Anthony Mann’s T-Men is often cited as an example of the style of film noir, with John Alton’s brilliant cinematography and lighting highlighting the “semi-documentary” underpinnings of John C. Higgins’ screenplay. On its face, it’s tempting to define this 1947 outing as a cool procedural and in many ways that’s an apt descriptor. But it’s […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: T-Men (1947)"
Disney’s live action update of Cinderella is so powdered in magic and fairy dust it might produce coughing fits. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this 2015 take on the 1960 animated feature and the Charles Perreault fairy tale is awash in whimsy and wonder. It looks the part, transporting the audience to a land of exquisite […]Read more "Cinderella (2015)"
Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past is one of the quintessential noirs. It is one of the most bitter and cynical pictures of the 1940s and that’s saying a lot. This 1947 outing crackles with cutting dialogue and an eternal sense of pessimism and even eroticism. This is another of those “doomed” movies and it […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Out of the Past (1947)"
It’s fair to call the 2015 version of Poltergeist an “efficient scare machine” because it is an entirely mechanical motion picture. This machine of a movie is a remake of the 1982 Tobe Hooper horror flick, so right off the bat some will say Gil Kenan is traipsing on sacred ground. Remakes aren’t necessarily bad, […]Read more "Poltergeist (2015)"
When it comes to Bruce Lee pictures, most people swear by Enter the Dragon. The 1973 film is directed by Robert Clouse, with Lee helming the opening sequence and writing the screenplay along with Michael Allin. The first Chinese martial arts flick produced by a major Hollywood studio, Enter the Dragon is quintessential Lee in […]Read more "Enter the Dragon (1973)"
A dim-witted, mushy, silly prequel to the other two films in the series, Insidious: Chapter 3 is better viewed as joke than a serious horror flick. Leigh Whannell has again penned the screenplay, but this time he’s also in the director’s chair. It’s his directorial debut and it’s easy to see that he’s learned some […]Read more "Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)"
Known as The Scar in the United Kingdom, Steve Sekely’s Hollow Triumph is a 1948 film noir contending with themes of identity and scarring. Of particular note is the cinematography of John Alton, whose selection of shots and use of lighting makes this picture look organic and remarkably chilling. The film is based on the […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Hollow Triumph (1948)"
Known in the United States as Return of the Dragon, Way of the Dragon is a significant entry in the Bruce Lee catalogue for a number of reasons. It is his only completed directorial outing, for one. It differs from his previous efforts, The Big Boss and Fist of Fury specifically, in that it takes […]Read more "Way of the Dragon (1972)"
The Chinese title of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s 2002 film Infernal Affairs references the Buddhist notion of the “Unceasing Path,” which is the lowest level of hell. Souls sent to this horrifying abyss, known as Avīci, suffer for eternity without much hope of relief. In that sense, the application of Avīci is particularly appropriate […]Read more "Infernal Affairs (2002)"
A brisk, almost impossibly fun adventure film, Romancing the Stone is a treat. The 1984 motion picture is directed by Robert Zemeckis with a screenplay by Diane Thomas. This was Thomas’ only script. She was a Malibu waitress and she unfortunately died in a car crash just a little while after the movie’s release. She […]Read more "Romancing the Stone (1984)"
Charles Vidor’s 1946 film noir Gilda is a masterclass in the portrayal of love-hate relationships. With a screenplay by Jo Eisinger and Marion Parsonnet from a story by E.A. Ellington, this is a sultry motion picture that heats the screen on a number of different levels. Naturally the first such “level” to come to mind […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Gilda (1946)"
The 2015 comedy Get Hard seems like it could have the elements to be a rather effective movie. It stars two top-tier comedic talents and it features a plot about a rich douchebag going to prison. Sadly, Etan Cohen’s directorial debut is almost diabolically unfunny. It stumbles in every way possible, seemingly going out of […]Read more "Get Hard (2015)"
The sequel to 2010’s Insidious is 2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2, a direct continuation of the first picture and the second film in what is now a series of three thanks to 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3. The latter is a prequel. James Wan helms Insidious: Chapter 2, carrying on the tricks, bumps and thumps he built […]Read more "Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)"
A heavy-handed comedy from director Isaac Feder with a screenplay by Bill Kennedy, Sex Ed is corny and raunchy. The 2014 picture makes a rigorous argument for sex education and has its heart in the right place, but it also wants to roll as a vulgar comedy with a veritable bacchanal of sexual activity happening […]Read more "Sex Ed (2014)"
There are a lot of moving parts in X2, Bryan Singer’s sequel to his 2000 film X-Men. That movie was the first big draw for Marvel Comics at the box office, the first strike in the ongoing and seemingly endless raft of superhero movies from the camp. Yeah, there were others. But X-Men laid the […]Read more "X2 (2003)"
Law Wing-cheung’s Iceman, also known in some circles as The Iceman Cometh, is a preposterous motion picture. The 2014 film went way, way over-budget and was disorganized from the outset. It shows. This movie is a mess, to be kind, and it apes all the worst tendencies of bloated blockbusters. It features slapdash special effects, […]Read more "Iceman (2014)"
Directed by Victor Sherman from a screenplay by N. Richard Nash, Nora Prentiss is a classically doomed film noir from 1947. It’s notable for its take on the femme fatale character in that the title individual is less cool than the customary archetype, but the destruction in her wake is no less significant. In this […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Nora Prentiss (1947)"
A hard-hitting reworking of the 1972 Bruce Lee vehicle Fist of Fury, Gordon Chan’s Fist of Legend is one of the finest pictures to come out of Hong Kong’s 1990s martial arts explosion. This isn’t an “official” remake of Fist of Fury, but there’s no questioning the spirit behind this 1994 outing. At the same […]Read more "Fist of Legend (1994)"
Directed by Wong Ching-po, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai is an interesting if uneven martial arts drama from Hong Kong. This 2014 picture is a remake of the 1972 movie Boxer from Shantung, weaving a familiar yarn with themes of rivalry, friendship and honour. It attempts a classical aesthetic, using low saturation to achieve […]Read more "Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (2014)"
John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 is a dazzling slab of 1970s cinema, a vicious blast of volatility and cynicism that certainly reflects the era. Uncaring violence stands at the core of this captivating piece, which is in many ways a modernization of the western movie. Many have pointed to it as featuring elements of […]Read more "Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)"