Sunday, 26 February 2017

Slogan (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

Jean Parker

The Frozen Ground (2013)

An Alaska State Trooper partners with a young woman who escaped the clutches of a serial killer to bring the murderer to justice.

Basically OK crime drama with some good performances doesn't add anything new to the genre.

Maltin**: "Sordid, fact-based account...well made and well acted, but it wallows in graphic depictions of the worst kind of violence against women that it claims to be condemning. This is entertainment?"

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sue Lyon

The Lovely Bones (2009)

A young girl is murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory.

Although obviously made with a lot of talents involved the director overdid the phantasmagorical elements on the verge to kitsch.

On renewed viewing: I still think this movie could have been better.

Maltin **1/2: "Well-made, well-acted adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestseller suffers from overabundant, heavy-handed images of an Edenic afterlife that don't connect with the rest of the film."

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sophia Loren & Kim Novak

Sophia Loren and Kim Novak attend the opening of Sophia’s film The Key at the Odeon Theater in New York, July 1958

The Neon Demon (2016)

When an aspiring model moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.
Visually gorgeous and mesmerizing tale that takes its view of the beauty industry to a morbid and slightly ironic extreme. 

Leslie Caron

Whiplash (2014)

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

An extremely well-made and intense drama with a grand performance by J.K. Simmons; unfortunately, it seems to consider jazz (and music, for that matter) to be some kind of competitive high performance sport, and the ambitious student is nearly as disagreeable as his sadistic mentor.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Humphrey Bogart

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor of the previous expedition and discovers a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Alfred Hitchcock

Gigi (1958)

Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long.

In all departments a top-notch and lively musical production that is a delight to watch, but the plot itself hardly hold's one interest.

Halliwell***: "Laundered and musicalized version; delightfully set, costumed and performed, but oddly lacking dance numbers."

Maltin****: "Joyous turn-of-the-20th-century musical...Exquisitely filmed, perfectly cast..."

Cry-Baby (1990)

Flash Gordon (1980)

A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

Well produced and nicely designed attempt to make a campy version of the Flash Gordon saga; the intention is much too in-your-face, and the makers seem to ignore the fact that the original was more camp than they could ever achieve.

Halliwell (no star): "Lively comic strip addition to the increasing numbers of such things being restaged at enormous expense fifty years after their prime."

Maltin***: "Updated version of comic strip is better than expected, thanks to eye-filling production/costume design by Danilo Donati, amusing rock score by Queen. Jones and Anderson are liabilities..., but Muti's evil Princess Aura...leads a strong supporting cast."

Psychotronic/Michael Weldon: "Despite a repetitious rock score by Queen and a terrible campy attitude, this Flash often visually impressive, and Max von Sydow does a good Charles Middleton impression. Basically it's as good as Battlestar Galactica. Sam Jones is a pretty bad hero...His lines had to be dubbed over by another actor!"

The Third Man (1949)

On the set: Carol Reed and Orson Welles

New acquisition: Northern Exposure

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Silvana Mangano

(ph: Gjon Mili)

Un soupçon d'innocence (2010)

In a rural setting on the weather-beaten French Atlantic coast, the ten year old daughter of a single mother is implicated in murder, but crime scene evidence contradicts the story of the talented, introverted child as expressed in her Mangas.
Above-average TV crime thriller has a good cast, some psychological depth and atmosphere, although the plot itself seems quite implausible. 

Joan Crawford

Green Zone (2010)

Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region.

Well-intentioned and fairly good thriller that seems to think it needs to prove what has always been obvious to the rest of the world: that the claim there were WMD in Iraq was a lie.

Maltin*: "Retrospective look at the situation...asks us to be surprised at its discoveries - and the ultimate outcome of the story - when it's plain from the start to everyone but Damon's character. Vividly realized by Greengrass, a master of verisimilitude, but dramatically pointless."

Sunday, 12 February 2017


Onna Koroshiya: Mesu Inu (1969)???

Le Coup du berger (1956)

When an unfaithful wife receives a fur coat from her lover as a gift, they must figure out a way to keep the husband from discovering the coat's true origins.

Charmingly made short that illustrates an amusing, but quite chauvinistic, anecdote; interesting as an early work by Jacques Rivette.

Smarty (1934)

On the set: Robert Florey

Paris nous appartient (1961)

Curious as to why a young Spaniard would take his own life, a young student visits many of the places frequented by the dead man and learns that the suicide victim was maybe part of a sinister international conspiracy.

Less a mystery than a meandering and hypnotizing (and quite long) investigation into the paranoic and almost ridiculuously apocalyptic mindset of Parisian intellectuals of that time.

On renewed viewing: I still agree with my first assessment, and it truly is overlong.

Halliwell (no star): "Overlong, often pretentious and frequently amateurish, Rivette's first feature reflects an adolescent despair of the future."

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Evangelina Elizondo

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

Intelligent remake of a classic, a joy to watch.

On renewed viewing: Nice-looking remake of a classic political satire updates the message and otherwise has its credentials in all departments, but the good work doesn't have the original's edge.

Maltin**1/2: "Remake of a genuinely great film puts an intriguing, modern spin on the depiction of backroom power brokers but lacks the chilling edge - and starkness - that marked the original."

Friday, 10 February 2017

Death is a Woman (1966)

Miles Ahead (2015)

In the midst of a prolific career, Miles Davis disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s till a wily music reporter forces his way into Davis' house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on an adventure to recover a stolen tape recording of the musician's most recent compositions.

Don Cheadle delivers a spectacularly convincing performance as Miles Davis, but his attempt to explore the man and and artist is marred by a hopscotch plot with multiple flashbacks which entertains but is vaguely insightful.

Le notti di Cabiria (1957)

New acquisition: Death Race 2000 (1975)