As most of you who drop in regularly already know, I’m way behind in keeping up with modern movie fare and shows that run on Netflix that I hear are so damned good but of course are in episodic form that I just can’t bring myself to commit to. Still, I found a way to see a Best Picture winner from this century during the month of September and I can honestly say it’ll be a lock to make my top ten new to me movies for the calendar year.
On to this month’s viewing experiences.
High School Caesar – John Ashley rocks it!
Legend of the Lost – aka When John Wayne Met Sophia Loren in the Desert Sands.
It’s hard not to recall All The President’s Men when watching this story of journalists unveiling a deep dark secret though the subject material is vastly different from the 1976 Oscar Nominee for Best Picture. Spotlight captured the award for the 2015 season and I have no argument with it’s selection after seeing it. It’s a riveting film of a subject that is still in the headlines today. That of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Great performances from Michael Keaton on down with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams really standing out as does Stanley Tucci. Tough subject material but it’s handled well considering how explosive and repulsive the topic can be. Highly recommended.
Two Flags West – joining an online celebration on the films of Joseph Cotten.
Flags at half mast for the month here at Mike’s Take after getting the news of Burt Reynolds passing. Always one of my favorites.
Rewatched Sharky’s Machine. One of the first films I ever featured here at the blog. My two sons, Kirk and Ethan joined me making it a nice viewing experience as we recalled “The Burt.”
The Conjuring (2013)
I’ve been meaning to get at this one and with the release of The Nun hitting theater screens I finally dimmed the lights and had a good scare. Yes I liked this one. Pushed all the right buttons to get me nervous and sure enough while I’m watching this haunted house/possession flick in the dark, my little black haired buddy Brando the Dachshund quietly enters the room and jumps on the couch beside me giving me a good jolt at a key point in the film. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play it straight as ghost hunters never winking at the camera which only adds to the film’s honest attempt to scare the hell out of us minus blood and gut spilled across the screen in an attempt to gross us out. Yes it’s an old fashioned idea but it works. A great film to check out as the Halloween season approaches.
Woman Hater – Screwball comedy with Stewart Granger hit’s the funny bone.
The Slams – Jim Brown acting tough once again.
Gran Torino (2008)
A nice revisit to a Clint Eastwood film I was happy to share with my sons at the theater when it first came out. That alone makes it memorable for me even though I think the film a good one and strong enough to stand alone on it’s own merits as it perfectly works into the script the Eastwood mystique. There was this big assumption that it was to be Clint’s final acting gig and as that didn’t happen it can’t be considered one of the great swansongs for a beloved actor. That honor still goes to The Duke for his farewell role in The Shootist.
Adventures of Captain Fabian – Errol Flynn vs Vincent Price in the main event.
A Study In Terror – Holmes and Watson tangle with Jack the Ripper.
Pony Express – Charlton Heston makes a fine Bill Cody in this outdoor actioner.
The Ides of March (2011)
Not surprisingly, George Clooney delivers a first rate political drama and a cast to match. He both directs and stars as a rising candidate in the political ring with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling as his behind the scenes handlers who manage his campaign. Double crosses, skeletons in closets, the power of the press and sex all figure into Gosling’s own career. He’s the focal point of the film that also stars Marisa Tomei and Paul Giamatti. Will Gosling do the right thing or only think of his own career and gain? It’s a question I dare say needs to be asked of many individuals who govern us now in these turbulent times who must have a tough time looking their loved ones in the eye. Yup, that’s a shot.
Manila Calling – Lloyd Nolan takes on the Japanese during WW2 with a first rate cast of character players.
Open Season – Peter Fonda, John Phillip Law and Richard Lynch show their nasty sides in this variation of The Most Dangerous Game.
The Accursed! (1957) – Christopher Lee and Anton Diffring. Say no more.
I’ve long been a fan of director Walter Hill and for good reason. He delivered countless films to movie theaters in the 70’s and 80’s that influenced my viewing habits and the actors I grew to follow while growing up. Titles like The Driver, The Warriors, The Long Riders and Hard Times. He sort of revisits Hard Times here in this nifty boxing flick that pits Wesley Snipes against Ving Rhames for the unofficial Heavyweight Championship of the World. Snipes is a lifer in prison who at one time was a rising prospect in the ring before beating a man to death putting him in jail. Rhames IS the real life Heavyweight Champ and like Mike Tyson finds himself incarcerated for rape. Enter aging mafioso Peter Falk who wants to see the two tango on the underground boxing circuit that is governed by chief guard Michael Rooker in the prison system. Yes these two warriors are on a collision course that will culminate in a cage match that harkens back to the classic 1975 match in Hard Times. Don’t know it? Then check it out as well as this little known film from a director who knows how to handle action sequences minus the CGI. Yup. That’s another shot.
The Rebel Rousers – (1967) – A biker movie without Peter Fonda but it does have Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Harry Dean Stanton and Cameron Mitchell!
Brando and some Three Stooges Shorts.
Blindfold – (1966) – Rock Hudson tangles with spies and the beautiful Claudia Cardinale.
Aside from those films above I did watch the first four movies made for TV featuring the return of Raymond Burr as Perry Mason. I’ve had a box set of the 30 movies he made for TV in the latter part of his career on the shelf for a while now. It’s after reading a biography on Burr that I figured was a good a time as any to crack open the discs and solve some case with plenty of familiar faces as guest stars, witnesses and victims.
Perry Mason Returns (1985) with Patrick O’Neal and Richard Anderson
The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986) with Tom Bosley and Timothy Bottoms
The Case of the Shooting Star (1986) with Joe Penny, Alan Thicke and Ivan Dixon
The Case of the Lost Love (1987) with Jean Simmons and Gene Barry.
Just another 26 titles to go but I’ll easily admit to liking these kind of films. They harken back to the mystery thrillers of the 1940’s when the likes of Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes were cracking murder mysteries. Well that’s all folks. Back to the movie room and cataloging posters as I continue to unearth them like this insert featuring Lee J. Cobb in fine form.
Up next in October is my annual Why Horror? Why No? fest with a good dozen or so horror titles as we near the big night on the 31st and I’m also looking forward to being a guest blogger at Classic Horrors featuring a 1976 thriller that I’ve just watched for the first time.
As always, thanks for stopping in and feel free to say hi anytime.