Reviews written by registered user
jblake1243

9 reviews in total 
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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Time heals all wounds, 28 January 2011
8/10

The passage of time (now 1/28/11) heals all wounds. This flick may have been a laughing stock after release in 1987 but the passage of time has added new dimensions enabling the viewer to see it again from many different angles; one of which is the involvement of Norman Mailer who now possesses the mystical aura of a great artist post mortem. The campy acting and over the top attempts at noir now actually enhance this film. As a bonus there is the Cape Cod filming location with some wonderful views of the Cape in winter. The plot is complicated and almost rises to the level of a good screwball comedy although in this case the comedy is definitely black. Lots of bodies to be moved from place to place as the characters frantically try to stay one step ahead of whatever is threatening them at the moment. In the end, all is satisfactorily resolved and each character has been dealt with appropriately by fate. I thought that the last five minutes contained some of the best black comedy I've ever seen, all topped off by the happy fairy tale ending.

15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
1968 Film Remains Relevant, 21 January 2006
9/10

This film version of Frank Gilroy's unforgettable play should be considered a classic. Patricia Neal, Jack Albertson & Martin Sheen deliver outstanding performances as the parents & young adult son in an Irish-American, lower middle class family living in the Bronx at the end of World War 2.

The story centers on the son, Timmy, who has just returned home from the Army after fighting in combat as an infantryman in Europe. He returns to a home in which the relationship of his parents is undergoing strain, due primarily to discreet but nevertheless damaging extra marital affairs occasionally indulged in by the father, who is a kind of loquacious, traveling salesman type who meets lots of people in his work. The mother is played as a suffering in silence housewife who, although she loves her husband, has been deeply hurt by his infidelities.

Timmy, now changed by the war & his experiences away from home must come to terms with things as they now are. He loves both of his parents deeply but comes to realize that in order to live his life fully he will have to leave his parent's house which is now no longer what it used to be for him. His parents, while dealing with their own problems, want Timmy to stay but on another level realize that he has to leave. You will have to watch to see how things are resolved.

13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Glad I Didn't Miss This One, 7 July 2005
8/10

Once in a while you can win at the game of "remote roulette." I lucked out and caught this flick the other night while rather aimlessly looking for something decent to watch. It was being shown on a popular, premium cable network. It is a cops & robbers caper flick with more than a little twisting as it goes through its well designed plot steps with hardly any let downs along the way. I would categorize it as a black comedy-drama with a touch of noir. I thought that the dialog between the main characters, James Spader (Parker) and Leslie Stefanson (Natalie Wright)was reminiscent of Bogart & Bacall. James Spader, in my opinion, is one of the better actors in film today. It is a shame that real talent like his is not more fully recognized by the film industry, obsessed with redundant, lowest common denominator material suitable for sixth graders or special effects geeks whose every other word is "awesome." Leslie Stefanson's character is aptly named as she plays with skill and sardonic humor, a disillusioned small town girl looking for "Mr. Right." The supporting cast, particularly John Livingstone as FBI special agent Rick Kendall was above average. I just wish that there could have been a little more of the well played "Native Americans" who were involved in the story. Writer-Director Rowdy Herrington deserves praise for coming up with this low budget "sleeper" lost among the mainstream Hollywood trash currently inundating the theater and television screens of our entertainment challenged land. The authentic rural and scenic small town location creates an enchanting atmosphere that further adds to the quality of the film and even the jazz soundtrack I noticed under the closing credits was a winning pick. You will not be disappointed by this good one.

10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
A Very Good Bad Movie, 12 June 2005
8/10

This film is so bad it's definitely good. A decent cast led by James Caan & Genevieve Bujold, a tortured script and one of the best buildings ("Jericho Mansions") in cinema since "the Bates Mansion" of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic black comedy "Psycho." I would not be the least surprised if this perfect bomb eventually became a cult classic. Maybe if it could get an extended Halloween run at an Art House cinema in Cambridge (MA)? The dialog is pure camp and the cinematography is so confusing and disjointed that a viewer could begin wondering if their sanity could really be counted upon if reality were to be ever so slightly tweaked. In spite of all this it miraculously, somehow, works! From one bad scene to the next one finds oneself, almost hypnotically, waiting to see what will happen next.

To avoid including any spoilers I will not comment on the plot. Basically, it probably can be categorized as belonging to the "Mystery" genre but this does not do it full justice as it has aspects of comedy, both black, screwball and otherwise, as well as farce and satire.

