BIG NIGHT

Poffy The Cucumber

Thought for Food. Stanley Tucci outdoes himself with his directorial debut BIG NIGHT, the poignant, funny story of two Italian brothers risking it all on one feast that might save their failing Italian restaurant. Tucci is everything to BIG NIGHT. He is co-writer (with his cousin Joseph Tropiano), co-director (with Campbell Scott), and star. Even his lead character, Secondo, has … Read More

ALICE COOPER | Love It To Death

Jon Dunmore

A melody black / Flowed out of my breath… rapped in a dark room. From out of the blackness swirls a delicate piano and an unsure voice, quaking, lamenting, “I couldn’t tell if the bells are getting louder / The songs they ring I finally recognize…” Something ominous this way comes… “I only know / Hell is getting hotter / … Read More

SCHINDLER’S LIST

Poffy The Cucumber

The Ones That Got Away (alternate title in Germany?) He was German, a Nazi, a profiteer of slave labor, a philanderer, an adulterer, a confidence man and a traitor to his country. He was Oskar Schindler, who saved over 1,100 Jews from concentration camps in World War II. Reminds me of that joke “…but screw just one sheep…” in reverse. … Read More

PLANET OF THE APES

Poffy The Cucumber

A Planet where apes evolved from overactors. POFFY VIDEO REVIEW available only.   END PLANET OF THE APES (Apr 1968) aka: MONKEY PLANET. Director: Franklin J. Schaffner. Writers: Pierre Boulle, Rod Serling, Michael Wilson. Music: Jerry Goldsmith. Starring: Charlton Henston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison, Robert Gunner, Lou Wagner, Woodrow Parfrey, Jeff Burton, … Read More

INTERSTELLAR

Poffy The Cucumber

Odyssey Three: When Surfer Dudes Boldly Go… In his 2014 Oscar speech, Matthew McConaughey told us his hero was “himself, in ten years’ time.” Everyone thought he was a narcissistic jackass. Until INTERSTELLAR, when he travels to the future through a wrinkle in time and meets – himself! Standing lofty on the shoulders of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and CONTACT, … Read More

UNBREAKABLE

Poffy The Cucumber

Irresponsible Force meets Unbreakable Object. Quentin Tarantino provided the best logline for M. Night Shyamalan‘s UNBREAKABLE. In his characteristically compelling storytelling way, he puts it – even better than the actual ad campaign – “What if Superman was here on Earth and didn’t know he was Superman?” That’s UNBREAKABLE broken down. If there is, in fact, a “super” gene, it … Read More

FAIL-SAFE

Poffy The Cucumber

Failing at Safe. Bombing Moscow: the dream of every American chickenhawk politician during the Cold War. Bombing New York: the dream of every other country. In FAIL-SAFE, a grim parable about a war triggered due to a computer glitch, everyone’s dreams come true. Released in September 1964, only a few months after Stanley Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE (Jan 1964), Sidney Lumet’s … Read More

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Poffy The Cucumber

All quiet when it comes to war. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is arguably the first true anti-war film. An American production that follows a young German soldier through senseless World War I trenches, it is epic in scope, yet intimate in its emotional impact. There were others that flew the flag of anti-war – CIVILIZATION (1916), J’ACCUSE (1919), … Read More

LEON

Poffy The Cucumber

Angel and the Bad Man. If cuteness has a forbidden name – then, oh Christ! It must be Natalie Portman! If loving this 12-year-old is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Or in jail. LÉON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL) is writer-director Luc Besson‘s masterpiece. For its poignant paintings of shadowy souls in conflict with themselves and each other; for its dynamite … Read More

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Poffy The Cucumber

Darkest Knight. 60 years ago writer-director Christopher Nolan would have been one of the premier exponents of film noir. Conceptually and cinematically, his DARK KNIGHT trilogy is one of the most somber excursions into dual personality crises, moral relativism, vigilantism and nihilism. And Batman would have been Humphrey Bogart. “Here’s lookin’ at you, Gotham…” Just as dour as Bogart, Christian … Read More

