Film Review – THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979)

THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979, USA) ****
Drama, Thriller
dist. Columbia Pictures (USA), Columbia-EMI-Warner (UK); pr co. Columbia Pictures / IPC Films; d. James Bridges; w. Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges; pr. Michael Douglas; ph. James Crabe (Metrocolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. David Rawlins; pd. George Jenkins; rel. 6 March 1979 (USA), 20 July 1979 (UK); BBFC cert: PG; r/t. 122m.
cast: Jane Fonda (Kimberly Wells), Jack Lemmon (Jack Godell), Michael Douglas (Richard Adams), Scott Brady (Herman De Young), James Hampton (Bill Gibson), Peter Donat (Don Jacovich), Wilford Brimley (Ted Spindler), Richard Herd (Evan McCormack), Daniel Valdez (Hector Salas), Stan Bohrman (Pete Martin), James Karen (Mac Churchill), Michael Alaimo (Greg Minor), Donald Hotton (Dr. Lowell), Khalilah ‘Belinda’ Ali (Marge (as Khalilah Ali)), Paul Larson (D.B. Royce), Ron Lombard (Barney), Tom Eure (Tommy), Nick Pellegrino (Borden), Daniel Lewk (Donny), Allan Chinn (Holt).
Fonda plays a TV reporter who, with her cameraman (Douglas), finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. Lemmon is the plant’s senior technician who looks to spill the beans, whilst the corporates try to silence him. This absorbing cautionary tale of the dangers of nuclear power plants benefits from an excellent script that balances its message with character motivation. It is aided by three excellent central performances – notably Lemmon who wrestles with his conscience as he uncovers shortcuts taken in safety checks – and a superb support cast. Whilst the drama may veer toward melodramatic thrills in its final act, the film’s message has an impact that is undeniable.
AAN: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Lemmon); Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jane Fonda); Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (George Jenkins, Arthur Jeph Parker)

Film Review Round-up – VERONICA MARS (2014) and KLUTE (1971)

545454.Veronica-Mars-Movie-PosterVeronica Mars (2014; USA; Colour; 107m) ∗∗½  d. Rob Thomas; w. Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero; ph. Ben Kutchins; m. Josh Kramon; ed. Daniel Gabbe.  Cast: Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Martin Starr, Krysten Ritter, Tina Majorino, Gaby Hoffmann, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen, Francis Capra, Brandon Hillock, Sam Huntington, Chris Lowell, Max Greenfield, Daran Norris, Christine Lakin, Ken Marino, Dax Shepard, Eddie Jemison, Kevin Sheridan, Justin Long, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Franco. Years after walking away from her past as a teenage private eye, Veronica Mars gets pulled back to her hometown – just in time for her high school reunion – in order to help an old flame, who’s embroiled in a murder mystery. Mystery elements are light and story is populated by annoying one-dimensional characters. This puts a heavy reliance on Bell’s charisma and smooth line in sarcastic humour to maintain interest. [12]

downloadKlute (1971; USA; Technicolor; 114m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Alan J. Pakula; w. Andy Lewis, David E. Lewis; ph. Gordon Willis; m. Michael Small; ed. Carl Lerner.  Cast: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider, Jean Stapleton, Rita Gam, Dorothy Tristan, Richard B. Shull, Vivian Nathan, Nathan George, Morris Strassbert, Barry Snider, Betty Murray, Jane White, Shirley Stoler. A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute. Fonda’s call girl’s inner turmoil is the real focus of this thriller and she produces a magnetic Oscar-winning performance. Pakula manages to bring an authentic feel to the drama through naturalistic performances and dialogue alongside and uncompromising use of NYC locations. [18]