Saturday, July 31, 2010


I saw this exact poster hanging in the lobby of the Dallas Angelika the other day for Anton Corbijn's The American (Focus Features, 09.01) and it has gotten me totally excited for it. There's obviously a big 70's vibe coming from this (love the creamsicle-and-off-white) and George Clooney could easily be Robert Redford, Warren Beatty or Paul Newman in their prime.

Friday, July 30, 2010

TCM SUtS: Day 1 - Basil Rathbone

Sunday, August 1 - Basil Rathbone (Schedule)

Hard to Find
Crossroads (1942) - Jack Conway directs William Powell, Hedy Lamaar, Claire Trevor and Basil in a taut mystery-thriller, need I say more? You can purchase the film off of Warner Archive, but see it here for free. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 83 mins. 8:00am ET

Confession (1937) - The beautiful Kay Francis (Trouble in Paradise) stars alongside Basil and Ian Hunter for this remake of the 1935 German film, Mazurka. As such, it's supposedly very much in debt to German expressionism. Warner Bros, 88 mins. 9:45pm ET

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) - The second of fourteen cinematic depictions with Basil Rathbone so naturally applying his services to the material of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this one sees a desperate Ida Lupino poking around for his services - a wonderful little top-hat mystery. 20th Century Fox, 85 mins. 8:00pm ET

Captain Blood (1935) - Easily one of the greatest swashbucklers ever made, the film more famously introduced Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland to audiences everywhere as an irresistible romantic couple, but Rathbone's Lavasseur certainly puts up a fight. Warner Bros, 119 mins. 2:00am ET

TCM's Summer Under the Stars

TCM begins their August tradition of Summer Under the Stars this Sunday. If you're not familiar with the month-long event, Turner Classic dedicates each day of the month to a particular star and its 24-hours of actor or actress specific films. For those of you, like me, who practice categorized viewing, this is a godsend. (Although, truth be told, I like the director series much, much better.)

I'll be talking about each day as it comes up, highlighting specifically rare films that must be checked out for this reason or that. You can view the full schedule here.

90's Action

"THE SPECIALIST" (Luis Llosa; 1994)

Sylvester Stallone, an explosives expert and Sharon Stone, a vengeful daughter, get tangled with the Miami crime scene and the CIA in The Specialist, a moody, slow-burning action-thriller that's not nearly as bad as its reputation.

James Woods and Eric Roberts revel in their villainous threads - the former doing a wonderfully good job at hamming it up in-between ambiguous phone calls, outlandish plot turns and nude shower scenes between Sly and the...err...Stone. Seriously though, its got some really great explosions and Gloria Estefan's "Turn the Beat Around"! [C]

"REVENGE" (Tony Scott; 1990)

Kevin Costner falls in love with Madeleine Stowe in Revenge, the only problem is she's married to Anthony Quinn who is not only a close friend, but a raging asshole with a propensity to overreact.

It's basically The Postman Always Rings Twice if Lana Turner and John Garfield jumped ship, had sex in a moving Jeep and found out that her husband who was flipping burgers in Cali all alone was actually a badass Mexican crime boss.

It's hardly high-art and considering the title, a latter scene might make you scratch your head, but I'll be damned if I wasn't slightly touched or swayed by the second-half of the film, which takes an atmospheric, cool-headed, languid and futile approach to rescue and retribution. Stowe never looked so good. [B-]


For the life of me I just couldn't go to sleep last night - just laying there with the TV on waiting for something to kick in - so I threw in The Dark Knight on Blu-ray and I'll be damned if I didn't watch the whole thing, all 152 minutes. Didn't fall asleep until around 3:30 am, never knew I had it in me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: The Killer Inside Me (2010)

With his scratchy mumble and frail persona, Casey Affleck makes a disturbingly convincing monster in Michael Winterbottom's vicious west Texas neo-noir about a sadomasochistic sheriff's deputy in the 1950's.

Based on the acclaimed 1952 Jim Thompson novel, The Killer Inside Me succeeds as provocative pulp - its hazy, luscious photography and shocking depictions of violence towards women unsettling - but despite the genuine efforts of Mr. Affleck, the films feels frustratingly aimless and chilly, all the way to its silly, surrealistic climax.

