A LAWLESS STREET (director: Joseph H Lewis; screenwriter: Kenneth Gamet; cinematographer: Ray Rennahan; editor: Gene Havlick; cast: Randolph Scott, Angela Lansbury, Warner Anderson, Michael Pate, John Emery, Wallace Ford; Runtime: 78; Producers-Actors Corporation; 1955)

A better than average low-budget Western, directed with much gusto. Scott is the dedicated lawman whose sense of duty goes beyond any personal benefits to be derived from the job. He has lost his wife (Lansbury) because of his job, but remains determined to rid the town of its dangerous gunmen (Anderson and Emery). The film works on many levels, but it is the stoic Scott who gives it life. GRADE: B



A MAN LIKE EVA (director/writer: Radu Gabrea; screenwriter: Laurens Straub; cinematographer: Horst Schier; editor: Dragos-Emmanuel Witlowski; music: Lock Dikker; cast: Eva Mattes (Eva), Lisa Kreuzer (Gudrun), Werner Stocker (Walter), Charles Regnier (Yvonne), Charles M. Huber (Ali), Carola Regnier (Else); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Laurens Straub; Promovision International; 1984-W.German-in German with English subtitles)

Fassbinder, the innovative German director, is played fittingly by a woman. The movie relates to his psychosexual drives; it lets us in on why he was so revered and loathed up until his suicide in the late '70s. A good part of the film is devoted to his power trips and bisexuality. Perhaps, we know a little more from this film about what made him tick as a director. GRADE: B+



A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (director: Elia Kazan; screenwriters: Oscar Saul/from the play by Tennessee Williams; cinematographer: Harry Stradling; editor: David Weisbart; music: Alex North; cast: Vivien Leigh (Blanche Dubois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski), Karl Malden (Harold "Mitch" Mitchell); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Charles K. Feldman; Warner Brothers; 1951)

Brando at his height in Method acting. He scratches and stammers, and calls out to Stella in this Tennessee Williams shocker of rape and futility in New Orleans. This film is actually much tamer than it appears. It is still an above average drama, but much better suited for the theater. GRADE: B



A WALK WITH LOVE AND DEATH (director: John Huston; screenwriters: Hans Koningsberger/Dale Wasserman; cinematographer: Ted Scaife; editor: Russell Lloyd; cast: Anjelica Huston (Claudia), Assaf Dayan (Heron of Foix), John Hallam (Sir Meles), Anthony Nicholis (Father Superior), Anthony Corlan (Robert), George Murcell (Captain); Runtime: 90; Twentieth-Century Fox; 1969) ... Reviewed on 7/15/2001.

An absolutely dreadful curiosity film directed by John Huston. His daughter Anjelica makes her acting debut. France is in strife because of the Hundred Years War. It is used as a modern parable for the civil unrest in the 1960s. A young Paris university student (Assaf) leaves to walk to the sea, as he yearns for freedom. He meets Lady Claudia (Anjelica ) on the way, and changes directions because he has taken shelter in her love. He tries to stay out of the killings between peasants and nobles, but the war effects everyone. The film is done in because the young leads are not up to the task, especially Assaf -- he was unappealing. Also, the director didn't seem to have his heart in this project, it felt awkward at all times. It was just a pretty film to look at and the medieval music was appropriate, otherwise it was a moralizing drag. GRADE: D



A WOMAN IN FLAMES (director/writer/producer: Robert Van Ackerman; screenwriter: Catharina Zwerenz; cinematographer: Jürgen Jürges; editor: Tanja Schmidbauer; music: Peer Raben; cast: Gudrun Landgrebe (Eva), Mathieu Carriere (Chris), Gabriele Lafari (Yvonne), Hanns Zischler (Kurt), Matthias Fuchs (Markus); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; Libra Cinema 5: 1983-West Germany-in German with English subtitles)

The dubbing was atrocious. The story was ludicrous. The emotional impact of the film was about as flat as a pancake. The film's only saving grace is sexy Gudrun's performance as a wealthy housewife in a hateful marriage. At a dinner party, she has a glass of wine and then leaves her hubby for the life of a high-class prostitute. She falls for a male hustler (Carriere). The film compares the new German middle-class to the prostitute's lifestyle, as each of them do what they think money can do for them. GRADE: C



