Martin Ransohoff

Martin Ransohoff

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Class Review


OK
This flawed but generally amusing comedy set up Rob Lowe's career -- even though he's just a supporting character here. The real story is between his prep school roommate (Andrew McCarthy) and Lowe's mom -- who have a torrid affair without realizing the identity of one another. Also well-known (and rightfully so) for Virginia Madsen's topless slapstick routine, a classic film clip for over 20 years.

Save the Tiger Review


Excellent
Jack Lemmon won the Best Actor Oscar for his harrowing portrayal of Harry Stoner, who at first seems your average self-loathing businessman, but soon enough proves to have a batallion of skeletons in his closet. Harry's clothing business, it seems, isn't doing so well -- and in fact, he's so deep in debt he's ready to burn down the factory for the insurance money. Meanwhile, as the film plays out over a little over a day in Harry's life, he nearly breaks down on stage as WWII flashbacks nearly put a quick end to his latest line of fashions, a hooker just about kills one of his business associates, and Harry's world nearly falls apart. Lemmon is undoubtedly the centerpiece here, keeping up with an overdone story and ultimately redeeming the film admirably.

The Cincinnati Kid Review


Extraordinary
A fairly obvious attempt to make The Hustler of poker, with Steve McQueen playing the role of Fast Eddie (McQueen and Newman were rival screen heroes at the time). The Cincinnati Kid artistically falls just short of that standard -- the characters are not as fully developed as in The Hustler -- but it's just as much fun, and one of McQueen's best films.

McQueen is the Kid, a young card player who believes he is the best in the country. Edward G. Robinson is the Man, the aging veteran that McQueen must knock off his pedestal. McQueen is cocky, confident, appealing, and fundamentally decent; Robinson is complex and opaque, with one of the greatest poker faces in cinema. The inevitable showdown between the two is a battle of wills and nerve which lasts a night, most of the next day and another night.

Continue reading: The Cincinnati Kid Review

The Americanization of Emily Review


OK
Arthur HIller directed this oddball black comedy (script courtesy of the masterful Paddy Chayefsky), which turns out to have little to do with Emily (Julie Andrews) at all. Rather, the film captures a quirky navy admiral who's intent on having the first casualty at Omaha Beach be a sailor -- and he wants to capture it on film. Lt. Commander James Garner doesn't want to go, and all manner of hijinks ensue. James Coburn steals the show, and rescues it from dated, overblown oblivion.

Physical Evidence Review


Terrible
You know it's a legal flick because of the title -- but you know it's a thriller because the "V" in Evidence dips down like a giant blade. Yoiks!

Sadly, all the thrills to be had in Physical Evidence are found on its cover. Put simply, it's one of the lamest and least compelling courtroom dramas ever to hit the screen. Burt Reynolds (as the ultimately stereotyped retired, alcoholic cop) is only half the problem. It's author Michael Crichton, directing would would be his last film (at least up to now), who obviously saw reason to throw in the towel after this nightmare.

Continue reading: Physical Evidence Review

Catch-22 Review


Extraordinary
A wry and sarcastic (and thick as hell) book about the ridiculous duplicity of war? Sounds like a movie to me.

And so it did to Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, collaborators on The Graduate who conspired once again to make one of the greats of cinema. While Catch-22 has none of the cachet of other war movies (and we'll get to that...), it's by far one of the best out there, ranking with Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now as one of the greats.

Continue reading: Catch-22 Review

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