Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Jones

Big Eyes (2014)

A drama about the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

Adequately straightforward handling of an unusual and upsetting true story of artistic betrayal with a splendid cast.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Friday, 29 January 2016

Agnes Franey

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.

Silly fantasy action film with a drifting plot; the effects and creatures, however, will entertain an adolescent audience.

Maltin**: "Ho-hum, grim-faced action film relies heavily on CGI effects but isn't supported by a decent script, so it's hrad to get involved. The result: a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Alligator People (1959)

Hævnen (2010)

The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud.

Stirring and intense study of pacifism amidst an otherwise relentlessly violent world.

Maltin***1/2: "...a story both gripping and harrowlingly believable, an exploration of violence that simmers just below the surface of polite society."

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A gathering

A gathering in Los Angeles, 1972: (from left to right standing) Robert Mulligan, William Wyler, George Cukor, Robert Wise, Jean-Claude Carrière, Serge Silberman;
(seated) Billy Wilder, George Stevens, Luis Buñuel, Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian.

Ladder 49 (2004)

After saving the life of one of the civilians inside, a firefighter finds himself trapped in a burning warehouse with a broken leg and looks back upon his life.

Above-average drama intended to celebrate the heroics of firefighters, sympathetic but quite sentimental.

Maltin***: "Warm depiction of firemen's lives as brothers in an extended family. Full of white-knuckle sequences depicting daring (but realistic) rescue operations, which cumulatively pay tribute to some of the bravest men on earth. Solid, old-fashioned storytelling."

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Friday, 22 January 2016

Jean Simmons

Bat*21 (1988)

During the Vietnam War, a colonel's aircraft is shot down over enemy territory and a frantic rescue operation ensues.

Professionally produced and well-played straightforward war drama, more centered on suspense than any political implications.

Halliwell**: "Effective and suspenseful drama of the muddle and moral expediencies of war, based on a true story."

Maltin***: "Taut, compelling film, based on a true story, with fine cting all around."

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Paul Douglas

The Other Man (2008)

The story of a husband who suspects his wife of adultery, and sets out to track down the other man in her life.
Well-played drama starts off as a tale of frantic jealousy, but with an artful twist turns into a sympathetic study of understanding and forgiveness.

Maltin**1/2: "Stars are in fine form, but the would-be film noir becomes a lukewarm soap opera."

Noel Francis

The Burning Plain (2008)

A drama concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood.

Well-intentioned and well-cast drama about love, guilt and redemption with a complex, but somewhat overladen storyline.

Maltin**: "Piecing this story puzzle together is moderately intriguing but the characters' fates are discouragingly bleak. Somber, well-acted drama marks screenwriter Arriaga's directing debut, and follows his signature style of presenting seemingly disconnected stories that ultimately coalesce (21 GRAMS, BABEL, et. al.), but doesn't have the impact of his better scripts."

Fritz Lang

(ph: Burt Glinn)

New acquisition: Orson Welles. Hello Americans

Volume 2 of Simon Callow's monumental Orson Welles biography.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Susan Strasberg

New acquisition: Star Trek - The Original Series, Season 3 (1969)

Last season of the classic series.

You Only Live Twice (1967)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

The animals try to fly back to New York City, but crash-land on an African wildlife refuge, where a young lion is reunited with his parents.

Hyped-up, but only occassionally entertaining animated comedy; maybe children might enjoy it, but adults should rather avoid it.

Maltin**1/2: "Computer-animated comedy is a rarity for kids' movies: a sequel that improves on the original."

Yvonne de Carlo

New acquisition: Star Trek - The Original Series, Season 2 (1968)

Season 2: now part of my collection.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Anna Karina

Bitter Moon (1992)

On a cruise heading for India, a young couple meet another, highly unconventional couple, an American unpublished writer in a wheelchair and his much younger Parisian wife, who insist on telling their unsettling life story.

Overlong and quite dated tale of a sadomasochistic amour fou that tries to go all the way, but risks some silly scenes as well.

Halliwell (no star): "Incoherent melodrama of the corruption of innocence; but we've aal been here too many times before for this treatment to carry any appeal."

Maltin**1/2: "Deliciously trashy tale...Often overwrought, with laughable dialogue and not-to-be-believed sex scenes. Aguilty pleasure to be sure."

Carolyn Jones

The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

The story of the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was head of the FBI from 1924-1972 following him from his racket-busting days through his reign under eight U.S. presidents.

Well-played, but quite cursory run through J. Edgar Hoover's career that doesn't miss out on any of the many scandals, but oddly from an alomust unpolitical point of view.

Halliwell*: "Unreliable expose' with some interesting bits."

Maltin**1/2: "Sleazy bio...makes for great camp with its all-star lineup of real-life politicians - not to mention that cast!"