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The Sting Review


Extraordinary
It's one of cinema's most beloved heist movies, and for good reason: The Sting is balls-out fun from start to finish, a showstopper work for both Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and alternately funny and thrilling.

The plot must have been devilishly complex at the time. In more recent years we've had films like House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner that make The Sting's intricacies look like a story in a first-grader's textbook. It's the Depression, and Johnny Hooker (Redford) makes a living running quickie cons on the street. When he scams several thousand dollars off of a mob guy, the heat comes down from both the mafiosos looking for their money and the crooked cops, culminating in Hooker's partner getting killed and Hooker escaping the city for hopefully better climes.

Continue reading: The Sting Review

The Sting Review


Extraordinary
It's one of cinema's most beloved heist movies, and for good reason: The Sting is balls-out fun from start to finish, a showstopper work for both Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and alternately funny and thrilling.

The plot must have been devilishly complex at the time. In more recent years we've had films like House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner that make The Sting's intricacies look like a story in a first-grader's textbook. It's the Depression, and Johnny Hooker (Redford) makes a living running quickie cons on the street. When he scams several thousand dollars off of a mob guy, the heat comes down from both the mafiosos looking for their money and the crooked cops, culminating in Hooker's partner getting killed and Hooker escaping the city for hopefully better climes.

Continue reading: The Sting Review

Shampoo Review


Good
Not to be confused with Hairspray, Shampoo is hardly a riot, but Warren Beatty's send-up of the sex comedy is worth a peek. The gag is that Beatty plays a Los Angeles hairdresser trying to manage his many, many women while attempting to raise funds to start his own salon. Oh, and it's 1968, on the even of Nixon's election as president, as the country made its sea change from permissiveness to, well, to whatever it was that Nixon stood for. (Adding insult to injury, the film came out right after Watergate.) Understandably, Shampoo is pretty hopeless in its datedness now. The jokes and characters are archetypes of America's most ridiculous era, which makes Shampoo serve better as a historical record than a timeless comedy.

Five Corners Review


Very Good
This curious indie will keep you guessing -- not because the plot is so complicated, but simply in trying to figure out who all these characters are and what they have to do with one another. At its core, the movie involves John Turturro as a just-outta-prison psycho and Jodie Foster as his once and future stalkee. Tim Robbins appears as her savior, while countless -- countless -- subplots swirl around them. Fun to watch, easy to forget soon after.

Less Than Zero Review


Terrible
I am probably one of about five people in the world who got this, but, in Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho there is a conversation that takes place in a video store relating to why the clerk should know who Jami Gertz is. Patrick Bateman mentions something about her being in a Diet Coke ad. Being an avid fan of Ellis, I know that American Psycho was written in about 1988. So, based on the fact that the adaptation of his 1985 novel Less Than Zero came out in 1987, I suppose he liked the film. I, on the other hand, did not.

I've seen better and I've seen worse, but, you know what, I think there are better ways to remember the 80s than watching Robert Downey Jr when he only acted like he was high, instead of actually being it. I know that the point of the book was to display the laisse-faire nihilism that is/was so characteristic of LA, and thus showing someone who played at being high and ended up being a regular customer of Betty Ford should be a touch of bittersweet irony, but its not.

Continue reading: Less Than Zero Review

Untamed Heart Review


OK
Christian Slater got the most cartoonish scar in motion picture history in this ultra-depressing melodrama about a flighty waitress with big dreams (Marisa Tomei) who falls for a nearly mute busboy with a bum heart (Slater). Between the rape, vengeance, medical trauma, and mindfucking, Untamed Heart is probably the worst date movie ever sold as a romance. Interesting for Tomei's performance... but watch it only if you're just too damn happy.

Hearts Of The West Review


Very Good
An Iowa farmboy (Jeff Bridges) heads to Hollywood -- not to become a movie star, but to "attend" a correspondence school for writers. Perennially unclear on the concept, he ends up in the movies anyway, playing a stuntman and cowboy in Western genre pictures while trying to make it as a writer of "western prose." Very, very strange and self-referential, a really unique piece of cinema, though it tends to bog down after the umpteenth scene exposes Bridges' bumpkin-ness.
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