Tashtago

IMDb member since August 2004
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    IMDb Member
    17 years

Reviews

Det sjunde inseglet
(1957)

A bit stagey
Considered among Bergman's classic films, not sure if Seventh Seal still deserves it's status. The themes are serious and the acting excellent, especially Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand . But the constant philosophical monologues about god, existence, death etc become tiresome. There's also a certain staged quality about a number of scenes. The one with the actor in the tree while death saws it down comes to mind. Overall a good film but I would say no longer a great one.

Manhattan Murder Mystery
(1993)

Woody is a lousy director
In Manhattan Murder Mystery , Woodrow Allen (auteur) tries to re-make Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Unfortunately Woody is no Hitchcock. Despite a charming cast, and some good, often funny dialogue Mr . Allen's direction gets in the way. He's too busy being cleaver with the camera peering over flower plots. A particularly teeth grinding example is when Woody and Diane Keaton's characters discuss the possible murder of the wife. They walk around the entire circumference of a fountain. Dialogue is heard, but for a good half of the scene neither main character is on camera. There is no other major or minor director who would have filmed a scene like this without either character in view. I don't just want to hear dialogue . I want to see the people in the scene who are portraying the characters I am supposedly interested in. So much of Allen's direction is about look how cleaver I am at the expense of seeing a performance with actors. It drove me nuts. Too bad because I think there is a funny movie hidden behind that statue in the middle of a fountain we're forced to watch. And don't tell me it's some kind of Bergman like symbolism. t

Eyes Wide Shut
(1999)

Different film after Jeffrey Epstein incident
I saw EWS when it came out. Kubrick is my favorite director so went in with huge expectations. The movie was a disappointment. Most of my criticism is with Nicole Kidman. She is staggeringly beautiful but I find her a poor actress. At least in EWS she is. It might be that her character is poorly written. In her two key scenes she is apparently smashed on champagne and later weirded out on dope. She doesn't seem believable in either scenario. The film itself however is definitely watchable and many of the Kubrick touches are here. Over lit scenes, long set pieces, weird characters, slowly creeping tracking shots all the trademarks of a Kubrick movie can be found. Cruise stumbles upon the uber wealthy engaging in nefarious sexual practices. There are far reaching consequences for this discovery. Pretty harrowing stuff. It seemed like fiction at the time, but with the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein and his association with the rich and powerful Trump, Clinton etc. EWS may be a lot closer to a terrifying truth than we know.

Barry Lyndon
(1975)

Kubrick's last masterpiece
Although the films that followed Barry Lyndon all have their merits. For me this was the final time that Kubrick made a film that is close to perfection. Ryan O' Neal who I never liked before is surprisingly effective in the title role. He even gets to display his skills as a boxer in one key segment of the movie. The epic sweep of the life of Barry Lyndon with it's many twists and turns makes the film engrossing from beginning to end. Kubrick's wonderful photography captures the spirit of the time like a landscape painting by Gainsborough. The music as well is used memorably and stays with the viewer long after the movie has ended. A must see for Kubrick fan's as it's probably his most overlooked work.

Rain
(1932)

Early Crawford is the best Crawford
Not a big fan of Joan's but I have to say having seen the otherwise awful Grand Hotel and now Rain , I'm beginning to see the appeal. Joan in the 30s was very sexy and quite beautiful. More importantly, she could act. Her Sadie Thompson is a multifaceted characterization. Arrogant, crude, fun-loving but ultimately vulnerable and needing reassurance. Co-star Walter Huston is also terrifyingly good as the fanatically religious Davison. Other reviewers have mentioned the scene of them praying together. This one moment in Rain has an emotional wallop like a tropical storm and is one of the great moments of early cinema. It will haunt you. The oppressive continuous monsoon and cholera quarantine only add to the almost overwhelming psychological oppression of the film. Great supporting cast as well , particularly Guy Kibbee as the Neitchze reading hotel owner. It's slow . It's ponderous .But in the end, it is unforgettable. Crawford and Huston should have won Oscars for this.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
(1969)

