918 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
8/10
Cate Blanchett is the definitive Elizabeth, and she proved it in the first film…
15 March 2009
"Elizabeth," the first film, was about a young woman coming to the throne in a period of great turmoil, and how she dealt with that… It was love in the context of power, betrayal, and survival…

In "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," we're dealing with the most famous aspects of her regime, the Spanish Armada, the Babington Plot, which was a major plot against her, and Walter Raleigh bringing back the very early understanding of the New World, and the horizons beyond Britain… It is the exploration of unrestricted power…

Elizabeth, as cultured and as intelligent and eloquent as she was, had never left the shores of England… And into her court, strides an explorer who has literally been where the maps end… The gallant Raleigh (Clive Owen) was a free spirit who thrills the queen with his tales and discoveries at sea … The classic 16th-century adventurer who doesn't play by any official rules, and he does bring into the world of the court something very alluring, enigmatic and charismatic, which has a big impact on the queen…

The relationship between Raleigh and Elizabeth was very complicated… There were things holding Elizabeth back… "We mortals have many weaknesses; we feel too much, hurt too much or too soon we die, but we do have the chance of love." These words were spoken by Sir Walter Raleigh to the Virgin Quenn…It's very rare that the Queen takes interest in a man, and she does…

At this special point, England was very weak militarily… Elizabeth had discharged the navy… And once again it was the old problem of religious instability, which harasses the human race frequently…

Anybody that's interested in this period of history will find it fascinating just how capable Elizabeth was in regards to how she dealt with the captive Queen of Scots…

Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton) had great respect for the Protestant Elizabeth, and was remarkably intrigued by her, and desperate to meet her, and fascinated… For several years Elizabeth suffered about her execution because she really believed two things… She believed that any queen was divine… She accepted as true that her Catholic cousin was there by the will of God, and therefore, Mary was there by the will of God… And in executing Mary, she would disintegrate her one belief that she herself was divine…

Mary found it in death… Elizabeth had to find it in life… So if you look at the Armada, Elizabeth finally does become divine, and that's why we had to admire how the scene of the Armada is shot, by Shekhar Kapur, in that way… It's not actually a fiery sea battle between two countries… It's a 'Holy War' with Spain… Therefore, the defining moments of the Armada is when Elizabeth walks up across the verdant cliffs in flowing white nightgown… She's no longer the Avenging Queen… She's instead a supernatural being, a disembodied soul defeating the enemy, dominating the fearless of the waves, the force of the storm, and the strength of fire…

Dripping with intrigues, plots, battles, mysteries, and strong emotions, the film captured the ecclesiastical spaces of the cathedrals to look more like a palace environment… It also captured the feel of the16th century architecture, linking and matching it to the proper locations…
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8/10
An extremely cruel response to the sentimental social comment of Neo-realism…
14 March 2009
Atheist, Marxist, Freudian, Surrealist, anarchist, fetishist, satirist, or Spaniard, Luis Buñuel was all these or more… One of the greatest of all filmmakers, Buñuel expressed an extraordinary personal vision of the world through an exceptional self-effacing special taste, creating a body of work unequaled in its abundance of meaning and its power by any other…

In 1946, Buñuel moved to Mexico where, between more conventional assignments, he summed up his creativity with a vengeance… His first masterpiece of this prolific period, "The Young and the Damned" was a masterpiece of social surrealism and the founding work of third world barrio repulsion…

Portraying the distress of delinquents in MexicoCity's streets, he admitted the effects of shockingly cruel environment but declined to glamorize his victim-heroes: the gang torments a blind beggar who is himself a skillful paedophile, while a Freudian dream the most 'innocent' boy fights a friend for his mother' s sexual favors…

The film is powerful enough to make a one firm man weep or encourage a true-believer to lose hope… Once seen, its disturbing images can never be forgotten…
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8/10
De Niro and Woods deliver the best performances in a remarkable cast…
12 March 2009
Leone's most ambitious epic moves across three separate time periods: the twenties, the thirties and the late sixties…

It starts in 1933, with the murder of a woman after merciless gangsters have briefly interrogate her (while Noodles hides out in an opium den), then returns to the disastrous night of the bloody betrayal, then jumps to Noodles' return to New York in 1968, then shifts back to the early 1920s to their adolescence… This display in a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards is used throughout the film, until the climax where all the dissociated parts of the story fall into place…

"Once Upon a Time in America" tells the story of five precocious teenagers born in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Noodles (Robert DeNiro), Max (James Woods), Patsy (James Hayden), Cockeye (William Forsythe), and Dominic (Noah Moazezi), the youngest…

As kids in 1921 Prohibition New York, they take only superficial interest in minor street crime, spoiling things or stealing from drunks, until they start running their own rackets…

Noodles is sexually attracted to Deborah (Jennifer Connelly/Elizabeth McGovern), the mesmerizing ballet dancer, sister of their loyal friend Fat Moe (Larry Rapp), the son of a saloon-keeper… But the gang's rivalry with Bugsy (James Russo), another street hoodlum, leads to Dominic being fatally wounded and Noodles going to jail for years for taking a bloody revenge in a blind rage…

When Noodles is released from prison a decade later, Max was there with a car and a hooker… Noodles joins his three pals, who have become prosperous by continuing in the crime world including entwining with unions and the strikers, led by their leader Jimmy Conway (Treat Williams).

