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If you liked the Coens' "Ladykillers", you may like this
What can I say? With a cast that includes Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and an unrecognizable Tom Courternay, I figured it couldn't miss, but it just was pointless. Actually, it might have been decent if Diaz hadn't had twenty double espressos, and then been told she's very funny and that she needed to be even funnier. Unfortunately, she totally failed. I laughed out loud once.....at a fart joke. I had no idea that the Coen Brothers wrote this, but now I realize, they were getting back to their 'Ladykillers' roots. Big mistake. It really takes a lot for a movie to really tick me off. This did.
Red Rose of Normandy (2011)
War is hell.....but watching this is worse
First, looking at the 5 or 6 rave reviews, I'd have to guess that producer/director/star is up to his Amazon tricks of giving great reviews of his own product. Next, all the people who gave this piece of scheiss 2 or less stars were right on. One thing I must mention is that Struckmann needs to take a firearms safety course......the way he fires a pistol reminds me of nothing so much as Natalie Portman in 'Leon: The Professional', just hold the weapon up and start blasting. If this guy really "served 10 years in the ARMY and finished his Military service as an instructor in Germany" (as IMDb puts it), I hope it wasn't the US Army.....
The Forger (2012)
This is well done.....for a piece of crap
Really well photographed, "High class" music, great scenery, but the bottom line is: It seems like an ABC After School Special!! The synopsis from the DVD kiosk sounded interesting, and I had some hope until Hayden Panetierre made the scene. She didn't damage the film, and the girl is undeniably cute, but plot and believability completely went out the door at that point, and quite frankly, with a crap script like this, not even Hayden Christensen would have done much damage. Regarding Lauren Bacall, there were glimpses of what a smoker she was when she swept Bogart off his feet, but she, Alfred Molina, and Billy Boyd must be hurting financially to have done this. After the Youth Services officer finds Joshua's mother, WTF happened, except for her to call for "a black & white". Total dreck for the junior high school crowd. Make that 13 and under.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
I've got your a spoiler right here: this movie stinks!!!
Uma Thurman is not a very good actress. She's tall, & reasonably attractive, & sometimes blonde, but she was the poster-girl for the Uber-hip set in the late 80's/early 90's so for that set, she was a perfect choice as Cissy Hankshaw. Having read & loved this book, I knew she was not a good choice, and she was subsequently was named Worst Actress of 1993 for her terrible attempt to portray Cissy. Likewise, Rain aka Rainbow aka Rain Phoenix was also miscast, as well as not being talented enough to pull off what could have been a great role, that of Boss Cowgirl Bonanza Jellybean. Rain Phoenix didn't look as if she was reading off a TelePrompter, she looked like she was A)Wondering what a TelePrompter was & B)Wondering what to to with a TelePrompter once she figured out what it was. I've seen better acting in 1950's Mexican porn. Did I detect her lips moving before she attempted to deliver her lines? The reason she was not named Worst Actress of 1993 was that to win that award, she had to be an actress, which she clearly is not. Sean Young looked so sexy I almost forgot about her psychotic meltdown over James Woods, but she showed less acting ability than in her role in "Blade Runner". Angie Dickinson, that 60's-70's retread hearthrob of teenage males was nearly as bad as Phoenix & Thurman, but she had an excuse, she hadn't worked for many years, & seemed critically hungover. That's the bad news. The good news is, the rest of the cast was a hoot! Batting leadoff, the always weird & wonderful Carol Kane & Buck Henry(why don't those two have children?? What a great idea), John Hurt in drag, Crispin Glover, Pat Morita(as Noryuki)as The Chink("Ha Ha Ho Ho and Hee Hee!!"), Keanu Reeves was entirely adequate as Julian Gitchee, but any one of a number of Native American, Canadian, or Ecuadoran actors would have been a better choice, such as the lovely & talented Gary Farmer. Two other bones to pick: 1) Tom Robbins' favorite Native American tribe, is not pronounced See-Wash, but Sigh-wash and B) Why was the locale moved from the Dakotas to Deschutes County, Oregon, and then accused of being California(rather than just Californicated)? Stupid idea. I really loved Crispin Glover & John Hurt, but their performances are not enough to tempt me to watch this terrible movie again. The personnel not named Phoenix, Young, Dickinson, or Thurman are the reason this piece of crap gets as many as two stars. Like many reviewers, anger is my strongest emotion at this attempt to adapt a really good book.
