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Will & Grace (1998)
the nay-sayers are clueless...it's brilliant!
Just a little note to all of those that have said this show is unfunny or does not cause you to laugh...It requires a sense of humor, an open mind and some intelligence for one to find it amusing. Just thought I'd clarify.
Oh, and would the Emmy people PLEASE hand Debra Messing her overdue award and give Shelley Morrison some recognition as well?
Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
Mind-boggling inconsistencies hurt this film badly
For many, the idea of yet another sequel to PSYCHO(1960) seemed unlikely after the way 1986's PSYCHO III concluded. This is the first of many discrepencies from the first three films that plauge PSYCHO IV:THE BEGINNING(1990). It is extremely unlikely that Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) could have been released from the sanitarium, although introducing an "understanding" wife who persuaded all the right people to let him out again actually does work in a strange way. But PSYCHO IV doesn't simply choose to ignore the events of PSYCHO III, as there are a couple of references to it, notably when Norman mentions those last murders four years earlier, creating yet another inconsistency : PSYCHO III took place mere weeks after PSYCHO II (1983) and therefore was NOT four years before PSYCHO IV, more like seven. Add to this that Norman said in PSYCHO II that he was twelve when he poisoned his mother. In this film he is much older when the actual act is shown, which occurs in Norma Bates's bedroom (which suddenly has a bathroom door added that wasn't there years later, another inconsistency). Finally there's the biggest contradiction of them all : the cause of Norman's father's death. Killer bees? Did Norma lie to young Norman to cover up the "love triangle" drama dealing with Norma's sister Emma Spool that resulted in this man's death? Norman would have found out about it eventually, as it was shown in PSYCHO III it was all over the local newspapers when Roberta Maxwell's character was doing the research on it. My point in all of this? The filmmakers were either careless or did screenplay writer Joseph Stefano not take the initiative to watch the other films in order to prevent plot holes? You would think that even so that Anthony Perkins, who himself had DIRECTED the previous installment would have had these errors corrected either before or during production.
As for the film itself, there are many good things. Olivia Hussey is wonderful as Norma (although she should have lost the accent; Norma wasn't British) and it is quite a thrill to actually see what the famous Victorian house looked like when it was new in the flashbacks (It was YELLOW!) Perkins is good as usual in this role and the pacing, drifting back and forth between past and present is good. It's a terrible shame that the unexplainable inconsistencies make it hard to watch. C+
The Making of 'Jaws 2' (2001)
This documentary created especially for the DVD version of JAWS 2 is an excellent source for information on the making of this moderately successful 1978 sequel. It is a shame, however, that the only cast member to give insight is Keith Gordon. It would have been nice to see Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Jeffrey Kramer, Ann Dusenberry and others provide some comments as well. Still, director Jeannot Szwarc, producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown and screenwriter Carl Gottlieb provide some excellent production stories to help make up for it. Grade : B
Not your average fish story...
Widely regarded as the film that began the "summer movie blockbuster era", JAWS (1975) was also rightfully one of the year's most critically acclaimed movies. It was also the recipient of an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture and a winner of Oscars for film editing (Verna Fields) and music score (John Williams). One of the reasons the film received no acting nods is that everyone involved is so good, how could one single out just one or two? (I personally feel Robert Shaw should have gotten a Best Actor nomination, however). Roy Scheider is wonderful as New York cop Martin Brody, who has relocated to a small coastal island town, only to have his bad case of "aquaphobia" put to the ultimate test. Richard Dreyfuss is perfectly cast as a shark expert and provides some truly funny comic bits along the way. Lorraine Gary (who director Steven Spielberg says was the first person to be cast for the film) does an excellent job of being the concerned wife and mother. Finally, there's Murray Hamilton, who gives one of the best performances of his career as Mayor Vaughn, who seems to be more concerned about the economy of the town than the safety of the residents. In a way, Vaughn is really the film's villain. Solid cast indeed. The screenplay (by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb) is tight and well-written, as is Spielberg's direction. Whether it was the mechanical shark's failure to operate correctly or Spielberg's decision to simply see less of the shark until the end of the film, the "less is more" idea works perfectly, particularly in the opening scene, which is chilling to this day.
One thing I do want to add: if you choose to watch this film at home, do yourself a favor and rent or buy the WIDESCREEN version. The full-screen pan and scan version is a travesty that ruins the great camerawork that Spielberg and cameraman Bill Butler made. I always recommend the widescreen version but it is especially important for JAWS.
No offense to fans of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, but this is the film that should have taken home the Oscar gold. Grade: A+
a first rate movie musical
Widely considered to be one of the finest movie musicals of the seventies, TOMMY (1975) also has the distinction of being one of the most entertaining films of the seventies as well. It should be noted that it is not for all tastes and those who dislike it only do because it is so unique and unusual. I will say, however, that the film played a lot better on the big screen in 1975 than on the small screen now. The remastered DVD helps out a great deal in that department. The remarkable cast is amazing and the standout here, without a doubt, is Ann-Margret. Her Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated performance is a knockout. She conveys a wide range of emotions, all the while carrying a tune. Not a small feat for a film of this type. Roger Daltrey, in the title role, obviously knew the part like the back of his hand, and the camera loves him. The late Oliver Reed (GLADIATOR) gives one of the finest performances of his career. His singing ability is more than questionable, but this particular role didn't really require the best singer. The rest of the cast consists mostly of guest star cameos that includes Tina Turner (perfectly cast as the Acid Queen), Elton John (whose version of "Pinball Wizard" was a hit, as was the film's soundtrack) Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, and Paul Nicholas as Tommy's demented cousin. Jack Nicholson (who co-starred with Ann-Margret in CARNAL KNOWLEDGE just a couple of years earlier) also appears as The Specialist in one of my favorite sequences. TOMMY also has a reputation of being extremely influential, made at a time before MTV existed. Director Ken Russell wanted to create a film unlike anything ever before seen and he succeeded. There's even a bit of insightful social commentary toward the end of the movie, which doesn't always work, but it does here. Also Oscar nominated for TOMMY was Pete Townshend (for his adaptation of the Who's classic 1969 concept album). Producer Robert Stigwood later gave us GREASE (1978) and EVITA (1996)and made TOMMY a major critical and box office success. Just as the tag line for the film puts it, your senses will never be the same. Grade :A