And being a likeable, wink-at-rebellion movie-rebel countered by a bullying guard, there's absolutely no edge (or glory) to his performance that would, in a better film, provide Gibson a possible Oscar nomination... he simply plays it too safe and affable here, as does the director... Who painted a deliberately bleak canvas nicely recreating turn-of-the-century rural America in its mahogany landscapes, dire factories and the actual prison... But what's here is more a Harlequin Romance montage than either an effective prison-plot-escape thriller or true story that needed telling: because storywise, MRS. SOFFEL is more whispered than spoken and, soon after, completely forgotten. Rates: **
Taking place in the core of the 1980's, the town centered on has a colorful mall and a nearby museum, resembling BACK TO THE FUTURE had the old fashion 50's timeline morphed into the 1980's... After all, for this younger generation, the 80's is like the 50's was to 80's kids, with corny dated clothes and, best yet, without cell phones while the plot not only lacks action, there's no reason for any since the villain's a slimy oil salesman (a horrendous performance by Pedro Pascel, befitting a social drama parody) who finds the ultimate McGuffin in a Wish Stone, one of the most contrived plot-motivations in any modern superhero movie, which this hardly resembles...With Kristin Wigg as an ambiguous link between heroine and villain (like Richard Pryor in SUPERMAN III), and Chris Pine wedged into a romantic-comedy story that hardly exists, WONDER WOMAN 1984... although made right before the pandemic... bares the lifeless residual of that time: lazy entertainment for lazy viewers.. RATING: *1/2
Especially the director himself, who uses so many of his stylized Gothic popup-book visuals that the Jack Nicholson BATMAN seemed tame by comparison... which was more of a BATMAN movie directed by Burton while RETURNS is a Burton movie that happens to involve BATMAN... and not very much, which is why Michael Keaton, with too much screen-time centering on the villains, winded up quitting the role, yet it's difficult to tell who the real antagonists are since Penguin... played by an overacting, bad monologue-spouting Danny DeVito... is so pathetic with a genuinely tragic backstory that he's never quite as evil (or dangerous) as he should be... and Christopher Walken's corporate tycoon makes DeVito's creature as benign as Keaton felt in the titular role: Meanwhile, Michelle Pheiffer's CAT WOMAN seems like her own solo movie's being invaded by characters who should be more important here... but eventually, too much happens in BATMAN RETURNS for anything to really stick, or wind up mattering beyond the overdose of Burton's self-inflicted style over substance. RATING: **
More of this was needed to
make MAD MEN a truly perfect series like BREAKING BAD and less of a
nighttime-soap opera, despite an abundance of middle-aged women viewers
dreaming they could initially sleep with the square-jawed Hamm to then
be cheated-on... a less-is-more actor who has never been able to get
near this kind of intensity on the big screen, for which... like Bryan
Cranston... he doesn't seem suited quite like television... And other
flaws include the producer's son in a reoccurring role (as a creepy kid
turned robotic teen) that tilts the cringe meter, stopping the show in
its tracks while the central ad men, other than Draper and
scene-stealing Roger played by John Slattery, master of the one-line
quip... are really boys, seeming far too young for their very grownup
jobs... In fact, if you look at pictures of the real life ad-men: they are mostly
in their forties, or else look that way, as opposed to being
counter-culture whiners against capitalism... which wouldn't quite work
in this kind of job (only Joel Murray as normal-looking every-man Freddy
genuinely resembles one of the true advertising guys)... Also,
the series has to flow evenly with not only the soapy bedroom
diversions, but true stories taking shape, from JFK to MLK's
assassinations, in which these fictional characters flow through history
like Jack and Rose on the TITANIC... And in this, sometimes the
whole series seems geared towards a political agenda of sorts, more than
bordering on cliches and generic left-wing platitudes... the teenagers
are all dropout hippies who are smarter than the parents who raised (and
spoiled) them, all soldiers die in war, and every businessman has 100
affairs: with supermodels, no less... But for the most part, what
works is that Don Draper himself stays the same, with the slick short
hair and perfectly-suited stiff suit while those around him
progressively wear late-1960's-driven costumes (one major reason the
early seasons are the best)... And really, when it comes right down to it, MAD MEN is about one person despite all that's going on around him. Rating: ****1/2
Well if anything happens, and THE WALKING DEAD: DARYL DIXON doesn't become a big hit, then they could easily make a prequel taking place after the original about how exactly Daryl got from Georgia to France laying unconscious on an upturned canoe... and it's funny that Carol was originally supposed to be right alongside him... Although, taking place at a scorched-earth renaissance-era France (with a gigantic convent), the famous lone wolf fits better solo within this MAD MAX/Spaghetti Western hybrid: Making sense that Norman Reedus's primal, strong-silent-type would wind up on a series attempting to start an entire franchise from scratch...
