Bye Bye Braverman (1968)

SIDNEY LUMET Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.   USA, 1968.  Warner Brothers/Seven Arts.  Screenplay by Herbert Sargent, based on the novel To An Early Grave by Wallace Markfield.  Cinematography by Boris Kaufman.   Produced by Sidney Lumet.  Music by Peter Matz.  Production Design by Ben Kasazkow.  Costume Design by Anna Hill Johnstone.  Film Editing by Gerald B. Greenberg.  George Segal is fighting with…

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Gloria (1999)

BBB (out of 5) Sharon Stone‘s gutsy performance is the best reason to watch this adequately done but premature remake of John Cassavetes’ 1980 gangster film (that starred his wife Gena Rowlands, who also starred with Stone a year earlier than this film in The Mighty).  She plays a hit woman for the mob who…

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The Morning After (1986)

SIDNEY LUMET Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1986.  American Filmworks, Lorimar Productions.  Screenplay by James Cresson.  Cinematography by Andrzej Bartkowiak.  Produced by Bruce Gilbert.  Music by Paul Chihara.  Production Design by Albert Brenner.  Costume Design by Ann Roth.  Film Editing by Joel Goodman.  Academy Awards 1986.   An alcoholic, once-famous actress (Jane Fonda) wakes up to find a murdered man lying next to her in…

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The Verdict

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Watching one man go against conspiratorial corruption hasn’t been this intense since Alfred Hitchcock sent a crop duster after Cary Grant.  In this case it’s a superb Paul Newman as an alcoholic over-the-hill attorney who gets one last chance to make a comeback in the big courtroom (this was during the days…

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Deathtrap

BBB.5 (out of 5) Stagebound adaptation of Ira Levin’s play fails to open the plot up for film but is still an enjoyably claustrophobic experience. Christopher Reeve plays a young playwright whose latest opus has caught the eye of his mentor (Michael Caine). Caine has invited Reeve over to talk about his play, but he’s let…

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The Wiz

BBB (out of 5) Come on and ease on down the road to where the Wiz lives! This exuberant musical, based on the successful Broadway play, is an African American version of The Wizard Of Oz, with a host of memorable, Motown-inspired music (arranged and directed by Quincy Jones) that make for one of the…

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Equus

BBB.5 (out of 5) A socially dysfunctional stable boy (Peter Firth) blinds six horses in a fit of rage and is sent to a psychiatric institute after his arrest. There, an emotionally burdened doctor (Richard Burton, in his last great role) does his best to unlock the boy’s secrets and discover what experiences led up…

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Network

BBBBB (out of 5) Riveting look at television news media, starring Peter Finch as an anchorman whose waning ratings prompt his bosses to fire him. His reaction is to have a complete meltdown and go mad in public, with his televised ranting becoming so newsworthy that his network decides to exploit him for all the ratings…

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Dog Day Afternoon

BBBBB (out of 5) Brilliant film version of the real-life events surrounding Brooklyn resident Sonny Wortzik, who tries with his pals to rob a bank to pay for his boyfriend’s sex-change operation. It is supposed to be a ten-minute robbery, in and out, but when the police show up the boys have to take some…

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Murder On The Orient Express (1974)

BBBB (out of 5) The seventies saw a few Agatha Christie murder mysteries made into films, and this is the most celebrated of them all. While riding a train through Europe after solving yet another confounding case, Hercule Poirot (a slyly hilarious Albert Finney) finds that a notable passenger (Richard Widmark) was murdered during the…

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Serpico

BBBB.5 (out of 5) One of Al Pacino‘s best cinematic creations is in this impressive cop drama by Sidney Lumet. He plays Frank Serpico, a real-life New York City police officer who couldn’t stand back and watch his colleagues indulge in corrupt practices without blowing the whistle on them. Working the streets undercover (in some of…

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The Pawnbroker

BBBB (out of 5) A Holocaust survivor (Rod Steiger), the only member of his family to escape from the camps alive, now lives in 1960s New York and owns a pawn shop. The many difficulties of facing the rough life of downtown New York City are constantly exacerbated by his inability to escape his memories….

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