Three good things
1. Beautiful scenery 2. Girls in mini skirts 3. Suzanne Pleashette. Otherwise not funny. Ian McShane is annoying and unattractive . The rest of tourists are a bunch of whiny twits.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
(1971)

One of the all time best
Gene Wilder in one of his best roles is perfect as the enigmatic slightly insane Wonka. Jack Albertson later of Chico and The Man is another standout playing Grandpa Joe. One of my favourite parts of this movie is the comic asides from the parents as they go on the tour... "there he goes again!" ..." she's a nitwit" etc. Also the vignettes the director adds for other people searching for the ticket, in particular the woman who has to stop and ponder whether or not her kidnapped husband is worth given up a case of Wonka bars. Great colour, great songs. Not a dull scene in the entire running time.

Gone to Earth
(1950)

One of the Archer's best
Gone to Earth is an overlooked classic by Powell and Pressburger. The cinemaphotography as usual is as good as ever. Jennifer Jones has never looked more beautiful than she does here and she gives an excellent touching performance. In fact the entire cast are memorable particularly a very young looking Hugh Griffith as a comic manservant.

The Deep
(1977)

decent enough entertainment but too many plotholes.
The underwater photography is excellent. Acting and cast are good. But a confusing plot and villains popping out of nowhere sink this underwater adventure.

That Hamilton Woman
(1941)

Vivien keeps the ship afloat
I've always admired Olivier and thought him one of the great actors in films. Then I see a movie like That Hamilton Woman or Rebecca or Fire Over England and it reminds that as a romantic lead Larry was rather dull. Other than his steadfast bearing his Lord Nelson displays nothing of the panache or strength that the real Nelson most have had. That leaves Vivien Leigh. At the height of her extraordinary beauty and coming off her best actress Oscar for Gone the Wind. She is nothing less than compelling and gives a magnetic believable performance. As for the rest of the movie it's pretty stage bound and stiff considering the momentous period in history it covers. Watch it for Vivien Leigh in her prime but don't expect much else.

The World of Henry Orient
(1964)

Not enough Sellers
The premise of the World of Henry Orient and it's satire of fan worship gone amok is a good one. Throw in a little paranoia and some psychoanalysis humour and this could have been great. Unfortunately there just isn't enough (in his prime no less) Peter Sellers in the title role of a mediocre but gloriously vain concert pianist. Too much emphasis of the film is dominated by his teenage girl worshippers who are frankly not that interesting and quickly becoming annoying. Too bad, because the rest of the cast are great. Including one of my favourite comedic actresses Paula Prentiss and a sexy dominatrix style Angela Lansbury. Tom Bosley is also on board as well Richie's father from Happy Days. Not bad but disappointing.

The Vikings
(1958)

Great Entertainment!
From the opening Orson Welles' narration. There's never a dull moment in this classic. Great cast all in their prime. Plus some of the best technicolor photography (Jack Cardiff) of the 1950s. The Vikings looks as if it was filmed today. I will say this movie is more geared to a male audience than a female one. Great film for a father to watch with his son(s).

Trapeze
(1956)

Great atmosphere -lousy script.
Director Carol Reed does an excellent job of brilliantly using the backdrop of a real Paris circus ( Cirque D'Hiver). The trapeze sequences, except for a couple of typically bad 50s era backscreens, are excellent. However the script is a cliché ridden love triangle that has been used over and over in Hollywood films since the silent era. This , and some uneven supporting cast performances weaken what would have been an even better film.

Yuki fujin ezu
(1950)

Another great film by Mizoguchi
If you enjoyed other Mizoguchi films like Ugetsu or Sansho the Bailiff then you'll find Portrait of Madam Yuki worth watching. The acting is excellent and it packs an emotional wallop that stays with you. The S/M component of the principle characters is shockingly realistic for it's time and now.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
(1969)

The Sting is better
While Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has certain charms. It is totally lacking in depth. The characters wise crack like Hope and Crosby in a road movie. There is tons of filler like the middle sepia sequence with the trio in NYC. and then on the train to Bolivia. Plus speaking of trio what's up with the one woman two men friendship? Wouldn't Newman at some point get jealous?. And that terrible dabba dabba da soundtrack during the endless chase sequence in Bolivia. Basically,we are cheering for bank robbers and killers just because its Newman and Redford. On the plus side the movie looks great , it has the realistic feel of the 1880s , despite the dialogue and there is a chemistry between Newman and Redford that keeps it entertaining at least until Bolivia.

