Movie Reviews

'Inherent Vice' a ball of confusion

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Raymond Chandler meets Elmore Leonard, Cheech and Chong and Thomas Pynchon’s literary pretensions in the drug haze of the semi-comic detective story “Inherent Vice.”

Time: a quarter past the late ’60s.

Place: Southern California.

'Inherent Vice' movie trailer

In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

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'My Old Lady' charming at times but slips into melodrama

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I was born with a silver knife in my back,” says Mathias Gold, with an abundance of self-pity. But there’s an absence of gold and silver alike in his bank account, which is why he’s in Paris: He just inherited a valuable apartment there (in the 10 million euro range) from his estranged father and has come to claim and cash it in.

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'Only Lovers Left Alive': an incisively original take on vampires from Jim Jarmusch

Pity a depressed vampire: His existential despair is maximized by the fact that his existence is eternal. Pity -- even more -- a suicidal vampire: He can't very well drive a stake through his own heart. But he can order a custom-made .38-caliber wooden bullet.

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"Le Week-End": A weekend won't save this troubled marriage

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Who's Afraid of a Last Tango in Paris?

Nick and Meg. It's their 30th anniversary, and they've returned to the City of Lights for the first time since their honeymoon -- two long-in-the-tooth baby boomers looking maybe to rekindle the old flame or at least the flicker. But in the course of "Le Week-End," each must work up the nerve to relay painful news to the other.

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`Walter Mitty' fades, due to the secret life of Ben Stiller

James Thurber's very short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which occupied just 2½ New Yorker pages in 1939, gained such a beloved place in American life and language that its title character has his own dictionary entry as "a painfully ordinary man/milquetoast, given to heroic daydreams rather than involvement in the real world."

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A spoonful of charm saves Mary Poppins, Disney and 'Mr. Banks'

Bert (Dick Van Dyke): I know a man with a wooden leg named Smith.

Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn): What's the name of his other leg?

Convulsive laughter greeted that line, from kids and adults alike. The timing was perfect, and the 1964 film -- like Mary Poppins herself -- was practically perfect in every way.

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`He Who Gets Slapped': Lon Chaney's lesser-known masterpiece gets a rare screening

 

            For some reason, people find nothing more amusing than seeing other people get slapped.  And in the long unhappy history of clowns, none is unhappier than “HE”---the one who gets slapped---in MGM’s first great feature-film production.

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`Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction': Superb documentary of a superb character actor

 

            How would you describe yourself?

            “Nothing.  There is no self.”

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`Sal': James Franco's overlong labor of love celebrates Sal Mineo

            The Longest Day wasn’t necessarily June 6, 1944.  It’s rivaled by February 12, 1976---the last day of actor Sal Mineo’s life, as filmed by actor-director James Franco.

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`Lasting': The sexy Polish-Spanish connection you've long awaited

            International film co-productions are commonplace.  We’re accustomed to all sorts of Anglo-French, Italian-Israeli, Dutch-American, even Chinese-Vietnamese collaborations.  But the Polish-Spanish connection is a new one on me---and on the screen.

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