Movie: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

James Cagney specialized in playing brutal criminals.  He completely dominated such pictures as The Public Enemy and White Heat.  His characters in those were completely despicable, but fascinating to watch.  But those can’t hold a candle compared to how much of a louse he is in 1950’s Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. What’s novel about this picture […]

Movie: Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Say the name Nigel Kneale to sci-fi fans in the know, an you’ll probably get a nod acknowledging you are part of the inner circle of his fans.  This Manxman wrote some stellar scripts, ones that focused more on ideas than action.  His Quatermass character is especially popular, having been in three legendary BBC series […]

Movie: Cheer Up! (1936)

It’s hard to pick a favorite moment from the series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as it had nearly as many great bits as the prime seasons of The Simpsons.  But there’s one I couldn’t stop thinking of recently, and that’s the fake 1938 musical Daddy’s Boy, a clip of which cuts off in mid-song because […]

Movie: The Mississippi Gambler (1953)

It’s odd how there can be somebody who has been in the credits for a great many movies you’ve seen, but never noticed it until a different form of media makes you aware of them.  For example, I never really noticed the wealth of movies Edith Head worked on until the They Might Be Giant’s […]

Movie: Day of the Locust (1975)

I don’t know if audiences of the 1970’s were clamoring for films set four decades prior, but the studios delivered a ton of them.  Paramount, especially, seemed to have a hard-on for making films set in the 1930’s, among them Paper Moon, Lady Sings the Blues and The Last Tycoon.  Well, it worked with Chinatown, […]

Movie: Crack in the World (1965)

If there is one moment in 1965’s Crack in the World which sums it up concisely, it is an innocuous sign reading “CENTRAL OPERATIONS” and pointing to the right.  This is a few feet in front of an elevator, except it is facing the viewer and not those disembarking.  Unless the sign is double-sided, that […]

Movie: Blue Steel (1990)

It is my understanding most law enforcement officers never have to fire a shot in the line of duty at any point in their career.  Poor Jamie Lee Curtis ends up shooting dead a gun-waving robber on the first day of the job in 1990’s Blue Steel.  When I stopped to think about it, the […]

Movie: Dr. Cyclops (1940)

One of my favorite Beatle quips was courtesy of one of those weird Christmas flexi discs they used to release through their fan club.  Talking about the black-and-white Hard Day’s Night, George Harrison says they’re working on another film, and this time it will be in color.  John Lennon doesn’t miss a beat when he […]

Movie: Ghostbusters (2016)

Is it possible to write anything resembling an objective critique of the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters?  For one thing, it isn’t even sure what its name is, with the single-word title in an isolated credit towards the beginning, while the end credits declare its full title to be Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.  Both titles are […]

Movie: Scala!!! Or, the Incredibly Strange Rise and Fall of the World’s Wildest Cinema and How It Influenced a Mixed-up Generation of Weirdos and Misfits (2023)

Funny how much I miss the repertory cinema that used to be in the city closest to where I live.  It has now been 33 years since it projected its last film (Raging Bull, and I was one of very few people at that screening).  And yet, I actually didn’t see many films there while […]

Movie: The Boost (1988)

James Woods has always had a nervy intensity.  No wonder he stays so thin.  He probably burns it all off in nervous energy.  Funny how it never crossed my mind that some of that energy could be from drugs; that is, it never crossed my mind until I saw 1988’s The Boost. Woods plays a […]

Movie: Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)

I’m not big on swords and sandals films, known colloquially as “peplum”.  It seems telling that word is so similar to “pablum”.  So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed 1961’s Hercules in the Haunted World.  It doubtlessly helped it was directed by Mario Bava, a director so fond of strongly colored lighting that […]

Movie: She Played with Fire (1957)

The opening minutes of 1957’s She Played with Fire are like a dream and that’s because, well…it turns out to be a dream.  We first see a metronome in action, before its arm transitions to a windshield wiper going across a car windshield on a stormy night.  Next, we’re floating through the heavy front doors […]