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58 reviews in total 
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An amazing piece of filmmaking, 27 April 2016

1958's 'A night to remember' is, and should be considered the definitive movie detailing the infamous doomed liner 'Titanic' sunk on her maiden voyage, in April 1912.

Watching this film in High definition, it is abundantly clear, that this is a class job of movie making. The sets, which are extraordinary, the effects, which to my eye are still wonderful, and most importantly the characters and story, are all done to an extraordinary standard. You really do feel that you are a fly on the wall, or even more terrifyingly, a passenger on the doomed ship. I found myself so engrossed in the goings on that I wanted to shout to the passengers to run to the lifeboats! Shot by the incomparable Geoffrey Unsworth, the film is a feast for the eyes, detailing the splendor of the Gilded Age, and the interior of the recreated Titanic. Even that, though would be a lost effort, if not for the wonderful cast and script taken from Walter Lord's book of the same name.

According to the trivia section actual survivors were on hand to lend their expertise. Absolutely incredible. Of all the tragedies that have befallen the world, the sinking of the Titanic continues to fascinate the public. With so many unanswered questions, theories, what-ifs, stories, and lives lost, the Titanic will continue to fascinate for another 100 years. This film really does the story justice, a must watch!

Avanti! (1972)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Senza Fine, 31 January 2016

Coming at the beginning of what would become Billy Wilder's least successful period, Avanti! Is an utterly charming, lovely film that sadly did not see the success that perhaps it should have. The ALWAYS great Jack Lemmon is Walter Armbruster Jr, a Titan of industry, who arrives on the Italian island of Ischia to collect the remains of his departed father, killed in a car accident while on his annual one month rejuvenation vacation at an Italian spa and resort. Juliet Mills, as Ms Piggott, is an Englishwoman who has arrived with the same task, although it is her mother she has come to claim. When informed by Ms Piggott that his father used his month long sabbatical as an excuse to spend time with his English mistress, Armbruster is crestfallen. How could he reconcile the family man he knew with the man he now sees he really was?

Avanti really is about a father son relationship, about how the people we look up to and think we know can and are just as flawed as anyone else. But even those flaws can reveal things, like the true love that existed between the late couple. As Armbruster Jr. wonders how he will get his father home for his lavish funeral that is expected, he begins to realize that what he wants for his father, and what his father really wanted may be two separate things. Along the way, he also comes to terms with his own stifling marriage and his own image as a devoted husband. Will love show him another way?

As well as fine performances from the leads, we get an extraordinary performance from Clive Revill as the maitr'e d hotel, Carlo Carlucci, who gets almost all the best lines (and hits them out of the park) to see his performance, and realize it is not an Italian actor, is incredible!

Take some time to watch Avanti! Then take some more and watch it again, it really is a wonderful film, and one of Wilder's forgotten gems.

30 out of 59 people found the following review useful:
An insult to Twilight Zone, 30 December 2014

I watched the opening episode of this series in that faint hope that a series would come along that MAYBE had some really timeless qualities that the Twilight Zone had, namely, smart, innovative, fantasy, horror, science fiction. What I came across was an absolute waste of time. After watching the series opener "National anthem" I was horrified. Horrified that someone would conceive and execute such a vile, disgusting piece of television such as this. Instead of fantasy, charm, literacy, and magic, we get an absolutely disgusting piece of rubbish. Rod Serling is turning over in his grave after this garbage was likened to TZ by Netflix. Everyone involved in this should be embarrassed, but I doubt that's possible anymore in the world we live in. But I guess that was the point wasn't it? Please do yourself a favor and watch literally anything but this.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as you've heard, 27 October 2014

I was lucky enough to find this movie posted on that famous video site, and sat down for what I thought was going to be a disaster. Billy Wilder's final film, as I've read and heard, was a disaster. Awful, a terrible end to the most brilliant of film careers. Well, after watching "Buddy Buddy" I find that I don't agree with that harsh assessment.

Jack Lemmon plays his usual role, the put on Everyman. But to say that in a negative light is wrong. He played that character so well, that it is a pleasure to see him do it again. This time, he is trying to win back his estranged wife of 12 years, who has left him for a sex clinic doctor.

