M. Emmet Walsh

M. Emmet Walsh

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Arthur & Mike Trailer


Wallace Avery is struggling with the hardships that life is throwing at him; a boring job, a failed marriage, an estranged son and an unfulfilling relationship; and decides that something must be done in order for him to find happiness again. He fakes his own drowning and purchases a new identity, becoming golf pro Arthur Newman and landing himself a job at a golf club away from Florida. It's then he meets Michaela "Mike", who is actually named Charlotte Fitzgerald and has assumed the identity of her twin sister who's suffering from mental health problems. They set out on a road trip together to Indiana but it isn't long before they both discover each other's true identities. With that in common, their bond strengthens and a romance blossoms as they take comfort in each other's dissatisfactions in life. But when it comes down to it, this couple have some serious decisions to make about the kind of people they really want to be.

Continue: Arthur & Mike Trailer

Calvary Review


Excellent

After the 2011 black comedy The Guard, Brendan Gleeson reteams with writer-director John Michael McDonagh for a darker comical drama grappling with issues of faith and forgiveness. McDonagh's usual jagged dialogue and snappy characters are on-hand in abundance while the film digs deep through a rather meandering, episodic plot.

In rural Ireland, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is quietly enduring confessionals when one of his parishioners says he's going to kill him next Sunday. Shaken, James begins to explore his faith and mortality over the coming week. His daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly) arrives following another suicide attempt, and he consoles a grieving French visitor (Marie-Josee Croze) and visits an imprisoned killer (Domhnall Gleeson). But almost anyone in the village could be the aspiring murderer: the over-emotional butcher (Chris O'Dowd), drug-addict doctor (Aidan Gillen), ladies-man African (Isaach De Bankole), shifty millionaire (Dylan Moran), eccentric fisherman (M. Emmet Walsh).

Intriguingly, it never really matters who issued the threat (James has a pretty good idea), because that's not the point of the film. McDonagh is exploring bigger ideas here, adeptly mixing riotously funny dialogue with startlingly bleak emotions. The film's languid pace nearly lulls us to sleep, then wakes us up with another sparky scene-stealing performance from the gifted cast. Gleeson is wonderfully muted, expressing more with an exhausted sigh than most actors can manage with a Shakespearean monologue. His moments with Reilly crackle with honest emotion, and the deceptively simple scene between father and son actors Brendan and Domhnall is a heart-stopper.

Continue reading: Calvary Review

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Trailer


Cindy and Jim Green is a young, married couple who are looking forward to starting a family. They try everything they can but it doesn't work. After the couple find out they can never conceive, it leaves them devastated.

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Youth in Revolt Review


Grim
Maybe this would work if you saw it before any other Michael Cera movies. Or any other quirky, over-written rom-coms. But after all that have gone before, this feels strangely awkward and unconvincing. And rather insufferably smug.

Nick Twisp (Cera) is a 16-year-old who feels out of sync with the world. He has a summer job in a caravan park, where he instantly falls in love with Sheeni (Doubleday), the fiercely protected daughter of religious nutcases (Walsh and Place). Sheeni is like a female version of him, only sexy and smarter, and he creates an imaginary alter ego named Francois Dillinger to give him the confidence to seduce her. But of course things go wrong from the start.

Continue reading: Youth in Revolt Review

Fletch Review


Good
If you were in junior high or high school when Fletch came out, the movie holds enormous nostalgia value, particularly if you also happened to live in L.A. at the time (like me). Fletch revealed the L.A. that its denizens knew well -- the grungy beaches, the sun-cracked streets, the drab apartment buildings. Fletch's Lakers fetish, and the offices of the Los Angeles Times-like newspaper where he worked completed the L.A. milieu that audiences here immediately hooked into. What's more, we got Chevy Chase at his wise-ass best, in a crime caper tailored to the Beverly Hills Cop crowd (of which I was an admiring member), and thrumming with Harold Faltermeyer on the soundtrack. Sure, Faltermeyer's synthesizers sound supremely cheesy today, but this was the '80s, man. And nothing speaks the '80s like Faltermeyer's Casio keyboards, tuneful yet pulsing with that moneyed urban vibe; I think of it as the safe, consumer-friendly edge of high '80s decadence.

On first viewing (the movie's opening weekend), I admit I didn't get all of Fletch's jokes, but found myself pleasantly amused. Twenty-two years later, I get all the jokes, but I remain only pleasantly amused, nothing more, nothing less. This is a comfort movie -- smart and sassy enough to make good company, but a notch short of brilliant.

