The Proposition (2005) John Hillcoat


The Proposition (2005)
Directed by John Hillcoat
Produced by Chris Brown, Chiara Menage, Jackie O’Sullivan, Cat Villiers
Written by Nick Cave
Cinematography by Benoît Delhomme
DVD (1:44)

“He’s right, Samuel. A misanthrope is one who hates humanity.”

“Is that what we are? Misanthropes?”

“Good Lord, no. We’re a family.”


The Proposition is a brutal film about a brutal period of history in a brutal place and one man’s efforts to bring civilization to it. In the Australian outback in the 1880s, law enforcement Captain Morris Stanley (Ray Winstone) captures Charlie (Guy Pearce) and Mikey Burns (Richard Wilson), two of three brothers who are the nucleus of a notorious, ruthless gang who raped and murdered members of a local family, seemingly just for the hell of it. Although he’s captured two of the Burns brothers, it’s the gang’s leader Arthur Burns (Danny Huston) that Capt. Stanley really wants. Stanley decides to make a deal with Charlie: if he’ll bring back his brother Arthur, Stanley promises to release both Charlie and Mikey.

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Night of the Comet (1984) Thom Eberhardt


Night of the Comet (1984)
Written and directed by Thom Eberhardt
Produced by Andrew Lane, Wayne Crawford
Cinematography by Arthur Albert
Library DVD – interlibrary loan (1:35)

“The burden of civilization is on us, okay?”


Night of the Comet is a horror/science fiction/comedy/satire recommended by the guys at Pure Cinema Podcast last week. The plot is pretty simple: a comet has streaked past the Earth several days before Christmas, wiping out every person in the Los Angeles area except for a few survivors who stayed indoors protected by any structure made of steel. It’s not much of a set-up, but it’s enough to get us going.

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That’s Entertainment! (1974) Jack Haley, Jr.


That’s Entertainment! (1974)
Written, produced and directed by Jack Haley, Jr.
Cinematography by Russell Metty
Warner Blu-ray (2:14)

For many years, I have hated musicals. My friends and co-workers have known this for years and were understandably shocked and confused when I chose Singin’ in the Rain for inclusion in our library’s Great Movies series last year. I also tell them that the main reason I hate musicals is that I played trumpet in far too many little theater pit orchestras (both out of obligation and necessity) when I was younger. The long hours of never-ending rehearsals can really wear you down, especially when you’re in your early to mid-20s and have the energy to do something besides waiting for one of the actors to find the right key or listen to the director arguing with the conductor over whether or not a certain verse can be cut from a song.

But that’s beginning to change. I still do not enjoy professional-level Broadway musicals performed onstage, but I’m discovering that movie musicals contain a sort of magic you just can’t find anywhere else. That’s why That’s Entertainment! (and no doubt its sequels) should be shown to people like me who think they hate musicals.

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Eyewitness (1981) Peter Yates


Eyewitness (1981)
Directed and produced by Peter Yates
Written by Steve Tesich
Cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti
Netflix streaming (1:43)

Another in the long line of movies I missed during the 80s, Eyewitness is the story of Daryll, a janitor (William Hurt) in a New York office building who discovers the dead body of one of the building’s wealthy corporate heads. TV news reporter Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver) suspects Daryll knows something significant about the murder, but he really doesn’t; he’s just in love with her and wants her to keep pursuing him. Of course this puts Daryll on the radar of the actual killers.

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Hud (1963) Martin Ritt


Hud (1963)
Directed by Martin Ritt
Produced by Irving Ravetch and Martin Ritt
Written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr.
Based on the novel Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry
Cinematography by James Wong Howe
Edited by Frank Bracht
Paramount DVD (1:51)

Early in the film, 17-year-old Lonnie Bannon (Brandon deWilde) leaves a small Texas ranch and heads into town as per the request of his grandfather and ranch owner Homer Bannon (Melvyn Douglas). Lon has been sent on a mission to find his Uncle Hud (Paul Newman), but he’s not anywhere downtown. When Lon comes upon a bar owner sweeping up broken glass from the sidewalk, he asks what happened. “I had Hud in here…” is the bar owner’s answer.

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