Arthur Hiller

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The Lonely Guy Review


Excellent
Before Arthur Hiller lost his mind and his talent, he produced this oddball Steve Martin flick, wherein an oblivious cuckold of a boyfriend is dumped by his girlfriend and quickly becomes a "lonely guy," '80s parlance for a loser bachelor. With pal Charles Grodin (wonderful here), he explores the bar scene, pick-up artistry, and the world of the house plant before writing a bestseller about his experiences and making it big. Funny stuff, though Martin's soliloquies to the camera get a little tiresome.

Directed By Alan Smithee Review


OK
This short, 50-minute documentary purports to trace the rise and fall of directorial alias "Alan Smithee," but really it focuses on a few big Hollywood PR fiascos, namely the fallout over the editing of American History X. Director Tony Kaye tried to take his name off the movie but was rebuffed. In the end, the film bore his name, and the exposure revealed the long-used Alan Smithee as a fraud.

In case you hadn't heard about Alan Smithee, oh, in the early 1980s or so.

Continue reading: Directed By Alan Smithee Review

Man Of La Mancha Review


Weak
The translation from theatrical musical to movie musical doesn't get much more disastrous than in Man of La Mancha, a cheap, muddled, and badly put-together debacle that resoundingly establishes Arthur Hiller (who directed Love Story and Silver Streak) as one of cinema's most hit-and-miss directors.

La Mancha adapts the stage play with Peter O'Toole in the lead as both Don Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes: Cervantes is imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition, finds his papers held ransom by his fellow inmates, and given a mock trial by them in order to determine whether they shall be returned. The trial takes the form of a reenactment of Don Quixote, Cervantes' adventurous tales of his alter ego. As the delusional Quixote, O'Toole jousts with a windmill and promptly rides to a nearby village, which he believes to be a castle holding his beloved Dulcinea (Sophia Loren). By his side is the lovable chubster Sancho Panza (James Coco), who sees the reality behind Quixote's grandiose delusions but finds himself taken in by them as well.

Continue reading: Man Of La Mancha Review

The In-Laws (1979) Review


Very Good
Alan Arkin makes the perfect sap of a foil to Peter Falk's is-he-or-isn't-he a CIA agent. They're thrown together on the eve of their children's wedding, with the clearly insane Falk taking the mild-mannered dentist Arkin on the ride of his life. The plot involves something about $500 bill printing plates stolen from the Mint and a Latin American conspiracy, but the real story is the interplay between the two leads. Think of it as The Odd Couple goes primal.

Continue reading: The In-Laws (1979) Review

Speakeasy Review


OK
Here's something I didn't know: Those Project Greenlight people not only made the awful Stolen Summer during that first season. They also made the runner up, a movie called Speakeasy. This one Miramax couldn't be coaxed into releasing in theaters: It arrives on DVD three years later.

Now that the Greenlight formula is well established, it comes as no surprise to find Speakeasy falling right in line with the films we've seen before. It's basically a family drama, it has elements of a period piece scattered throughout, it's got a disabled person or two, and its screenplay eventually wraps around to where things began. Simple, small, and manipulative, this is what Project Greenlight has become all about: It's the Lifetime Network of the indie cinema movement.

Continue reading: Speakeasy Review

Arthur Hiller

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Man of La Mancha Movie Review

Man of La Mancha Movie Review

The translation from theatrical musical to movie musical doesn't get much more disastrous than in...

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