What director Michael Winterbottom and writer John Curran seem to have done is simply captured the brutality and the ugliness of their subject, Affleck's Lou Ford, without much insight or emotional response mustered outside of the ability to repel.

We're shown glimpses of Ford's violent past through flashbacks and childhood trauma, but the effect is almost rudimentary. Winterbottom surely knows how to capture the sly mannerisms and sexual animalistic tendencies of his killer, I'm just not sure he understands him, or cares to. [C+]

Tango & Cash

Andrei Konchalovsky's Tango & Cash ('89) announces immediately what kind of movie it is with the whole wink-wink Rambo nod in the first five minutes. This is a silly, mindless and completely self-aware buddy-cop action-comedy, so you've been warned.

I know someone who insists that it jumps off the rails in the end when our titular heroes, framed and imprisoned, drive into Jack Palance's drug lair in the desert Inspector Gadget-style with their souped up truck. I, on the other hand, told them that they weren't paying attention and that the last twenty minutes or so fall completely in line with the preceding 70 minutes, like it or not.

What I surprisingly liked about Tango & Cash was that irreverent and completely unpretentious slapstick mood that is present throughout. It's loony and it's schlocky, but Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and their incessant chirping and bickering and unwavering cockiness make it all a fun ride.

Old Zimmer

Ridley Scott's Black Rain ('89) is a pretty solid cop-film about cultural differences and East-meets-West philosophy. It has beautiful location shooting from Japan plus, as usual, a great Michael Douglas performance.

But it also features an over-twenty years-old Hans Zimmer score, which of course anyone would know is now Christopher Nolan's pen-pal and one of the most acclaimed film composers in Hollywood.

His Black Rain work is firmly rooted in 80's synths and drum machines, but as the film progresses, so does the score, evolving into a more descriptive piece as a whole with underlying themes and chords increasing in their tenacity and at times, resembling some of his modern works. It's a pretty good score and worth checking out Black Rain, which is probably an underrated action/cop thriller in the grand scheme of things.

Check out a comparison video of Zimmer's work on both Black Rain and Batman Begins below, followed by the theme.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Classic Rewind: Born Yesterday (1950)

Judy Holliday turned into a star and an Oscar winner overnight for her role as the sheltered, uneducated and sassy mistress "Billie" Dawn in George Cukor's Born Yesterday ('50). Already a success on the stage, it was her small role in the courtroom comedy Adam's Rib ('49) that helped her seal the role and her place in film history.

Already a known and dedicated studio filmmaker of "women's pictures," Cukor was the natural selection to bring the Garson Kanin play to the screen after his various ruminations on gender equality (Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike), marital affairs (The Women) and upper-class oppression (Holiday, The Philadelphia Story) that were nevertheless delicate entertainments as well as social comedies.

Born Yesterday may be a tad clunky in its moralizing of a defenseless mistress in the face of domestic brutality and corrupt big business - the film is Capraesque in this regard, with William Holden's idealistic D.C. reporter cleaning up - but ultimately the performance of Holliday wins us over.

Speaking in that squirrelly high-pitched squeal, Holliday will remind viewers of Jean Hagen in Singin' in the Rain ('52), but the difference is that ultimately Holliday necessarily brings heart to her role - I just wish that Kanin and Cukor would leave Thomas Jefferson out of it. [B]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Short Reviews: Winter's Bone, Cyrus

The only remarkable aspect of Debra Granik's Winter's Bone is the lead performance by 19 year-old newcomer Jennifer Lawrence. Otherwise, this miserablist backwoods mystery is a bit of a bore - a defiant story of survival and perseverance amidst a rotten trash heap of druggies and sadists that nevertheless runs on fumes.

There's something enticing about the rugged dialogue and the many snarling beasts - both human and animal - that inhabit the film's world, but unfortunately it becomes nothing more than a slide show of poverty, desolation and communal secrecy.

