ed56

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Reviews

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown
(1987)

Excellent. 80's entertainment at its best
Every once in a while we stumble onto film that has a bad reputation for some unknown reasons, but we can't help but love it. DW4 is that kind of a film. Don't get me wrong, I can watch and appreciate films like Ben Hur (1959) or To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), but unlike great deal of the critics community, I keep an opened mind and don't confine myself to these sort of films. Death Wish 4 opens with a brutal and nail biting sequence (I won't spoil) and doesn't let you of the hook until the final minutes. Paul Kersey is now living happily with his girlfriend and her daughter Erica in LA Until one evening Erica dies of OD. Kersey decides to revenge those who in the drug business with the help from rich and respectable newspaper owner who's daughter also died from use of Cocaine. This time the direction goes to the legendary director who gave us in the 60's such classic as The guns of Navarone (1961) and Cape Fear (1962) and he managed to take the DW series into a good direction. The action is great and dialog is a bit cheesy at times but very entertaining. Here we have all the elements of an action film that we loved over the years: Corrupted cop, twist at the end etc… Charles Bronson is as his usual great here and in the supporting cast Perry Lopez shines as the sleazy mob boss Ed Zacharias. I highly recommend this film and give it 10 stars.

Quicksand
(2003)

A great film professionally directed and yet to be discovered
Martin Raikes is a banker who gets way over his head with one of the bank's client a group which is used as money laundry for the Russian mob in France. What's wrong with you people? This film definitely has all action thriller needed. A top cast, great villains, beautiful leading actress just as the beautiful filming location and cinematography. Both Michael and Michael bring wonderful performances to the screen. Director John Mackenzie directs expertly and shows he hasn't lost a thing since "The long good Friday" (1980). After watching this movie I hope for 2 things: 1. That people will give more credit to this film. 2. That the film industry will keep bringing us excellent films like this one. This, along with Ronin (1998) are two of the few smart action/intrigue films we have had in the last years. This one rates 10/10. Highly Recommended.

Doctor Zhivago
(1965)

A beautiful and memorable epic that gets better with age. Absolutely Perfect
Doctor Zhivago is yet another proof why David Lean is considered the best epic director. After bringing to the world two of the greatest films of all times (Bridge on the river Kwai 1957, Lawrence of Arabia 1962) David Lean takes on Boris Pasternak novel and shows that he hasn't lost the magic touch. Omar Sharif in the title role is unforgettable as Doctor Zhivago and Julie Christie is one of the most if not the most stunningly beauty ever to appear on the screen as Lara. Just as the tag line says the story is about: A love caught in the fire of revolution. As you might expect from a director at the caliber of David Lean the film features some memorable scenes in the snow covered Russia with thousands of extras and an unforgettable score by Maurice Jarr. Look for Klaus Kinski in a small but memorable role in the the train ride to the Urals. it's an epic film making at it's best. Don't miss it.

The Mechanic
(1972)

The best Bronson film ever and also one of the 70's best
They sure don't make them like this anymore: smart, realistic, tough and fascinating. Charles Bronson is in top form here, he plays a hit man with creative and untraceable way methods of killing, he is like a "death doctor" and when he "fix something, it never works again". But things aren't so good for him lately, he suffers from anxiety and collapses in one memorable scene. He then decides to take under his wing the young Steve Mackenna (Jan Michael Vincent in one of his better roles) and teach his the skills of the trade. Director Michael Winner put together a piece of classic cinema with everything seems to work perfectly. The cinematography is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, especially the final scenes located in Italy. It's a shame that this film is almost unknown to the young generation and is way underrated here. The twisted ending certainly lifts up the already high level of the film. Highly recommended 10/10.

Midnight Express
(1978)

A brutal masterpiece with powerful performances all around
Definitely Alan Parker's best film to date which was blessed with Oliver Stone's well-deserved Oscar winning script and an unforgettable soundtrack. The film follows the true and amazingly frightening story of one American William Hayes who was busted in Turkey for trying to smuggle lousy two kilos of hash and was jailed right into the living hell of the Turkish prison. What I liked about the film is its serious political tones that are all dealt so expertly and really got to the bottom of this true event. The acting by Brad Davis was perfect (why did this actor, could I say, vanished?) and is supported by strong actors like John Hurt and Randy Quaid. With one memorable scene after another, this film is unforgettable experience all the way through the brutal (but happy) ending. Don't miss this classic. Highly Recommended 10/10.

