A gangster rival of Sullivan's is trying to muscle into his racket. Sullivan plays a confused gangster, searching for respectablity. Excellent performances are what rules in this arty gangster film. GRADE: B-
Gangsters and corruption in the Garment Center. The visual effects and controlled violent scenes are very effective. Uncredited director Robert Aldrich is responsible for a lot of the noir scenes. GRADE: B+
The canine after-world, surrealistically told in documentary style. A real treat for those who love dogs and can see how absurd some pet owners can become and how mercenary are some pet cemeteries. GRADE: B +
A film of intellectual games, double identities, and enough psychological prattle to make you never want to go near a shrink, even if you were desperate for help. Deneuve is the lawyer who never won a criminal case. She defends the young man, Poupaud, who reminds her of the son she just lost in a car accident. She ends up freeing him and then killing him after they become lovers. The best reasons for seeing this puzzler, are that Piccoli is terrific as the nutty shrink and Seweryn is captivating as Piccoli's rival. He appears, at first, to be normal, but turns out to be even nuttier than his rival. Deneuve, well ... she is just herself, in a double role. She also plays Poupard's aunt who raises him. GRADE: C +
A worthy film about a journalist (Peck) hired to do a story about anti-Semitism.
He decides to pass himself off as Jewish. High-minded aims prevail. It
is told in a sobering straight-forward style. Peck is convincing in the
role. The film gets bogged down in the obvious bias without probing into
any deeper emotional reactions. Garfield is around to give the film a voice
of authority, making sure the film is sincerely looking into this anti-Semitic
problem. In any case, the film does try to tackle a subject matter that
has not been covered too well by Hollywood, and for that it should be commended.
A nice effort for a modern ghost story created on a Japanese movie set
making a melodrama about WW11. The film's director, Murai, discovers eerie
footage of another film from 1971 on his film stock, in which a ghost appears.
When strange occurences happen on the set, the director is concerned that
a ghost might be present. This leads to his child actress, Saori, being
pushed when alone from an attic by the ghost. Of course, no one believes
this. But the director jars his memory and comes up with some eerie answers,
as he remembers seeing the film that showed up in his footage as a child
and comes upon a newspaper article that says that the actress shown in
the strange film died in a similar fashion 20 years ago in the same studio.
As the film comes to its shocking ending, Murai tries to protect the film's
star actress, Hitomi, from an evil ghost hanging around the attic of the
set. GRADE: B +
This is the first film produced by Lloyd's production company, which gave him greater artistic freedom than ever before. He plays a timid, stuttering apprentice tailor, in a small California town outside of L.A. called Little Bend, who's afraid of women. Despite his terror of women he is writing a fantasy book called "The Secret Of Making Love," and goes to the big city to get the book published. On the train he sneaks Mary Buckingham's (Jobyna Ralston) dog on the train despite no dogs allowed and falls in love with the rich young lady as he buys her a Cracker Jack and she gives him as a memento of their encounter -- a box of dog cookies, as he can't stop talking to her until they reach LA. The book is sneered at by the publisher but since the office staff found it hysterical, it's published but retitled "A Boob's Diary." He gets to marry her after going through a slapstick chase sequence to rescue her from a bigamist (Carleton Griffin). Lloyd does all his stunts, and in the finale he steals cars, a motorcycle, rides a horse and a horse cart, gets tangled in a fire-truck's hose while riding on it, and climbs atop of a trolley to get to the church in time. The comedy is pleasing, as Lloyd is a lovable character with a great sense of timing for his routines. GRADE: B
Brando is the Godfather of a New York crime family, who makes offers
that people can't refuse. Coppola captures the Mafia-like mentality. This
might be the ultimate mob movie. There is no argument from me. GRADE:
Some critics claim that this version is better than the original (I
prefer the original). It explores the Mafia at its height of power and
how it is forced to become particularly vengeful. It makes use of flashbacks
to keep the story line clear. But it still soft pedals the mob violence
perpetrated against innocent people. That is probably a good reason it
remains a very popular movie.
A black preacher is accused of immorality in the Deep South. Spencer (the Amos on the 1950s Amos and Andy show) aims his camera from the point of view of the black Southerner and how they experience their religion. Interesting guilt-fantasy scene at the end of the picture, showing the affects this kind of religion has on all who grew up on it. This is what was called in its day, a 'race film.' It features an all-Negro cast. GRADE: B
A gem. This film is a cross between detective genre and occult. Lo Bianco plays the detective on the hunt for the serial killers. The film delves into Lo Bianco's psyche, bringing on his repressions; and, at the same time, it investigates America's fascination with violence and sex. This makes for some bizarre actions, but one worth seeing. GRADE: A
Jack plays a shiftless loser in this comic Western, taking place just
after the Civil War. He is saved from hanging by Steenburgen, who marries
him so she can have someone to work her gold mine. A delightful black comedy.
