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GRADUATE OF ERASMUS HALL HIGH SCHOOL
The Gangster (1947)
Barry Sullivan gave a performance lacking total emotion in the film. He shows absolutely no expression as the head of the rackets along with shop owner, Akim Tamiroff. The latter does a fine job of acting as a man caught up in the rackets even though he constantly talks of his wife and home life.
John Ireland is quite good as the CPA caught up in gambling addiction which leads him to an unspeakable act and the ultimate downfall of Sullivan as Sheldon Leonard and his crew try to take over the operation.
Belita is charming as the woman Sullivan loved, but yet he is insanely jealous and suspicious of her, which leads to her ultimate betrayal of him.
Two years after her Oscar nominated turn as the vicious young lady in "The Corn is Green," Joan Lorring is rather subdued her until her outburst directed at Sullivan towards the end of the film.
For a supposed gangster, Sullivan shows a sheepish side,especially when he is cornered.
For a film with this name, you would think there would be much more violent action.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Jane Russell was the absolute perfect foil for Marilyn Monroe in this very funny 1953 film.
The girls are off to Europe as Monroe tests the love of sheepish Tommy Noonan, whose aristocratic father sees Monroe only as a gold digger.
Of course, Detective Eliot Reid, hired by Noonan's dad to spy on Lorelei falls for the Russell character instead.
The musical numbers are so well staged. We're Poor Little Girls from Littlerock and of course Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.
Adding to the hilarity was Charles Coburn, as the elderly curmudgeon with romance on his mind. As Sir Francis Beekman, Coburn is a riot as he tries to avoid his wife played with lady like comic grace from Norma Varden, the future housekeeper in "The Sound of Music."
Hart's War (2002)
The plot in this film is extraordinary. A court martial held within a German Prisoner of War Camp during World War 11 shall possibly allow for sabotage and eventual escape.
Prejudice was certainly alive and well within the armed forces during the conflict. We see how imprisoned minority officers couldn't stay with their own and the Germans viewed this with pleasure, citing the hypocrisy of the Americans- advocating liberty while pursuing prejudice.
When one of the black men is killed by a racist white soldier, mayhem breaks out and when the latter is murdered, it is assumed that the black surviving soldier carried out the dastardly deed. A trial takes place with the Germans looking on with glee.
Bruce Willis is terrific here as the head of the group ultimately paying the price and he is equally matched by Colin Farrell, a soldier, who serves as the attorney for the defendant despite the fact that he hasn't received his law degree as yet.
Mean Streets (1973)
More Like Crazy Streets **
Robert Di Niro steals the show here as a crazed dim-wit who owes just about everyone money from gambling and has an inability to pay off his debts. He is protected by friend Harvey Keitel, an aspiring hood with a big-time gangster for an uncle, Cesare Danova, in probably one of the latter's last films.
The action takes place in little Italy and gives us the feeling of the period of time involved.
I wish this could have been more a character study, though attempts are made to provide this. Martin Scorsese, who directed, tries to provide this and appears at the end of the film in the shooting scene in the car.
The film may be criticized for providing the stereotypes at that time.
Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958)
Civic Irresponsibility *
Terrible how the talents of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were wasted in this nonsensical film.
Without the space complication, this could have easily been a film in the 1930s with Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant playing up against Myrna Loy or Jean Arthur.
Joan Collins is her usual temptress in trying to break up a marriage and Jack Carson is the idiotic captain along with the more rational Gale Gordon in this farce.
The July 4 Grace (Woodward) plans for the town are disastrous which best describes the film. The parting of Carson to the moon at the end is equally ridiculous.
The film proves that civic responsibility and breaking up a marriage don't really together.
Double Daddy (2015)
A Question of Morality **1/2
My rating for this film, not a bad one as films go, was lowered due to the morality question. I objected to all parents concerned accepting the situation as is, a shower party thrown by friends in honor of the nice girl, and the fight in the hallway viewed by all students and staff with little to nothing done. Years ago, pregnant teens went to special schools when their conditions became shall we say noticeable.
As far as the film itself, the acting was good and with the particular Lifetime flair, our evil girl, by film's end, is up to her old tricks, so we don't know what is really going to happen.
The guy who got the 2 girls into trouble is depicted as clean cut, from an affluent family, and with college intentions.
These type of films should not be made to the message here. Let's continue with the themes of sanctity of marriage and protecting yourself.
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Very good Robert Redford film dealing with a strict minister and his children. The latter grow up and the younger son, a reporter, has a lust for drinking and gambling which cause his ultimate downfall.
Tom Skerritt is excellent as the stern minister dad. He comes to see nature as part of his religious training and emphasizes the sport of fly fishing to his young charges.
Time periods seem to go very quickly in the film, such as the older boy attending Dartmouth.
The usually feisty Brenda Blethyn has a rather benign part as the mother of the two boys. Besides her, I would have liked to have seen more of a character study of Jesse's brother, smitten with Hollywood and a drunk as well. Did he show homosexual tendencies?
The nostalgic ending was terrific as we returned to nature to exhibit our values.
Begin Again (2013)
The picture was somewhat hurt by the abrupt ending. We really don't know where the Knightley character is going when the film terminates.
That being said, Mark Ruffalo is just wonderful as the music executive, down on his luck, who is fired from the firm he started. Meeting the singer Knightley at a bar begins a character study of the two as they forge a relationship which will eventually lead to success, or at least we hope it shall.
Down on money, it is interesting to see how they form a band and make demonstrations of their music in various areas within the city.
Nice to see Haile Steinfeld back in film as Ruffalo's daughter here after several years following her Oscar nominated turn in a remake of "True Grit."
Katherine Keener, as Ruffalo's estranged wife, provides an interesting character study in rejection and ultimate return to Ruffalo's life when success is changed for the better. I would have liked to have seen her character more developed.
The Judge (2014)
The Judge Delivers ****
Outstanding film depicting conflict between 2 professionals- a cocky, brilliant lawyer and his difficult father, a judge.
This was certainly Robert Downey Jr.'s best performance ever in his career. He is equally matched by a worthy Oscar nominated performance by Robert Duvall who plays his cantankerous father.
Not only is this a story of conflict, it deals with human emotions, guilt, ethical behavior, an illegitimate daughter-and wait until you find out who the father is of that child,and revenge-justice style.
It is also a story of a brother whose baseball career ended when he was involved in a car accident and the car was driven by Downey.
Billy Bob Thornton is quite good as well as a prosecuting attorney.
The Downey character delivers as he steps up to the plate to defend his father when the latter is charged with vehicular homicide.
The Hunters (1958)
Interesting film but you would think that there would be more action in the first hour.
We're faced with a usual theme of one guy falling for another guy's girl, in this case a married girl, during war.
Lee Philips really stole the acting here. Remember him as the soft-spoken principal in "Peyton Place?" He had all the answers in that film and his persona changes drastically here as an alcoholic pilot, unsure of himself and whose wife soon lands in the hands of Robert Mitchum.
Robert Wagner co-stars as a young cocky pilot whose resolve is soon tested.
The film takes off when all 3 land in a North Korean infested place as Mitchum and Wagner take care of a badly wounded Philips.
The film shows the brutality of the Communists when a poor oriental farming family are machine gunned for hiding the 3 guys.
In typical Hollywood fashion, the film shows dedication, duty and resolve of our fighting men and that marriage is still a sacred institution.