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Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghost of the Original Haunts...Lackluster Nostalgia...Dull Pedestrian-ism
Tapping Almost Exclusively into "Nostalgia" with a Patina of "Family".

Mostly Unfunny, the Comedic Efforts seem Worn-Out and Lame.

The Movie Hardly is Ever Thrilling Enough or Dazzling Enough to Rise Above the Mediocre of CGI and the SFX all Look Like 1984 Revisited.

If that was Intentional, that is a Shame.

Its Story is Bogged-Down, Slow, Never Mysterious or Threatening.

There are a Few Highlights, and a Few Touching Scenes. But the Monsters and Creatures would even be Tame in "Goosebumps".

It Seems that's the Target Audience, besides Nostalgia Junkies.

The Youngsters may Enjoy the Cuteness, and Adults can Tap-In to Pop-Culture circa the Mid-80's.

But its a Lackluster Affair and can be as Dull as Dirt at Times.

There is One Surprise at the End that is sure to be a Crowd-Pleaser.

Overall for the Kiddies and a Fairly Wide Audience it's... Worth a Watch.

Turning Red

Pixar #25...Demonstrates the Artful Dominance in the Genre...Superlative Presentation
One of the Most Profound Utilization of the Computer-Artist Combining the Emergence of the Digital Platform and Human Imagination...

Pixar's Complete Capitalization and Dominance of the Genre (CGI) to its Maximum Relevance, Creating Art that was Never-Before-Seen Illustrations and Graphics that Captured Modern Audience Respect and Admiration.

All Other Studios have been Playing Catch-Up and Copy-Cat Ever Since. For the Most Part, Pixar Movies have Not Disappointed.

Fans and Critics Alike have Gushed None-Stop, Flowing Accolades and Adjectives of Praise.

Given the Turmoil and Divisive Impact of "Social Media", the Genius Pixar Turned its Back on the Poison from People.

Virtually Anonymous Muck-Rakers and Worse, and Set the Movie in a Pr-Internet Era (2002).

It's a Story/Metaphor for the Onset of "Womanhood" or the Menstrual Cycle.

That in Itself is Mind-Blower. The Menstrual Cycle Openly Discussed, in a "Disney" Movie, Marketed to the Masses in a Pop-Culture Entertainment.

Designed to Enlighten as Well as Entertain, the Movie is Full of World-Class Digital-Art that Astounds Propelling the Life-Lesson Along a 13 Year-Olds Trek to a New Level of Experiences.

A Continuation of the Clever and the Classical.

Pixar is the Best at What They Do, and at this Point in Time is Deflecting Current Criticisms of "Wokeness". Let's Hope that the Formula for Things is to Deteriorate Continuously from Conception to Death.

Whether it be a Country, Civilization, Service, or Product, the Decrepitude Dominates Until the Demise of What Was Once Superlative.

Pixar is a Phenomenal Success Story and Their 25th Movie Shows No Signs of Deterioration, Apathy, or Stagnation.

The Batman

Batman: Year 3...The Roots...Detective Noir...Batman Begins Life-Long Vigilante Revenge
In the Beginning there was "Zorro" a Vigilante Living a Life of Secret Servitude to the Peons, with an Secret-Identity of a Masked Savior, with Home-Base a Cave, Riding a Black as Night Horse (Midnight), with Cape Flowing, a Hero of the Oppressed and Exploited Masses.

Then Later there was "The Batman" Living and Fighting for Justice as a Reborn Modern "Zorro" with the Dedication, Skills, and Resolve and became a Beloved and Respected Hero.

The Life of "The Batman" was that of "Prince of the City", a City Overwhelmed into Chaos by Crime, Corruption, and a Hapless Society in Total Decline. A Noir World where Light has Vacated to the Darkness that Squeezes the Light into Submission and Dominates Life in "Gotham" City.

It's a Place where "The Batman" is in His Essential Elements. An Environment that Gave Him Billions, then Took His Father and Mother at the Hands of Criminals. A Depressing, Gloomy, Foreboding Place Called "Gotham". Home to Bruce Wayne, and "The Batman",

This is Root-Batman Exposed and Struggling to "Make a Difference". 2 Years In, and He's Not Sure if He Matters. "The Batman" Matters as a Film and a Beginning-Place for a "New" Trilogy of "The Batman": The Beginning".

A Depressing, Gloomy, Foreboding Place Called "Gotham". Home to Bruce Wayne, and "The Batman",

This is Root-Batman Exposed and Struggling to "Make a Difference". 2 Years In, and He's Not Sure if He Matters.

"The Batman" Matters as a Film and a Beginning-Place for a "New" Trilogy of "The Batman": The Beginning".

The Professionals

Forgotten Film...The Bridge Between "Spaghetti Westerns" & "The Wild Bunch" (1969)
The "Code" that Dominated and "Lorded Over" Hollywood Motion Picture for Decades enforcing "standards and Practices" Dictated by Rules Set-up by the Committee was in Tatters and Disarray, but Still "Held Court" in 1966.

