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The Telephone

Call back later!
Love it or hate it, it's impossible to remain neutral about this movie. It's kind of like watching a train wreck-tough to look at, but equally tough to tear yourself away from. One thing its detractors point out is that the story is just not movie material, and they do have a point. This piece would play far better as a stage play or on TV, but it is totally unworkable on the big screen. Whoopi is one of the greatest talents of our generation but even she can't make this premise work. Since it more or less all takes place on one set, it does become claustrophobic. Still it does have its moments- Vashti Blue is definitely one sick puppy but she's still fascinating. This part is an actor's dream. And in lesser hands than Whoopi's this could have been a total disaster. It would have been easy to turn the whole part into a grotesque caricature but Whoopi, pro that she is sidesteps that. She makes the character oddly appealing. A definite wack-job, yes but also a very touching one. You definitely feel what this woman is going through, and almost wish you could help. And that ending? Whoa. I definitely did NOT see it coming, and afterwards I felt like I'd swallowed an ice-cream cone whole. I won't give it away, but suffice to say it's VERY disturbing. Personal taste will have to dictate its level of success.

Can't Stop the Music

A guilty pleasure
No-one ever claimed this movie was Citizen Kane. But not every movie has to be though. And for sheer mindlessness and fun this movie has few peers. And talk about a once-in-a-lifetime cast. This is definitely the most eclectic group of people ever seen this side of an Ed Wood film. To say this movie was one of the final nails in disco's coffin is grossly unfair. By the time this movie hit theatres in the summer of 1980 disco was pretty much history anyway, so it's more a victim of bad timing than anything else. It could be argued that this movie plays better when under the influence of booze or some other controlled substance. Could be. But whatever state you're in it's a helluva lot of fun. It's mindless, has pretty good production values and the music is not as bad as you may have been led to believe. Someone should definitely put this movie in a time capsule, because it reflects its era probably better than any movie ever made. A definite must-have on your guilty pleasures list.

The Big Chill

The Big Yawn
We all know this movie by it's reputation as one of the so-called icons of the Yuppie 80s, and as such I was expecting a lot more than the movie delivered. I sat through the whole thing waiting for something even remotely interesting to happen. Nothing ever did. Bluntly put, it's an overblown, self-important piece of yuppie garbage which might serve as a cure for insomnia but as a movie it's pig swill. None of the characters have any basis in reality, nor do any of them evoke even the slightest bit of empathy(although to be fair the acting-along with the soundtrack saves this movie from being a total catastrophe. There isn't a bad performance to be found here) These aren't exactly people you'd want to hang with.

This movie also got a lot of publicity for having edited Kevin Costner's performance completely out. Lucky guy that Kevin. Don't waste your time or money.

Written on the Wind

Soap opera Heaven
Another in the they don't make em like that category. This story of a family with some real skeletons in its closet still qualifies as good clean, sometimes over-the-top fun. Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone are at their peak as the troubled Hadley siblings, and they really took the roles and ran with them. Malone won an Oscar and Stack was nominated in the supporting categories, both honors being eminently well-deserved. They counterbalance the somewhat bland leads. Neither Bacall nor Hudson could ever be called bad actors, but they've both had better parts and played them far more convincingly than they do here. It's kind of hard for me to accept Rock Hudson playing such a red-blooded heterosexual as he does here, but that's more of a personal bias than anything else. But that doesn't take away from the movie's overall entertainment value, which is considerable and this movie is extremely watchable. If you're up some night and this movie comes on I'd say watch it. It's well worth it.


Beautiful movie
This movie is perhaps one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen-both literally and figuratively! I've never seen a more beautifully photographed movie. The use of location settings and outdoor photography is second to none. The costumes and settings show that the producers obviously didn't skimp on quality. They're breathtaking and almost rate their own review. Aesthetically I can't remember the last time I saw such a beautiful film. Dramatically it drags a bit at times but overall is a very compelling tale, made all the more poignant because it is based on events that actually took place. Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve are remarkable as the doomed lovers. Their final scene together, as they talk while she's falling asleep is magnificent. It's obvious why Deneuve has had such a love affair with the camera over the years. She's absolutely flawlessly photographed(no other woman with the exception of the late Sharon Tate even comes close). You can see why a man would be driven to give up an empire for her. As an added bonus the great Ava Gardner came out of semi-retirement to play Sharif's mother and gives this movie an added touch of class(not that it needed any more). If you're a fan of costume dramas or doomed love stories then this movie is for you. Quite simply it combines the best elements of both genres. A treat.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Full course breakfast!
Give Hollywood some grudging credit. To date, they've resisted the urge to do a remake of this classic. And it's a good thing too, because you truly can't improve on perfection. I mean can you imagine Nicole Kidman as Holly Golightly? Or Demi Moore? Or worse yet, the utterly talent-free Meg Ryan? Hopefully we'll never live to see something like that. Knowing this movie by reputation only I was completely unprepared for the effect it had on me. This movie has it all. Humor, pathos, characters who are wholly believeable(except for Mickey Rooney as a Japanese landlord! What on earth were they thinking?), and touchingly played-all the way down to the part of the Cat. The reason this movie works can be summarized in 2 words Audrey Hepburn. There simply aren't enough superlatives to describe her performance here. The part of Holly could have turned into a mawkish caricature in lesser hands, but Audrey grabs the part by the horns and turns in the performance of a lifetime. Nobody but nobody could have played the part better This movie pushes every emotional button possible, and it does so in such a way that while you know your emotions have been manipulated you don't mind at all. Just a theory, but I think the reason the movie works so well lies in the character of Holly herself. Holly truly is a universal figure. There are Hollys everywhere. We either know them personally, or whether or not we're willing to admit it we probably have a little or a lot of her in ourselves. Psychology aside watch this movie. I've written several reviews but have NEVER recommended a movie this enthusiastically. Easily a 10 on 10.

