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19 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Crayola Scrawls, 11 May 2008
2/10

I scorn to mention particulars about "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." You may assume--and correctly--that my general observations are supported thoroughly by the evidence of specific details in the film--if you care to watch it.

This film's script must have been written up--nay, scribbled down--with crayola scrawls. The story and dialogue are childish; this is science fiction for seven-year-olds. The characterizations are embarrassing. The film's pace is labored--there is no excitement in extended sequences of wondering faces and meaningless spectral visuals. The magnificent grandeur of the score is shackled, thoughtlessly, to the rank stupidity on the screen. The special effects are "cool"--but that's merely admitting that the film has visual style. Without story substance, this supposed "work of art" is a house of cards the slightest puff of objective criticism can blow down. Critical viewer: do it. Blowing it down is easy, and it's the very gesture of contempt a film like this deserves.

Red River (1948)
5 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Overrated as Hell, 14 December 2007
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Red River" is the most overrated "famous" Western movie I've ever seen. Aside from its impressive cattle-drive production values, it stinks.

Plot/storyline: uninspired; yawn-inducing. The script also is littered with merciless, undercutting jabs at human happiness (e.g. Harry Carey Jr's good guy can dream sweet dreams, but so what; kill him--and do so roughly, in a stampede) as well as capitalism (i.e. property rights can be violated if you feel like it).

Dialogue: god-awful dumb.

Direction: plodding. Hawks proves once again--and he often does--that he's one of classic cinema's most aggravatingly self-indulgent directors.

Characterization/character development/casting/acting: overwhelmingly unconvincing--especially, and horribly, so for Joanne Dru's character (e.g. her romantic interaction with Clift's character is completely implausible.) Thomas Dunson is also one of Duke Wayne's least appealing and convincing roles. Casting of Montgomery Clift resulted in yet another unconvincing portrayal: he lacks a prepossessing presence necessary for his role and seems transparently insecure. Walter Brennan's performance as "bitching, but lovable" side-kick is one-note, hackneyed, and routine (compare his more inspired version of the same in "Rio Bravo").

To all enthusiastic fans of the Western movie genre who regard "Red River" as one of the "all-time greats": are you kiddin'? Your standards must carry the following brand: L-O-W.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Heart, Spunk, and Mitzi Gaynor: Ain't We Got Fun? YES., 16 October 2007
10/10

If you're asking yourself "What the hell is BLOODHOUNDS OF Broadway?", I'll tell you: it is one hell of an entertaining movie musical. Inspired by the stories of Damon Runyon---as was "Guys and Dolls" (1955)--this 1952 Fox film stars Miss Mitzi Gaynor as backwoods-belle-gone-Broadway "Emily Ann Stackerlee." Southern-drawlin' Mitzi impresses a cynical, tough-talking set of New Yorkers with her unassuming charm, her spectacular song-and-dance talent, and her, um, bloodhounds. She ends up falling for one of the toughs; will he return her affection? A Technicolor gem, BLOODHOUNDS enjoys: fine production values, fun songs ("Cindy," "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'", "Eighty Miles Outside of Atlanta", "Jack of Diamonds", etc.), outstanding choreography by Robert Sidney, and a well-written screenplay winningly performed (and filmed).

Does it sound worth checking out? IT IS.

A buried treasure no more, BLOODHOUNDS OF Broadway is an example of American film musical entertainment at its best. It is also an eloquent early example of Mitzi Gaynor's brilliance as an entertainer--one of America's finest.

Apparently the 2007 DVD release will include as a special feature an on-camera interview with Miss Gaynor.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
"Q: Where Would You Rather Be? A: Anywhere But Here…", 20 July 2007
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Follow in "The Lord of the Rings" creator's (J.R.R. Tolkien's) footsteps. Project a malevolent universe. Invent a world and animate it with creatures in conflict. Make the conflict a battle between good and evil, but don't identify clearly the moral value or purpose of either side. In fact, remove morality's essence altogether by eliminating the power of choice for your characters. Emphasize the corruptibility of men. Glamorize the supernatural. Dwell interminably on the preparations for and the wreaking of violence and destruction, on the fragility of hope and happiness. Name the scene of action: Middle-earth. Sound like an environment you'd care to envision? Would you "live" there? If so, fate alone will decide its survival and your own. You can visit this predetermined "paradise" by watching/enduring/suffering Peter Jackson's elaborately filmed adaptation of Tolkien's epic trilogy, which concludes with "The Return of the King."

I hold it is true that what is not worth contemplating in life is not worth contemplating in art. For its dismaying lack of meaningful moral definition, its pervasive pictorial ugliness, the quantity of its scenes of mind-numbing graphic violence, and its minimizing of the value of happiness, "The Lord of the Rings" films—including this one—ought to be shunned and damned.

