Dec 162014
(This post originally appeared in different form on December 26, 2009.) This Christmas movie I'd never heard of turned out to be pretty good. It’s set in 1931 and is about a girl from Pittsburgh whose father has to send her to live with her “aunt” (really an old girlfriend) in a small town that has a local ordinance against dogs. Naturally the girl winds up with an adorable dog and makes
Dec 022014
(This post originally appeared on April 3, 2011) I’m no longer surprised when I wind up liking a movie that most of the critics hated. Such is the case with BURLESQUE. I’m not a big fan of musicals where the characters sing when there’s no good reason. But in a movie like this where the story centers around performing to start with, I don’t mind it. Still, I didn’t have huge high hopes for
Nov 252014
This movie was almost universally reviled when it came out earlier this year. Some hated it because it takes so many liberties with the Biblical story of the Flood. Others didn't like it because it's so aggressively dumb. And I'm not here to tell you that it's a good movie. But it's so goofy and over the top that if you can sit back and take it for what it is, it starts to have a certain
Nov 182014
(This post originally appeared in different form on August 27, 2008.) I had seen this early Tom Hanks movie, but so long ago that it might as well have been new because I didn’t remember any of it. Hanks plays a somewhat goofy concert violinist who, through no fault of his own, gets caught up in a dangerous war between two factions struggling for control of the CIA. At the same time, there’s a
Nov 112014
As you might expect, I'm a sucker for movies about writers. This one is a mockumentary about a small critique group of unpublished authors and what happens among them when one of their number, a rather clueless young woman, unexpectedly hits it big, getting an agent, selling her novel, and getting a movie deal all in a short period of time. Not surprisingly, the others don't take it that
Nov 042014
The Kickstarter campaign that raised the money for this movie broke all sorts of records at the time, and we were glad of that because all four of us were fans of the VERONICA MARS TV series. After that splash of coverage about the funding, though, the movie was made, released to theaters, and promptly vanished without a trace. That's not uncommon in this age when there don't seem to be any
Oct 282014
Since Halloween is later this week, I wanted to write about a horror movie, and they don't get much more overlooked and obscure than DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!, made in 1974 for an extremely low budget in Jefferson, Texas, by producer/director S.F. "Brownie" Brownrigg. It's the story of a young woman who moves in to take care of her elderly, ill grandmother, only to find that there's a crazy killer
Oct 212014
Is there a movie that absolutely everybody else in the world has seen, and somehow you've missed it? For me that movie was BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. Never saw it, despite the hundreds of times it was on TV when I was growing up. But my daughter Joanna loaned me her DVD of it, and now, well, I've finally seen it, too. I won't bother talking about the plot (since all of you have already seen it,
Oct 142014
(This post originally appeared in slightly different form on August 13, 2008) This movie took me by surprise. It barely played in the theaters, I don’t recall reading any reviews of it, and as likable as he is, Colin Firth never struck me as an action hero. But then we watched it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Firth plays Aurelius, the Roman soldier in charge of Caesar’s personal guard – Caesar
Oct 072014
(This post originally appeared in different form on December 30, 2008.) I’ve always liked Jean-Claude van Damme’s movies, and I’m not sure how we missed this one when it came out ten years ago. It’s right up my alley, with a plot like a yarn by Robert Carse or Georges Surdez in ADVENTURE or ARGOSY. Van Damme’s a boxer who doesn’t take a dive when he’s supposed to (do the boxing heroes of