Dorothy Tristan

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Klute Review


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If you want proof at how a great cinematographer can make an average movie better, rent Klute, the 1971 mystery starring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. Nobody utilizes the dark better than Gordon Willis. He used it in Manhattan to establish a romantic mood, and in Klute (as he later did in 1993's Malice) it adds an element of terror that a weak storyline never provides.

In her Academy Award winning performance, Fonda plays troubled New York City call girl Bree Daniel, who finds herself in the middle of an investigation by small-town private eye John Klute (Sutherland). Klute's businessman friend has been missing for months, and he thinks Bree is at the center of it. As the lanky detective investigates, he gets involved in a sordid web of murder and with Bree, who uses sex as a way to assert herself over her array of insecurities.

Continue reading: Klute Review

Suspended Animation Review


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Here's a weird little item. Somewhere between a nighttime soap opera and an EC Horror comic book is Suspended Animation. Hollywood animator Tom Kempton (Alex McArthur) is accosted by some psychopathic women on a snowmobile trip, and given some Misery-style torture by the old crones (played by Laura Esterman and Sage Allen, making for a pair of spooky sisters). Those who think they might have fallen into a B-version of Stephen King's popular novel might not enjoy the opening third, which is as familiar as Kathy Bates's mallet. But they're advised to stick with it. Suspended Animation isn't content to play itself out as a ham-fisted rip-off. (Those who plan on seeing the movie should know that the whacked-out twists in the narrative are pretty much the entire pleasure of Suspended Animation, and are advised to check out of this review now.)

Still here? I thought so. Suspended Animation quickly dispenses with the kidnapped author premise, as Tom's friends sweep in for a daring rescue and a bloody snowmobile chase quickly follows. Just as I predicted the opening of the movie as a pale rip-off of Misery, I now thought it was going to be a girl hunter version of Deliverance. Not so. Again, Suspended Animation jets through this section with economy and an appropriate level of menace. Unlike most low budget thrillers that dawdle their way through 90 minutes, Suspended Animation briskly covers that territory in less than half of its entire running time (a surprisingly fast two hours).

Continue reading: Suspended Animation Review

Scarecrow Review


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Hackman and Pacino? You better believe it. And while this odd mix of Of Mice and Men, Midnight Cowboy, and Waiting for Godot has several charming moments, it never really finds its groove. The loose story concerns the pair of drifters who hatch a plan to start their own car wash -- though that idea never really materializes. Instead, the ride the rails and the roads, waiting for life to happen to them. Both leads are fantastic, but the script is weak.
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