But there are too many familiar elements for that: like a seemingly innocent group (the nunnery) that eerily keeps very-dead walkers alive (Herschel's barn to The Governor's town)... or protecting a person who might one day save everyone, which was Eugene's initial purpose and a little boy's plight here: basically replacing Daryl's Dog as a chaste sidekick to protect (along with two pretty Frenchwomen that look almost exactly alike, except one's a nun)... And of course there's the vicious living-human antagonist, and that particular character... a dire shaved-head killer... is the most intriguing thing here, but, based on this pilot episode, there's simply not a lot going on for the viewer to keep tuning into... After all, since the entire WALKING DEAD world is so absolutely doomed, battling dead people or not trusting (or taking five minutes in order to possibly trust) the live ones really doesn't make a difference: Because no matter where Daryl wound up, it's all the same formula... one that this series, so far, fails to either rise above or stand apart from. Grade: D
Which might be the first time two main characters wanted out of their very own motion picture... and that's because they have very little to do with anything other than being parents of a college girl who's failing WHILE being pushed to date a mediocre dimwit college dude: neither interesting enough to be in a movie unless it was SUPPOSED to be about other people... and some of those people are also from the original... a romantic comedy that not only had an actual plot, but some tension and, what needs to happen in this particular comedy genre, an actual problem to resolve... which is completely missing here, and watching this bad sequel of a bad sequel... after a string of dead-end goofy-aunt jokes, cliche stereotypes, and some of the most awkward moments in cinema history... you too will need a vacation, and it's not even your movie. Score: 1/2
If a novelization flows, it doesn't matter how many times you've seen the movie, since, on the printed page, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK works since it becomes purely pulp adventure... and at the same time there's a closeness to the iconic character, Archeologist/Professor Indiana Jones, that doesn't give away too much of what the motion picture intentionally leaves out...
Downpoints are Indy making out with one of his students in his house... we don't need to know that he plows the flirting eye-lid girl; or learning that Marion, to purchase the tavern, worked as a prostitute after her father, Indy's mentor, died; or, later on, Marion fighting lustful temptation after Belloq's polite kidnapping and yet, on the other hand, we get to follow Indy going from a crowded Cairo airport to a dark highway, driving through the pouring rain, searching for Ravenwood's place while being stalked by another mysterious vehicle and, along with other nifty insights during the many adventurous sequences, it all works since the chapters are long, thoroughly expressive, the action precise, the dialog intentionally corny (pulpier than the film): and no matter how many times you've seen RAIDERS on the screen, while reading it feels like reliving the legendary classic for the first time. Book Grade: B—
And back when flavor-of-the-month Ryan Phillippe (here allowed into the club while buddy Mark Ruffalo's too ugly to enter) may have been a more legitimate actor than former rapper Marky Mark Walhberg, there's simply no touching PT Anderson's BOOGIE NIGHTS, which 54 attempts but without the inspired muse of Scorsese-meets-Tarantino's contagious celebration of gritty exploitation cinema (and Phillipe's stale narration proves how comparably brilliant GOODFELLAS' Ray Liotta was)... Instead, 54's a bland one-night-stand that lacks the necessary nerve to go all the way while random side-characters lethargically add to a mainstream feel-good movie (with pallid traces of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER melodrama), clumsily attempting yet another anything-goes/based-on-a-true-story expose: Like naive bartender Brecken Meyer's Afterschool Special-style drug addiction; Salma Hayek's attempt to be a music star straight from an episode of FAME; or Neve Campbell's famous TV starlet, half as pretty as the pretty boy supposedly obsessed with her... So, overall, there's no saving a picture that has recently laid practically all blame on producer Harvey Weinstein, supposedly having edited-out the story's inner-core, and yet, if that's the case, how do you explain PULP FICTION? Well... the difference is the director, folks, who in this case didn't jump in with both feet... to end up wading in extremely shallow waters. Rates: **
The anger and bitterness by the filmmaker is understandable, but it's extremely uneven... for example, right after the murders, Time Magazine and various other outlets were basically blaming the victims, including Sebring, for the deaths, as if they were involved in the cult that murdered them... It's ridiculous but it happened... that's how the media works... however, once it was discovered a gang of crazy hippies led by the craziest of hippie killers killed everyone, all those things that the nephew is still raving mad about were long, long gone, and ever brought up again... ever, ever again... Also ironic is, no one but Manson was ever blamed, and it was Tex Watson, mentioned here only once, who shot Sebring a bunch of times before stabbing him a bunch more times...