The Trouble with Harry
(1955)

The trouble with Harry is ... its awful.
I'm a big Hitchcock fan everything from "Blackmail 1929 to Frenzy 1972. The Trouble with Harry is by far his worst movie. Dull doesn't begin to describe the hollow, cringe worthy clunking amateurish quality of this film. Its as if Hitch had forgotten everything he had learned from making movies in the U.S. for the last 16 years. He has gone back to making one of his less than successful British clunkers from the early 30's. The characters are life less ,forced, the plot a one note joke. Just how long has Edmund Gwynne been napping by that log? Please avoid this movie unless you need to confirm that even a cinematic master could screw up now and again.

Cover Girl
(1944)

kinda dumb
So the message of this movie is stay with the person you truly love because he doesn't want you to become a famous Broadway star because he'll never be one. Huh? Even though you're in the entertainment business don't have any ambition . Why do the three of them wish for an oyster then? Rita Hayworth is the only reason to watch this movie. She's outrageously beautiful, charming, and my favorite female dancer. She moves beautifully and is very underrated as a dancer.imho. Kelly except for the dance he does with himself (yes that's right) is pretty wasted in a role as jealous schmuck who seemingly has no ambition other than running his Brooklyn show. Plus there's the always annoying kvetching of Phil Silvers. Fast forward to Rita's dance numbers and forget the rest.

Tarzan's New York Adventure
(1942)

One of the best in the series
I thought I wouldn't like this because of the New York setting but half the movie still takes place in the jungle. Plus the New York scenes are sensational. Cheta has some hilarious moments in a hotel room and steals every scene she's in. The spectacular dive from the Brooklyn Bridge is masterfully filmed and the cast are great as always. One of my favourite supporting actors Charles Bickford (R.F. from Singin in the Rain) makes an excellent villain with a pronounced sense of menace I'd never seen in him before. Tarzan is still Tarzan and is given an excellent comic moment in the hotel shower. Maureen O'Sullivan remains the most beautiful,sexy, and intelligent Jane ever. A big winner in my books and possibly in the top 3 of the classic Tarzan movies.

Sunset Blvd.
(1950)

Gave it another chance still don't like it...
Tried to watch it again last night with the same result. I just simply don't care about either Norma Desmond or Joe Gillie. Gloria Swanson is just too hideous to look at . All that clenched teeth, bugged out eyes,and spider like movements. It's a great performance I suppose, but not one that in any way gains sympathy.If anything she's repulsive. Holden is Holden. If you like him you probably like the movie. I'm not a Holden fan but I thought the film would be great in spite of him. Like for example Bridge on the River Kwai. However he doesn't help things here and to me he is just too boring of an actor to be of interest. Kind of like Joel McCrea or Van Johnson. Add to that the narration. It's funny at times, nicely cynical as well. But there's too much of it. The movie is over-narrated and by a guy who is dead. Wilder doesn't allow the scenes to breath. Holden's narrator continually interrupts to tell us what is going on. All in all Sunset Blvd. is one classic that doesn't hold up.

Thunder Road
(1958)

very underrated
Because of the low-budget look and no-name cast except Mitchum. This is an overlooked B budget classic. I found the acting to be on the whole very good. Robert's son ,Jim Mitchum has the same physical presence of his father. All he is lacking is the sneer. The brutality of the moonshine business. The danger the shiners faced and how they were viewed as dare devil heroes. The story gives us a vivid picture of all the aspects of what it was to be a moon shiner in the south. The feds are the opposite side of the coin to the mob wanting to muscle in on the business. Feds using tactics almost as nasty as the mob allows us to sympathise with rebel putting it to the man. Mitchum is perfectly cast as the ultimate non-conformist but one who realizes what is he is doing has a short shelf life.Knowing this he discourages others particularly his "brother" (Jim Mitchum) from getting involved in the business. The principles are all excellent and some of moonshiners look like the genuine article. The "Whooperwhill" sung at the credits by Keely Smith is appropriatley haunting.

