Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Good Burger (1997)
Dexter Reed (Kenan Thompson) crashes his car and needs a job to pay for the damages. He gets a job at Good Burger with the help of bumbling worker Ed (Kel Mitchell). They face predatory competition from newly opened Mondo Burger across the street. Ed comes up with his own sauce which becomes a big hit.
I like the guys. I really like Kel. I've never seen their show, Kenan & Kel. On the other hand, I don't like Mondo and not in the way that the movie wants. I don't like Mondo's broadly villainous style. They are the neon bright evil. It's bad. The villain is not good and the actor isn't much better. There is a moment when the opposition tries to be sillier than the silly protagonist and that doesn't always work. It's a tug of war and the annoying villain wins out.
The Fallen Idol (1948)
junior moral conflict
Philippe is a diplomat's young son in London. He spends most of his days with the butler Baines who is his best friend although he dislikes Baines' housekeeper wife. He follows Baines and finds him in an emotional conversation with Julie who Baines claims to be his niece. Philippe does not understand the adult situations as he observes them.
It's intriguing to watch a story from a child's vantage point. I wonder if it could be even more intriguing if it becomes totally Philippe's POV. The audience can be convinced of Baines' guilt just like Philippe. The movie can do a reveal of Baines' vantage point at the end. In this case, the tension comes from the fear of Philippe causing a big problem for innocent Baines. It's an interesting dilemma. This is great. I love the end with the kid desperately trying to tell the truth but nobody wants to hear it.
Hearts of the West (1975)
innocent but not stupid
Iowa farm boy Lewis Tater (Jeff Bridges) is an aspiring western writer. Despite being laughed at by his brothers, he travels to Nevada to join a mail correspondence school. He is strictly a naive farmer who discovers that buffalo don't run anymore and the university is simply post office boxes. While staying at a local hotel, he gets attacked by one of the con man. He escapes by stealing the head con man's car. After running out of gas, he finds a tool box with a gun and runs into the desert night. With the two con men following, he stumbles upon a real western film crew. He joins them as they head back to Hollywood. He befriends old hand Howard Pike (Andy Griffith) and script girl Miss Trout (Blythe Danner). Bert Kessler (Alan Arkin) hires him first as a stunt man and then gives him lines. All the while, he is paid as little as possible.
This has a bit of fun at times although Lewis' cluelessness really bothered me. He is smart enough to write stories but so stupid in so many ways. There is a difference between being naive and being a moron. He keeps crossing the line. He cannot be too stupid to write well. One way to solve it would be to make him an aspiring actor rather than an aspiring writer. Bridges is an appealing lead and he can definitely play clueless. He is The Dude. Overall, I like the characters and I generally like the screwball comedy nature of the film.
Calling All Curs (1939)
Larry, Curly, and Moe are three bumbling surgeons, animal surgeons. Reporters show up to do a story on the boys who turn out to be dognappers coming for Mrs. Bedford's prized dog. This is the silliest of premise. It's a lot of dogs and beautiful ladies. Mostly, it is so ridiculous that it couldn't help being fun. It does need a dog stampede running over the boys.
The Boy Friend (1971)
long and mostly meaningless
A struggling theater in Portsmouth has another small crowd for a matinee showing of "The Boy Friend". The leading lady Rita goes down with an injury and the mousy assistant stage manager Polly (Twiggy) has to take over the lead role of Polly Browne in the 20's era broad flapper musical play. Rumors of a leading Hollywood director in the audience soon spread among the cast who are hoping to be discovered. Polly has a crush on the leading man which comes with various fantasy sequences.
This is mostly an old style musical extravaganza with limited extravaganza. The fantasy sequences are trying to be outlandish like a Busby Berkeley musical. The play itself is meaningless dribble. At least, that's all that I could derive from it. It does fit the premise that almost nobody comes to see it. These take up 90% of the movie and are basically meaningless to any drama. The only interesting drama could only come if the material is treated like "Waiting for Guffman". The reality of the drama comes from the behind-the-scene stuff. The on-stage material tries to be big but has no drama. We may as well be the scattered bored audience in the movie. There is no way to survive the over two hours running time. The simple plot does not deserve the length. One thing that this movie does do is that it shows Twiggy to be a magnetic screen presence and she is an able actor. I don't know what the original London musical "The Boy Friend" is like. I don't know how much play within the play is done. Whatever the case, I can see this as more fun when done live and in person. This feels like watching a second rate production of a musical in a mostly empty theater in the middle of the afternoon.