It's Lawrence, with her puffy cheeks and big blue dreaming eyes - just watch the heartbreaking scene where she visits with an Army recruitment officer - that guides us through this rough, predatory landscape. [C+]

Cyrus, the latest mumblecore variation from Jay and Mark Duplass is a delight from start to finish - the kind of sly comedy about middle-aged insecurity and aloofness that makes light of its situation but portrays its characters vividly and lovingly.

John C. Reilly, in a remarkable performance, is the doughy, scraggly subject who, at the behest of his ex-wife (Catherine Keener) meets a frisky, fun single mom (Marisa Tomei) with a 21 year-old son (Jonah Hill) at home who will do anything to compete for her affections.

Like Noah Baumbach's Greenberg, The Duplass Brothers apply a steady, welcome and reserved comedic style - accented with their usual whip-pans and zooms - but they never lose track of the film's heart and the wonderful cast takes care of the rest. [B+]

Trailer: Sucker Punch

As someone who was looking forward to Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch (Warner Bros. 3.25.11), this trailer is a disappointment with its video game cut-scenes and disco-tuned Kill Bill imagery. The girls look great and the WWI stuff looks pretty cool, but the fire-breathing dragons and the extensive slow-motion Final Fantasy bullshit looks tiring.

Plus this is starting to look like a pretty poor investment for Warner Bros., with a slightly heavy $85 million budget, no star power and being an original property with an indescribable plot, it looks to appeal only to the 15-30 male demo who know about Comic-Con and frequent IGN and AICN.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Lisa Cholodenko's first film since 2002's Laurel Canyon is a sunny Southern California family dramedy about the trails and tribulations of marriage and parenthood that just happens to be about a homosexual couple and their two artificially inseminated teenage children.

Co-written by Cholodenko herself along with Stuart Blumberg, the film rides its stunning ensemble cast, deftly mixing moments of awkward familial hilarity and sexual exploration with later passages of genuine emotional catharsis - although in this regard, it doesn't quite work as well as it should.

Annette Bening and Juliane Moore shine as Nic and Jules, the lesbian couple who, through the same anonymous sperm donor, have raised two children - the 18-year old virginal Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and the 15 year-old wannabe punk athlete Laser (Josh Hutcherson). The kids are interested in finding their biological father, the moms? Not so much.

Hilarity ensues when Paul, a hippie organic food-grower and family-less restaurateur played by Mark Ruffalo is contacted, consented and then introduced at first to his two children and inevitably to their two mothers.

The introduction goes well at first, but eventually Paul's presence tends to have a negative impact on the family he has grown to care about, which is where the emotional resonance and tough-luck family friction kicks in in the final act.

The Kids Are All Right doesn't directly make any speeches or commentaries on the values or political correctness of its same-sex subjects, (in fact, the closest it gets is with its title) and the result is something that is both refreshingly stealthy in its "liberal viewpoint" and yet a tad stale in its familiar family portrait.

Bening and Moore are simply wonderful on-screen together and after Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland failed to leave much of an impression, the young Mia Wasikowska is a standout as Joni, a recent High School graduate stuck between the family she has and the family she never had.

It's Mark Ruffalo, however, who steals the film as a newly-discovered father, a lonely straggler and finally a willing and sympathetic witness to domestic life, which makes me wonder why Cholodenko clearly didn't have much use for him in the end. It's either a deflating omission on the part of the filmmakers or a credit to Ruffalo that we like him enough to wish that he could hang around. [B-]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Salt

Phillip Noyce's Salt is a prompt, agile and outlandish spy thriller, a standard order helping of high-stakes espionage and wrong-man confusion served up with a generous portion of ludicrousness.

A craftsman of mostly solid-to-commendable adult entertainments throughout the late 80's and early 90's (Dead Calm, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), Noyce attempts to reclaim the post-Cold War hysteria of his prime with Salt, but the result is slick and capable absurdity.

Noyce knows how to construct and compose a decent action set-piece and he knows he has a worthy screen presence and star in the alluring Angelina Jolie, but nothing here - including James Newton Howard's aggressive-rock score or the dry supporting turns from Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor deviate enough from formula to warrant praise.

