Queued in Fridays: Fantômas I – In the Shadow of the Guillotine

FantomasI was hoping to have a greater variety of movies after the first four entries in this series were all silent films. I have nothing against that era. Some of my favorite movies were made during that time. But part of the appeal of this series was the random nature of it. One week I could be talking about a silent film, the next a 2002 thriller, and the next a 1972 romantic comedy. That really appealed to me and still does. Sadly, the randomness can also cause repetition. I cheated a couple weeks ago and skipped a few silents that were technically up next just so I could talk about something a little different. I decided not to do that this week and get back to the original intention of this whole thing: to watch the movies in the queue in whatever order they happen to be in. Because of that, another silent it is this week.
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Mini-Review Monday: Coach Carter

Coach CarterRelease: January 14, 2005

Story: Based off the real life story of California’s Richmond High School’s undefeated basketball team that was benched by its coach, Ken Carter, due to poor academic grades, Coach Carter follows the introduction of Carter (played by Samuel L. Jackson) to the team as their new coach as he implements his rigorous practices (the team is losing most games at this point) and his emphasis on good performances in school as well as on the court. The team itself (occupied by actors like Rob Brown, Channing Tatum, and Rick Gonzalez) is initially hesitate to except Carter and his ideas. The school has a terrible success rate and is situated in a neighborhood that often encourages illegal dealings over aspirations to go to college and be legitimately successful. There’s also the high school principal (played by Denise Dowse) and the group of team parents who often doubt the coach’s methods. So Carter has a lot to fight against. But can he get through to everyone and show them the potential he knows these young men possess.

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Mini-Review Monday: Blues Brothers 2000

Blues Brothers 2000Release: February 16, 1998

Story: It’s been 18 years since Jake and Elwood caused havoc across Chicago as they attempted to raise $5,000 to save their childhood orphanage. Jake has now passed on, the orphanage has been torn down, the brothers’ father figure at the orphanage (Curtis, played by Cab Calloway, who introduced them to the blues) has died, as well. Lost and without a purpose, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) wants to bring the band back together and go on a musical tour, ending in New Orleans at a battle of the bands. Unfortunately, he has to drag along Buster (played by J. Evan Bonifant), a trouble making kid who Elwood has to mentor. On the band’s tail this time are angry and violent Russian mobsters, white supremacists, and the Illinois State Police led by Curtis’s illegitimate son played by Joe Morton. Joining are heroes are many familiar faces from the first movie: the band, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Frank Oz, and Mother Mary (Kathleen Freeman). There are also many other legendary musicians (such as the late B.B. King) who drop in – the battle of the bands is filled with more topnotch musicians than you’re likely to see gather in one place. Continue reading