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Point Blank (1967)
One of the best Hollywood vengeance movies.
Lee Marvin was a WWII infantry combat veteran and it shows. Angie Dickinson was beautifully seductive and it shows. Andrew Sikking was perfectly cast and it shows. Carol O'Connor and Keenan Wynn are great actors in small parts in an equally great movie. It forever will give violence a good name. I was turning off the TV the other night and it started to play. I watched the entire movie. Who needs dreams?! The next four lines are of little consequence: It takes place in both San Francisco and El Lay; it superficially though accurately portrays both 60s mob and corporate venues at least in a visual if not procedural style (crime and violence worth watching is highly stylized); this movie can be felt like the title says -- Point Blank!
The Company (2007)
Cold War wasn't Cold.
Aleksander Grigoryevich Kopatzky, Angleton's Sasha or Igor Orlov was chased into the Soviet Embassy and emerged with a Wash DC retirement in his own downtown picture frame shop. Angleton found his Sasha, but a greater world of lesser men humiliated "Jim" as the movie additionally depicts showing the electro shock therapy being crudely deliver to Frank Weisner after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. The Company is a Rembrandt painting of The Cold War era that accurately communicates the hard reality that bipolar world was trapped in. The movie could not say what I have said so directly and the real participants are melded and divided depending on what its history might betray or reveal. So forget about any truth you might witness and enjoy the experience. For the CIA participants it was all too real. Michael Keaton is as great an actor as Angleton was a man. Take some time to read Angleton's lying testimony to the Warren Commission: "Within the house of (espionage) are many rooms." "What I said to () after the Bay of Pigs was 'What is your fall back position if you fail?'" Reality what a concept! God Bless them all. and God Bless the United States of America.
It's about land development in California.
Sure. It's ostensibly about a driver less Caterpillar D9 Bulldozer on the rampage. Go ahead and blame the gun! I guess if it had a driver the movie would be lacking a key plot device if not a title. Really? Like so many Hollywood tomes, "Killdozer" is prescient. It's the "China Syndrome" of over development...and more importantly, Clint Walker at least tried to show us how to stop it: by his God-like example. It's not Cheyene of the nightmare producing (in my 10-year-old case) made for TV "Night of the Grizzly". Clint barely put that humongous bastard down (the grizzly was badly burned in a forest fire as a cub, another unheeded environmental warning). But, I digress. Clint always met whatever threats or evils head on. He was quiet and determined--a lot reluctant and a little bit shy. A quiet smile and never a sound or complaint. Everone was drawn to him because of his heroic beauty and stature. He was the cast's and America's last and best hope. Unlike most of our heroes, he never let us down. And as an actor, Clint barely needed a script although he deserved a lot better ones than he got. In an episode of "Cheyene" he pushed a carload of ore out of a mine unassisted. My father was a coal miner who as a child drove mules that had the same relentless task. Life is cruel like that but Clint never was. It gave a kid hope. That was just enough. Thanks, Clint. God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America. That's what Hollywood can accomplish even when it's not trying. You made it look easy.
A Shot in the Dark (1964)
Elke Sommer is HOT!
Yeah, it's based on L'idiote and the Broadway play 1961 that Shat was in and Sellers is at his best and Burt Kwouk outdoes everyone by staying absolutely IN CHARACTER but Elke Sommer is beyond belief beautiful and sexy and profoundly comedic and naked and of course, innocent. Sommer in The Prize with Paul Newman was HOT! But Gawd! I took a date to this in high school and can't remember who..."It's green." "What?" "The light. It's green." "I was kidnapped by a hitchhiking transvestite!" It's all there, including Elke...did I say she was beautiful? The require 10 lines allow for an unnecessary tribute to Lom and Edwards and everyone's dad and mom, but Sommer remains one of the most beautiful creations in the history of cinema including pulpy Playboy!
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
My mom took me to see this in 1953.
I haven't seen it since but here is what I remember. I knew all the Dr. Seuss books by heart (I could read). I was taking piano lessons from our Protestant minister's wife who resembled Hans Conreid. My mom and I went on the bus to a large, metropolitan movie palace and we were well dressed. We watched the entire movie and then went home on the bus. Hans Conreid was always one of my favorites and even more recognizable as a voice. Lassie was a fixture later on our home TV. I don't think the movie had any real effect on me except that the books and my dreams were a lot better. I listened to radio every night as a child. I sometimes dreamed in black and white like most of the movies I saw as a child. I remember many of the scenes described in the written reviews and trailers. I'll see it again sometime. I'll let you know.
