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Terrific, under-rated film of a classic Jim Thompson novel.
17 February 2005
Ever read Jim Thompson? He's hard-boiled noir with the most extreme fatalism and misanthropy I've ever encountered. There are rarely private detectives in his work - just losers, psychotics and small-time con artists. This film has Thompson nailed - "If God made any real mistakes in this world, it was in giving us a will to live when we've got no excuse for it." Every character in the film balances on a razor's edge between surreal and creepy realism. There's sleazy, conniving Uncle Bud, played by Bruce Dern and spookily well-intentioned Doc Goldman played by George Dickerson. Jason Patric gives a wonderful, often heart-wrenching performance as Kid Collins, a none-too-bright, shy ex-fighter who's more scared of himself than of anyone else. Rachel Ward is Fay, the sexy femme fatale who we can't quite figure out...It's not your standard film noir, nor is it intended to be. After Dark My Sweet, along with The Grifters, are two excellent adaptations of novels by one of my favorite writers, Jim Thompson.
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Clever, funny silent romantic adventure comedy.
24 October 2002
This is a "silent" film, the first ever to be shown in Ann Arbor's beautiful Michigan Theater way back in 1928. Of course silent films were not really silent, and even back then the organ that is still there and still operational was played for this feature. Hero For a Night may not have a terribly original plot, but it's filmed and acted well. The visual gags are funny, the titles are clever and there's a fair amount of enjoyable corny puns. While this may not rank up there with the best of silent film comedies of the era, such as Buster Keaton's The General or Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, it's still a heck of good movie. Patsy Ruth Miller is real purty too. She played Esmeralda in the silent Hunchbank of Notre Dame with Lon Chaney. Burr McIntosh was in D. W. Griffth's Way Down East with Lillian Gish.
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Terrible - never rings true to those who know anything about Abbie.
26 June 2001
There is nothing good to say about this movie. Read Revolution For the Hell of It or any of his other writings. Abbie was often dismissed as the clown-prince of the '60's, but he was a man of ideas who used his cleverness, his sense of humor and pop culture, and his flamboyant personality to get attention to his ideas. The media too often concentrated on the man, not the ideas, and that's the problem with this movie, too. Later in his life he did suffer from depression. But this flick is like a National Enquirer version of Abbie. He deserves better. If you don't know Abbie or his times, this movie won't help.

This film lies. I give it a zero.
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The Greatest Rock 'N' Roll Movie Ever Made, Bar None
2 August 1999
Even if you're not a big Ramones fan, Rock 'N' Roll High School is *still* the greatest rock 'n' roll movie ever made. Why? Because under all the campiness, it treats with respect the contempt and loathing teens often feel (and justifiably so) for the boring, stupid, fascist, establishment world of adults. That final scene is one of the most glorious and uplifting final scenes to a movie I have ever seen. "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the..." Rock 'n' roll!
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Gimme a freakin' break...
20 April 1999
$TAR WARS$ (c) is badly made, particularly the special effects, the editing, the acting, the cinematography, the dialogue and the excruciating final scene. Worst of all, it is badly imagined. By that I mean it is trite, with a mindless plot and without any original characters. All this nonsense about icons and popular culture doesn't alter the fact that it is junk. To say it is one of the best s-f movies ever made is not saying much. All but a few s-f moves are nothing but escapism, and many of those are better than this. I have no problem with people being passionate about movies they enjoy. I love Old Yeller, but I would hardly call it the greatest movie ever made. The second was better - the battle scenes at the beginning, the "freezing" of Han and the battle between Darth and Luke. The third one was unforgivable. Ewoks and that cheesy ending that would make Frank Capra vomit.
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Captain Blood (1935)
They don't make 'em like that anymore!
15 April 1999
CAPTAIN BLOOD may well be the best action movie ever made. While I am less impressed with Olivia de Havilland than some, Errol Flynn is sexy and suave as can be. He never loses his sense of honor, humor or joie de vivre. So rarely these day are heroes likeable people. It's refreshing to see a movie like this. Suspense, action, romance, humor, charm, excellent directing, acting, editing and cinematography - this one has it all!
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Runaway Train (1985)
Not a Oxymoron! An intellectual action flick!
14 April 1999
Runaway Train is about far more than a runaway train. It is about personal freedom and how hard we are willing to struggle to get it. It's about how willing we are to give up our personal freedom to be comfortable. It's about dehumanization inflicted by social institutions. It's also one gripping, suspenseful action-flick. The two main characters, played by Jon Voight as Manny and Eric Roberts as Buck, are escaped prisoners, but they are humanized. Not that we would really like to meet them, but we can see how they work, and we can identify with them. I found it fascinating that the character I really hated was John P. Ryan as Renkin, the warden. This official of society has turned his efforts to recapture the prisoners, particularly Manny, into a personal mission of hatred. The cinematography and imagery in the film are excellent. Whether exterior shots of the train hurtling across the desolate Canadian wilderness, or claustrophobic shots of the characters in the train, we are there and cannot help but be involved. There's not a bad performance in it. John Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay and John P. Ryan are all tremendous, with an intensity that matches the demands of the film. This is one of those few films that really disturbed me, that really caused me to think about my life. It is unforgettable. It is a great work of art.
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Duffy (1968)
Under-rated thriller, very hip.
14 April 1999
This film features gorgeous photography on the Mediterranean and a plot that I never found predictable. It's very stylish and has cool music, including a great tune by soul singer Lou Rawls. James Coburn, James Fox and James Mason are all very good in it, as is the beautiful Susannah York. The plot involves the theft of money from a ship on the Mediterranean Sea. It's James Mason's sons that steal his money, and it's what follows that gives the film it's intrigue. Definitely worth watching.
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