Drama

Van Helsing, by Albert W. Vogt III

On Halloween night, I got a random text from one of my great friends asking what I thought of Van Helsing (2004).  I confessed to having never seen it.  Her and her husband were watching it that night, and one of her comments was that it is a Catholic movie.  They are practicing Catholics, and I trust them implicitly.  Now, I do not know much about the title character.  I know his first appearance came in Bram Stoker’s famous book Dracula (1897), upon which most modern vampire legends are based.  I have seen the 1992 film version, and may review it at some point, and I vaguely recall enjoying Sir… Read more “Van Helsing, by Albert W. Vogt III”

RoboCop (1987), by Albert W. Vogt III

Annoyingly, when I look up titles on Amazon Prime on the television, I have to scroll to each letter.  I use a Roku remote app that I downloaded to my phone, and every other app for which I use it brings up a keypad when searching its library. Disney +, Netflix, even the ESPN service all give you the convenience of modern technology.  Given how innovative is Amazon Prime, I find this one little lapse in efficiency puzzling.  Thus, every night during the Robin Hood slog, I would go to the search bar and start laboriously moving from one letter to the next.  By the… Read more “RoboCop (1987), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Be Cool, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ah, sequels.  There are those who, when they see a movie they like, they immediately want a follow up to the story.  Then there are others, often self-styled movie snobs, who think a part two ruins the aesthetics of its predecessor.  I get it.  I am not sure on which side of the fence I fall.  If there is a film I particularly enjoyed, I want to see what happens to those characters beyond the confines of that script.  Then again, there are some movies where it makes little sense to do so.  I am looking at you, Highlander franchise.  Either way, it can be a tricky endeavor to pull… Read more “Be Cool, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Get Shorty, by Albert W. Vogt III

Once in a while, when in search of inspiration, I will go scrolling through the various offerings on the streaming services to which I subscribe.  More often than not, doing so turns up a bunch of titles that I have zero interest in viewing, unless suggested by you, my loyal readers.  Sometimes, I will notice a film I have not seen in a while, but I recall enjoying.  This is what happened before I went on my Robin Hood march of death when I saw Get Shorty (1995) on Amazon Prime.  I am not the biggest fan of gangster films, but this one has comedic elements,… Read more “Get Shorty, by Albert W. Vogt III”

King Richard, by Albert W. Vogt III

For a film reviewer, some weekends can be trickier to navigate than others, particularly when social demands press in on your theater schedule.  At the same time, we need those other outlets to make ourselves more well-rounded individuals.  There is a life beyond the cinema, and thinking otherwise is not a healthy way of living.  Besides, there are some experiences with family and friends that I would not miss for any premier, be it this weekend’s movies or Star Wars.  Getting to the point, there were two new offerings that I wanted to see, but which Cameron and I split.  I figured Ghostbusters: Afterlife might be more Cameron’s… Read more “King Richard, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Robin Hood (2010), by Albert W. Vogt III

There is no rhyme or reason in Hollywood.  A person I know with some knowledge of how decisions are made in Tinsel Town once told me that a “coke break” there has nothing to do with cola, if you understand my meaning.  Hence, I challenge you to come up with a reason for why, after so many different versions of basically the same tale, did we need another Robin Hood movie.  Still, if you think the 2010 iteration of Robin Hood, starring Russel Crowe as the title character, is more of the familiar archery contests and robbing the rich to give to the poor,… Read more “Robin Hood (2010), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Robin Hood (1991), by Albert W. Vogt III

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  When searching for cinematic entries in the saga of the famous Sherwood Forest outlaw, two titles can be found dating from 1991.  The most famous of these is the Kevin Costner led Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).  Somewhere in those heady late 1980s/early 1990s days, filmmakers in the United Kingdom must have gotten word that those silly Americans were going to make yet another attempt at telling one of their own time-honored legends.  If I was English and had seen either the Errol Flynn or Disney versions, I would have been a little peeved, too.  So,… Read more “Robin Hood (1991), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, by Albert W. Vogt III

My family moved from the suburbs of Chicago to the suburbs of Orlando in the summer of 1990.  The following summer, my mother decided to take my sister and I back there, leaving my father behind.  When you are young, you think little of such things.  For me, it was simply an adventure, the opportunity to be back where I had always felt was truly home.  I missed my dad terribly.  One thing that I did to fill the time, though, was go to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).  I thought it was the coolest movie ever, but then again I was eleven.  When you are that… Read more “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Adventures of Robin Hood, by Albert W. Vogt III

