Wargames

Cinema Soupçons in ‘WarGames’ and ‘North by Northwest’

I can’t think of two movies that are more alike than WarGames (1983) and North by Northwest (1959). Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. All right: a vast exaggeration. But let’s look at the similarities between them. They’re both thrillers. They both deal tangentially with the Cold War. They both feature characters on…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Book of Life

Decrying/Praising ‘The Book of Life’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

What do you get when you add unbridled creativity to a project with limited substance? Well, it’s possible something good may come out of it. In the case of The Book of Life (2014) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), however, you get cinematic dreck. I know—that’s rather harsh. But these two films may…

By Simon Hardy Butler
300

The Worst 5 ‘Name’ Directors Working in Hollywood Today

How do you define “bad” when it comes to movies? Tastes are so subjective. Some people dig Now, Voyager (1942). I loathe it. Some folks believe Woody Allen is a great filmmaker. Not me. So then why in the name of all that is celluloid would you trust the personal opinions behind what is purportedly…

By Simon Hardy Butler
King of Hearts Philippe De Brocca

Mental Illness and ‘King of Hearts’: A Rumination

It finally may be time for me to put away childish things. The estimable editor of CURNBLOG, James Curnow, recently offered up on Twitter an intriguing hashtag, #7childhoodfilms, that generated a large number of responses from folks all over the Internet—including me. The aim was to cite films one liked in childhood and still revere…

By Simon Hardy Butler
History of the World Part 1

Homophobia in the cinema of Mel Brooks

Now that comedy master Mel Brooks has turned 90, I think we should examine an element of his oeuvre that has, to a certain extent, been swept under the rug rather disgracefully while praise for his achievements has been lavished on him to no end. I’m talking about the homophobia evident in many of his…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Good Morning Vietnam

Powerful Put-Downs: 8 Downright Devilish Onscreen Insults

A well-written, expertly relayed verbal barb can be one of the most satisfying things to hear in a movie—especially when it’s proffered to a character who deserves it—and even the smallest throwaway line can be most effective when delivered at the right moment. I’ve heard a lot of celluloid jibes in my day, and I…

By Simon Hardy Butler
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Terrible Names: The 10 Worst Movie Titles in History

In the world of the movies, what’s more important than a title? It aims to capture interest, make viewers want to go to see the film. Unfortunately, the history of celluloid names is riddled with poor choices, and most of the pictures given them have been abject failures. In an effort to memorialise these fiascos…

By Simon Hardy Butler