Santa Claus: The Movie

A Christmas treat!
While this movie admittedly has its detractors I personally am NOT one of them. It's utterly charming. Among it's strengths-it's perfectly cast, all the way from Dudley Moore on down to the extras. The sets are breathtaking, and the music is engaging (including Sheena Easton's beautiful "Christmas All Over the World"). With all this movie has going for it it does have its drawbacks. The first half definitely works better than the latter. It seems almost as if they were trying to make 2 movies for the price of 1, and that does detract from the overall effect. It gets a bit confusing once it hits the half-way point but it is still worth seeing all the way through. It's the sort of movie that can still hold up after repeated viewings. You can watch it with your kids, or make a guilty pleasure out of watching it by yourself. Either way do yourself a favor and watch it.

Back Street

They don't make em like that anymore
Typical Ross Hunter gloss! In some instances this movie should be seen and not heard-a lot of the dialogue is absolutely painful to listen to,and it's not always convincingly delivered. There are so many weaknesses in the plot and over-the-top moments that it would be too easy to shoot holes in it. The accidental meetings, the father-son scenes(and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more obnoxious little beast than Gavin's on-screen son here), the man is prettier than the woman and on and on... Yet I still liked this movie immensely, and if you can ignore the hokey story you probably will yourself. Susan Hayward suffering nobly in elegant surroundings, dressed by Jean Louis. It just doesn't get any better than that. This movie falls in the they-don't-make-em-like that anymore category. And it's a shame, because in its own way this movie could be a great way to kill a couple of hours.

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold

Best Tarzan ever!
In terms of pure aesthetics Mike Henry is head and shoulders above all the other Tarzans. He looks the part more than anyone who's ever played it. This man's physique is a work of art, and he's not at all hard to look at. I defy anyone to take their eyes off him when he's on screen. He's perfectly cast, the story moves likes lightning, the action sequences are great(with even a nice touch of James Bond thrown in),this movie is well worth the price of rental or purchase(if you can find it).It's well worth it

Queen Bee

Crawford at her best!
Joan Crawford is in her element here! As a deceitful, manipulative woman with the Medusa touch she's in her glory. You get the feeling she's enjoying herself immensely. Hell, you even get the feeling she's enjoying the costumes! She tears into the part of Eva Phillips as if it were her last meal, and takes the rest of the cast along for the ride. They don't make movies like this anymore and it's a shame. It's good, clean, sinister fun with Joan in control every step of the way.

Woman on Top

this movie is great!
If you're feeling down in the dumps, then run don't walk to your video store and get this movie! Movies don't get more fun than this. Mix one part whimsy, a pinch of great music, a dash of well-fleshed out(not to mention) fun characters. Especially leads that heat up(make that melt) the screen, throw in some really oddly appealing supporting characters mix well, heat at 350 for 2 hours and voila! You have one of the greatest movie desserts of all time. This movie doesn't pretend to be War and Peace, but that's not the point here. If the sole purpose of movies is to entertain then this movie succeeds admirably. For sheer entertainment value it would be hard to beat it. It's nice to see you don't need $20-million dollar stars, cars blowing up every 2 minutes and all those other "necessities" we've come to expect to make a good movie. Watch this movie with someone you love.

