The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: King of Blackmailers (1980)

Europe in Disguise This is a Russian TV production, closely following the Conan Doyle stories. Comments that I have seen accept it as a good version, mostly on the basis of the characterisations. But I find it dreadful, and credit two influences. The first is my understanding of the role the Holmes stories played and… Continue reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: King of Blackmailers (1980)

China 9, Liberty 37 (1978)

Whoring and Teaching And so we have it: arguably the last spaghetti western. Wonderfully photographed. Well acted. This time around what we get is an erotic western. Our hard boiled hero is a gunslinger as usual but good hearted enough to not kill his mark simply because he likes him. That is though we know… Continue reading China 9, Liberty 37 (1978)

Kate (2021)

Western Appropriation What a mess. Looks like the Wick movies are dragging a huge part of the industry behind tough guys and modern gunfight choreography. Here and in ‘Nobody’ the formula is three big set pieces strung together by trusted tropes. This one is more offensive — at least to me — because I am… Continue reading Kate (2021)

Zero Effect (1998)

Son of What There are only a few ways into a story. One of these is to embrace the narrator and carry the viewer through their eyes and the engagement of the world that gives us love. Here, Kasdan does this while referencing Holmes, where this notion of detached observation originates. There’s an elegant purity… Continue reading Zero Effect (1998)

Moonfall (2022)

Cluelessness I like what Emmerich does with the camera; he is closer to dePalma than Bay, so I’ll watch his stuff. But he is clearly in the Bay character universe where manly heroes work on cars, scientists are always baffled, the military is feckless, and even clever institutions are background noise. This is a long… Continue reading Moonfall (2022)

Rain Man (1988)

Drizzle When this was new, few of us knew of neurodiverse folks. So the setup as a road movie where our bad soul gets redeemed worked. If you allow the genre. We were all amazed as Hoffman’s portrayal. Neither is unusual now, which I suppose is progress. Seeing it now in 2022, I am struck… Continue reading Rain Man (1988)

Ten Little Indians (1989)

Camp I think making a Christie film must be hard, because so seldom does it work. For me, the metric is very simple. We need to be allowed to speculate against multiple impossibilities. Many folks will be exposed for hidden, possibly relevant qualities. What makes Christie work is that at the end, things are explained,… Continue reading Ten Little Indians (1989)

Lightyear (2022)

Andy’s World The first thing — and the most important thing — a film does is establish where it will sit between your mind and the worlds you know. Often there is some clever interplay between what it is directly, and what games it will play with you about that identity and yours. I’ve called… Continue reading Lightyear (2022)

Inside the Room (1935)

Clean on Top, Dirty on Bottom There are several events in US history that damaged the nation. We will not recover from the Civil War for generations if current politics remain, as they surely will. Prohibition and abortion. Wars. Book burnings. Among these is the Hayes act. Just as we were discovering the narrative power… Continue reading Inside the Room (1935)

Top Gun Maverick

Practical Performance Gosh, there is so much not to like here, on top of the fact that this reinforces a positive trend in film; the effects are largely practical, pitting Cruise against Cameron for the future of film. We could probably stand the competition for our imagination. I heartily endorse it, and I think it… Continue reading Top Gun Maverick