Thursday, March 31, 2022

Don Juan deMarco

Don Juan deMarco is a 1995 film, a romantic comedy/drama starring Johnny Depp from back when he actually acted in films and didn't just play Captain Jack Sparrow in everything. It also has Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway. This is a delightful film. I can't recommend it highly enough. I have it on DVD.


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Through a Glass Darkly

image from Amazon

Through a Glass Darkly is the 15th in Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series. I'm a big fan and am pleased The Husband continues to see them as good presents for whatever ocassion is next. The characters are engaging, the Brunetti family (he has a wife who is a university professor) and their two children (a boy and a girl) are enjoyable company without ever distracting from the plot, and they eat so well! The author lived in Venice for over 30 years so knows it well enough to help you feel like you're there.

from the back of the book:
On a luminous Spring day in Venice, Commissario Guido Brunetti and Inspector Vianello play hookey to help get Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti -an environmental activist arrested during a protest against toxic waste being dumped into the city's waters- released from prison. But on the steps on the police headquarters, they come face0to-face with Ribetti's cantankerous father-in-law, who has been overheard in the bars of Murano making threats against Ribetti. And when the body of a night watchman is discovered at the father-in-law's glass factory next to an annotated copy of Dante's Inferno, Brunetti must find out if there is a connection between the book, the body, and whoever is ruining the waters of the lagoon.
Italian Mysteries has a positive review and says,
Through Brunetti’s eyes, we experience a wonderful springtime in Venice and superb descriptions of glassware and the age-old art of glass making. Leon has done a lot of research for this book which is a primer on glass making lore and the operation of the factories on Murano. There also is biting social commentary on the effects of industrial pollution on the lagoon by not only the glass factories but also by the chemical and oil industries in nearby Margera.
Publishers Weekly says,
As usual, Leon educates the reader about the charms and corruptions of Italian life (the sensuality of the architecture and food, the indolence and stagnation of its bureaucracies), besides presenting a crash course in 21st-century glass-making. Every character, every line of dialogue, every descriptive passage rings true in a whodunit that's also travel essay, political commentary and existential monologue. And the middle-aged, happily married Brunetti remains unique—an everyman who's also extraordinary
Reviewing the Evidence says,
Leon, an American with many years of living abroad, brews her knowledge of Venice expertly and in exquisite detail to accompany her novels every bit as much as a cup of cappucino brings flavor to a rich Venetian pastry. We eat Venetian food with Brunetti and his family, grieve with him (not overly much) on the inevitability of Venetian graft, cruise the canals with him, admire the stately, if decaying, palazzi with him, see with him what makes the leading Venetian crime figures as unique as is their city, and empathize with him as he struggles to keep his personal integrity amid a sea of corruption.
Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Leon shows once more why she has no serious rivals in the art of unfolding mysteries..."

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The Old Guard

The Old Guard is a 2020 award-winning superhero film starring Charlize Theron. I watched it on Netflix. A sequel is expected. Count me in. I enjoyed this one.


Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 81%.


I'll take a cup of tea over to the T Stands for Tuesday party-goers.
Join me?

Monday, March 28, 2022

Hell Harbor

Hell Harbor is a 1930 film starring Lupe Vélez. Nicknamed "Mexican Spitfire," she had quite a controversial life with many lovers. Vélez was involved in several highly publicized and often stormy relationships. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, she was linked to actors Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable. Her first long-term, high-profile relationship was with Gary Cooper. After her breakup with Cooper, Vélez began a short-lived relationship with actor John Gilbert. She was married to Johnny Weissmuller for about five years. Her name was also linked to author Erich Maria Remarque and boxer Jack Dempsey. She killed herself at the age of 36. She is buried in Mexico City. I watched this movie on YouTube:

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Major Grom: Plague Doctor

Major Grom: Plague Doctor is a 2021 Russian action film. I saw it on Netflix. It is the first feature-length film based on a Russian comic. It doesn't break new ground, but that's not what I was in it for. It's positively reviewed where I see reviews.


Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 83%.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry is a 1945 film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and starring George Sanders. Those two names are enough to watch the movie for. I watched it on YouTube:

DVD Talk says it "should have been a celebrated classic. It's a perfect little picture of its kind, with impressive performances and an intriguing theme. But it couldn't find its way around a censorship problem..." The Spinning Image says, " Sanders had one of his best roles as the downtrodden but polite title character." Rotten Tomatoes has a concensus score of 80%.

Friday, March 25, 2022

John Wick

John Wick is an action thriller starring Keanu Reeves. I've forgotten where I came across it... Netflix? Amazon Prime, maybe? I'm glad I did, but it's not currently available free anywhere I can find. Fun film.


