Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Killer Inside Me

(2010)

Jim Thompson was the best of the new hard-boiled writers of the ‘50s. He’s sort of the Philip K. Dick of the paperback crime novel: Fairly prolific, not much appreciated while he was alive, “discovered” later. So sad. Several good films have been made from his books, including The Grifters, from an Oscar-nominated script by Donald E. Westlake.

This was ... Read more »

The Wiz

(1978)

What a hot mess of a film. Parts of it are stunningly good, and parts of it are pretty damn awful. I never saw the stage musical but I read the summary, and was amazed at just how little of it showed up in the movie. I’ve seen plenty of movies “based on real events” which were actually only inspired by events. Here is a musical film that is only inspired by the stage. Now, that’s not ... Read more »

Fly Away Home

(1996)

Carroll Ballard has only made six films in almost forty years, and four of them are very, very good. This one is good fun, and dramatizes the way a man taught a flock of Canada geese to follow him in an ultra-light aircraft. I worked with Carroll for a while on a project that never got beyond the development stage, and I can say he is a swell guy, and really the best there is at making ... Read more »

Hotel Beau Séjour

(Netherlands, Belgium, 2016)

As far as I know I’ve never seen a movie made in the Flemish language. In fact, I was only vaguely aware that there was such a thing. This is a ten-part TV series that got off to a really interesting start. A girl wakes up in a hotel room and discovers a bloody corpse in the tub. The dead body is her own. Someone had murdered her. She is a ghost of some kind … ... Read more »

Timecrimes

(Los Cronocrímenes, Spain, 2007)

Here is the sort of little science fiction film I live for, the sort that come along all too infrequently in this age of bloated crap. Two others that fit in this category are Primer and Predestination. Check them out if you haven’t already. Oddly enough, all three movies deal with time travel, but in distinctly different ways. It is ... Read more »

Nocturnal Animals

(2016)

Dear Readers: During the last several months I have been so occupied with finishing my latest novel that I have had no time to write these reviews. (I love doing them, because they are easy to write, and writing a novel is hard.) But I have kept a list of all the movies we have seen in that time, figuring on going back and catching up. Which I am doing now. And ... Read more »

Lantana

(Australia, 2001)

This is a superior whodunit that is more concerned with the psychology of its main characters than in solving the murder. Anthony LePaglia is a detective who is having issues surrounding his divorce and other things. His wife is seeing Barbara Hershey, a psychiatrist. There is tension between two neighboring households, and there are salsa dance lessons … and hell, maybe the dead woman ... Read more »

The Girl on the Train

(2016)

A psychological thriller. Emily Blunt is an alcoholic who has messed up her life pretty badly. She no longer has a job, but commutes back and forth from the city each day anyway. On the train ride she passes the home of her ex and his new wife. She becomes obsessed with them, and the couple next door, and becomes a sort of stalker. After a blackout following a binge a woman’s body is found ... Read more »

Doctor Strange

(2016)

I understand this is the fourteenth film in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (MCI), with many, many more to come. (Does anyone else think it odd that stories like this used to be Grade-Z serials at the movies? That they were made for adolescents who really had no life? Come to think of it, that hasn’t really changed all that much.) I broke my rule of not going to any more gigantic movies ... Read more »

Miami Blues

(1990)

The wonderful Charles Williford wrote four books about Hoke Mosely, a sometimes inept cop, and then died. After seeing this one, I had hoped there might be more, but so far there hasn’t been. Damn! They would be worth making for the titles alone: New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe, and The Way We Die Now. Are those great titles, or ... Read more »