In June of 1944, Allied forces made their historic landing in Normandy, France, and the race was on to use ground forces to end the war in Europe. As forces continued to push back against the Germans, it was thought that a major operation could have enough of an impact to end the war by Christmas.
Released in 1977, A Bridge Too Far tells the tale of Operation Market Garden, a major Allied attempt to use paratroopers to go behind the German lines in the Netherlands and capture key bridges, trapping the German Fifteenth Army and allowing Allies to cross the Rhine River with tanks, artillery and necessary supplies.
A Bridge Too Far was directed by legendary English actor and film maker Richard Attenborough. The British-American war film features an impressive cast including James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, and even a small role for Denholm Elliott (Dr. Marcus Brody from Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).
A Bridge Too Far begins in Holland as the German army is low on supplies. Its morale is also low, and they’re waiting for the Allies to attack them at some point. Unless the Germans can reorganize, receive more supplies, and find a way to stop the Allies and push them off the continent again, then it’s just a matter of time until the war in Europe is finished.
In England, Lieutenant-General Browning (Dirk Bogarde) creates a plan to use airborne troops to land behind German lines in the Netherlands. It’s a major operation involving some 35,000 Allied soldiers. The plans call for the American 82nd & 101st Airborne soldiers to capture roads and bridges in Nijmegen, and the British 1st Airborne and Polish paratroopers to capture a major bridge in Arnhem. If all goes well, the British XXX Armoured Corps will arrive at Arnhem (a distance of over sixty miles) two days after the drop. Read more…
Imagine if medical science advanced to the point where surgeons could operate on a person from *inside* of their body.
That’s basically the premise behind 1966’s hit science-fiction film, Fantastic Voyage.
In Fantastic Voyage, a team of surgeons is miniaturized inside of a special submersible that is sent inside of a scientist’s body. It’s a race against time to not only battle the hostile environment of the human body, but to also reach the critical injury and repair it, all while racing a clock as well as dealing with somebody sabotaging the mission.
Directed by Richard Fleischer, Fantastic Voyage stars Stephen Boyd as Charles Grant. Supporting him in the film are Raquel Welch as Cora Peterson and Donald Pleasence as Dr. Michaels.
Fantastic Voyage begins with scientist Dr. Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) fleeing from the Soviets and eventually reaching the United States. However, just after he arrives in the U.S, Benes’s car is attacked by assassins, and Benes is critically injured. He quickly develops a dangerous blood clot inside of his brain, and the condition will kill him if it’s left untreated. The only problem is that the type of surgery required to remove the clot is incredibly dangerous. Read more…
Today we’re taking a look at 2002’s The Country Bears, a Disney live-action film based on the popular Country Bear Jamboree animatronic show in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, one of its original attractions was Country Bear Jamboree, an animatronic stage show featuring a large cast of musical hillbilly bears. The show was a hit as the audiences adored the music as well as the loveable bears and their humorous antics. Country Bear Jamboree was later added to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as well as Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, but it was ultimately removed from the California theme park in 2001.
Released in 2002, The Country Bears was the second theatrical Disney film based on an attraction in one of the theme parks (the first theatrical film was 2000’s Mission to Mars). The Country Bears involves a young bear named Beary Barrington, and his quest to discover his true place in the world. He finds the old Country Bears band members and convinces them to reunite and play at a fundraiser to save Country Bear Hall, their old concert venue that has fallen behind on its bills.
Directed by Peter Hastings, The Country Bears stars Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Beary Barrington, a young bear who lives with an adopted family of humans, and Christopher Walken as Reed Thimple, a banker who’s plotting to destroy Country Bear Hall. Other actors in this film include Diedrich Bader, Darly Mitchell, Brad Garrett, and a host of celebrity cameos.
The Country Bears begins with a brief overview of the The Country Bears, an all-bear country rock band that broke up in 1991. The footage includes the bears singing “Let It Ride” (a good song, by the way) at what we presume to be one of their final concerts.
Fast forward years later. Read more…
How far would you go to find something that you have loved and lost?
That’s basically the premise for 1985’s classic film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. In Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, somebody steals Pee-wee Herman’s prized bicycle, and Pee-wee embarks on a zany adventure to reclaim it. His quest takes him through exotic lands in the American Southwest, and it ends with a mad chase through a movie studio in Hollywood.
