'Solo: A Star Wars Story': The Force of Corporate Pressure Brings Down Latest Franchise Entry

Solo: A Star Wars Story with Alden Ehrenreich. The 10th live-action feature in the now 41-year-old Star Wars movie franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story attempts to explain the background of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) – first portrayed by Harrison Ford back in 1977. Veteran Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, […]



'Black Panther' Movie Review: History-Making Superhero Flick Features Phenomenal Michael B. Jordan

Black Panther movie with Chadwick Boseman. Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler, Disney/Marvel's Black Panther is the first big-budget release centering on a black superhero – played by Marshall and Message from the King actor Chadwick Boseman, T'Challa a.k.a. the Black Panther is the ruler of the immensely wealthy, eyepoppingly […]



'Trouble Is My Business': Humorous Film Noir Pays Homage to 'Touch of Evil' & Other Classics

Trouble Is My Business with Brittney Powell. Co-written by actor/voice actor Tom Konkle, who also directed, and Xena: Warrior Princess actress Brittney Powell, Trouble Is My Business is a humorous homage to film noirs of the 1940s and 1950s, among them John Huston's The Maltese Falcon and Orson Welles' Touch […]



'Movies': Is That an 'Abhorrent' Word That Denigrates the Art Form? Many Believed So

“Movies” or…? Quo Vadis: One of the first feature films ever made, Enrico Guazzoni's Italian epic came out in 1913, going on to become a global sensation. Should American “moving picture” fans of the early 1910s have referred to it as a “photoplay” or a “movie”? Silent bites: The birth […]



'Detroit': Marketable Thriller Instead of Real-Life Tragedy

'Still-living history' See previous post: “'Detroit' Movie: Kathryn Bigelow 1967 Riots Depiction 'Horribly Real' & 'Deeply Self-Serving'.” But I'm a Black American from the 1960s, who knows this history as a history of the lives of my people in this nation. From uprisings in Philly and Harlem, to those in […]



'Detroit' Movie: Kathryn Bigelow 1967 Riots Depiction 'Horribly Real' & 'Deeply Self-Serving'

Detroit movie street riot scene: The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 Detroit riots in “horribly real” and “deeply self-serving” 2017 release marketed as a “dramatic thriller.” Kathryn Bigelow's 'Detroit' movie: Horribly real semidocumentary or self-serving Hollywood depiction of 1967 Detroit Rebellion? In the […]



'Desert Nights': Enjoyable John Gilbert Adventure Dares to Ask Age-Old Philosophical Question

Desert Nights with John Gilbert and Mary Nolan: Enjoyable Sahara-set adventure – which happened to be Gilbert's last silent film – dares to ask the age-old philosophical question, “Is there honor among thieves?” John Gilbert late silent adventure 'Desert Nights' asks a question for the ages: Is there honor among […]



Ronald Colman Actor: From Mad Killer to Lovestruck Amnesiac & Should Humankind Be Spared?

Updated: Following a couple of Julie London Westerns*, Turner Classic Movies will return to its July 2017 Star of the Month presentations. This evening, July 27, Ronald Colman can be seen in five titles from his later years: A Double Life, Random Harvest (1942), The Talk of the Town (1942), […]



'Under the Volcano' Screening: Fearless Albert Finney

'Under the Volcano' screening: John Huston's 'quality' comeback starring daring Albert Finney As part of its John Huston film series, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will be presenting the 1984 drama Under the Volcano, starring Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, and Anthony Andrews, on July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at […]



Ronald Colman Movies: 'A Tale of Two Cities' & 'The Prisoner of Zenda'

Ronald Colman: Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month in two major 1930s classics Updated: Turner Classic Movies' July 2017 Star of the Month is Ronald Colman, one of the finest performers of the studio era. On Thursday night, TCM presented five Colman star vehicles that should be popping up […]



Crime Novel Remembered: Everywoman Heroine & Bourgeois Values + 'Straight & Gay' Movie Versions

Crime novel The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. While her husband is away during World War II, housewife Lucia Holley – the sort of “Everywoman” who looks great in a two-piece bathing suit – does whatever it takes to protect the feeling of “normality” in her bourgeois, suburban household. […]



Roy Rogers & 'Under Western Stars': Remembering Singing Cowboy's 'Socialist' Western

Roy Rogers, Singing Cowboy of 1940s and 1950s Hollywood. Known for his affable characterizations and, both on and off screen, “traditional values” stance, the King of the Cowboys – step aside, John Wayne & Gene Autry – toplined the “subversive” 1938 musical Western Under Western Stars. Sound bites: Remembering Roy […]



Emmy Nominations: Bette Davis & Joan Crawford In - By Proxy

In case you're wondering about the title of this 2017 Emmy nominations post, think Feud: Bette and Joan. Lawsuit or no – Davis friend Olivia de Havilland is at it – Feud can be found 11 times in the list below. Best Comedy Atlanta (FX) black-ish (ABC) Master of None […]



