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Robert Duvall

Widows (2018)

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen

CAST: Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall

REVIEW:

Widows could be considered a heist movie, but it’s not a testosterone-fueled action flick, and it’s even further away from a lighthearted lark in the vein of something like Ocean’s ElevenJust a cursory glance at the filmography of director and co-writer Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave) shows he’s a filmmaker of more serious intentions, and thematic subtext related to female empowerment, corruption in politics, race relations, and social injustice make Widows about more than “just” a heist movie.  One could argue McQueen and co-writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) bite off more than they can chew—the narrative is prone to spending too much time on side tangents and could have benefited from a leaner, tighter edit—but there’s enough here to make Widows an engaging, if imperfect, slow burn crime drama/thriller achieving a little uniqueness by boasting an all-female lead cast. Continue reading

Deep Impact (1998)

DIRECTOR: Mimi Leder

CAST:

Téa Leoni, Robert Duvall, Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski, Maximilian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, James Cromwell, Ron Eldard, Jon Favreau, Laura Innes, Mary McCormack, Richard Schiff, Blair Underwood, Dougray Scott, Betsy Brantley, Denise Crosby, Mike O’Malley, Kurtwood Smith, Charles Martin Smith

REVIEW:

An asteroid on a collision course with Earth, threatening the very existence of mankind. Any number of movies have examined this theme, most of them forgettable. Deep Impact, director Mimi Leder’s take on this scenario and a product of Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures, came out almost back-to-back with Armageddon, Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer’s action flick. The basic premises were similar- humanity launches a desperate mission to destroy an approaching asteroid large enough to wipe out all life on Earth- but the filmmakers’ ways of approaching it were not. Continue reading

Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

DIRECTOR: Walter Hill

CAST: Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Wes Studi, Matt Damon, Rodney A. Grant, Kevin Tighe

REVIEW:

While its title might be simply Geronimo, a more accurate name for this movie might be The Geronimo Campaign.  Walter Hill, not a stranger to the Western genre, directs this chronicle of the “Geronimo Campaign” in which famed Apache war leader Geronimo, with 34 men, managed to elude 5,000 US cavalry troops between 1885 and 1886 before his surrender in September 1886.  Continue reading

The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

DIRECTOR: John Sturges

CAST:

Michael Caine,  Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, Donald Pleasence, Larry Hagman, Treat Williams, Jean Marsh, Anthony Quayle, John Standing, Sven Bertil-Taube, Siegfried Rauch, Michael Byrne, Joachim Hansen, Maurice Roeves, Wolf Kahler

REVIEW:

The Eagle Has Landed is not your typical war movie. Those looking for something along the lines of Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers should look elsewhere. Based on the book by espionage and international intrigue writer Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed is intended as action-thriller escapism, but, while entertaining in a goofy sort of way and with some bright spots, isn’t quite the suspenseful twisty-turny potboiler it aspires to be. Continue reading

The Godfather Part II (1974)

DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola

CAST: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg

REVIEW:

A companion piece in the true sense of the word and regarded as arguably the best sequel ever made, The Godfather Part II (which was greenlit before the first movie was even released) only further deepens and enrichens the characters and themes from its predecessor while Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo weave an even more ambitious web. Like The Lord of the Rings, The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are less a film series than one combined continuous story rightfully taken as a whole.

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The Godfather (1972)

DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola

CAST: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, John Cazale

REVIEW:

Has any other motion picture defined a genre the way The Godfather did for the gangster film? Since its release in 1972 (receiving ten Oscar nominations and winning Best Picture), it has represented the gold standard to which all other mob movies are held. Yet The Godfather, adapted by Francis Ford Coppola from the novel by Mario Puzo (who also wrote the screenplay), is no mere gangland shoot-em-up (in fact, violence comes in short, jarring bursts, few and far between). What really grants the film its distinction is the core themes of family, an underlying character arc that ultimately resembles a Shakespearean tragedy, the careful technical accomplishment of the entire production, and the richness of Puzo’s script carefully weaving myriad subplots into a cohesive whole. Non-fans of the gangster movie genre might not be enthralled, and the nearly three hour runtime and slow burn pace represents a sizable commitment of time and attention, but for mob movie aficionados, this is as good as it gets, and skillful cinematic craftsmanship by any objective standard.

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