Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Has its moments but too contrived
Trade has some very powerful and wrenching moments but there are too many contrivances to make it a truly convincing film. Jorge, the brother, happens to see someone riding his sister's bike and is able to track down his sister's abductors in a teeming Mexico City hours after she is abducted. In the City's chaos ,he loses sight of the truck transporting his sister, stops for a drink, looks out the window of the store, and there it is again. Jorge later hops in the trunk of a car, which by chance, is the car of a cop also looking for a missing child so he has a ride and an expert in his chase. A stop for breakfast in a random diner allows them to happen upon a pervert who happens to have the web site and passwords for the precise sex auction involving the sister. And then the good guys and the bad guys, in their respective vehicles, drive from Texas to New Jersey ( like its a few miles away) in record time to all meet up for the finale. Even the sentimental ending has the sister arriving back in Mexico City with her brother after being saved,stops at the Church where her mother, at the precise time of her arrival, is in church praying for her return. The film obviously exposes the tragedy of sex trafficking in helpless minors and some scenes, like the one where the sister is rented to a pervert in a field are compelling, but the plot did not have to rely so heavily on coincidence and contrivance.
The Fighting Redhead (1949)
The Last Red Ryder
"Fighting Redhead" is the very last of the Red Ryder films which began at Republic with the 1940 serial starring Don "Red" Barry, continued at Republic for 16 features with Wild Bill Elliott,another 7 with Allan "Rocky"Lane and then moved to Eagle-Lion for the last four with Jim Bannon. Bannon came closest to capturing the look of the comic-strip Red Ryder as drawn by Fred Harman and Don Kay Reynolds (aka Little Brown Jug) was the image of the comic strip Little Beaver. Bobby Blake (Robert Blake) who played Beaver in all 23 Republic features, wore a buck-skin outfit which did not match the way Harman had drawn the character. Bannon was not a great actor and the story lines for the four Bannon Ryders,including "Redhead", did not feature much action but this film is worth watching simply for the nostalgic element of seeing the end of one of the great B Western series.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
Provocative but one sided look at movie ratings
"This Film...." is a provocative look at the MPAA rating system which makes it point in the first15 minutes of the documentary and then goes on for another 90 minutes making the same points over and over. The use of two rather low key and amateurish detectives to ferret out the names of the heretofore anonymous raters also detracts from the weight of the expose. The key points of contention for the filmmaker, Mr. Dick, is that the MPAA is funded by and influenced by the major studios, that the raters are homophobic, they are hung up on sex rather than violence, that contrary to the MPAA's assertion that they are not censors they in fact do censor and that they are anonymous. Jack Valenti and company are portrayed as well paid tools of the Industry and the chosen sound bites of Valenti and the Rating Board chairperson underscore the audacity and authoritarian manner in which ratings are adminstered.
At the end of the day, I recognize that the system is imperfect but I sure would not want the various anti MPAA directors who were interviewed, including John Waters, rating the films for parents.
Repeat Performance (1947)
A woman gets to relive the last year
WhenI was a kid in the 50's, this film was always shown on TV on New Year's Eve. I would look forward to it and always enjoyed it. As New Year's Eve approaches this year, I just happened to think about it for the first time in years and could not find it on TV, VCR or DVD. I was happy to read the very positive user comments on the quality of the film and lamenting its lack of availability. I note that Leaonard Maltin even dropped this film from his 2006 edition of his guide, perhaps because there is no tape or DVD version. I hope someone, somewhere, with rights to this little gem does release it for home viewing or a TV channel like TCM or PBS finds it in their library and decides to show it, perhaps on a New Year's Eve.
