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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972)
Movie Review   As a big Alice in Wonderland fan, one of the things that first struck me about this musical adaptation was how faithful it is to the literary classic. This 1972 quintessentially English production is both imaginative and delightful while also possessing a certain hazy and melancholy quality not uncommon in some movies from that decade.         There’s quite a number of recognizable names if not faces in this film. A very young Fiona Fullerton (before becoming a Bond girl) in the lead role of Alice as well as pre-Phantom of the Opera Michael Crawford as the...
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King of Kings (1961)

King of Kings (1961)
Movie Review Directed by Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, Johnny Guitar) and dramatically narrated by Orson Welles, King of Kings is a reverent telling of the life of Christ while providing a historic context of the Roman occupation of Judea. Almost three hours long this 1961 version is a perennial holiday favorite. While some critics have pointed out or criticized Jeffrey Hunter’s too pretty blue-eyed Nordic Jesus, Hunter’s performance also comes across as more compassionate and sensitive than perhaps some of the other interpretations by various actors on the same theme. Beautifully shot in...
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Movie Review When a mysterious one armed stranger arrives by train into the sleepy little desert town of Black Rock, he sets off a contagion of apprehension and hostility among the locals. Just as John J. Macready (Spencer Tracy) steps off the train the station manager/telegraph operator is alarmed and surprised that the train even stopped. It’s been four years since the last train stopped at Black Rock. It’s been just a few months since the end of WWII, but retired Army man Macready finds he’s walked into inexplicably hostile territory by the reception from the locals. Why are these...
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Simon of the Desert (1965)

Simon of the Desert (1965)
Movie Review I’m not even sure how to describe this surreal film by Spanish director Luis Buñuel other than as  Buñuelesque  Surrealism. Simon of the Desert was shot in black and white and was the last film in which Buñuel used Mexican actors or collaborated with the great Mexican cinematographer, Gabriel Figueroa. The protagonist is a Christian ascetic named Simon (Claudio Brook) who does penance and hopes to achieve worthiness in the eyes of God by spending his life atop a column in constant prayer and meditation subsisting wholly on lettuce and water. The character is modeled on Saint Simon...
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Network (1976)

Network (1976)
Movie Review   This past weekend, the enormously talented director, Sidney Lumet died. He leaves behind an impressive body of social commentary on celluloid. Perhaps his most prophetic work is Network, starring such colossal talent as Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, and Robert Duvall. To watch Network today, I find myself shaking my head in wonder and horror, thinking  “My God, Lumet was not only an artistic genius but a soothsayer!” He saw the future of television and its influence on popular culture and society. I wonder if Lumet and the rest of the players involved fully...
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