Drama

Supergirl, by Albert W. Vogt III

Please note, this is the 1984 version of Supergirl. As I understand it based on the random information that floats my way on a daily basis, the Linda Lee/Kora Zor-El (Helen Slater) character in the film is not all that close to the original DC Comics material. However, that is the least of the problems for this poor movie. When the original Superman movie premiered in 1978, people were quite thrilled to see arguably the most famous comic book character of all time on the big screen, and the late Christopher Reeve certainly looked the title part. The subsequent sequels… Read more “Supergirl, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Gangs of New York, by Albert W. Vogt III

Movies like Gangs of New York (2002) are why I wrote my dissertation, although I did not talk about it within those 239 pages. Before I go any further, know that this is going to be a history heavy review. You see, Catholics in this country have had a hard time. The attitudes towards the Faith even before the founding of the United States were inherited from the United Kingdom, a place that in the sixteenth century turned its back on Rome. Fast forward to nineteenth century America and you largely have the same attitudes. When the Irish began arriving… Read more “Gangs of New York, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Ghost and the Darkness, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you lived in the Tampa Bay area in the late 1990s like I did, then Busch Gardens Tampa was the place to be. The first time I went was for a high school field trip. Our physics teacher expected us to ride the roller coasters and record the effects of g-forces, acceleration, and other things about which physicists care. I recall doing none of the experiments, but I had a good time. I was been kind of a nerd. Correction: I have always been a full on nerd. Thus, aside from the thrills the park had to offer, I… Read more “The Ghost and the Darkness, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Land, by Albert W. Vogt III

Going into Land, I thought I had it figured out. The previews led me to believe I knew what to expect. This often happens for me. Supposedly, when studios release previews for a film they are trying not to give away key elements of the plot. This worked best in the age before the internet when closely guarded cinematic secrets were not leaked to the public on the interwebs, or any webs for that matter. On the same token, was there any social media chatter for Land? Was there anyone out there planning their weekends around seeing this tale of… Read more “Land, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Crow, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are certain movies out there at certain times of your life that are spoken of in hushed tones as if they are legends. I never saw The Crow (1994) before yesterday, but it was one such movie as I went through my teenage years in the 1990s. At first, I knew nothing about it. I vaguely recall its release and being mildly interested in it. It stars Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, as the main character Eric Draven. More on the silliness of that name later, though you will probably be able to guess as I discuss the plot.… Read more “The Crow, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Judas and the Black Messiah, by Cameron J. Czaja

Ever since I became single a few years ago, I’ve had a personal tradition every Valentine’s Day to watch a new movie in a theater as a means of escaping from the real world. Two years previous I watched Alita: Battle Angel (2019), the year after that I saw Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), and this year I watched a film called Judas and the Black Messiah. Unlike the last two films that were perfect for (though not perfect in quality) escaping reality, Judas and the Black Messiah is not an escape but rather a tale about race discrimination told through a contemporary perspective. I thought about watching… Read more “Judas and the Black Messiah, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), by Albert W. Vogt III

Did you ever see the Pierce Brosnan version of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)? I did. I think I even saw it in the theaters when it first came out. It does not matter where I first viewed it, for a long time I thought it was an original. I found it to be kind of clever, too. Oh, how naïve I was at that time. I have probably mentioned this before, but if you see a preview for a film and you think it is the first time this is being done, think again. Chances are that it is… Read more “The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, by Albert W. Vogt III

In my review of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), I mentioned my love of the 1977 cartoon version of The Hobbit. At least that is how I remember feeling about it. I had not seen it in roughly fifteen years when The Fellowship of the Ring premiered, but my enthusiasm for the story to which this new film was basically a sequel to carried me to the theater all the same. Despite being utterly bored, I kept going back for the next two installments of the Middle Earth saga. They never got better for… Read more “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Dig, by Albert W. Vogt III

