After his four high school films as a director, John Hughes moved on to four family friendly films – the last of which is the strangest: “Curly Sue” (1991). On one level, this is another easy-to-like yarn about family and friendships. Chicago has never looked better in a Hughes film, as cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball showcases both halves: the glitzy side and the seedy side. The latter half is still appealing because it features our lovable, homeless title kid (Alisan Porter) and the surprisingly principled dad (Jim Belushi as Bill Dancer) who devises small-time cons to get their next meal.
With “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) – his spiritual (pun intended) sequel to 2018’s “The Haunting of Hill House” — Mike Flanagan continues to solidify his status as a horror auteur tapped into the tragic beauty afforded by the genre. A damp, dark-haired, white-dressed, hidden-faced woman in a Flanagan work is more than a scary ghost: She symbolizes the bittersweet tragedy of a forgotten past. (SPOILERS FOLLOW.)
Blade Runner 2049” (2017) is largely an exercise in returning to the world of “Blade Runner” rather than significantly expanding the narrative. No surprise then that the three short prequel films – which can be found on YouTube – have the same philosophy. Narratively, the more things change, the more they stay the same in the “BR” world: Nexus designations may change, the conflict between humans and replicants may flare and fizzle, but the problems remain.
Riptide” (1998) is one of the few Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child books to not feature characters who appear elsewhere, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Featuring coastal Maine (where Preston makes his home for part of the year), “Riptide” is an early P&C blend of medical mystery, geographical oddities, history lesson, codebreaking and treasure hunt.
Chronicle” (2012) is the only “found-footage” superhero movie, and it’s cool that it makes the attempt, but I can’t help but think it would’ve been better without the conceit. In “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), which popularized the style, kids document an investigation with a camera. In writer Max Landis’ and director Josh Trank’s “Chronicle,” I get the sense that Andrew (Dane DeHaan) and Casey (Ashley Hinshaw) videotape things because we wouldn’t have a movie otherwise.
Not all October premieres have to be scary – although a lot of them are (see later in this post) – so let’s start off this look at first episodes of new streaming shows with “Emily in Paris” (Netflix). Well, I shouldn’t say it’s not at all scary. The story of Chicagoan Emily’s relocation to Paris for her job emphasizes her outsider status and loneliness even though she always puts on her delightfully Lily Collins face.
From Sept. 18-Oct. 16, we’re looking back at the nine films of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. Wrapping it up is the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” remake (2010):
In the February 2000 “X-Files” episode “Sein Und Zeit,” a man questioned by Mulder and Scully narrows down the timeframe of a crime by the TV show he was watching: “I never heard of it before. It was good,” the man says. In an example of Chris Carter’s heavy-handed joke-making and cockiness, the show within the show is his own “Harsh Realm,” which had been canceled by Fox in Fall 1999 after three episodes. (The remaining six aired in 2000 on FX.)
From Sept. 18-Oct. 16, we’re looking back at the nine films of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. Next up is the eighth movie, “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003):
John Candy wraps up his trilogy of starring roles in John Hughes movies – following “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “The Great Outdoors” – with the one where he’s asked to do the most heavy lifting. He’s not armed with an A-list co-star or a riotous screenplay in “Uncle Buck” (1989). In the seventh of the eight films where writer Hughes also directs, Candy’s title character finds his sweet bachelor lifestyle (betting at the track, a bowling league, no steady job) is not so cool anymore now that he’s 40.