Directed by Tim Burton in his directorial debut, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure stars Paul Reubens in the lead role of Pee-wee Herman. Supporting him are Elizabeth Daily in the role of Dottie, Mark Holton as Francis Buxton, and Diane Salinger as Simone.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure begins with Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) riding his prized bicycle in a bike race. It turns out that he’s competing in the prestigious Tour de France race. The race ends and Pee-wee finishes in first place. Just as he’s about to be crowned as the winner, an alarm sounds and the crowd quickly scatters.
It’s revealed that Pee-wee was only dreaming. He wakes up, crawls out of bed, and begins his day with his playful antics. Pee-wee has elaborate contraptions cook his breakfast while he finishes preparing for his day. After a quick meal he goes outside and unlocks his bicycle from a secret hiding place. Read more…
In honor of tomorrow night’s premier of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! on Syfy, today we’re taking a look at the second film in the series, Sharknado 2: The Second One.
Back in 2013, the made for television film Sharknado created a media frenzy with its completely ridiculous plot of deadly tornadoes filled with killer sharks. The film was aired for three nights in a row on the SyFy Channel, with each night having a larger number of viewers. This was a film that was so bad and corny that you just had to watch it not just once but several times.
So what do you do when a low-budget film is a hit?
You make a sequel! You strike quickly while the iron is hot!
Sharknado 2: The Second One premiered on July 30, 2014 on the SyFy Channel. The sequel returned some of the original cast and transferred the action from Los Angeles to New York City. Another superstorm filled with sharks strikes, and it’s up to a small group of people to figure out a way to stop the deadly storm and save an entire city.
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, Sharknado 2: The Second One returns Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in the lead roles of Finley Shepard and April Wexler. Supporting them is Vivica A. Fox as Skye, Fin’s childhood friend, Judd Hirsch as Ben, a taxi driver, and about a dozen cameos featuring a variety of celebrities.
Sharknado 2: The Second One begins with Finley “Fin” Shepard (Ian Ziering) and his ex-wife, April Wexler (Tara Reid) flying to New York City to visit some old friends as well as promote April’s book covering the events from last year’s sharknado in Los Angeles. A flight attendant (Kelly Osbourne) is a fan of April’s and gladly accepts an invitation to join her at an event in New York City.
When the airliner begins its approach into New York City, the plane flies right through a strong storm filled with airborne sharks. The sharks repeatedly attack the airliner and break into the aircraft, killing the pilot (Robert Hayes) and co-pilot (Rachel True). The flight attendant is also killed by a shark along with a passenger (Wil Wheaton).
Fin makes his way to the cockpit and takes control of the doomed airliner. While he’s trying to bring it down for a landing, one of the aircraft’s doors is ripped open and April is nearly sucked out into the storm. She uses an air marshal’s (Austin Priester) pistol to shoot at a flying shark, but the shark reaches her and bites off half of her arm. Somehow Fin is able to land the damaged airliner at the airport (nowhere was it mentioned in Sharknado of Fin having *any* flying experience), saving the lives of the remaining passengers. April is then whisked away to a hospital to be treated for her amputated arm. Read more…
What if it paid to be a failure?
What if you could get away with it, too?
That’s the premise behind today’s movie review, the 1968 classic comedy film, The Producers.
Written and directed by comedic legend Mel Brooks, The Producers tells a tale of a failing Broadway producer who, with the help of his account, figures out a way to scam investors by creating a show that’s bound to fail on opening night. The only problem is that the play that they think will fail miserable, instead turns out to be a smash hit. Can the two producers scramble and find a way to pay back their investors, or will they be sent to prison for their crimes?
As it was mentioned, The Producers was both written and directed by Mel Brooks. This was the first film that he directed. Starring in The Producers is Zero Mostel in the role of failed Broadway producer Max Bialystock. Co-starring in the film are Gene Wilder as accountant Leopold Bloom, and Dick Shawn as Lorenzo St. DuBois.
The Producers begins with aging and washed out Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) womanizing wealthy old ladies and trying to swindle money out of them. Although Max has found success in the past, these days he’s down on his luck, miserable, and he’s also behind on his rent.
