Friday, December 28, 2018

Top 5 movie-going moments of 2018

I didn't go to the movies as much this year; partly because I had spent more time doing other things, with new people, and partly because the theaters are going away, little by little. Still, there were some highlights.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Good Witch: Rediscovering Margaret Hamilton

The What a Character Blogathon is an event devoted to the great character actors of classic Hollywood and the often memorable supporting roles they played throughout film history, hosted by Once Upon a ScreenOutspoken & Freckled, & Paula's Cinema Club. For a complete list of participating bloggers, visit the links at any of the host sites.

She didn't scare me the most. The flying monkeys did; their faces were creepy as hell. Remember when they tore the Scarecrow apart while kidnapping Dorothy? And of course, the Great and Powerful Oz himself was total nightmare fuel. That scene where they're walking down that long hall and into his chamber still gives me a little chill. But I don't recall being that scared of her. Maybe she wasn't bizarre looking enough?

We'll come back to that role, and that movie, later.

Friday, December 14, 2018


seen @ Cinemart Fiveplex, Forest Hills, Queens, NY

Recently I had experimented with seeing certain new movies without knowing anything about them, but since the last movie I did that with was Mother!, I've put that experiment on the shelf for awhile. Sometimes a little knowledge is a good thing.

Earlier this week I noticed Cinemart was showing the new Alfonso Cuarón film Roma, of which I knew nothing. I knew Cuarón, of course: I liked Gravity and loved Children of Men, so I figured this would be good, too — but this time I read up on it first.

Movie fans know this is the time of year when most of the quality films come out, which I hate because it's like a logjam, and you never know for certain how long these movies will last during their theatrical run. Roma is different, though: it's a Netflix movie getting a wide-ish theatrical release.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Creed II

Creed II
seen @ Cinemart Fiveplex, Forest Hills, Queens, NY

What a year this has been for Michael B. Jordan: appearing in two of the biggest, most high-profile films in two physically demanding, yet very different roles.

In the first, he portrays one of the best cinematic villains in recent history, one which will make him a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination — and I'll go out on a limb right now and predict it's his name which Allison Janney will read off next February.

In the second, he's a hero, a champion, playing an original character in a series not only inspired by one of the great movie franchises of the last fifty years, but is a continuation of that same franchise in a different direction.

The common denominator in both is Ryan Coogler: director/co-writer of Black Panther and executive producer of Creed II.

Saturday, December 1, 2018


So I spent my Thanksgiving morning freezing my ass off as I ran through Flushing Meadow Park.

Why? I dunno, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

For the past month, I had trained for running in a 5k race. I had mentioned to Virginia recently how it was a long-time fantasy of mine to run in a marathon. Failing that, though, I would settle for something simpler, like a 5k. I was just talking idly; not being serious.

So she found online a month-long training program specifically designed to prepare one for a 5k and sent it to me. I looked it over and figured what the hell. If nothing else, I would do it for her.

Race conditions are very different from training by oneself. I didn't hear the starting signal on account of the host's microphone not working well.

When everyone took off, I was conscious of this being A Race for the first time. My head was in the wrong place and I ran like I was competing, which was all wrong for me. Plus, the course began with a steep-ish hill. It took me awhile to focus and settle into a pace.

I tried keeping up with these two women with whom I played leapfrog: I passed them, then they passed me, and so on. Near the end, they passed me and stayed ahead. I wanted to catch them one last time, but I came up short. That's okay, though. I still beat my previous time by a minute!

I spent the evening with Virginia and friends in Manhattan — a "Friendsgiving," I guess. It was one hell of a day overall.


Once again, look for my piece on Anthony Mann & John Alton in the next issue of the film noir newsletter The Dark Pages, due out December 20.

Writing the article was a real education. I learned more about noir in general than I knew before, particularly by watching the movies. I plan to write about some of the ones I watched here, so look for that.


Real life has delayed Anna's guest post. It's been pushed back to this month.

More after the jump.