The four best friends accept to assault a jeweler in Detroit, for a major mafioso Frankie Minoldi (Joe Pesci), and his sidekick Joe (Burt Young)… And at the end of Prohibition in 1933, the top mob criminals find themselves having gathered $1 million…

In their vacation in Miami, Noodles was highly worried that Max's next plan is a step too dangerous to take and too risky…

The most tragic and moving part of the film is probably the romantic obsessions of Noodles… Noodles and Deborah have deep and strong affinity for one another… Noodles feels he has the right to Deborah's feelings, but she closed herself to him years ago when he responded Max's call over her own… Noodles seem unaware of her decision... Their meeting in 1968 only communicates what could have been…

In one memorable scene, young Patsy (Brian Bloom) is awaiting for a young hooker… Her price is a fancy frosted cake… While awaiting, Patsy attentively observes the cake and recognizes he can scoop some of the white cream without damaging it… Tempted by the good taste of the cream, he devours entirely the cake on the staircase and forgets the girl… Here we felt the kid's innocence and hesitancy between pastry over sex…

Friendship, innocence, trust, passion, honor, betrayal, and guilt are the most important basis on which Leone's encircles his masterpiece…
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The Duchess (2008)
8/10
Saul Dibb presents "The Duchess" as an incredibly emotional woman, somebody who has a lust for life…
7 March 2009
What rather wonderful about this story is that Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightley) discovers a way to exult in victory over things and to get back some kind of power in a time where, really, women had very little… Being someone of great vitality and liveliness, she was very much a dreamer and an idealist, a woman who loved being the center of attention, who loved the fact at some point that her picture was in the paper, that the clothes were always talked of, that her every move was commented on…

We are immediately impressed by her presence, by her personality… She wasn't behaving quite in accordance with the way in which other 18th century women were expected to behave…

But there was something incredibly sad about this self-conscious lady… She was a victim of herself… A victim of her own innocence… A victim of people using her for their own profit… Even though she seemed to have everything, we realize that it was not that simple… And with all of her privilege came a lot of moral obligation and things were never what they really appeared to be…

The Duke (Ralph Fiennes) was a misanthropic man, rather cold, unemotional and quite cruel… He seems to like better his hunting dogs to his young wife… Of course with certain values, that he believes were absolutely right and that he strictly held to…

This sumptuous period piece also presents the Duchess of Devonshire as a political hostess… Saul Dibb's film shows us her dinner parties, her evening events, her fame and its extraordinary effect on her… It made her both desperate to please, terrified of doing anything wrong and shocked at her own celebrity and unable to figure out in her own mind why she was quite so famous… And we see the crippling effect it has on her sense of self…
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Appaloosa (2008)
8/10
A fascinating Western about two lifelong friends…
1 March 2009
There are two tough partners in justice Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) that have been riding together for more than one decade and they understand each other just fine… So they're not initially supposed to talk about their easy, warm, intuitive solidarity… We intuitively catch there's something between them, that special bond, that profound respect, and obviously that sense of esteem, of attention and sympathy and most of all each other's needs…

Ed is particularly fine… It may not be a romantic conception, but he gives his role great vitality… He's melancholy, laconic and assured as the cool, nerveless professional hired gun who becomes the town's peace keeper... His justice is rapid and simple… Follow his law or get locked up; if you deny, you're going to be shot… He's also very faithful, and you see this in his friendship with Everett Hitch…

Virgil trusts Everett completely because Everett is very sincere and truthful with him…

With his formidable shotgun, Everett is a kind of Virgil's straight man, his worshiping right hand and conscience… Mortensen is a sharpshooter… He's never seen on foot, in any scene, without his huge weapon… His heavy rifle has become almost another character in the film… It doesn't matter where, either in his hands or right next to him… And that's in the bar, in the restaurant, in the office, and even in the bedroom…

Renee Zellweger plays the role of Allison French, a mysterious woman who seduces everyone…After Cole and Hitch meet her in a restaurant, they knew that she is a refined widow, that she arrives to the brutal New Mexico town with one dollar in her purse, that she plays piano and likes to be called Allie…

