Movies

A Tale of Two Bombs

Atomic BombThe year is 1964.  America and Russia are in the midst of a cold war and nuclear proliferation.  The possibility of nuclear war is on almost everyone's mind. The questions are asked, "Could we start a war by accident?" and "Once in motion, could we stop such a war?"   In 1964 two films were made that attempted to answer that question, in very different ways. Read more »

Roger Ebert: Film Critic and Writer

Life ItselfRoger Ebert, film critic extraordinaire and Pulitzer Prize winner, died last week after a battle with cancer.  Immediately following his death, there were lots of quotes circulating online from Ebert which reminded me what a great writer he was.  In writing about movies, Ebert was able often able to put his finger on the pulse of real life human behavior and articulate the human condition - both the happy and the sad.  I forgot how funny he was, and his reviews are a joy to read even if you disagree on the rating.

Those interested in starting with the basics, check out his Movie Yearbooks - complete with movie reviews, essays, tributes, journal entries, and new additions to his popular Movie Glossary.  If you are looking for critiques that might lead you to viewing of really good movies, try The Great Movie series. However, some of Ebert's best writing was in critiquing bad movies.  If you aren't looking for movie suggestions, but just some hilarious examples of his writing check out Your Movie SucksRead more »

Undercover Blues

ISBN: 
027616884558

There is nothing like the adventure of a good spy movie. Undercover Blues is nothing like a good spy movie, it is however a spy parody. This 1993 movie stars Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid as Jane and Jefferson Blue, two spies out on maternity leave in the city of New Orleans, who are called back into action with their newborn in tow. The Blues are the type of people you want in a tense moment, nothing fazes them and they always seem to be in control, even if they aren't

Undercover Blues is not a fall on your face laughing parody like Spy Hard, or Top Secret which try to hit you with one joke after another hoping that if you didn't like the last joke you'll like the next one. It is more like watching the James Garner Western parody Support Your Local Sheriff. The humor is a little dry and will make you chuckle. It is willing to take its time to build a joke and wait for the pay off. Dennis Quaid plays Jefferson Blue as a little cocky and sure of himself. Kathleen Turner seems more like a typical housewife, but with a bit of sultriness to her as well. They want to give the impression they are just like everyone else when it is obvious they are not. Undercover Blues is lighthearted comedy with villains that are more than a little over the top. You'll find a little violence and a touch of sexiness, but nothing out of the PG range. In all Undercover Blues is a film that you don't have to think about too hard and that you can sit back and enjoy.

Allegro Non Troppo

ISBN: 
037429186527

Almost all of us are familiar with Walt Disney's Fantasia. The premise of this movie was simple to state if not to carry out; turn a group of Disney animators loose interpreting classical music into a vibrate visual style. Walt Disney animators did this with elegance and style.

Enter Italian film producer Bruno Bozzetto. He gives us a fictional director who aspires to share with us his truly original idea; to take classical music and force an animator he has kept locked away for years upon classical music and interpret it into a vibrate visual style. Read more »

My Personal Top Ten + list of "must see" Holiday Films.

The holidays are here and the library's Christmas and holiday films are flying off the shelves. Every year I go on a personal marathon of Christmas film watching. I set aside my Netflix que, put my TV watching on hold, with the exception of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials, and settle back to watch some of my favorite Christmas films. Below are the ones I must see or I feel like my holiday season is incomplete. Read more »

Ghost Town

Image"Ghost Town" takes the M. Night Shyamalan movie," The Sixth Sense" and stands it on its head.   The tagline for the film says it all; "He sees dead people ... and they annoy him."  After a near death experience, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) finds he has the ability to see dead people. The dead want his attention so that they can close out the incompleteness in their lives and move on.  Pincus is a very good dentist but very inept as a human being and the type of character Gervais plays well. The role of a competent loser suits him.  His sudden ability to see the dead doesn't leave him impressed nor does it fill him with fear. Instead, it seems to annoy him.  He would much rather be left alone to be the perfect loser. Read more »

There's Monsters and Then There's Monsters

ImageHorror fiction: There're a lot of arguments about what it is and isn't -- it's bloody; it doesn't have to be bloody. It's supernatural, like werewolves and ghosts; it can have just people -- they're scary enough. It's got sparkly vampires who can inexplicably run around all day; vampires don't fall in love, they fall with their fangs into your neck. Whatever version of horror you subscribe to, with Halloween coming up quickly, it's what's for dinner. Read more »

Flash of Genius

Flash of Genius DVD CoverI lie back on my bed while listening to Janis Joplin's album Pearl. It contains one of many versions of the song "Me and Bobby Magee" that I've heard over the years. Janis is my favorite. I love how her grating bluesy voice sounds on this song, more than any other song she has recorded. As she sings the lines, "Windshield wipers slapping time, I's holding Bobby's hand in mine and we sang every song that driver knew," Read more »

A Face in the Crowd

ISBN: 
0790792133

Andy Griffith, one of America's most beloved actors, passed away recently. We remember him so well as the sheriff of Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show or as Private Will Stockdale in No Time For Sergeants. We may also remember him as Matlock, from the TV series of the same name. A select few might also remember him from his short lived Science Fiction series Salvage One. Always he was the mild mannered father- like figure who seemed to get the job done with down- home wisdom and honest effort. So what would you say if I told you that after watching Andy in his first film A Face in the Crowd, I was unable to watch Sheriff Andy without thinking "What a sleezeball?" Read more »

Best Worst Movie

ISBN: 
767685230329

In 1989 Italian film director Claudio Fragasso directed a movie that achieved an honor of dubious distinction; it was hailed as one of the worst movies ever made. The film was Troll 2. My personal feeling about the film is that from what I've seen, it just might win the title of the worst movie ever made. I can't say this with certainty because my sensibilities  which can usually handle bad films with very little cringing, forced me to turn it off after only about ten minutes. I wouldn't recommend it; this is good because the library doesn't own the title. I do however strongly recommend the documentary about Troll 2's rising cult status the Best Worst Movie. Read more »

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