The Bad and the Beautiful
(1952)

A beautiful movie, Kirk Douglas in top form
This 1952 classic is a rare look into the film industry. The main story follows the times of one ruthless and ambitious producer Johnathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) who steps on many toes on his way up to the top of Hollywood. Vincent Minelli's Direction is energetic and keeps the viewer's attention through the last minute. Kirk Douglas shows here what a unique and powerful actor he really is and Lana Turner also shines as the gorgeous looking actress and Shields love interest. Bottom line, when it comes to movies about movies, this one remains the best more than 50 years after it's initial release. Highly recommended 10/10.

Code of Silence
(1985)

Underrated 80's classic and possibly Chuck's best
Chuck Norris stars as Sargent Eddie Cusack in this violent and exciting cop thriller. After robbing drug dealers work for a powerful drug lord named Luis Comacho (A scary Henry Silva) there is a war going on between two mob families and Sargent Cusack is right in the middle. The one man who steals the show here is Henry Silva who brings a memorable performance as the ruthless Louis Comacho. Silva would team up again with director Davis for yet another great action film "Above The Law" (1988-"Nico") this time starring Steven Seagal. Unlike other action films of it's time, this film, in addition to the well executed action sequences has a fairly interesting plot too. Director Andrew Davis shows a lot of talent in his early film and Chuck Norris also has a few scenes to show his amazing skill in Kung Fu. I highly recommend this film and for what it is I give it 10/10.

Mutiny on the Bounty
(1962)

An exciting and beautiful epic with amazing performances from Brando and Howard
Based on a true event, Marlon Brando plays one of his best roles as Fletcher Christian - the man who risked all he had and led the mutiny against the abusive and vicious captain Bligh (an extremely nasty Trevor Howard). The film is blessed with a larger than life cinematography in some of the most beautiful locations on earth. Brando has never looked better and here you could see why this man was considered a legend. Also look for a young Richard Harris as one of the sailors. The film also features some exotic looking women from Tahiti - most notable of course is the pretty Tarita (who became Brando's wife and had two children with him). It's a reminder of a time when they really made a big, and I mean BIG films who had a long lasting impact on you. Another thing should be pointed out for those of you who shy away from a long running time, at almost 3 hours, this film is gripping from the first minute to the last. A true classic that is highly recommended 10/10.

Three Days of the Condor
(1975)

A great spy thriller that really stood the test of time
Redford plays a CIA researcher Joseph Turner Code Name "Condor" who is caught up in a deadly situation when all his work mates are slaughtered on one rainy morning when he was out for lunch. The film is a sort of a cat and mouse game between turner and the CIA operators who are after him. Despite Redford's strong performance it is Faye Danaway who steals the show as the woman picked up randomly by "The Condor" to help him. Also in top form is Max Von Sydow as the cold blooded assassin for hire who is after the condor. The film's photography is marvelously shot on New York cold winter. The perfectly executed action sequences and the smart story makes for a memorable film experience. Highly Recommended 10/10.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
(1974)

Peckinpah's 1974 Masterpiece
Warren Oates ("The Wild Bunch" 1969) is perfectly cast as the main character Bennie, a man on a hellish journey riding down the drain to the point of no return. The story is about a rich and powerful Mexican lord who offers a million dollar for the head of the man - Alfredo Garcia, who "knocked off" his daughter and took off. Besides Warren Oates powerful performance, beautiful Isela Vega in the female leading role brings to the screen a memorable performance. The film features a unique cinematography of the beautiful sun-baked country of Mexico. The action sequences are perfectly photographed, as one could expect from a director like Peckinpah. If you can get your hands on this one don't think twice, you will certainly enjoy it. All in all this film is a memorable classic that should not be missed especially by Peckinpah fans. Highly Recommended 10/10.

Eye of the Needle
(1981)

Donald Sutherland at his best in one of the most fascinating spy films ever!
Director Richard Marquand and all the crew involved brought us a memorable film that keeps us on the edge of our seat from the beginning to the very last minute. The story follows a Nazi spy named Henry Faber (an extremely vicious Donald Sutherland), also known by his code name "The Needle", who is on to an important information about the Allies invasion plan to Europe during WW2 and might cause a disaster if he gets with that information to Berlin. Kate Nelligan gives a perfect performance as the naive Lucy who gets involved with the dangerous Henry Faber. Adopted from Ken Follet's novel, The film successfully keeps the tension on high level in just about every scene. The film is shot in a remarkably beautiful locations in Europe and really captures the alienated atmosphere during WW2. All in all this is a perfect film that shouldn't be missed by anyone who is looking for a powerful and memorable experience. This one is highly recommended 10/10.

