RSS feed for James
  • Thirty Day Princess

    Thirty Day Princess


    Labored screenplay detracts from charms of Sylvia Sydney and Cary Grant in this 1930’s Moon Over Parador. Or maybe Moon Over Parador is the 1980’s Thirty Day Princess. At any rate, there’s a scene in an automat... so that’s nice.

  • Midnight



    There may never be a more perfect match of on-screen talent and wits than Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and John Barrymore.

  • Skin Deep

    Skin Deep


    What is it with Blake Edwards, weird beards and unhealthy relationships with women? Because Blake couldn't get enough of all these things in THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN, he comes back for more, this time with John Ritter sporting the awkwardly-lengthed facial hair. The differences in John Ritter being a huge dick and Burt Reynolds being a huge dick boasts so many unsubtle nuances. While I love Ritter in most everything, he's a little out of his element here and…

  • DeepStar Six

    DeepStar Six


    Competent, lowish-budget unknown terror from the sea thriller with a bunch of "dat guys" and a couple of "dat girls." DEEP RISING rips a few cues directly out of DEEPSTAR and amplifies the absurdity. I suppose that should give it some points for being the first to the finish line, but in reality nobody actually knows the location of the "terror from the deep" course because it's so well trodden and often forgettable. (I stand by that analogy.) Police Academy…

  • RBG



    I hate to nitpick a wonderful documentary -- but couldn't we make her granddaughter seem less patronizing? I'm sure she doesn't act that way in real life -- so I found the segments with her to be such a staggering interruption in an otherwise excellent film.

  • It Happened One Night

    It Happened One Night


    Charming/acerbic newspaperman Clark Gable deftly couples with the pampered Claudette Colbert fleeing the trappings of wealth and expectation. Capra’s screwball rom-com time and again proves why it’s the standard bearer for the genre and merits constant revisitation.

  • Easy Living

    Easy Living


    Jean Arthur runs wild with a fur coat and rampant misunderstandings. At times the slapstick becomes overbearing, but Ms. Arthur, Ray Milland and Edward Arnold embrace the Sturgesness. Mild cringe-factor when Ray Milland stumbles into a dues ex machina job (that was always there?) and declares that she can now — after struggling to make it on her own — cook his meals. 1937, everybody! Don’t let that dampen your spirits, however. This one’s a keeper because Jean Arthur is a national treasure.

  • Gleaming the Cube

    Gleaming the Cube


    Super dumb, but not as dumb, maybe, as you expect. Late 80’s/early 90’s Christian Slater entertains in singular and unexpected ways. Gang of skaters takes down a bunch of International arms dealers by being punk as hell and not kowtowing to the man.

  • The Awful Truth

    The Awful Truth


    While the spoken gags land— it’s the silent glances between Grant and Dunne that make THE AWFUL TRUTH a classic of the screwball genre. It also somehow avoids the annoying pratfalls of a narrative built on miscommunication. They’re just jealous angry people who have to come to their senses. They also happen to be charming and gorgeous and incredibly funny.

  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

    The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part


    It may not have felt as fresh or... awesomely inventive as it’s predecessors, but LM2 does a nifty job of picking apart the gender politics of action movies and tracking the Andy Dwyer career arc with equal relish. Kids probably miss out on the best jokes/references but screw them. We get to have fun at kids movies, too.

  • Roma



    I watched ROMA. (Yay!) It brought back so many neo-realist film school screening memories. (Yay?) Not generally my genre of choice. (Okay...) Gorgeous f’ing cinematography (Damn straight) but does this movie even get nod and a wink if Cuaron doesn’t direct it? (How dare you.) I won’t argue that it doesn’t deserve accolades but if ‘arbitrary director from Mexico’ makes that movie, maybe — MAYBE — it becomes a COLD WAR level success instead. It’s a passionate, almost spiritual portrait…

  • The Death of Stalin

    The Death of Stalin


    Scottish writer/director Armando Iannucci has a voice. He’s an Anglo-Sorkin. The words have rhythm and the pace becomes purposefully jarring. He’s at once painfully funny, ribaldrous, and devastating with a carefully chosen bit of acerbic verbiage. I view IN THE LOOP and VEEP as some of the most cutting, laugh-out-loud satire of the last 10 years. DEATH OF STALIN redraws the balance of his satire. This is a film about fearful shells of humanity doing abhorrent things in the name…