Truth is, Strict Enforcement of the Aforementioned "Sword of Damocles" by the Film-Makers, Destined this Movie to a "Border-Line" and No Further "Lock-Down" of the Film in the Category of the Restrictions Outside the Creative Concerns of the Talent Doing the Creating.

It Simply, Given by the Rules of Engagement, Could Not Have Gone "Where No Movie Had Gone Before", During the Vice-Like Grip of the Censors.

So There it Was, Forever Shackled by "Interventionists" with Huge Political Clout, Including Church, and Government Leaders.

A Film with an Undeniable Roster of Talent at the Peak of Their Collective Gifts, Making a Movie Under Oppression from Outside Forces, are Forced to Concede to Corporate Rather Than Artists Concerns.

By the Time "The Wild Bunch" (1969) was Released Sam Peckinpah Knew He Had Birthed a Post-Modern Classic that "The Professionals" Could Only Have Dreamed.

Because Richard Brooks was to Early to the Party that was the Celebration of the Death and Demise of the "Motion Picture Code".

So, All the Acting, Writing, and Cinematography although Infused with World Class" Talent, Couldn't Breakout of its "Tortured" and Repressive Existence Under "Blue Laws" Written by Frustrated Twerps and Fascists.

Censorship of Thought or Art Does Nothing but Erect Roadblocks for the Evolution of the Mind and Soul as can be Witnessed as an Example, among Many, that Art, as a Reflection of the"Heart and Soul" of Mankind, Must be Allowed to Flourish for the Soul of Mankind to Flourish.

Despite the Exceptional Work of Richard Brooks, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Woody Strode, Cinematography Conrad L. Hall, and Others,

the Film is a Victim of a Preconceived Contrivance and Limitation of Ideas that Included Many Commandments that if Violated would Bring on the Wrath.


Pleasant Magical Spoof...Wonderfully Witty Charming and Fun
Exceedingly Effective with Lively Characters Evoking Heart-Felt Emotions Blending Real-Life Concerns with Flights of Fantasy.

The Movie, from a Pulitzer Prize Winning Play (1944) from Mary Chase, is Filled with Insight, Laughs, Delivered by Sharply Drawn Caricatures Performed by a Cast of Tightly-Fitted Actors.

James Stewart is "Dowd, Elwood P., Let me give you one of my cards", a "Head in the Clouds" Samaritan that is the Bane of His Sister, Josephine Hull as "Vita", because Elwood has a Best Friend Named "Harvey".

"Harvey" is a 6'3" White Rabbit, known as a ''Pooka", that Only Elwood Sees and Hears.

The Drama that Unfolds as Vita Wants Elwood "Committed" and Drugged with a New Scientific Formula that Makes People "Normal".

Elwood and Harvey are Unaffected by the Calamity and Chaos Around Them and by some sort of "Zen-Therapy" Emanating from the "Happy Couple" Does Change People for the Better.

A Heart-Rendering Film with James Stewart at His Best, Josephine Hull Won an Oscar for Her Dynamic Performance, and the Rest of the Cast is Spot-On.

A Low-Key Mind-Altering Movie that is so Pleasant that it Schmoozes the Audience into Total-Acceptance-Participation into the Nether-World of Elwood and Harvey.

One of the Best "Happy Endings" Ever.

Murder at the Vanities

Final Pre-Code Film Goes Out With Bang-Glorious Beauties On Display
Hollywood's Freedom of Expression came to an End in 1934 with the Implementation of the Hays Code.

A List of Banned and Forbidden Images, Topics, and Subjects would Go into Effect and Oppressively Dominate what Americans Saw on Movie Screens for close 35 Years

This is One of the Last Films to be Released Without Restrictions and the Movie is Typical of the Musical Comedy Revues that had been a Popular Entertainment at the Movies in the Sound Era.

The Girls are Scantily Clad and On Full Display as the Light-Weight Murder-Mystery Unfolds.

"The Vanities" Lacks the Panache and Hyper-Movement, and Breadth of Busby Berkley's Signature Kaleidoscopic Eye-Poppers, the Girls are more Posed than in Motion, but You can Get a Good Look.

Victor Mclaglen is the Police Detective Sparring with Jack Oakie Backstage as the Parade of Semi-Nude Beauties is Never-Stop.

A Prime Example of a Short-Lived Art-Form that would become Tamed Along with the Rest of America's Movie-Output.

A Free-Wheeling Celebration of Life through Razz-Ma-Tazz with "The Most Beautiful Girls in the World".

Denver & Rio Grande

Unremarkable...Studio-Sytem Bred Mediocrity...Early Days of Rail Road Competition
The Still Viable, but Losing Power Exponentially, the Studio System, in 1952 was More than Capable of Culling Contract Players and Film-Makers that could Produce this Type of Mass-Market-Movie-Making with Ease.

