Movie Review New Articles
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John WilliamsIn Brief: Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955) stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (yes, this is where the famous fireworks kissing scene comes from) in one of the master's lighter and most pleasant 1950s films. The film is nothing more than a romantic suspenser soufflé of the kind that Hitchcock was rightly famous for. OK, despite some location work, the film does suffer from some of the most obvious rear screen and process work of Hitch's career, but with Cary Grant as a retired jewel thief trying to prove he really is retired to the police — with time out for romancing Grace Kelly, it doesn't matter much.
Director: Adam Leon
Starring: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoë LescazeThe Story: Two small-time graffiti artists concoct a plan to tag the large, mechanized apple at the Mets’ Citi Field, but must scrounge up $500 to make it happen. The Lowdown: A small, natural-feeling indie flick with a ton of heart.
Director: Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla FisherThe Story: Film version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. The Lowdown: A big, daring, audacious interpretation of the novel that brings it to life in ways you probably never dreamed possible. It's every inch a Baz Luhrmann film, so that will probably tell you a lot. You may not like it, but I'm calling it a must-see. Truly visionary filmmaking is so rare.
Genre: Historical Drama
Director: Pablo Larraín (Post Mortem)
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Luis Gnecco, Néstor Cantillana, Antonia ZegersThe Story: Fact-based drama about the campaign to overthrow Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet at the ballot box — and the marketing campaign that made it happen. The Lowdown: Funny, suspenseful, compelling entertainment that may only tell part of its historical story, but does so brilliantly.
Director: Tina Gordon Chism
Starring: Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler James WilliamsThe Story: A working-class guy meets his girlfriend's upper-class family. Predicability ensues. The Lowdown: An energetic cast can do little to elevate this by-the-numbers, flat comedy that plays like a sitcom.
Director: Doug Schultz
Starring: Bebe Neuwirth (voice)In Brief: Since the closing film of the Asheville Film Festival was not available for review, these comments are merely drawn from the film's press notes: "Defiant Requiem tells the little-known story of the Nazi concentration camp, Terezin. Led by imprisoned conductor Rafael Schächter, the inmates of Terezin fought back...with art and music. Through hunger, disease and slave labor, the Jewish inmates of Terezin hold on to their humanity by staging plays, composing opera and using paper and ink to record the horrors around them. This creative rebellion reaches its peak when Schächter teaches a choir of 150 inmates one of the world's most difficult and powerful choral works, Verdi's 'Requiem,' re-imagined as a condemnation of the Nazis. The choir would ultimately confront the Nazis face to face."
Genre: Musical Comedy
Director: Thornton Freeland (Flying Down to Rio)
Starring: Eddie Cantor, Ethel Shutta, Paul Gregory, Eleanor Hunt, George Olsen and His MusicIn Brief: Like a wonderful time capsule, Whoopee! offers us a glimpse into a world that hasn't existed for a very long time: the 1920s Broadway theater. Almost no one who was a part of that world is still with us, and even those who might have seen such a show are seriously diminished in number. Yet at the flick of a switch, Whoopee! — starring the legendary Eddie Cantor and the should-be-legendary Ethel Shutta — has the power to take us back to that world in all its antique charm. Whatever it lacks in cinematic style, it more than makes up for in its energetic, appealing cast, bright tunes and sheer good-natured nonsense.
Director: Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns)
Starring: Walter Matthau, Ossie Davis, Amy Irving, Martha Plimpton, Craig T. NelsonIn Brief: Playwright and sometimes filmmaker Herb Gardner brings his play I'm Not Rappaport to the screen with Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis in the leads. The first hour of its rather too expansive running time is very good indeed, if not especially great filmmaking. Matthau and Davis make an appealing pair of old men — not exactly friends, but who else is around? — whiling away their time in Central Park, each with his own problems. The dialogue — while sounding like dialogue — is good and penetrating. Then we get to what amounts to the second act and the film's desire to evolve into a more elaborate drama bogs things down pretty fast. It remains easily watchable, but it turns into less by trying to be more.
Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy-Drama
Director: Chris Marker / John Hellberg
Starring: Davos Hanich, Hélène Chatelain, Jacques Ledoux / Stepháne Bertola, Gunnar Ernblad, Marienette DahlinIn Brief: Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962) has been shown by World Cinema before, so the real story here is the screening of this year's winner for Best Short Film at Twin Rivers Media Festival, John Hellberg's Mousse. This is a charming and quirky, fairly long (40 minutes) short that details a robbery gone wrong in ways that can scarcely be imagined. It's all about what happens when a Frenchman named Mousse holds up a Swedish betting parlor on the biggest racing day of the year. He also happens upon the most conspicuously odd hostages he could hope for, an incredibly geriatric police force and a compatriot so drunk that he might be dead. Clever, amusing, well-made and more than a little surprising.
Genre: Horror Mystery
Director: Harold Young (The Mummy's Tomb) / William Nigh (Black Dragons)
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone / Bela Lugosi, Wallace Ford, Arline JudgeIn Brief: It's finally the makeup showing of the canceled The Frozen Ghost (1945) starring Lon Chaney, Jr. in one of his better Inner Sanctum mysteries. This time it's paired with the full-tilt nonsense of the delightfully silly Mysterious Mr. Wong starring Bela Lugosi in the title role, Mr. Wong — a criminal mastermind matching wits against wisecracking reporter Wallace Ford (professional wisecracking reporter portrayer). It rarely makes good sense and even feels like a serial stuffed into a 60-minute movie, but it provides no end of bizarre entertainment with the most anticlimactic ending ever.
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