Time to go back to one of the classics of the Golden Age of Hollywood to continue my series on cinematic representations of the famous English outlaw, this time with The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).  Those of you who follow such things might remember that this one stars Errol Flynn as Sir Robin of Locksley, the fictitious nobleman who becomes a folk hero.  Flynn is a bit of a controversial figure, though not for the reasons typically associated with him.  If you have ever seen The Rocketeer (1991), you might have notice that Timothy Dalton’s Neville Sinclair bears a striking resemblance to Flynn in almost every… Read more “The Adventures of Robin Hood, by Albert W. Vogt III”

13 Assassins, by Albert W. Vogt III

How far are you willing to go to do what is right?  There are some cultures, or even sub-cultures, who ponder this question with deadly seriousness.  Of course, civilizations have pondered the difference between right and wrong since time immemorial, and the answers have varied between time and place.  I believe within the depths of my being that it is God is the final arbiter of our actions, and I pray that what I do in this life will help me simply to be near Him in the next.  If I thought otherwise, I would not be writing this at the moment.  We also know… Read more “13 Assassins, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Double Indemnity, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you are any kind of cinephile, then you should have a passing knowledge of a genre known as film noir.  From roughly the 1930s into the 1950s, there was a distinct set of Hollywood productions that critics and scholars gave this moniker.  Typified by urban settings, dim lighting, and plots involving crime (usually murder), they displayed the kind of seedy underbelly of society that once had people racing to read newspaper headlines.  Nowadays the internet fulfills that role, and very little surprises us.  Back then, it was a little more sensational, no matter how uncomfortable it made certain people.  Film noir, because of the restrictions… Read more “Double Indemnity, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Eternals, by Albert W. Vogt III

Another month, another Marvel film.  That little “run o’ the mill” opening is not intended as a judgement on their quality, or an indication of weariness on my part.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) seems to have adopted a solid formula for making quality films.  I am also unsure if they have a direction at the moment.  With the last phase, whatever number in the series that was, all the movies were pulling in the same direction to varying degrees.  All those missiles landed with Avengers: Endgame (2019) in neat order.  With such a cathartic conclusion, with half of the population of the universe being wiped out and… Read more “Eternals, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Flight of the Navigator, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I go to Disney, which is often enough as an annual passholder, I sometimes look for references to obscure titles from their extensive collection of live-action and animated movies.  Some of these, it seems, the Mouse would rather forget, Song of the South (1946) being a prime example.  To date, the only reference I am aware of to this nearly forgotten title is the theming of the Splash Mountain rides in a few of its theme parks.  Rumor has it, though, that this will not be around for long, and my understanding is that the one in the Magic Kingdom is slated to be… Read more “Flight of the Navigator, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Return to Oz, by Albert W. Vogt III

Did you know that Disney made a strange sequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939) almost fifty years later called Return to Oz(1985)?  My partner on the Down and Out Reviews podcast (which you can find on Spotify) claims that everyone knows this fact.  With all due respect to Isaac, I find that hard to believe.  I do remember seeing it as a kid on the Disney channel, and it was one of the first films I watched when I signed up for Disney +.  Because it truly is an obscure title, I had to do some hunting.  If you are unfamiliar with this title, please keep reading.  It is quite… Read more “Return to Oz, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Wizard of Oz, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am somewhat surprised that The Wizard of Oz (1939) has yet to be suggested.  It is one of the most familiar films of all time, and there are a lot of reasons for this fact.  For starters, it is one of the first color films in cinematic history.  That is quite the accomplishment, and would give it merit by itself.  It featured then teen-heartthrob Judy Garland as the wide-eyed Dorothy Gale, though there is a whole sub-text to that side of the story that you would not get from the otherwise cheery film.  Given these factors alone, it made for a sensation when it debuted in… Read more “The Wizard of Oz, by Albert W. Vogt III”

I Confess, by Albert W. Vogt III

After watching the relative silliness of The Birds (1963), I decided to back into Alfred Hitchcock’s more tried and true cinematic offerings.  Ah, you might be thinking, he watched Psycho (1960).  Nope.  Vertigo (1958)?  Guess again.  North by Northwest (1959)?  Keep going.  Rear Window (1954)?  Dial M for Murder (1954)?  Wrong and wrong.  Did you know that the famous director was born and raised Catholic?  While the Church certainly did not come to mean a whole lot to his life overall, unfortunately, he did get his wife Alma Reville to convert to the Faith after their nuptials in 1926, being Confirmed in 1927.  Though he lapsed like so many seem to, he did have a full Catholic burial when he… Read more “I Confess, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Birds, by Albert W. Vogt III

