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oleander-3

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15 reviews in total 
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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
One heck of a lot of coincidences (some spoilers), 6 January 2001
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Afraid of being separated, a group of five children run away from their orphanage. There's Arthur, the oldest; James, the introvert; Edmund, the sort of wisecracking kid; Cassie, the shy tomboy; Benjamin, the kid who eats paper. Cassie has the idea of what would be their perfect home, paints a picture of it, and they all set out to find it. They steal a pizza delivery van, repaint it and drive to Missouri. They arrive there at night, but must pull over due to a flat tire. The next morning Cassie's the first to wake. She steps out of the van and lo and behold, they've stopped right in front of a house with an uncanny similarity to the one she drew. It happens to be for sale so they buy the place (Arthur has a nice income from writing a "Dear Lola" column for a newspaper) and fix it up. It's here where the Beniker "Family" decide to live, and must put up with the snobbery of the nearby villagers. There are lots more coincidences, but you'll see them if you watch. Don't get me wrong--I actually liked this movie. It's sweet and interesting and devoid of the annoying, whiney personalities given to so many young characters in the few children's movies made today. Teenagers probably won't be too thrilled with The Beniker Gang (though I liked it), but it's just right for 10-12 yr. olds.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Now here's the REAL one! (contains spoilers to those unfamiliar with the novel), 5 September 2000
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An adaptation of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" that actually shows us the story like it is. The people at the BBC are true masters at making film versions of classic novels. I've seen every film of WH made (except for the '98 one, which I have yet to see), and the '78 version is by far the best. Judging by the lack of votes and information, I'm guessing this miniseries is not very well-known. Which is a shame, because of all the versions I've seen this is the closest to the novel. And it should be--it's five parts, each part just under an hour. The sets aren't too flashy--they give you just the right feeling that the novel has. As well, the music fits in with the scenery and sets, dark and foreboding, just like the moors around the house. And speaking of the house, this isn't some small castle like in the '92 one, it's a large HOUSE, looking just the way it was described. And the cast! The acting was incredible. I felt as though I were watching the real characters from the novel. While there are some well-knowns such as Ken Hutchison, Pat Heywood and Cathryn Harrison (Rex Harrison's daughter), there were also many for whom this was their only film. Francesca Gerrard made a pretty young Catherine Earnshaw, and Dale Tarry a dark and handsome Heathcliff. Both of them portrayed the young lovers wonderfully. I loved the numerous scenes with them out on the moors. And John Duttine made a fantastic Hindley. It's amazing how young he looks in the beginning and the way he looks in his last days! Kay Adshead and Ken Hutchison were perfect as the older Catherine and Heathcliff. Unlike Anna Calder-Marshall from the 1970 WH, Kay Adshead didn't annoy me in her portrayal of the selfish and spoiled Catherine. And yes, Timothy Dalton DID make a good Heathcliff, but I liked Ken Hutchison better, as he was more menacing without actually being violent towards everyone, and he expressed the pain so well after Catherine died. The scene where he digs up the coffin is effective and heart-wrenching. I think Hutchison also would have made a great Mr. Rochester. Pat Heywood was EXACTLY as Ellen Dean should look, and of course, great actress that she is, she did the part just right. I won't go into them, because I'd be writing forever, but the ones who played Joseph, Edgar and Isabella also did marvelous jobs. For the second half of the novel, Cathryn Harrison plays the beautiful Catherine Linton. She looked and acted just like in the story. Though his name doesn't appear on the credits above, Andrew Burleigh was quite good as Linton, and I can't imagine anybody else but David Wilkinson as Hareton.

As a 17 year old female I'd have to say my favourite people were Dale Tarry and David Wilkinson (both IMHO, incredibly handsome). I digress, but I had to get that in there. My favourite parts were 1, 4, and 5. Part 1 focuses mostly on the young Cathy and Heathcliff playing on the moors, and ends with the part where Heathcliff shouts "God won't have the satisfaction that I'll have!" Part 4 and 5 I also loved, as they showed Catherine Linton's marriage to Linton and after his death, her gradually growing affection for Hareton. The part where she kisses his forehead and when they actually become friends was so sweet. And so was the part where they were reading together. Heck, any part where I got to gaze at David Wilkinson's handsome face was a part I loved. (No, I'm not some obsessive weirdo--I sadly haven't seen him in anything else). Anyway, I've raved on enough. I'm not saying this film isn't without its faults, but they are very few and not really worth mentioning. If you loved the novel, do yourself a favour and try to see this version. This is the real "Wuthering Heights" that would make Emily Bronte proud.

