Fire!!

Don’t snub the Snub!

He’s not Keaton or Chaplin, but Australian-born silent film comedian “Snub” Pollard, born Harold Hopetown Fraser, had a pretty dang impressive career.

Pumping out films like mad, he left 600+ credits on IMDB — many of which, unfortunately, have been lost to the passage of time.

One which endures is this fast ‘n frantic tale of a house detective turned fire inspector who creates havoc at a hotel.

Snub is hot on the heels of winsome Gladys Harvey, who appears to have retired after this film, and out to get in as much trouble as possible.

 

The Contender

Ahead of its time.

Here in 2021 we have a female U.S. Vice President, but back in 2000, when Prez Jeff Bridges nominates Joan Allen to replace his VP, who just died in office, it creates huge tremors.

Washington, D.C. powerbrokers quickly swing into action on both sides, with the mud-throwing and partisan bickering feeling very familiar in any year.

Shady Senator Gary Oldman threatens to derail Allen’s confirmation, dredging up nasty secrets from the past and setting up a tense showdown.

A solid lil’ thriller and actor’s showcase, anchored by an especially-strong cast, this is political theater with some real zing.

Everything Must Go

Everything is not yet lost.

While Will Ferrell is one of the kings of “go-big-and-get-loud” comedy, he also has some nice dramatic chops, which he shows off in this bittersweet tale of a man plateauing.

An alcoholic on the fast track to divorce and unemployment, he finds a new lease on life while camping in his front yard, half-heartedly selling all of his possessions in a haphazard garage sale.

Hanging out with him is a young neighbor boy and a woman with her own marital issues, and the three make for a terrific low-key trio.

Melancholy and sometimes magical.

 

Brown’s Requiem

Dirty dudes doin’ dirty deeds.

James Ellroy is a master of twisty detective tales, and, if this one isn’t quite to the level of L.A. Confidential, it’s still a good try.

Michael Rooker, appropriately grizzled and haunted by the bottle, is a down-on-his-luck PI, booted from the LAPD, reduced to taking low-rent jobs to keep creditors at bay.

Falling down a rabbit hole lined with slinky dames, crooked cops, and brain-deficient thugs, our rumpled hero works a beat familiar to anyone prone to mainlining noir.

There aren’t many ways out of this sticky situation, and all of them will sting.

Coin Operated

Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages of a curious, adventerous young boy intent on launching himself into the great unknown and kissing the stars on the way down.

A clever, beautifully-animated short film about a life-long love of space, as explored through a rickety rocket ship which sits camped outside a local grocery store, it’s a small winner of a film.

In five short minutes director Nicholas Arioli gives us a laugh or two, gently plucks the heartstrings, and tells a complete story.

Job well done.