Recently, my sister randomly said to me, “You need to watch The Birds (1963).”  She did not also say “1963,” but I am a prisoner to convention.  When I asked why, she reminded me of a time that I only vaguely recall when my mom made us watch it.  She did the same thing with us for The Sound of Music (1965).  I remembered the latter of these better. Whatever it was that I thought of the former, it did not stick with me.  And yet, The Birds was directed by arguably the most famous film director of all time, the lapsed Catholic Alfred Hitchcock.  His religion had nothing to do with his… Read more “The Birds, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dune, by Albert W. Vogt III

A friend of mine in high school read Dune, the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, upon which the recent film of the same name is based.  He also saw the 1984 movie version.  I never consumed either of them.  The book sat on the back of his toilet.  This makes more sense when you understand how much time he spent in the bathroom, but the less said about that subject the better.  It has a lot of pages.  I cannot say that I have ever been scared off by long tomes, then or now.  I mean, I read both Little Women and Little Men.  Those are less than masculine titles, to be sure, but… Read more “Dune, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Spun, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am not showing a preview for this film. Shortly into Spun (2002), I had the overwhelming urge to shut it off.  I probably should have done so, but kept hoping that it could not get any worse.  I was terribly, utterly wrong.  Because of my extreme distaste for this film, I am going to call one of my rare audibles and change up my usual review structure.  It is easy enough to do here because there is no plot.  The title refers to somebody who is strung out on the potent and powerfully addictive drug crystal meth.  I have no idea if that is an official term,… Read more “Spun, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Almost Famous, by Albert W. Vogt III

My original thought for The Legionnaire was merely to post a review a week, taking on whatever I thought would be the most popular new release every weekend.  Not long after doing so it became apparent that sometimes there is more than one film that captures the public’s attention at any one time.  Hence, along came Cameron to give the blog a little more reach.  And then COVID happened.  With no theaters open to see Hollywood’s latest offerings, we turned to whatever films struck our fancy.  Over the years, I feel like I have built up a modest but eclectic digital library of films.  I worked through those… Read more “Almost Famous, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Last Duel, by Albert W. Vogt III

What I am telling myself, and you by extension, is that I lacked the proper experience to see Halloween Kills.  I have not seen a single one of the Halloween films, not the original or any of the iterations between it and the most recent release.  Judging from the previews, it looked like a nightmarish train wreck of a film.  Luckily (perhaps?), there was another movie out this weekend that I was far more interested in seeing, The Last Duel.  Hopefully this will review will explain why it is an extremely problematic movie, historically and spiritually.  What I can say positively about it is that I am sure that,… Read more “The Last Duel, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Mighty Ducks, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of my father’s unspoken regrets is that I never became the skater he was when he was younger.  Growing up in the more rural parts of the Chicago suburbs, one of the winter pastimes for him and his peers was playing hockey.  Anywhere there was enough solid ice (and sometimes not so solid), there they would be playing pick-up games.  It was how my dad last the top row of his front teeth, and he wears false teeth to this day.  When my sister and I were little, he tried to get us interested in skating.  It never took, though my sister did get… Read more “The Mighty Ducks, by Albert W. Vogt III”

No Time to Die, by Albert W. Vogt III

It has been a difficult week.  In order to talk about it fully (but not too fully), understand up front that I am going to have to spoil No Time to Die for you.  Then again, if you are a regular reader of The Legionnaire, you are probably used to this happening.  My grandmother passed away recently, and I traveled for one of those bitter events called a funeral.  It was good to see family I had not seen in far too long, but, of course, you have those feelings of regret, voices in the back of your mind (or spoken aloud) that tell you that you… Read more “No Time to Die, by Albert W. Vogt III”

12 Angry Men, by Albert W. Vogt III

Once again, we have an example of a movie that was made some time ago, and then there was a more recent remake.  Though I do not believe I have seen it, I recall the more recent version of 12 Angry Men (1997).  Hence, when somebody simply puts that title on my social media as a suggestion for a film to watch, I have to do some guessing as to whether the one from 1997 was meant, or the one from 1957.  Since it was my dad who put that one forward, I figured he wanted the original.  I am not trying to make a joke… Read more “12 Angry Men, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Great Debaters, by Albert W. Vogt III

