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Showing posts from May 18, 2014

Review: The Misfits

Formerly at Epinions.com, written and originally posted in 2003.

I'm not entirely sure what it is, maybe a haunting quality brought on bythe film's background, but I keep coming back to this film and it moves me like few others do, every single time. Some regard it as a deconstruction of the western myth, stripping it of all its glory, and I can see that, but it's a whole lot more to me. It’s simply a fantastic, sad film.

Not so much a plot-driven film, as a character-driven film it stars Clark Gable and Eli Wallach (especially good in a character I can, sadly, probably identify with in some ways) as a couple of cowboys; Gable is an aging macho-type who is slowly realising the world has little use now for 'mustanging' (if you like cute widdle horsies, you’d best not watch the film, by the way- you’ve been warned!), while Eli Wallach plays his pilot friend, a widow who feels just a little too sorry for himself for anyone to actually like him. Enter Roslyn (Marilyn Mon…

Review: The Terror of Tiny Town

Here it is, folks, the first all-midget western, just what you were all asking for, right? RIGHT? An evil calf rustler (Rhodes) pits two ranchers against one another so as to nick all their cattle for himself. Young lovers Curtis (our hero, wearing a white hat, naturally) and Moray caught in the middle of a war between their two respective families. (Intentional) comic relief comes in the form of a chef (Becker) chasing a duck around, whilst Krebs plays a pint-sized Dietrich-esque saloon singer. There’s also a wimpy, morally-conflicted sheriff (Joseph Herbst”) in here somewhere too.

Pitching somewhere in between Tod Browning’s exploitative but unforgettably nightmarish “Freaks” and Edward D. Wood’s seminal Worst Movie of All-Time “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, comes this all-‘midget’ western from 1938, directed by Sam Newfield (“The Mad Monster”, “The Monster Maker”, “Counterfeiters”). An obviously exploitative picture, it’s often included in ‘Worst Films of All-Time’ lists, and deserving…

Review: Let No Man Write My Epitaph

Unmarried, hard-working Shelley Winters and her troubled son James Darren live in the slums, surrounded by drug addicts, drunks, and other unfortunates struggling to make their way through life. These people are supposed to act as sort-of protectors/godparents to Darren so that he does better in life than they have. Unfortunately, their own lives are such a miserable mess, including drunk and disgraced (but kindly) ex-judge Burl Ives, drug addicted singer Ella Fitzgerald, Walter Burke as a legless newsstand owner, hooker Jeanne Cooper (Yes, Mrs. Chancellor from “The Young and the Restless”), and washed-up boxer Bernie Hamilton. Darren has the talent to be a musician, but his low-economic standing and habit of hanging around with hoodlums look to set him on a course similar to his late, criminal father. Ricardo Montalban plays the sleazy and powerful gangster who romances Winters and then gets her hooked on heroin. Jean Seberg is the pretty young girl who wants to hook up with Darren, …

Review: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Set in France in 1766, Ben Whishaw stars as the grown-up version of an orphan who literally slept with the fishes, born in the Paris fish markets before his mother tried to kill him (for which she was executed). He grows up with a heightened sense of smell and obsessed with the desire to create and preserve the perfect aroma. This stems from the scent he smells off of a pretty young woman he meets on the streets (played by Karoline Herfurth of the vampire flick “We Are the Night”). Unfortunately, this smell was only known to him for a brief period, as in a moment of confusion and panic, he mistakenly smothers her to death. Soon after he hooks up with Italian perfumer Baldini (Dustin Hoffman!) and manages to convince him to take him on as an apprentice. However, this proves unfulfilling for Whishaw, who continues his ‘experiments’, killing a string of women until he meets the luminous Rachel Hurd-Wood, daughter of a local magistrate (Alan Rickman), whose virginal beauty enchants the yo…

Review: Flight

Seasoned pilot Denzel Washington’s quick thinking and experience manage to pull off a miraculous landing after some big trouble up in the air. This results in the loss of some lives, but less so than might otherwise have been. He saved around a hundred people’s lives, for cryin’ out loud. The problem is, Denzel (who is also unhappily divorced), is an alcoholic and a drug user who was intoxicated at the time, something his newbie co-pilot (Brian Geraghty) suspects right away. But was Denzel’s rough shape what caused the crash? And if not, does it still matter? Could he have saved more lives if sober? Could another pilot have even done as much as Denzel did? Pilots union rep Bruce Greenwood (who knew Denzel from their days in the Navy together) and Denzel’s top lawyer Don Cheadle sure have their work cut out for them if they’re gonna save this man (for their own business-minded interests, in part) from a possible life sentence, especially if the incriminating toxicology report gets out …