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The Untouchables

The Untouchablesseen on TV @ AMCChicago! The Windy City. I've been there twice, once for business (working a comic convention) and once for pleasure. The former was during a blizzard, and I think I've talked about that here before.The latter was during the summer. This, I believe, was 1997 or thereabouts. I spent a week there, and did all the tourist-y things one does when in Chicago: I took a boat ride on Lake Michigan, I went to a Cubs game, I went to the art museum, I even went to a South Side blues j... read more »

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Skyseen @ City Cinemas East, New York, NYEye in the Sky deals with a relatively new and unusual form of combat, namely, drone warfare. Pilots fly planes by remote control and target people or places via surveillance cameras. There's a lot of debate as to how America has used drones, and whether or not they even should, and if you wanna see the arguments on both sides, just look at this.How do I feel about it? Well, as far as I understand it, the technology is being used by other countries alre... read more »

Creed

Creedseen @ Cinemart Fiveplex, Forest Hills, QueensWhen Creed first began doing gigs around their hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, grunge rock had started to become played out. They had to settle for playing in family restaurants. They played mostly cover songs, but all the while they were writing original material for what would eventually become their 1997 debut record My Own Prison, which they initially released on their own Blue Collar Records label. According to manager Jeff Hanson, fourteen labels... read more »

Border Incident

Border IncidentTCM viewingBorder Incident was a pleasant surprise in the sense that it was perhaps the first time I had seen an Old Hollywood movie about the lives of Latinos, starring a Latino actor. I know this is far from the first classic film to focus on people of color, but it's nice to know that they exist, and they were made.It was especially nice to see Ricardo Montalban in a leading role while he was still a young man. I kind of recognized him when he first appeared, but I wasn't sure until he ... read more »

Spartacus

[I'm going through some computer problems right now, so some posts are gonna be bare bones for awhile. When I get it fixed, I'll go back and add banners, photos, links, etc.] The Criterion Blogathon is an event examining the films within the Criterion Collection of films, hosted by Criterion Blues, Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. Spartacus from my DVD collection I first collected Criterion DVDs back when I worked video retail, in the late 90s-early 00s. It was my co-workers' fault. They were much... read more »

New release round-up for October '15

Finally, I actually have new releases to talk about! - The Martian. Cast Away meets Apollo 13as once again Matt Damon needs to be rescued! This was breathtaking. It's been way too long since I was this excited about a Ridley Scott movie, but the master delivered the goods big time here. I went into this movie blind; I wouldn't have even known it was Scott directing except I justwasppened to glimpse a magazine cover story about him in a bookstore about a couple of weeks ago. Didn't even see the trailer!I... read more »

Lawrence of Arabia

The Blind Spot is an ongoing series hosted by The Matinee in which bloggers watch and write about movies they've never seen before. For a list of past entries,visit the home site.Lawrence of Arabiaseen @ The Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria NYIn my writing group, there's this delightful woman named Jennifer who is not only a very good writer, but is a big old movie fan. As you can imagine, we've become pretty good friends. Hitchcock is her particular favorite director, but her tastes are pretty wide-r... read more »

Regal Cinemas attacks symptom, not disease, wit...

Regal Cinemas has started checking bags in the wake of two separate movie theater attacks this summer.The move from the country’s largest theater chain comes amid a larger debate about safety measures that has provoked calls for metal detectors and armed guards. Most major exhibitors haven’t followed suit. While National Amusements has banned backpacks in its theaters, insiders say most chains are hesitant to institute bag checks.On its website, Regal acknowledged that the move could inconvenience some c... read more »

Books: Five Came Back

The 2015 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge is an event in which the goal is to read and write about a variety of books related to classic film, hosted by Out of the Past. For a complete list of the rules,visit the website.As much as World War 2 continues to be discussed and studied and analyzed today, it's hard for modern generations who never lived through it to fully understand the everyday reality of it, whether as a civilian or a serviceman, which is a big reason why we have it recorded on f... read more »

The Endless Summer

The Beach Party Blogathon is devoted to the grooviest and swingingest beach-related movies around, hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. For a complete list of participating bloggers, visit the link at Speakeasy.The Endless SummerNetflix stream viewingI've never had any great interest in surfing. When I think of the beach, I'm reminded of my days in summer camp as a child, and we did a whole lot more splashing around and dunking each other than we did surfing. I vaguely recall experimenting with a b... read more »