Over the course of my many and varied years, few things enflame my passions more than racism.  In my early college days, I recall seeing Neo-Nazi propaganda scrawled on bathroom stalls and furiously challenging their authors to fights. They never materialized.  When I hear people today spouting racial ignorance, my blood still boils.  I have to tamp down on the desire to start shouting.  I sometimes imagine punching them in the face.  These are not Christian thoughts.  What gets me going is the blinding, arbitrary, and appalling stupidity of these stances.  It is only made worse when the misguided supporters of such dumb ideologies seem to believe in… Read more “The Great Debaters, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dear Evan Hansen, by Albert W. Vogt III

During my last stint as a youth minister, one night I received a phone call from my pastor.  This was not a usual occurrence, but he had been inspired by a musical he had just seen called Dear Evan Hansen.  What he wanted was for me to organize an outing for my ministry to go see it as well.  Admittedly, I was a little confused.  Whenever a youth ministry does anything these days, you have to have a small stack of documents signed, and in some cases notarized.  There are understandable reasons for this needing to be done.  We live in a litigious society, and with the… Read more “Dear Evan Hansen, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Highlander, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I was in the eighth grade, I was introduced to a television show called Highlander: The Series.  It starred Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, and I suppose that you can guess what part of Scotland he is from based on the title.  He is immortal, one of a few walking the planet, and the only way he can die is by having his head removed from his body.  The usual method of dispatching the brain helmet is by means of a sword, and thus all the immortals travel with a blade in case they encounter another of their kind who has evil intentions.  For… Read more “Highlander, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Hope Floats, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am a sentimental fool.  Such a life can be a double edge sword.  Cutting one way, it means that you are pleasant and thoughtful towards others.  Cutting the other, you can get trapped in a pit of nostalgic sadness.  Being this kind of person also makes me prone to the wiles of certain types of films.  I do not count myself the biggest fan of romance movies.  They seem to pile on the emotional manipulation a little too heavily.  However, when they can mix in the right amount of genuine feeling and tenderness with a story that is uplifting, then you will get an appreciative reaction… Read more “Hope Floats, by Albert W. Vogt III”

A Clockwork Orange, by Albert W. Vogt III

When researching my doctoral dissertation, The Costumed Catholic: Catholics, Whiteness, and the Movies, 1928-1973(2013), my quest for information brought me to Georgetown University.  In the special collections department of their library are the papers of Martin Quigley, a sort of early film critic who published a few semi-influential periodicals on the motion picture industry.  I found myself pouring through boxes of his personal correspondence because he was a staunch Catholic and a founding member of the Legion of Decency.  I have discussed this organization in other reviews, and the cover image for The Legionnaire’s blog site came from them.  As for Quigley, his position as a… Read more “A Clockwork Orange, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Blade Runner 2049, by Albert W. Vogt III

Previous attempts at watching Blade Runner (1982) have all ended in failure.  As a self-proclaimed cinephile, should I feel ashamed by the fact that I cannot seem to get through this classic piece of science fiction?  Who is to say?  I am sure someone will, anyway.  Hence, my recollection of the original consists of fragments of the film.  I know that Harrison Ford is in it, and that it is set in the future.  Oh, yeah, and there are human-looking robots known as replicants.  I do not remember the plot at all.  Still, I am aware that Blade Runner 2049 (2017) is set in the future of the, er, future.  Given me hazy… Read more “Blade Runner 2049, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fried Green Tomatoes, by Albert W. Vogt III

Since watching Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), I have been wracking my brain trying to remember whether or not I had previously seen it.  Part of me says no.  And yet, while viewing its Southern charm, it seems familiar.  Maybe it is all the Spanish moss dripped, small Southern towns through which I have passed over the years.  People tend to think Florida is not a part of the South, and certainly there are areas that do not fit the stereotype.  Yet, drive away from the beaches and theme parks, and you will find settings nearly identical to the fictional Whistle Stop, Alabama, locale of the film.  It could… Read more “Fried Green Tomatoes, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Over the Top, by Albert W. Vogt III

When you think of Sylvester Stallone, your mind probably goes first to the Rocky franchise.  If asked to conjure more of his roles, you would probably go next to the Rambo series (the man likes his “R” movies), and then maybe the Expendables.  All of them are successful runs of films.  Then there are popular one-offs, like Demolition Man (1993) and Judge Dredd (1995).  If you really dig deep, though you probably would not have to go too far, you would come to Over the Top (1987).  I had not seen in a long time what I believe is the only film ever about professional arm wrestling, and hence I had completely forgotten about the stomach-churning… Read more “Over the Top, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Silence, by Albert W. Vogt III

