***** - Great
*** - Good
** - Bad
* - Worthless
[Originally appeared at the now-defunct cinespect.com.]
In 1952, the British film journal Sight & Sound published the results of the first of its decennial lists of the greatest movies ever made, compiled from a survey of respected international critics. First place went to Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterwork The Bicycle Thieves (1948), but in second and third place came two Chaplin movies–City Lights (1931) and The Gold Rush (1925). Chaplin’s reputation as the cinema’s greatest artist, both as a filmmaker and…
[Originally appeared at cinespect.com.]
Few movies have benefited from copyright purgatory more than Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Beloved/barely tolerated for a generation after a lapse in ownership made it a ubiquitous television companion during the holiday season for about thirty years (until it eventually fell into the hands of NBC, which now only airs it a couple of times during the Thanksgiving to Christmas programming abyss) and thus redeemed a film that had marked the virtual end of…
Short, talky British supernatural yarn is so heavy on narration and expositional dialogue that it borders on being an illustrated lecture on numerology rather than a narrative film. But there is one scene - involving an encounter with a possible witch's ghost in a dilapidated mansion - that's so effectively eerie and strange that it makes the other listless 45 minutes almost worth sitting through.
The resolution is a letdown, but still this has a supremely creepy setup and a nice autumnal atmosphere that make it a pretty pleasant entry in the annals of ABC movie of the week thrillers. Michael Douglas' performance wavers between somnambulant and unhinged and is generally quite unlike anything he's done since.
The fact this doc spends more time on how the woman who co-owned a major gay porn book store in Los Angeles and co-produced a bunch of gay adult movies in the 80s had trouble accepting the coming out of her son than it does on how the AIDS crisis affected her business and the community it catered to and employed is both inevitable and understandable given the subject's daughter made said doc. But that's also why someone other than…