Reviews written by
Jeff (Inthegoodlife@Aol.com)

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130 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
New grade, 15 March 2003

My review for FYEO is the same as it was previously. But my grade wasn't generous enough. The movie is my favorite (and in my opinion best) Bond after FRWL and Goldfinger. It's probably the most realistic Bond other than FRWL, Goldeneye and perhaps License to Kill. My 7.2 changes to this:

7.6/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Re-review, 14 March 2003

My views on TWINE are the same as they have been. This is one of the best Bond flicks ever. Gripping, forceful, to the point, great human drama, cool to the hilt, tightly wrapped, etc, etc, etc. The action isn't great (except for the openers) and the gimmicks are kept to a minimum so stupid reviewers bash it. My advice to them would be to go back and watch ALL the Bonds. Not just the Roger Moore Bonds. I have many other things to say to these jokers but I want my review to be posted so I will refrain. Above all, Bond is an ENGLISH hero. This a cool English style movie and most American idiots will miss the point. So bash it in your ignorance and to back your own biased ideology if you like. This is a TREMENDOUS Bond because it is REAL. I have to post again due to the bias against it and because I will not see this modern Bond classic subjected to getting compared unfavorably to garbage like DAD and the completely overrated TND. I'm a Bond devotee since I was a kid, tutored and educated on all of the movies, and I pull rank here. Take your garbage movies and go. But leave this one alone. (Message to IMDB: Please accept this or send me a message why not.)

7.5/10

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mistake, in a nudist camp?!!!, 1 March 2003

A Shot in the Dark is the best movie in the Pink Panter series. The movie is gorgeously stylish and features Sellers as Clouseau when his incompetence was somewhat less than it would become in the later movies. In later PP movies, Clouseau is a complete non-human caricture but here he's just slightly off. The problem is that he's slightly off all the time. This movie is a stupid comedy but is played out with a strange sort of realism. The characters are actually very real and serious and almost seem to be waiting for someone like Clouseau to mess things up. Lom as Dreyfuss is tremendous. He's a dead on analytical man with tremendous competence who sees himself unravel as Clouseau's inadvertant reign of terror goes on. Watching this happen is one of the movie's joys with the best sequence being in Dreyfuss's office as he and Clouseau discuss the death of the four innocent people on Clouseau's night out with Maria. Lom is brilliant here as his serious and rational mind slowly combusts while Clouseau is as stoic as ever in his idiocy. The writing for this scene and how it plays out are genius. Lom earlier also gets to say one of the best lines in comedy: "Give me ten men like Clouseau, and I could destroy the world." The script is a comedic gem and the movie keeps a fantastic balance between comedic seriousness and complete breakdown. The humor is more restrained and elegant and comes off as almost being surreal at times in this setting where most of the participants are very sharp. The world that Clouseau happens to inhabit here is still the real world. Clouseau is really the only fantasy character in it. While the prat falls are done to overkill in some spots, the dead pan and underwhelming style of humor is some of the best I've ever since in film and the movie sticks with it.

8.0/10

27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Hilarious overkill, 1 March 2003

A Shot in the Dark is a better movie but The Pink Panther Strikes Again is the high water mark of the Pink Panther series. Most movie series' throw all inhibition out the window at one point or another and that is the case here. The movie is unrestrained folly with as much style as a hammer over the head. But it's so well done that the movie keeps it's pace of intense idiocy throughout with a slow storm of truly funny bits. The goofiness must never abate or the movie will be exposed and it doesn't abate. Sellers again plays Clouseau with bumbling incompetence. His dead pan style and seriousness in the face of his role is what makes it so great. He's clearly the only one who thinks he's a legitimate police officer and character to begin with. Clouseau's voice that was just slightly unintelligible in A Shot in the Dark is a complete parody here and it's an absolute joy every time I hear it. I can never keep a straight face any time Clouseau says the word 'room.' Only a great comedian can take something so simple and make it classic. Herbert Lom is as good as ever as the tormented Dreyfuss. He's more believably crazy than a lot of other actors I've seen try it. The scene where Clouseau accidentally abuses him at the mental health institute is priceless. One of the few scenes in comedy where I burst out laughing every time is when Dreyfuss steps on the rake and falls back into the water. You never see it coming the first time and it's a riot. The scenes in the gay bar are refreshingly funny despite the stereotypes that are a little less than kind. Clouseau's questioning of the staff is also one of the classic bits in comedy of completely brilliant overkill. His falling down the stairs off of the parallel bars is another burst out laughing moment, as well as when he accidentally whacks Mr. Stutterstut with the ball and chain stuck to his hand. The scenes with Cato are also better than they were in A Shot in the Dark. This movie does not have the gorgeous style or comedic genius of A Shot in the Dark but plays it's stupid humor better. After this, it was probably unnecessary to have any more Pink Panther movies as this was the over the top plot to end all plots. I absolutely love watching this movie.

