Drama

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Albert W. Vogt III

Not long after I got my Disney+ subscription, one of the first movies I watched was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).  I remembered enjoying it as a kid when it played on the old Disney Channel, one of the early big media cable outlets.  When the streaming service premiered, I took it as an opportunity to revisit many of the classics I liked from its forerunner.  I appreciate old fashioned Disney because that is the kind of guy I am.  I have already reviewed some of my other favorites from that time, like Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961).  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was on that… Read more “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Bombardment, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am confused.  When I came across The Bombardment (2021), I thought, okay, an interesting military drama that I had yet to see.  I even watched what Netflix hilariously refers to as a preview, which is really a clip from the movie taken out of context.  Not completely out of context, though, as there was the brief description that, along with the video, aligned with my expectations.  There were a few key phrases in the one sentence statement of its contents to which, in hindsight, I should have paid closer attention.  They were “dark period drama” and “directed by Ole Bornedal.”  Instead, I believed I was in for… Read more “The Bombardment, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Downton Abbey: A New Era, by Albert W. Vogt III

Almost as soon as Downton Abbey: A New Era started, I wanted to cry.  For the last ten years, I have followed these characters, first in the show brought here to the States by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and continued with two feature length films.  Its primary writer has always been Julian Fellowes, and you have to give him credit.  When writers get their break to pen stories for screens larger than that inside their minds, it is usually with dreams of making it a hit.  Few have those dreams become reality, particularly when you can stretch a show produced originally solely for the British… Read more “Downton Abbey: A New Era, by Albert W. Vogt III”

300, by Albert W. Vogt III

There is an old, long forgotten movie called The 300 Spartans (1962).  If you were like me with a dad with a love of history, one of the stories you grew up hearing was that to the eponymous band of Greek soldiers who stood up to the horde of the Persian Empire.  “Horde,” if you believe the ancient sources, is not exaggeration.  Their army numbered in the hundreds of thousands, whereas the Spartans could only muster the stated total.  I will get more into this later.  The reason I bring up the 1962 film now is because when I heard about the release of 300 (2006), I thought they… Read more “300, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Valkyrie, by Albert W. Vogt III

What if I told you that World War II could have ended almost a year before it did?  For those who have a passing interest in such events, you will undoubtedly understand that I am referring to the failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler (David Bamber) in July of 1944.  It was really a fluke that he survived the event.  The bomb that went off in the meeting room of his so-called Wolf’s Lair (the Nazis were fond of their canine cousins), the headquarters of the German high command on the Eastern Front in modern-day Poland, should have killed him.  That is what the… Read more “Valkyrie, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, by Cameron J. Czaja

The Multiverse. Even though the concept of it has been thought out for a while now, I haven’t really put much thought into it. Ever since watching the Disney+ shows Loki (2021) and What if. . . ? (2021), and the more recent film Everything Everywhere All at Once, however, that idea started circling in my head and had me questioning the concept. Are there multiple versions of me? If so, have they found a successful partner and/or are they also a practicing Catholic? The reason I bring up the idea of the multiverse is because that’s the core element in the newest Marvel Cinematic… Read more “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Power of the Dog, by Albert W. Vogt III

When Isaac, my podcast partner for Down & Out Reviews, suggested that we watch The Power of the Dog (2021) to discuss in our next broadcast, I assumed he wanted to do so in order to opine on the slap heard around the world.  As it turned out, he did not want to get into Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock.  Instead, he genuinely wanted to converse about a film that, frankly, I had been avoiding.  The reason I brought up the incident at the Oscars is because the film that earned its director, Jane Campion, the Academy Award is the same movie.  Due to the buzz… Read more “The Power of the Dog, by Albert W. Vogt III”

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, by Albert W. Vogt III

Because I found National Treasure (2004) so ridiculous, I must not have bothered going to the theater for National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007).  That is what I am telling myself.  I actually thought I had seen it when it premiered, but I have no recollection of it.  After re-watching it on Disney+, all I can say is that if it did pass before my eyeballs back then, I deleted it from my brain.  Whatever memories that floated to the surface of my consciousness, such as when they find the title tome, must have been a part of the trailers.  Who knows?  Who cares?  I do not mean to diminish the… Read more “National Treasure: Book of Secrets, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, by Albert W. Vogt III

