Tag Archives: Three and a Half Reels

August: Osage County

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Release Date: January 10, 2014
Runtime: 121 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: John Wells
Cast: Meryl Streep; Julia Roberts; Ewan McGregor; Chris Cooper; Dermot Mulroney; Juliette Lewis; Julianne Nicholson; Sam Shepard; Benedict Cumberbatch; Abigail Brelsin

If there were an Olympic category for “Best Team Acting,” this big screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play would have swept the competition. Captained by ferocious performances by Meryl Streep (reminding us all of why she IS Meryl Streep) and Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County” invites us in for some seriously dysfunctional family good times. Continue reading

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

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Release Date: August 6, 1999
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Pierce Brosnan; Rene Russo; Denis Leary; Ben Gazzara; Frankie Faison

This is a remake of the Steve McQueen – Faye Dunaway classic, unseen (at least at the time of this review) by me, but from what I understand, it was a sexy movie back then. Well, it is certainly one sexy movie now! Director John McTiernan (“Die Hard”), one of my favorite directors, saturates the film with lots of shadows and fade effects; this would have looked great as a black-and-white movie. Those aspects, in combination with the suave-as-shit Brosnan and the combustible Russo, make for an extremely stylish film and a beautiful “motion picture.” Continue reading

Passion

Screened at the Provincetown International Film Festival – June 22, 2013 – US premiere

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Passion

 

 

Release Date: August 30, 2013
Runtime: 105 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Entertainment One
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Rachel McAdams; Noomi Rapace; Karoline Herfurth; Paul Anderson

De Palma is up to his old cinematic tricks (that’s a good thing) in his latest, a remake of the French noir “Love Crime.”

Rachel McAdams, the best Hitchcockian blonde since Kim Novak in “Vertigo,” plays Christine, the head of an ad agency in Berlin. Noomi Rapace (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” – Swedish version) is her employee, Isabelle, in what would be a sort of account executive position, I guess. The two have an ideal working relationship, until Christine takes credit for Isabelle’s campaign idea on a major account. Then the tug of war begins, which will include manipulation, humiliation and, eventually, murder. Oh, what fun!
Continue reading

Skyfall

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Skyfall

 

 

Release Date: November 9, 2012
Runtime: 143 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: MGM / Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig; Judi Dench; Javier Bardem; Ralph Fiennes; Naomie Harris; Bérénice Lim Marlohe; Ben Whishaw; Rory Kinnear; Albert Finney

Every time I see a James Bond movie it reminds me how much I would love to be James Bond. It’s every male’s escapist fantasy: you’re an undercover spy, you get to play with lots of hi-tech gadgets, you get to bed lots of incredibly beautiful women in exotic locales around the world. What’s not to love? (Well, in my case, I could do without bedding the beautiful women part, but you get my point). That’s the reason I think that Ian Fleming’s series has remained so incredibly popular ever since James Bond’s first cinematic appearance in “Dr. No” in 1962. Continue reading

Pretty Woman

It’s Flashback Friday!

This Week’s Flashback Movie….

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Pretty-Woman

 

 

Release Date: March 23, 1990
Runtime: 119 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Touchstone Pictures (Disney)
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Richard Gere; Julia Roberts; Hector Elizondo; Laura San Giacomo; Jason Alexander; Ralph Bellamy

Do you remember where you were when Julia Roberts became a movie star? You were probably one of the millions sitting in the pre-stadium seating movie theater in the spring of 1990 watching a star being born. Garry Marshall’s modern retelling of “Pygmalion” is, when you break it down, a light and fluffy, if rather fair movie. But from the moment Roberts struts down Hollywood Boulevard on her way to snag a john in those thigh-high boots, we are under her spell and everything else plays second fiddle. Continue reading

Duel

It’s Flashback Friday!

This Week’s Flashback Movie….

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Duel

 

 

Release Date: November 13, 1971
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Dennis Weaver; Jacqueline Scott; Eddie Firestone

This is the movie that put a young Steven Spielberg on the map. Originally produced for television (released theatrically in Europe), and based on a story by Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”; “Stir of Echoes”), it has all the Spielbergian trademarks for which he would later become one of our foremost auteurs.

On the surface, this sounds like the dumbest movie ever: man is menaced by a maniacal big rig, driven by a faceless driver. That’s essentially it. Yet in the hands of a young and eager Spielberg, it ends up being one of the most intense movies you’re likely to see, and holds up beautifully in the forty-plus years since it was initially released. Continue reading

Streets of Fire

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Release Date: June 1, 1984
Runtime: 93 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Michael Pare; Diane Lane; Willem Dafoe; Rick Moranis; Deborah Van Valkenburgh; Amy Madigan

[POSSIBLE SPOILERS]

Although this film is pure 80’s in the music, it’s a throwback to 1950’s ‘good-guys vs. bad-guys movies’ in plot, dialogue and costumes.  Adopting the tone and visual style of an old-time comic book, “Streets of Fire” clues us in to the fantasy motif right up front, by indicating that the film takes place in ‘Another time, another place.’ Continue reading

Soapdish

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Release Date: May 31, 1991
Runtime: 97 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Michael Hoffman
Cast: Sally Field; Kevin Kline; Cathy Moriarty; Robert Downey, Jr; Elisabeth Shue; Whoopi Goldberg; Teri Hatcher

A riotous farce set in the world of glamorous daytime soap operas, “Soapdish” is hilarious!  Admittedly, you have to have a taste for films with screaming, hysterical dialogue, over-the-top acting, and melodramatic plot twists.  But if you do, you’re in for one hell of a treat. Continue reading

Romancing the Stone

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Release Date: March 30, 1984
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael Douglas; Kathleen Turner; Danny DeVito; Alfonso Arau; Zack Norman

Another faaaaaaaantastic movie!

They just don’t make movies like this anymore…a good old-fashioned, 80’s action adventure pic.  “Romancing the Stone” is a super-fun ride which leaves the audience smiling and, if you’re like me having seen this in the theater, nostalgic for a simpler, younger time. Continue reading

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Release Date: November 13, 1992
Runtime: 128 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Columbia Pictures/American Zoetrope
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Gary Oldman; Winona Ryder; Anthony Hopkins; Sadie Frost; Richard E. Grant; Tom Waits; Cary Elwes

This is a faaaaaaantastic movie!

Francis Ford Coppola’s opulent 1992 take on the Dracula story is a sumptuous film, oozing with rich colors and eloquent language…a real work of art.  Gary Oldman assumes his place alongside Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as one of cinema’s most-identifiable Counts. Continue reading