Mean Machine (2001)
The bastard child of Greenfingers, Lock Stock, & Longest Yard
I just found this at my local library, and I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before. Now that I've seen it, I can see why it had gone unnoticed. Featuring a cadre of the main actors from "Greenfingers" and "Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels", when the opening credits rolled and I saw "Based on the film 'The Longest Yard'", I went "Uh oh". Being an American, is it unpatriotic of me to say I this is nearly the equal of the original? Of course, there's very few movies with Burt Reynolds that are worth more than a glance("Deliverance" being a huge exception). While "The Longest Yard" tried to be so hip and anti-establishment, "Mean Machine" is just fun, and we get to see David Kelly play a sweet old fart. Now there's a surprise, but he's so good at it! One-time sex symbol David Hemmings gets a big nod just for his eyebrows, which are massive, but he has this air of barely-controlled rage that I always enjoy, such as in "Last Orders", and I enjoyed seeing Vinnie Jones with long hair. Hey, it's only about an inch long, but that's long compared to most of his roles. There's some pathos, a tiny bit of sex, and some barely-adequate, mostly slapstick & boots in the groin humor. My favorite funny bit was the football commentary by Bob & Bob(Jason Flemyng & Jake Abraham), and the fact the guards' side wore kit that looked like Barstoneworth United("Ripping Yarns"- "Golden Gordon") All in all, as a prison movie, this is no "Green Mile". It's barely up with "Lucky Break". As a soccer/football movie, it's no "Goal!", but it's better than what I'd expect "Soccer Dog" was. It's fun, I was entertained, and that's not a bad thing. The only truly terrible thing is it forced me to look back at the work of Burt Reynolds for this review.
Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008)
If you love college football, see this. If you lived through '68 see it
Pegasus3 should change their name to "Clueless1". The title of this documentary QUOTES a headline on the Harvard Crimson after this game. If Pegasus3 found this a very boring documentary, that is their prerogative, but this isn't just about football, it's much more a peek into one of the most turbulent years in American and world history. Just look at 1968: the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, riots on college campuses, the protests by Tommie Smith & John Carlos at the Olympics in Mexico City, 1968 was a benchmark year for youth. Sure, the comments of the players are mostly about the game, but their insights into what else was happening at the time were great, such as the Yale player who was the roommate of George W. Bush telling that he had a picture of Bush hanging off the goalposts at Princeton(for which, we find out, Bush was arrested, and BTW, talk's cheap, let's see the picture!!), and another Yale player telling & showing us that he was dating Vassar co-ed Meryl Streep at this time. We find out that Tommy Lee Jones was the roommate of Bush's opponent, Al Gore. I remember hearing about this game after it occurred, but I never knew exactly what occurred, and though the title may say "Harvard Beats Yale", I love the fact that all the players feel like winners for experiencing it. Although I can't see how something called J. Hoberman of the Village Voice could mention a piece of junk like either version of "The Longest Yard" in the same paragraph with this great little film. Of course, Hoberman is from New York, and I don't think they've played college football in New York since back before Columbia lost 29 games in a row. I love college football. I lived through 1968. I loved "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29".
The Gray Ghost (1957)
I loved this show
I was reading the letters in the local fish-wrap's TV page yesterday, & somebody asked about The Gray Ghost, saying his friends thought he was crazy. I used to love that show....I couldn't think of any theme music for it, so had to content myself with the theme from "Swamp Fox"(of course, starring Lt Frank Drebbin, aka Leslie Nielsen as Francis Marion), but when I got to the part "...got no shelter when it rains, all we've got are Yankee brains.." I went, "Hey, that ain't right." Tried to find something on YouTube, but no luck, but actually, I think maybe I'd rather just remember it as really good. I've only run across a few shows that really have stood the test of time besides the mega-classics: I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, Real McCoys, Dobie, and The Bob Cummings Show/Love That Bob.