The Clock-Work Synthesis of Talent was Given the Wholly Approved Script and Production Notes and Everyone Dutifully "Punched the Clock" Until Work was Over.

The Movie Studios had won Complete and Legal Control Over Each and Every Production.

But the Motion Picture Code was the Overseer of Every Studio.

In the 1950's the System began to Show Signs of Weakness and 20 Years Later would be Gone (Replaced by the Ratings System) with the Wind of Independent Film-Makers.

So, By the Numbers, Formula, and Stagnant Stuff became the "State of the Art".

But the Art of Film had been "Deadened" and the Signs of Impending Doom were Everywhere.

This Film is an Example of the Best Mediocrity that Money could Buy.

No Inspiration or Creativity is Evident Beyond Basic "Manufacturing" a Product Guaranteed to Make a Profit Ruffling No Feathers in the Process.

There's Beautiful Scenery, a Rapid Exchange of Tit for Tat Sabotage and Brawling, Comedy Shenanigans, and it Squeezes the Romance so Tight it Barely Fits.

A High-Light is the Final Head-On Clash of the Competitive Rail Roads.

The Film Certainly isn't a "Train-Wreck", but it isn't Anything Remarkable.

Just Mediocre Movie-Making.

Note...Edmond O' Brien is Miscast and Sterling Hayden is a Vacant Entity.

Murders in the Zoo

Pre-Code Paramount Horror...Atwill Uncaged...Grisly Nasty Stuff
The Pre-Code Years for the "Talkies" (1928-34) Produced a Number of Gangster and Horror Films that Showed little Restraint with Regards to "Community Standards".

Among the Titles is this Little Known, but to Cult-Movie Fans, Nasty Piece of Work with Lionel Atwill at His Signature & Sinister Best.

Setting the Tone is the Very First Scene is a Spoiler or Should Be.

After The Jaw-Dropping Open, the Audience is Transported from the Jungle to the Asphalt Jungle Where Lionel Atwill, Insanely Jealous and a Maniacal Beast Among a Tribe of Humans, Continues to the Body-Count of His Wife's Admirers.

The Dame that Attracts the Attention, Kathleen Burke, who Marked Her Territory in "Island of Lost Souls" (1933).

Unique and Ultimately Satisfying for Horror Fans and there's a Scene that Must be "Infamous" by Now where Big Cats are Forced to Fight while Camera Rolled.

The Movie is Far From Perfect and the Excess Baggage it Must Endure is the More than Average Comedy Relief, a "Safety Valve" to Contrast the Outrageous and Sadistic Violence.

The Films Reputation has Grown Steadily along with Other Greats of the Era.

Note...Early Role for Randolph Scott as a Scientist.

There Was a Crooked Man...

Odd-Ball...Off-Kilter...Over-the-Top Black-Comedy-Western
This is One of Director Mankiewicz's most Divisive Films.

The 4-Time Oscar Winner seemed to Discover the Absence of the "Motion Picture Code" and Embraced the Freedom with this Multi-Toned, Star-Studded Western.

His First Western Ever is a Romping, Head-Snapping, Cynical to the End Look at the "Lighter" Side of Rape, Murder, Robbery, the Penal System, and More.

The Movie is so Odd it is Jaw-Dropping at Times.

The Cast from Top to Bottom all Join in on the "Fun".

The Film Appealed, and still does, to the Post-Modern Audience and Film-School Generation where "Revisionist" is Not a Bad Thing.

Because Nothing On-Screen is Traditional, Especially the Tone, that the Studio-System, where the Director, Henry Fonda, and Kirk Douglas Earned Their Bona-Fides.

This Probably Paved the Way for Great Films Like Mel Brooks""Blazing Saddles" (1974).

The Strange Goings-On in this Love it or Hate it Film, was Probably Shocking to Western Fans and Stalwart Studio-Film Fans.

But that Unfortunate Ride of Full-Control was Over. This was the Dawning of the Age of the Independent Film and Independent Authorship.

For those Willing to "Walk on the Wild Side" of Westerns...

Worth a Watch

Not for Everyone.

War on Everyone

Irreverent...Raunchy...Un-PC...Black-Comedy...A Disturbing Cutting-Edge Satire
Director/Writer John Michael McDonah Wow-Ed Critics with His First 2 Low-Budget Gems, Filmed in Ireland..."The Guard" (2011) and "Calvary" (2014).

In His 3rd Outing the Film-Maker is Less-Concerned with Verisimilitude or "Heaviness" of Statement that can "Change the World" from its Madness.

He Lets Loose with what can be Very Annoying Characters Doing Very Outlandish and Over-the-Top Behavior Slinging One-Liners and Biting Sarcasm Relentlessly Running Amok Throughout.

It's the Kind of Film that You Must "Check-In" and be Ready for the Onslaught of a "Fever-Dream" and Capitulate to the Film's Misanthropic Tone of Death and Destruction.