17 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Why is THIS the one that's overlooked?, 30 August 2000
10/10

If you read the comments for the '95 version, many people seem to say (in more or less words) that THAT version has been sadly overlooked. But even sadder, here's a version ('86) that is far better, and few people know it exists. (Just read some professional reviews on the internet, and they'll only mention two ones--the '39 and '95). Perhaps that's because quite a few haven't read the novel, or just because it's a classic, dismiss it as "boring" and "irrelevant" to today's society. But for those of us who have read the novel and loved it, this is by far the best movie of "The Little Princess" made. It doesn't rely on special effect interludes, like the '95 one, or cute little song and dance sessions like movie of '39. Here we just get the story as it is with all the characters presented in exactly the way the novel depicts them. Amelia Shankley did a wonderful job as Sara Crewe. She looked dark, thin and solemn, just as described in the novel, and acted quiet and wise as well. In fact, all the actors and actresses did a good job. Even if Lottie didn't look quite the way as described, she acted it out so well that it didn't matter at all. And that goes for everybody else who's in this. I watched this with my mother and she agreed that it was very well done, and that all the children were quite appealing. As well, the sets and costumes were not too bold, like in the '95 version (can you tell I didn't like that one?). Sara's surroundings are SUPPOSED to look drab and grey. If you've never seen a version of "The Little Princess" or read the book--obviously read the novel first, then see this one. But if the thought of Frances Hodgson Burnett's lovely story doesn't appeal to you, then by all means, see the others. In general, I love BBC productions of novels, because of their faithfulness to the original stories, and because of their length. (My favourite BBC miniseries of a novel would have to be the 1978 "Wuthering Heights"--exactly like the novel, to the T. Make every possible effort to see that if you've read the book).

Gypsy Girl (1965)
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
My favourite Hayley Mills film, 28 August 2000
10/10

I've seen every movie Hayley Mills was in (except for "The Truth About Spring"), from age 20 and under, and I like this one the best. You won't find this on video--it aired here on t.v. at about 3:00 am, and I was lucky to tape it. Just like anonymous from N.Y. said, you almost watch this movie more for the many interesting people than for the plot. The plot itself is pretty simple--Brydie White is a 17 year old girl who meets a gypsy named Roibin, and the two fall instantly in love, almost like their under a spell. However, it's the personalities that the characters are given that make this story different. Brydie is an innocent, somewhat simple girl, who's friends with all the children in the village. Hayley Mills was excellent in her portrayal of this lonely girl. Ian McShane did a good job as well, forever gazing about with those soulful eyes. The song sung at the beginning of the movie sets the right mood from the start. Another thing that I liked about "Gypsy Girl" was that throughout the movie Brydie and Roibin's love stayed innocent. If at all possible, try to track down this movie, or ask a local t.v. station to air it. It's a shame that such a beautiful film has only been seen by a few.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One of my childhood favourites, 3 August 2000
9/10

When I was a kid I watched this many times over, and I remember whistling the "Happy Cat" song quite often. All the songs are great, and actually memorable, unlike many children's musicals, where the songs are just stuck in for no real reason. The scenes and costumes are lavish, and the acting is very well-done, which isn't surprising, considering the cast. Christopher Walken is very catlike, and doesn't need stupid make-up, or a cat costume for the viewer to believe he's a cat transformed to a human. And Jason Connery's so cute, as the shy and awkward miller's son, Corin, who falls in love with beautiful and the bold Princess Vera. This is a really fun, enjoyable, feature-length movie, where unlike most fairytales, the characters are given personalities. Some of my favourite parts are when Puss makes Corin pretend he's drowning; at the ball when everybody starts dancing a country dance, as it's "all the rage abroad"; when Walken is in the kitchen, dancing on the table (he's a pretty good dancer, too!); and when Vera tells Corin all the things she used to do when she was young, like pretending she was a miller's daughter. I'd recommend this film to children and parents alike, who love magic and fairytales. And it actually IS a movie you can watch together, as it won't drive adults up the wall.

Red Shoes (1986)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Kept watching because of Cedric Smith, 25 July 2000

This isn't really a movie, just a short tv special that aired on this time slot called "Family Playhouse." I'm mostly writing this review just to supply some information, since there seems to be none. "Red Shoes" is a half-hour special done by the NFB (National Film Board of Canada). Like most NFB things, it concentrates more on people's emotions and reactions to situations, than on the actual situations themselves. It's about two girls named Meg and Carter who spend a week or two at their grandparents' house while the kids' parents go to the beach. Meg is played by a girl named Andrea Cole, and I didn't catch the kid's name who played Carter. Andrea Cole looks kind of like a young Kate Maberly. The two girls ask their parents to buy them each something when they go. Carter, the younger sister wants a dress and Meg wants a pair of red shoes (hence the film's title). So that's basically the plot. Not much, but it's interesting to watch the people's performances for 30 minutes. Especially Cedric Smith, who plays the father. He's a really great Canadian actor, and I thought that people who are fans of his (I know there are some Canadians who are), would like to know he was in this.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I liked it, 5 July 2000
7/10

