I suppose I was expecting the M&W I knew so well from their television programmes, particularly their infamous Christmas specials. This film was not remotely in that class. Eric, normally a very funny man, just tries too hard to get a laugh here - he comes across as desperate to be funny and it doesn't work. A pedestrian effort that is unworthy of two very fine comedians. A top-notch cast is basically wasted in a film that looks fairly cheap, despite an attempt at lavish costume designs in the "Swan Lake" performance. Having said that, though, I did like the opening credits! Whilst not exactly a Saul Bass effort, the music and images did manage to convey a sense that the movie would be concerned with the illusory world of Bondish-like international espionage and intrigue. And wasn't that a photo of the very beautiful Suzy Kendall at the end of those credits? I think so. Her photograph was possibly the best part about the whole Picture.
**POTENTIAL SPOILERS**. Though I am not sure if Paul is well-off or not, not knowing how much a computer programmer would have earned circa 1985 - his apartment does look a little sparse - he is still able to take $20.00 with him on his trip down to SoHo, $20.00 being, I should imagine, quite a sum in 1985. So when his money disappears out the window of the cab - the ride downtown costing something like $6.00 - then why didn't Paul, (as a supposedly honest man), ask the driver to take him back to his apartment so that he could have gotten some more money and been able to pay him in full rather than making - what must have seemed to the taxi-driver like a lame excuse? Or are we to insinuate that Paul was down to his last $20.00? Or didn't want to risk going back and risk missing the appointed time for his rendezvous with the wonderful Arquette character? If he had gone back home he might just have saved himself a lot of bother - but then again, probably not. Still, when we accept that this man is desperate to get back home, why couldn't he have just hopped in a cab and paid when he did eventually get home? He was able to get a cab to SoHo without paying, so why couldn't he have just reversed the process? It is not at though he is totally honest, after all. He had previously tried to ride the tube home free when he found that he hadn't enough money to pay the (just-raised) fare and I know he did try to hail a cab home ONCE, offering to pay with the $20.00 bill he had removed (stolen) from the paper maché model, but he never thinks of hailing another cab after this money is stolen, in turn, from him by a less than happy taxi-driver! Then again, if he had thought of this we would have been denied our enjoyable night out with him, so a little potential plot hole is excusable in the circumstances!
I have always enjoyed "The MacKintosh Man", having read the original novel by Desmond Bagley and being overtly fond of John Huston's work as a film-maker. Looked at today, I think it can be viewed as a typical 1970's cold war thriller, heavy with atmosphere, but having watched it again yesterday, I am curious about a few idiosyncrasies that I believe can be considered pot-holes. It takes a while before we realise that Rearden (Paul Newman) is a British secret service agent, but is it conceivable that any agent would be prepared to spend a lengthy time in jail before eventually being sprung by the elite group known as "The Scarperers" - in this instance we are to believe that Rearden is content to spend a year in a half in a maximum security prison masquerading as a criminal before he is even contacted. I mean, it is quite possible that he could have been there for years before any approaches were made. And only MacKintosh and his daughter know his true identity! How do the authorities know that "The Scarperers" will try to spring the Russian agent Slade (Ian Bannen)in the first place? Why do "The Scarperers" decide to spring the jewel-thief Rearden at the same time as Slade? Surely Slade would have been top priority on his own without complicating matters by deciding to spring a lesser offender at the same time? A half-share in Rearden's money is surely not a good-enough reason. Would a highly respected British M.P. (Member of Parliament), Sir George Wheeler (James Mason, and notice the "Sir"), though in fact a long-embedded Russian agent himself, endanger his position by having a recently escaped Russian agent hidden aboard his yacht in the first place? And then casually sail with him aboard to Malta? I mean, there are a few other instances that can leave the casual viewer wondering about the plot and its development but I think it best to leave them. "The MacKintosh Man" is a solid little thriller that would not withstand too serious a critical analysis. But then again, many of the greatest films ever made are riddled with plot-holes and to delve too deeply would be to destroy the illusion and our enjoyment. And really, all cinema at the end of the day, mediocre or not, is just an illusion. So be it!