The Script Takes No Prisoners. It's Wild, Colorful, Anti-Everyone and at Times Reminds of Pre-Code "Marx Brothers" with the Modern-Art Insensibility of Wes Anderson.

It is the Directors 3rd Best Film out of 3, but Make No Mistake, this is a Rare-Bird, an Odd-Duck, and the Cutting-Edge Irreverence may be an Endangered Species.

Not for Everyone, but...

Worth a Watch

For those that can Take It.

Criss Cross

Top-10 Film-Noir...Surprsingly Not Well-Known...A Must See
It's also Surprising, although maybe it shouldn't be, just how Many Times the "New York Times" Movie Reviews were Misfired and Showed Little "Insight" into the Art of Film that it "Criticized".

The "Paper of Record" and its Film-Critic Wrote that this "Masterpiece", Good although Nothing but of "Passing Interest".

This is Director Robert Siodmak at His Peak of Perfection.

He has More than a Little Help. All the Participants do Their Part in Creating this Gem of Influential Movie-Making, in Helping to Create a New Genre...Film-Noir.

The Stars, Lancaster, De Carlo, Duryea, McNally are Spinning Gold.

The Supporting Players are a Rogues Gallery of Underworld Misfits that Spark the Screen with Unforgettable Images and Dialog.

Nikolas Rosa's Score is His Most Haunting.

The L. A. Location Cinematography is Iconic.

Pulsating Imagery Back-Dropping Life "in the Sun" with the "Dark-Side" Provided by a Story of Romance, Desperation, and Crime.

There is so Much to Admire and Respect with "Criss Cross" that One could Sight Many, almost Every Scene, that Resonates its Pain Profoundly.

As Hollywood Ventured to the "Other Side of the Tracks", Post-War to Explore Pre-War Things that were Previously "Verboten" in Hollywood.

Thus Emerged a Genre, Totally Spontaneous, that Would Become Known as "Film-Noir".

This is One Example, that the "Czar of Noir", Author, Film Preservationist, and Fan, Called "Criss Cross" 100% Pure Noir.

Many Highlights, but to Mention One...

the the Fully Fledged Mambo Number that Could be a Noir "Music Video.

That Accentuate and Announces, You're Watching the "Real Deal".

As De Carlo and an Unaccredited Debut for Tony Curtis Heat the Beat, as the Film is Igniting.

Other Selected Examples of Film-Noir may be as Good, but Not Better, than this Cracker-Jack Movie. And...

What an Ending.


Trendy Super-Natural Story of Nature in Revolt...Gaia & Man
Mother Earth...

According to Native-American Mythology, is Capable of Creating Creatures to do Battle Against the Sins of Man.


Forced to Undergo Inhuman Exploitation (both physical and otherwise) by the Powerful Forces of Industry and an Inadequate Representation.

Among the Soul-Less Juggernaut that is Unfettered Capitalism Wreaks Havoc on the Lives of the Lowest.

This Low-Budget "Art-Film" Produced by Guillermo Del Toro, has Agendas worth Exploring, even in a Metaphysical/Supernatural Story.

In this Film the Desperate People in a Small Oregon Town are Struggling with Surviving the Loss of Jobs, Businesses, Illegal Drug Manufacturing and Distribution. Plus Family Dysfunction and Breakdown.

The "Monster from the id" in this Place is a Folklore "Wendigo".

The Major Malfunction in the Movie is that All of the Issues are so Devastating and Profound that the Conglomerate of Situations makes it Impossible to Grab a Handle and Hold-On.

The Film's Chaotic Tracking of Events can Get One Lost in the Layers and Labyrinth of Problems so Deep and Lasting, Becoming Confusing Misfires of Actions, Responsibilities, and Solutions.

When All is Said and Done the Movie has Thrills, Unrelenting Squalor and Dread. Good Performances, and Practical as well as CGI SFX that are Lovecraftian.

But the Enormous Weight of Suffering brought on by Multiple Antagonists is so Overwhelming Deep and Destructive that it all seems Hope-Less and Dystopian. Worth a Watch.

Lisa e il diavolo

Morbid Macabre Nightmare-Incoherent Beautiful Baroque & Gaudy
This is One of Mario Bava's Most Personal Horror Films.

After Completion it Failed to Garner any Distributor Interest and Languished in Picture Purgatory for a While.

Trying to Recoup some of His Investment, Producer Alfredo Leone, Re-Cut (Mutilated) Bava's Film and Released it as "House of Exorcism''.

A Shameful Ploy to Capitalize on the Success of the then Trendy "The Exorcist" (1972).

Bava's Original Film "Lisa and the Devil" was Thought Destroyed in the Process and was Unavailable for Years.

Thankfully Untouched Prints were Found (after Bava's death) and can Now be seen in HD.

Serious Horror Fans and Especially Bava-Files are Downright Hostile to the 'House of Exorcism. For Good Reason. It's Bad and Blasphemous to the Bava Legacy.

"Lisa" is a Film that is Framed with an Overwhelming Amount of Cluttered Decay.

