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July 18, 2020 at 3:26 am #1203590182
War of the Worlds (1953)
Wonderful special effects like the destruction of Los Angeles makes this film a delight for children, but the surrounding 1950’s sci-fi movie clichés make it a slog for adults. The hero is a scientist, which is weird because unlike scientists today he is treated so deferentially, even though in typical boy finds girl, boy loses girl, etc., fashion, what the hero only really wants is to get the girl back. Scenes of wartime destruction culminate in the Americans using the atomic bomb against an implacable invading alien foe, but don’t worry — the fallout is harmless and all guilt is assuaged. The movie ends tidily and with finality in a church scene where all the pious [white] folks are saved.
War of the Worlds (2005)
The newer version of this tale exchanges 1950’s piety for Spielberg sentimentality, a star vehicle for Tom Cruise who in every single film he has ever made has never seemed like anything other than Tom Cruise playing a character, here an irresponsible dad who is called upon to save his children from an alien invasion. The special effects are updated and sometimes thrilling, but sometimes just as hokey as the 1953 version. The movie ends on an unresolved note, with the nuclear family reunited, but still broken.July 18, 2020 at 10:19 am #1203590695
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 5 – Episode 7July 22, 2020 at 4:41 am #1203595544
Upload and tales from the loop ,couple of episodes into both and so far both are great.July 23, 2020 at 12:34 am #1203597008
Fatal AffairJuly 23, 2020 at 2:12 am #1203597050
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Based on a true story of three civil rights workers who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964, this powerful and harrowing film still resonates decades later with the Republican party running a presidential campaign on a platform of white grievance, white supremacy and appeals to racism. The film received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Gene Hackman in a memorable performance) and won the Oscar for Best Cinematography.
Grade: A-July 24, 2020 at 12:25 am #1203599121
Hot In ClevelandJuly 25, 2020 at 3:20 am #1203601496
It Chapter Two (2019)
Although based on characters created by (and featuring a cameo appearance by) Stephen King, this sequel to It (2017) often seems like a parody of a Stephen King story. Or maybe just a cynical attempt to mine that sweet It franchise gold one more time. At the very least, this film should be condemned for making some well-known movie stars (who should know better) act like stereotyped stupid teenagers in any old cheap horror movie. Strangely, it begins with a brutal gay bashing and the nearly three-hour slog rambles on from there, resorting to stupefying CGI effects to distract you from thinking about all the waste. Is it really the final chapter? One can only hope.
Grade: D-July 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm #1203602293
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 5 – Episode 8August 2, 2020 at 2:22 am #1203621674
Director Stanley Kubrick excelled in so many different film genres, including this swords-and-sandals but tragic and heartbreaking recounting of the historic slave revolt in ancient Rome led by Spartacus. Kubrick’s direction is epic and awesome, but also at times intimate and scathingly caustic such as the scene when four rich, decadent Romans arrive at a training camp for slave gladiators and arrange for a private showing of a fight to the death. A worthy recipient for best drama at the Golden Globes and winner of four Oscars including supporting actor (Peter Ustinov, always a delight), cinematography (Russell Metty, who also photographed such gems as Touch of Evil and Imitation of Life), art direction and costume design. It is nevertheless an injustice that the Academy did not nominate Spartacus for best picture. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was also not nominated (except by the Writers Guild of America), but it is superb. The new 4K release is a revelation and deserves the highest recommendation.
Grade: A+August 6, 2020 at 11:20 pm #1203631772
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
A surprising departure into the psychological horror genre for Ingmar Bergman, and yet unmistakably (characteristically, stylistically, thematically) a Bergman film. I love the surreal and creepy party scenes, which are like Fellini, and maybe also Polanski, all circa 1968, on drugs.
Grade: A+August 8, 2020 at 5:07 pm #1203634788
Family FeudAugust 9, 2020 at 11:51 pm #1203636698
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