Claire Bloom

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Claire Bloom, Colin Firth and Guy Pearce - Tom Hooper, Claire Bloom, Colin Firth and Guy Pearce Thursday 13th January 2011 at Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Los Angeles, California

Claire Bloom, Colin Firth and Guy Pearce
Claire Bloom, Colin Firth and Guy Pearce
Claire Bloom, Colin Firth and Guy Pearce

The Illustrated Man Review


Weak
"Don't dare stare at the illustrated man!" warns the poster for this Ray Bradbury-inspired sci-fi film. Indeed, don't stare. You'll probably fall asleep. This collection of vignettes culled from Bradbury's collection of short stories (including "The Veldt," unavoidable in American high school), each beginning with a tattoo on an inexplicably (and agrily) tattooed individual, the stories are unfortunately very protracted and poorly produced; the tattoo narrative used to tie them all together is equally sleepy.

Richard III Review


Good
Laurence Olivier's Richard III is one of the stagiest versions of Shakespeare you'll find on film, and it's also his least faithful work, chopping and editing the Bard's play willy-nilly. I'm no Shakespeare expert, but even I can spot the hatchet work here. (For the uninitated, Richard III follows the waning days of the War of the Roses, with Richard III (Olivier) taking on big brother Edward (Cedric Hardwicke) in a bid for the throne. Deception, murder, and betrayal rule the day until the outcome is decided.)

The undortunate side effect of the faithfulness is that Richard III has a real Masterpiece Theatre quality that you just can't shake. Olivier plops the camera down at one end of the room and lets scenes take place in wide shots, unmolested. Long scenes are certainly forgivable, but the end result is that this rendition of the story looks far more like a play than a movie. It isn't until the second half of the film when we really get out of the castle, and thank God we do. But unfortunately, even these scenes aren't exactly thrill rides. The landscapes chosen are barren and void of majesty. Sword fights are genteel affairs with no distinguishable choreography. Why ride an army out to battle if you're not going to use them?

Continue reading: Richard III Review

Kalamazoo? Review


Weak
It's hard not to like the feel-good nature of Kalamazoo?, a comedy-drama about three girlfriends who return for their 10-year high school reunion. It's a comforting movie, one that lets you know that it's OK to be in your late 20s, have no clue as to who you are, and still change course.

I wish I could say it's a good movie, but an unspeakably lame concept pretty much grounds any hope of that. As the three friends visit and ultimately discover their limitations -- represented by the revealing of the school's time capsule, which holds everyone's then-future hopes -- the women are escorted by the spirits of their dead grandmothers (played by the motley crew of Chita Rivera, Renée Taylor, and Claire Bloom). Yes, you've read correctly. It's an unnecessary idea, stealing time away from the three friends' personal struggles, which is really the meat of the story. Seriously, if you took the grandmother subplot out, what would you lose?

Continue reading: Kalamazoo? Review

The Illustrated Man Review


Weak
"Don't dare stare at the illustrated man!" warns the poster for this Ray Bradbury-inspired sci-fi film. Indeed, don't stare. You'll probably fall asleep. This collection of vignettes culled from Bradbury's collection of short stories (including "The Veldt," unavoidable in American high school), each beginning with a tattoo on an inexplicably (and agrily) tattooed individual, the stories are unfortunately very protracted and poorly produced; the tattoo narrative used to tie them all together is equally sleepy.

Richard III Review


Good
Laurence Olivier's Richard III is one of the stagiest versions of Shakespeare you'll find on film, and it's also his least faithful work, chopping and editing the Bard's play willy-nilly. I'm no Shakespeare expert, but even I can spot the hatchet work here. (For the uninitated, Richard III follows the waning days of the War of the Roses, with Richard III (Olivier) taking on big brother Edward (Cedric Hardwicke) in a bid for the throne. Deception, murder, and betrayal rule the day until the outcome is decided.)

