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The Eiger Sanction Review


Excellent
Before there was Cliffhanger, there was The Eiger Sanction, a thrill ride of a movie that largely takes place on an icy mountaintop. The mountaineering is almost beside the point: Eiger's most curious aspect is its setup, which offers Clint Eastwood as a haughty art history professor who finances his art collection by performing contract assassinations for a shadowy group. His final assignment takes him to Eiger mountain in the Swiss Alps, where he has to figure out who on his climbing team is the villain, then dispatch him. Eastwood is at his smarmy best, and a host of memorable supporting players round out the production amiably. Great fun.

The Duchess And The Dirtwater Fox Review


Bad
Tragically bad "western" -- in the sense that it takes place in the past and involves horses -- with George Segal(!) as a con man cowboy and Goldie Hawn(!!) as a bawdy and conniving showgirl. They hate each other but fall in love when a briefcase full of money comes into play. Rotten dialogue and totally derivative story, not to mention some of the worst acting seen this side of the Pecos.

Roots Review


Excellent
When you think of epic mini-series, what comes to mind? Rich Man, Poor Man? Shogun? More likely than not, it's Roots, the based-on-a-true story tale that spooled over 12 hours and six nights, the story of "an American family," albeit one that began captured in Africa in 1750, then sold into slavery in the U.S. colonies.

Roots begins with Kunta Kinte, emerging from childhood and undergoing warrior training in his tribal homeland. The slavers arrive soon enough, and after a harrowing three-month ride back across the Atlantic, Kunta is sold, becomes Toby under his new master, attempts repeated escapes, and eventually accepts his fate as he settles down with a wife and child. The Revolutionary War comes and goes, and Toby's daughter Kizzy is sold, becoming the mother of her new master's son, known as Chicken George. Chicken George in turn is sent to England to pay off a gambling debt. When he returns home after 14 years, he is a free man. The Civil War arrives, and the rest of the slaves are freed. Soon enough the family faces the perils of vehement racism and the KKK, and Chicken George finally leads his family to safety in a new settlement.

Continue reading: Roots Review

Savages Review


Good
Forget everything you know about Merchant-Ivory movies. Savages, their first American film, begins in the oddest way imaginable: Black and white footage shows us a group of primitive "mud people" participating in tribal rituals. A German voice-over presumably explains the action, documentary style. There are no subtitles. Suddenly, a croquet ball rolls into their midst. The mud people track where it came from and discover an abandoned British manor. They take up residence.

Overnight the film changes completely: Gone is the narrator and the documentary feel. Now the film is in color, and the mud people are no longer savages. They have miraculously evolved into proper ladies and gentlemen, complete with tuxedos, dinner parties, dancing, and plenty of gossip. The absurdity continues, just in a different way. Title cards appear willy-nilly, in various foreign languages. Parlor room conversations contain the kind of pseudo-intellectual nonsense you'd expect, only these statements are nonsense -- the characters saying them are all primitives!

Continue reading: Savages Review

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