POSSIBLE SPOILERS: I have only just seen this documentary and I found it very sad and disturbing. Jimmy Savile was an ikon in my youth, from "Top of The Pops" to "Jim'll Fix It", etc, but Louis Theroux seems to have scratched Savile's underbelly to expose a lonely, depressed and essentially unlikable man. Jimmy's cigar comes across as some kind of prop to shield him from the pitiful reality of himself - this is Jimmy Savile, so there has to be a cigar in virtually every frame! Theroux was brilliant at digging out the demons in Savile and, essentially what he uncovers (or insinuates) is left to the viewer's imagination. That whole episode of Jimmy's mother's flat - the woman had been dead since 1973 yet Jimmy still kept up maintenance of the property and never threw out her old clothes. Her bedroom is basically a shrine to a woman who, amongst other revelations, never let Jimmy bring girl's back to the flat. There was something very unsettling about the photo on the mantelpiece - Jimmy, looking very girlyish, lying on the floor in a nightgown reading a book while his Mother looked on. There was something very Norman Batesy about the whole thing, and I was left wondering if Jimmy had a Mother-fixation, as though through maintaining the flat, her images and her clothes, he could somehow keep her alive in his own mind. Was Jimmy, perhaps, the daughter she never had? It certainly seems a plausible train of thought and I sensed that Theroux had Jimmy on the ropes, sensing some dark secret. As I said, though, interpretations are cunningly left to the imagination of the viewer. In fact, I found the whole programme quite disturbing insofar as it insinuated - quite rightly - that Savile was a self-publicist who's only real friend was the photographer or the television camera covering his charity works and his personal mishaps. Jimmy Savile came across as a sad shell of a man, a man without any real companion in the world other than his dead mother. Jimmy Savile, that old eccentric Jimmy we all love, the programme strongly suggested, was a total fabrication, a falsity, a lie. Ultimately there is a degree of sympathy expressed for Jimmy, but the overall view is of a man deeply disturbed, immersed in his own myth. A dark, disturbing documentary, but a brilliant exposé of the deep scars often hidden behind the glare of the cameras. The price of fame, indeed.
*Potential Spoilers*. I enjoyed this interpretation of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles" but have to say that I was annoyed when the film-makers chose to unveil the culprit of the drama to the audience way too early. The beauty of the many previous "Hound" films was to uphold the "mystery" of the giant dog that terrorised Dartmoor and the Baskerville family. It was virtually a case of "whatdunnit" as opposed to "whodunnit", a red-herring that tantalised the audience until the end when Holmes and his sidekick Watson were able to solve the inexplicable happenings by employing pure deductive reasoning. In this version, the culprit is made known to the audience fairly early on, his method is made blatantly known to us and as the movie progresses it takes little to guess the motivation behind his actions. The film-makers, I believe, have shot themselves in the foot with this adaptation. A wonderful atmosphere had been created, windswept and rain-sodden moors powerfully conveying the danger and mystery of the local terrain. Until the mystery is revealed, that is. No amount of windswept scenery or dark foreboding nighttime shots, though eerie and beautiful, can maintain a sense of mystery that doestn´t, in fact, exist. This sense of anti-climax is heightened by the fact that, whilst we know who the culprit is, we also know that Holmes is also aware, from fairly early on, who the actual culprit is as well. Any element of shock or surprise has thus been chucked out the window. And as for the Holmes character, well perhaps I have the image of Basil Rathbone too firmly engraved in my minds eye to accept any other actor as the master sleuth. Ian Hart as Watson, however, was worthy casting.
