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The Spikes Gang (1974)
What a surprise!!
I happened to catch this film on a late night showing on a classic movie channel. I was REALLY surprised by this film!! I have seen other comments on it that refer to the movie as "under-rated", and I couldn't agree more!
Lee Marvin does a fantastic job portraying bank robber Harry Spikes who meets and befriends three teen aged boys who gradually come to admire Spikes and his lifestyle. After Spikes leaves the boys, circumstances lead them to run away together and begin what they thought would be the adventure of thier lives. They soon find that adventure, life, and Harry Spikes are not all they seemed to be! Ron Howard, Gary Grimes and Charlie Martin Smith play thier parts perfectly. The film also benefits from the reality lent by the dilapidated and run down buildings in the various towns shown in the movie, rather than the cheesy 'gunsmoke" type sets that are normally seen in films of this genre and time.
I can't recommend this movie highly enough!! 8/10
Robin SHOULD be strung up!!
I dont know what irritated me more in this film; Kevin Costner's constant mumbling or the some of the slips they made in the plot and filming. For example, there is a scene that shows Robin and his Merry men melting metal over a CAMPFIRE to make arrowheads and swords. I know Robin was resourceful and cunning, but you cant make tempered steel without a forge, and where did they GET the raw ore to begin with? I never saw a mine in Sherwood forresst. I like Costner, I really do, and I think Morgan Freeman is a GREAT actor. But this film should make them BOTH want to run and hide in a forresst.
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
This movie was a great surprise! I never read the Stephen King novel that this film comes from, but as always, King has crafted an intriguing and absorbing story.
Anthony Hopkins never disappoints and his performance as Ted Brautigan here is no different.
Brautigan lives upstairs from young Bobby Garfield and his widowed mother and a friendship soon develops between Bobby and Ted. Bobby knows that there is something different about Ted, and the bond between them grows when Bobby starts uncovering some of Ted's secrets. Bobby's father passed away when he was very young and he has no knowledge of who his father was except the word of his neglectful mother that his father was a drunkard and gambler. Bobby, through Ted learns a lot about his father, and more importantly, himself.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot of this wonderful movie, especially if like me you have not read the book. This is a thoughtful, insightful, well written and well acted movie and is definitely a part of my own library.
Dont miss Hearts in Atlantis.. you will be sorry if you do!! 8/10
The Glass House (2001)
I have seen worse.. AND better!
I happened to catch this movie on cable the other day, and my favorite part of the movie was that I never paid theater prices to see it. The story does suffer from too many holes in the plot, but somehow those holes don't completely sink the boat. There are more convolutions in the plot than twists at contortionist's convention, and sometimes these twists strained the suspension of belief that is required to get through the rest of the movie. The story centers two children who are sent to live with the Glasses who were friends of thier parents after those parents are killed in an automobile accident. Turns out the parents had quite a nest egg stored away, and soon the motivations of everyone involved begin to smother the rest of the story. Its a typical suspense movie that lacks many of the essential elements that would other wise make it truly suspenseful. The best thing in the movie is 20 year old Leelee Sobieski who I am sure will be gracing the screen for sometime to come. This is an ok movie for a rainy Saturday afternoon, but if its not raining, take a walk instead.. you will enjoy it more!! :O)
The Badge (2002)
Pi on "The Badge"
Billy Bob Thornton plays Darl, a homophobic sheriff in Louisiana who finds himself trying to solve the murder of a trans-gender lingerie model named Mona. Mona is survived by his / her wife Scarlett, played by Patricia Arqueutte. At first, Darl is apathetic and indifferent about the case, allowing his prejudices to cloud is professional duties. Complication matters is the fact that the office of sheriff is up for re-election, and the Mayor has decided to run another candidate for the job, unseating Darl as he had done to Darl's father years before. The movie has an excellent plot, and benefits from strong performances from William Devane (who plays the Mayor) and of course from Thornton himself.
Badge is more than just a who-dunnit. It is also a glimpse into a part of our society that many people never see. Don't miss "The Badge". 8/10
Last Rites (1999)
Never Judge a book (or a film) by its cover!