The late Jay Sebring's childhood, his stint in the Navy, and his bold risky move to Los Angeles in the 1950's to become not a barber but a hairstylist for men (very rare in those days), is far more befitting to a documentary that's supposedly fighting against the very things it's embracing since, even the summaries highlight Charles Manson and Sharon Tate (in that order) to grab viewers... Also interesting is the post "MeToo" demonizing of Roman Polanski, who is the first person who say that Sebring was into bondage and kinky sex (before the media gets blamed for reporting the same things); there's even a theory that Tate was in the process of a divorce... and had this been made ten years ago, Roman Polanski would have been the shining star...
Overall CUTTING TO THE TRUTH is intriguing, and lets you see that Jay Sebring is more than just "the others" murdered other than eternally beautiful Sharon... Then again, there's so much embracing the pop culture mythology about Manson and the killings as well constant name-dropping (and interview selections) of famous people Sebring hung around with... the poor guy, once again, gets lost in the mix: and at his own party this time. Rates: ***1/2
Director Richard Rush had an incredible style, and the first half of
GETTING STRAIGHT showcases his kind of handing-off of camera movements
within either subtle shots of action, like an apple being passed from
student to student in the opening credits in the central hippie college,
to random conversations...
For instance, an envelope is dropped on a machine and as the person who set it in place is speaking, the person answering is on the other side, where that letter wound up: a beautiful baton-passing flow that would peak with THE STUNT MAN, but you can't make a miracle out of the sixties, because hippies are simply the most uninteresting characters to ever wind up on film, ironically dying to be independent-minded and free, they're all cookie-cutter machines... and while each look like they're wearing costumes in recent movies, they even looked made up/put-together back then, when it was really going on (mainly because an actor will go from this movie to an episode of Gunsmoke)...
Centered on a very uncomfortable-looking, horribly unattractive Elliott Gould, with big lips and bushy eyebrows matching a bushy mustache and about ten years too old for the role of a student revolutionary who was somehow in Vietnam and now wants to be a teacher...
Looking the age of someone who has been a teacher for a
decade and just horribly miscast here, spouting 1960's
platitudes to his so-called fellow students, and, while he does stand
out from the younger hippies (including Harrison Ford, John Rubinstein
and Max Julien)... being that he's sarcastically obnoxious and selfishly
neurotic like the establishment he's supposed to be so against...
director Rush cannot make these people interesting beyond the first twenty-minutes. Rates: **
Yet there is little for them to smile about: Once married for five years, they've hated each other for twenty, and have a law school grad daughter who, on a tropical island vacation, gets engaged to a local...
And the fiance is not only cookie-cutter
perfect-looking (like Roberts convenient young French boyfriend) but he
spouts Buddhist platitudes and is simply too good to be true... Never
allowing Clooney or Roberts... whose plan is to break up the engagement
while supposedly loathing each other in the process... to have a
logical reason for wanting what's best for their daughter... After
all, in this age of neo-feminism, having a young lady go from having a
future as a high profile lawyer to following her man around in his
native territory, it's surprising the writer backs the young couple more
than the old, whose random personal bulwarks are both contrived and
tiresome... Meanwhile Clooney and Roberts, for real life friends
and past collaborators, have absolutely no chemistry together: Which
does make their prior divorce seem more realistic... perhaps
deliberately... only these two don't really seem to hate each other... In
fact neither seem to realize the other's even around, leaving the
audience to scratch their heads and wonder how (or even why) these
people hooked up in the first place... or why on earth they'd ever want
to be together again. Rates: 1/2
Well here's something completely different: a negative review of Richard Jewell from someone who's not blaming Donald Trump: It's extremely dull and hardly covers the title character... a pathetic Paul Blartish security guard/cop wannabe blamed for the bombing... as having gone through a nightmare after being treated like a hero for spotting the explosive, and saving lives, because there's hardly any coverage of the good times when the media supposedly praised him... As for acting, the titular lead is very dull, yet even the negative reviewers are giving him singled-out props while Sam Rockwell goes through the motions as an underdog lawyer fighting the powers that be... Powers that really have no weight or significance here, fueled by a villainous female journalist who supposedly slept with an FBI agent for her big scoop... But when the reporter is portrayed as a cheap drunken skank from the get-go, and the agent is square-jawed Don Draper himself, it seems like just another sexual conquest for a really good looking guy (and Olivia Wilde is somehow made to look average here)...
