And what jokes they are! The very American Robert Morse stars as a British visitor to L.A., a wannabe poet who gets caught up in the machinations of a cemetary owner (Jonathan Winters) and his top mortician (Rod Steiger in the role of a lifetime). It's more cult than cemetary, and Morse soon becomes enchanted with one the cemetary's guide/beautician/chanteuse (a dippy Anajette Comer). The film haphazardly careens from subplot to subplot, eventually settling into a set piece about a kid obsessed with rockets, which Winters sees as the solution to the problem of running out of space for "loved ones" in the cemetary (aka corpses).
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That's not to say that Steiger couldn't impart meaning in other ways, and it's a testimony to his abilities that, overdubbed in Italian in Francesco Rosi's 1963 political melodrama Hands over the City, he suffers no noticeable decline in emotive power. (Steiger appeared in films shot in French, German, and Magyar as well.) Playing a ruthless Neapolitan land developer named Edoardo Notolla, Steiger loses the inflection but gains an impressive physicality: He matches the most authentically Italian cast members for gestural speech and his attack-dog demeanor tells you that you oppose him at your own physical and political risk.
Continue reading: Hands Over The City Review
If you want the real biopic on Muhammad Ali, look no further than Muhammad Ali - Through the Eyes of the World, a fascinating new documentary that gives a deep and rich overview of the champ's life, while still imbuing it with plenty of star power.
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Jeff Saumier stars as Jimmy Albright, the titular kid who wants to box despite the protests of his father. Eventually he decides to train with the grumpy Harry Sloan (Rod Steiger, scary as always) on the sly. There's heartache and subterfuge -- but do you think little Jimmy will eventually face off against his nemesis in the ring anyway? And who do you think will win?
Continue reading: The Kid (1997) Review
If you know the basic plot of End of Days ("Satan visits New York in search of a bride") the question you'll be asking isn't, "Is this a bad movie?" Rather, it will probably be, "How bad can it be?"
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