You can make quite the list of people who have played Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Everyone from Basil Rathbone (ever hear of him?) to Will Ferrell, there have been well known comedians and child actors of both sexes who have filled the part.  The two best ones of late have been Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr.  If you read my review of the Robert Downey Jr. led Sherlock Holmes (2009), you will know which I prefer.  To repeat another passage from that treatment, I would like once more to make it known that I do not think the cinematic ones (Cumberbatch’s… Read more “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, by Albert W. Vogt III

While walking out of Mass this weekend, I complimented our pastor on the use of the words “cat’s meow” and “anthropomorphic” during his homily.  We had a nice chuckle, and then I asked if he wanted to go see Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.  He said he wanted to watch it, but politely declined citing not wanting to deal with the crowds he thought would be thronging the cinema to see it.  While there were many people in the theater, it was not the full house I expected.  Anyway, I need to get to a movie with this guy in order to erase… Read more “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Cast Away, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are few movies that annoy me more than Cast Away (2000).  It has nothing to do with Wilson, the volleyball that Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) talks to while stranded on a deserted island.  That part is bad enough, but I can live with it.  Besides, who among us have not conversed with the thin air?  At least Chuck had a ball.  While I do not want to give too much of my thoughts at this point of the review, I feel I can at least say here that my distaste has to do with my own selfishness and woundedness.  Somebody who has had different life experiences than… Read more “Cast Away, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dunkirk, by Albert W. Vogt III

Whenever a historically themed movie is about to come out, I am usually excited.  The excitement is amplified when it deals with warfare.  The old stand-by is World War II, and there are some excellent films about the events between 1939 and 1945 (let us remember that the war began before the United States entered in late 1941).  Hence, my interest was piqued when it was announced there would be a new production of Dunkirk (2017), focusing on the dramatic evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from mainland Europe before it could be completely destroyed by the German blitzkrieg.  If you know anything about the veritable… Read more “Dunkirk, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Everything Everywhere All at Once, by Albert W. Vogt III

What is to follow is yours truly attempting to describe the impossible.  The first thing to say about this particular brand of impossible is that it is called Everything Everywhere All at Once.  If you read that title as a sentence, this too is impossible, unless you are God.  This will factor into the review later, so keep this concept in mind.  Given how much focus on film I have in my life, one might think it impossible for me to miss a release, but somehow I did with this one.  Thankfully, this past weekend offered the infinitely possible to pass up titles of Memory and The Aviary.  How is… Read more “Everything Everywhere All at Once, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, by Cameron J. Czaja

Whether you love or hate him, one can’t deny that Nicolas Case has made a major impact in Hollywood throughout his career. From his very eccentric acting style to internet memes that have flooded social media, he has been somewhat of a cultural icon that I’m embracing even if I’m not the biggest fan of some of his decisions in the films he chooses to be in the past decade. The reason I’m bringing him up to this degree is because not only is he the star of his newest film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, but he’s playing a… Read more “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Negotiator, by Albert W. Vogt III

Is it safe yet to again talk about Kevin Spacey?  Before his seemingly deserved fall from grace, he was about as popular of an actor as there was in the business.  I never completely shared this wide sentiment.  To be fair, there were some flicks in which he appeared that I enjoyed.  I am not one of the legion of fans of The Usual Suspects (1995).  Oooo, Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey) is Keyser Söze.  Big deal.  Further, I have yet to see a full episode of House of Cards (2013-2018), though I am aware of the show’s themes.  I have difficulty stomaching government corruption in real life, and I do… Read more “The Negotiator, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, by Albert W. Vogt III

I wish I had a good explanation for odd events, though I do try my best.  I hope The Legionnaire is a testament to my desire to make sense of the current goings on by using my Catholic perspective.  Movies are my vehicle for doing so, and my desire is that they help my fellow faithful (or anyone) to exist in this mad world without losing your head.  Film is a blessing and a curse in this regard.  It can show the best of us, and the worst of us, and bring out each of these extremes from us in equal parts.  In ideal circumstances, we like… Read more “The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, by Albert W. Vogt III

Vampires, am I right?  I have never understood the fascination with these mythical creatures.  Such is the love for those of the pointy teeth that there are some who believe that they are real.  Worse yet are those who want to be one to the point that they sharpen their teeth and look for willing volunteers who will allow their blood to be sucked by those pretending to be vampires.  I say “pretend” because (and I am sorry to break it to you if you think otherwise) one cannot literally be a vampire.  For those of more rational minds, they have to content themselves with… Read more “Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Shipwrecked, by Albert W. Vogt III

