A twisted and twisting tale of obsession and murder, Otto Preminger’s Laura is film noir dynamite. This 1944 motion picture was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. It eventually scooped the award for Best Cinematography thanks to the scintillating work of Joseph LaShelle.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Laura (1944)"
An infuriating and lazy exercise in mechanical comedy, Hot Pursuit is an awful movie. Directed by Anne Fletcher with a screenplay by John Quaintance and David Feeney, this 2015 flick attempts to brand itself as a female-centric Midnight Run. It purports to be some sort of opposites-attract buddy comedy, with Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon […]Read more "Hot Pursuit (2015)"
Based on the 2009 novel of the same name by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is yet another entry in the dystopic young adult genre carving its way through cinemas. This 2014 picture is directed by Wes Ball with an intended sequel set for release in September of 2015. A final film in the series […]Read more "The Maze Runner (2014)"
Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla is arguably one of the most important Japanese films of all time. While today, representations of the stomping prehistoric monster have been rebooted to become synonymous with fun displays of mass destruction, the 1954 original was part ludicrous monster flick and part catharsis for a shattered country.Read more "Godzilla (1954)"
Mel Brooks reaches into the grab-bag for History of the World, Part I, an uneven but funny anthology comedy that features a slew of comic talent and a range of historical eras. The 1981 motion picture was written, produced and directed by Brooks, but at times it feels like it’s stretched too thin with a […]Read more "History of the World, Part I (1981)"
Blood stains the snow in Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, a 1968 western that is as bleak as its uncharacteristic locale. It explores the fragile formation of justice in untamed lands, pitting a mute gunslinger against a squad of callous bounty hunters. The action is underscored by Ennio Morricone’s score, which is chillingly forthright.Read more "The Great Silence (1968)"
Ida Lupino directs The Hitch-Hiker, a 1953 film noir based on a screenplay she penned with her husband Collier Young. The script was based on a story by Daniel Mainwaring, but Hollywood blacklisting and other complications kept him from getting screen credit.Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)"
Takashi Miike is credited with seven or eight films in the year 2001, including the previously discussed The Happiness of the Katakuris. Family was the theme in that outing and it wound up being a vibrant and bizarre musical comedy. Family is also the theme of Visitor Q and it is again a tale of […]Read more "Visitor Q (2001)"
There are precious few minutes of promise in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, the long-awaited fourth outing in the Jurassic Park film series. But that promise quickly fades into a quagmire of ruin, turning this 2015 movie into a disappointing experience that stomps from the silly to the downright excruciating.Read more "Jurassic World (2015)"
Richard Donner’s vision of the titular character in his 1978 film Superman: The Movie is one filled with hope and wonder. There are no devastated city blocks, no disseminated innocents fleeing collapsing towers. There is, rather, an almost pastoral pace with visions of Smallville’s boundless fields contrasted with the sky-high megaliths of Metropolis and the […]Read more "Superman: The Movie (1978)"
Sylvester Stallone and all his brawny pals are back for another run with The Expendables 3, the 2014 follow-up to 2012’s The Expendables 2. The first Expendables picture emerged in 2010 when reunions and action team-ups were big business, but the franchise has managed to live on and looks to continue to do so. That’s […]Read more "The Expendables 3 (2014)"
Chris Rock writes, directs and stars in 2014’s Top Five, a clever motion picture that involves real people having semi-real conversations about real subjects. Sometimes the dialogue is a little too on-the-nose, like the characters are doing bits, but most of the comedy works and the emotional tone generally feels authentic.Read more "Top Five (2014)"
Anthony Mann once again joins with cinematographer John Alton to turn up gritty noir gold with 1948’s Raw Deal. This is a tale that twists with a simmering relationship dynamic and an escaped convict yarn. Both strands dovetail neatly to explore the psyches of its lead characters, delving into a world where freedom is ephemeral […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Raw Deal (1948)"
Based on the trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth, the Divergent series rolls into the station with its second entry. 2015’s Insurgent picks up where 2014’s Divergent left off, only there’s a new director and the stakes seem a little higher. German director Robert Schwentke does the honours, helming the Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and […]Read more "Insurgent (2015)"
Awash in repetition and exposition, the first part of the final chapter of The Hunger Games series feels like it’s stalling for time. It doesn’t accomplish a lot over the course of its two hours and winds up being a major drop from the heights of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Francis Lawrence is again […]Read more "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)"
Based on a manga by Hitoshi Tanimura, Takashi Miike’s Fudoh: The New Generation is a blood-soaked celebration of violent excess. The 1997 movie is kind of a precursor to Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale with its exploration of generational gaps and the sacrifices children make for their elders. These are certainly common themes in the taiyozoku films […]Read more "Fudoh: The New Generation (1997)"
John Huston makes his directorial debut with The Maltese Falcon, the 1941 classic often considered as one of the first of the films noir. It is indeed hard to imagine any director making his or her debut with such a masterwork, but leave it to Huston to carve Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled crime novel into this […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Maltese Falcon (1941)"
Director Takashi Miike is credited with seven or eight films in the year 2001 alone, depending on who you ask. One of the most energetic and life-affirming of these pictures is The Happiness of the Katakuris. This is an absolutely joyful and bizarre flick, a musical comedy complete with stop-motion sequences, a pile of dead […]Read more "The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)"
As the sequel to 2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Andy Fickman’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has been universally and predictably panned by critics. This 2015 comedy is no classic and has a tendency to play its one or two notes to death, but it’s also not nearly as dreadful as some might have you […]Read more "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)"
Brett Ratner steps in to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, the third film in the Marvel Comics superhero series. This 2006 outing follows 2003’s X2 and 2000’s X-Men, both of which were helmed by Bryan Singer. The screenplay is by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, based on a couple of X-Men comic book arcs.Read more "X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)"