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Cool! The Moon Blew Up!
Wow! I don't know why, but it does somehow comfort me to know that the major TV networks can still crank out mind numbingly stupid and horrible TV movies. But just like eating TV dinners, watching TV movies hold a perverse charm for me. This one was as stupid as they come. And that treacly - sweet piano music that welled up behind every emotion laden scene ("I'll never leave you kids without saying goodbye"; "your mother and I will always be looking out for you" - Oh my god grandpa, don't die!; "I'm pregnant").
One note of interest: the main character is Alex Kittner. Obviously an homage to one of the greatest disaster/suspense flicks ever - Jaws. Alex Kittner is the boy who is eaten at the beach, the one whose mother slaps Chief Brody in the face for keeping the beaches open. Thank god Alex was resurrected to save the Earth from a killer great white...moon!!!
Love the Hard Way (2001)
The lump in my throat...is BILE!!!
Moving, insightful, believable, wonderfully acted...The are some of the things this movie is NOT. I'm sorry, but anyone who bought into this bile-fest doesn't know the first thing about what makes a movie good! Nuff said....won't waste [any more of] my time....yechhhh.....
The Last Frontier (1955)
The Savage Vic Mature!!!
While this picture may be minor Anthony Mann, it's a very off-beat, well acted, western. Mature is the anti-thesis of Mann's uber-hero, the driven, edgy loner played to perfection by Jimmy Stewart. Mann plays to Mature's strengths by casting him as the uncivilized, passion driven scout given to bouts of raucous drunkenness. Robert Preston is very good as the obsessed, kill-crazy Colonel whose wife (Anne Bancroft) Mature covets He also slugs her! Wow! Savage Mature!
The Minus Man (1999)
Serial Killers Rule!!!
My favorite movie genre is the sweet-natured-serial-killer flick, and this movie is, to the best of my knowledge...the only one! I liked this movie alot. Very slow-paced, charcter driven films where nothing much happens can only succeed when supplied with an exceptional script and a talented cast. This movie has both. The dialogue is crisp, thoughtful, and never extraneous and the story and its themes are thought-provoking.I found myself challenged both intellectually (maybe not saying much!) and movie-wise. Nothing is overtly spelled. The story is open to interpretation, yet still manages to satisfy.
The casting and performances are are dead-on. I can't think of anyone who can convey the personality of a sweet-natured yet near-dangerous sociopath as well as Owen Wilson. The most disturbing scene in the film escalates from a romantic, edgy evening enjoyed by Vann and Ferrin (compellingly and delightfully played by Jeannine Fiorella LaGuardia, or whatever her name is) to an uncomfortable, abusive display of mental illness.
Brian Cox and Mercedes-Benz-Rules excell in well written supporting roles. Brian Cox is an amazing actor, with such diverse performance in resume as Hannibal the Cannibal in Manhunter, to the IRA kingpin in the Boxer, to the frustrated headmaster in Rushmore. Add this portrait to the gallery of his many quiet, forceful performances.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
O Brother, What an Overrated Movie
The Coen brothers, for me, have always been hit or miss. The over-excesses of Miller's Crossing, which brought to mind the much superior The Glass Key, being balanced with the genius and beauty of a film like Fargo. But I've always admired their creativity and refusal to adhere to a specific genre. This film is certainly original, with beautiful cinematography, a great score, and fine performances (where has Tim Blake Nelson been all my life? His performance, right down to the goofy facial expressions, is phenomenal). What it lacks is dramatic tension and cohesiveness. The vignettes follow one after another with not enough thread to bind them together as a whole. The Baby Faced Nelson story is wholly superfluous.
I found myself mildly amused throughout, but certainly not exhilarated. George Clooney once again proved himself to be a solid, charismatic actor with genuine star appeal, but for laugh out loud zaniness, give me Jeff Bridges as the Dude any day of the week.
Day of the Outlaw (1959)
Robert Ryan Rides Again
This is an uncommon, stark western starring the versatile Robert Ryan in tough guy mode, as a ruthless cattleman at odds with homesteaders in a tiny, bleak western town. As he is about to settle a feud with a local farmer, Burl Ives and his band of sadistic thugs ride into town and hold the citizens hostage. As Ives tries to keep his men from raping the women, Ryan must find a way to save the town, and redeem himself in the process.
Beautiful outdoor photography and solid acting combine with an unusual story line to make this a very interesting, tense flick. The movie eschews the usual western cliches in favor of maintaining a somber, moral tone. Ives excels as an internally conflicted villain. And Ryan, as always, is the man.