Maitland McDonagh

Do You Know These Movies?

Ask FlickChick A scary TV-movie memory and more movie questions answeredQuestion Years ago when I was very young I remember watching a movie on television that featured a boy who took up residence in a hollowed-out redwood tree All I can remember is how neat I thought that was and Ive always wanted to watch that movie again but have no idea what the title is Could you help jshrewsberry FlickChick It sounds to me as though youre remembering The Enchanted Forest 1945 in which elderly nature-loving recluse John Harry Davenport who lives in a hollow redwood tree finds a baby thats survived a train crash and brings him up in the forest Apparently this film used to be on television all the time but has now dropped out of circulation It has a significant cult following made up both of people who loved it as a child John the hermit can talk to the woodland animals which is the kind of thing I certainly loved when I was kid and of those who appr read more

DVD Tuesday: Reese Witherspoon Takes a Spin in Freeway

Freeway courtesy Republic Pictures

DVD Tuesday Before she was Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon she was a modern-day Red Riding Hood in FreewayOnce upon a time there was an underaged trailer-trash chippie named Vanessa Lutz Witherspoon who hit the road when her mom and stepdad get arrested hoping to crash with her grandma until social services forgets about trying to get her into the system But there are big bad wolves prowling the freeway like serial killer Bob Wolverton Kiefer Sutherland looking suitably lupine Little lost girls bewareWriter-director Matthew Brights modern-day fairy tale Freeway is a blast and Witherspoon is flawless casting as Vanessa Shes so tiny she looks convincingly vulnerable but that little bulldog jaw tells you that shes tougher than she looks and is she ever Bright clearly saw the same steely determination that served Witherspoon so well in the role of Elections 1999 high-school overachiever Tracy Flick but he saw it sooner And I have to say the twists and turns read more

Readers' Movie Questions Answered!

Salvatore Cascio and Philippe Noiret in Cinema Paradiso courtesy Miramax Films

A movie about growing up at the movies she-demons vs holy man a time-travel comedy and moreQuestion I love reading your weekly column and know youll be able to help me I cant remember the name of an Italian movie I saw in the late 1980s or early 90s Its about a boy growing up in a small village he spends a lot of time at the cinema and the man who runs it becomes a father figure to him The church requires that the man cut out any kissing scenes before the movies are shown and the boy is always trying to look at the deleted scenes which the man keeps in a box Lots of stuff I dont remember happens in the middle but the boy grows up and I think he becomes a filmmaker When the old man dies the boy now a man returns to the village and finds that the man spliced together all the kissing scenes to create a movie and left it for him I remember it being a very moving story and would like to share it with my friends but I dont remember the title and I did read more

DVD Tuesday: Walk Hard, Spinal Tap, Mighty Wind

A Mighty Wind courtesy Warner Home Video

DVD Tuesday Walk Hard This Is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind I got the music in me Its the first day of 2008 and Im more than a little surprised that the musical biopic parody Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story is tanking so dismally Make no mistake I think its a flawed comedy but when its cooking its flat-out brilliant And it got me to thinking about one of my favorite music-business send-ups of all time A Mighty Wind 2003I dont inherently love parody especially not the lazy bone-stupid kind of parody epitomized by the sorry likes of the Scary Movie franchise But A Mighty Wind is a worthy successor to the granddaddy of all music-parody pictures the utterly brilliant This Is Spinal Tap 1984 Which should come as no surprise given that A Mighty Winds writer director and multitalented performer Christopher Guests rsum goes back to yes Spinal Tap A Mighty Wind chronicles the staging of a memorial concert in honor of pioneering folk-music impre read more

The Atonement House and More Movie Questions

Saoirse Ronan and James McAvoy in Atonement courtesy Focus Features

The Atonement house mysterious movies and an actor after more than fame Ask FlickChick Question This may sound shallow but after seeing the movie Atonement which I thought was really good and moving the thing I keep thinking about is the house Is it a real place and if so can you tell me anything about it SethFlickChick Tallis House the site of the terrible family betrayal in Atonement is a real house and the filmmakers shot both interiors and exteriors there This is often not the case Crews frequently use the exterior of one place and either build sets for the interiors or shoot them someplace else The house is Stokesay Court which stands on 1000 acres in Shropshire some three hours north of London it was built in 1891 in whats called the Jacobethan style which combined elements of English Renaissance Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture The style is often dismissed as vulgar and ugly in part because it was favored by newly minted mil read more

Is Scorsese a Sellout? And More Questions...