One day Max is visited by his accountant, Leopold “Leo” Bloom (Gene Wilder), to go through his books and put his money in order. Leo soon discovers that there is an overcharge of $2,000 from Max’s last play. He had raised more money than he could repay by accidentally selling more than 100% of the shares. This is a small oversight and Leo is able to disguise the $2,000 in other parts of Max’s business. Leo makes a comment that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t interested in a show that flops. Read more…
Today we’re taking a look at the 1964 western film, A Fistful of Dollars.
Released in Italy in 1964 and the United States in 1967, A Fistful of Dollars has been credited for launching the movie career for television actor Clint Eastwood. The film also brought a tremendous amount of success and fame to Italian director Sergio Leone. This movie is also responsible for starting the genre of spaghetti western, western films that were produced and directed by Italians.
A Fistful of Dollars involves a mysterious man arriving in a small town in Mexico, and discovering that the town’s two largest families were rivals with each other. The two families continually fight for power, wealth and control of the town. The mysterious man figures out a way to manipulate the two families and use it to his advantage.
Directed by Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars stars Clint Eastwood as the Stranger. He’s a man with no name and no information about his past. The film’s music was created by Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
A Fistful of Dollars begins with a mysterious Stranger (Clint Eastwood) arriving in a small town in Mexico. Although he doesn’t know or speak to anybody, he knows that some of the people in town do not want him there. At one point he’s teased and harassed by four gunmen. The Stranger then visits the town’s inn keeper, Silvanito (Jose Calvo), and learns that there are two families vying for control of the town — the Rojos and the Baxters. Read more…
During the early 1970s era of “shake and bake” disaster films, one of the biggest and best was 1974’s The Towering Inferno.
Set in San Francisco, California, The Towering Inferno tells a story of the opening of the world’s tallest building, and a party that celebrates its completion. Faulty wiring causes a fire to start halfway up the building, and it’s not long before the party guests discover that they’re trapped at the top of the glass tower. As the flames continue to grow and climb their way up the skyscraper, the people are forced to deal with the threat as they try every way possible to escape from the deadly fire.
Directed by John Guillermin and with music by John Williams, The Towering Inferno stars Hollywood legends Steve McQueen as a battalion chief for the fire department, and Paul Newman as the architect of the skyscraper. Supporting them are a group of familiar actors and actresses including William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn and Robert Wagner. Also in The Towering Inferno is O.J. Simpson in one of his first acting roles.
The Towering Inferno begins with Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) returning to San Francisco for the dedication ceremony for the Glass Tower, the world’s largest building, a building that he designed himself. The Glass Tower is owned and was built by James Duncan (William Holden), a wealthy person who is looking forward to showing off the prestigious building to the top members of society. He insists that Roberts be there later that evening for the dedication ceremony. Read more…
Released to theaters this weekend is Terminator Genisys, the latest film in the Terminator franchise and (hopefully) the beginning of a new Terminator series of films.
Terminator Genisys returns to the origins of the Terminator story, but it’s not what you’re expecting. This isn’t simply a reboot of the original film. Instead, Terminator Genisys pays homage to the original film while also offering people a new story as part of an alternative timeline.
Directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator Genisys returns Hollywood legend Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of the T-800 (Model 101) / Guardian. Co-starring in the film are Jason Clarke as John Connor, Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. Also in the film are J.K. Simmons as Detective O’Brien and Courtney B. Vance as Miles Dyson.
Terminator Genisys begins with a voiceover of Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) explaining how life has changed drastically since Judgment Day, the moment when the machines declared war against humanity and launched a surprise nuclear attack, wiping out most of humanity. The survivors were forced to band together and fight for their lives. The leader of the Resistance is a soldier named John Connor (Jason Clarke).
In the year 2029, John Connor leads the Resistance in a final assault in the Los Angeles offensive. The attack, coordinated with an attack in the Colorado offensive, is aimed at striking at Skynet‘s secret new weapon, a weapon that could change the outcome of the war. Hidden underneath a remote storage facility is Skynet’s ultimate weapon — a time machine.
