ABSOLUTE POWER (Clint Eastwood, 1997)

I have not read David Baldacci’s first novel, upon which William Goldman based his script, but while watching Clint Eastwood’s spare, moody, often mesmerizing Absolute Power I wondered whether the reference made in the title is as ambiguous with the book as it is with the film. The expression comes from the Victorian historian Lord […]


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BR0KEN LANCE (Edward Dmytryk, 1954)

Philip Yordan won an Oscar for the idea of turning his earlier King Lear-ish script for House of Strangers (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1949) into a western; but perhaps the more interesting prize that Broken Lance garnered came from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose members voted it “Best Film Promoting International Understanding”—a category the organization […]

MONSTER-IN-LAW (Robert Luketic, 2005)

Sixty-something television star/anchor Viola Fields has just been sacked. While interviewing bubble-brained pop-youth personified, a Britney Spears-facsimile, Viola strikes a blow against ageism by imagining herself leaping onto this guest and throttling her—perhaps the funniest moment in Monster-in-Law, an amiable satirical farce which Robert Luketic directed from a script by Anya Kochoff. A control-freak, Viola […]