Classic Movie Review: Angels with Dirty Faces


Writer: John Wexley, Warren Duff
Producer Samuel Bischoff
Director: Michael Curtiz
Cast: James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, The Dead End Kids, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft

So I was listening to the Andrew Klavan podcast and he was mentioning old classic movies that he watched on T.V. growing up. Turns out he and I had seen many of the same movies growing up except this one. I had never seen Angels with Dirty Faces. Although I had heard of it. So I decided to see if I could find it streaming somewhere. Turns out there is a Netflix channel that streams old movies that played on the television.

So sheltering at home I watched this movie. I’m not going to give the entire plot away I think that like Andrew Klavan said in his podcast that finding out what happens in the end makes the movie.

The movie looks at two kids growing up as young hoodlums one, played by James Cagney, gets sent to jail the other, played by Pat O’Brien, turns his life around. They find themselves back in the same neighborhood one is a gangster the other a priest. One trying to keep the street kids, played by the Dead End Kids, from turning into gangsters, the other telling the gangster life is the best. But the gangster life has consequences and the end comes for James Cagney his friend the priest asks him for one favor.

Couple things about this movie. The gangsters aren’t portrayed as glamorous. They may go to the fancy bars but they’re scum and they act it. They double cross each other and are obviously evil, there is no redeeming qualities. Even in scenes with the kids the character played by Cagney treats them like things not like people. This is what makes this movie good a realistic look at what is fake about the glamour of the “gangster life”.

Good movie, great classic, go see it if you want. Five stars.

Classic Movie Review: Sabrina (1954)


Writer: Billy Wilder,Ernest Lehman, Samuel A. Taylor
Director: Billy Wilder
Producer: Billy Wilder
Main Cast:. Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden

Synopsis: Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) is the daughter of the chauffeur of the Larrabees. She has been in love with the wastrel son, David (William Holden), all her life. When David once again breaks her heart by going off with another young socialite, not knowing that Sabrina was watching him from a tree branch, she runs into the garage and tries to commit suicide by starting all the cars with the garage door closed. She is saved by Lionel Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart). Sabrina is then sent to Paris to learn to be a Cordon Bleu chef. She returns a sophisticated woman, unrecognized by David who immediately falls in love with her much to the consternation of Lionel. Because David is to marry the daughter of a plastic manufacturer whose new plastics will make the Larrabees a small fortune. To keep David on track Lionel begins to woo Sabrina.

I have an argument with my youngest daughter regarding Sabrina she likes the remake with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear. I point out that this version has elements to it that aren’t in the remake, to wit Humphrey Bogart.

Bogart who played gangsters and tough guys for most of his films was cast into the lead of a romantic comedy. Billy Wilder stretched Bogart’s acting abilities and drew out a performance that is second to none. And because of that I would say that Sabrina is well worth the watch.

I give Sabrina give stars out of five.

Movie Review: The American Gospel: Christ Alone


Producer: Brandon Kimber, Ralph McGreevy, Martin McGreevy, Shawn Rech, Greg Robb, Theresa Wylie
Director: Brandon Kimber
Writer: Brandon Kimber
Cast: Katherine Berger, Russell Berger, Marshall Brandon, Dan Burgoyne, Matt Chandler, Bryan Chapelle, R. Scott Clark, Ray Comfort, Kenneth Copeland, Sean Demars, Mark Fever, Michael Durham, Mike Gendron, J.D. Greear, Don Green, Jackie Hill-Perry Benny Hinn, Costi Hinn, Michael Horton, Phil Howell, Phil Johnson.

This documentary has been on my list of must see movies for quite some time now. I was finally able to watch the movie yesterday evening.

The plot of the documentary is simple: What is the core gospel of Christianity as defined by scripture and what does the American Gospel consist of and is it the same?

Here the American Gospel is defined broadly as the word-faith ministeries such as Joel Osteen’s ministry, Benny Hinn’s ministry, and others.

The documentary looks at the teachings of Christ and the apostles as found in the Bible and compares them to what the word-faith teachers regarding healing, suffering, and money. The contrast between scripture and them is obvious and radically different than what is espoused by the word-faith teachers.

I think this is an important film that needs to shown in every church to let church goers see exactly what is being fed to thousands of people everywhere that these programs are broadcasted. Whether you are in Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, or Billings Montana you can be bombarded by these heretical teaching. And the more people know what the real Gospel is and what it does and doesn’t do the better.

So go watch this movie, invite friends over and then talk with them about the Gospel.

Five stars

Movie Review: Ramen Shop (Ramen Teh)


Producer:Fong Cheng Tan, Junxiang Huang, Yutaka Tachibana
Director: Eric Khoo
Writers: Fong Cheng Tan, Kim Hoh Wong
Cast: Takumi Saito, Jeanette Aw, Seiko Matsuda, Mark Lee, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Tetsuya Bessho, Beatrice Chien

Every once in a while Netflix brings in a hidden gem and this movie is one of those gems.

