Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Goldfinger

(UK, 1964)

Goldfinger (1964) (UK) Some people like this one best of the early Bond films. I won’t argue with them. There’s some good stuff. Like: Bond is tied down to a table and a laser (something brand new at the time) is slowly burning its way toward his bonded jewels. Bond: “Do you want me to talk?” Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond, I want you to die.” This is where the iconic Aston-Martin DB5 with its ... Read more »

From Russia With Love

(UK, 1963)

From Russia With Love (1963) (UK) This is my personal favorite of the early Bonds. I like the exotic locations in Turkey, and the villains of Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, and Vladek Sheybal. The movies are settling into a comfortable pattern, with Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny flirting with James as he tosses his hat onto the rack, Bernard Lee as M, and crotchety old Desmond Llewelyn as Q. This ... Read more »

Red Dragon

(2002)

Red Dragon (2002) Most remakes suck. It’s just a rule of the game. But a certain percentage don’t need to hang their heads in shame. This is one, a pretty faithful new take on Manhunter, with Edward Norton as Will Graham and Ralph Fiennes as Francis “Tooth Fairy” Dollarhyde. Emily Watson is the blind girl who touches Dollarhyde’s diseased heart, and Philip ... Read more »

Manhunter

(1986)

Before The Silence of the Lambs there was the book Red Dragon, which was the basis of this movie. Before Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford there was Dennis Farina. Before Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lektor there was Brian Cox. Before Ted Levine as Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb there was Tom Noonan as Francis “Tooth Fairy” Dollarhyde. And before ... Read more »

Downsizing

(2017)

I’d call this one a missed opportunity. Matt Damon and Kristin Wiig are a couple who decide to avail themselves of a new technology that can shrink you down to five inches high. There are several advantages to this, such as becoming no more a drain on Earth’s resources than a gerbil, but the one that appeals is that the cost of living would be very small. You could live in a mansion that ... Read more »

Fargo (Fourth Season)

(2020)

It is kind of amazing to me that each season of Fargo has been a little less wonderful than the one before, and yet the first season set the bar so high that they have all been very worth watching. Still, if this goes on, I fear for Season Five, if and when. This one is set in 1950 and follows a gang war between the Italians who have been established in Kansas ... Read more »

Carousel

(1956)

This is my least favorite of all the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. That’s a dissenting opinion, I realize, as it is beloved by many, very much including Richard Rodgers, who named it as his favorite. Sorry, Rich, I love your other stuff, including the music from Victory at Sea. To my ear the music in Carousel is mostly no more than ... Read more »

Cuba

(1979)

There really isn’t a typical Richard Lester movie, but I tend to think of him as a comic filmmaker because of things like A Hard Days Night, Help!, The Mouse on the Moon, The Ritz, Royal Flash, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The films often had a very dark twist, as in How I Won the War ... Read more »

The Trial of the Chicago 7

(2020)

It was a long, long time ago now. Many of my readers were not even born when this shitshow went down in Chicago, after the police riot encouraged by Mayor Daley. Eight of the rather amorphous group of “leaders” of the protests were picked out either from their notoriety or seemingly just at random, and charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot. They were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, ... Read more »

One Magic Christmas

(Canada, USA, 1985)

For about a month I worked in Vancouver, B.C., with Philip Borsos, who was set to direct Millennium. He was the third director we tried, but the deal fell apart. I was saddened. I liked the guy a lot, liked his ideas for the film, would have been happy to collaborate with him on the script. The failure of the project had nothing to do with him, it was some arcane ... Read more »