Books: Scandalous

The 2015 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge is an event in which the goal is to read and write about a variety of books related to classic film, hosted by Out of the Past. For a complete list of the rules, visit the website.When the Communist witch hunt of the 1950s drew in Hollywood, battle lines were clearly drawn. Senator Joseph McCarthy stirred up a tremendous amount of fear and paranoia over the alleged threat the Soviet Union and their Communist system of government presented to the America... read more »

Ray Bradbury and vintage science fiction films

Guest postby Maria Ramos Few science fiction authors have had the influence on the genre that Ray Bradbury has. His penchant for the strange and mysterious, coupled with evocative, lyrical prose, made his works readily accessible for adaptation into television shows and movies. Bradbury felt acutely the fears and anxieties that many Americans experienced during the Cold War and this is reflected in many of his works. Themes of identity and persecution tied directly to McCarthyismand the Red Scare, whil... read more »

New release roundup for March '15

- Deli Man. My first 2015 movie of the year is this delightful little documentary about the traditional Jewish deli, its glorious past and its diminished-but-still-thriving present, including testimonials from notable Jewish celebs such as Jerry Stiller and Larry King. We see the difficulty and the stress of working such a hectic place as a deli, as well as the camaraderie and the fun, and Jewish culture and history get their fair share of attention. Not as New York-centric as you might imagine, although... read more »

Frank Capra

Frank Capra always struck me as one of those directors who were almost too good to be true. His films were polemics, coming from a specific point-of-view, and yeah, sometimes they were preachy - I don't think one could dispute that - but they were products of their time as well, a time of tremendous economic hardship followed by a period of world war.Capra was the perfect filmmaker for the New Deal era of President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR entered the White House during the heart of the Great Depression a... read more »

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) from my VHS collection Okay, don't get me wrong, I still like The Day the Earth Stood Still as a movie. It's ambitious, it's better written and acted than most alien-invader movies of the period, it has that awesome Bernard Herrmann score, and in the grand tradition of classic science fiction, it attempts to say something important about the world we live in. That said, I think I have a serious problem with it, and the problem lies with Klaatu's departing speech ... read more »

A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sunseen on TV @ TCM1.14.15SoA Raisin in the Sun was revived on Broadway last year, and after seeing the film version again, I kinda wish I had seen it live as well. Denzel Washington might be too old for the part, but I have absolutely no problem imagining him stepping into Sidney Poitier's shoes. The revival did very well: it won three Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play, and even the President and First Lady went to see it.Raisin is a play that has enjoyed a long shelf life, b... read more »

Happy new year from Seth & James

I was thisclose to seeing The Interview. The Kew Gardens Cinemas, I'm proud to say, was one of the many indie theaters nationwide that agreed to show the movie after distributor SONY declined to release it; you all know the story by now. After reading about the film itself, though, and already having a general idea of the kind of humor that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco indulge in, I thought that supporting the right to freedom and free speech may not be that important in this particular case.Still, ... read more »

Selma

Selmaseen @ AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13, New York, NY12.26.14Love and hate. You can't have one without the other, and ever since the dawn of time, it seems like they've gone at each other like battering rams. We try to use love to rise above our baser instincts, but hate inevitably does its best to drag us down.Are we forever doomed to be locked in this cycle? I certainly hope not, but for every step forward we seem to make in the struggle to transcend ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, we end up taking... read more »

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawlerseen @ Cinemart Fiveplex, Forest Hills, Queens, NY12.23.14One of the things I remember quite clearly about the first few hours of September 11 was how often the TV news kept showing the footage of the second plane crashing into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and their subsequent demolition. I remember thinking how unreal it seemed, that it looked like a scene from an action movie. Granted, it was tremendously newsworthy, to say the least, but as the day wore on and the networks co... read more »

My Reputation

My Reputationseen on TV @ TCM11.21.14There's been a great deal of discussion over the past few years about the decline of the romantic film, whether comedy or drama. (Earlier this week, The Dissolve was the latest film site to have a discussion about it.) When I addressed the matter a couple of years ago, I talked about how many of the industry's biggest leading men have been reluctant to appear in romantic movies (comedies in particular), a problem that didn't exist to anywhere near the same degree back... read more »

Malabar Farm: Ghosts and Hollywood

[Maybe you believe in the paranormal. Maybe you don't. Either way, I suggest that you take the following for what it is: a really cool story from a good pal of mine. - RW]Guest post by Andrea McEnaney Ohio is not a state thought of as a getaway destination. When most people think of Ohio, if they think of it at all, they imagine farms and fields, not Hollywood icons. But for a period in the 1940s, Ohio was a destination for some of the biggest names in movies. James Cagney, Tyrone Power, Dorothy Lamour... read more »

