Angie Dickinson, Linda Evans, Nichelle Nichols and Stefanie Powers Sunday 16th January 2011 Angie Dickinson, Nichelle Nichols, Stefanie Powers and Linda Evans at the 92Y promoting the new season of PBS Pioneers of Television New York City, USA
Using Bonnie & Clyde as its obvious base, producer Roger Corman and director Steve Carver add in a second Clyde, plus a little extra skin in the form of two teenage daughters who always seem to be falling out of their slips. Holding this clan together is Wilma McClatchie (Dickinson), who almost accidentally launches on a career of crime -- robbery, bank heists, and kidnapping, with an unknown goal in sight.
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It's safe to say that your enjoyment of the film is bound by this same rule. Dyed-in-the-wool film critics like myself have been down this road once or twice before, and the enormous leap of faith it takes to convince oneself that, deep down, even "bad" people are good makes me want to reach for my DVD of A Clockwork Orange.
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The story is almost obliviously simple: Lee Marvin is a mafioso who's been turned on and left for dead. But not quite dead: He comes back (from the grave? who knows...) to get his vengeance. Or more precisely, to get the $93,000 he is owed by his former bosses.
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So why watch Sinatra and his 10 (not 11) ex-military buddies romp through their kinda town? Ocean's Eleven is the kind of movie you turn on and just hang out to, just like the Rat Pack would have done, as you enjoy a scotch and soda on a Saturday afternoon while Dean Martin croons "Ain't that a kick in the head..." in the background. Then you'd go bowling in an orange sweater to talk about the job. When it's over, you won't feel like you've bettered yourself in any way, but you might feel just an inch of kinship with a bygone era when Vegas was black tie-only and when a woman's place was in a distant, supporting role. (Just kidding, dames.)
Continue reading: Ocean's Eleven (1960) Review
Leon is a shiftless alcoholic, though obviously still a talented writer with his mixture of adjective clauses and ability to envelop anyone around him into an environment he is describing. He's separated from his wife (Debra Winger) with whom he had two children, and he has difficulty playing the part of father, even as he tries to win back his ex-wife's affections.
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At the helm of "Pay It Forward," director Mimi Leder becomes such a manipulatively mawkish emotional puppeteer that it feels as if she's tossing tear gas grenades into the audience.
Adapted from Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel about emotional and physical scars, symbolic martyrdom and saving the world with deliberate acts of compassion, it's a story that would be difficult to tell without pulling a few heartstring. But ye-owch! Does she have to yank so hard?
The peerless Kevin Spacey stars as Eugene Simonet, a bottled-up, austere junior high social studies teacher with burn scars over much of his body and face. He opens every school year by offering extra credit to any student who can "think of an idea to change our world and put it into action."
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The opening scene of "Duets" is a gem. '80s yuppie-rocker Huey Lewis walks into a karaoke bar sporting shop-class glasses and a thrift shop polyester suit. Turning the doofus volume up to 10, he starts popping off about how this singing-along thing doesn't look so tough, and before long he's bet the joint's champion amateur crooner a fat wad of cash that he can win the evening's singing competition.
Way before the hayseed patrons catch on, you've realized Huey is a fly-by-night karaoke hustler! What a great comic concept. As he belts out a Joe Cocker tune and takes off with the money, you'll even be reminded of how annoyingly catchy Huey Lewis and the News' cheesy pop anthems were way back when.
But then he goes home with some bar tramp at the end of the night, and the movie's tone goes into a steep tailspin of narrative miscalculations and cinematic ineptitude that ends in a crash with no survivors. Instantly you can't stand this Lewis' character. He's exposed as a sorry, irresponsible slimebag. To make matters worse, when he's not singing, Lewis' acting is so wooden that if you were there when he fell in the forest, you still wouldn't hear anything.
Continue reading: Duets Review
The very idea behind Pay It Forward -- that when someone does an enormous good...
A pair of wildly divergent views on Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues......
Implausible yet wholly unforgettable, Ocean's Eleven is as much fun as it is a misogynistic...
At the helm of "Pay It Forward," director Mimi Leder becomes such a manipulatively mawkish...