Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring (Manon des Sources)

(France, 1986)

I’m going to treat these movies as a single film, since they were taken from a single story and were filmed at the same time. They are so closely paired, in fact, that I think it would be a mistake to see Manon first. You would miss a lot of the delicious pleasure of seeing two really bad men get what’s coming to them, because you wouldn’t know just how dastardly ... Read more »

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


This is no less than the tenth film version of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novella. But the only predecessors that really count are one in 1920 starring John Barrymore, and one in 1931 starring Frederic March. March won the fifth Best Actor Oscar, in a tie with Wallace Beery. I would like to see that one, for several reasons. The famous transformation scenes were done so cleverly ... Read more »

J. Edgar


Of all the sorry sacks of shit this country ever spawned, J. Edgar Hoover was the sorriest until Dick Cheney came along. Forget Benedict Arnold, forget all the other spies and traitors, Hoover presented the greatest threat to our constitution and freedoms than anyone else. Like all super-patriots, his real interest was personal power, and he accumulated it every year of his life, until he ... Read more »

Jack Irish: Bad Debts

(Australia, 2012)

The Australian writer Peter Temple has written four novels featuring this character, and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has made three of them into full-length television movies. We were alerted to them by a promo on a DVD of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (which we highly recommend).

In this first episode Jack is a sharp lawyer, and very ... Read more »

Jack Irish: Black Tide

(Australia, 2012)

The second of this series is just as good as the first one was. We are eagerly awaiting the DVD of the third one to arrive at the library.

Jack Reacher


Lee Child is the author of 17 very popular books featuring the ultimate loner, Jack Reacher. JR is a former Army MP, and now he is a drifter. There is nothing in his pockets but a folding toothbrush, money, an expired passport (to avoid police hassles for carrying no ID), and an ATM card. No driving license, no keys to anything. No backpack or suitcase … Read more »

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


If I had any expectations at all for this film, they were entirely negative. Cashing in on the popular Tom Clancy character, I figured, and I was all prepared for brainless action. I’m happy to report that it was much, much better than that. In fact, it reminded me more of a John le Carré story than a Clancy one. It concerns financial shenanigans, Russians, CIA deep cover agents, and stuff ... Read more »

Jack the Giant Slayer


Sometimes an animated adventure has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want, looks real good, but it somehow lacks a soul. I was underwhelmed.

(A FEW MONTHS LATER) I had to give this film another shot, as my initial review was unfair. That’s because I was stoned out of my mind on oxycodone, lying in a hospital bed recovering from knee surgery when I saw the movie. It ... Read more »

Jackass Number Two


This is the only way we could ever have seen a Jackass movie, as a second feature with something we really wanted to see. I warn you, America, there will be more of these. Getting our Subway sandwiches before going to the theater, the girl behind the counter asked us what movies we were seeing. Lee said The Depahted (actually, she said ... Read more »

Jackie Brown


Quentin Tarantino made this after his success with Pulp Fiction, from the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. The story is that he was very worried that Dutch Leonard would hate what he did with the screenplay, so he gave it to him with much trepidation. Not only did Leonard like it, he said it was the best adaptation of any of the ... Read more »