Playing against type, is Walter Matthau playing a hit-man who has one last job to complete before retirement and a life of leisure on an island near Tahiti. As fate would have it, both men find themselves in the same hotel with much different objectives. Lemmon to end his life, and Matthau to end a mob snitches life, before he's able to testify in a big trial.

Needless to say, hijinks ensue, and in my opinion, some really funny scenes. I won't spoil it, but give Buddy Buddy a chance. Is it "The Odd Couple"? No. Is it worth a watch for some harmless entertainment? Absolutely.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good, but could have been so much better, 26 March 2014

They say the third time is the charm, but I might tend to think that this movie proves the law of diminishing returns. To be fair though, the first two Superman movies were SO good, with such great stories and talented casts, that even had all the elements come together for a third film with all the original cast and crew, it still might not measure up. Oh what could have been though! After being fired while directing Superman II, Richard Donner (Who directed the original) was replaced by British filmmaker Richard Lester, who, a competent director in his own right, was maybe not the right fit for the tone of the original Superman films. Out was the somewhat dark, serious film, and in was the overly slapstick style that began in the middle of Superman II.

Returning to direct the third installment, Lester again throws sight gags at us as if it was his job. The opening montage starts out with a bank robbery then slides down the slope into pratfalls, and pie in the face routines. Richard Pryor as computer genius August 'Gus' Gorman, lays it on a bit thick, and is really wasted in what could have been a better part. But really, there lies the problem with Superman III. Instead of battling Lex Luthor, or Zod, Superman is set upon by Richard Pryor, a boring business tycoon and a supercomputer! Instead of a known villain, we get jobbed. As if the producers just didn't care to invest the time into really writing a strong story with a great conflict.

What they do accomplish however, is staging some very good action sequences, whereby Superman saves the day in several different scenes. The most exciting in my opinion, being the fight between the 'Good' and 'Evil' Superman, a high point for the series. In addition, the back story of Clark's life in Smallville is brought to the fore as we are introduced to Lana, Clark's high school crush, (Annette O'Tool) in a fun trip back to where it all began for Clark on Earth.

Kudos must go to Christopher Reeve for his portrayal of three characters, Clark Kent, Superman, and Bizzarro Superman. He was a wonderful talent and this movie really shows off his acting chops. The rest of the cast holds their own, but the script is not up to par, so you really can't blame them. What could have been a GREAT cap to the series is only a fair effort, a shame as this was the last gasp of a great series of films.

One of the best Holmes adventures, 10 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Christopher Plummer and James Mason step into two of the most famous roles in literature, those being Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this absolutely wonderful tale set during the Jack the Ripper murders in whitechapel. What sets this movie above many others in not only the Sherlock Holmes adventures but the thriller genre itself is the excellent script, along with the totally convincing performances by the leads.

This movie totally draws you in to its dark and sometimes horrifying world, where the seamy underbelly of Victorian life is on display. Congratulations must go the production designer who immerses us in the London fog and dark backstreets of 1880's England. Add a beautiful, haunting score and wonderful direction and this rivals the best thrillers I've ever seen. Highly recommended!

A wonderful cast and an even better movie, 22 July 2013

A remake of 'Here comes Mr Jordan', 'Heaven can wait' is a absolutely wonderful 1970's fantasy/comedy with a cast that really makes the movie. Warren Beatty in one of his best roles, is Joe Pendleton, a pro quarterback who unexpectedly dies while training for his football comeback. When he reaches the afterlife, he learns that there was a mistake and that he was taken too early. Unable to return to his old body, after it is cremated, a suitable replacement must be found.

Entering the body of a wealthy industrialist murdered by his valet, Neil Farnsworth, Pendleton must decide what is really important to him, returning to football glory, or staying as Farnsworth to help a beautiful woman who comes to Farnsworth for help.

The film is a treat. Beautifully shot, with soft lighting, and wonderfully acted by a GREAT cast including James Mason as the angel Mr Jordan, Charles Grodin as the murderous valet, Jack Warden, Dolph Sweet, Dyan Cannon, and the beautiful Julie Christie as Beatty's love interest. A filmed really tinged with sadness in its own way, but a beautiful love story, it should not be missed. Highly recommended.

