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Abby-9

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58 reviews in total 
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Rendezvous (1935)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
off-base period piece, 6 July 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Other reviewers have covered the main points of this confused "comedy"/spy-mystery film very well. I would like to point out the particular insult to women and to the intelligence of both sexes in the Rosalind Russell role. It sapped the mystery of any believability--what War Department is the plaything of the daughter of its assistant secretary?? What woman could wander around in such self-centered oblivion to a war-time effort? William Powell is remarkable in his ability to carry off his role as her--huh?--husband-to-be. I mean, NOTHING bothers him. I am not so unflappable--Russell's character kept my teeth on edge throughout. Grrr. Why did I watch this chestnut? To see the beautiful Cesar Romero--that was the payoff. And the rip-off. In this movie the old saying is true: "The good die young." Virtually with the mention of his "mama" on his lips.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pulling a Prize out of the Crackerjacks, 26 June 2014
8/10

Accidentally erased my review again. Have to be succinct. Mesmerizing footage of the Glenn Miller orchestra. I watched this movie for the great Cesar Romero--didn't know I'd stumbled upon treasure beyond wildest dreams. Horn sections, drummer, the sax and trumpet solos, a French horn! Danced to Glenn Miller records in the junior high gym, but i wasn't hip to what i was listening to. So, taking the corny plot and script for what they are, I live for Cesar Romero delivering his lines, and then whoa! It's young Jackie Gleason and Harry Morgan--two more smart, cool actors. (George Montgomery not so bad either--given the silly plot.) And the music keeps coming--until, when I can hardly stand any more heat, The Nicholas Brothers!!!! Where did these guys come from? Where have I been all my life? So I said "8 stars" instead of 7. Just for these two gentlemen who get pulled out at the end--like magic.

Underdog (2007)
29 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
Film Tribute to a Humble Hero, 10 August 2007
8/10

I enjoyed this movie. Laughed, and yes, nearly cried. Wonderful to see the existential hero of a great film, "The Station Agent", playing Simon Bar Sinister to the hilt. Good acting. Human actors stood up well against the dog actors, who are known to upstage humans mercilessly. Also, one notable cat actor. Adequately plotted script, with hilarious dialogue. This movie is about a dog--a special dog. As if beagles weren't special enough without genetic enhancement, this beagle (voiced by Jason Lee with absolute sincerity, wit and insouciance) is burdened with super-hero gifts and responsibilities. Jim Belushi is the good dad, playing it straight and steady amidst general mayhem. Also nice examples of sensitive community police-work in this movie.

Probably the most memorable thing for me this viewing (oh yeah, I'm going to see it again!!) is the special puff-of-smoke pattern, true to the original cartoon, that Underdog generates when he accelerates into full flight after hovering in the sky.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
We're on this Earth for a short time, 6 July 2007
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wonder what my late Pop would have said about this movie. He joined the Border Patrol in 1940. I wonder if he could've sat through it. Probably not, but he would have loved some of the scenes. He would have loved the Mexican villages, the desert, Barry Pepper's parade-rest stance in the background during a law-officer scene. I personally detest the new Border Patrol hats. I guess they're practical. Ditto helicopters.

Chiming patrol car doors. Musical cell phones. The crunch of zucchini after casual sex. A small herd of goats. The indignities inflicted on beef cattle. Guns. Mops. Twilight. The mule. The motor coach. Rattle snakes and fire ants. The cafe and the cantina. These are parts of the complete universe of director Tommy Lee Jones. He knits his film story with a Kurosawa-like care.

I know Jones is proud of his own spoken Spanish and his sound track. He should also be proud of his work with Barry Pepper. Pepper's character Mike Norton comes out of Cincinnati with 21st Century American plastic values, still a kid, and kind of a mean kid at that. Is the secret to changing chickenshit to gold included in this story? Yes it is. Exposure to earth, sun, pain, kindness--being able to accept all these things.

On the DVD commentary, Jones says, "The tears aren't real--" Why does he deny the power of his own film like that? But, my Pop would understand--you can make a song or story so very beautiful, and then never let on that it's absolutely real, that you felt and knew those tender and unspeakably holy things. But, dude, that's how the change comes and why we don't all quit even before our short time on Earth is over.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Opulent Tale of Timeless Emotional Struggle, 18 April 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mughal-e-Azam may represent history both of India and of film but, as in any good tale, the tensions within and between the characters surprised me by being fresh and immediate. The sheer visual beauty was worth the full-price theatre ticket at a special showing in Richmond. I was a little skeptical beforehand about the colorization--but this is done lovingly as an art in itself and fully supportive of the cinematographic effects of the original filming. Completely enjoyed it! Also a source of pleasure: the traditional figures come to life, and the actors are committed to their characters with depth of sincerity that insures integrity of the story. Now--questions that came out of the theatre with me regarding justice: was it "might makes right"? Was there another justice than this tyrannic "scale" of the Emperor's? Does the Emperor reward the Sculptor to acknowledge a higher Cause, the "Emperor of Emperors"? Is his fatal role the reason the Sculptor (creator of true images) has no name? It was he who brought Amarkali into the court with a prophesy of what would come of it. While the Sculptor seems to be an arm of Fate, so the courtesan Bahar (deliciously played by Nigar Sultana) also administers Fate as she manipulates actions and outcomes. What will her reward be? Is there any other Justice than the Emperor's? Is her self-seeking malice considered so inevitable that Fate does not touch her, in turn? If my answers lie in further reading into these histories, so be it . . . In the meantime, the scenes of the movie play out in my mind as I wonder about fate, justice, and--of course--human love. After the movie, in the theatre lobby, a young woman spotted a mouse skittering from the auditorium across the lobby into a closet. I believe it was Sri Ganesha's vehicle.