The Tone, While Dreamlike, is Dripping with Symbolism and Horrific Characters, Sexual Perversion, and Sickly Ambience.

Elke Sommer is Beautiful and the Film is Beautifully Bizarre.

It's Hard to Follow and Leaves the Viewer Feeling Disoriented and Confused. But its All so Gloriously Gouache and Over-the-Top it can be an Eye-Full Experience.

What the Eye is Full-Of is the Things that Die-Hards Love.

A Must See for Bava, Horror, and Supernatural Fans.

For All Others its Worth a Watch for its Audacity and Artistic Panache.

This Island Earth

Ultra-Colorful...Imaginative...Top-Tier 50's Sci-Fi...Underrated
When a Movie this Unique and Entertaining, Utilizing a Big-Budget and a Scope of Inter-Galactic Time-Space, has a 5 Something Rating at IMDb,

Something is Amiss.

The Film was Prompted and Set-Up for Unjustified Ridicule by those Ghouls who Survive Devouring Other Peoples Work. It was a Reach that was Unfair and Without Cause and they should be Ashamed.

Universal Studios Gambled Gobs of Money and Set-Forth to Make an Eye-Popping, Cerebral, Adult Sci-Fi Smack Dab in the Decade of the Flourishing Genre.

It did Turn-Out to be One of the Best of the Lot.

Not Without Elementary and at Best Sophomoric Dialog and Subplots.

The Film's Real Reason for Being, Entertainment, Succeeded with State of the Art SFX Bathed in Lush Technicolor.

There's Plenty of Action in Front of the Creative Pulp-Magazine Cover Backdrops.

With Invaders Destroying the Planet "Metaluna", Home of "Exeter" and a Race of "Big-Brained" Aliens that Need "Plutonium" and Earth's Scientists to Help Fight Off the Overpowering Enemy.

The "Mutant" that Gets a lot of Ink is One-Part Scary and One-Part Clunk. But It's Screen-Time is Always Noticed and Noted by the Appreciative Fans.

Sci-Fi Fans Rarely Got this Kind of Movie with this Kind of Budget and Imagination.

It Wasn't a Box-Office Knock Out but Did Make Money and its Reputation has Grown Over the Years.

A Must See.

The Bad and the Beautiful

Awkward Stiff & Artificial...Popular but Overrated
From the Start the Artificiality of a Hollywood Movie about Hollywood's Movies seems Contrived and Melodramatic.

Everyone Overacts, the Film -Amp is Turned-Up to 11 for the Duration.

Some Sharp Black & White Cinematography Stand Out Among the Characters.

Lana Turner seems Miscast, Kirk Douglas Adding Another Notch to His Growling Projections, with Dick Powell Comatose, and the Rest of the Cast are Caught in the Wind-Tunnel.

It's a Popular Semi-Satire on the Movie Business and it Actually Won 5 Oscars...

Best Actress in a Supporting Role...Gloria Grahame Best Cinematography...Robert Surtees Best Screenplay...Charles Schnee Best Art & Set Direction...Gibbons, Carfagno, Willis, Gleason Best Costume Design...Helen Rose

Despite All That it's Not Going to be for Everyone...It has Dated Horribly.

Film-Buffs Must See...For Others it's...

Worth a Watch.

To Catch a Thief

Hitch Takes a Vacation From the Edge Back to the Center
Alfred Hitchcock was an Entity Unto Himself.

His Film-Making Style was Unique, Singular, and Highly Popular and Effective.

Occasionally He would Relax and Deliver Pedestrian Pictures that Had Little of the "HItchcock Touch".

Here We Have a "Travelog" Template and Shallow and Thin Story.

The French Riviera and 2 of the Prettiest Movie-Stars of 1955 Carry the Film with the "Master of Suspense" and His Edgy Template Nowhere to be Found On Set.

Given the Production, Cast, and Crew Almost Any Semi-Talented Film-Maker could have Pulled this Off.

It's Eye-Candy on Top of Eye-Candy with Colors Deep, Lush, and Sparkling.

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly Warm Up the Screen, as it were, in 1955.

But the Story is Barely Interesting and is Border-Line Clunky at Times.

It's a Good Movie, and Somewhat Entertaining.

Given All the Beauty to Look At, and After Hitch's Vacation is Over He will Get Back to the Edge.

Where He Flourishes Making Films with a Signature.

This is Just so Much Fluff, that it can be Disappointing to Hitchcock Fans that want the Director and Visionary more Involved in His Art.

Being the Ricardos

Glimpses (High-Lights) of a Troubled Week "I Love Lucy" 2ndSea.
The Enormous and Long-Lasting Legacy of "I Love Lucy", is Undeniable.

The Show Debuted in the Days when the Population's Choices, is Not Relatable Today.

Scant and Very Limited "Distractions" of Entertainment were Exceedingly Sparse. At One Point, the Show Attracted 60 Million Viewers. It Undoubtedly Reached an Increasingly Rabid Fan-Base that Continues to this Day.

