Daily Archives: September 16, 1996

Last Man Standing

A Texas drifter (Bruce Willis) works on both sides of the law to decimate a corrupt town during Prohibition. This 1996 thriller was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961), which in turn was inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, and that itself begat a whole cycle of spaghetti westerns. Writer-director Walter Hill, known earlier in his career for his American versions of French thrillers by Jean-Pierre Melville (indebted in turn to Hollywood noir), specializes in tweaking much-used material. With Christopher Walken, Alexandra Powers, David Patrick Kelly, William Sanderson, Karina Lombard, Michael Imperioli, and Bruce Dern. R, 101 min. (JR)… Read more »

Surviving Picasso

One more chapter in the tasteful, intelligent anticinema of director James Ivory, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and producer Ismail Merchant (teamed here with David L. Wolper), as well as another celebrity impersonation by Anthony Hopkins. These tried-and-true strains converge in an adaptation of Arianna Huffington’s Picasso: Creator and Destroyer; it’s basically a domestic biopic about how the philandering artist treatedand mainly exploitedhis many mistresses. Most (but not all) of the continental characters, including Picasso and Matisse (a Joss Ackland cameo), are inexplicably furnished with English accents. Not a movie that needs to exist, but it passes the time, and at least Hopkins manages to look like Picasso at odd moments. With Natascha McElhone, Julianne Moore, Peter Eyre, Jane Lapotaire, Joseph Maher, Bob Peck, Diane Venora, and Joan Plowright. (JR)… Read more »