Why can there not be one good, self-avowed Catholic film?  I am not talking about the ones you can find on Formed, which has become a sort of Catholic Netflix.  Those are good for what they are: solid productions preaching to the choir.  If you want a film where Catholicism is considered normative behavior, you have to go back to the 1940s and 1950s when the Faith held a certain amount of clout in Hollywood.  Then the 1960s happened and ruined everything.  I detail these occurrences as a practicing Catholic who sees the Church and the situation in the world as akin to the early days… Read more “Silence, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Kiss of the Dragon, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you are a fan of Jet Li, but maybe do not follow his career in a stalker sort of way, you might be wondering what has happened to him.  After having a successful career in Hong Kong cinema, following in the footsteps of martial arts greats like Bruce Lee, Jet Li began appearing in American made films.  The first I recall is Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).  I know I saw the movie in the theater, but search me if I can remember anything else beyond Li being in it.  I know he was a bad guy.  The one that really put him on the map, and… Read more “Kiss of the Dragon, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Black Robe, by Albert W. Vogt III

Black Robe (1991) is a film that has been on my radar for a long time.  To complete my Master’s degree in Florida Studies (yes, that is a thing), I wrote my thesis on Franciscan missionaries during the Spanish colonization of the state.  When talking with my professors about the subject, the film about Jesuits in French Colonial Canada was often mentioned.  I never got around to watching it at that time.  Criticize me if you like, but the experiences in either place were different enough where I felt like I did not need to turn to Hollywood to pad out a 100 page plus… Read more “Black Robe, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Murder on the Orient Express (2017), by Albert W. Vogt III

When looking up Murder on the Orient Express (2017), I may have made a mistake.  I had already seen this cinematic version of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery novel.  Therefore, I wanted to view the original from 1974, starring Albert Finney as the lead character, the famous fictional detective Hercule Poirot.  However, when I entered the title into Amazon, the earlier iteration came up as part of a series with Finney reprising the lead role.  I only have the faintest of knowledge about Finney’s portrayal of Poirot, but it made me think that it is part of a made for television series.  The Legionnaire is focused on cinema.  However,… Read more “Murder on the Orient Express (2017), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, by Albert W. Vogt III

Where does the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) go now that Avengers: Endgame (2019) tied up its first few phases with its bewildering use of Infinity Gauntlets and time travel.  Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) gave a small taste of what is to come.  Yet, it used one of the more famous characters to ever grace comic book pages.  Put differently, it was expected.  Just like there does not seem to be a Marvel without a Captain America, it would be strange to have their movies sans the familiar webslinger.  Thus, who do you turn to when many of the other big names are either killed off or going… Read more “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, by Albert W. Vogt III”

School Ties, by Albert W. Vogt III

Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser, the star of today’s film, School Ties (1992)?  It is a fair question to ask given the other actors that appear in it.  There are older names, like Ed Lauter for example, who plays Alan Greene, the father to Fraser’s David.  Lauter has been in, what, every movie since the 1970s?  But such a personage pales in comparison to some of Fraser’s co-stars.  There is Matt Damon as Charlie Dillon, one of the main villains in the film; Damon’s buddy Ben Affleck plays Chesty Smith, one of Charlie’s friends; also filling a significant role is NCIS: Los Angeles’ Chris O’Donnell as David’s sympathetic… Read more “School Ties, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Family Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III

I never enjoyed Sex in the City.  That was a fact before I began practicing the Catholic Faith.  That statement was not intended to be sexist, either.  It was not the thing for this guy, at any rate.  It is more of a personal indictment against Sarah Jessica Parker.  I cannot think of too many titles of hers that I enjoy.  I vaguely remember Failure to Launch (2006), though if I enjoyed it at all it was because it had Zooey Deschanel in it.  I like her.  Other than that . . . I cannot say.  I describe this all only to contextualize some dimly recalled moment where I saw a preview… Read more “The Family Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III”

12 Years A Slave, by Albert W. Vogt III

Far too often I find many misconceptions about the history of slavery in the United States.  Whatever it is that people know about slavery, assuming they know what the word means in the first place, they understand that it is bad.  I am thankful that they have gotten that far, at least.  Their knowledge usually begins and ends at that point, but that rarely stops anyone from drawing all kinds of conclusions about the “Peculiar Institution.”  Some assume that it was legal everywhere in the country.  For others it lasted well into the twentieth century.  There are also the concomitant stereotypes.  All white people were (or are)… Read more “12 Years A Slave, by Albert W. Vogt III”

