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The Wooden Horse (1950)
Better Than the Great Escape
This unsung quiet gem tells the true story of a POW escape during WW II. The performances are incredible, especially Anthony Steele. The movie works on many different levels: cerebral, emotional, visual, and literal. The dialogue is ingenious and rings very true. In fact, an unusual all-around authenticity puts this one head-and-shoulders above most war epics.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Disgusting and Manic
This seems like a combination of Paul Schrader on a bad trip with Kevin Smith. It hates its characters almost as much as it loathes and detests its audience. This may be art but it certainly has nothing to do with why I go to a movie house. These characters remind me of Death of A salesman on a bad acid trip. What a pointless waste of time and energy!
Tacones lejanos (1991)
Lyrical, allegorical, and very well acted
Aldomovar is one of the few male directors on the planet who is a true artist and painting a portrait with female emotions. Using garish sets, outrageous humor, and witty songs, Aldomovar expertly juxtaposes the absurdity of what we fleetingly but devoutly believe is truly important with eternal truths. If you speak Spanish, then you are privy to another layer of wry duality that really doesn't translate through the subtitles. Abril is remarkable as the returning mother finding things turned upside down and ultimately doing it one or two better. Highly recommended.
Obnoxious and Derisive
Kevin Smith is a nasty man who makes nasty movies, and Clerks tops the list (I can almost here Kevin saying "Thanks" in the background). If misanthropy and reaffirmation of hopelessness are your gigs, this movie is for you. It is nasty for nasty's sake because Kevin Smith had nothing better to do with his time, because what else better does anyone have to do with there time, anyway, you know?
I don't get it.
Maybe someone would be good enough to explain to me how this is one of the best movies of all time. It is pedantic, relentlessly slow, full of cliched dialogue, methodically acted, and completely one-note throughout. Better Eastwood westerns include: Good, Bad, and Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, Hang 'Em High, High Plains Drifter, etc., etc.
The Naked Spur (1953)
Remarkable Performances in Western Character Study
Taut western thriller holds interest from beginning to end. Leigh shines in an unusual and unglamorous role. Ryan is perfectly cast as the desparado who is the quarry of the uneasy triumverate of Stewart, Meeker, and Millard Mitchell -- all three in top form. This is a classic movie with grit and style.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Perfect American Murder Mystery
Rod Steiger won best actor, deserved it, and was matched eyebrow for eyebrow by Sidney Poitier's Unforgettable Creation of Mr. Virgil Tibbs, police detective. The supporting cast is perfect, with Beah Richards, William Prince, and Scott Wilson as special standouts. The dialogue by Siliphant is crisply written, the direction by Jewison is non-pareil, and the mystery is difficult and resolves things perfectly. As an overall American mystery, I must vote for this even over the Maltese Falcon (which of course is also great). Forget the hit-and-miss TV spin-off and treat yourself to the real thing.
The Rose (1979)
Haunting and bleak magnificently acted film
Loosely based upon the life of Janis Joplin and her struggles with fame and drugs, the Rose stays with the viewer long after the final fadeout. Acting tour-de-forces are manifest everywhere, and although virtually the entire supporting cast brings a Broadway-style truth and urgency that make thus excellent.
Red Planet (2000)
Really, really, really stupid
For a movie to have two terrific looking terrific actors like kilmer and Bratt and for me to give it 2/10, it had to be really bad. This one is hideous. Take every outer-space cliche you have ever heard of, mix in the corniest dialogue from the worst episodes of Lost In Space and Battleship Gallactica. Throw in what I will charitably refer to as a self-consciously and ludicrously eccentric character played by Carrie-Ann Moss, and you get an idea how abominable this waste-of-time this is. Avoid.
The Happy Years (1950)
Timeless turn-of-the-century coming-of-age comedy
Dean Stockwell was never better, and the supporting cast is uniformly excellent in this classic comedy. Leo G. Carroll is impeccable as the crusty, but caring, turn-of-the-century headmaster. Darryl Hickman is marvelous as Tuff McCarty, Stockwell's nemesis. This is definitely a family movie that can be enjoyed, appreciated, and laughed at, by all ages.