Wednesday, June 27, 2018


An embittered cavalry officer and notorious Indian killer (Christian Bale) is commissioned against his will to escort a long imprisoned chief (Wes Studi) and his family from New Mexico to their tribal home in Montana. Along the way, they pick up a young woman (Rosamund Pike) who just saw her husband and daughters slaughtered by natives, and encounter danger from both sides of their dispute. Scott Cooper's Hostiles is historical revisionism and apologism, but incredibly well-crafted on beautiful locations with an affecting Bale lead performance and a capable supporting cast.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


A docu-investigation into the death of CIA scientist Frank Olson (Peter Sarsgaard) in 1953, whose fall from a 13th story window in a New York City hotel was ruled a suicide, as seen through the eyes of his son Eric whose own inquest, carried out at his own professional peril, reveals several conspiratorial and sinister layers. Errol Morris' mini documentary series is highly effective, sorrowful and scary but probably would have worked better if the live action bits were cut (though Sarsgaard's emotiveness is generally compelling) and the material was presented as a usual Morris production.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Iceman Cometh

Dead end drunks waste away their days at a New York saloon/boarding house, talking about their delusionary dreams and begging for free drinks while awaiting a visit from a travelling salesman  and fellow drunkard (Lee Marvin) to lift them out of their stupor. When he arrives however, they find a reformed and unhinged version of their former friend, now preaching to the gang to give up their "pipe dreams", much to their chagrin. John Frankenheimer's American Film Theatre production is a powerful, mournful, and comical adaptation, purportedly faithful to Eugene O'Neill's play, with great performances from old film veterans Robert Ryan, Marvin, and Frederic March surrounded by an excellent supporting cast.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Edge of the City

An Army deserter (John Cassavetes) gains employment as a stevedore through use of a false name and forms a tight bond with a black coworker (Sidney Poitier) while another prejudiced longshoreman (Jack Warden) blackmails, bullies, and pushes him to the end of his rope. Martin Ritt's melodramatic Edge of the City suffers from a lack of realism it clearly strives to achieve but is assuredly directed in sharp black and white and boasts strong supporting performances from Warden and Ruby Dee as Poitier's wife.
*** out ****

Sunday, June 10, 2018


An unassuming woman (Joan Fontaine) seeming destined for spinsterhood, and heir to a modest fortune, is swept off her feet by a charming layabout (Cary Grant) who soon arouses her paranoia that she is his target for murder. Light, even unplotted and silly, Hitchcock's Suspicion is made worthwhile by great direction, its stars, and Nigel Bruce in an amusing supporting role.
*** out of ****

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Naked Kiss

A prostitute (Constance Towers) beats up her abusive pimp and takes what is owed to her before relocating to a small village where she is run out of town by a local police chief (Anthony Eisley) and lured back into the life before finding peace as a nurse at a children's hospital and getting engaged to a millionaire (Michael Dante), a situation that proves too good to be true. Highly suggestive and melodramatic Sam Fuller B-movie is sensationalist and shocking, especially for its time. The low budget affair is crisply edited and features several memorable sequences including the opening and the morbid culmination of a strange musical number.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Disaster Artist/The Room

When a nervous, failing aspiring actor (Dave Franco) meets the indescribable, bizarro, and independently wealthy Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), they form a quick friendship which leads to the production of The Room, one of the most notorious and successful cult movies, which the oblivious Wiseau approaches the making of with tyrannical cruelty and reckless abandon. James Franco's The Disaster Artist is amusing and off-putting, like the movie and subject it's chronicling, with an uncanny impersonation by the director at its center. Questionable choices are made, especially in the prologue and epilogue, begging the question of whether there is enough here to support a feature film and is there too much meaning being invested in the success story of one of the worst feature films ever produced. As for the The Room itself, I didn't really understand the midnight movie cult classic so bad its good hype (although I didn't watch it in a theater) and mostly just thought it unfathomably bad though it does contain some laugh out loud moments.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Thomas Crown Affair

A stultified millionaire businessmen (Steve McQueen) concocts the perfect crime in the form of a bank heist by assembling a handful of criminals who remain anonymous to each other. Soon he is targeted by a beautiful investigator (Faye Dunaway) with the two finding their attraction to each other more than palpable. Norman Jewison's The Thomas Crown Affair is dated, aloof and dull with awful Academy Award winning music and horrendous usage of multiple split screens. The stars maintain interest but are still misused.
** out of ****