Drama

The Perfect Score, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I was in high school, I prepared for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) by reading a book called Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT.  I was an idiot back in those days, though such is the foolishness of youth.  I was aware of the myriad of other preparation materials, but my perusal of them in the book store did not catch my fancy. What did was Up Your Score.  It has gone through several editions since my day, but there were two things about it that appealed to me.  The first was that it was written by a group of people that had… Read more “The Perfect Score, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Don’t Worry Darling, by Albert W. Vogt III

Don’t Worry Darling should be my prayer right now.  This has only to do with the words of the title, not the actual content.  Briefly, we should all be worried about this psychological thriller, but that is for a conversation later in this review.  As I write, I have a lot on my plate.  Over the past almost two months, I have been dealing with a matter that need not be enumerated.  I am not dying, it is not even something wrong with me personally, but it involves me helping out an old friend in a way in which I had never before been involved.  It has… Read more “Don’t Worry Darling, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Julie & Julia, by Albert W. Vogt III

My friend and fellow Catholic Sarah has a great blog dedicated to the art of cooking called “Simply Scrumptious by Sarah.”  I cannot emphasize the word “art” enough, and it is fitting given today’s review of Julie & Julia (2009).  Not to get ahead of myself, but the basic premise of the movie is frustrated worker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) blogging about making every recipe in Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) culinary tour de France, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961).  There, again, is that word.  I wish I could use that to refer to my cooking.  As I type, I have a poor little Cornish hen roasting in… Read more “Julie & Julia, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Cinderella Man, by Albert W. Vogt III

My favorite boxing movie of all time is Ali (2001) because Muhammad Ali is my favorite fighter of all time.  My appreciation of him comes from my dad.  He grew up at a time when prize fighting was still a close second in the American imagination to baseball.  It was also an era of change.  The 1960s were a period when the civil rights movement moved into its militant phase, and Ali challenged the system with his mouth and his fists.  If you know anything about me personally, and boxing generally, you might find this choice surprising.  That is because there was a devoted Catholic and boxer named… Read more “Cinderella Man, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Woman King, by Albert W. Vogt III

Honestly, I completely forgot about See How They Run.  I know I saw the trailer for it a couple times, and my interest was piqued.  You will have to forgive a trained historian, though, for getting excited about a film dealing with the past.  That is the case for The Woman King.  I have no idea as to the quality of See How They Run.  I hope it is a good film.  I also try not to stick to one genre or another, so I feel a little bad with giving you another week of historical drama after the dreadful tedium that was Medieval.  I am happy to report, however, that… Read more “The Woman King, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Boyhood, by Cameron J. Czaja

One major city that I like to visit whenever I get the chance is New York City. Whenever I visit that particular city, I like to make the most of my time. One activity that I try to do when I’m there is go see a movie. You’re probably asking yourself, “why do that when there’s so much to do in New York City?” Well, here’s the thing: I always try to look for independent theaters and movies that I haven’t heard of until I get to the city. This type of experience is something I love doing because it’s… Read more “Boyhood, by Cameron J. Czaja”

Glory Road, by Albert W. Vogt III

As I have mentioned in a number of reviews on The Legionnaire, I received my Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. If you are a sports fan like me, and cared little for the Florida schools from whence I obtained my other degrees, then you followed Loyola basketball.  Unfortunately, my time at Loyola did not see a lot of success.  They waited until after I graduated to make a run to the Final Four in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.  Still, no matter if you went to games before this recent run of success or after, the one that will become apparent… Read more “Glory Road, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Medieval, by Albert W. Vogt III

History will always trump horror, even if it is largely a load of crap like Medieval.  I will explain more about that later.  For now, know that I went to my movie app this weekend to see what was playing, and the choices were Medieval and Barbarian.  I could not remember what the latter was about, so I refreshed my memory with the trailer.  As it turned out, I had previously seen this trailer.  According to my app, it also had the better reviews.  Now that I have seen Medieval, I can better guess why that would be the case.  As you will see, the film is mainly two hours of people… Read more “Medieval, by Albert W. Vogt III”

