Bert Remsen

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Inside Moves Review


Bad
Director Richard Donner became a name by making big, action-packed blockbusters like Superman and the Lethal Weapon quartet. So watching Inside Moves, his 1980 character study about outcasts who find salvation in a watering hole, is mesmerizing for all the wrong reasons. It's like watching Michael Jordan missing a curveball by a country mile, Garth Brooks rocking out as Chris Gaines, or George W. Bush handling foreign policy.

The lead outcast here is Roary (John Savage), who attempts to end his life by jumping from a 10-story window. Through dumb luck he survives, but emerges months later from the hospital with a crippled leg and a broken spirit. Desperate for something to do, he heads over to the local bar, Max's, which looks like the kind of place that serves nothing but procrastination and broken dreams.

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Thieves Like Us Review


Excellent
Those watching Robert Altman's 1974 Depression-era robbers-on-the-run film Thieves Like Us and looking for a Bonnie and Clyde-style antiheroic odyssey -- charismatic young lovers, blaze of glory, the whole deal -- will come away severely disappointed. Altman, fortunately, has other things on his mind than building up legends and stoking the coals of nostalgia. His robbers aren't savage animals, but they're far from dashing; opportunistic, venal, and unable to plan their lives more than five minutes into the future is a more apt description.

A languorous single take opens the film, sweeping across verdant Mississippi countryside being traversed by a railcar carrying a chain gang and armed guards, before spying a couple of other prisoners rowing their way across a pond, chatting about things inconsequential. A third accomplice shows up with a car and some civilian clothes. The car breaks down, they take off on foot. Eventually the trio -- a couple of hard cases, T-Dub (Bert Remsen) and Chickamaw (John Schuck), and one fresh-faced young Ozark farmboy, Bowie (Keith Carradine) previously serving life for a murder committed at 16 -- wind up at a relative's place, where they hide out and plan their first robbery. Because the three, who continually refer to themselves as "thieves," never seem to consider even for a moment to do anything but just keeping on robbing and running. And so they do.

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller Review


Very Good
Robert Altman's only Western takes a long time to get heated up, but in its final hour it truly burns. As John McCabe, Warren Beatty is terrific as a hustler who's built a reputation for himself as a gunslinging tough guy, though secretly he's really a coward who's never killed anyone. After opening a smash-hit brothel in a wintry village, a big cartel swoops in to buy him out. He refuses, and a price is quickly put upon his head.

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Nashville Review


OK
Call me a heathen. I don't like Nashville.

Possibly the most celebrated film of the 1970s -- at least among film snob circles -- Robert Altman's sprawling case study of five days in the Tennessee city is self-absorbed, overwrought, and dismissive. Nor is it particularly well-made, with poor sound (even after being remastered for its DVD release) and washed-out photography, not to mention a running time (2:40) that's at least an hour too long.

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