Movies Watched in July 2016 Part III

If you missed Part I and Part II, follow the links. Here’s how I wrapped up July’s movies:


Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) Christopher McQuarrie
Streaming (2:11)

I’d almost forgotten I watched this on vacation with my brothers-in-law. Not bad; total popcorn movie. I have already forgotten most of it, so there you have it.



Detour (1945) Edgar G. Ulmer (2x)
Mill Creek Crime Wave box set DVD (1:07)

Previously discussed here



Scarlet Street (1945) Fritz Lang (2x)
Mill Creek Crime Wave box set DVD (1:43)

More on this one coming soon



A Bullet for Joey (1955) Lewis Allen
Kino Lorber Blu-ray (1:27)

Previously discussed here as part of the Kino Lorber box set Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema 



Hangmen Also Die! (1943) Fritz Lang
Hulu streaming (2:15)

Was Hangmen Also Die! meant as a propaganda film or just wartime entertainment? Some of both, I suspect. Fritz Lang’s tale (co-written with Bertolt Brecht) takes place during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during WWII. Someone has just assassinated Nazi Reinhard /Heydrich (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski) and the remaining Nazis turn the place upside down trying to find the assassin, unconcerned with how many innocent people they may kill in the process. Overall good performances and many good scenes, but the film is too long, largely due to many scenes that accomplish the same thing. The film stars Brian Donlevy, Anna Lee, and something you don’t see every day: Walter Brennan as a history professor.



Waiting for Guffman (1996) Christopher Guest
Warner DVD (1:24)

I know I really shouldn’t unload on this movie. I know many people love it and I feel bad that my friends loaned it to me because they love it, but this one’s just not for me. I suppose I just don’t like Christopher Guest’s films (I also didn’t like Best in Show). It’s not that I don’t get the humor; I do, I just don’t like it. Part of that may stem from the fact that I have never thought Eugene Levy was funny.

The plot: in the fictitious town of Blaine, Missouri, an eccentric community theater director (Guest) convinces several local residents that they should put on a production that might just lead them to Broadway if he can convince a famous Broadway producer Mort Guffman to attend a performance.

Again, not for me. The high point was seeing Brian Doyle-Murray in a cameo role.



The Player (1992) Robert Altman
Criterion Blu-ray (2:04)

I missed The Player when it was released in 1992, but after reading Robert Altman: The Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff, the film was high on my “Must See” list. This part noir, part Hollywood expose shows why Altman was a master and very much his own director, unlike anyone else in the business. This film deserves a closer look, which I can hopefully give it soon.



To Have and Have Not (1944) Howard Hawks
TCM Greatest Classic Films: Legends – Bogie & Bacall DVD (1:40)

Much more to say about this one as well, this first (and probably the best) pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, which eventually led to their marriage. (He was 45, she was 19, but hey, who’s counting?) For all practical purposes, this is something of a retread of Casablanca, with Bogart playing a boat-for-hire captain who takes would-be fishermen out for a bit of fun. Things change when Bogart gets involved with members of the French Resistance. A retread it might be, but the film stands just fine on its own and the Bogie/Bacall team was never better. Screenplay by Jules Furthman and a guy who knew a little bit about writing, William Faulkner.


So tell me what you watched last month.

Photos: Roger EbertThe Crime SegmentsForbesBlu-ray DigestInternational LensAustin Film SocietyThe Flick ChickHermione’s Knapsack

7 thoughts on “Movies Watched in July 2016 Part III

  1. I know I’m swimming upstream by not liking the Guest movies! Ah, well, we all have our differences 🙂 Yes, we can definitely agree on noir!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I think Shawshank was a year or two after The Player. I *did* pick up The Player, so let me know when you’d like to borrow it!


  3. I loved Hangmen Also Die. Some cheesy dialogue, but it packed a punch for the era. If propaganda, it was too kind if anything to the Nazis. Your true crime, of course, is not loving Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. The latter is one of my all-time favorite comedies. Guess I’ll have to forgive you cuz we both love noir and you don’t wax poetic about soppy actresses.


  4. I find the Christopher Guest & Friends movies to be VERY hit or miss. I think ‘Best in Show’ is the only one I have seen and actually laughed.

    I need to see ‘The Player’ again…I went through a Tim Robbins phase (I was a weird teen, I’m guessing this was around the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ tiem) and I know I watched this movie and liked it but I cannot remember anything about it now! I just have this memory of liking it LOL. Is it one of the blu-rays you picked up on sale????


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