Movie of the Week: ‘Whiplash’

“Whiplash” (2014) – J.K. Simmons has 217 acting credits, according to IMDb, which is a remarkable feat, since this 67-year-old started his movie career 28 years ago in “The Ref” (1994).  That’s almost 8 projects per year.  The man might be best known as J. Jonah Jameson, a Spider-Man nemesis, but J.K.’s crowning achievement is his work as Terence Fletcher, a tireless maniac of a jazz band instructor at NYC’s Shaffer Conservatory, the leading music college in the country.  Simmons won the 2015 Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and although you…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’

“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) – “Hey, Buddy.  Can you stake a fellow American to a meal?”  – Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) Fred is down on his luck.  He’s broke, unemployed, and he lives on the streets of Tampico, Tamaulipas, located on Mexico’s east coast. However – out of the clear blue sky – a wealthy entrepreneur (Barton MacLane) gives Fred a two-week job!   Unfortunately, his temporary employment doesn’t work out like Fred envisioned, so he turns to Plan B:  taking an old gold-miner’s (Walter Huston) advice.…

Movie of the Week: ‘Duel’

“Duel” (1971) – David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is a Southern California businessman, a salesman type.  It’s an ordinary workday, so he hops in his four-door Plymouth Valiant and heads north, actually north and east – and towards what looks like the Antelope Valley – to make a sales call or a check-in with a client.  David isn’t driving in concentrated South Central, Century City, or the Fashion District. Instead, the local scenery consists of bleak, brown deserts and the occasional teeny, tiny town.  Actually, one specific landmark has completely captured…