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|299 reviews in total|
Pretty good drama from director Oliver Stone when he was still on top of his game. Great performances and dialogue. This is about a very successful talk show radio host that pushes the envelope on the controversial issues of the day. He is very witty, obnoxious and fast talking. This is a great vehicle for Eric Bogosian to show his talents and range and he is excellent here. Our shock jockey loves to be hated and draws the ire of a local white supremacist. This has an early appearance of Alec Baldwin and features frequent Oliver Stone collaborator John C McGinley. The film is a pretty good look at American society and brings social commentary with a cynical sense of humor. It is strange that I have not seen this film until more recently and is definitely an under rated movie for sure. Talk Radio is a cool film in my book, smart, funny and well performed.
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Aftermath is a very realistic and grim downbeat drama taken from two different perspectives. This is based on a true story where two planes collided in air. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bereaved Russian immigrant who has lost his wife and daughter(who was pregnant) in the crash. This is his story of grief, loss and redemption. Arnold gives a very good performance here and gives a very morose and somber performance. It is also taken from air traffic controller played by Scott McNairy who also gives a very good performance as well. This for sure deals with this tragedy in a very real way and shows suffering from both sides. This indie drama is very interesting and a change of pace for Arnold for sure. This is pretty much an anti action film, but if you enjoyed Arnold's last film Maggie, you might find this to be of interest as well. Some might be disappointed that this is a drama, but it is well made, has a dark plot and good performances. In my opinion, this was a great vehicle for Arnold to show his acting ability and brings depth and emotion to this film. I hope that Arnold does occasionally return to making action, but as long as he has a good project, I don't mind him changing it up a little bit with solid films like this.
I have not read the book, but I did enjoy the film. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil" is a pretty solid noirish mystery story with some odd, quirky characters and interesting twists and turns. This is based on a true story, but it is a film so some of the facts and details have been changed from the original story. The story is told from the point of view of John Kelso(Cusack) a writer who becomes embroiled with a murder case and encounters some truly interesting people from the Savannah, Georgia area. We have the Lady Chablis(who plays herself in the movie), a transsexual stand up comedienne, Minerva, a practitioner of voodoo, a man that walks an imaginary dog and a nut job that keeps flies attached to his shirt and threatens to poison the water supply.(that character is played by Eastwood regular, Geoffrey Lewis) John Cusack gives a good performance here, but is nearly outshined by Kevin Spacey, who plays a rich eccentric on trial for murder. Also worth noting is Clint's daughter Alison Eastwood appears and is gorgeous and love interest for leading man John Cusack. The film looks and sounds good and in spite of its oddness or quirkiness plays as a well made and classy film. Interesting film for sure, I definitely need to check out the book.
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Gran Torino is one of Clint's finest performances. He plays a grumpy retired, racist Korean war vet that becomes a hero of the neighborhood for preventing neighbor Thao from being taken by his gangbanger cousin. Walt had no intention of helping his Hmong neighbors, he was just trying to get them off his lawn. He ends up finding a kinship with his neighbors and a bond between them grows. While bonding with Thao and teaching him to become a man, he learns about the Hmong culture and ends up giving up his racist ways. The film the takes a dark turn as is expected when dealing with gangs. This is very well put together overall with a lot of wit and humor with one of Clint's most powerful performances in front of the screen. As one of Clint's biggest fans, I sincerely hope that he is not done acting yet. I didn't think I would like Trouble With The Curve, but Clint is great in that too. I would watch Clint read a phone book.
The Outlaw Josey Wales is not only one of Clint's finest westerns, it is a stone cold classic and one of the best films ever made. This does have a lot of the elements of his classic "The Man With No Name" persona, but in this picture he has a name(Josey Wales) and more depth and humanity(which he regains through the course of the film). This post civil war western is an epic achievement and clocks in at nearly 3 hours, but moves by quickly and looks and sounds amazing. The themes of family, friendship, sorrow, revenge, betrayal and redemption are conveyed very well in this film, as well as the brutality of war which has long term ripple effects that are explored here as well. While the film does have a dark post war tone, there is still room for warmth and humor through Wales eccentric companions as well as the occasional Eastwood one liners here and there. Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, John Vernon, Bill McKinney and the rest of the supporting cast is top notch. Clint made lots of outstanding film throughout his career, but The Outlaw Josey Wales is a unique and special kind of film that is so well done and always a pleasure to watch.
