Pauline Kael called it a "horror circus," Newsweek "unique," and The Village Voice a "comedy that becomes a cult of salvation." Spanish for "The Mole," El Topo is an extraordinary film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean mime-cum-actor-cum-filmmaker. The film has the honor of being the very first "midnight movie." People crowded midnight screenings in New York City in 1971 for months on end -- the pot smoke in the theatres being so thick you'd have to wade into it. The film was a smash hit. Everyone was dropping out and tuning onto El Topo. Jodorowsky appeared on a talk show, an unforgettably spastic and delirious performance spoken in riddles (something of a precursor to Roberto Benigni's Academy Awards freak-out). There was a book version and the film became part of the cultural cache of the New York underground, if you hadn't seen or heard about El Topo you were very uncool.
Continue reading: El Topo Review
On the surface this film doesn't look like it should have been the massive hit that it was: Michael Douglas was best known as a producer and bit player, Turner had starred in only one film of note (Body Heat), and screenwriter Diane Thomas was just a wannabe working in a diner. Douglas hired Robert Zemeckis, a guy who hadn't worked in four years and had never had a hit, to direct the film. This thing wasn't going to be a success.
Continue reading: Romancing The Stone Review
Today, Chocolate seems virtually forgotten. Once-rising star Lumi Cavazos? Now faded into near-oblivion. Still, remembering the subtle power of the film and its, ahem, magic chef makes you realize this was a truly good flick for its time. On pure heart, Chocolate had a little bit for everybody. But what was it really all about? Damned if I can remember.
Continue reading: Like Water For Chocolate Review
Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel trudge with heavy hearts through the muck of suspense/drama/romantic comedy/love story Angel Eyes -- a film with an identity crisis that rivals Plato from Rebel with a Cause.
Continue reading: Angel Eyes Review
As Forrest Gump might put it, Heather Graham is as Heather Graham does. In this flick, she does pretty good. Backed by the furrowed brow malaise of Luke Wilson (Home Fries, Dog Park and one of the best episodes of The X Files) and the way-cooler-than-his-brother Casey Affleck (200 Cigarettes), Graham's wide-eyed charm is disarming and convincing. You'll also find some great supporting performances from Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy--Don't worry; she's much wittier here.) and Alfonso Arau (Like Water for Chocolate, A Walk in the Clouds and--my favorite--El Guapo from The Three Amigos). The premise of the story is lame at best, but the combination of on-screen talent and resourceful writing and directing manage to pull off a better-than-mediocre movie. Committed is a perfect date movie, and I suspect it'll also be a winner among women whose men are too dumb to stay put.
Continue reading: Committed Review
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