• Only Angels Have Wings

    Only Angels Have Wings

    ★★★★★

    Everything comes together beautifully in this Hawks romance/meller/adventure nail biter, starting with a cracking good script and a savvy, in-the-moment cast who know how to deliver it. Hawks renders the entire thing superbly, and the art department and special effects wizards contribute to make it all look wonderfully plausible. Joseph Walker’s gorgeous B & W photography is not to be overlooked. Down the line, the performances are pure gold, but I’ll highlight Jean Arthur-who if I could get in a time…

  • Lenny

    Lenny

    ★★★★

    Well-done depiction of comedian Lenny Bruce's life, given the unique Fosse treatment, whose attention to detail and seemngly extraneous minutiae actually give the film depth and color that make it far more interesting than it would have been without those flairs. Still, it remains oddly static. Hoffman is good, especially in an extended excruciating stand up routine in which he's high and disgusted with the world and lets his audience know it. Fosse lets the camera run without cutting and…

  • The Killers

    The Killers

    ★★½

    Nothing spectacular here story-wise, except to reiterate that crime doesn't pay. Some decent performances - Marvin, Gulager, Cassavetes, and a standout Angie Dickinson; even Reagan in his last film performance ain't bad.

  • What's in a Name

    What's in a Name

    ★★★

    Annoyingly rapid cutting and equally fast delivery by the actors don't do this setbound play adaptation any favors. The film tries to open up the story with flashbacks and by giving a rapidfire intro of the characters' and a denouement that tidily wraps things up. The actors are quite good but their glibness makes for a tough dinner party to endure.

  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    ★★★★

    Still evinces guffaws of laughter as Cohen pushes a lot of taboo comic buttons to skewer middle America & the South, mostly, but it appears the people who get punked in the film truly deserve it. Mouthwatering anticipation as you watch Cohen as Borat spin his web and entrap his prey.

  • The Hills Have Eyes

    The Hills Have Eyes

    ★½

    Gruesome schlocky suspenser if you're up for that kind of thing. Does manage to pay off to a degree, but there's lots of gore and stupidity to endure along the way.

  • Cesar and Rosalie

    Cesar and Rosalie

    ★★★

    The French are different from you and I. Yves Montand turns in a remarkable performance as a narcissistic businessman who has everything but control over his woman. It leads him to commit crazy acts in the name of amour fou. Sami Frey is mostly unperturbed by Montand’s aggression and therefore weird and creepy and though Schneider is fine, there’s a “You gotta be kidding?” moment at the end to provide the film’s coda.

  • Bulldog Drummond

    Bulldog Drummond

    ½

    91 years on, it’s hard to understand the appeal this film might have once had, even in context. Ridiculous plot, amateurish theatrical acting, and only mildly creative filmmaking leave one checking one’s watch even though the film is barely 90 minutes long. Colman as Drummond shows his silent film acting roots; it would take him another decade to settle into the smooth unruffled star we remember him as. This 1st in the Drummond series of films is mostly memorable for the remarkable photography - much of its exteriors shot at night - by George S. Barnes & the legendary Gregg Toland.

  • Tosuni The Birth of Happiness

    Tosuni The Birth of Happiness

    ★★★½

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

    Meanders a bit as it pushes towards its resolution, but it would be fair to say Park’s film stakes out Korean neo-realist territory. Do Kum-bong turns in a winning performance as the the resourceful independent woman who outwits & out bargains all who dare try to take advantage of her - and who eventually succumbs to her heart’s desire. Worth it just for her performance alone, 1 of more than 283 films to her credit.

  • Sisters

    Sisters

    De Palma has always been a junky rip-off artist, and though he may have grown up and given us prime entertainments like The Untouchables, Scarface, & Mission Impossible, he’s also saddled us with his crappy noodle-fest homages to Hitchcock with side trips to Fellini and Eisenstein. It’s just one stylistic mugging of a classic director after another. At least Susters has Margot Kidder, Charlie Durning, and to varying degrees of success, Jennifer Salt, going forward it. But it’s mostly a bore,…

  • Cat People

    Cat People

    ★★★

    Somewhat effective noirish spookiest, thanks to Tourneur’s direction and Musuraca’s shadowy photography, yet undermined by the 2nd rate acting. Simon appears ideal for the role but her limitations are at times painfully thrown into relief. Still, it’s tough to keep your eyes off her. Kent Smith is too noble for plausibility, and his straight arrowness virtually straitjackets him. Savvy cinephiles will immediately espy sets recycled from The Magnificent Ambersons.

  • The Unknown

    The Unknown

    ★★★½

    Chaney is wonderful as the creepy Alonzo who vows to have the object of his affection. That he manages to elicit empathy at the same time is testament to the actor’s prodigious talents. Crawford is unrecognizable in an early role but very effective - she can crack a whip as good as Harrison Ford. Tod Browning pulls off this unsettling little creep show with aplomb.