Day 360: Miracle On 34TH Street (1947)

miracle-on-34th-street-titlesI just wanted to start by wishing all of you movie lovers out there a very safe and Merry Christmas. To get into the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to to watch a film that had to do with the very holiday itself so I chose to watch Miracle On 34 Street (the 1947 version). Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is the special events coordinator for Macy’s who has discovered a problem thanks to an old man (Edmund Gwenn). Her Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day Parade is drunk and unable to continue. So, she hires the old man to be Santa and after he does a great job, he is then hired to be the Macy’s store Santa. The only problem is that the old man claims to be Kris Kringle himself, but there are people that do not believe him. The film also stars Natalie Wood (Rebel Without A Cause) as Susan Walker, John Payne (The Razor’s Edge) as Fred Gailey, Gene Lockhart (His Girl Friday) as Judge Henry X. Harper, Porter Hall (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) as Granville Sawyer, William Frawley (I Love Lucy) as Charlie Halloran, Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon) as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara, Philip Tonge (Witness For The Prosecution) as Julian, and the film was directed by George Seaton (Airport).

vlcsnap-2012-11-21-14h47m36s14This is the very last Sunday at the Classics as far as this challenge is concerned, but I just may keep it going after the challenge is over. I have seen some great films for Sunday at the Classics, but this is by far one of my favorite ones. The film features some amazing performances from the likes of John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and even little Natalie Wood who would go on to be even more famous for her role in Rebel Without A Cause. The story of the film is just as amazing because it was a well written tale and a different kind of take on Christmas. It was a tale of believing in something not because people tell you to, but because it feels right to you. The trial scenes were amazing and you have to love the judge who constantly looks to his campaign advisor for advice on how to judge the case. The cinematography was pretty good as well and I had the chance to see the colorized version, but I chose to go old school for my first go around. This was an all around great film that featured great writing, actors, costumes, the sets, and even the cinematography. You have to do yourself a favor and check this film out for yourself before you watch the remake (which I also haven’t seen). I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

Advertisements

Day 349: The Replacement Killers (1998)

3165965Last week we took a break when it came to having an Ass Whoopin Wednesdays film because we were busy watching another film for our 365 movies in 36 days challenge blog. So this week, we decided to pick a film Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) that we’ve always wanted to watch in The Replacement Killers. John Lee (Yun-Fat) is one of the best assassins that money can buy. After a drug lord’s (Kenneth Tsang) son gets killed, John is tasked with doing a revenge job for him, but John’s conscience gets in the way and he fails to do the job. Knowing that he failed to do it, he will seek the help of a documents forger (Mira Sorvino) to get papers to go back to China. The only problem is that the drug lord has already hired replacement killers to not only finish the job, but to take you out as well. The film also stars Michael Rooker (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Det. Zedkov, Jürgen Prochnow (Das Boot) as Michael Kogan, Til Schweiger (Inglorious Basterds) as Ryker, Danny Trejo (The Devil’s Rejects) as Collins, Clifton Collins Jr. (Triple 9) as Loco, Carlos Gomez (Desperado) as Hunt, Patrick Kilpatrick (Last Man Standing) as Pryce, and the film was directed by Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven). To see the rest of the review, please click here to go to Moshpits and Movies.

Day 336: Hell Or High Water (2016)

hell-or-high-water-uk-quad-posterThe film I chose for today is one of those films that I just couldn’t miss out on seeing because of how much buzz it has garnered. The name of the film that I chose for today is Hell Or High Water and it stars Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor). Things haven’t always been easy for Toby Howard (Pine) whose family ranch is about to be foreclosed on by Midland Bank. Along with his brother Tanner (Foster), they decide to go and rob every branch of the bank to try and raise the money to save the ranch. The only problem is that they acquire the attention of a relentless Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who is close to retiring, but needs this one last hunt. The film also stars Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Bound) as Jenny Ann, Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3) as Elsie, Gil Birmingham (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1) as Alberto Parker, Amber Midthunder (Priceless) as Vernon Teller, Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke) as Old Man, Marin Ireland (Homeland) as Debbie Howard, Kevin Rankin (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) as Billy Rayburn, Heidi Sulzman (Laurel Canyon) as Ranger Margaret, and the film was directed by David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense).