A WOMAN IS A WOMAN (UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME) (director/writer:Jean-Luc Godard; cinematography: Raoul Coutard; editor: Agnes Guillemot; cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo (Alfred Lubitsch), Jean-Claude Brialy (Emile Recamier), Anna Karina (Angela), Ernest Menzer (Bar Owner); Runtime: 84; Rome-Paris; 1961-France)

A snappy musical from French New Wave director Godard; there's nothing groundbreaking or particularly intellectual about this frolicsome romp. It pays homage to the Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse type of Hollywood '50s musical. It is Godard's first venture into making a Technicolor movie.The thin plot has the nightclub exotic dancer, Anna Karina, who was in actuality married to Godard at the time, telling her practical-minded boyfriend Brialy that she wants to get pregnant by him. When he refuses she flirts with Brialy's bestfriend Belmondo, and makes the same request of him. It is lighthearted, somewhat appealing, but mostly meaningless fare. It's noted for being one of the straightest of Godard's films. GRADE: C-



ABSOLUTE QUIET (director: George B. Seitz; screenwriter: Harry Clork/story by George F. Worts; cinematographer; Lester White; editor: Conrad A. Nervig; cast: Lionel Atwill (G.A. Axton), Stuart Erwin (Chubby Rudd), Wallace Ford (Jack), J. Carrol Naish (Pedro), Louis Hayward (Gregory Bengard), Irene Hervey (Laura Tait), Ann Loring (Zelda Tadema), Bernardine Hayes (Judy); Runtime: 71; MGM; 1936)

A dated programmer about a couple of former vaudeville players wanted for murder, who are holding a New Mexico ranch owner as a hostage. They don't make them anymore as badly scripted as this one, or do they! A fine cast is stuck with this implausible tale. Atwill, a wealthy NY financier, is sent by his doctor to get rest and quiet for his big city stress in this remote spot. But, along with the hostage takers, a plane crashes with some of his recent enemies on it who wind up on his ranch. Aboard the crashed plane is an actress who rejected him in the city, the incompetent governor who double-crossed him, and a newspaper guy just writing a story. My favorite line is from the gun moll, Bernardine Hayes, which is delivered in a heavy New York nasal accent and directed toward the attractive Irene Hervey, the boss's married secretary, whom the boss tricked into keeping him company at the ranch: "Ok, Toots, relax!" The inept murderers hold the plane's surviving passengers hostage, as Atwill plays games with all of them proving that he's more dangerous than the gunmen. GRADE: C-



ACCUSED,THE (director: William Dieterle; screenwriter: Ketti Frings/from the novel "Be still, My love" by June Truesdale; cinematographer: Milton Krasner; editor: Warren Low; cast: Loretta Young (Wilma Tuttle), Robert Cummings (Warren Ford), Wendell Corey (Lt. Ted Dorgan), Sam Jaffe (Dr. Romley); Runtime: 101; Paramount; 1949)

The professor (Loretta) accidently kills one of her students when he tries to seduce her. She panics, and tries to make his death look accidental. During the police investigation she meets Cummings, the victim's lawyer, and Corey, the police lieutenant, both of whom show a love interest in her. She gets accused of the crime and confesses, and goes to trial defended by Cummings. It is fascinating to watch the mind games played. GRADE: B



ADVANCE TO THE REAR (director: George Marshall; screenwriter: Samuel A. Peeples/William Bowers/story by Jack Schaefer; cinematographer: Milton Krasner; cast: Glenn Ford, Stella Stevens, Melvyn Douglas, Jim Backus, Alan Hale, Joan Blondell, Andrew Pine; Runtime; 97; MGM; 1964)

A cynical Western comedy, using the old-formula of the misfits who everyone expects will fail in their mission; but, of course, they will come through in the end. Aside from the predictability of the story, it is an enjoyable look at a "losers only" cavalry unit that saves the Union's gold despite its ineptness. Douglas and Ford give authority to the story, both showing a masterly light touch for comedy. GRADE: C- 


ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, THE (director: Michael Curtiz; screenwriter: Norman Reilly Raine; cinematographers: Tony Gaudio/Sol Polito/W. Howard Greene; editor: Ralph Dawson; cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains; Runtime: 104; Warner Bros.; 1938)

