Reviews written by registered user
herbertatara

Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]
11 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Eddie (1996)
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable from start to finish, 22 June 2005
9/10

This is a comedy-fantasy, people -- not a documentary. The pacing is bouncy and rollicking. The performances are precisely what they should be -- neither "villain" is one-dimensional or over-the-top, but just menacing enough in the right amounts, and the ways in which Eddie triumphs over each of them are quite clever.

Mayor Koch's cameo is hysterical, as is the bit with Stacey's Mom. Ostertag shows good comic timing. The background of Eddie is just touching enough without being maudlin. The transition of the Knicks from selfish losers to re-motivated winners is handled just right for a comedy-fantasy. This is at least in a class with Angels In The Outfield as an enjoyable comedy-fantasy.

1 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
One of the worst directed movies I've ever watched, 22 June 2005
2/10

Jim Belushi tries to play against type. Whoopi tries to show a menacing side to one of her whacked-out characters. There are some tremendous supporting bits by Beah Richards, Harry Caesar, and Karen Black. All efforts are totally wasted, save two or three touching moments. The pacing of this movie is horrific, the camera work is annoying and intrusive, the verbal exchanges are practically inaudible during the movie's first half, and the sound track is wholly inappropriate. The responsibility for all of this lies on the director -- who makes or breaks a movie. Homer and Eddie, unfortunately, is broken beyond repair. For enjoyable and entertaining Whoopi, leave Homer at home, and just watch "Eddie."

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Pre-"Smile" Made-for-TV Beauty Pageant Movie Teases Then Disappoints, 15 June 2005
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie has a lot going on, and discusses briefly many issues on the exploitative nature of the beauty pageant world. However, any time one of the character threatens to have something interesting to say, or is plotting something political, unethical, or illegal, we quickly switch to the next typical made-for-TV subplot.

The underrated Eleanor Parker puts in a well-rounded performance as a former queen who had been robbed of many of her illusions and ideals, but still puts forth a stiff upper lip and tries to play it straight, because at the end of the day, she really has nowhere else to go.

Robert Cummings, on the other hand, brings none of the glib humor that characterizes so many of his performances. Instead, he plays this so unbearably stiff and mechanically, he makes Bob Barker seem like Richard Pryor. Plenty of eye candy abounds, but none of it is risqué by the standards of its day, let alone by today's standards. And, just to top it off, the cop-out dramatic ending will leave an extremely sour taste in your mouth.

If you are a folklore major or a sociologist, this may be an interesting time capsule. Otherwise, don't waste your time.

9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Curtis and Borgnine do well enough with very familiar material, 13 June 2005
8/10

This movie's plot was all-too-familiar even in 1955. It is basically a reworking of Golden Boy with a bit of Body And Soul and two or three others mixed in. Some of the dialog is similarly recycled, but there are a few intriguing new lines providing some food for thought. Mostly though, if you are a fan of boxing movies, the two lead performances and the brisk pacing makes this one worth passing time with. Tony Curtis wouldn't have been my first choice for the lead in a boxing movie, but he brings surprising grit and ambition to the role. Borgnine is dead-on perfect as the tough-but...make that just plain tough manager who has to overcome his disappointment for the flaws in Curtis' character to take him back under his wing. John Marley is a standout as a referee vulnerable to intimidation.

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Imperfect, but still formidable on its own terms, 13 June 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Bill Cosby lists this as one of his favorite all-time movies. From a thematic standpoint, it is easy to see why. The film takes place in the bucolic Midwest in the 1920s-- not the South, which in and of itself is unusual for a 60's movie focusing on race relations. The performances of the two young men are perfect even though some of the words they utter seem rather forced. THe supporting cast is uniformly excellent, and avoids stereotypes. Deserving of special notice is recently deceased Dana Elcar as the racist lawman who still tries to be a good albeit racist person. His declined offer to give the boys a ride at the end of the movie is, in its own way, a microcosm of the entire film and the principles and people involved.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Politically unsubtle, contrived to the max -- and boring to boot!, 13 June 2005
1/10

The main purpose of the terminal is to make Liberals feel good about loathing the Department of Homeland Security as a symbol of the US government. And so, director Spielberg endeavors to create a twilight-zone like environment where poor Tom Hanks is trapped as a citizen without a country by evil and ambitious Deputy Homeland Security Director Stanley Tucci. The movie can't even stay true to its own premise for 15 minutes. Tom Hanks is introduced to us as a Khrakozian tourist who can't wait to indulge in popular NYC culture, but is so ill prepared he speaks no English at all. Stanley Tucci tells us He can't grant asylum to this man who lost his country mid-flight because Krakozia is too small and unimportant to America, yet CNN is showing footage of the government coup every five minutes, etc., etc. People are nasty to Hanks throughout the movie's first half for no reason at all, and we are treated to many different camera angles focusing on really hopeless expressions on Tom Hanks' face. I could go on, but I've lost interest -- just as I did in this terrible film.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Clever and Fascinating Movie-of-the-Week, 7 June 2005
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Llewelyn Moxey IS the quintessential movie-of-the-week director. Always economical with his dialog and camera work, he knows how to intersperse emotional impact with action and pacing as well as anyone. The Death Of Me Yet is a fascinating Cold-War-Era story.

