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Contagion 4K

by Glenn Erickson

If any motion picture can still be called important, this one qualifies. Scott Z. Burns and Steve Soderbergh’s superb ‘extrapolated’ pandemic thriller imagines a virus that spreads like wildfire and kills in 48 hours. Well-cast stars fill a variety of crucial roles: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotilliard, Kate Winslet, Jennifer…

Cause for Alarm!

by Glenn Erickson

It’s a micro-scaled domestic noir: Loretta Young’s frantic housewife is tormented by a deranged husband, an invalid gone paranoid and determined to frame her for murder. Tay Garnett directs to spotlight Young’s increasing distress, with Barry Sullivan providing the psychotic menace. As a ‘woman alone’ picture it’s not bad — in Young’s frenzied state, even…

The Roaring Twenties

by Glenn Erickson

It’s all about James Cagney — his every expression commands our attention. Writer Mark Hellinger recaps a decade of gangster tropes in a Cliff’s Notes tour through the underworld racketeering of the Prohibition years. The message is that Crime Does Not Pay, yet audiences love Cagney’s reluctant mobster, carefully adjusted to sidestep Production Code no-nos….

Blood on the Sun

by Glenn Erickson

Now it can be told — even if it’s total fiction!  James Cagney takes his rough & tumble ways to Tokyo to scoop the existence of a world domination conspiracy 11 years before Pearl Harbor!  It’s The Front Page meets Yojimbo circa 1945, except that Cagney’s scenarists have Tokyo militarists behaving like Chicago mobsters. Yes,…

Happy Birthday, Sidney

by Randy Fuller

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ ‌ This week we celebrate the fact that Sir Sidney Poitier walked the earth with us regular humans for 94 years. His birthday of February 20th is a great reason to pair wines…

Afire

by Glenn Erickson

Aka Roter Himmel.  Christian Petzold’s movie wields a big impact on a deceptively modest scale. The problems of a young man sharing a summer house form a self-contained meditation on How To Live. Thomas Schubert’s Leon is an insufferable jerk who can’t understand why he feels so alienated from others. One of his tolerant housemates…