Reviews in Short: September 2014

All Is Lost



Robert Redford plays a yachtsman who struggles for eight days to survive in the Indian Ocean after his boat is punctured by floating junk.  Redford was praised for his solo performance in this harrowing tale, and deservedly so, but All Is Lost is really a director’s movie … and a sound engineer’s movie, and an editor’s movie, and a cinematographer’s movie, et al.  It’s a fine showcase for what only Hollywood can do:  dazzle us with sight and sound.  Release:  2013   Grade:  B+




Il Futuro



This is one of those artsy, low-plot foreign movies that suck you in because the characters are interesting and the images are striking.  Sad-eyed Manuela Martelli plays an orphaned teen who, along with her younger brother and his shady pals, concocts a plot to rob an aging blind man (Rutger Hauer).  The ensuing romance between old man Hauer and waif-like Martelli manages to be simultaneously creepy and erotic.   Release:  2013  Grade:  B-




Wake in Fright



“He was a good guy.  But then he fell in with a bad crowd.”  John Grant (Gary Bond) is a good guy, a schoolteacher toiling in the boonies of Australia’s Outback.  He goes on holiday, has a drink, does a little gambling … and then meets the menfolk of a community known as “The Yabba.”  What follows is a harrowing, graphic look at just how low the human spirit can fall – disturbing stuff, but expertly realized by filmmaker Ted Kotcheff.  Release:  1971  Grade:  B+


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