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Searching for Silent Treasure on Paramount Plus

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 20, 2022

We signed up for Paramount Plus to watch Star Trek, which is probably why most people subscribe to the streaming service, but it has turned out to be a very interesting opportunity to watch classic movies that don't necessarily appear on other streamers. Classic movie fans still mourning the loss of read more

Five Favorite Films: Claude Rains Villains

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Aug 25, 2022

With his distinctive English voice and intensely intelligent manner, Claude Rains made himself at home in a wide variety of memorable roles, although he was more often the heavy or a supporting character instead of a leading man. Born in London in 1889, the actor grew up in the English theater scene read more

LEGO Star Wars: Be My BBY

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jun 1, 2022

People who know me in real life or who read this blog frequently already know that I love combining my passions for LEGO and movies. As a Gen Xer I have a particular soft spot for the original Star Wars trilogy, and of course I love Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and read more

The What-If Alternate Timeline of CRUELLA (2021)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Apr 28, 2022

When it first arrived, Disney's 2021 reboot of the various films based on 101 Dalmatians was widely discussed as yet another "prequel" to a well-known Disney property, but in order to appreciate Cruella fully you have to stop thinking about it as a prequel and instead consider it as an alternate tim read more

Classic Movie Duos: Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Apr 10, 2022

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant only made four movies together, but each one is worth watching for the formidable duo and the ways in which they are markedly different from one another. Two of their collaborations, Bringing Up Baby (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940), are highly regarded and m read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Mar 7, 2022

Although the story really comes from H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Roger Corman's The Haunted Palace (1963) bills itself as one of the director's Edgar Allan Poe films and features all of the familiar trappings of those Gothic horror tales. Vincent Price is, as usual, in the lead read more

Trek Noir: Out of the Past in Deep Space Nine's "Necessary Evil"

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 16, 2022

Note: This post contains plot spoilers for the Deep Space Nine episode, "Necessary Evil"  I'm currently making my way through the entirety of the Star Trek TV series, Deep Space Nine, which I never got to watch regularly during its first run, and so far it has been a richly rewarding experience read more

Making the News with The Muppets

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 23, 2022

 Some years ago my dear friend and fellow popular culture scholar Anissa Graham and I co-edited two books about the works of Jim Henson. They're essay anthologies featuring scholarly discussions by a wide variety of authors, including us, and they were a lot of fun to create. Both of the books read more

Fantastic at 50: Classic Movie Actresses

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 20, 2022

Earlier this month I celebrated my 50th birthday, one of those milestone events that feels important even if the pandemic kept me from doing much to mark the occasion. Several years ago, when I was 42, I wrote a post about 42 year old classic movie actresses and the films they made at that age, so t read more

2021 Movie Log in Review

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 10, 2022

It's that time again, when I post my my movie log in review for the previous year and reflect on another year's worth of movie watching. 2021 continued to be dominated by the pandemic, which affected my movie viewing in several ways. I saw exactly one new release in an actual theater in 2021, and th read more

LEGO Green Man

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 15, 2021

Here's another one of those moments where my literary, cinematic, and LEGO obsessions collide. In August I watched The Green Knight (2021), a modern revision of the iconic chivalric romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a story I've loved since I first read it as a student and then taught many t read more

Five Favorite Films: Christmas Movies

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 9, 2021

Every Christmas brings new holiday movies, especially with streaming services like Netflix cooking up batches of them like trays of cinematic sugar cookies, but the classics are those we return to year after year. They become beloved traditions in many families, and ours is no different. I know ther read more

Five Favorite Films: Marvel Movies

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Nov 18, 2021

Recently I've seen both of the newest MCU movies, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) and The Eternals (2021), and that inspired me to reflect on the MCU pictures as a group and my favorites among them. There are already more than 25 movies to choose from, not including the Disney Plus read more

Killing Bill: Female Vengeance in THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE (1962)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 25, 2021

Long before Uma Thurman's relentless Bride swore to kill Bill in the Quentin Tarantino movies, Jan in the Pan killed her own treacherous Bill in the low-budget horror classic, The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962). Despite its B-horror status and sleazy male gaze, The Brain That Wouldn't Die turns out read more

Five Favorite Directors: Classic Horror

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 18, 2021

Even people who don't care for classic horror movies have probably heard of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price, but behind every horror classic there's also a director asking for heavier fog, more menacing closeups, and louder screams. Alfred Hitchcock, although not primarily a horror dir read more

Five Favorite Films: Halloween Treats

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 8, 2021

Halloween is my favorite holiday, even though I'm too old for trick-or-treating and don't have a little one now to take around the neighborhood. It's an especially good time of year to revisit the movie monsters and film phantoms of Golden Age Hollywood, but there's a lot more to enjoy than the obvi read more

Five Favorite Films: Bette Davis

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 20, 2021

It's really difficult for me to pick only five films for Bette Davis. She's one of my favorite stars, and her career spanned decades, with juicy, memorable roles from her early years right up to her death in 1989 at the age of 81. She was nominated for 11 Best Actress Oscars and won twice, first for read more

Five Favorite Films: Val Lewton

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 16, 2021

I wouldn't normally think about making a five favorite films list for a producer, but Val Lewton is special. Born Vladimir Leventon in what is now Ukraine, Lewton headed the horror unit for RKO in the 1940s and made brilliant, moody horror pictures on shoestring budgets. He eschewed gimmicks and gor read more

Five Favorite Films: Leslie Howard

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 9, 2021

English actor Leslie Howard is best remembered today for his role as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind (1939), but Howard himself was not a fan of the part or his own casting in it. He said of the role, "I hate the damn part. I'm not nearly beautiful or young enough for Ashley, and it makes me sic read more

A Tallulah Tribute in CRUELLA (2021)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 7, 2021

We finally got to watch Disney's latest entry in the live action treatments of 101 Dalmatians characters, which this time moves the focus off the dogs entirely and charts the early misadventures of its title anti-heroine, Cruella de Vil. Early reviews of Cruella (2021) were mixed enough that we chos read more
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