29906170001_5076167031001_5076082434001-vsAs soon as I read that the film was written by the same guy who wrote Sicario (Taylor Sheridan) I can instantly see the similarities in styles and the overall tone of the film. The film is just absolutely tense from beginning to end and it is definitely one heck of a thrill ride. You don’t even have to question the acting in the film because Bridges, Pine, and Foster were just absolutely amazing. I loved how Bridges character is one of those old school Texans who is just an absolute ball buster to his partner. Pine and Foster are a great combination together in the film and they play their roles perfectly. Pine is the quiet, reserved, do right by someone kind of a guy while Foster is definitely the reckless wild man. The writing is so good in this film that they create tension through the dialogue which is not an easy task as we’ve seen in a lot of films in the past. They also capture two sides of a coin where there are some people that can sympathize with them robbing the banks and those gun toting Texans who want to capture them. One of the other elements of the film that I loved is the cinematography. I’ve been to Texas and there’s a lot of land that could look desolate and desperate to which they do a great job capturing those feelings as you watch the film. There is a reason why this film has a plus 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and high 80’s/90’s on other sites. It’s just that damn good and a must see for any real cinema fan. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 335: Sudden Impact (1983)

sudden-impactThis year we’ve been exploring films that I have never seen for a challenge that I have been doing for another blog. So, we’ve been exploring the Dirty Harry collection which stars the legendary Clint Eastwood (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) as Harry Callahan. For this week’s Ass Whoopin Wednesday film, we are checking out the fourth film in the series in Sudden Impact. Jennifer Spencer (Sandra Locke) and her sister were brutally raped by some men years ago, but the men never went to jail for it. Now years later, she is on the hunt for revenge which in turn grabs the attention of Harry Callahan (Eastwood). When things begin to heat up, he is forced on a “vacation” to Sao Paulo, California where he investigates the case in the small town that is linked to the crime in San Francisco. The film also stars Pat Hingle (Batman Forever) as Chief Jannings, Bradford Dillman (Escape From The Planet of the Apes) as Captain Briggs, Paul Drake (Beverly Hills Cop) as Mick, Audrie Neenan (Doubt) as Ray Parkins, Jack Thibeau (Escape From Alcatraz) as Kruger, Albert Popwell (The Enforcer) as Horace King, Wendell Wellman (Sommersby) as Tyrone, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood. To see the stats and the rest of the review, please click here to go to Moshpits and Movies.

Day 334: Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

lockAfter today’s film, there are only 32 days left in the year which means the finish line isn’t too far away and I’ve begun my quest to watch films people recommend. The film I chose for today is a film that a friend of mine suggested since I expressed my love for the film Snatch. Snatch was directed by Guy Ritchie who also directed today’s film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Eddy (Nick Moran) fancies himself to be a really good card player, but that changes when he plays the game with the wrong people. You see Eddy and his friends now owe Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) 500,000 lbs (which in today’s money is over 6 million US dollars). He has one week to get Harry his money or their fingers will be chopped off which in turn sends groups of all different thugs on one heck of a collision course. The film also stars Jason Flemyng (Snatch) as Tom, Dexter Fletcher (The Elephant Man) as Soap, Jason Statham (Crank) as Bacon, Vinnie Jones (Swordfish) as Big Chris, Lenny McLean (The Fifth Element) as Barry The Baptist, Frank Harper (Bend It Like Beckham) as Dog, Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: Evolution) as Winston, Sting as JD, Vas Blackwood (Mean Machine) as Rory Breaker, and Alan Ford (Snatch) as the Narrator.

