March 2018 in Review
There’s really five seasons in Canada, the fifth one being the Hockey Season to go along with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Playoffs will be upon us soon enough but when we throw in the baseball season just getting underway, it’s hard to keep up with the movie watching. But I persist with stopping the DVD player during the games and pressing play between the periods and the innings. So here’s what I managed to catch this month with some commentary to accompany each selection.
With a nod to television I finally caught the debut episode of a show I’ve long heard of but never once actually seen, My Favorite Martian. I don’t recall it ever being on in syndication as a kid like The Munsters or Gilligan’s Island. Must say I enjoyed it like I do many of those classic shows of the era. Bill Bixby and Ray Walston starred. Turning up in the debut was Simon Oakland and I noticed it was directed by long time TV producer/actor Sheldon Leonard. I’ll have to make time to watch the rest of the series after picking up a box set of the three seasons that aired.
Now let’s get to this month’s roll call.
Welcome to Arrow Beach – Stomach turning horror was Laurence Harvey’s final film.
Big Red – Brando’s Pick of the Month. – Walter Pidgeon in some Disney fare.
The McConnell Story – Alan Ladd and June Allyson light up the screen in their only film together.
Documentary from Mike Malloy on the 70’s genre of gangster films from Italy and surrounding countries. Loaded with footage that makes me want to see more of these if I could just find some decent copies of them. Among those interviewed are a some of my faves including John Saxon, Henry Silva, Fred Williamson and Franco Nero. It also featured enough footage of Jean Paul Belmondo that convinces me I need to make a better effort to see more of his films. Plenty of fun stories in here from those interviewed for us film buffs so this one should be seen by all those that love the gangster film genre.
God is My Co-Pilot – Dennis Morgan is off to war for Warner Brothers
The Marseille Contract aka The Destructors – Anthony Quinn + Michael Caine + James Mason = I had to see it
Springtime In The Sierras – Great fun as Roy Rogers and Trigger corner a gang of poachers with Roy singing a few tunes along the way.
Race Street – George Raft and William Bendix tangle with the mob and Marilyn Maxwell.
The Rundown (2003)
A fun revisit to a film that helped convince many of us that Dwayne Johnson was the guy to take the baton from Arnold Schwarzenegger as the muscular hero for the next generation of movie goers. So much so that Arnie makes a quick appearance wishing him good luck. Blink and you’ll miss him. A good mixture of comedy and action with The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson and the legendary Christopher Walken chewing up the scenes as the villain. Just the way we like him. The plot? Secondary but it’s a treasure hunt mixed with a bounty on Scott’s head and Walken enslaving a jungle village.
A Gathering of Old Men – Classy Lou Gossett TV flick joined by Richard Widmark
Educating Rita – Michael Caine’s personal favorite of all his on screen performances adds weight to this one.
A pair of Harvey Keitel flicks involving the Bugsy Siegel story…… Bugsy from 1991 and Virginia Hill from 1974
September Storm – A treasure hunt and Joanne Dru. Both highlighted in 3D
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
Odd title in the career of Bill Murray finds him playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The story revolves around a weekend retreat where he is to be visited by The King and Queen of England. If any of this is indeed the truth, I had no idea that FDR had a number of mistresses on the go along with a wife he seemed estranged from. The story is told from the point of view of his cousin, Laura Linney who gets caught up in the President’s love life. Art house effort that is geared towards performance and dry comedy. I’d also point out that Samuel West did a fine job as King George just a short time after Colin Firth won an Oscar for playing the same role and putting his stamp on it. Not an easy thing to do but he pulled it off helping me to separate the two performances.
Terror On a Train – Glenn Ford saves the day
Christopher Columbus – Frederic March discovers America!!!
Dead End – Bogie in a classic joined by a wonderful cast, required viewing.
The Breaking Point – Another classic John Garfield entry that should be seen.
Coach Carter (2005)
Who wouldn’t want to see Samuel L. Jackson as a tough as nails high school basketball coach? It’s a no brainer and a feel good story to boot. Jackson brings meaning to the lives of many young men looking for their place in a world where the odds are stacked against them. No Hoosiers but hard not to like this one with a winning spirit.
Bad Day At Black Rock – If I spent time rating films this Spencer Tracy led cast would pretty much score a 10 out of 10. Previously reviewed but always worth revisiting. Comes with my highest recommendation.
Destry – Fun Audie Murphy western proving not all remakes are bad ideas.
Reviewed in April of 2016 but enjoyed once more, Ty Power and Susan Hayward western thriller Rawhide
The Crimson Tide – Denzel Washington vs. Gene Hackman proves a better clash than any heavyweight boxing match I’ve seen in years.
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
OK, I’ll admit that I think this movie does DeNiro’s legacy absolutely no favors so I hope he was paid well. I’ll also admit that I laughed in spite of knowing this is pretty low brow humor. For DeNiro fans only. For those kind of interested, I’d suggest Bad Grandpa with Johnny Knoxville instead. That one had me rolling on the floor. “I never ate fish sticks again.”
The Golden Mask – Van Heflin turns archaeologist in the search for the movie’s title
Take Me Out To The Ball Game – getting ready for the season to open with Frank and Gene
The Last Castle (2001)
I liked this Robert Redford flick when I saw it back when it was released and I haven’t changed my opinion after seeing it a second time. Redford revisits Brubaker territory as an iconic military General who’s career is destroyed and he finds himself in a military prison for a ten year stretch. He’s about to meet the warden, James Gandolfini, and the two will engage in a war of wills for the balance of the film. Redford may be in prison but he can’t stop commanding and will win over the military convicts along the way forming his own army against the wishes of Gandolfini. Good flick and one worth the revisit.
Betrayed – Another flick this month with a trio of names above the title. GABLE – TURNER – MATURE all 3 tangle as spies in this WW2 tale
Silent Rage – Taking it on the chin while watching Chuck Norris dish it out on screen.
15 New to me, 15 revisits. A perfect split. How about you? What’s your tally on these 30 titles?