Reviews

10 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
10/10
Heartwarming Film! Excellent Cast!
16 May 2008
I ran across this film while previewing soundtracks for my online radio program. I knew almost immediately that this would be a winner, if not just by Christopher Wong's score, then by the outline of the film I read on this website. It is one of those rare films that would earn a ten star rating out of me, it was so profound.

While some may find the film a little too long (at a little over two hours), others may wish it never ends, the characters being so thoroughly likable as just plain folk. The actress who played Mai was outstanding, as well as the other cast members all the way down the line. It is hard to believe that this film did not win more awards than it did.

This is not just a story about the plight of Vietnamese 'boat people', and what went on in Vietnam 're-education prisons' after the north Vietnamese reclaimed the country, but also a tale of family bonding. What can be said of the Vietnamese tradition (as well as other cultures), is their strong family ties despite the hardships and tragedies. it's a wonder they all weren't stark raving mad after all they went through. The actors did a superb job (better than any Hollywood actor I've seen of late)of portraying the angst, yet the will to survive in such conditions. I will never forget their performances, nor the plight of the actual 'boat people'.

I hope to see these actors in more films some day. Kieu Chinh, who played the grandmother has a long list of credits, and she is a fine actress.I highly recommend this film to everyone.
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6/10
Not Very Good, but not all bad
24 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
During a housing crisis in post-war Britain couples shared accommodations and often times problems arose. This 'comedy' was meant to parody situations of that nature, adding mild slapstick and rapid fire one-liners. It failed miserably back then and on viewing it recently, seemed like a pointless sketch of people wasting their time.

While the British are responsible for some fine films, they also made some very bad ones (often referred to as 'B' movies). No wonder so many up and coming British actors migrated to Hollywood. Critics, at the time had no mercy on Director Henry Cass for this one.

The sophisticated, lovely Joan Greenwood and Nigel Patrick are the young couple the Pennants, and Derek Farr and Helen Cherry, the Bannings, living together in a house with a single female roomer (Audrey Hepburn). Although IMDb's plot summary says the story centers around the young roomer's (Hepburn) infatuation with one of the husbands, it actually centers around one of the wives (Ms Greenwood, who gives a spirited, but sometimes annoying performance). From there comes a series of small situations that, for the most part are pretty lame and not very funny (at least by today's standards,and the critics back then, if you were to believe them, didn't find it funny either).It was better than some of television's new sitcoms however.

It was reported by one of Ms Hepburn's biographers that Henry Cass was the only director in her entire career that 'she did not like working with'. Indeed, Cass was referred to as the 'tyrannical director', often finding actors to pick on for whatever reason. He chose Audrey as his whipping boy, and she only got through the making of this film under the protection of Ms Greenwood and Mr Patrick. Despite all the hell Cass was giving her, she still managed to show a hint of her screen appeal, and natural acting ability. She lit up the screen every time she appeared, and for that reason alone I gave the film a 6 star rating.

Of course, you'd have to be a Hepburn fan to truly appreciate this film. It came out in 1951, but was re-released in 1954 to capitalize on Audrey's success with 'Roman Holiday'. I got my VHS copy from a film collector who was cleaning out his 'attic'. I would watch it again for the historic aspect of it. and because Miss Hepburn's speaking part is extended past those earlier walk-in roles she did.

Overall, worth a watch if you can find a copy, and for me, this is a keeper.
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Day of the Dead (2008 Video)
1/10
Honestly, A Very Bad Movie
20 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I truly enjoyed the George Romero zombie flicks and am very disappointed when some rookie director comes up with a 'remake' of one of the master's titles. A rookie in the sense of trying to capture the dark, gritty, viciousness of the zombie epidemic as envisioned by Romero in his earlier films. Steve Miner has directed episodes of Dawson's Creek, (which explains some of this film's truly boring dialog and Ken and Barbie type characters)and Smallville (which has effectively turned Superman into a soap opera).What Miner has done here is show us that he can capture all of the plot lines, and zombie behavior previously shown in a dozen zombie flicks, put Mena Suvari (of American Beauty) in the lead and make a horrible horror movie.

While this film might appeal to young folks who don't understand the art as developed by Romero, those who do will undoubtedly turn away from this one after the first half hour. It only takes that long to get an idea of the poor characters. Suvari plays an army Corporal (who carries a gun with no bullets. Why even pull it out?) Ving Rhames has a small part, perhaps wise enough to not stick around. Suvari's character is remarkably calm in the face of danger despite her seemingly bad decision making. The rest of the cast are like refugees from a Dawson's Creek episode.

The zombies seem to do extraordinary things one moment (like crawl on ceilings and run real fast), but when it comes to attacking the lead actors they seem inept.

