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458 reviews in total 
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Telling Israeli Film, 24 April 2004

A desolate army outpost near Lebanon is the setting for this tale of intimate relations in "Yossi & Jagger." The viewer has a rare opportunity to spend time with a small battery of Israeli soldiers preparing for an ambush.

Eytan Fox's direction is comparable to another Hebraic effort, Amos Guttman's "Hessed Mufla" (1992) in its subtle yet realistic depictions. The characters of both convey genuine emotions and actions, while copious close ups enhance the stories' intimate natures.

Yael Avivo as Yossi is subdued and caring. Yehuda Levi (who somewhat resembles young Alain Delon) as Jagger is restrained and sensitive.

Running at a brief 65 minutes, the film makes its points without much elaboration. Titles often appear quickly, requiring some fast reading on part of the viewer.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Disposables Galore, 23 April 2004

It's a bit of a strange experience seeing a film in which most of the lines are "thrown away." Characters speak as if their utterances are "after thoughts" rather than main points.

Sentence ends are "dropped," as matter-of-fact references are "pitched." Nothing much substantial's offered, just "small talk" quips and jibes.

The script sort of glides along "secondary tracks," with after thoughts dominating discourses. Likewise the editing keeps right in step, jumping and juxtaposing, skipping and surfing--seldom allowing the viewer to glimpse its core.

We must settle for a super hip confection, long on style and short on substance.

18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Charming Romantic Comedy, 19 April 2004

Writers Perry and Randy Howze crafted a very engaging little story in "Chances Are."

Using the idea of a reincarnated man who happens to return to his former wife's home many years later, the plot takes unexpected, delightful turns.

Twenty four year old Robert Downey, Jr. renders a delightful performance, ably assisted by Cybil Shepherd as the widow and Ryan O'Neal as a good friend.

This trio has just the right chemistry for this caper, playing off one another with a graceful style. I've watched this film a number of times on tv, and each time found it most enjoyable.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Appropriate Title, 17 April 2004

Yes, everything here seems to be a misfit and mismatch. In fact, this may be one of the sadder films ever made.

Its reported depressing real-life productional challenges seemed somehow to spill over onto the screen. Not that Miller's screenplay helped to elevate the proceedings. In fact, it appears to be among Arthur's weakest efforts.

Critic Bosley Crowther summed up things succinctly in his 2/61 N.Y. Times review, stating that "what's wrong with this picture is that the characters and theme do not congeal . . . " He admits that "there's a lot of absorbing detail in it but it doesn't add up to a point."

To my mind, it all boils down to a well-intentioned but weak original screenplay that, despite its powerhouse cast, direction and productional values, simply cannot overcome its inherent character/theme problems.

At the same time, I note an increasing interest in and appreciation for this film by both public and critics. So my negative vote may turn out to be in the minority, with time helping to determine the final verdict.

The Clock (1945)
14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Wartime Romance, 16 April 2004

Among the things I admire in this slight romantic drama is the most impressive set representing New York's Pennsylvania Station. It is certainly a fine achievement, designed by Cedric Gibbons and William Ferrari.

Likewise, George Folsey's lovely black and white cinematograpy is perfect for the "brief encounter" tale. Director Vincent Minnelli (replacing Fred Zinnemann) took special care to see that Judy Garland looked as fetching as possible, and she does. It is her most beautiful makeup in films, and her performance matches it well.

It's hard to believe the entire film was done in Hollywood's Culver City (using real NYC footage and backdrops) which is a tribute to the production staff and crew. They certainly obtained the Manhattan atmosphere, while telling a simple story of youthful wartime romance.

23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
More Nays than Yays, 13 April 2004

People who experienced this intimate musical off-Broadway, and in local community theater productions around the country, will rightly be disappointed and even horrified by this film effort.

Gone is the magic, the delight, and the imagination of a creation designed for small spaces, interaction with audiences, scant scenery and loads of beautiful melodies and poetic charm.

