Flicks To Hold You Over

Classic Films

"Frankenstein (1931)" review by Eric 'Renderking' Fisk: This is also a horrible film in the sense that it perfectly illustrates man's cruelty to his own creation, our own "children," and is the perfect metaphor for how modern science and society quickly discard discoveries and inventions for the next big thing. [Read More]

"The Day The Earth Stood Still." - This dialog still gives me goose bumps whether or not it's read or spoken out-loud. The words are just as powerful today as when they were first spoken on the set and the motion picture was released. We are given a choice, "join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration." The end of the motion picture is both dire and hopeful at the same time. And at the time when "The Day The Earth Stood Still," there was a very real possibility that we would face our own destruction, not by aliens wishing to force their own pacifism on us for their own good, but by an atomic holocaust by our own hand." [Continued]

"It's A Wonderful Life" - Remember, fellow retrocentrics – no one is a failure who has friends… and a good fedora! Seriously,  It’s a classic staple of the Christmas season; to many people it doesn’t “feel” like Christmas until this Frank Capra has been watched. Or at the very least it’s been in the background while the tree or other parts of the house is being decorated. What about the actual film? What is it about this movie that is so special and essential for the season? Would it stand up to non-holiday nostalgic?

"Kiss Me Deadly" is the ultimate Film Noir film. Just as The Maltese Falcon is obviously about a treasure from the past, The treasure everyone seeks or is hiding in "Kiss Me Deadly"  is about the new modern atomic era or an object that's beyond the comprehension of those who have acquired. The object in the suitcase could serve as a metaphor for the fears and danger of the new atomic age and the entire film could serve as a metaphor for what could (and will) happen if science surpasses society's wisdom."

"Laura." - The Fedora Chronicles Flicks To Hold You Over: "'Laura' fits perfectly into the mold of "Film Noir," it's about murder, obsession, unrequited love, class-envy and social status... with maybe just a hint of the potential for necrophilia. - Usually, the word "Creepy" and "thoroughly  Entertaining" don't go together in a positive review for a movie. Unless it's film noir. "Laura" is almost perfect and essential Film Noir, enjoyable while at the same time making you question your humanity and what it means to be sane." Click to read more...

The Fedora Chronicles Hollywood StarWhere The Side Walk Ends - If "The Maltese Falcon" and "Kiss Me Deadly" are the bookends of the Film Noir Genre, "Where The Sidewalk Ends" helps to better define it. When you think of this genre, this The Otto Preminger film's images are what usually comes to mind.

Period Films

 "Atonement," Eric 'Renderking' Fisk a period film that shouldn't work, but does. It lifts us up, breaks our hearts and asks us to rethink what the truth really means. It also re-examines what hardships The Greatest Generation endured and what they gave up...

"Changeling" - As much as I respect and admire Christine Collins and her struggle to bring her son back home as well as those who helped her fight to keep her dignity and regain her civil rights, all the while understanding her pain and suffering and the cruelty she endured in her greatest moment of need, I'm debating on whether or not this film really needed to be made... Read More...

"Come See The Paradise" - It's hard to look at this film and still feel like an enthusiastic cheerleader for The Golden Era, hoping to revive the style and the substance of those decades and hope that Big Band Swing and fedora's come back into the main stream. At the same time, this motion picture is both stark and beautiful in the way it demonstrates that in the dark times good people can over come hardships and obstacles.

Enigma: One of the best World War 2 stories not yet told on screen was that of the German “Enigma” code machine –until now. This is the ultimate spy story, the stuff that James Bond movies are made of… secret code machine, teams of eccentric geniuses (few who are on the brink of insanity) feverishly searching for the master codes for the encryption machines, cloak and dagger, double agents and double crosses, and other intrigue. What also makes this the ultimate spy story is that it really happened – while civilization and millions of lives was at stake. (The very FIRST Flick to hold you over reveiw...)

Hoodwinked isn’t a bad film, nor is it unfunny… there are some great laugh out loud moments at the expense of some of the characters such as the Austrian actor turned woodsman, the diabolical rabbit (a nod to "Monty Python And The Holy Grail?") and many of the blundering animal police men. But just as I’ve said before, "Hoodwinked" feels tired and already played out. There are a few salutes, tributes and just plain satires of classic and vintage movies scattered through out… but when the movie ended and there was a door open for there to be sequels or even a whole "Hoodwinked" franchise… I can’t say that I was excited...

"Hope And Glory" - As the barriers and morals of life fall away between the sexes, the quiet evenings are pierced with air-raid sirens and falling bombs that are shattering buildings and landmarks, we're allowed in to the lives of these very real people. We, as the audience, experience their hardships and see them brought closer together by the chaos and impending doom. At times it seems that the best thing that ever happened to these people and their relationships is the war due to the way they're forced to rethink what's really important in life. Read More...

I rediscovered "The Journey Of Natty Gann" this past holiday season craving a classic. I wanted a movie that had a plot that had depth, some witty dialog, and maybe a high body count on the Nazi’s side. Going through the movie isle at the nearest mega-shopping plaza, I grabbed Natty Gann on a whim- I admit openly and freely that I was seduced by another pretty fedora on the front and back cover.

