Hunter has written 130 reviews for films during 2017.

  • Becket

    Becket

    ★★★★★

    The feast day of Saint Thomas Becket was yesterday, and it seemed like a good time to finally watch the film based on his life and death. Like "A Man for All Seasons", "Becket" is the true story of a saint (Richard Burton) who was martyred for making a stand against the King of England, this particular king being Henry II (Peter O'Toole). The arc of friendship between Becket and Henry is the central focus of the film, and the…

  • Highlander: The Search for Vengeance

    Highlander: The Search for Vengeance

    ★★★

    The mistake every sequel to "Highlander" has made is that they all try to continue the narrative from the original film. The problem is "Highlander" is a very open-and-shut story that sets up a universe which is entirely too limited to expand further upon. Connor MacLeod is an immortal. All the immortals fight and kill each other until only one is left. The last immortal gets "the prize." Connor is the last immortal at the end of "Highlander". That's a…

  • Brawl in Cell Block 99

    Brawl in Cell Block 99

    ★★★★

    Vince Vaughn's imposing size is finally put to good use in this vicious prison thriller. On the surface, "Brawl" seems like another pretentious Tarantino-style throwback to seventies "grindhouse" movies, but it is too straightforward and sincere with its intentions to be considered a pastiche. The narrative is elegant and simple, filled with urgency while coolheaded at the same time. Director S. Craig Zahler's use of violence is Gibson-esque, and the performances from the likes of Vaughn, Udo Kier, and Don Johnson are enjoyable. This is easily the finest genre offering I've seen in 2017.

  • Shadowlands

    Shadowlands

    ★★★★½

    "Shadowlands" is a profound and moving depiction of the relationship between C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) and Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) that explores the greater theme of the relationship between grief and religious faith. It's a movie bursting at the seams with beauty, from the surface with the Oxford locations and lush English church choir songs (why on Earth would anyone want to hear anything else at church?), to the quiet, slow way the relationship between Lewis and Gresham develops. What…

  • Brigham Young

    Brigham Young

    ★★★★

    An underrated westward-ho epic depicting the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois following the assassination of Joseph Smith (Vincent Price). Dean Jagger is the spitting image of the eponymous Young, the charismatic leader who led the Mormons into Utah, and Tyrone Power is admirable as the everyman Mormon who acts as the avatar for the audience. Director Henry Hathaway does a fine job depicting the very real hardships faced by a people looking to start a new settlement in the middle…

  • Drunken Angel

    Drunken Angel

    ★★★★

    Akira Kurosawa's first collaboration with Toshiro Mifune is a simple, yet powerful yarn about a Yakuza with tuberculosis (Mifune) and his doctor, played by the great Takashi Shimura, another frequent Kurosawa collaborator. Kurosawa paints a bleak picture of Yakuza life as a disease-ridden bog, prefiguring the nihilism of Kinji Fukusaku's Yakuza films. "Drunken Angel" is overshadowed by the giants of the Kurosawa/Mifune canon like "Seven Samurai" and "Rashomon", however this film is worthy of the attention of any cinephile, not just Kurosawa die-hards.

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I've long maintained that there are only two great "Star Wars" movies: The original, and "The Empire Strikes Back". The rest of the films range from "meh" to "pretty good." Whenever a new "Star Wars" movie comes out, it has its ardent defenders and detractors, but the reason we all keep coming back is that there is usually SOMETHING in the movie that gives us that warm fuzzy feeling we got watching "Star Wars" as kids (if you didn't grow…

  • The H-Man

    The H-Man

    ★★★

    A pulpier Honda film . A nightclub singer, cops, and gangster all get caught up in a crime that involves radioactive man-eating slime. "The H-Man" contains all the good stuff you want from a nuclear-age sci-fi movie, however it also contains some atmosphere and set-pieces that are still genuinely effective today. The scene on the abandoned ship looks like something Ridley Scott would do twenty years later in "Alien". Ishiro Honda was a genre filmmaker well ahead of his time.

  • Dersu Uzala

    Dersu Uzala

    ★★★★

    Kurosawa's career was that of an old man in wilderness exile when he made "Dersu Uzala" in the Soviet Union. After the commercial failure of "Dodes'ka-den", as well as an aborted relationship with Hollywood, the memoir of Vladimir Arsenyev's account of survival in the Siberian landscape must have spoken to where the director was in his career. The story of a Siberian hunter whose way of life is erase by civilization while he helps Russian soldiers also speaks to Kurosawa's…

  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    ★★★★

    Mischievous and shockingly edgy by today's standards, Stanley Donen's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" may be his most entertaining film. Not necessarily his BEST, that honor goes to "Singin' in the Rain", though it is one he shares with the mighty Gene Kelly. "Seven Brides" leaves you gobsmacked, though. The musical numbers are hilarious, and eye-poppingly elaborate. Some of the matte paintings make late Shaw Brothers sets look like a David O. Selznick production by comparison, but it only distracts…

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★½

    Less Catholic in flavor that Scorsese' recent adaptation of Endo's novel. Shinoda's 1971 version of "Silence" is distinctly Japanese, cold and distant, and more cynical in tone. Scorsese chose to tack on a Hollywood ending for his movie, but Shinoda's version embraces the title. An adaptation worthy of examination, it's a shame there is no Region 1 offering available.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    ★★★★

    A beautiful movie that captures the feel of the German armies of The Great War seen in photographs from the front lines. Many of the battle scenes of trench warfare have retained their intensity over the decades. Much of the acting comes off as arch and over-the-top, but "All Quiet on the Western Front" remains a great movie about The Great War, standing alongside such films "Paths of Glory" and "Gallipoli", capturing the tragedy and horror of that conflict.