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Rango Review


Good
Inventive visuals and lively voice cast lift this finely animated film above the fray. So it's a shame that the story feels both random and predictable. It also uses 40-year-old references that younger viewers won't get.

When a pet chameleon (voiced by Depp) is lost in the desert, he wanders into Dirt, a parched Wild West town populated by scruffy, attitude-filled vermin. He immediately reinvents himself as the heroic Rango, and as sheriff promises to restore the missing water supply. He proves his mettle by squaring off against a vicious hawk, but the slippery tortoise Mayor (Beatty), a family of sneaky moles and a vicious rattlesnake (Nighy) will require more effort. As will his developing romance with feisty girl-lizard Bean (Fisher).

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Rango Trailer


Rango is a chameleon who isn't particularly content living the life of the general chameleon, he sees himself as more of a hero figure, striving to protect those who need him; but when he finds himself in a western town called Dirt, Rango must start playing the role he's always dreamt of fulfilling, but once he's faced by bandits will he be able to keep up the charade?

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The Open Road Trailer


Watch the trailer for The Open Road

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Wise Blood Review


Excellent
John Huston's Wise Blood isn't bold-faced Americana. Rather, it is an alien planet of such thick perversity and everyday grotesqueries that one has to take pause and consider how close Mr. Huston's dystopia is to the American South. It is adapted from the fine first novel by Flannery O'Conner of the same name and it is the only time an American director has successfully translated the late O'Conner's haunting prose. Completed in 1979, it is also perhaps the most ballistic of Huston's late-period films.

Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif in a brilliant, physical performance, is a character John Huston would have had to create if O'Conner hadn't already written him. Aggressive and hissing like an angry cobra, Motes slithers his way into town from a stint in the army and begins yelling about a "Church Without Christ" that he will begin. He finds a believer in the young, brainless Enoch Emory (Dan Shor) who tells Hazel about the "wise blood" in his veins that tells him things no one else can hear.

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Cool Hand Luke Review


Excellent
A half-dozen months after its 40th anniversary and just over a year after it's star's for-real-this-time retirement from acting, Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke still stands as the quintessential cool movie, despite its reality. That is to say: The lines and the character have survived the film's oft-forgotten actual message.

I surmise that summary is an act of redundancy but let's do it one more time for the cheap seats. The man is introduced as Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman), a Vietnam vet who takes to cutting heads off parking meters while on a bender. Sent to a hotter-than-a-smokehouse prison camp in the south (it was mainly shot near and around San Joaquin and Stockton, California), Lucas has the smirk of a troublemaker but doesn't show his hand til a solid 30 minutes in. It's a boxing match between Luke and alpha-con Dragline (the great George Kennedy) that queues up the prisoners, the guards, and the Captain (Strother Martin, pure menace), proving that Luke may be the true pied piper of the prison camp. Even with his drunken mother, a role originally offered to Bette Davis that eventually went to Jo Van Fleet, the con's cocky grin cannot be dissuaded.

Continue reading: Cool Hand Luke Review

Cool Hand Luke Review


Excellent
A half-dozen months after its 40th anniversary and just over a year after it's star's for-real-this-time retirement from acting, Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke still stands as the quintessential cool movie, despite its reality. That is to say: The lines and the character have survived the film's oft-forgotten actual message.

I surmise that summary is an act of redundancy but let's do it one more time for the cheap seats. The man is introduced as Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman), a Vietnam vet who takes to cutting heads off parking meters while on a bender. Sent to a hotter-than-a-smokehouse prison camp in the south (it was mainly shot near and around San Joaquin and Stockton, California), Lucas has the smirk of a troublemaker but doesn't show his hand til a solid 30 minutes in. It's a boxing match between Luke and alpha-con Dragline (the great George Kennedy) that queues up the prisoners, the guards, and the Captain (Strother Martin, pure menace), proving that Luke may be the true pied piper of the prison camp. Even with his drunken mother, a role originally offered to Bette Davis that eventually went to Jo Van Fleet, the con's cocky grin cannot be dissuaded.