Suvari's character wants to keep a colleague-turned-zombie around amongst the fleeing survivors. Why? She barely knew the guy.

This picture doesn't do any justice to the zombie film genre. it ranks down there with the very low budget. The title was used to possibly draw attention to it's existence, nothing more.
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6/10
Fair Pic, Limited appeal.
13 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Having lived on Cleveland's Coventry Rd., and frequented many of it's shops,taverns and restaurants since 1970 I found this motion picture to be of some special interest to me. The characters in this flick represent a small portion of the overall 'hood' as it was back then. I am not sure if the director, or most importantly the writer of this story touched on the interesting aspects of Coventry, the stuff that made it most similar to New York's more famous Greenwich Village, or California's Haight-Ashbury. This film to me, came off like a depiction of what old people did back in the seventies amongst hippies and bikers in a rundown Cleveland café. The limited appeal of seeing such a film would inevitably spoil the whole charisma associated with Coventry as seen by non-Clevelanders.

While the acting in this flick was competent, the storyline was not. Nothing very interesting happens out of a predictable ensemble cast of characters. Director Laura Paglin (who also wrote the story), in her first effort introduces the cast of characters well enough. It's just that she fails to make anything memorable happen with them (by comparison, films like 'Clerks', "Diner'). I applaud her efforts for trying to recreate this period in Coventry's history, but I think she would have done better to pick a more 'compelling' time period, say, the eighties and the nineties for example, when drugs,sex, and music was the draw there. While the Deli in this film was the focus, the real Coventry deli it is based on did not have the best appeal to warrant a motion picture made around it. The story should have been more about the area's diverse inhabitants and their various stories (which would undoubtedly get an 'R' rating), instead of a bunch of old guys sitting around with a handful of not very interesting misfits. People who thought Cleveland was boring will have it confirmed when they sleep through this.

My memories of Coventry are fond ones. I have met some very interesting people there. Unlike the old 'geezers' in this film the elderly people in this area are somewhat opinionated (big surprise?),but they aren't outspoken about it. They usually keep their opinions to themselves until somebody asks them. But of course that wouldn't make a very interesting story.
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Love Among Thieves (1987 TV Movie)
7/10
Great , For A TV Movie
19 February 2008
This film was made for television and the night it first aired it had great ratings for viewers, because Audrey Hepburn was in it (one of her, by then, very rare appearances). The critics disliked the whole thing, but apparently because of their fondness for Miss Hepburn they ne'er said a critical thing about her in their reviews.

Well, I saw the film recently and I thought it was pretty good, as far as television movies go. Sure, she looked older than she had in 'Robin And Marion'. She was older. But she still retained some degree of her on-screen charm unmatched by any other actor. I truly enjoyed the film for all the minutes that she graced the screen, and they kept the camera trained on her quite a bit.

This film was touted as a 'Charade' type sort of comedy/caper involving some stolen Fabergé Eggs. What ensues is a tale typical of a Hepburn caper vehicle, with Robert Wagner thrown in to boot. I never liked Wagner until I saw this. He actually was quite a leading man, and although aging, he held his own as far as charm and sophistication went. He and Hepburn should have teamed up much earlier than this flick.

What a wonderful ,caring person, Audrey to appear in this film (according to some biographers she may have agreed to do it so that her long-time agent Kurt Frings, who was now ailing, could collect his $75,000 fee from her). This was her last 'feature starring role' and one of only a trio of television drama appearances. I was lucky enough to see this one, now I'm praying that they release 'Mayerling' on DVD soon.

If you get a chance you must check this one out. It's a fun film, not meant to be an Emmy chaser. Just good Ole' clean fun.
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Secret People (1952)
8/10
Worth A look If You Can Find It
1 February 2008
It was said that the director Thorold Dickenson and his colleagues viewed Hitchcock's "Sabotage" before starting this film, and I'm not really sure if they learned anything. I do agree with both of the first reviewers for this in that it did have some promise, but it fell short. Perhaps because of the long delay before actual production of the project got under way when Ealing Studios saw it as an unusual product worth tackling.

Valentina Cortesa did a marvelous job as a foreign refugee living in London who gets caught up in the intrigue unwillingly.This film was one of the only ones that I hadn't seen of Audrey Hepburn's earlier works. Although she only appears in it off and on she is given a broader speaking role than her previous earlier film 'walk-on' parts. She was quite able to act with the best of what this British Film Company had to offer, in a role a bit too understated for me. In fact, the whole film was a little too 'understated', dealing with a bomb plot planned by nationals of a foreign tyranny in 1930's London.

