Richard Jaeckel

Richard Jaeckel

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The Dirty Dozen Review


Very Good
Can The Dirty Dozen really be 40 years old? Well, almost. This watershed film paved the ways for bad-guys-as-heroes flicks ranging from The Wild Bunch to Reservoir Dogs, and its influence is still felt today. Yet how can The Dirty Dozen feel so tired when viewed in this millennium? Maybe its a cast that, though exquisite, is a bit much. The Dirty Dozen also appears to have paved the way for the Airport movies, studded with megastars and short on plot. Viewed today, too much of Dozen is schlocky and trite, reliant on stereotypes that border on Hogan's Heroes-level characterizations to tell the WWII-era story. (Writ large: 12 career criminals are given a last chance to pull off a major anti-Nazi mission.) The film is pioneering, daring, and very well made. But there's a bit much to go around, and now you can see the actors jockeying for notice among each other. Still a good film, though its impact is now starting to fade.

Continue reading: The Dirty Dozen Review

Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid Review


Bad
Sam Peckinpah's virtually unseen Western turns out to be unseen for a reason. Interminably boring and filled with red paint-for-blood splattering, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid ought to turn you off, but if that doesn't do the job, I've got one phrase that will: "Also starring Bob Dylan." Nuff said, I hope.

Come Back, Little Sheba Review


Excellent
Come Back, Little Sheba is among the best of several booze-obsessed Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s (The Lost Weekend, Days of Wine and Roses, and The Country Girl covered the same territory). Adapted from the William Inge play, the film stars Burt Lancaster as Doc Delaney, an alcoholic trapped in an unhappy marriage. His wife Lola (Shirley Booth) was a college fling; she got pregnant, but lost the baby after they married. Predictably, he is still somewhat good-looking despite the booze, but she has let herself go, and is somewhat childish. Lola measures herself by her failure to interest him, and sublimates her disappointment with her life in annoying monologues about a lost dog (the titular Sheba). Delaney blames her for ruining his career. Added to this grim mix is an attractive young student who boards with them (Terry Moore) and becomes a surrogate child, inspiring conflicting feelings of protectiveness and jealousy in Delaney.

Continue reading: Come Back, Little Sheba Review

Starman Review


Very Good
Jeff Bridges plays a language-challenged alien who crash lands on earth in one of John Carpenter's best films -- not that that's saying much. While he drags Karen Allen (whose dead husband he has taken the form of) along on his quest to get back into space (because he can't drive, he needs the girl) while the feds try to hunt him down. What follows is one wacky road trip... but will he make it? In my book, you never bet against the alien (unless, of course, he's a bad alien).
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