buy Flomax no prescription Synthroid without prescription buy buspar buy Singulair online buy Prednisone online Amitriptyline lasix without prescription buy buspar online buy super Levitra online Prednisone without prescription buy trazodone without prescription Zithromax No Prescription Propecia Amoxicillin

Tag Archives: Matt Damon

Flick Clique: February 5-11

He Walked By Night (1949). This past week, I stumbled across a display with those Mill Creek 50 movie-packs of DVDs at Wal-Mart for $10 each. I ended up buying the Mystery Classics pack, since it was on my Amazon wish list anyhow. I know that most of the movies on these sets are b-movies of iffy quality, but that’s part of what makes them fun (and for 20 cents each – whatta deal!). The proto-Dragnet L.A. crime drama He Walked By Night was one of the better-received films on this particular set, so I decided to check that one out first. Based on a true story, this one follows a criminal and petty thief played by Richard Basehart as he hides from the authorities after shooting an off-duty officer in cold blood. The film is shot mostly from the police department’s perspective as they use the latest technology to track down the man. They interrogate several witnesses as Basehart goes on a one-man crime spree, climaxing in an exciting film noir shootout in the subterranean drainage system below the L.A. streets. This was campy and dated at times, but enjoyable all the same. I’m glad I sprung for this set — one down, 49 to go!
The Informant! (2009). An uneasy mix of comedy, drama and bad facial hair from director Steven Soderbergh, The Informant! is a fancifully told version of a real scandal that rocked Archer Daniels Midland, a producer of animal feed additive lysine, in the 1990s. The film follows Matt Damon’s pompous Mark Whitacre as he alerts the FBI to illegal price-fixing activities (which he set up) at his employer, digging himself in a deeper hole as his lies grow to bigger and bigger proportions. The film was interesting, even though many of the elements aren’t totally successful. Damon’s performance is the best part. He gets at his character’s dimwitted myopia without going into an easy, overly jokey path. I also enjoyed the production design recreating a clunky, business-y version of Illinois in 1991-95 (how much fun would that be?). The overall feel is a weird jumbling of ’70s cop show music (via an overbearing score by Marvin Hamlisch), ’60s Austin Powers fonts and straightforward, serious dramatic scenes. The story was strong enough to overcome its shortcomings, however, and it was appealingly cast enough for me to enjoy it overall.
Mr. North (1988). A pleasant trifle set in 1920s Newport, Rhode Island, Mr. North is based on a Thorton Wilder story about a man whose ability to generate electric sparks from his fingers leads those around him to believe he has healing powers. I remember hearing a few good things about this when it came out, that it was a sleeper hit, etc. I found it kind of dull and pointless, however. Anthony Edwards has a curious lack of charisma in the title role (no wonder he never became a movie star), and the supporting players go all over the place, from somewhat decent (Mary Stuart Masterson as a sensitive deb), to noncommittal (Robert Mitchum and Lauren Bacall) to scenery-chewing (Twisted Sister video guy as Masterson’s father). The film itself is not very involving and ingratiating in its efforts to be heartwarming and cute. I blame director Danny Huston.
The Mysterious Lady (1928). Like Flesh and the Devil, another luxe Greta Garbo silent from the set that I bought in December 2010. This one has Garbo as a slinky Russian spy sent to World War I-era Vienna to get sensitive information from an Army captain, played by dashing Conrad Nagel. Nagel is immediately smitten by the alluring Garbo, even when he learns her true identity just before getting arrested and imprisoned. This one was done at the peak of the Silent era, and it shows. The spy story itself is rather typical, but MGM’s gloss is in full force and Garbo delivers more emotion in a sideways glance than many actresses do in their entire bodies.
Rikidozan: A Hero Extraordinaire (2004). Impressively mounted Korean bio-pic chronicles the career and life of Rikidozan, a Korean-born wrestler who became a star in the nascent Japanese pro wrestling scene in the ’50s. A samurai school reject, Rikidozan eventually prevailed over a culture desperately in need of a powerful, virile hero in the post-WWII era (despite never revealing his true birthplace, since the Japanese had a prejudice against Koreans). A very intriguing film that delves into Rikidozan’s inner demons and slow, gradual decline. It definitely doesn’t indulge in the usual sports movie clichés, that’s for sure. I will have a more detailed review at DVDTalk soon.