Continue reading: Fletch Review

Narrow Margin (1990) Review


OK
It was an odd choice to remake a mediocre 1950s noir, but at least Gene Hackman is engaging as ever in the leading role, however slightly written it is. The cat-and-mouse game of the original is largely intact, with mobsters chasing after a woman (Anne Archer) who witnessed a murder, but whom they've never actually seen. Oh... and it's all on a train bound for Vancouver, which is, I guess, what the title vaguely alludes to. The film tragically never generates a lot of suspense, and Hackman and Archer never really generate much chemistry. The best part of the film is the very beginning, when Archer witnesses the murder of an all-too-briefly-appearing J.T. Walsh.

The Iron Giant Review


Good
In the early days of animation, Warner Brothers cartoons spawned out of a desire to displace the overtly conservative and often sappy Disney characters. Bugs, Daffy, and Porky Pig were a little more rambunctious, daring, and raunchy than their Disney counterparts setting a new trend in children's entertainment that was widely accepted. While Disney is still king of the animated feature film (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) the Warner Brothers product seems to be a bit less inhibited with it's brand of humor, (Space Jam) appealing to both children and adults. The Iron Giant is just this kind of fun. It's a movie that the kids are going to love, which is complemented with adult humor and themes for the rest of the audience to appreciate.

Set in 1957, young Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) is fascinated with the lore of an old fisherman who declares that he has seen a UFO crash and a giant creature emerge from the ocean. Against his mother's (Jennifer Aniston) wishes, Hughes searches the forest surrounding his hometown of Rockwell, Maine until he finds and rescues the 50-foot robot-like-creature being shocked to death after an attempt to eat a power plant. The two become friends and with the help of junk-yard owner/artist/beatnik Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr.) they manage to hide the giant from the rest of the town. This becomes increasingly difficult because of the giant's voracious appetite for metal and the presence of Government Agent Chuck Mansley (Christopher McDonald) who keeps snooping around town trying to learn more about this mysterious giant robot that locals keep reporting. The giant can't stay hidden for long and when it is finally discovered a climactic conclusion ensues.

Continue reading: The Iron Giant Review

Christmas In The Clouds Review


Terrible
The success of independent films like March of the Penguins, Whale Rider, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding makes you wonder why Hollywood bigshots don't greenlight more projects like them -- modestly budgeted, impassioned movies without all the hubbub and fanfare of celebrity actors and niche marketing strategies. But the ugly truth is, Hollywood bigshots get it right more often than they get it wrong. Most independent films don't merit an audience wider than the festival circuit and the director's living room. They simply aren't good enough. Christmas in the Clouds is such a movie.

Watching it one can't shake a familiar, unpleasant feeling, a sense memory tied to bad TV. Perhaps if you combined the absolute worst episodes of the classic shows Newhart and Northern Exposure, extracted the talent of both ensemble casts, and stretched out the running time to that of a feature-length movie, the remaining dregs would be something like Christmas in the Clouds, a film that commits nearly every sin in the storyteller's handbook. From absurd plot contrivances to long stretches of tedium to a predictable resolution, Christmas in the Clouds nails them all.

Continue reading: Christmas In The Clouds Review

The Milagro Beanfield War Review


Excellent
Who'd of thought that a battle over water rights would make for such an interesting tale? This small movie, Robert Redford's second directorial endeavor after Ordinary People, is surprisingly watchable and gripping, despite a terrible title and a setup that would have mainstream audiences running for the exits. In a tiny New Mexico town, a huge resort development is getting underway, and the locals are getting trampled underfoot. But not Joe Mondragon (Chick Vennera, the spitting image of Bruno Kirby), who diverts water from the resort project onto his small bean field. Naturally, the titular war develops: Corporate America vs. the little guy -- with the media thrown in for a kick. Surprisingly lively stuff, full of local character, fun performances, and a plot that builds up steam faster than you'd think. It's Jean de Florette, Western style, and the kind of movie John Sayles wishes he could make.

Christmas In The Clouds Review


Terrible
The success of independent films like March of the Penguins, Whale Rider, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding makes you wonder why Hollywood bigshots don't greenlight more projects like them -- modestly budgeted, impassioned movies without all the hubbub and fanfare of celebrity actors and niche marketing strategies. But the ugly truth is, Hollywood bigshots get it right more often than they get it wrong. Most independent films don't merit an audience wider than the festival circuit and the director's living room. They simply aren't good enough. Christmas in the Clouds is such a movie.