So Lucille Ball and to a Much Lesser Extent, Desi Arnez, became America's Couple that Peeked with Lucy Delivering Her Baby as a "Love Letter" for Her Fans.

Distilling the Iconic Show and the Stars into One of the Crucial and Dynamic Weeks of the Shows Second Season.

The Real-Life Week Highlights were...Lucy and Desi the Love Story where Lucy Suspects Desi of Having an Affair...It's Announced in the Press with 3 In. RED HEADLINES, that Lucy is a Communist...Lucy Announces Her Pregnancy to the Sponsors, Studio, and Staff.

This is What Sorkin Bites Off and Chews. Nothing so Lasting and Popular, Like the People and Show is Going to Completely Satisfy the Millions of Fans.

This is a High-Light Reel of One Major Event in the History of the Show, Lucy and Desi, this Tumultuous and Test of Nerves Week.

The Fan-Base can Snack on the Morsels Sorkin Serves-Up. It's a Fascinating Peek Behind the Scenes at a Time When it was All On-the-Line.

Good Time-Travel Experience with Much to Think About while being Entertained by Talented Film-Makers.

The Little Things

The 3 Leads Walk-thru Uninspired...Low-Key...Dull Misfire
Nothing in this A-List-Budgeted Serial-Killer "Thriller" Thrills or even Engages the Audience with Warmed-Over Tropes.

The Result is a Ho-Hum Hack at a Popular, Well-Represented Sub-Genre.

The Major Talent Involved must Surely have been Surprised just how Dull, Dismal, and Disappointing it Turned Out.

It Turned Out that the Film is too Professionally Equipped to be Completely Bad,

Just an Uninteresting, Muddled, and Insignificant Movie.

One-More Mediocrity in a Sea of Mediocrity and it Sinks About Half-Way to the Bottom.

It's Neo-Noir, Dark Tone and Ambiance are Fittingly Unfurled.

But become Wasted Waiting for the Occasional Outburst of Creative Story-Telling.

Using the Film-Medium to Disturbingly Entertain the Salivating and Insatiable Fan-Base.

This Ends Up with Twists and Turns that Seem Almost an After-Thought.

Offering Something, Anything, Besides Good Actors Performing Their Roles.

The Gifted Thespians Survive, but Don't Thrive,

In this Forgettable, Unfortunate Misfire, that Got-Lost Somewhere Between Script and Projection.

Film Being the Conglomerate Art-Form that Utilizes All-Hands to Create the Final Work.

The Blame of Disappointing Mediocrity is Probably the Fault of Many Creative Participants.

Who Came Together and Collectively had a Group-Mind-Freeze. It Happens.

Worth a Watch with Low Expectations.

The Monster Walks

Creaky "Old Dark House" Disappointment...Below Average
Talky Early "Talkie" about a Screeching Caged Chimpanzee, as the Prime Suspect in the Strangulation Murders During a Will-Reading.

Pretty Much the Same "Cast of Characters" that Reside in the "Old Dark House" Genre.

Big Let-Down Here is that the "Monster" is Nothing More than a Chimp in a Cage (never breaks out) and it's as Lame as these Things Get.

A Side-Bar is "Willie Best" as the ''Stepin' Fetchit" Driver that has the Last Word.

This is One of the Few Films that Mentions "Darwin" and His Theory.

During the Early Part of the 20th Century Folks were Obsessed with the Bombshell of Our Possible "Ape Ancestors" and an Ape or "Ape-Man" was a Frequent Player in Horror and Mystery Movies.

Culminating in the "King" of them All..."King Kong" (1933).

Overall This One has More than its Share of Clunk and Dated Style Elements.

For the Most Tolerant of Movie-Buffs and Completest Only.

The Missing

Director Ron Howard Steps Out of His "Comfort Zone"
Lurking Beneath the "PG-13" Persona of Director Ron Howard is an "R" Rated Monster Threatening and Poking the Film-Maker and His Attempt to Make "Art" that Rests Comfortably in the Laps of Middle Class Families.

Having Grown-Up Delivering Patently Parental "Safe Zones" via the "Tube" with Mega TV-Hits Like "The Andy Griffith Show" and Swiftly and Slickly Moved to Another Huge-Hit "Happy Days".

Both Series were Immensely Popular, Ran for Years in Syndication and Howard was an Integral Part of Both Shows.

Beginning His Directorial Career with Fluff and Stuff of Such Light-Weight Films Like "Grand Theft Auto" (1977) and a bit Later"Splash" (1984).

It Can't be Denied that Howard Hits now and then with Ultra-Popular, Award Winning Films and is Recognized World-Wide as Competent, Gifted, and With All the Money in the World, Capable.

"The Missing" is an Attempt at "True Grit" Storytelling in a Western Reminiscing "The Searchers" (1957).

You Can Tell that He has a Soft-Spot for the 50's and a Time Less Complicated.