lock-2I love the style of Guy Ritchie who kind of mixes the world of music videos with his films in where the music is almost an integral part of the film. The music at times can set up the moods of scenes or tell you what kind of characters have shown up on screen. There is one scene where the music is normal until it changes to something crazier when shady characters show up all of a sudden. The soundtrack itself is absolutely brilliant and a must have for any fan of music. The film itself is well written and absolutely brilliant. I loved every moment of the film including the setup of what was going down to the mystery of what in the heck is going to happen next. The acting was also superb from every angle as we get some memorable characters in this film. Two of my favorite characters from the film are these lowlifes by the name of Gary (Victor McGuire) and Dean (Jake Abraham) who are tasked to steal some guns, but in fact set up a giant sh** show that goes down in the last half of the film. I also loved the tones of the film because it has that British feel to it where it’s cloudy and gloomy looking like the weather outside in England. I definitely loved the film and I can see why it was recommended to me in the first place. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. 

Day 320: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

grosse-point-blankOne of my all time favorite actors from the 80’s is John Cusack who starred in such great films as Say Anything…, Tapeheads, One Crazy Summer, and even High Fidelity. So, I was cruising through Netflix trying to decide on a film when I came across Grosse Pointe Blank and decided on it for today. Martin Blank (Cusack) is a professional hitman who has sort of lost his way and just needs to be found or at least realize what he wants out of life. Against his intuition, he goes back home to Detroit where he’ll attend his ten year high school reunion. While there, he runs into his old high school sweetheart Debbie Newberry (Minnie Driver) that he ran out on ten years before and he decides to try and fix that relationship while letting go of his lifestyle. The film also stars Joan Cusack (Working Girl) as Marcela, Alan Arkin (Argo) as Dr. Oatman, Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) as Grocer, Jeremy Piven (Smokin’ Aces) as Paul Spericki, Hank Azaria (Mystery Men) as Steven Lardner, K. Todd Freeman (The Cider House Rules) as Kenneth McCullers, Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) as Bob Destepello, Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon) as Mr. Bart Newberry, and the film was directed by George Armitage (Miami Blues).

john-cusackThere are things you should know about getting into a John Cusack film that is starring him and one is that Joan Cusack is probably in the film. The second one that you can expect is that the soundtrack to the film is probably incredible so you should pay attention to that. The film featured cuts from amazing bands like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure for example. The other thing you should expect from a Cusack film is that Cusack is going to be stealing the show by commanding the screen with his underdog like qualities. No matter the role, you are rooting for him to succeed and that is what I love about his films. This one adds the element that he is a professional assassin which means we get some bad ass action sequences in the film as well. The film itself is absolutely awesome and definitely a film I wish I had seen a heck of a lot sooner than I did. I really loved the fact that Alan Arkin was in the film as the scared psychiatrist who has to continuously deal with Cusack’s character throughout the film. It adds to the overall comedy of the film and Dan Aykroyd definitely does that as the rival hitman. So you can definitely see all the crazy directions this film goes, but it’s enjoyable because the story is awesome. Everybody normal hates the idea of going back to a high school reunion, but hey that’s how it goes. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because the acting was great and the soundtrack is amazing.

Day 308: Imperium (2016)

m-imperiumSome people say that when you become part of a franchise that is larger than life that it’s hard to escape the role you played in it. Some wondered if that would be Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) fate, but I beg to differ. That is why I chose to watch his new film Imperium for today’s movie. Nate Foster (Radcliffe) is a young FBI Agent who is looking to make some sort of impact in the office which means that he’s willing to do anything to make a name for himself. That is when opportunity strikes thanks to fellow FBI Agent Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) who tells him that a white supremacist group may be the problem. So Nate decides to go undercover and infiltrate the gang to figure out who has the chemical weapons. The film also stars Tracy Letts (The Big Short) as Dallas Wolf, Sam Trammell (The Fault In Our Stars) as Gerry Conway, Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight) as Agent Hernandez, Chris Sullivan (The Drop) as Andrew Blackwell, Seth Numrich (Macbeth Unhinged) as Roy, Pawel Szajda (Under The Tuscan Sun) as Vince, Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) as Morgan, Devin Druid (Disgrace) as Johnny, and the film was directed by Daniel Ragussis in his first feature length directorial debut. 

