Harve Presnell

Harve Presnell

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Actor Presnell Dies


Harve Presnell

Broadway star Harve Presnell has died, aged 75.

The actor passed away on Tuesday (30Jun09) in Santa Monica, California after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Presnell made his name on the New York stage in the 1960s and 1970s, starring in productions including The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Annie. He also acted on the West End stage in London in a 1972 version of Gone With The Wind.

He was also an established movie star, appearing alongside Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan in 1998, and he won a Golden Globe in 1965 for Most Promising Male Newcomer.

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Face/off Review


Excellent
It's hard to remember the whooshing sighs of disappointment from his fans that greeted John Woo in 1996 when, after so many half-steps and mis-starts, he made his big Hollywood debut with the stolen-nuke thriller Broken Arrow. Having left the Hong Kong business on a high with 1992's psychotic near-parody Hard Boiled, Woo did a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick -- 1993's Hard Target, which was heavily botched by studio interference but still contained some brilliant work -- before deciding to go seriously Hollywood. For Broken Arrow, he toned down his trademark mix of ultra-violent flourishes and teary-eyed humanism to concentrate on doing a by-the-book mid-'90s action flick that was generic in the extreme but raked in the money. The next year, though, Woo proved it had all just been an extraordinarily canny maneuver to allow him to make Face/Off, possibly the greatest, and definitely the most exuberant, action film to come out of the studio system in that decade.

A schizoid doppelganger mind-bender wrapped around your standard ticking-bomb scenario (it's hidden somewhere in Los Angeles and could take out the whole basin if detonated -- or something), Face/Off is an utterly lunatic film in the best possible way. Originally a futuristic thriller, the script was retooled for a modern-day setting, keeping several of its sci-fi elements but focusing more intently on its personality-shifting aspects which seemed to come straight out of Woo's international breakthrough, The Killer. An FBI agent, Sean Archer (John Travolta) has been hunting jet-set super-criminal Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) for years. For Archer, it's gone beyond personal to haunted obsession, particularly after Troy tried to shoot Archer but missed and killed his son instead. After a gonzo opening sequence involving a Humvee/private jet showdown on a runway and about ten thousand expended rounds (mostly fired by people flying sideways in slo-mo, of course), Archer's team brings down Troy.

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Fargo Review


Essential
The Coen brothers are back and in a big way. Bigger, as a matter of fact, than ever before, because with Fargo, the Coens have produced a masterpiece of a film that outclasses anything they've done yet--from Raising Arizona to Barton Fink to even Blood Simple, the movie that put them on the map. Fargo is perhaps the best movie to come down the pike since Pulp Fiction--so good that it earns my seldom-awarded five-star rating.

Fargo is one of those rare pictures about which I have nothing negative to say. Based on an allegedly true story (since debunked as fiction) that took place in North Dakota/Minnesota in 1987, Fargo is the instantly enthralling tale of the financially-troubled Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy), a plan to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrud), her wealthy father (Harve Presnell), the halfway-competent criminals who screw everything up (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare), and the pregnant cop who's on the case (Frances McDormand).

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Paint Your Wagon Review


Grim
Having never seen the play or the film, I always figured Paint Your Wagon was about a plucky family of settlers who overcome incredible obstacles as they head across the great, wild west.

Boy, was I wrong. What with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood's singing, a whorehouse being built, a criminal tunnel being dug under "No Name Town," and a polygamous relationship among Marvin, Eastwood, and local honey Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon is so chock full of debauchery one might think Sam Peckinpah had been involved.

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Super Sucker Review


Grim
If you think you've seen every possibility for a sex comedy, then you haven't seen Super Sucker -- and thank your lucky stars for that. The second movie from Purple Rose Films, Jeff Daniels' Michigan-based production company, is possibly the most repulsive sex comedy ever made. After watching it, I wanted to clean myself; if you do see the movie, that phrase will take on a whole new meaning.

Jeff Daniels writes, directs, and stars in the movie as Fred Barlow, a struggling but fulfilled door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. When his rival competitor, Winslow Schnaebelt (Harve Presnell), agrees to a "winner takes all" contest, they begin an all-out competition to see who can sell the most vacuums over a limited time period.

Continue reading: Super Sucker Review

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