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A childhood favourite and a movie i still love now
Delighted to get a region 1 version DVD of this film as its been unavailable in the UK on any format. I first saw this about 1989 on a late Sunday night and loved it. Seen it several times since and am delighted to see this movie but featuring added scenes not included on the theatrical cut. There are about 5-6 different plot threads which dovetail nicely as the movie progresses but essentially i think it comes down to three main stories. Los Angeles, 1941 and in the wake of Pearl Harbour Americans are coming to terms with the paranoia and fear of a possible Japanese invasion. There's Army Captain Tim Matheson desperate to get Nancy Allen up in an airplane where she will be sexually responsive to his advances. Then you have civilian Ned Beatty discovering the Army want to put an AA gun in his yard. In the mean time, Beatty's daughter is being wooed by two men, civilian dancer Bobby DiCicco and aggressive soldier Treat Williams who fight for her against the backdrop of a fabulously arranged swingdance sequence. All this whilst a Japanese submarine is submerging off the Californian coast. Throw in a dozen other wonderful characters and performances and you've got a terrific ensemble cast. The additional scenes flesh out some plots and characters not really explained in the theatrical release. Its loud, noisy and beautiful to look at. You'll either love it or hate it. I love it and was delighted to find that when screening this for my girlfriend she liked it as well. An underrated Spielberg classic.
This is one of the funniest things i have ever seen and as much as i adore the Beatles i do enjoy this gentle dig at them. And even after only a few viewings you can tend to blur and mix what actually happened in Rutles "history" with what happened in the Beatles legend. Eric Idle plays about half a dozen roles including the gormless reporter in some very clever digs at cheap documentaries but his Dirk McQuickly/Paul McCartney is just fantastically funny, especially when he does that trademark McCartney innocent and trite wide-eyed look whilst singing "With a girl like you". But its as much Neil Innes film thanks to his underrated Lennon performance and of course his songs. Listen each song carefully and you'll hear two or three different Beatles tunes mixed together whilst sounding totally original themselves. Moments to cherish include the rooftop gig and the Magical Mystery Tour spoof, and the attention to detail is fantastic right down to the Rutles wearing identical costumes and clothes to what the Beatles themselves wore in each phase of their musical story. Throw in some nice cameos and you've got the perfect musical spoof.
Gregory's Girl (1980)
My favourite film of all time
I adore this movie. Putting it into words as to why is probably far more difficult for this film than any of the others i have talked about on this website. Firstly i can totally empathise with the lead character.... even down to the the fantastic choice of bands displayed on his wall (the Jam and the Specials although i am not too sure about Patti Smith myself!) We've all probably been in the situations Gregory finds himself in during the movie and this just brings it all back... playing football in the school team (and chatting nonchalently to spectators when should have been keeping an eye on players bearing down on goal), getting into scrapes with teachers and of course that first date with the girl of your dreams. I always come away from watching this movie with a high feel good factor. Gregory ends up with Susan who is far more suited and better for him than Dorothy even if it takes the whole movie for him to discover this. You even feel it will work out for his mates Andy and Charlie as they trudge off at the end in the cheerful knowledge that they can start afresh chasing girls the next day (i love the way Charlie doesn't say a word thru the whole movie, goes along with Andy's silly schemes and eventually gets the last word). In addition to these characters there's a whole slew of fantastic characters such as Steve whos obsessed with his baking enterprise, the eccentric headmaster ("off you go, you small boys,") and of course Mr Menzies the bumbling PE teacher who isn't really taken seriously by the other male teachers in the school and is obsessed with putting together the perfect football team. Another thing i like is the way the younger kids seem more in control and knowledgeable than Gregory and his mates. Gregory's sister is the one with the fashion sense and is the guiding hand in trying to sort out his love life while its Gregory who is the petulant immature one when confronted by his sisters' young admirer at the front door. I think this movie has a refreshing view of the innocence of early school days as opposed to other films which may go down the darker Grange Hill route of drugs/bullying etc.
Magnum Force (1973)
My favourite Dirty Harry movie..... perhaps.
Reasons i love this movie? Firstly its got the set pieces you'd expect from a 70s cop film that didn't make it into DIRTY HARRY such as the sky-jacking sequence and the shoot-out in the liqour store. Then you've got another ace soundtrack which has the same funky-rock beats as the first movie. And then of course there's Eastwood himself. No matter what he goes up against its all in a days work for him whether it be stopping hi-Jack's in their tracks or going to bed with Asian girl from downstairs. The dialogue ("A mans got to know his limitations") and wise-cracks are vintage stuff and the intriguing thing here is that its renegades from within Harry's own police dept. that are the real villains here offering an interesting counterpoint the moral issues presented in the first movie. I think the first two Dirty Harry movies are terrific and maybe this one just edges it.
