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Tight Spot (1955)
Enjoyable Vehicle for Ginger
Ginger Rogers' performance (straight out of "Roxie Hart") makes this film. Others have found Ms. Rogers to be too old for the film. I think that the fact that she is a bit "past her prime" adds to her character, which has (let's face it) been "around the block" a few times. She and Brian Keith (doing his patented tough-as-nails copper) make a potent team. It is a pity that they did no more work together. The film itself is a strange mixture of Rogers' comic sass and Karlson's brand of hard-hitting melodrama. Ultimately, the film is sunk by an unbelievable plot contrivance that leaves the audience feeling betrayed. However, the performances (including, of course, Robinson's) make this a worthwhile experience.
Jesus Camp (2006)
Is This Our Future?
This is a look at the next generation of folks who want to turn our government into a theocracy. I saw the film today, and it is scary. I know that these folks believe deeply in the rightness of what they are doing, but the thought that kept running through my head as I watched the movie was, "This looks like child abuse to me." The film is well made, with no Michael Moore-like editorial comment, save the scenes involving the radio commentator. The subjects are allowed to speak, unchallenged, for themselves, which, I think, was probably the right approach. All in all, an enlightening and (for those of us who are not Born Again Christians) disturbing film.
Four Brothers (2005)
Good Modern Take on a Classic Western
Four disparate, wayward brothers return home to bury their mother and find out why she died. That is the plot of John Singleton's new film, "Four Brothers." It is also the plot of Henry Hathaway's 1965 "The Sons of Katie Elder," starring John Wayne and Dean Martin. The new version stands on it's own: it's an extremely entertaining vendetta film about four young men who, despite their differing ethnic backgrounds, are obviously brothers. The love between them is palpable and that is what sets this film apart from others which may be as technically proficient as this one but lack it's humanizing element. The cast is great. Mark Wahlberg is in his element - I am now fully prepared to forgive him for "Planet of the Apes!" Andre Benjamin of Outkast is superb as the one brother who has, at least on the surface, "gotten it together" and has the most to lose. I saw this film a week after having seen "Hustle and Flow" (which was produced by John Singleton) and Terrence Howard is as commanding in this film as he was in the other. The man has star power.