Richard Brooks

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The Emperor's New Clothes Review


Excellent

Political documentaries tend to get the blood boiling, and this is no exception, as it keeps us entertained with a lucid exploration of just how our governments have failed us economically. The central topic is income inequality, and having a riotous figure like Russell Brand front and centre brings the issues home in a clear, infuriating way. Director Michael Winterbottom does a terrific job reining Brand in, keeping him on-point and making sure the details are clearly presented.

Right from the start Brand says that there's nothing in this film we don't already know. But he's connecting the dots in ways that the media certainly isn't willing to do, because they're part of the problem. Indeed, as he works with a classroom of young students, he proves that even a child can understand that our system simply isn't fair: the rich are getting richer, but the poor are struggling more than ever as the gap between them grows out of all proportion. Instead of tackling this problem, the politicians simply deflect it, blaming something as essentially irrelevant as immigration while neglecting a fundamental human value we all teach our children: sharing.

The film goes back in history to explore how we got here. In the 1970s, the wealthy earned 10 times what their lowest-paid employees earned, but the policies of Reagan and Thatcher shifted the balance to the rich, arguing that the cash would trickle down into the rest of society. But that has never happened. Companies and banks only consolidated power and profits, as the free market system made the highest-earning 1 percent even more greedy and selfish than they were before. Now top earners get up to 300 times what their employees are paid. No wonder people are broke, small businesses are failing and towns are in bankruptcy, while the rich just get richer.

Continue reading: The Emperor's New Clothes Review

The 46th NAACP Image Awards - Arrivals

Richard Brooks - The 46th NAACP Image Awards presented by TV One at the Pasadena Civic Center - Arrivals at Pasadena Civic Auditorium - Pasadena, California, United States - Saturday 7th February 2015

45th NAACP Image Awards

Richard Brooks - 45th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 22nd February 2014

Richard Brooks

70's Disco Party and Sweaty Booty Cheeks - World Premiere video

Richard Brooks - 70's Disco Party and Sweaty Booty Cheeks - World Premiere video - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 17th February 2014

ESPY All-Star Celebrity Kickoff Party

Richard Brooks - ESPY All-Star Celebrity Kickoff Party at the Playboy Mansion - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 15th July 2013

'Sister Act' opening night premiere at the Pantages Theatre

Richard Brooks - 'Sister Act' opening night premiere at the Pantages Theatre - Hollywood, California, United States - Tuesday 9th July 2013

Key Largo Review


Good
Bogart is always a pleasure to watch, and Key Largo is no exception, despite its rather overly dramatic -- yet simplistic -- plot structure involving a gangster (Robinson) who takes over a Florida hotel during a deadly hurricane. It ultimately pales next to other Bogart and Bacall work, though it's still a reasonably good watch that has stood up well over the last 50 years.

Sweet Bird of Youth Review


Good
Tennessee Williams is up to his usual tricks in Sweet Bird of Youth, a nasty little film about an aspiring (yet hopeless) actor (Paul Newman), who returns to his home town with a head full of schemes and trouble. But it's Geraldine Page, as a Gloria Swanson-esque has-been actress tagging along with him, who steals the show. (She also got an Oscar nomination, though Ed Begley, as the town politico, won Best Supporting Actor.) The film gets a little bogged down in minutiae and irrelevant side plots, but on the whole it's solid and searing.

$ Review


Good
Beatty and Hawn carry this fun little heist/comedy picture for the first hour, but then the whole affair gets a little tiring. First the duo (he's a bank security pro, she's a call girl) conspire to steal the ill-gotten contents of three safe deposit boxes. The final act has the victims of the crime trying to get their money back. If you get bored you can always marvel at Beatty's hair.

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The Professionals Review


Good
This classic but largely forgotten Western is pretty risque for its time, offering not only brief nudity but a damsel in distress who may not be as dainty and innocent as she makes herself out to be. Hired to rescue this "kidnapping victim" from the clutches of evil Mexicans (led by Jack Palance!), a gang of four war veterans (including Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin) head to their compound, encountering misadventure along the way. It's a little dated and has a few shot-on-bad-studio-set moments, but on the whole it's an impressive film, even if you don't normally care for Westerns.

Blackboard Jungle Review


OK
Idealism in the public school system got its start here in 1955's Blackboard Jungle, based on the book that convinced America that our kids were not all angels and schools were not built from picket fence perfection. Today, Blackboard Jungle is surprisingly dated and ineffective, as its picture of high school violence and perversity seems quaint in comparison to Columbine-style massacres and Mary Kay Letourneau. Even the firey Sidney Poitier an Vic Morrow, playing the school's punks, seem set to a lower level than we've seen from them in later, mor compelling works.

Key Largo Review


Good
Bogart is always a pleasure to watch, and Key Largo is no exception, despite its rather overly dramatic -- yet simplistic -- plot structure involving a gangster (Robinson) who takes over a Florida hotel during a deadly hurricane. It ultimately pales next to other Bogart and Bacall work, though it's still a reasonably good watch that has stood up well over the last 50 years.

In Cold Blood Review


OK
Severely overrated and terribly long, In Cold Blood is a celebrated film noir that is now mostly notable because it stars accused murderer Robert Blake as a real murderer. The story concerns two thugs (Blake and Scott Wilson), who rob a Kansas house where great riches are promised, only to find nothing in the safe. So they murder everyone there instead. Soon caught, they're tried and sentenced to death. Richard Brooks creates a wet and moody set piece, but it's slow, schizophrenic, and only occasionally effectual. Based on Truman Capote's celebated novel and actual events.

Elmer Gantry Review


Excellent
Burt Lancaster shines as the titular Elmer Gantry, a revival preacher with a questionable past and uncertain motives, in the epic film that won Oscars for Lancaster, Shirley Jones (as a hooker from Gantry's past), and the script by Richard Brooks. Written with an assured bite, Gantry skewers "that old-time religion" with a dramatic wit rarely seen in this era. Never corny (though its modern-day analogues most surely are), the film was a huge success in its day, and is all but forgotten now. Highly recommended for fans of Lancaster or Jean Simmons, who plays the earnest young preacher who gets caught up in Gantry's web.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar Review


Excellent
It takes a strong stomach to see Annie Hall playing a wanton slut of a woman, left behind by the sexual revolution. Nonetheless, Diane Keaton pulled a 180 in this gritty drama, about a schoolteacher for the deaf who experiments with drugs and (more importantly) wild sex, during the era of free love. Overflowing with symbolism and hopelessly depressing, this one is a true eye-opener. If you think you know Ms. Keaton -- you don't, until you've seen this one.
Richard Brooks

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