Hide and Seek (2005)
Latest in the DeNiro full employment program
Robert DiNiro, a great actor who fills his time between limited first rate movies with formulaic pulp, has made another clinker.This would- be horror outing has him cast as a psychologist who's wife has committed suicide and his daughter, played quite will by Dakota Fanning, is suffering greatly. He decides to move her up to a rural New York town and try to start anew. An unseen playmate (imaginary?) of the daughter begins to reek havoc on their lives. Repleat with stock characters (creepy neighbor, creepy landlord, creepy sheriff,)stock props(a mysterious cave in the woods behind the house that nobody has trouble finding even in the dark)) the big denouement is as as flat as the suspense throughout the movie.But Fahmeke Jansen looks great in a smallish role as a colleague the Doctor. Save your money.
What Alice Found (2003)
A Real Sleeper
This is a low budget, well acted little gem. Alice, a small town Massachusetts teenager, fed up with her existence, takes to the road to escape her mother who flips burgers and her own job as a check out in a super market. She sets out for Florida and to stay with her wealthier high school friend who is a freshman at Miami. After her car suspiciously breaks down on the thruway and she loses all her money, she ends up with a retired couple in an RV who also happen to be traveling to Florida.. The couple, brilliantly played by Judith Ivy and Bill Raymond are overly hospitable and, it turns out, a prostitute and and her pimp. Slowly, Alice is lured into truck stop prostitution as the RV meanders down the thruway in the general direction of Florida. Through intermittent flashbacks, we learn a little more about Alice and her desire to leave tiny Milford. We also see the couple in a new light and their life and the choices made by the couple and Alice all seem quite credible. An excellent, well made film that you will think about when it is over.
Wicker Park (2004)
Frustrating, contrived but it grabs you
Wicker Park,is a romantic drama about a young man who thinks he sees Lisa, his lost love, in the telephone booth of a restaurant and then tries to find her for almost two hours. He's supposed to be off to China to close a huge deal for his now-fiancée's father's company but can't get Lisa out of his mind. He blows off China and proceeds to follow every avenue to find his lady, if it was her in the phone booth. Chronolgy flits back and forth as we learn of what happened two years ago to their romance and how he happens to be in that restaurant phone booth. He runs into his best friend, who he hasn't seen, since the break up with Lisa and he kind of helps him in his quest but he's ennamored with a lady, played by Rose Byrne, who also seems to like our hero and who makes things quite complicated. Josh Hartnet doesn't move quite as fast as you like him to when a big clue is presented and when the key players happen to keep passing each other busy Chicago streets (which really look like and are Montreal streets)credibility is stretched. But I hung there till the very end hoping Josh will find his Lisa.
More holes than a pound of swiss cheese
Collateral has a good plot and uniformly fine performances, particularly by Tom Cruise as Vincent, a cold as an iceberg assassin. As we move through the evening with Vincent dispatching bodies around LA,being driven by Max,an unlucky cab driver, played compassionately by Jamie Foxx, this thriller becomes annoying as the plot holes get exposed. Why would the skilled Vincent continue to ride around in a cab with a dented roof and smashed windshield (already stopped once by cops because of the defects,)with cars and helicoptors on his tail? Max has almost unlimited opportunities to escape or warn the police but takes none of them. Indeed even in the final subway scene with shots abounding and passengers agape,nary a cop or even a siren appears at the various stops.Putting aside the incredible coincidence of Max separately picking up the killer and one of his intended victims during his shift in a city with a fair number taxicabs on the streets, can anyone not foresee who the 5th and last victim is to be? In sum, a potentially clever plot but too many unrealistic lapses reduces this film to just a bloody night in LA.
Stagecoach to Denver (1946)
One of the weakest in the Red Ryder series
This is the first of the 7 Allan Lane Red Ryders. Lane replaced Wild Bill Elliott as Red Ryder after Elliott did 16 and his are generally considered superior. Robert (Baretta) Blake played Little Beaver in all 23 Ryder films although his role in this one is minor. The plot is the basic land grab by the town's big businessman.The only innovation is the use of a female (who smokes!) as one of the villains.There is a little boy with a broken back who unrealistically gets carried around like a football (even by the doctor) and the action is minimal including a couple of gunfights and one brawl. Red Ryder was one of the best of the "B" western series of the 40's,.This entry however was weak.