I Care A Lot, by Albert W. Vogt III

Have you ever watched an extremely well made and acted film that left you wanting to take a shower afterwards?  I do not recommend the experience.  When viewing such a conundrum, you keep watching because your eyes are treated to some interesting visuals, and the performances draw you in where you believe in what is going on from scene-to-scene.  They are not your garden variety trash movies that are provocative simply for the sake of titillation.  American culture is drowning in the marketing fuel that has been injected into the brains of anyone flogging a product, from motion pictures to baby wipes, flooding images… Read more “I Care A Lot, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Her, by Albert W. Vogt III

Her (2013) is another one of those movies I meant to see in the theaters when it premiered, but never made it.  Looking back eight years on and 2013 was an interesting year.  It did not start well.  I had my heart broken in a crushing fashion, and I spent a long time mourning my loss.  At the same time, I finished my dissertation and graduated with my Doctorate in American History from Loyola University Chicago.  After that, it was time to bid my Windy City home goodbye and return to the Land of Sunshine.  I started teaching for one of my alma maters, the University of… Read more “Her, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Stranger Than Fiction, by Albert W. Vogt III

Why cannot Will Ferrell star in more movies like Stranger Than Fiction (2006)?  In the overwhelming majority of his roles, he plays a blithering idiot.  He rather acts like one, too, in real life.  I do not know him personally (or at all), so I have no frame of reference for how he behaves when not on camera.  A quick glance at his filmography will show you that there are few movies where he plays somebody like the unassuming, dedicated to routine Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Harold Crick.  In the moments where this character does step out of his staid norms, they are the brief opportunities… Read more “Stranger Than Fiction, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fail Safe, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are few scarier concepts than the possibility of nuclear annihilation.  When the United States unleashed the first, and only, atomic bombs on Japan at the close of World War II, it startled friend and foe alike.  Before television, millions of Americans and others around the world consumed their news visually by going to the cinema.  Before films began, there typically appeared newsreels depicting in motion pictures the events of the day.  Footage of the flattened cityscapes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fascinated and frightened audiences, and it was not long until it became fodder for Hollywood.  In the decades following 1945, there existed a state… Read more “Fail Safe, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Reminiscence, by Albert W. Vogt III

My normal weekend routine involves a trip to the movie theaters.  It was one of the tough parts about the COVID lockdown, not being able to go to the cinema.  Even before I began The Legionnaire, regular theater attendance was a part of my activities.  I once spent an entire year going every week, and keeping a log of the films I saw.  That may not seem all that earth shattering a revelation for someone who now watches a movie every day, sometimes two in a day.  Back then, it was a New Year’s Resolution, but also for the sheer joy of going.  Perhaps one of these… Read more “Reminiscence, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fatherhood, by Albert W. Vogt III

Please do not let the first line uttered in Fatherhood be an indication of the quality of the film.  Those opening words are, “This sucks.”  We will get into what is behind those words in a moment, but it is a jarring way to start a movie, particularly for me.  I cannot think of too many Kevin Hart films I have enjoyed.  He is one of those comedic actors that gets type cast.  Hence, if you have seen him in one film, you have virtually seen them all.  He screams at a high pitch, he says racially stereotyped things, and he has a false bravado that he plays… Read more “Fatherhood, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Amistad, by Albert W. Vogt III

History provides Hollywood with stories ripe for the silver screen.  Many of them have been reviewed by The Legionnaire.  I started this blog with intention of giving a Catholic perspective on film, but I also have this history degree that I like to utilize in my reviews.  With this in mind, I can tell you unabashedly that most of the time film gets the past wrong.  Some of this I understand, not as a historian but as someone who accepts that not every last detail will make it past editing.  Movies are told for dramatic purposes.  There is nothing interesting, for example, in the various historical markers… Read more “Amistad, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Unbroken, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am drawn to stories of survival.  It is even more of a bonus if I know that the main character in such tales is Catholic, like Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) in Unbroken (2014).  There is something about a person being tested beyond seemingly anything survivable that strikes a chord with me.  And as a Catholic, the obvious parallels between such moments and what Jesus went through in His passion make the film that much more compelling.  While I will talk about the religious parallels later, another reason I enjoy these kinds of films is because they are a way of measuring yourself against what you… Read more “Unbroken, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Fury, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I first saw Fury in 2014 when it came to theaters, I did not like it.  I wish I could remember why.  I re-watched it recently and did not have the same reaction.  I wish I could recall my initial thoughts on it in order to compare it to how I now feel.  I can come up with reasons.  For one thing, it is terribly depressing.  As a younger lad, I used to be fascinated by war.  I thought that armed conflict was the end all, be all of history.  My first goal in getting a terminal degree in history was for it to be in Military History.  It was… Read more “Fury, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Hold the Dark, by Albert W. Vogt III