In a nutshell, Richard Jewell doesn't pay favors to anyone: He and his mom (Kathy Bates) are as cookie-cutter cliche in their banal country-music-loving simplicity as the FBI and media are in their supposed pigheaded prowess, and, perhaps the mundane by-the-book approach in Eastwood's subtle (albeit lifeless) direction is purposeful... But for a supposedly suspenseful expose, there aren't any real thrills here, or twists, or turns, or urgency to matter beyond what feels more like a rehearsal/table-read than a motion picture. Rating: **
For all the people who loved The Untouchables and thought that old Al
Capone had to pay for the rest of his life rotting in prison because of
that tax evasion thing, there's a neglected part of history that many
would be both surprised and then let-down about... being that Capone
actually got out and lived about a decade, and with money to boot... The
footnote of that is that he suffered from dementia and wasn't all
there, which was actually only the last couple years after the first
couple years after lockup...
Most are praising Tom Hardy's performance because it's hard not to praise Tom Hardy, but he's all makeup and imitation here, nothing else, really... Matt Dillon plays his former mentor Johnny and seems in even more of a cruise control mode than Hardy's Capone, who at least has a reason being he's so messed up mentally... But nothing much happens except for showing a guy getting what he deserved after he got what he deserved by the far more entertaining story of his peak as a gangster... one scene as he lies in bed, he... well let's just say the audience gets to actually watch brown stuff spraying from his rear-end and it's not supposed to be hilarious but it seems like something out of Neighbors or Old School, and, anyhow, Josh Trask, poor fella, he just can't catch a break... The "It Guy Director" in Hollywood had a chance here, after failing at the top, to prove himself with arthouse but... there's simply nobody home here, and the lights aren't even on.
The Oscar-winning AMERICAN BEAUTY, deliberately attempts to play on cliches, never fully progresses past them for the characters to be fleshed out as actual humans...Especially Annette Bening in what could be the WORST performance in an Oscar winning feature, screaming her lines as a shallow, work-motivated suburban real estate agent yuppie-from-hell as if she were in another movie altogether, or auditioning for an overboard parody of upper middle class families, and she seems created just to make our central hero look cooler and become more sympathetic, but he didn't need help since Spacey is actually quite good, charming, the suburb dad version of the usual "lovable loser" herein lusting for his bratty-deep, morbid daughter's sexy blonde friend... And how would his borderline Goth daughter be a cheerleader in the first place?
she has her own admirer, crushed on by the next door neighbor's even
more morbid son... And his dad's a Marine who represents what Hollywood
hates: An extreme right winger, homophobic, in the military, cold to his
wife, abusive to his son, and get this... he's a homosexual and... well
let's not spoil the ending... Overall, one of the aspects that
inspired other films is the ghostly piano score, mellow, haunting,
overly-moving, which you now hear the likes of in every "important"
film's trailer (it used to be the more upbeat piano theme for Terms of
Endearment)... Other than that, AMERICAN BEAUTY stole more from
past films (or rather, cliches from past films) than it actually created
yet, still, you can't say it isn't entertaining being a fun ride when
not trying to be too deep, or too obviously trying to prove a point or
agenda... Maybe if it were a more straight-line comedy instead of
telling us to Look Closely the audience could judge for themselves what
to get out of the story, because, for the most part, the themes are as
forced to the viewer as Spacey's character's life was forcing him into
the kind of submission he eventually dug his way out of... Or perhaps... that was the intention all along. Rates: ***
For instance, Carson is the most against the production movie company's disruption of the house, so they send him to France... But wouldn't he be better batting heads with the studio? God knows, that would have made for a terrific episode...
As for the overall drama/melodrama that the series is
known for, there aren't too many shocks or surprises except for a
searing epilogue, a few near-trysts along the way and, not counting a
semi-intriguing history lesson about silent film stars fearing the
introduction of "talkies" (already known from Singin' in the Rain), it's
in one ear, out the other, and without any necessary tension or
conflict... Ironically, up on the big screen, the characters seem
much smaller, somehow, while the director doesn't savor the
larger-than-life beauty and elegance of Downton or even France for that
matter...Then again, for lightweight comedy, it's not a bad
90-minutes: Just don't except A New Era to equal the terrific British
series that, for the most part, feels far too "Hollywood" here. Rates: **
They never stopped starring in hit British show, particularly Waterman who started as a child actor, headlining a series WILLIAM as, you got it, WILLIAM, followed by FAIR EXCHANGE, THE BARNSTORMERS and then in his late twenties and thirties the aforementioned THE SWEENEY...
Which was quickly followed by that production company's crime comedy MINDER, then a comedy called ON THE UP and finishing with a very long goodbye for almost twenty-years on the old-guys-back-on-the-force crime comedy NEW TRICKS...
In-between all this he appeared in two Hammer flicks, one as a child the other his early twenties, THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (opposite future SWEENEY guest star David Lodge) and then side-by-side with Christopher Lee in SCARS OF DRACULA. Boy was he busy. This is about the only rest he ever had. Farewell.
