Theater of War

Great lists of war movies!

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Part Four of ‘The Screaming Skull’

Time for another part of this very disturbing deadly dull weird movie. If you’ve been waiting for something to happen, I can promise that something does happen here!

This seems to be a story in which a husband lies to his wife either to drive her crazy or make her happy. I don’t know, and well … you decide.

Perhaps all will be revealed in Part Five! 🙂 We’ll see …

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Movie Suggestions (Part One)

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Given that the holidays are around the corner, I thought I’d do a series of short reviews of some of my personal favorites.

Let’s get started then! 🙂

First, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

It wouldn’t be the holidays without at least one viewing of this John Hughes comedy. If you’ve never seen this one, gather round and listen up read this.

A wound-up ad exec who’s desperately in need of R&R and is trying to make it home for Thanksgiving (played to beleaguered perfection by Steve Martin) ends up in a nightmare procession of missed connections, redirected flights, delayed departures, and so on. Circumstances beyond his control bring him together with a super-friendly and super-talkative traveling salesman (John Candy, pitch perfect in the role). The two essentially play a version of The Odd Couple hits the road.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
Directed by John Hughes
Shown from left: Steve Martin (as Neal Page), John Candy (as Del Griffith)

Despite the various catastrophes that befall the men (some of them due to their own incompetence), it isn’t a spoiler to say that they make it home. An interesting revelation about the traveling salesman at the end underscores the theme that holidays are supposed to be about kindness.

I love that the movie makes this point in a poignant, but not saccharine, way. Your eyes may well a bit, but you’ll be smiling.

You can buy or rent the movie from Amazon or Apple.

And, A Period of Adjustment (1962)

This movie is kind of an overlooked gem. It’s interesting to note that this marked George Roy Hill’s directorial debut for feature films. It’s also interesting to consider that the movie is a comedy-drama (holiday dramedy?) based on a play by Tennessee Williams. I find the latter bit fascinating, because when I think of Tennessee Williams, comedy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

The story does wander into Williams’ area of interest to a certain extent. Namely, it concerns relationships and families. In this case, the focus is primarily on marriage. Newlyweds Isobel (Jane Fonda, when she played cute, blonde parts) and George (Jim Hutton, in a solid performance) are having problems communicating. Something about George’s failure to perform certain … um … physical acts. Yeah, this sounds a bit more like Tennessee Williams.

The quarreling couple seek counseling from George’s Korean War buddy, Ralph (played by the awesome Tony Franciosa), who recently separated from his wife. Apparently, Ralph married her only for money and has a distinct dislike for his parents-in-law. Okay, this is definitely a Tennessee Williams story. 🙂

The story takes place around Christmas time. It’s a festive look at marital difficulties and how differences can be worked out, despite family dysfunction and other complications.

You can buy or rent the movie from Amazon or Apple.

More to come! 🙂

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Part Three of ‘The Screaming Skull’

Close on the heels of Halloween, we have an ongoing serialized movie that could send you to your grave! Or so the producer or director or someone claims! 🙂

Well, so far there hasn’t been all that much to be scared of here. But I think that may be about to change!

See for yourself! 🙂 It’s Part Three of The Screaming Skull!

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Part Two of ‘The Screaming Skull’

Well, we’re off to rather laughable uninspiring sluggish start with this movie.

I wish I could say it gets better. But maybe you’ll disagree.

I’ll just put this up and let you decide.

Will this movie scare you to death or bore you to tears? 🙂

It’s Part Two of The Screaming Skull!

Note the wording on the above poster. “We guarantee to bury you without charge if you die of fright during Screaming Skull.” Either they’re referencing a different movie or they worded it carefully to avoid liability if you either die laughing or of sheer boredom. 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Review of ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010)

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this movie before seeing it. I don’t watch a lot of historical drama, and I’m not into the whole Merchant Ivory oeuvre.

But this film isn’t just any historical, nor is it too stuffy by virtue of its royal subject.

Prince Albert, Duke of York, and son of King George V (played with a fantastic combination of passion and restraint by Colin Firth), starts off the movie making a speech at Wembley Stadium—where his stammered words echo mercilessly about the crowd. The pain of witnessing this opening brings home the Big Problem the prince must overcome before he can (eventually) succeed his father.

Albert (or Bertie, as his family calls him) has pretty much thrown in the towel on fixing his affliction. It’s his wife, Elizabeth (also played with a perfect combination of warmth and regal bearing by Helena Bonham Carter), who procures the help of an unorthodox speech therapist, an Australian import named Lionel Logue (played by the awesome Geoffrey Rush), who (among other things) insists on calling the prince Bertie as part of his treatment regimen. The prince is unconvinced that this Aussie can do anything for him. Until Lionel has Bertie recite Hamlet’s Soliloquy while listening to classical music through headphones. Lionel records the result and guess what? Bertie does a perfect recitation. Not a single stumbled syllable.

Meanwhile, George V (played by Michael Gambon, all too briefly) extols the virtues of this new-fangled contraption called radio that’ll bring the royal family closer to the people. This only puts more pressure on Bertie. However, he isn’t the eldest son, so—whew!—he gets a reprieve. A temporary one.

The royal brothers.

When the eldest son, David (played by the wonderful Guy Pearce) (think they rounded up enough star power?) ascends to the throne as Edward VIII, he creates a constitutional crisis by being engaged to an American socialite divorcee, Wallis Simpson. As King Edward, he’s barred from marrying the woman, who it would seem is en route to her second divorce and neither ex-hubby is dead. Since he’s not giving her up, so much for King Edward.

Ultimately, Bertie must rise to the occasion and face his Big Problem head-on while taking his brother’s place as King George VI.

What makes this movie so fantastic goes beyond the stellar cast and the inherent drama in the situation. Or even the fact that it’s based on true events. The characters and plot are rich with subcontext relating to family, patriotic duty, class distinctions, and societal expectations, but the real heart of the film is the relationship between therapist and patient.

This relationship drives the narrative. Between bouts of frustration on each side, Lionel learns to connect with his high-class client in ways both unexpected and humorous. And—even though it takes a while—Bertie eventually warms to Lionel’s unconventional ways. There is also warmth in the tortured character’s dealings with Elizabeth and his two daughters. When he’s with them, Bertie’s stammer seems to vanish. And he so obviously adores them.

It’s also a tribute to all the film’s creative talent that the ending puts the viewer on pins and needles when the new King George VI must give a rousing broadcast declaration of war with Nazi Germany, even as he feels unprepared to do so. I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t well a bit.

I have to throw in a mention of Timothy Spall’s performance as Winston Churchill, who confesses to Bertie right before the big speech that he used to stammer. It is one of many humanizing moments that make this movie so great.

If the final speech doesn’t create a lump in your throat, the title card before the credits roll should do the honors.

Submitted as part of the Disability in Film Blogathon hosted by Crystal at In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.

The movie can be bought or rented from Amazon and Apple.

Posted in Blogathan, Drama, Historical Film, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Part One of ‘The Screaming Skull’

And … we’re back with another send-up of a film you may or may not like. Who am I to judge, right? 🙂

Well, this movie was mocked by the best — the MST3K crew. So … I figured why not take a crack at it? Hmm …?

And so without further ado, here’s Part One of The Screaming Skull!

Warning: this movie may kill you bore you to death make you laugh until you puke or die or something! 🙂

You could think of this as a highlight reel! 🙂

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