Continue reading: Cool Hand Luke Review

Paris, Texas Review


Extraordinary
There is a mysticism that enshrouds Paris. The grand cityscape of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe situated on the River Seine gives the city of lights its romanticism. But in Paris, Texas, there is only a desolate plot of land that holds the dreams of Travis Henderson. And though the earth is scorched and he has never seen the lot, except in a picture he carries with him, it is no less important. It's this dichotomy between the universal, romantic reminiscence of Paris, France, and Travis' Paris that drives him to reconnect with his 10-year-old son and estranged girlfriend.

Wim Wender's film opens with Travis wandering in a Texas desert. Lost for four years, Travis' brother, Walt, travels to Texas to claim him and takes him back to Los Angeles where Walt lives with his wife and Travis' son. Given Travis' absence, his son has all but forgotten about him -- causing Travis to clean up his act and get his life back in order. Given that Travis doesn't say a word for the first 20 minutes of the film, it's a little bizarre when the film focuses solely on him in the second and third acts -- turning a blind eye to Walt and his wife, who have been moving the story along for the first half.

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Harry Dean Stanton Tuesday 12th June 2007 World Premiere of '1408' held at The National Theatre - Arrivals Westwood, California

Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton

The Wendell Baker Story Review


Weak
Oh, the world is one sweet nectarine to the boys in the frat pack. While Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell owned the summer with Wedding Crashers, Owen Wilson was filming You, Me and Dupree with Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon (hit!) and Vince Vaughn was filming The Break-Up with Jennifer Aniston (again: hit!). While all this was happening, the group's indelible straight man, Luke Wilson, was busy peddling around his writing/co-directing/acting venture, The Wendell Baker Story. Even though 3 members of the frat pack make appearances in the film, there's something not quite "fratty" about The Wendell Baker Story.

Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) has charm oozing from his pores but can't do much more than make friends with it. He makes fake IDs with his friend, Reyes (Jacob Vargas), for illegal aliens that just jumped the fence. Wendell also has a woman who loves him, but of course, he can't tell her he loves her back. That girl is Doreen (Eva Mendes), who runs into the arms of a grocery store owner (Ferrell) when Wendell gets sent away. When he returns, settled on getting his life straight and winning Doreen back. He is set up to work in an old folk's home, ample for his dreams of owning his own hotel one day. Trouble comes when he uncovers a scheme to fake old people's death and actually send them away to be slaves at a small farm house, owned by the mother of Neil King (Owen Wilson), the head nurse and a supreme sleaze bag. With the help of three wily retirees (Seymour Cassel, Harry Dean Stanton, and Kris Kristofferson), Wendell plans to win back the girl and uncover the scheme.

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The Green Mile Review


Excellent
The Green Mile? Let's talk about 26 miles. The length of a marathon. Start the race and the movie together: The race would long be over before the film. The winner would be at home, taking a nap. Yes, The Green Mile is three hours long.

Not that long movies have never been successful, and not that The Green Mile is bad. You might even think a long movie is required here. Pulled from Stephen King's acclaimed series of six books by the same name, King returns to the kind of work he was doing in The Shawshank Redemption (based on a short story of his), the kind that seems to perform the best, away from splatter and gore, and into the minds of the strangest of characters.

Continue reading: The Green Mile Review

Pretty In Pink Review


Excellent
The youth of today -- the kids just entering their teens -- will they regard Molly Ringwald as a teen dramedy princess, or will she be known as a B-list queen of cheesecake horror films?

Pretty in Pink stands out as the perennial ladies' favorite from the Brat Pack era, with Ringwald turning in an unforgettable role (and role model) as a poor girl named Andie who takes care of dad (Harry Dead Stanton playing a stereotypical drunk), makes great grades (and her own clothes), all while finding herself pursued by no fewer than three guys. The real competition comes down to a war between the rich kid (Andrew McCarthy) and Andie's fellow poor-boy (Jon Cryer, whose wannabe hipster "Duckie" has become a legend of the era).

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Big Love: Season One Review


Very Good
In its first season, Big Love was often summarily referred to as "the polygamy show." True enough, but as with many of HBO's finer offerings, it offers more than meets the eye. And the expectations. While Big Love doesn't deliver the consistency or tension many HBO fans enjoy in The Sopranos, there's enough in this bizarre drama to support a solid DVD-viewing addiction.

