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After the excess of Moonraker, producer Cubby Broccoli vowed to bring Ian
Fleming's superspy back to earth for Moore's sixth 007 adventure, which in
most departments, was admirably achieved. The massive sets and hi-tech
gadgetry, the panto-like megalomaniac villains replaced by sinister Greek
smugglers and the buxom beauty replaced by a haunted, revenge-seeking
The plot itself resembled Fleming's original stories, with Bond relentlessly pursuing the captors of the vital ATAC system, responsible for programming British submarines, running into orphaned but restless Melina Havelock along the way. But, alas, the screenplay is considerably self-deprecating, overlooking much needed plot information and development for a never-ending series of action set-pieces, whilst still the allowing for out-of-place slapstick humour of recent films to creep in.
Nevertheless, Eyes Only is certainly not one of the series' weaker films thanks to fittingly in-tune cast performances, clever twists and a cracking cliff-hanging climax. And there's Shenna Easton's Oscar-nominated title song to shout about.
Peter Sellers' unintentionally final appearance as Inspector Clouseau is
sadly the weakest of the star's outing for the series. The slightly ironic
plot has Clouseau donning a series of wacky disguises as he searches for his
would-be-assassins, whilst the rest of France, except for long-serving
manservant Cato (Burt Kwouk), a jilted female accomplice (Dyan Cannon) and
his still-crazed former boss (Herbet Lom), believes he is dead.
It has its moments but in comparison to its predecessors, Revenge is considerably lacklustre in its gags and laughs. Even Sellers struggles to squeeze anything of real worth out of the whole thing, which feels more like a Pink Panther imitation rather than an actual functioning Pink Panther film.
However, it's not a disgrace and Sellers manages to bow out respectably but you just wish that Clouseau, one of the great characters of screen comedy, and of course Sellers, one of the great contributors, could have exited on a more stronger note.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Warning - Potential Spoilers ahead)
The first, funniest and best of the oft-repeated National Lampoon capers featuring the hapless Griswald famiy who run into every conceivable mishap upon their holidays, much to the arrogance of the disaster-prone patriach, Clark (Chevy Chase). Chase is at his funniest in his movie where his classic Clark has his heart set on making it to the famous Wally World theme park, even if it means walking across the desert, leaving his dead aunt on the front porch and taking the security guards hostage.
Harold Ramis (later scoring further comedy successes with Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day) handles the whole thing with finely tuned comic-skill, whilst Chase and Beverley D'Angelo make the most of their frequent laughs. Randy Quaid and the late John Candy also make fine contributions to this side-splitting comedy, which spawned three sequels; one poor (European Vacation), another good (Christmas Vacation) and the last worn-thin (Vegas Vacation)
By the time of George Lucas' third installment of his Star Wars trilogy, the
series had already surpassed itself through the previous two films leaving
good old George a tough job in rounding off his landmark saga. In terms of
plot, originality and creativity, Jedi distinctly lacks in comparison with
its predecessors and is more direct on resolving old questions and stories
rather than taking any new paths. The most inventive and diverting sequence
in the film is its first half-hour in which our heroes attempt to save Han
Solo (Harrison Ford) from Jabba the Hut, after which things regress into a
notably routine formula.
However, in terms of thrills, tension and excitement Jedi still has considerably much to offer. One of its merits is its handling of the relationship between the hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his villainous father, Darth Vader (David Prowse), which is captured perfectly in several scenes leading up to their penultimate duel. A touching farewell from Yoda, a memorable forest shoot-out between the Ewoks and the Stormtroopers and a rousing, high-spirited finale, also help to make Jedi a respectable and effective climax to a stunning series.
What started out as a vehicle for star Frank Sinatra, eventually became Don
Siegel's classic, hugely influential cop thriller that confirmed star Clint
Eastwood's place in Hollywood. Eastwood was made for his now legendary role
as Harry Cahallan, the tough, hard-bitten cop who goes in pursuit of a
deranged sniper (a terrifying Andy Robinson) after his superiors fail to
bring the killer to justice.