My theory is that there were no new releases at my local movie theater this past weekend because it was Valentine’s Day. Typically, one of the go-to’s for any guy desperate for some kind of romantic outing on the so-called most romantic day of the year is dinner and a movie. One of the great things about the theater I attend most often is that you can have both of these features in one sitting. You have got to love modern convenience. And who am I to call anyone “desperate” when I am single and not getting any younger. Anyway,… Read more “The Dig, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Supernova, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of the . . . well, one might call them “benefits,” but at other times it is a scourge, but with the torrent of theatrical releases slowed to a trickle we are seeing a lot of independent films in theaters. They are the kinds of movies that would typically get brushed aside by those with bigger budgets, or, more specifically, more money to spend on advertising. Case in point: I did not see an ad anywhere for Supernova (2020), was not even aware of its existence, until I pulled up to the theater on Saturday evening to renew my… Read more “Supernova, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Little Things, by Cameron J. Czaja

Now that we’re almost into a year of getting used to watching movies almost exclusively on streaming, I have to say that I’ve gotten quite used to it. Don’t get me wrong, if have the opportunity to watch a movie in the theater I’ll take advantage of it. However that hasn’t really been the case recently thanks to my crazy work schedule. Fortunately for me, though, there is one streaming service that is out that shows movies both on it’s platform and in theaters and that is HBO Max.  I briefly mentioned this streaming service before when I reviewed An… Read more “The Little Things, by Cameron J. Czaja”

Waterloo, by Albert W. Vogt III

Since it was my birthday yesterday, I hope you, my dear readers, will indulge me this little review. I have discussed in various other posts how I came to love history. To briefly recap, my dad would tell me about Napoleon’s campaigns. I also loved films from an early age, which should be fairly obvious. So if you had a budding interest in l’Empereur and film like me, the movie you turned to was Waterloo (1970). I was blessed with being able to travel to Belgium and the site where, in 1815, perhaps the most famous battle of all time… Read more “Waterloo, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Bad Times at the El Royale, by Albert W. Vogt III

The mind is an incredible gift from God. Cognition can lead us to some lofty heights. My academic career is evidence of this fact. It can also be our worst enemy, telling us something is real when there is no evidence of it. This is why we have therapy. In a more positive light, it helps us better to understand those invisible things that are real, like God. In other ways, it can make us forget things about which we would rather not think. I had forgotten that Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) existed until it was added… Read more “Bad Times at the El Royale, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Pawn Sacrifice, by Albert W. Vogt III

My dad taught me to play chess when I was roughly six years old. At that tender age I was not very good. I was certainly no child prodigy like Bobby Fischer. I think my lack of immediate skill somewhat frustrated my dad as I was not able to give him a good match. I remained interested in the game and would challenge my dad whenever he felt up to it. Strangely, this was quite rare, and he remains so until this day. Instead, the bulk of my chess skills, such as they are, were honed in my high school… Read more “Pawn Sacrifice, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Our Friend, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I go to the cinema, as I do every weekend, it is usually one of those theaters where you can have a meal while enjoying a film. It operates basically like a restaurant, though the poor servers that have to march up and down stairs are at your beck and call. I try not to disturb them too often because I feel bad for them, and I always try to tip well for their efforts (even if service is sometimes slow). But, hey, times are tough for everyone, you know? Speaking of “tough,” I saw Our Friend (2019) this… Read more “Our Friend, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Hillbilly Elegy, by Albert W. Vogt III

I tend to miss out on a lot of Netflix movies. My modus operandi for the past half year or so (has it been that long?) has been to let you, dear reader, dictate the movies I see. Hence if you do not tell me to watch a Netflix title, I do not watch a Netflix title. When theaters reopened, that was my opportunity to make some of my own cinematic choices. At times, even this is rough sledding, with films that probably would not see the light of a local cineplex of it were not for COVID-19. This was… Read more “Hillbilly Elegy, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, by Albert W. Vogt III

My apologies to any of you that have been waiting on a review from The Legionnaire for a film you requested. You have our assurances that they will be seen and covered. However, when I saw how St. Joan of Arc was portrayed in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), it got me thinking about this famous French saint. In my review of that film, I briefly grappled with the oddity that is seeing her as essentially a 1980s teenager. Yet, why is she there in the first place? For whatever reason, the “Maid of Orléans” has occupied the attention… Read more “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Soul, by Albert W. Vogt III

