Jamie is not averse to noir, but I watch most of these by myself. However, when I pitched her "it's a noir with figure skating as a key component", she was in. She loves her some figure skating.
This is the third Belita-starring film shown on TCM's Noir Alley - and I'd guess the last. She just didn't make many movies, let alone moody crime films. I totally get why Eddie seems to have a soft spot for her - she's not exactly a powerhouse actress, but she does have a certain charm stemming from her own surprise at being in movies.
I'm mostly familiar with the King Brothers - producers on this one - from their movie Gun Crazy, part of my personal canon. This was a follow up, and Monogram (who I mostly think of as having sets that look like high school play sets) upped the budget and talent. Barry Sullivan stars as a hoodlum who lucks his way into a low level job at an ice-capades-type-show, and then parlays that into swiftly moving up the ranks as an ideas man - so they keep the ice show fresh and bring people back.
I mean - his big idea is a sort of oval full of swords that any film masters' student would have a field day figuring the Freudian messaging of, and doesn't seem like something any insurance company would okay - but whatevs. Because Belita actually DOES the jump between the swords.
Anyway, she's the wife of the older, mustachioed boss, and of course she feels an attraction to Barry Sullivan (because the script says to - he's not exactly Mitchum).
Death, gunplay, avalanches, a cute dog and more figure skting figure in. Plus, a scheming ex girlfriend and Eugene Pallette, the best Grumpy Gus in movies.
It wasn't anything earth shattering, but I was pretty okay with it. It can be hard to find a noir that Jamie wants to sit through, and I did it! She was A-OK with this one. But I don't think it will be easy finding more with ice skating.
Definitely a "fun for the whole family" all-ages offering from Disney+, Godmothered (2020) has a semi-complicated set-up that melts into a fairly standard magical comedy, but which I think more or less works, even if it's not exactly ground-breaking.
Apparently Fairy Godmothers come from The Motherland, a mystical realm where fairies train for seemingly centuries before being sent out on assignment. But the trick is - no one has asked for help from a Fairy Godmother in centuries, and there's only really been one new fairy to sign up for the gig in the past few decades. And so - they're maybe going to shut it all down (the Motherland is run by Jane Curtain, who appears to be having fun).
SimonUK and Ryan have a holly jolly time biting into the 2017 multi-genre cult fave that has them singing and dancing in the aisles. Join us for a yuletide discussion of a newer film that might just be the Christmas treat you're looking for - it's a real slay ride.
When I was eight years old, my dad took the family to see The Right Stuff. I was a spacey little kid interested in Star Wars and fantasy, but we also were read stories of real-life heroes, from Jackie Robinson to Benjamin Franklin to Louis Pasteur. I couldn't remember a time when I hadn't known about my father's interest in aviation and NASA. We lived less than 90 minutes from the Johnson Space Center, and visited frequently.
But by 1983, the names of the Mercury mission crew were no longer household names. Let alone Chuck Yeager. But as much as I admired those Mercury astronauts, and somehow got my head around what the movie was doing at age 8 - I think the person my brother and I asked about the most afterward was Chuck Yeager.
My idea of who Yeager is will forever be enmeshed with the portrayal of Yeager by Sam Shepard on the big screen (oddly and sadly, Shepard died before Yeager, passing a few years back). When I think of the heroes of post-WWII America, it's hard for me to not to put the idea of Chuck Yeager strapping himself into jet after jet and surviving, including that day when he got in the Bell X1. Ignoring the very real possibility of death, he pushed boundaries willingly - gladly, in fact. In a small, strange rocket with his wife's name painted on the nose.
I've read articles about him, seen him interviewed, and followed him on social media when he participated for a while. The first thing I look for at the Smithsonian is always the X1. The carefully crafted myth-making of cinema is just that - it's not who the man was, even when it is very much what he was and what he did.
I'm glad he lived long enough to see himself become a legend, and a hallmark of American grit and courage. I'm fine with Yeager being more myth than real in my mind.
Mickey Spillane is a weird sell in crime and noir circles. I've never read any of his books (I'm fixing that ASAP), but the general idea is that his detective novels featuring Mike Hammer are (more) sexist (than other noir) and sadistic. That's spilled over to the Mike Hammer films and other media, most of which I haven't seen or paid much attention to - but Kiss Me Deadly (1955) is a @#$%ing crazy movie, and you should check it out sometime.
Look, I polished off at least 3/4ths of a bottle of wine while watching this, but it seemed great at the time - both the wine and the movie.
Stuart had vouched for the first Christmas Chronicles back in 2018, and it was genuinely much better than I figured. Kurt Russell as Santa is just a good idea. The Christmas Chronicles 2 ups the budget, expands the concepts, and adds Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus. And, again, it just works. I'll refer you to the link above for what I think this series does that makes it a cut above 90% of the "Santa" genre of movies of the past 20 years or so.*
This installment, of what I assume will be a once per two years thing for a while, sees Kate Pierce from the first movie in Cancun with her mom and brother from the first film. Mom is now dating Tyrese Gibson, who flew everyone down - but Kate has understandable feelings about (a) not being home for Christmas and (b) fears of Mom forgetting Dad (who had passed before the first movie). Now, the set-up on this one is... a bit wonky. I don't see even the drunkest parents leaving their under-18 kids alone in Mexico for 24 hours, especially one as sensitive as Tyrese's son, Jack.
But an elf-gone-bad has set the whole thing up, and he hi-jacks Kate and Jack to the North Pole so he can use them as a distraction to get into Santa's Village and EXACT ELF REVENGE.
The movie splits into Jack learning he can be courageous (he's a bit of a wiener at the film's outset), and works through Kate's far more complex situation with the power of Christmas multiplied by the power of time travel.
This film builds on the terrific design from the first film - giving us a wider view into Santa's village and the workshops contained therein. I dig the scale and decision to roughly ground things - the elves (which look like Finnish Magwai) kind of scuttling around everywhere, but not living inside cupcakes or anything. It looks weirdly practical, and I very much enjoyed the "let me check my biases" moment as the kids ask why the village isn't named after Mrs. Claus, credited with the design of the town.
Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus is, honestly, as much of a kick as Russell as Santa. It does not hurt to have two people with decades of cohabitation together playing a couple of several hundred years, but Hawn's sunny disposition and capacity for indicating depths with a glance is well served here in telling the adult audience a lot that might be going over the kid audience's heads.
The kid actors aren't threatening anyone to nab Oscar nomination slots, but Columbus is no slouch when handling kids, and between a good script and getting the most out of his kid actors, he manages to also let Kate have moments of growth and insight - non-verbally! She, like, listens and processes and does not have to say out loud what she's learning at each step.
But, yeah, this isn't a heavy drama or anything. There's plenty of goofy good stuff. You can't go wrong with Darlene Love showing up to join in the requisite Santa musical number (I think Jamie heard me gasp when she first appeared for what I assumed was a cameo).
It's just weird how far we lower the bar for Christmas content that anything remotely competent (this *is* Chris Columbus, who brought us Harry Potter, Home Alone, etc...) and isn't just indicating what they would like to convey, but actually delivering those messages like a real movie comes off like Avengers: Endgame.