I would not hesitate to recommend this one to anyone looking for an escape from the mind numbing mainstream cinema that is afflicting the public in these times.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The TV Show, not the movie, 15 May 2005

The "Sunday Herald" (Boston, 5/15/05)) had some brief commentary regarding the mid 90s short lived but excellent crime series "Under Suspicion", that CBS promptly canned after one season. That induced me to revisit the show at this site and to try conveying some thoughts based upon recollections of a decade ago. I remember watching it on Friday nights (I think) and have never forgotten the noir-ish moods it conveyed so well. After 10 years, details fade and one is left with general impressions and memories somewhat distorted by time, so I reviewed the episodes listings with their brief summaries and it was good to be re-reminded of Detective "Phil" Phillips who was always reliably relentless in her pursuit of justice on behalf of the mostly innocent victims of crime and evil that were brought to her attention. I think that "Under Suspicion" managed to avoid the clichés that today's slick, formulaic "successful" crime series with their wooden, one dimensional characters, countless trips to the morgue and neat, almost unbelievable wraps at the end, are unfortunately, sustained by. Further,it was probably too close in style and content to the British series "Prime Suspect" for it to be be picked up by American PBS, but it's interesting to wonder what might have developed had that happened.

14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
1930s Kitsch, 6 March 2005
7/10

Caught this one on TCM the other night.

Good music, lots of beautiful girls and an inane plot, humorously acted out by a talented cast. What more could anyone ask for? This is what the "movies" were all about when life outside the theater was in the middle of the Great Depression. You might be making 25 bucks a week and probably forked over a quarter to see this picture. For your money you were able to forget your troubles as you watched the Busby Berkeley dance numbers and listened to the tunes of Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Not a bad deal then and still enjoyable now on cable, video or DVD.

It seems to me that the actors of that era had more talent than most of those plying the craft these days. I also like the cast introductions, common to the era, showing a brief moment from the film, portraying the introduced in a flattering way. Style and class unfortunately seem to be in short supply in most films of the present era which has become much more concerned with finding new ways to shock or offend us as they happily take our money (9 bucks?).

Sure, there were better examples of the 1930s musical genre but this one really ain't all that bad. You could do worse than sit down and watch.

31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
This one holds up well, 12 January 2005
10/10

Saw it last evening on TCM. Excellent performances by a stellar cast, filmed at a time when Hollywood and American movie audiences were fully experiencing World War 2 on the "home-front". This film has somehow managed to avoid becoming "dated" and remains entertaining, appealing and instructive to a contemporary audience. The story is primarily about a middle class family and its attempts to deal with problems caused by the war. The characters are decent people confronted by issues that test their faith and ability to carry on with life in a normal way. I particularly enjoyed the performances of Claudette Colbert and Monty Woolley, although the entire cast did excellent jobs. The music was appealing and appropriate and helped create the mood intended. TCM played the opening "Overture" which added to the production quality. Three hours is a long sitting but this one is worth it.

The Lone Ranger reincarnated?, 28 June 2003
10/10

I like "Hack." Think the "Lone Ranger" reincarnated as a 2000s cab driver, a decent but flawed guy, in Philadelphia doing his best, while seeking to work out issues from a troubled past, and you've got the synopsis. David Morse is nearly perfect as Olshansky. He helps people but instead of riding "Silver" in the old west he drives a cab through the mean streets of contemporary Philly, without handing out silver bullets. The supporting cast is first class and well above average. At times, the witty dialog almost reaches the level of that 70s classic series, "The Rockford Files." This show deserves a return, hopefully in a better time slot than 9PM Friday(eastern).

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A near miss, 22 June 2003
7/10

The production quality, cast, premise, authentic New England (Waterbury, CT?) locale and lush John Williams score should have resulted in a 3-4 star collectors item. Unfortunately, all we got was a passable 2 star "decent" flick, mostly memorable for what it tried to do.........bring an art house style film mainstream. The small town locale and story of ordinary people is a genre to itself, and if well done, will satisfy most grownups. Jane Fonda was unable to hide her braininess enough to make her character believable. I wondered why she wasn't doing a post doctorate at Yale instead of working in a dead end factory job in Waterbury. Robert DiNiro's character was just a bit too contrived. An illiterate, nice guy loser who turns out to actually be, with a little help from Jane's character, a 1990 version of Henry Ford or Thomas Edison.

This genre has been more successfully handled by "Nobody's Fool" in the mid 90s and this year's (2003) "About Schmidt." I wish that the main stream studios would try more stuff for post adolescents and reserve a couple of screens at the multi cinema complexes for those efforts.

I'll give it an "A" for effort.