Ramen Shop is a story about searching for roots, trying to deal with the past, redemption, love, and cooking. The cast does an excellent acting job and if you’ve never seen Singapore before you will get a glimpse of how it looks.

I am giving this movie 3.5 stars.

Classic Movie Review: Scaramouche


Director: George Sidney
Producer: Carey Wilson
Writer: Ronald Millar and George Froeschel
Original Book: Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Cast: Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, Janet Leigh, Mel Ferrer

If you think Scaramouche is just a line in a song you’re in for a surprise. The 1952 film starting Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, Mel Ferrer, and Janet Leigh has the honor to have one of the longest most complicated sword fights ever filmed. The artistry involved in the fight choreography makes it the highlight of the movie.

Scaramouche takes place just before the French Revolution. The aristocrats have taken to dueling their counterparts in the French parliament killing their merchant class opponents.

Enter Andre Moreau, Stewart Granger, the illegitimate son of a French nobleman. When he sees his friend, a pamphleteer, murdered in a duel by the Marquis de Maynes, Mel Ferrer, he attacks the marquis, only to find himself out dueled. In a quick moment he escapes from the marquis vowing revenge.

Andre hides with a traveling comedy troupe (commedia dell’arte) adopting the guise of the Scaramouche (follow the link to find out what a Scaramouche is) he improves his swordmanship by going to the teacher of the Marquis de Maynes. And then to Paris to study under the master of that teacher.

There of course is a love triangle between Granger, Parker, and Leigh. Granger in love with Leigh but cannot court her for reasons I won’t reveal. Why spoil the story?

Of course there is much more than this to the story, and the costumes and music that much more enjoyable. If you want to have some fun with a costume drama that is a lot of fun check out this movie.

I give Scaramouche five stars out of five.

A short film review: Stephen King’s IT


So I tried to watch this new version of IT and I got maybe forty-five minutes into the movie when I decided to eject it from my Blu Ray player. Why do you ask? Because, unlike the original treatment of this Stephen King story this movie isn’t scary and in fact boring. Not to mention that the actor playing Pennywise, his voice far from being that dreadful laugh that Tim Curry produced just leaves me saying “meh”.

In my opinion watch the 1990 mini-series.

Movie Review: Spiderman far from home


Director: Jon Watts
Producers: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Cast: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J. B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, and Jake Gyllenhaal

All right in case, you haven’t watched the trailer, this takes place after Avengers End Game so if you haven’t seen  Avengers End Game by watching Spiderman far from home you are going to get some spoilers.

And on to the movie.  This movie takes place five years after Infinity Wars,   All the people that had disappeared with a snap of a finger have been returned at the same age.  Which has caused a few hang-ups with little brothers suddenly being the same age as their big brothers.  Not only that but in an effort to resolve the issue all the people who came back have been unanimously declared to be the same age as when they left.  So Peter Parker is still in high school even though he should be past that age.  And because of that his class is scheduled for a trip to Europe.  Hence the title far from home.

But that isn’t all Peter Parker is showing some stress with his stint as an Avenger.  He is wanting to get away from the world-saving business and back to being the friendly neighborhood Spiderman.   Well, unfortunately, that isn’t  going to happen as mysterious creatures have been  popping up around the globe with an equally mysterious  hero that appears to be fighting them,

Who is this man where is he from what has this to do with Spiderman?

Go watch the movie.

All in all, this is an enjoyable movie, and if you aren’t burned out on superhero movies you’ll enjoy this one.  I am giving this five stars out of five.

 

Short Movie Reviews


So for father’s day my son took me to the movies. We saw two movies. Godzilla king of the monsters.

And John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum

I’m going to discuss Godzilla first.

I’m not going to lie seeing Godzilla reminded me of when I watched the Saturday morning creature feature with my cereal bowl in my lap staring intensely at a guy in a rubber suit stomping through models. At that time I cared not at all what message the film maker was trying to say I was there for the destruction.

Unfortunately the halcyon days of youth can’t be reclaimed. There is a distinct theme running through the Godzilla movie. To sum it up it is that man has screwed up the ecosystem and the only way to return it to the natural balance is to let loose all these “Titans” ie: Rhodan, Mothra, etc.. let them destroy the cities and then via their unique radiation have nature renew itself and the earth be replenished. But of course there is a flaw in this plan and it has to do with the monster they’ve unleashed, Ghidra or Monster Zero.

In case you didn’t catch that let me say it clearer. In order to save the planet monsters have to men, and men’s cities. This is again a Malthusian economic system. We don’t have enough resources so we have to get rid of the excess consumers. Otherwise known as people.

Now if all you want to do is watch giant CGI monsters battle on the screen and care nothing about what the movie is saying about ecology and mankind. Then ignore the theme and enjoy the monsters.

