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Alaska Is A Drag

25 Nov, 2021

This 2017 movie equal parts amazing and mundane. A pair of twins in Alaska cope with trauma and life in a dreamlike pace that moves the movie through hallucinogenic visuals, dreary settings, lonesome poverty, and surreal exuberance. Nothing about the story is realistic, but nothing feels too bombastic. It is a sleepy film that never seems to hit, more like a soap bubble. Pretty to watch, but little seems to remain after it pops. That being said, it's sleepy surrealness is like a dream, in that even familiar tropes feel strange and new again.

Falling for Figaro

23 Nov, 2021

Is Joanne Lumley a joy to watch? Is Scotland beautiful to see? Yes and Yes. Is this movie worth watching...nah. I hate to say it, but the lead actress sank what should have been a hallmark movie.

Raya the Last Dragon

06 Nov, 2021

I don't need to say that this seemed like a poorly done homage to Avatar The Last Airbender. We all know that. I do need to say that Awkwafina was wasted here. This movie makes Shrek look good - and that is not a good thing.

Murder By Death

28 Oct, 2021

This film needs a trigger warning for 70's racism and sexism and homophobia and well, the 70's. Oh, it also has stabbings, gunplay, and scene chewing. It is a loving sendup of our favorite detectives with knowing nods to the audience and all the ridiculousness of the genre that we love and cringe at simultaneously. The cast alone makes it gold, with most of the "knock offs" being superior to their original source material. Alec Guiness' quick character changes are a study in amazing over acting. Peter Faulk plays the best Peter Faulk you have ever scene. Magee Smith is giving you everything and all the shade, complete with martini. Any chance to see Elsa Lanchester is a delight. Peter Sellers is sure to offend in yellow face. It, and the cast, just go on. Niel Simmon's deadpan script provides his usual barrage of one liners and quick quips.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

27 Oct, 2021

If you loved twisted Barbara Stanwyk in Double Indemnity, then get to the original source. Her character is backed by reason. Its a solid movie with a great plot and some amazing acting. Its a tragic story of people destroying themselves and the ones they love for the hope that they can escape their fate, unable to accept the limitations of their lives. Along the way, get treated to some classic 40's slang, fashion, and stereotypes.

Dune: Part 1

23 Oct, 2021

Yes, Dune...PART ONE. Queue Meryl Streep, "Now a warning?!?"

It's impossible to watch this version and not make some comparisons again David Lynch's 1984 version. So let's just go with it. Denis Villeneuve's half saga already clocks in at 155min vs Lynch's full story at 137. Assuming he keeps this pace, this new Dune will be about 225% the film time!

What is Villeneuve doing with all this extra time? It feels like one of Peter Jackson's disastrously long and self-indulgence director's cuts. We are treated to long and epic scenery and brooding art house shots – but actually less story. It suffers by trying to not be directly compared to Lynch's version. Where Lynch's dialog is stilted and artificial, trying to give as much explanation as possible and being economical with the time; this version takes deep cuts from the narrative and delivers obtuse dialog that is just as artificial. Replacing Lynch's voice overs and cut scenes of the Emperor and the Guild; Villeneuve uses subtitles over various languages - more distracting and less effective.

So much of this movie should have been left on the editing floor. There is no reason at this pace, to need 5+ hours of film! He wastes three scenes on Shadout Mapes; but doesn't use her to move ahead the plot or the characters. The movie is littered with wasted scenes that feel more like drudgery and just performing scenes from the book simply because they could exist.

I would be very excited for a 5hr Dune. It is a dense world that deserves the time. But this is not that version. This takes the time, but does less. It feels more like a companion to reading the Novel than a stand alone version. It doesn't interpret the characters or the narratives as much as simply visualizes them.

Visually is where the film excels. It is gorgeous and as rich as anything you could imagine. It is up to date, atmospheric, immersive. I have to point out thought, that several scenes seem like direct homages to the 1984 version.