Antihero Ricardo Cortez: Best Showcases + Oscar-Winning Cinematographer Brother

Antihero Ricardo Cortez in Symphony of Six Million, with Irene Dunne. Directed by Gregory La Cava, this 1932 family/romantic melodrama may have been one of Cortez's favorite among his own movies (see further below). Based on a morality tale by Back Street, Imitation of Life, and Humoresque author Fannie Hurst, […]



How to Be a Latin Lover: Ricardo Cortez & Leading Ladies + Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Hollywood Star

How to be a Latin Lover: Ricardo Cortez, formerly known as Jacob Krantz from a working-class family of Austrian/Hungarian immigrants that had settled in New York City, succeeded in restyling himself as the next – even if, according to some, “second rank” – Rudolph Valentino. It's unclear whether or not […]



'Latin Lover' - The 2nd Valentino & 1st (and Best) Sam Spade: Q&A with Ricardo Cortez Biographer Dan Van Neste

“Latin Lover” Ricardo Cortez, who went on to play a series of all-American scoundrels and criminals, in addition to similar unsavory types of other nationalities. Although never as big a star as fellow silent era screen heartthrobs Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and John Gilbert – or fellow Pre-Code era antiheroes […]



Ricardo Cortez: Remembering the 'Latin Lover Threat' to Rudolph Valentino & Star of Original 'The Maltese Falcon'

Ricardo Cortez biography The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez. Dan Van Neste's book covers the life and career of Paramount's “Latin Lover” threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino; one who would later portray a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original – and highly enjoyable – […]



More 4th of July Escapism: Musicalized Iowa Hicks & Declaration of Independence

(See previous post: Fourth of July Movies: Escapism During a Weird Year.) On the evening of the Fourth of July, besides fireworks, fire hazards, and Yankee Doodle Dandy, if you're watching TCM in the U.S. and Canada, there's the following: Peter H. Hunt's 1776 (1972), a largely forgotten film musical […]



Fourth of July Movies: Escapism During a Weird Year

Fourth of July movies: A few recommended titles that should help you temporarily escape current global madness Two thousand and seventeen has been a weirder-than-usual year on the already pretty weird Planet Earth. Unsurprisingly, this Fourth of July, the day the United States celebrates its Declaration of Independence from Britain, […]



LGBT Pride Movie Series: From Rudolph Valentino to the Rise of Nazism & Beach Party Mystery

(See previous post: “Gay Pride Movie Series Comes to a Close: From Heterosexual Angst to Indonesian Coup.”) Ken Russell's Valentino (1977) is notable for starring ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev as silent era icon Rudolph Valentino, whose sexual orientation, despite countless gay rumors, seems to have been, according to the available […]



Gay Pride Movie Series Comes to a Close: From Heterosexual Angst to Indonesian Coup

Turner Classic Movies' 2017 Gay Pride film series comes to a close this evening and tomorrow morning, Thursday–Friday, June 29–30, with the presentation of seven movies, hosted by TV interviewer Dave Karger and author William J. Mann, whose books include Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines and Behind […]



'The Doll' Movie: Greedy & Gluttonous Church Officials + German Mary Pickford in Early Ernst Lubitsch Comedy

The Doll with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig. Early Ernst Lubitsch satirical fantasy starring “the German Mary Pickford” has similar premise to that of the 1925 Buster Keaton comedy Seven Chances. 'The Doll': San Francisco Silent Film Festival presented fast-paced Ernst Lubitsch comedy starring the German Mary Pickford – Ossi […]



'Amazing Tales from the Archives': SFSFF Remembers Pioneering Female Documentarian & World War I Era (!) Sound Films

“Amazing Tales from the Archives”: Pioneering female documentarian Aloha Wanderwell Baker remembered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival – along with the largely forgotten sound-on-cylinder technology and the Jean Desmet Collection. 'Amazing Tales from the Archives': San Francisco Silent Film Festival & the 'sound-on-cylinder' system Fans of the earliest […]



'Making Love': Groundbreaking Gay Romantic Movie Screening

'Making Love': Groundbreaking romantic gay drama returns to the big screen As part of its Anniversary Classics series, Laemmle Theaters will be presenting Arthur Hiller's groundbreaking 1982 romantic drama Making Love, the first U.S. movie distributed by a major studio that focused on a romantic gay relationship. Michael Ontkean, Harry […]



Rome Movies: Audrey Hepburn & Gidget Find Romance in the Italian Capital

Here's a brief look – to be expanded – at Turner Classic Movies' June 2017 European Vacation Movie Series this evening, June 23. Tonight's destination of choice is Italy. Starring Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue as the opposite of Ugly Americans who find romance and heartbreak in the Italian capital, […]



