Posts in Vintage Review
GUEST CRITIC #29: Leon: The Professional

As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me.  As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, there are other experts out there.  Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy.  In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for guest movie reviews. Today, meet fan and follower of the page Farnaz Nazari

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode 5: "American Graffiti"

The stars align here at the end of May. Ron Howard’s new film Solo: A Star Wars Storyhits the big screen featuring a backstory of the iconic character made famous by Harrison Ford. The happenstance of Ron Howard treading into Harrison Ford’s territory led us to an American classic that turns 45 years old this year.  Hop in your car of choice, roll the windows down, turn your music up, and drive it slow as we talk American Graffiti.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "The Cinescope Podcast" reflecting on "E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial"

Every Movie Has a Lesson gives a hearty welcome back to The Cinescope Podcast, hosted by Chad Hopkins, after a brief winter sabbatical.  After seeing me recently come out of hosting a screening of E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial through the "Kids Klassics" series at The Wilmette Theatre, Chad invited me to record a nostalgic retrospective on Spielberg's film as the return episode of The Cinescope Podcast.  E.T. is a cherished favorite film for both of us and it made for lovely discussion.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode #4: "Shane"

For this departing month of April, Aaron White of the Feelin' Film podcast are pleased to present you a conversation about 1953’s Shane, just in time for its 65th anniversary.  Newer or younger audiences may recognize this film as the allegorical pairing made in James Mangold’s Logan, but this classic western sits at #46 on the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary list and #3 on the westerns list for good reasons.  

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VINTAGE REVIEW: Shane

Atypical to the big-talking hot heads and inflated anti-hero personalities common of the genre, Alan Ladd’s cowboy and director George Stevens’ Shane operates with a code and a compass that is idyllic and pure.  Ranked the #3 western of all-time by the American Film Institute and their #45 overall American film, Shane is an anointed classic and masterpiece.  Why? It’s because Shane carries itself with equal parts heroic grandeur and hardscrabble ethics that can still resonate and draw audience appreciation today, 65 years later.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: YouTube guest on YPA Reviews reflecting back on "The Social Network"

In light of Mark Zuckerberg's testimonies before Congress this past week, Mike Crowley, the excellent YouTube video creator of his You'll Probably Agree channel, hit me up with the idea of looking back at David Fincher's The Social Network. Fincher's film has evolved from a tell-all biopic of sorts to a cautionary tale with an impact that is still growing. Mike and I think the film holds up and we went the social media route to record a video chat of our conversation.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode #2: "Casablanca"

Here in Episode 2 of “Connecting With Classics”, Feelin' Film's Aaron White, guest host Josh Effengee from LSG Media’s Science Fiction Film Podcast, and myself celebrate Valentine’s Day by discussing a film that is considered one of the greatest love stories ever told. Casablanca checks in at #3, NUMBER THREE!, on the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary list. This is definitely a beloved classic, my own #1 all-time favorite movie, and we have a great conversation about its quality as a film and all of the ways it has resonated with us emotionally.

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VINTAGE REVIEW: The Astrologer

In a reversal of this practical parable’s usual cadence, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.  This is where the tastes, descriptions, and comparisons begin for 1975’s The Astrologer.   A young man named Craig Denney set out to direct and star is his own feature film to break into stardom.  It was a passion project of sorts derailed by a backstory of avoidable failure.  Along the same lines as trash versus treasure, one filmmaker’s passion project is another man’s vanity film.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting with Classics" Episode #1: All the President's Men

Welcome, listeners new and old, to the FIRST episode of our new series “Connecting With Classics.” In this initial episode, Aaron and I discuss the #77 film on AFI’s Top 100 10th Anniversary list, and one which is closely connected to current new release The Post. If All the President’s Men isn’t the best journalism film ever made, it’s certainly in the conversation. Join us for some history, some lessons, and as always some emotional connection.

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20 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: The 10 Best of 1997

In a new annual series, Every Movie Has a Lesson is going to look back twenty years to revisit, relearn, and reexamine a year of cinema history to share favorites, lists, and experiences from the films of that year.  Twenty years ago, I graduated high school in 1997 and the movie milestones matched the personal ones for me.  Here's my list of the best of 1997.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Page 2 Screen" podcast talking 20 years of "L.A. Confidential"

 I joined Jeff York recently as his guest for a special 20th-anniversary 35mm screening of 1997's Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential at the storied Music Box Theatre as part of the Noir City Chicago Festival.  As an added treat, author James Ellroy was in the house to kick things off with an expletive-laden bang.  After the screening, he and I hunkered down in Frio Gelato near the theatre to share our admiration and examination of Curtis Hanson's masterpiece.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Feelin' Film" podcast for "Mr. Mom"

I had the honor and pleasure this past week to join a league of movie-loving dads talking about a true fathers' movie: 1983's Mr. Mom.  Host Patrick Hicks orchestrated myself and fellow regular Feelin' Film contributor Jeremy Calcara in a lively discussion covering the film, dad jokes, how our own upbringing informed our own parenting styles, our tremendous wives, and what makes this John Hughes film worth revisiting.

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VINTAGE REVIEW: E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial

Movies have always been considered magic on some level, to make fiction appear to come to life.  Some movies, though, just flat-out have more magic than others.  Steven Spielberg's E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial is one of those movies.  The film has more heart, finesse, performance, and magic in single scenes than some movies have in their entire running time, and does it with an animatronic special effect as a main character.

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VINTAGE REVIEW: Casablanca

To anyone who will listen, I preach the greatest love and respect of Casablanca, the 1943 Oscar winner for Best Picture from director Michael Curtiz.  You might be able to name singular instances, throughout the vast history of cinema, of better ensemble acting, better war-time intrigue, better left-field star turns, better broken hearts, better dialogue, and better romance.  You might.  However, I challenge and dare you to find a better movie in Hollywood history that has all of those qualities working together at once.  Because of the successful combination of so many outstanding qualities, Casablanca is a perfect movie to me.

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