Cole takes a liking to her, and makes a very tough decision to stick with her… Zellweger plays the malicious new-gal with a great sense of sweetness and gaiety… She brings liveliness and refinement to her role…

Another strong character in "Appaloosa" is the miscreant cold-hearted rancher Randall Bragg… The film starts with the killing of the town's last Marshall and his deputies at the hands of the nefarious Bragg played by Jeremy Irons… Bragg is a wealthy man whose ranch henchmen run menacingly and aggressively over the town…

"Appaloosa" is a Western of real depth and sophistication… Every punch seen in the film is like a word of dialog moving the story forward, creating tension and drama…
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Them! (1954)
7/10
Gordon Douglas' film was the epitome of the big-bug films…
23 February 2009
The marauding ants in "Naked Jungle," advancing across a desert, are matched by the monsters in "Them!" coming out through mists of the white sands of New Mexico after an atomic blast has increased them to giants…

Slowly people start to go missing and the news filters though to the nearest towns that the arid plateau can present a real threat as strange creepy whistles are coming out from that deep desert…

Rather than an atomic movie, the film is about the struggle between humans and species revolt which invade their cities and show their remarkable energy, tenacity and vulnerability…

Just as the Gill Man can only be driven back when he has isolated far from his natural element, the monster ants are all powerful in their own territory and none too easy to destroy outside it…

"Them!" is well acted, frightening, and engaging from start to finish… The cast is pretty damn good, especially James Whitmore as the pretty intelligent cop who found a five year old girl, aimlessly walking through the terrain of the desert— miles from her family's wrecked travel trailer—unresponsive by some catastrophe...

"Them!" is a well-made monster movie, an instant classic nominated for an Oscar for its effects…
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
8/10
"If I had one more night to live, I'd want to spend it with you."
15 February 2009
The film opens in 1923 and shows farm boys Rafe and Danny as close friends in Tennessee, who share a passion for flying... They join the United States Army Air Corps in 1941 and both show an ability at being daring pilots while training under the command of Jimmy Doolittle, in Long Island...

Their life is changed when they encounter a beautiful dedicated nurse called Evelyn Johnson...

Rafe falls for Evelyn and volunteers for service in the Battle of Britain… He continues his love affair by letters with Evelyn who ends up with Danny in Hawaii - Pearl Harbor, where the US Pacific fleet is gathered at rest...

News comes back that he was shot down over the English Channel, and assumed dead… Keenly distressed, Evelyn eventually finds relief in the arms of Danny... They go too far, too soon, leading to exactly what you would expect...

By the time that Rafe reappears, Evelyn is in love with Danny…

Kate Beckinsale brings warmth and intelligent sweetness to her character... She is quietly at a loss, holding back her tears, when she finds out she must choose between the two charming fighters she loves...

The film honors those who underwent Pearl Harbor…The great shots plunge viewers into mass destruction, chaos and incompetence... We see hundreds of Japanese planes approaching towards their unsuspecting targets… Sailors sauntering along the decks of their moored vessels when the torpedo planes, armed with special shallow-running devices, headed for the battleships, their prime targets…

Bay's cameras move sometimes fast, and sometimes in slow motion to show the savage blow… Scenes, out of focus, evoke the sense of disorientation and fear, also of bravery in the midst of confusion in the island's base hospital...

'Pearl Harbor' is a fight between love and glory against a backdrop of America's entry into World War II... The film has some moments of excitement and grandeur…

Schwartzman gets some extremely nice-looking scenes of the Hawaiian twilight... His shots of Kate—sitting atop a rock, reading Rafe's love-letters, totally unaware to the striking Hawaiian surf that threatens to pull her out to sea—are incredibly beautiful…
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Vertigo (1958)
10/10
A fascinating psychological suspense masterpiece which worked on the audience on several levels...
9 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Scottie Ferguson is a retired detective with a paralyzing fear of heights… He had quit detective work after he sees a colleague falling to his death, and nearly he looses his own life at the same time while chasing a crook across some San Francisco rooftops…

An old college friend gives him the job of following his blonde wife Madeleine who had some kind of mental problem or might even be possessed from beyond the grave by a figure from the past whose portrait she stares at in a museum…

Scottie follows Madeleine around San Francisco and when she tries to drown herself in San Francisco Bay, he rescues her and falls promptly in love with her… But Scottie' s vertigo made him powerless to save her when she climbed to the top of the bell tower at the mission at San Juan Batista, and jumped from the tower to her fatal end…

Scottie must spend the second part of the movie regaining from the trauma… His loyal ex-fiancée Midge helps him overcome his psychological torment…

One year later, completely recovered from his nervous breakdown, he meets a red-haired woman who seems the living image of Madeleine...

