1970’s

[7.5] Writer/director Steven Spielberg follows up his immensely successful Jaws with this tale of extra-terrestrials and government conspiracy. Richard Dreyfuss stars as a family man whose encounter with a UFO brings him into contact with a grieving mother (Melinda Dillon) whose young son has been kidnapped by aliens. Together, they are haunted by visions of a mountain. When they figure out their mysterious, shared vision …

[7.0] After the success of Star Wars two years earlier, Paramount was quick to launch their own cinematic foray into outer space with the first Star Trek feature film. Star Trek: The Motion Picture reunites the crew from the TV show, which by then had developed a cult following. But when audiences showed up for the film’s big opening weekend, the film wasn’t quite what …

[5.5] Gary Grimes and Jerry Houser reprise their roles from the emotionally charged Summer of ’42 in this lackluster, somewhat pointless follow-up. Whereas Summer of ’42 was very much about a young man’s sexual awakening with an older woman, Class of ’44 is more of a slice-of-life movie with no overarching narrative goal. It sees Grimes and Houser’s characters off to college while their friend …

[7.0] If you can get past the ghastly sight of swarthy Sean Connery running around in a red diaper for two hours, you might enjoy this heady sci-fi flick from writer/director John Boorman (Excalibur, Deliverance). It’s the year 2293 and Connery plays Zed, a man whose God, Zardoz, raised him to be a savage killer. But when Zed stows away to another world, he comes …

[4.5] Patrick Dennis’ 1955 best-selling novel Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade was first adapted into a stage play, then a film starring Rosalind Russell, and then a stage musical, and then into Mame, a film musical starring Lucille Ball. All the versions follow young orphaned Patrick’s adventures with his only remaining living relative, an eccentric aunt with a zest for life and a flare for …

[7.5] Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas play a news reporter and cameraman who try to report on a near-disaster at a nuclear power plant where safety measures aren’t being met. While the plant’s owners and the TV station hold them at bay, they work covertly with a sympathetic plant supervisor (Jack Lemmon) to get all the evidence they need to drop the bombshell story on …

[6.0] Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith star as a young couple who playfully escape their wedding party and retreat to a hotel in the Louisiana bayou where they accidentally witness a murder and become the killers’ next targets. After an initial attack in which Smith is raped, the couple find their relationship tested to the breaking point. Rambo decides to hunt down the killers …

[5.5] John Wayne gave up the lead in 1971’s Dirty Harry and came to regret it. McQ is his attempt to get in on the vigilante cop craze, playing a cop who starts out investigating the murder of a friend and ends up unearthing a police corruption scandal. Along the way Diana Muldaur and Colleen Dewhurst compete for his affection. Both women have secrets and …

[6.0] John Wayne stars as a crotchety loner cowboy who goes in search of the gang who kidnapped his grandson. Big Jake is not a serious western. It’s more of a nostalgic love letter to old big-studio westerns. Sometimes that love undercuts the drama. Even though a boy’s kidnapping is what spurs the characters into action, they begin their adventure like a trip to Disney …

[6.5] Margot Kidder (Superman: The Movie) and Jennifer Salt star in director Brian De Palma’s blatant love letter to Alfred Hitchcock. De Palma starts the movie off in a Psycho-like fashion, introducing us to an actress (Kidder) who takes a man home for a one-night stand. After we spend a good twenty minutes or so with the lovers, a woman in an apartment across the …

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