Carnal Knowledge (1971 USA)

Bobbie: “The reason I sleep all day is because I can’t stand my life!”

Jonathon: “What life?!”

Bobbie: “Sleeping all day!…I need a life.”

Jonathon: “Get a job!”

Bobbie: “I don’t want a job. I want you.”

Jonathon: “I’m taken, by me! Get out of the house, do something useful, Goddammit.” There are some real funny one liners if you can stay awake. Carnal Knowledge, directed by Mike Nichols, from a script by cartoonist Jules Feiffer, is a dud without a single likable or really interesting character. Nichols’ film is a series of cartoon panels with no sense of any life surrounding the characters. Nichols appears to have been influenced by the films of Bergman and Antonioni though he lacks their brilliance. His reach exceeded his grasp. The result is an attempt at what was hoped to be a genre that never materialized: American art cinema. [Read more…]

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Easy Rider (1969 USA)

3EasyRiderThe first thing a viewer becomes aware of is how dated it is. There is Peter Fonda, young, thoughtful, soulful. There is Dennis Hopper, young-ish, thoughtless, self-indulgent. And Jack Nicholson actually has hair and a Southern accent, carrying on some monologue about Venusians mating with humans. Fonda explains to Nicholson why smoking dope is better than getting drunk: “How do you do it? Don’t it lead to the hard stuff? I don’t want to get hooked.” As Bob Dylan might sing: don’t preach grandma, I’m only bleeding. The Terry Southern-written script was probably scrawled on the back of a cigarette packet!
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The Raven (1963 USA)

raven02An absurd adventure – styled comedy. The plot is thinner than a supermodel’s waistline and even at 85 minutes it outstays its welcome. But I will be kind. Edgar Allen Poe may have turned in his grave, but the rest of us get to have fun as we see horror gods Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, not to mention Jack Nicholson ham it up in style as the weird and wonderful cast of this very silly story of wizards and hocus pocus. [Read more…]

Batman ( 1989 United States)

batmnBlooming out of the mind of oddball director Tim Burton, this Batman version was one of the first films to introduce the general public to the darker and more psychologically complex world of comic book super-heroes that had replaced the wholesome, square-jawed, morally correct characters of the 1940s and 50s. [Read more…]

CHINATOWN (1974 United States)

faye“You’ve seen it all years ago”, my ex-wife liked to say. “Why would you wanna see it again?” Like many of you, I feel like I have seen too much, but what the hell. If this blog is my second wife then I have to heed her call to “fill me up!” You, the voters, need something new to read, right? Never mind the spoilers, here’s the review… [Read more…]

The Shining (1980 UK/USA)

28FCA14400000578-3093033-image-m-70_1432739012325Stanley Kubrick’s cinema is, usually, a sight to behold. The cold detachment his films are famous for works really well for this particular story. Who needs much fancy dialogue anyway? We get the adventurous camera that prowls through the lavish corridors of the Overlook Hotel like it is some kind of mystic labyrinth rife for exploration. [Read more…]

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