I enjoy programs about Alaska.  Recently I wrote a review of the film Into the Wild (2007), which is the true story of a man who goes out to what is the last remaining wild place left in our country.  Maybe that is not the best example as I find that film annoying, mostly because he dies due to not reading a book closely enough.  My favorite piece of pop culture that focuses on our northern most state is Life Below Zero.  If you have Disney +, then you can watch most of the seasons.  Yes, it is a reality show, and as such there is some contrivance… Read more “Hold the Dark, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Only Lovers Left Alive, by Albert W. Vogt III

Vampires, am I right?  For reasons that are beyond my grasp, other than immortality I suppose, Western culture has had a centuries’ long fascination with these mythical creatures.  This is admittedly a poor reference for this point, but in my review of What We Do in the Shadows (2014), one of my complaints about vampire lore is the changeable rules.  Sometimes they are repelled by Christian symbols, sometimes they are fine with Crosses.  In others, they can walk about in the sunlight and sparkle, and in some they instantly combust when the slightest ray lands on their pale skin.  And then there are movies like Only Lovers Left… Read more “Only Lovers Left Alive, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Into the Wild, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of my lifelong goals has been to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I love being on it.  So far, I have done the whole trail in the state of Georgia, and a very small portion of North Carolina.  When I am out there, I feel a sense of peace knowing that I get a glimpse of God and His creation that I am rarely afforded in the flat, baking heat of Florida summers.  Because it is so quiet (usually), you can almost hear the Almighty’s whisper on the wind, confirming what the soul innately feels: God is great!  I have not been in a couple… Read more “Into the Wild, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Social Network, by Albert W. Vogt III

How many people who have had world changing ideas have been nice men or women?  I believe it has become a stereotype, at least in the United States, that in order to be successful you have to be obsessive about whatever it is you are pursuing.  It is as if “obsession” has become a virtue.  One could look at this blog in that way, I suppose.  I like to think of it as dedication, or better yet, a calling.  I review movies in order to help others, but one could also argue that I have an inordinate sense of purpose with my pursuits.  You could look… Read more “The Social Network, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Resistance Fighter, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I got home from chess club on Friday night (yes, this is what my Friday nights have come to), the old man I live with had just begun a strange World War II film called The Resistance Fighter (2019).  I have seen a lot of odd movies lately about the last global conflict, namely Ghosts of War (2020) and Company of Heroes (2013).  I get it.  World War II makes for excellent cinematic fodder.  The conflict was about more than Germany and Japan versus, essentially, the world.  Because of what the Axis powers represented, it was, then and now, seen as a worldwide struggle of good versus evil.  With such lofty… Read more “The Resistance Fighter, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Mute, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are times when you have a feeling that you might be in for a dreadful experience before you see the first scene in a movie.  I had that from the start with Mute (2018).  When you see enough movies, you become familiar with the different production companies active in the filmmaking business.  This is not meant to be a preamble to me saying that the only good movies come from Disney, Warner Brothers, or Focus Features, to name a few.  If you are up to attending the theater these days, you will likely see a film made by a familiar company, if you pay attention… Read more “Mute, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Chosen: Custody of the Eyes, by Albert W. Vogt III

It has been roughly a year since The Legionnaire has reviewed a documentary, that one being Cameron’s take on Becoming (2020).  Typically, I try to steer clear of documentaries, at least for this blog.  I like them, but they are a different animal than your typical film.  There is rarely a plot to them, and they are trying to inform rather than entertain, though some do attempt both at the same time.  Believe it or not, you are using a different part of your brain when you consume products designed for different purposes.  While the material in some documentaries might not be agreeable, they are designed to be thought-provoking.  Movies… Read more “Chosen: Custody of the Eyes, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Ali, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of the often-repeated sports debates, no matter which one you choose, is who is the greatest of all time in a chosen profession.  For me, they are as follows: in baseball, it is Babe Ruth; basketball, Michael Jordan, of course; for hockey, you have to go with Wayne Gretzky; football is a tough one because I am biased against Tom Brady, so I will say, in true homer fashion, Walter Payton.  Those who know me best (and read this blog) may roll their eyes, but take a look at some of the things he did on the gridiron.  When he came to… Read more “Ali, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Tears of the Sun, by Albert W. Vogt III