So far, the best of all the Robin Hood movies. Flynn got the part, despite Curtiz's reservations about his drinking problem. It is now hard to imagine anyone else as Robin. A fun swashbuckler. One wonders why more films like this are not made. GRADE: A


ADVOCATE, THE (director/writer: Leslie Megahey; cinematographer: John Hooper; editor: Isabelle Dedieu; cast: Colin Firth, Amina Annabi, Jim Carter, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm, Nicol Williamson, Lysette Anthony; Runtime: 115; BBC; 1994 - GB)

The dark ages in 15th century rural France was a place of ignorance and corruption. In this setting, the Parisian advocate (Firth) comes to help the peasants and gets his chance by defending a pig from a charge of murder. This is done as a cover-up for the real killer of children. The priest (Holm) says, "In a world where nothing is reasonable, nothing can be mad." A rather erotically interesting look at the perversions and prejudices of that period in history. GRADE: B



AFFAIRS OF ANATOL, THE (director: Cecil B. De Mille; screenwriters: based on Arthur Schnitzler's "The Affairs of Anatol"/Beulah Marie Dix/Elmer Harris; cinematographers: Karl Struss/Alvin Wyckoff; editor: Anne Bauchens; music: Brian Benison; cast: Wallace Reid (Anatol DeWitt Spencer), Gloria Swanson (Vivian Spencer), Agnes Ayres (Annie Elliot), Monte Blue (Abner Eliot),Wanda Hawley (Emilie), Theodore Roberts (Gordon Bronson), Bebe Daniels (Satan Synne), Elliott Dexter (Max Runyon), Theodore Kosloff (Nazzer Singh); Runtime: 120; Paramount; 1921-silent) ... Reviewed on 2/11/20002.

A b&w silent melodrama ornately directed by Cecil B. De Mille, as adapted from Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler's five act play. It has a playful attitude toward adultery, which it couldn't have gotten away with in the 1930s when Hollywood had a Production Code. The tragic Wallace Reid (he became addicted to morphine after a traffic accident and died when he was only 31) stars as New York wealthy socialite Anatol DeWitt Spencer, who after only ten weeks of marriage to Vivian (Gloria Swanson) becomes restless and seeks another woman. His attempt to reform a showgirl (Wanda Hawley) who is being kept by an older man (Theodore Roberts), fails badly. He then gets away to the country where he thinks the people are pure, but a tearful farm girl who steals from her husband (Monte Blue) also steals from him when he rescues her from a suicide drowning. Back in the city, disappointed that he has found no one loyal or honest, he tours alone the Gay White Way and meets Satan Synne (Bebe Daniels), billed as "the wickedest woman in New York"--who turns out to be a virtuous housewife, hoping to raise money for operations for her seriously wounded soldier husband. In the fifth act he despondently goes back to his wife, who gives him a dose of his own medicine by staying out all night with his best friend (Elliott Dexter). It's a fair morality story, with many biblical references. But it is outdated and the dramatics are overblown. GRADE: C



AFRICAN QUEEN, THE (director/writer: John Huston; screenwriter: James Agee/ Peter Viertel/John Collier/from the book The African Queen by C.S. Forester; cinematographer: Jack Cardiff; editor: Ralph Kemplen; music: Allan Gray; cast: Humphrey Bogart (Charlie Allnut), Katharine Hepburn (Rose Sayer), Robert Morley (Rev. Samuel Sayer), Peter Bull (Captain of Louisa), Theodore Bikel (First Officer); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Spiegel; United Artists; 1951-UK / USA)

Spinster Hepburn and drunkard boat captain (Bogart) get acquainted and eventually fall in love in their rough river venture in Africa at the onset of WW1. Not much of a story, but the actors more than compensate for that. GRADE: B



AFTER THE THIN MAN (director: W.S. Van Dyke; screenwriters: Frances Goodrich/ Albert Hackett/characters by Dashiell Hammett; cinematographer: Oliver Marsh; editor: Robert J. Kern; music:Nacio Herb Brown; cast: William Powell (Nick Charles), Myrna Loy (Nora Charles), James Stewart  (David Graham),  Elissa Landi  (Selma Landis), Joseph Calleia  (Dancer), Jessie Ralph (Aunt Katherine Forrest), Sam Levene (Lt. Abrams), Penny Singleton (Nighclub Singer), George Zucco (Dr. Adolph Kammer); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hunt Stromberg; MGM; 1936)... reviewed on 6/16/03.

