July 2016 in Review
For the first time in over two and a half years, I went a day without posting an article or gallery of some sort. I kept thinking about it and felt that the time was right over a recent weekend of classic monsters at a festival in Pennsylvania. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped watching films or reading up on them. Just taking a bit of a breather during the summer holiday season. Here’s the July recap.
Tonight We Raid Calais – Annabella fights the good fight with John Sutton
Friendly Persuasion – Another Gary Cooper gem.
Jaws – A night out for a big screen showing. No way I’m gonna miss this.
A David Carradine Triple Bill – 3 movies featuring David Carradine. Just like it says.
Heist (2015) – Robert DeNiro looking and acting mean lured me in and while this may not be the best flick I’ve seen this month, it tries hard. An honest attempt from Jeffrey Dean Morgan to make the whole thing believable despite a script that at times is just too implausible. Dave Bautista makes for one nasty dude and Gina Carano continues to look good though I wish she had more to do this time out. DeNiro owns a casino that Morgan is going to rob with good intentions behind his reasoning. Gunfire and violence quickly ensue.
Cahill : U.S. Marshall – The Duke vs. George Kennedy.
Coast Guard – Randolph Scott and Ralph Bellamy chase the same woman. Guess who wins.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) – Bizarre yet endearing tale starring Ryan Gosling as an introvert who has a very “Harvey” like girlfriend. This comedy also featuring Patricia Clarkson could have gone for the gross out laughs but instead goes for the heart strings. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this but it quickly draws you in and keeps you wondering how Gosling’s love life will play itself out. Uplifting and funny without going overboard. Recommended.
Dr. X – Celebrating films of 1932 with this horror classic.
The Hound of the Baskervilles – 1959 version done Hammer style with Peter Cushing smoking the Holmes pipe.
Trail Street – Robert Ryan helps Randolph Scott clean up a frontier town.
The Assassination Tango (2003) – Robert Duvall directs himself in this odd tale of a hired killer waiting out his prey in South America by taking tango lessons with a beautiful younger woman. Quirky at times and while Duvall isn’t exactly a nice guy, he’s compelling as usual. Better than I expected and biased as I am, one of my movie going missions in life is to see every Duvall performance.
The Executioner – George Peppard nails down the title role.
Dracula and Son – Christopher Lee lampoons his greatest role French style.
Crimson Peak (2015) – Nowhere near the horror film I expected from director Guillermo Del Toro. Instead it’s a Gothic romance with supernatural overtones. Possible James Bond replacement, Tom Hiddleston is in here as a candidate for villainy while Mia Wasikowsa is a Mary Shelley like writer who finds herself in love with the wrong man who has plenty of secrets to hide. I guess I was disappointed for the lack of scares but the story still kept me involved till the fade out. As one might expect with Del Toro directing, the set designs are first rate.
The Whip Hand – A nice discovery.
Ice Station Zebra – Rock Hudson tackles the arctic and Ernie Borgnine.
Dirty Deeds (2002) – This Aussie gangland film takes a page from the Tarantino style of movie making and allowing Bryan Brown to light up the screen as a gangster who is trying to fend off an American take over led by John Goodman while keeping Sam Neill as a crooked cop firmly in his pocket. Toni Collette shines here as well as Bryan’s tough as nails wife who refuses to be pushed aside for a younger woman. Not great but the stars make it worthwhile.
Sahara – Brooke Shields Razzie winner.
Zero Dark Thirty – Sobering story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. I wouldn’t call this an entertaining film but I do appreciate the performance of Jessica Chastain as the mastermind behind finding the most wanted man on the planet. The late James Gandolfini turns up briefly as well in this Kathryn Bigelow directed thriller. I suppose films like these are inevitable and quite often well made, it’s just that they serve as a grim reminder of the sadness that seeps into our world during these turbulent times.
The Palm Beach Story – Comedy gem for my Mad Movie Challenge of the month.
The Bourne Identity (2002) – I know. I admit it. It took a while to finally watch this enjoyable Matt Damon thriller that has now spawned a third sequel. It’s not like I was avoiding it, it just wasn’t high on my radar. With the ads on TV for the fourth film, something caught me eye. Mr. Tommy Lee Jones. He’s one of those actors that I make an effort to see in every film he appears in. So if I’m gonna eventually see the new release than I had best start at the beginning. Yes I did like the film and was happy to see both Brian Cox and Chris Cooper in there as well.
Five Deadly Dragons – A cast too good to pass up.
For a classic to recommend, the obvious answer is Jaws so how about I throw in Friendly Persuasion as well. For a more recent title, how about Lars and the Real Girl thanks to it’s winning spirit.