Gone Girl

Gone Girlseen @ Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, Jamaica NY10.7.14 SPOILERS Can't talk about this movie without them. Sorry.In the old war-of-the-sexes comedy Adam's Rib, Katharine Hepburn's lawyer character gets a jury to acquit a woman who shot her husband in a crime of passion after discovering him with another woman. She does it out of a conviction that if men can get away with this sort of thing, then so can women, and that they should be treated just as equally as men in a case like this. Spencer Tracy... read more »

The unexpected virtue of linkage

So there's this local literary magazine called Newtown Literary. It's still relatively new, but it's already built a bit of a rep for attracting Queens writers for short stories and poetry. The theme for their next issue is sci-fi/fantasy.Guess who's gonna be in it.Yep! I had had my eye on getting in the mag before, possibly by submitting a piece from WSW, but they only take original, unpublished work (a post on a blog counts as being published), so what I did was, I crafted a short story loosely inspire... read more »

'Wrong man' of Hitch film to be feted

Henry Fonda as Manny Balestrero in 'The Wrong Man'The man who inspired theAlfred Hitchcocksuspense film “The Wrong Man”will have a street co-named for him in the neighborhood that served as the backdrop for the classic 1956 flick.Manny Balestrero, an Elmhurst father, husband and musician who was cast into the spotlight after he was falsely accused of a robbery in 1953, will be honored with Manny “The Wrong Man” Balestrero Way at 73rd Street and 41st Avenue.According to Balestrero’s youngest son Greg, the... read more »

Ninotchka

Ninotchka seen on TV @ TCM 9.10.14I think it was sometime in the mid-to-late 90s. At least, I'm fairly sure it was around then. I don't remember if I was channel surfing and discovered it by accident or if I knew about it in advance. I distinctly remember seeing it though: PBS aired a bunch of Greta Garbo silents. They may have been clips or they may have been full-length films; I don't recall.The point is that I remember watching them on TV and being mesmerized by them. Part of it has to do with the w... read more »

Grand Illusion

The World War I in Classic Film Blogathon observes the centennial of the first World War through the films based on or inspired by it, hosted by Movies Silently and Silent-ology. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the links at either site.Grand Illusionseen @ "Films on the Green Festival," Pier 1, Riverside Park, New York, NY7.18.14When I was in college, I took an art class whose specific name I don't remember, but I certainly recall the teacher. Julie was perhaps my favorite college instr... read more »

Split Second

Split Secondseen on TV @ TCM8.12.14I've written before about growing up during the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war hung over our heads, even if it wasn't something we thought about every day. It wasn't like it was in the 50s; we never had to practice "duck and cover" routines in the classroom or anything like that. For my generation, nuclear war was woven into the culture, but in the background for the most part. Something talked about every now and then, but in the abstract. Something that was ... read more »

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apesseen @ Movieworld, Douglaston, NY7.15.14So you wanna be a leader, do you?Understandable. When you're a leader, you're the star of the show. You're the one who gets to sit in the captain's chair. Everything that happens revolves around you. What you say goes and everyone has to listen to you because they all know you're the smartest, the bravest, the strongest. And they'll follow you into hell if you say so because they believe in you.You better make sure you read the fine pr... read more »

5 movies set at World's Fairs

The Unisphere, the symbol of the '64 FairYesterday, I attended a very special event - a festival celebrating the anniversaries of the two World's Fairs held in New York: the 1939-40 Fair and the 1964-65 Fair. Both Fairs, as well as yesterday's festival, were set here in Queens, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, across the street from CitiField and the 7 train, home to tennis' US Open and repository of many childhood memories. I played and hung out in Flushing Meadows a lot as a kid, and though I had a v... read more »

Belle

Belleseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens NY5.13.14It's those dresses. They're... distracting. Whenever I watch a period piece set in the 19th century or earlier, I just can't help but be distracted by them. Yes, I realize that it's the corsets underneath them that create all that generous cleavage, and yes, they're probably uncomfortable as hell, but... usually, they're the only thing that keeps me awake whenever I watch a period piece. Most of the time, all those movies about Lady Such-and-S... read more »