In fact, the only semblance of genre transgression comes in the senseless audacity of Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland's no-holds-barred script of agency dealings, highway chases and Russian invasions. And as Salt progresses, so does its penchant for the inane - it moves like a breeze, but it sure is silly. [C-]

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This review by The Miami Herald's Connie Ogle brings up the same sentiments that I have expressed towards Phillip Noyce's Salt in comparison to Inception, which is that both films are big budget actioners skewed toward adults but that the former is more traditional, more streamlined and far less ambitious, for better or worse.

"In a way, Phillip Noyce's film is the anti-Inception; it's never dazzling, but it's never confusing, either. It's a Bourne movie minus the exotic locations and sickening handheld camera, and its head spy has way better lips than Matt Damon."

Where were all these handheld camera bashers when Bourne was, you know, in theaters? I don't seem to remember a lot of bitching three years ago. Anyway, I'll be seeing Salt this weekend sometime after I arrive back in Dallas at the conclusion of a 16-hour drive across the country tomorrow. Yippee.

Come Sail Away

This trailer for Burr Steers' Charlie St. Cloud (8.30.10) is positively suffocating - hackneyed inspirational weepy-tragedy bullshit about putting the past behind you and moving on, etc, etc.

And I can't stand the cymbal rolls that are in every single trailer these days, but this one takes the cake, there's like fifteen of them. Plus if you can't figure out what this thing is all about in two minutes, you clearly haven't seen shit, because this is soft-serve schmaltz of the highest order.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Inception (2010)

Christopher Nolan's latest film, a dream-weaving crime thriller shrouded in the healthiest kind of narrative complexity and inner-space hokum, is a rousing, skillful and unique entertainment - one of the more nifty and sensational action films of the last decade.

Melding multiple genres and influences into a busy assembly of gun and wordplay, the film strikes the proper balance between science-fiction geekery and big-budget Hollywood formula, perhaps too much so for more adventurous viewers.

But alas, Inception, as complex and daring as its dazzling narrative may be, is at its heart a high-concept summer blockbuster more than anything - its visuals and its crime-genre roots pulling through despite the more talkative and ambiguous message board points of is-he-or-isn't-he debate.

Yet despite the film's complexities, it's never less than completely coherent to follow on a point-to-point basis and, in fact, is a far more propulsive and focused piece of work than The Dark Knight, Nolan's ambitious, overreaching and yet wonderfully messy superhero smash-hit.

With Inception, Nolan's knack for dizzying, layered narratives, obsessively flawed characters and his steady submersion into an action-piece stager has reached its peak. It may not be Nolan's best film, but as a showman and entertainer of big ideas, it's his most fully engaging and exhilarating feature to date.

Talking points and theorizing abound upon the film's conclusion, but perhaps the most extraordinary achievement of Inception is its ability to convey its character's feelings of disorientation and bewilderment upon the audience - questions of dreams vs. reality apply to us as well as them. [A-]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Zack Snyder Unleashed

I'm not the biggest fan of Dawn of the Dead, 300 or Watchmen, but Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch looks be his most interesting and most irreverently self-conscious film to date, and I absolutely mean that in a good way.

Snyder is a glorified comic-book stylist and his films are nothing but panels that move from one to the next. 300 embellished a threadbare story out of Frank Miller's graphic novel and then Watchmen was so slavish (with the exception of a few horribly placed songs) that it became embalmed, as David Edelstein put it.

Fortunately, Sucker Punch isn't based on previous materials or writings, it doesn't have a vicious mob of a fan-base and more importantly, it looks and sounds like something entirely senseless and insubstantial in a way that should allow Snyder to just do his thing from scratch and leave any pretensions at the door.

Plus who doesn't want to see Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone wearing macabre goth-latex and enacting their visualized revenge girl-power style? Somehow I'm thinking Quentin Tarantino is looking forward to this.

Inception Reaction

I saw Christopher Nolan's Inception this morning at 10:40am (with about four other people in the Cinemark 14 in Valparaiso, Indiana) and with apologies to IndieWire's Anne Thompson and CHUD's Devin Faraci, it's not a "Kubrickian masterwork" but rather one of the most satisfying, engaging and densely-crafted action films of recent memory.

