, Whedon tried to branch out from vampires and slayers to the sci-fi with the ...

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 ...

Bram Stoker's DraculaVery early in the history of film different filmmakers sought to tell the story of the world’s infamous vampire. Bram Stoker’s most famous creation has influenced popular culture, in all its’ incarnations, since it appeared in 1897 - some might argue to the point of oversaturation. In the ...

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  ...

Toy Story 4 (2019)Bad news: Toy Story 4 is Pixar’s biggest money grab to date. Good news: This is Pixar, so it never feels like one. It is not a stretch to say that the company couldn’t make a bad movie if it tried. After all, none of its films ...

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 ...

Midsommar (2019)Here’s a bit of life advice. Never trust the remote village that no one has ever heard of, especially if it puts on a pagan celebration that even fewer are aware of. I promise, you’ll thank me later for this. ...

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  ...

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)Making any film is a tricky endeavor, let alone a film in a franchise that shows no duds. Added to which, this latest incarnation has been balanced carefully between ...

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 ...

Yesterday (2019) - Movie ReviewA good movie always begins with a killer premise. And Yesterday, the new film from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis has a great one. It takes on the idea of what our world would be like today if The Beatles never existed ...

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 ...

Stephen King's The StandCa-Ca-Crazy lives here and, if you are anything like me and my warped sensibility, you are gonna love it  ...

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 ...

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - DVDIn 1991, New York biographer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) finds herself in dire straits: she has lost her job, fallen 3 months behind on rent and can’t afford the vet bills for her beloved sick cat. Her agent (Jane Curtin) is less than helpful, ignoring Lee’s phone calls ...

The Hustle (2019)“No one would have believed, in the middle of the 20th century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by Intelligences greater than man's. Yet, across the gulf of space on the planet Mars, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our Earth with envious eyes ...

Ma (2019) - Blu-rayOctavia Spencer has been a staple in movies for years. She’s a talented, larger than life actor that almost always stands out in an ensemble, or kills it in a cameo. Quite rightly, she has been campaigning for a lead role in something that steps out of what she’s usually offered and  ...

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