How does one describe Soul (2020)? I have plenty to say about it, in case you might be worried by that opening line. But as I sit here on a chilly January morning reflecting on my experience of watching it, I am having trouble coming up with some kind of clever introduction. When I first saw previews for this film, which must have been a year or so ago before everything got shut down for a while, I resigned myself to seeing yet another Disney animated feature. But then theaters were closed and Disney decided to release Soul on Disney… Read more “Soul, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Marksman, by Albert W. Vogt III

Oh, look, it is Winter. Must be time for another Liam Neeson film. Last Fall, it was Honest Thief (2020), an eminently forgettable movie. Not bad. Just not good, or memorable for any reason whatsoever. If you have seen any of the films Neeson has done since playing Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, you will know that they are all pretty much the same. Taken (2008) seemingly set the formula, and they made it into a trilogy and a television show. Basically, you have some dude with a “very particular set of skills,” as… Read more “The Marksman, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Little Miss Sunshine, by Albert W. Vogt III

For some reason I have a vague recollection of child beauty pageants being one of those meta-topics that come around from time-to-time around when Little Miss Sunshine came out in 2006. I cannot remember precisely, though, and such are the vagaries of memory. I thought perhaps it had to do with television shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, but apparently that premiered a few years after this film. If you have seen this movie, you might find the fact that they went ahead with a reality program about shoving kids into contests that judge them on their looks to be absurd… Read more “Little Miss Sunshine, by Albert W. Vogt III”

One Night in Miami, by Albert W. Vogt III

Many of the persons my dad was interested in captured my interest. I do not know what other father’s talked about with their sons, but mine brought me up with tales of Napoleon’s campaigns. That is how I developed my love of history. Our other shared love was sports. Baseball was my first passion, and one my earliest memories is being at Wrigley Field as a child with my family and seeing my cherished Cubs. As I got older and my sporting horizons expanded, one figure my dad always spoke of with an awe and reverence was Muhammad Ali. Perhaps… Read more “One Night in Miami, by Albert W. Vogt III”

News of the World, by Albert W. Vogt III

Last weekend I had a choice to make: either Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) or News of the World (2020). I did the superhero movie first because I figured it would garner more attention. Given the number of people I saw in the theater, I suspect I was right. Still, even though it was not quite the opening weekend, News of the World had a healthy crowd (no pun intended) this past Saturday, particularly when compared to the months between theaters reopening and today. Having said that, I dread the offerings between now and, I suppose, the summer when (hopefully) the… Read more “News of the World, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, by Albert W. Vogt III

Every New Year’s Eve for well over a decade, I have gathered with some of my closest friends and their steadily growing family to have a Harry Potter movie marathon.  With eight movies covering seven books, we can never get all of them seen in one day, but we enjoy putting them on and passing the last day of the year as only boon companions can do.  The next question then becomes what order we watch them in.  As we can never get to them all in one go, choices have to be made.  In the past, we have gone with even ones on… Read more “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Wonder Woman 1984, by Albert W. Vogt III

Finally, Wonder Woman 1984 has arrived. I never knock anyone for taking any precautions they feel necessary during these times, but it was nice to see a nearly full theater for what I am sure was supposed to be a summer blockbuster. There were two empty seats next to me, but otherwise my row, and the rows behind and in front of me, were full. It was a refreshing semblance of normalcy after so long a time without it. As for the film itself, well, it was alright. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because there was an actual crowd in… Read more “Wonder Woman 1984, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Young Victoria, by Albert W. Vogt III

When a friend of mine suggested The Young Victoria (2009), I was initially apprehensive. If you have been keeping score at home, you know that usually I am critical of historically based films. I like to watch them, but rarely do they seem to satisfy my knowledge of such events. But I keep coming back for more because, as a lover of the past, I enjoy seeing a window into a time immemorial. There is nothing like a visual medium for time traveling, and few are able to do it as well as this film’s writer, Julian Fellowes. However, I… Read more “The Young Victoria, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Monster Hunter, by Albert W. Vogt III