Le divorce (2003)
Disorderly Conduct, 2 September 2003
7/10

Pardon the military reference. Maybe i just longed for the sense of a firm guiding hand--a plan of action--in this movie with all its charming and fascinating and sad and frightening disparate parts. I went to see it ONLY because i follow the career of Matthew Modine; he does not disappoint. Kate Hudson turned out to be pretty good, too. I am willing to agree now that she is an actress in her own right. The other blonde American suffered from over-scripting. The Americans suffered in general from--well, we do tend to be oblivious. AAH, but the French! I'm glad i saw Leslie Caron, who provided some depth, some veracity. In the end, the weird tribute to "The Red Balloon" was so irritating i almost forgot how much i had enjoyed the many segments and characters. Bebe Neuwirth was another tasteful decoration (for the film is truly decorative); it was good to see a quintessential Englishman in the plot (who looked just like Stephen Fry). And the Eiffel Tower receives its due as a photogenic structure--thanks for that, my dears.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Look Ma, I'm acting., 10 December 2002
1/10

The fixed and penetrating gaze of the posturing-while-frequently-motionless Mr. McManus was too too much much. I kept watching because I really wanted to find out what happened to Pablo Bryant's character, about whom I cared tremendously, but not enough to rank the movie as better than awful. I will look for Mr. Bryant's work elsewhere.

8 Women (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Enchante, 2 November 2002
10/10

This movie is dynamite. From the hot pink floral titles might you not guess you are going to get pinched, licked, clawed, jumped, embraced and maybe even concussed. You will be sung to--ah! worth three returns to the theatre for the musical numbers alone. Couture. ah! Plot? aha! It becomes clear at last, but not until every individual character has been played to the full--against and with the others. This is drama of emotion, highly entertaining, extravagant. I am not kidding. But not fare, perhaps, for the faint of heart.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Openly emotional/no buffers, 27 July 2002
8/10

I rented WS in order to compare Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance in this with her performance in Kansas City. Both are period pieces, and in both i sensed her willingness to submerge a modern self into the demands of the historic period. This is frightening to behold--Albert Finney is rock-hard, with glimpses of natural paternal sentiment that only make his determined hardness the more monstrous. So, his daughter is his victim--a victim of culture, a victim of circumstance--a victim of miscommunications, a victim of her lover, of her aunt? It's all a little hard to bear, except that, as the motif of endurance emerges, the formation of a protective shell over the passions of the young is, finally, a relief. I don't know if there is enough popcorn and chocolate/caramel/you-name-it to make sitting through this story actually enjoyable. Beautifully dressed and accompanied by exquisite score, it's a tragedy with a conclusion of unillumined defeat. Although Katherine, Leigh's role, keeps for herself, privately, the apparent pleasure of the memory of passion. Is this James's modern leaning? Anyway, I rated it high, because as a window into history it's at least fascinating.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Openly emotional/no buffers, 27 July 2002
8/10

I rented WS in order to compare Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance in this with her performance in Kansas City. Both are period pieces, and in both i sensed her willingness to submerge a modern self into the demands of the historic period. This is frightening to behold--Albert Finney, her widowed father, is rock-hard, with glimpses of natural paternal sentiment that only make his determined hardness the more monstrous. So, his daughter Katherine is his victim--a victim of culture, a victim of circumstance--a victim of miscommunications, a victim of her lover, of her aunt? It's all a little hard to bear, except that, as the motif of endurance emerges, the formation of a protective shell over the passions of the young is, finally, a relief.

I don't know if there is enough popcorn and chocolate/caramel/you-name-it to make sitting through this story actually enjoyable. Beautifully dressed and accompanied by exquisite score, it's a tragedy with a conclusion of unillumined defeat. Although Katherine, Leigh's role, keeps for herself, privately, the apparent pleasure of the memory of passion. Is this James's modern leaning? Anyway, I rated it high, because as a window into history it's at least fascinating.


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