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1956_JUBALJubal (1956) – Great western featuring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger.  Steiger in particular lassos the movie and makes it his own as a manipulative cattlehand out to undermine Ford’s straitlaced and righteous hero.  His line about bringing the loose, unscrupulous wife of Borgnine his wood had me in stitches.   Though it’s very much it’s own movie time looks to have put it aside because of it’s similarities with undisputed western classic Shane, which came out three years before.  Criterion has seen fit to unbury it and show it off in a fine transfer.  Classic western fans should seek out.




bigwedBig Wednesday (1978) – John Milius (Conan the Barbarian) follows in the footsteps of buddy George Lucas and tries to make his own American Graffiti styled young adult drama.  Set against the big waves of southern California three friends (Gary Busey, William Katt and Jan-Michael Vincent) deal with the generational changes of the 60’s and 70’s.  Some go to Vietnam, some dodge, others fall into a bottle.  The love for the time and place is palpable, the cinematography is spot on and the surfing footage is great.  Sadly, Milius’ screenplay lacks the strong character the story really needs and as an overall work of drama it’s kind of tepid.  Still, if you can’t get enough surfing in your life, or you want to appreciate Point Break on a whole new level, check it out.  Watch it and learn that Gary Busey never played another role again.


basketball_diariesBasketball Diaries (1995) – One of the films that helped put future superstar DiCaprio on the acting map.  Diaries is an adaptation of Jim Carroll’s seminal work of the same name.  It documents his ball playing days in high school and two bit hooliganism he gets into with his Brooklyn buddies.  As high school winds down he falls into hard drugs, squalor and petty crime.  His poetry saves him.  It’s not bad at all but it’s wears the cloak of 90’s indie cinema heavy and much of the drug abuse drama stylings have since been surpassed by superior films.  If your a DiCaprio devotee and want to see his first steps into great performances, this is a good starting point.  Also showed the world that Mark Wahlberg might be more than a hokey, white raper wearing his pants around his knees.



ozgreatOz: The Great and Powerful (2013) – Mediocre and dull is more like it.  A thin script, a miscast lead actor and a cavalcade of special effects make up this piece of ‘family’ entertainment.  Director Sam Raimi is in neutered and neutral mode all the way.  He peppers a few of his signature cinematic quirks about the place but in the end it’s still depressing to see a master of schlock and mayhem peddle this kind of tepid family movie nonsense.  Someone force him make a $7 million dollar horror movie.  Please.


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