7.6/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Short re-review, 1 March 2003

I'm writing this new review on memory as I've only seen AOTC once and gave it too high a grade based more on relief than anything that it was better than the awful Episode One. Yes the acting isn't great and there are problems with the film but the action was good and I liked the look better than E1. The fight scenes with Yoda were tremendously fun and the movie was more serious and interesting. Not a great film and not worth my 7.8 of earlier but not bad at all from my first impression of it.

6.8/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Couldn't be cooler if you stuck it in the snow in Alaska, 20 February 2003

This is one of the coolest and most fun movies I've ever seen. From Lee Van Cleef's definition of evil, to Eli Wallach's brilliant and intense passion to Eastwood's ambivalent cool, this movie delivers all the way. Van Cleef is the picture of menace. His evil isn't explained, he's just 'bad' with no questions asked. Tuco is the epitome of the frustrated and resilient loner. He really fights because he's kicked , not because he's 'evil.' However, his swarthiness and overall record gets him labelled as the 'ugly.' The sequence with his brother is unnecessary as Tuco didn't really need sympathy. We understand him fairly easily and don't need a scene detailing any of his fine points. That the rest of the film left him vague, like Van Cleef, was a strong point. Eastwood is cooler than cool as the unrealistic 'man with no name.' He's the fantasy character here amidst a sea of flesh and blood. The scenes are memorable, often brutal, and pull no punches. From Van Cleef's murders in the opener, when he steps over the dead body of a murdered son, to the comedic interplay of Eastwood's and Tuco's partnership, to Tuco's passionate and obsessive revenge, to Tuco's beating in the Civil War camp while the band plays on, etc, etc. The movie also shows the war in a realistic fashion with 'good' guys and 'bad' guys on both sides, as well as young kids in over their heads. Van Cleef isn't really in the movie much after the opening moments and Clint's character is scripted to be aloof. That leaves Wallach to carry the movie and he delivers. Tuco is one of the best characters I've seen in film. The end sequence is mesmorizing, although the death of Angel Eyes is a little anti-climactic. Tuco's sprint through the head stones while he searches for Arch Stanton's grave is dazzling. The music is considered legendary and rightly so. The plot is also spectacular, with humor, brutality, realism and man's greatest motivation, self-interest. The movie is really an ode to self-interest as the men involved fight for what's best for them and usually for no one else. There are a few negatives and they're mostly related. One is the massive length. So many things happen that you almost lose track and it's hard to concentrate throughout. The action also is an acquired taste and may seem dull to others. The scene where Eastwood and Tuco run into the soldiers and destroy the bridge adds to the length and is really unnecessary. Everything seems to fall flat during it, especially the drunk Union captain who's just a poor character to begin with. The sequence is seen as a moral lesson to war in some ways but doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. Plus it's really just padding. Clint and Tuco could have just encountered no one at the bridge and crossed it without having to blow up it up to chase away soldiers. The scene is needless and seemed expensive to boot. The other criticism is where Tuco and Eastwood are in the desert and encounter the amazing coincidence of Bill Carson's wagon coming along at just that moment. Too much of a reach. That's it for criticism. Fantastic film.

