The Invisible Man
The Way Back
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
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This is a stupendously art directed and shot film that I presume influenced Film Noir thoughout the 1940s and 50s. The story lacks depth, but is a worthy cautionary tale about cowardice and submissiveness.
Solid crime picture with the great Sterling Hayden as a tough investigator trying to solve a robbery/cop killing by a trio of hoods who involve another ex-con against his will. Film also features Charles Bronson's first significant role.
Director Vincenzo Natali does a fabulous job of visualizing this Stephen King and Joe Hill short story. His screen adaptation, though, isn't quite as good. Nonetheless, this is a worthwhile watch for genre lovers. The performances of all, especially Will Buie Jr. as a ten year old boy among those lost in a nightmarish labyrinth of tall grass, are excellent.
Several poor juvenile street peddlers in Tijuana pull their money together to place a bet at the race track. After they win they have trouble finding a trusting adult to collect their winnings. Rafael López does an excellent job in the lead role, but the story lacks any momentum and misses an opportunity to make a statement about the haves and have nots.
Pier Angeli's first role in the United States is the title role in this Fred Zinnemann picture and it's easy to see what moviemakers saw in the ingenue. Every single frame she''s in radiates. The film, though, suffers from poor pacing and John Ericson (his first acting role, too) can't command the screen like his co-star.
There's a lot to admire about this film noir. There's a scene where a character is being beaten by some henchmen and the camera captures it in the background as its focused on kids going round-and-round on a Merry-Go-Round. There's the opening tracking shot that left Martin Scorsese wondering how director Robert Montgomery was able to pull it off (mentioned in the Criterion DVD). There's Thomas Gomez's performance that earned him a Supporting Actor nomination, the first for a Hispanic actor.
Was disappointed to hear that an Anglo was playing the role of Pila, but as the movie went on Wanda Hendrix's Pila cast a spell. What a wonderful character. She saved the soul of the protagonist and captured mine. Hendrix made that possible with her quietly effective performance. The end of the movie, when she holds court with her peers, is one of the finest "Hollywood" endings ever.
A docu-drama about how one man, a lawyer who worked as a defense attorney for corporations, instead took DuPont to court for their release of deadly toxic chemicals.
This is meticulously told film that doesn't always subscribe to Hollywood norms of David versus Goliath storytelling. It's much more interested in being faithful to the true story. It's dark. Grim. And scary as hell.
Horror film lovers should like this offering from director David Bruckner who does an excellent job of creating a creepy lost in the woods run from a creature B-movie.
Bruckner is a moviemaker to keep an eye on.
Vice begins with a scene of a young and inebriated Dick Cheney erratically driving his car down a country road. The movie proceeds to audaciously portray a man who grows drunk with power and his erratic rise to the most powerful man in the world during the George W. Bush presidency.
Director Adam McKay tells Cheney's story with dark humor and a deliberate rule-breaking sense that some audiences will vote against. I, though, found the film to be smart, compelling and one of my most favorite political movie bios.
Performances are all outstanding, but it's not a movie. It's more like HBO.
Is she mentally ill or is it a supernatural force driving her crazy? That's the central premise in this odd drama. The performance and premise provided just enough to satisfy me. My, wife, though, went loca with the whole thing.
Maybe the most predictable of any of the Rocky movies and not nearly as fresh as the first Creed. The story tries to add closure to the Apollo Creed ring death in Rocky IV with the return of the Drago character. The whole thing feels like a heavyweight fight where the fighters spend most of the match not throwing any punches.
CM Punk can't carry this movie and that's the task as he spends a good deal of the film alone in the haunted house "acting" spooked. The filmmaker should have realized this when screening rushes and added more scenes with Trieste Kelly Dunn and Sarah Brooks. They at least are capable actors who deliver the film's only scenes of interest.
Predictable and trite. Performances carry the film.
"Fury" is Fritz Lang's fierce film about lynch mobs and how the best of us can turn into the worst of society. This was the director's first movie after arriving from Nazi Germany and clearly his life experience fueled his film's angry look at mob rule. The film's only flaw is a closing scene that Lang himself didn't want in his movie but was forced to by the studio.
Bong Joon-ho's Parasite might leave you asking who are the real bottom feeders in the black comedy about social structures. There's plenty of food for thought as this picture is deeper than than what it may seem like on the surface.
There are a couple of scenes in "Nora Prentiss" where a married man and his mistress express their attraction for one another. I found these scenes to be heartbreakingly real and the film to be a sobering cautionary tale against adultery .
Ann Sheridan plays a chanteuse who has gone through a long line of men who have broken her heart. She meets a successful doctor played by Kent Smith. The married doctor has two children and a marriage that's grown stale.
Smith is an uninspired choice for the role. I would have loved to have seen someone like James Stewart or Henry Fonda in the role. Nonetheless, this is a well scripted and directed film.
The precursor to Billy Wilder's "The Big Carnival" (aka "Ace In The Hole") about the newspaper business betraying the public trust by feeding into its lower instincts. Wilder's film is the better of the two, but director Cy Endfield delivers what should have been a headline grabbing crime picture. Unfortunately, this film is not well known.
Endfield's protagonist in "The Underground Story," is a deeply flawed reporter who cavorts with underground figures for his own personal gain. When a former employer, a powerful newspaper magnet, tries to hide a murder committed by his son and instead blame the crime on an African-American housekeeper Endfield's protagonist faces the moral and ethical dilemma of his life.
The film's flaws are mainly in the casting. I don't buy Dan Duryea's performance in the lead role. Unlike Kirk Douglas in "The Big Carnival," Duryea is unable to transcend the material and give more weight to the character's journey.
Even worse, for me, is the casting of Mary Anderson as the African-American character. Anderson is an excellent actor. You may remember her as the nurse in Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat." But, Anderson is white. That's a problem. Although, clearly in 1950 this type of casting barely raised a whisper of an ejection, if at all.
Nonetheless, this is Endfield's first of his powerful one-two punch against the news business. His "The Sound of Fury" released later in the same year, 1950, is the better of the two pictures, but both are worthy films of your time.
Also released by the title. "Try And Get Me," this little known crime film is an unabashedly empathetic look at how an innocent, hard-working American is lured into the world of crime. It's also a cautionary tale at how the news media often paints portraits of perpetrators that lack color fairness.
This was the second consecutive movie director Cy Endfield took on the Fifth Estate. Also, in 1950, "The Underworld Story," skewered powerful news moguls and career-thirsty reporters. Both films would be an excellent double-feature
The Sound of Fury features a diabolical performance by Lloyd Bridges as the antagonist who lures the downtrodden Frank Lovejoy character into crime.
It also offers a climatic scene that I found fabulously directed and filled with tension and drama.
The Superman origin story is given an evil turn when the meteor delivered child hits puberty and turns his super powers on anyone coming between him and his desires. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman provide convincing performances as loving parents who slowly become convinced their adopted boy isn't supe, but sinister. Jackson A. Dunn plays the horrible anti-hero, The film lacks originality, but is a fairly well-done B-move.