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  • Interview with the Assassin 2002

    ★★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Raymond J. Barry is one of our great character actors and this is his tour de force: A showcase in which he very believably inhabits the person who supposedly killed Kennedy. As a result, there are moments in which this movie is positively chilling.

    It's an early entry in the modern found footage/pseudo documentary style launched by Blair Witch. It's been a go to staple for horror and hasn't worked very well there. As the aesthetic for a character driven…

  • Break Up 1998

    ★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    This cheap, late period 90s potboiler is really two movies in one...

    On the one hand, you have a standard issue domestic abuse thriller starring Bridget Fonda... In which 80s sleazeball turned poor man's heartthrob Hart Bochner kicks the shit out of her, throws her down some stairs and disappears, presumably dead...with her the prime suspect in his "murder." So now she must go on the lam to prove her innocence.

    The other side of this coin is a buddy…

  • The Paperboy 2012

    ★★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Oh, it's a Lee Daniels movie through and through... An overabundance of stylistic flourishes from the word go, over-the-top characterizations charged with flamboyance; and plenty of eye-popping weird scenes.

    And, in this particular case, the excess suits the material. An adaptation of Pete Dexter's Florida backwoods thriller, this actually has the look, feel and texture...hell...even the SMELL of a pulp novel.

    With Macy Gray's narration and a strangely lush musical score it even sounds like some sort of bizarre fever…

  • Twisted 2004

    ★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    There are stylish details and good performances in Philip Kaufman's very slick, mainstream thriller...

    ...but the movie is still, pretty much, garbage.

    I think Kaufman is one of the best of American filmmakers, but he seems to trip over himself whenever he does a "studio picture" and this is one of those times.

    It's a strange situation. Maybe because of its pedigree, it feels like the American remake of a European thriller.

    This could have easily been a French film,…

  • The Babysitter 1995

    Watched 19 Sep, 2014

    Maybe writer/director Guy Ferland has a point about men and their one track minds. And about a woman's insecurity as she grows older in this modern age of ageism and sexism. And the impetuousness and hedonism of youth. And middle aged men not ever wanting to lose that youth.

    Because this movie is about all those things. And maybe it's valid subject matter for an incisive, dramatic film made by an intelligent, subtle filmmaker.

    But this is not that film.…

  • A Million Ways to Die in the West 2014

    ★★★ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    It's a Western comedy from Seth MacFarlane. That's what the trailers promised, and that's exactly what the movie is.

    And it's funny.

    Not every gag connects like it should. But the ones that do...do. And that's it.

    That is to say: I laughed. Quite a bit in fact... Which means the movie did its job, so what else can I tell you?

    There's no beating around the bush here. If MacFarlane's brand of humor doesn't appeal to you, this is…

  • Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 2014

    ★★★ Watched 12 Sep, 2014

    Not unpredictably, what we have here is a contrived sequel that doesn't have much juice.

    The centerpiece, in every way, is the title story. You get Josh Brolin taking over from Clive Owen and a much better fit for the role, even as some off putting, disconcerting as all hell makeup is employed at one point to actually make him resemble Owen. The fact is, Brolin is such a cool actor and forceful screen presence, I'd say he makes a…

  • Assassination 1986

    Watched 10 Sep, 2014

    It has the right setup for what could be a fun B action flick. Charlie Bronson and his wife (they're both long dead and gone as of his writing) star as a secret service tough guy and the First Lady. She's in danger, he has to protect her, all that good stuff...

    So, it has a good setup.

    And that's all it has.

    You'd think making the movie was an excuse to get this real life couple working together in…

  • The Men's Club 1986

    ★★ Watched 09 Sep, 2014

    Or The Big Chill for people who really like to eat steaks...

    ...and drink scotch.

    Really... The title itself should already tell you everything.

    More than anything else, this is a big time acting showcase, which you will enjoy if you enjoy these particular actors.

    And these are good actors. Roy Scheider... Frank Langella... Treat Williams... Richard Jordan... All of whom get at least one bravura moment, or one particularly stunning little monologue. The most memorable of which might be…

  • The Believers 1987

    ★★★ Watched 09 Sep, 2014

    This fundamentally cheesy slice of 80s schlock is given relatively stylish treatment by director John Schlesinger who, by this point in his career, well...this is the stuff he was doing.

    It also boasts a decent enough cast of familiar faces, headlined by Martin Sheen who, by this point in his career, well...this is what he was doing too.

    There is the meat of an interesting thriller here. The concept is intriguing and the film builds well enough. As Sheen is…

  • Dreamscape 1984

    ★★★ Rewatched 09 Sep, 2014

    A 70s paranoia thriller given an 80s adventure fantasy spin... This uneven thriller is fascinating despite its flaws because of that interesting blend, and how very close it comes to actually pulling off its off-beat premise.

    I guess they were ahead of the curve on this one. I mean, Christopher Nolan practically remade it a couple of years ago with Leonardo DiCaprio and the result was a massive, worldwide action hit.

    This remains a cult film. But I suppose it…

  • For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism 2009

    ★★★ Watched 09 Sep, 2014

    A talking head documentary with some interesting heads...

    I don't know that there's any particularly fascinating insight here, but it's definitely engaging to listen to these particular people talk about their careers, more so if you're a film buff of course.

    I'd be surprised if someone who isn't a film buff would even want to watch this in the first place.

    They also give Harry Knowles a little more face time than I'd like. Though, his "contribution" to the modern…