chris-459

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Reviews

Ocean's Eleven
(2001)

Who said remakes are a bad idea?
"Ocean's Eleven" is a remake which certainly is worth seeing --- if you like this type of movies like I do. Frank Sinatra's film seems really naive compared with this one, which also looks naive if we don't suspend our disbelief, but I think each viewer is able to do that and enjoy the movie or at least enjoy the actors on it. There is one interesting point: the films of the 50s and 60s which tell the story of thieves usually are spoilers (I don't know if this is the right word to use here) because they make us like the thieves and then they are caught in the end (for example: "The Day they Robbed the Bank of England"). So, one thing good about movies about thefts nowadays is that we can be fairly sure that our favorite characters are going to get away with it, like for example "The Entrapment" with Sean Connery, or "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Pierce Brosnan. "Ocean's Eleven" seems to me to be better than these movies. Don't miss it if you understand what I have been talking about.

Berlin Express
(1948)

Good
I always think that it is a good idea to make a thriller/ mystery story even when one is trying to show something that has nothing to do with that. In "The Berlin Express" we are shown post-war Germany, the consequences of 2nd World War. First the film can look as a triumphant look of the winner of the war towards the wreckage it left behind. Such sentences as "here justice arranged it so that the punishment were equal to the crime" (I'm not sure if the quote is correct, but the idea is) might corroborate that first impression. However it is possible that all is meant as great irony.

The film is good. It isn't great though - just compare it with Reed's "The Third Man" and you'll see the difference between a master piece, a work of a superb team, and a reasonably well-made picture. However one mustn't forget that "reasonably well-made" pictures aren't so easy to do, and thus "The Berlin Express" seems to me to be a good movie.

Suddenly
(1954)

Great
When I started to watch this movie I didn't think it was going to be any good. How wrong! I've seen lots of Frank Sinatra movies and I never liked any of them, because I think he is a terrible actor in all those movies (and that goes for films like "From Here to Eternity" and "Some Came Running", which the critics always claim to be "wonderful - come on!). BUT in this one he is GREAT, just GREAT - his best performance, perfect. The movie is quite good as well. Simple, but good. And those close-ups on Sinatra's face are always right were they should be to create the dramatic effect perfect for the situation. Watch it! It's good, and doesn't bore you because it doesn't go on and on and on like most films nowadays about somebody wanting to kill the president of the USA.

Rio Bravo
(1959)

My favorite western
"Rio Bravo" is not my favorite movie, yet if I had to say which Hollywood classic film I consider to be the best I would say "Rio Bravo" was it. It is certainly my favorite western and one of my favorite scripts. I think everything about it is simply great: the characters and how they develop, the acting, the direction, everything. In a word, it is a MASTERPIECE and real work of art.

O Xangô de Baker Street
(2001)

Nice work
I have read the book and liked it very much. I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and I was very much amused by the book, O Xangô de Baker Street, written by Jô Soares, whom I am always pleased to hear and see on TV. I laughed a lot when I read the book. It's quite good. I also liked the film, but I must admit I prefer the book, though I always think it is silly to compare literature with cinema, because they are two different art forms. The one thing I can say is that I laughed more reading the book than I did watching the movie. I think the timing in the picture is not very good. The director/ editor almost always interrupted the joke with a cut. But still the film has lots of jokes and it is very funny. The image is beautiful as well as the sets, costumes and so on.

The actors are superb - all of them. Joaquim de Almeida and Maria de Medeiros are especially good in it. Another one I liked a lot was the one who played the murderer. When I read the book that was almost exactly as I pictured the murderer to be. Anyway I recommend the film to every one and give it 7 out of 10.

Rancho Notorious
(1952)

Nice, but I don't think it is excellent
First of all I must admit I'm not a fan of westerns, which is a great fault, since there are wonderful master pieces where that genre is concerned.

"Rancho Notorious" isn't a conventional western, I suppose. It's more like a western with an European touch - Fritz Lang's touch (and also Marlene Dietrich touch). I liked the film, but I don't think it is very good. Still it isn't as bad as Marlene Dietrich used to say on interviews. "Rancho Notorious" reminds me of "Johnny Guitar" (more or less the same kind of photography, the older woman, etc.). But "Johnny Guitar" is, in my opinion, a much better movie. If you are a M. Dietrich fan you should see this film. There is only one thing I don't like with Dietrich in color: her red lips. The shade of that lipstick is not very pretty... on the other hand, she was a beautiful woman.

If you like Fritz Lang you'll enjoy the movie like I did.

Almeida Garrett
(2000)

Good, but not enough
This mini series about the life of 19th Century great portuguese author and diplomat, Almeida Garrett, could be better. It is too theatrical for television.

Anyway I think there were very good things about it: the actor who plays Garrett is good, the wardrobe, make-up and set designs were very good, the scenes on location show us beautiful places, the photography is excellent.

Really the only thing bad about it is the way the director handled the script and how he told the actors to play it. It could be a lot better, but still I liked it and watched all the episodes.

