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Darker Than Amber (1970)
I can see why it flopped
Great story and great cast.. realistic dialogue and situations. But the movie was very poorly made. It was not directed well... as if the director lacked experience.,A high school drama student could have done just as well. Very poor editing. Very cheesy feel... not even on par with most tv dramas. It's really a shame because it had such potential. You can practically see the actors' frustration that they were not making a quality film. The fight between Rod Taylor and William Smith quickly turned into a real slugfest after Taylor purposefully punched Smith in the jaw after he was body slammed very hard against the wall. Smith retaliated by breaking Taylor's nose with a punch that sent him bouncing off another wall. Now we are all lucky that the director kept the cameras rolling. Any other director, I am sure, would have yelled, "Cut!" And put a stop to it. We see Taylor delivering blows to the chest that actually broke three of Smith's ribs.,Smith threw Taylor across the room, shattering a mirror and Taylor breaks a lamp on him. Smith actually broke a wine bottle on Taylor's head. There was real blood everywhere. These were two very tough men. Smith was a boxer and world arm wrestling champ in real life and Taylor was, well, Australian... This scene alone qualifies this otherwise lame film as a classic. Most of the fight was edited out, but the unedited version is on YouTube.
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
I really enjoyed this movie
Just the right mix of pathos and comedy.,Williams was a very good dramatic actor. Why this film bombed at the box office is beyond my comprehension, as Williams' performance was Oscar worthy. The supporting cast was really great...his son, his girlfriend, the principal, his rival, the neighbor... as well as minor characters all were portrayed very convincingly. The film was totally engrossing and very intelligent. I would certainly recommend this obscure and underrated film.
Cop Land (1997)
Intelligent, absorbing story
Copland is very subtle in its character development and revelations. The characters are very real and complex. This film will not take you by the hand and show you around. You have to be astute and infer what is going down. The key to this movie is that the people are real. The acting is top notch. Besides all the familiar names doing an outstanding job, the entire cast of characters... and there are many.. all come off as very real, surprising the viewer as they are just as unpredictable as real people. That's why this movie is a masterpiece... it demands more than one viewing to fully appreciate the unfolding drama. Stallone's character, who never shakes off his naïveté and self doubt, emerges victorious in spite of himself. Kietel and his minions are vain, nasty creeps..like many people you may know. Liotta is a tortured soul who somehow has a shred of decency left. DeNirio's character lacks integrity and is in a position of authority; a man who lacks the courage to pursue the truth. All these people are real.
What's all the fuss? Not so good.
For one thing, it was scaled back too much. In reality, Dunkirk was a huge battle involving the evacuation of around 400 thousand men. Hundreds of planes and ships were lost. Thousands of men died. The movie failed to convey the magnitude at all. We see a few planes dog fighting instead of hundreds. We see a few ships and boats sunk instead of hundreds. We follow one character around throughout the movie and it was boring. I really can't say I liked this movie. Great sound effects though.
Yeah I guessed the ending right from the start. It was so obviious. I guess it was a huge shocker back then but not so much now. Jack Lord with the Hungarian accent was pretty cool. He was a great actor. Susan Strasberg was so incredibly beautiful in this and such a powerful actress. I can't understand why her career was relegated to guest spots on various TV shows. She should have been an A lister in the movies. The actresses who played her sisters were gorgeous too. All in all, this film was low budget and ultimately weak.
The Twilight Zone: The Lonely (1959)
Really scary epidoce... not for kids
I saw this episode when I was 5 years old. The ending scared me and traumatized me. I was terrified for a long time. To this day I find the name Alicia to be haunting and scary. As a child, I did not understand the plot. I never saw it coming...the ending shocked me and I will. Ever forget how I cried and was frightened out of my gourd. That was way back almost 60 years ago. Yet the memory of that shocking ending will always be there.
Kevin Can Wait (2016)
Like King of Queens...without the humor.
Pretty bad. Fat slob, adoring sexy wife (not remotely believable), huge luxurious house = disaster. Three kids, oldest daughter living in the garage rent free having sex with her ultra nerd fiancé' while the newly retired cop dad gets a job to support them...add a trio of childlike retired cop friends and a fireman brother and you have...a mess. I can see it now..show tanks, in desperation the hot wife is replaced by somebody funny, ....and it still tanks. King of Queens had it all...great chemistry with husband and wife, a couple of friends who were genuinely funny,and the live in father in law who stole the show. This show will never get off the ground despite the Big Bang lead in. I give it 13 weeks at best.
Powerful, compelling, and realistic take on a classic
The classic 1959 Charlton Heston version is the one I and the rest of the baby boomers grew up on and it remains one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time. But I was very impressed by the 2016 remake. Gone is the stilted dialogue and "holy look" (as Victor Mature described it) of the old time biblical epics. The 2016 version has a bold take on the classic and a fresh approach to the story. It surpasses the 1959 version in originality, imagination, and devotion to detail. The Roman legion is shown in all its scope, strength, and ruthless brutality. The character of Jesus has a prominent role, whereas in the classic version, he never spoke nor did we see his face. With anti Christian sentiment on the rise in the entertainment industry, I wonder if the negative reviews written about this film reflect the agenda driven bias of the critics. The sea battle was spectacular and far surpassed the 1959 version. The epic chariot race was a wonderful homage to the Heston version, complete with the awe inspiring stadium built into living rock and with giant statues in the middle of the track. The race itself rivals the classic one in intensity and imagination. Terrific movie, great acting, and intense realism.
Jennifer on My Mind (1971)
Excellent and interesting film...somehow forgotten
Tippy Walker and Michael Brandon were very convincing as young trust fund loafers who meet and fall in love. Jennifer is irresistible and she knows it, leading Marcus on and always leaving him. But he's attracted to her and keeps coming back. Anyone who was young in 1971 knows that girls like Jennifer really did exist...beautiful and teasing but noncommittal. Secrets .....secrets that forced them to live a clandestine life filled with sadness, wanting to break free, but ultimately chained to addiction.Marcus is so in love and wants everything to work out, but Jennifer is a user. Just a sad and powerful statement of he rampant drug culture that destroyed so many young lives back then.Sadly, Tippy Walker bowed out of acting after this film...a shame, because she turned out a powerful performance here. Actors have won Oscars for less.
Love Story (1970)
I remember when this movie came out when I was in high school in 1970. It was wildly popular. The theme from Love Story played on the radio 24/7. Author Eric Seagal appeared on all TV talk shows all the time, as did Ryan O'Neil and Ally McGraw. Every teenage girl in America copied Ally McGraw's hairdo:long, straight, and parted in the middle. Some blonde girls even dyed their hair brown. Teenage boys carried around the Love Story paperback in school and got all the chicks because they thought he was sensitive. But the truth is, this was an awful movie. The acting was bad and so was the script. Scene after scene was so melodramatic...poor Oliver working in a Christmas tree lot...oh, the indignity! Big deal..like a strong 24 year old man can't carry a Christmas tree to a lady's car? And when the doctor broke the news to Oliver...so unintentionally funny...she has no symptoms at all and he announces she will die soon because they took three blood tests and found...what? Doctors don't announce a patient will die unless all extended treatment is exhausted. He didn't even begin treatment or tell Oliver what was killing her. Later on, they mentioned white blood cells and a lack of platelets, but even a veterinarian would treat your dog before giving up on it. Then, she seemed her usual bright eyed and bushy tailed self n her deathbed before she just croaked. Even if she had lived, I don't see how this marriage could have survived more than a few years.Oliver was passive, and Jenny was aggressive, rude, and teased him constantly while saying "goddamn" to punctuate everything. Best comedy of 1970.