True Confessions (1981)
rock solid acting
In post-war L.A., Desmond Spellacy (Robert De Niro) is the well-connected monsignor in the Los Angeles archdiocese. His older brother is LAPD Detective Tom Spellacy (Robert Duvall). They are both entrenched in the corrupt city. Tom was a bagman and Desmond is always horse trading among the sinful elites. The body of a young woman cut in two pieces is found on a hillside.
This is inspired by the 1947 Black Dahlia murder. The acting is impeccable. The cast is rock solid. The movie spends a lot of time painting a picture of the setting and the brothers. As a mystery, it is a straight short road without any interesting twists and turns. I can't really even call it a mystery. It is actually a relationship movie. The dead body is more or less a distraction. With a big time Black Dahlia story, one expects a better crime mystery investigation. The actors and their performances are beyond reproach.
early De Niro
Baccala is the rich, powerful mob boss of Brooklyn. His subordinate Kid Sally Palumbo (Jerry Orbach) hates getting cut out of the money and being disrespected. Baccala assigns him to supervise a six day bicycle race which is important for the Italian community. Mario Trantino (Robert De Niro) is one of the racers from the old country. He is coupled with Kid Sally's sister Angela.
This is an odd mix of very broad comedy, and an indie mobster movie. I wouldn't mind the indie mobster movie. The very broad comedy almost never works. The story telling is messy and there's a lion. I would cut out the bicycle thing. De Niro should simply be a young hustler from the old country. It is interesting to see him before he joined Scorsese and the early 70's NYC style. It does need to cut the attempted comedy and clarify the script.
compelling chain gang
James Allen returns from the war wanting to be a construction engineer. Instead, he takes a job from his old boss to satisfy his family. He leaves home for construction work across America. Down on his luck, he befriends another hobo who drags him into a robbery. He is arrested and sentenced to hard labor. It is a brutal existence. He manages to escape. With a new identity, he becomes a successful builder and blackmailed into marrying Marie Woods.
I really like most of the first half. James should probably run from his steady job for a better reason. He should be suffering from PTSD and finds comfort on the road. The chain gang is very effective. Those parts of the movie are the most compelling. The premise of his ascension is a bit far-fetched. It also slows down the pacing and lowers the tension. I do see the need to heighten the unreasonable situation. It just goes the long way around.
The Irishman (2019)
old man Scorsese
Elderly Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) in a nursing home recounts his life in the mob. He murders prisoners in WWII. He drives a truck and steals slabs of beef from the back. He is caught but he wins his trial. He is introduced to various mob bosses and befriends Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). He becomes the right hand man of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
They don't make directors like Martin Scorsese anymore and they don't make movies like this anymore. Quite frankly, at two and a half hour, this may fit better as a TV mini-series. Only his name makes this a cinematic experience. While it is beautifully filmed, nothing really screams big screen. It is detailed and methodical. The problem is that it is a movie about a cold-hearted character. He is unmoved about his violent ways until the last act. His criminality is not fun. His brutality has no humanity. He is psychopath and not an enjoyable one. It is a movie from the past, by the past, and about the past. While I am in awe of the filmmaking expertise, I find the character has limited appeal. Scorsese is going over old grounds. His perfect movies have already been made. This can never exceed them.
Busy Buddies (1944)
some stupid fun
Larry, Curly, and Moe run the failing Jive Cafe. They owe $97 for pastry and are threaten with the lost of the diner. They try to earn money by hanging posters. The posters advertise a county fair with a $100 milking contest and the boys get an idea.
I like the diner. I like its random stupidity and then it gets stupider. The cow milking is stupid but fun. That's all that one really wants from the Stooges, some stupid fun. It doesn't get much stupider than this.
Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
momma more than gold
Larry, Curly, and Moe are lazy bums still living with their mother. Curly has a crazy gold finder invention and the boys go to the city to sell it. They buy a gold claim off a con man on the street. They head out west and can only finds cans with their gold finder. Curly stumbles upon a lost mine.
