Helmed by actor-turned-director Paul Guilfoyle, A Life at Stake is an interesting little noir that doesn’t receive a lot of attention. The 1954 movie is sometimes known as Key Man and features a screenplay by Russ Bender from a story idea by Hank McCune. It takes a somewhat angular approach and features the typical down-on-his-luck […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: A Life at Stake (1954)"
Disney plunges into the animated superhero genre with Big Hero 6, an entertaining but disappointing motion picture from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams. This 2014 film is the first Disney outing to use Marvel Comics characters, with Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau’s creations from 1998 leading to yet another Best Animated Feature Oscar […]Read more "Big Hero 6 (2014)"
2014 meant a comeback of sorts for the big screen biblical epic. Son of God, Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings all took viewers back to explore the myths of the Bible in unique ways. The latter deals with events in and around the book of Exodus, which pertains to the tale of […]Read more "Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)"
In no way is Allan Dwan’s Calendar Girl a musical classic. This 1947 picture was reissued as Star Dust and Sweet Music and remains kind of a curiosity suitable only for Dwan fans and musical fanatics. For the Toronto-born director, this is certainly no Robin Hood or Heidi. It’s kind of an overlooked entry in […]Read more "Calendar Girl (1947)"
One of the more eccentric of the film noirs is D.O.A., a 1950 outing from director Rudolph Maté. This movie can, at times, be jarring and surprisingly comedic despite the black clouds that frequently hover overhead. It’s also a fairly frantic picture, one that spends a lot of time inside the head of the protagonist […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: D.O.A. (1950)"
In the wide world of film, sometimes following a formula can lead to some interesting places if the ingredients are satisfying enough. Sometimes, however, following a formula only serves to reveal an innate lack of innovation and purpose. In the case of No Good Deed, the 2014 thriller, the latter turns out to be true.Read more "No Good Deed (2014)"
Mark Stevens directs, produces and stars in the capable 1956 noir Time Table, a film about the dual nature of the protagonist and the impossibility of the “perfect crime.” It’s also one of those movies that almost demands to be discussed with its biggest twist in full view, which presents a bit of a problem […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Time Table (1956)"
While it’s intensely formulaic and really just the sort of picture that could take up an hour on the Disney Channel, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is innocuously charming enough to squeak by. The movie is based on the 1972 children’s book of the same name by Judith Viorst with […]Read more "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)"
Henry Hathaway’s 1947 film Kiss of Death is notable for a number of reasons. Perhaps most famously, it features the debut of Richard Widmark and he essentially steals the show. It’s also notable for having been captured entirely on location, with the post-credits acknowledgment that “all scenes…were photographed…on the actual locale associated with the story.”Read more "Film Noir Friday: Kiss of Death (1947)"
Sex Tape is one of the worst movies of 2014. It’s a terrifyingly bad “comedy,” one constructed without an ounce of artistic merit and without a shred of actual humour. It spends its 94 excruciating minutes tumbling through its own unctuous, clichéd sense of self and winds up landing with an awful and pointless thud.Read more "Sex Tape (2014)"
The one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Hercules in New York, a 1969 fantasy adventure from director Arthur Allen Seidelman. This is Schwarzenegger’s first starring role in a feature film and it is a doozy. He’s not proud of this picture and for good reason, as it’s essentially a debacle that only has value […]Read more "Hercules in New York (1969)"
A dazzling, unusually prescient motion picture, Sidney Lumet’s Network is one of those movies everyone has to see at least once. The 1976 satire won four Oscars and is both over the top and remarkably restrained. It highlights a world that is by now broadly known to anyone with cursory knowledge of cable news and […]Read more "Network (1976)"
Based on Mickey Spillane’s 1952 novel Kiss Me, Deadly, Robert Aldrich’s 1955 movie Kiss Me Deadly is one of the most vital of all film noirs. The flick came at time when cinematic possibilities were running wild and new fears were making their way across the global landscape. At the core of Kiss Me Deadly’s […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Kiss Me Deadly (1955)"
Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher is a complex film that traverses through a number of themes, but it’s more importantly a mood piece that evokes more than it confirms. Perhaps more than any other 2014 film, Foxcatcher explores the idea of the rich American white male as relates to privilege and expectation. It does so using true […]Read more "Foxcatcher (2014)"
Stuart Baird’s Executive Decision is an action thriller about the “world’s most feared terrorist” and a plane hijacking. This 1996 picture features a lot of different genre tropes, from the constant threat of a bomb to the rise of an implausible hero to the boundless tactical discussions of some sort of military strike force.Read more "Seagalmania: Executive Decision (1996)"
It’s hard not to allow Peter Jackson his indulgences when it comes to the final chapter of his second J. R. R. Tolkien. 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a rousing spectacle of a fantasy epic, the sort of picture that isn’t the least bit necessary in terms of wrapping up […]Read more "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)"
While it’s a little heavy-handed at times, Andrew Lau and Andy Loo’s 2014 film Revenge of the Green Dragons is still a mostly interesting crime thriller. It runs as a potpourri of genres and often has time settling on what it wants to be, floating from a Hong Kong actioner to a New York crime […]Read more "Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)"
One of the better Steven Seagal films of the last few years is 2014’s A Good Man, a picture that features director Keoni Waxman finally finding his groove and places the protagonist exactly where he needs to be. The flick is kind of a blend of everything Seagal has thrown at audiences over the last […]Read more "Seagalmania: A Good Man (2014)"
Known variously as Kong Island or King of Kong Island or even Eve, the Wild Woman, this 1968 exploitation film is a treat for fans of preposterous, moronic cinema. Roberto Mauri directs what is a gratingly stupid but somehow entertaining collection of stock footage, science fiction and jungle babe prancing and turns in about 90 […]Read more "Kong Island (1968)"
Jorge Gutierrez’s The Book of Life is a frustrating animated picture. It’s more visually inventive than most and it has a solid story at its core, but the plot takes too many turns and there’s an almost insufferable insistence on being “cool” that keeps it down. This is made all the more maddening by the […]Read more "The Book of Life (2014)"