Tag Archives: Robert Duvall

To Kill a Mockingbird: An Idyll With Shadows

THE RARE FILM STORY OF A FATHER WHO MUST EXPOSE HIS CHILDREN TO A SMALL TOWN’S OUTRAGED PASSIONS… AND CAN ONLY PROTECT THEM WITH HIS LOVE.  Often recognized as one of the great films of the 1960s, To Kill a Mockingbird was not a favorite of Roger Ebert’s. In his review from 2001, he writes … Continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird: An Idyll With Shadows

Highlights from 88 Years of Oscars

The Oscars are on tonight, with Chris Rock as host. It’s the 88th annual event since the first Academy Awards were handed out in 1929. The “show” looked decidedly different then – it was in fact a dinner, the ceremony itself took 15 minutes and the awards had already been announced three weeks earlier. There … Continue reading Highlights from 88 Years of Oscars

The Judge

DEFEND YOUR HONOR.  Chicago lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr.) comes home to the Indiana small town where he was raised to bury his mother; when his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a renowned judge, then stands accused of murder, he takes the case. A change of pace for comedy director David Dobkin, a drama that … Continue reading The Judge

Gene Hackman at 85: Retired But Not Gone

All it took was a clumsy headline on Grantland and loads of tweeters assumed that Gene Hackman was dead; the headline was later corrected to “retired” and not “gone” due to rampant stupidity among the general public. In fact, the great actor turned 85 yesterday. It isn’t easy finding images or clips of Hackman these days. … Continue reading Gene Hackman at 85: Retired But Not Gone

Network: No Limits

NOT SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME HAS AMERICA EXPERIENCED A MAN LIKE HOWARD BEALE!   On July 15, 1974 Florida TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck opened her program by covering three national news stories and then turned to a local shooting at a restaurant. After the segment, she told viewers that she intended to bring … Continue reading Network: No Limits

Jack Reacher

THE LAW HAS LIMITS. HE DOES NOT. When Pittsburgh police arrest a man they believe shot and killed five people, he has only one request – that they contact Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a mysterious former Army investigator. Cruise goes Clint Eastwood in this first adaptation of one of Lee Child’s pulp novels; he may … Continue reading Jack Reacher

The Election is Now Jersey Shore

You remember an insane Jack Nicholson chasing his wife and son through a snowy maze in The Shining? Or that helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now when Robert Duvall says “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”? What we’re witnessing now in the final throes of the U.S. presidential campaign is sort of like that. We … Continue reading The Election is Now Jersey Shore

Hemingway & Gellhorn

WE WERE GOOD IN WAR. AND WHEN THERE WAS NO WAR, WE MADE OUR OWN.  In 1936, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman) meets Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) in Key West; their subsequent relationship is marked by wars and a fiery romance. Another prestige project from HBO, directed by a famous filmmaker, with movie stars … Continue reading Hemingway & Gellhorn

Four Christmases

HIS FATHER, HER MOTHER, HIS MOTHER AND HER FATHER ALL IN ONE DAY. Brad and Kate (Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon) have no intention of spending Christmas with their families, but a getaway attempt fails and they’re forced to face the music. The King of Kong (2005) director was hired for his first fiction feature, a Yuletide comedy that … Continue reading Four Christmases

Thank You for Smoking

AMERICA IS LIVING IN SPIN. Tobacco industry lobbyist Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is faced with two challenges – coming up with a way to get modern consumers to spend more money on cigarettes, and getting to know his son (Cameron Bright) better. Ivan Reitman’s son Jason made his feature film debut with this impressive comedy, a … Continue reading Thank You for Smoking

Crazy Heart

THE HARDER THE LIFE, THE SWEETER THE SONG. Washed-up country star Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is drinking too much and tries to avoid thinking about lost opportunities, but when he’s interviewed by a reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) he gets another chance. Scott Cooper’s directing debut is not unlike the previous year’s The Wrestler; the locations are … Continue reading Crazy Heart

The Road: No Country for Anyone

IN A MOMENT THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER. Like so many others, I read Cormac McCarthy’s outstanding novel a few years ago and was moved and impressed by his language and the emotions of the story. When I heard that it would be made into a movie I was skeptical because the way McCarthy uses his … Continue reading The Road: No Country for Anyone

The Godfather II: From Rags to Riches

The Godfather was an incredible achievement by Francis Ford Coppola. Making a sequel that meets at least some of the expectations is difficult enough, but actually exceeding them, creating another epic that is even more complex and just as entertaining as the first, is outstanding. As if that wasn’t enough, the director also put together a … Continue reading The Godfather II: From Rags to Riches