Marianna Hill

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The Baby Review


Excellent
Horror at its most bizarre, and PG rated, to boot! The Baby stands as one of the genre's most perverse pictures, a simple tale about a social worker (Anjanette Comer) who becomes obsessed with her new case: a 21-year-old boy being raised as a baby, complete with crib and diapers. No one really thinks to ask mom (Ruth Roman, a Joan Crawford lookalike) if she's hatched some insane abuse plot. Rather, our heroine seemingly falls in love with the overgrown lad, and eventually kidnaps him. The ending is widely heralded as one of the most surprising in cinema history... and while I was sure I had it figured out, even I -- cynical film critic that I am -- nearly fell off the couch.

Continue reading: The Baby Review

Medium Cool Review


Extraordinary
Where is the line between fantasy and reality? Check out Medium Cool and you'll have trouble finding it. Pioneering cinematographer Haskell Wexler got the bright idea that the 1968 Democratic National Convention would be a hotbed of riots (with Vietnam in its worst years, MLK recently assassinated, and a growing movement fed up with the government) and he was right. Wexler decided to make a (fictional) movie set during all of this -- but rather than wait until it was over and done with, he took a group of actors to ground zero, tossed them in among the cops and the protesters, and had them "act."

The result is one of the most vibrant and eye-opening films ever made, a bit of fantasy that seems devastatingly real -- because, in large part, it is.

Continue reading: Medium Cool Review

High Plains Drifter Review


Excellent
Clint Eastwood's second film as a director -- and his first western -- is a minor classic. High Plains Drifter takes a familiar story (drifter arrives in small town to protect it from outlaws -- and demands a pile of booty in return) and makes it perfectly watchable thanks to Eastwood's smarmy performance and a host of supporting players that acquit themselves well. Forcing the town to rename itself "Hell" and paint everything in it red is just the icing on the cake.
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