*Possible Spoilers* I have watched this movie many times now, and it seems to get better with each viewing. Admittedly, the FX now look very dated in this age of "Star Wars" and "The Lord Of The Rings" - but don´t the FX in "Superman" also look dated now?. All very well if the film were dependant on FX alone, but "The Birds" appears to operate on a much-more complicated level. It´s a movie "about" so many different things - it almost appears to be "about" whatever the viewer wants it to be "about". And just who are "The Birds" anyway?. To fend off unexplained attacks by our feathered friends, the main characters have to barricade themselves into their house, which almost literally becomes their cage. Caged in like lovebirds, in fact. Well, virtually. As for the celebrated attack by the birds on Tippi Hendron as she investigated noises in an upstairs bedroom. Was Tippi mad or what?. She had "seen" what these unusual birds could do, yet she chose to investigate rustlings that could only emenate from one source. Undaunted, she steps into the room with her flashlight - which attracts the attention of the birds. She is lucky she didn´t end up as dead as a dodo.
A lightweight adaptation, but humorous and engaging. Watson appears to enjoy anyone getting "one up" on Holmes, an enjoyment viewed with cynicism by an irrate Matt Frewer. The last half hour was engaging and illuminating. A worthy effort.
It was great to watch this film and see live footage of the great Irish rock guitarist Rory Gallaher, performing with his band Taste. Sadly, Rory is no longer with us. Indeed, watching this film showed just how many of our famous and infamous rock stars have passed away since 1970. Hendrix, Morrison, Moon, Entwhistle, Gallagher - all gone to that great gig in the sky.
This, a fourth film about the infamous St Trinians school just doestn´t work on a number of levels. Whilst George Cole has been consistently good throughout the series, this movie really needed an actor of Alastair Sim´s magnitutude to make an impression. The few laughs are laboured and it is certainly the weakest in the entire St Trinians canon. Helps pass a Sunday afternoon, I suppose, but offers little in terms of laughs or general entertainment.
Makes "Plan 9 From Outer Space" look like a masterpiece.
Potentially the worst film I have ever had the misfortune to experience. "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is "Citizen Kane" compared to this garbage. Undoubtedly the worst adaptation of an Alistair MacLean novel ever commited to celluloid, a disgrace to an excellent, suspenseful novel. What the hell was Geoffrey Reeve thinking off?. A thriller set in the world of Formula 1 racing cars, an integral part of the books plot, is reduced here to a few amateurish shots of racing cars going around a few bends - and I do mean amateurish footage. No excitement, no suspense, no coherency, no acting, no nothing. Awful and embarrasingly ridiculous. Was this made by Reeve as a tax dodge or something?. Or a home movie". It feels like it. I suppose they were glad to get some lolly to make this dismal effort - I presume that same lolly was spent on some lovely presents for the director and his cronies. As it stands, it looks as though about £50 was spent on this production, if that!.
*SPOILERS* I really enjoyed "The Killing2 but, like many, felt that the ending was fatally flawed. Johnny Clay appears to have every meticulous little detail in this robbery worked out to perfection, yet after the heist he removes the money from the secure baggage it is in and transfers it to a second-hand suitcase that he knows the locks to be faulty on. Over two million dollars in hard currency, yet Johnny can´t be bothered securing the suitcase!. Right Oh!. From the moment Kubrick´s camera focused on those faulty locks, the viewer knows instinctively that the whole shabang is going to be blown wide open. Two million dollars Johnny!. A new suitcase, a secure suitcase would maybe have set you back twenty dollars. And why didn´t you consider this aspect when you were making your meticulous and brilliantly executed robbery plans?. Shame on you.
A beautiful film where the cinematography is the real star. I think Polanski has captured Hardy´s feel for nature and how the forces of nature can influence the course of our lives. I presume that the dedication "To Sharon" in the opening credits refers to Sharon Tate.
I really enjoyed watching this movie again. It had been some twenty years since I last saw it on television and it still looks great on the small screen (although, as we all know, the only real place to see epic movies like this is in the cinema). I generally agree with the comments that have been written here, but I can´t help but feel that there is a little something wrong in what is presented to us about what happened aboard the ship that fateful night. It is hinted at several times in "A Night To Remember" but never fully pursued. The hint is that the steerage passengers were kept at bay until the first-class passengers had manned the available boats. We are even informed, at one point, that the first class passengers are being loaded onto lifeboats at the other side of the ship, away from the main contingent of passengers gathered together in their lifebelts. Another scene depicts attendants penning the steerage passengers in like dangerous wild animals as the actual evacuation is taking place. Still, an admirable film which tried perhaps as honestly as possible to portray what really happened.