Jagged Edge
(1985)

Jagged Edge is truly a tense and gripping film with excellent performances from its stellar cast
Directed by the Richard Marquand (Eye of the needle) this fascinating court-room thrilling Drama inspired a lot of films since. The story follows the murder of a woman from a rich family that owns a newspaper. The prime suspect is her manipulative husband (Jeff Bridges). He hires a successful lawyer (Glenn Close) and an affair is developing between them. The film has exciting twists and never let's up. The acting is the real star of this show: Jeff Bridges brings one of the best performances in his long career and Glenn Close also shines as the tough but sensitive lawyer. In the supporting roles special appreciation goes to Peter Coyote as Thomas Krasny and Robert Loggia who gives a memorable performance. Overall one gem of a film you shouldn't miss. Highly Recommended. 10/10.

The Vikings
(1958)

A superb film and What a great performance by Kirk Douglas. Way to go!
Vikings tells the epic story of king of Vikings Regnar (Ernest Borgenine) and his son Einar (Kirk Douglas from Spartacus) and their fights with England. The film is truly daring (has some shocking violence) considering it was done (1958) and also is very fascinating unlike other epics were done in it's period. Maybe not all the way credible and has a bit flaws but it has enormous performance from Kirk Douglas. he looks really scary with his destroyed eye and scarred face (he has been gouged out by a hawk in a memorable sequence). The weakest point in this film is the disappointing performance from Tony Curtis. In the female role Janet Leigh shines and looks great. The scenery is breathtaking. Overall this film will not lose your attention from the beginning till the final showdown at the English castle. Recommended

The Holcroft Covenant
(1985)

Memorable and Classy Entertainment That Gets Better with Each Viewing
Another classic from the man who gave us The Manchurian Candidate in 1962. Covenant". The story follows Noel Holcroft (Michael Caine) - A New York real estate business man who has just found out he is going to inherit a huge amount of money that his Nazi father had stolen from Nazi Germany at the end of WW2 just before he died. Holcroft soon finds out that he is getting into a dirty and dangerous business. The story is full of twists and surprises and leading actor Michael Caine is great here. The film was shot in beautiful locations in Europe that really are a joy for the eyes. 5.4 here come on give me a break, this is way under-rated. Now available on DVD, rent it, buy it you are going to enjoy for sure. Recommended

The Driver
(1978)

A spectacular and fascinating Crime/Action film
Ryan O'Neal is the star of the show as an expert getaway driver that no one has ever caught but now he has on his trails an obsessed cop (a nasty Bruce Dern) who is willing to use any dirty trick there is in order to catch him. This one is definitely Walter Hill's best film yet. The car chases are amazing and probably one of the best ever put on a film. Besides the car chases there is also a great story full of twists and turns that will not give you even a second to get bored. Ryan O'Neal is great as the tough and laconic hero who may very well can be compared to The King of Cool himself - Steve Mcqueen. Also features in the female leading role the astonishing Isabelle Adjani. Watch this film and if you like it I also recommend "The Getaway"(1972) and "Ronin"(1998). All in all a tough and smart action film that will definitely keep you entertained all the way to the impressive ending. 10/10

Bonnie and Clyde
(1967)

Arthur Penn's 1967 masterpiece still looks fresh as ever
Warren Beatty has never had a better role and his portray of the notorious bank robber Clyde Barrow shows that he's a legendary actor. The part of Bonnie is played perfectly by the beautiful Faye Danaway who is really joy to watch. The movie is not for the squeamish ones and has some extremely bloody violence (that was truly shocking for the audience at the time it was released) mixed with black humor (something that our generation's genius Tarantino does). Also the movie has a witty and smart dialog and every single line is memorable. The supporting cast features a young Gene Hackman at the beginning of his magnificent career as Clyde's brother, and Estelle Parsons (in an Oscar winning performance) as his wife. The cinematography is delightful and the hot southern scenery never looked better. Despite of it's #222 at the top 250 list I believe it's under-rated because there is no way there are more than 200 better movies than this one. Anyway this film is a classic that should be part of any movie fan library. Highly Recommended 10/10

Paths of Glory
(1957)

