Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Yesterday

(UK, 2019)

This one immediately goes on my list of Best Films of 2019, and it might even be the very best of those I’ve seen so far. The premise is fairly simple. Jack Malik, an unsuccessful wannabe rock writer and performer, is hit by a bus. When he comes to, he soon discovers that he is in an alternate reality where the Beatles never existed. Mention John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and you get a ... Read more »

The Way We Were

(1973)

On the AFI’s list of 100 Years … 100 Passions this is #6, behind Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, West Side Story, Roman Holiday, and An Affair to Remember, and just above Doctor Zhivago. I wouldn’t put it that high, myself. I wouldn’t drop it off the list entirely, but for some ... Read more »

Holiday

(1938)

This is the second time a movie was made from the stage play by Phillip Barry. The first time was in 1930, and it starred Mary Astor, Anne Harding, Hedda Hopper, and Edward Everett Horton. Horton reprised his role in this one, with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Doris Nolan, and Lew Ayres. Cary is a happy-go-lucky guy who while on vacation in Lake Placid meets Julia, the younger of two ... Read more »

The English Patient

(1996)

In the days near the end of the Italian campaign in 1944, a Canadian nurse (Juliette Binoche) is caring for a dying man who has been burned beyond recognition. He claims he can’t even remember his own name. This story is told interspersed with flashbacks to just before the start of WWII. Ralph Fiennes is an archaeologist, cartographer, and major sourpuss in the Egyptian Sahara. But he ... Read more »

Tolkien

(2019)

For some reason the writers elected to have J.R.R. Tolkien’s story center around his horrible experiences in WWI. He saw carnage almost unimaginable to me, and came down with trench fever at the Battle of the Somme, which almost killed him. (Oddly, two other famous fantasy writers also suffered from it: C.S. Lewis and A.A. Milne. You think the virus is attracted to initials?) It seems an ... Read more »

The Natural

(1984)

The World Series is happening as I write this, 10/24/19, and the Washington Nationals have just humiliated the highly-favored Houston Astros in Game Two, 12 to 3, on the road in Minute Maid Park. Today the Nats are on their way to Washington, leading two games to one. Lee and I always watch the playoffs and the Series, but not much during the season. This one started off badly, with the ... Read more »

The Beguiled

(2017)

I never saw the 1971 Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman movie this was based on. And I’m not sure just why Sophia Coppola wanted to remake it. It’s a good enough story, but did it need to be made twice? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll look up the original.

It’s got a terrific cast. Nicole Kidman is the headmistress of a school for young ladies in the closing year of the ... Read more »

The Sandlot

(1993)

This was not quite as good as I remembered it. It’s still a nice little movie, but some of it seemed to be way over the top. I understand, of course, that this story, of a group of boys who play ball in a sandlot and are terrified of a monstrous dog who lives behind a fence and devours lost baseballs, is seen through the eyes of a young boy. Thus, everything is exaggerated, and that’s ... Read more »

Death Becomes Her

(1992)

This is not nearly as bad as I remembered it. Searching for a reason why that should be, I decided it was probably because the end was not nearly as good as the beginning. In fact, after about the halfway point Robert Zemeckis and David Koepp, the director and writer, couldn’t figure out where to take the story, and so it degenerated into a lot of rather elaborate and unfunny action ... Read more »

Savage Sam

(1963)

I put this in the DVD player primarily to see if Kevin Corcoran, who played younger brother Arliss in the classic Old Yeller, could possibly be as annoying as he was in that film. He could. The idea that this little self-centered, shithead monster, who chucks rocks at everything he doesn’t like and never obeys ... Read more »