Memory can be a funny thing.  The other day, while scrolling through the choices on Disney+, I noticed a long-forgotten film, Shipwrecked (1990).  I remembered virtually nothing about the film.  The title does kind of give away some of the story, though that does not happen until nearly the halfway point.  I do recall the kid, and that there was a girl.  Oh, and Gabriel Byrne.  His swarthy visage came readily to mind when thinking about this film.  For whatever reason, I had it fixed that this was the first movie I saw in the theaters without my parents.  We had moved from the Chicago area to the Orlando area,… Read more “Shipwrecked, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Northman, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are a strange pair of people that live in a house down the street from me.  Perhaps I am not being charitable by calling them “strange.”  What does the word mean?  If you look it up Google, you will get a definition that says, “unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.”  I do not know how usual it is for a dude to wear nothing but a leather loin cloth while operating a speedboat full of dogs, but then again, I clearly live a different kind of life.  His roommate (I think it is his brother) does not… Read more “The Northman, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fantastic Four (2005), by Albert W. Vogt III

Before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), or phases, or any of the difficult to keep track of myriad of comic book characters flooding our collective existence, there were fun little one-off or sets of movies like Fantastic Four (2005).  They made a sequel to it in 2007 called Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  It is where Chris Evans got his start in Marvel films as Johnny Storm, known more familiarly as the Human Torch, prior to him picking up Captain America’s shield in 2011.  Given everything that has happened since then, I suppose these movies are no longer canon.  Or are they?  With… Read more “Fantastic Four (2005), by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Magnificent Seven (1960), by Albert W. Vogt III

There have not been many Westerns reviewed on The Legionnaire.  The only reason I can think of for this being the case is that they do not make as many of them as they used to in previous years.  Decades ago, tales of cowboys, native peoples (forgive me for not using “Indians,” a word for native peoples that never made sense to me anyway despite knowing the history), shoot outs, and settlements, to name a few of the tropes, regularly adorned movie and television screens.  There were reasons for the plethora of Westerns at this time, which I once wrote about in graduate school.  Mainly,… Read more “The Magnificent Seven (1960), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Windfall, by Albert W. Vogt III

When you have a podcast like Down & Out Reviews, which you can find on Spotify, and your broadcast partner texts you and says that he watched Windfall over the weekend, you watch Windfall.  He is as big of a movie fan as myself, but he has recently not enjoyed going to movie theaters, so there was little chance of him seeing what I saw the past weekend as of this writing, The Outfit.  Judging by the paltry crowd in the cinema, he probably would have been fine.  The comparisons between the films are fairly apt.  They both deal with crime, albeit the criminals in The Outfit are of the more… Read more “Windfall, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Treasure Island (1950), by Albert W. Vogt III

There have been many motion picture versions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island (1883).  I have already reviewed Muppet Treasure Island (1996).  Of any of them I have seen, for understandable reasons it is the least true to the source material.  Then again, I have never read the book, so I cannot say with any kind of real authority. Alternatively, it is not saying anything earth-shattering that a film with puppets aimed at children is probably not looking to be completely faithful to nineteenth century literature.  Have I covered all my bases yet?  At any rate, I decided to watch the Disney telling, or at least its original… Read more “Treasure Island (1950), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Father Stu, by Albert W. Vogt III

I do not often give Hollywood credit for getting much of anything right, particularly in matters most near and dear to my heart.  Of course, the most important thing in my life is my Faith, and, God willing, it will continue to grow.  This cuts two ways.  On the one hand, I can easily spot genuine attempts at, for lack of a better phrase, correctly doing Catholicism.  On the other, I can sometimes be too critical.  In this light, I present Father Stu, the passion project of renowned Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg.  It is based on the real-life story of Father Stuart Long.  I had not heard of… Read more “Father Stu, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Against the Ice, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am fascinated by tales of survival.  The viewing public is, too, since there have been many television shows featuring individuals (not counting the camera crew) placed in the middle of nowhere and demonstrating basic techniques for staying alive.  My favorite was Man vs. Wild (2006-2011).  I could watch Bear Grylls do things in the wild every day, and have been through each season a few times.  Real life is better.  Man vs. Wild is billed as “reality television,” though there is, by the show’s own admission, no small amount of staging that goes on while it is filmed.  In some of the episodes, Bear talks about actual stories… Read more “Against the Ice, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, by Cameron J. Czaja

