Lloyd Nolan

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Earthquake Review


Good
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Earthquake Review


Good
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

The House On 92nd Street Review


Weak
A procedural noir that's based on a true story, straight outta WWII! While this must have made for quite an experience in 1945 (the FBI busts up a Nazi spy ring in New York looking to steal the secrets of the atomic bomb!), today it comes across as a bit goody-goody, pandering to the FBI, pedantic, and not noirish at all. Most of the film is designed to show us how impressive the feds are at solving crime -- with presumably real footage of the punch-card computers used to ferret out who fingerprints belong to -- then reinforce the visuals by explaining how impressive this all is via voice-over. Sure, for the era, it must have been nifty tricks, but the smallish story that The House on 92nd Street bothers to tell along the way doesn't merit much more than a shrug. William Eythe would love to be Tyrone Power, but he just can't carry the picture. And the absurd Nazi spies would have gotten busted before they got anywhere south of, oh, 91st Street.

Somewhere In The Night Review


Good
Somewhere in the night... there's an answer to the almost silly riddles of this film, which is almost by-the-numbers in its offering up of an amnesiac ex-G.I. who goes searching for his past, and uncovers nothing but mystery and mayhem... and, of course, crime galore. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, in one of his first directorial endeavors, bungles a good portion of the story, leaving us alterately baffled and incredulous. Nonetheless, it's smashingly photographed in the classic styles of the genre.

Island In The Sky Review


Very Good
For the longest time, I didn't think anything was going to happen in Island in the Sky. In fact, the very title implies that nothing is going to happen: I figured a big bomber would be flying around during WWII, drop a few bombs on Dresden or something, maybe hit some resistance, and finally return home after a successful run over Germany.

Was I wrong: Island in the Sky takes place mostly on the ground, after a transport plane (piloted by Captain Dooley, played by John Wayne in an exemplary role) crashes in the frozen wilds of Newfoundland. The film -- after a good 40 minutes of useless exposition -- spends the bulk of its time dealing with their attempts to be rescued.

Continue reading: Island In The Sky Review

Hannah And Her Sisters Review


Essential
It's not his best, but Hannah and Her Sisters is definitely Woody Allen's second best. The film does everything a Woody film should -- it deals with complex issues in a hilarious way. Up this time, as the title suggests, is the notion of family, as Allen skewers a dysfunctional clan led by three sisters (Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Barbara Hershey) and the rotten men the come in and out of their lives.

Allen plays his neurotic self to perfection, this time a hypochondriac TV executive and ex-husband of Hannah (Farrow). Michael Caine, though, steals the show as Hannah's current husband who falls in love with sister Lee (Hershey), herself living with an aging, pedantic shut-in (Max von Sydow).

Continue reading: Hannah And Her Sisters Review

The Street With No Name Review


Good
Standard-issue noir. The Street with No Name takes great pains to narrate how its hero goes undercover to infiltrate a crime ring in "Center City," purported in the oppressive voice-over to be a real location where real crimes have occurred. Part straight-up gangster picture, part elementary school film strip ("The FBI solves crimes using a number of methods..."), The Street with No Name is an archetype of its genre, though unfortunately not a terribly memorable one.

Airport Review


Very Good
With one grandiose entrance, Airport ushered in a genre of moviemaking that is still going strong -- the disaster movie. Filled with high-profile stars and backed by an enormous budget, Airport takes us through one harrowing night at Chicago's "Lincoln" airport, where a stowaway granny, a pregnant stewardess, a freak blizzard, duelling pilot-administrator brothers, various annoying wives... and one distraught passenger with a homemade bomb combine to create one wild ride. Too bad the "disaster" doesn't happen until 2 hours into the 2:15 movie. No matter -- Airport's unending sequels and spoofs are a testament that this film is a true piece of Americana, for good or for bad.
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Dev Patel Is A Lost Boy In Touching True Story Drama 'Lion'

Dev Patel Is A Lost Boy In Touching True Story Drama 'Lion'

There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.

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