Category Archives: acting

Camera Obscura: “I Am a Camera” (1955)

       “I Am a Camera”  (1955)    The first thing one notices in “I Am a Camera” is that the tone is completely wrong. In Christopher Isherwood’s Farewell to Berlin, the second of two novels comprising The Berlin Stories, the … Continue reading

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Dear Cinema Santa: 2017 Edition

       Dear Cinema Santa:  2017 Edition   Light up boys and girls and all of the ships at sea, for once again we’ve arrived at that time of the year in which the bonds of a year filled … Continue reading

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Flop Sweat as an Art Form: “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (1966)

              “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”  (1966)    If “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” were to be completely dismissed as kid’s stuff, a late arrival of the venerable haunted house sub-genre which had already … Continue reading

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Passion Play: “Matinee” (2009)

                “MATINÉE”   (2009) A man and a woman encounter each other on a mattress and engage in heated coital action until reaching mutual satisfaction. With the exception of an equality emphasized in … Continue reading

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Bugged: “The Andromeda Strain” (1971)

        “THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN”   (1971) CONDITION RED: THE FOLLOWING TEXT CONTAINS SPOILERS STOP EXERCISE CAUTION BEFORE PROCEEDING FURTHER STOP      The evolutionary characteristics that would come to define the post-atomic bomb SF genre emerged, not … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957)

      John Sturges’ rousing “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” could never be confused with an historical study aid; the film is structured as an illustrative compliment to the ballad form, here colorfully vocalized by Frankie Laine, and commensurate with the said form, the … Continue reading

Posted in acting, Burt Lancaster, Film, Film Reviews, History, Kirk Douglas, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, westerns, westerns, writing | 1 Comment

Kitty Litter: “Confessions of a Psycho Cat” (1968)

           “Confessions of a Psycho Cat”  (1968)     While the variety of adaptations of Richard Connell’s seminal short story The Most Dangerous Game is impressively eclectic-  with the tale attracting cinematic interest from filmmakers on both ends … Continue reading

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Littled Big Man: “Duke: We’re Glad We Knew You” edited by Herb Fagen

Littled Big Man: Duke: We’re Glad We Knew You edited by Herb Fagen      If one attempts a brief summation of a message one is left with in Herb Fagen’s tributary book Duke: We’re Glad We Knew You, it’s that its subject- … Continue reading

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Trigger Fingers: “1941” (1979)

      Steven Spielberg’s “1941”is symptomatic of the curious phenomenon particular to youngish directors who have reached a certain level of respectability, only to then inflate their creative impulses to a scale which neither their experience nor their inspiration is … Continue reading

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Disfunction as an Aphrodisiac: “As Good As It Gets” (1997)

     In this James L. Brooks film which is far more relaxed in its sheer entertainment value than its problematic elements have a right to be, the modern updating of movie romantic comedy gets a dousing of Colorful Character … Continue reading

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Happy Trails: “Bite the Bullet” (1975)

     The second of his two western efforts, Richard Brooks’ “Bite the Bullet” demonstrates the value of an ambitious director operating without a particularly innovative visual sense but a finely honed sense of what’s important in a story (think Norman … Continue reading

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Petals and Thorns: “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960)

________________________________________________________________         “The Little Shop of Horrors” is a more broadly freewheeling horror-comedy than Roger Corman’s savagely on target beat counterculture satire “A Bucket of Blood”, a film with a far more ambitious agenda as it was satirizing a then … Continue reading

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What’s the Matter With Jack?: “The Odd Couple” (1968)

        There’s a wonderful Jack Lemmon moment in Gene Saks’ film of Neil Simon’s stage play”The Odd Couple” in which the suicidal news writer Felix Ungar (played by Lemmon) sits dejectedly in a sleazy (though overly lit) exotic dancer bar, … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Cat Ballou” (1965)

    “Cat Ballou” is the story of a ballad, or more precisely, the back story of what gives substance to that ballad. (It is entertainingly performed, intermittently, by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, though needlessly interrupting the progression … Continue reading

Posted in acting, books, comedy, Film Reviews, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, movie reviews, Movies, Nat King Cole, Reviews, Romance, westerns | 3 Comments

Chandler’s Trailers: “Istanbul” (1957)

     Joseph Pevney’s “romantic” “adventure” starring a prematurely haggard Errol Flynn takes little time in revealing its immediate dramatic problems when an early cabaret scene featuring the dynamically engaging Nat King Cole is clearly going to be the highlight of … Continue reading

Posted in 1950's movies, acting, Errol Flynn, Film Reviews, movie remakes, movie reviews, Movies, Nat King Cole, Reviews, Romance | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “The Sessions” (2012)