The acting is still stilted and comes off more art school. And lastly, what the hell happens to Jason Momoa's beard halfway through? Oh, since it is part one, I guess it is one quarter of the way through.

Season of the Witch

03 Oct, 2021

This is the kind of movie I love. It really tries to be something new and it fails in so many ways. It is unapologetic in its belief in itself. It is successful at creating the creepy and arty atmosphere. Like Romero's other works, it is a thinly veiled critique of American consumerism, suburban life, and the dehumanization of society. Romero battled producers who wanted to amp up the sex and camp to near pornographic levels. The result is a weird and uncomfortable view of the early 70s.

The Thing from Another World

02 Oct, 2021

The first adaption of John Campbell's 1938 short story, "Who Goes There?", the 1951 movie goes deep in for American exceptionalism and patriotic trappings. The originally claustrophobic story is expended to include a daring sky captain, his fast talking love interest, and a mad professor who demonstrates that intellectuals cannot be trusted and it is the "everyday American man," who can be trusted to save the day. Other than being blatant propaganda, the settings and visuals are in effective jump start into classic black and white thrillers. It is full of creepy moments, suspense, and foreboding. And of course, a happy and heroic ending.

The Witch of Kings Cross

30 Sep, 2021

This indie documentary does well with a low budget and a compelling use of visuals to tell a story of fascination and cruelty. Rosaleen Norton was a kiwi moved to Sydney. An artist and a bohemian, she was fascinated by all the things that polite society pushed into the dark. She was a terrifying creature; an intelligent, creative, compassionate, and sexually confident women who defined herself. She made friends with outcasts and invented her own religion. Her art would go unrecognized for decades, except that the government of Australia ordered some of her paintings to be burned, deeming them too erotic. Constantly called wicked and hounded by tabloids and the authorities, she embraced the identity and became The Witch of Kings Cross. At long last, her legacy gets some of the attention she is due.

Hotel Reserve

29 Sep, 2021

Why is this a classic? James Mason is brilliant, as usual, and enough of the cast of Casablanca is on hand to give you hope; but, it feels like an also ran. The plot meanders and while some of the camera work is stunning, it mostly falls flat trying to create noir close ups. Other than Mason, it is hard to care about anyone or even what is going on.

Dune (1984)

03 Sep, 2021

What better way to get ready for the newest adaptation of this classic piece than to go to the first? Sorry Jodorowsky, but this version actually got made.

Double Indemnity

28 Aug, 2021

If you like the idea of blonde bombshells, insurance fraud, and noir murder case; this might be for you. But also it is very disjointing to watch your favorite Disney Dad of yore and a classic funny sweetheart from next door turn out to be such unlikable people. It is a great movie where you end up rooting for no one.

Black Widow

25 Jul, 2021

In one word: meh. They did this character wrong with how sub-par this movie was. It was never able to figure out if it was supposed to her funny, dramatic, emotional, action packed. It was Charlie's Angels (the Drew Barrymore version), devoid of any joy, heart, or style. In fact, just watch Charlie's Angels instead. Both have ridiculous explosion scenes, but at least the angels knew that they were ridiculous and made it fun for everyone.


24 Jul, 2021

Think "Splash" meets "Breaking Away," or "Call Me By Your Name," gets a dash of "Little Mermaid" and a lot less problematic story line and abuse of stone fruits.


Pixar hits another home run in Luca. Enrico Cassarossa, who brought us the charming short "La Luna," revisits the theme of youthful adventure and discovery. The character style and Mediterranean carry through with the same sense of adventure, wonder, and finding your place is a universe.


The movie works on so many levels. It's a travelogue of fantastic settings and charming villages. It's character driven. It's an underdog movie. It's about friendship and relationships. It's about food and family. It's about how you can't trust cats!