There's Plenty to also Attest that He is Trying Hard to Peep Out of the Pigeon-Hole that He Occupied Labeled "Safe" with a Govt Seal.

Cate Blanchard and Tommy Lee Jones are Top-Notch Professionals that Bring Solid, Hard to Criticize, Work-Horses Firmly in Place and Both Deliver Exactly as Planned.

The Action is on Hand to Accent the Family-Tragedy that is an Easy Melodramatic Follow and Feel.

Howard Succeeds in Keeping the Film Flowing with Beautifully Staged Tropes of the Genre.

Where His Guilt Shows is the "Tough-Stuff" Like Kidnapping, Human Trafficking, and the Vile and Repulsive Things that the Mind Imagines what this Actually Meant in Real-Life.

He Thinks by Excessive Pushing and Shoving the Girls Around is a Representative Replacement of Rape and Sado-Masochistic Treatment.and

All is Well in "Speilberg-Land".

It's a Fear that Howard will Probably Never Overcome.

But When His Career is Said and Done. Perhaps He Should have Feared Life in the Pigeon Hole even More.

Man on Fire

Before Denzel Scott - Gritty & Tender Story Upper/Lower Clash
Edgy Characters with Internal Turmoil is a Scott Glenn Type.

Here, Before the Hit Made by Tony Scott, Denzel Washington, and Dakota Fanning, is the Original.

Inferior Budget and Euro-Crime (Italy) are what is Done with its Story Split in 2 Parts.

First, the Introduction of Glenn to His New Job as a Protector/Babysitter for a 12 Year-Old Girl, Shuffled Off by Her Wealthy Parents.

After the Girl is Kidnapped by Low-Lifes Demanding $1Mil, Glenn, who has Gone from Work-For-Hire to Friend-For-Life to the Smart, Pretty, and Charming Adolescent

His Ex-CIA/Mercenary Training Kicks-In as He has Now Gone from Aloof/Cynical Lost Soul to a Soldier on a Mission.

To Obliterate the Opposition as a "Man On Fire" who is "Born to Kill".

The Movie is a Well-Done Work, Enhanced with the Aid of Joe Pesci as Glenn's Former Partner,

and the Girl (Jade Malle) who Brings just the Right Blend of Naive Curiosity as She Searchers for Someone to Befriend.

The Violent Scenes are Unstylish with Calculated Realism Delivered with a Punch and Not a Brawl.

It's More of a Neo-Noir and Character Study than an 'Action-Flick", Unreeling at a Slow-Pace (especially the 1st Half).

Definitely Worth a Watch for Fans of the Remake, that Tony Scott Turned Into a Hyper-Noir with Flash and Bang. Also for Fans of B-Movies, Neo-Noir, and Euro-Cinema.

The Remake is Better and it Needed to Be. They Used A-List Stars, Big-Budget and a Wild Director to Pull it Off.

Jagged Edge

Popular Hit...Bridges Close & Eszterhaus...Flalshy Slick & Dull
A Combination of Reliable and Handsome Leading Man Jeff Bridges,

Glenn Close Delivers a Solid but Undemanding Role by the Numbers, Defending Bridges of Accusations of Murdering His Wealthy Wife,

Peter Coyote Equally Comfortable Defending and Breaking the Law.

Joe Eszterhaus, Script-Writer, with the Beginning of Love/Hate Relationship with Critics, the Populaces, and Industry Power-Brokers.

He Elevated the Art of Screen-Writer to the Million Dollar Bracket.

It's Eszterhaus and HIs Ability to Craft High-End-Trash Scripts. Salacious, Passionate Scenarios of Love, Lust, Perversion, and Crime, Committed by Upper-Class, Well-Groomed Players that Use Their Power to Perform Unsavory, mostly Against the Law Behind a Curtain of Manipulation.

Frank Loggia Provides a Foul-Tongued, Boozy Private Detective Working for the Counselor Close, with Straight-Talk Dedication, Peppered with Obscenities.

He Got a Supporting Oscar Nomination.

The Soapy-Script seems to Relish Sex-Crime Recounting of Unspeakable Rape Experiences Spoken Openly in Court.

The Film is Slickly Produced but Lacks a Certain Verisimilitude with Everyone Involved,

Except the P. I, and is Photographed so Bright it is the Antithesis of Noir, as in Neo-Noir that it Fancy's.

The Suspense Ends Up Ineffective, Foreshadowing Events, by Tone as Much as Exposition.

It's just too Bright, Lively, and Plugged-In to Hold-Up Under Scrutiny.

Over-Produced, and Sleek Tabloid Story Obliterates the "Edgy" Material and Waters it Down to a "Thriller" that is at Home with the Country-Club Set that Likes Their "Noir" Atmosphere Dressed-Up and Clean.

Despite the Failure to Live-Up to Expectations, this is Big-Money Trash Movie-Making that is Jaw-Dropping Stagy and Stupid. For That...

Worth a Watch.