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
"Q: Where Would You Rather Be? A: Anywhere But Here…", 20 July 2007
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Follow in "The Lord of the Rings" creator's (J.R.R. Tolkien's) footsteps. Project a malevolent universe. Invent a world and animate it with creatures in conflict. Make the conflict a battle between good and evil, but don't identify clearly the moral value or purpose of either side. In fact, remove morality's essence altogether by eliminating the power of choice for your characters. Emphasize the corruptibility of men. Glamorize the supernatural. Dwell interminably on the preparations for and the wreaking of violence and destruction, on the fragility of hope and happiness. Name the scene of action: Middle-earth. Sound like an environment you'd care to envision? Would you "live" there? If so, fate alone will decide its survival and your own. You can visit this predetermined "paradise" by watching/enduring/suffering Peter Jackson's elaborately filmed adaptation of Tolkien's epic trilogy, which continues with "The Two Towers."

I hold it is true that what is not worth contemplating in life is not worth contemplating in art. For its dismaying lack of meaningful moral definition, its pervasive pictorial ugliness, the quantity of its scenes of mind-numbing graphic violence, and its minimizing of the value of happiness, "The Lord of the Rings" films—including this one—ought to be shunned and damned.

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
"Q: Where Would You Rather Be? A: Anywhere But Here…", 20 July 2007
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Follow in "The Lord of the Rings" creator's (J.R.R. Tolkien's) footsteps. Project a malevolent universe. Invent a world and animate it with creatures in conflict. Make the conflict a battle between good and evil, but don't identify clearly the moral value or purpose of either side. In fact, remove morality's essence altogether by eliminating the power of choice for your characters. Emphasize the corruptibility of men. Glamorize the supernatural. Dwell interminably on the preparations for and the wreaking of violence and destruction, on the fragility of hope and happiness. Name the scene of action: Middle-earth. Sound like an environment you'd care to envision? Would you "live" there? If so, fate alone will decide its survival and your own. You can visit this predetermined "paradise" by watching/enduring/suffering Peter Jackson's elaborately filmed adaptation of Tolkien's epic trilogy, which begins with "The Fellowship of the Ring."

I hold it is true that what is not worth contemplating in life is not worth contemplating in art. For its dismaying lack of meaningful moral definition, its pervasive pictorial ugliness, the quantity of its scenes of mind-numbing graphic violence, and its minimizing of the value of happiness, "The Lord of the Rings" films—including this one—ought to be shunned and damned.

71 out of 117 people found the following review useful:
"Casino Royale": An Obituary for The James Bond Film Franchise, 11 July 2007
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ever notice that the 007 films produced after "Goldeneye" seem to get worse and worse in significant critical, creative respects like screenplay quality, casting decisions, etc.? With "Casino Royale," the franchise hits rock bottom. "Casino Royale" is, objectively, the worst James Bond film in the history of the 007 film franchise. Why?

1) Story: Based, more or less, on Ian Fleming's original novel, this unskillful adaptation/update is communicated with a disdain for clarity. The audience is fed too little information, too late (or not at all)—about both character motivations as well as the stakes involved in various action sequences—to remain emotionally engaged and genuinely interested in what's going on.

2) Casting/characterization: lacks conviction and appeal

• Daniel Craig (Bond). Craig's characterization of Bond is charmless, worthless, and disturbingly nihilistic. At one point in the script, Craig's Bond responds to a question with "Do I look like I give a damn?" The answer in "Casino Royale" is overwhelmingly NO. Why on earth, then, should the audience care about him? At another point, he tells Vesper "I have no idea what an honest job is." Is this a credible (or creditable) moral statement to hear from a top-level government secret agent? Craig's monotonously stoic performance is by no means compensated for by his (atrocious) line readings: he articulates rarely, mumbles often. As a result of Craig's hollow Bond interpretation, what should have been the film's ultimate impact moment—007's "Bond, James Bond" confrontation with villainous Mr. White—is surprisingly anti-climactic, prompting a shrug rather than a cheer from this reviewer.

• Eva Green ("Bond Girl," Vesper Lynd). Green's Vesper characterization comes across unwittingly as awkward, unsophisticated. Green looks and acts like a teenager playing at "grown-up." What's missing is the mature presence/feminine poise that typifies the best Bond Girl actresses (e.g. Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Barbara Bach, Maud Adams, Izabella Scorupco, et al). A self-confessed "complicated woman," Green's Vesper remains maddeningly inscrutable to the end, and her romance with Craig's Bond is ineptly developed and unconvincingly consummated.