The gold mine is fine. The cactus is fine. The gold coins don't make sense. All of that is functional but I prefer the mother much more. It would have interesting to have her hit the boys non-stop for fifteen minutes. It's weirdly funny to have a female Curly.
Gloria Bell (2018)
A Divorced Woman
Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore) is a middle-aged divorcée in Los Angeles. She spends her days at her job, with her friends and her family, and dealing with a hairless cat and a disturbed neighbor. She spends her nights dancing at a nightclub with other older club goers. One night, she meets Arnold (John Turturro).
This is a remake of a Chilean film. The style is a matter of fact, slice of life story of a simple older woman. It has some docu-style flair. When she has the one night stand with Arnold, it's fine for her to know nothing about him. As she gets into a relationship, the movie needs to do some exposition with his life. I may have missed it but she needs to have a deep discussion about his relationships. This movie has a lot unspoken but his personal life cannot be one of them. He can lie about it but she can't not ask him about it. Turturro is obviously disturbed somehow and she's avoiding it. There are little things that rang wrong. I don't like her son questioning her where she found Arnold. It's an inquisition when he should be supportive. He could rail against him but he can't accuse her. It's a written line to point a finger at her when her son would unlikely do that in reality. Otherwise, it's a great portrait of an older woman. The tension is lessened by looking away from the drama.
The Addams Family (2019)
Angry villagers attack Gomez and Morticia's wedding. The family escape to the new world where they settle in a dark mansion up on a hill. Margaux Needler is a disapproving neighbor who has her own show selling her perfectly planned community. Wednesday befriends Margaux's daughter Parker who tells her about junior high school. Wednesday decides to abandon home school for the public school.
This is obviously trying to tap into the Hotel Transylvania fandom as well as the nostalgia. This does remind me of Addams Family Values in one way. In both movies, Wednesday is the most interesting character. She has the most personal growth and her adventures are the most fish out of water. The movie goes overboard with Margaux. It would be nice to have more Parker with Wednesday. The family remains the funniest when they are forced to adapt to the regular world. There is not enough of that. When Wednesday starts dressing girly, Morticia could get more laughs by dressing the same to get in touch with her rebelling daughter. This is a functional start but it needs to go somewhere new if the franchise continues.
Trancers III (1992)
Lena (Helen Hunt) is getting divorced from Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson). He is pulled back to 2352. The future is under constant Trancer attacks. All they know is that reporter Lena has information on the source of the attacks in 2005. There is a secret government program developing Trancers run by Col. Daddy Muthuh and R.J. is Lena's inside source.
From a fish robot to a time traveling booth, the franchise keeps adding strange artifacts. It's turning more and more into camp. The movie is basically trolling any critical review by naming the villain Daddy Mother. At 75 minutes, it barely has enough material to call this a movie. I'm surprised that both Hunt and Ward returned for this one albeit for short scenes. This franchise is going down a weird side road.
Operation Eichmann (1961)
It's 1941. Adolf Eichmann (Werner Klemperer) is the ruthless Nazi leader who implements the final solution. As the tide of war turns, he starts cremating the victims to cover up the crime. At the end of the war, he manages to escape with a bag of jewels and Anna Kemp. He intends to lead a new worldwide Nazi organization while Israeli operatives pursue him across the globe.
I've never seen Hogan's Heroes so Klemperer is a meaningless name to me. All I can say is that his cold determination and ruthless arrogance is frightening. The first half of the movie is almost entirely pointed at his character. The second half is the chase following both sides. There is some intriguing elements although there is probably a lot of fictionalization. I'm also troubled that Eichmann is the antagonist of the story. Nevertheless, this is a compelling story with a compelling performance.
The Juggler (1953)
interesting PTSD story
Holocaust survivor Hans Muller (Kirk Douglas) arrives in the new country of Israel. Before the war, he was a juggler with a family but now he's alone as a refugee. He is terribly troubled and gets into a fight with a policeman. He is hunted by the police and befriends a young boy.
