Maggie Smith & Emiley Watson Are Great! The Film Was Not!
Gosford Park is filled with good acting but the characters are not memorable nor are they likeable. In fact there are far too many characters which left me trying to keep track of them through out the film. Maggie Smith and Emily Watson are wonderful but they are the only really bright spots in this Robert Altman effort. Don't get me wrong, the acting is superb but the script leaves a lot to be desired. Go see The Royal Tenenbaums, a much better film. It is loaded with humor and loveable characters that you will remember long after you leave the theatre.
I watched Shrek for the first time on video and certainly would recommend it. However, it is not without some flaws. It starts out with one hilarious moment after another but then settles into a simple story of two friends, Shrek , voiced by Mike Myers and his new found friend the donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy going on a journey to rescue a lovely maiden stuck in a castle guarded by a fire breathing dragon. Murphy really stands out and has most of the funny lines.John Lithgow is the voice for Prince Farkward, a power hundred midget with a mean personality. The music was an odd mix of oldies and newer rock tunes. Not effective for me but then I'm an old timer myself. I would not hesitate to take children over the age of 8. No younger! Some scenes would be scary for young children. Still, Shrek has some tender moments too and some worthwhile lessons about life. I recommend it but wished for a little more.
I love baseball, therefore, I was really looking forward to this film produced by Billy Crystal. Yes, it does tell the story of Maris and Mantle's quest to break the home run record, but there is something lacking. The acting was forced at times, especially early in the movie. The story centered on Roger Maris' , a ball player who continually angers the press with his attitude during interviews. Even with those around him, including Mantle, telling him how to handle the questions, he still chooses not to take their advice. I found the movies very slow moving at times concentrating mostly on how Rogers Maris was hounded by the reporters when , in fact, he brought most all the problems on himself. This not as good as Pride of the Yankees, The Natural, or 8 Men Out. It does, however, tell the story of two great baseball players going after the record of a legend. If you like baseball, you will enjoy the film regardless of its faults. Hey, a triple is not bad but it could have hit a home run.
If you've ever seen David Lynch interviewed, the fact that he is a little "off the wall" is quite evident. This film , for some odd reason, keeps you involved all the time. You will think it will all come together at the end and that everything will be explained and become clear to you. Wrong! I can guarantee you that nothing will make sense when you leave the theatre. Saying that, I could not help but be captivated at the unusual. Characters came and went which made no sense but you are sure everything will make sense by the end of the movie. Wrong! I can't recommend the film even though David Lynch is one of my favorite directors. He writes like he thinks and it is totally confusing at times. To me, a movie must make some kind of sense. Otherwise you are looking at art that prompts you to guess. Not my idea deal of a fullfilling evening.
I really looked forward to Pearl Harbor. I just knew that Hollywood, regardless of its past record, would do this monumental day in our countries history justice. Let's be honest folks. This was a cheezy love story first and foremost with the backdrop of December 7th 1941. Yes, the special effects were excellent but they can not save a bad film. The only really good acting is this effort came from Kate Beckinsale. All the big name stars seemed to be going through the motions and in many cases were totally unbelievable in their roles. A usually steady Alec Baldwin and John Voit were average at best. All that money down the drain. Folks, if you want to see a good Pearl Harbor film, see Tora, Tora, Tora. It strives for accuracy and also depicts the Japanese side and what they were thinking at the time. On the other hand, if you like a shallow love story, I suppose Pearl Harbor delivers. Too bad it did not do this tragic event in our history justice. I can only hope that it helped make young people aware of why they have the freedoms they seem to take for granted today.
When I go to any movie, I look for believability. There is no doubt that the offstage scenes involving the band were realistic but how in the world could a 15 year old boy leave high school and join a rock band on tour as a journalist? While on tour, he even gets a contract from Rolling Stone magazine, no less, to do a piece on an unknown band trying to get known in the rock scene of the 70s. Also, the boys mother, played well by Francis McDormand , is over protective throughout the film but still allows her son to go with and hang out with band members and underaged girls on drugs. Give me a break people! The pace of the film is far too slow. The message is to stay away from drugs which is good. Sitting through it to get the message is a struggle. To its credit, it stays away from graphic sex and foul language. It also manages to throw in some nice humor at time. Young people will probably love it but this effort is average in my book.
Great idea for a story but you have to suspend all reasonable thinking while watching Fifteen Minutes. Not Robert De Niro's or Robert Burns' finest moments on film. Even the usually suave Kelsey Grammer seemed bland as a low life TV station manager willing to do anything for the story and a video tape of a murder. If you like one gory scene after another this is the film for you. One thing it has going for it is a certain amount of suspense as to how it will end. I was also disappointed in the fact that 99% of the film takes place at night or in a dark rooms. I felt confined by the whole experience. The editor went wild as did the camera man. They must have watched Gladiator before starting put the film together. Same your hard earned money folks. If you must see it, at least wait for the rental. Try and find a dollar per movie store. That's all it's worth.