What I love about it is its inspired melding of genres and influences that results in something that's part science-fiction geekery and part crime/heist formula. It's a new vision, a new experience and yet it's completely and wholly a Nolan film.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trailer: The Social Network

David Fincher's The Social Network (10.1.10) is, of course, the well-documented movie on the inception of Facebook, with Aaron Sorkin's script reportedly a Treasure of the Sierra Madre like take on greed, power and money between the turbulent friendships of real-life founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker.

The trailer is brilliant. A version of Radiohead's "Creep" slowly plays like a church choir in the background and finally Fincher's usual chocolate-brown compositions take over. Hopefully it's a return to form for Fincher after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ('08) and more reminiscent of his 21st century masterwork Zodiac ('07).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer: The King and I, Oklahoma!, Carousel

"THE KING AND I" (Walter Lang; 1956)

Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic stage production based on the autobiography of Anna Leonowens, a English woman who taught and cared for the children of 19th century King Mongkut of Siam, is a pure and endlessly glamorous - albeit shallow - musical production.

Deborah Kerr doesn't lend her singing voice to the film as she knocks heads with the King (Yul Brynner) and his stubborn Eastern philosophies, and ultimately The King and I ('56) feels airy, prudent and hackneyed in places.

It's the elaborate sets and the luscious widescreen CinemaScope 55 photography that carry us through, but for a better, tighter and far less accessorized film, see Frank Capra's The Bitter Tea of General Yen ('33). [C+]

"OKLAHOMA!" (Fred Zinneman; 1955)

Like The King and I, Oklahoma! is a lavish, sweetened production with abundant musical diversions and a thinly-layered plot that's, more so than ever, almost motionless.

Essentially a 145-minute romance full of youthful ignorance, petty griping and indecision, Oklahoma! centers around a cattle driver (Gordan MacRae) and his courting of a young farm girl played by Shirley Jones, in her screen debut.

He has stiff competition from a ruthless, persistent and piggish farmhand played by Rod Steiger, and both the play and the film additionally concern themselves with a secondary love triangle and an extraneous yet admirable dream sequence at the midway point, but the overall effect of the film is adorably tedious. [C+]

"CAROUSEL" (Henry King; 1956)

Perhaps the most socially-conscious and thematically dreary Rodgers and Hammerstein work, Carousel is a unique achievement charting the life of a tough carousel barker and his turbulent, abusive and short-lived marriage to a sweet, angelic mill worker.

Very much a redemptive story and one of heartbreak, loss and longing, the film uses a unique framing device for telling its story as it begins in purgatory and proceeds to tell its story almost entirely in flashback.

The musical numbers are mostly solemn and a bit stagnant, but the admittedly soapy ending does have a touch of elegance, class and atonement. [B-]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Review: Predators (2010)

Combining the classic feel of John McTiernan's 1987 original with the modern, sequential trappings of multiplication and convolution, Nimrod Antal's Predators is a charming yet dumb resuscitation - a moderately tongue-in-cheek homage and reverent continuation of its now-classic predecessor.

Beginning with an aerial free fall and the subsequent meet-and-greet with a decidedly eclectic bundle of mercenaries, the film takes its exotic locale action-horror formula and runs with it all the way to its predictably bare-chested conclusion.

Things jump out at you, guns are fired, extraneous plot twists and near-misses abound, but somehow the proceedings are salvaged from complete obscurity by an elusive yet giddy mix of survival, built-in nostalgia and predatory instinct.

It's also carried somewhat by Adrien Brody, whose casting was met initially with curiosity due to his gangly persona, but he's ultimately proven to be an inspired choice - buffed-up, lean and surprisingly menacing.

The supporting cast doesn't fare as well, but the titular beasts are clearly taking second-billing here and they (well, most of them) do their part, although I'm still trying to figure out how Predators is any different from Cristian Alvart's Pandorum. [C+]

Summer: Cape Fear, Rope

"CAPE FEAR" (J. Lee Thompson; 1962)

Essentially a well-shot and well-acted B-movie, Cape Fear ('62) is a suspense-thriller horror production that mostly works but contains no semblance of substance or below-the-surface intrigue.