A laugh a minute thriller/comedy. William Powell and Myrna Loy supply the charm and sophistication as one of their family members vanished. The run into blackmail and lots of bodies piling up, but the tipsy Powell and the engaging Loy work their magic to catch the least likely suspect. GRADE: A



AFTERGLOW (director/writer: Alan Rudolph; cinematographer: Tovomichi Kurita; editor: Suzy Elmiger; cast: Nick Nolte (Lucky Mann), Julie Christie (Phyllis Mann), Lara Flynn Boyle (Marianne Byron), Jonny Lee Miller (Jeffrey Byron), Jay Underwood (Donald Duncan); Runtime: 113; Castle 5; 1997)

A soap opera, taking place in Montreal. It has a few odd touches here and there to breath life into this dreary tale of marital trouble between Nick and Julie, and between Jonny and Lara. If Julie wasn't in this flick, it would be a real stinker. She is a former B-movie actress in horror films with a secret that has wounded her marriage. She is vulnerable, sexy, mysterious, engaging, cultured, and most intriguing. It's a role that she is most suitable to play. Nick is her philandering, sensitive and charming, home contractor husband. He is building a baby's room for the rejected housewife, Lara; and, he romances her. Jonny is the cold fish businessman husband, who by coincidence meets Julie and is seduced by her grace. It is a film of trivial happenings, diluted further by the dullness of its conclusions, leaving only an "afterglow" on the sensual Julie. GRADE: C-



AGAINST ALL ODDS (director: Taylor Hackford; screenwriter: Eric Hughes; cinematographer: Donald Thorin; editor: Fredric Steinkampcast: Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Alex Karras; Runtime: 128; Columbia; 1984)

Remake of Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past. Bridges is a football player with connections to the wrong people such as night club owner Woods, who sends him to Mexico to bring back his runaway girlfriend. Not as impactful as the original. GRADE: C



AGE OF INNOCENCE, THE (director: Philip Moeller; screenwriters: Sarah Y. Mason/Victor Heerman/novel by Edith Wharton;cast: Irene Dunne, John Boles, Lionell Atwill, Laura Hope Crews, Helen Westley; Runtime: 71; RKO; 1934)

Adapted from an Edith Wharton novel, where a young Manhattan attorney's career is jeopardized when he falls for a divorcee (Irene). But he marries the woman he is engaged to, even though he is madly in love with Irene. The problem with this film, is that it is hard to relate to what the lovers are suffering over. It is world that is outdated. Otherwise, the film is decently done, it stresses the virtues of keeping one's word of honor. GRADE: C



AGE OF THE MEDICI, THE (director: Roberto Rossellini; cast: Marcello Di Falco, Virgilio Gazzolo; 1973-Italy)

A history lesson via Italian TV, as the political intrigues of Cosimo D'Medici are gone into in full detail. He becomes a world renown merchant through his banking house in 14th century Florence. It was astonishing to see how some of the art work blossomed under his financial auspices. You will have to sit through a very proper lecture towards the film's end, depicting the virtues of architecture and a free republic; but, it was worth it. GRADE: B



ALAMO BAY (director: Louis Malle; screenwriter: James Edward Grant; cinematographer: William H. Clothier; editor: James Bruce; cast: Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Ho Nguyen; Runtime: 99; Tri-Star; 1985)

Racial conflicts (Vietnamese and whites) are exasperated over fishing rights in Texas bay. But what fuels this film, is the steamy love affair between the married Harris and his ex-girlfriend Madigan (real-life couple). The film works on many levels, but it is the anguish of their forlorn affair that is the most captivating part of the film. GRADE: B



ALCHEMY (director/writer: Suzanne Myers; cinematographer: Tami Reiker; editor: Cecily Rhett; cast: Rya Kihlstedt, Jeff Webster, DV de Vincentis, Marian Quinn, Maggie Estep; Runtime: 96; 1996)

