Quicksand (1950)

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1950.  Samuel H. Stiefel Productions.  Screenplay by Robert Smith.  Cinematography by Lionel Lindon.  Produced by Mort Briskin.  Music by Louis Gruenberg.  Production Design by Boris Leven.  Costume Design by Joan Joseff.  Film Editing by Walter Thompson.   Mickey Rooney plays an auto mechanic who is out drinking with the boys when he spots a dangerous blonde…

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Detroit Rock City

BB (out of 5) Teen comedy that tries to capitalize on heavy metal band KISS nostalgia but ends up being too silly for anyone over fifteen to watch (though the heavy language and sexual situations might make it inappropriate for viewers of that age).  Edward Furlong and friends are huge KISS fans and high school…

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Saint Ralph

BBBB (out of 5) Adorable tale of determination set in the 1950s, with a sympathetic young man left alone after his war widow mother falls into a coma. Ralph is a plucky dreamer, his mind set on surviving his strict Catholic school existence by training for the Boston marathon and hoping that winning it will…

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Driven

BBB (out of 5) Rollicking good fun that finds Sylvester Stallone back on top of the action game in this drama about the carnivalesque world of race car driving. Sly also wrote the screenplay for this latest Renny Harlin flick, and as usual his running theme is that of humanity overcoming the need for competitive gain;…

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Cinderella Man

BBB (out of 5) Ron Howard trims the sappy fat off his usual style of ‘inspirational’ filmmaking for an entertaining and heart-warming biography of boxer James Braddock. A popular fighter in the twenties who lost everything with the stock market crash of 1929, Braddock barely subsists in abject poverty with his wife (Renee Zellweger) and…

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Chicago (2002)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Your caboose will definitely shimmy and shake for two hours during this excellent musical by first-time director Rob Marshall (who also did the scintillating choreography as well). Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger are two merry murderesses who are both on trial and could possibly face a hanging: Zeta-Jones for killing her sister and…

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Pushing Tin

BB.5 (out of 5) Ensemble comedy about air traffic controllers in New Jersey and the lives they lead.  John Cusack is a high-flying member of the team whose life is not seriously affected by the dangerously stressful career he engages in, one with a high suicide rate and many employees checking in to lifetime-committed therapy. In…

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