Movie Diary 8/25/2011

Colossus: The Forbin Project (Joseph Sargent, 1970). Remembered some of this computer-gone-wild movie, but not the ending. And they’re going to remake it? I’ll believe it when I see it. Eric Braeden starred in this after coming to notice in “The Rat Patrol,” then went back to steady TV employment; an interestingly chilly presence.

The Ducksters (Chuck Jones, 1950). Send-up of sadistic quiz shows, with Daffy Duck as emcee, inflicting some incredible punishment on contestant Porky Pig. It doesn’t matter whether you get the answers right or wrong; there’s still going to be a giant rock to fall on your head. Postwar fatalism, Warner-style.

At What a Feeling!, two more reviews written in the 1980s: The Plague Dogs, an obscure but powerful animated feature based on a Richard Adams novel, and Leonard Part 6, a semi-legendary flop from Bill Cosby.

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Movie Diary 8/22/2011

Silent Running (Douglas Trumbull, 1972). I saw this when it came out (I’m pretty sure at the Cinerama in Seattle), and never since. Many hippie elements obtain, including Joan Baez on the soundtrack, and it doesn’t take long to recognize that Trumbull’s gift was with the hardware, not the actors. But the long silences I remembered from the original are still thankfully there, although the movie doesn’t look at sharp and clear as my mind’s eye had it (and it needs hugeness, not the TV screen). Bruce Dern plays it as though his Solaris moment must have been encountering the ghost of Marlon Brando out there in space. But the droids are awesome, wonderful; and played by double-amputees.

Mr. Nice (Bernard Rose, 2010). A near-GoodFellas treatment of a notorious British drug peddler, a good fit for Rhys Ifans though a movie more ambivalent in its meaning that it perhaps intends to be. Rose is a filmmaker who still has a classic or two in him. (full review 9/2)

At What a Feeling!, the randomly-generated reviews from the 1980s turn up a piece on Benji: The Hunted, which most cinephiles agree has the distinct edge over Oh Heavenly Dog!