Stewart gives a terrific performance of a man recognizing his own limits, suffering by his acrophobia... When he is given the chance to pursue this enigmatic woman, his boring life takes on new meaning... He is drawn into her romantic obsession with the past… Madeline makes him feel important in her life… This is something totally new to his world: a lovely straight-forward woman who takes him into a haunting dream... When he fails to keep her alive, his real world was suddenly shattered…

Stewart delivers an accurate portrait of an annoyed human being searching for the unattainable… He is a pragmatic man dealing with events in the light of his intuition…

Kim Novak is so delicate as Madeleine… Her performance is skilled and highly refined… She is a pretty woman, very sensitive, not sensual, yet conscious of her charm and magic…

This fascinating suspense masterpiece reveals something new with each viewing…

Note: Hitchcock appears after eleven minutes of the beginning of the film, walking past a Shipbuilding Co.
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9/10
A masterpiece that dares to be excessive!
8 February 2009
'Bonnie and Clyde' is not a film about two real people famous for so many bank robberies and murders across the big country... It shows a new kind of fury in which people could be harm by weapons... The film, however, manages to carry the impression that these two youngsters took great pleasure in robbing banks and stores... It also suggests that it was very easy for them to fool the law—as certainly occurred in real life... Though merited punishment caught up with them, audiences laughed at their remarkable deeds and wanted them to get away...

In 'Bonnie and Clyde,' Penn created an emotional state, an image of the 1930s filtered through his 1960s sensibility... The sense of this period reflects Penn's vision of how the 1930s Depression-era truly was, and for all the crazy style and banjo score, this vision is greatly private...

What is also personal about 'Bonnie and Clyde' and constitutes its incomparable quality, is its unusual mixture of humor and fear, its poetry of violation of the law as something that is gaiety and playfulness...

'Bonnie and Clyde' is both true and abstract... It is a gangster movie and a comedy-romance... It is an amusing film that turns bloody, a love affair that ends with tragedy...

A modification between pleasure and catastrophic events is important to the essential aim of the film... In their second bank robbery, a daring and joyful action goes morosely embittered when Clyde is forced to kill an executive in the bank, and real blood pours out from his body...

Bonnie and Clyde take self-gratification posing for photographs with their prisoners… But when surrounded by detectives in a motel, they turn into vindictive bandits struggling for their lives... C. W. Moss, specially, brings to mind Baby Face Nelson, when he murders policemen with a blazing machine gun...

One of the stimulating moments in the film happens when Clyde chases Bonnie through a yellow corn field, while a cloud transverses the sun and slowly shadows the landscape... Here the characteristic quality of the Texas countryside and the vague aspect of the story are beautifully communicated......

Penn's masterpiece nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, won two Oscars, one for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and another for Best Cinematography...
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8/10
"There's the right way, the wrong way, the Navy way, and my way—and if you do things my way, we'll get along!"
8 February 2009
Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) was simply a man who had seen too much of war… With the excitable tendency of rolling a pair of steel balls in his hand, he censures the error of incorrectness on everything but himself falling as an easy victim to the intrigues of self-serving officers who felt that their panicked captain is mentally not suitable to command the ship…

A subplot, seeming to lack common sense, between two young lovers (Robert Francis and May Wynn) only served to lessen the concentration and distract our attention from the real story… Also, at the court-martial, a long trial sequence, was clearly anticlimactic, though it included the film's most tense and unforgettable scene, that of Queeg disintegrating as he pronounced his statement…

But we had noticed it all before, after all, aboard the Navy destroyer, the U.S.S. Caine… We had seen Queeg as a strict disciplinarian and a compulsive, unstable commander, earning, in his limited imagination, the total disregard of both officers and crew… So we knew what would occur when he got on the witness stand…

"The Caine Mutiny" is a splendid character study, a tale of bravery and cowardice at odds with one another… The film received seven Academy Award nominations included one to Humphrey Bogart who delivered a terrific performance…
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9/10
Parker shows splendidly the terrible world of the Turkish prison...
7 February 2009
"Midnight Express" is the upsetting true story of an American youth detained at Istanbul Airport trying to smuggle several packets of hashish… This terrific movie based on Hayes' book details the terrible story of his severe experience and final escape…

Brad Davis puts on view the frustration, anxiety and severe mental suffering of a tragic figure... He stands shaking with fear in a small enclosed chamber…

At the court, Davis' looks were lacking energy and interest... His voice trembled with rage and affliction when he delivered a despairing frantic speech accusing the prosecuting attorney and the judge...

In a prison of desolation, he refuses to accept one captive's advances; he steals an informer's money for revenge; and gives a harsh lesson in brutality on one oppressor...