Martin Scorsese by Gary Gershoff/

Martin Scorsese sells out by directing commercials And more movie questionsQuestion Ive heard that Martin Scorsese is doing some kind of liquor commercial overseas but I cant believe it I never thought he would sell out that way or that he needed money so badly Is it true Barbara FlickChick It is true but fortunately Martin Scorseses foray into advertising is nothing like the sorry spectacle of Orson Welles shilling for the wines of Paul Masson Freixenet the Spanish maker of sparkling wines commissioned Scorsese to make a short film that subtly plugged their Carta Nevada Reserva The result the nineminute Key to Reserva part mockumentary and part stunning homage to Alfred Hitchcock It opens with Scorsese whos well known for his work in film preservation explaining to a documentary filmmaker that hes discovered three and a half pages of the script for an unmade Hitchcock thriller Preserving a film that was made is one thing read more

DVD Tuesday: It's a Wonderful Life — Why It's Really Wonderful

It's a Wonderful Life courtesy Paramount

DVD Tuesday Its a Wonderful Life wonderful not sappy Dont groan Im recommending holiday perennial Its a Wonderful Life because I think a lot of people refuse to see it because its picked up a reputation for sentimental uncoolness that it in no way deserves Far from being the epitome of Capra-corn Its a Wonderful Life has an edge that never fails to surprise the unsuspecting In case you dont know the story Born and raised in small-town Bedford Falls George Bailey James Stewart always dreamed of traveling the world but his dream kept taking second place to family responsibilities especially to the savings-and-loan association his father established without Bailey Savings and Loan heartless banker Mr Potter Lionel Barrymore would be the only game in town George married his high-school sweetheart Mary Donna Reed they have more children than they can comfortably afford and a handsome old house that needs repairs beyond their finances Out of fam read more

A Christmas Tearjerker, Alien Slugs and More Movies...

What was that Christmas movie How about the one with alien slugs and moreQuestion I saw a Christmas movie back in the 1980s I dont know who starred in it but its about a dying rich lady in NYC I think who lives in a beautiful apartment and helps the homeless She hires a detective to bring her family a son and two grandchildren back together for one last Christmas If you know the name and if it will be showing this year I would appreciate the info Regards Susan FlickChick Id say youre looking for the made-for-TV movie Christmas Eve 1986 starring Loretta Young as wealthy philanthropic Amanda Kingsley Her son Andrew Arthur Hill not only alienated all three of his children Harley Melissa and Josh Wayne Best Season Hubley and Patrick Cassidy but wants to have his mother declared incompetent so he can gain control of her money Amanda who knows shes dying but is hiding the fact from Andrew hires a private e read more

DVD Tuesday: Felicity's Keri Russell Lights Up Waitress

DVD Tuesday Babies and pie and Keri Russell as a Waitress with a heart of gold and a razor-sharp tongue I dont generally make it my business to recommend movies I merely like rather than love but theres something so sweet and slyly spirited about Waitress that I find myself making an exceptionSmall-town waitress Jenna Keri Russell works at Joes Pie Diner which is where a sweetie-pie like her was bound to wind up Shes kind to persnickety Old Joe Andy Griffith the nightmare patron the other girls do their best to avoid she bucks up mousey Dawn writer-director Adrienne Shelly cracks jokes with Becky Cheryl Hines of TVs Curb Your Enthusiasm and handles cranky boss Cal Lew Temple with no-nonsense aplombJenna isnt a pushover shes got a sharp eye and a sharper tongue Shes just fundamentally decent and looks for the decency in others And she can bake a cherry pie or a spaghetti pie or any other pie you could name and many you couldnt Shes given read more

DVD Tuesday: Laura — Love and Death and Film Noir Chills

DVD Tuesday In love with Laura smart ambitious beautiful the perfect woman except that shes dead I vividly remember the first time I saw Otto Premingers Laura 1944 in which cynical blue-collar detective Mark McPherson Dana Andrews catches the case of self-made socialite Laura Hunt Gene Tierney who was shotgunned in the face when she opened the door to her chic Manhattan apartmentAgainst his better hard-boiled judgment McPherson falls under the dead girls spell seduced by her portrait her letters her record collection the faint lingering hint of her perfume the way she bootstrapped herself from small-town nobody to big-city somebody And then Laura walks through the door blithely unaware that shes dead Laura is of course not dead Laura is a thriller not a ghost story But the moment is a mind-boggler Based on the 1942 novel by Vera Caspary Laura is noir at its most bleakly sleekly menacing and little-girl-lost Laura Hunts tale is read more

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