Friday, October 22, 2021

We know the limits of nature. We know—or are we just afraid to test the limits of our certainty?


THE AWAKENING

1980
Directed by Mike Newell
Written by Cliff Bryant, Allan Scott, and Clive Exton (based on the novel The Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Census Bloodbath: For Christ's sake, spare me the speech! I've listened to it for a decade


The Eighth (oh God) Annual Great October Switcheroo!  Once again, we're crossing over with the wonderful Brennan Klein of Popcorn Culture and sometimes Alternate Ending, and I'm doing some of the 80s slashers he's catalogued as part of his Census Bloodbath project, while he's doing some of the old-timey sci-fi I've been archiving as part of my own Cardboard Science archive.  This year, he finally gave me three pieces of the slasher genre's major arcana, such as I've been very subtly and surreptitiously hinting that I'd like to do this whole time; in return, I accidentally gave him three pieces of indecent crap.  Oops!  (But, seriously, apologies.)

HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS

1988
Directed by Dwight H. Little
Written by Alan B. McElroy, Danny Lipsius, Larry Rattner, and Benhamin Ruffner

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, October 18, 2021

The customary protests


THE LAST DUEL

2021
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener (based on the book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial By Combat In Medieval France by Eric Jager)

Spoiler alert: pretty much inapplicable, but I don't say who dies!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The chrysanthemums are all ready—they deserve to bloom once


THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER


2006
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Written by Zhihong Bian and Zhang Yimou (based, loosely, on the play Thunderstorm by Cao Yu)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, October 11, 2021

Why should I feel sorry? It was Claude Daigle who got drowned, not me


THE BAD SEED

1956
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by John Lee Mahin (based on the play by Maxwell Anderson based on the novel by William March)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, October 8, 2021

A rare beauty in the north


HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS

2004
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Written by Li Feng, Peter Wu, Wang Bin, and Zhang Yimou

Spoiler alert: moderate verging on high

Monday, October 4, 2021

Sunday, October 3, 2021

All under heaven


HERO

2002 PRC/2004 USA
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Written by Feng Li, Bin Wang, and Zhang Yimou

Spoiler alert: the plot's about an attempted assassination of Qin Shi Huang, so maybe it's not the biggest spoiler to say that no, it doesn't come off; otherwise, moderate

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Farewell my concubine


LEGEND OF THE DEMON CAT

2017 PRC/2019 USA
Directed by Chen Kaige
Written by Hui-Ling Wang and Chen Kaige (based on the novel Sramana Kukai by Baku Yumenakura)

Spoiler alert: mild

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The legendary weapons of China


SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS

2021
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Written by Dave Callaham, Andrew Lanham, and Destin Daniel Cretton

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, September 20, 2021

Cardboard Science: Jet age


CHAIN LIGHTNING

1950
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Written by Liam O'Brien, Vincent B. Evans, and Lester Cole

Spoiler alert: moderate

Thursday, September 16, 2021

She's a real basket case


MALIGNANT

2021
Directed by James Wan
Written by Ingrid Bisu, Akela Cooper, and James Wan

Spoiler alert: the determination of a spoiler warning is a subjective exercise, of course, but I will assert "moderate"

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Have you considered a centrifuge?


MADAME CURIE

1943
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by Paul Osborn, Paul Rameau, Walter Reisch, and Aldous Huxley (based on the book by Éve Curie)

Spoiler alert: inapplicable

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

If she doesn't scare you, that sounds about right


CRUELLA

2021
Directed by Craig Gillepsie
Written by Dana Fox, Tony McNamara, Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, and Steve Zissis

Spoiler alert: the puppies were all products of incest, apparently (moderate) 

"All women are rivals, fundamentally" (so which one's Joan Fontaine?)


THE DARK MIRROR

1946
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Written by Nunnally Johnson and Vladimir Pozner

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Try hitting him with the car again, that usually works in cases like these


RANDOM HARVEST

1942
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel, and Claudine West (based on the novel by James Hilton)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, September 4, 2021

You killed Charlotte! You bastards!


BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST

1941
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by Anita Loos and Ralph Wainwright

Spoiler alert: inapplicable? though Edna Gladney is not, I daresay, actually well-known, plus they make up a whole lot of stuff, so "moderate"

I loved you, I've never loved anyone else, I never shall


WATERLOO BRIDGE

1940
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by S.N. Behrman, Hans Rameau, and George Froeschel (based on the play by Robert E. Sherwood)

Spoiler alert: moderate (and severe, I suppose, for the 1931 film of the same name, which I recommend you never watch for fun)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

And some, you'd assume, were good people


HOLD BACK THE DAWN

1941
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Written by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Richard Maibaum, and Manuel Reachi (based on the novel by Ketti Frings)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, August 27, 2021

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Chief? McLeod!


