April 4, 2010

Pinky (1949)

Jeanne Crain, Ethel Waters and Ethel Barrymore were rightfully nominated for Academy Awards (Actress, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actress, respectively) for Pinky, a predictable but sincere look at racism in the United States. Considering the time it was made, the story of a light-skinned black woman returning to her southern home town does not shy away from controversial issues but, the film does have some controversial issues of its own (casting a white actress to play the central black character, stereotypical characterizations on both sides of the color spectrum, pat situations, and a predictable Hollywood ending, for example). Still, director Elia Kazan's use of light, shadows and the camera (in general) and good supporting performances (including but not limited to Evelyn Varden and Nina Mae McKinney) still make the film a worthwhile experience.

April 3, 2010

Eaten Alive (1977)

Even the good people act batshit crazy before being Eaten Alive in this faux Psycho thriller which adds a huge crocodile to the dilapidated hotel mix. Tobe Hooper's second film (starting a downward spiral that continued with The Funhouse) is dark, weird and just not scary. Most inexplicably (in a film of inexplicable wigs and alternate titles) is why this hotel, run by the monologue spouting Neville Brand and seemingly located deep within some Okeefenokee swamp, has so many patrons - Marilyn Burns, Mel Ferrer, Robert Englund, Janus Blythe, Kyle Richards and William Finley all stop by for a rest while Stuart Whitman and Carolyn Jones stay on the outskirts.

April 2, 2010

The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

Made almost twenty years ago, The Handmaid's Tale is prescient in its depiction of religious extremism and its takeover of a nation. Ultimately though its a barren film adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel about barren women and the handmaids who procreate for them. Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn all do a fine job and the film holds interest but it is emotionless.

April 1, 2010

Return to Horror High (1987)

A cornucopia of B-listers (Vince Edward, Scott Jacoby, Philip McKeon, Alex Rocco and Maureen McCormick) and one pre A-list A-lister (George Clooney) Return to Horror High for this confusing spoof of slasher movies which has no real violence but sheds loads of blood. In a way (a long way) it reminded me of Robert Altman's The Player but this one is a really bad movie. Clooney comes and goes very quickly (probably had a call for The Facts of Life) and McCormick is actually pretty funny but even she can't save this piece of trash.