It is truly gratifying to watch a film which depicts the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour without what would appear to have been an apsolute essential in such a scenario - aeroplanes!. True, we are informed in the dialogue that two unusual plane formations have been spotted, one over Diamond Head that arouses the Duke´s suspicions. Yet the only aeroplanes we really see is old film footage of planes flying in formation - for about five seconds - identified by an uncredited Hugh O´Brian, lying on the beach with Kirk Douglas´s strumpet of a wife. (How dare she). This formation for some reason or other fire live rounds at Hugh and Mrs Douglas as realisation dawns that the Japanese have come to town. Never mind the element of surprise, never mind Pearl, get Hugh O´Brian!. And then we have the attack on Pearl itself and nara an aeroplane to be seen, just smokescreens and columns of gushing water to indicate dropping bombs. Everybody is looking at the sky, seriously concerned, except Otto Preminger. Good old Otto!. He manages to make a decent meal without the essential ingredients.
Every year I seem to put myself through the torture of watching a film by Abbot and Costello. Now, I know that I don´t have to endure this pain, that I can quite easily do something much more enjoyable (flail myself, read medical reports, etc, etc), but for some reason I get a kind of perverse pleasure in watching these two comidic icons fail, yet again, to summons a single smirk to my countenance. This is awful, I say repeatedly to myself - crudge, crap, the unfunniest thing I have ever seen. But I secretly know that I am being dishonest with myself. I know that the worst is yet to come and should be on my screen within the coming twelve months. Yet another A+C masterpiece!. I can´t wait.
Of all the adaptations of books by Alistair MacLean, I feel that this qualifies as the worst, but don´t blame MacLean!. It would appear that all that this film shares with the novel is the same title. We have no suspense, no sense of foreboding of mystery, no chance to really empathize with the main characters. We spend the entire duration (or at least I did) waiting for Charlotte Rampling to shed her clothing (for Charlotte, this appears to take a remarkably long time!). Still, a glimpse of Charlotte Rampling´s tits really can´t save this disastrous film. MacLean has once again been kicked into the gutter to endure the sniping of those bitter hacks and nit-pickers who would appear to blame him for all the ills that befall attempted filming of his books. Poor old Alistair must have crawled into a corner and whimpered when this one came out. At least "Bear Island" - which also uses the Maclean name but apparently none of his novel - was a LITTLE exciting. The excitement here is in waiting for the final credits.
A not bad interpretation of an interesting book by thriller writer Alistair Maclean, who has also written the screenplay in this instance. If this adaptation has anything going for it, it must surely be that it at least attempts to keep to the essential essence of the original novel, which was quite a page-turner. So many adaptations based on books by Maclean have been apparently destroyed in the writing or re-writing stage that little sense remains of the original concept. The thrill is often removed from the thriller. The essence of these books have often been hacked to pieces in an attempt to transform them into something cinematic. When things go wrong, it´s Maclean´s name that gets dragged through the mud!. Were this film to be made today, I believe it could be made much better, but still, it is an enjoyable romp made more enjoyable by the pairing of Anthony Hopkins with the luscious Nathalie Delon. Recommended.