More Gay Hollywood: From Psychiatrist Montgomery Clift to Psycho Anthony Perkins

On the day a U.S. appeals court lifted an injunction that blocked a Mississippi “religious freedom” law – i.e., giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, etc. – not to mention the publication of a Republican-backed health care bill targeting the poor, the sick, […]



Cannes Winners Diane Kruger & Sofia Coppola Oscar Chances + Bypassed Michael Haneke & Robert Pattinson

In the Fade with Diane Kruger: Fatih Akin's Avenging Woman drama may give its German-speaking star the chance to become next awards season's Isabelle Huppert. Diane Kruger: 2017–2018 awards season's Isabelle Huppert? (See previous post: “Cannes Winners vs. Oscar Nominations.”) The Cannes Film Festival's 2003 Female Revelation Chopard Trophy winner, […]



Cannes Winners vs. Oscar Nominations: Rare Swedish Palme d'Or Winner + Joaquin Phoenix & AIDS Drama Chances?

Palme d'Or winner The Square with Claes Bang. “Gobsmackingly weird” Cannes Film Festival favorite may have a tough time landing a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination. As an aside, Ruben Östlund's comedy-drama is totally unrelated to Jehane Noujaim's 2013 Oscar-nominated political documentary of the same title, which refers […]



LGBT Hollywood: From Self-Destructive Lorenz Hart to Ambitious Montgomery Clift

Turner Classic Movies continues with its Gay Hollywood presentations tonight and tomorrow morning, June 8–9. Seven movies will be shown about, featuring, directed, or produced by the following: Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Edmund Goulding, W. Somerset Maughan, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Raymond Burr, Charles Walters, DeWitt […]



Alexis Smith Movies: From Errol Flynn to Heterosexual Cole Porter

Canadian-born actress Alexis Smith (born 1921) would have turned 96 years old today, June 8. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating her birthday by presenting nine of her movies, mostly during her time as a Warner Bros. contract player. In addition to Michael Curtiz's box office hit Night and Day, a […]



Edgar G. Ulmer Movies: 'The Black Cat' & 'Detour'

Edgar G. Ulmer movies on TCM: 'The Black Cat' & 'Detour' Turner Classic Movies' June 2017 Star of the Month is Audrey Hepburn, but Edgar G. Ulmer is its film personality of the evening on June 6. TCM will be presenting seven Ulmer movies from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, […]



Gay Hollywood on TCM

Considering everything that's been happening on the planet in the last several months, you'd have thought we're already in November or December – of 2117. But no. It's only June. 2017. And in some parts of the world, that's the month of brides, fathers, graduates, gays, and climate change denial. […]



Submarine Movie Feast: Memorial Day TCM Films

Submarine movie evening: Underwater war waged in TCM's Memorial Day films In the U.S., Turner Classic Movies has gone all red, white, and blue this 2017 Memorial Day weekend, presenting a few dozen Hollywood movies set during some of the numerous wars in which the U.S. has been involved around […]



Blake Edwards Movies: 'The Pink Panther' Director Best Handling Polished Comedies & Heavy Dramas

Blake Edwards: Director of the Pink Panther movies – and Julie Andrews' husband for more than four decades – was at his best handling polished comedies and a couple of dead serious dramas. Blake Edwards movies: Best known for slapstick fare, but at his best handling polished comedies and dramas […]



Frances Dee Movies: Remembering Lovely & Talented Leading Lady of the 1930s/1940s

Frances Dee movies: From 'An American Tragedy' to 'Four Faces West' Frances Dee began her film career at the dawn of the sound era, going from extra to leading lady within a matter of months. Her rapid ascencion came about thanks to Maurice Chevalier, who got her as his romantic […]



'Alien: Covenant' Review: 'Prometheus' Sequel Proves Ridley Scott Still Got It + Great Dual Michael Fassbender

Alien: Covenant review: Michael Fassbender plays android brothers David and Walter in this effective sequel to Ridley Scott's muddled Prometheus. 'Alien: Covenant' review: Recapturing 'some of the excitement, awe, and horror' of 1979 original Before we get to Alien: Covenant, a rant about its predecessor, Prometheus. The problem with Ridley […]



Comediennes of the Silent Era & Film Historian Anthony Slide: Remembering Cinema's Pioneering Women

One of cinema's early comediennes, Dorothy Devore: between 1918 and 1930, the Ft. Worth-born actress was seen in nearly 100 movies, both features and shorts. Among them were Salvation Sue, Naughty Mary Brown, and Saving Sister Susie, all with frequent partner Earle Rodney. 'Comediennes of the Silent Era' & film […]



Danielle Darrieux Movies: Film Icon Turns 100 + Longest 'Star Career' Ever?