From the first notes of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" ringing under an otherworldly opening credit sequence, Big Love hints at a combination of somber connection and sincere personal adoration. At the center is Bill Henrickson (Bill Pullman), an ambitious home superstore owner who lives a clean, Utah Mormon life... along with his three wives and gaggle of kids.

Continue reading: Big Love: Season One Review

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Review


OK
You can almost plot David Lynch's lunacy on a graph. From perfect form in 1990, with the original Twin Peaks TV show, to borderline schizophrenia with the second season in 1991, to absolute lunacy in 1992, with the prequel movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

Filled with non-sequitur imagery and symbolism, Fire ostensibly tells how Laura Palmer came to be wrapped in that sheet of plastic which so fatefully washed ashore in the first episode of the TV series. But Fire doesn't really tell any story at all. There are scenes of exposition, but these are sandwiched between the endless dream sequences, the lunatic characters (like the woman in red and the one-armed man) who appear and vanish just as suddenly, and bonus raunch added just for the purpose of titillating the audience.

Continue reading: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Review

She's So Lovely Review


Weak
Nick Cassavetes, working from his father's script, practically remakes his father's film A Woman Under the Influence, with even less charm that the original. For starters, the film makes practically no sense at all. "She" in this movie, is Robin Wright, who is made to look as un-lovely as you can imagine and with a phony accent so bad as to drive you to the bottle. Her man is Sean Penn, a wacked-out, two-bit lowlife, with whom she is inexplicably involved... until one day, when he snaps, sending him to the loony bin for 10 years. Wright, meet Travolta, who get married and have kids, until our buddy Sean gets out of the mental ward, gets a dumb haircut, and steals his lady away from her suburban family.

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Alien Review


Excellent
The good news: Sigourney Weaver's famous underwear shot, which probably launched millions of now middle-aged men straight into puberty and beyond, has survived Ridley Scott's keen eye in his digitally remastered 2003 director's cut of Alien.

As for the bad news, well, there really isn't any. Alien, first released in 1979 and in theaters right now, has stood the test of time remarkably well. The beautiful and ballsy Weaver is a heroine for all seasons, the movie is suspenseful in all the right spots and it plays beautifully on the big screen with big sound.

Continue reading: Alien Review

Escape From New York Review


Excellent
The idea of Manhattan being transformed into a maximum security prison isn't much of a stretch. Many New Yorkers already feel as though they're in jail every day, surrounded by monolithic skyscraper walls. John Carpenter imaginatively stretched that premise in his cult classic, Escape from New York. In his alternate version of 1997, the Big Apple is a cityscape jail. The rules are simple. Once the inmates are shipped in, they don't get out. The bridges are mined. The waterways are watched over by sweeping helicopters. The police force, like an army, is encamped on Liberty Island and the outer boroughs.

That's exciting enough, but Carpenter also calculates in a ticking time bomb narrative device. Air Force One is hijacked by some socialist radicals who crash-land the plane into the heart of "this inhuman dungeon of [an] imperialist prison." The President (Donald Pleasence) manages to escape in a safety pod, only to be captured by none other than the leader of a ferocious band of gypsies who control the island, the self-proclaimed Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes).

Continue reading: Escape From New York Review

The Green Mile Review


Excellent
The Green Mile? Let's talk about 26 miles. The length of a marathon. Start the race and the movie together: The race would long be over before the film. The winner would be at home, taking a nap. Yes, The Green Mile is three hours long.

Not that long movies have never been successful, and not that The Green Mile is bad. You might even think a long movie is required here. Pulled from Stephen King's acclaimed series of six books by the same name, King returns to the kind of work he was doing in The Shawshank Redemption (based on a short story of his), the kind that seems to perform the best, away from splatter and gore, and into the minds of the strangest of characters.