Fedora (1978)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Wilder's next to last, 18 February 2013

After just finishing Ed Sikov's wonderful biography of Billy Wilder, I got interested in this movie, seeing as it was another pairing of Wilder and one of my favorite actors, William Holden. Shot in 1978, it has a very dream like quality to it, due to the cinematography, which adds to the somewhat creepy atmosphere of the movie.

Trying to track an elusive movie star who has retired to a Mediterranean villa to star in his latest film, Barry Detweiller (Holden) cannot seem to catch the elusive beauty. Her compound is secluded, and all access is restricted. His calls and letters go unanswered. But he must get in to see the elusive Fedora.

After sneaking in to the compound, Detweiller believes he has caught his quarry. But a strange turn of events, reveal to him that all is not what it seems in paradise. Wilder's next to last film, is something of a return to his great "Sunset Blvd' featuring another Joe Gillis like character, and a another Norma Desmond as well. The two movies do bookend each other I believe, and if you are a fan of the former, you should try and see the latter.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wilder's Sherlock Holmes, 10 February 2013

This was not a film that would have figured for the irrepressible Billy Wilder, after all there is not a undercurrent of severe cynicism, or the usual brilliant wordplay Wilder is known for. That is not to say that 'The private life of Sherlock Holmes' doesn't measure up, quite the contrary! This really is a fun, well told story from the lost files of Dr John Watson, who, while narrating the movie from beyond the grave, (ahh a Billy Wilder touch after all!) tries to give the audience and himself some clue as to the real Sherlock Holmes.

Beginning with Holmes and Watson returning from a recently completed case, we see Holmes, bored, taking up a syringe which to inject cocaine. It seems that Holmes, when bored between cases, uses to try and stimulate his incredible mind. Disapproving, Watson is hopeful a new case will come along to break Holmes from his cocaine fit. While waiting, Holmes and Watson are invited to attend the Russian ballet performance of Swan Lake where Holmes is offered a very interesting arrangement!

Not long later, the meat of the movie starts with a mysterious guest arrives at 221B Baker st, and we are off on a grand adventure. Played by Robert Stephens, and Colin Blakely, Holmes and Watson do make a fun pairing. Trying to watch any sherlock Holmes adaptation without Jeremy Brett, is always going to look odd, but these two are very good. Stephens plays up Holmes' distrust of women, while Blakely is a mite too overdone for my taste, but as a whole, the cast is uniformly excellent. Lushly photographed on location in London and Scotland, this film is a treat for the eyes. With an absolutely fantastic score, by Miklos Rozsa, the finale is especially touching. An even nicer surprise is Christopher Lee as Mycroft Holmes, in a wonderful performance.

In researching this movie, I found out that Billy Wilder had originally scripted this movie as a series of different cases in the same movie, but the footage that was shot was lost. What a shame, it would have made an already excellent film so much better. Highly Recommended!

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Absolute train wreck, 19 January 2013

Caught this movie on Netflix, and I had to watch most of it through my hands because it is so humiliating for everyone involved. The movie revolves around an apartment complex in LA that kids and their parents stay in while the networks cast new TV pilots.

The movie follows a group of kids and their parents as they go on auditions, meet casting agents, and directors, and try to find jobs. The kids seem very nice, but it is sad that 99.9% of the people going to Hollywood to pursue their (or their parents?) dreams of stardom will wind up with nothing to show for all of the THOUSANDS of dollars spent, months away from family and friends, scams suffered, and humiliation of constant rejections. The whole underbelly of the Hollywood machine is open to see, and it is not pretty. No one has the guts to tell these parents that their little boy or girl is just not going to make it, as they see just another sucker they can wring a few dollars from. "You need different head shots" is a familiar refrain (Neglecting to tell you that the photographer of those head shots is their husband)

The saddest thing is that these aren't kids in the normal sense, they have been taken over by their overriding ambition to be "somebody" Instead of living a normal childhood, they are already sounding, and resembling like slick adults. It is sad to watch this movie and think of all the wasted time and money, but even sadder to think of the wasted youth. Highly recommended

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