Resistance Published February 18, 2009 - "The costumes, set design and cinematography all make this movie feel some how "real," like any good period film we feel transported back into that era. It's not a romanticized version of World War II with-in the civilian resistance who wear perfect hero costumes and over-the-top sets. [This is best described as the 'Jello' of World War II intrigue movies. More...

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. "Well, here it is... the movie many of us have waited a long time for... the third and maybe last sequel of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." The actual movie that the title of this column here and on The Indy Experience has referred to: "The Flicks To Hold You Over..." all the others reviews were for movies to "hold you over" until this  was finally made and released. It's a surreal feeling, I'm actually writing the review to this film that makes me feel as if this part of our journey together is at an end."  Read The Rest Of The Review...

Last Man Standing is supposed to be a remake of Akira Kurosawa's samurai classic “Yojimbo”, which I can only assume is correct be cause I’ve never seen it... But what I can say is that there are times when I’ve watched this I’ve thought that maybe the makers of this film had more “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” (but with out any treasure) in mind. That's either ironic, coincdence or , since George Lucas has said on countless occasions on how Kurosawa inspired him in the past (If anything, Star Wars- Episode IV: A New Hope is a remake of Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress”.)

"The Pianist" - There are strong and powerful scenes and exchanges between Szpilman and the German officer that Illustrate the good a man can do when powered by guilt and shame and perhaps in a search for redemption..."

Power, Passion & Murder.” It’s a frustrating, chaotic mess. The best way to describe it would be to imagine a second or third rate film crew following behind a top-notch movie company as they were filming a beautiful period film, and picture a second-rate writing team hammering out the script to correspond with what sets were available with no regard towards the greater narrative...

Red Gold - Just read the book before a studio buys the rights and "dumbs" it down...

Road to Perdition clearly illustrates what all good fathers know, that doing what ever they must do to help their children becomes second nature the day they are born. Children add an extra dimension to the lives of fathers, making their offspring’s well being far more important then their own. Tom Hanks does a brilliant job to portray this concept as his character moves from villainous hit man with heart to the near perfect father struggling for the right words to convey how he loved both son equally but differently.

Snow Falling On Cedars (Revised July 2007) This movie isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it a blockbuster. But Cedars is so perfectly filmed, perfectly catching the life and atmosphere of living up north, capturing the essence of a wintry twilight between afternoon or evening when the snow is knee deep and the roads are impassable. It’s also another “Slice of Life” movie that illustrates what happened in America around the time of World War II and is essential for every Vintage Aficionado and history enthusiast for that period...

"With a title like "Summer Of '42," I would hope that this would at least some attempt at recapturing the feel or the flavor of the era. What was it like to fall in love during the first summer of America's involvement in World War II, what where the living conditions on this vacationer's island, how did these people who were "summering" from other parts of the North-East region cope with food rations and the threat of Nazi subs raiding the island? After "Summer Of '42," you still won't know.

The Untouchables: "... The Untouchables is a fictionalized account of how Elliot Ness and his group of Untouchables were able to bring Chicago’s biggest bootlegger to justice Elliot Ness was assigned to the Chicago area to break the back of the mob and bootleggers during the prohibition era. Once he discovers the greed and corruption within his team, he enlists the help of Malone played with sheer brilliance by Sean Connery. The two recruit George Stone portrayed with utter coolness by Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith as Oscar Wallace, the accounting genius who finds the secondary means of getting at the crime boss Al Capone."

"The World's Fastest Indian," reviewed by Eric 'Renderking' Fisk. "Anthony Hopkins plays the eccentric motorcycle enthusiast and tinkerer Burt Monroe - a man who in real life broke a few records in the late 1960's with a 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle that he modified on his own in a small garage in a small town in New Zealand. While his modified bike is an extraordinary machine capable of going over 200 miles per hour, the real exceptional part of this story is Mr. Monroe's boldness and inability to quit." Read More...

Contemporary Films

Contemporary Movies that became cultural phenomenon's during their original release or provide an opportunity for Fedora Chronicles to comment on the social issues explored in these movies... 

“AI: Artificial Intelligence” Review By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk for The Indy Experience June 18th, 2003 -  Updated for The Fedora Chronicles June 9th, 2009, "A.I. is a modern take on the Pinocchio fable, about as dark and as mature (maybe ADULT would be a better word) as you would expect from a movie that was developed by Stanley Kubrick for 12 years and based on the Brian Aldiss short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long, then finally directed by Steven Spielberg after Mr. Kubrick’s death. [Read More...]

The Big Chill: I make no apologies or try to hide the fact that when I first saw this movie about my parents' generation, I hated it. I loved to loath it and scoff at it. Everything that's wrong about the baby-boomers, Children of The Greatest Generation and the "Age Of Aquarius" is jammed packed into an hour and a half of celluloid. But now...

"Captain America – Winter Solder" one of the best superhero movies since "The Avengers" and what will be remembered as the "Empire Strikes Back" of the franchise.

"For Your Eyes Only" Review of The Best Roger Moore James Bond film. Period.

The Omen... enough said.