At the end of Tears of the Sun (2003), there is a quote that is falsely attributed to Edmund Burke.  It reads, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  As it turns out, the late eighteenth century English philosopher was loosely taking from one of his country’s predecessors, John Stuart Mill.  Regardless, it is a good notion. If you consider yourself a good person, you have a responsibility to live up to that ideal.  Anything less, and what are you, really?  Worse yet, by not living out such a commitment, you could be letting something truly awful occur.  It does… Read more “Tears of the Sun, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Glory, by Albert W. Vogt III

Please let me know in the comments below, or on social media, if I have mentioned before the fact that I used to be a Civil War reenactor.  Given the stigma attached to this small subset of Americans in recent years with the rush to tear down all monuments to the Confederacy, let me make it clear that I portrayed a Union soldier.  If you do not know your history, that was the side opposing slavery, the side that ultimately won.  When you are young and you love learning about the past as I did (and still do), such an immersive experience as… Read more “Glory, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Manchurian Candidate (1962), by Albert W. Vogt III

When I first put on The Manchurian Candidate (1962), the old man I live with commented that I appeared to be on an “overthrow the government” kick.  I replied to this false accusation by simply stating that I am watching what you all suggest.  I am also aware that there is a 2004 remake of this film starring Denzel Washington.  Going in to my viewing of the original, I was not entirely familiar with either version, though I understood them to have something to do with brainwashing and politics.  A none too subtle suggestion, I suppose, but there you have it.  Even though I had not seen… Read more “The Manchurian Candidate (1962), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Seven Days in May, by Albert W. Vogt III

Now that I have passed the 500th post mark for The Legionnaire, I decided to go back to reviewing movies submitted by you, my loyal fans.  If you are reading this and saying to yourself, wait, what suggestions, I suggest you head over to The Legionnaire’s Facebook page, or find us on Twitter, and recommend as many films as you care to mention.  I also ask for patience.  While the list is pretty small right now (and I have yet to figure out why I need to coax more submissions out of you all), it typically grows, eventually.  While Cameron does contribute, these lists are typically left… Read more “Seven Days in May, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Alien, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ah, the 1970s, or at least the tail end of that decade.  When Alien (1979) premiered, it was a mere two years after arguably the granddaddy of all cinematic franchises, Star Wars, made its debut.  If you think cinema attendance is bad today, take a look at the numbers from the advent of television to 1977 when Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope came out.  Suddenly, the tales of a galaxy far, far away re-energized people to the escape that is going to the movies.  As for Alien, one could say that it fits within the scope of a renewed interest in space kicked off by Hollywood, and… Read more “Alien, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Casablanca, by Albert W. Vogt III

Many know me as a bit of a cinephile.  I suppose I better be with a movie review blog.  As such, a gift I often receive on the proper occasions are gift cards to movie theaters.  Those are always handy, and I am more thankful for them than I seem to be able to express.  In some respects, I enjoy it even more when somebody asks me for my opinion on a film. You know, person-to-person, rather than me replying so impersonally, “Check out my blog.”  I do stand by that response in many instances, though.  This review marks the 500th post by The Legionnaire, an accomplishment of sorts.  Hence,… Read more “Casablanca, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, by Albert W. Vogt III

Is it odd that I have reviewed the Star Wars films, my favorite cinematic franchise of all time, in such a piecemeal fashion?  Outside of the original trilogy, perhaps this is somewhat apropos.  After all, in the late 1990s, a full sixteen years after Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi (1983) came out, they released Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).  As someone who grew up with the first three, those specifically cemented my love for the tales of “a galaxy far, far away. . . .”  Such is my passion for these stories that I am willing to forgive them for the… Read more “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Company of Heroes, by Albert W. Vogt III

Perhaps when I was scrolling through Netflix’s offerings a few days ago and landed on Ghosts of War (2020), I was actually looking for Company of Heroes (2013).  You know what would be nice of Netflix to do, even though it might end up costing them business?  Attach reviews of films to their on-screen menus.  Though I doubt they would want The Legionnaire’s content, it might expedite the process of cycling through their films and shows.  I am sure if you peruse the seemingly endless selections available on any streaming service, you will come to long forgotten titles that nobody has watched since they were still sending DVDs in… Read more “Company of Heroes, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I think about Westerns as a cinematic genre, rarely do I think of any films made in my life time.  I will not comment on how long of a stretch of years that is.  Regardless, Westerns reached their zenith at a time in our country’s history when we looked to a mythic past for inspiration in dealing with an increasingly chaotic world.  After World War II, the international boogeyman of fascism was replaced by global communism, and the Cold War set in between the United States and the Soviet Union.  In film, cowboys or the cavalry were the Americans and pretty much everyone… Read more “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III”