I found RUDY a very entertaining film despite it's predictable ending. The acting was so good and the characters well developed that knowing how it will end won't really matter. If you liked October Sky or Billy Elliot, two films about following your dreams, then you will love RUDY as well.
Best In Show is original to be sure. I had several good belly laughs which prompts me to recommend it. The characters in this film are memorable and I found myself laughing at different scenes after I left the theatre. It is a spoof on dog shows in general , especially the dog owners. The characters range from a Gay couple to a Lesbian couple to a hound dog lover and so on. The last 30 minutes you will enjoy the final awards given to the best dogs narrated by, a funnier than usual, Willard Scott. An hour and a half is perfect for this movie. You should know that there are many scenes that are simply not funny. If you can wade through those, you will be rewarded many times throughout the film. If you love dogs, you will probably like the movie even more. I gave it a 7 out of 10.
Prison life in the late 1940s is brought vividly to life in Cool Hand Luke, the story of ones man's fight against authority. Paul Newman gives one of his finest performances as Luke. George Kennedy just about steals the scenes with his award winning acting. Strother Martin is perfect as "Captain". Jo Van Fleet is seen only for a few minutes but is memorable as Luke's mother. Look for Ralph Waite who is excellent as "Alibi Gibson". Waite would go on to be cast as the father of John Boy in The Waltons. Great work by Wayne Rogers who went on to co-star in M.A.S.H. Much credit must be given to director Stuart Rosenberg. The film is visually stunning with an amazing amount of effective close ups.
Red River is probably Wayne's best film, in my opinion. Director Howard Hawks should get a lot of credit for the overall look depicting a massive cattle drive. Heavy weight supporting cast includes Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, John Irland, and Harry Carey Sr. The script is smart and the story holds up despite a few flaws. If you look closely, you will see Glen Strange who went on to be the bartender in Miss Kittie's saloon in the Gunsmoke series. Filmed on location in beautiful Elgin Arizona. John Wayne is totally believable in this film as Tom Dunson whose character you will hate and admire at times. A real stretch from Stagecoach and I feel, put Wayne on the movie map as a reliable box office draw.
Sound Track Excellent! The Film Is Good But Not Great
If you are in your teens or 20s, this film will probably be one of your favorites. I know my daughter 17 and her friends, 18 and 24 literally loved it. The sound track appealed to me because I'm old enough to certainly remember some of the great tunes of that time period. The story is an old one but well acted. Some parts are humorous and others mildly touching. One thing I really could not understand is how a young girl, seemingly with no rhythm, learns complicated dance steps in a few days. The overall rating for this movie is poor but I would give it a 7 out of 10. Somehow it works despite its obvious flaws.
One of James Cagney's finest performances over shadows a, going through the motions, supporting cast. Street scenes throughout do not accurately depict the year stated several times during the film. I found my mind wandering during this movie. Maybe it's the age and the fact that it was done completely on a back lot much of it in the dark. If you are an old car nut like me, you will notice some interesting Los Angeles street scenes. Worth seeing Cagney but don't expect a Bonnie and Clyde feel. Remember that Hollywood was barely into the talkies at this time.
This is a heartwarming holiday classic created by the same folks that gave us The House Without A Christmas Tree. It is the touching story of a little girl's unlikely friendship with a lonely old man during the holidays. It stars Lisa Lucas, Jason Robards and, the late, Mildred Natwick. The setting is a small town in Nebraska in the late 40s. It gives us some true insight about human kindness. This was released as a movie for television in 1973 after the success of The House Without A Christmas Tree.
If you like Jim Carrey, you will love How The Grinch Stole Christmas. He is simply great with the rest of the cast simply along for the ride. The script offers so many little asides that probably Carrey contributed much of it. It is a film for age 10 and above. Small children might be frightened by some of the scary moments. You will get more than a few laughs and you will smile throughout the whole film. Well worth the $5.50 I paid. Each your heart out. I'm a senior!
In the Spirit of Waking Ned Devine, Saving Grace has its own share of laughs, certainly enough to recommend this British romp. Brenda Blethyn is outstanding as Grace, a woman who suddenly finds herself broke after her husband's untimely death. She is forced to make a difficult decision to keep her financial ship above water. There is a great supporting cast here, beautiful photography of the Scotish coast and music that fits well with the story. I can't say I liked it as much as Waking Ned Devine, but I did enjoy it.