I would watch this again, as it is now part of my library of hard to find films. I gave it an eight out of ten stars for Cortesa's performance and the early glimpse of Hepburn beyond a one minute spot.One does walk away from this film wishing it was better given it's premise, which is still very much a topic of today as it was then.If you can find a copy I would recommend it.
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8/10
Watched this one many times
26 January 2008
John Huston wanted to make a statement about racism in this film but the Hecht-Hill-Lancaster production Company, which had a stake in the film wanted only to make a western that was more in the tradition of 'westerns' with no frills. As a result there are some who say Huston no longer took the film seriously, especially after Audrey Hepburn's injury on set (when she was thrown from her horse during a practice ride). Huston reportedly later admitted that this wasn't a movie he took seriously.

But this is a fine film regardless. the acting by the principles involved is top notch. Burt Lancaster is always good, and so is Audie Murphy.Audrey did the best she could, and in one scene as the step-sister accused of being a 'redhide injun' stands before a mirror and suddenly draws a line across her forehead with some kind of black ink. What a hilarious scene! It should also be pointed out that this was probably the only film in which Audrey intentionally shot and killed someone.

John Saxon was under-used in this film, and some of the storyline did not make much sense. It was never explained why the Indians were willing to die just to retrieve a squaw who apparently had been gone from them for many years (except maybe the girls brother was some kind of tribal leader who commandeered his warriors to the fight).

I will still watch this one again as long as I have it in my library of favorite films. Even if the director did not think much of it. It is a western classic of it's time, and one with an underlying social theme. And it has Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster.
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9/10
Just beautiful!
23 January 2008
You can tell that Billy Wilder loved Audrey Hepburn, and how it could wind up into a lifetime friendship. But then again most directors that she worked with were bowled over by her charm and relative good behavior. She is this particular film, so romantic (seemingly without the sappiness),and very touching. It was a great vehicle for her when she first came around, and it stands the test of time as being one of my all-time favorites.The classic ending is Hepburn at her best.

Many have said that Gary Cooper, in his role as the globe trotting playboy and love interest for Hepburn's Ariane was too old for the part. I cannot envision anyone else playing the part now that it is immortalized on film with him in the lead. Among Hepburn's leading men throughout her career I chose Peck, O'Toole, Finney, Connery and Coop as the most romantic pairings.

This film is one you don't want to miss if you are a Wilder or Hepburn fan. I only wish they had made more movies together, but Hepburn wanted to expand her roles from the 'Cinderella like' stories, which is understandable.
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9/10
Great Film! Wonderful Cast!
22 January 2008
There are only a few films I would give a 9 out of 10 rating. This William Wyler gem is one of them. Based on the Lilian Hellman play, 'The Children's Hour' is basically about dirty lies and spoiled children in a small community setting. How lies can destroy the lives of individuals is a testimony to their power.

Audrey Hepburn does a splendid job, and a lot of her acting is done with her eyes which are very expressive. There is no one better. Shirley Maclaine is also superb as Martha, one of the two principals accused of what was then considered 'unlawful, unnatural sexual knowledge of one another'. What an outstanding piece for these two powerful actresses! You can't ask for anything better. There is a little overacting (Maclaine's 'confession' to Karen) and James Garner at times (some thought he was miscast), but Faye Bainter gives one of the best performances on film as Mrs Tilford.

While the theme may seem a little outdated, this film was great, and still stands strong when you view it again and again.
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Audrey Shines in Dim Movie
24 November 2007
I don't know about you but I thought that this movie, which Bogdanovich claimed to have written for Audrey Hepburn was overall a pretty amateurish effort. The so-called 'screwball comedy' turned out to be a little annoying for me, especially the scenes with Colleen Camp (if she said the name Charles just one more time!) which was like watching a bad school play. Now, Dorothy Stratten looked a little distant in this, but was given sound advice by the director (to keep a close eye on Miss Hepburn) She was good looking and pretty shapely but beyond that...? Ben Gazzara does just what Bogdanovich did not want his actors to do..act like they were 'acting'. Hepburn had a mighty talent for being real, and when shes on screen you feel your money's worth. Gazzara, looking a little preoccupied in his scenes only shines when Audrey is on screen with him. John Ritter brings his usual comic relief with some pleasure, after enduring some of the very bad dialog (Bogdanovich claims some of the scenes were written on the spot while filming and you get a sense of that hurried effort in a bad way) In the end I will keep a copy of this flick for myself. I love Audrey and this was her last feature film. She still had the natural beauty and class that sets her millenniums apart from the other actresses in this flick. While you may not like this vehicle as Audrey's 'swan song' as it were, you will just love to have seen her again.
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