seagal August 20

Mercenary for Justice (2006)

Directed by Don E. Fauntleroy, Mercenary for Justice has the honour of being one of the most needlessly intricate of all the Steven Seagal movies. That’s saying a lot. Seagal worked with Fauntleroy on Today You Die, which was apparently made at the same time as this 2006 direct-to-video release. It’s hard to argue that […]

jolie August 19

Maleficent (2014)

A tedious “reimagining” of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty placed in a live action world heavy on the CGI, Maleficent is a letdown. The 2014 picture is directed by Robert Stromberg and features a Linda Woolverton screenplay that flirts with meaning, but the packaging is so bland and the aesthetic is so lukewarm that it’s hard to […]

dorseys August 18

The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

The scrappy story of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey is the subject of the 1947 picture The Fabulous Dorseys. Jimmy was a saxophonist and clarinetist, while his brother Tommy was a trombonist and trumpeter. Both went on to become bandleaders as well and they got their respective starts in numerous outfits that saw them play together. […]

nutty August 16

The Nutty Professor (1996)

Without Eddie Murphy, it’s impossible to imagine The Nutty Professor working as well as it does. The 1996 remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis vehicle is directed by Tom Shadyac and has a certain zany spirit, but it’s the performance(s) of its star that really sends it over the top. Murphy is enjoying himself almost […]

paul August 15

Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed is such an insufferable car movie that it actually takes the time to point out a cyclist blown aside by the protagonist’s dangerous driving. The camera jabs away at the poor two-wheeler like a laugh from Nelson Muntz. The film is based on the video game franchise and tries to develop a […]

jerrymaguire August 14

Jerry Maguire (1996)

While it’s kind of overcrowded and tends to drown in its own clichés, there’s still something special about Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. This is the sort of romantic picture that is quoted and remembered. It’s the sort of movie that offers iconic images and seems designed like an advertisement for its own great moments.

blackdawn1 August 13

Black Dawn (2005)

The weird thing about Black Dawn is that it’s somehow not terrible. This 2005 flick stars Steven Seagal and is actually the sequel to The Foreigner, a film that is surely one of the ponytailed one’s absolute worst efforts. Black Dawn has Seagal revise the role of Jonathan Cold, but that’s about all it has […]

dollars August 12

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The second part of the so-called Dollars Trilogy, For a Few Dollars More is another look at Sergio Leone’s “landscape of violence and grittiness.” As with the 1964 film A Fistful of Dollars, this 1965 motion picture resounds with the Italian director’s notion of the American West. It is a parcel of violence and bloodshed, […]

rock August 11

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

When the 1957 Elvis Presley vehicle Jailhouse Rock was released, many critics responded negatively to the protagonist’s hellish ways. Presley’s Vince Everett is indeed a punk of Bieberesque proportions, but that’s the point. Richard Thorpe’s picture has no interest in selling itself as a glossy representation of success in show business. It’s a tale of […]

bears2 August 09

Bears (2014)

Released by Disneynature, the studio’s “independent film label,” Bears is a saccharine nature documentary heavy on all the storytelling and magic the House of Mouse is known for. Unfortunately, it’s short on everything else. The 2014 nature documentary is more a feat of editing than anything else, but those looking for a little bear footage […]

bigdaddy August 08

Big Daddy (1999)

Dennis Dugan directs Big Daddy, a particularly mean-spirited Adam Sandler vehicle that really is quite shameless. This 1999 comedy is among Sandler’s most mawkish outings, toying with the idea of the “adorable” child being raised by the protagonist’s rage-filled archetype. There is some potential for humour in this nonsense, but Dugan sure as hell can’t […]

winter soldier August 08

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an often scintillating motion picture, one that is everything a quality superhero film should be. As with Captain America: The First Avenger, this 2014 entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe succeeds because of its light feel and sublime action. More than that, however, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has […]

chinasyndrome1 August 07

The China Syndrome (1979)

A deeply satisfying and well-crafted thriller, The China Syndrome focuses on a number of issues but is primarily set against a backdrop of nuclear power. This 1979 motion picture was actually released a dozen or so days prior to the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania and surely covered opportune ground, what with many other […]

today you die1 August 06

Today You Die (2005)

So here’s Today You Die, another limp straight-to-video effort starring Steven Seagal. This 2005 outing finds the ponytailed one drawing on his urban bag of tricks, which often results in his eager utilization of street slang to hilarious effect. Seagal last made use of said tricks in 2001’s Ticker, which saw him paired with more […]

judymickey August 04

Babes in Arms (1939)

Directed by Busby Berkeley, the 1939 picture Babes in Arms features the pairing of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in their first musical together. It’s their third film coupling following Love Finds Andy Hardy and Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry. Rooney landed an Oscar nomination for his part in this, becoming the first teenager to receive the […]

muppet August 03

The Muppet Movie (1979)

A pleasant, witty and highly enjoyable road picture, The Muppet Movie has the distinction of weaving a yarn to explain how the Muppets came together to find success in show business. It’s a film within a film and is loaded with plenty of inside gags, which makes for some big laughs. It also has the […]

madmax1 August 02

Mad Max (1979)

George Miller directs Mad Max, one of the most famous Australian films of all-time. It’s also the first Australian picture to use a widescreen anamorphic lens and, for better or for worse, it’s the launching pad for the career of one Mel Gibson. The star had been in a couple of other films before Mad […]

jerk August 02

The Jerk (1979)

Steve Martin makes his mark with The Jerk, a hilarious 1979 comedy directed by Carl Reiner. It largely concerns the adventures of a very stupid person, but it is attentively clever about its foolishness and sharp when it comes to how madcap it allows itself to be. It works best because Martin is the star […]

hoffman August 01

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Based on the novel of the same name by Avery Corman, Kramer vs. Kramer is one of those melodramas that was initially cutting-edge but still manages to carry emotional weight today. That’s largely due to the brilliant performances by Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, who navigate the rough waters of divorce with dignity and emotive […]

under the skin July 31

Under the Skin (2013)

Based on Michael Faber’s 2000 novel, Under the Skin is a compelling motion picture about discovering humanity from an alien point of view. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, this is one of the most authentic science fiction pictures out there. From the impeccable casting of Scarlett Johansson to the use of genuine encounters with non-actors, there’s […]

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