By Robin E. Simmons
THE OLD MAN & THE GUN
After a long and celebrated career as one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood, Robert Redford said recently (August’18) that he’s retiring from acting and that the American crime comedy The Old Man and the Gun will be his final film.
Written and directed by David Lowery. The movie is based on the fascinating real life story of elderly Forrest Tucker, (no, not that one), a career criminal and prison escape artist who continues conducting a string of bank robberies well into his 70s. Known as a “gentleman robber,” he eventually meets and falls in love with Jewel (Sissy Spacek) while relentlessly pursued by Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck).
Is there a better way for Redford to exit the movie biz than with a 70s fedora on his head, packing a revolver? Redford’s graceful physicality is on full display here as he convincingly inhabits career criminal Tucker who has no desire to retire or do anything else.
The terrific cast includes Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, and Tom Waits. Oddly, Elisabeth Moss, who was originally reported to be in the film, is not listed in the credits.
Only time will tell if Redford’s retirement plans turn out to be true. I hope not.
Jack Nicholson said he too was retiring from acting but he has reportedly expressed in playing the irascible crank in the remake of the Swedish hit A Man Called Ove.
Don’t miss this lovely film.
New Blu for the home theater:
FOUND FOOTAGE 3D
The contrived and derivative plot follows an aspiring filmmaker who’s hired to document the behind-the-scenes action of the low-budget horror movie “Spectre of Death” that’s going to be marketed as “the first 3D found-footage horror film.”
The young filmmaker packs up his camera and travels with the film’s crew to a creepy cabin in the woods. But as is often the case, personal issues undermine the endeavor and the production spirals out of control. Even worse, the fictional evil presence in their feature film begins appearing in the behind-the-scenes footage! If the novice filmmaker can’t figure out how to stop it, the entity may find its way into the real world. The filmmakers may know how to make a found footage movie, but will they survive one?
Some smart and silly self-aware moments and OK 3D effects make this more fun that it might otherwise be. Two pairs of retro style cardboard green and red cellophane lens glasses are included in the packaging and– best of all — a 3D configured TV (or disc player) is not needed!
And in the end, there are some genuine frights. Studio42. Shudder.
DIAMONDS OF KILIMANDJARO (1983)
Jesús Franco, the Spanish director, film composer and actor, has managed to create a popular sub-genre of stylish nightmares out of unexpected, even ludicrous, stories.
Here he plays off the Tarzan mythos for this sometimes gore filled cult flick.
Franco has made a lot of movies. Most of them have two things in common: bad acting and even worse dubbing.
Pretty Katja Bienert, who celebrates her 52nd birthday as I write this, plays the topless lead with enthusiasm. MVD.
THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS (1971)
Dario Argento — Italian filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, movie critic and Asia’s dad — is mainly known now for his 1970s and 80s horror films and the subgenre “Giallo” that includes a mix of mystery, “slasher” and sexploitation elements.
His 1971 film has a cult following, maybe because it’s so hard to find. This new hi-def transfer is as good as the film looked when it came from the lab. In my opinion, the movie itself is an improvement over his previous year’s The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.
The film’s non-linear convolutions of plot may be an intentional distraction but that seems an unlikely excuse for a fractured narrative.
The plot has a newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist trying to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company’s experimental, and ultra top-secret research projects. It’s not long before the duo become targets of the killer.
The film is a bit of a departure from Argento’s more stylized, hyper-violent works. If it’s new to you, check it out. It’s no Suspiria, but none-the-less, a solid little film.
This special edition has a nice set of extras, both on the disc and in the package. There’s an interesting new commentary by Argento expert Alan Jones and film critic Kim Newman, plus new interviews with Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti and actress Cinzia De Carolis. Also, the original Italian and international theatrical trailers and a fascinating short feature that shows the script pages for the original ending of the film that has since been lost. Arrow Video.