They've taken a concept geared for a cabaret and ballooned into a huge overblown, literate production that comes off as strange and even weird. They've juxtaposed and cut great songs, and tried to make a small ensemble effort into a large Hollywood extravaganza.

I agree this is one misfire that simply should have stayed on the shelf and not released--just written off as a tax loss.

52 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
Unforgettable Film, 4 April 2004

This moving film has become part of the all-time American classics, and rightly so. It is a beautifully conceived and executed adaptation of a beloved novel.

One of John Ford's finest hours, it is magnificently staged and shot, with a lovely score (by Alfred Newman) and rich performances, headed by Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Roddy McDowall.

That it was made on a fairly limited budget and filmed entirely on the 20th Century back lot is little short of amazing. Its truly great, sprawling set seems to be the real thing: a actual coal mining town.

Ford's attention to careful group blocking and staging of tableau adds to the artistry of the work. Its political subtext corresponds with America's stance regarding European policy at the time. Other issues such as women's rights and religious bigotry help to likewise bolster the tale.

I agree that "How Green Was My Valley" is a fine achievement, now gloriously restored to dvd for many future viewers to enjoy.

Tosca (1956)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Restrained Production, 2 April 2004

Director Carmine Gullone nicely harnessed the staging of this production of "Tosca," creating a nicely laid back, yet emotional statement.

At the center of this production is a young Franco Corelli, in the particular performance that made him a star. His voice here is glorious, and he uses it with great artistry.

Maria Carriglia's singing voice of the title role is quite beautiful, and Gian Giacomo both sings and acts a strong Scarpia.

Gullone likes to shape nicely balanced long-shots, which places the actors in a perspective of their environments. The settings are quite colorful and the Eastman color is serviceable.

Originally photographed for theater wide screens, it may look a little cramped on some monitors.

Pucinni's music is very emotional, which helps sustain dramatic tension, even though his actions may not always live up to the score's mood. Too, close your eyes at times and you'd swear the music is from a "Butterfly" or "Turandot," so typical had the composer's style become. His excellent sense of dramatic timing and mood are carried out in his uniquely rich orchestration, which makes the film's 110 minutes running time seem shorter.

One of the "musts" for opera lovers in general and Corelli enthusiasts in particular.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Showing Its Age, 28 March 2004

It was interesting to view this cult film from the mid 50s in 2004. One thing that struck me was how rather silly these so-called "j.d.s" look in their leather tops and snug boots, sashaying in a bar and around town.

Brando and Marvin both were one year short of 30 when they played these roles. Isn't that a bit old to play a delinquent type? And the rest of the "gang" doesn't look much younger.

So they have these obviously expensive cycles. Are we to assume they're not working, just constantly cruisin' from town to town stirring up havoc? Where's their income source-- or is this getting to picky?

The film really doesn't have much message, or makes any particular statement. In short, a rather vacuous exercise, which afforded Mr. Brando a starring, over-title, role and a neat opportunity for "thug" characterization.

Still, I remember reading that he was ultimately disappointed in this opus, lamenting that "all we showed was the violence."

I tend to agree with him.

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
In Memorium: Paul Winfield, 26 March 2004

Who can forget the deeply resonant voice with a slightly cynical twang narrating "City Confidential"? That narration seemed in integral part of this outstanding series of intriguing case histories.

On the 7th of this month (March, 2004) Paul Winfield died. It's hard to imagine "City Confidential" without him. Although he was never seen, his narration became the series on-going "star," tightly wedded to the well written scrips.

On this month's occasion it seems fitting to pay tribute to the memory of this Emmy-award-winning actor, who so enriched our lives with his rich body of work, from the sixties through this year.

In a period in which many black actors digressed into the "blaxsploitation" genre, Winfield remained completely dignified in his career choices, and steadfastly dedicated to his craft. (His work in "Sounder" and "Roots" are indelibly imprinted in our minds.)

While "Confidential" moves on to another narrator, the Winfield years will remain a lasting, rich legacy in the recollections of many series viewers.

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