What do you get when you combine Mad Max with a little bit of Lord of the Rings, as well as some giant monsters and a hint of the American military industrial complex? There are some out there that would say to themselves that such a mix would be something they would want to see. There truly is no accounting for taste. The cinematic mess you get from combing these elements, with a healthy dose of I don’t understand what is going on here, is Monster Hunter. The first thing you see in Monster Hunter is a circa 1800, three-masted… Read more “Monster Hunter, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Lunchbox, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you know anything about Mumbai, you are aware that the size of its population defies imagination. What is remarkable about it is that, despite having almost twenty million people, it is only the second largest city in India, surpassed only by the capital of Delhi. What Mumbai has that its larger sister does not is its country’s center for film making, commonly referred to as Bollywood. The stereotype about these films is that they are full of large, colorful weddings and other ceremonies that usually feature dancing. To be sure, there is a fair bit of such scenes in… Read more “The Lunchbox, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Perfect Storm, by Albert W. Vogt III

A little over a month ago, Florida was hit by Tropical Storm Eta. It made landfall on the Gulf Coast a little north of the little home in which I reside on the coast. As somebody who has lived in Florida for some time, you learn to take storms in a measured way. What I mean is you take in all the data being given by the various news outlets and you measure the amount of precautions you need to take to secure your abode. I do not think anyone in our neighborhood took the storm too seriously. I even… Read more “The Perfect Storm, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Thank You for Smoking, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ever since I was a child I did not do well around cigarette smoke. My mother is a smoker, as are the majority of her siblings and many of my cousins. This made family gatherings hard for me. Car rides were particularly unbearable. Whenever I get around puffers, my throat closes up and I cannot breathe. It has never been diagnosed as an allergic reaction, but the more I understand about such things the more I believe it could be. It is funny, and often unfortunate, how people treat the things we do not like. History is replete with the… Read more “Thank You for Smoking, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Secondhand Lions, by Albert W. Vogt III

When watching a film like Secondhand Lions (2003), starring Haley Joel Osment as Walter Caldwell, I could not help but whisper at one point “I see dead people.” This is, of course, because of the performance he gave in his most famous movie, The Sixth Sense (1999). Osment also appeared in a few other movies as a kid, but then seemingly dropped off the face of the planet. If you see pictures of him today, he is almost unrecognizable from his fresh adolescent visage, except for the eyes I suppose. He is still around, doing some television and voice work… Read more “Secondhand Lions, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Last Vermeer, by Albert W. Vogt III

Seeing The Last Vermeer (2019), even though it had been in theaters for a couple weeks now, was purely for me.  Actually, this was true in a physical sense as I was the only one in the theater.  But maybe there is hope round the corner.  There is a semi-big release this coming weekend, and then an even bigger one around Christmas, so maybe I will see fuller theaters.  At this point I think only politicians can prevent this from happening. The Last Vermeer is set in Holland in the months after World War II, though it is really about that conflict.  Each one of the characters in… Read more “The Last Vermeer, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Night of the Living Dead, by Albert W. Vogt

Like our review of The Ring (2002), apologies for this seasonally mistimed review of the film that launched George Romero’s zombie franchise: Night of the Living Dead (1968). Not that I am complaining. For months I cast about trying to choose which movie to watch. I soon realized that my tastes are somewhat eclectic, but I found that I enjoyed what others suggested to me. Okay, so this little introduction does not pertain to the movie I am discussing today. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been giving me films to review. I… Read more “Night of the Living Dead, by Albert W. Vogt”

Love Actually, by Albert W. Vogt III

Sometimes you think you have seen a movie and it turns out you are mistaken. I was originally asked to review Heart and Souls (1993) but could not find a digital format on which to view it. So I asked for a replacement and was given Love Actually (2003). My brain originally went to Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), but that idea was quickly shot down. And then I thought of About a Boy (2002) because it also has Hugh Grant in it, and as Love Actually started I thought it was the older one I was watching. It was not… Read more “Love Actually, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Usual Suspects, by Albert W. Vogt III

