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|458 reviews in total|
. . . for a life. A year after playing Amelie, that love-starved gamin who
spent her waking hours playing pranks on unsuspecting folks ("Le Fabaleux
destind'Amelie Poulain"; 2001) Audrey Tautou now plays Angelique ("A la
folie. . . pas du tout"; 2002) another goofy oddball who executes tricks on
an unsuspecting "secret love."
When will she get herself together?
Not that there's anything wrong with Mme. Tautou's performances. She certainly makes her characters convincing enough. It's only the weird bodies she's obliged to inhabit.
Fortunately, in the latter film, Angelique's diagnosed with a medical condition that excuses her quirky behavior; no such apology's offered for Amelie.
Tautou did manage to break from such type-casting in later films, such as the excellent "Dirty Pretty Things," so there's hope on the horizon for this talented actress.
In the meantime, "A la folie . . ." holds the attention as a serviceable mystery thriller.
Joseph Hayes crafted a solid screenplay from his stage hit of the same name,
and was rewarded with a high powered production company.
Heading the ensemble was Director William Wyler, at his best, and Lee Garmes behind the camera. Noted composer Gail Kubik contributed an effective score, and the cast was stellar, with Fredric March, Humphrey Bogart, Martha Scott in the leading roles.
The transfer from stage to screen was effectively handled, and the entire execution had a very clean, concise look. So tight was every shot that one might suspect the production was "story-boarded." The final climax managed to build up quite a bit of suspense, and the over all effect of the film was engrossing story telling.
In matters of romantic relationships, this '98 film creatively explores
contemporary changing mores in interesting ways.
Its basic premise is still pertinent and relevant: the "old rules" of previous eras have become less solid, while younger folks relax in their acceptance of and participation in alternative lifesytles.
"The Object of My Affection" plays like a slightly watered down version of "I Think I Do," that satirical comedy that investigated similar territory. Lots of varied coupling off transpires, both platonic and non-platonic, with such relationships taken in stride.
Although some characters still feel a need for his/her object of affection to make a singular partner choice and stick exclusively to that decision, others still allow for relaxed flexibility.
Is this a loosening of "exclusive commitment" a sign of less genuine love being expressed, or merely a condition of greater social freedom?
The gamely cast is talented and indulges itself in this average script with sincerity and feeling. While all this may one day seem quite passe to our children (and especially our grandchildren) it still creatively traces societal trends of our particular time.
this comment is being written on June 11, 2004--in which the nation pays
homage to Ronald Reagen, who died six days ago. The post office and
government buildings are closed, flags are at half mast, and the media are
playing and replaying footage of Mr. Reagen.
Turner Classic Movies offers its tribute: a 1947 film that starred Reagen, first released as "The Voice of the Turtle" (original play title) then re-released as "One for the Book." Neither title really did much for the movie.
However, the film itself contains one of Reagen's best performances, right there with his impressive dramatic turn in "King's Row." In this case, the role calls for a pretty light hearted chap--a service man--and one who isn't particularly gifted in any area and doesn't make any bones about it.
It's a good role for Ronnie, and with the support of the enormously talented Eleanor Parker as love interest--and the always spiffy work of comedienne Eve Arden--Reagen manages to come out looking quite well.
Yet who would have thought, watching this film, that an entire nation would be declaring a day in his honor? Goes to show, one shouldn't underestimate the potential power of actors, especially those who manage to stick to "nice guy" roles throughout their career.
Irving Rapper directs this fluffy romantic farce with flair, and the viewer's rewarded with a most amusing diversion.
"The Night has a Thousand Eyes" is a most engaging drama, with Edward G.
Robinson giving his all to the role of a clairvoyant. A wonderful Robinson
performance. Gail Russell is seen in one of her best film appearances.
John Lund is well cast as Russell's doubting but supportive love
The atmosphere created here has an almost hypnotic effect. Robinson is completely into his role and totally convincing.
That this film has not yet to date made it on video is incredible. Of all the lesser films that did so, this movie warrants attention. Paramount Pictures [us]--please take note.
"Legendary film composer" Max Steiner is given sole credit for "original
music" for "The Woman in White." Yet under the entire opening credits one
hears the "Pavana: The Earle of Salisbury," composed by William Byrde
(1538-1623) in a heavily orchestrated version. Later we recognize it in its
more idiomatic form, played (on dummy harpsichord) by Eleanor Parker.
What can one say about this lack of due credit for Byrde? Simply because a work's in "public domain" doesn't mean Steiner should get the credit.
Another case in point is Steiner being given sole credit for "original music" for "The Beast With Five Fingers" (that film about a mysterious left-handed pianist). Yet under opening credits, and later in a keyboard rendition, we hear Bach's "Chaconne in D Minor" for unaccompanied violin, played, first by orchestra, then by piano solo.
This lack of respect for genuine classics by Hollywood and its composers is irksome. Seems to me the least that could be done is to duly acknowledge classical source material. Such omission doesn't at all help Steiner's credibility; rather, it detracts from his otherwise fine work.
