US VERSUS THEM: AMERICAN SNIPER

AMERICAN SNIPER Pros: Bradley Cooper; nice-looking production Cons: Emotionally flat and kinda pointless; is this film sending the wrong message to viewers? It’s interesting to note how films dealing with the subject of armed conflict have a tendency to reflect the social values and popular mindsets of the time in which they were made. In

BAUDELAIRE’S FOLLY BY ROBERTO CALASSO

La Folie Baudelaire (French title used for English translation) Pros: occasional flashes that register Cons: assumes possession of knowledge (and information) few have; chaotic (lack of) structure I think that I know quite a lot about 19th-century French literature and painting, but not enough to evaluate how idiosyncratic are the assertions in Italian editor/writer Robert Calasso’s

A YOUNG, FERAL, AND MOSTLY UNCLOTHED HELEN MIRREN INSPIRING A PAINTER PLAYED BY JAMES MASON

Michael Powell’s “Age of Consent” Pros:young Mirren, not-young Mason, Godfrey, backdrops Cons: never ignites British filmmaker Michael Powell (1905–1990) was consigned to the living hell of being unable to secure funding to make movies after the shocks delivered by his very nasty 1960 ” I find that movie quite repellant and the final Archers project

A NICELY-COMPOSED PORTRAIT OF NASCAR ROYALTY: I AM DALE EARNHARDT

I AM DALE EARNHARDT Pros: Well-selected archival materials; provides exactly what one would want in a documentary about “the Intimidator” Cons: Nothing major – though this clearly was produced for and by NASCAR Roughly 75 minutes in length, the 2015 Spike TV documentary I Am Dale Earnhardt chronicles the life and career of the iconic stock car

“DON’T OFFEND SABATA…” TOO LATE! RETURN OF SABATA

RETURN OF SABATA (a.k.a. È tornato Sabata … hai chiuso un’altra volta) Trilogy Box Set at Amazon Pros: Trademark Van Cleef scowl; music and photography are well-done Cons: Dull storyline with comedic overtones that never quite work; horrendous dubbing and drab production The third and final film in the official Sabata trilogy of Italian-made westerns (which started off

JAMES FRANCO PRETENDING TO BE HART CRANE

Broken Tower Pros: some black-and-white images Cons: concept of biopic, execution, long recitations of Crane poetry As a commercial movie, “Broken Tower” (2011), written by, produced by, directed by, edited by, and starring James Franco, is untenable. As a master’s (MFA) thesis (at NYU), that is, as a “student film,” its amateurness and failure to