The Bounty (1984)
Underrated film, much closer to fact than earlier stabs
Some bonehead reviewer from TV Guide, who furnishes the film reviews for Comcast, calls "The Bounty" a "revisionist take on the original story". If the reviewer had more sources of research than Nordhoff and Hall's NOVEL, the horrible Brando version, and the really decent Clark Gable and Charles Laughton version, maybe they would realize the NOVEL and the movies are the revisionist takes. If one simply reads a biography of the main protagonists, or a scholarly book, the relationship that existed between cousins William Bligh and Fletcher Christian before Christian joined Bligh aboard Bounty becomes obvious. Actually, not even "The Bounty" shows the close friendship between Bligh and Christian. Christian abandoned his friend in a small boat, so he could sail off to a less brutal life than the Royal Navy, and Bligh completed one of the great small boat voyages in history, sailing an overloaded small boat by dead reckoning 1400 miles to a safe landing in the Dutch East Indies. The acting is excellent, the script spotty, the scenery to die for, and all in all, "The Bounty" is well worth a watch.
Bad News Bears??? Are you kidding???
Sorry, Charlie, but comparing "Bad News Bears" with "Bingo Long Traveling Allstars and Motor Kings" is like comparing "Hogans Heroes" and "Stalag 17"!! One is STRICTLY a bit of fun, and the other, while there are some laughs, explores a much more serious matter, albeit with the tongue planted firmly in cheek. Sure, you probably had a "Bad News Bears" lunch box, and Walter Matthau, Jodie Foster, and Jackie Earle Haley were just great in BNB, and there were some funny bits, but Bingo Long had much of its basis in fact, and it was one of the first films to explore a much too ignored historical fact, namely the Negro Leagues. James Earl Jones, as usual, is wonderful, and Richard Pryor didn't have to totally play his role for laughs as much as he was required to at this time in his career. Billy Dee Williams, who I feel didn't get nearly as many good roles as he deserved, was just great as Bingo Long. He was much better than in the terminally overrated "Lady Sings The Blues", also with Richard Pryor, but unfortunately up against Diana Ross' massive ego. I especially enjoyed spotting DeWayne Jessie(aka "Otis Day" of Animal House) as Rainbow. "Bingo Long" made me want to learn more about the Negro Leagues and barnstorming teams of the '30's like the House Of David.
The Flying Nun breaks her vows
This was a bit of breakout role for Sally Fields, after her title role in "Gidget" & as Sister Bird-trille in "The Flying Nun". True, she did have a strong role as a young rape victim in Harold Hecht's "The Way West", but except for that role and this, the years from '67 to '77 were pretty bleak ones for Sally Fields. I remember sitting up & watching this at my girlfriend's house, strictly because of Ms Fields. She was always such a doll, & I wanted to see her in something besides the G-rated fluff of "Gidget" & the flopping nun. It actually grabbed us right off, with the synopsis of a middle class girl dropping out, and trying to get back from lotus land(having known a few who did the same, and at least one who has never really recovered from a surprise dose slipped to her at a party). David Carradine as Flack? I didn't remember him in the movie, but his big scene doing a "dine & dash" is memorable "What's a pest control truck doing here? I'll never come here again!". The hippie dippy clothing & the psych-ay-delic flashbacks are pretty funny now, but what I really find interesting is when Ms Fields' character Dennie is warning her little sister(played by who? I used to think it was Sissy Spacek) about staying away from drugs, but instead of warning her to stay away from pot, LSD, or even coke, she warns her to stay away from Meth.....and as I remember, as the film ends, little sister is in full hippie dippy drag, hitching away from home, and the professional longhair Flack picks her up, as the mighty 30 horsepower of his VW van carries them off into the sunset.