1944, by Albert W. Vogt III

War sucks.  That is a revealing statement for a historian who came to be interested in the subject because of military history.  I am not sure what other fathers talked to their sons about, but mine regaled me with tales of the campaigns of Napoleon.  There was a romance to this past, which my young mind absorbed in the various paintings of the Napoleonic Age that adorned the thick books I routinely checked out from the library.  I rarely read much of them.  The other vehicle by which I absorbed knowledge of these events was through film.  War movies have an excitement to them.  Be thankful that… Read more “1944, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., by Albert W. Vogt III

Life is hard enough without putting added pressure on yourself.  This is a lesson that I am still learning.  The past few weeks have been draining.  Even the time spent in the last few days getting away from it all were taxing.  Further, upon returning home, I was reminded that the House of Prayer in Clearwater, Florida, was re-commencing its Rekindle nights, it being the first Friday of the month.  I typically do not miss Rekindle.  I cannot put enough emphasis on that last sentence.  Yet, between everything going on recently, and my relative physical exhaustion from recreating and not sleeping as much as I should, it… Read more “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., by Albert W. Vogt III”

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, by Albert W. Vogt III

If there is one movie that I feel best encapsulates my distaste for certain films as a practicing Catholic, it is Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).  Though tales of vampires predate the Irish author Bram Stoker’s most well-known work, simply titled Dracula (1897), it is the one most often credited for kick starting the Western craze for these monsters.  And I do mean “monsters.”  Before this novel, and the subsequent mountain of muck focusing on them that has followed, these creatures of the night were treated with deserved disapprobation.  The beginning of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is enough to explain why for this Catholic, but we will get into that in a… Read more “Bram Stoker’s Dracula, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Graduate, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I was accepted for my Ph.D. degree program in American History at Loyola University Chicago, I was late in signing up for courses.  My experience during my Master’s degree program in Florida Studies at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg was that these matters would take care of themselves.  The classes were essentially made for us, and all it took was our signing up for them.  I carried this attitude into enrolling for my first Fall semester, and was shocked when I found that most of the upper-level subjects were not taking any more students.  This turned out to be a… Read more “The Graduate, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Jazz Singer (1927), by Albert W. Vogt III

Common trivia will tell you that The Jazz Singer (1927) has the distinction of being the first motion picture featuring sound embedded into the film.  It is more typically referred to as the first talking movie.  Such factoids should come with an asterisk.  For much of the film’s runtime, it is of the silent variety.  It has a score, and text cards to indicate what the actors are saying.  It is during the musical numbers that you get the synchronization of the actors’ lips with what is actually being heard while the cameras were rolling.  Perhaps fatefully, the first spoken line you hear other than song lyrics is… Read more “The Jazz Singer (1927), by Albert W. Vogt III”

Three Thousand Years of Longing, by Albert W. Vogt III

Before heading to the theater on Friday night to watch Three Thousand Years of Longing, I celebrated with my sister’s family and friends my niece’s birthday.  We had pizza.  We had cupcakes.  We did all the things you expect of such occasions.  I am perhaps making it sound a little perfunctory, but there is nothing vanilla about my niece except for the cupcakes.  As the evening wound down, I was asked where I would be going next, and my update drew few surprises.  Clearly, I often go to the movies.  No one had heard of this week’s film, which was not unexpected given that they have family lives.  This… Read more “Three Thousand Years of Longing, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Bells of St. Mary’s, by Albert W. Vogt III

Defining The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) is tricky in a limited sense.  Obviously, it is a Catholic movie.  If the title does not clue you into this fact, then it would become apparent after a couple minutes of watching it.  The frankly insignificant mystery of the film is whether it is a sequel to Going My Way (1944).  Bing Crosby is back as Father Chuck O’Malley in The Bells of St. Mary’s, and his character is again called upon to save a struggling parish, this time with a school.  The bigger puzzler is the main protagonist.  Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s bear further comparison to one another because you… Read more “The Bells of St. Mary’s, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Going My Way, by Albert W. Vogt III

When I began The Legionnaire, one of my initial thoughts was to not talk about movies that are self-consciously Catholic.  My logic was to cover the ones that have nothing to do with my Faith in order to show how aspects of popular motion pictures can reveal Christianity.  Often, this takes some mental gymnastics, but the effort is worth it.  To be able to see the world and the things in it through the lens of Jesus is a personal goal, and one to which we are all called.  Now that we are approaching 1,000 films reviewed, I can open up to the ones that… Read more “Going My Way, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Training Day, by Albert W. Vogt III