The final attacks are launched against Skynet. The Colorado offensive is successful at stopping Skynet’s main defense grid, but Connor’s Los Angeles offensive is unable to stop Skynet before it sends a lone T-800 cyborg back in time to 1984 to kill John Connor’s mother. If the cyborg is successful in its mission then Sarah Connor will die and John Connor, the leader of the Resistance, will never be born.
In order to stop the cyborg and save the future, then somebody from the Resistance will have to travel back in time to save Sarah Connor. Several soldiers volunteer for the dangerous mission, and John Connor selects Kyle Reese. The Resistance gets the time machine operating and they send Reese back in time. Just before he travels through time, Reese notices one of the soldiers (a Terminator in disguise) grabbing and attacking John Connor. Reese then travels through time and has flashbacks to an alternative version of his younger self. Read more…
Back in 1968, the film Planet of the Apes introduced people to a concept of a world where apes rule society and human beings are feral creatures.
Planet of the Apes followed along as astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) was forced to deal with being on a strange and hostile planet. He was ultimately successful in proving to the apes that human beings are smarter and more resourceful than the apes gave them credit. Planet of the Apes had a shock ending where Taylor discovered that he was really on planet Earth the whole time. At some point in the past humanity destroyed itself in warfare, and apes evolved to become the dominant species on the planet.
We know that there’s more to the story of what really happened on planet Earth. We know that there must be more human artifacts out there. And we know that there’s more to be discovered.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes was released two years later in 1970.
In Beneath the Planet of the Apes, a second spacecraft (one that was sent to search for Taylor’s spacecraft) travels through a time warp and crash lands on the same planet that’s now ruled by apes. Astronaut Brent meets Nova, he is shocked to witness the ape’s society, and he ultimately discovers a hidden underground city inhabited with mutant human beings, descendants from the war that destroyed humanity. It’s a race against time as an army of apes advances and aims to crush the underground city once and for all.
Directed by Ted Post, Beneath the Planet of the Apes stars James Franciscus as Brent, an astronaut who accidentally travels through time while he’s sent on a mission to rescue George Taylor. Charlton Heston reprises his role of George Taylor, and so does Linda Harrison as Nova, Kim Hunter as Zira, and Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius. This time around David Watson plays the role of Cornelius.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes begins at the ending of Planet of the Apes. George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and Nova (Linda Harrison) find the remains of the Statue of Liberty, and Taylor realizes that he’s been on Earth the whole time, just several thousand years into the future. Humanity is virtually extinct and apes are in control of society. Depressed, he and Nova ride on horseback further into the Forbidden Zone, hoping to find other signs of life.
A short while later, Taylor and Nova discover a wall of flames that appears and just as quickly disappears. This is followed by a few quick bolts of lightning. Taylor suspects that there’s more to the story of these phenomena, so he grabs a rifle and takes a closer look. Just as it looks like Taylor discovers the secret behind the apparitions, he suddenly disappears into a rocky wall. Nova is terrified by the sight, and she flees on Taylor’s horse. Read more…
Imagine suddenly being placed in a world where things were the opposite, where human beings were running wild and apes were in control of society.
That’s the premise for 1968’s hit science-fiction film, Planet of the Apes.
In Planet of the Apes, George Taylor and two other astronauts crash land on an alien planet where human beings are wild with no permanent homes, no form of communication, and no real society. They live in packs and stay on the run from the apes, advanced creatures that can speak, they have clothing and weapons, and they have a functioning society complete with their own city. When Taylor is captured by the apes, the apes are shocked to see that he’s very different from the other human beings. Some apes believe that Taylor is a missing link that explains their society, while other apes believe that Taylor is a mutation that must be destroyed.
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, Planet of the Apes stars Hollywood legend Charlton Heston in the lead role of astronaut George Taylor. Co-starring in the film are Roddy McDowall as Cornelius, Kim Hunter as Zira, Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius, and Linda Harrison as Nova, one of the human beings.
Planet of the Apes begins out in space as astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) readies their spaceship for their trip back home to Earth. Joining him are astronauts Landon (Robert Gunner), Dodge (Jeff Burton), as well as a female astronaut already asleep and in stasis. Although there’s no mention of the spaceship’s name in the 1968 version of the film, a 2008 Blu-ray edition of the film includes a short film where it’s mentioned that the ship is called Liberty 1.
