The Thursday List, Episode 5 (Early Edition)

"Soylent Green" (1973)
Usually ecological disaster movies are crap. They're preachy and irritating and weakly written. "Soylent Green" isn't one of those. It's the ecological disaster movie all the others are trying to be. It's solidly written and directed, and it features the final and quite moving film performance of the legendary Edward G. Robinson. The worst thing about the film, aside from Charlton Heston's mediocre performance for the first half of the film, is that it's so dreadfully 1970s, with the fashions and the language. And if that's the worst part of the film, that's doing pretty good. This film's a classic for good reason. Recommended.

"Dead Again" (1991)
"Dead Again" is a neo-noir psychological thriller and one of my favorite movies. It stars Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, and Sir Derek Jacobi and is a veritable master class in film direction, screenwriting, and performance. It's gorgeously shot and features scenes both in color and in black and white while the plot develops and the action moves back and forth between the 1940s and the 1990s. It's a tight, lean story, very engaging, and should have you quite rapt until the very end. Highly recommended.

"The Mangler" (1995)
Robert Englund and Ted Levine in a horror movie based on a Stephen King short story and directed by Tobe Hooper. Holy cow! This should be pretty good. Except that "The Mangler" is a laundry folding machine... that gets possessed a demon... and terrorizes the people at the laundry service, while a detective (Levine) tries to investigate and the owner (Englund) tries to find it new victims. Holy crap. Now it seems like it should blow. To be fair, it's an all around very competently made film. It's just clunkily written, but more than that it just doesn't work as a story. I've not read the short story, though. I'll wager it worked a lot better there. The movie blows. Avoid.

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