maxresdefault-1One thing that this film reminds you of is how easy it is to be ignorant, but how circumstances in life can drive you that way. It just shows you how disillusioned the youth can be and how easy it is to be hateful. What the film also does is show you how awesome Daniel Radcliffe has been post Harry Potter. The guy is an incredible actor and I have enjoyed just about every film that he’s been in since then. The film is pretty intense and Radcliffe does an amazing job of carrying that momentum throughout the film even giving us some suspenseful moments. The film had some really intense moments that were nail biting and Radcliffe was absolutely amazing as he made them even more thrilling with his acting ability. Toni Collette did a pretty good job in the film, but was she perfect? No, but she wasn’t really the star of the film. Besides that last sequence in the film, my favorite moment of the film was when Radcliffe’s character goes out into the woods with Andrew Blackwell and he is kind of confronted about his real identity. Just like so many undercover FBI films before it, the biggest thing you are wondering about when watching a film is whether there cover will be blown or not. You obviously have to watch for yourself for that answer, but I would recommend this film. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers or a fan of Radcliffe then pick this one up. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 272: The Nice Guys (2016)

1461996759714For those of you out there that do not know who Shane Black is, he has written some pretty amazing films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 (debatable), Lethal Weapon 2, and so much more. That is why I chose to watch his latest film The Nice Guys for today’s movie. It is the late 1970’s in Los Angeles, California and things are not very easy in the big city as they are dealing with issues of smog and a dead female porn star. To top it all off, two private eyes that obviously do no match well together in Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) are assigned to the case together. It is there that the duo run into a whole mess of a situation that they didn’t see coming which includes the DA and hitmen. The film also stars Angourie Rice (Walking With Dinosaurs) as Holly March, Matt Bomer (Magic Mike XXL) as John Boy, Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) as Amelia, Keith David (Men At Work) as Older Guy, Beau Knapp (Southpaw) as Blueface, Murielle Telio (The DUFF) as Misty Mountains, Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) as Judith Kuttner, Jack Kilmer (The Stanford Prison Experiment) as Chet, Yaya DaCosta (Tron: Legacy) as Tally, and Lois Smith (Falling Down) as Mrs. Glenn.

the-nice-guys-crowe-goslingThere wasn’t much to this film that I didn’t like, it was very enjoyable to watch. Ryan Gosling’s stock is moving up in my book as just about every movie he is in I love his performance. He is probably my favorite character in this film because he is the perfect opposite of what Russell Crowe is. Russell Crowe’s character is the bad ass tough one while Ryan Gosling’s is afraid of his own shadow. It’s very funny and I think it’s a very good selling point for the film in general because their chemistry is undeniable. It’s like the perfect buddy movie for those that love them. I loved the aesthetics of the film because it looked and felt like the 70’s as you are watching all of the cool outfits and hairdos not to mention all of the pop culture references. Even all of the nuances were right on target from not being able to say the lords name in vain and so much more. The film definitely kicks off in style with a naked porn star dead on top of a car as she literally drove through someone’s house. So you an definitely imagine where it went from that point. I honestly thought that the film was very funny and definitely one worth seeing if you are a fan of either Crowe or Gosling. It’s available in Redbox and where ever else you watch movies so go and watch it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 271: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

img_6393I have already used Netflix, HBOGO, Redbox, Showtime Anytime, Encore Play, MAXGO, and so many other services to watch my films for this challenge except for an app. It is most certainly not Sunday, but I couldn’t resist trying my TCM App on my phone to watch a film for this week. The film I chose for today is the crime/drama, Film Noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice. For Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway) it seems like he has it all from a burger/restaurant/gas station and the perfect beautiful wife named Cora (Lana Turner). It’s perfect until a drifter by the name of Frank Chambers (John Garfield) shows up on his restaurant doorstep looking for a job. Frank is a very hard worker and that pleases Nick, but then Frank and Cora will begin a tumultuous relationship with each other. It gets so serious between the two that they will soon begin to plot his murder so that they can start over in love with each other. The question is though, can they see it through and will they get away with it. The film also stars Hume Cronyn (The Pelican Brief) as Arthur Keats, Leon Ames (Tora! Tora! Tora!) as Kyle Sackett, Audrey Totter (Lady in the Lake) as Madge Gorland, and the film was directed by Tay Garnett (Bataan).

