Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

(2020)

In my opinion, most of the newer Christmas movie suck. They are either too damn sweet, or they go for irreverence and just come off as nasty. Here is an exception. It’s a Netflix production, an all-new musical that takes place in a cleaned-up Dickensian world where race doesn’t matter. The characters are mostly black, but the extras are mixed, with about a third of them being white people. ... Read more »

The Polar Express

(2004)

I’ve been to several IMAX shows, but they had all been in settings like museums or world’s fairs, and they weren’t feature-length general release films like this one. Lee and I saw it together, and we’re not sure where it was, but I’m thinking it may have been in or around San Jose when we also visited the Winchester Mystery House. I was wondering how it would hold up, tech-wise, after ... Read more »

Us

(2019)

Jordan Peele followed up his great and wildly successful Get Out with this muddled and eventually ridiculous mess. It concerns duplicates of living people who are trying to muscle in on the lives of the real ones. The explanation, when it comes, is totally unbelievable. And the critics loved it. This is another one like A Quiet Place, a ... Read more »

Transsiberian

(Germany, UK, Spain, Lithuania, 2008)

Here is a film Alfred Hitchcock could have made, had he lived that long. A couple are taking the Trans-Siberian railroad from Beijing to Moscow, a trip that takes four or five days. Woody Harrelson is a train buff who gets ecstatic over old steam engines in yard, and misses the train. While Emily Mortimer and two bunkmates they met on the train wait for him to arrive the next day, she goes ... Read more »

Oliver Twist

(2005)

For years I have asked myself, why would someone want to make this story when the great David Lean did it perfectly in 1948? But Roman Polanski decided to do it, and I can’t say it’s bad. I have never read the book, but it seems both Lean and Polanski took some liberties about the ending. It looks good, suitably muddy and brown and nasty, the acting is good, especially Ben Kingsley as ... Read more »

The Paper

(1994)

A great cast, with Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid (before he got plumb crazy) and Robert Duvall. They all work at a New York Tabloid, and we see the sleazy conferences where they follow the old adage “If it bleeds, it leads.” Then they get a story where they know they are being led down the garden path by the NYPD, concerning two entirely innocent black young men ... Read more »

The Adventures of Robin Hood

(1938)

Until Richard Lester’s epic The Three/Four Musketeers films, this was my favorite of all swashbuckler movies. I had a high school friend, Jan Reynolds (sadly taken into that Great Reunion in the Sky) who was a rabid fan of Errol Flynn. He had practically memorized My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn he had read it ... Read more »

Casino

(1995)

This is the middle film of Martin Scorsese’s Mob Trilogy, coming after Goodfellas and before The Departed. The first two feature Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, though in different settings, and the last has Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. I guess you could say that The Irishman was the ... Read more »

Gone With the Wind

(1939)

I expect I’ve seen this five or six times now, maybe even more, and every time I’m surprised that I’ve forgotten just how vile Scarlett O’Hara is. There is only one point at which I have any sympathy for her at all, and that is at the end of the first act. Brought low, to the point of eating a filthy carrot she has just pulled from the ground, she falls down, and slowly rises: “As God is ... Read more »

The Next Three Days

(2010)

Does this ever happen to you? You watch a movie on TV, add it to the list of movies you intend to write to a friend about, or talk about, or write a review about, and then you forget about it for a couple of months, and when you sit down to write … you can’t recall much about it? It’s not necessarily a bad movie, it’s just not great, and in the end, not very memorable. That’s what happened ... Read more »