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Blu-ray Review – Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004.

Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Featuring the voice talents of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer, Josh Hutcherson, and Billy Crystal.

Synopsis:

Disney was the source of Hayao Miyazaki movies on home video for a while, but GKids has taken on that effort now, and they’ve released a big batch of Studio Ghibli films in Blu-ray + DVD editions. This review takes a look at Howl’s Moving Castle.

Everyday people swept into fantastic situations full of strange characters are commonplace in Hayao Miyazaki’s films, and Howl’s Moving Castle fits that bill perfectly. Its protagonist is Sophie, a young, struggling hat maker whose chance encounter with the wizard known as Howl puts her in the crosshairs of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on Sophie that turns her into an elderly woman.

Sophie seeks out Howl
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Murder On The Orient Express – Review

Judi Dench, left, and Olivia Colman star in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Photo Credit: Nicola Dove; Tm & © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

Murder On The Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh’s new film adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie mystery, offers a certain amount of lavish period style and mystery fun but does not measure up to the 1974 version, directed by Sidney Lumet and featuring an all-star cast. Branagh’s film also has a star-packed cast and Branagh, who plays detective Hercule Poirot as well as directs, sports an astonishing two-stage mustache that might be worth the ticket price alone.

Based on the famous Agatha Christie mystery featuring her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, the 1974 film version had an all-star cast with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam,

Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Murder on the Orient Express movie review: strangers on a train

MaryAnn’s quick take… Doubly dated, lacking in humor and subtext, its impressive cast deliberately underutilized, this is little more than an exercise in gorgeous production design. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): saw no need for another production

I can’t recall if I’ve read the source material (I might have as a teenager in my classic-mystery phase, but if so, clearly it didn’t stick)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Here’s the biggest mystery of director and star Kenneth Branagh’s opulent period mounting of the 1934 Agatha Christie novel: Why? Who was clamoring for yet another retelling of a story that has been told onscreen — both the big and small screens — several times already, and as recently as 2010 in the beloved television series starring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot? Why bother to tell this story
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Dick Cavett Donates Thousands of Hours of Interviews to Library of Congress

Dick Cavett, whose interviews in the 1960s, '70 and '80s made for some of the most fascinating moments in television history, has donated 2,500 of his talk show programs to the Library of Congress, it was announced Friday.

His erudite collection totals nearly 2,000 hours of programming — about 78 days' worth of viewing — and features more than 5,000 guests being interviewed, many of whom were usually shy about appearing on talk shows.

They include Muhammad Ali, Woody Allen, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Ingrid Bergman, Mel Brooks, Truman Capote, Noel Coward, Duke Ellington,...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Dick Cavett Donates Thousands of Hours of Interviews to Library of Congress

Dick Cavett Donates Thousands of Hours of Interviews to Library of Congress
Dick Cavett, whose interviews in the 1960s, '70 and '80s made for some of the most fascinating moments in television history, has donated 2,500 of his talk show programs to the Library of Congress, it was announced Friday.

His erudite collection totals nearly 2,000 hours of programming — about 78 days' worth of viewing — and features more than 5,000 guests being interviewed, many of whom were usually shy about appearing on talk shows.

They include Muhammad Ali, Woody Allen, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Ingrid Bergman, Mel Brooks, Truman Capote, Noel Coward, Duke Ellington,...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

‘Murder On The Orient Express’ Review: Dir Kenneth Branagh (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express review: Kenneth Branagh goes full steam ahead on his updated, flashy version of the classic Agatha Christie story.

Murder on the Orient Express review by Paul Heath.

Murder on the Orient Express review

Kenneth Branagh unites an all-star cast for another retelling of Agatha Christie‘s murder-mystery, forty-three years after the last big-screen adaptation, but only seven since its last small screen outing with 2010’s David Suchet adventure.

Branagh, who produces, directs and stars as the lead, the ridiculously moustached world-famous detective Hercule Poirot, creates an entertaining trip, Logan, Alien: Covenant and Blade Runner 2049 scribe Michael Green adapting Christie’s 1934 novel, a whodunnit that everyone knows whodunnit.