ALIEN

Poffy The Cucumber

A Little Extra Extra-Terrestrial. The slogan for ALIEN is embedded in pop culture: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Even so, there’s an awful lot of screaming going on… A deep space mining crew investigates a distress signal from an unchartered planet, and inadvertently takes onboard a malignant alien life form. What could possibly happen next, but grisly … Read More

THE OFFICE

Poffy The Cucumber

Office Spaced. Genius Ricky Gervais forges one of the greatest comedy series in history, co-writing, co-directing and starring in THE OFFICE. No punchline required. Before we proceed with this joyous excursion into comedic venality, let us clarify the world in which we live in (thank you, Paul!): there is only *one* THE OFFICE. That is: Ricky Gervais’s and Stephen Merchant’s … Read More

BIUTIFUL

Poffy The Cucumber

Melancholia all over ya. Never has depressing looked so… BIUTIFUL. If you thought you knew tragedy or heartache or squalor or depression, from the likes of TRAINSPOTTING or ETHAN FROME or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE or THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s gritty film about a small time Spanish thief from the slums of Barcelona, who discovers he has cancer and … Read More

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

Poffy The Cucumber

One Cuckoo in Charge of the Rest. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, the story of one sane man’s carousel ride through an insane asylum, is one of the foremost statements on mankind’s descent into madness. Not because of the unbalanced patients – because of the unbalanced staff. Terrifying, poignant, gut-wrenching, from the acclaimed book by Ken Kesey (who hated … Read More

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

Poffy The Cucumber

A Spielberg fantasy done horribly right. What if the United States Military actually possessed a shred of decency and humanity? Shyeh! What if. In SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the people who type the “Sorry Your Son’s Dead” letters for the Warmongers Who Send Sons Off To Die notice that three letters are addressed to the Ryan family of Anytown USA. Seems … Read More

TROUBLED WATER

Poffy The Cucumber

Puts the “troubled” back in teen. When “troubled teens” are embroiled in gangs (ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA) or drugs (TRAINSPOTTING, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM), it is a life decision, a commitment to those lifestyles that drives their drama. In the Norwegian film, TROUBLED WATER, it’s different: a teen commits one thoughtless act that has life-shaking consequences long after … Read More

IN BRUGES

Poffy The Cucumber

Quentin Tarantino’s THE ODD COUPLE. Humor so black and ironic, it’s like stabbing nuns with the same ruler they used to rap your knuckles during piano lessons. IN BRUGES. It’s in Belgium. It’s where mismatched hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) are sent by Harry the Boss (Ralph Fiennes) to lay low after a hit, to await his … Read More

JAWS

Poffy The Cucumber

A Whale of a Tale. Da… dun… Da-dun… Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun Dun-dun – toodle-oooo (those are the French horns)… When Steven Spielberg first heard John Williams‘s simple, ominous JAWS theme, he apparently thought it was a joke. Now who’s laughing? They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. Matter of fact, even this film’s director, Mr. Household-Name himself, Steven … Read More

3:10 TO YUMA 2007

Poffy The Cucumber

Black hat, White hat, Gray souls… Every way of man is right in his own eyes. – Wade quoting the Book of Proverbs, 3:10 TO YUMA. Every modern Western released after Eastwood’s mighty 1992 elegy has laid hollow claim to “The best western since UNFORGIVEN.” 3:10 TO YUMA is. That’s because – like UNFORGIVEN – YUMA is not a “Western,” … Read More

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Poffy The Cucumber

Bloody Awesome. I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. – Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), THERE WILL BE BLOOD. In the words of Jack’s Joker, “I like him already.” Yet I fear him like I’ve feared no other man. Speaking of Jokers, Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the only person on Earth who could replace Heath Ledger in a … Read More