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Ace In The Hole Review


Extraordinary
Ace in the Hole is simultaneously regarded as a classic noir and considered one of the hardest major films to find on the market. How could a film nominated for a major Oscar be so tricky to obtain? Chalk it up to biting the hand that feeds you.

Billy Wilder made Ace in the Hole as a follow-up to the acclaimed Sunset Boulevard, essentially writing his own ticket in Hollywood. The story he opted to make was a cruel indictment of the American media, one which has only become more accurate and biting over the years. The film opens with reporter Chuck Tatum, a refugee from big city newspapers who's now stuck in a desolate New Mexico town. Desperate to get back on top (and earn enough money to feed his drinking habit), he stumbles upon the perfect story after toiling away for a miserable year in the sticks: A treasure hunter (a looter, if you will) has gotten stuck in a cave-in in some old Indian caves. Guy in a well: That'll sell papers, right?

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Sullivan's Travels Review


Very Good
Would it be fair to say that, when all is said and done, Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels is just not as funny as its choir of supporters have made it out to be? It's not dour by any stretch of the imagination, but it's hardly laugh-filled enough to merit inclusion at #39 on the AFI's list of 100 Funniest American Films. Humor is of course subjective, and to say that the film is just not as funny as some would claim is not a criticism. Sturges was making a comedy, for sure, but the reason that Sullivan's Travels has endured so strongly in the minds of connoisseurs is the filmmakers' attempt to breathe a certain strange strain of realism into what audiences were assuming to be a straight laugh-fest. It isn't entirely successful in the end, but then neither was Woody Allen's attempt to deal with the weight of being considered nothing but a jokester in Stardust Memories, and that one is quite far from a failure.

Sturges loved fake beginnings, and this is one of his best. We open on a knock-down, brawling fight on (and below) a train that's roaring through the mountains at night. The two men finally knock each other off into the raging river, and the screen reads: THE END, after which we find out that it's a film being screened for a couple worried executives by a very popular comic filmmaker, John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), who's trying to break out of his niche, going on about holding a mirror up to life and painting a "true canvas" of humanity's suffering. Chagrined to discover that the suits don't think his silver-spoon upbringing entitles him to know anything about the human condition, Sullivan hits the road with ten cents in his pocket (kitted out in authentic bum-wear from the studio wardrobe) to find out something about it. He spends the rest of the film trying to get away from the suits (worried about losing their golden goose), and striving to find realism. At first he doesn't succeed, accidentally ending up back in Hollywood time and again, but eventually Sullivan gets a little more realism than he had intended.

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Miracle On 34th Street Review


Excellent
Santa on trial! This Christmas classic has the inimitable Edmund Gwenn (who won an Oscar for his role) in full Santa regalia, wandering through Manhattan and telling a storefront setup guy he's got the reindeer out of order in the window display. The lighthearted comedy continues as Kris Kringle gets a job a Macy's department store... where he promptly begins sending customers elsewhere. This in turn lands him in a shrink's office and en route to a sanitarium. That's right: Good customer service is completely insane! The third act of the film gives it its rousing core, as Kringle is seated before a judge to prove he isn't crazy. The outpouring of support for him (including nonbeliever Maureen O'Hara and daughter Natalie Wood) makes the movie utterly priceless and unforgettable. You want the spirit of Christmas? It's all right here.

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The Thin Man Review


Good
You can save yourself the trouble of sending me hate mail, I already know what you're gonna say. The Thin Man, produced way back in 1934, just isn't that funny any more. The jokes are worn to the bone, the plot setup has been reworked into oblivion, and frankly the acting is spotty in parts. Still, William Powell and Myrna Loy have good chemistry -- and even better body language -- throughout this watershed crime story cum slapstick comedy. (He's a former P.I., she's a society maven, together they solve murders, and they have a dog.) You can see how this would be funny, but, like fine wine, even classic movies start to fade over time. Not that it isn't still without some of its old merits, of course.
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Benedict Cumberbatch Interviews Tom Hiddleston, But Avoids The Taylor Swift Question

Benedict Cumberbatch Interviews Tom Hiddleston, But Avoids The Taylor Swift Question

One Marvel Universe star interviewed another, as part of Interview magazine's October edition.

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Sullivan's Travels Movie Review

Sullivan's Travels Movie Review

Would it be fair to say that, when all is said and done, Preston Sturges'...

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