We are introduced to Branagh’s new Poirot at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem where he is wrapping up a case involving a priest, a rabbi and an imam – a new prologue created by Green specifically for this movie.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Hollywood Flashback: In 1974, an A-List Cast Boarded the 'Orient Express'

Hollywood Flashback: In 1974, an A-List Cast Boarded the 'Orient Express'
Murder on the Orient Express was made into a movie with an all-star cast that included Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud and — in the lead role of Hercule Poirot — Albert Finney, The Hollywood Reporter's review was upbeat but not thrilled.

Phrases such as "classy production" and "entertaining adaptation" were used to describe the Sidney Lumet-directed film. (On Nov. 2, Fox's version of Express, which Kenneth Branagh both stars in as Poirot and directs, premieres at London's Royal Albert Hall.)

THR was more enthused when the $1.4...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Neo Noir Pays Homage to Welles' Crime Drama and Other Classics of the '40s and '50s

Neo Noir Pays Homage to Welles' Crime Drama and Other Classics of the '40s and '50s
Trouble Is My Business with Brittney Powell. Co-written by actor/voice actor Tom Konkle, who also directed, and Xena: Warrior Princess actress Brittney Powell, Trouble Is My Business is a humorous homage to film noirs of the 1940s and 1950s, among them John Huston's The Maltese Falcon and Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. Konkle stars in the sort of role that back in the '40s and '50s belonged to the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Dick Powell, and Alan Ladd. As the femme fatale, Brittney Powell is supposed to evoke memories of Jane Greer, Lizabeth Scott, Lauren Bacall, and Claire Trevor. 'Trouble Is My Business': Humorous film noir homage evokes memories of 'The Maltese Falcon' & 'Touch of Evil' A crunchy, witty, and often just plain funny mash-up of classic noir tropes, from hard-boiled private dicks to the easy-on-the-eyes femme fatales – in addition to dialogue worthy of Dashiell Hammett and, occasionally
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

10 Actors Who Rejected Marvel Superhero Roles

  • MovieWeb
10 Actors Who Rejected Marvel Superhero Roles
Marvel movies are big business, from the Avengers franchise and all of the interconnected heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on screens both big and small, to Fox's ever-expanding world of the X-Men and Deadpool, to the Sony steered Spider-man movies, going all the way back to Sam Raimi's original trilogy. But that doesn't mean every big name actor and A list talent in Hollywood wants to be associated with these characters. Some heavyweight actors have straight up said no way when Marvel came knocking. So, who would do such a thing?

Since becoming its own studio, which was later acquired by Disney in one of the biggest studio deals this side of Lucasfilm, Marvel has had no problem attracting top-tier A-list talent to its roster; the talent who commands major ticket grosses and critical acclaim alike. Who doesn't want to suit up as a one of Marvel's Merry Mutants,
See full article at MovieWeb »

Oscars: Charles Burnett, Owen Roizman, Donald Sutherland, Agnes Varda Set for Academy’s Governors Awards

Oscars: Charles Burnett, Owen Roizman, Donald Sutherland, Agnes Varda Set for Academy’s Governors Awards
Writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland, and director Agnes Varda will receive honorary Oscars this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday. The prizes will be presented at the annual Governors Awards ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Academy’s Board of Governors made the decision at the group’s monthly meeting Tuesday night. It was the first meeting cinematographer John Bailey has overseen as AMPAS president since winning the position last month.

“This year’s Governors Awards reflect the breadth of international, independent and mainstream filmmaking, and are tributes to four great artists whose work embodies the diversity of our shared humanity,” Bailey said.

Burnett is an independent filmmaker whose work has been praised for its portrayal of the African-American experience. He wrote, directed, produced, photographed and edited his first feature film, “Killer of Sheep,” in 1977.

Roizman has been Oscar-nominated five times, for
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'I just don’t know about fame. I have never figured it out' by Richard Mowe

Robert Pattinson: 'I just don’t know about fame. I have never figured it out' Photo: Richard Mowe Looking completely unlike the dishevelled and bearded character he plays in the Safdie Brothers’ nocturnal odyssey Good Time Robert Pattinson turned up for special career tribute and screening at the Deauville Festival of American Cinema tonight sporting an uncharacteristic buzz cut.

Robert Pattinson: 'I was always quite happy being left on my own when I was a kid and that has ended up being a benefit in the end' Photo: Richard Mowe He offered no explanations but appeared distinctly exposed alongside the much more hirsute brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, the guerrilla film-makers who made it in to the Cannes Competition earlier in the year.

