Tension

A mousy druggist (Richard Basehart) married to a two-timing tramp (Audrey Totter) contrives to kill his wife’s lover (Lloyd Gough) in this absorbing 1950 noir directed by the underrated and soon-to-be-blacklisted John Berry (He Ran All the Way). Cyd Charisse is his wholesome neighbor and Barry Sullivan a sleazy cop, who narrates. The married couple predate and likely influenced Elisha Cook and Marie Windsor’s characters in The Killing. 95 min. (JR)

Published on 29 Dec 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Le Pere Noel Est Une Ordure

Political incorrectness toward Christmas, Christian charity, and gender-bending informs this lively 1982 farce about workers at a suicide hotline colliding with various desperate eccentrics on Christmas Eve. Director Jean-Marie Poire wrote the script in collaboration with most of the major actorsJosiane Balasko, Marie-Anne Chazel, Christian Clavier, Gerard Jugnot, Thierry Lhermitte, and Bruno Moynotand their desire to be irreverent (the title translates as Santa Claus Is a Bastard) gets a mite monotonous. In French with subtitles. 88 min. (JR)

Published on 22 Dec 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Freedom’s Fury

This absorbing documentary by Colin Keith Gray and Megan Raney Aarons is a classic sports story about the great Hungarian water polo team that stomped the Soviets at the 1956 Olympics, avenging the recent counterrevolutionary crackdown in Hungary. But it’s also an exemplary and multifaceted history of Hungary since the Nazi occupation. The interviews with former Hungarian and Soviet players are pungent, and Nikita Khrushchev’s son Sergei contributes some interesting comments about his father’s ambivalence toward Hungary during this period. In English and subtitled Hungarian and Russian. 90 min. (JR)

Published on 22 Dec 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

You Better Watch Out

Lewis Jackson directed this offbeat 1980 thriller about a murderer (Brandon Maggart) who dresses as Santa. Watch the DVD instead and you can hear Jackson discussing it at length with John Waters, one of its biggest fans. 100 min. (JR)

Published on 22 Dec 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Night At The Museum

Drawn from a children’s book by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc, this fantasy isn’t exactly heavy, but its ideological implications are interesting nevertheless. A poorly educated, professionally challenged father (Ben Stiller) lands a job as a security guard at New York’s Museum of Natural History, where the historical mannequins come to life every night, most of them speaking perfect contemporary English and behaving like sitcom characters. They mostly fight among themselves until the guard brings all of global history into benign, all-American colonial harmony, even launching a romance between Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and the Native American guide Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck). As mindless spectacle, this is reasonably entertaining. Shawn Levy directed; with Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Ricky Gervais, and Steve Coogan. PG, 108 min. (JR)

Published on 15 Dec 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>