Is it too soon to say nice things about Will Smith?  When it came time for the 2002 Academy Awards to be chosen, I was all set for the recently fallen from grace and former Fresh Prince to be handed the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in Ali (2001).  Instead, it went to Denzel Washington for his Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day (2001).  It is hard to compare performances.  I am also a little biased as I believe Ali is the greatest boxer who ever lived, and somebody who actually stood for something positive.  While I am not necessarily poo pooing Washington’s… Read more “Training Day, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Where Eagles Dare, by Albert W. Vogt III

When we think of Clint Eastwood’s early career, we usually associate it with the subgenre of films known as “Spaghetti Westerns,” so named for the productions that went overseas to Italy to produce films about the Old West.  Today’s film, Where Eagles Dare (1968), is not one of them, and for me it was the one that I most associated with the decorated actor and director’s career.  I have never seen movies like A Fist Full of Dollars (1964) or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), which hopefully does not immediately revoke my credibility as a reviewer.  I have seen Dirty Harry (1971), and Kelly’s Heroes (1970), if that helps?  There… Read more “Where Eagles Dare, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Rosewood, by Albert W. Vogt III

Somewhere in the dim reaches of the collected movies in existence are some extremely low budget films that contain yours truly.  During my days as a Civil War reenactor, which was high school up through to my entrance into graduate school, a small-time moviemaker came around our events to shoot his productions.  When you are at this level, it helps to have big happenings going on, and if you receive permission to shoot them, they provide a convenient and free backdrop.  In the business, they call this production value, and one of the reasons the big studios spend so much money on their… Read more “Rosewood, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Outlaw Josey Wales, by Albert W. Vogt III

Before the dawn of the end of civilization (my hyperbolic way of referring to the advent of streaming services), people like me used to consume films at home on cable television.  Commercials were moments to get up and get something to eat, or use the facilities, rather than something that, if present, can be skipped.  If you were fortunate, you lived in a house that had premium movie channels.  The constant complaint of people with these luxuries, though, was that with these options, there was still nothing to watch.  That is why when certain titles came on the regular channels, people were willing to… Read more “The Outlaw Josey Wales, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Malcolm X, by Albert W. Vogt III

Where I was born, there were virtually no people of color.  The class I was in from kindergarten through the fourth grade, had two people of Asian descent, and one kid from South America.  I believe he was from Peru.  There were about twenty kids in my class.  It was not until my family moved to Florida and started sending us to public school that I began truly interacting with people of other skin tones.  It was never a problem for me, it was different.  I had no frame of reference, nor was race something that was discussed in our house.  Instead, I had to rely on… Read more “Malcolm X, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Great Gatsby, by Albert W. Vogt III

One of the ongoing debates with the old man I live with is my contention that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby (1925) is the greatest American novel ever written.  He remains aggravatingly obstinate on this point, and seemingly arbitrary about it.  Then again, that is him to a “T,” so I guess it should be expected.  The former high school English teacher, and one-time reader, has never offered an alternative, hence the arbitrariness in this case.  For me, it is  in how the novel captures the spirit of an era, in this case the Roaring Twenties, as do few others.  An argument could be made for… Read more “The Great Gatsby, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III

When you think about the silent film era, if you think about it at all, there is probably one name, and one name only, that comes to mind: Charlie Chaplin.  There were other stars of this early age of cinema before sound.  Have you ever heard of Douglas Fairbanks?  Lillian Gish?  Fatty Arbuckle?  I did not make up that last one, by the way, though his real name was Roscoe.  He leaned into his rotundness for comedic value.  You could get away with such antics in those days.  Yet, I am not here to talk about any of them.  Instead, I am focusing on one of the most famous… Read more “The Kid, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Zero Dark Thirty, by Albert W. Vogt III

When you have seen every World War II film worth watching and it is Memorial Day, you start trying to find different titles.  More importantly to my financial bottom line, I was sticking to whatever I could find on my various streaming services.  In skimming through them before, I had glanced at, and skipped over, Zero Dark Thirty (2012) a number of times.  I saw it in the movie theaters, and had forgotten most of the content.  In viewing it recently, I now remember why.  It features a whole lot of torture, and it makes for some gruesome, uncomfortable scenes.  There is a theory that says something along… Read more “Zero Dark Thirty, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Memphis Belle, by Albert W. Vogt III