Danielle Darrieux in 'La Ronde.' Film icon Danielle Darrieux turns 100: Longest 'star career' in movie history? Screen legend Danielle Darrieux is turning 100 today, May 1. In all likelihood, the Bordeaux-born (1917) Darrieux has enjoyed the longest “movie star” career ever: eight decades, from Wilhelm Thiele's comedy-drama Le Bal […]



'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2': Generally Enjoyable But Beginning to Feel Stagnant?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with Chris Pratt as Star-Lord a.k.a. Peter Quill, and Drax (voice by Dave Bautista): When “the pressure to be good isn't as intense as the pressure to not be bad.” 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2': Entertaining pop culture references help to alleviate James […]



Yvonne Monlaur: Cult Horror Film Actress & Bond Girl Contender Dies

Yvonne Monlaur: Cult horror movie actress & Bond Girl contender was featured in the 1960 British classics Circus of Horrors & The Brides of Dracula. Actress Yvonne Monlaur dead at 77: Best remembered for cult horror classics 'Circus of Horrors' & 'The Brides of Dracula' Actress Yvonne Monlaur, best known […]



Comedy Actress Rediscovered: 'She Could Be Chaplin!' Q&A with Film Historian Anthony Slide

Comedy actress Alice Howell on the cover of film historian Anthony Slide's latest book: Pioneering funky-haired performer “could have been Chaplin” – or at the very least another Louise Fazenda. Rediscovering comedy actress Alice Howell: Female performer in movie field dominated by men Early comedy actress Alice Howell is an […]



Christian Movies: Religious Propaganda Disguised as Mainstream Entertainment?

Christian movies: Starring Nicolas Cage, the widely panned 2014 apocalyptic thriller Left Behind was a box office bomb – unlike (relatively) recent popular “faith movies” such as Heaven Is for Real, Son of God, and War Room. A thought on the New Christian American Cinema: Tired of the blatant propaganda […]



'Boom!' Movie: Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton Cinematic Disaster Reappraised

Boom! movie with Elizabeth Taylor: Critically panned box office disaster featuring memorable headwear and situations. 'Boom!' movie: Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton critical & box office bomb reappraised as 'cult classic' fare If you've never seen Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's 1968 vanity production Boom!, don't feel singled out. Boom! […]



Oscar Winners 2017

Best Picture Arrival – Shawn Levy. Dan Levine. Aaron Ryder. David Linde. Fences – Scott Rudin. Denzel Washington. Todd Black. Hacksaw Ridge – Bill Mechanic. David Permut. Hell or High Water – Carla Hacken. Julie Yorn. Hidden Figures – Donna Gigliotti. Peter Chernin. Jenno Topping. Pharrell Williams. Theodore Melfi. La […]



'Logan' Movie Review: Wolverine Hugh Jackman Carries One of the Best Superhero Films

Logan movie with Hugh Jackman as the mutant Wolverine: 20th Century Fox's gamble results in one of the best superhero movies. 'Logan' movie review: 'Wolverine' trilogy concluded 'in surprising and rewarding fashion' The trailer for Logan, the final film in the standalone Wolverine trilogy, is set to Johnny Cash's funereal […]



'The Great Wall' Movie: Zhang Yimou-Matt Damon Collaboration Proof Countries Should Work Together?

The Great Wall movie with Matt Damon: Awkward-accented British mercenary fights the Taotie in costly Chinese-American collaboration. 'The Great Wall' movie: Zhang Yimou-Matt Damon collaboration evidence that – for better or for worse – countries can work together In this divisive age, when countries are turning inward with a nationalist, […]



Dana Andrews Movies: Film Noir Actor Excelled as Angst-Ridden Characters

Dana Andrews movies: Complex film noir actor excelled in both major and minor crime dramas. Dana Andrews movies: First-rate film noir actor excelled in both classics & minor fare One of the best-looking and most underrated actors of the studio era, Dana Andrews was a first-rate film noir/crime thriller star. […]



Swampland Race Relations: Old Indie Mixes 'Interracial' Love + Vengeance & Voodoo

Swampland race relations in Chloe, Love Is Calling You: Desired by two handsome white men, is Olive Borden black or white? Swampland race relations: Bizarre 'Chloe Love Is Calling You' mixes reactionary ideas & voodoo Whenever I watch a film such as the swampland-set 1934 thriller Chloe, Love Is Calling […]



'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President

Barry Obama (Devon Terrell) reads Ralph Ellison's 1952 sociopolitical novel Invisible Man – not to be confused with H.G. Wells' 1897 sci-fi novel The Invisible Man. 'Barry' & me: Finding common ground between this reviewer and U.S. President Barack Obama While thinking about Barry, Vikram Gandhi's 1981-set film about a […]



2016 Movies: Isabelle Huppert & Unique 'Gay' Social Drama Among Critics' Winners

2016 movies Things to Come (pictured) and Elle have earned French cinema icon Isabelle Huppert her – surprisingly – very first National Society of Film Critics Best Actress Award. 2016 Movies: Isabelle Huppert & 'Moonlight' among National Society of Film Critics' top picks Earlier today (Jan. 7), the National Society […]