No Way Out

Prescient...Powerful...Must See...Unfettered Racism
Powerful and Relevant in 1950.

Just the Same Today.

Remarkable, as Many Bumpy Strides that have been Made, Especially after the Civil Rights Legislation, Not Much at the Core of the Problem or Solutions has Changed.

The "Human Condition" at the Very Center of Existence seems Undetermined to "Exorcise" a Thing that is a Detriment to Evolution,

Prosperity, and "Equal Justice Under the Law", is a Thing that Lingers Despite its Obvious Flaws.

That UN-Exorcised Condition of the Human Species is a Baked-In Bigotry, Ethnocentric Racism. Brought-On by Fear of the "Other".

Taking-On this Social Condition was an Easier Task Following WWII and its Clear Truth with the African-American Soul Fighting Near All the "Others" on the War Against Fascism.

In Fact, it was such an Obvious Hypocrisy by America and its Population, that this "Truth" was a Frequent Topic on Propaganda Highways During Much of the War.

Mankiewicz, and the Entire Cast Give Spot-On Representations of the Harm and the People Behind the Harm, that Doesn't Deviate to "PC".

Richard Widmark...in Another Riveting Role of the Super-Vile-Villain.

Sydney Poitier, as a New Doctor Besieged By the Bile IN-Your-Face.

Linda Darnell...as the Conflicted Beauty Trapped, with "No Way Out", in a Despicable, Unhealthy, and Inescapable Involuntary Servitude.

The Whole Film is Populated with Outstanding Characters and Actors.

This is a 70 Year Old Movie that Today, Comes with No Apologetics Needed.

It has Virtually Not Aged One Bit.

Saving Private Ryan

Overrated...Good...But Way Too Long...Weak Script, Story & Dialog
Spielberg's Crowd-Pleasing, Flag-Waving, Oscar Hog is a Riveting Experience at Times.

Especially When Bullets and Bombs are Flying and Americans and Germans Grunt Toe-to-Toe in the Close-Encounter Scenes.

But When the Narrative Tries to Take Hold and the "Band of Brothers" Make Jokes, Bond, and Opine.

Not so Much.

It's a Sophomoric Script with Little to Say about Trench Warfare, Camaraderie and the Like.

What is Said is Shallow, Corny, and Cliched.

The Strength of the Film are the Battle Scenes where the Director Ventures, for Him, into Virgin Territory.

With Hyper-Editing/Sound to Deliver almost a Cinema Verite of Battlefield Blood and Guts.

It's as Visceral as Any War Movie Ever and Spielberg Wallows with His New Toy to the Point of Giddiness.

The Nucleus of the Story...Pvt. Ryan has to be Saved...

Because His 3 Brothers have All been Killed and the Brass Feels Mom Ryan Should Not Have to Endure Another.

On the Surface that's a Noble Attitude.

But Stacked-Up Against the Overwhelming Suffering, Body Count, and Sacrifice Among All Americans it Doesn't Ring True.

Like Most Spielberg Films the Sentimentality is Laid-On Thick.

The Running Banter Amongst the Squad also has a Hollow Ring.

For Example the "Mystery" of Hank's Character is Uninteresting and Flat.

Not the Most Overrated Movie of All-Time.

That Would be Another Steven Spielberg Film..."E. T. The Extraterrestrial" (1982)

The Big Combo

Alton "Painting With Light"...Conte's Evil Boss...Gritty Glorious Noir
Arriving Late in the Film-Noir Cycle this Unforgettable, Glum, and Fascinating Foray into the Dark-Side of City Crime Emerges as an Exception to the Dilation that Film-Noir Experienced in the 50's.

"Police Procedurals" were Generally Not LIke This. The Film Takes Place in Confined, Claustrophobic Sets Suffocating the Proceedings.

Master Noir Cinematographer John Alton Paints the Film with Black on Black with Shards of Light Cutting the Darkness for a Meilu that Engulfs and Traps the Scene with a Dread that Defeats any Hope of Escape.

It's an Ensemble Work of Art for Sure.

Writer Phillip Yordan Lays on the Hard-Boiled Patter with Pithy and Thick Dialog.

The Cast is High-Lighted by Richard Conte's Soulless Bully. Using Monotones to Emphasize Emptiness Within. A Scene where He Tortures Detective Cornell Wilde is as Brutal as They Come.

Jean Wallace as the Platinum Blonde Itch that Conte and Wilde Try to Scratch is OK and Her Scene with Conte Simulating Oral Sex had the Censors Crying Foul.

Helene Stanton is Memorable as a Burlesque Dancer that Wilde Makes Love to in His Apartment, but His Heart is Chasing Jean Wallace.

Then There's Lee Van Cleef and Earl Hollaman, the Gunsels with Shades of Gay.

One of the Most Stylish and Pure of the Film-Noir.

It Rarely Gets Much Better than This.

Subversive, Dark, Sadistic, Lurid, and the Tone is Expressionistic and Encompassing.

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