Paul Smith plays beautifully the brutal and sadistic head-guard... Being of nature cruel and heartless, this bald man is vindictive and indifferent to the truth... He is cruel, vicious, unjust, and verbally abusive...

The Turkish prison is seen as an environment so dirty, horrific and inhuman, clouded by rape, beatings, stress and punishment... Parker permits the cruel prison guards—characterized by their aggressive, cynical, and inflexible behavior—to speak in Turkish since this situation can easily create hopelessness, frustration, hatred and despair...
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9/10
A fascinating film with wonderful touching moments…
7 February 2009
Poverty, Charity, and Obedience are extremely difficult... Detachment from family and friends is difficult... Detachment from things and memories is much more difficult...

Silence, detachment and mortification are the conditions of prayer and the negative aspect of a nun's spirituality, while prayer and union with God are its positive aspects... To be firm, prayer must be built on profound humility...

Gabrielle Van der Mal is a morally powerful girl who wants from all her heart to be obedient to the bells of the congregation... She perfectly knows that her personal wishes come to an end when she enters that door... Her loving father remembers her: 'If you ever decide this is not right for you, there's no sense of failure coming back home.'

The film's first part focuses on the making of a Catholic nun as it follows the young Belgian girl, from the time she takes leave of her dispirited father to enter the rigorous Roman Catholic order, until her appearance as an experienced nursing nun, hopeful of following the medical vocation of her famous surgeon father...

The story then moves to the Congo where God selects his moment to offer the most perfect alliance with each individual soul... Gabrielle, now known as Sister Luke, assists as server of Dr. Fortunati, 'a genius, a devil and a non-believer,' who takes pleasure in noting Sister Luke's minor infractions of her vows that would require confession...

It's clear that the process of becoming an exemplary nun is a lot harder than any woman can hope for... Sister Luke is supposed to make the love of God the motive of all her actions... She seems to fail in her Vows of Poverty, Charity and Obedience... Pride is not being burned out of her... The more she attempts, the more imperfect she becomes...

"The Nun's Story" is a fascinating film with wonderful touching moments but also with traumatic scenes in a mental institution... The dark side of the Congo is seen through the eyes of a priest, when Sister Luke visited a leper colony...

The performances are extraordinary... It's visually beautiful, and after a very slow start, the film builds quickly to a very powerful ending... The last shot is the only instance of a Warner Brothers film not to have music over its end-title...

The film garnered eight Academy Award nominations, one for its big star Audrey Hepburn...
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8/10
Susanna Drake is among Taylor's most colorful and intelligent characterizations…
7 February 2009
Liz is a disturbed New Orleans belle with a vision that she's part black… She's the beautiful femme fatale to Eva Marie Saint's inevitable cowardly heroine… As in "A Place in the Sun," Liz is used as the symbol of a particular social class and a particular kind of woman… She sets her mark on an idealistic young man John Wickliff Shawnessy (Montgomery Clift) who's looking for the mythical rain tree that contains the secret of the meaning of life…

Trapping him into marriage with the lie that she's pregnant, and then proceeding to lose her hold on her sanity, Susanna detains the good and helpless John for eight years… He is released, able to return to his magnificent dream and to his pure childhood sweetheart, only after tragic events…

Retaining the essence of Ross Lockridge, Jr. best-seller, the movie states the equality of the unhappy romance with the Civil War: the personal drama is therefore a reflection of the nation's wounds… According to the top-heavy symbolism, Susanna Drake represents the South, corrupting and dragging down the North; she's the Body contaminating the poet's Soul…

Taylor plays Susanna Drake's character with an intensity that exceeds all her earlier work… Montgomery Clift as the unlucky poet and Eva Marie Saint as his high school sweetheart and true love are on the remote side, but the scenes with Liz strike fire in a wonderfully brilliant way…

With its battles and its formal balls, its magnificent riverboats and decayed mansions, its bordellos and madhouses, its childbirth and deathbed scenes, and its evacuation of Atlanta, Edward Dmytryk's "Raintree County," like its source, has undeniable epic dimension…
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In Harm's Way (1965)
7/10
All-star action, spectacle and personal romances, with excellent battle scenes...
1 February 2009
War, it is often said, brings out the best and the worst in man... Stanley Kubrick clearly considered 'Path of Glory' as an effective comment on men exposed to repulsive circumstances…

The threatening morning of December 7, 1941—a quiet Sunday—is shattered by waves of Japanese planes bombing U.S Navy's base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sending all its battleships to the bottom of the ocean... The scene is taken in brief, with few shots of airplanes and some explosions in the ocean...

Among the few ships that escape, in one piece, is the destroyer Cassidy protected by Lieutenant William McConnel(Tom Tryon).