'Sully' Movie: Tom Hanks Is Latest Clint Eastwood 'All-American Hero'

Sully movie with Tom Hanks as US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger: Clint Eastwood homage to the “noble and decent American” threatened by a “heartless government.” 'Sully' movie review: 'Taut, straightforward' drama features Clint Eastwood's latest all-American hero When considering Sully, Clint Eastwood's taut, straightforward account of heroism on trial, it […]



'Don't Breathe' Movie: Don't Wet Your Seat While Watching Impressive Fede Alvarez Horror Thriller

Don't Breathe movie: Dylan Minnette is a burglar who discovers the hard way that blind man Stephen Lang is not quite like earlier blind film victims Audrey Hepburn (Wait Until Dark) and Mia Farrow (Blind Terror). 'Don't Breathe' movie review: Fede Alvarez succeeds with horror thriller-love story mix Horror filmmaker […]



'Rebecca' 1940: Alfred Hitchcock Oscar Winner Returns to Brazilian Screens

Rebecca 1940: Joan Fontaine as the “successor” and Judith Anderson as the creepy lesbian housekeeper, madly in love with her deceased mistress. 'Rebecca' 1940: Alfred Hitchcock Best Picture Oscar winner back on Brazilian screens Based on Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel, Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood movie, Rebecca (1940), has briefly […]



'Star Trek: Beyond' Review: Gay Sulu Problematic in 'Most Satisfying' New Series Entry

Star Trek: Beyond with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk: Will movie franchise reboot achieve “escape velocity”? 'Star Trek: Beyond' review: Movie franchise needs to boldly go where J.J. Abrams has never gone before We're never told what “beyond” refers to in Star Trek: Beyond, the 13th film in the venerated […]



Women's Suffrage Movie: Will Right to Vote Destroy The American Family at SFSFF?

Women's suffrage movie Mothers of Men: Dorothy Davenport becomes a judge and later State Governor in socially conscious thriller about U.S. women's voting rights. Are females too emotional to be objective? Women's suffrage movie 'Mothers of Men': Will women's right to vote lead to the destruction of The American Family? […]



'Die Nibelungen': Siegfried Eclipsed by Powerful Women in Masterful Fritz Lang Tragedy

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried: Paul Richter as the tragic dragon-slaying hero of medieval Germanic mythology – with a bit from Homer's Iliad thrown in. 'Die Nibelungen': Enthralling silent classic despite complex plot and countless characters Based on the medieval epic poem Nibelungenlied, itself inspired by the early medieval Germanic saga about […]



'It's So Easy and Other Lies': Guns N' Roses Bassist Duff McKagan Roller Coaster Fall and Rise

It's So Easy and Other Lies movie: Biographical documentary of Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, diving into the pits of drug addiction and back. 'It's So Easy and Other Lies' movie review: Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan biographical documentary fails to develop unique idea Any rock and roll […]



'X-Men: Apocalypse' Review: Weaker Film Despite 'Artist' Bryan Singer & Profound Themes

X-Men: Apocalypse with Oscar Isaac a cartoonish presence as the supervillainous title character. 'X-Men: Apocalypse' review: Step back for series, but latest 'X-Men' movie 'works well enough' There's a three-way brawl going on in the Marvel universe, but it doesn't involve Spider-Man, Captain America, or Deadpool. Instead, the combatants are […]



'Money Monster' Review: Jodie Foster Message Movie Ruined by Plot Contrivances & Dishonesty

Money Monster with George Clooney and Jack O'Connell: TV celebrity and unwise investor/hostage-taker in Jodie Foster-directed socially conscious drama that is severely handicapped by a mix of pretentiousness and cowardice. 'Money Monster' review: Jodie Foster movie suffers from both qualitative and intellectual disconnect Sometimes there's a difference between what a […]



'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Roger Corman Beats Alfred Hitchcock with Nature vs. Humans Thriller

The Beast with a Million Eyes: Hardly truth in advertising as Roger Corman's micro-budget sci-fi thriller is no “monster movie.” 'The Beast with a Million Eyes': Alien invasion movie predates Alfred Hitchcock classic Despite the confusing voice-over introduction, David Kramarsky's[1] The Beast with a Million Eyes a.k.a. The Beast with […]



'Captain America: Civil War' Review: Surprisingly Entertaining Not-So-Escapist Summer Fare

Captain America: Civil War: Chris Evans as rogue military leader vs. “Ayn Rand archetype of a self-made man.” 'Captain America: Civil War' review: So good it made film critic & Prince fan forget pop icon's death April 21 '16, 9:53 a.m. – I was sitting down to watch an early […]



'The Boss' Movie: Melissa McCarthy Flounders in Husband Ben Falcone's 'Limp Comedy'

The Boss movie: Melissa McCarthy funny only with certain directors and the right material. 'The Boss' movie review: Melissa McCarthy founders in husband Ben Falcone's 'limp comedy' At this point no one would dispute that Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest people on the planet. However, after the limp […]



