Showing posts from July, 2023

The Land Leviathan (Oswald Bastable #2) (1974)

by Michael Moorcock Michael Moorcock's meditation on racism and nationalism is  obvious and dull.   Michael Moorcock His hero, the dimension-hopping Oswald Bastable, finds himself on an earth where technological advance has unleashed man's basest, most aggressive tendencies, leading to total war on a worldwide scale.   The author has plenty of opinions but does not present them in a coherent storyline.   A few historical personages appear, such as Gandhi as the president of a pacifist country, but they are not used in a way that provides any insight into their characters beyond what everyone already knows (i.e., Gandhi was a pacifist).  White authors court disaster when they adopt the point of view of a black character whose defining characteristic is all-consuming rage, as Moorcock demonstrates by creating the Black Attila, who crusades to make the earth safe for his people.   However, I think Moorcock's heart was in the right place.   Finally, he has the bad habit of sett

Point Blank (1967)

Director: John Boorman Writers: Alexander Jacobs and David Newhouse & Rafe Newhouse, based on the novel "The Hunter" by Richard Stark AKA Donald Westlake Stars: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, Lloyd Bochner, Michael Strong, John Vernon, Sharon Acker   Double-crossed by his best friend (John Vernon)  and his wife (Sharon Acker), a tough guy (Lee Marvin) works his way up the hierarchy of a criminal syndicate in a quest for revenge and his money.   Director John Boorman adds interest to his straightforward narrative with techniques that are occasionally disorienting and always illustrative of his protagonist's bleak state of mind.  Marvin is at his best as a man who sublimates his humanity in service of his objective.  

The Leopard (1963)

Director: Luchino Visconti Writers: Suso Cecchi D'Amico & Pasquale Festa Campanile and Enrico Mediolo & Massimo Franciosa and Luchino Visconti, based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Stars: Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Paolo Stoppa, Rina Morelli, Romolo Valli, Terence Hill, Pierre Clementi During a time of social upheaval in 19th-century Sicily,  aristocratic patriarch Don Fabrizio (Burt Lancaster) contemplates the impending changes in the social order.   A proud and honorable man, he is, as he says, "utterly without illusions"; he knows that men such as himself, who are accustomed to being the center of their universe, have no place in the world that is to come.   Director Luchino Visconti presents the Don's dilemma in a very subtle, intimate, closely observed film.  Perhaps too subtle for me.   This is clearly a film of great mastery with a magnificent performance by Lancaster at its center.  Although his voice is dubbed by an