• Judi Dench. Her "M" is more unsympathetic than ever. No other actress has ever contributed less charm and more unfemininity to the Bond series than Dame Judi Dench.

• Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre). In Ian Fleming's novel, Le Chiffre is skillfully characterized as an odd, sinister presence. On screen, Mikkelsen's version of Le Chiffre is unimpressive—an effete villain with a blood-weepy eye, but without the twisted charisma that typifies the best Bond screen adversaries (Goldfinger, Blofeld, Mr. Big, Max Zorin, Janus, et al).

3) Script/dialogue. Both in content and tone, the screenplay—like the novel—overwhelmingly projects malevolence: the power of evil; the stress on the tragic and traumatic; all events taking place in a world where no one can or ought to be trusted. And notice how the script flagrantly undercuts James Bond, the ultimate fictional egoist, with the inclusion of damning "anti-ego" lines thrown at him by M and Vesper. The dialogue is cynical, tasteless, and witless.

4) Original Music: Chris Cornell's unmemorable opening-credits theme song—"You Know My Name"—lacks color, drama, and excitement. David Arnold's unremarkable score sounds melodramatic and overly derivative, like a cheap John Barry knock off.

5) Producer infamy/creative poverty: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the film's producers, lacking the vision and ingenuity to advance Bond's personal timeline on screen, reveal their creative bankruptcy by bringing 007 back to the beginning of his secret service career, presenting him in his most unflattering incarnation yet. Out go Bond's cinematically-cultivated charm and conviction. The new Bond is an uninteresting, expressionless, muscle-bound nihilist and a disgracefully vulnerable "hero." The producers deliberately emphasize Bond's vulnerability by subjecting him, incredibly, to cardiac arrest(!) as well as a horrific trial of torture (this latter was a rotten, graphic part of Fleming's original novel). Putting obstacles in a purposeful screen hero's path makes for good drama; but these shocking "Casino-Royale" examples are an extremely sick way to challenge a hero and are certainly artistically unworthy of depiction on screen.

Considering all these points, it is clear that "Casino Royale" is neither value-driven art nor fan-pleasing entertainment. The proof is in the picture.

"Casino Royale" is the highest-grossing Bond film to date. But consider:

1. This fact merely indicates the degree of public curiosity about or interest in James Bond and owes virtually everything to the franchise's longstanding cinematic appeal and reputation (earned by much better films and performances in the series and betrayed dramatically by "Casino Royale").

2. This fact confirms nothing about public satisfaction with or approval of this latest installment.

3. High box-office numbers neither reflect nor establish this film's merit.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Dumb Film, Redeemed by One, 4 June 2007
5/10

There's only one reason to watch this dumb film: Mitzi Gaynor. Especially in her "Anything Goes" number. She's irresistibly sexy, funny, feline: a supremely electrifying beauty, singing/dancing talent, and screen presence. And Miss Gaynor is one of very few film actresses who, wrapped to voluptuous form in a satiny strapless evening gown, can walk across a nightclub floor on screen and absolutely take my/(your?) breath away.

Miss Gaynor's romantic pairing with Donald O'Connor in this film is less than convincing (or welcome). On the other hand, her simpatico sibling pairing with O'Connor in "There's No Business Like Show Business" works tremendously well.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Tyrone Power Rendered Impotent, 31 May 2007
1/10

"The Black Rose" = stinkweed. Its unprepossessing plot is shot full of holes. The poorly drawn characters are generally unsympathetic. Consider the atrocious casting of the film's leading roles: mature, very American Tyrone Power as a young Oxford scholar; juvenile French actress Cecile Aubry--as the (unconvincing) romantic interest--is about as sexually devastating as a kewpie or cabbage-patch doll. The film's leaden pacing, its prolix and unremarkable dialogue, its profound lack of credibility as well as its failure to appeal to any other emotions than this viewer's boredom and contempt result in my judging "The Black Rose" as one of the worst films Tyrone Power ever had the ill fortune to appear in.

3 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
One of the Worst Westerns Ever Made, 10 January 2007
2/10

"Ride Lonesome" is one of the worst western films ever made. Burt Kennedy's story/script--about a bounty hunter's plans, actions, and conflicts--is dull and digressive. Budd Boetticher's direction is slack and self-indulgent; the film's pacing is sluggish to a disgusting degree. The acting by the film's principals--Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, James Best, and Lee Van Cleef--lacks animation and conviction. (Incidentally, James Coburn's motion-picture debut here reveals little if any evidence of his talent.)

The ONLY favorable thing that can be said for "Ride Lonesome" is Charles Lawton Jr.'s outstanding cinematography. His camera's capture of the scenery (the beautiful Sierra Nevada country as well as Karen Steele) shows an expert's sensitive touch.


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