It's the story of an upstanding lawyer, father and hubsand (Gregory Peck) who once testified against the abusive Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) eight years ago. Now, out of prison and on the prowl, Cady has vengeance on his mind and the Bowden family in his sights.

Mitchum's Max Cady is a slime, the kind that he excels in playing, but so close on the heels of Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter ('55), his Cape Fear performance is almost tame by comparison - the film a genre exercise of loose ambitions. [B-]

"ROPE" (Alfred Hitchcock; 1948)

A claustrophobic and stagey one-set film, Alfred Hitchcock's one-take gimmick provides no heightened tension, but this psychological murder-thriller eventually reveals itself to be a major postwar work of startling philosophical relevance.

More of a trip inside the psyche of a killer rather than a murder mystery, Rope tracks the outlandish sensation of the act and the thrill of potentially getting away with it as the two men responsible hold a celebratory party at the scene of the crime.

Among them is a nosy housemaster (James Stewart) who finds himself playing detective, although with the clues being dropped, a monkey could figure it out quicker. In the end, the allusions to Nietzschean superiority complex frighteningly bring the not-too-distant memory of Nazism to the doorstep of the country. [B]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer: The Mark of Zorro, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

"THE MARK OF ZORRO" (Rouben Mamoulian; 1940)

The 20th Century Fox swashbucklers have just never quite matched up to the Warner Bros. yarns in my opinion and Rouben Mamoulian's The Mark of Zorro ('40) continues the trend.

Although The Black Swan ('42) would later prove to be a worthily entertaining Tyrone Power actioner, the decade long stretch beginning with Jesse James ('39) and ending ungraciously with The Black Rose ('50) provided no such vehicle that could rival the heroics of Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks or even John Gilbert.

Staidly telling of the notorious caballero who opposed tyranny in defense of the weak, The Mark of Zorro is perhaps the most tame and motionless version, stooping along with minimal gusto and plenty of low-key conversation. The Antonio Banderas version is silly, but at least Zorro - you know - does something. [B-]

"THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR" (Joseph L. Mankiewicz; 1947)

This timeless romance-cum-ghost story is at once delicate and mysterious and yet inevitably doughy and weepy. Adapted from a UK novel of the same name, it's the story of a widowed housewife who's move to the sea is accompanied by a deceased sailor.

With the spiritual passion of Wuthering Heights, the film feels curious and then stodgy, yet is helped greatly by the performances of Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison plus a stirring Bernard Herrmann score which foreshadows his work on Vertigo. [B]

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer: Guys and Dolls, To Be or Not to Be

"GUYS AND DOLLS" (Joseph L. Mankiewicz; 1955)

Another one of those bloated, overlong widescreen musicals, Guys and Dolls, the story of a chronic gambler who reassess his view on life and women, is a bit of a crooning bore.
Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons - both unnatural singers - give the two best performances in the film bar none. Which isn't to say that they would survive a panel lead by Simon Cowell, but that their unlikely love saga - he a gambler, she a missionary - provides the sole tension in an otherwise flat and unsavory shebang.

In a film where all of the musical numbers fuse from one to the next into obscurity - most from the original Broadway production, some from written solely for the screen - at least we perk up a little when Brando or Simmons decide to belt one out. Everything else? Meh. [C+]

"TO BE OR NOT TO BE" (Ernst Lubitsch; 1942)

Part wartime Nazi resistance spy thriller and part screwball comedy, To Be or Not to Be ('42) is one of German-born Ernst Lubtisch's finest works alongside Trouble in Paradise ('32) and The Shop Around the Corner ('40).

The story of a Polish theater group who essentially act their way out of Nazi Europe, the film was considered too morbid and exploitative given the current state of affairs overseas. Critics and audiences were so enraged by the insensitive subject matter that they failed to realize just what a fiery and unmistakably satirical masterwork it is.

To Be or Not to Be will also always be tragically known as famed actress Carole Lombard's last role, released posthumously two months after her sudden death in the crash of TWA Flight 3. She couldn't have asked for a more fitting farewell from the screen. [A]