Frank Yablans

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Mommie Dearest Review


Good
Horror's got nothing on Faye Dunaway's harrowing portrayal of Joan Crawford -- a woman who will not be remembered as the Oscar-winning star of Mildred Pierce and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, but more likely as the subject of Mommie Dearest, a scathing biography based on a tell-all "novel" penned by Crawford's adopted daughter Christina.

While it's justly criticized for trivializing child abuse, Mommie Dearest paints a unique picture of the kind of criminal behavior movie stars and other celebrities are allowed to get away with. (O.J. anyone?) The horrific picture of consistant, repeated abuse and down-right craziness is enough to make you think your family is downright normal. Of course, my mother always alluded to "wire hangers" when I was growing up... wonder what that means.

Continue reading: Mommie Dearest Review

The Fury Review


OK
Early Brian De Palma horror/thriller takes the Carrie vibe one by putting a government intrigue plot on the heads of its telekinetic teens -- which means people getting killed if they don't play nice. Kirk Douglas shines as the spy father of just such a teen (Andrew Stevens!), while across the globe, Amy Irving is just coming to terms with her powers. Of course, the feds will stop at nothing to control the powers in question. Watchable, but completely hokey (which, of course, is typical of De Palma's films altogether).

A Dog Of Flanders Review


Grim
One of my standard pieces of advice for parents searching for movies that both they and their kids can enjoy is to seek out live-action animal films in which the pets do not talk. Normally, such films are philosophical lightweights -- not raising any issues at all. Also, they are propaganda lightweights -- not placing in the standard moral imperatives that you find in children's movies.

A Dog of Flanders is one of many exceptions to this rule.

Continue reading: A Dog Of Flanders Review

North Dallas Forty Review


OK
In this highly-regarding yarn about a semi-fictional Dallas football team in the 1970s, we are treated to Nick Nolte as an aging wide receiver who faces a heartless management, brutal teammates, and overwhelming physical pain, just to play a game. Of course, the conceit here is that you must feel sorry for a professional football player. While I realize there's a lot of pain, discrimination, and overall ill will in pro sports (especially in the 70s), I just can't bring myself to care overly much. When Bill Gates gets a hangnail, I don't really empathize.

Continue reading: North Dallas Forty Review

Mommie Dearest Review


Good
Horror's got nothing on Faye Dunaway's harrowing portrayal of Joan Crawford -- a woman who will not be remembered as the Oscar-winning star of Mildred Pierce and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, but more likely as the subject of Mommie Dearest, a scathing biography based on a tell-all "novel" penned by Crawford's adopted daughter Christina.

While it's justly criticized for trivializing child abuse, Mommie Dearest paints a unique picture of the kind of criminal behavior movie stars and other celebrities are allowed to get away with. (O.J. anyone?) The horrific picture of consistant, repeated abuse and down-right craziness is enough to make you think your family is downright normal. Of course, my mother always alluded to "wire hangers" when I was growing up... wonder what that means.

Continue reading: Mommie Dearest Review

Frank Yablans

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