• Night and Day

    Night and Day

    ★★★

    Part of my Filling in the Forties challenge

    Conveniently ignoring Cole Porter's being gay, mixing up the chronology of his music beyond anything resembling history, and miscasting Gary Grant in the lead role, this fanciful biopic from director Michael Curtiz gets 3.5 stars for the incredibly memorable 1930s music and excellent supporting performances by Alexis Smith, Eve Arden, Jane Wyman, Mary Martin, Monty Wooley, Alan Hale, and dancer Estelle Sloan. Oscar-nominated for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, it is well worth a look.

  • It Happened on Fifth Avenue

    It Happened on Fifth Avenue

    ★★★½

    Part of my Filling in the Forties challenge

    A central theme here is the post-war housing shortage, but it is also a fine holiday film spanning both Christmas and New Year's. Squatters take over the Fifth Avenue mansion vacated by the second richest man in the world, Michael J. O'Connor (Charles Ruggles), as he winters at his estate in Virginia.

    Don DeFore plays out-of-work War veteran Jim Bullock, who falls for O'Connor's 18-year-old runaway daughter Trudy (Gale Storm), when she…

  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    ★★★★

    My first watch of this particular version of the Dickens Christmas classic, and oh what a good one. George C. Scott is perfect as Ebenezer Scrooge. His transition from mean-old skinflint to "merry as a schoolboy" brought tears to my eyes. A magnificent performance. And filming on location in Shrewsbury, England made the production all the more atmospheric. Well done! Bravo!

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★

    For Christmas Day viewing, there could be no better choice than this Jimmy Stewart classic. I had forgotten what a doormat George Bailey (Stewart) seemed and how totally malicious was the banker Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). Donna Reed was a real looker at age 25 as George's love interest Mary Hatch, a dozen years before she became America's favorite mom Donna Stone on television. Great film; great rewatch.

  • Miracle on 34th Street

    Miracle on 34th Street

    ★★★★

    This classic deserves to be seen again and again. I had forgotten how it is much more than an uplifting tale of childhood (and adult) beliefs, but also a broad criticism of commercialism, business & employment practices, psychiatry, and the justice system. Funny, inspiring, and plain good fun to watch, especially on Christmas Eve.

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol

    The Muppet Christmas Carol

    ★★★½

    Brian Henson's directorial debut, with a HUGE assist from Michael Caine as Scrooge. Well worth watching on Christmas Eve.

  • Color Out of Space

    Color Out of Space

    ★★★

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    Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21
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    Week 14: December 7th-13th
    "I've been meaning to get to it..." Week

    Although I had never watched any films by South African writer-director Richard Stanley, and despite seeing Nicolas Cage in the lead role, the trailer for this film interested me as visually impactful, as did learning that the story was based on fiction by H.P. Lovecraft. How was I to know it would involve more body horror than science fiction? Not exactly what…

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

    The Day the Earth Stood Still

    ★★★★½

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    Part of My Autumn Rewatches 4.2 Challenge
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    Task #30: Rewatch a film that you just haven't had time to rewatch.

    I saved this film for last among my selections in the challenge, partly because it was released in my birth year, but also because I have rated it so close to a perfect five stars. Is it worthy of top marks, or just a nostalgic favorite from my youth. Let's see.

    Things I never forgot:

    The film opening…

  • Fantastic Voyage

    Fantastic Voyage

    ★★★★

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    Part of My Autumn Rewatches 4.2 Challenge
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    Bonus Rewatch #2

    This film fascinated me as a teen. I saw it a couple of times after its release, but not since decades ago. I wonder how I will feel about my 4-star rating on this rewatch.

    Things I never forgot:

    The mission to shrink a submersible and its crew to microscopic size for injection into the blood stream of a scientist who is close to death. A clot in…

  • Spaceballs

    Spaceballs

    ★★★½

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    Part of My Autumn Rewatches 4.2 Challenge
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    Task #8: Rewatch a film directed by Woody Allen, Mel Brooks or Blake Edwards.

    This insane film from writer-director-producer-actor Mel Brooks was a comedic response to the initial "Star Wars Franchise" (1977-1983), with the blessing of series creator George Lucas. I found it funny, but not in an epic or classic way. Let's see how it withstands the test of time.

    Things I never forgot:

    The opening text parody of "Star…

  • Austin Powers in Goldmember

    Austin Powers in Goldmember

    ★★★★

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    Part of My Autumn Rewatches 4.2 Challenge
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    Task #25: Rewatch a film set in the U.K. (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland).

    The Austin Powers Trilogy, directed by Jay Roach as written and acted by Mike Myers in the title role, is among the better spy spoofs in cinema. I quite liked the original "International Man of Mystery" (1997) but was less enthralled by the follow-up "The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999). This concluding installment has always been…

  • Our Man Flint

    Our Man Flint

    ★★★½

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    Part of My Autumn Rewatches 4.2 Challenge
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    Task #21: Rewatch a favorite comedy.

    Following close on the heels of the popular James Bond films of the 1960s came an armada of "spy spoofs," and none of them harpooned the British Secret Agent 007 better than James Colburn as America's "spy extraordinaire" Derek Flint. In this film from director Daniel Mann, Flint is introduced as a former agent of Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization World Intelligence Espionage) who is summoned out…