Watching it one can't shake a familiar, unpleasant feeling, a sense memory tied to bad TV. Perhaps if you combined the absolute worst episodes of the classic shows Newhart and Northern Exposure, extracted the talent of both ensemble casts, and stretched out the running time to that of a feature-length movie, the remaining dregs would be something like Christmas in the Clouds, a film that commits nearly every sin in the storyteller's handbook. From absurd plot contrivances to long stretches of tedium to a predictable resolution, Christmas in the Clouds nails them all.

Continue reading: Christmas In The Clouds Review

The Iron Giant Review


Good
In the early days of animation, Warner Brothers cartoons spawned out of a desire to displace the overtly conservative and often sappy Disney characters. Bugs, Daffy, and Porky Pig were a little more rambunctious, daring, and raunchy than their Disney counterparts setting a new trend in children's entertainment that was widely accepted. While Disney is still king of the animated feature film (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) the Warner Brothers product seems to be a bit less inhibited with it's brand of humor, (Space Jam) appealing to both children and adults. The Iron Giant is just this kind of fun. It's a movie that the kids are going to love, which is complemented with adult humor and themes for the rest of the audience to appreciate.

Set in 1957, young Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) is fascinated with the lore of an old fisherman who declares that he has seen a UFO crash and a giant creature emerge from the ocean. Against his mother's (Jennifer Aniston) wishes, Hughes searches the forest surrounding his hometown of Rockwell, Maine until he finds and rescues the 50-foot robot-like-creature being shocked to death after an attempt to eat a power plant. The two become friends and with the help of junk-yard owner/artist/beatnik Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr.) they manage to hide the giant from the rest of the town. This becomes increasingly difficult because of the giant's voracious appetite for metal and the presence of Government Agent Chuck Mansley (Christopher McDonald) who keeps snooping around town trying to learn more about this mysterious giant robot that locals keep reporting. The giant can't stay hidden for long and when it is finally discovered a climactic conclusion ensues.

Continue reading: The Iron Giant Review

Blood Simple Review


Extraordinary
The year is 1984. Reagan is looking forward to four more years as president. Orwell's book by the same name is at the top of the popularity bell curve. The Olympic games are held in Los Angeles and two unknown guys named Joel and Ethan Coen decide to team up and write a movie script. Their first step into the world of "Hollywood" is a little film called Blood Simple featuring the debut of then-unknown actress Frances McDormand. The title of the film comes from a slang term invented by Dashiell Hammett to suggest a murderer's state of fear and confusion, which suggests that the "perfect" murder is impossible. This movie shows one such example of that blood simple state.

At the time it was released, Blood Simple wowed critics and audiences, winning praise at film festivals all over the world with its unique look at telling an interesting and creepy story on a shoestring budget. Now 16 years later, the Coen brothers have decided to clean up their debut film and re-release it to the masses, making it even better.

Continue reading: Blood Simple Review

Blade Runner Review


Essential
A rare masterpiece in both the sci-fi and film noir genres. Blade Runner makes you think, makes you question reality, and makes you return to watch it again and again. I own both the VHS and the DVD and have seen the movie a dozen times. It gets better with age. The best work of everyone involved with the project, hands down. Harrison Ford is unforgettable as the is-he-or-isn't-he??? cop charged with tracking down a band of "replicants," super-strong and brilliant androids on the loose in a dystopic future. Sean Young might have made her only decent movie with this performance, as well... also playing a replicant who doesn't know she isn't real. Breathtakingly beautiful despite its dour setting, Ridley Scott's moodiness really paid off on this one.

William Shakespeare's Romeo Juliet (1996) Review


Good
Setting Shakespeare's tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to music by the likes of the Butthole Surfers probably has The Bard rolling in his grave, but what the hell, it's open season on the classics these days. I won't even pretend that I understand all the nuance and symbolism of Luhrmann's instantly popular retelling of the tale, but I will say that this is one of the most entertaining renditions of any Shakespearean work I've seen to date.

Closer to an update of West Side Story than anything else, what makes this rendition of the "two star-crossed lovers" saga stand out is dialogue which is largely faithful to the text set against a post-modern backdrop frighteningly reminiscent of Los Angeles. While it's a thrill to watch (if you can avoid a headache), it's maddeningly hard to follow and considerably self-conscious. Plus there's the issue of a soundtrack that's probably sold more copies than the film did tickets.... Will this version survive the test of time? Probably not, but it will forever stand out as an amazing and powerful experiment in filmmaking.

Continue reading: William Shakespeare's Romeo Juliet (1996) Review

M. Emmet Walsh

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