Films featuring
Elliott Gould

Contagion

Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.

If this were a better film, it could do for the sales of hand sanitizer what Sideways did for Pinot Noir.

This is not a bad film. It’s well-produced, well-acted by a first-rate cast, and diligently convincing in its scientific details. Unfortunately, it maintains an emotional distance between the audience and its characters, and this serves to keep the film from being truly engrossing.

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Ocean’s Thirteen

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2007 appears to have been the year of thirds, meaning the third entry in some highly visible film franchises. We had a third Shrek movie, a third Jason Bourne movie, a third Pirates of the Caribbean movie and a third Ocean’s Eleven movie. What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. It’s just a coincidence but I needed a way to open this review.

The real pleasure we get from watching movies like Ocean’s Thirteen has very little to do with storytelling, but derives from watching a lot of rich, good-looking people having a lot of fun doing things most of us just dream about. It’s fortunate that this is actually entertaining because there’s not a lot going on here in terms of story. Continue reading

A Bridge Too Far

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Patton will lead the assault. I would prefer Montgomery, but even Eisenhower isn’t that stupid.

This movie serves as both an unofficial sequel and thematic bookend to The Longest Day. It has an undeserved reputation for being overlong, ponderous and dull. It’s none of those things but I can understand how it could appear that way to people expecting a more conventional war movie.

A Bridge Too Far details, at great length and in exacting detail, the Allied debacle known as Operation Market Garden, an over-ambitious plan by General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery to end World War II by Christmas, 1944, by kicking down the undefended back door of Germany. The main problem with the battle plan was that it depended entirely on Murphy’s Law being repealed. Continue reading

The Muppet Movie

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In a lot of ways, the Muppets were the Looney Tunes of their generation, seemingly directed at small children but operating at a gleefully subversive level of sophistication that goes right over the kids’ heads and straight for the hearts of their parents. Their first feature length film plays like an extended big-screen version of their late-seventies television show. This is a good thing.

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M*A*S*H

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Anyone who pops in their DVD of Robert Altman‘s movie adaptation of Richard Hooker‘s novel expecting to see a two-hour version of the TV show is in for a rude shock. The long-running series starring Alan Alda is related to this movie only by title, character names and setting. Stylistically, they are very different animals altogether.

The CBS sitcom, for its groundbreaking subject matter, is still a traditional “workplace” comedy at heart, very much in the tradition of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The TV Frank Burns has far more in common with Ted Baxter than with the religious fanatic portrayed by Robert Duvall in the movie.

The movie version is a choatic, anarchic and hilarious celebration of insanity as an antidote for insanity. Continue reading