Unlike the previous movies that I’ve reviewed for The Legionnaire, this one is a bit different because Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the first movie that I’m covering that I’ve seen it two weeks in advance. One afternoon during my break from work, I discovered a link for free passes for an advance screening of the film and I immediately got them before all were taken. It’s been a while since I went to an advance screening. The last was 2019, probably. However, I did recall the proper procedure when going to this unique movie event. For example, I made sure… Read more “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Black Hole, by Albert W. Vogt III

What a disaster.  I have vague recollections of seeing The Black Hole (1979) way back when Disney first launched its cable channel.  As might be obvious, my child brain did not have the same refined, cinematic sensibilities that I have today.  As such, I do not recall finding the film as laughably bad as I did during my recent viewing.  I remembered the two smaller robots, Vital Information Necessary Centralized LF-396, or V.I.N.CENT for short (voiced by Roddy McDowell), and his heavily damaged companion, Old BO.B. LF-28 (voiced by Slim Pickens).  This last one’s official designation is BiO-sanitation Battalion, if that makes any difference whatsoever.  Probably the reason… Read more “The Black Hole, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Moneyball, by Albert W. Vogt III

With the start of baseball delayed until who-knows-when, I thought it might be appropriate to watch Moneyball (2011). The title is, perhaps, a little incongruous with the current state of America’s so-called “Favorite Pastime.”  The title refers to how the Oakland Athletics did more with a smaller payroll by focusing on likely statistical outcomes rather than high-dollar players, which was, at that time, going against conventional wisdom.  Currently, billionaires are arguing with millionaires, while the rest of us fans who have loved the game our entire lives (that describes me, by the way) are left without some of our time-honored traditions, as if we have… Read more “Moneyball, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Runaways, by Albert W. Vogt III

My first exposure to the band that leant its name to the movie called The Runaways (2010) was when I happened upon a documentary titled Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways (2004).  I could not tell you what caught my eye about the documentary.  For lack of any true inspiration, I will chalk it up to my delight in learning new things.  It was a band of which I had never heard.  More specifically, it was fronted by Joan Jett.  The Joan Jett that I knew had a band called Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.  If that does not ring a bell for you, then I am guessing you have… Read more “The Runaways, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Trainspotting, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am not sure why anyone ever liked Trainspotting (1996).  It is one of the saddest movies you will ever see.  For those of you who are unaware, it takes you into the lives of a group of young Scottish people who are addicted to heroin.  I have never done that drug, or any other for that matter, so I cannot speak from first-hand experience as to why anyone would be drawn to it.  All I can tell you is what I have heard from others and seen in popular culture, this movie being the most prominent example of the latter.  In my early years, I used… Read more “Trainspotting, by Albert W. Vogt III”

CODA, by Cameron J. Czaja

If you have seen The Legionnaire’s end of the year video for 2021, then you already know that I favor the film CODA (2021) that I’m about to review, calling it my hidden gem of 2021. Also, in the video I stated what CODA is about and why I enjoyed it. To those who, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to watch my ramblings, let me elaborate more about the film. For those who are unaware, CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults, and the CODA in the film is Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones). Ruby is not only a CODA, but she is the only member in her… Read more “CODA, by Cameron J. Czaja”

Titanic, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of my favorite jokes about Titanic (1997) is that you could predict the ending.  Then again, if you know your history, you can do the same with any movie set in the past.  Yet, there is something tragically inevitable James Cameron’s billions grossing passion project that makes the laughs a little more authentic when it comes to this one.  I suppose I should not chuckle.  After all, it is not a Christian thing to do to make light of an event that ended in the deaths of 1,504 people.  By the way, my apologies ahead of time, but historical spoiler alert: Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack Dawson… Read more “Titanic, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Ultimate Gift, by Albert W. Vogt III

It may not be the most Christian attitude for me to have, but I am usually leery of Faith-based movies.  You have to give them credit.  They have a wonderful message, and the lessons they contain are ones that line up perfectly with how I view the world.  The problem with this is that the minds behind them often have a difficult time translating their vision through the medium of cinema.  Film is a visual art, and the visuals need to align with the story telling.  The style in which those stories are presented matters, too.  Here I am specifically referring to the performances of the… Read more “The Ultimate Gift, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Outfit, by Albert W. Vogt III

