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  • The First Great Train Robbery

    The First Great Train Robbery

    ★★★★

    Sean Connery is at his most roguishly charming in one of my favorite movies, a Victorian-era heist adventure written and directed by Michael Crichton (yes, that Michael Crichton!).

    In 1855, a dashing con artist (Connery), along with a master safecracker (Donald Sutherland) and a lovely actress (Lesley-Anne Down), conspire to steal a gold shipment from a moving train... something that had never been done before. The final act gets a bit drawn out, but the story is entertaining, the recreation…

  • Black Widow

    Black Widow

    ★★½

    Workmanlike crime thriller with Debra Winger as a federal investigator on the trail of a woman who marries wealthy men then murders them for the inheritance. The script makes an attempt at psychological intrigue -- is Winger obsessed with the killer, does the killer actually feel something for her victims -- but it never quite seems to go anywhere. Nor does the twist ending quite work, because it doesn't feel like the groundwork was properly laid. In addition, there are…

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  • The Hero

    The Hero

    ★★★★

    Sam Elliott has been so persistently present in the public eye over the past 40 years, playing essentially the same general laconic cowboy character and maintaining the same general "look," that it often seems as though he never changes. But of course he has changed, growing older just like anyone else, and his new starring vehicle The Hero makes that evident with startling power. The camera frequently lingers in close-ups washed by golden-hour Los Angeles sunlight that highlights every wrinkle,…

  • Everybody Wants Some!!

    Everybody Wants Some!!

    ★★★★

    Richard Linklater is a master of movies that appear to have no plot and seem to be about nothing but which nevertheless capture... something. A moment, a feeling, an experience, the ineffable things that actually comprise a life. Like his masterful Before trilogy and Dazed and Confused (to which this film is a spiritual sequel if not a direct continuation), Everybody is a shapeless, messy amble through a constrained period of time in which nothing in particular really happens, but…