Variety calls it a "slick and satisfying revenge thriller". Rotten Tomatoes has an 86% critics conscensus score.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Set It Up

Set It Up is a 2018 romantic comedy. I don't tend to care for romantic comedies, but this got great reviews so I gave it a shot in the interests of being open-minded and broadening my horizons. I quit after 45 minutes, but if you like romcoms you'll probably like it. I watched it on Netflix.


IndieWire closes its poritive review with this: "At its heart, though, “Set It Up” is a classic rom-com brought to life by a pair of wonderfully well-matched stars who seem to revel in the genre. This is cinematic comfort food, the kind we’ve been starving for." Roger Ebert's site, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety each has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 92%.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Professionals (1966)

The Professionals is a 1966 Western film starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance, Woody Strode, and Ralph Bellamy. That cast is enough to convince me to watch it, but it's also an Oscar-nominated and critically acclaimed film. I watched it at Internet Archive at this link.


It has a critics consensus score of 88% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Tea Time

Tea Time:

by Robert Emil Stubner, who died on March 18, 1931. Please post a drink-related something and join us by linking at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Howl (2015)

Howl is a 2015 indie horror movie. Nicely done. There's a werewolf attacking people on a train. I'm always happy to see new entries in the werewolf/vampire/mummy traditions. I watched it free at Tubi at this link. You can also watch it on Amazon Prime.


Heaven of Horror gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it an "overlooked gem".

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Ruler 42

I've had this ruler for as long as I can remember but had never before noticed the 42.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Kingdom: Ashin of the North

Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a 2021 film, part of the South Korean Kingdom franchise. It should be watched after the second season of Kingdom. I watched it on Netflix. Zombies, just so you know.


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits is a 1965 Italian-French fantasy comedy-drama film. This was Federico Fellini's first feature length color film, and the color is gorgeous. I found it on HBO Max.


Empire Online calls it "an intriguing film". DVD Talk calls it "a lulu of visual overkill". Roger Ebert considers it a Great Movie. It's included in the book "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die".

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Fear (1946)

Fear is an hour-long 1946 film adaptation of the main plot of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. I watched it on Tubi.

Where Danger Lives says it is "an inventive, exciting, and thought-provoking little movie" despite its flaws. TCM has an overview.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Chimes at Midnight

Chimes at Midnight is a 1965 film based on the Shakespeare figure Falstaff. It is directed by Orson Welles and stars Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, and John Gielgud. Regarded as one of Welles' highest achievements, Welles himself called it his best work. I found it on HBO Max.


via Internet Archive:


 Roger Ebert called it "a brilliant tribute to Falstaff". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%.

Raise a glass with Falstaff:

Share your own drink-related post and join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Wind (2018)

The Wind is a 2018 horror suspense western. Horror westerns are not generally well known, and it's an underappreciated sub-genre. I tend to enjoy them. I watched it on Netflix. It's also available on Amazon Prime. Both of these are subscription services.


The Hollywood Reporter says,
Loaded with atmosphere, this fragmented chiller is set far out on the American frontier, where a lonely wife — played by an intense Caitlin Gerard — starts seeing and hearing things... Well-shot and edited, with a script that keeps you guessing for a certain stretch of time...
Roger Ebert's site opens a positive review with this:
"The Wind," an impressive horror/western hybrid, is the kind of artful genre movie that some filmgoers think simply doesn't get made anymore. It's a modestly-scaled character study about Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard), a resourceful, alienated frontierswoman who — living in a desolate cabin in the middle of an undisclosed part of 19th century America — slowly loses her grip on reality.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Remnant Population

image from Amazon

Remnant Population is a 1996 science fiction novel by Elizabeth Moon. This is one of only a few novels I know of with an elderly woman protagonist. I can recommend it highly as interesting, thought-provoking, and re-readable.

from the back of the book:
For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days —until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community ... but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one.

With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over–for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others. But when a reconnaissance ship returns to her idyllic domain, and its crew is mysteriously slaughtered, Ofelia realizes she is not the sole inhabitant of her paradise after all. And, when the inevitable time of first contact finally arrives, she will find her life changed yet again—in ways she could never have imagined....
SFSite says, "All told, Remnant Population is a great story and a well-written book. Beyond that, it accomplishes what too few books, science fiction and otherwise, fail to do -it raises bigger questions that don't necessarily have neat answers." Publishers Weekly concludes with this: "Themes of independence and the value of wisdom form the backbone of this well-written, original novel." Speculative Book Review says, "Remnant Population will be considered classic speculative fiction, I have no doubts. [It] is a mature and intelligent piece of literature."