Rya is the sculptor and translator of Russian fairy tales who is broken hearted after breaking off with her boyfriend. The film is divided into three parts entitled---charity, faith, and hope. In the first part, we see her break up with her fellow artist DV and then get the support she needs from fellow bookstore employee Jeff. During the faith part, she visits her sister in the country and cures her broken heart through an alchemy ritual. In the third part it shows her being accepted into an artist retreat and how she is able to put random objects found, artistically, into a small box. She wrestles with her personal problems, as she tries to work out her conflicts through meditation. The film is uniquely told from a feminist' point of view. Well worth seeing. GRADE: B-



ALFIE (director: Lewis Gilbert; screenwriter: Bill Naughton; cinematographer: Otto Heller; editor Thelma Connell; cast: Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin, Julia Foster, Jane Asher; Runtime: 113; Sheldrake; 1966-UK)

It's about a selfish womanizer's account of himself. It is kept alive by Caine's flamboyant performance; otherwise, a rather annoying look at mod England.
GRADE: C



ALIEN (director: Ridley Scott; screenwriter: Dan O'Bannon; cinematographer: Derek Vanlint; editor: Terry Rawlings; cast: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt; Runtime: 124; 20th Century-Fox/Brandywine; 1979)

Stowaway monster on a commercial spacecraft who tries to destroy the crew. If you like violence and slime, you are in your element here. Super special-effects. GRADE: C+



ALIENS (director/writer: James Cameron; cinematographer: Adrian Biddle; editor: Ray Lovejoy; cast: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Diehn, Paul Peiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton; Runtime: 137; 20th Century-Fox/Brandywine; 1986)

Thrilling film about an android passed off as an ordinary crew member. Weaver survives 57 years of space sleep and resumes her duties as the head of a marine combat patrol. GRADE: C+



ALL ABOUT EVE (director/writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; screenwriter: from the story "The Wisdom of Eve" by Mary Orr; cinematographer: Milton R. Krasner; editor: Barbara McLean; music: Alfred Newman; cast: Bette Davis (Margo Channing), Anne Baxter (Eve Harrington), Celeste Holm (Karen Richards), George Sanders (Addison DeWitt), Gary Merrill (Bill Sampson), Hugh Marlowe (Lloyd Richards), Gregory Ratoff (Max Fabian), Barbara Bates (Phoebe), Marilyn Monroe (Miss Caswell), Thelma Ritter (Birdie Coonan); Runtime: 138; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Darryl F. Zanuck; Fox Video; 1950)

An aging insecure actress (Davis) hires Baxter to prop her up, but Baxter uses this position to prop only herself up to the top. An urbane, witty screenplay keeps things bitchy. GRADE: B



AMADEUS (director/writer: Milos Forman; screenwriter: based on the play by Peter Shaffer/Peter Shaffer; cinematographer: Miroslav Ondricek; editor: Nena Danevic; music: Mozart; cast: F. Murray Abraham (Antonio Salieri), Tom Hulce (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Elizabeth Berridge (Constance Mozart), Simon Callow (Emanuel Schikaneder), Roy Dotrice (Leopold Mozart), Christine Ebersold (Katerina Cavalieri), Jeffrey Jones (Emperor Joseph II); Runtime: 160; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Saul Zaentz; Warner Brothers; 1984)

The musical composer Salieri competes with the great Mozart. The film works best when it zeroes in on the tragic figure Salieri. It is less absorbing when they talk: their conversation sounds so Americanese, not even remotely sounding Viennese. GRADE: B-



AMONG THE LIVING (director: Stuart Heisler; screenwriters: Lester Cole/Garrett Fort/from an unpublished story by Brian Marlow & Cole; cinematographer: Theodor Sparkuhl; editor: Everett Douglas; music: Gerard Carbonara; cast: Albert Dekker (John & Paul Raden), Susan Hayward (Millie Pickens), Harry Carey (Dr. Ben Saunders), Frances Farmer (Elaine Raden), Gordon Jones (Bill Oakley), Jean Phillips (Peggy Nolan), Ernest Whitman (Pompey), Maude Eburne (Mrs. Pickens); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol C. Siegel; Paramount; 1941)