'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Review: DC Movies' Grim Self-Importance

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice: “Grim and ponderous” DC Comics adaptation starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck. 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' review: Self-important 'hip and affected pessimism' According to no less an expert then director Zack Snyder, when saying the title of his relentlessly grave, monochromatic, and […]



'The Aviator' Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett Miscast in Heavy-Handed Biopic

The Aviator movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes: Bizarre billionaire bloated biopic. 'The Aviator' movie review: Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent – but not as Howard Hughes Imagine Citizen Kane directed by the Steven Spielberg of The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan. The final result would […]



Merle Oberon: From Mystery Past & Hollywood Stardom to Shah of Iran Connection

Merle Oberon: 'Exotic' and mysterious star of British and American cinema was a victim of the 'Marion Davies Syndrome.' Merle Oberon movies: 'Exotic' and underrated actress with mysterious past is Star of the Month Merle Oberon is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of March 2016. The good news: […]



'Ben-Hur' 2016 Trailer: Faster & Furiouser CGI Feast

'Ben-Hur' 2016 trailer with Jack Huston: Deadly chariot race in religious epic for the CGI-loving crowd. 'Ben-Hur' 2016 trailer: 'Gladiator' meets 'Fast Seven' meets 'Star Wars' meets… Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have released the trailer for their Ben-Hur 2016 remake (or reboot or readaptation) – a.k.a. Fast and Furious A.D., […]



Clint Eastwood + Harry Potter = 'The Decline of Western Civilization'? Packard Series Connection

'Play Misty for Me': Rabid fan Jessica Walter makes life terribly difficult for disc jockey Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood + 'Harry Potter' = 'The Decline of Western Civilization'? The Packard Campus connection Besides Harry Potter (more on the bespectacled wizard further below), movies set in the world of music and/or […]



Marília Pêra: Daring 'Pixote' Prostitute, National Society of Film Critics Best Actress Winner

Marília Pêra: Brazilian actress was featured as the foul-mouthed prostitute in the international hit 'Pixote.' Marília Pêra: Brazilian film, TV and stage star Remembering Brazilian stage, television, and film star Marília Pêra, whose acting and singing career spanned more than five decades. Pêra died of lung cancer on Dec. 5, […]



TCM Presents 100% Not Gay John Nash & Passionate James Dean Bromance

TCM presents the life story of (a not gay) John Nash, starring Russell Crowe: In the phony 'A Beautiful Mind,' director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman wash the gay away. '31 Days of Oscar' on TCM: From fake biopic & passionate bromance to the deadly clash of civilizations Turner […]



Olivia de Havilland vs. Warner Bros.: Landmark Lawsuit

Olivia de Havilland in 'The Heiress.' Olivia de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. (See previous post: “Olivia de Havilland Turns 99: Warner Bros. Legal Fight Changed U.S. Labor Law.”) In 1942, Olivia de Havilland reportedly turned down the colorless leading lady role in Raoul Walsh's Gentleman Jim, which would have paired […]



31 Days of Oscar: 'Ben-Hur' Proves Bigger Not Necessarily Better

'Ben-Hur' 1959 with Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston: TCM's '31 Days of Oscar.' '31 Days of Oscar': 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Ben-Hur' in, Paramount stars out Today, Feb. 1, '16, Turner Classic Movies is kicking off the 21st edition of its “31 Days of Oscar.” While the Academy of Motion […]



Ernst Lubitsch Movies: Lost 'Touch' in Our Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking

Ernst Lubitsch movies: Subtle, sophisticated 'Touch' all but gone from contemporary filmmaking. Ernst Lubitsch movies: The forgotten, passé 'Touch' Ernst Lubitsch and William Cameron Menzies were Turner Classic Movies' “stars” on Jan. 28, '16. (This is a fully revised and expanded version of a post published that day.) Lubitsch had […]



SAG Awards Predictions: Sentimentality & 'Diversity,' Rap Music

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in 'Room': 2016 SAG Awards. 2016 SAG Awards Predictions: Sentiment and 'Diversity' Last-minute SAG Awards predictions, as the 2016 SAG Awards ceremony will begin in about half an hour (Jan. 30) at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. So far, there's one clear winner […]



William Cameron Menzies Movies: Murderous Joan Fontaine & Nazi Communists

William Cameron Menzies. William Cameron Menzies movies on TCM: Murderous Joan Fontaine, deadly Nazi Communists Best known as an art director/production designer, William Cameron Menzies was a jack-of-all-trades. It seems like the only things Menzies didn't do was act and tap dance in front of the camera. He designed and/or […]



'The Godfather' Actor Abe Vigoda Dead 34 Years After Greatly Exaggerated Obit

Abe Vigoda dead or alive? 'The Godfather' and 'Barney Miller' actor became a pop celebrity in the U.S. following greatly exaggerated reports of his death. 'The Godfather' actor Abe Vigoda dead at 94: Early 1980s death notices were greatly exaggerated Actor Abe Vigoda, little-known internationally despite a supporting role in […]



