Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Pacific

(2010)

In 2001 HBO aired “Band of Brothers,” which followed Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division from basic training through the D-Day invasion of Operation Overlord, up until VE-Day. Until that time it was the most expensive television series ever. This is a follow-up with the Marines in the Pacific.

I wouldn’t dream of belittling any serviceman or woman’s wartime experience. All ... Read more »

The Pacifier

(2005)

This was the second feature at the drive in; the first was Fever Pitch. What we got was a film-school double feature: How to write comedy, and how not to write comedy.

This is one that’s so bad it should have joined that small, elite selection of movies that are put on the shelf, never released. Vin Diesel tries something that The Governator (Read more »

The Pact of Silence

(Le pacte du silence, France, 2003)

Gérard Depardieu is a priest/doctor in Brazil, trying to treat a nun who is having all sorts of problems. It’s tough, because the order forbids taking any kind of medicine. He learns she has a twin sister, both played by Élodie Bouchez. He goes back to France and learns that the sister is in jail for suffocating an infant when she was twelve. Then it starts to get weird. Separated by ... Read more »

Painted Lady

(1997)

We watched this on the strength of Helen Mirren being in it, and her performance, as usual, was outstanding. She’s a washed-up folk singer, used to be famous, now she’s staying in the guest cottage of a wealthy friend. The friend is murdered, and a very expensive painting is taken. She sets out into the art scene to find out what really happened, and to avenge her friend. The plot is ... Read more »

The Painted Veil

(2006)

Shot on location in China, in that river valley in Guangxi that looks so gorgeous it might have been computer-generated for a fantasy film. The year is 1925, a turbulent time in China (though, come to think of it, has there ever been a time in China when it was not turbulent?), and a cholera epidemic is raging in the hinterlands while various political factions and warlords are beginning ... Read more »

The Paleface

(1922)

Buster Keaton two-reeler. Not one of Buster’s best. Aside from the racial stereotyping which isn’t really funny any more (though not horribly offensive, either), there’s just not a lot of comic invention. This is available on a DVD with the feature Go West.

The Palm Beach Story

(1942)

Not one of Preston Sturges’s best, in my opinion. It’s a bit hard to get up a lot of sympathy for the Claudette Colbert character, who spends most of the movie scheming to get rich. It’s all for hubby, who she insists she is divorcing, of course, and we all know they’ll get back together, but her change of heart is unconvincing. The middle section of the story is very annoying, with a ... Read more »

Pan

(USA, UK, Australia, 2015)

I don’t think the world was exactly crying out for a prequel to the Peter Pan story, and the worldwide box office proved it. This film was a big bomb. Partly it was the bad over-acting by Hugh Jackman as the Pirate Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund as a young Hook before he became a captain. The kid playing Pan is nothing special, either. I will agree that the special effects, the design of ... Read more »

Panic in the Streets

(1950)

This is a reasonably intelligent and very well-made thriller concerning the threat of pneumonic plague. Unlike its Black Death cousin, which needs rats and fleas to propagate, the pneumonic variety can be spread through the air. It’s surprising to me that we don’t get more of it. Here, it’s brought into New Orleans, where most of the movie was filmed on location. The complication is that ... Read more »

Panic in Year Zero!

(1962)

Here’s a movie that doesn’t screw around getting into the action. For five minutes Ray Milland and his wife Jean Hagen and son Frankie Avalon and daughter Joan Freeman are a happy family setting out in their gigantic Mercury Monterrey, pulling a camping trailer into the hills north of Los Angeles. There is a bright flash of light, and everything changes. They see the mushroom cloud to the ... Read more »