Lady Sings the Blues, like many enjoyable biopics, has little to do with presenting fact and everything to do with presenting the essence of a life. It has been both rightly and unfairly reviled by passionate fans of Holiday’s music as being highly fictionalized—and so it is, just as Amadeus, Funny Girl, and St. Louis Blues also use seeds of fact to grow fanciful tales of their respective subjects’ lives. It is also true that Diana Ross has little in common with Billie Holiday; their singing styles are markedly different, and Ross is far too slender and beautiful to believably imitate Holiday; to her credit, she does not try. Read More »
Sidney J. Furie
Based on a supposedly true story, a woman is tormented and sexually molested by an invisible demon.
This big budget entry from the early ’80s horror boom is one of the most underrated of that genre. The Entity succeeds despite potentially exploitative subject matter because it tells its story in a serious, respectful style. Frank de Felitta’s script devotes as much time to building three-dimensional characters and detailing the inner workings of psychology and parapsychology as it does creating shocks. Read More »
In this classic Western, buffalo hunter Matt Fletcher (Marlon Brando) plans on starting a horse breeding farm with his friend Paco (Rafael Campos) in the border town of Ojo Prieto. But when a Mexican bandit (John Saxon) steals his prized Appaloosa stallion, Matt crosses the border determined to get revenge. In search of his beloved horse, Matt falls in love with a beautiful woman (Anjanette Comer), battles a band of bandits and faces poisonous scorpions. Read More »
Tasked with investigating the kidnappings and brainwashed reappearances of top scientists, including Dr. Radcliffe (Aubrey Richards), the insubordinate British spy Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) navigates his way through criminals, secret agents, and his superiors (Nigel Green, Guy Doleman). While attempting to bring in the suspect Bluejay (Frank Gatliff), Palmer discovers a mysterious audiotape labeled “IPCRESS,” an inconspicuous, but ominous, piece of evidence. Read More »
Four teenage teddy boys are tried in the Old Bailey, charged with the “murder in the course of theft” of a garage night watchman, a conviction for which carries an automatic death penalty. Although initial evidence from the prosecuting counsel seems damning of the youthful gang, their unorthodox defence lawyer’s skilful arguments soon throw the jury into confusion and disarray. Read More »
This big budget entry from the early ’80s horror boom is one of the most underrated of that genre. The Entity succeeds despite potentially exploitative subject matter because it tells its story in a serious, respectful style. Frank de Felitta’s script devotes as much time to building three-dimensional characters and detailing the inner workings of psychology and parapsychology as it does creating shocks. As a result, the horrific parts of the tale are more effective because they are couched in a compelling reality. That said, The Entity never feels like anything less than a horror movie, thanks to forceful direction by Sidney J. Furie, who uses moody cinematography from Stephen Burum and an obsessive, minimalist score by Charles Bernstein to create an edgy, off-kilter atmosphere guaranteed to keep the audience tense between the set pieces. Finally, and most importantly, The Entity hooks the viewer thanks to phenomenal performances. Barbara Hershey gives a warm, totally credible performance as a decent, strong woman thrust into a bizarre situation, and Ron Silver adds excellent support as a well-meaning psychologist whose desire to find a rational explanation harms the situation as often as it helps. On the downside, a few of the makeup effects aren’t very convincing (especially when compared with strong physical and visual effects) and the open-ended coda might turn off some viewers, but the overall craftsmanship of the film is too strong to be denied. In short, The Entity is worthy of rediscovery by horror fans who want a little substance with their shocks. — Donald Guarisco (AMG) Read More »