Top Fifty Films of the 60s — Number Forty-Eight

#48 — Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963) Eight years before Peter Bogdanovich’s exceptional adaptation of The Last Picture Show, writer Larry McMurtry had his first dalliance with the silver screen when his debut novel, 1961’s Horseman, Pass By, was transformed into Hud. This film holds a defining star turn by Paul Newman and an astonishing, Oscar-winning performance by Patricia Neal. It also inspired a vital early essay by Pauline Kael in which she laid bare her own conflicted feelings about the work in such compelling terms that it was one of the cornerstones of her legend and could legitimately lay claim … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 60s — Number Forty-Eight

Gray, Herzog, Meyers, Mulligan, Ritt

It’s Complicated (Nancy Meyers, 2009). It’s not, really. It is, however, inane, phony and empty-headed. What’s more, it’s borderline offensive in its complete detachment from the problems that most people experience, positing the height of stress that someone could face is planning a wildly expensive addition to the already sizable house. Some of this could be forgivable if the comedy was funny in the slightest, but there’s a barely a laugh to be found in the strained story that wants so desperately to be farce, but no involved wants to sully their hands with such crass entertainment. Meryl Streep may … Continue reading Gray, Herzog, Meyers, Mulligan, Ritt

Brooks, Haskin, Ritt, West, Zinnemann

From the Earth to the Moon (Byron Haskin, 1958). In some respects, this is a bit of sci-fi fancifulness typical of the era when imagining trips to the moon was a common cinematic endeavor. The film is distinguished by the fact that it doesn’t imagine a bold future, instead reaching back to the distant past for its interplanetary adventure. It adapts an 18th century Jules Verne novel, sticking with the era of its publication. This means American entrepreneurs enriched by profits generated during the Civil War pulling together an unlikely launch into space. The action is turgid and the characterization … Continue reading Brooks, Haskin, Ritt, West, Zinnemann