The Wild Geese (1978)
Fantastic action movie
This movie has everything - and its a British film too!!! Charismatic performances from the lead actors, almost non stop action, fantastic and snappy dialogue. The ultimate accolade for this movie is that it hasn't dated (with the possible exception of the Joan Armatrading theme tune) and is as watchable and exciting now as it was back in 1978. Richard Burton is Col. Faulkner, a sharp-tongued alcoholic mercenary who recruits 50 men for a mission to rescue an imprisoned African leader on behalf of his employer Sir Edward Matheson, a sophisticated and arrogant tycoon played by screen legend Stewart Granger. Burton quickly recruits planner and father-of-one Rafer Janders who is played by legendary hell-raiser Richard Harris. Both Burton and Harris share some sharp dialogue and there are numerous in-jokes referring to both actors insatiable appetite for alcohol. And, just when you think this movie cant get any better, Roger Moore puts in an appearance as suave mercenary Shaun Finn. Moore displays a harder edge than he usually displayed as 007 and his first memorable scene involves him forcing a drugs dealer to eat his own heroin at gunpoint. The mercenaries initial mission is successful but upon rescuing the African leader they are betrayed and left for dead as Matheson double-crosses them and leaves them at the mercy of the fanatical Simba army. The movie is full of machine-gunnings, grenade lobbings and throat-cuttings but there's a very human story behind it and there is a lot of talk between the African leader and Hardy Kruger's character about how blacks and white should make peace in S.Africa. And of course there is fantastic interaction between the three main leads which results in the tragic ending where Burton has to take Harris' life and take on the job of looking after his son Emile. The film is nicely bookended as Burton visits Matheson in London to take his revenge. A fantastic fantastic film and one that should not be connected too much with the sequel that followed which shared this epic's title but very little else.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Great film but ending could have been better
This is undoubtedely a legendary western - classic dialogue, an irresistible story and a memorable score. My favourite character is James Coburn's Britt, the lean and lazy gunslinger who prides himself on perfection. His 1st scene with the knife vs gun contest is brilliant and its he who is the 1st to say he will return to the village for the final battle because basically to him the bandits have dented his pride. I think too much time was spent on Horst Buckholz's character and certainly not enough on Robert Vaughn's who essentially has just the one decent scene to himself - if Coburn's character is fearless and competitive then Vaughn's is haunted and only along for the ride because there's no where else for him to go. Brynner and McQueen have the obvious showier roles whilst Bronson does OK as the hard man with a warm heart. Poor old Brad Dexter doesn't do much but golddig.The action sequences, particularly the ending, are OK but disappointing for me as its only really McQueen, Brynner and Buckholz that are involved too much. The deaths of Coburn, Vaughn and Bronson are disappointing as all three of them are killed by people off screen. Up there with Butch Cassidy and The Long Riders as my favourite westerns.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Roger Moore's finest Bond?
This was my personal favourite Moore Bond film. He seemed to find the right mixture between drama and humour in this one. Possible exception is the pre-credits helicopter scene where a bald-headed villain with a maniacal giggle takes over control of Bond's transport and nearly sends it crashing into various buildings. This is the best pre-credits in the series for me because its both extremely silly and exciting at the same time. The dialogue is pretty sharp, especially Moore's banter with Topol and there's a very amusing sequence where Q uses a photo-fit device in order to identify one of the main killers. The ski-scenes are exciting if not as good as those in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, and the attack on the harbour port and the cliff-top monastery are very well done. Roger Moore's pose as he takes up firing position as a car hurtles towards him is almost iconic. The worst bits are the underwater sequences - although Bond swimming through the sunken Royal Navy vessel with all its corpses is pretty eerie. Overall its a classic Bond film thats up there with Spy Who Loved Me and Live and Let Die as Moore's best 007 outing.
Magic, charming and utterly utterly fantastic
This movie is nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe. The effects aren't that bad and are quite impressive when you actually watch the wide-screen version as opposed to the pan-and-scan of TV. The story has been done a thousand times before but so what, its how its done here that matters. The James Horner soundtrack is great (especially the angelic sounding choir) and its not THAT familiar to The Wrath of Khan (the blaring trumpets in the spider sequence excepted). Ken Marshall is as athletic a hero as i've ever seen in a movie. If hes not swinging from ropes, brandishing swords or throwing fire-balls then he's climbing a huge mountain range to find the powerful glaive weapon. Whomever said that the glaive is useless misses the point - everyone BELIEVES it to be the key to destroying the beast yet it is actually the joining of the two main kingdoms of Krull - ie the Prince and Princess, that will prove the Beast's undoing hence why the two are to be married in the first place. And its not like the glaive is not used at all - how else would Colwyn have wounded the beast, killed those SIX slayers at the end plus break in to the Beast's central lair without it? The robbers are an interesting bunch even if only three of them have any real screen-time. Liam Neeson is great in the film and he puts plenty of charm in to the role despite it being a secondary part to the main leads - his death is one of the saddest momemts in the film as hes one of those you didn't want to see killed. The films the main flaw for me is where the hell are all the slayers in the Black Fortress? There were tons at the start of the movie but only a handful appear as the heroes penetrate the castle. Still its a great movie and one i will always love watching
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
First saw this back on UK t.v. one weekday afternoon in the mid 80s and loved it but then i was about 7. I didn't see it again until about 1990 and the only thing i had remembered about it was the Space Cowboy character and the Robert Vaughn mercenary.Now its on satellite telly virtually every week and i've managed to see it a few times. Half of me wants to like this movie and the other half tells me its really a load of rubbish. James Horner's music is a classic and Robert Vaughn's character is the epitome of cool, especially the way he blows all those enemy ships to pieces and the only thing he seems to move are his eyes! George Peppard's space cowboy is OTT but he has some nice scenes such as the land battle as his final charge at the enemy cruiser. The villains are funny (John Saxon's line about sorting out his odd-number of fingers on the amputated arm so they can fit the glove is hysterical) except for the two guys (surely the ugliest humanoid aliens in movie history) who beam up Richard Thomas' sister and do all sorts of unspeakable things to her (strangely in the rest of the movie Thomas doesn't even bat an eyelid or wonder what happened to her. hmm) These two manage to be both supremely creepy as well as blackly humorous, kind of like Mr Wint and Mr Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever. I spose i'd give this film the benefit of the doubt if only for the fact that Robert Vaughn's planet looks like one big ball of fun. Dial-a-date and dial-a-drug? I'm off on my bitchy voiced, double-breasted spaceship right away!