Which FORCE 10 has plenty of... an eclectic group, mostly at bickering odds, with genuine chemistry while GUNS moves along too sluggishly for an action flick, has very little intrigue for an adapted twist-filled espionage, and for what's a worthy ensemble on paper, the characters, from stalwart mountain-climber Gregory Peck, explosives-expert-second David Niven, vengeful widower Anthony Quinn, patient middleman Anthony Quayle (these four far too old), machine-gun blasting youth James Darren and strong-silent-type Stanley Baker, all seem... despite collectively sent to destroy the Nazi's strategically-placed gigantic title gun on the titular Greek isle... in entirely different movies. Rates: **
When you listen to and get to know this album inside and out (which includes a studio ditty Lawdy Mama, which is Strange Brew with more blue-oriented/less psychedelic-oriented lyrics), and then crank up Fresh Cream, it's a lot like hearing some of the 1970's Grateful Dead albums wherein their studio work is simply a means to a live performance end... And Cream's second live album VOL 2. (both came out after the band broke up) is more catered to mainstream audiences or mega Eric Clapton fans, mostly covering the band's popular "hits" like Sunshine of your Love and White Room... but LIVE CREAM is the album-experience that proves who the original JAM BAND really was. And still IS... all you need to do is listen. And keep listening.
The main problem is, Arnold did this movie way too soon. After TERMINATOR 2 he was at the peak of his powers, and he winds up showing audiences how stupid those kind of movies are. The funny thing is, Arnold's most popular "Action" films are really Science-Fiction... Not just TERMINATOR 1 and 2 but TOTAL RECALL, THE RUNNING MAN and PREDATOR... plus the CONAN films which are sci-fi's sibling, Fantasy...
only two good things are the tall/lanky, totally scary-looking Tom Noonan as an ax-killer who should have been the ONLY MAIN villain instead of Charles
Dance making fun of Charles Dance..
And F. Murray Abraham as Jack's fictional cop partner turned backstabber
could have had more merit than two quick scenes, so the fact is,
the film-within-the-film is treated with no respect, and it's simply not
entertaining (like Arnold's following years' comeback, a real action movie, TRUE LIES): For instance, JACK SLATER IV opens with a five-minute scene between two very old men having a conversation (Tony
Quinn and Art Carney), which would bore the daylights out of
any kid watching on opening night. And, after all the nonsense, by the time the fictional characters do a TIME AFTER TIME meets THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO and enter real life, the
audience is exhausted. A shame since THAT movie was far better than the
other. SCORE: **
Basically, the original GHOSTBUSTERS was a shocking success that no one saw coming (including all those who were THERE on opening night). Had John Belushi starred alongside Akyroyd as intended, it probably would have not worked since Belushi, as great as he was and always the craziest guy in the proverbial crazy train, didn't have the subtle skill of undoing all the work done by others. Murray was there all along to say, "This story is silly and I don't know why I'm here" which was needed given the insane premise and, without him OR Harold Ramis to make Dan's character that much more serious-minded about all the mind-boggling, fantastical science, there's simply no use of trying to trap the same lighting in the same bottle… which, as noted several times, wasn't even possible in 1989 for an unnecessary sequel attempting to tread the same ground that was miraculously successful to begin with.
His films usually have no empty spaces wherein one forgots what they're watching. Even his best work, from ANNIE HALL to CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, leave the viewer exhausted, if only from laughing or smiling (or thinking) too much.... FOG however sporadically loses touch within its own story and at times the actors seem directionless. And as strong and infectious Woody is a writer, sometimes his "guest stars" here seem to be desperately improvising (especially Johns Cusack and Malkovich... although they're also doing Woody impressions); on the other hand, the fact it's not as downright hilarious as his 1970's films also means it's that much more laid-back and subtle. Not a bad thing. Despite being about a killer on the loose, it's one of his most relaxing features. And Mia Farrow steals the show by not seeming like she's acting at all.
Year Film: 1974 Doc: 2018 Rating: **1/2
Watching THE GHOST OF PETER SELLERS it feels like Spike Milligan, not Peter Sellers, is at fault for the Peter Medak's doomed pirate movie
GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN being so bad since it was Spike who talked his former Goon, Sellers,
into doing a movie that he hardly even had developed on the page.
