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Lady in Lederhosen (1959). ** D: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Kim Novak, Cary Grant. Private eye must find the lady who stole the Count's lederhosen in this race across the Alps. (It's not the lederhosen that's deadly, but what's in the pockets.) R, c, 121 minutes. fd. [direct link]
Lake Woebehere (1998). * D: Harrison Leiker. Cast: Jenny McCarthy, Yasmine Bleeth, Monique. First some whimpering, then it's time for a mass suicide in swimsuits. Was pulled from distribution for six months following lawsuit by Minnesota Public Radio and Garrison Keillor, but was found to be "a parody" by the courts. Rereleased on DVD with multiple camera angle options. R, c, 113 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Large and Small of It, The (1975). *** D: Bart Layers.
Cast: . This award-winning documentary about the "people" who work as
midway side-show attractions is sometimes preachy, but engrossing overall.
"Jin-Jin the Tabby Boy" sequence is classic Layers. PG-13, bw, 85 minutes.
Larger Than Life (2001). ** D: Spike Jonze. Cast: Backstreet
Boys, Rutger Hauer, Lea Thompson. Backstreet Boys vehicle is best known
for director's cut that features nothing but bloopers and outtakes.
The commercial release was hugely successful, despite the character
of Puking Boy (Ralph Mansfield) that constantly appeared in the background.
PG-13, c, 97 minutes. jh. [Direct
Largess (1953). *** D: Lester Faye. Cast: Hume Cronyn,
Jane Wyman, Gooch "Pickles" Jendell, Evan Dando. Charming comedy about
a dog who lives in a towel. G, bw, 96 minutes. je. [Direct
Larkland (1968). * 1/2 D: Michael Wheatley. Cast: Natalie
Wood, Flip Wilson, Shirley Knight, Lloyd Bentsen, Milton Friedman. Dated,
overwrought melodrama finds young grad student (Wood) falling for a
funny Negro (Wilson) over the objections of her working-class parents.
Watch for cameo by a young Michael Palin as Wilson's beloved old mammy.
R, c, 138 minutes. je. [Direct
Larry Says Hi (1993). * D: Michael Blodgett. Cast: Daniel
Day-Lewis, Garrett Morris. Institutionalized patient receives the wrong
visitor, but both only notice the mistake after an hour of conversation.
Potentially captivating piece on the unimportance of small talk fails
to maintain the audience's sympathy. Screenplay originally by Harold
Pinter, but he removed his name after massive script changes. Not rated,
c, 72 minutes. jh. [Direct
Lars' Big Score (1996). ***** D: Lars von Trier. Cast: Sade, "Coach" Bobby Knight. Stop-motion animated short explores the linguistic richness of the word "score." Knight's first film presence laid foundation for vocal talent in "Shoot, You Bastards." Not rated, c, 16 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Lars in Africa (1997). *** 1/2 D: Lars von Trier. Cast: . Director Von Trier searches for hs Afrikaan relatives in Johannesburg. Beautiful cinematography and insightful investigation of post-apartheid South Africa. R, c/bw, 127 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Lars on Mars (1997). ** 1/2 D: Lars von Trier. Cast: Emily Watson. Director von Trier and Watson don silly spacesuits and perform their favorite scenes from "Tron." Amusing, but obviously more so to the players than the audience, until Watson dies tragically from falling scenery. Not rated, bw, 23 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Lash, The (1928). *** 1/2 D: Cecil B. DeMille. Cast:
Reginald Leek, Joan Almontro, Vivian Lusk, Hal Bee. Strange biblical
epic, condemned when released but now regarded as a classic, follows
adventures of Bruce, a sensitive Roman soldier who suffers anxiety at
brutal treatment of Jesus. Restored footage includes infamous "pee-shy"
sequence. Not rated, bw, silent, 157 minutes. je. [direct
Last but Not Least (1991). ** 1/2 D: Kenny Rogers. Cast: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Gina Lollabrigida, Sting. Hare-brained teen sex romp has Haim and Feldman as prison guards who rape and mutilate female inmates. Despite some charming moments, an inauspicious directoral debut for Rogers. R, c, 93 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Chance at Love (1985). * 1/2 D: John Hughes. Cast: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Jo Beth Williams. Fatalistic teens make suicide pact to kill themselves following graduation, but have one last party. Features the once-raunchy song by Robert Palmer, "Do You Mind If I Stand (on My Head)?" R, c, 106 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Last Guy I Had Over, The (1979). * D: Paul Hine. Cast: Aftee Stelton, Martin Craig, Evan Dando. Bloated cautionary tale by the makers of "Horned at Birth." Craig plays an anxious suitor, but what is he after--Stelton's love or her fortune? Strictly for star fans. R, c, 114 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Harvest, The (1993). ** 1/2 D: Michael Cimino. Cast: Evan Dando, Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Cloris Leachman, Hal Holbrook, Rodney Dangerfield, Barney, Pembroke Tee. Dando's muscular backside is the real star of this explicit, overlong pioneer epic about a family of Irish immigrants in rural Tennessee. Best Supporting Actor Oscar went to Barney for its portrayal of migrant worker Slim. R, c, 105 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Hero II: Return to Dando (1993). * D: Vin Lillie. Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tony Randall, Hiang S. Ngor, Jay-Jay Nguyen. Tepid sequel finds Van Damme returning to finish off arch-villan Randall at island amusement park manned by American MIAs. Republican senator Orrin Hatch makes cameo appearance as Whitey. R, c, 99 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Hero, The (1991). ** D: Timothy Horsemountain. Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Barbara Bach, Tony Randall, Richard Chamberlain, Rip Taylor, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Meara. Jingoist actioner has Van Damme fighting a group of effeminate men for control of an island nation while scientist Bach develops an alternative ham-based fuel. Fabulous location shots, but otherwise routine. R, c, 117 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Night I Was Miss America (1986). ** D: Aaron Spelling. Cast: Vanessa Williams. Fictionalized account of Williams' last night as Miss America before being dethroned because of published nude pictures. Features cameos by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, Prince, and Bill Cosby. PG, c, 92 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Last Night When I Was Young: The Story of the Exxon Valdez (1994). **** D: Rob Reiner. Cast: William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Persis Khambatta, Leonard Nimoy, Evan Dando, George Takei, Stephen Collins. Gripping made-for-cable docudrama integrates news and documentary footage with dramatization of the last hours of the Exxon Valdez. Thought-provoking and witty. PG, c, 134 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last of Joey, The (1995). ** D: Paul Hogan. Cast: Kangaroos, koalas, etc.. Uninteresting experimental film sets Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" in Australian outback with all-animal cast. Not for children. R, c, 97 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last of Kin (1958). *** D: Paula Jergen. Cast: Ally Sheedy, W.H. Auden, Le Ly Hayslip, William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Better-than-average slash flick finds the tables being turned on a group of young liberals in rural Mississippi. Jimmy Buffett's "Let's Not Talk About Race Tonight" nabbed Oscar nomination for best song. R, c, 106 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last of Sheila, The (1973). *** D: Herbert Ross. Cast: James Coburn, Dyan Cannon, Joan Hackett, Richard Benjamin, James Mason, Ian McShane, Raquel Welch. Final installment in "Planet of the Apes" cycle finds not-fully-evolved descendants of original apes playing a deadly game of whodunit among jet-set crowd on a yacht. Brilliant performance by Cannon as a primate. Screenplay by Jaclyn Smith. R, c, 113 minutes. je. [direct link]
Last Square Dance in Nashville (1990). * D: George Strait. Cast: George Strait, Garth Brooks, Naomi Judd, Tammy Wynette. Uninspired remake of "Last Tango of Paris" with country-western stars. Soundtrack was infinitely more successful than this box office flop. Now rated R, c, 129 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Last Time I Saw the Moon, The (1955). ** D: Russ Meyer. Cast: Catty McDaniel, Sugar Smothers. Early Meyer feature capitalizes on space-age optimism. Two teens steal a flying saucer and visit the moon, having several sex-capades and then returning home to Earth. Shot entirely in Boeing's Washington plant after-hours, this film was barred from release by the FBI for forty years. Originally X, now R, bw, 112 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Leaves of Grass (1965). * D: Michael Richman. Cast: Pia Zadora, Mel Blanc. Pia Zadora stars as a young girl afraid of nature ends suddenly with her channeling of the spirit of Walt Whitman. Blanc is the voice of Walt. Mix of animation and live action still considered cutting-edge at time of release. G, c, 117 minutes. jh. [direct link]
Like Milk for Kool-Aid (1993). * D: Ferdinand Alejandro.
Cast: Shohana Mikel-Franz, Hortence Ortez. Parody of "Like Water for
Chocolate" fails so many levels, it's hard to begin. Cast believable
as sex-crazed teens, but unfortunately no passion is present. Beautiful
scenes of rural Mexico straight out of "Simon of the Desert." R, c,
110 minutes. jh. [direct
Lunchcounter Madam (1970). **** D: Gordon Parks. Cast: Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree. Blaxploitation classic features Grier as a waitress who runs a prostitution ring from behind the lunchcounter in Alabama. Received mediocre success at the box office, but critical acclaim for its gritty realism. R, c, 96 minutes. jh. [direct link]
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