      “The Sessions” is a small, unassuming film which  has all of the ingredients people used to go to the movies for: a compelling story filled with intelligent, appealing characters who are written with a real ear for how people … Continue reading

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Gallows Humor: “The Bat” (1926)

      “The Bat” is a rather creaky manor house murder mystery play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, substantially derived from Rinehart’s 1908 novel The Circular Staircase with the embellishment of a costumed super-criminal, all of which has been … Continue reading

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Through a Dark Glassily: “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” (1970)

     Lou Andreas Sand, a high fashion model who over the course of her career descends into alcoholism, drug abuse and madness, is the subject of Jerry Schatzberg’s 1970 directorial debut “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” a film which … Continue reading

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Duel in the Sun: “Khartoum” (1966)

           Absorbing, if somewhat fictionalized, film depicting the war of wills between General Charles Gordon and al-Mahdi, preceding and during the siege of Khartoum. While encapsulating the politics of the Gladstone government, Robert Ardrey’s smart screenplay … Continue reading

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Pot Luck: “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

        The immediate appeal of  George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, what makes it sizzle, is in the utilitarian crudeness of its technique in practicing practical filmmaking despite a poverty of resources rather than a dearth … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Gilda Live” (1980)

       Prominently emblazoned on the poster advertising “Gilda Live” is the curious assertion that “Things like this can only happen in the movies”, a rather bizarre statement for a film which is a shameful compendium of lukewarm leftover … Continue reading

Posted in 1980's movies, acting, Boston, comedy, Film Reviews, Mike Nichols, movie reviews, Reviews, theater, women | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

      If Johnny Depp lacks the particular furnace-in-the-belly manic projection of a Len Cariou from the original Broadway production, he still projects an admirable ferocity (it helps that his rogue’s gallery of prior roles has given his an … Continue reading

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Shake ‘n’ Quake: “Earthquake” (1974)

    In “Earthquake”, the special effects boys at Universal get to flatten the city in which they work and play and must have gotten a chuckle out of the task, a sight more amusement than the audience gets from … Continue reading

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A Trip to the Moon on Vampire Wings: “Dracula” (1979)

        John Badham’s “Dracula” (significantly altered from the original title, “Dracula, a Love Story” in it’s initial test screenings) is the product of a lack of point-of-view when dealing with material that is overly familiar to the public, to … Continue reading

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Through a Pint Glass, Darkly: Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, and Oliver Reed by Robert Sellers

     Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, and Oliver Reed is a paean to talent squandered, lives ruined and endless acts of debauchery, violence and vandalism resulting in personal insult, broken marriages and … Continue reading

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Maddux Redux: “Fiction Into Film” by Neil D. Isaacs, Rachel Maddux and Stirling Silliphant

     The wealth of books crowding the shelves of today’s bookstores, in the cinema section, feature an abundance of promissory, abbreviated seminars in film making technique, conception, adaptation and success. When one considers just a few years ago there was … Continue reading

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Fish in a Barrel: “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974)

     For all of the current nostalgic postulating over the 1970’s being the last “Golden Age” of American Cinema (it certainly didn’t feel that way on a week by week basis, but the distasteful chaff is always separated from … Continue reading

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Breaking Badly: “The Missouri Breaks” (1976)

A BRIEF NOTE:  The recently posted You Can’t Go Homestead Again: Notes on Western Revisionism was actually the introductory portion of this very review, which was not only running a bit lengthy, but also threatened to dilute the attention away … Continue reading

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In a Fog: “Steaming” (1985)

      Just what do women talk about when men aren’t around? Within the context of  the commercial cinema the so-called fairer sex has remained, inexplicably, something of a mystery, both in terms of an honest, unfettered exploration of … Continue reading

Posted in acting, comedy, Film, Film Reviews, Joseph Losey, movie reviews, Movies, theater, women, writing | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Adrift: “The Last Detail” (1973)

    There are directors whose reputations are built primarily on the not always reliable renewal of interest from dedicatedly obsessive cinema enthusiasts both of the cultish and academic persuasion; the latter faction, of late, seeming to be less discriminate in … Continue reading

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Death of a Thousand Cuts: “Les Miserables” (2012)

   There are a thousand reasons to dislike Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables”, not the least reason being the perfectly execrable vocal renditions of the familiar Claude-Michel Schönberg/Alain Boublil/Herbert Kretzmer score, stagnantly directed with a paralyzing laziness of directorial imagination which … Continue reading

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The 2013 Annual Critical Establishment Readers Survey

________________________________________________________________ All readers, bloggers and film enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the following 59 question  survey. ________________________________________________________________________________ 01.  Who/what do you feel is the most overrated actor, actress, director and film?   02.  Who/what do you feel is the … Continue reading

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