Retro Movie Review: The African Queen (TCM’s Big Screen Classics – Fathom Events)
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As long as I could remember, my mother would put on her hilarious mock-British accent and call everyone “Mr. Allnut” whenever she wanted us to do anything around the house. I got a chance to take my mom to see Mr. Allnut on the big screen for the first time, as The African Queen was in theaters this weekend for its 70th Anniversary as part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics series through Fathom Events.

The 1951 classic stars Humphrey Bogart in his lone Oscar-winning role as steamboat captain Charlie Allnut in German East Africa helping missionary Rose Sayer, the 12-time Oscar nominee/4-time winner Katharine Hepburn down the Ulanga River. Directed by the great John Huston, the film is a part of the National Film Registry.

Check out my video review of the film here below.

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Classic Movie Review: Le Samouraï (1967)

Le Samouraï
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Written by Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring: Alain Delon, Francois Perier, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Michel Boisrond
Release Date: October 25, 1967
Criterion Blu-Ray Release Date: November 14, 2017

– Why, Jef?
– I was paid to.

A simple line of dialogue like this has a tremendous amount of substance behind it. The hitman’s ruthless, taciturn response here embraces the rigid mentality of almost all of French director Jean-Pierre Melville‘s characters. In essence, they all remain true to their word. His characters are obsessively dedicated to their particular craft or talent, rendering them masters at what they do.

Just like some of his most memorable ones, such as the priest in Leon Morin, Priest, the gangsters in Le Circle Rouge, the resistance fighters in Army of Shadows, and the Nazi officer in Silence de la Mer, the hitman in Le Samouraï is governed through an austere, lonely landscape by an inexorable code they must adhere to. His code and his talent as a scrupulous assassin are everything he owns.

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Classic Movie Review: Come and See (1985)

Come and See
Directed by Elem Klimov
Starring: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, and Juri Lumiste
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: February 6, 1985
Available on FilmStruck

Often my daughter comes running to me in a state of pure excitement prompting me to either “come and see this” or “come and see that.” She’s undoubtedly enthralled by whatever it is that seems to have captivated her for that specific second. She’s a child with boundless wonder, finding everything very fascinating.

A similar childlike wonder is on display in the 1985 Russian film Come and See, which documents the ruthlessness of the Nazi forces as they tear their way through Belarus villages in 1943. Aptly titled, writer and director Elem Klimov‘s film is told totally from the perspective of a child. It just so happens the child, Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko), roughly 12 or 13 years old, is completely enraptured by war and the valor and courage that he believes comes with it. He can’t wait to tell his mom to “come and see what I’ll be doing.”

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Classic Movie Review: High Noon (1952)

High Noon
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Thomas Mitchell, Lon Chaney Jr., Katy Jurado, Ian MacDonald, Lee Van Clef, Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley
Theatrical Release Date: July 30, 1952
Available now on Blu-ray

There it is, that faint, catchy tune written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, and sung by Tex Ritter that continuously makes its way back in High Noon. It’s beautiful, it’s in nearly every frame, and finally is pervading the entire film, pretty much conquering it. Do not forsake me oh my darling. There it is again. It’s a most haunting tune that astonishingly places us inside the head of Will Kane (Gary Cooper), a well respected marshal of a well established Wild West town desperately seeking to maintain its civilization rather than succumbing again to barbarism.

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Retro Movie Review: Across The Universe (2007) – Fathom Events
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Across the Universe
Now available on: 4K Ultra HD | Blu-ray | Digital
Directed by Julie Taymor
Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, T.V. Caprio
Columbia Pictures
Original release date: October 12, 2007
Fathom Events screenings: July 29 & 31, August 1, 2018

Thanks to Fathom Events and Columbia Pictures, I got to see one of my favorite films, Julie Taymor‘s gorgeous 2007 musical drama Across the Universe, in theaters again. Finishing up a 3-day run on August 1, the limited-edition screenings included a special exclusive introduction from Taymor celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in 1968.

Across the Universe uses the spectrum of classic Beatles songs to take our characters through the turbulence of late 1960’s America as we fought the unpopular Vietnam War abroad and waged cultural wars at home. Starring Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood, the film allowed Taymor to showcase her artistic style, and the array of songs by arguably the greatest band of all time show the wide range of human emotions that that era was dealing with.

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