Tag Archives: James Caan

Mark Rydell – Cinderella Liberty (1973)

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This charming tough-love romance is yet more evidence why the early 1970s is considered one of the most creative times in Hollywood. Basically a story about a link-up between a sailor and a pool hall tramp, Cinderella Liberty overcomes traditional problems with such material. The “R” rating for once allows such characters to talk as they might, although our nice-guy hero has a thing against profanity. Darryl Ponicsan’s story acknowledges the desperation of sailors to find female companionship, especially when on ‘Cinderella Liberty,’ a shore pass that expires at midnight. Also breaking with Hollywood tradition, the film allows Marsha Mason’s hooker to be credibly profane and self destructive, and yet still be worthy of our concern. The movie has its share of emotional compromises but by the last act we’re only hoping that things turn out well for our deserving main characters. Read More »

Michael Mann – Thief (1981)

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Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who has other plans for him. Read More »

Matt Dillon – City of Ghosts (2002)

A con man flees to Southeast Asia when an international scam he was involved in goes sour. Suspecting he’s been double-crossed by his long-time mentor, he sets off to Cambodia for his promised cut. What he finds there is a mysterious and hostile environment where even the most polished criminal can end up on deadly ground. Read More »

Richard Rush – Freebie and the Bean (1974)

Museum of the Moving Images writes:
Taking full advantage of Caan’s versatile ability to play both a strapping intimidator and limber comedian, Freebie and the Bean is an early entry in the buddy comedy genre that partners him with Alan Arkin as squabbling San Francisco police detectives. While ostensibly in pursuit of mob boss Red Meyers (Kruschen), the real action takes place between the mismatched Freebie Waters (Caan) and Benito Vazquez (Arkin), who leave the city cowering in fear of their technically friendly fire and careering, crashing cars. Directed by Richard Rush (The Stuntman) and shot by László Kovács (Easy Rider, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), is full on, unbridled entertainment, riddled with hyperbolic chase sequences and viciously hilarious repartee. Read More »

Howard Hawks – Red Line 7000 (1965)

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The story of three racing drivers and three women, who constantly have to worry for the lives of their boyfriends. Jim Loomis and Mike Marsh drive for Pat Cassarian. Jim expects his fiancée Holly, but before she arrives, he dies in a race. Since she hasn’t got the money to travel back, she stays. The young and very ambitious talent Ned Arp joins the team and immediately starts wooing Pat’s sister Julie. Third in the team is womanizer Dan McCall, who brings with him his current girlfriend Gabrielle from Paris. So the basic theme of this soap is “Who with whom?” Read More »

Francis Ford Coppola – The Rain People (1969)

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Carefully observed and beautifully shot, the film that launched American Zoetrope 40 years ago is an early herald of Coppola’s talent for crafting delicate narratives that actors can sink their teeth into. Natalie (Shirley Knight) is a Long Island housewife trapped in a loveless marriage and stifled by domesticity. Two months pregnant and unable to bear her humdrum existence, she hits the road on a quest for freedom that Roger Ebert dubbed the “mirror image” of Easy Rider. Read More »

Jonas Åkerlund – Small Apartments (2012)

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Trapped in a seedy LA apartment, Franklin Franklin (Matt Lucas) has a dead landlord on the kitchen floor and is surrounded by eccentric neighbors: the stoner (Johnny Knoxville) and girlfriend (Rebel Wilson), the wanna-be stripper (Juno Temple) and the artist (James Caan). To add to his chaos, a drunk investigator (Billy Crystal) is questioning him about his landlord. But none of this fazes Franklin. He dreams of Switzerland, and waits each day for an envelope from his institutionalized brother (James Marsden). Then, one day the envelope doesn’t come and Franklin becomes unhinged. Little does he know…his crazy brother has the secret that will set him free. Read More »