Mulan (2020)

29 Jun, 2021

I know the pun is worn, but this was truly two dimensional compared to the animated version. What could have been a passable wire-fu movie for tween girls suffered greatly by the shadow cast by its source material. Scenes from the original Mulan are recontextualized and incorporated along with themes from the original music, woven into it's score. Each time, it is jarring reminder of the warmth, humor, and joy that completely missing. You constantly are being challenged by this adaption, "why not just stop this and watch the real Mulan?"

In a confusing attempt to be more serious, this Mulan imagines a world where some people are able to harness their natural power, their chi. Such men are celebrated warriors. Powerful women are shunned as witches. Obviously, Mulan has the gift to be a great warrior but needs a convoluted plot to force her to hide as a man. The fight scenes never rise beyond mediocre, the acting never goes beyond stiff, and the wigs are always distracting.

In an obvious trope, masculine Mulan sheds her armor to ride back into battle and the simple transformation also imbues her with amazing makeup, a flawless nude lip, and the most amazing beach waves anyone could ask for. (Maybe she is a witch!) But otherwise the makeup, costumes, and prosthetics are pretty lack luster.

The main reason to endure this movie is to see the amazing settings created in China and New Zealand. Put the movie on mute and just watch it as a travelogue.

Ball of Fire

28 Jun, 2021

Screwball romcom queen Stanwyck plays a fast talking mobster's girl opposite of bookish language professor Gary Cooper. Like all romcoms, you know how it will end but have a great time along the way. Played with loads of charm and dated references, this is Christmas in Conneticut – same plot but a different setting. Well worth a viewing.

The Maltese Falcon

26 Jun, 2021

One of these classics that I failed to connect with. You can see where this is these original source that many other derive – but after seeing all the children this has spawned, the original failed to surprise. The movie is stylish, slick, and full of action, great directing, and solid acting. But, you don't really care about anyone. I would rather watch Casablanca again.

The Island at the Top of the World

13 Jun, 2021

While the poster promises adventure beyond imagination, the fact that the movie exists is the most it seems to deliver. In a long vein of colonial-splotation movies such as SHE and Journey to the Center of the Earth, this movie is a pale ride along companion. Some of the sets and the blimp offer some excitement, but it fails to deliver of the exotic promise of forgotten lands and bold adventures. No one scene or person stands out. There is a reason why 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is still around and this has been forgotten.


12 Jun, 2021

To call this a prequel or an origin story is overly generous and unnecessary. I liked it as a stand alone movie that is more like an alternative universe and perspective than anything. The movie is ludicrous and delicious to watch. It careens around plot lines and characters the way Cruella drives. The double dose of devilish Emmas is a scene chewing extravaganza of looks and lines, all style and no messy need for substance. Where Devil Wears Parada tries to give us redemption, this movie is best when you just enjoy a good old girl fight and some well chilled revenge.

Greyfriars Bobby

13 May, 2021

All the charm that a Disney movie could muster. It is a small movie that doesn't challenge or distract with much of a plot. The charismatic canine carries the whole film and the people wisely play in the background, giving full screen time to his wags, puppy eyes, and happy little barks. Built to tug at obvious heart strings and sympathies; this movie is full of charm as it is simple.

Treasure Planet

08 May, 2021

If Disney's Atlantis and Bluth's Titan A.E. had a deformed, inbred child, and then it was kidnapped by skeksis, who drained the child's life-force with the Dark Crystal – it would be this movie. There is no reason for this movie exist, other than Disney's desperation in the early 2000s to find some success with the young male audience who had aged out of Pixar. Just go watch Treasure Island instead.


21 Apr, 2021

Did you like Logan's Run? Do you like lighter than air ships? Than this movie shouldn't disappoint – but it does. The areal shots and zeppelin model are the real stars. The plot is slow ands the payoff non existent. This war thriller moves at the speed or well, a zeppelin.

Whiskey Galore!

20 Apr, 2021

Billed as a charmingly comedy of Scottish mischief, it was more of a sleepy time capsule. I am not sure that I would seek its out, but it tickles the spot fo nostalgia and being almost offensively out of date. You don't get enough of the island background to make it a decent travel piece either.

