IMDb #229: Barry Lyndon (1975)

When the opening credits play Handel’s Sarabande in D minor and display “Part I: By What Means Redmond Barry Acquired the Style And Title Of Barry Lyndon” in big loopy letters, you know you’re in for a fun ride. For three long hours, fate kicks around a wee Irish sprat. Decades whiz by, kids grow into new actors, the star stays the … Read more

IMDb #230: A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Jerks massacred in the ass-end of nowhere, The Movie! Clint Eastwood stars as The Man with No Name, cinema’s favorite squinch-faced, cigar-chomping mass-murderer. Our scruffy serial killer wanders into a blood-soaked little town. San Miguel, a loose conglomeration of planks and adobe, harbors two rival smuggler gangs: crooked sheriff vs. legitimate crooks, gun boss vs. booze boss, whites vs. browns. ENTER: … Read more

IMDb #231: Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Strap on your steampunk goggles for our first rollicking yarn from Studio Ghibli, about a pigtailed princess and her magic rock and the huge tree they send sailing into the mesosphere. But seriously, it’s gold. Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese Disney, strikes again. A girl drops into a mining-town monkey-boy’s life–shenanigans commence. Pirates pop up, a posse of ponces led by a motherly shrew chasing after the ingenue’s shiny plot … Read more

IMDb #232: The Truman Show (1998)

In this parallel dimension, Hollywood engineers burn mountains of money to produce a 24/7 TV show about Jim Carrey’s perfectly normal life in the most perfectly boring town in America. Worse, the poor dolt is the only one not in on it. Worst of all, it’s a hit. How the mundane exploits of a random schmuck capture a worldwide audience is hardly explained. Nor how the … Read more

IMDb #233: The Big Sleep (1946)

There seem to be three distinct detective personalities. The Holmes knockoff, an eccentric bastard who works independently, usually in contempt of authorities but earning their grudging respect (ex: Dupin, Poirot, Dr. Gregory House). The innocuous snoop, usually a kid or a kindly old lady, who attract trouble by being nice and nosy (ex: Miss Marple, Father Brown, Nancy Drew). Then there’s this guy. … Read more

IMDb #234: The Help (2011)

This movie came from a novel, which can mean any of many terrible things. Most writers write what they know–who they are, what they do, where they live. In this case, a young woman writing in Jacksonville, Mississippi. Atoning for the sin of small imagination is difficult but not impossible. Tell a stupendous story. Which, fortunately, she does. Instead of hustling pool or … Read more

IMDb #235: The Graduate (1967)

Apparently, once a college overachiever gets slapped with a diploma, he dissolves into a tepid milksop inexplicably attractive to the opposite sex. Moreover, adults are apparently self-absorbed, socially myopic, manipulative bastards. They spew unsolicited advice at slightest provocation (e.g., breathing), enforce tyrannical control of their grown children, and make moves on said children despite being middle-aged and married. Apparently. A sensible degree … Read more

IMDb #236: Roman Holiday (1953)

Back in black and white for a tour of Rome. Bored with the demands of royalty, Princess Diana v.1 abandons her luxury accommodations to experience normal city life–the opposite fantasy of most girls her age. Or rather, she collapses in the streets from exhaustion. Fortunately, there’s an average Joe named–well, Joe–who takes her in, because he happens to be a respectable human being. He’s also … Read more

IMDb #237: Jurassic Park (1993)

In the far-flung future of 1993, where DNA decay doesn’t exist and computers age worse than B-list child actors, one man has a vision. First, resemble a creepy, pudgy, probably insane Steven Spielberg. Check. Next, clone dinosaurs using blood from mosquitoes fossilized in amber, also frog DNA for unexplained reasons. Somehow, check. Finally, invite the public to an island theme … Read more

IMDb #238: The Hustler (1961)

America, the 1960’s, when men were men and women were objects. When people drank like fish and smoked like napalmed Vietnamese fishermen. When slick tricksters with ridiculous names like “Fast Eddy” and “Minnesota Fats” dominated at pool and relieved morons of their money. The game goes like so. The hustler ambles into a pool joint, all smiles and jokes and naivete. Eyeing the felt table, he invites dummies barflies to a game. … Read more