Once more unto the breach of history and film with Memphis Belle (1990).  It is one of the first modern movies I can remember that I saw as a young ‘un and enjoyed.  I was naïve.  Outside of the name of the B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft and the fact that it flew twenty-five successful missions, the first to do so, very little of this took place.  As usual, this is simply par for the course for Hollywood.  At the same time, this is not to say that the film is without value.  It is more about the experience of being in a B-17 over Germany at a point… Read more “Memphis Belle, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Bonnie and Clyde, by Albert W. Vogt III

My favorite class to teach is a course on Film and Twentieth Century America.  I patterned it after the one I had taken with one of my mentors at Loyola University Chicago, Lewis Erenberg.  In his version, we watched Bonnie and Clyde (1967).  When it came time for me to offer it, I decided not to include it.  I understood what he was going for by showing it, but as I was giving it to undergraduates, I felt I needed a different direction.  Though the film is about the famous bank robbers who operated during the early 1930s, it speaks more to the culture of the… Read more “Bonnie and Clyde, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Charlie Bartlett, by Albert W. Vogt III

Admittedly, Charlie Bartlett (2007) is not a movie with which many are familiar.  That is a bit of a shame.  It is one of the first big breaks for a talented actor whose life was cut tragically short, Anton Yelchin, who plays the title character.  It has a personal favorite, Kat Dennings, as the main female lead Susan Gardner.  It is a good story, too, though I cringe at some of the less than morally upright aspects of it.  These days, one might label it an “honest look” at high school life, as if the main motivation for every teenager is to act out in every conceivable… Read more “Charlie Bartlett, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Albert W. Vogt III

Years ago, before I came back to the Catholic Faith, I recall a controversial image made of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  The aptly named painting, “The Holy Virgin Mary,” was done by a young British artist raised on Catholicism named Christopher Ofili.  Upon first inspection, you would see an African looking Mary adorned in a blue robe, the color most associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a brilliant gold background.  If you stopped with your surface observations, you might even say that it was beautiful.  The devil is in the details, pun intended.  The most obvious criticism, and the one I… Read more “Where the Crawdads Sing, by Albert W. Vogt III”

From Hell, by Albert W. Vogt III

Sometimes you remember a movie one way, watch it again, and find that it does not quite fit the image in your brain.  I have probably said this in other reviews, but it bears repeating for a movie such as From Hell (2001).  Given my current devotion, something I did not have back then, it might come as a shock to have an avowed Catholic reviewing a film with such a title.  If you are familiar with its content, you will also know that there is a lot in it that will ultimately lead to me not recommending it to any audience.  You would not know… Read more “From Hell, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Madness of King George, by Albert W. Vogt III

In History of the World, Part I (1981), King Louis XVI (Mel Brooks) proclaims, in word and song, that “It’s good to be the king.”  The Madness of King George (1994) paints a different picture.  As a side note, there is an interesting historical parallel between the two films.  King George III (Nigel Hawthorne) was, indeed, mad, or at least that is what many modern historians have determined based on the written record of his behavior.  Despite his peculiarities, he managed to stay on the throne, if at times in name only (more about this later), until 1820.  The real King Louis XVI, which one could argue was… Read more “The Madness of King George, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Hook, by Albert W. Vogt III

If you want a telling of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan without the offhand racism Disney (unwittingly, I suppose) injected into the story in 1953, watch Hook (1991).  Granted, it is more of a modern telling of the tale.  The original is about the thrill of getting to be young forever, and to carry on in a commiserate manner.  Peter is “the boy who wouldn’t grow up.”  Because Disney mainly caters to children, you can see why such material would be appealing.  Yet, I suppose the logical question in the wake of this would be what would happen to Peter if he did grow up, which is what people… Read more “Hook, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Patriot, by Albert W. Vogt III

As I get more reviews on The Legionnaire, I begin to forget which movies I covered.  Most of the time, I can tell you whether or not there is an article about a title.  As I approach 1,000 reviews, though, I am beginning to forget.  For example, if you had told me before last week that I had not talked about The Patriot (2000), I would have thought otherwise.  Given my academic studies, it stands to reason that it would have been among the first titles addressed when I began expanding this blog a couple years ago to cover most any movie.  It is a film that I… Read more “The Patriot, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Arrival, by Albert W. Vogt III

