About Double Feature

Double Feature is the title of a column that I write for the newsletter of Lehigh Pocono Mensa, the local group to which I belong. It gets published monthly in "Magniloquence." I used to belong to Central PA Mensa, so I offer the column to the editor of "Penn Central" and it shows up there pretty regularly.

As the title implies, each Double Feature column features brief reviews of two movies that I have seen. I try to find a connection between the two films - subject matter, stars, awards, etc. - but, since it's my column, I reserve the right to occasionally choose two films that have no connection to each other at all.

The reviews found in the Movies section of this Web site serve as the basis for Double Feature. I try to keep each column somewhere around 500 words (which fills about one page in the newsletter), so I usually have to edit the original reviews to fit into the space allotted.

If you'd like to read the individual reviews for the films mentioned in Double Feature, you can do so here.

The rating scales are a little different. The conversion chart is as follows:

  • **** = Loved it
  • *** = Liked it
  • ** = Ehhh, it was OK
  • * = Hated it

Current Column

July 2021 - You know that cinema chains hope this summer will be much different that last summer. Along with over-priced popcorn and soda, characters from both the Marvel and DC Comics universes may help draw moviegoers back into seats that have been empty for too long. Here are a couple of big-screen heroes who once thrilled audiences.

In 2010, a high school student named Dave teamed up with a daddy-daughter duo to take down a drug dealer. The R-rated Kick-Ass stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicolas Cage, and Chloe Moretz.

Taylor-Johnson plays Dave, a teen who likes comic books. He also likes girls - if only they would notice him. One day, Dave decides that he could be a superhero. He orders a costume and sets out to do good deeds under the name Kick-Ass. For his trouble, he gets stabbed, gets run over, and gets on the bad side of a big-time drug dealer.

He also catches the attention of a father and daughter (Cage and Moretz) who masquerade as Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Big Daddy has trained Hit Girl to be a lethal weapon in his plan to get revenge against the aforementioned drug dealer. Hit Girl is good but, in the end, even she needs some help from Kick-Ass to kick bad guy ass.

Overall review: Liked it. Hit Girl does what a lot of women probably wish they could do and she does it with flair, with pleasure and without any regrets. She's a pint-sized Rambo in a purple wig. Hit Girl is my hero.

In 2004, The Incredibles was a big hit with both audiences and Oscar voters. This PG-rated animated film from Pixar features the voices of Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter.

The movie opens with Bob Parr (v.o. Nelson) driving in his car. He hears trouble on the police scanner and decides to help. Next thing you know, Parr transforms into a superhero called Mr. Incredible. He saves the day, with some help from Elastigirl (Hunter) and gets to the church on time - for his wedding to Helen, who just happens to be Elastigirl.

But, in saving the day, Mr. Incredible did some damage. So, the government forces all superheroes into something like the witness protection program and orders them to keep their secret identities under wraps.

Fast-forward 15 years and three kids later, a mysterious offer comes Bob's way. He's paid handsomely for stopping an out-of-control robot on an island research facility. Soon, Mr. Incredible is called back to the island. This time, however, he's a target. Things look bad for Mr. Incredible until Helen gets wind of what's really going on. Then, it's Elastigirl and children Dash and Violet to the rescue of Dad... and the world.

Overall rating: Loved it! A fabulous movie! Good story, good voices, excellent animation, attention to detail (after 15 years, Mr. Incredible has put on some weight!), a moral message. The Incredibles is incredible!

All Columns

"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." »» Roger Ebert