Liberty 1‘s mission left Earth in 1972, and it travelled faster-than-light through a wormhole to distant galaxies. As a result, while the mission itself has only lasted for six months, it’s theorized that 700 years have passed back on Earth.
Taylor is the last astronaut still awake before going into stasis. He records his thoughts into the ship’s recorder before climbing into his sleep chamber and entering a form of hibernation. The Liberty 1 continues on autopilot and continues its journey back to Earth. Read more…
Back in 1975, Jaws not only proved to be an extremely successful film in the theaters, but it also gave the audience a reason to think twice before swimming in the ocean.
Of course, the odds of being attacked by a shark are extremely slim, but you *really* don’t know what’s swimming underneath you. Those might be some harmless fish tickling your toes, it might just be some seaweed, or it could be a sign that something much fiercer is about to attack your legs . . .
1978 saw the release of Piranha, a B-movie that’s partial parody, partial comedy, and partial bloody horror film involving swarms of aggressive fish with razor sharp teeth. The film involves a school of genetically-modified piranha that are accidentally released into a river. It’s a race against time to stop the fish before they attack a summer camp and, further downstream, the grand opening of a brand new water park.
Directed by Joe Dante, Piranha stars Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies as Paul Grogan and Maggie McKeown. Supporting them are basically a bunch of obscure actors and actresses including Kevin McCarthy, Barbara Steele, Melody Thomas Scott, and iconic 1980s actor Dick Miller.
Piranha begins with two teenagers who discover a seemingly abandoned swimming pool inside of a former military research base. It’s late at night and nobody is in sight, so the two teenagers decide to go skinny dipping. That turns out to be a fatal mistake as the pool is actually filled with carnivorous fish, and the two teenagers are brutally killed. Read more…
Back in 1975, the movie Jaws proved that not only are sharks fearsome creatures, but they can also prove to be formidable monsters in Hollywood.
Jaws was so successful that not only did it spawn its own series of films, but for the most part, Hollywood didn’t use sharks as villains. Other sea creatures have attempted to terrify the audiences, but sharks were overlooked. It was almost like nobody wanted to make a shark movie because everybody would keep comparing it to 1975’s Jaws.
That notion changed with the release of 1999’s killer shark movie, Deep Blue Sea. In Deep Blue Sea, research scientists increase the size of sharks’ brains in an effort to study diseases. However, this increase in brainpower makes the sharks smarter, and they use their sharpened thinking skills to attack the researchers.
Directed by Renny Harlin, Deep Blue Sea stars Thomas Jane and Saffron Burrows in the lead roles of Carter Blake and Dr. Susan McAlester. Supporting them is a cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Jacqueline McKenzie, Stellan Skarsgard, and LL Cool J.
Deep Blue Sea begins with four teenagers having fun on a boat while out at sea. Suddenly the boat is attacked by a shark, and the teenagers are knocked into the water. Just before the shark can attack and kill them, the predator fish is captured by a mysterious man.
In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) is called to an emergency meeting at Chimera. The company’s leaders are upset that one of Susan’s test sharks had escaped from the research facility and attacked a small group of teenagers. None of them were killed or seriously injured, but the incident is still bad news for the company.
It turns out that Susan is using three genetically modified mako sharks in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. These three sharks have larger brains (the brain fluid is used in the research) than their counterparts in the wild, and it’s made these particular sharks smarter and more aggressive. The recently escaped and recaptured shark is a sign that perhaps the researchers don’t have everything under control at their research station. Read more…
Released to the theaters this weekend is Jurassic World, the fourth movie in the Jurassic Park franchise.
Back in 1993, Jurassic Park ruled the theaters with its story involving a high-tech theme park filled with dinosaurs brought back to life through advanced technology. This was followed by The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997, and then Jurassic Park III in 2001.
And now, after waiting fourteen years, the next Jurassic Park film has finally been released.
