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The Gypsy Moths (1969)
Awful, Just Plain Awful
Oh brother is this film a misfire! Awful does not even begin to describe it. I flew to Kansas to meet with the director to pitch a project and he was so drunk I walked out of the meeting. No wonder this film is such a mess. By the time he made the film he was a basket case and every minute of this dreadful film says that. There is so much that is wrong with it that it really is hard to begin but for me the scene in a topless bar was the last straw. The last thing I needed to see were a bunch of twirling breasts in my face! And to top that even poor Deborah Kerr was talked in to exposing herself in a love scene. Oh my God! After The King and I and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison! Oye!
South Pacific (1958)
This film almost works until it introduces the sub-plot which is so blatantly racist I simply walked out. When I researched the film and learned its debut on Broadway was in 1949, I could understand how the producers could get away with a storyline as embarrassing and silly as this one is. Ten years later on the big screen the story did not improve a bit and in fact seemed even worse than it should have been. Perhaps I am being too politically correct but there are boundaries you know and you simply do not insult an entire culture by giving the impression their pretty daughters are for sale. Geez! There are some great things about the film - the color for one, Mitzi Gaynor for another and Ray Walston who practically walks away with it - but the sub-plot which is introduced somewhat late in the film is so awful that I just cannot recommend this film to anyone.
Love Among the Ruins (1975)
This film is a triumph in every respect. But it is an oddity, that's for sure. How could so much talent, money and effort be put into a movie for television? You have to wonder what the TV executives were thinking. Perhaps they wished to elevate the level of television by producing such an extravagant production, unlike anything seen on TV at that time. Yet, not many years later the most elaborate television production of all time - Brideshead Revisited - appeared on PBS of all places and redefined the concept of television production it was so elaborate. But it really is Ruins that raised the bar for movies on television having established a standard that had not been achieved thus far. And what a standard.
Not The Worst Film Ever Made But Close
This film is positively dreadful. In fact, it's so bad I actually started laughing as I watched it wondering how any studio executive could sit in his luxurious private screening room and not groan at how utterly awful this film is. Where does one even begin? Well, let's start with the story of the Camelot legend. Gee, folks, it's about adultery. How modern! Just what I want to see - adultery - as if there isn't enough unfaithfulness in the movies we have to get it in what is supposed to be a mythical legend. But it gets even worse. The Queen falls for a Knight and to hide her lust for him she arranges to have him dispatched in a jostling match. Nice girl! Gee, with women like that who needs enemies? And this girl is supposed to be a heroine! Oh dear, what happened to true fair maidens like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music or Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the Rain?
He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
This is truly an excellent flick. I enjoyed every minute of it. The cast is utter perfection. The story absolutely rings true and I did not detect a single sour note. The performances were uniformly first rate. The cast - both male and female - were just plain fun to look at they are so pretty - especially Jennifer Connelly and Bradley Cooper - yikes what sparks were flying - had my juices running full steam. This is a fun movie but it has something serious to say too - it's not all roses - after all life has its thorns and we have to live with them and surpass them the best we can. This film is very inspirational and upbeat because with all the fun it still manages to make you feel like life is okay and the human race isn't so bad after all. I guess it is what you would call a good feeling movie and that pretty much sums it up.
To Catch a Thief (1955)
I've just started watching this film on its new DVD format and it's a sight to behold indeed but the plot is the dumbest thing to come down the pike in years! To begin with, we are to believe that Cary Grant, a reformed jewel thief, was in prison serving his term when the prison was bombed and he escaped only to join the resistance and become a hero in the process therefore absolving himself of all past crimes. Give me a break! And we are to believe this tripe? I'll watch the rest of it because I am a big Grace Kelly fan and she made so few films but whereas she looks absolutely breathtaking, Grant is way too tanned and almost looks African-American in some scenes. Why they didn't tone him down is something I will never understand. I'm giving it a 5 only because of Grace Kelly but between the absurd plot and Grant's absurd looks a 5 is the best I can do.
Bad Boy Street (2012)
Surprising and Delightful
This film has a certain innocence that one just doesn't see in films these days. I'm really not sure why or even exactly how to define it, but watching this film make me feel like a kid on the verge of life's discovery. Giddy and excited, pure as the driven snow too. And I think that says pretty much not just how this film affected me but how it was written as though we lived in a new age of innocence in which everyone was untainted with sin. This probably has a lot to do with the individual who made this film and his view of the world, that we are innocent and live in innocence until proved guilty. Happily there is no guilt in this movie - it is all innocent joy, filled with a light hearted zest that makes your head swim. If more films were like this it would be a much better world and who knows perhaps this film is the beginning of a new wave of film that celebrates life rather than denigrates it.
Brilliant and Shocking
This film is without a doubt the most shocking film I have ever seen. It's difficult to say just how the writer/director came about doing this film but a couple of things come to mind. I could not help think of the way Hitchcock would prepare the viewer for a shocking scene by almost lulling the viewer to sleep so that when the big scene takes place you practically jump from your seat and go running for the nearest exit. I'm thinking of Psycho, of course. Here, a virtually identical event takes place and there was no exit for me to run to so I had to stay in my chair and sit out perhaps the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed in a movie or in real life. It is shockingly presented and you sit there frozen thinking to yourself this can't be happening. Everything that happens before the big scene and everything that happens after are completely out of context with the big scene itself and the writer/director has done this precisely the way Hitchcock did it in Psycho. There is an element of abstraction that really hits you hard and you just cannot stop thinking about what you have just seen. In fact, the more I think about this film the more I realize how torn and twisted men are when it comes to lust and the flesh and that the biggest struggle men have is overcoming their sexual desires especially when they are twisted and sick as in this fellow's case. It really is impossible for women to fully grasp just how horrific it is for men in many cases to overcome the flesh and to behave in a humane and decent way. Men are tortured there is no question about it and the man in this film is a perfect example of how wrong a man can go even though on the surface he lives a good life.
This film is brilliant for a number of reasons. The performances of the four leads are equally wonderful to such an extent that you are kept at the edge of your seat virtually every moment. It is amazing how equally wonderful all four leads are so that you really cannot pick out a single performance as standing alone from the others the four leads are so perfectly matched. The script, based on the play by the author is really absolutely first rate - intelligent - witty -urbane - sophisticated - you name it - very timely and right on the money in terms of current relationships. It's the kind of film you can watch again and again because there is so much going on you can barely keep up with it - like a roller-coaster of emotions.
Rich and Famous (1981)
The B's Have It
Bergen and Bisset! What a blazing combo! Only George Cukor could have created such an incredible double tour de force as he has here. The performances of Candice Bergen and Jacqueline Bisset are positively cosmic keeping the viewer at the edge of his seat every riveting moment. The dialogue is intelligent, witty and timeless and the men are ravishing. Boy does Cukor have an eye for the guys! It's amazing how much sex they were able to squeeze into such a literary story! I was amazed. And even when the sex was gratuitous I didn't mind in the least not when the package is as sublime as it is here. Oh brother! Hose me down!