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Michael / Silver Tongues

Two great films, if you can take them.


Drama

Rod Lott
My wife barely can stand — and sometimes refuses — to watch TV shows like The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm because they make her too nervous. Therefore, she would hate Michael and Silver Tongues, two new-to-DVD entries in discomfort cinema. I recommend them both, while acknowledging they are far from the easiest of watches.
 
Friday, July 27, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Of mess and men.


Drama

Rod Lott
Strangely, the biggest shock surrounding Best Laid Plans isn't that someone thought to redo John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in the world of underground mixed martial arts, but that it works as well as it does — or hell, that it works at all.
 
Friday, July 13, 2012

Black Limousine

A better ride than expected.


Drama

Rod Lott
Composer Jack McKenzie (David Arquette, Scream 4) is not at his best. His career has tanked due to sobriety issues stemming from an auto accident that killed one of his two children with his now ex-wife. To clear his mind and pay the bills, he takes a gig as a limo driver.
 
Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea

Rachel Weisz commits the vice of adultery in a drama so pedestrian-paced, it makes sex look boring.


Drama

Rod Lott
Don’t confuse last year’s drama The Deep Blue Sea with Deep Blue Sea, the 1999 action movie about sharks. Based on a stage play, this is the one that could use some sharks.
 
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Too Big to Fail

Why greed is not good.


Drama

Rod Lott
Whereas the 2010 documentary Inside Job gave a big-picture view at how Wall Street nearly eroded the American economy, the HBO telefilm Too Big to Fail dramatizes the behind-the-scenes dealings.
 
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Hunter

Catch a tiger by his Dafoe.


Drama

Rod Lott
Forgive the bland title; The Hunter stands tall as a terrific thriller from Down Under, arguably three-fourths excellent.
 
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bullhead

A drama with balls about a guy with none.


Drama

Rod Lott
One of this year's Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, the Belgian drama Bullhead does nothing to change the public perception that the category's entrants wear perpetual frowns. After all, its protagonist so clearly, so early, states his life's motto: "You're always fucked."
 
Thursday, June 28, 2012

New York Stories

One outta three ain’t bad, when that one is Scorsese.


Drama

Rod Lott
I have fond memories of seeing John Ritter in Blake Edwards’ 1989 sex comedy, Skin Deep, in theaters ... because right after it was over, two friends and I snuck into the movie we really wanted to see: another newcomer, New York Stories.
 
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crime Does Not Pay: The Complete Shorts Collection (1935-1947)

Look who broke out of obscurity jail.


Drama

Rod Lott
Coming presumably from the deepest, darkest, dankest corner of Warner Archives’ basement, right by the leaky pipe from which hangs an opossum about to give birth, comes a true obscurity: Crime Does Not Pay: The Complete Shorts Collection (1935-1947).
 
Monday, June 25, 2012

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

More 'Strange' behavior from Barbara Stanwyck.


Drama

Rod Lott
Barbara Stanwyck’s legacy enjoys the reputation of being in one of cinema's all-time greatest noir films, 1944's Double Indemnity. While not in the same league as that Billy Wilder classic, 1946's The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is worthy of a look-see, and not just to see her play another straight-up bitch. It's new on Blu and in HD from Film Chest.
 
Friday, June 22, 2012

Back from Eternity

And feels like it.


Drama

Rod Lott
It's fun to view Back from Eternity as an early, lower-wattage version of the Airport disaster franchise that ruled the 1970s. Actually, I take that back: It’s not fun at all. It’s a dour, depressing, overwrought melodrama as only old-school Hollywood could do.
 
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Perfect Family

Even if her movie does not, Kathleen Turner shines as a moralistic matriarch.


Drama

Rod Lott
The joke of The Perfect Family, of course, is that no such thing exists. Yet in the film, just as in real life, some people put on airs that suggest otherwise. The situation at the The joke of The Perfect Family, of course, is that no such thing exists. Yet in the film, just as in real life, some people put on airs that suggest otherwise. The situation at the heart of this dramedy is timely, if also a bit made-for-TV.
 
Friday, June 15, 2012

A Bag of Hammers

Comes close to nailing it.


Drama

Rod Lott
Its plot may stretch the boundaries of believability, but damn it, feature-debuting director Brian Crano nails the alternately comedic and dramatic tone of the appealing A Bag of Hammers.
 
Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lucky Devils

'Devils' made me do it.


Drama

Rod Lott
It's fun to compare Lucky Devils — a 1933 RKO Picture about stuntmen — to something more contemporary, like 1980's The Stunt Man or even last year's Drive. According to this fun flick, safety was like an afterthought, with the guys who were risking their lives getting the scene explained to them once, quickly and just before the director called, “Action!”
 
Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Necessary Death

Suicide isn’t painless.


Drama

Rod Lott
Gilbert Toma had an original, envelope-pushing idea for his film school thesis project: Document the final days of someone who has decided to end his or her life, including the actual act of suicide. One Craigslist ad seeking such a subject later, 142 tapes were shot, and the end result is A Necessary Death.
 
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
 
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