If you have been through the Little League program, you will realize early on that Bad News Bears the movie is far from accurate. Having said that, this film is harmless other than pre-teens coming up with four letter words more often than I would have liked. Walter Matthau is good as a beer drinking coach whose team consists of totally untalented players. To try and win, he goes to see Amanda who is blessed with a great fast ball and curve. Amanda is the daughter of coach Buttermaker's past love interest. (adding "ringers" to any team would not be permitted.)
There are a few good lessons here including the importance of teamwork and a never quit attitude. This movie is PG for a good reason. Teens and up will enjoy Bad News Bears.
Small Time Crooks is a cute comedy but will never really be one of Allen's classic efforts. The first 20 minutes are hilarious as Ray,played by Allen , returns to his old ways and decides to get rich by renting a building next to a local bank. The plan is to have a front business and , at the same time, drill a tunnel into the bank, thus getting access to the safe. Things don't go quite as planned to say the least. The story really changes at this point which was a disappointment to me. The rest of the movie has some funny dialog prompting me to recommend that you see this, above average, comedy. Tracey Ullman is delightful as Ray's wife "Frenchy".
Great Special Effects But This Is Not For Small Children!
I'm a senior citizen and enjoyed Dinosaur. The special effects are amazing but we really never get to know the main characters very well. There are tender loving moments and there are violent confrontations as the large beasts fight one another. Sometimes, it is hard to distinguish the good dinosaurs from the bad. If you have children under 10 years of age, they could be very frightened looking at some of the scenes.This film runs just a little over an hour. Enough for kids I guess but I really felt cheated. If you pay $8.00 dollars, I think you deserve more than that. I enjoyed the overall film but remember it is designed for children.
No, this is not the way it really happened at the Ok Corral in Tucson but since when has Hollywood ever been totally accurate and true to history? The chemistry between Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster works extremely well. This movie works because of great stars and a solid cast of great actors. The score is outstanding featuring Frankie Lane singing the title song. The photography is very realistic compared to most westerns of that era. The gunfight at the Ok Corral is worth waiting for. If you like westerns, you will especially like The Gunfight At Ok Corral.
The Gladiator was a disappointment to me personally. I wanted the story to be more believable and I wanted to care more for the characters. This is not to say that this effort is not worth seeing. Richard Harris and Russell Crow give excellent performances. The overall look of the period was captured well however the battle scenes, while intense, were so chopped up, one would think the editor, Pietro DiGiamimo had drank too much coffee. The quick camera work along with chopped editing actually made me dizzy. A mixed bag for me but this film should appeal to those who like epic, action thrillers. Though a bit too long, there is enough action to make it bearable.
It's Predictable,Unlikely and Soupy But I loved It!
This is a great comedy mainly because of some great actors. Minnie Driver is sweet and loveable and believable. David Duchovny is better than I had thought, and Carroll O'Connor and Robert Loggia were simply great pros doing their thing. The script was smart, the characters will endear themselves to you and you will come away from the theatre uplifted. What more can we ask of a film? Don't miss it!
If You Like Character Driven Films, High Fidelity Is Loaded With Some Great Ones!
This film explores the love life of Rob Gordon played by John Cusack. The script is outstanding, the acting superb, and the characters are endearing. It's style will remind you a little of Ferris Buellers Day Off in that Cusack is constantly talking to the camera. It works! You feel Rob's frustrations as his love life seems to be falling apart at the seams. You will enjoy this two hours and you will also laugh and smile a lot throughout the movie. Love is a beautiful thing when it all comes together.
Wonder Boys will make you think. Your troubles won't seem to matter as much after watching Professor Grady Tripp, played well by Micheal Douglas, try to put his life back together after a series of problems has him looking up to see bottom. There is enough dark comedy thrown in here to keep you from throwing up your hands and leaving the theatre. Just around the corner there is something else that pops out that is totally unexpected and interesting. Unless you have read the book, there is no way you are going to predict the ending to this film. Michael Douglas and Toby MaGuire are outstanding with some great supporting performances from Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Rip Torn. Certainly a movie that is worth the price of admission.
A Beautifully Told Story About A Boy And His Childhood Dog
This is the finest family film I've seen in years. Geared more toward children, it still delivers for adults. Based on a true story, it tells the story of a boy growing up in a small town in Mississippi during WWII. Many of life's lessons are taught to him by his loyal companion, Skip. Frankie Muniz is simply great as Willie Morris and there are fine performances from Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon who play the boy's parents. Director Jay Russell captures the look and feel of the period along with some excellent cinematography from James Carter. If you have ever owned a dog as a youngster, this movie will probably mean even more. Why aren't there more films like this for youngsters?