Rounding up the month allows me to sneak a few mini reviews and thoughts on some more recent titles and to make a few comments and a recommendation on the critically acclaimed movie that brought Bryan Cranston an Oscar Nomination this past year. Still with the hockey playoffs on, my movie counts are down but it’s a seasonal thing.
A Quartet of Duds – Sean Connery, Harvey Keitel, Lou Gossett and Eddie Murphy star.
The Doctor’s Horrible Experiment – A very pleasant surprise.
Some Kind of Hero – Richard Pryor mixture of drama and comedy.
Jack Reacher (2012)
This was my second go around on this Tom Cruise flick and the reason for it was I’m up to the 9th novel in the Reacher series. Having finished the book, I wanted to refresh my memory of the film and I was reminded of just how much material is left out of a screenplay and the amount of characters who don’t make the transition to the movie screen. Plenty of die hard Reacher readers jumped on the Cruise casting and the obvious reason is simple. In the books Reacher is about the size of Dwayne Johnson who’d make one heck of a big screen Reacher in my books. Either way, I don’t think this is too bad of a flick on it’s own merit and to see Werner Herzog appear as a villain is pretty damned cool.
Hard Times – Must see Bronson flick from Walter Hill
The Devil’s Wedding Night – Euro trash at it’s finest with Sara Bay
Circus Of Fear – Sir Christopher Lee meets Klaus Kinski a fan boy’s dream.
The Criminal Code – Warden Walter Huston meets inmate Boris Karloff
Blue – Go west young man with Terence Stamp
The Homesman (2014)
Tommy Lee Jones stars and directs this western tale that I just found a little too creepy or perhaps uncomfortable might be a better word. Saved from the hangman, he’s indebted to Hilary Swank to transport a group of ladies that are basically insane to a church going community where we’ll meet Meryl Streep in a brief appearance. John Lithgow, William Fichtner, James Spader and Barry Corbin turn up as well. I guess I just wanted more of a traditional western where Jones faces off against the baddies and rides off into the sunset after saving Swank and her farm ala Shane. The film goes nowhere near that route but I must say Jones is excellent as usual and the film is visually striking at times.
China Gate – Lee Van Cleef embraces Angie Dickinson????
Curse of the Faceless Man and Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb. – A double curse on you.
I really have no idea if this movie is enjoyable to those who don’t know the backdrop to the story of Hollywood, the blacklist and the names and characters that populated the story. I suspect they might get lost along the way. For film buffs, it should be required viewing. Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo. History has kind of made Dalton Trumbo the poster boy for the blacklist era. Cranston is solid here as are Diane Lane, John Goodman and the other players who take on the real life roles of Edward G. Robinson, John Wayne and of course Kirk Douglas who is credited with helping to end the blacklisting era with Spartacus. An era that saw many screenwriters lose their livelihood and their identities to false names and fronts. A warning to some. It may not paint some of your favorite stars from the past in a good light but a worthy addition to your viewing list if you haven’t already seen it.
I got caught up watching this again because my number 1 son Ethan had it on with his lady love. I’ll admit to enjoying the eye candy on parade here but honestly, check this out for another DYNAMIC performance from Gene Hackman as a chain smoking billionaire. Absolutely hilarious. The film isn’t so bad either. It’s a tale of women conning wealthy men out of their money with Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a mother daughter team. Damn I miss not having Gene in the movies anymore.
Corky – Robert Blake hits the race track
Bedevilled – Anne Baxter + Steve Forrest = Romantic mystery
The Cassandra Crossing – Star studded disaster time with Richard Harris and Sophia Loren front and center
Cannon Fodder – Triple feature with Kinski, Dudikoff and Richard Lynch working under the Cannon label
Dog Eat Dog (2016)
Another bizarre entry in the career of Nicolas Cage. It’s a crime drama in that Tarantino(esque) style of three low life criminals looking to make that one big score and back off to a life of leisure and luxury. Yeah sure. Can’t say I liked this all that much in the end but Willem Dafoe gets a majorly flashy role here as the creepiest of hoods and he delivers the goods. The trio which also includes Christopher Matthew Cook are hired to do a kidnapping and of course things don’t go as expected for these three time losers who refuse to be taken in alive should things go sideways. Paul Schrader directs.
Follow That Dream – A little Elvis whether I need it or not
Three Cornered Moon – Claudette Colbert plays silly
Well, seen any of these? Feel free to agree or disagree with my sentiments and do come back.