The Departed, by Albert W. Vogt III

Being a practicing Catholic who is serious about their Faith is not without its pitfalls today. In the past few decades, the Church has been under siege to a degree with accusations, confirmed and alleged, of sexual abuse by priests. You can view it as fair or not (I do not), but priests these days face a great deal of scrutiny, always under suspicion. We like to think that the actions of a few do not represent those of the many. But when the Archdiocese of Boston began being investigated by the Boston Globe in the famous “Spotlight” case, the… Read more “The Departed, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Excalibur, by Albert W. Vogt III

There is a vague memory somewhere in my recollections of high school of seeing Excalibur (1981) in class as a freshman in high school. If you are at all familiar with this film (and there is no reason why you should be), then you will know how worrisome of a concept that would be because of some of the graphic content. Then again, are we at all surprised anymore as to what happens in our public school system, even in my day? My recall of the movie was not the greatest, but as I watched it unfold in all its… Read more “Excalibur, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Paddleton, by Albert W. Vogt III

How do you make a movie about assisted suicide good? As a practicing Catholic, I would first and foremost say that you should not make such a motion picture. However, let us say for you-know-what-and-giggles that I did not believe in the sanctity of all life, from conception to natural death, which is the stance of the Church. Is the idea of somebody diagnosed with terminal cancer truly comedic fodder? While Paddleton (2019) is arguably more dramatic than funny, how else do you fill an hour and a half? So, how does Paddleton go from somebody hearing that they are… Read more “Paddleton, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Percy Vs Goliath, by Albert W. Vogt III

Farmers are a proud people. They have to be. If you have never driven through the middle of the United States, or in the case of Percy Vs Goliath (2020) Southern Canada, then allow me to fill you in on a few things. Pride is a product of independence, and there are few more independent than those who till the soil. This probably goes without saying, but agricultural areas are sparsely populated. Being on your own with your neighbors miles away, you need to be able to find innovative methods to take care of yourself. It is a way of… Read more “Percy Vs Goliath, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Sting, by Albert W. Vogt III

There was a time when I made the mistake that many before have made when watching The Sting (1973): I thought the familiar piano tune “The Entertainer” was written for the film. Actually, it was penned by Scott Joplin a little over seventy years before the movie, and a full generation before the 1930s when it is set. Despite all this, it is the perfect tune for a clever little heist movie that set the standard for the Oceans’ trilogy, even though that too was technically stealing from another earlier picture. There truly is nothing original in Hollywood, but we… Read more “The Sting, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Nomadland, by Cameron J. Czaja

Every year on my birthday I have a personal tradition of doing one of favorite things that I enjoy in life, which is watching a new movie. Although I haven’t been faithful with that ritual over the years due to timing of work or other obligations, I was determined to see a new movie this year as I had the day off from work and that movie was Nomadland. Nomadland is a film that I have been following for quite some time now as it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2020, and received glowing reviews from… Read more “Nomadland, by Cameron J. Czaja”

The Ten Commandments, by Albert W. Vogt III

Maybe I should have watched The Ten Commandments (1956) during Holy Week? It would have been good preparation for Easter Vigil. If you are not Catholic, or maybe are but have not gone to that particular Mass (they are all good, especially on that Holiest of days), the marathon ceremony includes a number of readings from the Old Testament, some of which include the events covered in today’s film. Like Jesus meeting the disciples on the road to Emmaus (a post-Easter event), these passages are meant to point the way to Jesus coming into the world and doing the acts… Read more “The Ten Commandments, by Albert W. Vogt III”

I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of the things I wish they would bring back about classic cinema is the way they used to do credits. For starters, they used to do them all at the beginning. Still, could you imagine a film like Avengers: Endgame (2019, has it been so long?) going with this style for their credits? I wonder how many people would stick with it, or would have gotten up and left the theater before it started? Actually, the culmination (thus far) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a fitting comparison in this regard to today’s film I Am A Fugitive… Read more “I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Suicide Kings, by Albert W. Vogt III

It would seem that, based on recent titles, I was in some kind of cinematic rut. Yesterday’s eminently forgettable Sorcerer (1977), by name alone, would not suggest the kind of movie a practicing Catholic like myself would enjoy. Luckily, it was bad for reasons other than magic, of which there was none. Of any kind. Whatsoever. Today’s film has another sobriquet, Suicide Kings (1997), seemingly dealing with a subject upon which the Church has long frowned. And yet, like the previous film, there is no actual ending of lives at the hands of the characters themselves. And I remember this… Read more “Suicide Kings, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Sorcerer, by Albert W. Vogt III

