Reviews

24 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
1/10
Pretty Funny
3 September 2005
This movie wastes the talents of Sterling Hayden (who obviously made this movie to fund his famous off-screen pursuits) and Ted de Corsia, who was a great Western villain. A movie about two bank robbers who escape, but one Reno, played by de Corsia, betrays and shoots Hayden's character. Hayden's character is rescued, recovers, and seeks vengeance. It was cheaply made in the coastal California area, and has beautiful scenery, but the script is horrible, and wastes the talents of everyone involved, including Lee Van Cleef, who is an additionally villain. This is a grade-Z Western. Don't watch unless you want a laugh.
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3/10
A "Phone Booth" Ripoff
10 September 2004
Liberty Stands Still, even though it wields considerable talent due to having starts such as Linda Fiorentino and Wesley Snipes, is one of those kinds of projects that happens too frequently in Hollywood. The storyline is a blatant ripoff of the plot of the movie Phone Booth. It is very common, given the lack of secrecy and discretion in Tinseltown, and the necessity of promoting and publicizing scripts, for there to be competing projects with the same or very similar plots. The plot for Phone Booth had been much publicized, especially since Will Smith was originally pegged to star in the movie. Even with Smith not making the movie, and Colin Farrell becoming the lead, the plot was novel and well known enough for someone to write something very, very similar.

Both movies involve a lead character who spends nearly the entire film stuck on the telephone as a prisoner to a sniper who threatens to shoot the lead if they move. In Phone Booth, Farrell plays a PR guy who is as cuddly as a piranha. His caller is obviously seeking revenge against him personally. In Liberty Stands Still, Fiorentino plays Liberty, the wife of a notorious arms dealer. Her tormentor, played by Snipes, is seeking revenge for the loss of a child killed by one of Liberty's husbands' guns.

The only major differences are 1) we see Snipes throughout the movie, while Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the corresponding character in Phone Booth, is unseen, and 2) Snipes is using Fiorentino's character to get back at her husband, not seeking revenge against her personally.

Phone Booth is a much better movie, although on its own, Liberty Stands Still has some merit. But if you have to choose, see Phone Booth first or only.
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The Lost Man (1969)
3/10
Not One of Poitier's Best
9 September 2004
The Lost Man is notable for several things, none of which includes it being a great example of cinema. Sidney Poitier's future wife, Joanna Shimkus. co-starred with him in this film. It's notable for being one of the first films of Poitier where he is trying to buck the system, rather than fit it. In most of his earlier films, he was always dealing with the problems of being a black man in a mostly white society, while living a respectable and useful existence. In this film, he plays a black revolutionary who is robbing "The Man's" bank in order to finance his group's activities. This group is a shadowy, seemingly monolithic entity that remains enigmatic throughout the film.

