Released: May 24, 1979
DAWN OF THE DEAD
UFDC / 127 minutes / Directed by: George A. Romero
Zombies took to the shopping mall in this classic from director George A. Romero when a group of survivors take refuge in one.
What the survivors didn’t know is that they weren’t being hunted, no. The zombies just wanted to spend their paychecks, pick up a few things maybe grab a brain at the food court. The survivors just over-reacted. Zombies need to shop too you know. At least that’s my wacky holiday weekend interpretation of it.
The movie had it’s US debut in 1979, but screened in Italy in 1978.
I also want to add the Zack Snyder remake for this is decent as well.
Released: May 23, 1950
THE ASPHALT JUNGLE
MGM / 112 minutes / Directed by: John Huston
This classic Film Noir revolving around a successful heist that is plagued by bad luck and double crosses after the fact is one of the best in the caper genre (second only to Kubrick’s THE KILLING - both feature Sterling Hayden). There’s no messing around in this movie, the heist is pure business especially to the mastermind played by Sam Jaffe.
This movie also features a brief appearance by Marilyn Monroe.
Released: May 22, 1992
20th Century Fox / 114 minutes / Directed by: David Fincher
Ripley’s third encounter with the nasty acid bleeding Aliens opened today in 1992.
The film had plenty of hiccups during production. First Renny Harlin quit to direct DIE HARD 2 (and on commentary track for the Scream Factory PRISON Blu-ray he mentions that he was reticent about directing another movie where convicts were the heroes as it is difficult to make them audience friendly), then Vincent Ward came on board only to be fired months later. David Fincher walked out of the production during the editing stage citing constant studio interference, and has since disowned the film.
It is a flawed movie, but not nearly as much as the Fourth film - ALIEN: RESURRECTION - as well as the awful ALIEN VS. PREDATOR follow-ups.
Released: May 20, 1980
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
(a.k.a. STAR WARS - EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK)
20th Century Fox - Lucasfilm / 124 minutes / Directed by: Irvin Kershner
I think that many movie fans - especially of a certain generation - can claim that today in 1980 was a red-letter day as the much anticipated sequel to STAR WARS was released. It even managed to be something nobody could probably have imagined, superior to the original in so many ways.
It introduced us to Boba Fett (well ok the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL can kind of claim that), the battle on Hoth, Yoda, AT-AT Walkers and that all-important spoiler line that thanks to no Internet shook fans to their very core.
I also have found that composer more than improved upon his work on the original movie and brought us the now iconic THE IMPERIAL MARCH which made its debut in EMPIRE.
EMPIRE is a movie that deserves all the adoration one can heap on it. As a Sci-Fi epic, its adult themes mesh well with the fantasy setting and creatures inhabiting Lucas’ galaxy far, far away from a long time ago.
The force will always be with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Released: May 20, 1988
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Lucasfilm / PG / 126 minutes / Directed by: Ron Howard
“Adventure doesn’t come any bigger than this.”
Director Ron Howard and Producer George Lucas teamed up for this 1988 fantasy adventure starring Warwick Davis as the reluctant protector of a baby from an evil Queen (Jean Marsh) seeking to destroy it because of a prophecy. He gets some help from swordsman Val Kilmer who behind the scenes met his future wife Joanne Whalley.
This was just recently released on Blu-ray Disc, and I have to add that the score from James Horner is one of his best works.
Released: May 19, 1958
ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN
Allied Artists / 65 minutes / Directed by: Nathan Juran
A unhappily married woman (Allison Hayes) has a bizarre encounter with a UFO that causes her to grow larger than life, and decides to use her new found height to get revenge on her cheating-sponge husband.
The effects are pretty great in this.
Released: May 17, 1950
IN A LONELY PLACE
Columbia Pictures / 94 minutes / Directed by: Nicholas Ray
Director Nicholas Rey (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE) directs Humphrey Bogart in one of his best performances as a volatile screenwriter who may or may not be a murderer. He begins a tempestuous relationship with a neighbor (Gloria Grahame) who provides the alibi that gets him cleared, but she begins to harbor doubts about his guilt.
Bogart is truly at his best with a violent temper and mood swings that has you liking him one moment and suspecting him the next.
Released: May 16, 2008
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN
Walt Disney - Walden Media / 150 minutes / Directed by: Andrew Adamson
It was today in 2008 that the second in the series of NARNIA movies was released. So far there have only been 3, and this would be the final one released by Disney before Fox took over the reigns with THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER.
This series has struggled in the shadow of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and now THE HOBBIT series of films, but this was a solid movie that deserves a second look.
The score by Harry-Gregson Williams for both this and THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE are outstanding.
Released: May 15, 1968
Columbia / 95 minutes / Directed by: Frank Perry
Burt Lancaster is Ned Merrill who while visiting a friends pool notices that every back yard has a pool, and he starts upon a journey swimming in each one with the intention of ending up at home, stopping to chat with the neighbors along the way.
This is a fascinating and profound movie that gets high marks from anyone who has had the pleasure to see it.
It was on DVD once upon a time, but I believe that is out of print. Here’s hoping for a Blu-ray Disc release.
Released: May 13, 1942
THIS GUN FOR HIRE
Paramount Pictures (rights now owned by Universal) / 81 minutes / Directed by: Frank Tuttle
This is the first of seven screen pairings of Alan Ladd with Veronica Lake.
This Film Noir based on a novel by Graham Greene has Ladd as a contract killer who unwittingly gets mixed up with foreign spies, and ends up in an alliance with Lake who is working for a Senate Committee investigating it.