Flick Clique: October 9-15

Contagion (2011). A modern update on the all-star disaster epics of the ’70s, this is. We saw Contagion in the theater last week, and every time an audience member coughed (which was often), I got chills. Steven Soderbergh’s film chronicles what might happen if a lethal virus capable of knocking out 25% of the world’s population broke out. Some viewers were disappointed that it wasn’t an actioner like the trailer promised, but I found it effective the way the tension gently escalates as the virus goes from clusters of the sick to worldwide epidemic. The film begins with Gwyneth Paltrow’s business woman coming down with a bug on a return trip from Hong Kong. Coming home to husband Matt Damon, she gets sick and expires so quickly that it barely registers with Damon. Their child soon gets the virus and dies, then Damon is put under quarantine. Meanwhile, other lethal cases are spreading in Hong Kong. Lawrence Fishburn at the CDC sends Kate Winslet to investigate the rash of infections in Minneapolis (where Paltrow and Damon live), while World Heath Organization official Marion Cotillard is sent to Hong Kong. As the sickness spreads into a panic, a crusading blogger (Jude Law) investigates whether the virus was planted by the government, or worse (this film is not very nice to bloggers, natch). Excellent atmosphere and performances, especially from Winslet and Jennifer Ehle as a CDC doctor attempting to decipher the rapidly mutating virus. If anything, the film is pro-government but anti-regulation. It seems to have faith in the good characters like Damon and Winslet keeping things sane for the hysteric masses. The only negative thing I found was the Cotillard storyline, which seemed a bit tacked-on and routine. She’s excellent, however. I also loved the tense, minimalist synth-based score by Cliff Martinez.
Sadko (1953). Whatta trip — the 1953 adventure Sadko was a colorful retelling of the Sinbad story with a grandiose, distinctively Russian visual style. We saw the dubbed U.S. version, titled The Magic Voyage of Sinbad. The movie plods a lot, and the print we saw was muddy. Strange and surreal, it reminded me of the MST3K episode Jack Frost (as it turns out, Sinbad was also given the MST3K treatment). The film details bearded do-gooder Sinbad as he attempts to help the comrades in his small Russian village by catching magic fish and the like. He gathers a motley band of men as they journey to India to find an ethereal creature with the body of a hawk and the head of a woman. On the way back, Sinbad has a sojourn in Neptune’s underwater kingdom, when he is forced into marriage with Neptune’s beautiful daughter. Eventually they get back to Russia and all is well. This has potential to be a camp riot — and it is, in spots — but mostly it’s strange, with outsized acting and inconsistent pacing. It does have some gorgeous visuals to recommend it, however (those shots of the Phoenix woman in her cave are unforgettable). I’d love to see a restored version of the Russian original. Criterion, are you listening?
The Wolf Man (1941) and Dead of Night (1945). We spent most of last week on the road, going to various spots in Northern Arizona. It didn’t leave much time for movie viewing, but we did manage to check out some good vintage stuff when Turner Classic Movies (which I still miss!) had a 1940s horror film fest on October 10. Amazingly, I’ve never seen The Wolf Man. It’s a short, tight, excellent example of Hollywood studio craft of that era. I could carp at Lon Chaney Jr.’s vagueness as the title character, but he’s given great support by Claude Rains, Maria Ouspenskaya, Ralph Bellamy and Warren William (really?). Universal really knew how to conjure up atmosphere with smoke, gnarled trees and a few old Euro-style sets. The only quibble I have is that it’s too brisk, leaving the film with a rushed feeling. We stepped out for dinner during the next film, The Uninvited, but got back in time to catch all of the crack British anthology Dead of Night. This was quite an interesting film, with a bunch of mini-stories connected by the character of a nervous architect (Mervyn Jones) who is certain that he’s already met all the residents at a country estate that he innocently stumbles into. The stories themselves are hit or miss, but I enjoyed checking out the more muted, creepy-crawly tone set forth in this very British take on the haunted house genre. Among the better segments is one with Googie Withers as a lady who buys an antique mirror for husband Michael Cortland, which turns out to be haunted. Another good one has Sally Ann Howes as a Christmas party guest who discovers a crying child in the attic of a mysterious house. The most memorable sequence concerns a creepy ventriloquist played by Michael Redgrave — which is a funny coincidence, since I’m reviewing a documentary on ventriloquists for DVD Talk. Thank you, Best Western, for having TCM in the rooms!