DETECTIVE STORY

1951
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Robert Wyler and Philip Yordan (based on the play by Sidney Kingsley)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, August 23, 2021

Father knows best


THE DESPERATE HOURS

1955
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Joseph Hayes and Jay Dratler (based on the play by Joseph Hayes)

Spoiler alert: mild

Saturday, August 21, 2021

It's impossible, but it is rather sweet


YOLANDA AND THE THIEF

1945
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Written by Irving Brecher, Jacques Thery, and Ludwig Bemelans

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, August 16, 2021

Saturday, August 14, 2021

What a disaster, 30s edition: Those who wish to sing with me for the last time, stay


THE HURRICANE

1937
Directed by John Ford
Written by Dudley Nichols, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Ben Hecht, and W.P. Lipscomb (based on the novel by James Norman Hall and Charles Nordoff)

Spoiler alert: high? (it ends with a hurricane)

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Gawain


THE GREEN KNIGHT

2021
Written and directed by David Lowery (based on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by the anonymous Gawain poet)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The only law west of the Pecos


THE WESTERNER

1940
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Niven Busch, Jo Swerling, Stuart N. Lake, W.R. Burnett, Lillian Hellman, and Oliver La Farge

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, July 23, 2021

You love a fight your style, but I wonder if you've got the stomach for it, gentleman-style


THE BIG COUNTRY

1958
Directed by William Wyler
Written by James R. Webb, Sy Bartlett, and Robert Wilder (based on the novel Ambush at Blanco Canyon by Donald Hamilton)

Spoiler alert: dreams stay with you, like a lover's voice, 'cross the mountainside (okay, okay, moderate)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ready player none


SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY

2021
Written and directed by Al G. Rhythm

Spoiler alert: oh, Christ, don't let me ruin the labyrinthine twists and turns of Space Jam: A New Legacy for you

Monday, July 19, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021

What a disaster: Fear of a bee planet


THE SWARM

1978
Directed by Irwin Allen
Written by Stirling Silliphant (based on the novel by Arthur Herzog)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, July 10, 2021

What a disaster: God and General Dynamics


GRAY LADY DOWN

1978
Directed by David Greene
Written by Frank P. Rosenberg, James Whittaker, and Howard Sackler (based on the novel by David Lavallee)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Monday, July 5, 2021

Monday, June 28, 2021

What a disaster: All is fair on the fairground


ROLLERCOASTER

1977
Directed by James Goldstone
Written by Richard Levinson, William Link, Sanford Sheldon, and Tommy Cook

Spoiler alert: somewhere between moderate and high

Friday, June 25, 2021

What a disaster: In the event of a water landing


AIRPORT '77

1977
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Written by H.A.L. Craig, Charles Keunstle, Michael Scheff, and David Spector

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The shadow over Portorosso


LUCA

2021
Directed by Enrico Casarosa
Written by Jesse Andrews, Mike Jones, Simon Stephenson, and Enrico Casarosa

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, June 14, 2021

Take that, Guernica


IN THE HEIGHTS

2021
Directed by John M. Chu
Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda (based on their play)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, June 5, 2021

What a disaster: Lab leak hypothesis


THE CASSANDRA CROSSING

1977
Directed by George Pan Cosmatos
Written by Tom Mankiewicz, Robert Katz, and George Pan Cosmatos

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Listen, honey, being a Ziegfeld girl is swell, but at most it's only a few years out of a lifetime


ZIEGFELD GIRL

1941
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard
Written by William Anthony McGuire, Marguerite Roberts, Sonya Levien, and Annalee Whitmore

Spoiler alert: it's easier to predict the ending than in the actual Ziegfeld biopic, but I'll keep it to "moderate"

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Thank you Mr. Currier and thank you Mr. Ives


THE BELLE OF NEW YORK

1952
Directed by Charles Walters
Written by Chester Erskine, Robert O'Brien, and Irving Elinson (based on the play by Hugh Morton)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, May 24, 2021

World war zzzzzz


ARMY OF THE DEAD

2021
Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by Shay Hatten, Joby Harold, and Zack Snyder

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Damn your pores!


OXYGEN
aka Oxygène

2021
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Christie LeBlanc

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, May 14, 2021

20 years ago, we took over their land, their cotton, and their daughter


THE LITTLE FOXES

1941
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Lillian Hellman, Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell (based on the play by Lillian Hellman)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Believe women, sure, but Bette Davis?


THE LETTER

1940
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Howard E. Koch (based on the play by W. Somerset Maugham)

Spoiler alert: moderate