Four

Stage Fright, written by Whitfield Cook, Alma Reville, James Bridie and Ranald MacDougall, based on a novel by Selwyn Jepson, starring Jane Wyman (Eve Gill), Marlene Dietrich (Charlotte Inwood), Michael Wilding (“Ordinary” Smith), Richard Todd (Jonathan Cooper), Alastair Sim (Commodore Gill), Sybil Thorndike (Mrs. Gill) and Kay Walsh (Nellie Goode) (1950): One of Hitchcock’s lesser-known efforts is enjoyable but a bit overlong and draggy. Jane Wyman tries to save ex-boyfriend Richard Todd from being arrested for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Shenanigans ensue. The cast — especially Marlene Dietrich and Alastair “Scrooge” Sim — is topnotch. Lightly recommended.

White Heat, written by Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts and Virginia Kellogg, directed by Raoul Walsh, starring James Cagney (Cody Jarrett), Virginia Mayo (Verna Jarrett), Edmond O’Brien (Hank Fallon) and Margaret Wycherly (Ma Jarrett) (1949): Classic gangster flick pits undercover cop O’Brien against crazy con James Cagney. And boy, does Cagney’s character have mother issues! Some scenes play out like CSI: 1949, as the FBI uses the latest in high-tech tracking devices and crime-solving techniques to find the criminals before they pull off their next big heist. A lot of fun, with great performances by Cagney, O’Brien and Virginia Mayo. Look, Ma, top of the world! Highly recommended.

The Green Hornet, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, based on characters created by George W. Trendle, directed by Michel Gondry, starring Seth Rogen (Britt Reid/The Green Hornet), Jay Chou (Kato), Cameron Diaz (Lenore Case), Tom Wilkinson (James Reid) and Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky) (2011): Well, I laughed a lot, and I don’t give a shit about the original radio-series Green Hornet, so any blasphemies committed upon it by the filmmakers didn’t irk me. Seth Rogen makes an unlikely masked hero, but that’s sorta the point. Lightly recommended.

30 Days of Night: Dark Days, adapted by Steve Niles and Ben Ketai from the comic book by Niles and Ben Templesmith, directed by Ben Ketai, starring Kiele Sanchez (Stella), Rhys Coiro (Paul), Diora Brand (Amber), Harold Perrineau (Todd), Mia Kirshner (Lilith), Troy Ruptash (Agent Morris) and Ben Cotton (Dane) (2010): This straight-to-DVD sequel to 30 Days of Night contains no original cast members. Good on them. The world’s stupidest vampire hunters take on the world’s stupidest vampires in Los Angeles. Something’s gotta give! The movie may set the record for most aerial shots of L.A. in one movie, or at least in one vampire movie. Mia Kirshner looks sorta cool as vampire-queen Lilith. Not recommended.

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