Enter Jurassic World.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Vincent D’Onofrio, Jurassic World goes back to the franchise’s roots and returns us to the original ideas set in Jurassic Park. A new team has taken over John Hammond’s operations and the theme park (now named Jurassic World) is open to the public. New dinosaur attractions have been added over the years, and now it’s time to open another one. The latest creation, a hybrid dinosaur named Indominus rex, is guaranteed to terrify the visitors and boost the audiences at the theme park. Of course, you know what happens next . . .
Jurassic World begins with two brothers, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins) at their home. Although Gary is still young, he has a keen interest in dinosaurs and science. His older brother Zach is more interested in girls, and he’s practically counting down the days until he can move out of his parents’ house and live on his own. Their parents need some time alone to sort out their own problems, so they send the boys on a vacation to Jurassic World. The boys’ Aunt Claire happens to work at the dinosaur theme park, and she’s going to look after them and give them a personal tour of the place.
Zach and Gray catch an international flight to Costa Rica, and then they board a high-speed ferry with other guests bound for Isla Nublar, a.k.a. Jurassic World. After that they board a monorail that takes them through the famous Jurassic Park gate and ultimately to the visitors’ complex. While Gray is excited to see the dinosaurs, Zach is more interested in looking at the young ladies. Read more…
Today we’re taking a look at Little Caesar, a 1931 gangster film that introduced the world to Edward G. Robinson.
Credited as one of the films that launched the gangster genre in the 1930s in Hollywood, Little Caesar is a classic tale that follows Caesar Enrico Bandello and his rise from a petty criminal into a powerful gangster. The film Little Caesar is based on William R. Burnett‘s novel of the same name.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Little Caesar stars Edward G. Robinson as Caesar Enrico Bandello, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Joe Massara, Rico’s close friend. Supporting them are Glenda Farrell as Olga Stassoff, Sidney Blackmer as “Big Boy,” and Thomas Jackson as Sergeant Flaherty.
Little Caesar begins with criminals Caesar Enrico “Rico” Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) and Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) robbing a gas station. The two of them then casually eat dinner in a diner while Rico reads a newspaper. When Rico sees a story about the underworld paying its respect to a gang leader, Rico realizes that that is the lifestyle that he wants. He desires to be powerful and respected, and not some two-bit criminal that nobody knows.
However, Joe doesn’t have that same passion for being a criminal. He tells Rico that he would rather be dancing on stage with a woman, and living life in the spotlight. Rico seems disgusted that Joe would rather be a dancer and around women.
The two of them head to Chicago to pursue their dreams. Read more…
Today we’re taking a look at Bullets or Ballots, a classic gangster film released back in 1936.
Bullets or Ballots is a crime film that involves gangsters looking for a new racket and source of income. While they look to expand their empire, a top New York City police officer is willing to do anything it takes to stop them, even if it means risking his life and infiltrating their gang.
Directed by William Keighley, Bullets or Ballots stars Edward G. Robinson as Detective Johnny Blake, a cop who wants to rid New York City of its notorious gangsters. Supporting him in the film are Humphrey Bogart as Nick “Bugs” Fenner, and Joan Blondell as Lee Morgan.
Set in New York City, Bullets or Ballots begins with Al Kruger (Barton MacLane) and his underling, Nick “Bugs” Fenner (Humphrey Bogart), going to a theater and seeing a news report about the extent of gangster activities (primarily involving racketeering) in the U.S. The extent of the racketeering goes as far as installing arcade machines so that kids can play games and lose their lunch money. The news clip ends with footage of Kruger’s racketeering trial, to which he was acquitted by the jury. Read more…
A couple of weeks ago I finished reading The Shining, Stephen King‘s classic tale involving the supernatural and an isolated hotel in the Rocky Mountains.
The book was great, and I’ve been having a desire to see the 1980 movie based on the book. I’ve only see parts of the movie here and there, and that was many years ago. I’ve never seen the whole movie from start to finish. After finishing (and thoroughly enjoying the book), it was a matter of taking the time to watch the movie.
Directed by film legend Stanley Kubrick, The Shining stars Jack Nicholson in the lead role of Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts the job of a winter caretaker at a prestigious mountain resort. Supporting him are Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance, Jack’s wife, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance, Jack and Wendy’s young son who happens to have a special skill with his mind.