Out on patrol, in high seas, a cruiser, commanded by Captain Torrey Rockwell (John Wayne), is having gunnery practice... It is this ship that serves as temporary operational headquarters for the survivors of the aerial attack...

In the aftermath of the surprise military strike, Torrey receives orders to amass his small fleet of warships and engage the enemy…

Photographed in black and white, the film has several characters, most of them very mature and realistic...

Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), a commander whose drunken wife (Barbara Bouchet) has committed adultery with a pilot (Hugh O'Brien). He relieves his anger by brutally raping a young nurse (Jill Haworth), and later, to save from being a total failure, defies orders by flying a reconnaissance plane and takes off alone to situate the hidden Japanese fleet in a very hazardous mission...

Egan Powell (Burgess Meredith), a sardonic wartime officer and a peacetime script writer who gives moments of sane observation, specially in a scene with Wayne discussing danger...

Patricia Neal, a mature and understanding Navy nurse who loves Captain Torrey and informs him that his son from whom he hasn't seen since for many years, is a naval officer on the island...

Brandon De Wilde is Jere, the young opportunist hoping to keep out of the way his PT boat assignment by leading a soft staff job… Henry Fonda is the admiral in command of the Pacific theater; Dana Andrews is the weak Admiral Broderick and Patrick O'Neal is a well-connected congressman-turned-officer Cmdr. Neal Owynn...
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9/10
Stevens took a sensitivity that hadn't been used since "Jane Eyre."
31 January 2009
This is a movie about George Eastman (Clift), a young, gentle laborer without social standing who longs for the better things in life…He is swept off his feet after a chance encounter with wealth, success and upper-class snobbery…

George is introduced to a stunning socialite Angela Vickers (Liz Taylor—never so beautiful) full of sensual delight and threatened by an unattractive factory girl (Alice) he's already made pregnant… Angela and George fall deeply in love, but Alice Tripp (Winters) presses and chases George until he agrees to marry her… He has a desperate decision, but hesitates… Finding they can't get married over the Labor Day weekend, George takes Alice boating…

Shelley Winters was extraordinary as the distressed co-worker… She made the wronged employee an understandable reaction to human dimensions… As she sits in the rowboat, unconsciously torturing Clift with her thoughts of their future together, Winters is both pathetic and annoying—a special candidate to get rid of…

The impact of the film depends absolutely on a moral climate that has now less impact on our society… Pre-marital sex is no longer disapproved and abortions are easier to obtain… But the film's power resided in its exceptionally convincing depiction of the points and questions created by these situations…

"A Place in the Sun" was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and won six…
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The Outrage (1964)
7/10
Newman deserves credit for trying something boldly unusual…
28 January 2009
Newman's fifth film for Martin Ritt, "The Outrage" was based on the classic Japanese film "Rashômon," but Ritt transplanted the tale to the South Western U.S. following the Civil War…

Carrasco has been convicted of raping a woman (Claire Bloom) and murdering her husband (Laurence Harvey), but four eye-witness accounts conflict… All agree that the bandit raped the woman, but only one asserts that he committed the killing…

Sadistic, defiant, and challenging, Carrasco snarls, sneers, and walks with macho arrogance, to hide the fact that he can only be strong by tying a man to a tree and raping his wife…

The role allowed Newman to give a bravura performance, not unlike Toshiro Mifune's in the Kurosawa film, and the stylization would fit the story if everybody else weren't playing it so straight… As it is, the performance seems too showy, easily understandable, exaggerated…
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Marked Woman (1937)
7/10
A forcible gangster melodrama...
28 January 2009
A night-club owner called Johnny Vanning (Eduardo Ciannelli) was exploiting his hostesses, one of whom was Mary Dwight (Bette Davis). She was asked with her companions of the Club Intime to induce clients to drink, gamble and spend freely…

A few nights later Mary brings a sucker, Rulph Krawford (Damian O'Flynn) to the club… After Krawford loses a large amount of money gambling and then refuses to pay off the debt, Vanning orders his henchman Charley Delaney (Ben Welden) to get rid of him…

When special prosecutor, David Graham (Humphrey Bogart), questions Mary concerning Krawford's assassination, she denies in providing any helpful information…

Bogart's performance successfully applied malice determination and calmly exhibited compassion and concern… He was particularly effective, both firm, and penetrating, in his courtroom scenes, which served as an early warm-up for similar role twelve years later in Nicholas Ray's "Knock On Any Door."

Mayo Methot was also in the cast as one of the hostesses and it was during the filming that Bogart took her as his second wife…
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Pickpocket (1959)
7/10
Bresson's films are quite unlike anything else in the cinema...
27 January 2009
In his dismissal determination to keep out elements often thought fundamental to the medium—spectacle, drama, performance— Bresson has followed an incomparable personal vision of the world that stays consistent whatever the nature of his subject matter...