For those dedicated fans of The Usual Suspects (1995), there is nothing bad you can so about the film. Still, I am not sure why would would ever watch it a second time. I saw it once years ago, but before this I learned the big secret about the film that makes it kind of anticlimactic to see a second time. Look, this film is twenty-five years old now. That is a quarter of a century, sheesh. Spoiler alert: Roger “Verbal” Kint (Keven Spacey) is Keyser Söze. There, I said it. When this movie came out all those years ago,… Read more “The Usual Suspects, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Vanguard, by Albert W. Vogt III

With movie studios hesitant to release films due to COVID, and yet theaters needing to show movies to justify their existence, it has all led to an odd Fall and early Winter for cinema. It does not bode well for the rumored Christmas release for Wonder Woman 1984, especially for us die hards who enjoy going to the local cineplex. If you have been going, you may have noticed some strange trailers. Even though Tenet came out months ago, and is now available for home viewing, it typically kicks off the string of previews. From there comes a series of… Read more “Vanguard, by Albert W. Vogt III”

I Was a Male War Bride, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ah, Cary Grant. I cannot think of a single movie he has starred in that I have not enjoyed. I have not seen too many of them, but they have all been enjoyable. Most people remember him for his role in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest, and deservedly so. However, he was also terrific in comedic roles, and it is in this genre that I prefer him. Part of this has to do with his latent English mannerisms being put in the most outrageous situations and reacting to them with a combination of wit and stuttering. This largely… Read more “I Was a Male War Bride, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Pearl Harbor, by Albert W. Vogt III

The movie Pearl Harbor (2001) should not be called “Pearl Harbor.” My annoyance with this film stems not so much from historical inaccuracies (though there are plenty of those), and more from its length and pacing. I get that a film typically does not launch into its proposed subject matter right away. Characters need to be introduced, the plot needs to have a purpose, and generally it needs to make the basics understood at the outset. The best pieces of cinema can do this from just a shot or two at the beginning. Take Star Wars: Episode IV – A… Read more “Pearl Harbor, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Saving Mr. Banks, by Albert W. Vogt III

There is an old saying that says that life imitates art. At the best of times, we produce images we hope display an idealized glimpse of what we want life to be. Not to drift off into a synopsis of all of art history, but throughout human existence, in painting, sculpture, and other mediums, there was a tendency towards realism. But even when some pieces achieve near photographic quality, they are all done in order to say those proverbial thousand words with one picture. This can take on an even deeper meaning when it comes to literature, and some of… Read more “Saving Mr. Banks, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Slumdog Millionaire, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are basically two reasons why one reviews movies: you either see a movie you thought was terrible and you want to tell everyone about it, or you see a movie you think is great and you want to tell everyone about it. If you do this long enough, you will more often than not see films that fall somewhere in between that spectrum of terrible and great. What keeps you coming back for more, however, is that thrill you feel when you experience either of those extremes. The great ones fill your heart, while the terrible ones can wound… Read more “Slumdog Millionaire, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Tombstone, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ah, the Western. I think this review of Tombstone (1993) might be the first of its kind in the nearly 300 movies The Legionnaire has covered. Some of the more classic films in cinematic history have been Cowboy Dramas, and if that is not a typical way of referring to Westerns remember that you read it here first. Hollywood used to pump out these movies like they were going out of style back in the 1950s, owing to the nearness of the studios to locations that looked like this part of America’s mythic past. But since then, somewhere along the… Read more “Tombstone, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Big Sleep, by Albert W. Vogt III

Here is an embarrassing admission for a film reviewer and cinephile: before last night and watching The Big Sleep (1946), I had never seen a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. I will leave you to draw further conclusions from that revelation. Regardless, in all the films I had seen and all the classes I have taken, never did I see a Bogart movie. I am familiar with many of them, though I cannot say I had heard of The Big Sleep before it was suggested to me on social media. Maybe I had. At any rate, I have seen one of… Read more “The Big Sleep, by Albert W. Vogt III”