Escape to Athena

15 Apr, 2021

Rodger Moore and motorcycle chases through exotic locals! This movie was riding on the coattails of the Bond Francise but falls off early. They literally through everything into it, often to its own detriment. Is is a screw ball comedy with Elliot Gould giving you his best MASH schtick? Is it classy with David Niven as a British gentleman? No, Rodger More can't be the British gentleman because he is playing the worst accented Austrian sympathy nazi. Through in Sonny Bono because, why not, and Telly Salvalas as some sort of red hot Grecian lover / freedom fighter. I mean, this movies everywhere except to a point. Then you have to watch Salvas do some sort of dance at then end. Why?


14 Apr, 2021

Unwatchable. I was really disappointed. A movie about a chemist, a physicist, and a personal hero. The movie was ham fisted, trying to create drama where none needed to be. It tried to connect the work about understanding the nature of mature to terrifying radiation treatments scenes from the 50s and atomic bombs – giving an morality tale where none made sense. Radium isn't a moral agent, only the people who applied the knowledge. The movie was clumsy, made little sense, had terrible pacing. Amazon Studio's failed to deliver.

Over the Moon

12 Apr, 2021

Was it well animated? No.

Was it derivative: Yes.

Was the music non-sensical, not related to the plot, and looked like a bad virtual pop idol: yes.

Did I enjoy myself? ABSOLUTELY! This movie clocks in as a third rate Coco, with an homage to family and honoring the loved ones who have passed on, and an incredible journal by a child to a magic realm. But even at a third rate copy, D+ Coco is still fun. Watch with low expectations and be ready for moon cakes.

The Jigsaw Man

03 Apr, 2021

The 80s in the UK were not kind. This movie boast A-list stars, but comes in as a D-List James Bond. It is neither glamorous or gritty. It was just silly, and not in a good way. If you need to watch Michael Caine as a spy, watch The Ipcress File instead.

Moon Spinners

14 Mar, 2021

Why does this movie exist? Part The Darn Cat meets Pollyanna; none of it matters. Hayley Mills fails to deliver any of her normal infectious charm. The whole movie was a boring teen drama that moves through the motions with no reason. I was originally looking for something in the background while I was knitting and "spinners" seemed harmless enough. I would have rather just have listened to white noise.

Then We Danced

11 Mar, 2021

I cannot recommend the movie enough. It is achingly true for anyone who remembers their first love and the stupidity and excitement of it all. It is set in the beautiful, depressing, and impoverished capital of Georgia; where toxic masculinity and social obligations choke down the characters world. The lead's effervesce and anger are the only possible rebuttal to his whole situation.

Stage Mom

10 Mar, 2021

If you want a feel good puff piece with a heart of gold, then this is your ticket. It is story that never offends, or shocks. You know where it is going from the moment it starts, and you are just along to enjoy the trip. Everyone is all charm and charisma and leaves you feeling like a nice visit from Mabel at the grocery store.


10 Mar, 2021

If I had any advice to offer, don't. I couldn't make it past the first 30 minutes. You would think a scene chewing musical that makes fun of Indiana would be right my alley; but, three songs in and I was logging off. There was just nothing joyful or fun. It felt as much fun as a Nancy Reagan anti-drug rally.

Mary Queen of Scots (2013)

24 Jan, 2021

IN preparation for Burn's Night, I watched this bilingual movie about the Queen of France, Scotland, and England; based on novel by an Austrian and bankrolled by the Swiss. The movie was just as confusing. It positions itself as a historical docu-drama; but quickly takes you into a beautiful, haunting, and claustrophobic nightmare. The flashback and dream sequences quickly undo the linear narrative and twist the structure into a classic tragedy, where the inevitable outcome is always looming eve closer. The main actress is enthralling, the scenery and costumes are gorgeous, the camera work swings wildly from Merchant Ivory to Evil Dead. It has all the elements of a European art film. Expect to leave impressed and depressed.

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