John Wick 3 Parabellum takes place right after the events of John Wick 2. And if you sit down and think about this the entire John Wick series really has occurred in maybe two or three weeks time. So this is like three weeks of John Wick’s life, if you want to call this a life.

In this iteration John Wick is running for his life, he has been declared excommunicado by the mysterious organization that controls these assassins. As such he has no protection or resources to fall back on.

But that isn’t all, Winston the head of the Continental hotel in New York has come under the scrutiny of the “High Table” for how he handled the John Wick issue. And an adjudicator has come to administer “justice” and restore the High Table rule.

But John Wick has a plan, besides a high body count, and that is to get his excommunicato lifted by the person who is above the High Table. To do that he has to stay alive to find him and plead his case.

Now if you have seen any of the John Wick films you know that you are going to see both a lot of martial arts action and a lot of people being killed in a variety of ways. I think there is a YouTube video that lists the various martial arts being displayed in the John Wick movies. It is quite impressive. And if violence bothers you there are more than a few cringe worthy scenes that you will not want to see. So don’t go.

As a third movie in the series it does a good job living up to the other John Wick movies and the continuity of the three movies stays together. You know what kind of twisted world John Wick’s world really is, people are killed left and right and the bodies are piling up and ignored by the various inhabitants. At the train station steps, where two or three assassins are killed, nobody screams or shouts for the police. This tells you that this isn’t a real world. It maybe New York, but even New Yorkers aren’t that immune to violence.

Final review:

Godzilla king of the monsters three and a half stars out of five for the monster fights and making me remember my youth.

John Wick 3 Parabellum three stars out of five for the high intensity action and fighting.

And that is the movie reviews for this week.

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame


Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenwriters: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, .Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin

Here is the list:

Iron Man 2008, The Incredible Hulk 2008, Iron Man 2 2011, Thor 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger 2012, Marvel’s The Avengers 2013, Iron Man 3 2013, Thor: The Dark World 2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015, Ant-Man 2016, Captain America: Civil War 2016, Doctor Strange 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 2017, Thor: Ragnarok 2018, Antman and the Wasp 2018, Black Panther 2018, Avengers: Infinity War 2018, Captain Marvel 2019.

Ten years of movies leading to this climax. And I am going to do my best not to drop any spoilers.

Endgame takes place after Infinity War if you haven’t seen this it may leave you puzzled as to what has happened.

And a lot has happened the Avengers are not what they once were. Time has passed and people are trying to get on with their lives but something is just missing that they can’t get passed.

And then a miracle happens.

And I can’t say anything more. And if you want spoilers look some where else. You will find all you need.

But let me say this, Marvel has done something unique. They have created a decade long continuity that with a plethora of films leading up to this film. And you have to give them props for this, who else in movie making has done this? Or had this big of vision?

Now granted I wouldn’t call all of the Marvel movies the best thing that I have seen. There have been a few that you could miss and still enjoy this film. But for the most part this has been a very good selection of movies. And this one is a fitting end of this saga not the end of the Marvel movies. There are more coming.

A few other things, fantasy violence keep aware of this in regards to younger children. There is swearing and alcohol consumption. And if that offends you don’t go.

Second this is a three hour movie plan accordingly. My son and I decided to not get refreshments just because we didn’t want to miss any part of the movie. And I saw many other people do the same. Not so when my daughters went to see the movie.

Third, and this may not happen where you view the movie but there were at least eight trailers before the movie and some of the viewers didn’t realize that the movie had actually started because the opening scene didn’t have the big Marvel fanfare at first. So they missed what I consider one of the best scenes in the movie because they were talking. So it can sneak up on you be aware.

I give this movie five stars.

Why Christian Movies are so terrible~Jared C. Wilson


Last month, while out at the movies, my wife and I happened to see trailers for two new movies produced by and for the Christian market — “faith-based films” they call them these days. Both trailers distilled their respective stories down to about 3 minutes of earnest dialogue snippets, tear-streamed dramatic moments, and inspirational footage of sports (basketball in one, track in the other). Throughout both trailers — which we saw on two different days before two different movies — the audience was audibly laughing. I was cringing. The paint-by-numbers aesthetic of the new wave of Christian movies persists in making the faith appear trite, inauthentic, corny, and — worst of all, as far as the culture goes — uncool.

Why despite all the gains made in technology and budgeting can’t Christians make good movies?

I know, I know — people always try to come up with exceptions. But there aren’t any, really. Every now and again some well-meaning brother or sister will say to me, “This one’s different. You gotta see it. It’s not like the others.” And then it is. It painfully, painfully is. Why does it seem like the only good “Christian movies” are the ones made by the world’s artists with Christian themes (The Passion of the Christ, Silence, etc.)? Some thoughts:

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