Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

Finian’s Rainbow wasn’t a box office smash, but it’s a fun film, family friendly, the songs are unabashed standards, and it’s part of Hollywood history. Continue reading

Phaedra (1962)

Jules Dassin’s Phaedra, a sexy, noirish reworking of the Greek tragedy Hippolytus, is one of his lesser-known and least understood films. Continue reading

A Game of Death (1945)

A Game of Death, RKO’s remake of their 1932 classic The Most Dangerous Game, was one of Robert Wise’s earliest directorial efforts, and was praised by critics on its release. Continue reading

The Yakuza (1974)

The Yakuza is a strange little mash-up of neo-noir and yakuza-eiga. It didn’t do well at the box office, but has become a cult classic in the years since. Continue reading

The Last Best Year (1990)

When Jane, a career woman and quiet loner (Bernadette Peters), discovers she has a terminal illness, she has no one to turn to. Her doctor recommends psychologist and friend Wendy Haller (Mary Tyler Moore) to help her come to terms with her diagnosis, and in doing so, helps her open up to others. Soon she has a small but solid group of friends and relatives there with her as she fights against cancer. The Last Best Year originally aired on ABC in November of 1990, just at the beginning of the golden era of made-for-TV movies, and was well-received by critics on its release. That said, Ken Tucker’s review makes a good point: it’s fantasy to the point of improbability, and for most people faced with terminal illness, they don’t get pat resolutions or unlimited financial and emotional support. Have you ever wondered what happens to the other patients of the doctors in these films? Wendy spends so much time with Jane that I can’t imagine she has time for anyone else.   It’s how we would want to deal with terminal illness if we had the choice, and somehow Jane has that choice, though there is never any explanation why. In real life, how do you even explain something like that? You don’t. In cinema, however, there is always some kind of explanation, usually that the person in question is deserving of a reprieve from death or, at the least, a good death. The Last Best Year is somewhat … Continue reading

The Klansman (1974)

The Klansman is trash. It just is, and there’s no way around that. But now it’s uncensored, restored trash, and a must for 1970s exploitation aficionados. Continue reading