In "Pickpocket," a petty thief understands life's mystery only when his conventional wisdom is violently shaken and embraces humanity through his newfound love… Most notable, however, is not the emphasis upon redemption attained through communication and self-sacrifice, but the high-purity of Bresson's style...

The camera keeps out pictorial beauty to create an abstract timeless world through the detached, detailed observation of hands, faces, and objects; natural sounds rather than music to satisfy the need… In thus rejecting conventional realism and characterization, Bresson manifested a fascination not with human psychology but with the capacity of the soul to survive in a world of pain, disbelieve, and restriction...
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8/10
In one of her most natural performances, Liz is a cheerful light, buoyant in movement…
26 January 2009
"Father of the Bride" is a mainly delightful family comedy which benefits from a strong central performance...

One night at dinner, daughter Kay casually announces her engagement... Father and mother react on cue...

Following practically all the events of Edward Streeter's charming novel, the Oscar-Nominated screenplay is a series of comic and warm set pieces: the loving father asks his daughter to invite his future son-in-law for dinner; girl's parents meet boy's parents; prospective bride quarrels with prospective groom... The vignettes are applied with the light Minnelli touch at its most charming, and they are acted with captivating nonchalance by the incomparable Spencer Tracy in the title role and by the beautiful performances of Joan Bennett, Liz Taylor, and Don Taylor…

As the complaining middle class father, thoughtful to his daughter's welfare and watchful as to the distributing of his money, Tracy is incredibly amusing... Torn by jealousy, Tracy is all good-natured father exhausted by the complete weight of the problems leading up to the happy day...

But it's an ensemble show, and as the typical spoiled daughter of a typical mid-American bourgeois, Elizabeth has one of her joyful screen moments, altering and urging her beloved ones with such gentle, persuasive, winning, and gracious manners…
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7/10
Quite exciting...
26 January 2009
'The First Great Train Robbery' is about a quite impossible mission in Victorian underworld... It is about 25,000 pounds in gold bars placed in strongboxes and taken by armed security guards to the railway station...

'The First Great Train Robbery' is about the fastest pickpocket you'll ever see, a suave and daring gentleman who never tells the truth… It is also about a bunch crooks that can steal your heart with the company of a fascinating disguised mistress who suspects that her father breaks his own regulation for each morning of the shipments...

'The First Great Train Robbery' chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy at all levels of England during the Victorian Era, and proves that the cleverness and prowess of a criminal mastermind is elevated to heroic status...

With excellent photography of Ireland beautiful countryside, and great music score by Jerry Goldsmith, plus the costumes and sets, Michael Crichton's movie gives train heist's fans the pleasure to enjoy a very entertaining period thriller…
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L'Avventura (1960)
7/10
"I Love You... I Hate You... I Feel Nothing"
25 January 2009
The circular story, the emphasis on isolation and futility, and the symbolic use of Sicilian landscape returned with greater strength in "L'Avventura," the first film in a free trilogy ("La Notte" and "L'Eclisse" followed) about restless, disillusioned unhappy women and sensitive, unreliable, soft men...

Some way into the movie and without a careful explanation, a central affluent character disappears without a trace from a yachting trip... Few of the group of socialites—wealthy, elegant, bored—come in sight bothered by what has occurred, and while the girl's neglectful sweetheart and her best friend (Monica Vitti) pair off in a search around a remote, uninhabited island, they embark on a spontaneous exciting intimacy…

The story is simple, but the greatness of the film, however, is in two parts... First, it analyzes the psychology of the two main characters in keen and penetrating yet doubtful tones... Second, unconcerned with the reasons for the girl's unexpected disappearance, Antonioni instead concentrates on the moral discomfort that drives forward their closest knowledge to betray her memory...
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Attack (1956)
8/10
A violent exposé of a lack of courage and perversion…
25 January 2009
'Attack' was a violent exposé of a lack of courage and perversion among American officers fighting the Germans in Belgium; a completely anti-romantic expression of disgust with war, and, more specially, the war machine, with its breakdown and its own ridiculous brand of bureaucracy…

Jack Palance and Eddie Albert played, at different types of psychic disturbance, two officers who struggle on the battlefield — the one an efficacious, trustworthy, but disillusioned hero-typed, the other a cowardly sadist…

Lee Marvin was the cynical high-ranking officer who treats war as a political farce, mindless of the pain and distress of the ordinary soldiers…

Despite an inevitable over-fondness for the dramatic values of combat and the ferocious of men at arms, this was a convincing, truthful try to demythologize war — which, had it been set up in a lower key with fewer psychiatric reverberations, would have come nearer to being what Aldrich was struggling to achieve, 'a sincere plea for peace'.
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8/10
I just love this movie!
24 January 2009
Henry Hathaway's 'Prince Valiant' is an epic adventure story set in the Golden Age of Chivalry... It is the story of a Viking Prince who pledges to go to Camelot and there strive with honor and diligence to become a Knight at King Arthur's Round Table...