What I remembered about Arrival (2016) is not liking it.  I saw it in the theaters when it came out, drawn by some vague interest in the subject matter and the performers.  I could not recall, before rewatching it recently since it is available for free on Amazon Prime, the reason for my dislike.  And then the opening lines of the movie start coming at you, spoken by the protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams).  They are something about beginnings or endings, and something else about not being bound by the order of time.  Now, having checked on the International Movie Database (IMDb), I can confirm for you… Read more “Arrival, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Elvis, by Albert W. Vogt III

I am not the biggest fan of the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.  Yet, I was excited to see Elvis.  We celebrate Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) because he used his platform to make important statements at the right moments in history.  This seems to take precedent over the fact that he came from a Gospel background, and many of his most popular songs are tinged with prayer.  As a Christian practitioner, I have found a deepening of my Faith through Charismatic worship.  Today’s film presents Elvis’ early life (Chaydon Jay) as having learned a great deal from similar revivals taking place in the poor… Read more “Elvis, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Children of Men, by Albert W. Vogt III

There was a year that I went to the movies every weekend and kept a diary of all the films I saw.  It was a New Year’s Resolution I made, and they are promises that I do not take lightly.  One might look at what I do now with The Legionnaire and say to this revelation, so what?  You do this now.  That is mostly true.  If you can believe this, my theater attendance is less of a commitment now as when I made the resolution.  When I make a vow, I like to stick to it.  Today’s film, Children of Men (2006), actually premiered early in the following year, the… Read more “Children of Men, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Ray, by Albert W. Vogt III

Have you heard the rumor that Stevie Wonder can see?  There are some pretty compelling anecdotes that support this theory.  Former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Shaquille O’Neal tells the story that the Motown legend once said “What’s up Shaq?” without the supposedly blind singer knowing he was present.  There is also a video of Stevie Wonder catching a falling microphone stand during a concert.  His condition is something he has had to live with since he was an infant, the result of a combination of his premature birth and high oxygen levels in the incubator.  If one cannot see, it then begs the question… Read more “Ray, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Full Metal Jacket, by Albert W. Vogt III

The only Stanley Kubrick films I reviewed are A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980).  If you are at all familiar with these films, you will understand the tone of most of the famous director’s work.  In short, he seems to have had a penchant for violence.  It is not the random kind, either, which in many respects is scarier.  Though I have yet to cover it, one can see its apotheosis in his calmer movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).  In this one, the spaceship computer HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain) coldly determines that humans are the problem and efficiently murders the living crew.  The deliberateness of the violence… Read more “Full Metal Jacket, by Albert W. Vogt III”

42, by Albert W. Vogt III

It is the unfortunate lot of all historians that the significance of so many past events are simply lost on the masses.  There are some, thankfully, that seem to resonate.  If you live in the United States, then you at least have an inkling that the Fourth of July is important, despite over half of the population not knowing the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.  That would be 1776, just so we are clear.  Every once in a while, there comes a movie that attempts to show imperfectly in moving picture form what our present society seems to aggressively and blatantly ignore.  Who… Read more “42, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Field of Dreams, by Albert W. Vogt III

You may be surprised to know, if you have kept up with this blog, that this avid baseball fan had not, until recently, seen Field of Dreams (1989).  I was, of course, familiar with many aspects of it, and had seen bits and pieces of it.  Who does not know the famous, whispered line “If you build it, they will come?”  It is actually misquoted, too, because when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) first hears it while out in his Iowa corn field, the voice from the beyond says “he will come,” emphasis mine.  At any rate, I have been in a little bit of a baseball mood… Read more “Field of Dreams, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Quick and the Dead, by Albert W. Vogt III

Whatever happened to Sharon Stone?  Given some of the movies she became famous for in the 1990s, it is probably a good thing that we have not heard much from her in recent years.  A look at her filmography on the International Movie Database (IMDb) will show you that she has been working since the 1990s, quite a lot, actually.  The problem is the type of films in which she appeared.  Titles like Basic Instinct (1992) and Sliver (1993) push up against the borders of being pornographic.  I have seen neither of them, but they do have a certain reputation, which can also be an issue.  When you get typecast,… Read more “The Quick and the Dead, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Lost City of Z, by Albert W. Vogt III