8.6/10

Needed a better vampire and expert, 31 December 2002

Son of Dracula is a very solid movie that is strengthened by it's supporting players, great atmosphere and standout performances by Robert Paige and Louise Allbritton. What the movie lacks is a strong lead vampire and vampire expert. Paige is outstanding in the lead as a man who borders on the insane and moves through the movie in a stunned stupor. Allbritton is the epitome of icy cold as the morbid woman who wants to become undead so that she can spend eternity with her real love. Frank Craven as Doctor Brewster does much of the work in the movie and is a strength as is the wonderful as always Evelyn Ankers. The atmosphere is thick and moody and the sets are the best in any Universal horror movie of the period that I've seen. The swampland literally leaps off the screen. Other shots like Dracula's coffin rising out of the water and the transformations from bat to vampire are excellent. The plot is also very good although it lacks action and stagnates easily. We know what's going on throughout most of it but it takes the cast forever to learn what we know. Chaney as Dracula's son is a major weakness. He doesn't have a suave bone in his body, his accent is completely American for a Hungarian count and his malevolence is stiff. We fear him maybe because he could beat us all up but not for anything supernatural. Plus he's not in the movie much at all over the last half. Another weakness is J. Edward Bromberg as Professor Lazlo. Bromberg is a good enough actor and the character is fine but he never gets to do anything. All he does is pretty much show up and say, "Yep, I knew that was coming." The ending is another strong point. It's actually very emotional as the half insane Frank makes the decision to kill his love instead of joining her. Son of Dracula has many merits but needed the bite that Edward Van Sloan and Bela Lugosi provided in Dracula.

6.7/10

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Great cast, great atmosphere but boring first three quarters, 30 December 2002

The Old Dark House mixes a top rate cast with a terrific atmosphere. The atmosphere is thick with howling winds, driving rain and dark shadows. The cast features Melvyn Douglas, Raymond Massey and Boris Karloff fresh off his Frankenstein success (the tape I bought even has a disclaimer in the beginning.) Gloria Stuart is also featured in her younger days and is a stunning knockout. The Femm family is deliciously macabre. Eva Moore as Rebecca Femm runs around spouting religious jargon while making Stuart's life a living heck. Ernest Thesiger as Horace Femm meekly is afraid of the night and more afraid of what is upstairs. Roderick Femm (played by a woman strangely) lies upstairs, laughing uncaringly at the danger that may be unleashed that night. The problem with The Old Dark House is that the first three quarters of the movie are mind numbingly boring other then the brief interplays between Femms and guests. The guests huddle around the fire and basically waste a huge chunk of the movie that could be spent utilizing the great talents on hand. Charles Laughton is particularly wasted as he eventually sleeps while an unnecessary love affair and a fight with Morgan are going on. Karloff is also somewhat wasted as Morgan just doesn't have much to do other then drinking and fighting. Thesiger also should have been used much more and much more effectively. The movie is saved by it's final portion and the terrific performance of Brember Wills as Saul. The tension builds until his eventual appearance (for some reason everyone gets locked up leaving Melvyn Douglas alone.) Wills is dynamite as the laughing, psychotic Saul and steals the movie. Other then his scenes, most of The Old Dark House isn't really even that much of a horror movie more than it is the story of a group of people stuck on a stormy night telling their life stories and even finding love. It's really just an extremely interesting collection of characters who are unusually candid about things and who have such loud personalities that they unfortunately relegate the crazy Femms to the background. This element makes the movie too watered down and cozy until the ending when it really gets fun. Had the movie been written with more suspense in the first three quarters, had it made the Femms more the central characters then the guests and had it been less cozy throughout, it would definitely be one of the greats because everything was right there. Instead it's just solid.