The WW2 record of Brigadier Gen. James Stewart

The James Stewart blogathon is an event devoted to the life and career of the great Golden Age actor, presented by the Classic Film TV Cafe. For a complete list of participating bloggers, please visit the host site.James Stewart is fondly remembered today as one of Hollywood's finest actors, but to those members of the Greatest Generation who fought in World War 2, Stewart is also remembered as a war hero, who served with great distinction as a member of the US Army Air Corps.Stewart had piloting experi... read more »

Noah

Noahseen @ AMC Fresh Meadows 7, Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY3.28.14PastorFred Phelps is dead.For over fifty years, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas preached the gospel of the Bible to his congregation. In recent years, however, he and his constituents became notorious for sitting in judgment on their fellow man in a fashion numerous Americans found reprehensible.This godless heathen believes Phelps was a small-minded, bigoted, intolerant, hypocritical sham of a human being and that the wo... read more »

Lovely Lily

Lovely Lilyseen @ Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, Queens NY2.9.14Try to imagine it. Travelling to a foreign country in pursuit of your dreams, your arrival eagerly anticipated by millions. Being on the verge of instant stardom, the media following your every step and recording your every word as if you were royalty. Performing on live television back when it was still new, practically deafened by the roar of the teenage audience. Conquering the world... by the age of 22.Try to imagine what it was like to be... read more »

The Night I Danced at the Hollywood Canteen

The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon is an event in which participants examine a given year in movies from the Golden Age, hosted by Movies Silently, Silver Screenings and Once Upon a Screen. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the links at these sites.1942Matthew got drafted for the war in April of 1942. Momma told me in a letter. By that time I was well into my Hollywood "career," and he and I had fallen out of touch with each other long ago. We had believed our little high school ... read more »

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Streetseen @ AMC Fresh Meadows 7, Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY1.7.14So. Martin Scorsese. A quick search through WSW makes me realize I haven't talked about him a great deal here. I haven't written about any of his classic films yet, partially because there's not much more I can say about them that hasn't already been said. As you're aware by now, I'm not about deep critical film analysis. There are better places you can go to for that. But I ought to say a few words about him while I have t... read more »

Dark Victory

Dark Victoryseen on TV @ TCM12.10.13At some point in our lives, we have to come face to face with the hard truth that someday, we're gonna die. I've certainly given it my fair share of thought. I made peace with the inevitability of my father's death before he actually went, and I'm in the process of doing the same with my mother. As for myself, well, it's certainly not a topic I dwell on often, but once you hit middle age, it is something that starts to reside in the back of your mind.The thing is, thou... read more »

Links and a NaNoWriMo recap

So as I mentioned back in the end of October, I spent the month of November participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which the goal is to write a manuscript for a novel in thirty days with a minimum of 50,000 words. I feel I should stress the fact that the goal is to make a manuscript, a first draft. There's absolutely no way that what I wrote is ready to be sent to a publisher right now. That would be way too embarrassing, to say the least.Nonetheless, I did make it to the 50,000 ma... read more »

Captain Phillips

Captain Phillipsseen @ AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13, New York NY10.19.13I still miss the old Tom Hanks.This is one of the biggest modern actors whose career I've seen progress almost from the beginning. I mean, I remember watching Bosom Buddies on TV, which seems like a lifetime ago now. Why I watched it, I couldn't tell you, but I remember seeing Hanks go from that ridiculous sitcom to the big screen and making some awesome comedies.Sure, everyone remembers Splash and Big, but where is the love for films... read more »

Gravity

Gravityseen @ AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7, Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY10.9.13It was nice to see the response - on Twitter, if no place else - about the news that the Voyager 1 probe left the Milky Way galaxy. (Whether it will evolve into an artificial life form and return to Earth searching for its creator remains to be seen.) Once upon a time, exploring outer space was a much bigger deal than it is now. Sure, it initially had to do, in part, with keeping up with the Soviets, but the way JFK pitched it to th... read more »

Prisoners

Prisonersseen @ AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7, Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY9.24.13In my post on Zero Dark Thirty, I went into some length about violence in general and torture in specific, and why it's so appealing as a storytelling trope. I stated that I'm no different from most people in that I can deal with watching torture in a movie if it's in service to a strong story (though Twelve Years a Slave will test the limits of my tolerance, I'm sure), and that if indeed, torture was used in the search for Osama ... read more »