A Few Good Men, by Albert W. Vogt III

At one point while watching A Few Good Men (1992), I began to purposely confuse Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee with other military officers played by Tom Cruise in his career. After all, I did recently see Top Gun (1986), and Edge of Tomorrow (2014) is also in my film library. They are all movies that deal with the armed forces, though admittedly quite different in their style. What is interchangeable is Tom Cruise because he acts pretty much the same in all three, hence the feigned confusion. With A Few Good Men, while it deals with conduct within the United States’… Read more “A Few Good Men, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Top Gun, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I was a wee lad in the 1980s, our family bought a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  That was its official title, after all.  We were super excited, but perhaps no one more so than my mother, who, while my sister and I were at school, mastered Super Mario Brothers.  She was the first one to beat it in our family, and she did so with the use of the controversial warp zones.  She was not the only adult in our extended family to take to video games at this time.  Two of my uncles were borderline obsessed with Top Gun, the video game.  As I recall, they… Read more “Top Gun, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Jungleland, by Albert W. Vogt III

The more I watch new movies, the more I realize how square of a Catholic I have become. When deciding which obscure film to watch this weekend in the theater, the choice was between some Kevin Costner flick called Let Him Go, or the one I eventually chose, Jungleland (2019). Based on the previews I watched of each mere hours before leaving for the cinema, neither one of them appeared very uplifting, and the one I ultimately saw proved this assumption correct. But because I go to the movies on Saturdays (typically) after the Vigil Mass, and this one started… Read more “Jungleland, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Save the Last Dance, by Albert W. Vogt III

Shortly after Save the Last Dance (2001) began I grew bored and stopped paying attention to the things to which the director wanted us to pay attention. I still listened. I would take a cursory glance at what was on screen from time to time. But mostly I was looking at the scenery. I did this because this film is set in Chicago and I love my home town. In my last year at Loyola I drove back to school from Florida. Approaching the city from the south, I could not help but be captivated all over by the Sears… Read more “Save the Last Dance, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Steel Magnolias, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I noticed that my sister had suggested on social media that we review Steel Magnolias (1989), I was initially puzzled. But then I remembered the strange fascination that the 1980s had with Dolly Parton, who plays Truvy Jones, the owner and operator of a hair salon in a small Southern town. My poor sister at that time could not pronounce her name correctly, and we all got a kick out of hearing her say “Dolly Partner.” So I suppose something in her memory was jogged and she wanted to see this one discussed. Now that I have seen it,… Read more “Steel Magnolias, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Noah, by Albert W. Vogt III

Continuing with the theme of movies I have seen with a member of the clergy (whether future or present), the first time I saw Noah (2014) was in the cinema with my current pastor. He did not have this position at that time. In fact, he had been a priest for barely a year. After walking out of the theater, I assumed he was going to launch into a tirade about its awfulness. I was right there with him too, ready to tear down yet another pathetic attempt by Hollywood to portray a Biblical story, The Passion of the Christ… Read more “Noah, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Chef, by Cameron J. Czaja

If you were to ask me what was a great year for film during the 2010s, I would probably say that 2014 is one of them. During the year we got Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Boyhood, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and the list goes on.  One film, however, that I deeply enjoyed but I’m sure not a lot people have seen is the Indie flick Chef (2014). From the get-go I was intrigued by this film, not by the subject matter but rather the director himself which is Jon Favreau. You may not be familiar with that name,… Read more “Chef, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Abyss, by Albert W. Vogt III

James Cameron is an interesting guy, I suppose. I have never met him. He seems kind of vain when watching him in interviews. He does have some genuine interests, though. He appears to be quite dedicated to his craft. Think about some of the classic films of recent decades, not of the Star Wars variety, and his name is found next to many of them. With titles like The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), and Titanic (1997), it is safe to say that he is a bit of a visionary. And then there is The Abyss (1989). I am not sure… Read more “The Abyss, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Honest Thief, by Albert W. Vogt III

