• Bringing Out the Dead

    Bringing Out the Dead

    ★★★½

    BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is a film Directed by Martin Scorsese from Screenwriter Paul Schrader.  Hmmm.  Where have I heard of that combination before?
       
    This was a very unusual motion picture.  It has a visual “look” of a Martin Scorsese film, and it doesn’t pander to an audience desire for happy endings.  Early on, I wondered if Scorsese had taken the plunge into the horror genre as a paramedic is haunted by images of a patient he was…

  • Yankee Doodle Dandy

    Yankee Doodle Dandy

    ★★★★★

    Yes, I know that James Cagney is best known for his gangster roles.  But, there is something magical watching his exuberance in the theatrical stories like FOOTLIGHT PARADE and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY.  It is no more an accurate biography than is MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES.  Still, it just enlivens my spirit to watch Cagney in the wonderful production numbers.
       
    When he was interviewed by Peter Bogdanovich, Cagney mentioned that the favorite film of his was “the Cohan…

  • Victor/Victoria

    Victor/Victoria

    ★★★½

    I saw VICTOR/VICTORIA in the theater during its first run.  I did enjoy it.  It is “classic” Blake Edwards with sophisticated dialogue mixed with ridiculous slapstick.  I also absolutely loved the production numbers.  But, something wasn’t working for me, so I never saw it again until today.
       
    Recently, I had the opportunity to see the 1933 movie, VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA, which I enjoyed even more.  That one also helped better define why VICTOR/VICTORIA didn’t completely work for me:…

  • Edge of Sanity

    Edge of Sanity

    ★★★½

    EDGE OF SANITY is a movie that tries to cover way too much, and creates huge gaps in story logic and character behavior by doing so.  It also raises some fascinating possibilities, and offers a highly eccentric performance from Anthony Perkins (which guarantees it is worth seeing).
       
    The movie sets itself up as yet another telling of the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” story.  However, it is not a “standard” retelling at all.  It begins with a quirky…

  • Manhattan

    Manhattan

    ★★★

    I saw MANHATTAN in the theater when it was released in 1979 … and I didn’t particularly care for it.  I thought it was a tremendous letdown after ANNIE HALL.  It is a film that I have assiduously avoided ever since.  Of course, I was 23 then.  Perhaps some maturity would change my perspective.  Well, it did.  I would bump up my rating half-a-star.
       
    There were two elements that I thought were wonderful today.  The first is the…

  • Niagara

    Niagara

    ★★★½

    Although it was made in the early 1950’s, I’ve told several folks that if they wanted to know what it was like to vacation at Niagara Falls in the 1960’s, this was the film to watch.  It hadn’t changed much.  The Maid of the Mist was still the tour boat, and the Cave of the Winds was the “daredevil” viewing spot.  The Falls were illuminated in pastel colors at night.  The Canadian side had more cabins, while the American side…

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Everything Everywhere All at Once

    ★★★★

    I pretty much had my fill of Multiverse stories, so the only reason I watched EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE was because the reviews were consistently high.  I have to admit that it was an extremely creative use of a tired concept to present what was, at its core, a remarkably simple idea: the fragile nature of human relationships is often made worse by ineffective communication.  
       
    There were a few times early on when I decided that…

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★★

    I was 11-years-old when BONNIE AND CLYDE was released, and my Dad took me to the theater to see it.  That’s how I know it wasn’t rated R in 1967.  I mention this because I was quite surprised to see the R rating on the Blu-ray box.  It is not that it didn’t deserve it.  BONNIE AND CLYDE is a very violent movie.  But, my Dad wouldn’t have taken me to see it with a restricted rating.  Back in the…

  • Come from Away

    Come from Away

    ★★★★★

    I woke up this morning thinking about how much I’ve missed going to live stage productions, and I saw that a show that I very much wanted to see, COME FROM AWAY, was available on a streaming service.  It was just what I needed!
       
    Earlier this year, there was a speaker at a local Lifelong Learning program who had been an airline passenger stranded in a small town in Newfoundland following the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath.  She…

  • The Thing

    The Thing

    ★★★★★

    When I went to see the first showing of THE THING on its opening day, I went by myself.  None of our usual filmgoing gang wanted to see it.  And that thought was likely shared by the community as there was probably no more than 20 attendees scattered throughout the auditorium.  Before the film even started, I was wondering if everyone knew something that I didn’t.
       
    Truth to tell, I really was of two minds about seeing THE…

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    The Empire Strikes Back

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was the second and last film in the series from which I left the theater as a devoted “Star Wars” fan.  Although I saw the others, it was often at the insistence of friends.  After watching this film, the general consensus was that it was a rare case of a sequel surpassing the original.  Naturally, I held the unpopular opinion that it equalled the original, but with different strengths.  Yes, the story was stronger…

  • Star Trek Beyond

    Star Trek Beyond

    ★★★½

    In the first “Star Trek” movie featuring the original cast, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Spock hypothesizes that V-ger is pondering the question, “Is this all there is?”  Ironically, that theme in that early movie is also a theme in this much later one.  But, instead of going on a search for “The Creator,” the characters contemplating it here are thinking of changing their personal Destinies.  (And similar to STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, Kirk has a problem…