The film also features Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann, Philip Stone as Delbert Grady, and Joe Turkel as Lloyd, a friendly bartender who gladly serves Jack his drinks.
The Shining begins with Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) arriving at the Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and interviewing for the position of the winter caretaker. Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) likes Jack and hires him for the position even though Jack does not have any experience. Jack informs him that he’s looking for change, and working at the hotel will allow him to continue working as a writer.
During the interview, Ullman tells Jack that Charles Grady, the previous winter caretaker, fell victim to cabin fever, and he murdered his wife and their two daughters. This doesn’t seem to be a concern for Jack. Read more…
Today we’re taking a look at 1959’s Ben-Hur, an epic historical drama and one of the biggest films in the history of Hollywood.
Ben-Hur tells a classic tale of Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish merchant who is falsely imprisoned and made into a slave, his heroic actions that set him free, and his return home to seek revenge against those who wronged him. The film also features highlights from the life of Jesus Christ, from His birth to His life as a carpenter to His teachings and finally the crucifixion and death. Judah Ben-Hur witnesses many of those events, and he becomes one of Jesus’ followers in the end.
Directed by William Wyler, Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston in the lead role of Judah Ben-Hur. Supporting him are Stephen Boyd as Messala, Haya Harareet as Esther, Hugh Griffith as Shiek Ilderim, and Jack Hawkins as Roman Consul Quintus Arrius. The film’s score was conducted by Miklos Rozsa. Ben-Hur has a running time of a whopping 212 minutes.
Ben-Hur begins with a brief overview of the land of Judea and how the Jewish people were being ruled by the Roman Empire. The Jewish people are enduring it and looking forward to the long-awaited arrival of a redeemer, a person to finally bring them salvation and freedom.
One night the people throughout Judea see a star moving across the sky. This is taken as a sign that their redeemer has finally arrived. They follow the celestial object and discover that, sure enough, a child, Jesus of Nazareth, was just born.
Ben-Hur then advances to 26 A.D. Read more…
In today’s movie review we’re taking a look at Gallipoli, a 1981 Australian film that focuses on two friends who enlist in the Australian Army and are sent to the Gallipoli Campaign against the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey).
As we know from our history books, the Gallipoli Campaign was designed to have Allied forces invade and capture Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire so that the Russian Navy would have a clear path from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean. That part of the Ottoman Empire was a critical chokepoint against the Russians. The Gallipoli Campaign lasted from April 25, 1915 until January 9, 1916. The campaign was a serious failure for the Allies and cost the lives of over 56,000 soldiers.
Directed by Peter Weir, Gallipoli stars Mel Gibson as Frank Dunne, and Mark Lee as Archy Hamilton.
Gallipoli begins in Western Australia in May of 1915.
Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) is an 18-year-old sprinter continually being trained by his uncle, Jack (Bill Kerr). When he’s not training to be a champion sprinter, Archy works on a cattle ranch. One day Archy is challenged to a race by fellow cowboy Les McCann (Harold Hopkins). Archy is forced to run barefoot across a desert while Les rides his horse bareback. Although Archy wins the race, he badly damages his feet and faces disapproval from Uncle Jack. Read more…
Today we’re going to review The Blue Max, a 1966 film about a World War 1 German fighter pilot eager to shoot down 20 enemy aircraft and earn the prestigious Blue Max medal, the highest military honor in the Kingdom of Prussia.
Directed by John Guillermin, The Blue Max stars George Peppard as Bruno Stachel, a young fighter pilot who will risk it all to shoot down enemy aircraft. His aggressive actions earn him a negative reputation amongst his fellow pilots, but his success makes him a hero in the eyes of the commanding generals. Co-starring in the film are Jeremy Kemp as Willi von Klugermann, the squadron’s commanding officer, James Mason as General Count von Klugermann, Willi’s uncle, and Ursula Andress as Kaeti, the general’s wife and a woman who has affairs with some of the pilots.
The Blue Max begins in 1916 as German Corporal Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) is one of thousands of infantry soldiers fighting in the trenches on the Western Front. He knows that fighting in the trenches is a losing battle. One day he looks into the sky and sees two fighter aircraft fighting each other. Suddenly Bruno is inspired to join the air service and become a combat pilot. Read more…