Classic Cinema

“Singin’ in the Rain” 65th Anniversary 

Singin’ in the Rain (MGM, 1952), one of my all-time favorite movies, just celebrated its 65th anniversary. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) did a special screening of the film as part of their fantastic Big Screen Classics series. It was such a delight to see this film again on the big screen. 

Check out these great publicity photos (all photos © MGM).

And here’s my little Instagram tribute.

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Current Cinema

“Cars 3” Press Event at the 2017 North American International Auto Show

I attended the Pixar Animation StudiosCars 3 press event held at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) last week. John Lasseter was there (in one of his cool custom Reyn Spooner shirts) along with Cars Creative Director Jay Ward and Pixar Production Designer Jay Shuster. They set up the story of the film and talked about the design of two new characters–Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez. 

Here are some pics from the event. A full video of the presentation (courtesy of NAIAS) is hereCars 3 is coming to theaters on June 16, 2017.

Arrived at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan

The stage where the press event took place

John Lasseter in the house!

The “Jays” (Jay Ward is on the left)

Concept art for Jackson Storm by automobile designer J Mays

The Jays talk about designs for Cruz Ramirez

John Lasseter came back on the stage along with a lifesize, driveable Lightning McQueen

A lame attempt at a selfie


One more shot


And, finally, here’s an “extended look” (or “almost a trailer”) with some footage shown during the presentation, along with some other snippets from the upcoming film:

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Classic Cinema

“All About Eve”

Raw, ruthless ambition and good, old fashioned karma are front and center in the great film All About Eve (20th Century Fox, 1950) which was shown this week on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

(© 20th Century Fox)

Bette Davis plays Margot Channing, a 40-plus-year-old Broadway star at the top of her game but also a woman fully aware that she’s not getting any younger (and she has the insecurities to prove it). When the young and seemingly naive Eve Harrington (marvelously played by Anne Bancroft) enters into her life, Margo decides to help Eve by letting her be her understudy. But Eve has other nefarious things on her mind, namely taking Margo’s role from her, along with her boyfriend and her friends.

I was taken with the film’s theme of ambition. Eve is so ruthlessly ambitious–she doesn’t care at all about who she hurts and what she damages along her path. Yet, ultimately the law of the harvest kicks in (i.e., you reap what you sow), which provides extra satisfaction in watching the film unfold.

The film’s wonderful actors, including Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, George Sanders, and even Marilyn Monroe in a supporting role, really shine with their fine delivery of the screenplay’s witty, biting dialogue. And Bette Davis is a tour de force in one of her best roles.

Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve took home the Academy Award for Best Picture that year, and deservedly so.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

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Current Cinema

My Favorite Films of 2016

While I saw a bunch of movies this year, I didn’t get to see everything. So, here’s a list of my ten favorite films from 2016 from the films that I was able to see (list is in alphabetical order). Happy New Year and hope to see you at the movies in 2017!

“Captain America: Civil War”

(© Marvel Studios)

With so many super heroes (including Spider-Man’s first appearance in a Marvel Studios film) and so many plot lines, this film could have really fallen on its face. Instead, Captain America: Civil War shines. Expertly directed by the Russo Brothers, this film is action-packed and compelling from start to finish.

“Doctor Strange”

(© Marvel Studios)

Another entry from Marvel Studios, Doctor Strange is an absolute trip. Mind bending visual effects, a cool story, and great performances make this one of the year’s most entertaining films.

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

(© LAIKA)

Hearbreaking and gorgeous, Kubo and the Two Strings raised the bar for stop-motion animation storytelling.

“La La Land”

(© Summit/Lionsgate)

I was so taken by everything in La La Land. Emma Stone is luminous in this bittersweet and original modern interpretation of the classic Hollywood musical.

“Love and Friendship”

(© Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions)

Kate Beckinsale delivers a show-stopping performance as a conniving, opportunistic widow in this filmed adaptation of a Jane Austen story. Biting, witty, and terrific.

“Moana”

(© Disney)

Longtime Disney Animation directors Ron Clements and John Musker hit another home run with this delightful, original story set in ancient Polynesia. Such an entertaining, beautiful film.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

(© Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The first of the new Star Wars standalone/anthology films, Rogue One absolutely delivers the goods. Made with tremendous TLC by director Gareth Edwards and team, this is the Star Wars prequel that I always wanted.

“Sing Street”

(© The Weinstein Company)

Long live the 1980s in this fun and touching coming-of-age pic from Irish director John Carney.

“Sully”

(© Warner Bros.)

Clint Eastwood directed this methodical yet gripping biopic about Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who in 2009 miraculously landed a U.S. Airways passenger jet in the Hudson River after a flock of geese severely damanged the plane at takeoff. Patriotic, dramatic, and touching. Tom Hanks is brilliant as always.

“Zootopia”

(© Disney)

Walt Disney Animation Studios continues its roll of knockout films with this thought-provoking and hilarious animated comedy. Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, the anti-bigotry message so expertly delivered in the film could not be more timely.

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Classic Cinema

“Fantastic Voyage”

(© 20th Century Fox)


I watched the debut on Turner Classic Movies of the sci-fi adventure film Fantastic Voyage (20th Century Fox, 1966) this month. While it’s definitely a period piece and a bit kitschy, I was impressed with the film’s visual effects and its unique story.

Set in the heart of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, the film tells the story of five scientists who, along with a fancy customized submarine, are miniaturized and placed within the body of an injured man who possesses valuable and timely military secrets. The scientists have only 60 minutes to remove a blood clot in the man’s brain before they return back to normal size. 

What follows is an adventure against time within the human body. As the miniaturized submarine travels through the blood stream and human organs, the filmmakers have a bold interpretation of what the inside of the human body would look like from the perspective of a teeny tiny person. And there are many challenges and intrigues along the way to keep the plot mostly interesting and moving along.

Original theatrical poster (© 20th Century Fox)

Directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance, and Edmond O’Brien, Fantastic Voyage is an enjoyable 1960s-style sci-fi adventure.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

Here’s the original trailer courtesy of the 20th Century Fox YouTube channel.

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