This movie was a pleasant surprise!! When I saw it listed for cable, I thought (mostly because of the title) "Yaaawwwwwnnn.. another horror flick". That was the only yawning I did from the time the film opened.
The film tells the story of convicted serial killer Jeremy Dillon (Randy Quaid) who is about to die in the electric chair for the brutal sexual assault and rape of several women.
Dillon survives the execution attempt after a freak accident causes the electric chair to malfunction. Dillon is still electrocuted, but survives. Or did he?
The Jeremy Dillon that leaves the execution chamber is very different from the Jeremy Dillon that entered it. He has no memories of committing the murders, in fact, everything about the last 12 years of his life is a blank. When confronted with pictures of his victims, Dillon shows revulsion and disbelief at what he has done.
And he has changed in other ways too.. The experience has changed DIllon's perception of the world, literally, leaving him with the ability to see certain events in both the future and past.
This movie is more than just a prison movie, and definitely not a horror film. I have always enjoyed Randy Quaid, and he does an outstanding job here. Its not a thought provoking movie, and makes no attempt to make a "statement". It will hook you from beginning to end though!! 7/10
This is a solid "10"!
Director Wayne Wang did a fantastic job with this film!! The story is told in a series of related vignettes that revolve around a cigar store in New York. Harvey Keitel plays Auggie, the store owner, who has several regular customers. One of these customers is author Paul Benjamin played by William Hurt who, like Keitel really played his role well.
The movie is a little slow at times, but it really hooks you in and keeps you watching! I would have to say that this one of the best movies I have seen in some time.
I caught this movie the other day and I was pleasantly surprised! I will watch just about anything Minnie Driver does because, in addition to being REALLY easy on the eyes, she is also a very talented performer.
In this film, Driver plays a Beauty Pageant conetstent that is driven (no pun intended) to win at all costs, even to the extent of lying about her own life and actively sabotaging the other contestants. It is difficult to talk about this film without giving away some of the surprises, so I will just have to say that this movie is entertaining even if it does end up ultimately being a "chick flick", and it might make you think about priorities in your life. 6/10
Warning Shot (1967)
Worth Watching.. once!
Sure this film is cheesy, and I agree with the comments that this film has a "made for late night movies" appearance, but consider the year in which it was made! I think that Warning Shot is a good movie, but by no means a great one. It is a police procedural / murder mystery that was typical in cinematography, casting, and scripting to all the other movies in the genre shot at the time. David Jansen does a good job the cop in trouble accused of shooting down an innocent man during a stake out that goes wrong. Joan Collins does a good job supporting Jansen's character as his sultry ex-wife.
The movie is worth watching, and provides an insight (as so many classics do) of the differences in society from then to now. One memorable example of this is the role played by George Grizzard as a desirable bachelor. In the scene with Jansen in his apartment, Grizzard tells him that he is an airline co-pilot and has a flight that day, then proceeds to pour himself a scotch. Or the scene with the insurance broker who is boasting of his firms new state of the art computer that covers an entire wall in one office.
Over all, it's a good movie. See the film, but watch it with an open mind and just don't expect too much. That way you wont be disappointed!
The Musketeer (2001)
Don't miss this one!
This is the best of the summer releases to date. Filmed on location in France, the classic story gets a face lift from director Peter Hyams and Choreographer Xin Xin Xiang. The story is the one we are all familiar with; D'artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aremus uniting to protect the King and foil the subversive plotting of the evil Cardinal Richelieu, who is aided by the equally evil Febre, played by Tim Roth who gives an excellent performance. Relative new-comers Justin Chambers and Mena Suvari are supported by Catherine Deneuve and Stephen Rhea. The action / fight scenes that were choreographed by veteran Hong Kong action king Xin Xin Xiang are truly spectacular, as are the costumes, scripting and acting. If you are a fan of swashbuckling movies that offer edge-of-your-seat excitement, then by all means, see The Musketeer!