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The Thin Man Goes Home Review


Good
In this fifth installment of the Thin Man series, the Charleses leave New York for some rest and relaxation at Nick's parents' home in the small town of Sycamore Springs (boo!) but leave precious little Nick Jr. at boarding school (yay!). Coming a decade after the original film, this time out, William Powell and Myrna Loy are as devastatingly debonair as ever, though it doesn't stop them from playing at a little physical comedy when needed. Loy's willowy gorgeousness adds to, instead of detracts from, her comic timing, while Powell remains the coolest character in just about any room, even with that big Walter Matthau-size schnozz and ridiculous moustache.

While it would likely have been heretical to the characters' creator Dashiell Hammett, the couple seems to have given up liquor, with Nick compulsively nipping at a flask of nonalcoholic cider. This doesn't stop Nora from mistrusting his ability to stay on the wagon, and wishing maybe that he would ("Sneaking off like that and getting drunk ... without me."). The film eases ever so slowly into the mystery that we know is coming, following the couple up to the town on the town, and setting up Nick's relationship with his stern and disapproving father. The mystery, which involves a horrid painting of a windmill that everyone wants to get their hands on, Maltese Falcon-like, and a townful of neighbors who keep stopping by, wondering if Nick is working on a case. He'd prefer not to and would rather sit in a hammock with his cider jug and reading Nick Carter detective stories, but he gets sort of goaded into it once the stranger shows up on Nick's parents' doorstep and gets shot before he can get a full sentence out.

Continue reading: The Thin Man Goes Home Review

Stagecoach Review


Very Good
Stagecoach is the archetypical Western -- a stagecoach full of crazies has to make it through Indian country in one piece. Though it was his 80th film (of nearly 200), Stagecoach made John Wayne into the superstar he eventually became. Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the drunken Doc Boone, and the rest of the cast, notably Trevor as a hooker being run out of town, are memorable. The film has some amazing gaffes, including guns that kick but don't actually go "bang" and, again most notably, one rear-projected shot from the stagecoach where the Indian outside is riding the wrong way. Classic, yet hopelessly dated.

Continue reading: Stagecoach Review

Young Mr. Lincoln Review


Very Good
Considering the legacy of films left by the great John Ford (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath), it's a little strange that Criterion chose Young Mr. Lincoln as the first of his films to get the luxe treatment it typically provides. I'm willing to bet that most moviegoers -- even cinefiles -- haven't seen the film, and I'd wager that few have ever even heard of it.

Nonetheless, here we are, with a mid-career, highly fictionalized story about Abraham Lincoln's days as a kid with gumption and a desire to become a lawyer, despite never attending law school for the training. The first of the film gives us Lincoln (Henry Fonda, with the perfect haircut for the job) losing his first love and meeting Mary Todd, then starting up a bootstrap law practice where his primary means of settling disputes is the threat of kicking his clients in the rump.

Continue reading: Young Mr. Lincoln Review

Young Mr. Lincoln Review


Very Good
Considering the legacy of films left by the great John Ford (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath), it's a little strange that Criterion chose Young Mr. Lincoln as the first of his films to get the luxe treatment it typically provides. I'm willing to bet that most moviegoers -- even cinefiles -- haven't seen the film, and I'd wager that few have ever even heard of it.

Nonetheless, here we are, with a mid-career, highly fictionalized story about Abraham Lincoln's days as a kid with gumption and a desire to become a lawyer, despite never attending law school for the training. The first of the film gives us Lincoln (Henry Fonda, with the perfect haircut for the job) losing his first love and meeting Mary Todd, then starting up a bootstrap law practice where his primary means of settling disputes is the threat of kicking his clients in the rump.

Continue reading: Young Mr. Lincoln Review

The Thin Man Goes Home Review


Good
In this fifth installment of the Thin Man series, the Charleses leave New York for some rest and relaxation at Nick's parents' home in the small town of Sycamore Springs (boo!) but leave precious little Nick Jr. at boarding school (yay!). Coming a decade after the original film, this time out, William Powell and Myrna Loy are as devastatingly debonair as ever, though it doesn't stop them from playing at a little physical comedy when needed. Loy's willowy gorgeousness adds to, instead of detracts from, her comic timing, while Powell remains the coolest character in just about any room, even with that big Walter Matthau-size schnozz and ridiculous moustache.

While it would likely have been heretical to the characters' creator Dashiell Hammett, the couple seems to have given up liquor, with Nick compulsively nipping at a flask of nonalcoholic cider. This doesn't stop Nora from mistrusting his ability to stay on the wagon, and wishing maybe that he would ("Sneaking off like that and getting drunk ... without me."). The film eases ever so slowly into the mystery that we know is coming, following the couple up to the town on the town, and setting up Nick's relationship with his stern and disapproving father. The mystery, which involves a horrid painting of a windmill that everyone wants to get their hands on, Maltese Falcon-like, and a townful of neighbors who keep stopping by, wondering if Nick is working on a case. He'd prefer not to and would rather sit in a hammock with his cider jug and reading Nick Carter detective stories, but he gets sort of goaded into it once the stranger shows up on Nick's parents' doorstep and gets shot before he can get a full sentence out.

Continue reading: The Thin Man Goes Home Review

Stagecoach Review


Very Good
Stagecoach is the archetypical Western -- a stagecoach full of crazies has to make it through Indian country in one piece. Though it was his 80th film (of nearly 200), Stagecoach made John Wayne into the superstar he eventually became. Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the drunken Doc Boone, and the rest of the cast, notably Trevor as a hooker being run out of town, are memorable. The film has some amazing gaffes, including guns that kick but don't actually go "bang" and, again most notably, one rear-projected shot from the stagecoach where the Indian outside is riding the wrong way. Classic, yet hopelessly dated.
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