It's irresistable. GRADE: B
There were 6 Technicolor cameras in the country and David O'Selznick,
the producer of GWTW, had them all. This resulted in the magnificent spectacle
that is still unequalled as far as quality of color. The story takes place
during the Civil War. While Atlanta burns, Gable and Leigh frolic. In the
end, they realize that there will be another day. This is Hollywood at
its best. The writer, Margaret Mitchell, died in a car crash in Atlanta
during the 1940s. GRADE: A+
Skylar (Minnie Driver) is the only one in this flick who wasn't putting on airs and felt like the real deal. She is a smart and warm-hearted co-ed, capable of falling in love with the confused genius, Will (Matt). He is working as a janitor at M.I.T.. In his spare time, when he isn't out drinking or fighting with his Irish buddies from South Boston, he is solving mathematical problems that only a very select few geniuses in the world can solve. Everything about this flick is contrived, reducing every problematic moment to some Psych 101 explanation. GRADE: C
A classic of the silent era. Dresser triumphs in her role of a fallen
opera diva who now lives as a goose woman in a drunken squalor. A
murder takes place near her farm, and she lies to the prosecutor about
what she witnessed. This results in her son being charged with murder.
Hoffman tries to figure out what to do after college, and has an affair
with an older woman. Simon and Garfunkel sing some memorable songs. Throw
in a little sexual allure from an older woman (Bancroft) and a dream girl
(Ross) and you got a movie that hit the pulse of its generation.
Taken from John Steinbeck's novel about the depression and its affects
on Okie migrants to California. Ford does a good job in capturing the bleakness
of this bitter slice of American history. GRADE: A
Grass is a silent documentary about the annual migration of the 50,000 Bakhtiari tribal people of western Iran and a half-million of their animals, as they seek the Promised Land of grass for their survival. Their dangerous trek will take them over the icy cold waters of the Karun River and the steep icy slopes of the Zardeh Kuh pass, as the leader of the nomadic people, Haidar Khan and his 9-year-old son, Lufta, are the featured stars of this difficult journey, possibly made more difficult than usual by the filmmakers who manufactured some scenes for dramatic effect. But it still didn't take away from the truth of the quest and the courage shown by the conquering nomads. GRADE: B
This could have been a great Western, in the vein of The Searchers; that is, if, supposedly, 40- minutes of the film wasn't lopped off, making this film incoherent in parts. The story is told from an Indian point of view, of Ben's daughter being kidnapped by Grayeagle. Ben and Iron Eyes and Elam go off to rescue her from the Cheyenne. The ways of the Indian, their dreams, and their utmost belief in their dreams as a representation of the cycle of life and death are realistically shown. There are great performances from Ben and Elam. This film settles for just being so-so. GRADE: C+
Any film done as a black comedy, about the massive economic problems in modern Cuba, should include a compulsive Communist bureaucrat. This sitcom-like tale, tells about a singer being buried in Havana when she died from over excitement at meeting a fellow musician she has not seen for 50 years. He still loves her after all these years. Now they must bury her. So leave it to the bureaucrats to take care of things. What I did see in detail was the Cuban roadside. This was Cuban director Alea's last film before he died. GRADE: C
An evil and spoiled dwarf named Janguine (Lamine) is being instructed by his father, Guimba (Traore), to always treat his subjects cruelly. From birth he is betrothed to the beautiful Kani, but when he meets her voluptuous mother he tells his father he must marry her because he loves big women with big rumps. Guimba's solution to this problem is simple: Since his son wants to marry the mother, he marries the beautiful daughter. The problem is that the mother is already married. Guimba flogs his subjects and announces that he will castrate any future suitors of Kani. In the tradition of Western African tales a griot, storyteller, relates the events, telling of the magic spell that put an end to Guimba. The unnamed African country and its ochre looking village (Sitakili) and the colorful costumes are an eyeful, as are the tantalizing women with their big rumps. It is worth seeing the film, just to see the unbelievable costumes and big rumps swaying in the breeze. The film is a political parody of the reign of terror that took place in Mali, a tragedy which came to an end in 1991. Mali is the home of the director. The main problem with the film, is that it is chaotic and it is hard to follow the story. GRADE: C+
The WW11 actioner and political anti-war message film, takes place in
Greece. Our heroes try to knock off two Nazi gun-posts on Navarone,
so that Turkey will remain neutral and 2,000 Greeks will not get killed.
Ho-hum! Overlong and unconvincing action scenes, plus an annoying amount
of oration.Though every so often it comes up with a gem of a line, such
as when Peck is asked if Quinn's threat against his life is real. He replies:
"He's from Crete, those people don't make idle threats." GRADE: C
This documentary style, fictionalized look at unrest in NYC, asks many
political and personal questions. It probes the peoples' discontentment
with racism and America's involvement with supporting dictators abroad.
Ginsberg reads off camera his visually striking poems. A young Greenwich
Village couple (the Carruthers) find that they have many difficulties in
finding an honest way to live in a corrupt system. The theme here, in all
probability, is that sooner or later everyone gives up. It's an every man
for himself system that is being questioned. GRADE: B
GUY (director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg; screenwriter: Kirby Dick; cinematographer: Arturo Smith; editor: Dody Dorn; music: Jeff Beal; cast: Vincent D'onofrio (Guy), Hope Davis (Camera), Kimber Riddle (Veronica); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Vincent D'onofrio/Renee Missel; A Polygram release; 1997)
A filmmaker shoots a documentary of every waking hour of her unwilling subject's life. Guy (Vincent) asks: "Why would anyone see a film about me ?" It's a good question. GRADE: C
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