“You’re the ones who decided this is what you were going to do. You mocked us, you’ve done everything you could. You attacked us in an airport, you sidewinded us. So let me make a point here: if you want to stick our head in a blast furnace, do it.”
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The Sicilian Clan is a late ‘60s heist caper boasting three major stars of the Eurocrime genre. Kino Lorber has performed a service for film buffs by making this “lost” film available at last, not only in Blu-ray but in two distinct versions.
Elder statesman Jean Gabin exudes his distinctive weary, grizzled authority as Vittorio Malanese, the patriarch of a family whose criminal activities are somehow too careful and clean to get them caught. It’s implied that they don’t like to kill anybody, and it’s not entirely clear what they do besides sell legitimate pinball machines. Apparently, they’re not on police radar.
Freshly Blu-rayed is an excellent drama that balances several elements into a suspenseful brew that’s generally considered an early airplane disaster picture.
Shot in England by 20th Century Fox, No Highway in the Sky (1951) showcases excellent performances by James Stewart as an absent-minded boffin convinced the plane he’s riding in is going to crash, Marlene Dietrich as the glamorous movie star who believes him, Glynis Johns as the stewardess who doesn’t know what to think, child actress Janette Scott as a lonely genius of a little girl, and a bevy of British character players as the chorus of officials exasperated by it all.
“Look at my African American.” It’s a good bet that Donald Trump, who infamously made this assertion about a crowd member during his campaign last year, has not read James Baldwin. But James Baldwin has read him, which is to say, Baldwin knew and anticipated men like Trump, understood their fears and their needs.
Raoul Peck’s brilliant documentary—nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Academy Award—reminds the rest of us how much, how deeply and how incisively, Baldwin knew and anticipated, how well he read his world and how elegantly he wrote about that world. As the documentary presents Baldwin’s resistance, we might now take heart in it and also borrow from it.
The following is a commentary on the titular character of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), not Roald Dahl’s character (which differs from Gene Wilder’s cinematic portrayal), and certainly not Johnny Depp’s interpretation of the character, which is just the worst. But that’s a topic for another day….
“Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three.”