The Next Best Thing

So what's wrong with this movie?
Being somewhat jaded by lousy reviews and my general apathy for Madonna I wasn't expecting much with this movie. And I'll admit that I was very pleasantly surprised. This story was beautifully told, touching and as a gay man it pushed more than a few buttons. Madonna was incredible, believable and more appealling than she's ever been. She definitely won a lot of points with me here. Rupert Everett was born to play Robert, his performance is flawless from beginning to end. Far from indulging in stereotypes and caricature, which he could have easily done he makes Robert a very touching, very human individual(although an admittedly flawed one). The chemistry between him and Benjamin Stumpf who plays his son is very convincing. You can actually feel a connection between the two. Robert and Abbie genuinely love their son, and it's very refreshing to see a movie where there are no actual bad guys(with the exception of Abbie's ex-boyfriend Kevin, a minor character who is only onscreen for a few minutes). If you've been soured by the bad reviews keep an open mind and I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised.

Stranger in the House

Not bad-but confusing!
This is neither the best nor the worst movie of the genre ever made but it does have some serious flaws unfortunately. First of all there are lapses in credibilty and sense that wouldn't get by your average 8-year-old, and let's face it the characters don't exactly inspire a lot of sympathy. A good rule of thumb for these damsel-in-distress movies is that you sympathize with the woman in distress. Not so here. Michele Greene's Joanna is supposed to be strong and sympathetic but succeeds only in being irritating-you can actually understand why someone might want her dead, particularly her husband. And we won't even discuss him. You'd be hard-pressed to find a sleazier, more contemptible SOB anywhere. To think that this lowlife is sleeping with two women at the same time simply boggles the mind-it's amazing that he could get even one. Any woman with the self-esteem of a frisbee wouldn't go within 10 feet of this guy. The movie does have its good points though. It's tightly paced,fairly suspenseful, and it does hold the attention. It does have some good performances to counterbalance the uninteresting leads. Kathleen Kinmont is exceptionally good as the hapless neighbor. Steve Railsback is his usual charsimatic self, but the most interesting character,at least in my opinion was Joanna's mother Vivian. Played by Una Kay, a Canadian actress she gets killed off far too early in the proceedings. Instead of the endless scenes of Joanna's heart-to-heart talks with Dorothy I kept hoping for a flashback or two of Vivian. It might have fleshed out the characterizations a bit and maybe even made Joanna a tad more sympathetic, which certainly couldn't have hurt. A small part admittedly, but Una tears into it as if it were her last meal. Here's hoping we see a lot more of this talented lady. Again, this really isn't a bad movie. Just don't expect Hitchcock.

Total Eclipse

Total Eclipse of what?
This movie is so pretentious, and full of its own self-importance that it's a wonder it doesn't just spontaneously combust. Then again, that might not be such a terrible idea. Long, tedious and just plain boring it gives so-called real"Art films" a bad name. Verlaine and Rimbaud are so loathsome, and unappealing that it's hard to imagine anyone being able to tolerate either of them for more than 3 minutes, much less fall in love with either one. Talk about misery loving company! Never in the history of film has a couple so wholeheartedly deserved each other. The film's main selling point today would be that we get to see Leonardo diCaprio naked. Big whoop! We don't get to see that much, we don't get to see it for long, and what we do finally see isn't all that impressive. The only thing that saves this film from being a total washout is that diCaprio does, in spite of the pedantic script, make you care for his despicable charcter for a few fleeting seconds. A very few. As a cure for insomnia, this film works but as entertainment it falls flat on its upturned nose. Skip it, and watch Dharma and Greg instead. At least the laughs are intentional there! This film is living proof that Leonardo didn't need the Titanic to sink

Song of Norway

It's not THAT Bad
Not the most exciting movie ever made, but it's not the worst either. Granted, it does have its weak points-it seems to go on forever, it doesn't have that much to offer by way of an interesting plotline, and the acting in some spots could be better. However, it's not without its charms. The music is very appealing, and it really is gorgeous to look at. It is an adequate time filler-it's just not for every taste. You be the judge

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Long live the Grinch
I don't care if you're 3 or 93 if this movie doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit then your heart really is 2 sizes too small. This movie IS Christmas. It delivers its message simply ,unpretentiously and powerfully. In a medium that tries to pass off its umpteenth Brady Bunch special or Hanson singing "Silent Night" as a Christmas 'event' its nice that we still have the Grinch to keep things in perspective. I'm not much older than the movie itself(I'm 37), and have never missed it a single year since it's been on. And I never will. And I'll watch it with my children. And their children. Long live the Grinch


The funniest movie ever!
I admit I had to be dragged to see this movie but am I ever glad I did. I literally laughed myself sick. It's hard for me to point to a favorite part, although the scene in the parking lot, and another one where Christine Baranski's character goes up to Murphy's and starts spouting her "lines" come close. I'm not a big Eddie Murphy fan but he was dynamite here, and Steve Martin proves once again that he's one of the most underrated talents of his generation. Hopefully this film will bring his talents to a wider audience. If I had any say in the matter both of them would get Oscar nominations come spring time, and so would Christine Baranski, who's absolutely hysterical. When I saw Bowfinger I was going through some stuff in my personal life and for 2 hours I was able to forget about all that. Isn't that what movies are all about? I've never recommended a film so enthusiastically.

