James Bridges

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The Paper Chase Review


Excellent
At the age of 71, John Houseman finally broke through. Having been a movie and TV producer for many years, this was his big break as an actor -- and what a smash it was. To this day, I imagine my wife's law school days must have been like this, with a crusty old know-it-all making the hotshot students feel like utter shit. God, that must feel awesome! As for the story of The Paper Chase, it has long-hair Timothy Bottoms becoming obsessed with Houseman's prof, not to mention bedding his daughter. Eventually he'll have to find a balance -- or make a choice -- between the girl and the books. But never mind all that, because Houseman owns you whenever he's on camera.

White Hunter, Black Heart Review


Excellent
Tragically underrated, the character of John Wilson remains one of Clint Eastwood's greatest roles, standing next to Dirty Harry in memorability. A (very) thinly-veiled biography of director John Huston, during the preproduction of arguably his greatest film, The African Queen, Eastwood burns as the angry, embittered director who sees everything as a challenge to overcome, from killing an elephant to surviving a plane crash. His clashes with his writer (Fahey - his best role ever) and producer (Dzundza - ditto, I'd say) are epic and awesomely staged. While the film pulls its punches by masking the identities of its players behind aliases (the faux Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart stick out ridiculously), this is a film that is not to be missed, especially by movie buffs.

Colossus: The Forbin Project Review


Excellent
One year after 2001, a film presented a view of artificial intelligence with a far bleaker outlook on the future of the technology. Much like WarGames would propose years later, Colossus has us poor humans building a computer too smart for its own good. Turns out the Russians have one too -- both designed as peacekeepers that operate without human intervention, keeping check on the world without the need for our services. And the computers want to talk. When they develop their own language, humanity pulls the plug. And the computers get mad. Soon enough Colossus is giving orders, threatening nuclear annihilation if its demands are not met (much like Dr. Strangelove's Doomsday Device).

Continue reading: Colossus: The Forbin Project Review

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