'Magnificent Obsession' Book: Film Fans' 'Outrageous History' from Classic Hollywood Screenwriters to Gay Porn Actors

Magnificent Obsession book by Anthony Slide. Whereas Lloyd C. Douglas' 1929 Magnificent Obsession book dealt with a playboy's urge to restore the eyesight of the woman he had accidentally blinded, Anthony Slide's latest explores the lives and times of movie buffs. Now, are Twilight, The Dark Knight, and The Avengers fans as consumed with passion for their idols as, say, the warring members of the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy […]

Movie Buff Passion Explored: Author Anthony Slide Discusses the Lives & Times of Film Fanatics

Valentino with Rudolf Nureyev and Michelle Phillips. Ken Russell's 1977 Rudolph Valentino biopic Valentino is based on the dubious 1966 bio (“Was he a great lover – or a sham?”) penned by Chaw Mank and Brad Steiger. A coal miner's son and self-proclaimed psychic, Mank was one of the most influential – and surely the busiest – movie buff of them all, for decades founding and/or […]

Jimmy Edwards – Outed 'Conservative' Gay British Comedian Discussed: Q&A with Biographer Anthony Slide

Jimmy Edwards. Best known for his radio and television work – Take It from Here in the former medium; Whack-O! in the latter – British comedian Jimmy Edwards was seen, mostly in small parts, in about a dozen features from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. His most notable film role is probably that of Prof. Jim Edwards in Mario Zampi's 1960 comedy Bottoms Up!, a big-screen Whack-O! spin-off […]

'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, Frost/Nixon) was credited for the direction of Solo, having replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller […]

'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 hi-tech land of Wakanda, where the energy-manipulating metal vibranium is found in abundance. Co-written by […]

'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 of Evil. Konkle stars in the sort of role that back in the '40s and […]

'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 of 'the movies' In 1926, in her native England, Iris Barry published what is generally […]

'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 Watts and Ferguson (where I lived for years), these stories have been lived and told […]

'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 city of Detroit, from July 23 through July 27 of 1967, the people rebelled against […]

'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 thieves? The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release Desert Nights arrived in theaters at the tail end of the […]

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), The Late George Apley (1947), and The Story of Mankind (1957). The first three titles […]

'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 the Billy Wilder Theater in the Los Angeles suburb of Westwood. Bisset is expected to […]

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 again in the not-too-distant future: A Tale of Two Cities, The Prisoner of Zenda, Kismet, […]

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. The Blank Wall is a classic depiction of an attempted cover-up being much more serious […]

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 Rogers & 'subversive' singing cowboy movie 'Under Western Stars' It is a typically hot day […]

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 (Netflix) Modern Family (ABC) Silicon Valley (HBO) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) Veep (HBO) Best Drama […]

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, Symphony of Six Million follows a young New Yorker (Cortez) who, after becoming a renowned […]

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 the Italian-born Valentino, who died at age 31 in 1926, would have survived the coming […]

'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 Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney – Cortez had a long and, to some extent, […]

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 – film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films […]

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 based on the Broadway hit with music by Sherman Edwards. William Daniels, who was recently […]

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, has been an unusual one as well. Note: This post is currently being revised and […]

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 evidence, heterosexual. (Valentino's supposed affair with fellow “Latin Lover” Ramon Novarro has no basis in […]

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 Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969. Among tonight's movies' LGBT connections: Edward […]

'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 Oswalda Directed by Ernst Lubitsch (So This Is Paris, The Wedding March), the 2017 San […]

'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 sound films would have enjoyed the first presentation at the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film […]

'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 Hamlin, and Kate Jackson star. The 35th Anniversary Screening of Making Love will be held […]

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, Delmer Daves' Rome Adventure (1962) was one of the key romantic movies of the 1960s. […]

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, the elderly, and those with “pre-existing conditions” – which would include HIV-infected people, a large […]

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, Diane Kruger was Cannes' 2017 Best Actress winner for Fatih Akin's In the Fade / […]

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 to downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square. Cannes winners & Academy Award nominations: Ruben Östlund's Palme d'Or […]

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 Bodeen, and Harriet Parsons. (One assumes that it's a mere coincidence that gay rumor subjects […]

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 highly fictionalized Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a heterosexual version of the famed […]

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, including his two best-known efforts: The Black Cat (1934) and Detour (1945). The Black Cat […]

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. Beginning this evening, Thursday, June 1, Turner Classic Movies will be focusing on one of […]

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 the globe during the last century or so. On Memorial Day proper, TCM is offering […]

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 The Pink Panther and its sequels[1] are the movies most closely associated with screenwriter-director-producer Blake […]

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 interested in Ludwig Berger's 1930 romantic comedy Playboy of Paris. Despite her dark(-haired) good looks […]

'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 Scott's 2012 return to the Alien universe is that the more we learned about the […]

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 historian Anthony Slide at the American Cinematheque Film historian and author Anthony Slide, once described […]

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 (1931) to Denys Granier-Deferre's The Wedding Cake / Pièce montée (2010). For comparison's sake, Katharine […]

'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 Gunn's 'weight of obligation' Pull up a chair, gather your friends, and warm up those texting thumbs: […]