The undortunate side effect of the faithfulness is that Richard III has a real Masterpiece Theatre quality that you just can't shake. Olivier plops the camera down at one end of the room and lets scenes take place in wide shots, unmolested. Long scenes are certainly forgivable, but the end result is that this rendition of the story looks far more like a play than a movie. It isn't until the second half of the film when we really get out of the castle, and thank God we do. But unfortunately, even these scenes aren't exactly thrill rides. The landscapes chosen are barren and void of majesty. Sword fights are genteel affairs with no distinguishable choreography. Why ride an army out to battle if you're not going to use them?

Continue reading: Richard III Review

Alexander The Great Review


Weak
God help Oliver Stone if his upcoming Alexander is really a remake of 1956's Alexander the Great, as this film's press notes state.

Put simply, Alexander the Great is a colossal bore. Directed by Robert Rossen (The Hustler, All the King's Men), this visit to the epic well comes off far worse than contemporaries Ben-Hur and Cleopatra. What's the problem? Well, the troubles are legion. Start with Richard Burton, engaging here in the lead role of the philosopher/warrior/conquerer, but given a series of brooding sermons to deliver for well over two hours. Burton doesn't carry the movie as he absolutely has to; the result is an experience not unlike attending a late night lecture. Then there's the warfare. Those of us spoiled on modern epics like Troy will find the playful skirmishes here on the laughable side. Sure, you can stage a battle with just a couple hundred men and no special effects if you shoot it carefully, but if your warriors look tired and on the verge of striking, you won't quite get the necessary effect. My little brother and I had more authentic swordfights when we were kids, using sticks in the backyard. Pretty sad considering Alexander conquered Europe and Asia.

Continue reading: Alexander The Great Review

Wrestling With Alligators Review


Bad
Not to be confused with Swimming with Sharks.

Frankly, I saw this movie an hour ago and I've already forgotten the plot. Oh yeah, looking it up reveals that this was a movie about a runaway girl (Palladino), who in 1959 finds her life in tumult. Her roommate (Richardson) struggles with an unintended pregnancy. Landlady (Bloom, in a frightening return to the screen) is a faded and eccentric screen star. Audience struggles to maintain consciousness.

Continue reading: Wrestling With Alligators Review

The Haunting (1963) Review


OK
Yeah, it's really rated G. Not particularly scary (anymore), this "bloodless" horror film is all in your head. Julie Harris disappoints as the nutty Eleanor, who screams and squeals a lot when she figures a haunted house is out to get her. Frankly, it put me to sleep -- and Harris's constant, nagging voice over makes you want to tape your ears shut.

Crimes And Misdemeanors Review


Essential
After Annie Hall, this is categorically Woody Allen's best film. A great ensemble production, Allen's primary tack follows a successful opthamologist (Martin Landau, perfectly cast), who reluctantly decides to murder his mistress when she threatens to blow the whistle to his wife. A parallel story follows a putz documentarian (Allen), who is roped into making a documentary about a boorish sitcom producer (Alan Alda). In the end, everybody loses, but Allen's neurotic outlook on life has never been presented with more clarity.

Charly Review


OK
This adaptation of Daniel Keyes' sci-fi novel Flowers for Algernon is slow and very dated, but manages to pull itself together for a fairly powerful ending. Keyes's book took a rather silly premise -- a mentally handicapped adult, Charly Gordon (Cliff Robertson), undergoes an experimental operation to reverse his disability and give him supernormal intelligence -- and created a disturbing psychological study and a complex portrait of mental disability.

The plot is somewhat predictable, but it's what you do with it along the way that counts. Keyes did a lot. Unfortunately, the film version (renamed Charly) doesn't do much beyond the obvious. As Charly gains intelligence, we're supposed to see the world develop through his eyes, but mostly we just see him studying and having boring conversations with love interest Claire Bloom. Robertson won an Oscar for the role, but his portrayal of the mentally disabled Charly seems crude by today's standards and inconsistent in tone - at times he's suspiciously aware, other times unrealistically slow. Robertson does better with Charly the genius, but this part of the film doesn't last that long and feels like an Outer Limits episode, with Robertson talking about the dehumanizing future and walking around in a lab coat narrating silly "scientific" dialogue.

Continue reading: Charly Review

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Kalamazoo? Movie Review

Kalamazoo? Movie Review

It's hard not to like the feel-good nature of Kalamazoo?, a comedy-drama about three girlfriends...

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