Sunday, 31 May 2015
A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.
If you forget the negligible crime story (and ignore the inept soundtrack by Maurice Jarre), this is a perfectly executed and well-balanced depction of a clash of cultures.
Halliwell****: "As much about the meeting of cultures as about cops and robbers, this is one of those lucky movies which works out well on all counts and shows that there are still craftsmen lurking in Hollywood."
Maltin***: "Entertaining film is marred by jarring shifts in tone, especially toward the end."
A pulp novelist travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, a black-market opportunist.
A true classic, meticulously executed post-war drama with extraordinary expressionist cinematography and a plot which echoes on many levels.
On another view: have nothing to add; it's a joy to watch this movie every so often.
Halliwell****: "Totally memorable and irresistible romantic thriller. Stylish from the first to the last, with inimitable backgrounds of zither music and war-torn buildings pointing up a then-topical black market story full of cynical characters but not without humour. Hitchcock with feeling, if you like."
Maltin****: "...a bona fide classic..."
Saturday, 30 May 2015
A car magnate watches his personal and professional life hit the skids because of his business and romantic indiscretions.
Basically a well-played and produced tragicomedy (or rather just a touch humour) about a quite unnerving and disagreeable character.
Maltin***: "Provocative character study of a louse, played with charismatic bravado by Douglas, who's surrounded by good actors in similarly three-dimensional roles."
Friday, 29 May 2015
An underground classic from Japan: "A feverish collision of avant-garde aesthetics and grind-house shocks (not to mention a direct influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange), Funeral Parade of Roses takes us on an electrifying journey into the nether-regions of the late-'60s Tokyo underworld."
Three love stories set in three times, 1911, 1966 and 2005, the two main characters in each story played by the same actors.
Masterfully elegiac study of the complexity of communicating love througout different ages.
Maltin***: "Although the last part is its weakest, this languid and lyrical film, which is shot in varying styles reflecting each of its time periods, is an accomplished and moving mood piece."
Thursday, 28 May 2015
A young woman grows up as a privileged southern Belle in the ante-bellum South but after her father dies broke, her world is destroyed when she discovers her mother was black.
Lush production of an otherwise long-winding and absurd story.
Halliwell (no star): "Long-winded romantic adventure, rather lamely scripted and developed. The star's presence reinforces the impression of sitting through the ghost of Gone With the Wind."
Maltin**1/2: "Flat costume epic..."
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Monday, 25 May 2015
Riddled with guilt over the loss of his rock star older brother a16-year-old becomes obsessed with death, leading his misguided parents to send him to Driftwood, an attitude-adjustment Camp for troubled youths.
OK as a youth prison camp drama led by a corrupt and sadistic ex-marine, but the supernatural conclusion ruins it.
On second view: I still agree with my original assessment.
In early 19th Century France an ex-convict who failed to report to parole is relentlessly pursued over a 20 year period by an obsessive policeman.
Nearly perfect Hollywood adaptation of the classic novel, fast-paced and straightforward, with excellence in all departments, especially cast, photography and settings.
Halliwell****: "Solid, telling, intelligent version of a much-filmed classic novel; in adaptation and performance it is hard to see how this film could be bettered."
Maltin***1/2: "Meticulous production..."