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)"
Based on Stefan Zweig’s Journey into the Past, Patrice Leconte’s 2013 film A Promise is an unfortunate mess. The French filmmaker attempts to set the German novel in a decidedly English sensibility and winds up crafting a motion picture that is somehow both inert and on the nose. There are few threads of delicacy, which […]Read more "A Promise (2013)"
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)"