For years now, I have been avoiding The Lost City of Z (2016).  I had noticed it a couple of times while scrolling through the offerings on Amazon Prime, but knew nothing about it and dismissed it out of hand.  Given the last letter of the title, I assumed that it was some kind of zombie film.  I do not know about you, but I have zombie fatigue.  I stopped watching The Walking Dead (2010-present) after the season when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) dies (leaves?), and nothing has interested me since.  The Lost City of Z, thankfully, is not about the undead.  I did not find this out until recently… Read more “The Lost City of Z, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Colony, by Albert W. Vogt III

Sometimes, picking an unknown movie off of Netflix is like playing roulette: you spin the wheel and hope it lands on something good.  The main hope is that it does not become the Russian variety, or make you feel like playing it.  As the opening credits rolled for The Colony (2021), alternatively titled Tides (which makes more sense), my first thought was “uh-oh.”  Luckily, there was no gun within reach.  I am being crude and overly dramatic.  Still, the movie does little to lift one’s spirits.  It is muddy, tide-y, foggy, depressing for most of its run time, and German (of the Swiss persuasion).  Luckily, it is also in English, less… Read more “The Colony, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Guns of Navarone, by Albert W. Vogt III

Not all World War II movies are created equal.  Then again, such a blanket statement could be applied in so many different ways as to be meaningless.  Not all toasters are created equal.  Not all chinchillas are created equal.  The only things in creation that are equal before God are us humans, and He loves us all the same.  With movies, being pale imitations of that creation, the variety of gifts with which our Creator endows us make for some different interpretations, sometimes of the same subject.  You would think with an exciting event like a world at war, there would be little chance of making… Read more “The Guns of Navarone, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Jurassic World Dominion, by Albert W. Vogt III

Go ahead, ask me if I have seen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018).  The answer to this query, spoken aloud or not, is no.  Or at least I do not think I have seen it.  If you have seen one dinosaur movie, you have seen them all.  I like the original, Jurassic Park (1993).  The same can be said for millions of others, so obviously I am not unique in this regard. And when there are so many warm bodies out there willing to put their butts in seats to watch anything, you can bet your bottom deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that they will be making sequels.  The question I ask myself… Read more “Jurassic World Dominion, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Any Given Sunday, by Albert W. Vogt III

I imagine that most people would not guess this from reading my blog, but I am a big sports fan.  Growing up near Chicago, I rooted for all the city’s professional sports teams, though my love of the Cubs meant little room for the other baseball club, the White Sox.  Baseball was, and still is, king for me.  That does not mean that I was not a Bears fan.  Somewhere there is a picture of a roughly eight-year-old me bedecked in full Bears pads and helmet, Walter Payton’s number thirty-four jersey displayed proudly front and back, and me in a three-point stance.  Baseball will always… Read more “Any Given Sunday, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

The only Star Wars films I have left to review after Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) are the prequels.  At least this will be the last one of the franchise that I will cover that I truly enjoyed.  And yes, I did mean “enjoyed.”  As I mentioned in my review of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), that one followed the plot of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) in an eerily similar way.  I did not hate the experience, but my gosh, you would think that J. J. Abrams insulted the mothers of every single Star Wars fan in existence.  In following the tradition… Read more “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, by Albert W. Vogt III

In going through my reviews recently, I was surprised to find that this Catholic reviewer, huge Star Wars fan to boot, has not covered Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015).  Perhaps some of this has to do with the fact that I seem to be part of the minority that likes the new films.  Because of this, I tend to shy away from standing out and inviting criticism.  For those who may think I am blinded by my love of the franchise, I would point out my stated distaste for the prequels.  Like any other installment, I dutifully spent the day watching all of the… Read more “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

There are those who, like me, are Star Wars fans but do not like the prequels.  Within this subset slice of humanity, there are some who believe Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) is good.  I can understand some of the reasoning behind this flawed notion.  After all, for all their warts, the prequels are still Star Wars.  While I have mentioned in previous reviews of this trilogy that I pretend that they do not exist, they are still part of the canon that I adore.  Nonetheless, I stand by my feigned ignorance, and I rely on Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020) to fill in the details.  In… Read more “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, by Albert W. Vogt III