There was a strange amount of time I had spent away from the theater for a self-proclaimed film reviewer.  Still, will anyone hold it against The Legionnaire if we did not take a look at a title like The Cursed?  There was another horror film that came out in the last two weeks, but I cannot remember the title.  Had I been alone, I might have gone and seen at least one of them, and probably written a scathing piece on one or both of them.  Cameron has more of a stomach for such fare, but I am guessing that even he has his limit.  Further, if you… Read more “The Outfit, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Little Women (1994), by Albert W. Vogt III

It was a solitary January day circa 1996.  The only thing remarkable about it is that I was home.  Colds, then as now, were rarities for me, and this was a particularly virulent form that had me missing school.  Both my parents worked at the time, so I climbed my miserable form into the recliner in front of the television and began perusing the channels alone.  It was not long before I came across Little Women (1994).  The only reason it caught my eye is because my sister had a copy of the Louisa May Alcott classic novel of the same title on which the movie is… Read more “Little Women (1994), by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Adam Project, by Albert W. Vogt III

What do you get when you cross Back to the Future (1985) with Deadpool (2016), and sprinkle in a little Stranger Things (2016-present) flavor?  You get The Adam Project.  Given that I rarely watch Netflix other than to go on and find a movie that I might want to watch, I had little idea as to the content of this film.  Strike that, I did know that it had Mark Ruffalo and Ryan Reynolds in it.  The only reason I knew that is because I watch Reynolds’ YouTube videos, and he did a promotional video for it with him, Mark Ruffalo, and to double down on the Back to the Future connection,… Read more “The Adam Project, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Amadeus, by Albert W. Vogt III

Most people do not know this about me, but when I was in high school I listened almost exclusively to classical music.  I was a pretty weird kid.  I liked to not fit in with any one group, and consequently fit in with none of them.  That is not to say that I was without friends, and a few of them remain my best ones to this day.  Still, take your pick of a well-known high school clique.  I was always into sports, and I am pretty athletic, but never played on any teams in high school or hung around with the so-called “jocks.”  Many have… Read more “Amadeus, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Marry Me, by Cameron J. Czaja

For those who were hoping for a review of the latest romantic comedy Marry Me from The Legionnaire, then consider yourself lucky. The reason I’m saying that is because as a depressingly single individual, I had no interest in seeing a film about two people slowly falling in love. Also, even if I really wanted to see it, I wouldn’t have been able to watch and review the weekend it came out due to work and the Super Bowl. Also, with more films coming out and other personal things that I’ve been attending to, I thought I wouldn’t get the opportunity to watch… Read more “Marry Me, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Dark Knight Rises, by Albert W. Vogt III

What happened between The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)?  A little digging will tell you that they were going to bring back the Joker character from The Dark Knight until Heath Ledger passed away.  It is said that, out of respect for Ledger’s performance, director Christopher Nolan did not want to recast the character in The Dark Knight Rises.  This is a memo that was apparently not passed on to either Zach Snyder or Jared Leto in any of the films since Nolan’s trilogy.  Then again, given the completely discombobulated state of the DC cinematic universe, who really knows what happened?  My guess is that Ledger’s unfortunate demise… Read more “The Dark Knight Rises, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Dark Knight, by Albert W. Vogt III

When Batman Begins premiered in 2005, it marked a departure from the hokey Caped Crusader films that had come to typify the cinematic version of one of the most famous comic book heroes of all time.  When Michael Keaton stopped filling the role after 1992’s Batman Returns, the movies about the title character increasingly became cartoonish and silly.  Michael Keaton’s first Batman (1989) is a classic, and signaled a more serious take on the character.  Post 1992, it seems like someone at the studio said, hey, remember the old television Batman (1966-1968) starring Adam West?  Why do we not do movies more like those episodes because, you know, people liked them,… Read more “The Dark Knight, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Batman, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are plusses and minuses to the fact that people are coming back to movie theaters.  Before I go further, be it known that I am in favor of seeing figures in seats.  When cinemas first reopened, there were many a night when I was only one of a couple seeing whatever hastily released feature happened to be playing.  There have been a few blockbusters that have come out over the past year that have made it so that, if nothing else, you cannot always have that convenient chair separating you from your neighbor.  I usually use it to place my popcorn, to wait… Read more “The Batman, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, by Albert W. Vogt III

