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North by Northwest (1959)
This picture and I are the same age, and I would like to think that I have worn equally as well over the years. Give a genius a big enough budget, and let him create! Hitchcock wasn't content with any ordinary house to be the villain's headquarters -- it had to be a specially-constructed Frank Lloyd Wright house, on a studio set. And why Mount Rushmore? I've spent years thinking about why he chose that one. Did Ernest Lehman write a script and submit it to Hitchcock, or did Hitchhock go to Lehman and say, "Write me a script with these elements"? Or did they meet in a room and collaborate? There is lots of money being spent in lots of places. Hitchcock couldn't just film in a grove of trees -- again, it had to be on a perfectly-controlled studio set, where I would imagine every tree was placed exactly correct. I can think of entire movies being shot on the budget it must have taken to create that forest. So sit back and relax and be entertained. I still marvel at the dinner table scene between Roger and Eve, the dialogue timed perfectly with the action outside the window as the train slows down, stops, and two policemen get out of a car. Beautiful scene, like clockwork.
Long before "Brokeback Mountain" ...
Long before "Brokeback Mountain" (about 23 years before), "Deathtrap" was the first time I ever saw two men passionately kissing on screen, and frankly, I was shocked. I understood it in terms of the plot, and it didn't really upset my sensibilities (not much), but it was the first time I ever saw it, at least, in a "mainstream" movie. I thought it was a gutsy move for its time, and took courage for them to try it, especially Christopher Reeve, in the midst of his time as PG-rated Superman. Male bisexuality on screen may have hit its stride with "Brokeback," but it's interesting to note this much-earlier incarnation.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
More than a movie
2001 is more than a film. It's an event. It goes silently but surely beyond being just a movie in its painstaking scientific accuracy and its depiction of a powerful yet patient alien force that is monitoring and influencing human development over millions of years. A very simple plot told in great detail. Special effects & set design all come together. Definitely a cinematic work of art. Don't go in expecting car chases or gun battles -- the pace is slow and deliberate, but there is tension, mystery and suspense. And great danger. More than a film -- it's an event, going silently but surely beyond being just a movie in its painstaking scientific accuracy and its depiction of a powerful yet patient alien force that is monitoring and influencing human development over millions of years.
Compelling and illogical, a guilty pleasure
Like a trashy coffee table book you just can't put down. Hard to say why, but I keep going back and watching this film again and again. The irresistible notion of a single man roaming the empty streets of the big city, holds my attention every time. However, the execution of such a powerful idea gets muddled in this particular telling. For example, the city is clean -- there are no dead bodies, and any force powerful enough to disintegrate the bodies would have left traces, of which there are none. Despite the significant problems I had with this picture, I rushed out to buy the DVD first chance I got. And I bought Miklos Rozsa's score, too.
Capricorn One (1977)
A guilty pleasure
One of those movies I'm ashamed to admit that I love. The logic comes and goes in this roller-coaster ride of a film, but the emotional highs are most memorable. One of Elliot Gould's last starring roles. I particularly enjoyed Telly Savalas, who chews the scenery unmercifully but is fun to watch as he saves the day. Also James Brolin, who goes the extra mile and does things that some actors would balk at, such as eating a rattlesnake. When I saw this in the theatre, there were a couple of scenes that had the audience cheering, which is not something one sees very often. And how they ever got NASA to allow them to film has got to be a story in itself, one which I am eager to hear.
That's My Bush! (2001)
Embarrassing but funny.
I didn't think it was possible, but Parker & Stone have gone over the edge. I was appalled and embarrassed as I watched this (sitcom?, college prank?). I kept wondering, "Does the First Family have grounds for a slander suit?" "How much of this can Parker & Stone get away with?" It's not enough that major members of the Bush administration are portrayed as buffoons (especially W himself), but each person is introduced BY NAME at the top of each episode! The actors playing these people aren't mentioned until the end. Having said all this, I must now name the most outrageous aspect of all: with all its character assassinations, I actually found myself laughing. The show is stupid, but it is funny. George and family, can you find it in your heart to forgive me?
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Not as bad as you've heard
I went in expecting the worst movie of the century. I had seen a survey that listed it as such. But all things considered, this movie is not really all that bad! The sets are gorgeous, I like the premise, and Eddie Murphy's acting is just fine. He isn't called upon to do very much except be the leading man, exude confidence and intelligence, and get the girl. All of this he does very well. OK, maybe there isn't a laugh a minute, like people probably expect from an Eddie Murphy picture, but it held my interest for an hour and a half, and that's really all I care about.
The Untouchables (1987)
It's really too bad "The Untouchables" is so good. I never get tired of watching it, even though I have read Eliot Ness' book and I know how things really happened, and this ain't it. The movie stretches the truth so far that Oliver Stone would be proud. As good an actor as he is, Robert De Niro is at least 20 years too old to play Al Capone. But he's great fun to watch anyway! Eliot Ness never confronted Al Capone on the front steps of Capone's hotel, and they never had a fistfight. Ness never threw Frank Nitti off a roof. There was never a cop named "Malone" who helped Ness. The group known as "The Untouchables" was made up of about 8 or 9 guys, not 4. Read the Ness book if you want the true story, but for pure entertainment, as long as you know it's all fantasy, "The Untouchables" fills the bill.
Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
Boldly going, going, gone
I love the show, the acting, the stories, the special effects. I take time out every night to watch. But does every alien race have to be intelligent? And speak perfect English, with English colloquialisms? And I wish I had a dollar for every time the engineering console exploded in a shower of sparks when the ship is under attack! And back in the old days, people would, on occasion, be vaporized when shot by a phaser. There's none of that here. Not even by the bloodthirsty Kazon, or the Hirogen. But I quibble. It's really a terrific show.
Liked the film.
Saw this film on TV. I liked the film. It was quirky and interesting. I haven't seen very many like it. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill.