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jem132

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433 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
All kinds of wonderful, 27 August 2009
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Is this John Hughes' best production? Well it has to come pretty close to the amazing "The Breakfast Club", anyway. The film is pretty much "Pretty In Pink" in reverse, but so much better. For one thing, we don't have Andrew McCarthy. And the ones we want to end up together, the ones who should end up together, do! Mary Stuart Masterson is wonderful as tomboy Watts, and she and Eric Stolz have great chemistry. And Samantha Jones, the goddess Samantha Jones (played by Lea Thompson) is actually a likable gal too. Not the one for our hero Keith, but Hughes doesn't paint her as a bitch. The bratpacker movie without the bratpack, this is a keeper.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
The end of the world as we know it...and the film result is sublime, 27 August 2009
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Excellent movie with a great concept: the residents of eastern Australia must wait out for an impending nuclear cloud that has claimed the rest of the world. They know they will die, its only a matter of when. A depressing concept, yes, but a great one. One of the better examinations of coming to terms with death that I have seen on screen. I'm not a huge Stanley Kramer fan at all but I liked this film in spite of him (and the terrible overuse of "Waltzing Matilda", an Australian standard), mainly because of the exceptional acting. Ava Gardner is such an underrated actress. She infuses warmth, vulnerability, humour and weariness in her role as the woman who a grieving Gregory Peck falls for.They have electric chemistry. We also have Anthony Perkins considering suicide-- a very touchy issue for the time-- and Fred Astaire in a non-dancing role (and he does it very well). The final clinch between Gardner and Peck has to be one of the best ever.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The characters were unlikeable, but I still liked this movie, 2 July 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Joel Schumacher assembled much of the key members of the 80's "Brat Pack" for this comedy-drama about University graduate friends struggling to deal with life in the "real world". Great concept, fun film, yet only a couple of the characters are actually likable. The rest all rub you up the wrong way. Emilio Estevez's character for example. He basically stalks Andie MacDowell for the whole film, and that's it. Rob Lowe is pretty much a loser who has to rely on his friends for starts in jobs, and treats the girl who silently loves him like crap. Judd Nelson, a career climber, professes love of his girl Ally Sheedy (gorgeous and actually likable), yet cheats on her with random girls. Demi Moore's party girl Jules (what happened to Moore's career after this? She could actually act and had screen presence??) and Sheedy's character are the only really identifiable characters. Maybe, maybe Andrew Carthy too-- if only I could look at him without thinking "Why the hell did Molly get with HIM at the end of "Pretty In Pink"?".

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Superb Sirk, 2 July 2009
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Douglas Sirk's excellent war drama is unfortunately not as well-known as his luridly coloured 50's melodramas "Written On The Wind, "All That Heaven Allows" etc. That's too bad, because it deserves to be, and is one of the best films of it's type. It tells a harrowing, yet hopeful story. The German Army is crumbling in 1944, when war weary John Gavin (suprisingly good) is granted furlough. Hope comes to him through falling in love with a charming girl, Lilo Pulver, whom he kisses by the emerging blossoms next to the river. They marry, and enjoy whatever happiness they can. They revel in it, as you you do, but a gloom hangs over the film. This is also represented by the colour scheme employed by Sirk. Instead of the bright 'Scope of WOTW or ATHA here we have slate greys and smoky blues. His use of mis en scene here is also kind of remarkable, with the grotesque German officer who Gavin visits having what seem to be hundreds of dead trophy animals adorning his walls. Memento's of the dead, perhaps? Remarque wrote the novel, and also appears in the film. Challenging, moving and heartbreaking, with an ending that shocks and angers, yet is also justified.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Why the negative comments? This is a wonderful little film, 2 July 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film certainly deserves more attention. One of Frank Sinatra's best performances, and certainly very good performances from Tony Curtis and Natalie Wod too. I have heard it flopped considerably in it's day. I guess it's because the original novel (which I haven't read, but which I have heard about) was censored for the screen, or made "happier" (though there's still a fair share of dark moments). Sinatra and Curtis are the American soldiers who both fall for the beautiful French girl Wood (trying an accent on for size), who is also half African-American. Sinatra loves her dearly, but Wood falls for the charming Curtis, with bad results. The film works well as character study of shy, introvert Sinatra and cocky extrovert Curtis. Leora Dana is truly excellent as Wood's mother. While Elmer Bernstein's score tends to overstate the cause at times, this is an involving drama. Unfortunately the war scenes aren't as interesting as the human drama.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the best of the 1950's, 2 July 2009
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the best westerns of the 50's, "Broken Arrow", directed by the always efficient Delmer Daves, is groundbreaking in it's treatment of Native Americans. Here we are shown the Apache chief, Cochise (Jeff Chandler, excellent), with respect, being portrayed with intelligence and heart. James Stewart gives one of his best performances as Tom Jeffords, the white man who is willing to, and comes to, understand the Apache's way of life. "Broken Arrow" is also a great romance, with the beautiful Debra Paget as the Native American girl falling in love with Stewart, and vice versa. Paget does look very young next to Stewart, as has been mentioned, but their acting makes it touching and believable (and tragic when the end comes). I was swept away into the world of this film very easily-- and I was helped by the arresting colour photography by Ernest Palmer and Hugo Friedhofer's score. Who said Westerns were all shoot'em'up? This one is moving, thoughtful, challenging and yet still entertaining in the grand sense of the Western genre.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Watch for Jean Kent in a two-minute bit, 2 July 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is basically a morality play about the struggle some English women had to have with temptation on the homefront in WW2. But it is well-directed by Sidney Gilliat, and well-acted. It tells a simple story in soldier John Mills playing "hooky" in order to see his wife, who is contemplating being unfaithful with a local louse, Stewart Granger (who is support to Mills, yet steals the show). Great English character actor Alistair Sim is also in the mix as a wise doctor. It's only short, but it tends to drag in a few places. Although Mills is constantly on the move (it's quite a physical performance from him), it's just a bit slow with the one-idea story. Granger is perfect as the lothario who wants to seduce Mills' wife, and Jean Kent gets an all-too-short appearance as a sexy, snappy hairdresser that has been jilted by him. Only a two minute bit, but she's so memorable you are left wanting more.

Champion (1949)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Explosive!, 2 July 2009
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the late 1940's, boxing movies almost became a sub-genre in themself. Mark Robson's "Champion" completes a trio of very fine fight films in this period, "Body And Soul" and "The Set Up". While films about boxing all tend to run along the same line (poor guy rises up and is made good through his talent, but glory and fame spoil his character), these three are set apart, and made especially good, by the direction and the acting. "Champion" boasts an electrifying lead performance from Kirk Douglas, who got his first Oscar nomination here. Seemingly no-one was better than Douglas at playing a real bastard; here he oozes charisma but is so despicable that he actually makes you root against the champion! Boxing is perfect for noir, with the grittiness, violence, big dreams and corruption all playing a part in the protagonist's downfall. Robson provides very solid direction, and the black-and-white photography by Frank Planer enhances the atmosphere. Nice to see Arthur Kennedy in a sympathetic role as Douglas' disabled brother, who shyly loves Douglas' sham wife (Ruth Roman). An exciting, compulsively watchable film.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Another American hero brought to you by Cooper, 2 July 2009
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Producer Sam Goldwyn pulls out all the stops here- big emotional moments, sentiment, rousing, well-worked American tunes--yet somehow it all still works in this biopic of famed baseball player Lou Gehrig. It works in large part due to the sincerity of Gary Cooper, who was perfect for these boyishly charming characters. Having Sam Wood on board as director is an equally great asset, with Wood doing well in a couple of other child-to-adulthood period productions, "Kitty Foyle" and "King's Row". He knew how to strike your heart with a big scene, but not to beat you over the head with it. A number of other Goldwyn players were used in this film, Dan Duryea, Walter Brennan and Teresa Wright. All add good things with their performances. I like this film as I'm a sucker for a heart-warming, yet sad story told well.

7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Lacking a connection, 14 June 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was left slightly disappointed by this Australian drama that has got rave reviews, and a Camera D'Or from Cannes Film Festival. I can't deny that it's much better than the average crop of Australian cinema, but I felt director Warrick Thornton's willingness to take a measured approach towards conveying the hardships of young Indigenous Australians also makes the viewer emotionally distant towards his characters, and story. I just felt that I could never really connect with Samson and Delilah, and the love they are supposed to share. The two actors in the roles are good though, especially as they had no acting experience previously. The cinematography is wonderful, with many breathtaking images. But I just couldn't connect.


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