Dekker and his wife return home for his father's funeral. He inherits everything from his respected Southern father. He is told by the doctor that his identical twin brother is still alive. He thought his brother died as a child; but, evidently, because of fatherly abuse went insane and was kept alive chained in a hidden room. A murder is committed by someone who looks like Dekker. A terrific noirish Gothic, horror film unfolds. GRADE: B



AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (director/writer: John Landis; cinematographer: Robert Paynter; editor: Malcolm Campbell; music: Elmer Bernstein; cast: David Naughton (David Kessler), Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman), Jenny Agutter (Alex Price), John Woodvine (Dr. Hirsch), David Schofield (Darts Player), Brian Glover (Chess player), Lila Kaye (Barmaid); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R; producer: George Folsey Jr.; Universal Pictures; 1981-USA/UK)

Two Americans are set upon by a werewolf in the British moors. One dies. The other survives, but with dire circumstances surrounding him. A humorous look at the horror genre, even though the movie plays it straight. Film has excellent special effects. GRADE: B



ANDROMEDA STRAIN, THE (director: Robert Wise; screenwriters: Nelson Gidding/from the book by Michael Crichton; cinematographer: Richard H. Kline; editors: Stuart Gilmore/John W. Holmes; music: Gil Melle; cast: Arthur Hill (Dr. Jeremy Stone), David Wayne (Dr. Charles Dutton), James Olson (Dr. Mark Hall), Kate Reid (Dr. Ruth Leavitt), Paula Kelly (Karen Anson); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Robert Wise; Universal; 1971)

Certain Americans seem to love conspiracy theories. The feeling is that the government knows something they do not. This film tries very hard to deliver a message about how secretly our government can operate and how dangerous this secrecy can be. Bacteria that is deadly, is released from an outer space satellite. The film unfolds at a tedious pace and seems to take forever to develop. Michael Crichton's novel is ill-served in this bomb. And for the record, I  believe that our government is telling the truth only when they think it is in their interest to tell the truth, not when it is in the interest of the public to know the truth. GRADE: C



ANDY WARHOL'S BAD (director: Jed Johnson; screenwriters: George Abagnalo/Pat Hackett; cinematographer: Alan Metzger; editors: David McKenna/Franca Silvi; music: Mike Bloomfield; cast: Carroll Baker (Hazel Aiken), Susan Tyrrell (Mary Aiken), Perry King (L.T.), Mary Boylan(Grandmother), Gordon Oas-Heim (Mr. Aiken), Geraldine Smith (Glenda Montemorano), Maria Smith (Marsha Montemorano), Lawrence Tierney (O'Reilly-O'Crapface), Cyrinda Foxe (R.C.), Barbara Allen (S.F.), Stefania Casini (P.G.), Brigid Polk (Estelle), Charles McGregor (Detective Hughes), Renee Paris (Sara Leachman), John Starke (Joe Leachman), Michael Forella (Ice Cream Counterman), Kitty Bruce (Karla), Susan Blond (Baby killer mother), Tere Tereba (Ingrid Joyner); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jeff Tornberg; Embassy Home Entertainment; 1977)

This flick was so bad that it was good. A triumph for sick humor, as a Queens, N.Y., housewife running a home electrolysis business, greedy for money, sponsors a "hire-a-killer" squad of females whose speciality is knocking off children, relatives, pets, and anything else that moves. It's Andy's final one. It seems that all bad things must come to an end! The film features lines like, "The more they stink, the more they smell." The crux of the film is about the low-life L.T. and his waiting around in Mrs. Aiken's house to go on a job to kill an autistic child. All these murders, a random burning down of a movie theater, and the welfare scam, fit so easily into NYC's daily crime statistics. GRADE: A



ANNIE HALL (director/writer: Woody Allen; screenwriter: Marshall Brickman; cinematographer: Gordon Willis; editor: Ralph Rosenblum; music: Isham Jones; cast: Woody Allen (Alvy Singer), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Tony Roberts (Rob), Carol Kane (Allison), Paul Simon (Tony Lacey), Janet Margolin (Robin), Colleen Dewhurst (Mom Hall), Christopher Walken (Duane Hall), Donald Syminton (Dad Hall), Helen Ludlam (Grammy Hall), Shelley Duvall (Rolling Stone Correspondent); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Charles H. Joffe/Jack Rollins; United Artists; 1977)