Pattinson, 31, posed obligingly in front of his named beach front locker on the Deauville sea front - a tradition of the Festival for its star
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Red Line 7000

It’s finally here in all its glory, the Howard Hawks movie nobody loves. The epitome of clueless ’60s filmmaking by an auteur who left his thinking cap back with Bogie and Bacall, this show is a PC quagmire lacking the usual compensation of exploitative thrills. But hey, it has a hypnotic appeal all its own: we’ll not abandon any movie where Teri Garr dances.

Red Line 7000

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1965 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 110 min. / Street Date September 19, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: James Caan, Laura Devon, Gail Hire, Charlene Holt, John Robert Crawford, Marianna Hill, James (Skip) Ward, Norman Alden, George Takei, Diane Strom, Anthony Rogers, Robert Donner, Teri Garr.

Cinematography: Milton Krasner

Film Editors: Bill Brame, Stuart Gilmore

Original Music: Nelson Riddle

Written by George Kirgo story by Howard Hawks

Produced and Directed by Howard Hawks

Critics have been raking Howard Hawks’ stock car racing epic
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Trevor Reviews Michael Curtiz’s The Breaking Point [Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review]

From the beginning of Michael Curtiz’s 1950 film The Breaking Point, things are dire for Captain Harry Morgan (John Garfield). Since serving in the military, Harry’s ambition has been to start a fleet of boats to escort sport-fishermen through the waters around Southern California and the Baja Peninsula, but that venture has failed to take off. He has one boat, the Sea Queen, and he’s the only captain in his fleet. When the film begins, Harry has a new client but has to spend the last of his cash to fill up his boat with fuel for the pending excursion. This particular job is a matter of survival, not prosperity.

But his own survival is only a part of this transaction. Curtiz quickly takes us into Harry’s modest seaside home, which, at first, looks as charming as any in an old sitcom. After spending the last of
See full article at CriterionCast »

Blu-ray Review: The Breaking Point, Brutal, Merciless Melodrama on Criterion

Remakes are not always bad things. Take, for example, The Breaking Point, based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway. First published in 1937, To Have and Have Not followed the adventures of Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain in Key West, who is forced into the black market, ferrying contraband between Florida and Cuba. Seven years later, it was adapted for the big screen by director Howard Hawks, based on a screenplay credited to Jules Furthman and William Faulkner (?!). The film departed significantly from its source material, becoming a romantic, wartime thriller with comic elements, featuring the first screen appearance by Lauren Bacall, who famously fell in love with Humphrey Bogart during production. I've seen Hawks' version of To Have and Have Not so...

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Kevin Spacey to play Gore Vidal in Netflix biopic

Variety is reporting that two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is set to portray the late American writer Gore Vidal in an upcoming biopic entitled Gore, which is being produced by Netflix.

Gore is being directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station) and will explore the life of the author, playwright and political commentator during the 1980s. The film is currently shooting in Rome, but will soon move to Vidal’s longtime villa in Ravello, where he entertained a host of high-profile friends including the likes of Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Andy Warhol, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mick Jagger.

Kevin Spacey was most recently seen in Edgar Wright’s latest film Baby Driver, while his upcoming films include Rebel in the Rye, Billionaire Boys Club and All the Money in the World – all of which see him portraying real life people in Whit Burnett, Ron Levin and J.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Kevin Spacey Playing Author Gore Vidal in Netflix Original Biopic (Exclusive)

Kevin Spacey Playing Author Gore Vidal in Netflix Original Biopic (Exclusive)
Rome – Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is playing writer Gore Vidal in a new Netflix original biopic, “Gore,” which is in production in Italy.

U.S. director Michael Hoffman (“The Last Station”) is helming the 1980s-set film about the late American author, playwright, and occasional political candidate. “Gore” is currently shooting in Rome but will move next month to Vidal’s longtime villa in Ravello, a village on the Amalfi Coast, sources tell Variety.

British producer Andy Paterson (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) is producing “Gore” for Netflix.

Netflix was not available for comment.

