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  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    ★★★

    A musical about the brash Molly Brown, who got filthy rich off a Colorado gold mine, made highfalutin friends in Europe, and became the toast of Denver society. It occasionally has some spark thanks to its two plucky, energetic leads, but the lackluster direction and dull script that substitutes songs for character development keep it from being great. You can feel the classic Hollywood musical getting wheezy just watching it. Of course Molly Brown is most famous for surviving the…

  • Svengali

    Svengali

    ★★★★

    John Barrymore's an evil hypnotist that bends women to his will. At first glance it seems mired in the 19th century literature that it's based on, like a book illustration come to life, but there are some powerfully cinematic sequences that also show silent era expressionism being hampered by sound. John Barrymore is the very stereotype of the "classical actor," and he puts on a very good show here beneath the creepy makeup. At it's best it feels like a…

  • Dolemite

    Dolemite

    Dolemite (that's his name!?) is released from prison to help the FBI catch the people that framed him. This movie is just inept and awful, but in a fascinating way. Witness everything bad about 70s filmmaking - horrible fashions and colors, low rent poverty, horrendous acting, a lead with no charisma, lazy stories with pointless diversions and bad pacing, tasteless exploitation of trashy women, audio that doesn't sync, and some of the worst fight choreography ever. And yet, it offers…

  • Fast Company

    Fast Company

    ★★

    Between Shivers and Rabid Cronenberg made this generic drag race movie that might be the least interesting (and least seen) film in his filmography. It's not a terrible film, but it will only appeal to racing fans (which apparently includes Cronenberg). There's a documentary-like presentation of the racing business, a by-the-numbers sports movie plot, weak performances, and a couple of tasteless exploitation moments. Basically, don't watch this just because you're a Cronenberg fan. It's got nothing for you. Watch Cronenberg's Crash instead.

  • Amazon Women on the Moon

    Amazon Women on the Moon

    ★★★

    A mixed bag of funny and not funny, and it's at its best when it's spoofing old Hollywood with startling good recreations (Son of the Invisible Man). Thankfully none of the skits go on for too long, so it's all fun.

  • Midnight Run

    Midnight Run

    ★★★★

    Although it's not the hysterical laugh riot I remember it to be, it's a really solid gangster comedy and finds the right comedic balance without going over the top (although it threatens to do so a few times). I remembered Charles Grodin as the funny one, but he's almost a stoic straight man to DeNiro's constant grimacing and mental processing. It's a good team, and a fun movie.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    ★★★

    If you disassociate it from its source material, this is an incredibly strange, almost trippy weird movie (perhaps even more with the sound off). But if you've read the book or seen the animated short, this is just weird in the way it fails to emulate the source material. Nothing feels right and nothing quite works and the story doesn't move, but there was an honest effort put forth by everyone involved. The baroque exuberance is overwhelming. The costumes, settings,…

  • Holiday Affair

    Holiday Affair

    ★★★

    An amiable domestic drama centered around Christmas that has a brunette Janet Leigh choosing between the loyal but dull Wendell Corey and the manly but itinerant Robert Mitchum. It's obvious just from the casting which one she will choose, but the movie makes a terrible case for that decision. Corey is perfectly suitable for her in every way and they care for each other, but she abandons an easy life for what is likely to be misery and hardship and…

  • Holiday Inn

    Holiday Inn

    ★★

    I get that with old Hollywood musicals suspending your disbelief is essential, but the film could at least try to meet me halfway. The premise is insane. Bing Crobsy wants to retire by turning his old farm into a dinner theatre that's only open on holidays, and by that he intends to only work 15 days a year. Literally! Elaborate, expensive sets, meals for hundreds, and entire shows seem to be written on the day. Performers arrive with no rehearsal…

  • 2010

    2010

    ★★★★

    The idea of anyone making a sequel to 2001, even Kubrick himself, is a no win situation. So Peter Hyams probably did the best thing possible and just made his own movie, one that isn't trying to be a Kubrick film but is just trying to be a realistic space adventure - something that's rare enough in film history of film to warrant appreciation. It's a great example of a mediocre filmmaking vs. great filmmaking, but the only place I…

  • Capricorn One

    Capricorn One

    ★★

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

    Another connection between Kubrick and Hyams is the idea that Kubrick helped NASA fake the moon landing, and Hyams made a movie that explores just that (except it's a manned mission to Mars). Capricorn One is a great idea for a movie, but the execution is a mess. It's okay when it's a conspiracy thriller, but it also wants to be a survival film and a comic adventure too, and it strays so far from conspiracy that it just falls…

  • Dark Star

    Dark Star

    ★★★

    This cheapo student film has stood the test of time just by being clever and funny and well... cheap in the wake of 2001. It's spoofing 2001's ambition as much as its story, and stands on its own as an amusing look at what happens when a few people are stuck together in close quarters for too long.