The Evolution of Film Sound Technology: Q&A with 'A Century of Sound' Co-Creator Robert Gitt

Hal Roach looks on as technicians install Vitaphone equipment in his studio screening room, ca. 1928. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) 'A Century of Sound': Q&A with former UCLA Preservation Officer Robert Gitt about the evolution of film sound technology Long before multi-track Dolby stereo and digital sound […]



Critics' Choice Awards: 'Star Wars' Controversy & Nominations for Everyone

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Critics' Choice Awards Best Picture nomination controversy. Critics' Choice Awards: Everybody is a nominee Your U.S.-based awards group, all-encompassingly named the Critics' Choice Awards, wants to compete with the Golden Globes to become the second-rank Academy Awards – itself a second-rank version of its former […]



Alan Rickman Dead: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' Movies Won BAFTA & Golden Globe

Alan Rickman: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' movies. Alan Rickman dead at 69: Professor Snape in 'Harry Potter' movies, 'Die Hard' actor took home Bafta, Golden Globe Alan Rickman, best known for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies, died of cancer on Jan. 14, '16. Rickman […]



David Bowie Movies: 'Ziggy Stardust' Memorable as Nikola Tesla, Fast-Aging Vampire

David Bowie: The former Ziggy Stardust in 'The Hunger.' David Bowie movies: Iconic singer memorable as fast-aging vampire, Nikola Tesla Singer and sometime actor David Bowie, one of the iconic figures of the English-language music scene of the second half of the 20th century, died of cancer yesterday, Jan. 10, […]



Golden Globes: 'Diversity' Hollywood Style & Leo and Kate Reunited

Golden Globes' historic gif moment: Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio. 2016 Golden Globes: 'Diversity' Hollywood Style & Leo and Kate together again There was plenty of “diversity” at the 2016 Golden Globes ceremony, held on Jan. 10 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Winners were male, female, white, […]



British Cinema and Hollywood - 'A Special Relationship': Q&A with Anthony Slide

Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman: The 'Notorious' British (Hitchcock, Grant) and Swedish (Bergman) talent. British actors and directors in Hollywood; Hollywood actors and directors in Britain: Anthony Slide's 'A Special Relationship.' 'A Special Relationship' Q&A: Britain in Hollywood and Hollywood in Britain First of all, what made you […]



Michel Galabru Dead: 'La Cage aux Folles' Right-Wing Politician & César Winner

Michel Galabru and Louis de Funès in the comedy 'Le gendarme et les gendarmettes': No 'affection' for his movies. 'La Cage aux Folles' actor Michel Galabru dead at 93: Embodiment of 'traditional family values' in international box office hit Michel Galabru, best known internationally for his role as a rabidly […]



'The Fighter' Movie Review: Marketable Real-Life Inspired Drama

'The Fighter' movie stars Mark Wahlberg as boxer Micky Ward: Only key cast member not shortlisted for the Academy Awards. 'The Fighter' movie review: 'Smart' – i.e., 'marketable' – filmmaking David O. Russell's The Fighter is a smart film; smart in the way it's constructed and executed as a means […]



National Board of Review Awards: 'Mad Max' Success & Turkish Freedom of Expression

'Mad Max: Fury Road': National Board of Review Best Film Award winner. National Board of Review 2015 Awards: First indication of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' awards season potential Going over the December 2015 movie awards not previously discussed on this site, we begin with the National Board of Review Awards, […]



'Black Swan' Movie Review: Natalie Portman 'Visceral' Downward Spiral

'Black Swan' movie with Natalie Portman: Distraught ballerina goes mad. 'Black Swan' movie review: Natalie Portman rises to challenge in 'most mature' Darren Aronofsky effort Darren Aronofsky has one of the most amazing talents for not only crafting impeccable works of fiction but also for framing these works against the […]



'Star Wars 7' News: 'Jurassic World' & Christmas Box Office Records Shattered

'Star Wars 7' news: Laser sword shatters box office records. 'Star Wars 7' news: 'The Force Awakens' shatters 'Jurassic World' & Christmas records Dec. 27, '15, update: As expected, Star Wars 7 a.k.a. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken three major box office records this Christmas weekend (Dec. 25–27, […]



'True Grit' 2010 Movie Review: Much Better Than 1969 John Wayne Western

'True Grit' 2010 movie: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in 'wonderful' Joel and Ethan Coen Western. 'True Grit' 2010 movie review: Joel and Ethan Coen version 'far Superior' to 1969 John Wayne Western I've gotten to the point with the Coen brothers where I just expect something wonderful every time […]



'The Grandfather' Movie: Surprisingly Touching Oscar-Nominated Message of Tolerance