Track of the Cat
(1954)

Waste of a good Mitchum performance (spoilers)
I thought Robert Mitchum was very good as the alpha male sibling in a very dysfunctional family.That's part of the problem with Track of the Cat, the family are so miserable, so distraught that the film is weighed down. Track of the Cat never rises from a state of heavy melodramatics. It's a John Ford movie written by Tennessee Williams. Adding to the dire proceedings is the monotone "color" photography and obvious stage bound ranch set. Then of course there's the unintentionally funny result of Mitchum being lost in the woods and then finally realizing how to get home. I will say no more except the result is more Looney Tunes than action western.

Tom Jones
(1963)

complete crap
I've attempted to watch this "Oscar winner" a number of times and have not gotten through the entire movie. This is a mess! Dialogue undecipherable, no plot, little in the way of characterization. It is a series of pointless scenes leading to nothing. I will say that it foreshadows a great deal of pointless,mindless, noisy, messy drug addled swinging 60's films that followed it. I refer to "Casino Royale", the last part of "What's New Pussycat" and "Rowan and Martins Laugh-in." I suppose at the time it seemed revolutionary and rebellious. But like many a sixties extravagance, it now appears to be nothing but self-indulgent senseless garbage. Oh, and why was Molly hanging out in the woods?

Murder on the Orient Express
(1974)

Disappointing (spoilers)
As is the case with most all-star movies this is extremely disappointing. Unlike others who disliked it though, I thought Finney was the best actor in the movie.I loved his fastidious,darting , suspicious, but always composed Poirot. Others who fared well - Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergmen, and Sean Connery. Was Vanessa Redgrave in this movie? What a waste of a powerhouse talent. All she seems to do is smile lovingly at Connery. Most of the rest of the cast seemed stagey and forced. And above all else everyone acted suspicious right from the beginning so once it was revealed that they all had a connection to the child kidnapping story shown at the beginning . It was pretty obvious to figure out the obvious. That everyone was somehow guilty. I knew that within about the first 2O minutes and I'm not that smart . It's just that the movie is that bad.

Midnight in Paris
(2011)

Couldn't get past first 33 1/3 mins
I'm giving it a generous 1. Haven't seen a truly good Woody Allen movie since Husband and Wives. Matchpoint was good until the final third of the movie when it went completely off the rails. This time at least the movie goes off the rails right at the beginning so I didn't have to waste so much time before turning it off. As other reviewers have said what is about the main character in an Allen film that compels them to act like Woody Allen. Is his personality that forceful? Why couldn't Owen Wilson just be Owen Wilson . He's a funny guy . But Owen Wilson pretending to be Woody Allen pretending to be some hack asking a pretend Hemingway to show a pretend G.Stein his work. Wow that was when I called it quits. Speaking of calling it quits that's what Woody Allen should do. He's become a sandwich maker rather than a film-maker putting out the same peanut butter and jam crap year after year after year. Pathetic.

All That Heaven Allows
(1955)

a lost masterpiece
A film of noble aims and perfect execution. Jane Wyman is beautiful profound, and perfect, in her portrayal of a lonely widow dealing with the loss of a husband, and the emergence of a new love. Although Rock Hudson is limited, he conveys the image of a wild and free rebel. Determined to go his own way no matter what society says. An opinion which would gain more relevance in the 60's and early 70's before becoming a fashion statement and ..alas.. finally irrelevant. "All that Heaven Allows" is way ahead of its time. Perhaps it should take a German like Douglas Sirk to reflect the underlying narrow thinking that is the heart of the 1950's mind set and dominated the culture of the 50's and continues to dominate our culture today,.It's not so much a critique of conservative small town values as it is a confrontation of the conformity that continues to exist today in 2012.

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