Six Films About Immigrants in America

The Godfather Part II Immigrant Ellis Island SceneI 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

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Autumn Cinema – Six Films

Autumn is here! Soon leaves will be turning, and there will be a nip in the air. Filmmakers have taken advantage of the colors of autumn in many films. Here are six of my favorites.

When Harry Met Sally

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Having this film on the list is a no-brainer if for no other reason than the scenes that take place in Central Park.  Continue reading

Ten Must See Vietnam War Films

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Ken Burn’s latest documentary, Vietnam, is currently broadcasting nightly on PBS. Up until the 1960’s, 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

Five Films for Labor Day

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

My Best Films of 2016

 The Top Ten

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

My Twenty Five Top Film Noirs

film-noir-blackWhat 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

My Submission to the Childhood Countdown

I happen to be taking a look at Aaron West’s Criterion Blues blog 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