John Vernon

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Sweet Movie Review

In 1974, Dusan Makevejev apparently went insane.

The film he directed that year, Sweet Movie, stands as one of the most bizarre examples of what a moderately successful nut job can do with a camera and a budget -- a poorly received cautionary tale to filmmakers who get too full of themselves. (Indeed, Makevejev obviously got some flak for this one -- the film was banned in at least a few countries, and the man would not make another movie for seven years.)

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Point Blank Review

Classic cinema badass Lee Marvin gets a whole movie to strut his stuff in Point Blank, the first cinematic version of the book originally called The Hunter, which was later made into the improbably hit Payback. (The Hunter, of course, can now be found under the title Payback as well.)

The story is almost obliviously simple: Lee Marvin is a mafioso who's been turned on and left for dead. But not quite dead: He comes back (from the grave? who knows...) to get his vengeance. Or more precisely, to get the $93,000 he is owed by his former bosses.

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Animal House Review

Youthful indescretion knows no better friend in cinema than the movie that defines it, Animal House. Every frame of the film typifies how every American recalls his college years, whether or not they were filled with debauchery. Especially beloved is John Belushi as Delta Tau Chi's Bluto, the worst cut-up in the most obnoxious fraternity at Faber College (motto: Knowledge is Good), but the entire cast is so perfect -- from Tom Hulce to Bruce McGill to Donald Sutherland -- that one has trouble finding a sour spot in the entire picture. Of note is the new Collector's Edition DVD, which features a 45-minute present-day interview with the cast and crew about the making of the film, plus behind-the-scenes footage of the production. A gem.

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Dirty Harry Review

Well punk, do ya feel lucky? Dirty Harry Callahan blasted onto the San Francisco scene with a .44 Magnum and an attitude that launched a thousand imitators. Eastwood's most memorable character we get, a super-fascinating story maybe not so much. But the chase for murder and ransom-man Scorpio is at least a reasonably good one. The Dirty Harry films declined over the years, but the original's one worth seeking out.
John Vernon

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