What do you get when you are watching your adolescent nieces and you tell them to pick the movie for the evening?  You get Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012).  You.  Get. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.  Actually, I realized something while writing the title for this movie: it can also be read as a sentence.  It is not much, but it is something.  Also, it is a sequel to movie that I think I saw, but long ago forgot, the 2008 Brendan Fraser led Journey to the Center of the Earth.  If all this seems vaguely familiar, it is because these are stories about people who seem to take Jules… Read more “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Best Years of Our Lives, by Albert W. Vogt III

It seems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a modern problem.  It started to come more to the forefront with soldiers returning from fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has now been extended to include a whole host of other experiences.  People who have been through any event that involved prolonged exposure to situations hazardous to your physical and/or mental health take a toll on those people.  Life is hard enough without being shot at on a battlefield, or abused by a loved one, to name but a few.  Films like The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), demonstrate that these issues have been with us… Read more “The Best Years of Our Lives, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Nightbooks, by Albert W. Vogt III

With some out-of-town friends staying at the house of the old man I live with, I decided halt the onslaught of Karate Kid movies in favor of giving them the choice of the evening’s entertainment.  They came up with a few options, and the one that seemed most interesting (based solely on previews) was Nightbooks (2021).  If you view the promotional material for it, it has somewhat of a Stranger Things (2016-present) vibe to it.  I like Stranger Things, as does seemingly half the planet, and like any other fan, I have been waiting in anticipation of the next season.  In the meantime, I will have to be satiated… Read more “Nightbooks, by Albert W. Vogt III”

In the Heat of the Night, by Albert W. Vogt III

Why In the Heat of the Night (1967)?  Because it contains one of the more powerful moments in cinematic history, but we will get to that in a moment.  Some of you, perhaps (maybe?), might be thinking about the television show of the same name that ran from 1988 to 1995.  The two do not bear a ton of resemblance to each other, outside of the titles, characters, themes, and settings.  Okay, maybe that is a lot more than I realized.  What I am trying to puzzle out is why the television show was made at all.  Aside from the moment that I am teasing, there is not… Read more “In the Heat of the Night, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Karate Kid (2010), by Albert W. Vogt III

Potentially unpopular opinion: the 2010 version of The Karate Kid is the best one of the series.  Before you navigate to some other website, determined never to read another review from The Legionnaire ever again, allow me to explain.  First, credit should be given to the first four.  Obviously, without them, there would not have been a fifth one.  Further, the latest iteration relies on the tried-and-true formula of the others.  Kid moves to a new place, kid gets bullied, kid learns martial arts from an older mentor, and kid wins tournament and gains respect for himself and from others.  With some slight variations, this is the plot for all… Read more “The Karate Kid (2010), by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Next Karate Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III

I would have thought that The Next Karate Kid (1994) was Hilary Swank’s first film.  The International Movie Database (IMDb) proved me wrong.  Anyway, it is the earliest example of her on the big screen of which I am aware.  I am also guessing they wanted another trilogy to be launched from this one, given all the millions of dollars they made from the first three.  I am equally sure there are articles out there that discuss why Ralph Macchio was not brought back to reprise his role as Daniel LaRusso from the original trilogy.  I have not looked at them because it is more fun to… Read more “The Next Karate Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Karate Kid Part III, by Albert W. Vogt III

After re-watching the original Karate Kid trilogy, I am a little lost as to why anyone thought these were good enough to make four seasons of Cobra Kai (2018-present).  My sneaking suspicion is that whoever it is behind the series originally made for YouTube, but now appearing on Netflix, simply thought man, I thought The Karate Kid (1984) was really cool!  I am guessing that, like me, this unknown person I have in mind (I am not going to look it up) was, like me, a child during the 1980s.  Everything seems so much better at that age than what it actually is as an adult, though I do… Read more “The Karate Kid Part III, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Karate Kid Part II, by Albert W. Vogt III