As for "The Woman in White," what's striking is Gig Young's leading man appearance, made before he relaxed into "other man/sidekick" roles. This drama has all the trappings of a Bronte fiction, without its style or substance. The Warner Bros. stock company performs with its usual competency.
This takes one back to the end of WWII when GIs were being released from
service and coming home to dubious situations.
Confused, disoriented, and restive, these ex-service men were suddenly thrust into lifestyles for which they were unprepared. From holding a bayoneted rifle to pushing a pencil, the transition was abrupt and strange.
Many drifted into and out of relationships, while others took to the bottle as a form of escape. "Till the End of Time" dramatizes a few of these plights with some interest.
Cast in the lead role was Guy Madison, newly "discovered" by Henry Willson and David O. Selznick for a snippet but memorable scene in "Since You Went Away" (and shot quickly while Madison was on navy leave). After being mustered out of the service a couple of years later, Hollywood was eagerly waiting to cast him in what really amounted to his first feature (barring the earlier "cameo"). Unfortunately it was a starring role.
That was a pity, for the young "find" needed small vehicles in which to mature and grow in the profession. That he comes off as well as he does here is commendable, yet it does him a great disservice. Guy's reedy, inconsistent, and even amateurish looking--qualities that would have been honed and polished, had he the sensitive career management other similar "discoveries" were afforded.
Having his greatest weaknesses so exposed in a lead part, Madison was "written off" for other starring roles, and pushed into routine westerns--where he more or less remained for the rest of his career. However, his appearance in some seven dozen radio, television and movie parts ain't especially hay. And while he may not have been considered the greatest actor, he did make an honest living that put food on the table for the rest of his life.
His costars here are the excellent Robert Mitchum and Dorothy McGuire, and they certainly help bolster the proceedings. All in all, "Till the End of Time" is an interesting drama, and Guy Madison's most notable vehicle.
The pop adaptation of Chopin's "Polanaise" played throughout doesn't hurt.
"lo non ho paura" has been widely appreciated by both public and critics,
and it's easy to see why.
Director Gabriele Salvatore has taken Niccolo Ammaniti's script and cleverly photographed and directed it so as to maintain interest pretty much throughout its entire running time.
Salvatore has an eye for picturesque scenery, particularly exteriors, which he weaves into this unfoldment skillfully. He also benefits from a fine performance by young Giuseppe Cristiano in the lead role.
While I was intrigued, I can't say I was very emotionally moved. A reason for this is Salvatore's tendency to "mask" his shots, showing only that which he wants the viewer to see. Many close shots begin scenes, for example, without a clear orientation as to object or locale. Gradually the director pulls back and shows more.
However, it's a director's "trick," which works in maintaining interest, without it being part of a real human experience. Throughout this "cleverness" is employed through cutting, angling and masking.
The last five or so minutes of the film were disappointing to me in their manipulative contrivance, which seemed out of tone with the more naturalism of the rest. Yet, I admit to being interested throughout, and that's a feat in itself.
Stripped down to basic story/situation, it really was quite simple--it was the unfoldment, the slow revelation that made for intrigue. Still, like "The Deep End," it's a one-time-only film; once one sees it and knows how it turns out, there's not much reason to revisit.
"lo non ho paura" provides an intriguing and entertaining viewing, especially when seen on the large screen.
What causes a normally upstanding, Youth Project Honoree/ Narc Officer to
revert to a life of crime? Even stooping to a cheap homicide "hit" in a
men's public washroom? Mucho moola, man.
So it goes with Danny Glover's Det. Lt. James McFee, and he's just the tip of the iceberg: he's got other highup cops turncoating for love of greenbacks.
With a young Amish boy as sole witness, Harrison Ford's Det. John Book probes this dangerous case to uncover the corruption from inside the department out.
What results is an intense investigative journey, landing Book in Amishland outside of Philadelphia, where he meets and has a brief affair with a comely Amish lass apparently in need of more than spiritual solace.
This widely seen crime-drama was directed with skill by Peter Wier, with an effective score Maurice Jarre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For the kind of thing Hitchcock does, this is one of his best films. Not
really a whodunit, for the identity of the [serial] killer's revealed early
It therefore becomes a challenge to maintain high interest thereafter. This is done through fine performances, direction, photography and production values.
Cast against type, Joesph Cotton is wonderful--a perfect ironic Hitchcock villain: charming, sweet-talking, and suave. The kind unsuspecting, vulnerable widows might be drawn to. Cotton's own personality works magic in bringing out all the nuances of personality in this role.
One of the most talented of actors, Teresa Wright, is cast in the lead role. Her enormous talent and thespian integrity are put to the test here, and they triumph in a great performance.
Like Cathy O'Donnell, another sweet, girl-next-door type, Wright's persona ran out early in Hollywood, and she was prematurely pushed into matronly roles. A shame, for there was none finer than Wright.
The script and production is clean, concise, sharp and economic, and "Shadow of a Doubt" remains one of Hitch's greatest cinematic achievements.
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