George Litto

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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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Dressed To Kill Review


Very Good
Angie Dickenson isn't the one that's dressed to kill -- she's dressed to get killed. When she gets butchered by a razor-wielding mystery woman in an elevator, it's up to a cop (Dennis Franz) and her shrink (Michael Caine) to figure out who offed the nymphomaniacal Angie. Oh, and Angie's son teams up with the hooker who witnessed the murder to do an investigation of their own.

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Over The Edge Review


Good
Now that most of America seems to live in soulless planned communities and gated subdivisions, it's fun to remember that 25 or so years ago, a wave of films -- think Poltergeist -- were suggesting that maybe this kind of lifestyle wasn't conducive to happy families and healthy communities.

It all began back in 1979 with Over the Edge, a tight teen melodrama that takes place in the godforsaken New Granada, a rapidly expanding subdivision on a treeless plain somewhere in the southwest (the film was shot in Aurora, Colorado). All these years later, the movie is notable for two things: its dead-on accurate depiction of late '70s teen style, and the riveting debut performance of young Matt Dillon, who has as much on-screen charisma at age 15 as experienced actors twice his age.

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