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
(1945)

Good melodrama
I voted 5 for "The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry", but maybe it was a bit unfair, because the film is good. I liked it, but I expected more from the title... I feel they could've done something even better with that script. Something seems to be missing. I think that what is most accomplished in this picture is the idea of "incest", because you can't deny there is some sort of sexual attraction between Harry (George Sanders) and Lettie (Geraldine Fitzgerald). That is shown in a subtle way and it is, in my opinion, one of the themes of the film.

The other theme is of course that dependence between the brother and the two sisters. The sisters depend on him for money and he depends on them to be taken care of.

I can't help comparing Siodmak's work with that of Alfred Hitchcock. It always looks like Hitchcock could do better, but then you would loose Siodmak's touch and I don't think that would be good.

The Spiral Staircase
(1946)

Great to watch on a cold rainy winter night when you are home alone!!!
This film should be great to watch on a rainy winter night when you are home alone. I saw it at an old movie house, which is also good, since any picture made for the big screen should be seen at the Cinema and not on TV.

The Spiral Staircase doesn't resist 100% to the test of time, but it is still great suspense and great direction - especially the beginning and the end. I also liked the actors very much. The only one I didn't enjoy so much was George Brent, but then I never like his acting in any picture. The rest of the cast is perfect.

Sometimes the story gets a little boring - most of the times it happens when Ethel Barrymore is talking - but that is, in a way, good, because it gives you that sense of desperation and anxiety. You never know when will the killer attack...

The end is not very surprising but it doesn't let you down. The sequence of events is very well planned and filmed.

It's a good film and if you see it at a tender age I don't doubt it will scare you.

The Girl from Missouri
(1934)

Jean Harlow is lovely in this one
I'm a Jean Harlow fan, because she had star quality. I don't think her movies are good and I don't even think that she was a good actress, but she certainly was Great in comedies. Every bit of comedy in The Girl from Missouri is very good. But this movie is perhaps more like a love story. Jean Harlow is wonderful in this one and you can forget the rest of the cast - their performances bring nothing new. It always impresses me much to think that Harlow's beautiful body was that of an ill woman. Well, in this movie she does look beautiful.

After the Thin Man
(1936)

If you like the 30s kind of movies you'll enjoy this one as much as I did.
I like classic films very much. I know something about the films made in the 1930s and I like the Thin Man movies. What I enjoy the most is the Nick and Nora partnership. I like this carefree couple very much. There is one thing in these movies that I think is healthy: they don't bore you by giving sermons about drinking. Today everything must be right and healthy. In these days you didn't pay much attention to that, though of course I wouldn't advise anyone to drink as much as Nick Charles. Still it is funny to see that in the latter three movies Nick doesn't drink so much and he is not usually drunk. I think that "After The Thin Man" is a good sequel to "The Thin Man". It is more relaxed, but there is mystery and there is a surprise ending (though I guessed it and I was amused by the idea of... you'll know what, if you watch the movie). I like mystery stories and I like carefree and amusing people - the Thin Man movies are very good to watch if you want to relax and forget your problems for a while. It works much better for me than Fred an Ginger do.

Capitães de Abril
(2000)

I loved it
"Capitães de Abril" is a very good. The story isn't a documentary about the 1974 revolution in Portugal. But it gives us an idea of how it was like. The fiction of the story isn't of great interest, but it doesn't spoil the movie. The heroic actions of Captain Salgueiro Maia aren't exaggerations and the film is also a tribute for his deeds. Captain Salgueiro Maia remains one of the greatest heroes of the 25th of April Revolution.

All the actors are very good and even the smallest roles are played wonderfully. Lisbon looks beautiful as ever. Don't miss it! I liked this film very much.

Sai de Baixo
(1996)

It's very funny
"Sai de Baixo" is very funny. Its humor is what I call nonsense humor. As I'm not from Brazil I don't get all the jokes, but still I enjoy it and watch it every time I get the chance. The best of them all is, in my opinion, Miguel Falabella. But the others are also very, very funny.

The Roaring Twenties
(1939)

It has a memorable finale
There are five or six films which I don't consider particularly good, though I like to watch them. "The Roaring Twenties" is one of them. It uses a simple language and the meaning is clear: never should the Americans enter a conflict which is not theirs, because if you do it, this is what will happen to the generation involved in it. The date of the film confirms this propaganda purpose: 1939. Still it is true that the days after the terror of the Great War were crazy days. Wild days. Today the film gives us a rough idea of what were the causes for the roaring twenties and of what it was like. What I enjoy best in this film is the ending. After you've seen this film you may not give it a second thought, but one image stays in your mind: Eddie's (James Cagney) fall. Through the years you may not even remember from where you saw that scene, you may not remember what was it all about, but the image remains. That is what cinema is all about: moments.

