Archive for August 2010

Movie Essentials: 1997

10. JACKIE BROWN. The years have been kind to Quentin Tarantino's follow-up to Pulp Fiction.  I didn't care much for it on its initial release.  Maybe Pulp raised my expectations too high.  But after letting the movie settle in, and seeing it a few more times, I find it really impressive now.  It's a more subtle movie than Pulp - not as flashy or grandiose - just a solid heist movie, with ample amount of time for quirky character beats and a grown-up romance between Pam Grier and Robert Forster.  Leave it to Tarantino to put those two front and center while his big names (Samuel L. Jackson, Robert DeNiro) are on the sidelines.  Excellent '70's soul soundtrack, and the cast is pitch-perfect.  "AK-47.  The very best there is.  When you absolutely, positively got to kill every mother f**ker in the room, accept no substitutes."
In 1997, Princess Di was killed in a car crash in Paris.  Elton John would later compare her to a “Candle in the Wind.”  In more England-related news, Tony Blair became Prime Minister, paving the way for Michael Sheen to make a career out of playing him.  Tiger Woods, age 21, became the youngest golfer... Read more »

True Blood Recap - Fresh Blah

  Where have you gone, Alcide?  Come back!   This week’s True Blood was a doozie of a snooze.   Here’s my recap from phillyBurbs.com.   Penultimate seasonal episodes are meant to excite the viewer, to entice s/him to come back for the season finale.  The second-to-last episode of the season should be such a... Read more »

19 People Who Should Be the Next Betty White

If there was anything wrong with last night’s Emmy awards, it was the overuse of America’s current sweetheart, Betty White.  I’ve been over the Ms. White hype ever since right around the time of her over-praised and under-funny Saturday Night Live hosting gig.  It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Besides, the... Read more »
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Movie Reviews: The Last Exorcism (*), The Switch (***)

  The Last Exorcism (*) I am baffled by the generally good reviews this movie has been receiving.  Produced by Eli Roth and directed by Daniel Stamm, The Last Exorcism is a tame, PG-13 rated horror film completely lacking in scares and originality.  The movie apes everything from the classic ’74 Exorcist to the handheld... Read more »

Movie Essentials: 1996

10. INDEPENDENCE DAY. Stupid, bombastic, epic, kick-ass, lame, funny, groundbreaking, incompetent, competent.  Say what you will about the merits of Independence Day as a work of art, but as a crowd-pleasing, summertime blockbuster - it's hard to top.  Anytime you've got Harvey Fierstein, Judd Hirsch, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Brent Spiner in a movie, and it still works, you've got to pay your respects.  I love the arc of the movie - the jaw-dropping attack, the Empire Strikes Back-type depressing middle section, and the rousing climax.  Will Smith became a movie star overnight and hasn't looked back since.
  In 1996, the minimum hourly wage was raised to $5.15.  Mad Cow Disease hit Britain.  eBay and Ask Jeeves were launched.  Joe Klein admitted that he is “Anonymous”, the author of Primary Colors.  The Spice Girls invaded America’s shores and had a No. 1 hit with “Wannabe.”  Los Del Rio tortured the organized dance-averse... Read more »

Emmypalooza 2010 - 12 Rules for the Emmy Telecast Drinking Game!

  I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the Emmy broadcast (especially the TV movie parts) without a beverage in hand stronger than an Arnold Palmer, but by Jove, I’m gonna try! For those of you who will be drinking something a little stronger (an Emmy Martini, perhaps?) here are the rules for... Read more »
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Questions About 'Mad Men' - She Bop

    1. Good morning! How are you today? A little late with the Mad Men recap, are we? Yes, sorry.  I didn’t get a chance to watch the show until Monday night; and by then, one of the episode’s biggest shockers had already been spoiled for me. 2. Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and Joan... Read more »

MCHammerCast: Episode 17 - Top 5 Legal Movies

  That’s right everybody – we’re back!  After a long summer hiatus, Matt and John are back to doing what they do, well, if not best, then fairly competently: podcasting!  This week, they discuss their Top 5 favorite legal movies – a fitting subject given their professional vocation.  Get the podcast on iTunes (search “mchammercast”)... Read more »

Movie Essentials (special edition): 1977

10. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. Maybe Roger Moore's best Bond film.  This movie has all of the critical Bondian components.  Awesome Bond car that converts to a submarine and get to drive up on a beach after launching a sea-to-air missile to take out the bad guys' helicopter.  Great ski chase with jumps and acrobatics.  Underwater, submersible bad-guy hideout.  Lots of submarines.  And, of course, Barbara Bach as Agent XXX.  I originally, failed to include this when I put the list together.  But, upon a Hammerle-prompted reflection, I put it in.  Looking back this really belongs on the "essential" list and, for me, probably was one of the films that defined Bond movies in my mind.
This special edition of Movie Essentials has been written and contributed to Hammervision by friend and fellow Essentials guru, DAVID BECKER: In 1977, the world’s first “personal computer,” the Commodore PET, was demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago.  The death penalty was reintroduced in the US with a Utah firing squad.  Jimmy Carter was sworn... Read more »
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The Worst Movie Weekend of the Year

August 28, 2009
By JOHN HAMMERLE The last weekend in August.  Serious moviegoers dread it.  Most intelligent adults avoid it like the plague.  Only a few suckers get caught in a movie theater that weekend.  Admit it – you know it’s true.  The thrill of summer blockbusters has come and gone.  The awards contenders and smart studio product... Read more »