No one is horrible in this movie. It just doesn't stand up very well. If Poitier's black militant group had been more like the Black Panthers instead of what the Panther would have liked to have been, the movie might seem more of a product of its times. Instead, it comes like a black revolutionary fable. Interesting, but not compelling.
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8/10
A Forgotten Gem
9 September 2004
This movie is one of those that's great to watch in the dark with popcorn, on a rainy night, or come to think of it, pretty much anytime. The actors are great, and the mood is very intense. Whitman was early in his career, McDowell does his usual stellar work, and Lauren Bacall gives one of her best performances as someone who belongs in the asylum, not running it. This is a great old flick that deserves a lot more recognition that it gets. If you watch it, and like it, tell others about it so the word can be spread. This deserves to be released on DVD if it hasn't already, and should be mentioned with the other great Hollywood thrillers.
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No Way Out (1950)
9/10
An Early Poitier Classic
9 September 2004
This movie, even today, stands out as one of the best, and most honest of Hollywood films dealing racism and prejudice. Good friends Poitier and Widmark are anything but as they play, respectively, a hospital intern and a racist hoodlum. The scenes between them are can be hard to watch because of the raw, uncensored for the time slurs spouted by Widmark at Poitier. Widmark is not redeemed at the end, nor is the subject of racism mollycoddled. It is a tribute to this film that its' existence bear witness to the fact that Hollywood has long been capable of portraying some of life's most unpleasant realities. This film is a bright spot on the resumes of all involved, particularly Poitier, who plays someone who is human more than noble, and Widmark, who puts a realistic face on raw, naked bigotry.
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Cutter's Trail (1970 TV Movie)
Decent Unsold Pilot
2 September 2004
Cutter's Trail is an unsold pilot seeking to continue the great tradition of CBS's Gunsmoke. But this didn't make the cut. Pretty standard stuff with John Gavin as a New Mexico marshal who is trying to protect innocent townspeople from a band of ruthless cutthroats. Victor French, a perennial Gunsmoke/western villain, does his usual yeoman job, and the rest of the cast is okay, including Manuel Padilla, Jr, famous for playing the jungle boy "Jai" in the Tarzan television series starring Ron Ely. You could easily do worse that to watch this film. It is better than some motion picture westerns that you will find on television.
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The Hard Man (1957)
7/10
Unremarkable But Watchable
2 September 2004
The Hard Man does not stand out as anything unique, but it is an entertaining western that can hold your interest during viewing. Guy Madison does fine as the stalwart lawman/gunfighter brought in to clean up the town. Valerie French has the requisite beauty as the femme fatale, although it sounds as if her voice was dubbed by another actress. The greatest revelation about the Hard Man is seeing a pre-Ben Cartwright Lorne Greene play a ruthless, utterly despicable villain. This was made several years before Bonanza began, and Greene makes the most of playing the bad guy. This alone makes the movie worth watching. The Hard Man is a fine Western to watch to pass the time. The only thing noteworthy is to watch this while comparing Greene's character to his future Ben Cartwright role.
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Lisa, Bright and Dark (1973 TV Movie)
A Great Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie
25 August 2004
This is one of those Hallmark Hall of Fame specials that helped to cement their reputation for being well-made, well-acted quality production. Kay Lenz is outstanding as Lisa, and the supporting cast is also excellent. This is one that still holds up today, even though it was made many years ago. When this was made, mental illness wasn't a popular subject for serious treatment by television, but this sensitive,thoughtful movie helped to be a pioneer for all of the television movies dealing with mental illness (like Sybil, The Cracker Factory, and many others)that would come afterwards. The Seventies was a coming of age time for television drama. Lisa, Bright and Dark was a definite pioneer.
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The Hunted (2003)
No Middle Ground
1 July 2004
This is one of those movies that people will either love or hate. It has it's flaws for sure, but this movie speaks to primitive, macho mano-a-mano movie lovers.

How realistic the knife fights are in this movie remains to be seen, although kali, the martial art used as the base for the fight scenes, is a powerful fighting style. But they are exciting to watch, and both Jones and del Toro inhabit their characters with enough gusto and panache that the movie can be very enjoyable to watch.

It definitely won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the Hunted will make lots of action movie and martial arts movie fans pleased and satisfied.
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I Spy (1965–1968)
A Wonderful TV Show For All the Right Reasons
29 June 2004
It so common that we like things because they help us to escape. We like things because we know they're not good for us. We like things because nobody else like them. And sometimes, we don't know why we like things, we just do.

Those of us who love and adore the 1965-1968 television series I-Spy have many reasons to like it. We can like it because it was the first, and up to this point the best, of the buddy pairings that have become so commonplace in TV and movies. Think about it. As far as drama/comedies go, who were the first evenly matched hero team? Crockett and Tubbs weren't, and don't compare. And there isn't anybody else worth mentioning. The rapport between Kelly and Scotty has never been equaled. Spenser and Hawk come the closest.

Then there's the presence of Bill Cosby, who wasn't handed charity. He was given an opportunity and made the most of it. The three Emmys on his mantel attest to his skill and his popularity.

Then there's the location filming. And the fun. And the charm. and some great guest performances along the way. This was and is a great show. Terrific and timeless.
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