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Bryan has written 374 reviews for films during 2015.

  • 13 Frightened Girls

    13 Frightened Girls

    "Giget meets North by Northwest" Horribly directed by William Castle.

  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

    ★★★★

    The cynical slow dance toward death. One of the best metaphorical films I've ever seen. Proof that any subject can be turned into a great movie if you handle the material right, and this material is done perfect. Script by James Poe (Attack, Lilies of the Field) and TV writer Robert E. Thompson.

  • There's No Business Like Show Business

    There's No Business Like Show Business

    A dreadful musical with no story and no closeups (thanks to early Cinemascope). It's just a parade of empty, overly-lavish musical numbers. It's a half-hour of songs before the story even starts. Catchy Irving Berlin tunes and Marilyn Monroe can't keep it from being a total bore. Script by Phoebe and Henry Epheron and Lamar Trotti, all of whom have done better work.

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    The Talented Mr. Ripley

    ★★★★

    A bunch of young actors earn their chops on this pretty and engaging (if too long) adaptation that has the feel of a novel. I skipped this one for a decade because English Patient was so boring. This is less so. Script by director Anthony Minghella from a novel.

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    ★★★

    I can't think of a movie more in love with its special effects. Half the movie is just shots of spaceships drifting through space. Despite the thin story and anti-climactic finish, the actors seem to be thrilled to taking Star Trek to the big screen, and they succeed without too many embarrassing moments (that would happen in later films). At its best, it's a real science fiction story - the kind that thrilled and inspired me when I was 10-years-old.

  • Knights of Badassdom

    Knights of Badassdom

    ★★★

    A fun movie for fans of fantasy and role-playing games, but it lacks the real character study that Zero Charisma offered and goes for a silly horror story plotline instead. Plenty of good laughs though.

  • This Boy’s Life

    This Boy’s Life

    ★★★★

    DiCaprio and DeNiro go at it in this coming-of-age story of author Tobias Wolff, and it's a great look at a dominering and abusive relationship, but it's mostly worth watching to see DeNiro in a boy scout outfit. Young DiCaprio still has a life to him that gives his youthful acting credibility and seems lost in his adult years now that he's a "serious Oscar contender." It was the same year that River Phoenix died, and DiCaprio was right there to take his place.

  • Blood Diamond

    Blood Diamond

    ★★★

    A pot-boiler drama set amidst revolution in Sierra Leone that hits all the correct humanitarian buttons and features white people saving Africa. The biggest problem, however, is Leonard DiCaprio with his fake accent. I'm sure he wants to play tough guys, but it's obvious he cares too much about the issues and forces the machismo. What the movie really needs is a cold, heartless bastard like young Michael Caine who would happily ransack Africa to make a buck.

  • Unforgiven

    Unforgiven

    ★★★★

    A fine western that takes a hard look at violence, features noteworthy performances from a stellar ensemble of actors, and marks a return to great filmmaking for Clint Eastwood. Noteworthy in every way, and yet it still seems overly praised. It's really just a solid, meat-and-potatoes western that's better if you don't think about the kudos and awards.

  • The Trip to Italy

    The Trip to Italy

    ★★★★

    More of the same from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, which is good or bad depending on your tolerance for endless Al Pacino impersonations. The Italian countryside is beautiful and the jokes never stop. Pleasant travel companions indeed.

  • The Canterbury Tales

    The Canterbury Tales

    ★★★

    Chaucer's bawdy tales are given artsy treatment by Pasolini, but the low brow humor is hard to take, esp. a simpleton doing a really bad Charlie Chaplin. It's rough mixing slapstick, graphic sex, social commentary, and historical recreation, but the film seems to capture the rebellious, free love culture of the times, and shows how today's shock filmmakers are no more daring than those of the 70s. The DVD was subtitled, but many of the actors speak English and in…

  • Schizopolis

    Schizopolis

    ★★★★

    Lost in the 1990s is this absurdly surreal comedy by Steven Soderbergh about suburbia, infidelity, and clever word play. It's occasionally hilarious and occasionally contemplative, with just a dab of science fiction. If you missed it in the 90s (as most people did - it only played at film festivals) and are a fan of Soderbergh then hunt this one down.