PLEASE STAND BY

For Wendy (Dakota Fanning), the world is as big as it is confusing. Autistic and living in a San Francisco group home under the tutelage of Scottie (Toni Collette), Wendy has learned what to do and how to do — from which color sweater to wear on Tuesdays to saying the right thing to customers while handing out samples at Cinnabon — it’s just the why that trips her up. And while her day job at Cinnabon and her living space bring comfort and routine, Wendy’s life lacks purpose and adventure. She finds it in a Star Trek spec script … Continue reading PLEASE STAND BY

FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

Film stars never die; they simply fade away. Like moths to the flame, they become one with the light, always there to be called once more with a flip of the switch. One of the silver screen’s most enchanting sirens, Gloria Grahame, is still with us. We need only slid our copy of The Big Heat or In a Lonely Place once more into the DVD player, and presto, the vixen with the pout lives between the flicker of shadow and light. But in reality, Gloria Graham did die, in New York City on October 5, 1981, from breast cancer. … Continue reading FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

Three from Karlson

Director Phil Karlson — born Philip N. Karlstein in Chicago, 1908 — could do just about anything. Starting as a gagman for Buster Keaton, Karlson found work as propman, studio manager, editor, and assistant before stepping behind the camera and calling the shots. His first, A Wave, a WAC, and a Marine (1944) was a comedy/musical but if anyone is going to pick a Karlson film out a line-up, it would be for his tough and gritty 1950s B-pictures. But even these films didn’t cement Karlson’s legacy in Hollywood history. David Thomson’s The New Biographical Dictionary of Film calls Karlson’s career “modest” … Continue reading Three from Karlson

And the winners are…

On January 16, the Denver Film Critics Society — 16 writers and broadcasters working in and around the Mile High City, of which I am one — announced their picks for the year’s best. Leading the way was Lady Bird with two wins (Best Picture and Lead Actress) and six nominations. Call Me By Your Name received the most nominations overall, seven, but winners were spread evenly across the field with three films taking receiving two wins apiece. Below are DFCS’s 2017 nominees with the winners in bold: Best Film Call Me By Your Name Dunkirk Lady Bird The Shape … Continue reading And the winners are…

CHAMPION (1949)

Midge Kelly is the champion. How do we know he’s the champion? Because a ring announcer calls him such a half-dozen times before we even see his face. He is played by Kirk Douglas after all, and with that million-watt smile, those broad shoulders, and that perfectly coifed hair; who else could the champion? Champion, directed by Mark Robson and written by Carl Forman, then flashes back to Kelly’s humble beginnings, showing how the champion came to be. From riding the rails from Chicago to L.A. with his brother, Connie (Arthur Kennedy), then as a waiter for an oceanside diner … Continue reading CHAMPION (1949)