Appaloosa is an excellent western directed and starring Ed Harris. This is my favorite modern western to come out after Clint Eastwood's masterpiece Unforgiven. The film looks sharp and is a very original, intelligent western with a few interesting twists and turns, well developed characters, powerhouse performances and a story that flows very well. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson have great chemistry and work very well together as Sheriff Virgil Cole and his deputy Everett Hitch. Renee Zellweger gives a very good performance as love interest Ms. French. Jeremy Irons is a great villain and a very intelligent and interesting character. A brief, but memorable appearance is made by Lance Hendrikson(one of my favorite actors). While there is plenty of violence in this picture, it is not a shoot em' up western. However, Appaloosa is a remarkable film that is absolutely top shelf with lots of depth, psychology and is extremely well put together overall. This film is very under rated in my opinion and Ed Harris and company absolutely deserved some Academy awards nominations for making this remarkable film.
Totally unrelated to the Sam Raimi directed Sharon Stone film of the same title and much better too. The Quick And The Dead is a very under rated made for HBO western starring very authentic cowboy actor Sam Elliot. The film is very well made, looks great and is based off a book by Louis L'Amour. The pace is quick and is action packed. Performances are good and the dialogue is sharp. The film is very much in the same style as Shane and Pale Rider. Matt Clark of The Outlaw Josey Wales fame was a great villain. Sam Elliot was a natural for this role and was excellent here as leading man. The Quick And The Dead is excellent entertainment and will not let down fans of the genre.
The Professionals is a great ensemble cast western. This "men on a mission'' movie has an all star cast of Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode. These men are brought together by Ralph Bellamy, a rich Texas millionaire to retrieve his wife from a Mexican rebel(Jack Palance). To get back Mrs. Maria Grant gets the four men a big payday, so they cross the border to grab the lovely Claudia Cardinale for their wealthy employer. The film is very well made, action packed with lots of great character development and excellent witty dialouge. While behind the scenes I guess Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster did not get along, they have excellent chemistry here and had given great performances. The film looks great and is very well put together overall. The Professionals is a very apt title, not just for plot sake, but the entire cast and crew took this very seriously and made a very good film that is hard to beat. If you are a fan of similar productions like The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch(which both came out later than this), The Professionals is essential as well and is an amazing movie.
The Wild Bunch is not only one of the best westerns ever made, but is easily one of the best films ever made. Hands down. This is Sam Pecinpah's masterpiece that was very controversial at the time of its release for its shedding of western clichés or conventions and for violence. As far as violence goes there was already Bonnie And Clyde, but The Wild Bunch far surpasses Bonnie And Clyde and to this day, is the most violent western I have ever seen. The Wild Bunch more than delivers on bloody action and I am sure audiences nearly lost their lunch as violence had never been portrayed so graphically or realistically before. The film is about violence and that is the world that our main characters are part of as outlaws in the early 1910's. While the violence/slow mo blood splattering is a lot of what the film is about, this is a very well written, directed and acted film with great dialouge, exceptional camera-work and a great score by Jerry Fielding. The characters are interesting and complex, with layers and quirks. Performances are the best of the best and the actors had exceptional chemistry. With a brilliant cast of William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and others you really can't miss. However, even the lesser characters are interesting and have a lot to do. In my mind, The Wild Bunch is a flawless masterpiece and if this is a film you can't appreciate, you have poor taste.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Director John McTiernan put himself on the map big time with box office hits and action classics Predator and Die Hard. Predator next to Conan The Barbarian is by far my favorite Schwarzenegger film and in my opinion his best performance to date. The film has a lot in common with much of Arnold's output at the time, but is also unique and one of his most well made cinematic efforts overall. Predator is a hybrid of Aliens, Commando and The Dirty Dozen. What starts out as a routine rescue mission turns awry when Arnie's alpha male special forces team of commandos starts getting picked off by an unknown enemy. You know if Arnold's group of seasoned bad ass soldiers are afraid of what is hunting them, I am as well. While there is less screen time for the ensemble cast, they all performed well and are memorable bad ass characters. Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham,Richard Chaves and Shane Black were all excellent and were eliminated by high tech alien hunter/warrior the Predator. The special f/x are state of the art and is due to the brilliance of special f/x wizard Stan Winston. The tone of the film is right and is very well written and put together overall. There is not a lot of time for humor here, but there are a lot of memorable one liners and all the firepower and pumped up testosterone that should please the most jaded action fans. The sci fi and horror elements are prevalent as well and along with James Cameron's masterpiece Aliens, Predator is the best sci fi/action/horror hybrid of its time and all time.
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