Vidal’s beloved gravity-defying villa La Rondinaia, nestled on a craggy cliff in Ravello a thousand feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea, will feature prominently in the movie, according to the president of the Ravello Foundation, Sebastiano Maffettone, local media reported. At La Rondinaia, which he sold in 2004, Vidal entertained his vast network of high-profile friends and acquaintances, including Greta Garbo,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Blood Alley

Now a successful producer, John Wayne tries a big budget action picture with an anti-Communist theme. It’s The Alamo on a ferryboat, set in the far East where the locals are a hungerin’ for Freedom. Wayne is an apolitical adventurer who just feels like savin’ Chinese and kissin’ Lauren Bacall. Ace director William Wellman holds it together — barely.

Blood Alley

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date July 18, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix, Joy Kim, Berry Kroeger, Mike Mazurki, Wei Ling, Henry Nakamura.

Cinematography: William H. Clothier

Film Editor: Fred McDowell

Original Music: Roy Webb

Written by A.S. Fleischman, from his novel.

Produced by John Wayne

Directed by William Wellman

John Wayne was extremely busy in 1955, starring in movies for big studios as well as for his own company Batjac. He was rated the most popular Hollywood star and was making constant public appearances,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Free Fire

Have an itch to see a movie about a gunfight, the whole gunfight and nothing but the gunfight? Search no more, for Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump have the movie for you: twenty minutes of angry crooks in conference, and then seventy minutes of non-stop shootin,’ with no annoying plot context or character depth to get in the way. Just say ‘Bang Bang I shot you down,’ and then play it in a loop, ad infinitum.

Free Fire

Blu-ray

Lionsgate

2017 / Color / 2:39 widescreen / 90 min. / Street Date July 18, 2017 / 24.99

Starring: Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Mark Monero, Patrick Bergin, Enzo Cilenti, Tom Davis.

Cinematography: Laurie Rose

Film Editors: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley

Original Music: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury

Written by Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley

Produced by Andy Starke

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Many critics fairly well loved Ben Wheatley
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Running on Empty

These fugitives on the run aren’t innocent young lovers. Still wanted for anti-war violence from years before, an ex-radical couple struggles to remain free just as their children become old enough to think for themselves. Screenwriter Naomi Foner and director Sidney Lumet’s fascinating movie is a sympathetic look at an untenable lifestyle.

Running on Empty

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1988 / Color / 1:85 enhanced widescreen / 116 min. / Street Date June 27, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Christine Lahti, River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Jonas Abry, Martha Plimpton, Ed Crowley, L.M. Kit Carson, Steven Hill, Augusta Dabney, David Margulies, Lynne Thigpen, Bobo Lewis, Daniel Dassin.

Cinematography: Gerry Fisher

Film Editor: Andrew Mondshein

Original Music: Tony Mottola

Written by Naomi Foner

Produced by Griffin Dunne, Amy Robinson

Directed by Sidney Lumet

1988 suddenly seems much farther in the past than it did just a few months ago. The small town high school in Running on Empty has a dedicated, classically trained music teacher on the payroll. He earns enough to afford a rather nice house. The public school system is not being undermined, with all the wealthy students going to new kinds of exclusive, alternative schools siphoning off public money. We all have our own ideas about what ‘making America great again’ means, I suppose.

It doesn’t happen any more, but we used to read about ex- radicals from the Vietnam War days surfacing to turn themselves in. Not that many were directly involved in violent acts, but some had lived for decades under assumed identities, while their wanted photos were posted down at the Post Office. Some of them tried to raise families.

“We are all outlaws in the eyes of America.

Everything they say we are, we are.

. . . And we are very proud of ourselves.”

— The Jefferson Airplane

Naomi Foner’s Running on Empty is basically a ‘what comes next?’ chapter in the lives of former political public enemies like The Weather Underground. An unusual family is on the lam. The parents are militant radicals from the Nixon years, who went underground when one of their bombs maimed a janitor. Now they are nearing their forties, and must move from town to town whenever they think the Feds have picked up their trail. The couple chose their life and has accepted the consequences, but where does that leave their growing children, who are likewise forced to live like gypsies under assumed names?