Gone With the Wind

The Blind Spot is an ongoing series hosted by The Matinee in which bloggers watch and write about movies they've never seen before. For a list of past entries, visit the home site.Gone With the Windseen on TV @ TCM8.20.13I've loved classic movies ever since the first time I saw Sunset Boulevard in college and became fully aware of what movies can do. In the three years I've worked on this blog, I've made some good friends who share this love. Thing is, though, loving classic movies means accepting the fa... read more »

Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Stationseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY8.8.13In my life, I've had encounters with police twice - however, they turned out to be misunderstandings both times. The first time was here in New York, in my Queens neighborhood. I was walking down a street; I forget where I was headed, but it doesn't matter. A cop car from the opposite side of the street turned around to my side, and one of the cops asked me to approach. Hesitantly, I did so, heart pounding in my chest as I prepared... read more »

The Butler (advance screening)

Getting kinda tired of seeing posters for black films that don't show faces.The immense success of Lee Daniels' film Precious still bewilders me after all this time. It's a totally unsubtle, feel-bad movie that revels in its misery. It has one of the most horrifying antagonists in recent film history, yet it undermines her villainy with a shamelessly bait-y eleventh-hour attempt at redemption. And it has pretensions at hoity-toity "Art" with scenes that take you completely out of the reality of the film.... read more »

Big Words

Big Wordsseen @ AMC Empire 25, New York, NY7.19.13On the night of November 4, 2008, I was in Columbus, Ohio, watching the presidential election on my roommate Max's laptop computer. I had cast my vote weeks in advance. It was Max's idea and I thought it was a pretty good one. I was still relatively new to the city and I guess I believed it would be better than voting on Election Day itself, especially since I was living in a so-called "swing state" and every ballot would really count, more so than in a t... read more »

Gold Diggers of 1933

Gold Diggers of 1933seen @ "Summer On the Hudson Movies Under the Stars," Pier 1, Riverside Park, New York, NY7.10.13I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that the Great Depression wasn't a lot of fun to live through. We've all seen pictures, read stories, about American life in the 1930s; how the federal government, led by President Franklin Roosevelt, went to extraordinary lengths to revive the nation's economy after the stock market crash of 1929. It doesn't look all that appealing. Small wonder, ... read more »

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)Do they even still show movies on free television anymore? I mean, besides traditional holiday-themed stuff. I realize that there are now dozens of ways to see movies today, once upon a time, the "Movie of the Week" on any one of the Big Three networks was a big deal. In my house, it was practically a family tradition. I'm pretty sure I've written here before about the Betamax VCR we used to have (SHUT UP) and all the TV movies I recorded - most of them movies that pl... read more »

Sergeant York

The Howard Hawks Blogathon is a celebration of the life and career of director Howard Hawks, and is hosted by the blog Seetimaar. For a complete list of participating bloggers, visit the website.Sergeant Yorkseen on TV @ TCM5.10.13I imagine that for as long as man has waged war on each other, there have been individuals with moral objections to the practice. It's certainly not hard to imagine why. Someone once described war as a failure of the imagination, and when one considers how long some conflicts h... read more »

42

42seen @ AMC Fresh Meadows, Fresh Meadows, Queens, NY4.18.13And now, five things I thought of as I watched 42:1. I wished my father had lived to see this, because this would've soooooo been up his alley. I got my appreciation for baseball from him at an early age. (It used to be love at one point. It must have been love, but like the song says, it's over now. Invite me to a ball game and I'll go, especially if it's a minor league game; I just don't feel the passion for it that I once did.)For all of our ... read more »

Better Mus' Come

Better Mus' Comeseen @ AMC Empire 25, New York, NY3.16.13So what, if anything, does Jamaica, Queens and JAMAICA Jamaica have in common? Not a whole lot, based on what I know of the latter. There is a visible Caribbean presence here; for example, in Queens and Brooklyn there are privately-owned commuter vans that supplement the city buses and are cheaper (though not by much), and many of them are run by Caribbeans. On the rare occasions I use one of them, I always hear reggae music playing in the van's CD... read more »

Mrs. Miniver/Random Harvest

Mrs. MiniverRandom Harvestseen on TV @ TCM3.11.13So according to the website Behind the Name, the name "Greer" comes from the Scottish, and is a derivation of "Gregor." It's one of those old-fashioned names you hardly ever see anymore, so perhaps it's only fitting that it's associated with one of the big movie stars of the past - namely, Greer Garson. I can't say I'm too familiar with her, but I do recall having seen her biggest hit, Mrs. Miniver, back when I was working video retail. At the time, I tho... read more »




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