A short documentary film that still manages to convey the power behind the voice of the late, great Otis Redding. The film basically consists of two old pieces of archival footage welded together showing Otis performing live. In the first piece of footage we see "Brooker T And The MG´s", inevitably performing "Green Onions". Steve Cropper and his mates then act as the backing band for Otis and, first-off, "Sam and Dave" who perform two tracks, most notably a rousing version of "Hold On". Otis treats us to a funky version of "The Rolling Stones" classic "Satisfaction", "My Girl", "Shake" and "Try a little Tenderness". In the second piece of footage, recorded on 17th June 1967, a few month´s before his death, Otis entertains us live at Monterey, supported by "The Mar-Keys". Here he performs "Respect", "I´ve been loving you too long" and, once again, "Shake" and "Try a little tenderness". The latter track is complemented with loving scenes from amongst the live audience at Monterey, Mama Cass from "The Mamas and Papas" looking particularly at peace with the world!. We also hear Otis singing perhaps his best known number "Sittin´ On The Dock Of The Bay", not live but to the accompaniement of a photographic montage depicting the great man at various stages in his career. The film is interesting as an historical document of Otis Redding - The Singer, but it tells us little, if anything, about Otis Redding - The Man. Perhaps it isin´t meant to, but it certainly would have been an interesting dimension to explore!. Still, the footage has documentary film-maker D.A. Pennebaker written all over it and it is indeed credited as "A film by" Pennebaker and his associates Hegelus and Douglas. A worth-while documentary about an important singer and showman, but too short and selective to really allow us to get to know the man. And I never knew that Steve Cropper, Al Jackson or Donald "Duck" Dunn could ever look THAT young!. In this respect, and for a marvellous long version of the aforementioned "Green Onions", "Remembering Otis" is indeed an historical documentary worthy of preservation.
Town Bloody Hall is a documentary that charts the course of a public debate about feminism and the feminist movement, chaired by none other than Norman Mailer. The film is quite humorous at times as the debate grows a little heated, but in the end I have to wonder why it was felt that this would constitute riveting viewing material. The various participants in the debate seem quite un-sure as to the validity of their respective arguements when cross-examined by the other speakers, Mailer in particular. Jill Johnson´s vontribution, a feminist-lesbian poem was the most interesting part of the movie, not only because it was highly entertaining, but also because it´s length of duration (over the allotted ten minutes) appeared to infuriate an up till then in control Mr Mailer. It was interesting to see him wringle on the end of his own hook. Germaine Greer made an interesting point about the immorality of some rich folks earning more in one week than a thousand working-class families could make, collectively, in a year. How this rightful indignation, however, reflected on a debate concerned with feminism and woman´s issues in a patriarchal world was a little beyond my comprehension!. The film displays all the hallmarks we have come to expect from D.A. Pennebaker - grainy shots, out of focus shots, hand-held camera shots, etc. How come all of his documentary films seem to appear somehow "out of date", as though the camera stock being used was slowly disintegrating?. This film was only made in 1979 yet it feels as though it belongs to some period in the sixties, between "Monterey Pop" and "Don´t look Back". An intersting look at an interesting debate, but ultimately I felt that a more satisfactory film could have been made to enhance and illuminate the issues that were discussed.
I´m not surprised that even cowgirls get the blues if this movie is anything to go by. I expected something better from Uma Thurman, which was the reason I suffered my way through this experience in the first place. An awful film with only the music as a redeeming quality. It´s just a shame that we are incapable of giving 0 out of 10 in these reviews. This movie deserves it.
WARNING**REVIEW CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS**After watching Reefer and the Model, I was somewhat bemused. O.K., there was a lot of beautiful Irish countryside and a few potentially interesting characters, but the movie seemed directionless, pointless. What was it trying to say?. It beats me. We appear to have a gang of ex-IRA men scavenging a living on a boat in the Republic of Ireland, one of whom becomes infatuated with a pregnant former prostitute just returned from London. Another member of this gang is a closet homosexual who indulges himself with whatever passing stranger tickles his fancy - or so it would seem, since the respective characters in this film are poorly drawn and allow little room for a sympathetic understanding of their respective situations. Damage to the boat,(their livlihood?), means that this laid-back outfit must plan an armed robbery of a post-office to effect repairs. This is duly executed but the best plans of mice and men can go awry, as is certainly the case here. A high speed chase results in a police car crashing, the robbers surveying the aftermath of the accident and unnecessarily murdering one policeman before making good their escape - an escape that is now doomed following the death of this policeman. In what can only be described as a ridiculous ending, two of this gang are shot by the police at their hiding place, one fatally, whilst the leader tries to rendezvous with their boat, now piloted by the pregnant woman. In what is supposedly meant to be an ambiguous ending, the woman appears to be enduring the pains of childbirth just as the vessel she is commanding enters the open sea, crashing into the rowing boat stolen by the gang leader in his attempt to rendezvous with her. The rowing boat is destroyed and the gang leader cast into the waters, crying in vain for the attentions of this woman, whom we can only surmise is now in the actual process of giving birth to her child. It is a bland moment among many in a quite bland film. Perhaps it was trying to say something new about Irish perceptions of sexuality, perhaps it was endeavouring to point a learned finger at the old concept of life renewing itself in the face of death. Whatever it was trying to say, it didn´t appear to say it very well. And the film-makers geographical sense of Ireland was somewhat lacking. That poor pregnant creature would have made it back to Galway a lot earlier had she not had the misfortune to meet Ian McElhinney and his chums. The Director seemed to suggest that the Republic of Ireland was the size of America with Galway as a kind of El Dorado. Perhaps the woman hadn´t the price of a bus ticket to travel all the way from Dublin to Galway!. In any event, I wish she had gotten the bus. It would have saved me the bother of having to sit through this experience.