This reminds me of his son's movie Falling Down in that this character is broken. In that sense, Kirk is too powerful. The role needs someone more jittery and more flustered. It only happens in certain times. He's playing it like an on/off switch. It would have been great if his relationship with the boy could slowly return him to normal. He needs to start in a chaotic state and turn into a more steady state by the end. It is interesting to see PTSD being portrayed in an earlier movie. His clown work is very good and this is fairly compelling as a subject matter.
Puppet Master II (1990)
After the first movie, survivor Alex Whitaker had gone insane and the state had taken over the Bodega Bay Inn. The puppets dig up Toulon's grave next to the abandoned hotel and reanimates the corpse. A group of researchers breaks in to investigate the reported paranormal incident. Toulon builds a flame throwing puppet.
The basic premise is simple enough. I really wish that William Hickey could continue with the franchise. He's an unique actor and this movie misses him. A bandaged Toulon is a bit cheap. The bigger problem is that the group meets him and seems unconcerned. Basically, they meet the invisible man and nobody cares. These are paranormal investigators. There should be more questions. The best way is to keep him hiding like the Phantom of the Opera. The flashback and the story gets muddled. The more characters get added, the more unnecessary it becomes. This doesn't need to be much more than killer puppets taking out the group in an isolated place. The first half is exactly that and the movie is great up to that point. I did expect much worst. The production value has been raised. The acting is functional. It is an average B-movie horror until the last act. It turns supersized and rather camp. I can certainly see the comedic possibility of this campy turn in this long running franchise.
Out West (1947)
Shemp go west
Shemp has a troubled leg vein and his doctor orders him to go out west. He is joined by Larry and Moe. Doc Barker orders dancing girl Nell to find out about the strangers. Shemp tells her about his vein and everyone assumes it to be a vein of gold. Doc had murdered Nell's father, stolen the family saloon, and locked up her beau The Arizona Kid. The guys agree to help her defeat the villain.
This is a fine Shemp Stooges short. Curly is still the best for me. Shemp is mostly fine. The jail breakout is a bit annoying. I get the premise of the sonic assault. I just don't want it assaulting me. Overall, it has some fun bits and the story flows well for a Stooges short.
No Dough Boys (1944)
yellow face and body double
Larry, Curly, and Moe dress as Japanese soldiers for a photo shoot. They have fifteen minutes for a quick lunch. News reports that three Japanese soldiers are on the loose. They fall through a trap door and happens upon a secret Nazi hideout.
The guys are doing yellow-face which is perfectly humorous for its time and during wartime against Japan. On top of that, the boys are almost making fun of yellow-face acting. The more disappointing part is the stunt double for Curly. His health issues don't allow him to do the tougher stunts but it's still disappointing. They should rewrite this to let Curly do less strenuous stunts and avoid the body double. This is a wartime Stooges propaganda and I'm sure it was popular with the soldiers.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is 22 with Down syndrome. He has no family and the state has placed him in a retirement home under the care of Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). After two years locked up in the home, he tries to run away multiple times. With Carl (Bruce Dern)'s help, he finally manages to escape between the window bars. He's a stowaway on Tyler (Shia LaBeouf)'s boat. Tyler has no fishing licence and resorted to stealing crab pots from Duncan (John Hawkes). He's on the run and reluctantly takes on Zak who has a dream of attending a wrestling school run by minor wrestling celebrity Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church).
This is a road trip and water trip that pays tribute to Mark Twain. Zack is adorable. There is some tear jerking and some comedic hilarity. The acting is first rate and the characters are endearing. It is a little convenient for everybody to keep catching up to Zak although they do show the map where there is only that line. I think as long as the movie doesn't ignore it. These little contrivances can be excused. It's good that Tyler mentions pheromones. The other minor issue is the abrupt ending. There seems to be a switch which does suggest a tacked on ending. I like the ending but I would prefer not to get the misdirection. Overall, this is quite a magical trip.
The Last Days on Mars (2013)
A scientific mission on its last days on Mars. They are on edge as they wait for the pickup and a trip back to Earth. Marko finds possible life and keeps it from the rest of the team. As he investigates the site, a cavern opens up beneath him. After another crewman disappears, two members descend into the pit to find growing life in the dark.
