My Week in Movies: July 21-27

A very light week of both watching and writing, for reasons explained within.

The Dish (2001) Some weeks, you’re devouring movies like they’re discontinued Twinkies, while others, a mix of a busy schedule and a raging toothache you can’t shake means all you want to do is veg out with a small handful of comfortable favorites. This week was definitely the latter. Fortunately, it was also time for my late-July revisit with The Dish, which is as comfortable as a comfortable favorite can possibly get.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge of the Creature (1955), and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) If I had to pick one decade, one studio, and one genre? Easy: 1950s Universal sci-fi/horror. (OK, that’s two genres, but it’s my game, so back off.) And the king of 50s Universal was the Gill-man, that evolutionary misstep who just wants to go for a swim and ogle the ladies.

The Shadow (1994) I can’t remember the last time I watched this wobbly effort to bring Lamont Cranston to the screen, but I’m pretty sure Bill Clinton hadn’t yet started his reelection campaign. Turns out The Shadow is both much better and much, much worse than I had remembered. The cast is an impressive all-star lineup, which alone makes the film worth watching if only as a curiosity, while director Russell Mulcahy adds enough sinister comedy to the proceedings to keep things interesting. But it’s also a clunky mess, with uneven tones and bland characters preventing it from being the high adventure it wants so desperately to be.

Licence to Kill (1989) Twenty-four years and several dozen repeat viewings later, I still have no idea why Sanchez needs a televangelist cult as a cover operation.

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