Stanley Kubirck and Kirk Douglas at their very best!
Stanley Kubrick's 1957 masterpiece is a movie that looks fresh and sharper than most of today's movies. The story follows the french army during the days of the first world war. General George Boulard (Adolphe Menjou) has an impossible mission for his subordinate Gen. Paul Mireau (a vicious George Macready) who knows the high risk of such mission but takes it because he was promised to get another star after accomplishing the mission. The mission is to take on the "Ant Hill", a territory that for some reason is valuable to the high ranks. Kirk Douglas plays the part of The field commander Col. Dax, a man who unlike his fellow officers, has a decency towards his soldiers but can't save them from the cruelty lack of justice of the military system which is built only to protect the commanding officers. There are some cynical and sharp dialogs (something that's often missing from todays movies) delivered perfectly by all actors. Kirk Douglas is in top form here and brings a memorable performance. There isn't any dull or wasted moments here, every scene is significant and will keep you glued to your seat. Overall it's a fascinating classic that is well worth watching. Highly Recommended 10/10

Where Eagles Dare
(1968)

One of the best adaptations among Allistair Maclean's novels
A highly entertaining world war II action film with two of the greatest actors of their time at a high point of their career - Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. The first hour or so is the setting to the action that will follow: a group of American and British soldiers is sent to a castle where the Natzis are holding an important American General. The plot of course is not that simple and has a lot of spins and surprises that accompanied by a fascinating action scenes (Very impressing for a 1968). With a beautiful filming location at the freezing landscapes of Germany and Austria this movie is truly an amazing to watch. Notable sequences are the cable car sequence and the final escaping sequence. Richard Burton gives his usual strong performance and Clint Eastwood is good as his executor. All in all a well crafted action classic that is highly recommended. 10/10

Ronin
(1998)

A perfect action film from veteran Frankenheimer
This is an example of how great action film can be, it definitely has it all - an intelligent and interesting script made by David Mamet, some great actors led by Robert De Niro who gives superb performance as usual, and gets strong support from Jean "Leon" Reno. the action scenes are the most impressive I have seen in recent years, especially the car chases which are flawless. The story follows a bunch mercenaries hired by a beautiful Irish lady (Natascha McElhone), probably works for terrorists though that point isn't very clear. Those men are hired to get a valuable suitcase which we don't know what its content. The story is full of twists and surprises that will keep you at the edge of your seat and accompanied by smart dialogs (Mamet's trademark). The scene which De Niro's Character pulls out a bullet after he got shot is priceless. the filming locations are marvelous, especially those in the city of Nice. More than 30 years after his "Manchurian Candidate" Director Frankenheimer proves us that he still hasn't lost it. Overall a highly entertaining film that will please all of those who are looking for an intelligent action film. Highly Recommended 10/10

The Spanish Prisoner
(1997)

An intelligent masterpiece made by the hands of genius film maker David Mamet
I remember watching this film in 1998 at the theater and it became one of my favorites ever since. I have since watched every Mamet film I ran into, they were very good, but I believe this one's his best film yet. The story follows Joseph Ross (Campbell Scott), a salaried mathematician who's invented some truly valuable system that will make a fortune for his company. We meet him as he goes on vacation and befriends with a seemingly multi-millionaire who calls himself Julian "Jimmy" Dell (Steve Martin). Ross is then drawn into a big conspiracy surrounds his valuable "system". I won't go into the details so that i won't spoil the surprises and there are many. All the actors involved gives their best, most notable are Rebecca Pigeon as Susan, Joseph's pretty and sophisticated secretary and for Steve Martin, who was very refreshing to see in a serious role. The film has some unique and intelligent dialogs often appear in David Mamet's works. The twists are very surprising but MAKE SENSE, something that a lot of film makers have to learn these days. Overall an intelligent gem of a film you will not forget easily. Thumbs up and 10/10. Highly Recommended.

Serpico
(1973)

Pacino's breakthrough is a timeless classic that shouldn't be missed
Serpico, directed by Sydney Lumet at the peak of his career, and also launched Al Pacino into a star status. The story follows Frank Serpico, an ambitious and idealist policeman from his first days at the police force as he is exposed to a routine police corruption and to his final days in the force as he invests all his energy in fighting these corruptions. Al Pacino's Performance as Serpico is one of the best in his career, he plays it so cool and professional that it's easy to forget that back in 1973 he was still at the beginning of his career. He makes character of Frank Serpico unforgettable. The film itself is very credible and honest with no clichés that are often appear in this kind of genre. New York has got a terrific look here. every place in this film whether it's bars or shops or buildings is memorable. Overall this makes for a very unique cinematic experience and shouldn't be missed by any movie fan. Well Recommended. 10/10

Heist
(2001)