I should think that this good movie would have a tough time in today’s market. If the online mob harps on Wonder Woman for promoting non-traditional values, what would they make of a movie ‘glorifying terrorism?’ Half of America still wants to see Jane Fonda strung up by her thumbs, and death threats for ‘enemies’ singled out on the web are now routine. Our channels of information are so jammed with stories elbowing each other for attention, I don’t think anybody could rouse the general public to even consider the problems of this kind of fugitive. Who has time for scurrilous pleas for sympathy for ‘undeserving’ people, when the public responds better to patriotic pieces about veterans . . . or cute animals?

Always watching for signs of F.B.I. surveillance, young Danny Pope (River Phoenix) alerts the rest of his family through pre-arranged signals. Annie and Arthur Pope (Christine Lahti & Judd Hirsch) abandon their jobs, their belongings and even their dog and flee to a new state with Danny and their other son Harry (Jonas Abry). With new identities they start new lives. Arthur and Annie find off-the-books employment as a cook and a medical receptionist and the boys are enrolled in school with ‘previous transcripts on the way.’ We see the unusual preparations that must be made, with secret arrangements so that any family member can alert the others if they’re found out; we also see that the family is supported to some degree by a network of post-radical (or still radical?) sympathizers, such as a doctor (David Marguiles) who tends to political fugitives. But the Popes are cut off from their own families. Annie’s disapproving father (Steven Hill) can only see her in an extraordinary circumstance arranged by a third party. Potential trouble comes when former comrade Gus Winant (L.M. Kit Carson) drops by. He’d like to sleep with his old flame Annie, and is carrying guns in the assumption that Arthur will agree to rob a bank with him. But a more troubling problem is closer to home. Young Danny has inherited his mother’s musical talent, and his teacher Mr. Phillips (Ed Crowley) is encouraging him to apply to Julliard in New York. Danny is also stuck on Phillips’ teenage daughter Lorna (Martha Plimpton), a girl to whom he might be ready to commit. As far as Arthur is concerned, Danny can’t do any of those things because his first duty is to help his family in the undercover life. Annie doesn’t know what to do. If she leaves her son behind, she may never see him again.

Practically speaking, Running on Empty will only play well to a certain segment of the public. Are you the kind that sympathizes with draft deserters that fled to Canada, or the kind that wants to hand them long terms in prison? The Popes aren’t victims of injustice, at least not directly; they knew what they were doing when they went militant, and the injuries they caused can’t simply be dismissed as youthful idealism. They are also hopelessly associated with fanatics they inspired, like the Sla. And there’s no statute of limitations on armed insurrection. I think almost all of the radical fugitives that went underground are now accounted for. Some served prison time and others got off because courtroom prosecutions would reveal or publicize the government’s own illegal doings. Running on Empty dramatizes what might have been reality for just a few of these ‘outlaws in the eyes of America.’ Some radicals reportedly found it easy to live undetected while still on various Most Wanted lists. Others found ways to turn themselves in, square themselves with the authorities and re-commence academic lives interrupted years before to oppose the government. *

Running on Empty is a fascinating show, with a cast that clearly had to work hard to make their characters believable. Christine Lahti puts up with her bossy, security-minded husband. He himself gets drunk one night and starts shouting his real name loud enough to wake the neighbors. Judd Hirsch and director Lumet know that these can’t be ordinary people. He doesn’t try to make them Ozzie and Harriet types, somehow (sniff!) trapped by their youthful mistakes. No, they’re still promoting various Union and social justice causes here and there, although Arthur must back away whenever he becomes visible enough to appear in a news photo. Every year they celebrate a birthday to Sam, the man struck by their bomb. It’s not a joke, but a ritual so they won’t forget their crime.

At the center of the movie is the cult actor River Phoenix, who graduated briefly to good roles after his appearance as an adolescent space voyager in the fantasy film Explorers. Phoenix is excellent as Danny, a kid raised to never let down his guard. The show begins with Danny detecting a plainclothes tail and executing what must be ‘escape plan 9.’ The family is out of town in a matter of minutes. Danny’s a sensitive, smart guy. If he plays by the rules, he must keep himself a complete mystery to his new girlfriend Lorna. The boy is committed to his family, but feels the pull to go off on his own, where a decent future awaits. In a way, it’s not a situation wholly unique to these former radicals. This must happen all the time when someone breaks away from a strongly structured family, or a religious cult.

