Tag Archives: Bruce Dern

Our Souls at Night

When two elderly neighbors (Robert Redford, Jane Fonda) begin to share a bed at night, simply to cure their loneliness, the arrangement doesn’t sit well with everybody in their lives… The director of The Lunchbox (2013) delivers another romantic drama for grownups, one that unites the two stars onscreen for the first time since 1979. … Continue reading Our Souls at Night

The Hateful Eight

NO ONE COMES UP HERE WITHOUT A DAMN GOOD REASON. After the Civil War, two bounty hunters (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell) and a prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) arrive at a stagecoach lodge during a blizzard in Wyoming where they are trapped with four strangers. The first movie to be shot in Ultra Panavision 70 … Continue reading The Hateful Eight

Django Unchained

LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF VENGEANCE. In 1858, a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) buys a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), and makes a deal with him: if Django helps him identify three wanted brothers, he’s a free man. With Quentin Tarantino, you know what you’re getting – this unashamedly blood-soaked, overlong spaghetti Western pays … Continue reading Django Unchained

Big Love: Utah Crime Family

Big Love was the little show that could. When the first episode aired immediately after the premiere of the sixth season of The Sopranos, it didn’t look like much. The first season was acknowledged as interesting and well-crafted but nowhere near as compelling as the celebrated mob show. Big Love was never a favorite among … Continue reading Big Love: Utah Crime Family

All the Pretty Horses

SOME PASSIONS CAN NEVER BE TAMED. A few years after the end of World War II, best friends John Grady Cole (Matt Damon) and Lacey Rawlins (Henry Thomas) head to Mexico to work as cowboys. This film was allegedly shot as a huge epic, but director Billy Bob Thornton was forced to make equally huge … Continue reading All the Pretty Horses

The Laughing Policeman

EIGHT PEOPLE KNOW WHO THE KILLER IS – AND THEY’RE ALL DEAD! One late evening in San Francisco, a massacre takes place on a bus with a sole survivor; one of the victims turns out to be a cop. This Americanization of a Swedish crime novel is quite effective, with the obvious ambition to portray the … Continue reading The Laughing Policeman

The Great Gatsby

GONE IS THE ROMANCE THAT WAS SO DIVINE. In 1922, Nick (Sam Waterston) rents a small house next to two Long Island mansions; getting to know both owners he finds out about a secret romance that refuses to die. The most famous screen adaptation of “the great American novel” can hardly be labeled a “great American … Continue reading The Great Gatsby

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They: Dance Till You Drop

PEOPLE ARE THE ULTIMATE SPECTACLE. Director Sydney Pollack died a while ago, mourned by anyone who had ever seen Tootsie (1982), or Husbands and Wives (1992) where he put his acting talent on display. In a small tribute that I wrote to him on this website I quickly mentioned They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), … Continue reading They Shoot Horses, Don’t They: Dance Till You Drop

Monster: Serial Killer in Love

When Patty Jenkins was writing the screenplay for Monster, she happened to catch The Devil’s Advocate (1997) on TV. When she saw Charlize Theron, she knew that she had found her Aileen Wuornos. The tall, beautiful South African actress might be willing to go the distance and turn herself inside out for Monster. Jenkins was … Continue reading Monster: Serial Killer in Love

The ‘burbs: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

LIFE IN THE BURBS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN! Since I’m currently on a vacation visiting my parents who live in the ‘burbs, and don’t really have all that much to do but go through a pile of old VHS movies while waiting for a promised heat wave, it felt highly appropriate to watch … Continue reading The ‘burbs: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

The Glass House

TO EVERYONE ELSE, THEIR SIMPLE GAME OF DECEPTION WASN’T OBVIOUS. TO HER, IT WAS AS CLEAR AS GLASS. 16-year-old Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobieski) and her kid brother move into the house of their suddenly deceased parents’ best friends, but they act strangely… A very ordinary thriller that gets a boost from charismatic acting; Sobieski is engaging … Continue reading The Glass House