This movie certainly gives some visage credence to the old addage "I can read you like a book". I was intrigued by the premise of the movie, an intrigue that soon turned to boredom. I feel that Greenaway was being particularly pretentious here and although many of the images were startling, the images alone could not give the film a full sense of cohesion. The nudity was un-erotic, the art artless. A dull film full of it´s own relevance and importance. "But my darling, you must really see the new Greenaway, it´s so....Greenaway!".
I´m only joking. This was potentially the worst film I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. How anybody in the 1950´s could have raised a laugh at this innane rubbish is beyond my comprehension. I jest not.
**WARNING**POTENTIAL SPOILERS** I have to admit being confused by Agnes of God. At the end of the movie I was in a bit of a quandary: Did I enjoy it or didn´t I?. I think that enjoy is probably the wrong word - I experienced it but took nothing of substance away from that experience. Was this a film about delusion or illusion, about faith or lack of it, about love or abuse, about the natural or supernatural?. Whatever it was about, I think it conned the viewer. We are fed red herrings but who is to say that these were red herrings in the first instance?. One long McGuffin, perhaps?. I think a movie of this kind calls for some kind of resolution, especially when we have been led by the nose for nearly the duration with an unspoken sense of ultimate revelation. A revelation that never comes. Some may argue that this kind of ending added to the movie whilst I personally feel it detracted from what was quite an interesting and innovative premise. Still, it was directed with some style by Norman Jewison and the three female leads were convincing in their respective portrayals. On the negative side, Meg Tilly´s nun will always stay with me, but not for any reason of acting prowess.Every time I see her from now on I´ll be tempted to ask "What happened Meg. Can you tell us what happened?. Please.".
WARNING**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*** I found this to be an interesting movie marred by unnecessary additional material. The Alain Delon character was never meant to be sympathised with by an audience and, indeed, part of his attraction was the loner aspect he radiated on screen - a careful loner, a suspicious loner, nobody´s fool, a feared double-cop killer in control of all his marbles. It is rather curious, therefore, that he should act so carelessly and foolishly in his dealings with the Sicilians. *SPOILERS* Getting intimately involved with one of the mobsters wives whilst planning and subsequently executing a major jewel heist was not a clever idea. And this is were I believe the movie failed. The heist was excellent, the chase conducted by the determined police-chief for Delon was as exciting as THE DAY OF THE JACKAL, and the movie would have been perfect had it ended when the hijacked airplane landed on the highway development outside New York. Instead, the message would appear to be that we can´t have organised crime succeeding with this kind of thing!. *SPOILERS* You would think that the Sicilian Clan, in cahoots with their American brethren, would have been ecstatic in pulling off 50 million dollar jewel robbery. But no, when Gabin´s character hears from his grandson that Delon´s character had been conducting an illicit association with his son´s wife, the priority would appear to be in getting Delon back to France to have him eliminated, thereby jeopardising everything. And so it proves. The price of love, or at least the price of adultury, would appear to be fifty million smackers. Still, an excellent film by a much undr-rated director.