This is a derivative sci-fi horror which borrows from some of the best whether it's Alien or other zombie movies. Surprisingly, there is a good solid cast, a good production, and a functional script. The directing is perfunctory and lacks the inventiveness to be interesting. This just doesn't have it.
early Alfred Hitchcock
There is a seventh golden haired woman killed by a masked figure known as The Avenger. The city is whipped up by the media circus. Blonde model Daisy Bunting (June Tripp) is unfazed by the killings. She lives with her parents. Her mother rents out a room to The Lodger. Daisy gets closer and closer to him despite her parents' growing suspicions and her boyfriend's dislike of the new boarder.
This is one of the earlier Alfred Hitchcock films. It's black and white silent movie or more to the point, yellowy orange. It's also the first movie where Hitchcock makes an appearance on screen albeit out of necessity. It is a first for him in many ways and shows his taste for the thrill of the macabre. It also shows his proclivity for blondes. It's an intriguing mystery thriller. The man should be more normal at the beginning. It would take away some of the problem from mother taking him in as a boarder. I do like the hinting of homosexuality for The Lodger. That would actually be the more interesting way to go with the character although the audience may not be ready. His reveal is interesting. Despite the unlikely story, it would be more compelling for him to catch the serial killer himself. Overall, this is an intriguing start to a legendary career. There is real tension with the mysterious Lodger.
Written on the Wind (1956)
Self-destructive nymphomaniac Marylee (Dorothy Malone) and playboy Kyle (Robert Stack) are the children of Texas oil tycoon Jasper Hadley. The adult heirs are spoiled, and entitled alcoholics. Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) is a geologist in the company and a friend of the family. Kyle and Mitch both fall for New York ad executive Lucy Moore (Lauren Bacall). Marylee has a secret crush on Mitch. Kyle has a quick marriage to Lucy.
This is a melodramatic soap opera of the highest order. It has more in common with modern day soaps. It's not really my taste but it obviously was somebody's taste. It is high class trash with great actors doing big acting. Bacall is striking as always. Stack and Malone are pushing the melodrama. I'm not as familiar with Hudson but he has a quiet power in his acting. Overall, this is pulpy, soapy, and over the top done in a professional way. It is serious trash.
new level for old genre
It's the story of the doctors and nurses of the emergency room in Chicago's County General Hospital. Medical shows are a long time staple of the TV landscape. This is one of the signposts of the genre. The awards are overflowing. It signals a new realism along with an intensity from the rapid fire medical terminology. The cast is a list of big new names headlined by George Clooney. The fifteen seasons can be daunting and there are some better than others. This is mostly due to how much one likes the cast during any one time period. On its original run, I actually came in much later after Clooney's initial run. I don't remember watching the pilot but I can see why I didn't continue. It can be a headache inducing experience trying to understand the medical jargon for the first time. Sure, there have already been MASH and St. Elsewhere but this is running at a new intensity. Once one accepts the speed, the medical cross talk can be seen as dramatic music. Over the years, I find most characters compelling except Peter Benton. There is a neediness to his likeability and a selfishness to his personal drama. It's like the show wants me to like him which only infuriates me more. The thing about this show is that the cast is so vast. As long as I have a couple of characters to cling to, the show can be compelling overall.
The Phenix City Story (1955)
Ripped from the headlines
Phenix City, Alabama is a corrupt city of sin bringing lowlifes and soldiers from the neighboring base. Journalist Clete Roberts presents the murder of Albert Patterson presumably by mobster Rhett Tanner who has control of the corrupted government and police. Patterson is the Democrat nominee for Alabama Attorney General tasked with cleaning up the city. The heart of the movie is the amiable respected lawyer Albert Patterson being recruited to run for the post as violence mounts against the good people of the city.
This is a ripped-from-the-headlines story. It starts with a documentary style prologue like a real news report. Although it has documentary style and real life story, many parts of this is fictional. Nevertheless, there is real tension. It starts a little muddled but the tension does rise as the unrelenting violence mount. It has brutality that is beyond cinematic. Even women and children are beaten. The callousness of the corrupt police is just as brutal. It probably needs to give the father son relationship more screen time. It needs to develop the story better. Overall, there are some memorable scenes and it is an unique film.