David Lynch's DUNE: ... I have fond memories of just reading the book, seeing the movie and being asked what was it about. My friends and acquaintances were debating about what the book themes and if they were metaphors for our time, then admitting to the fact that finally the cinematic version was just eye candy for fans of the book. Since then it's become a cult-classic and Eighties Nostalgia.

“Bridge to Terabithia,”   review by Eric "Renderking" Fisk - "Bridge To Terabithia" takes you to a place in all of our imaginations, and then further into the depths of your very soul just before it rips your heart out with it's bitter-sweet ending. This is a wonderful movie that handles heavy concepts in a not too heavy handed way. Mostly, "Terabithia" is about those awkward early teen years when you're almost old enough to understand love and mutual attraction, not quite old enough to stop playing make-believe. It's also about making quantum jumps into adulthood while facing the bitter realities of life before you're actually ready.

"Thirty Years Later: How Come There Hasn’t Been A Movie As Good As The Empire Strikes Back Yet?" Eric Renderking Fisk - May 23rd, 2010" Thirty years ago I was 10 going on 11 and the world was abuzz with the follow-up to George Lucas’ original Star Wars. As a fan of the genre in general and the first motion picture specifically, I was in heaven with reminders everywhere from magazines, posters and television commercials. Even the local paper had a story about the significance of the sequel to what was then the highest grossing film of all time. In the months of May, June, July and most of August, this film owned the hearts and minds of children and adults. George Lucas had captured the imagination of an entire nation, if not the world. Again. [Continued...]

"Godzilla" (2014) Eric Renderking Fisk reviews Godzilla, perhaps the best monster movie of it’s kind – surpassing the original with decent cautionary tale and thoughtful moral questions.

"Moon" - Science Fiction is at its best when it takes normal people like you and I and puts them in extraordinary circumstances and teaches something about ourselves. To the movie studios I ask - Give us space adventures, but also allow them the opportunity to make us think. Give us more "Moon."

The Phantom Menace - The Tenth Anniversary: The question remains: was this movie worth all of the hype? Or was the fans criticism too much and over the top?

Romancing The Stone - Out of all the movies made to cash in on the Indiana Jones phenomenon after "Raiders of the Lost Ark," there’s really only one that wasn’t awful. In fact it was quite memorable and remarkable in its own right. ...It’s kind of funny, seeing how “Romancing The Stone” was homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, while Raiders was homage to Republic serials and other films such as David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” and John Huston’s “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” The original source material was good, but somehow these movies just make it better.

Saturday Night Fever: A commentator might be able to look at this movie, point to it and say that this was a major step in society's down-fall. It's hard to fight that argument when too many under-aged children saw the film and started acting out what they saw in school and at summer camp... But I digress.

The Latest: Saturn3: At the end of my review of "Frankenstein," I mentioned a short list of movies or books that are essentially nothing more then recycling of Mary Shelly's original work. "Jurassic Park," "Blade Runner," the recently re-imaged "Battlestar Galactica" (humans created the first Cylons), Edward Scissorhands, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," Frank Herbert's "DUNE," and even the now obscure "Saturn 3" starting Kirk Douglas, Farah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel. Are all, in retrospect, variations on the same theme if not out-right remakes. [Continue...]

"Star Trek" (2009) The name says it all. Thank Paramount this is a good "Reboot."

"Superman Returns..." - "Even if you can fly faster then a speeding bullet and infinitely more powerful then a locomotive, what's the point when it seems at times the world either says it doesn't want or need you any more if it isn't outright against you? There are times when I felt that I was watching the kind of movie they only dared to make in the 1940's and early 1950's, one of the best ways to describe "Superman Returns" is to place "Casablanca" or "Key Largo" into the comic book universe. In essence, that's exactly what this is..."

In Signs, M. Night Shyamalan picks up the mantle of making pure Pop Corn movies, a mantle that seems to have been handed down to him by Steven Spielberg, who -  as we all know by now - has moved on to make more serious movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List. In the event that there is a script co-written by M. Night Shyamalan still floating around for the next Indiana Jones movie… I hope it gets made before it’s too late. Signs proves he has the talent to get it done.

"The Wrath Of Khan" - Both Wrath of Khan and Raiders of the Lost Ark represent a better time for Paramount, a brief hey-day that would later prove to be one of the most successful periods of the Studio’s history.

War Of The Worlds: With "War Of The Worlds," Mr. Spielberg was going back to his home turf and getting his "A-Game" back on while making an updated yet loyal adaptation of H.G. Wells’ book! Its a rabid Fan-boy’s dream come true, isn’t it? The results were both fantastic and disappointing… it’s a road movie, it’s a family drama, and it’s a disaster flick. It's not his best..."

2001: A Space Odyssey is of course a story about a journey, but not of one man’s trip such as Odysseus’s.  2001 is about the progression of the human race and three progressive stages of development, each portrayal demonstrates the various beginnings of each phase: Cavemen discovering the use of tools, Man's exploration and exploitation of Space, One man's journey through "The Star Gate" and finally as a new born "infant" as a symbol of the very beginning of the next phase of evolution.