More than thirty years after its original release, the film carries a distinctive early Seventies look that is more compellingly realistic than dated. The screenplay is more or less unforgettable with line after line of punch, scene after scene of excitement, all coming to the fore in the film's climatic scene. The film was almost notoriously controversial and undermined in its day, which wasn't helped by the string of less credible, cash-in sequels that followed that were inferior on every level to Siegel's original offering. All in all, a strong achievement for Siegel and Eastwood.
Paul Hogan's original tailor-made 'fish out of water' flick became a massive hit in 1986 and still remains a warm, amusing and irresistibly enjoyable. In terms of plot, its simpler than simple - American reporter Linda Kozlowski is sent to Australia to investigate the legendary 'Crocodile' Dundee (Hogan) and ends up bringing the charming rogue back to the Big Apple. It's a winner in every sense from Hogan's wonderfully laid-back performance to his own screenplay, featuring an array of classic quips and moments. Peter Best's excellent musical score also deserves applause in helping to ensure that this film remains great, exciting and still novel entertainment almost two decades on.
Whilst not as smooth, slick or satisfying as the box-office storming original, Paul Hogan's sequel is still crowd-pleasing entertainment and for those who felt the first film could have done with a tweak in the plotting department, Hogan seems to have moved up a gear here. The plot is in fact reverse to the original with Aussie Mick Dundee running into trouble when his journalist girlfriend Sue (Linda Koslowski) is kidnapped by an evil drugs baron. "I need to be someone where I can see them coming", the hero exclaims and that can only mean one thing - a return to the bush! Indeed, the second half of the film in Australia is notably more successful and inventive. Hogan's screenplay again features a bunch of memorable and exciting moments, whilst the delightful Peter Best score is also retained.
Paul Hogan's knive-tossing, hand-slapping Outback legend skipped the whole
of the 90's so his 2001 comeback came as something of a big surprise.
Unfortunately, audiences had of course moved on and the critics didn't
hesitate in drowning the film. Indeed, you don't have to be an expert to
realise that this belated third caper isn't exactly accomplished
film-making; there's an uninvolving and considerably underdeveloped plot
whilst the comedy itself (consistently spot-on in the original) is pretty
much hit-and-miss here.
Still, if its clean, fun, enjoyable entertainment you're looking for, Dundee in LA serves the purpose well and is satisfying for the family or younger ones. The character himself is still interesting and enjoyable to watch as he once again returns to the USA, this time acting detective when he suspects a shady movie company of smuggling. Not by no means a classic but harmless and pleasant entertainment nonetheless.
Muhammad Ali himself had done a decent job reconstructing his carreer in
1977's The Greatest, yet a big Hollywood biopic was always on the cards and
deservedly so. Fortunately, Michael Mann was the right man for the job and
has turned an inspiring, remarkable and thrilling story into an exciting,
electrifying and entertaining film in sleek, reserved style. Will Smith is
the perfect choice to portray the great man and although the real Ali
lingers in the mind throughout the film, Smith's performance is nevertheless
winning and eye-catching.
The film span's Ali's career from his 1964 defeat of Sonny Liston (a great opening sequence) to his victory over George Foreman in the Rumble In The Jungle (a great climatic sequence). In between, there's the brush over the Vietnam War and Ali's relationships with TV presenter Howard Corsell (Jon Voight) and boxing rival Joe Fraizer. Oh, and the women. A great job by Mann and Smith.
1989 was one of them years where it seemed every Oscar-nominated picture deserved to scoop the prize. Dead Poets Society missed out but that doesn't stop it from ranking as one of the best films of the Eighties. Robin Williams shines in his finest film as Mr. Keating, an unconventional English teacher at a New England prep school who inspires and awakens his pupils - summed up with one famous catchphrase, "seize the day". The film then focuses on the effect Keating's influence on a group of boys, with both successful and tragic consequences. This could have easily been overly sentimental and cliché-ridden but the script (which did win the Oscar) is believable, absorbing and observing, which successfully conveys the spirit and impact of the story. All the important, crucial parts are perfectly cast and expertly performed by stars young and old. An inspired film that will most certainly inspire whoever watches it. And that's exactly what great films are all about.
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