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The Changeling Review


Very Good
One of horror cinema's creepy cult classics, The Changeling earns an A for atmosphere but only a C for developing its plot. The story revolves around a tragic composer and music teacher (George C. Scott), who's lost his family in a freak accident, and decides to move to Seattle to start again. His enormous rented house is pretty obviously possessed by ghosts. He spends the rest of the film trying to figure out why (hint: it's all in the title), though much of this work is rote sleuthing-through-old-newspapers and the like. Obviously an influencer to The Ring, it's a fine little haunted house pic, but its revelations leave a bit to be desired.

The Changeling Review


Very Good
One of horror cinema's creepy cult classics, The Changeling earns an A for atmosphere but only a C for developing its plot. The story revolves around a tragic composer and music teacher (George C. Scott), who's lost his family in a freak accident, and decides to move to Seattle to start again. His enormous rented house is pretty obviously possessed by ghosts. He spends the rest of the film trying to figure out why (hint: it's all in the title), though much of this work is rote sleuthing-through-old-newspapers and the like. Obviously an influencer to The Ring, it's a fine little haunted house pic, but its revelations leave a bit to be desired.

Ghost Story Review


Very Good
Rather typical story (wrongful death, vengeful ghost) is masked by one of the most curious casts in horror history: Astaire? Fairbanks? Houseman? Holy crap! These guys would be watchable in an infomercial, and their cavorting with a mostly-naked Alice Krige makes for an unforgettable, if not terribly scary, Ghost Story.

The Candidate Review


Extraordinary
"Politics is bullshit."

Such sentiment, spoken early in the film, sums up The Candidate's position on politics, not to mention my own. Robert Redford plays the title role, a fresh-faced kid and son of a former governer goaded by a group of campaign strategists (namely Peter Boyle) into running against an "unbeatable" Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. With nothing to lose, he starts off by running the campaign by his conscience and the seat of his pants, but eventually it all gets away from him as the machine takes over. Much like Network, this satire on an American institution continues to gain relevance instead of lose it. The scene of Redford finally losing his mind stands as one of cinema's most classic moments. Plenty of one-liner gems only add to the majesty of the film.

The Tenant Review


Excellent
Another classic Roman Polanski freak-out, new to DVD. It's The Tenant, the ultimate look at paranoia and real estate.

In the film, Polanski plays a quiet man who moves into a small apartment recently vacated by a woman who committed suicide by jumping out of the window -- for unknown reasons. Polanski's Trelkovsky quickly becomes embroiled in mysterious goings-on, including a dalliance with a stranger (Isabelle Adjani) he encounters at the hospital while visiting the former tenant's death bed, endless creepy apartment-mates, and a slow descent into insanity as he becomes obsessed with the life of the former tenant.

Continue reading: The Tenant Review

Hud Review


Excellent
Like Cool Hand Luke, Hud's a tough nut to crack.

Hud's a scoundrel, troublemaker, corner-cutter, and latter-day outlaw, and Paul Newman pours his soul into the memorable anti-hero. Hud works on a small ranch with his ailing father (Melvyn Douglas), upstanding teenage brother (Brandon De Wilde), and mildly tawdry housekeeper (Patricia Neal). He's rousted out of bed one morning (well, not his bed) due to an emergency at the ranch... which turns out to be a sickness among the cattle. Ultimately that is revealed to be "the worst kind" of problem... hoof and mouth disease. The entire herd will have to be shot and buried. The mass slaughter is a truly horrifying sight without being extreme in its graphicness.

Continue reading: Hud Review

Being There Review


Extraordinary
If we're to believe 2004's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, the Briton who seemingly defined the term "comic actor" was an angry shell of a man, a vacant vessel who stumbled his way through life. Given that, could there be a more brilliant or appropriate final hurrah for Sellers than Being There?

In his final big role before his death, Sellers brings to life a man called Chance, a feeble-minded and quiet middle-aged gardener in a Washington, D.C. mansion he's never left. Chance's life - which consists of tending to the small garden, taking meals prepared by another servant, and watching and mimicking television - is shattered when the patron of the manse passes away and the house is sold, forcing Chance out into the harsh world he's never experienced.

Continue reading: Being There Review

The Vampire Bat Review


Bad
Hollywood's answer to Nosferatu, and a lame one at that. Far Wray stars (and even she is unmemorable here) in a story that has the typical German village besieged by a neck-puncturing mystery. Vampires presumed. Very low in production values and with a forced script that can't hold a candle to even a bad Dracula movie.

Ninotchka Review


Excellent
As a sex symbol, Greta Garbo may seem like an odd choice -- she lacked the drop-dead gorgeousness of subsequent Swedes like Ingrid Bergman -- but few stars have built or maintained a bigger reputation in Hollywood. A silent film star, Garbo caused a sensation when American audiences finally heard her voice ("Garbo talks!"). Ninotchka is one of Garbo's few comedies, and part of its success is because the script plays off of the actress' slightly stiff, very foreign demeanor.

Garbo plays Ninotchka, a Soviet envoy sent to Paris to sell jewels that belonged to a former Russian duchess now turned Parisian socialite (Ina Claire). Melvyn Douglas is a count who becomes infatuated with Ninotchka and tries to divert her away from her duty to the Party. It's not Casablanca -- but it's not just another frothy romantic comedy either, thanks to Garbo's performance and the clever screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett (who also co-wrote the legendary Sunset Boulevard and The Lost Weekend).

Continue reading: Ninotchka Review

The Americanization Of Emily Review


Good
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.
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Steve McQueen Becomes Youngest Recipient Of BFI Fellowship

Steve McQueen Becomes Youngest Recipient Of BFI Fellowship

The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.

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'Mulholland Drive' Named By Critics As Greatest Movie Of The 21st Century

'Mulholland Drive' Named By Critics As Greatest Movie Of The 21st Century

Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.

Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man has become a festival season highlight.

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Hud Movie Review

Hud Movie Review

Like Cool Hand Luke, Hud's a tough nut to crack.Hud's a scoundrel, troublemaker, corner-cutter, and...

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