Friday, 31 July 2015

Lauren Bacall

Good Kill (2014)

A family man begins to question the ethics of his job as a drone pilot.

Well-intentioned drama with a great lead performance by Ethan Hawke does give some shocking insight into the drone warfare, but falls short of showing any political implications.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

On the set: Jon Voight, John Schlesinger & Dustin Hoffman

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

A defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.

Highly twisted courtroom drama and mystery, professionally staged with a good cast.

Maltin**1/2: "...well cast and neatly plotted but losesits spark long beforethe unexpected finale. Not bad, but not as solid as it promises to be at the outset. Makes creative use of offbeat L.A. locations."

Shichinin no samurai (1954)

On the set: Akira Kurosawa

Ma vie en l'air (2005)

Will the fear of flying rob a man of his second chance for love?

Likable light romantic comedy,  but otherwise quite unremarkable.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Jaws (1975)

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

A humanoid alien comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet, and he starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft.

Highly idiosyncratic science fiction tale with lots of pretension; wonderfully produced and photographed, with quite a few memorable scenes, but rather difficult to follow.

Halliwell*: "A weird piece of intellectual science fiction made weirder by longueurs of all varieties: obscure narrative, voyeuristic sex, pop music and metaphysics. Not an easy film or a likeable one, despite its great technical skill."

Maltin***1/2: "Highly original, fabulously photographed adaptation of Walter Tevis' classic fantasy novel is riveting for the first two-thirds, goes downhill toward the end. Still tops of its kind."

The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)

Ministry of Fear (1944)

A man is released into WWII England after two years in an asylum, but it doesn't seem so sane outside either.

Competent Hitchcock-like espionage thriller with great Noir photography and some surrealist moments.

On a new view: still enjoy this Noir thriller with a sinister, but quite unlikely conspiracy.

Halliwell**: "Little to do with the novel, but a watchable, well-detailed little thriller on Hitchcock lines, once you forgive the usual phoney Hollywood England."

Maltin***: "Atmospheric thriller...; good cast, fines touches by director Lang."

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Rollerball (1975)

On the set: James Caan and Norman Jewison

Amazing Grace (2006)

The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Tasteful, but unexcited account of an otherwise quite upsetting political struggle with a excellent cast and lovely period details.

Maltin**1/2: "Earnest and enlightening...Impressive roster of actors lends weight to this well-made film, but somehow it never reaches the dramatic heights it should, considering the passionate nature of its protagonist and the nobility of his cause."


Mad Love (1935)

Johnny Guitar (1954)

A strong-willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob, when she helps a wounded gang member.

Fascinating no holds barred Western with the two female leads calling the cards in a confrontation overheated with an otherwordly hatred.

Halliwell*: "Weird Freudian Western notable for a running catfight between its lady protagonists; the title character is decidedly secondary. Not exactly a good movie, butmemorable because it's almost always over the top."

Maltin***1/2: "The screen's great kinky Western...Simply fascinating with symbolism rampant throughout."

The Roxy Twin, New York

'The Roxy Twin' 42d Street 1985, New York City by Matt Weber

The Angry Red Planet (1959)

One of only two survivors from a Martian expedition is so traumatized she doesn't remember the circumstances of the trip.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Jean-Pierre Melville

The River Murders (2011)

While investigating a series of murders, a homicide detective becomes the prime suspect when the FBI uncovers his close personal ties to all the victims.

OK serial killer thriller in a similar vein as Se7en, but much less surprising or compelling.

The Woman in the Window (1944)

On the set: Joan Bennett and Fritz Lang

Une affaire privée (2002)

It's been six months since a young woman has disappeared, and at the request of her mother, a private detective takes over the investigation.
A Chandleresque Noir mystery that has style and atmosphere, but a not so exciting conclusion.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Gojira tai Megaro (1973)

Killer Elite (2011)

When his mentor is taken captive by a disgraced Arab sheik, a killer-for-hire is forced into action to kill three members of Britain's elite Special Air Service responsible for the death of his sons.

Competent action-thriller that somehow doesn't compel with its overladen plot.

Maltin**1/2: "Rugged, well-actedactioner raises intriguing questions about morality and abuse of power, only to abandon them in favor of the usual slam-bang Stathem heroics."

Dark Passage (1947)

On the set: Delmer Daves, Humphrey Bogart and Agnes Moorehead

Charles Bradley: Soul of America (2012)

The rise of 62-year-old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album rocketed him from a hard life in the Brooklyn Housing Projects to Rolling Stone Magazine's top 50 albums of 2011.

Intimate and compelling documentary on an artist struggling hard and finding succes at a high age that also illustrates the social environment in which Charles Bradley lives and from where his music finds its inspiration.

On second view: I still agree with my initial impression.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Romy Schneider

Ordinary People (1980)

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Fine analysis of a family on the verge of catastrophe, subtly and grippingly told with a great ensemble.

Halliwell***: "An actor's piece which on that level succeeds very well, and accurately pins down a certain species of modern American family."

Maltin****: "Superb adaptation...Intelligent, meticulously crafted film, an impressive directorial debut Redford..."

Audrey Hepburn

Monday, 20 July 2015

Four Brothers (2005)

Four brothers look to avenge their foster mother's death.

Despite a quite far-fetched plot this revenge has a very good ensemble of characters, lots of action, suspense and some bits humour.

Maltin***: "Violent, somewhat overlong action-thriller veers toward melodrama but maintains rooting interest for its rough-and-tumble "heroes" from start to finish. Flanagan is a standout in her few scenes as the boys' good-hearted mother. As widely noted, this plays like an updated urban version of THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER."

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

New acquistion: The Young One (1960)

One of the few Luis Buñuel movies I haven't seen yet.

Nastassja Kinski

Man Hunt (1941)

A British hunter vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight, but he is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Rachel Weisz

A Star Is Born (1937)

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.

Full circle melodrama about love and ambition within Hollywood; a classic Of Hollywood excellence in all departments including insight into its own mechanisms.

Halliwell***: "Abrasive romantic melodrama which is also the most accurate study of Hollywood  ever put on film."

Maltin***1/2: "Two remakes haven't dimmed the glow of this drama...March and Gaynor are at their best and 1930s flavor (captured in early Technicolor) is a plus."

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Ryan's Daughter (1970)

On the set: David Lean

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

A nice premise for an offbeat comedy, but this one is disappointedly haphazard, at times vulgar and quite unfunny.

Maltin**1/2: "Sporadicaaly funny comedy has some solid laughs as well as the kind of raunchiness we've come to expect in the post-HANGOVER era."