Jo Van Fleet

Jo Van Fleet

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The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight Review


Bad
As much as I like Hervé Villechaize, it's pretty impossible to like much about The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, a mob slapstick comedy that features Tattoo is one of a bunch of hapless thugs who want to get rid of the local heavy (Lionel Stander) so they can take over in his stead. Too bad the crew, you know, can't shoot straight... and though they try endlessly to get rid of him, they just can't manage to do it.

That's pretty much the story, with rising star Robert De Niro strangely inserted into the movie to take advantage of his upcoming celebrity (he's a bicycle racer that falls for the gang leader's (Jerry Orbach) kid sister (Leigh Taylor-Young, completely lost here). The bulk of the film has Orbach and co. scheming endlessly to off Stander's Baccala, and over and over it fails to amuse us, even when a live lion is thrown into the mix. That's the film. If it weren't for Villechaize, there'd be nary a laugh in the whole movie, and even that kind of comedy is hardly highbrow.

Continue reading: The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight Review

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! Review


Weak
Peter Sellers made a lot of good movies, and history has been kind enough to purge the memory of the bad ones from our collective minds. The painfully titled I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! is one of those bad ones, the kind I'd now -- having just sat through it -- would prefer to forget altogether.

The setup is straight out of a '60s sitcom: Harold Fine (Sellers) is a stuffy lawyer. He re-encounters his dippy hippie brother Herbie (David Arkin) to take him to a funeral, and is immediately disgusted by his free-living ways. But when Herbie's pal Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young) concocts a batch of pot brownies, Harold suddenly goes nuts for the hippie life. He turns his apartment into a love shrine, where he and Nancy can, well, eat a lot of pot brownies. Will he tire of this in the end and go back to his wife-to-be (whom he left at the altar to head off with Nancy)? Who cares?

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The Tenant Review


Excellent
Another classic Roman Polanski freak-out, new to DVD. It's The Tenant, the ultimate look at paranoia and real estate.

In the film, Polanski plays a quiet man who moves into a small apartment recently vacated by a woman who committed suicide by jumping out of the window -- for unknown reasons. Polanski's Trelkovsky quickly becomes embroiled in mysterious goings-on, including a dalliance with a stranger (Isabelle Adjani) he encounters at the hospital while visiting the former tenant's death bed, endless creepy apartment-mates, and a slow descent into insanity as he becomes obsessed with the life of the former tenant.

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East Of Eden Review


Extraordinary
Elia Kazan's East of Eden packs as powerful a punch today as it must have 50 years ago when it introduced an exciting new star, James Dean, to a wide-eyed audience that had never seen anything quite him before... unless they were Brando fans. This is big moviemaking, with big themes, big performances, big CinemaScope shots, and big, bright "WarnerColor" images. It's the kind of movie that a million Ashton Kutchers and a million Brett Ratners couldn't make in a million years.

John Steinbeck's classic story draws on the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel, the two warring brothers from the Old Testament, and although Cain doesn't slay Abel in this version of the story, he comes close. Dean brings his emotive Method style to the role of Cal Trask, the "bad" son who must compete with his golden boy brother Aron (Richard Davalos) for the love of their cold, Bible-thumping father Adam (Raymond Massey). Together they work a lettuce farm in central California's fertile Salinas Valley. It's 1917, and World War I is raging overseas.

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Gunfight At The O.K. Corral Review


Weak
Interested in the Wyatt Earp-Doc Holliday-O.K. Corral legend but don't want a lot of bloodshed? Or maybe you feel like dozing off a bit?

Have I got a movie for you! The Burt Lancaster-Kirk Douglas rendition of the still-going-strong story of the shootout in Tombstone is possible the tamest and least inspired on record, a workmanlike and low-budget retelling of the story. No insight, no real violence, no soul. This Gunfight doesn't actually occur until 1 hour and 45 minutes into the film -- tragic in its deception and painful in the boredom induced on the way.

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East Of Eden Movie Review

East Of Eden Movie Review

Elia Kazan's East of Eden packs as powerful a punch today as it must have...

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