What is in a name? William Shakespeare asked that question in Romeo and Juliet. The tale about star-crossed lovers that everyone thinks they know (but probably never actually read) wrestles with the notion of bringing together opposing forces and whether or not it could ever work. Doing so involves a certain kind of magic, not one necessarily involving sorcery, but with the stuff that makes us feel those other worldly feelings that seem conjured from forces beyond our understanding. Can love truly conquer all? Can a Montague be with a Capulet? If these ideas ever occurred to the makers of… Read more “Sorcerer, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Tolkien, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of my favorite parts of the Easter Season (the period between Easter and Pentecost for my non-Catholic readers) is how one of our daily readings at Mass is from the Acts of the Apostles. Obviously, without God sending His only Son into the world, there would be no Christianity. And everything in the Bible, from Genesis all the way to the Epistles point to God being active in our lives, whether leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt or bringing forth the Messiah. What I love about Acts, though, is how we see the mission being given to… Read more “Tolkien, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Voyagers, by Albert W. Vogt III

Teenagers, am I right? That is pretty much the only reason why Voyagers is not the best movie. If you can ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of the main characters are in their late teens, then there are some pretty deep themes at work. It actually gets at the meaning of life, albeit in a cold, clinical setting in the middle of nowhere space. What is your purpose? The film gets at this question in a heavy-handed sort of way, but it is still something worth exploring in any cinematic piece. What ruins it is the behavior of… Read more “Voyagers, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Million Dollar Baby, by Albert W. Vogt III

Boxing is about more than two people punching each other.  Million Dollar Baby (2005) makes the point early on that people watch it because they are attracted to violence.  The film’s narrator and janitor of the gym where many fighters train, Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris (Morgan Freeman), instead says that the sport is about restraint.  Somebody can step into a ring full of rage, ready to take apart their opponent as quickly as possible.  A properly trained boxer will face such a person and use their aggression against them.  There are a lot of other great messages in the film along these lines, and I was right… Read more “Million Dollar Baby, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Freedom, by Albert W. Vogt III

The Catholic supporters of The Legionnaire will no doubt know what is the incredible media platform known as Formed. For those who do not, it is basically Catholic Netflix. Yet, whereas the latter focuses on movies, shows/series, and documentaries, the latter has all those and devotional material, all dedicated to helping to fill your Spiritual needs. As I was in the middle of the Triduum, the three days that encompass Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (which technically begins with the Vigil on Saturday), I wanted to watch a film on Formed of my own choosing. I will get back… Read more “Freedom, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), by Albert W. Vogt III

There is a saying that bigger is not always better.  I can think of few movies where that is more applicable to than the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.  With its 1951 forerunner, there was a certain charm to its campiness and simplicity.  Premiering as the Cold War was still relatively new, its message of peace with the threat of nuclear war looming between the United States and the Soviet Union was refreshing.  Surely, this is not simply a case of being jaded by all the events since that gave me a distaste for the new version.  I am also puzzled as… Read more “The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Day the Earth Stood Still, by Albert W. Vogt III

Most diehard cinefiles will recognize the phrase “Klaatu barada nikto.” It is a little puzzling when you think about it. It is a line of gibberish from the campy 1950s science fiction “B” film called The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). I cannot tell you why it is so memorable, but my parents both remember it and neither were alive in 1951. As just mentioned, it was one of those movies that Hollywood cranked out seemingly on a daily basis at one time. If you think it is bad now for the cineplex industry with all the closings, imagine… Read more “The Day the Earth Stood Still, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Big, by Albert W. Vogt III

Before Tom Hanks began appearing in serious films, he made a name for himself doing comedy. Most of them were romantic comedies, formulaic pieces of cinema where guy and girl are put in ridiculous situations and end up falling in love. I guess Hollywood thinks true love is a joke? Okay, there are romance movies that are played straight, but they do not seem as common as romantic comedies. This genre can be hit or miss for me, and most of the time I sit through them not laughing and predicting what is about to happen. See There’s Something About… Read more “Big, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dolphin Tale 2, by Albert W. Vogt III

Yesterday, I reviewed Dolphin Tale (2011), a dramatization of a real life sea mammal that was rescued from being stranded on a beach with a crab trap wrapped around its tail. Once it came to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, it had to have its tail amputated, a move that threatened its life until a prosthetic was made for her. The fact that it is seemingly a handicapable animal made Winter a sensation, both on and off the screen. As such, you would think there would not be much more to say about the creature, but they found a way. The… Read more “Dolphin Tale 2, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Dolphin Tale, by Albert W. Vogt III

