Reviews written by registered user
johnm_001

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82 reviews in total 
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The Fan (1981)
15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful Thriller, 2 February 2006
8/10

I'm surprised that so many people think this film is so bad. Everyone in it is first-rate in the acting department, and the overall story is both fun and fascinating. It completely grabs your attention, from the opening credits, while Michael Biehn (who is excellent in his stalker role) is typing a letter to Lauren Bacall, underscored by Pino Donaggio's effective music. Bacall and Stapleton have tremendous chemistry, and their characters are utterly believable. So too, are the musical numbers which Bacall performs, during the film. Singer or not, Bacall was quite successful in musicals on Broadway, and the songs in the film, are the type she would have performed. Dialog appears unscripted and completely natural, particularly between Bacall and Stapleton. James Garner and Hector Elizondo, are solid in their supporting roles. This film is a favorite of mine. Recommended.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable Musical, 19 May 2004
9/10

When "Half A Sixpence" moved from London to New York, the producers added a lot of dancing to a show that had almost none. Because of this, a couple of songs were cut (to make-up the time taken by the dancing). The film version restores most of the music (even adds a number) and keeps the dancing. On Broadway, the incredible Onna White was the choreographer. Unfortunately, she was not used for the film (busy doing "Oliver!"), and the job went to Gillian Lynne (Cats), who's less than incredible. The cast gives it all they've got (especially Tommy Steele and Grover Dale), but each number falls short of being great. Regardless, "Half A Sixpence" is lots of fun, and while the plot and characters are a bit thin, it has wonderful musical numbers, a more than competent cast, and it's a joy to see, after all these years, in it's original widescreen splendor. Get the DVD and enjoy!

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
De Palma's Flawed Masterpiece, 18 February 2004
10/10

This film is so beautifully crafted that I am tempted to ignore its one flaw. But I can't. Brian De Palma weaves a beautiful web with so many classic moments that it is, immediately, apparent that the master has not lost a single bit of his genius. The film is stunning to look at, and engrossing from beginning to end. A much-touted stripping scene, late in the film, is its one BIG flaw. It adds nothing to the narrative and brings the film to such an abrupt halt, it's like hitting a brick wall. Immediately following, the film returns to its engrossing glory. Even with this unfortunate flaw, the film is De Palma's greatest achievement. Highly recommended!

Parody? Homage?, 17 December 2003
5/10

Watching "Down With Love" was a bit of a frustrating experience for me. It falls somewhere between an homage and a parody of 1960's sex comedies that, most successfully, starred Doris Day. From the standpoint of an homage the film, mostly, succeeds. As a parody, it fails. What is impressive about the film is its attention to detail. The clothes, sets, color-scheme, widescreen cinematography (telephone call splits, etc.), and the New York City stock footage were incredibly accurate. Marc Shaiman's score was fairly perfect, as well. While the cast, mostly, impresses, especially David Hyde Pierce playing a role that Tony Randall did in many Doris Day films (and playing it like Randall), it mostly gets ruined by Rene Zellweger's take on the lead role. She never rings true, and she comes off as if she's in a completely different film from the rest of the cast (her performance accounts for most of the parody aspect of the film). The story, itself, is no better or worse (well, maybe slightly worse), that those done in the 60's with Miss Day. The BIG (and it is enormous) difference here is that Zellweger is NO Doris Day. She comes off like a little girl pretending to be a grown-up. She just doesn't have the 'stuff' to deliver the silliness of the film. Now, in all fairness, my problems with Zellweger, may be more by comparison to Doris Day, a comparison I cannot avoid. Others, who never saw one of these Doris Day films, may find her perfectly acceptable. I couldn't get past her inability to pull off the lines without making them sound like she was making fun of those old films (McGregor and the rest of the cast avoid this), and her vamping and exaggerated facial expressions are out of place. My other issue with her is that she is, facially, a bit of a train wreck to me. I find her utterly unattractive and, once again, comparing her in the physical attributes department to Miss Day, she loses. Doris Day had one of, if not THE greatest figure on any woman, ever, in Hollywood. Zellweger's figure is just okay, and facially, she looks like she's been punched a few times and is on high doses of prescription drugs. And, what's up with those pursed lips???? Her physicality has much to do with the film. Every other woman in the film is more attractive than the leading lady. In a Doris Day film, while there were, certainly, other attractive ladies in them, they were never MORE attractive than Day. And, in a sex-comedy, the attractiveness of its stars is key. Ewan McGregor is just fine in his performance, and he, stylishly, looks the part, although I did find him to be a bit on the puny side, and he kept reminding me of Charlie Sheen. He doesn't cut the same figure as some of Day's co-stars, Cary Grant, James Garner, Rock Hudson or Rod Taylor, for example; but he's far more talented than Zellweger in the acting department, and what he lacks in physical presence (his puniness and he has a bit of a blemished face), he makes-up for in his demeanor. Secondary leads David Hyde Pierce and Sarah Paulson actually steal the film from its stars, and aptly support them, as well (the only time the leads are bearable is when they are paired with Pierce or Paulson. Together they are dull). The sex jokes are all of the overt variety. Day and company were always far too clever for that. The problem I have with the film, is that, while I can watch a Doris Day film, at the drop of a hat, and always enjoy them (no matter how many times I've seen them), I cannot imagine ever watching this film again. With a different leading lady and a straight-on approach to the material I would have liked this movie. As it is, it's a curiosity piece on how well they handled material that was a big part of my early movie-going experience. Overall, they succeeded.