Gilda
(1946)

It made me regard movies as an art.
In my opinion, "Gilda" is a wonderful film. It's a black and white classic beauty. You can't resist the photography. You let yourself be guided in this love/ hate story, even though it may be a little silly when you think of it. A man - Johnny Farrell - (Glenn Ford) meets a woman, who had already been his, but who now belongs to another man, his best friend. Of course this friendship isn't really real. It's just a way Farrell finds to resist the charms of Gilda as long as he can. This film has changed my way of regarding movies. I saw it for the first time when I was about 12 and ever since I've seen films in a different way. It's really a very good film, almost magic. It isn't the kind of magic you find in "Casablanca" (which is, in my opinion, the perfect example of what cinema is all about). It's something a bit mysterious. The scene of Gilda singing "Put the Blame on Mame" is a perfect climax and one of the best I have ever seen.

The Shanghai Gesture
(1941)

One of my Top movies
I'm a fan of von Sternberg's work. The action of "The Shanghai Gesture" is almost always set in Mother Gin Sling's Casino, which gives us a claustrophobic feeling, which gives us an idea of Evil, a spider's web from which one can't get out. It can also be an image of Hell: note the drink that Poppy Smith (Gene Tierney) asks the barman to give her... It's one of my favorite films: the set works out, Gene Tierney is beautiful (and no angel...), Victor Mature is perfect here, no one would believe that Ona Munson isn't chineese - therefore the make-up is also very good -, even the wrusky voice of the "chorus girl" (Phyllis Brooks) is a good touch.

Shanghai Express
(1932)

A very good movie.
Many consider "The Shanghai Express" the best von Sternberg/ Dietrich film. Perhaps. I certainly agree that it is a very good movie. The story is a bit trivial: two lovers meet again after five years. They were separated due to the lack of faith he had in her. This film is a journey. In fact, two kinds of journeys: a physical one, since the set is a moving train, and a psychological one, since during this journey Captain Harvey (Clive Brook) gains fate, essential to a love relationship. The train movements seem to indicate the attraction Captain Harvey and Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) feel for each other. This movie gives us one of the most beautiful images in movie history: Dietrich in the dark, smoking a cigarette, with the famous light that gave her that famous "butterfly shadow".

Merry Andrew
(1958)

It's one of my favorite musicals
Michael Kidd's "Merry Andrew" is one of my favorite musicals. I like it very much. It's funny, it's simple, the musical numbers are good, and we even have the circus. A person who likes comedy and musicals shouldn't miss this film. Danny Kaye is very good in it.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
(1947)

Danny Kaye plays his part very well
If you like Danny Kaye's style you should see this movie. I like his style of making people laugh, so I'm amused with "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". The scenes in which "Mitty" imagines himself to be a brave British pilot (and when he pretends to be his old music teacher), a hat designer, and a gambler from the old South are my favorite "dream sequences" of the film. Regarding the scenes that take place in "the real world" I think the takes with Doctor Hollingshead (Boris Karloff) and the one in which Mitty pretends to have a gun in his pocket are very funny. The partnership between Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo is here at its best.

Rebecca
(1940)

It's a masterpiece
"Rebecca" is a masterpiece. Alfred Hitchcock's direction is very good, the adaptation of the novel by Daphne Du Maurier is excellent, the performances of Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier are superb. If you like fascinating mystery stories you'll love "Rebecca" like I do.

French Cancan
(1955)

An excellent movie
"French Cancan" is one of my favorite all time movies. It's an excellent film. There's color, there's humor, there's music. It's a very good portrait of the so called Belle Époque, though Jean Renoir's priorities were always to show a creation, a fantasie. So the film isn't a historical movie. The final sequences in which the girls dance cancan are unforgettable images. It's a film you shouldn't miss.

The Moon Is Blue
(1953)

It's one of my favorite comedies
I've only seen the English version of "The Moon is Blue". I usually don't like Otto Preminger's films, but this one I simply adore. It's one of my favorite comedies. The performances are very good. All the actors have a great sense of timing. I believe it is a film one shouldn't miss. In the beginning it may seem like a silly, strange story, but it's really very funny.

Hilda Furacão
(1998)

It's a good adaptation of Roberto Drummond's book
"Hilda Furacão" is a nice adaptation of Roberto Drummond's book into TV series. The performances and the settings are also good. Yet it has one fault: the story becomes (at times) boring and it loses its rhythm and the fact that the musics used are always the same help to create this impression. Nevertheless it has lots of good qualities.

Pal Joey
(1957)

It has nice songs and good views of San Francisco in the 50's
"Pal Joey" isn't a very special musical, though it has good songs like "The Lady is a Tramp", "I could write a Book", "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". It has good views of San Francisco in the 50's. Rita Hayworth, Sinatra and Kim Novak's performances leave much to be desired.

Grand Hotel
(1932)

This movie is awful
"Grand Hotel" may have been a great movie in to the Depression public, but there's no doubt about it: today it's nothing more than an awful film. The performances are bad, not at all convincing, and even Lionel Barrymore looks ridiculous. The only one that wasn't so bad as that was Joan Crawford. The only scene I enjoyed when I saw it was Crawford's first dialog with John Barrymore, because in it you can see the way people thought in those days.

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