The 1930’s brought sound movies to the forefront. Along with it came the fast talking world of screwball comedies, the best of the Marx Brothers and much more. It was hard to limit this list to just ten. But that is the name of the game. The great film critic Andrew Sarris once described “screwball comedy as a sex comedy without the sex.”
With January rapidly coming to an end, I thought I better make my list of best/favorite movies released in 2017. I have not yet seen some of the films popping up on many folks lists, Shape of Water, I Tonya, The Post to name a few, so it is possible my own list could change. However, I did not want to wait until March or later to put something out. The films are in no particular. Maybe, there will be an update.
In looking back at the list of films I’ve watched this year I noticed many of my older movie watching contained repeated viewings and not as many newly discovered works as in the past. Not sure why, other than there were a few times during the year I was looking for celluloid comfort food and nothing more. Still, I did manage to find ten films, and a few runner-ups that are worthy of making this year’s list. For the first time since I began doing this, I believe, there are no foreign films included. It wasn’t intentional, just the draw of the cards. Continue reading →
I admire the strength it must take to leave your home, your family, and your country to search and hope for a better life in a far away and foreign land. But it’s that hope for a better life that the American dream has always represented. From the British who left England to come to America in the 1600’s to today’s immigrants America has always been the land of hope and dreams. Sometimes it worked out; sometimes it did not.
America is a country of immigrants, without them who would be here? We as a country have always welcomed immigrants. As John Lennon wrote and sang in his song, New York City, “the Statue of liberty said come.” Some of us seemed to have forgotten that today. Listed below are six films about the American immigrant experience. Continue reading →
Ken Burn’s latest documentary, Vietnam, is currently broadcasting nightly on PBS. Up until the 1960s, war films were good business for Hollywood. It all changed with the Vietnam War. With no clear military objective, the war became more and more unpopular on the home front. Hollywood knew a hot potato when they saw one and the major studios were slow to put themselves on the front line. There were exceptions. Most were low budget independent productions like A Yank in Vietnam (1964) and To the Shore of Hell (1966). Other low budget films dealt with the returning Vietnam Vet. Most times they were portrayed as disturbed crazies: Motorpscyho, Targets, Taxi Driver and The Visitors. Then there was John Wayne’s The Green Berets, the only film at the time distributed by a major studio. Arguably it is the worst movie made about the Vietnam War, and I am not even talking about its politics. It is just a poorly made film. With this in mind here are ten must-see films about the Vietnam experience. Continue reading →
For most people Labor Day means a day off from work. For many kids, it means the end of summer and the beginning of school. For both groups it’s a beach day, a shopping day or a family barbeque in the back yard. But Labor Day has a deeper and more important meaning that is generally forgotten in the hoopla to catch the next sale on Amazon or the Mall. Labor Day came about due to unfair work practices, long hours and little pay. Attached here is an article on how Labor Day came about and its true meaning. Continue reading →
After removing the layers and layers of bottom feeding comic book fantasies, bowel retching sequels, mindless comedies and overblown blockbuster trash catering to the mindless masses, 2016 still managed to turn out to be a decent year in film with thoughtful films that actually say something, inform and yet still managed to entertain. Manchester by the Sea is my top film of the year. It’s a strong painful and tragic tale of deep emotional guilt that somehow manages to still include some nice bits of humor. Casey Affleck’s performance is a knock out punch that, like Denzel Washington’s and Viola Davis’ performances in Fences, reveals multiple layers of emotions staying with you long after you leave the theater. For me, a masterpiece. Continue reading →
What is Film Noir? Well just take look at Double Indemnity or Criss Cross and you will get the idea. Filled with treacherous woman and dumb men, along with odd camera angles and stark contrast like black and white photography, film noir’s peak period arguably ranges from 1941 to 1958. The term was coined by the French. After the war, an influx of American films began to flood the European cinemas. The French critics noticed a much darker, pessimistic, fatalistic tone in many the films and coined the phase film noir or dark cinema. Continue reading →
I happen to be taking a look at Aaron West’s Criterion Bluesblog and noticed his recent posting of his Adolescence and Childhood film list that he submitted for the upcoming Countdown over at Wonders in the Dark. I have been participating in WitD’s annual Countdown series for a few years, actually since it first began and thought wow, why haven’t I done this before. So I am borrowing Aaron’s idea (it’s possible some other participant(s) has done this in the past, if so, I am unaware) and posting my own submission.
As mentioned, this year’s countdown is on favorite films about Childhood. Now these are not children or young adult films pumped out by Disney or whomever. They are films that are about childhood or have a significant role by a young person. This, as usual brought up a lot of discussion between participants (emails were flying!) on just what constitutes a film about childhood, and where does childhood end and adulthood begin. In others words, just because there is a child in the film, it does not qualify as a film about childhood. My own thoughts, and what I used as a guideline were childhood ends with the end of one’s high school years, generally seventeen. My second guideline was there had to be a significant role by a young individual that was important to the storyline. Subsequently, you will find a film like Shane, a western whose plot is more about the Van Heflin, Alan Ladd and Jack Palance interplay than the young boy. But the young boy’s role is an important part in the film. We see much of what happens through his eyes. You will also note that I included Mildred Pierce which I don’t believe anyone else submitted. Mildred Pierce, a film about childhood? Well, Veda, played by a thirteen year old Ann Blyth, is significant to the story, and we all know about how young vile, uncaring, self-centered teens who believe the world revolves around them can be and Veda is a poster girl for vile.
Anyway, whether one agrees with my choices or not, below is my submission which will be tabulated with all the other entries. A final list will be compiled with a review by one participant posted each weekday until the complete list of 60 films are revealed. The Countdown will started sometime in June. Continue reading →