War of the Worlds (2005) – Here’s a great example of how a second viewing can change your perceptions. The first time around on this one, I was awed by the images. This time, I realized how thin the human story is. It seemed that Spielberg didn’t know how to resolve the dynamic between Tom Cruise and his son, so he just removed the son from a large chunk of the movie, and then dropped him back in at the end. I still love the visual artistry of this film, but love the movie a wee bit less.
House of Wax (1953) – Starring the King, Vincent Price. I saw this when I was a kid, and it scared the shit out of me. It’s still a pretty well crafted little movie. The scene where Price pursues Phyllis Kirk through the streets (below) is marvelous. It clocks in at less than 90 minutes, so there’s no fluff here. I recommend it as a good Friday night “popcorn” rental.