Showing posts from August, 2022

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Director: Frank Darabont Writers: Frank Darabont, based on a short novel by Stephen King Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore Falsely given a life sentence for the murder of his wife,  bank manager Andy DuFresne (Tim Robbins) befriends fellow lifer Red Redding (Morgan Freeman) and astounds his fellow inmates with his resiliency and sense of self-worth.  His financial skills also make him useful to the prison staff; soon he is acting as a financial advisor to the guards and helping the warden (Bob Gunton) keep track of his illicit gains.   The film unfolds at a leisurely pace, as befits a story about men who are serving life sentences.  Director/screenwriter Frank Darabont does a good job of presenting the monotony of prison life without allowing the film itself to become boring by punctuating the story with little emotional payoffs along the way.   Although many of these payoffs are rather conventional m

The Bad News Bears (1976)

Director: Michael Ritchie Writer: Bill Lancaster Stars: Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Jackie Earle Haley, Chris Barnes, Gary Lee Cavagnaro, Alfred W. Lutter, Quinn Smith, Vic Morrow Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), a cranky,  alcoholic former minor league pitcher, agrees to coach a team of Little League rejects (Tatum O’Neal, Jackie Earle Haley, Chris Barnes, Gary Lee Cavagnaro, Alfred W. Lutter, and Quinn Smith, among others) and learns a lesson about what is really important.   That sounds like a sappy, pedestrian premise for a run-of-the-mill sports film, but this is anything but that.  Director Michael Richie has crafted a raunchy expose of competitiveness that still has a lot of heart.  When this film came out, a lot of people were shocked by much of the language used by the kids (some of which definitely wouldn’t make it into a movie made today), but what is really shocking is the lengths to which the coaches go to win games.  Buttermaker’s main rival is Roy Turner (Vic M

The Crossing (The Border Trilogy #2) (1994)

  by Cormac McCarthy Like the hero of "All the Pretty Horses," the first book  Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, Billy Parham is a teenager who crosses the border into Mexico, where he must struggle for survival at a primitive level.   At first, he makes the crossing to release a wolf he has trapped and cannot bear to kill.   Later, he returns with his brother.   In the course of this novel, Billy undergoes just about every misfortune it is possible to encounter, becoming progressively more wretched until the final pages, an understated vignette with a potent, heartrending effect.   "Frontier Worker" (German) McCarthy is a fine writer and storyteller, particularly in the early section concerning the wolf, but the story is damaged by  a number of dull episodes in which Billy encounters various old Mexicans, gypsies, and soldiers who inflict their convoluted philosophies upon us. Cormac McCarthy "Across the Border" (Italian) "The Grand Passage"