In one reflection, Medak, who also directs this very documentary, says that both he AND Sellers cried on the phone together after having read what there was to read of the script. Then, when Sellers becomes a pain to the director on set, Spike shows up to write the last half of the script, and acts like the hero for bringing Sellers back to the set when in reality, it was a set that should have never been built because the script wasn't even finished from the very beginning. A screenplay is the most important "set" of a movie. It's everything. Seeing parts of the movie, that is, the ACTUAL movie of NOONDAY SUN, it doesn't seem all Sellers fault despite Sellers being absolutely horrible in it. The direction looks like test shots for rehearsals or casting auditions, so this supposedly brilliant young director wasn't really directing but rather just pointing his camera and filming. So perhaps the fault isn't just on Peter Sellers here. And at the very end of the doc, when Medak is sitting next to Spike Milligan's statue, praising him after defecating on Sellers for two hours, it makes very little sense.
The plot has
Oliver as an ad man quitting before we the audience know how good he is,
or about what exactly he's quitting. It feels like the movie starts 20
minutes in, even 40.
And being a 1960's counter-culture flick it's one of those Drop-Out themes, but Reed still has wealth and girls (including gorgeous, underrated Carol White) so there's not much of a void there to be filled, or that he's filling. And Reed is usually so amped into roles (especially he and Winner's first and best THE SYSTEM) but here he sleepwalks, and doesn't utter a complete sentence until about fifteen minutes in. At least not one that matters. And herein, not much does. Rating: **
Who initially bullies and then protects Coulsin, played by Dean Jones, usually cast in Disney flicks as their then-modern-day Jimmy Stewart; thus that kind of man-next-door quality keeps this character-study down-home and intriguing albeit one-sided and self-promoting yet never boring but not altogether great either but, for what can be called a 2-hour cinematic Alter Call (resembling a Television Movie-of-the-Week), BORN AGAIN fits both the title and purpose, nicely enough to pass the time since these kind of preachy melodramas can often feel like eternity. Rates: ***/12
Year: 1983 Cast: Robert Mitchum, James Spader, Lance Kerwin, Eric Stoltz rates: **
Google a picture of the real life sons after they were arrested... Look at their hard, calloused faces, edgy, mean, deadly... Then watch as little-dipper eyed Lance Kerwin and docile Eric Stolz play the whining, kindhearted, manipulated, vulnerable, blue-eyed sons of the father they broke out of the jail... A father who kills an entire family including a small child...
Anyhow, if KILLER IN THE FAMILY were meaner and colder, like the real life Tison family, who were rampaging white trash serial killers throughout Arizona, unlike especially the law student son played by James Spader, supposedly wanting to kill his father while on the road, then it'd be more realistic and more an exploitation piece instead of a TV-movie that's not sure who exactly the bad guys are...
Much of the blame is laid on the dad's convict friend. Sadly, this road movie could have been really good, but Robert Mitchum was far too old to play a man with sons that could be his grandchildren... With a melting face, he has one of those ballooned stomachs that looks hard as steel from drinking and he can hardly move his old bones... Miscast, to say the least... Again, Google the real Gary Tison and see the empty shell of a human being, around forty-years old and dead to life, dead to the world...
Either way, while not terrible and sometimes entertaining, this was a missed opportunity... Reminds one of the horrible Death of a Centerfold TV-movie, that was soon trumped by the incredible theatrical Star 80... Too bad nothing came out to straighten out this crooked mess... There's a Straight-to-Video job starring Robert Patrick from 2017, but... The best thing to come out of this was the Warner Archives DVD with the original blue outlined cover; a collector's edition but, sadly, what's inside there is merely a forgotten curio, for good reason.
Year: 1945 Rating: **
Ann Savage's famous femme fatale would be the kind of classic Noir character had she entered the picture earlier on...
Instead, during Tom Neal's story as he, a low-rent piano player, hitchhikes from New York to L.A. to see his girl who's trying to make it big in Hollywood, Savage's Phoenix AZ con-artist babbler simply kills the self-narrated road movie buzz that'd belonged more comfortably to the far more subtle and intriguing Neal...
Her incessant bickering is annoying while
their collected con (that HE'S bickered into) is so far-fetched you'll
wish poor Tom did what he initially promised: Instead of thumbing the ride
that'd changed his life and given Savage the chance to blackmail him, to
make the whole trip across country all alone, by himself, on a
year: 1973 rating: **
Yet another Depression era movie where the corporations are worse than Nazis. Along with Emperor of the North, Boxcar Bertha, The Grapes of Wrath, the bad guys depicted are just a little... actually, a lot... overboard in their villainy, to the point that, what's unrealistic is the fact if they were this bad, why would they hold back enough to be defeated?
for a movie, this one's all over the place: Great actors turn in pretty good
performances, but Faye Dunaway and George C. Scott (she owns a coveted yet dilapidated oil well and reluctantly hires him for employment/protection) are one-dimensional,
maybe even more so than heavy Jack Palance, who at least smiles around
his guard dog. It's another one of those pretty decent movies
that simply gets too heavyhanded with the haves and have-nots. Probably
the best character is William Lucking, caught between both.
