George Briggs is a claim jumper who has only ever known a dishonest life. When he finds himself in serious trouble (sat astride an impatient horse with his hands bound behind his back and a noose around his neck tied to a branch), he starts to think this could finally be the end for him. That is until he is found by a lone woman with a wagon named Mary Bee Cuddy who agrees to free him from his plight in exchange for a favour. Living alone, she is struggling to carry out an important personal mission; she wants to take three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa now that their husbands can now longer cope with them. Thus, she asks Briggs to help her on the dangerous five week journey and, despite his serious reservations, he agrees to act as her aide and protector against the brutalities they may face along the way.
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Cast as The Eternal Earth Mother in Hunter Hill and Perry Moore's Lake City, Sissy Spacek is a one woman universe -- tilling the soil, pushing wheelbarrows, filling the cupboards, sitting on the porch, and staring pensively at the sunset or gazing at the eternal landscape. She is not channeling her characters in Badlands or The River so much as going back to the source -- Linda Arvidson's stoic pioneer women from the old D.W. Griffith two-reelers (all that is missing is waiting for her effeminate husband to reel in the fish). She lives alone and leads a hard life keeping her farm together in rural Virginia and even though local gas station attendant and part-time guitar picker Roy (Keith Carradine) pines for her, Spacek's Maggie Pope keeps to herself and tend to her chores.
Continue reading: Lake City Review
Dunno if it's a very good book, but it's not a very good movie. While Selleck's acting muscle is always a special treat solo, contending with co-stars Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley, and Mark Harmon(!), all in period costume and/or moustaches makes for a very rare juxtaposition of atrocious acting from the school of Schmaltz.
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Stranded at a desert convenience store by his angry girlfriend (Nia Long) who has just discovered he spent their nest egg on a vintage Studebaker, Jamie Foxx is in the wrong place at the wrong time in "Held Up," becoming the most loud-mouthed of a handful of comically diverse hostages when a clumsy virgin hold-up man bungles a robbery at the store.
In its first 10 minutes -- when the movie still looks like it might be about Foxx trying to get his girlfriend back -- the movie shows a pinch of promise. Foxx and Long are both entertaining actors that could carry off a capricious black Bickersons comedy in their sleep.
But any semblance of structure or potential for good laughs exits the movie with Long in the first reel and the balance is spent on shopworn random sketch comedy episodes that the players seem to be making up on the spot while giving each other "just play along!" sideways glances.
Continue reading: Held Up Review