I keep going to the theater on the weekends hoping that maybe it will finally be the weekend some big time movie will be there for me. Since cinemas have reopened near me, this has not been the case, with the exception of Tenet. Since then, though, it has been a series of openings with little or no fanfare. Maybe the YouTube and Facebook algorithms are trying to prevent people from going to watch a film in public? And that would be why I have not been seeing previews for the likes of The War with Grandpa or Save Yourselves!… Read more “Honest Thief, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Amazing Grace, by Albert W. Vogt III

I remember seeing Amazing Grace (2006) in the theaters. It is a historical film, and throughout my life I have been drawn to them like a moth to a flame. If you know nothing about these events, but the title seems familiar to you, it is because the roots of the famous song are explained in the movie. However, that is not the focus. We sing “Amazing Grace” in Mass, as I am sure do Protestant churches as well. It has been performed by many singers in the secular world as well. However, it owes its roots to a momentous… Read more “Amazing Grace, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Sound of Music, by Albert W. Vogt III

When my sister and I were still in elementary school, our mother forced us to watch The Sound of Music (1965). We rented it from the video store and we were told that we had to sit down in front of the television for its entire three hours, or else. To this day, I am not sure what our mom was trying to accomplish. We did not enjoy the experience, and perhaps this is partially why I am not a fan of musicals to this day. As an adult watching it now, I cannot say it is any more enjoyable,… Read more “The Sound of Music, by Albert W. Vogt III”

2 Hearts, by Albert W. Vogt III

The cynic in me says that the reason 2 Hearts was panned by critics is because it is too uplifting. I have this theory that those who see it as their job to comment on American culture (and I understand the irony here) believe that anything that is too moral is somehow detrimental. Or at least the kind of morals that they see as the correct ones. Morality can be a slippery thing, for some. The problem comes when one holds to their way of thinking so tightly that they begin to feel that everyone should think as they do.… Read more “2 Hearts, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Shawshank Redemption, by Albert W. Vogt III

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is another movie that I knew a great deal about, like The Green Mile (1999), but had yet to see. Actually, I had seen bits and pieces of it. I remembered the part when Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) is released from Shawshank State Penitentiary and tragically hangs himself. I also recalled the ending when Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) is finally paroled and meets up with Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in Mexico. Outside of these, my only other references to it were in spoofs in shows like Robot Chicken, which I recognized based on my limited… Read more “The Shawshank Redemption, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Green Mile, by Albert W. Vogt III

Not to harp on this, but there are some suggestions for films I have never seen where after experiencing it I regret, well, everything. Example? Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). The flip-side is coming away from an over-looked classic and feeling like you are a better person. Example? The Green Mile (1999). Part of the reason why I did not see The Green Mile when it came out was due, at the time, to loyalty to American Beauty (1999). The latter was the first movie to ever make me cry, and thus I grew an emotional attachment to it. The Green… Read more “The Green Mile, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Bend It Like Beckham, by Albert W. Vogt III

Because I got caught up in watching my Chicago Bears defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night, I had to interrupt the film schedule given me on social media. Actually, I had to make two changes. The first was a blessing in disguise. You see, all day I had been dreading having to watch Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993). Regardless, I am nothing if not loyal to my fans, and was going to, metaphorically as it were, plug my nose and take my medicine. When looking at viewing options, though, I noticed that it was not available for free on… Read more “Bend It Like Beckham, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The NeverEnding Story, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I adoringly watched The NeverEnding Story (1984) over and over as a child, I gave little thought to anything other than how cool Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) looked on his horse Artax, or how awesome it would be to have a luck dragon like Falkor (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer). For instance, I never noticed the distinctly German flavor to its production. Just by way of example, its original title was Die unendliche Geschichte. I will give you a moment for your tongue to attempt to form those words. Give up yet? No matter where this story originated, being a work… Read more “The NeverEnding Story, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Cuties, by Cameron J. Czaja

If you haven’t heard of the film Cuties, then God bless you. The reason I say this is because it’s probably one of the most controversial films released at this time, and for good reason. To give you a quick premise of the film, it’s about a bunch of preteen girls that get involved in a dance competition that involves twerking and inappropriate dance moves. The original Netflix poster depicted the young preteen girls in inappropriate positions, which caused a major backlash on the internet to where they dropped it entirely and used the original poster instead. Once the movie was… Read more “Cuties, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Greatest Showman, by Albert W. Vogt III