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Call Somebody Who Cares!, 14 July 2003
1/10

Wretched little film about a man, stuck in a phone booth, completely at the mercy of a mad-sniper. What could have been an engrossing movie, suffers from an unsympathetic hero and an insufferably dull and verbose villain. Enormous plot holes, profanity-laden script and a pointless, seemingly endless, run-in with hookers and an even more pointless, unexplained, conflict between two police officers, undermine any attempt at infusing the film with tension. NOT recommended!

The Music Man (2003) (TV)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
TROUBLE, TROUBLE, TROUBLE!, 17 February 2003
1/10

Utterly pointless remake of the 1962 masterpiece. Worse than pointless, it is completely off the mark with character interpretations and actual line delivery. The director doesn't appear to know the work or how it is supposed to be portrayed, since every single character is depicted incorrectly. Worse yet, is the dull, humorless pacing and lackluster production design. The whole thing is a pale, faded (literally as well as figuratively) retelling of a FAR superior film. By comparison with the original, the entire cast and production team come off like a bunch of rank amateurs, void of talent. While many in this production DO have talent, the bad direction prevent them from shining, here. The best thing that can be said of this film, is that it is superior to the television remake of "South Pacific". However, that has more to do with the source material ("The Music Man is a better show than "South Pacific"), than the execution of this production. There is absolutely no reason to see this version, when the perfectly crafted original is readily available. Not recommended!

To Catch a Killer (1992) (TV)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Engrossing, 3 December 2002
10/10

This television film, which focuses on the police pursuit of John Wayne Gacy, is utterly engrossing. Sparing us the more grotesque details of Gacy's crimes, we are treated to the investigation and the frustrations of the police, who are trying to "catch" him. Brian Dennehey is always good, and, his performance in this film, is no exception. The cast is fine, throughout, and the direction is solid; but, it is Michael Riley, as Detective Joe Kozenczak, who owns the film. His role gives him most of the screen time, and his performance is completely compelling. A wonderful performance! Highly recommended.

"24" (2001)
214 out of 347 people found the following review useful:
Superb Television, 12 November 2002

I didn't watch "24" during its original, first-season run, so I can't comment on how it played, week after week; but, I did watch all 24 episodes on DVD, over a four day period. WOW! From beginning to end, this show is the most riveting and suspenseful thing ever captured on film. It is a masterwork of deceit, and its success is in the fact that it never allows the viewer to relax for a second. You are never sure who you can trust. Certainly one of, if not the best 24 hours of television, ever! Highly recommended!

Spider-Man (2002)
Excellent Comic Book To Film Adaptation, 4 November 2002

This is the film that proves it CAN be done! "Spider-Man" gets it right, on all counts. Where "Superman" was too camp, and "Batman" was too dark, "Spider-Man" plays it right down the middle, and is a delight to behold. It's success is due, in no small part, to the wonderful performances from its cast. Most notably, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, who really know how to act; and, more importantly, react. Their performances are perfection. Wonderful direction, cast, screenplay and score make this a must see. Highly recommended!

The Ring (2002)
Silly, 4 November 2002

Not silly in a real laughable, unintentionally funny way (except maybe once or twice); but, what could have been original (and, at times, is), ultimately comes off as a rip-off of every other horror film that came before it. It's never really scary (long sequences where you are fooled into thinking something scary is about to occur; but it doesn't), and, it suffers from characters that aren't particularly likeable. You never find yourself caring about what happens to them, mainly because the plot is so murky and the characters under-developed. There is a kid whose characterization is blatantly stolen from "The Sixth Sense", and, his presence adds nothing to the proceedings. Goofy in plot, and in desperate need of better editing, this movie is just plain silly. Not recommended


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