Viva Las Vegas

Viva Elvis and AM
Arguably the best of Elvis' movies, this one's got it all! Great songs, terrific cinematography, and most importantly Elvis actually seems to be enjoying himself. The chemistry between him and Ann-Margret is pure dynamite. She's probably the closest thing to a female version of him we've ever seen, and she proves herself equal to him every step of the way here. He doesn't even seem to mind sharing the spotlight. Interesting that after this he never again had a female co-star of AM's calibre(with the exception of Nancy Sinatra). See this movie if you haven't yet. It's a treat!

Bye Bye Birdie

They don't make 'em like this anymore
I rented this movie not really knowing what to expect-maybe that's why it came as such a pleasant surprise! Only in the 50's or 60's could they have made a movie like this and that's a real shame. It's energetic, funny and the score is great. It's easy to see why Ann-Margret became a star here. She just lights up the screen, but she's matched every step of the way by the rest of the cast. Everyone down to the extras are in peak form, and it looks like they're having fun, and that sense of fun makes itself felt all the way through. If you've never seen this one or are just plain curious do yourself a favor and see it. You won't be disappointed.

Touched by an Angel

I believe in angels now
For years now I used to laugh at people who planned their Sundays around this show. Just a few minutes ago I finished watching my first episode, and it left me with a lump in my throat the size of a golfball, and I'm happy to say that it looks like I'm going to be busy Sunday nights from now on too.

I really do believe in angels now too.

Roses Are for the Rich

Roses are for Sharon Wyatt
If you're a soap opera lover, you'll be in your glory with this one. Granted, the situations are contrived and predictable at best. But it's not terrible! The talent involved raises it a notch or two above your standard soap fare. Lisa Hartman makes a spunky heroine. Bruce Dern is his usual brilliant self, but the real kudos go to General Hospital alumni Sharon Wyatt as the vindictive sister-in-law.(Can someone please tell me why this gifted lady doesn't get more parts?) She's nothing short of amazing, and her performance here is Emmy-calibre.

In short, there are worse ways to kill a few hours.

Double Platinum

Not as bad as you might think
Expecting the worst I was actually pleasantly surprised at Double Platinum. Granted this won't win any Emmy's, it is a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours. Both Diana Ross and Brandy sing and act very well, and the score is excellent. There are worse ways to spend an evening.

Rio Lobo

Good old fashioned western fun!
Not a bad little movie. Good action, cinematography and it moves like lightning! Of course, nobody can do a Western like John Wayne, and he looks like he's having a great old time here. In some cases the acting(particularly Jorge Rivera and Jennifer O'Neill) is a little weak, but that hardly detracts from the overall effect. Mike Henry, a former Tarzan, is a revelation here. As the smarmy, soulless sheriff he easily holds his own against Wayne in their too-few scenes together. When he gets his deserved comeuppance at the end you really do want to cheer. If you're a fan of westerns, you won't be disappointed, even if you're not you won't be.


Good for a few laughs
In 1931 Cimarron was a smash hit, today it's just smashingly funny! Not that it's a bad movie,it's not-it just hasn't stood the test of time all that well! The movie does have it's good points. Irene Dunne is perfect as Sabra, the strong-willed pioneer woman. This film made her a major star, and it's easy to see why. Also the stampede sequence at the front is very impressive. It's hard to see how it could be topped even today. On the negative side there's Richard Dix, normally an excellent actor overacting outrageously here. Eugene Jackson's Isaiah is just plain irritating, but in all fairness his character and portrayal of it are more representative of the era in which the movie was made(remember this was the early 1930's) than of any fault of the actor's or screenwriters. Thankfully, we've come a long way since then. Also the plot has more holes in it and inconsistencies in it than a barrel of swiss cheese. For example, the husband disappears for years at a stretch with no contact at all with his family, and his wife welcomes him back with open arms when he does return! Come on. And then the ending. Contrived is hardly the word. I reiterate, this really isn't a bad movie. It's just not for every taste.


A true classic!
Thankfully they resisted the urge(to the best of my knowledge anyway) to make a sequel of this great film! This film proves that you didn't need sound or dialogue to tell a compelling story. Wings is just as potent today as it was back in 1927. The aerial sequences are almost eerily good, and could certainly hold their own against anything that could be made today. The human interest story is just as good. You can feel a definite connection between Jack and David, and some of their scenes together are truly touching. If this film has any(albeit minor)flaws it's that it goes on just a bit too long, but that's a relatively minor consideration overall. This movie is well worth watching, and if you've never seen one before, an excellent introduction to silent film.

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