This was only a little better than the overrated A Place in the Sun being that the torrid affair between the young climber (Laurence Harvey) and the old married woman is realistic wherein the love affair between Monty Clift and Liz Taylor is rushed, and something from a preteen girl's reverie.
The acting is good here, usual for England, and oh boy is that Heather Sears a cutie-pie... but the story can only go as far as all the class envy cliches allow, and that's not very far. Because right when you catch onto something passing as intrigue, that agenda rears up and stops it... both the audience and the main characters. Rates: **
The main character learns to meditate in a cave and has no women in his life. He's basically Buddhist. Doesn't take a "Magister" to figure that one out. And it's a great book, very hypnotic, and like The Game itself... never completely makes sense, which is what's so mesmerizing, enigmatic and addictive...
The first part starts like an intentionally vague philosophy course, and then turns into a biography of a great man...
Sometimes particular avenues are mentioned, teased... like spending a weekend in the real world with the non-believer our man debates... only to be quickly rejected, making one wish it wasn't brought up at all since the narrative (a kind of serious satire of historical biographies) does get a bit claustrophobic, and often seems like several possible adventures are abandoned... But Monks (and Priests, for that matter, although this book is very anti-Catholic) are "cloistered", aren't they?
Poor Ryan O'Neal couldn't catch a break. Even two films now considered classics didn't make money in the 1970's upon release. His daughter Tatum's BAD NEWS BEARS beat the pants off both Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON and Walter Hill's THE DRIVER...
While the comparably mainstream and now basically forgotten OLIVER'S STORY did even worse... ironic being the sequel to what's considered the first most lucrative pre-JAWS summer blockbuster, LOVE STORY, as Ryan himself had a reason/theory of why it failed: Intellectual thinking man's ingenue Nicola Pagett (resembling cult starlet Pamela Franklin) was supposed to be the girl he winds up with as, early on, they share a blind date, which is more interesting and with far more chemistry than any of O'Neal's scenes with wooden rich girl Candace Bergen, who, being the studio's choice of perfect and pretty, made it so Nicola's third act return was left on the cutting room floor. And while OLIVER'S STORY is not a bad picture... with a particularly clever style of quick-editing so the scene being cut-from seems deliberately unfulfilled (like happens in ROSEMARY'S BABY)... there are relaxing moments within the mahogany-hued classy-to-poor New York City where idealistic rich kid Oliver, a lawyer, fights a slum lord with student employees: yet there's simply no inner peace or contentment for the titular character or his titular story: all he needed was the right girl, who was perfectly whin reach. Rates: ***
|Nicola Pagett as Joanna Stone in Oliver's Story|
|Nicola Pagett as Joanna Stone in Oliver's Story|
|Nicola Pagett with Ryan O'Neal in Oliver's Story|
|Ann Risley & Deborah Rush are two bar girls in Oliver's Story|
year: 2002 rating: **
At the very end, the 12-year old son of a hit man, who had spent six weeks on the road with his father, on the run, narrates that he lived a lifetime on that particular journey. And while it feels a lifetime length-wise, hardly anything really happens to make the viewer agree that it was quite a ride. But that's not without some anticipation along the way. Like Hanks' Michael Sullivan, a former "enforcer" for Paul Newman's 1930's-era gangster chief John Rooney, having to rob a string of banks and to teach his son to be a getaway driver in the process. But what follows is a quick, much-too-easily-pulled-off montage. If this were made twenty-years earlier, those scores would have to provide thrills, action, suspense, but here it's superfluous filler. Only Jude Law as a menacing, photo-snapping creep on Hanks' trail is memorable... and we're simply supposed to hate him for wanting to kill the endearing mainstream star who always wins.
You gotta love THE L WORD for the surprisingly few times it takes on then-President George W. Bush for not allowing anyone to bash him, when in fact he was the most bashed President in history (until now... Trump) and didn't care one bit, unlike Obama... say something about him you're a racist...
It's just funny how the Left wants to be the underdog and the overlord both, and this preachy episode as Mrs. Bette Goes to Washington is made up for by a delicious seduction by Dana Delaney as a supporter of Gays... And even John Kerry is mentioned as a supporter of her support, which was timely as Kerry had run against the man who gets bashed on a show that says he never allows it... Too funny, huh?
Susan Flannery is the perfect fit here. She looks older than her age, which is forty, but she looks incredible. Such a beautiful shaped face and a terrific figure...
