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Bryan has written 243 reviews for films during 2018.

  • Start the Revolution Without Me

    Start the Revolution Without Me

    ★★★★

    Gene Wilder's second film has a premise rich with comic possibilities and only seems to get about 3/4 of the way there, but there's enough good stuff to recommend it if you can tolerate the occasional bit of corny humor. Wilder is still developing his schtick, Donald Sutherland is surprisingly funny too, Hugh Griffith is terrific as King Louis, and the production is lavishly done. The movie seems forgotten and there's no reason for that, if only for the ball scene.

  • The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

    The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

    ★★★

    This is basically a college lecture on how different ideologies are presented in popular film, but it's made visually interesting by the way he inserts himself into the movie's sets. It certainly offers a different perspective on things. All art is political. Apparently it's a sequel to the Pervert's Guide to Cinema.

  • Kinsey

    Kinsey

    ★★★★

    An entertaining historical drama about famous sex researchers that's well done without being anything remarkable. I found it interesting that Professor Marston and the Wonder Women was structured almost exactly the same way and made pretty much the same points. Kinsey's a better film though.

  • Younger Brother

    Younger Brother

    ★★★★

    An unusual family drama that offers an insightful look at the male/female differences Japanese families, and does the tricky twist of making you care for a character you initially thought was despicable. Apparently the film introduced the bleach bypass method of desaturating color, and the subtle tones look amazing.

  • Maria Full of Grace

    Maria Full of Grace

    ★★

    A young Colombian woman becomes a drug mule smuggling cocaine into the U.S. A TV-movie quality production that offers little surprises, but nicely details every step of the story with a strong central performance by Catalina Sandino Moreno.

  • Hardcore Henry

    Hardcore Henry

    ★★★★

    If Robocop is the best comic book movie that isn't a comic book, then Hardcore Henry is the best video game movie that isn't a video game. This first person film is extremely clever, funny, and filled with amusing action. Technically it's a marvel, but you can tell by the end that the concept has been stretched to its limit and doesn't have much more to offer than endless video game violence.

  • Running Scared

    Running Scared

    ★★★

    It's about as cliched a buddy cop movie as you can get without being a parody, but the unconventional casting of Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines sets it apart, and their chemistry carries the film. Peter Hyams either doesn't realize he's making a comedy or doesn't know how to, so he shoots it just like any nitty gritty crime drama, and that grounds Crystal and Hines in a reality that perfectly offsets their wisecracks (well, except when they go to…

  • Strange Brew

    Strange Brew

    ★★★

    There's some low-budget Canadian charm, but not enough to sustain the film for 90 minutes. The Bob and Doug characters are one-repetitive joke with nowhere to go, and the most creative, funny, and interesting stuff is in the first 15 minutes. It's harmless and amusing though, and definitely not a remake of Hamlet despite the occasional reference.

  • Predator

    Predator

    ★★★

    Remember how I complained about the last 60 seconds of The Florida Project? Well I feel the same way about the first 60 seconds of Predator. It destroys all the mystery of the film. It removes the audience from the character's perspective, and it reeks of the demands of some studio head that doesn't think the audience will "get it" (as does the curtain call credits that tries to put a smile on the dour ending). Predator's a far better…

  • The Doorway to Hell

    The Doorway to Hell

    ★★

    Cagney's the trusty sidekick of Lew Ayers, who's far too clean-cut and friendly to pass as a mafia boss, but he gives it his best shot (apparently there was some debate that casting such a handsome actor would make crime seem too appealing). Ayers takes over the illegal booze racket, rids the city of gang violence, and thinks he can retire, but the mob wants him back before everything falls apart. It's a somewhat naive early gangster film that's severely…

  • The Public Enemy

    The Public Enemy

    ★★★

    Cagney's most famous pre-code film suffers from early sound technology and an episodic story. It certainly has some memorable moments (like the famous grapefruit scene) but it's kind if disappointing in comparison to the more polished "Blonde Crazy". It made Cagney a star, though, and he's definitely charming and ruthless, and gangster crime is depicted with all its brutality. It's the most violent movie of Cagney's pre-code days.

  • Smart Money

    Smart Money

    ★★★

    Edward G. Robinson's a gambler and Cagney is his live-in buddy who gets a handful of notable scenes (with homosexual overtones). Robinson doesn't command the screen the way Cagney does, and there's too much gambling and not enough drama. Robinson's nice guy criminal might be trying too hard to soften up his vicious "Little Caesar" persona into something a little closer to what Robinson really was. Evalyn Knapp makes a good impression as a troubled beauty, and Boris Karloff has an uncredited bit part near the beginning as a gambling pimp.