Saturday, March 12, 2022


Badland is a 2019 Western film. It's a generally likable western but hardly a classic, and it got mixed reviews. I've forgotten now where I saw it, but you can watch it at Youtube:

Friday, March 11, 2022

Thursday, March 10, 2022


Victim is a 1961 drama film. I looked for it for years and finally found it on HBO Max. It stars Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, and Dennis Price. It was the first English-language film to use the word "homosexual". On its release in the United Kingdom it proved highly controversial to the British Board of Film Censors, and in the U.S. it was refused a seal of approval from the American Motion Picture Production Code.


BFI calls it "a courageous, landmark thriller". Roger Ebert considered it a Great Movie. Rotten Tomatoes has a concensus score of 100%.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Three Days of the Condor

Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 political thriller. I'm sharing it today in memory of Max Von Sydow, who died on this date in 2020. This film also stars Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, and Cliff Robertson and is directed by Sydney Pollack. It takes place during the Christmas season. I watched it at Internet Archive.


Roger Ebert calls it "a well-made thriller, tense and involving, and the scary thing ... is that it's all too believable." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 86%.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022



by Alberto Morrocco, who died on March 10, 1998. Please join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Nightmare Alley (2021)

Nightmare Alley is a 2021 award-nominated Guillermo del Toro remake of the 1947 film by the same name. It stars Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, and Mary Steenburgen. I watched it on HBO Max, and I'm glad I've seen it. I like this director and seek out his work. That said, go watch the 1947 Tyrone Power/Joan Blondell original (link to YouTube video) if not instead at least first.


Roger Ebert's site gives it 4 stars, calling it "a movie of psychological tunnels and downward spirals" and calling it "Hypnotic with its increasingly tense slow-burning plot progression and alluring atmosphere". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics concensus score of 80%. The Guardian review gives it high praise. Rolling Stone calls it "the lushest portrait of spiritual desolation you’re ever likely to see".

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Cosmic Sin

Cosmic Sin is a 2021 science fiction film starring Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis is enough for me, but there's nothing else there. I watched it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert's site has a negative review. Rotten Tomatoes has a 60% audience score.

Saturday, March 05, 2022

La ciénaga

La ciénaga (English: The Swamp) is a 2001 award-winning foreign drama film. I watched it on HBO Max.



Roger Ebert gives it 3 stars and begins the positive review with this: ""La Cienaga" is a dank, humid meditation on rotting families. By its end we are glad to see the last of most of its characters, but we will not quickly forget them." Rotten Tomatoes has a critic consensus score of 88%.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Robin Hood (2018)

Robin Hood is a 2018 film, yet another adaptation of the Robin Hood legend. We have the DVD, but it looks like it's available on Peacock with a free account. I like seeing the various films based on this story, but if you're just going to watch one skip this and go with the 1938 version.


Variety has a positive review, calling it "a diverting live-wire lark". Roger Ebert's site has a negative review. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 40%.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

The Judge (1949)

The Judge is a 1949 film noir. I watched it on YouTube, but it's in the public domain so readily available.

TCM has an overview.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

The Mummy Trilogy

The Mummy Trilogy is series of action/adventure light comedy horror films, with an emphasis on the action/adventure -think Indiana Jones. All three of them starred Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah. I enjoyed all three and wish there'd been more of them. I can highly recommend this if you'd like to try horror films but are scared to go there. The connection with the original Mummy monster movie from the 30s grounds them, while the horror elements are secondary to the more modern action/adventure feel. We have a set that includes all three films and don't regret getting them. They are definitely rewatchable, and we picked it up for under $10.

The Mummy is a 1999 remake of the 1932 classic.


The Mummy Returns came out in 2001.


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor came out in 2008. It moves the action to China and stars Jet Li as the antagonist and Michelle Yeoh.


Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Floating Weeds

Floating Weeds is a 1959 Japanese drama film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It is considered by many, including Roger Ebert to be one of the greatest films ever made. I watched it on YouTube. It's also on Internet Archive at this link.

via YouTube:


Roger Ebert says,
For me, “Floating Weeds” (1959) is like a familiar piece of music that I can turn to for reassurance and consolation. It is so atmospheric--so evocative of a quiet fishing village during a hot and muggy summer--that it envelops me. Its characters are like neighbors. It isn't a sad story; the central character is an actor with a healthy ego, who has tried to arrange his life according to his own liking and finds to his amazement that other people have wills of their own. He is funny, wrong-headed and finally touching.
Classic Art Films says,
Subtle, lyrical, and delicately bittersweet, Floating Weeds offers an excellent introduction to the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu —one of the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers, and until recently in the West, one of the least known.
96% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review.

I've never had sake. Please post a drink to your blog and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.