Jameson Parker on the other hand, as a college student half her age, in real life is only eight years younger, and it shows. They don't look that far apart in age in this female-fantasy television-movie just like they aren't in real life, so this May/November romance is more March/June, and no big deal, really: Just two great looking people hooking up, and the suspense of her best friend Rita Moreno finding out she's with her son, or her son finding out she's with a guy not much older than him, isn't as effective on paper as the actors try their best to keep reminding the audience: a taboo romance this isn't being so perfect for each other and their chemistry is just too relaxed for even that aspect, when it's just the two alone and in love, making love, to matter. But it's nice seeing Susan Flannery in all her middle aged beauty. She's prettier than most college girls try hard to be.
Looking as if filmed with a lens splattered with icky green goo, MINORITY REPORT takes us into yet another Philip K. Dick future where the government does what seems the best for society (preventing murder) but is actually... no good at all...
The entire set-up is preposterous: Like MACBETH had three witches igniting the plot, there's a trio of half-naked bald people (one a hot chick) in a large tub of liquid within a formidable police station, projecting images of murders that haven't yet happened while Tom Cruise arrests the semi-guiltys and is soon enough... like the Film Noir/Wrong Man movies that inspired Steven Spielberg to try replicating (pun intended) the Neo Noir magic of BLADE RUNNER... framed for almost-murder and chased down like the criminals he used to... chase down: But the over abundance of now dated CGI, and the fact no characters have any chemistry with each other or the altered-reality world in which they reluctantly and awkwardly exist, makes MINORITY REPORT a tedious, tiresome waste of noisy bedlam.
Now if this movie were really good, or great, or somewhat daring, they'd have cast an actress who wasn't a perfect 10 (like Jean Seberg) to play a young woman who seems to "mysteriously" enchant all the males (and one sultry female) in the mental home where rich crazy people live, and sporadically, annoyingly cackle in random group sessions, and where Warren Beatty works, and of course being so handsome, falls for the titular enchantress who's as beautiful as he is: Why on Earth else would this movie matter? And yet it doesn't matter really at all... And if this insanely gorgeous girl were hanging out at a rat hole bus stop in downtown Toledo she'd "enchant" just the same: only there wouldn't be such artistic depth to rely on: But in a movie, be it art-house or mainstream, characters need to be genuinely interested to be interesting. Not even a young Gene Hackman doing an off-kilter Andy Griffith impression leaves much an impression... But he and Warren would work together again... Here, though, both seem like guests at someone else's funeral...
The best thing about SUNSET BOULEVARD is it's really a monster movie/creature feature and in that, a terrifyingly creepy Gloria Swanson makes up for a bland and overly glib Holden who, outside the main location, has a flirtatious affair with super-cute Nancy Olson as part of a soapy Hollywood-satire melodrama that simply isn't thrilling enough to be called a thriller...
And it's definitely not a Film Noir: If anything, SUNSET is a satire on Hollywood created and adored by Hollywood with built-in gripes that aren't very universal: a lot like another show biz satire (considered a classic as well) decades later, also starring William Holden, called Network: Both are vastly overrated. But Gloria Swanson's tour-de-force is far less forced than Peter Finch, and she's impossible to not be intrigued with. It just seems the audience has more interest than her smug leading man. GRADE: B
But despite the good adult cast, most of the acting is subpar, especially Mark Hamill who, as a preacher, delivers lines as if he too were possessed. The children, on the other hand, perform decently enough, but are held back by cheesy FX as their eyes radiate, taking away any real threat they might've had otherwise.
This show, fitfully titled THE LONER, about a former soldier on an endless road happening upon various human varmints who love the thought of war without having been through it... or without having learned from what they did experience while in it... takes away from what each story could have given the viewer other than a message, which overrides each plot-line and buries the theme: to where our wandering hero seems more like a brooding know-it-all than someone making the perfect pawn upon each eclectic adventure. In other words, he has so much to teach he never actually learns anything...
A lot like the political side of Hollywood, which Rod Serling was much, much better and deeper than. But he had more of a sermon to tell her than a story. See the early Gunsmoke episodes for how a great Western series should be. GRADE: C
Film centers on the dreary nephew (raised on the evils of Christianity) of a rich and powerful businessman. The kid falls in love with beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, who plays a beautiful society girl. But before that he (eventually learns he) knocked-up a working girl even more cliché than the rude-rich snobs being she's so pitifully somber, discontented, shabby and neurotic.
As for the gorgeous-looking couple the audience is supposed to care about: Literally within ten minutes of knowing each other, Taylor tells Montgomery Clift she's fallen in love with him, and while love happens fast in old movies, this was a record-breaker, and in that, a shark-jumper. Followed by the semi-intriguing Film Noir style murder plot/morality tale that's too little too late in this highly-regarded "classic" that not only doesn't stand the test of time, it lays down and falls asleep in the process. GRADE: D+
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