Neurotic Allen tries to make the NYC scene with Keaton, the would-be singer. A running gag type of movie, displaying Allen's usual neurotic hang-ups and sexual jokes. The very witty one-liners elevate this movie to the top of the Allen charts. GRADE: B



APOCALYPSE NOW (director/writer: Francis Ford Coppola; screenwriters: John Milius/from the novel by Joseph Conrad "Heart of Darkness"; cinematographer: Vittorio Storaro; editor: Walter Murch; cast: Marlon Brando (Colonel Walter E. Kurtz), Martin Sheen (Captain Benjamin L. Willard), Lawrence Fishburne ('Mr. Clean'), Robert Duvall (Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore), Dennis Hopper (Photojournalist), Frederic Forrest ('Chef'), Sam Bottoms (Class Lance B. Johnson), Harrison Ford (Colonel Lucas), Albert Hall (Chief), G.D. Spradlin (Lt. General R. Corman), Colleen Camp (Miss May), Aurore Clement (Roxanne), Cynthia Wood (Playmate of the Year), Christian Marquand (Hubert de Marais); Runtime: 196; United Artists/Miramax Films; 2001)

This film is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," but it is set during the Vietnam War. An American captain (Sheen) is sent up river to assassinate the mad colonel (Brando) who is fighting an unsanctioned war in Cambodia. An imaginative and very provocative film. Brando is just right for the part. GRADE: A



ARMY IN THE SHADOWS, THE (ARMEE DES OMBRES, L') (director/writer: Jean-Pierre Melville; screenwriter: Joseph Kessel novel; cinematographer: Pierre L'homme; editor: Francoise Bonnot; cast: Lino Ventura (Philippe Gerbier), Paul Meurisse (Luc Jardie), Jean-Pierre Cassel (Jean-François), Simone Signoret (Mathilde), Claude Mann (Le Masque), Paul Crauchet  (Felix), Georges Sellier  (Colonel Jarret); Runtime: 143; Films Corona; 1969-France)

You can't make a better film about the French Resistance Movement. It is set during the occupation in 1942. Written by Joseph Kessel and co-written by director Jean-Pierre Melville. They belonged to this same "Army in the Shadows" Resistance force. It is a stern and serious study of how the Resistance operated, whose cast is so good at showing their emotions and daily rigors they endured and the difficulty they faced in just trying to exist in the face of unmitigating evil. Philippe Gerbier (Lino) is betrayed and interned in a camp, only to escape and execute the traitor. He then reestablishes links with the Movement in Marseilles. This film is the real thing, one of the most taut and courageous films I have ever seen. GRADE: A



ARROWHEAD (director/writer: Charles Marquis Warren; screenwriters: from a novel by W. R. Burnett "Adobe Walls"; cinematographer: Ray Rennahan; editor: Frank Bracht; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Charlton Heston (Ed Bannon), Jack Palance (Toriano), Katy Jurado (Nita), Brian Keith (Capt. Bill North), Mary Sinclair (Lela Wilson), Milburn Stone (Sandy MacKinnon), Kyle James (Jerry August), Frank de Kova (Chief Chattez), Peter Coe (Spanish), Lewis Martin (Col. Weybright), Pat Hogan (Jim Eagle); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Holt; Paramount; 1953)

Charlton Heston was raised by Apaches and hates them with a vengeance. He is renown as chief of scouts for the cavalry. The film is supposedly based on the true story of a real Indian scout Al Seiber. It takes place at Fort Clark in Texas, in 1886, around the same spot the real story happened. Heston is the rugged, arrogant Indian scout who does not trust the new Apache peace plan with its new chief Toriano (Palance). He was raised with the chief and considers him to be evil. The army is anxious to get the Indians to a reservation in Florida and does not want Heston messing up the peace plan. The cavalry is under the command of Brian Keith who is also interested in the same army widow as Heston is, Sinclair. When things go wrong Heston is blamed, but by the finale he is proved right as the Apaches ambush the cavalry. This film does a number on the Indians as savages, with Heston spewing all the hate. Milburn Stone is Heston's sidekick and his most loyal friend. The film ends with a winner take all fight between Palance and Heston. There's enough action to keep this Western moving at a quick pace.
GRADE: C-



ARRUZA (director/writer: Budd Boetticher; screenwriter: from book by Carlos Arruza; cinematographer: Carlos Carbajel; editors: George Crone/Harry Knapp; cast: Carlos Arruza (Himself), Ruben Padilla (Himself), Pepe Alameda (Himself); Runtime: 90; Columbia; 1972) ... Reviewed on 12/24/2001.