'Prince Valiant' is about a ghost who plots treason, a black-armored knight who appears and vanishes at will... It is about a deadly Black Knight, who uses his disguise to make a pact with a Viking traitor to overthrow a great king...

'Prince Valiant' is about a desperate squire who dares to wear the armor and identity of a chivalrous Knight of the Round Table... And about a loyal squire who crowns a mighty knight with a rock, and tries to win a beautiful princess for himself...

'Prince Valiant' is about the son of an exiled king who seeks King Arthur's help against the usurper, and becomes involved in a court plot... It is about a courageous lad who faces the treachery of a mysterious black knight, who is scheming betrayal and murder...

James Mason portrays the shining knight Sir Brack who suffers the indignity of being challenged on the field of honor by a squire in the guise of a knight...

Janet Leigh plays the lovely damsel with one purpose, to answer love fully...

Robert Wagner plays the young hothead with one vow to fulfill before he can think of anything else...

Debra Paget plays the shy and charming dark-haired princess with a secret wish...

Sterling Hayden plays Sir Gawain, the perfect knight who knows that his duty is to find the Black Knight and destroy him before his treason ripens...

Victor McLaglen plays the Christian Viking hiding behind a red curtain with a long knife in his hand...

Donald Crisp plays the exiled King of Scandia who was overthrown by a Viking traitor and escapes with his wife and son across the North Sea to Britain...

Brian Aherne plays Arthur, King of the Britons, who assures Valiant that 'knighthood cannot be had for the asking...' It must be won! Barry Jones plays the father of two lovely princesses who suffers to get the best knight for one of his daughters...

Well... I just love this movie! Its good old magic moves me to some of the most cherished memories stored in my mind... It is an agreeable historical piece that has prowess, romance, and grace, and a breathtaking duel, one of the best you will ever see...
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7/10
Definitely an art film... A mood piece...
21 January 2009
The film deals with the stark realities of an isolated ranching family pitting itself against the forces of nature an early winter snowstorm, and the ravages of a wild panther…

Mitchum's character, Curt Bridges is on the hunt and also struggling to survive… If we meditate the way he measures it, we see how his mind begins more and more to wander and less and less able to focus… We see him more and more aware of pain and discomfort… His hope comes and diminishes and departs and then returns… So there's an unceasing sense of doom in those sequences that simply were hunting…

The brothers represent different approaches by man to nature… Curt wants to dominate nature, wishes to control it… Arthur is just the opposite… He is so gentle and understanding that he can't deal with nature… He doesn't have the hardness that Curt has… And there's Harold who was the successful one because he has enough strength to deal with harshness of nature…

The Indian is the one who believes in the cat as a myth, as a mystery and as something almost sacred… Because of the legend of the cat he has Arthur carve wooden cats out every year to avert danger…

Now this is a very sterile family… The old man only deal with life through drink and through remembering the past… The mother is a very unlikable woman… She is manipulative, and she simply wants to be heard… You don't see any love interests or connections except for the younger brother…

Fear is very much a part of "Track of the Cat." It is the foreboding, ever-present backdrop really to the drama…
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7/10
The film has a splendid array of impressive performances…
20 January 2009
Chance Wayne (Newman) has only one talent—sexual prowess—and he's been bumming around for several years, satisfying rich women in the hope that he can find fame in Hollywood…

He picks up a faded screen star, Alexandra Del Lago (magnificently played by Geraldine Page), who takes constant refuge in vodka, hashish, oxygen masks and young studs… She promises to get him a movie contract, and they drive to his Southern hometown, where he plans to find his sweetheart, Heavenly Finley (Shirley Knight), and take her along to Hollywood… He doesn't know that on his last visit he left her pregnant, that she had an abortion, and that her father, the corrupt and vigorous politician Boss Finley (Ed Begley), is out to get him…

Through a strong, powerful performance, Newman managed to be a celebrity—dropping names, giving large tips, arrogantly stating: "Just because a man's successful doesn't mean he has to forget his hometown."

He's also extremely sneaky and gently tolerant, as he charms Alexandra while recording what she's saying for blackmail purposes… But he's finally pathetic: a desperately insecure man, addicted to amphetamines, attending to Alexandra and performing as a lover at her whim… His mask of swaggering bravura really disappears when he tries to see Heavenly… He becomes confused and desperate—walking with regular steps, rubbing his hands together, pleading urgently over the phone…
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