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 ...

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 ...

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forward-thinking film noir offerings in that it comes from the point of view of a man who defends a very strict and outdated view of law and  ...

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 ...

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 ...

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

“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 ...

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 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 ...

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 ...

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  ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 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  ...

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  ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

Mr. Majestyk

Never mess with another man's melons! Once that sick theme song from composer Charles Bernstein kicks in, you know that this film is going to be an epic showdown.  It doesn't disappoint either.  No clean window - be it in a car or a house - can stop him ...

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 ...

The Hustle (2019)The horror! The hilarity! The frauleins! Insanity follows in Horrors of Spider Island, a Z-grade schlockfest, from Germany!  Released here in the United States as It's Hot in Paradise, with some cuts made so that all the girls keeping their clothes on, the horror film finally sees the light of day again  ...

Downton AbbeyPolish the silver, set out the good china, and put a kettle on. The Crawleys are back! Fans of the popular PBS television series that aired for six seasons can once again spend a little time at the sprawling English countryside estate as the film version of Downton Abbey finally hits theaters. And even ...

Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)In the wake of composer Ennio Morricone’s passing, there are few things as beautiful and as moving as his score set to the playful opening of prolific movie mogul Dino De LaurentiisOrca: The Killer Whale!  Sure, this is a JAWS rip-off, but watching those beautiful beasts hurl themselves out  ...

Bourne Ultimate CollectionThe Bourne series is currently five films in (as of the writing of this article) and had definitively made its mark in the action/spy genre. In a perfect storm of confluences, it hit its mark with an audience desperate to break with convention and be given something unseen in the ...

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