An exercise in hero worship over the great Mexican bullfighter Carlos Arruzi. If you like bullfighting, you should love this documentary on the legendary bullfighter who quit in his prime in the 1950s because his best friend and closest rival died in the ring--and he faced no more challenges. The young multi-millionaire, looking for new challenges, buys a ranch to raise bulls and is living a fairy-tale existence with wife and kids. But, growing restless, he fights again in Mexico City's El Torrero using the fierce bulls he raised and showing the public one more time how graceful he is. He then comes out of retirement to fight once more in the 52,000 Mexico City stadium. He's killed in 1966 in a car accident. GRADE: B



ARTISTS AND MODELS (director/writer: Frank Tashlin; screenwriters: Hal Kanter/Herbert Baker; cinematographer: Daniel L. Fapp;  editor: Warren Low; music: Walter Scharf; cast: Dean Martin (Rick Todd), Jerry Lewis (Eugene Fullstack), Eva Gabor (Sonia aka Mrs. Curtis), Dorothy Malone (Abigail 'Abby' Parker), Shirley Maclaine (Bessie Sparrowbrush), Anita Ekberg (Anita), Eddie Mayehoff (Mr. Murdock), Jack Elam (Ivan), Kathleen Freeman (Mrs. Muldoon, Landlady); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal B. Wallis; Paramount; 1955)

Oy vey, Martin and Lewis are bohemian artists. Lewis claims he is retarded because he read comic books as a child. It is hard to believe, but some so-called 'serious' education critics held such a view in the '50s. Anyway, Lewis dreams up original comic book stories and his roommate, Martin, peddles them to a publisher when he is not womanizing. The result is a typical Martin and Lewis flick. What did you expect, Hamlet? GRADE: C



ASPHALT JUNGLE, THE (director/writer: John Huston; screenwriters: Ben Maddow/from the novel by W.R. Burnett; cinematographer: Harold Rosson; editor: George Boemler; music: Miklos Rozsa; cast: Sterling Hayden (Dix Handley), Louis Calhern (Alonzo D. Emmerich), Jean Hagen (Doll Conovan), James Whitmore (Gus), Sam Jaffe (Doc Riedenschneider), Marilyn Monroe (Angela Phinlay), John McIntire (Police Commissioner Hardy), Marc Lawrence (Cobby), Anthony Caruso (Louis Ciavelli), Barry Kelley (Lt. Ditrich); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Hornblow Jr.; MGM; 1950)

Criminal mastermind, Jaffe, plans a jewel robbery with the financial backing of crooked lawyer (Calhern). It is a story about foul-ups and double-crosses in a world of decaying social values. And it is a film noir about desperation, brought to the screen in a very crisp manner. GRADE: B+



AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE (director: Michael Paxton; cinematographer: Alik Sakharov; editors: Lauren Schaffer/Christopher Earl; cast: Sharon Gless (narrator), Dr. Harry Binswanger (interviewer), Daniel E. Greene, Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Dr. John Ridpath, Dr. Michael S. Berliner, Sylvia Bokor, Cynthia Peikoff, Al Ramrus, Mike Wallace, Phil Donohue; Runtime: 145; Strand Release; 1997)

A film about Ayn Rand spouting bits and pieces of her philosophy. She called this philosophy 'objective reality.'  This dry documentary uses talk show hosts (Tom Snyder, Mike Wallace, and Phil Donohue) interviewing her to draw out her ideas. It just doesn't do her or her detractors any justice, as this format failed to press her on views in which she would have gladly replied to if asked. So we are left with just as many holes in her idealism as we were before seeing the film.
GRADE: C-



Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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