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Cool Hand Luke Review


Excellent
A half-dozen months after its 40th anniversary and just over a year after it's star's for-real-this-time retirement from acting, Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke still stands as the quintessential cool movie, despite its reality. That is to say: The lines and the character have survived the film's oft-forgotten actual message.

I surmise that summary is an act of redundancy but let's do it one more time for the cheap seats. The man is introduced as Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman), a Vietnam vet who takes to cutting heads off parking meters while on a bender. Sent to a hotter-than-a-smokehouse prison camp in the south (it was mainly shot near and around San Joaquin and Stockton, California), Lucas has the smirk of a troublemaker but doesn't show his hand til a solid 30 minutes in. It's a boxing match between Luke and alpha-con Dragline (the great George Kennedy) that queues up the prisoners, the guards, and the Captain (Strother Martin, pure menace), proving that Luke may be the true pied piper of the prison camp. Even with his drunken mother, a role originally offered to Bette Davis that eventually went to Jo Van Fleet, the con's cocky grin cannot be dissuaded.

Continue reading: Cool Hand Luke Review

Cool Hand Luke Review


Excellent
A half-dozen months after its 40th anniversary and just over a year after it's star's for-real-this-time retirement from acting, Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke still stands as the quintessential cool movie, despite its reality. That is to say: The lines and the character have survived the film's oft-forgotten actual message.

I surmise that summary is an act of redundancy but let's do it one more time for the cheap seats. The man is introduced as Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman), a Vietnam vet who takes to cutting heads off parking meters while on a bender. Sent to a hotter-than-a-smokehouse prison camp in the south (it was mainly shot near and around San Joaquin and Stockton, California), Lucas has the smirk of a troublemaker but doesn't show his hand til a solid 30 minutes in. It's a boxing match between Luke and alpha-con Dragline (the great George Kennedy) that queues up the prisoners, the guards, and the Captain (Strother Martin, pure menace), proving that Luke may be the true pied piper of the prison camp. Even with his drunken mother, a role originally offered to Bette Davis that eventually went to Jo Van Fleet, the con's cocky grin cannot be dissuaded.

Continue reading: Cool Hand Luke Review

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Review


Essential
Calling Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid a great Western is like calling Dom Perignon a really great bottle of grape juice. Yeah, that's correct, but you're missing the point entirely.

Butch and Sundance is more than a Western: It's an iconic, American experience, a classic adventure tale, and a singular slice of late-'60s moviemaking that has never really been repeated. The story is a surprisingly, "mostly" accurate tale of two of history's best-known outlaws. The film comprises two major sequences: First, the duo robs a series of trains on the frontier, then spends a lengthy amount of time on the run from the hired guns the railroad is paying to hunt them down. The heat gets so severe that it leads them to the second sequence: Self-imposed exile to dingy Bolivia, where they rob banks instead, only to have the federales try to hunt them down. The final moments of the film are unforgettable.

Continue reading: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Review

Slap Shot Review


Good
What's all the fuss about? Canadians, hockey enthusiasts, and especially Canadian hockey enthusiasts absolutely love this movie, but it's hardly the comic masterpiece it's made out to be. Sure, there's plenty of ranuchy one-liners, filthy language (almost shocking coming out of Paul Newman's mouth), and male moonings, but the most amusing tidbit is that is was actually written by a woman. Go figure.

True Grit Review


Excellent
A western classic. When a young girl's (Kim Darby) father is killed, she recruits old, one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) and joins up with a Texas Ranger (musician Glen Campbell) to hunt him down and kill him. Darby is a spunky actress, and though she can't quite carry the emotional needs of the role, Wayne's Cogburn is one of the highlights of his career. Exciting and soul-searching, the film drags a bit in the middle, but if you're looking for the archetypal western, look no further.

Up In Smoke Review


OK
Cinema's most notorious stoners star in their first, most notorious screen roles. Up in Smoke is the world's most revered -- and most idiotic -- drug movie, a road trip in search of the ultimate high, with Johnny Law on our heroes' tail all the way. Meanwhile, it's non-stop sex, drugs, rock & roll, and drugs. Did I mention drugs? Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong managed to milk this shtick for eight years before they sobered up... with varying degrees of success.

Continue reading: Up In Smoke Review

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