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 for her roles in the 1960 British cult horror classics Circus of Horrors and The […]

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 obscure entity even for silent film aficionados. With luck, only a handful of them will […]

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 found in 'mainstream' Christian movies Two films that might be called “Christian movies” opened last […]

'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! bombed at the box office almost as soon as it blasted on the screen. Since […]

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 La Land – Fred Berger. Jordan Horowitz. Marc Platt. Lion – Emile Sherman. Iain Canning. […]

'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 cover of “Hurt,” the already-depressing song by Nine Inch Nails. If there was ever a […]

'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, xenophobic fervor, it's comforting to know that the United States and China, their relationship mercurial […]

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. Oftentimes dismissed as no more than a “dependable” or “reliable” leading man, in truth Andrews […]

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 You (a.k.a. Chloe), I like to think about the reactions of the theater audience when […]

'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 young Barack Obama as he arrived in New York City to attend Columbia University, I […]

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 of Film Critics announced their top 2016 movies and performances. Somewhat surprisingly, this year's NSFC […]

'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 helps to remember that the title character's name works as both noun and verb. And […]

'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 Fede Alvarez avoids the fate of the sophomore curse with his second feature film, Don't […]

'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 returned to Brazilian screens in summer 2016. Since yesterday, Aug. 11, restored 2K digital copies […]

'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 sci-fi series. But here's a theory: if the franchise is to regain its footing after […]

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? Directed by and featuring the now all but forgotten Willis Robards, Mothers of Men – […]

'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 the Burgundian royal family, Fritz Lang's two-part Die Nibelungen is one of those movies I […]

'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 documentary that begins with a quote from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and ends with a […]

'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 the three major movie studios who've divvied up the film rights to Marvel characters in […]

'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 movie thinks it is and what it actually is. Usually it's a qualitative disconnect, as […]

'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 1,000,000 Eyes is one of my favorite 1950s alien invasion films. Set in an ugly, […]

'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 screening of Captain America: Civil War on the Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. I […]

'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 comedies Tammy and now The Boss, there is something else not in dispute: Melissa McCarthy […]

'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 humorless superhero epic, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, do not say “versus.” Just say […]

'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 look something like a Barry Levinson film – for instance, the superficial and phony Bugsy. […]

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: The elegant, exquisite, and vastly underrated actress, whose early life and ancestry have been a […]

'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., as one wag called it in an online comment. Instead of grandiose spectacle featuring at […]

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 radio are among the April 2016 highlights at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus Theater […]

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, '15, in Rio de Janeiro. Born Marília Soares Pêra on Jan. 22, 1943, in Rio, […]

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 Classic Movies' “31 Days of Oscar” continues on Saturday, Feb. 6, '16, with more recent […]

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 her with Errol Flynn for the ninth time. Alexis Smith was cast instead. That same […]

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 Picture Arts and Sciences is being vociferously reviled for its “lack of diversity” – more […]

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 the morning/afternoon, with seven films; Menzies had the evening/night, also with seven features. As a […]

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 at the telecast. That's veteran film and (mostly) television actress Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett […]

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 wrote, directed, produced, etc., dozens of films – titles ranged from The Thief of Bagdad […]

'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 Godfather, but popular in the U.S. as a result of the 1970s television series […]

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 technology, there were the Kinetophone and the Vitaphone systems – not to mention organ and […]

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 self. What to do? Well, how about finding a way to nominate everyone you can […]

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 (born on Feb. 21, 1946, in London) was 69. Rickman first played Professor Severus Snape […]

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, '16. Bowie (born David Robert Jones in the London suburb of Brixton) had turned 69 […]

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, black, openly gay, openly straight, newcomers, old-timers, American, Mexican, British, Hungarian, Italian – even film […]

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 think of a book on “the special relationship” between the American and British film industries […]

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 reactionary politician in the comedy blockbuster La Cage aux Folles, died in his sleep today, […]

'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 to appeal to a wide audience. People tend to like sports movies. They also tend […]

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, announced on Dec. 1. (Scroll down for the full list of winners.) Not including the […]

'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 backdrop of worlds the average person will never be a part of. In Requiem for […]

'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, '15): Best second domestic weekend ever. Fastest movie to reach $500 million at the domestic […]

'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 they make a movie. For me, that was the case even with an effort like […]

'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 a novel by Benito Pérez Galdòs, considered by many the greatest Spanish writer of the […]

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 scores eligible for the 2016 Oscar in the Best Original Score category. As found in […]

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 Academy Award. There were 20 movies on the list. On Monday, Dec. 21, the Academy […]

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 a quarter of a century, has finally gotten his own personal star on the Hollywood […]

'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 welcome non-Hollywood touch to the independently made psychological drama Monster's Ball. Besides the daring (if […]

'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 eagerly awaited film release since … let's see … Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider made […]

'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 explain Turner Classic Movies' presentation of Fred Niblo's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ last […]

'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 Dec. 5, '15, at the Castro Theatre, was Marcel L'Herbier's L'Inhumaine / The Inhuman Woman […]

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 that the name of the “capital” of Daesh (a.k.a. IS / ISIS)? Or perhaps that's […]

'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 of the latest movie in the George Lucas-founded Star Wars franchise is 8.3/10. That's quite […]