After watching The Greatest Showman (2017), I went on YouTube and took in Screen Junkies “Honest Trailer” for the film. You can check it out here, and it is worth doing so. If you watch it before reading the rest of this review, then you might be in for a bit of repetition. Still, I have obligations to fulfill. I have decided to take a new tactic during the week by asking people on social media what they would like me to review. My friend who suggested this film made a good point about how I need to watch all… Read more “The Greatest Showman, by Albert W. Vogt III”

(500) Days of Summer, by Albert W. Vogt III

After completing my viewing of (500) Days of Summer (2009), I arose from my familiar seat, uttered a swear word about how much I hate this movie, and marched off to bed. I am not proud of this moment, though I feel it is somewhat in keeping with the “Author’s Note” at the beginning claiming that any likeness to actual events is purely coincidental . . . and then calling his ex-girlfriend a terrible word. My distaste is not entirely related to my own current emotional state, although that certainly did not help. To be clear, this film hits close… Read more “(500) Days of Summer, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Infidel, by Albert W. Vogt III

It was mildly entertaining to look up other reviews of Infidel (2019) after I viewed it this past weekend. I witnessed those who do not share the views of the main characters in it twist and turn trying to find nice things to say about the film. They do not like to give any credit to Faith. The first (and only) one I read was from Variety magazine, and I can tell you that their editorial bent is decidedly not pro-Christian. With phrases like “reasonably polished,” reviewer Peter Debruge says further, begrudgingly, that is “a rather straightforward Christian parable about… Read more “Infidel, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I am writing a review, there is always one other page open on my browser: the listing on the International Movie Database (IMDb.com for short) for whatever movie about which I am writing. It is a great resource, but it can be frustrating. Sometimes it lists the actors and actresses in the most idiosyncratic order, with the real stars of films often buried way down the line and not displaying their characters’ full names. This becomes even more of a problem for this reviewer when it comes to films like today’s, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers… Read more “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, by Albert W. Vogt III”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I first saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it was while studying for my Ph.D. at Loyola University Chicago. It was for a course on Film and Twentieth Century America, a course I went on to teach as well. The story does not end there, however. The movie was part of a sort of unit on the 1960s and 1970s, and it was seen in conjunction with reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. The book is a semi-biographical look at the life of Ken Kesey up to 1968 when it was published, which is enough… Read more “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Black Cauldron, by Albert W. Vogt III

As I am in a little bit of a rut, inspiration for which movies to review has been a little hard to come by for me. Thus I turned to social media and the first suggestion to come my way was The Black Cauldron (1985). Another Disney movie, of course. Weirdly, I have no recollection of this film. If I saw it as a child, I deleted it from my memory. Yet I know many people who are quite devoted to it. Many, that is, except for Disney apparently. Walk around their parks some time and try to find some… Read more “The Black Cauldron, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Sword in the Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III

Do you remember VHS tapes? Disney always had distinctive containers that encased their films. They were these white, plastic, folding contraptions as opposed to the run-of-the-mill thin cardboard sleeves. Opening them always came with the creak of flexing synthetics, but signaled the magic therein. My family had two of these treasures, one for me and one for my sister. My sibling’s was the 1951 classic Alice in Wonderland. Mine was the slightly lesser known The Sword in the Stone (1963). Though there is nothing truly historical about the tale, it appealed to the budding historian in me being set in… Read more “The Sword in the Stone, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), by Albert W. Vogt III

There was a time in my teaching career when I taught a course on Film and Twentieth Century America. I loved teaching it. As you can probably surmise just by the existence of this blog, I have a love for movies. You may have also noticed that I have a passion for history. Thus when I can combine the two and get paid for it, it is even better. One of the films that I would show to my students is the original cult classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). There have been other versions of this story, though… Read more “Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), by Albert W. Vogt III”