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 […]

madmax 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 […]

seagal July 30

Submerged (2005)

Steven Seagal goes Cajun in the bizarre Submerged. This 2005 direct-to-video marvel is written and directed by Anthony Hickox, who debuted in 1988 with Waxwork. In this entry, the filmmaker has the responsibility of somehow making sense of his own pastiche of disparate ideas and plot strands.

the rock1 July 27

The Rock (1996)

Michael Bay’s affection for machines and military operations is apparent in The Rock, the 1996 actioner that is commonly cited as his best work. The movie is his second following Bad Boys and certainly shows a director honing his style. There’s a sleekness to the proceedings that makes even the silliest elements slightly believable, for […]

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 […]

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