Good Boy (This Week’s Movies)


Robert Pattinson: Good Time (courtesy A24)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Good Time. “A fever-dream of hand-held close-ups and bold colors.”

The Only Living Boy in New York. “Webb guides everything smoothly, which is one of the smugly annoying things about it.”

I contributed a blog post to Scarecrow on the subject of The Breaking Point (a new Criterion release of the 1950 film) and its relation to To Have and Have Not – both Hemingway novel and Hawks film. Here’s the piece. While you’re there, consider joining the nonprofit Scarecrow as a member.


Movie Diary 8/22/2017

Inherit the Wind (Stanley Kramer, 1960). The monkey trial, fictionalized for the stage and adapted for film, with big plates of chewy meat for Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly. It is not a great movie, for sure. I can’t deny the impact this thing had on my young self, however, and I have to honor that. I was curious about seeing it again during our era of renewed national stupidity. The theme song here is “Give Me That Old Time Religion,” but it might as well be “Everything Old Is New Again.”

Movie Diary 8/21/2017

Good Time (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2017). Robert Pattinson as a lowlife, scrabbling through a cold night in Queens as he tries some very desperate maneuvers on behalf of his brother. When I wrote about the Safdie’s Daddy Longlegs, I compared the main character to the hustler played by Richard Widmark in Night and the City; same deal here. (full review 8/25)

Victoria and Abdul (Stephen Frears, 2017). Judi Dench slipping back into the togs of the Queen of England – yes, it’s that Vicky – this time matched with a young Muslim chap from India. (full review 9/29)

The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963). Memorial viewing. One thing to note is that at the center of the movie is anxiety about a performer’s sudden loss of control in mid-performance – it’s all about somebody dying on stage. And other things, too.

Lucky Hitman (This Week’s Movies)


Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson: The Hitman’s Bodyguard (courtesy Lionsgate)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Logan Lucky. “This movie does not aspire to greatness or significance; being extremely clever and thoroughly competent is the goal here.”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard. “There are worse ways to spend a late-summer evening at the multiplex.”

The latest Framing Pictures is online now at the Seattle Channel site: From Scarecrow Video, the critics speak of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, take a moment to mourn the passing of the great Jeanne Moreau, and muse on what we talk about when we talk about movies. Participants are Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy, Bruce Reid, and me. Here’s the link. The program is broadcast on the Seattle Channel over the next days, including tonight (Friday) at 10 p.m. The schedule is here.

Movie Diary 8/16/2017

Three Coins in the Fountain (Jean Negulesco, 1954). I like 50s movies and I like movies about Americans in Europe. This example is rolled up into a big cheeseball featuring three actresses who had rather curious careers: Jean Peters, Dorothy McGuire, and Maggie McNamara. Lotsa widescreen scenery, and Sinatra sings the title tune. Rome looks positively depopulated, raising the possibility that there was a time when the great tourist destinations were not overrun all the time. Clifton Webb gets top billing.

Movie Diary 8/15/2017

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Patrick Hughes, 2017). The standard touches of the cynical action flick, but served up with no small amount of zest – there are no dull, obligatory scenes, which is a rarity for a movie that requires a certain amount of exposition and connective material. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson do the bantering and the battering. Not bad for late summer. (full review 8/18)

Movie Diary 8/14/2017

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Nunnally Johnson, 1956). Adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel that gave its name to a certain kind of ’50s male striver. The movie’s quite faithful to the novel, and adds some amusing jibes at the allure of television. Stolid in style, but the widescreen color looks very well-preserved. How Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones got all the way to the suburbs from Duel in the Sun is a mystery.

In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967). Winner of the Best Picture Oscar over worthier titles, but when isn’t that the case? Poitier and Steiger and a cast of very twitchy actors, all pitched in some flavorful Deep South locations.