Another winner by Mamet and one you shouldn't miss!
The Heist follows the story of bunch of thieves/robbers led by Joe Moore (A great as usual Gene Hackman). We get into the film as the gang robs a jewelery store ( in a stylish photographed sequence) where Moore is caught without wearing his mask in front of the security camera. Now Moore has to get out of the country but unfortunately can't, because he has to do one more job for his greedy fence Mickey Bergman (Danny DeVito) in order to get enough cash to get out of the country. The supporting cast turns a fine performances - most notable is Mamet's wife Rebecca Pigeon as the seductive bad girl. David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner 1998) directs expertly with his unique and smart dialogs and the gorgeous looking cinematography should be praised. There are some suspenseful sequences (the airplane heist) and there are also well crafted action sequences (the shootout at Moore's boat). There were many heist films in the recent years and this is the best. All in all a skillful crime film that's rare these days. A must see for all Mamet's fans and for those who are looking for some smart entertainment. Recommended 10/10

Scarface
(1983)

A Brutal, Uncompromising Masterpiece
Arguebly Al Pacino's best role. He plays Tony Montana, A small time hood from Cuba turned into a rich and powerful crime lord in Miami, and he does it with the only two things he's got in this world, his balls and his word, and he doesn't break'em for nobody. Starts as doing jobs for a big time Cuban dealer, Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) and quickly goes up the ladder of the organization along with his long time friend Manny (Steven Bauer). Soon he has an eye for the boss's sexy wife Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer). After Frank sees a threat from Tony to his position, he attempts to assassin Tony but with no luck. Tony is upset and nothing can stop him now. the film has a great supporting cast among them is F. Murray Abraham as a jumpy gangster, another familiar face is Harris Yulin as a crooked cop trying to shake down Tony, Marry Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Tony's young sister. Credits to the Ecxellent screenplay by Oliver Stone. This film is one of Brian DePalma's Brightest points in his long ups and downs career, you can see this guy is very talented. The movie has a magnificent look to it. Also pay attention for two memorable scenes: The one at the fancy restaurant ("Say goodnight to the bad guy"). the other is the final shootout where Tony shows that he still knows how to kick ass and kills about 20 assassins that invaded to his house. this is certainly one of the most impressive endings to a movie I have ever seen. For fans of Al Pacino and crime movies it's a must-see. For the rest of you it's highly recommended. 10/10

The Cincinnati Kid
(1965)

A slick, smart and well acted gem of a film
Eric Stoner - The Cincinnati Kid (Steve Mqcueen) is going to take on The Man - Lancy Howard (A great as usual Edward G. Robinson) in the biggest poker game you will ever see, and you better not miss it. The movie follows the few days before the big game of the Cincinatti Kid and several other characters who in one way or another could be affected by the games results: One is a sort of a shady gangster (Rip Torn) who was "butchered" by "The Man" not very long ago and will do anything to get even with him including threaten and bribe one of the dealers named Shooter (Karl Malden) who is The kid's best friend. Also in the mix is Shooter's sexy and seductive wife Melba (Ann-Margret at her most beauty) who has a few things on her mind (one of them is money of course and none of them is her poor husband) and also are trying to tempt Mcqueen's Character who is in relationships with a sweet and innocent country girl named Christian (the lovely Tuesday Weld) who wants to settle down. the film hasn't got even one boring minute thanks to the first rate cast and the interesting dialogs. The final showdown at the hotel is probably the most tense and interesting poker game ever filmed in a movie. And who can forget the last thing Lancy tells the kid: "Gets down to what it's all about, doesn't it? Making the wrong move at the right time." Recommended 10/10

Cool Hand Luke
(1967)

Paul Newman in one of his landmark roles
Paul Newman plays Lucas Jackson, also known as Cool Hand Luke, a man who just couldn't live by the rules or actually didn't give a damn about them. As we soon learn Luke had a history of sort of rebellions (Listen closely as the captain goes over Lukes file and amazed to learn that despite of being a war hero, Luke got out of the army in the same military rank he was first recruited - private. According to Luke he "was just passing time" and now Luke got himself 2 years in a tough southern prison for cutting off the parking meter heads or "maliciously destroyed municipal property". The movie has excellent dialogs delivered perfectly by the actors sometimes with sense of cynicism. Most notable scenes are the sexy blond (Lucille!!!) chick whose washing her car in order to arouse the poor prisoners ("She knows exactly what she's doing, driving us nuts and loving every minute of it"). another scene is the boiled eggs meal where Luke eats 50 eggs! this scene is priceless. the cast is top notch: Newman is perfectly suited to this kind of role and his acting is flawless. He really makes the character of Luke unforgettable. George Kennedy in his Oscar winning role as the prison's tough guy who befriends with Luke. also watch for a young Denis Hopper as one of the inmates. This movie is a prison drama at it's best. Don't miss this classic, it's a must see for anyone who consider himself a movie fan. Recommended 10/10

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