Hastings Corner (1970)
Also titled as "Honker House"
A Peyton Place send up that made theatre of the absurd look like an Alistaire Cooke production. Very, very inventive and funny! Great comedy writing and brutal satire. Of course, it was quickly canceled. Karen Black appears as a very sexy member of the Honker Family that drops their shrink off at his office by throwing him out the back door of their limo, upon which he rises from the concrete, dusts himself off and begins narrating the first episode of the series,"That was one of my patients dropping me off." The last episode ends in a court scene where the defendant, and nearly everyone else in court, appear in wheelchairs and remove their socks to show they have a mole on the bottom of their foot as evidence of what?! Every minute was filled with invective and directed at the nonsense that Peyton Place and other popular series of the time intoned. It's out there somewhere...go get it!
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
The Gods walked amongst us...
When the aliens officially land (They'll all look like really good-looking Swedish guys!), they will require us all to post on our Twitter account what is the best example humanity has ever created of what they wanted the rest of the Universe to regard us by. If a majority of us vote for the 1968 movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" as that example, the aliens will watch it; stare blankly at one another for a few moments; and then return to their 10,000 gigantic spaceships and go home. They will have realized what everyone on earth should have realized when they first saw it in theaters: It is impossible for anyone to be as cool as that god-damned movie!
Great actors meet Asia head on
The movie "The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go", works on many levels. Here's mine barely on one level. James Joyce was as little understood in 1970 as Buddhism, the Far East (including Vietnam)and MKULTRA. Only MKULTRA notionally survived unscathed because CIA Director Richard Helms destroyed all agency records shortly after this film was made. It alone has escaped the brutal epiphany of the last 40+ years. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) did not publish "Remember, Be Here Now" until the year after the movie's release. Had he seen it? The Hong Kong Tourist Bureau which contributed greatly and nearly lost its soul to this film knew more about all of the above including James Joyce than anyone in or around the movie. Here are the facts: James Mason wears oral prosthetics and allows his then almost 2d wife (Clarissa Kaye-Mason) to administer a lesbian rape scene. Peter Lind Hayes (The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T)plays himself and appears in a violent homo erotic scene with a very young Jeff Bridges. Irene Tsu gives her acting and substantive all to everyone involved apparently including some Hong Kong hookers replete with excellent Number One Hong Kongs. Broderick Crawford plays the head of the CIA in what appears to be an unintended?, spliced-in unrelated Ed Wood production. He's Broderick Crawford, for Christ sakes! And he's wonderful! You will recognize Jay Adler and Jack MacGowran reprising themselves in roles that they had accomplished many times, but not this time. Buddha appears typecast as himself in Hong Kong tourist stills voiced over by Christopher Lee? as narrator. Oh yeah, Burgess Meredith stars and directed it if Buddha didn't. Rags Ragland composed the soundtrack and songs and I am sure Peter Lind Hayes influenced same with his immortal 1950s Chevrolet jingle. The music at times however, fractures into rather both authentic and thought provoking accompaniment including a brief oriental theme played with a bowed lute Ragland was an arranger for the Dorsey's and provided music for many 40s movies and then this one. There, I wrote it. For YOU!!!! James Joyce was writing--like Bridges says,"For the next 1,000 years." You can watch this prescient epistle throughout the next millennium if you need to. In 1970, the world needed to...
Morons from Outer Space (1985)
Very, very smart and funny...did I say funny?!
This movie takes aim at both Hollywood and its alien flicks and more importantly, British cinema's unfortunate marketing subordination to same. The special effects, cast, acting and production values are excellent proving that big budget Hollywood can at least be replicated in a lampoon genre. Contrary to nearly every paid critic's review, it is well written. No American or British icon escapes unscathed. The US critics really killed it and frankly, I don't know what Hodges did to deserve that kind of undeserved malice. It's akin to the politically correct fallout from "A Fish Called Wanda". Feel free to go there if you will. It's one of those small British films that people who enjoy silly and dark humor; satire and understatement; and simply well-made, good looking spoofs--this is one of those. It is dead on-target. Enjoy the payback from a great unassuming film that Hollywood made sure was dead on arrival: they were right in the sense that it was and remains "dead on".
The Razor's Edge (1984)
Bill Murray did another great job.
I had a hard time understanding the producer's reported anger at Murray for his portrayal of a WWI American war veteran. The producer allegedly said,"Bill Murray gives you nothing!" Although Bill is one of the most understated human beings on the planet, the character he portrayed is an American war vet -- a survivor of the worst carnage since the American Civil War. Even Robert Graves who was pronounced dead on the battlefield and notification sent to his family -- resigned from life, a wife and children, in "Goodbye to All That". It's resignation that the producer is misunderstanding? What an American brings to Nepal is the power of individual conscience and subjecting the consciousness to the cultural eternal. The character undergoes change in his inner understanding and outward conscious expression of that change. Bill Murray's only understatement is not surrendering to the temptation to make this character romantic instead of American. An initiate of war is initiated again in life. As a disabled Vietnam combat Vet who has seen and experienced what Murray's character experienced in the novel and movie, I commend Bill for having the discipline and courage to remain in character: a fearless American, an initiate of the last and best age.