7.1/10

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Nothing happens, 30 December 2002

This is one of the more sluggish sequels in the Frankenstein series. Ygor finds the monster where he was left in Son of Frankenstein and they beat it before castle Frankenstein is blown up by the ever complaining villagers. Lightning hits the monster's pressure points but it's not enough apparently so he and Ygor go to the town where Ludwig Frankenstein lives so the monster can get stronger or something like that. The monster and Ygor stroll through the town square where the monster is naturally seen and eventually caught by virtually the whole village shortly after killing some brave but stupid villagers. The monster eventually ends up in the hands of Ludwig who plans on putting the brain of one of his dead assistants in the monster's skull. Ygor and Doctor Bohmer (Lionel Atwill who was in every horror movie ever made) secretly plan to insert Ygor's brain so they can rule the country or world or county or whatever. Nothing else happens as we wait to see the monster with Ygor's brain. That moment is brief but is a high point of the movie as we see the monster demonstrative and cackling with Ygor's brain. But Ygor doesn't have the same blood as the monster's so everything doesn't work right. I thought this was actually a very nice plot device. Ludwig's daughter and her boyfriend eventually walk away happily under the movie ending beautiful person formula while her father burns to death along with the monster (but not really of course.) Virtually nothing of interest happens in the movie between the beginning and the ending that we haven't seen before. That can also really be said of most of the sequels but it's even more dull here. If you've seen Ygor in Son then you've seen him here. Chaney is actually pretty good as the monster. His size works to his advantage here as he makes a very imposing monster. The interplay with the girl is actually pretty sick and probably could have been avoided. Evelyn Ankers graces the screen again with her presence. She's given more airtime here then in movies like Son of Dracula and is as gorgeous as ever. The sets are also classically universal. Hardwicke is not a great central character as he's just not interesting enough. Surprisingly bland.

6.3/10

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic, 30 December 2002

I did a review a while back for House of Dracula where I said that House of Frankenstein wasn't all that great. Upon seeing it again, I change that assessment enthusiastically. House of Frankenstein is not only tremendous but it's my favorite Frankenstein sequel since Bride. The movie is essentially in two parts although the first is shorter then the second. Call the first the Dracula segment and the second the Wolfman/Monster segment. Holding them together is Boris Karloff as Dr. Niemann who escapes from prison with his assistant Daniel and sets out to find the three men who sent him to prison. So many things happen in this movie that it's impossible to list them all. Niemann gets ahold of a traveling show and eventually enlists Dracula, who helps him to kill one of his enemies. This segment is slam blam with Dracula seducing a young woman, killing the burgomeister, running from the law and eventually dying amidst the dawn. It happens so fast and is done so well that it never has a chance to get old. The movie moves onto segment two and has Karloff finding the monster and Wolfman while searching for the always elusive Frankenstein notes. Daniel sees a gypsy girl upon entering the town and falls in love her. She, however, is repulsed by his deformed hump. J. Carrol Nash as Daniel actually becomes the main character in the movie. He is the sympathetic figure who loyally kills for and helps Niemann (while waiting for Niemann to give him a new body) while becoming the central figure in the Daniel/gypsy girl/Talbot triangle. He also draws the ire of the monster and almost kills Niemann before being rudely dispatched by the monster. J. Carrol Naish as Daniel is excellent. A lesser actor in the role may have seriously hurt the movie. Karloff doesn't have much to do other than be the mad doctor but his presence contributes mightily. Karloff is to horror films like Sean Connery was to Bond films. All he has to do is look at you to get your attention. Elena Verdugo is excellent as the gypsy girl Ilonka although her love scenes with Talbot come off a little stiffly. The "even a man who is pure at heart" werewolf mantra is also changed slightly. Lon Chaney does less whining and is more physical with his demands this go around. Even the mob of villagers is done differently. While searching for the Wolfman, one man says "We're early I guess." Another says, "Oh so he appears on schedule like a train is that it?" Niemann captures his other enemies and threatens all kinds of whacky brain transfers before the movie ends logically and satisfyingly. Low points are the near nothing role of the monster and the painted sets which sometimes look fake. Other sets are splendidly Universal. A really, really good straight up horror movie in the classic sense and my favorite Frankenstein sequel next to Bride.

7.2/10


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