In one of my movie books, this rated quite low, but when I was a kid, it was one of my favourite Faerie Tale Theatre productions. I still like it (I'm 17 now), though "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" starring Eric Idle in the title role (weird, eh?) is now my favourite. The two men (Alan Arkin and Art Carney) who con the emperor (Dick Shawn) are funny, as is the emperor himself. The poor village people are also great, and so is the one-man army (the uniform was so expensive that they could only have person--"we may have the smallest army in the land, but by God, it's the best dressed"). The costumes and sets are more lavish in this than in other Faerie Tale Theatre productions and the music, written by Stephen Barber, is of the period (very Baroque). I think this is a good rendition of Andersen's faerie tale, and though there are a couple of added twists to the story, they only heightened my enjoyment of the film. (i.e. the con men want the money for a duck farm.) Watch this film with your children--I really recommend this along with "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."

Annie (1999) (TV)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Only for "Easy Street", 5 July 2000
2/10

I know people are saying this shouldn't be compared to the '82 "Annie," so I'll try to refrain from doing that, though I haven't seen the Broadway version, so it'll be hard. First, I have to say I grew up watching the '82 version, and it was my favourite movie. I had the whole thing memorized. I didn't even know they'd made a new "Annie" until one of my friends mentioned she'd seen it. She'd never seen the first movie, but she didn't like this one. I can't say I was too fond of it either. The fact that there were only 7 orphans in the whole orphanage was kinda weird. I mean, I know in the stage version there were the same number, but this is a MOVIE. On stage you can't exactly have 30 girls running all over the place, but movie versions of theatrical productions should be more realistic. While Kathy Bates is a great actress, why couldn't she have been meaner? Carol Burnett was hilarious as the drunk, man-chasing woman. And those kids wouldn't have been scared of her (Bates) if all she did was threaten them. They probably could've beaten her up. I thought Alicia Morton sang well, but could it have hurt to curl her hair? Something else that bugged me was that all the characters were devoid of any personality, except for Lily and Rooster. Even though there were only 7 of them, all the orphans' personalities seemed the same, so I couldn't keep them straight. Not that it mattered. But I LOVED Roseanne Sorrentino as Pepper in the '82 version, because she made the character mean and tough. This Pepper didn't seem menacing at all. Too bad, because she's my favourite orphan. Other people mentioned this, so I won't go into it: Oliver Warbuck's and Annie's relationship seemed nonexistent. If they had added maybe an extra half an hour to the movie it would've been nice, since then we could have seen more of the characters interacting, and it wouldn't have seemed so rushed. However, there was one thing I loved about this version. Alan Cummings and the "Easy Street" song. I liked Tim Curry a lot (who wouldn't?), but I thought the Easy Street number was better done by all in this one than in the '82 film. The dancing was good, and Lily, Miss Hannigan and Rooster seemed smoother and more evil, like the money-grabbers that they were. I would buy the soundtrack just for that song. So, all in all I was somewhat disappointed. I mean, I enjoyed it once, but I wouldn't twice. (Except for "Easy Street" which I watched about 10 times.)

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
like a summer's day, 28 April 2000
9/10

This movie is like a wonderful daydream, with beautiful scenery, and lovely music. It's set in the early 20th century, I think, and it's about a lonely, over-protected girl, named Winnie Foster (in the book she's supposed to be ten years old), who one day decides to take a walk in the woods. There she meets a boy of seventeen, Jesse Tuck, who immediately takes a liking to her. Soon she is drawn into the Tuck family's fantastic (and in a way horrible) secret, and must protect them from a man who's after them. I almost can't explain how magical this movie is. My favourite character was Jesse and I wish the actor (Paul Flessa) had been in other movies. I think almost my favourite thing about this movie, though, was the music. It's written by Malcolm Dalglish and Grey Larsen, who are both exceptional at the instruments they play (the flute, the hammered dulcimer(?), and others). The music sounds rather like a waterfall, and a soundtrack would be amazing, though I realize it's not a popular enough movie to have one. If you love children's novels, you should definitely see this incredible movie.

12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
My favourite version, 28 April 2000
9/10

Actually, it's sort of a tie between this and the '93 Kate Maberly one. The '93 one was quite lavish, and a visual feast, but in a way I'm more drawn to the '75 version. The acting is great, especially Sarah Hollis Andrews, who plays the spoiled Mary Lennox, and it followed the story exactly. I also liked Andrew Harrison, who played Dickon (he was really great in "The Littlest Horse Thieves"). He was, IMHO, the best Dickon of all the versions, as his Yorkshire accent was the thickest, and he looked exactly the way Dickon is described in the novel. My only complaint: parts of this seemed to obviously be filmed on a set, such as the garden, which was most disappointing. I could be wrong about the set thing, but it seems to me to be indoors. Still, the movie's just like reading the novel and quite a bit of the dialogue is taken directly from the book (I don't mind that at all). I've seen every version of "The Secret Garden" made, and this and the '93 one are, to me, the best by far.


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