The Grandfather: Fernando Fernán Gómez as the irascible 'abuelo' who discovers it's never too late to learn about tolerance and compassion. 'The Grandfather' movie review: Gorgeous, surprisingly effective message of tolerance with strong central performance The Grandfather / El abuelo is a film with a pedigree. It is based on […]



Best Original Score Oscar Contenders: Carter Burwell and Past Nominees

'The Peanuts Movie': 2016 Best Original Score Oscar contender along with 111 other titles. Oscar 2016: Best Original Score contenders range from 'Mad Max: Fury Road' to 'The Peanuts Movie' Earlier this month (Dec. '15), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made public the list of 112 film […]



Best Visual Effects Oscar Semi-Finalists: Tom Cruise, James Bond Movies Out

Best Visual Effects Oscar: Tom Cruise action thriller 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' bypassed. 2016 Best Visual Effects Oscar semi-finalists: 'Ex Machina,' 'The Revenant' surprisingly remain in the running A couple of weeks ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the semi-semi-finalists for the 2016 Visual Effects […]



Quentin Tarantino Walk of Fame Star Unveiling Ceremony: Peaceful Despite Police Threats

Quentin Tarantino star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also in the photo: Demián Bichir, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth and other 'The Hateful Eight' cast members. Quentin Tarantino gets star on Hollywood Walk Fame: No police protests or anti-Tarantino rally Quentin Tarantino, who has been making movies for nearly […]



'Finding Neverland' Movie Review: Johnny Depp as James M. Barrie Disney Style

'Finding Neverland' movie: Johnny Depp as James M. Barrie a.k.a. J.M. Barrie, with the Llewelyn Davies family: Kate Winslet, Freddie Highmore, Joe Prospero, Nick Roud and Luke Spill. 'Finding Neverland' movie review: Losing reality Back in 2001, German-born director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, World War Z) brought a much […]



'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' NOT to Become All-Time Worldwide Blockbuster?

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' with Oscar Isaac: Poe Dameron and pals NOT to become all-time box office champs? 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' NOT to become worldwide top-grossing movie of all time? Dec. 21, '15, update: J.J. Abrams' futuristic adventure movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the most […]



'Ben-Hur' Movie: Christian Epic Became Costliest Production & Biggest Worldwide Blockbuster in History

'Ben-Hur' movie: Ramon Novarro starred in the silent version, at the time the most expensive film production and the biggest worldwide blockbuster in history. 'Ben-Hur' movie: Semi-biblical epic starring Ramon Novarro became most expensive and most successful blockbuster in history Christmas 2015 is just around the corner. That helps to […]



'L'Inhumaine': Marcel L'Herbier Impressive Sci-Fi, Sex Melodrama & Fernand Léger Combo

'L'Inhumaine': Marcel L'Herbier directed Jaque Catelain and Georgette Leblanc in great-looking (Fernand Léger sets) mix of science-fiction and sex melodrama. Marcel L'Herbier silent 'L'Inhumaine': 'Intense sensory integration of sight' For me, the real jewel in the crown of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's “A Day of Silents,” held on […]



Republicans Want Agrabah Bombed: What Has Aladdin Done to Deserve It?

Agrabah: 'Aladdin' city that Republicans want to bomb. Is Agrabah Burning? Nearly 1 in 3 Republican primary voters want to bomb 'Aladdin' city According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, nearly one third of 532 Republican primary voters support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah? Is […]



'The Force Awakens' Reviews: Negative Comments Few But Pointed

'The Force Awakens' with Daisy Ridley: 'Star Wars 7' negative reviews have been few, but bluntly acerbic. 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Negative reviews have been few, but pointed Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently enjoying a 91 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. The average rating […]



Marion Cotillard Naked and Doomed: More Nudity in 'Psycho' Shower Scene Homage

Marion Cotillard 'Psycho' shower scene scream. Marion Cotillard naked and screaming in 'Psycho' shower scene A few years ago – more exactly, in Feb./March 2008 – Vanity Fair published a series of images honoring Alfred Hitchcock movies made in Hollywood. (His British oeuvre was completely ignored.) The images weren't from […]



Natalie Portman: 'Jackie' Kennedy Fashion

Natalie Portman: 'Jackie' Kennedy fashion in red & white. Natalie Portman: 'Jackie' Kennedy fashion in upcoming Pablo Larraín movie Notwithstanding the box office-friendly Thor movies, which revolve around Chris Hemsworth in the title role, Natalie Portman has yet to have a star vehicle as impactful as Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, […]



'Crash' Movie Review: Several Excellent Performances in Contrived Ethnically Conscious Drama

'Crash' movie: Ryan Phillippe as a good white Los Angeles cop with subconscious 'racist side.' 'Crash' movie review: California tossin' and turnin' Screenwriter Paul Haggis' multiple award-winning directorial debut, Crash, is set in a Los Angeles that is part Quentin Tarantino, part Paul Thomas Anderson, part Spike Lee, part Bret […]