The movie’s tension level doubles when Danny takes the forbidden step of telling Lorna everything. How many of us living normal lives (well, reasonably normal lives) could trust our sweethearts with such a volatile secret: “I and my whole family are fugitives from justice. Anybody helping us is a potential accomplice. Just by letting you know, I’m putting you in legal jeopardy. Will you turn me in, or become a criminal with me?”

At this age Martha Plimpton might remind one of a teenage Lauren Bacall. A survivor of Goonies, she is featured in what I think is the best Cannon film, Shy People. Plimpton and Phoenix have several worthy melodramatic romantic scenes to play, and they’re excellent together.

With the ace director Sidney Lumet in charge the strange relationships seem credible, even when the flaky, reckless Gus Winant breezes through. The former radical patriot is now nothing but an outlaw bum. In a nice choice, Gus is played by L.M. Kit Carson, the original fake counterculture hero in the classic experimental faux-documentary David Holzman’s Diary. With dangerous idiots like Gus on the loose, the Popes can’t even consider themselves part of a noble creed. Some of their old colleagues are indeed armed and dangerous.

I don’t think the Popes would stand a chance of evading the cops in today’s security state. One can no longer simply find the name of a dead infant and apply for a new birth certificate and passport. The Popes aren’t hiding in a shack in the woods, but are out and about in the public, working and rubbing elbows with schools and doctors. I guess that back in the 1980s Arthur could become a cook and Annie a receptionist without references, but it’s less likely now, when one can’t buy bubble gum without leaving a data trail. Traffic and security surveillance cameras are now everywhere. Billions of smart-phone photos are taken at public gatherings, and routinely posted on the web. A high-level security agency could be (is?) scanning the web with face recognition software.

Sidney Lumet wrote that his movies Running on Empty and Daniel had the same theme: “Who pays for the passion and commitment of the parents?” This is an even-handed and insightful drama. Lumet made a wide range of great entertainments, and some of the best- ever ‘New York Jewish Liberal Movies.’ He’s also one of the few directors who could take on fundamentally controversial material like this, and continue to maintain a busy career.

The Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray of Running on Empty is a good encoding of what was already a very good Wac Mod disc from just two years ago. The improved picture and sound reveals the expected quality of a top Sidney Lumet product. The small town we see is very attractive, a political landscape completely different from the corporate/banking rapacious wasteland of last year’s Hell or High Water. ‘Radicals unselfishly trying to stop a war in 1971’ is still anathema, while Mr. and Mrs. U.S.A. now considers it justifiable for ‘radicals to selfishly try to rescue their ruined finances.’

Madonna is on the soundtrack for a scene in Daniel’s music class. The final James Taylor song Fire and Rain works extremely well in context: “. . . and I always thought that I’d see you again.”

On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,

Running on Empty Blu-ray rates:

Movie: Excellent

Video: Excellent

Sound: Excellent

Supplements: none

Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? Yes; Subtitles: English (feature only)

Packaging: Keep case

Reviewed: June 21, 2017

(5451empt)

* I remember a major case from 2001. A radical who had evaded capture for thirty years finalized arrangements to turn herself in, after a delicate negotiation aimed at running her quietly through the legal system to let her get on with her life. She was reportedly not personally responsible for any violent acts, and under her assumed identity had worked for decades in a socially productive job. I followed her story for a couple of days in the newspaper . . . and then 9/11 happened. In the storm of security-minded post-attack chaos that followed, her story thread just vanished from the media-scape. I don’t have a clue what happened to her next. The timing couldn’t possibly have been worse for a former Enemy of the State.

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Text © Copyright 2017 Glenn Erickson
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

'Murder on the Orient Express' Trailer: Watch an Amazing Cast Ride the Rails of Suspicion

  • Movies.com
  In the late 19th century, the long-distance train known as the Orient Express became renowned as a bastion of luxury and comfort, traveling from Paris to Eastern Europe and beyond. That made it a good setting for Agatha Christie's mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express, first published in 1934, which revolved around famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his on-board investigation of a dastardly crime. The book was transformed into a wonderfully entertaining, artfully elegant mystery movie by director Sidney Lumet in 1974, featuring Albert Finney as the detective and an all-star cast as the suspects, including Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Michael York and Ingrid Bergman, who won an Academy Award for her performance. In 2015, we heard about a new version that was...

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