Barry Primus

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Boxcar Bertha Review


OK
Notable for being Martin Scorsese's first Hollywood feature and containing Barbara Hershey's most notorious nude scenes, Boxcar Bertha is genre schlock. Cineastes try to read a lot into the film -- commissioned as a reponse to Bonnie and Clyde by Roger Corman -- somehow indicating that Scorsese's greatness was evident (Mean Streets would follow one year later), but Bertha is fundamentally just a Bonnie ripoff, with Hershey and David Carradine galavanting across the Depression-era south with the goal of ruining a railroad, robbing banks and whoring it up along the way. The abrupt ending is strange but oddly relieving.

Black & White (1998) Review


Weak
A promising thriller noir is ruined in its second half by a meandering plot that tries to get clever but ends up being pretty dumb. Gina Gershon and Rory Cochrane as cops investigating the elusive "inside job" are pretty bland and have no chemistry, even if Gina spends most of the film naked. Never mind the plot.

WHEN WILL I BE LOVED Review


Good

No other filmmaker besides James Toback has such a perverted, cynical view of humankind. Even if his films are sometimes not entirely successful, they represent a fascinatingly skewed, sadistic vision of pleasure, money and power, usually at the expense of a moral center.

His best films eventually overcome this factor, finding a spot of human essence among the corruption, specifically "Fingers" and "Two Girls and a Guy." But even his completely bankrupt films like "Black and White," "Harvard Man" and the new "When Will I Be Loved" have a dark allure to them. At least we know that the artist is staying true to himself rather than making another slick widget for the studios to sell.

The real reason "When Will I Be Loved" works so well is the brilliant casting of Neve Campbell, who seems to have traveled on an opposite arc from Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon started in small, crafty independent movies which allowed her to stretch and test her own limits, then graduated to big, expensive, brain-dead films in which she does very little.

Continue reading: WHEN WILL I BE LOVED Review

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WHEN WILL I BE LOVED Movie Review

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No other filmmaker besides James Toback has such a perverted, cynical view of humankind. Even...

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