For those of you who wanted a better follow up to Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) with Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), I am so sorry.  It was a reasonable expectation.  People loved the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) for good reason.  Whether you want to talk about it in terms of the general malaise of the 1970s, which would attract people to such a title, or the incredible advances in special effects it featured, the first set the stage for the rest.  As good as it was, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980),… Read more “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, by Albert W. Vogt III

For years, this Star Wars fan subsisted on re-watching the original trilogy.  I viewed the first three movies so many times I had them memorized, shot-for-shot, word-for-word.  In high school, when my know-it-all teenaged self would get bored with whatever it was the teacher was saying, I would play one of these films in my head.  I got through many a long day in the classroom sitting in a movie theater inside my head with tales of a galaxy far, far away.  Outside of the confines of institutions of learning, I would read the various officially licensed novels that came out over the intervening years.  Authors like… Read more “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Operation Dumbo Drop, by Albert W. Vogt III

Disney does a lot of things right, but never send them to do a legitimate war movie.  That is not to say that Operation Dumbo Drop is a bad film.  There are actually many things to like about it.  I must confess, too, that I saw it under less-than-ideal circumstances.  In any case, the historian in me could not help but notice the unrealistic combat scenarios depicted therein.  Understand, though, that my training makes it so that I notice it when our heroes are not behaving as American soldiers would during the Vietnam War in which this is set, or how their Vietnamese counterparts all conveniently jump… Read more “Operation Dumbo Drop, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Book of Eli, by Albert W. Vogt III

It can be pretty amazing the way you look at movies differently at various points in your life.  When I first saw The Book of Eli (2010), spiritually speaking I was a far cry from where I am now in my walk with God.  As a result, all I could focus on at that time was how bad of a movie it is.  After watching it again recently, I still feel that way.  However, there is now a caveat to it that is born of the progress I have made with my relationship with God.  I will go over both of these sides to how I now… Read more “The Book of Eli, by Albert W. Vogt III”

American Gangster, by Albert W. Vogt III

Recency bias is a real thing.  It is also understandable.  The only time and place with which we can ever hope to come to grasp in any meaningful way is the here and now, and even then we can never know it as God does.  There are some things that will always be beyond us, and coming to terms with this fact is the beginning of wisdom.  Unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way.  With inflation, the threat of World War III, and lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, our existence is filled with seeming reminders that the sky is falling.  As a historian, this is what… Read more “American Gangster, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Chronicles of Riddick, by Albert W. Vogt III

Since I reviewed Pitch Black (2000), why not do the sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)?  Actually, there is an animated featurette called The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004) that is technically the follow-up to the 2000 science fiction horror film that was star Vin Diesel’s real big break.  I saw it once, a long time ago, and thought it confusing.  It is meant to be the bridge between the two films.  At any rate, I find the term “chronicles” confusing when applied to a film like The Chronicles of Riddick.  Being plural, you would think there would be more than one plot.  Instead, it is just one story focusing on the… Read more “The Chronicles of Riddick, by Albert W. Vogt III”

Top Gun: Maverick, by Albert W. Vogt III

With countless commercials ignored (much to the ire of the person sitting two seats over), and a long parade of trailers gotten through, Top Gun: Maverick . . . does not begin.  Instead, we get a sort of personal thank you from the movie’s star, Tom Cruise, who plays the legendary Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.  I suppose we deserve thanks.  After waiting for this film for, what, over two years now, a few more ads would be enough to send my antsy neighbor over the edge.  This is a true story, too.  The guy got up to complain to the theater staff about the film not starting… Read more “Top Gun: Maverick, by Albert W. Vogt III”

The Hurt Locker, by Albert W. Vogt III

The first film I remember Jeremy Renner appearing in was S.W.A.T. (2003).  In it, he plays Brian Gamble, a disgraced former member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team for the city of Los Angeles, who is the film’s villain. His character is cocky and has a bit of a mouth on him.  In many respects, it is similar to his James Coughlin in The Town (2010), even though he is not that movie’s antagonist.  The point I am trying to make here is that he seemed to be heading for a career of being typecast as a criminal.  Hey, whatever pays the bills, I suppose.  Still, I… Read more “The Hurt Locker, by Albert W. Vogt III”

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

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

The Bombardment, by Albert W. Vogt III

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

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

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

300, by Albert W. Vogt III

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

Valkyrie, by Albert W. Vogt III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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