img_6394Throughout the film, Frank is the one narrating the story so you automatically know he had to survive this ordeal, but how? That you will have to find out for yourself, but as far as Film Noirs are concerned, this was a very good one. It runs a little too long for my liking and at one point I thought they could have ended the film, but it’s justified after you see it if you know what I mean. The acting in the film was the strong part of the film as each of the main three delivered spectacular performances that had me intrigued to continue. The only thing is that the writing needed a bit of a touch up as Lana Turner’s character flip flops on you many times during the critical hours, but its not too big of a deal (you end up understanding why). I am also not complaining about Lana Turner because as I said, the acting was amazing. This film was considered her best work of her whole career. In fact, the film’s success opened up the doors for the genre as MGM head Louis B Mayer hated the genre. The film also set a fashion trend in post-World War II America as Lana’s swim gear became a hit among women. The film is legendary even all the way to today (check out Kill Bill 2 and what David Carradine’s character says). If you get a chance to see this movie, I definitely would. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 270: Crash (2004)

crash_ver6_xlgIn about four days from now, every movie that I watch and review for the blog is going to be a horror film for a month. So, I figured I would try to get in some movies that I have always wanted to see and Crash is definitely one of them. The film follows Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) and her DA husband (Brendan Fraser), Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) and his partner Officer Hansen (Ryan Phillippe), a Latino lock smith (Michael Peña), a Persian store owner (Shaun Toub), a car thief (Ludacris), a black detective (Don Cheadle), and a African American couple (Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton) as they navigate and collide in Los Angeles in a stories of race, tragedy, and redemption. The film also stars Tony Danza (Who’s The Boss) as Fred, Keith David (Men At Work) as Lt. Dixon, Jennifer Esposito (Summer Of Sam) as Ria, William Fichtner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Flanagan, Karina Arroyave (Lean On Me) as Elizabeth, Loretta Devine (Death At A Funeral) as Shaniqua Johnson, Larenz Tate (Dead Presidents) as Peter Waters, Bahar Soomekh (Mission: Impossible III) as Dorri, Jack McGee (Moneyball) as Gun Store Owner, Bruce Kirby (Stand By Me) as Pop Ryan, and the film was directed by Paul Haggis (Casino Royale). 

crashI wanted to start this paragraph by telling how uncomfortable this film was and is going to be to review. There is so much racism and hatred in this film that it’s absolutely insane, but I suppose that maybe this is how some people felt back in 2004 and even into today. I honestly thought before watching the film that it was going to be about the program entitled CRASH in Los Angeles, but boy was I surprised right off the bat. They explore racism in every sense of the way that you can imagine from stereotyping all Middle Easterners and Latin Americans. The film also explore racism as far as how a situation is perceived by a different individual and how some humans are just stuck in their ways. Crash is an excellent film, but it’s one of those films that just when it looks like things are about to get dim, it’s lightens right up, but then falls back down. It truly is a roller coaster ride of a film. Sandra Bullock does an amazing job playing a racist bitch in the film because she is very convincing. Just about every single person in the film does an excellent job like Ludacris being a disillusioned individual or Don Cheadle who is forced to make hard decisions that will benefit others whether it’s right or wrong. Jennifer Esposito has a scene in the film where she just looks so sexy, I was jealous of Don Cheadle at that moment. The film is available on Netflix and I think it’s one you should check out, but be prepared. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.