Patton

BBBB (out of 5) George C. Scott soars in this fascinating biopic of General George S. Patton.  He makes a name for himself after a successful 1942 campaign against Rommel in North Africa that turns America’s fortunes around, then plays ego games with the British in his subsequent campaign in Sicily.  The general’s eccentric personality, which…

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The Boys In the Band

BBBB (out of 5) Mart Crowley’s hit stage play reaches the screen relatively intact, taking place over the course of an evening with nine friends celebrating the birthday of one of their group. All of them are gay men with the exception of one (and we’re left to wonder about him too), as Michael throws…

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I Never Sang For My Father

BBB.5 (out of 5) Gene Hackman plays a New York teacher and writer who has never quite squared off his feelings for his tough, proud father (Melvyn Douglas) but is now forced to deal with him directly in light of his parents’ increasing age.  Hackman is looking forward to moving on after the death of his…

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Scrooge

BB.5 (out of 5) Charles Dickens’ best known story is adapted into a big, colourful musical starring a mid-thirties Albert Finney hamming it up as the old miser who hates the holidays. Between the sounds of some pretty mediocre songs by Leslie Bricusse, Scrooge rejects Christmas before being visited by a succession of phantoms throughout the…

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Ryan’s Daughter

B.5 (out of 5) Despite having a great cast of actors, eye-popping cinematography by Freddie Francis of misty Irish shores and a beautiful musical score by Maurice Jarre, not to mention the usually steady hand of director David Lean at the helm, this is one of the most unbearably boring films ever made.  Sarah Miles stars…

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Airport

BBB (out of 5) What’s most laughable about this ridiculously soapy melodrama is the possibility that anyone took it seriously as “great drama” in 1970. Today, most of it is either cheesy or just plain fun, but as a thriller-in-the-air it pales in comparison to even the sub-standard fare (Turbulence) being made today. Of course, that…

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Love Story

BBBB (out of 5) Just try and resist this wonderful romance, you’ll fail completely. Working class university student Jenny (Ali MacGraw) falls in love with prep-school educated Harvard Law student Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) and they get married after graduation. They must contend with his snobby family’s cutting them off as well as their own struggles…

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Diary Of A Mad Housewife

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Carrie Snodgress is brilliant in this excellent examination of the life of a bored (and, as the title says, ‘mad’) housewife. She is the perfect partner to her successful businessman husband (Richard Benjamin): their beautiful Manhattan condo overlooking Central Park stays in tiptop shape, she is raising two good daughters and…

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Five Easy Pieces

BBBBB (out of 5) The finest performance of Jack Nicholson‘s career. He plays a pianist who was once a prodigy but now roams the country doing odd jobs as a manual labourer. The film’s opening finds him working southern oil fields, stringing along his simple-minded girlfriend (Karen Black) and hanging out with his friends until an…

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Little Big Man

BBBBB (out of 5) Glorious western by Bonnie And Clyde director Arthur Penn. Dustin Hoffman plays the child of a prairie settler whose parents are killed by Natives and he and his sister are adopted into their tribe. Now over a hundred years old (great makeup on him too), Hoffman relays the story of his life…

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Women In Love

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Ken Russell’s best film ever is still this excellent adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s racy novel, about two sisters who search for true love and think they’ve found it in two very troubled men. Screenwriter Larry Kramer adapts the story to be just as provocative as the novel was upon its first release (Lawrence’s…

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