Continue reading: The Green Mile Review

Repo Man Review


Excellent
Repo Man is 20 years old now, and time's given it the look feel of a documentary. Not because it's factually accurate about anything - this is a movie about a space alien glowing in the trunk of an elderly Malibu, after all. But it has an earnest feel for its particular place (underclass L.A.), time (early '80s), and subculture (punk-rock underground) that gives it an aura of truth. Willfully absurd and rich with ironic joking, it was released by Universal but had a spirited indie feel that even most indie films a decade later couldn't match. L.A. punk's moment as a defining part of youth culture is long past, but wherever you see young snotbags and anti-authoritarian pranking today on film and TV, you can bet somebody working on the script was cribbing from Repo Man.

In one of his first leading roles, Emelio Estevez plays Otto, a young punker who's found himself stuck in a dead-end spiral: A cheating girlfriend, zombified parents who live under the hypnotic spell of a televangelist, and crummy job at a supermarket where his best friend is the geeky Kevin (Zander Schloss), who's a sort of proto-Napoleon Dynamite. Lured in by Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a dissipated, disjointed, and cranked-up repo man, Otto begins a new life freeing cars from delinquent owners. Nobody in the repo shop is particularly likeable, but they have the benefit of non-mainstream quirkiness, particularly Miller (Tracy Walter), a half-homeless hanger-on who expounds on a variety of deep matters: John Wayne's sexual proclivities, the ubiquity of tree-shaped air fresheners, and the synchronicities of everyday life.

Continue reading: Repo Man Review

The Pledge Review


Excellent
An early note to parents with young, blonde daughters: Think twice about seeing The Pledge, and if you must go -- if you're eager to see Jack Nicholson give one of his best cinematic performances ever -- then take a Valium before entering the theater and practice saying, "This won't happen to my family! This won't happen to my family!"

From the opening shot, where we see the top of Nicholson's half-bald, hair-transplanted head, The Pledge is an exercise in stomaching an ugly truth. Body parts, pony-tailed girls splotched with blood and bruises -- this isn't a film about happy endings and human triumph. Suspected sex perverts lurk down every road in The Pledge, causing Nicholson's character, a retired homicide detective, so much angst that he becomes his own worst enemy.

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The Man Who Cried Review


Good
Even the title smacks of pretense, reminiscent of The Flower that Drank the Moon, that fictional bit of art house tripe overheard in Ghost World. But from Sally Potter, who proved so very self-obsessed in The Tango Lesson, returns again to her roots, this time studying her fascination with Russian and girls who sing. Christina Ricci takes center stage as the virtually silent Suzie, a Russian Jew sent to England and then Paris on the eve of WWII, but her brooding inactivity may simply be of too little interest to all but the most devoted fans of her, Johnny Depp (equally silent when not crying), and classic opera -- which plays throughout the movie.

Sonny Review


OK
He's a gigolo. She's a call girl. Together they're a pair of super-heroes that galavant around 1981 New Orleans. OK, everything but that super-hero part is true about Nicolas Cage's directorial debut, which gives us James Dean lookalike James Franco trying to change his ways and get a "normal" job, only to find out normal ain't all it's cracked up to be. Back to the housewives with ya, and now that Cage has the vanity project out of his system, he can go back to making more movies with Spike Jonze.
Harry Dean Stanton

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Harry Dean Stanton Movies

The Last Stand Movie Review

The Last Stand Movie Review

Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The...

This Must Be The Place Trailer

This Must Be The Place Trailer

Cheyenne is a soft-spoken, retired rockstar still wearing make-up and hairspray whilst living in Dublin...

The Last Stand Trailer

The Last Stand Trailer

Ray Owens is a police sheriff whose major crime fighting days are all but over...

This Must be the Place Movie Review

This Must be the Place Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Sorrentino creates a Jim Jarmusch-style odyssey from Ireland to America and back. Witty...

Rango Movie Review

Rango Movie Review

Inventive visuals and lively voice cast lift this finely animated film above the fray. So...

Rango Trailer

Rango Trailer

Rango is a chameleon who isn't particularly content living the life of the general chameleon,...

The Open Road Trailer

The Open Road Trailer

Watch the trailer for The Open Road Carlton Garrett is the son of baseball legend...

The Green Mile Movie Review

The Green Mile Movie Review

The Green Mile? Let's talk about 26 miles. The length of a marathon....

Pretty in Pink Movie Review

Pretty in Pink Movie Review

The youth of today -- the kids just entering their teens -- will they regard...

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