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The Rock

Actioner a league ahead of the others!
Wow! The Rock is one of the most rewatchable films I own. I've watched it countlessly, and it seems to have the quick, energizing effect of a good song that we love to play again and again. The dialogue is at times funny, always fresh, and sometimes intelligent. This film shines as an actioner that actually has a great, plausible plot, with some characters we wouldn't mind following on a journey. (I really liked Sean Connery's character; maybe a sequel with "Mr.John Mason"?)

And then there are the heavyweights in acting, a rarity in action films. Ed Harris, Sean Connery, Nic Cage, and a few others are so talented in reading their lines in a unique way, one can see that these are truly great actors. I loved Ed Harris' character, since it was not the standard black & white type, but a complex person. Who would've thought I'd be saying "complex" in an actioner? Well, that's how The Rock surprises you, like a vicious left hook to the face. Oh yeah, the Hans Zimmer score is a knockout, as always.

The Flim-Flam Man

This movie need to be better known!
I saw this film on AMC a while back and fell in love with its charm and hilarity. The film is about a runaway teenager and a seasoned old "crook". The movie is very funny, with one great scene linked to the next one. Directed by Irvin Kershner (Empire Strikes Back). Here, he shows a flair for staging complex set pieces and good comic timing. George C. Scott, always great, seems to be the perfect choice as the old con-man. As playful as this film is, there are some tender moments between the characters, adding some heart to an already fun movie. I hope this movie becomes more widespread in the future, since I feel so many are missing out on this one!

This movie was so good, I hunted down the next scheduled airing on TV, and made sure I recorded it. I've enjoyed it on tape ever since. Here's hoping for a future DVD!

How to Steal a Million

One of the most entertaining films ever -- seriously
I don't know how to say this, but I'll say it simply: this is one of my favorite films of all time. The reason: it is a shining example of why we make Hollywood entertain. This is one of THE most entertaining films I've ever seen. Sure, there are the more important films like Schindler's List or Citizen Kane, but for pure entertainment, I guarantee you'll find this as one of the best indeed.

What makes this stand above the other "light caper" flicks is first and foremost, the witty script. Line after line of golden dialogue, like the exquisite champagne that the actors sip on. Scripts in comedys are very important, and How to Steal a Million serves one to the audience on a gleaming silver platter.

The other great things about this film: William Wyler's sharp comic direction(a different kind of film for him too); the magnetism and charm of O'Toole and Hepburn; the cinematography --the film is simply beautiful to look at.

Well, if you haven't seen it yet, please consider it sometime, and if you have, you'll probably back me up on the movie's strengths. To use the old cliche: "They don't make them like they used to."

One-Eyed Jacks

Overlooked little gem
I found this film quite remarkable on many levels. For one, it was the debut for Brando as director (and his only film direction since). Reportedly, it was taken after Kubrick left due to altercations. Well, this time, Brando has one foot in front of the camera, as well as one behind it. He does a great, solid job. In fact, this film never looked awkward or misguided -- it felt like an intelligent western helmed by an Anthony Mann or Raoul Walsh. To further boost the professional polish of the film, there is cinematographer Charles Lang (Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won).

Within this polished piece of work, the muscle of the film is found in the wonderful character study. Here, the characters, like in many great stories, are complex, dark, tempermental. Although the film is about the hero's(or anti-hero's) thirst for revenge on a man who done him wrong, there's a romance in the film that is truly tender and fateful.

The magnet in this film would have to be Brando. (Karl Malden is great too). Brando's understated performance is of the subtle type, using his famous darting eyes to penetrate the characters and the viewer. He's one of my favorite all-time actors.

As with all great films, One-Eyed Jacks is a quiet masterpiece, displaying what every good film needs: great script, powerful acting, layered characterization, and be technically-sound.

Driving Miss Daisy

Definitely in my personal top 15
This is an absorbing, memorable, and deeply moving film. It truly deserved the Best Picture of 1989. It is one of those great movies where you really feel as if you had spent time with these realistic, amusing, and ultimately human characters. I felt as if I had spent 30 or so years with Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, watching their friendship slowly blossom and mature, as well as seeing society change too. The soft-looking cinematography, the gentle, well-known Hans Zimmer score, a splendid stage-adapted screenplay, a wonderful portrayal by Morgan Freeman: all blend together for a marvelous film. The last shot (or dissolve)of the film still gets me every time, as it did the first. There are no pat endings or oversentimentality ends with a simple, beautiful scene that will linger in the memory for a long time.

This is the type of film, if you truly love it, you can watch over and over, and its enjoyment will not diminish.

Around this time, other great movies came out that left me stunned and inspired, like Goodfellas and Dances with Wolves. It was an excellent period of movies for me!

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