I have seen plenty of sequels.  Remember what I said about The Karate Kid (1984) and its low-budget?  When you have a film that surpasses its budget ten times over like the original, there is bound to be a thirst for follow up productions.  What is strange about The Karate Kid Part II (1986) is that its first almost ten minutes are scenes from its predecessor.  I am an advocate of an installment in a series, be it part of a trilogy or longer, being able to stand on its own.  Sure, there should be hints as to its place with its related movies.  Yet, I have never seen something… Read more “The Karate Kid Part II, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Karate Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III

Like any good child of the 1980s, I watched Cobra Kai (2018-present), the once quaintly nostalgic but now tediously repetitive spin-off from the classic Karate Kid franchise.  Oddly, it seems that the more of its familiar teenagers hate each other, teenagers fight other, teenagers form new alliances formula it replays, the more people like it.  Throw in the constant bickering of the grown-up Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), and you have a mobius strip of martial arts nonsense that lost its charm a while ago.  Yet, because I guess I am a masochist, I have stuck with the series despite starting season four,… Read more “The Karate Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dog, by Albert W. Vogt III

When Cameron told me he wanted to review Uncharted this past weekend, I initially thought I was getting the short end of the stick.  The only other movie I knew of that was premiering was Dog.  My experience with movies with animals and humans as co-stars is limited, and not good.  Usually, they have a wacky premise with predictable, slapstick jokes.  I like physical comedy as much as the next person, but people hurting themselves (or at the hands of their furry “friend”) gets quickly tiresome.  Meanwhile, all the trailers I saw for Uncharted made it look like it was going to be exciting.  Now having seen Dog, and reading Cameron’s review… Read more “Dog, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Abominable Bride, by Albert W. Vogt III

Some justification is in order.  The Legionnaire is a movie review blog, though maybe someday I will branch out into books or television.  Today is not that day.  If you are at all familiar with The Abominable Bride (2016), you might be saying to yourself, “Wait, is this not an episode of Sherlock (2010-2017)?”  Okay, your thoughts probably did not include the dates of the television show’s current run.  And yes, you would be technically correct.  The Abominable Bride is meant to be a special episode of the famous British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) television series, an updated version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about perhaps the most famous fictional detective of… Read more “The Abominable Bride, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Easy Rider, by Albert W. Vogt III

Back when I was still teaching in-person (and this has nothing to do with COVID), my favorite class to teach was a course on Film and Twentieth Century America.  It was one that I took as a Ph.D. student at Loyola University Chicago. When it was my turn to head such a course, I modeled much of it after my own experience.  This included the movies I chose to show my students.  One of the films I borrowed from my time as a pupil was Easy Rider (1969).  I agonized over this choice.  Though I have grown in my Faith since those days (which are an unconscionable number… Read more “Easy Rider, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Alamo (1960), by Albert W. Vogt III

My love of history began at a young age.  As has been documented previously, the way my dad got me into the past was by telling me about the Napoleonic Wars.  I have no idea what other fathers told their eight-year-old sons about, but when we were not playing catch, I was hearing about the famous Corsican.  It was my history spark.  One event that caught my attention early on was the infamous thirteen-day siege of the Alamo mission in 1836 in what became the modern-day city of San Antonio, Texas.  What helped grow my interest in this particular event was the 1960 film version… Read more “The Alamo (1960), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, by Albert W. Vogt III

When it comes to making films out of books that so many millions of people love with a passion bordering on mania, it can make for a tricky business.  So often, the cinematic product induces that tired criticism: “The book is better than the movie.”  The reason for this repeated failure is easy enough to understand.  Books have the time to indulge in beautiful descriptive passages that, if literally translated onto the silver screen, would be tedious for filmmakers and audiences.  It is a lot easier, too, to set a book down in the middle of a section and come back to it at… Read more “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by Albert W. Vogt III

With all the struggles Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) experiences in his early on, more kind-hearted fellows like myself might look at his life and want to see him have some semblance of normal.  From being an orphan, to being the most famous person in a world he never knew existed, and then seeing his godfather die in front of him (to name but a few), I wished for one calm, business as usual school year for everyone’s favorite young wizard.  I realize that does not make for gripping cinema.  We want some excitement from the stories we view on the silver screen.  Yet, because… Read more “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Death on the Nile (2022), by Albert W. Vogt III

Recently I re-watched the entirety of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) updated version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective stories.  I am referring, of course, to Sherlock (2010-2017).  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the series, and specifically the second episode from the third season, titled “The Sign of Three,” is my favorite television program that it has ever been my privilege to view.  Still, when I wrote my review of the 2017 iteration of Murder on the Orient Express, I went into a fair bit of detail as to the comparisons between Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh)… Read more “Death on the Nile (2022), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by Albert W. Vogt III

With Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), we are now on the back nine, if you will excuse the golfing parlance, of the franchise.  The concluding events of Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire (2005) saw the return of the much feared arch villain Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).  Naturally, the issue on the minds of everyone was how they were going to handle such an evil force on the loose in the wizarding world.  For me, when I read the book, I found it a marked departure from the mostly light-hearted tone of the previous four.  Put more bluntly, I was annoyed with all the… Read more “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by Albert W. Vogt III

It may not come through in my reviews, but I am a huge sports fan.  I am also a bit of an athlete.  I played many sports as youngster, I had a brief cup of coffee with a semi-professional baseball team, and I currently run five miles a day.  I bring these topics up only as a way of backing into the theme of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).  It was a favorite of mine from the books.  As for the film version, I am not sure I enjoyed it as much as the novel.  It is fine.  At the same time, it was as if… Read more “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of the reasons why I believe so many people like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) is because it marks a departure from the original two.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) set a fun and whimsical tone for the film versions of J. K. Rowling’s hugely successful novel series.  By the time we get to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it was time for a darker turn.  There are several ways this can be noticed.  In simpler terms, our three main characters, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert… Read more “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), only the first four books had been published.  It is a good thing for all interested parties that they continued to be literary hits.  Had it not been for the movies, I would have had no interest in reading the books.  This is in keeping with my semi-hipster character.  Like anyone else, I was well aware of the groundswell of popularity for J. K. Rowling’s scrawlings.  When the general public appears to be zigging towards something, I have a habit of zagging.  Yet, when I saw the movie, I was, if you will pardon a practicing Catholic using… Read more “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III

In typical fashion for The Legionnaire, I reviewed the last film in the Harry Potter series first.  Continuing that trend, I will probably end up releasing one for each installment in the franchise in the haphazard style that has become somewhat of a hallmark for my cherished blog.  If you read my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), you may remember the New Year’s Eve tradition that I usually follow with my best friend and his family.  I also mentioned how we seldom follow the movies in sequence of their release.  We have followed all manner of systems for choosing which to… Read more “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Moonfall, by Albert W. Vogt III

Between Moonfall and Jackass Forever, I am not sure which one of us got the short end of the stick this past weekend. Probably Cameron.  I cannot tell you how delighted I was when he volunteered to see and review Jackass Forever.  Last week, when looking ahead to Hollywood’s offerings, I feared that I would be sitting through a painful Friday or Saturday night watching others purposely inflict pain on themselves for, er . . . comedy?  This left me with Moonfall, which I assumed was going to be awful, but for vastly different reasons.  Well, it was not awful.  It was not good either.  If you are familiar with the film’s director… Read more “Moonfall, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The World’s End, by Albert W. Vogt III

With my birthday last weekend conveniently falling on a Friday, I thought it would be nice if I shared on The Legionnaire’s various social media platforms my top three movies.  Hence, the day of my birthday I shared Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980); my second favorite, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), on Saturday; and on Sunday. . . .  Well, it would seem that I have yet to review my third favorite movie.  I checked several times to make sure I was not hallucinating.  It seems even more troubling given the fact that I thought Cameron and I had done a series a… Read more “The World’s End, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Isle of Dogs, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am writing this review on my birthday.  I know, what a nerd.  One of the joys of a birthday, if not being productive, is getting love and support from friends and family.  One of the phone calls I got this morning are from two of my best friends, a husband and wife duo that I helped get together.  Though all the credit goes to them for being a great couple, I do take pride in the fact that I had a hand in its beginning.  Still, the wife had to give me a hard time for harshly criticizing the Scream franchise.  Apologies to her, but let us… Read more “Isle of Dogs, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you have been following along with these reviews of Wes Anderson films, you will note a few repeated themes.  For this Catholic, the most troubling of these is when there are brief shots of sexual acts.  He creates these beautiful scenes with pleasing color palettes, innovative camera placements and movements, and the positioning of characters in such a way as to make a perfect interplay between actor and background or vice versa.  In short, it works.  And yet every once in a while, you will have the insertion of Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) getting pleased orally by an octogenarian, such as in The… Read more “Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Albert W. Vogt III”