happy July 25

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Adam Sandler’s fans often cite his “early work” as being more indicative of his comic genius. Among the films listed as his very best is Happy Gilmore, a picture that my adolescent self was more than fond of. This 1996 movie does have a lot for teenagers, especially teenage boys, and it proudly jams its […]

strawdoggies July 25

Straw Dogs (1971)

Based on Gordon Williams’ 1969 novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs is like taking a bath in violence. This 1971 motion picture is a primal affair, one that examines its subjects without flinching. It takes its title from the Tao Te Ching, which explains that “Heaven and hell are heartless; treating […]

divergent11 July 24

Divergent (2014)

Yet another piece of dystopic fiction transformed into an elongated series of films, Divergent starts the fire that will feature three more movies – including the inevitable two-part last picture – and is based on the novels of the same name by Veronica Roth. The 2014 flick is directed by Neil Burger with a screenplay […]

seagal July 23

Into the Sun (2005)

Directed by Christopher Morrison, who goes by the name mink and cut his teeth directing music videos, Into the Sun is less a curiosity and more an actual motion picture. This puts Steven Seagal in kind of awkward position as the protagonist because so much of himself floods into this picture that it’s hard not […]

theheat July 22

The Heat (2013)

Directed by Paul Feig, who helmed Bridesmaids from an unnecessary “chick flicks don’t have to suck” mentality, The Heat is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s a clichéd buddy comedy written by Katie Dippold and starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It’s often funny and crass, which is a good thing, but it’s also […]

audrey July 21

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Directed by Frank Oz, Little Shop of Horrors is a delightfully quirky musical comedy that extols the virtues of camp and proper plant care. This 1986 motion picture is an adaptation of the off-Broadway musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who are perhaps best known for their work on Disney pictures like Beauty and […]

fistful July 20

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars was originally released in Italy in 1964, but the buzz around it brought it to the United States in 1967. It’s easy to see what would’ve have enraptured audiences in the Italian filmmaker’s landscape of violence and grittiness. This picture was Leone’s answer to the dull, wearily optimistic western […]

spiderman2 July 18

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

An overflowing, overlong superhero picture that operates under the false belief that more is more, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a bloated exercise in blockbuster filmmaking with little artistic value. Some may find the visuals and diversions entertaining, but the hokey dialogue, clunky acting and convoluted plot create some problems for those seeking more out […]

neversayneveragain July 17

Bondmania: Never Say Never Again (1983)

Never Say Never Again is a rather odd motion picture for a number of reasons. It is a James Bond movie and it is based on Ian Fleming’s Thunderball novel, but it’s not from Eon Productions – the main production company behind the 007 pictures. This 1983 outing isn’t often included in the Bond canon, […]

outofreach July 16

Out of Reach (2004)

One of the most bizarre entries in the Steven Seagal catalogue is Out of Reach. This 2004 direct-to-video release is directed by Po-Chih Leong, whose 1998 film The Wisdom of Crocodiles generated some critical acclaim. Out of Reach is a long way from there, however, and it’s even a long way from Seagal’s finer moments.

12 July 14

Oklahoma! (1955)

Based on the 1943 stage musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma! really is a compelling film for a number of reasons. It’s helmed by Fred Zinnemann, who directed High Noon and From Here to Eternity, and is the first movie filmed in Todd-AO 70mm, which is a widescreen high resolution process.

the other woman1 July 11

The Other Woman (2014)

A repetitive, meandering attempt at screwball comedy, The Other Woman is an exercise in endurance. It’s directed by Nick Cassavetes with a screenplay by Melissa Stack and production by Julie Yorn. It features Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton in lead roles, but somehow it still manages to operate as a male fantasy revenge […]

anger July 11

Anger Management (2003)

The funny thing about 2003’s Anger Management is that it looks pretty good when compared to most of Adam Sandler’s recent movies. That doesn’t make it a good picture, but it does make it a reasonably entertaining one. The trouble is that it plants all the right seeds but never waters them correctly, leaving Sandler […]

skyfall July 10

Bondmania: Skyfall (2012)

More than any other picture in the 007 series, 2012’s Skyfall argues for the relevance of James Bond with passion and firepower. It’s a vigorous, boisterous, intelligence spy film and one of the very best of the bunch. Directed by Sam Mendes, it sizzles with tremendous action pieces and glorious visual style.

seagal July 09

Belly of the Beast (2003)

Steven Seagal graced the world with three movies in 2003: The Foreigner, Out for a Kill and Belly of the Beast. The latter is the “best” of the three, in part because it’s just so strange and, by extension, a lot of fun to watch. This straight-to-video affair is directed by the prolific Hong Kong […]

adam July 05

That’s My Boy (2012)

The dénouement of That’s My Boy finds Adam Sandler and Vanilla Ice racing to a wedding to the sounds of “Everything Louder Than Everything Else” by Meat Loaf. When they incapacitate their car, they continue on foot and “Ice Ice Baby” takes over. This scene is indicative of the unabashedly sleazy quality of this 2012 […]

speakman July 04

The Perfect Weapon (1991)

Martial artist Jeff Speakman stars in The Perfect Weapon, a 1991 action flick that features the use of kenpō. Speakman, in that he was being trained by Ed Parker at the time, was likely practicing a more linear form of kenpō in the picture and he shows off his speed and range of motion well. […]

solace July 03

Bondmania: Quantum of Solace (2008)

“I wish I could set you free,” says Olga Kurylenko’s character to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in Quantum of Solace. In many ways, that’s what this 2008 entry in the 007 series desires to do. It’s a hell of a ruthless, breathless ride and it bucks a lot of the trends of previous pictures. It […]

kill out for one July 02

Out for a Kill (2003)

Steven Seagal teams with South African director Michael Oblowitz yet again in Out for a Kill, a 2003 straight-to-video film. Seagal and Oblowitz also worked together on the shockingly dull The Foreigner, which masked itself as a Cold War thriller. There’s no such pretence this time out, which is a good thing, but there’s nothing […]

rummy June 30

The Unknown Known (2013)

Filmmaker Errol Morris has said of his interview with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that it was one of the strangest interviews he’s ever done. The 2013 documentary The Unknown Known explores this conversation and effectively proves Morris right by focusing on his subject’s effusive predisposition to “muddy the waters.” Check out the rest of […]

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