One cannot live in Pinellas County, Florida, as I do without hearing about Winter, the bottlenose dolphin that lost its tail. Though some of the fervor has died down in recent years, there was a time when you could hardly drive down the road without seeing a billboard cajoling you to visit the Clearwater Aquarium and see the miraculous sea creature. Now, I do not want to be cynical because I truly do love animals with a Franciscan spirit, but was the film Dolphin Tale (2011) made solely to get people to travel to Clearwater and see the aquatic mammal?… Read more “Dolphin Tale, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Mauritanian, by Albert W. Vogt III

There are films that open with proclamations like, “Based on a true story.” The Mauritanian does not equivocate, unlike the most oft used phrase, instead saying “This is a true story.” When filmmakers use words like “based,” it allows them to take the kinds of dramatic licenses they think they need in order to make them more appealing. Since these tales invariably deal with the past, this can be pretty annoying to historian like me. The truth is always better, in movies and in real life. After all, we get “. . . you will know the truth, and the… Read more “The Mauritanian, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, by Albert W. Vogt III

You might look at the title of this review and say, “Wait, did not my favorite Catholic movie review blog already cover this film?” If so, thank you for making this your favorite Catholic movie review blog! And also, yes, in a way. If you care to read a discussion of the joke that is the first attempt at cinematically telling the story of DC Comics famous team of superheroes that is also called Justice League (2017), please feel free to do so. To add to what others have say and by way of summing up what was said about… Read more “Zack Snyder’s Justice League, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Courier, by Albert W. Vogt III

It was nice to be back at the movie theater this last weekend. The joy was enhanced by the fact that I had spent the previous week seeing an awful set of movies, featuring the painfully repetitive Hotel Transylvania trilogy. In between, I was reminded of the great shows that used to make the Public Broadcasting Service (did you know that is what PBS stood for?) destination television. Whenever they need money, PBS reminds its audience that they once showed Downton Abbey. I loved that show, and my Facebook memories occasionally bring me the fun ways I used to announced… Read more “The Courier, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Operation Finale, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I noticed that Operation Finale (2018) was on Netflix, I began wracking my brain. Given how The Legionnaire has reviewed most big movies that have come out in the past couple of years, I was initially incredulous as to how this one was left out from being on the blog. It is also a history piece, and I rarely miss those. It came out in August 2018, and The Legionnaire premiered in January 2019 with Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (2019). I was off by a couple months with Operation Finale. Regardless, I am grateful for a couple reasons. First,… Read more “Operation Finale, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Chaos Walking, by Albert W. Vogt III

Of the main characters from the original Star Wars trilogy, outside of Harrison Ford, how many different movies can you name in which they have appeared, much less had a starring role? I will give you a moment to Google. . . . Back? I am sure you found some films, but how many had you actually known? Many of you might have known already that Fisher was in The Blue Brothers (1980), though that was more of a cameo, but a hilarious one. What about Mark Hamill in the World War II epic The Big Red One (1980)? Does… Read more “Chaos Walking, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Forsaken, by Albert W. Vogt III

There have not been too many Westerns reviewed for The Legionnaire. Off hand, I cannot think of a single one. I have no good reason for that beyond mere oversight, I suppose. It is a sub-genre of film that has never particularly interested me as they tend to be formulaic. Today’s film, Forsaken (2015), is no different. It has all the familiar tropes you expect if you are familiar with the cinematic tales of the Old West. Furthermore, no one has suggested any Westerns that I can think of until this one, though I think this has much to do… Read more “Forsaken, by Albert W. Vogt III”

A Man for All Seasons, by Albert W. Vogt III

Some films are what I jokingly refer to as a “two Coke movie.” You see, most of my viewing takes place in the relative comforts of the home in which I live. Comfort is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, who does not want a place where one can take their ease? On the other, too much of it can lead to drooping eyelids and nodding heads. I never take naps. And I usually wait until after dinner to watch my movie for the evening, meaning that I have a full stomach sapping my will to remain awake. I… Read more “A Man for All Seasons, by Albert W. Vogt III”

A League of Their Own, by Albert W. Vogt III

Two things began yesterday: women’s history month and Spring Training baseball. Technically, the baseball started the day before, but for me it does not truly commence until my Cubs take the field. Around this time each year, I typically watch The Natural (1984), which reignites the magical feeling I have for the sport. The prospective fortunes of my favorite team may ebb and flow, but each year when the calendar gets to late February and early March the hope returns once more. But because I already reviewed The Natural and my movie choices these days are usually limited to fan… Read more “A League of Their Own, by Albert W. Vogt III”

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”