Movie Review Weekly Roundup: December 5 – December 11, 2021

Sounder (1972) starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield.

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.


Sounder (1972)

DIRECTOR: Martin Ritt.
WRITERS: Lonne Elder III (screenplay), William H. Armstrong (novel).
MPAA RATING: G
GENRES: Drama, Family.
LENGTH: 1h 45min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 6, 2021.

Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield are brilliant in this movie. And now, I should read William H. Armstrong’s book that inspired the movie adaptation. The story is about a family living during a tumultuous time, the Great Depression. It does not feel dated as the story’s focus is more about the relationship between the characters than anything else. I liked the movie and will want to watch it again a few more times.


Silver Streak (1976)

DIRECTOR: Arthur Hiller.
WRITERS: Colin Higgins.
MPAA RATING: PG – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Comedy, Crime.
LENGTH: 1h 54min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 6, 2021.

You really cannot go wrong with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder teaming up for a comedy movie. The chemistry they had together on screen is positively dynamic. What if Alfred Hitchcock floored the gas pedal on the slapstick comedy for one of his mystery movies? Would he direct a movie that turned out like this one?


The Great Buster (2018)

DIRECTOR: Peter Bogdanovich.
WRITERS: Peter Bogdanovich.
MPAA RATING: Unrated
GENRES: Documentary, Biography.
LENGTH: 1h 42min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: December 7, 2021.

The structure of the documentary is like a clip show interlaced with interviews of Hollywood icons reflecting upon the career of Buster Keaton. Even then, I still enjoyed watching this movie. Peter Bogdanovich has done a solid job with the direction, narration, and writing.


Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)

DIRECTOR: Pamela B. Green.
WRITERS: Pamela B. Green, Joan Simon.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Documentary, Biography, History.
LENGTH: 1h 43min.
LANGUAGE: English, French.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 7, 2021.

Alice Guy is an innovator in the storytelling format of contemporary filmmaking. But a large number of people have never heard of her before. This documentary is an excellent collection of information about her filmmaking career and how she helped birth an entire industry. Although she is included in many film history classes and non-fiction publications, she still needs to be mentioned alongside the other moviemaking icons.


Quo Vadis (1951)

DIRECTOR: Mervyn LeRoy.
WRITERS: John Lee Mahin, S.N. Behrman, and Sonya Levien (script), Henryk Sienkiewicz (book).
MPAA RATING: Unrated
GENRES: Drama, History.
LENGTH: 2h 51min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: December 7, 2021.

Here is a lengthy movie adaption of a novel about the Roman Empire and its distant connection to Jesus Christ. It seems to be a common occurrence during the ’50s into the early ’60s. Ben Hur, Spartacus, and King of Kings are similar examples. In this movie, it seems a bit plain in its storytelling. Even with an attempt at including notable persons pulled straight from the pages of the Bible, in addition, they even attempt a live recreation of Da Vinci’s famous painting of The Last Supper. I believe the story is too long. And even though Peter Ustinov is a highly regarded actor, his performance as Nero is perceived as a gay figurehead who is bored with being the ruler of the Roman empire.


The Bad News Bears (1976)

DIRECTOR: Michael Ritchie.
WRITERS: Bill Lancaster.
MPAA RATING: PG – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Drama, Sport.
LENGTH: 1h 42min.
LANGUAGE: English, Spanish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 8, 2021.

The Bad News Bears is a classic dramedy and an enjoyable watch for fans of sports-themed movies. It reminds me of the brief time I spent in Little League as a kid. I would recommend this version over the 2005 remake any old day of the week.


The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

DIRECTOR: Robert Ellis Miller.
WRITERS: Thomas C. Ryan (screenplay), Carson McCullers (novel).
MPAA RATING: G
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 2h 3min.
LANGUAGE: English, American Sign Language.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 11, 2021.

Alan Arkin’s performance in this movie is simple, low-key, yet intriguing and powerful to watch. I like the movie. It is worth repeated viewings. I need to read the book as well when I have the opportunity.


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