McClure plays a trained Soviet agent who is sent to the US to become a trusted citizen in a small Midwestern community in a town whose main employer is a military contractor. It is basically the "sleeper cell" concept with which we are all-too-familiar today. He plays his role to the hilt as a small town Editor and devoted husband to Rosemary Forsyth with whom he is deeply in love. The trouble, of course, is that he loves his new life. In his mind, heart, and soul, he has become an American. Enter deliciously menacing KGB agent and former mentor Richard Basehart. Then McClure's life really begins to unravel when a gritty, grizzled, and somewhat sadistic FBI agent named Chalk (think Laird Krieger in "I Wake Up Screaming") gets on his tail and begins to suspect who and what McClure really is.

The biggest flaw in the movie is that McClure has so much better chemistry with vibrant and vulnerable Soviet girlfriend Meg Foster than with frigid Rosemary Forsyth and Richard Basehart is so much more willing (at least seemingly) to work out a satisfactory compromise for McClure to get on with his wife than the grimly determined Chalk that even the most patriotic American must question his choice a bit. And Forsyth is just awful as an actress. That said, it's still a great deal of clever and fast-moving fun as long as you view the shoddy production values in its context as a movie-of-the week.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Thoroughly Entertaining and Enjoyable - For Oldsters like Me, 7 June 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The clever caper film is a genre not really understood by today's generation -- although kudos to film buff George Clooney for his splendid remake of Oceans Eleven which gave some younger viewers a taste for what this is about. I can see where these characters might be less accessible to today's viewers, but if you can get past that and enjoy, this is a great deal of fun -- and the cast is hilarious.

Retired Detective Lee J. Cobb and his wife are taking a bus trip from Seattle to San Francisco to visit relatives. Along the bus route, Gig Young and his gang (Geoffrey Lewis, Matt Clark, and Robert Walden) each commit one of the most quirky and brazen jewel thefts imaginable, then board the bus. Lewis is especially good as the goading robber making his heist at a swank affair. Walden is fun throughout as the anxious klutz and weakest link of the group. At every stop, Cobb picks up the newspaper and cannot let go of the mystery. Passenger Young offers his curiosity and assistance, and the cat-and-mouse game is afoot.

As contrived as Columbo? You bet! -- and just as much fun as some of the best episodes. Still, I wouldn't have given this classic made-for-TV caper film a 10 if not for the perfectly executed final sequence of scenes. Justice does triumph -- in a sense -- but not necessarily in the manner you might expect.

Dollar (1938)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Thank God for TCM and IMDb, 7 June 2005
7/10

First of all, Every one of us classic movie lovers should get down on our knees in gratitude to TCM and IMDb. TCM has gone beyond the pale in finding interesting classic movies the vast majority of buffs had never even heard of, then restoring them, then making them available to us. Thank you, TCM. IMDb has provided similar services in allowing us to find, catalog, discuss, and enjoy all movies and near-movies in a systematic and intelligent manner. My life would not be as rich without both. In contrast, look at AMC which started along this path, and now is not much more than a glorified USA Network.

I bring this up in relationship to Dollars because it is such a classic film. I would have been deprived of knowing of its existence, let alone being able to watch such a lusciously restored print with clear subtitles had it not been for TCM. And, I would no little enough about the film's background and history without being able to follow up my watching experience with IMDb.

As for Dollars itself, it is well worth watching, albeit not a classic on its own terms. The film certainly is well representative of 1938 Sweden about the intellectual tug-of-war between socialism and capitalism/Fascism with nihilism the intriguing middle alternative of choice that most wound up exploring. I caught no overt referenced to Nazism, but certainly felt its touch within the various subtexts. Some of the caricatures, particularly the rich and spoiled American Mary Johnston, made the director's point with a sledgehammer. And some of the camera angles seemed too exploratory -- especially at the build right before the climax. So, it isn't perfect. But the cast is uniformly excellent, and young Ingrid is a special treat. Others covered the European roots of the intellectual subtext present here. After seeing this, I wonder if it had any influence in the American movie Holiday. The storyline and main characters have some remarkable similarities -- although the ubiquitous nihilism present throughout Holiday was missed by both critics and audiences at the time who focused on the suave Mr. Grant's charms instead -- and his film chemistry (or lack thereof according to some) with Katherine Hepburn. But, I digress.

Bottom line, Dollars is not a classic but it is more than interesting and well-crafted enough to be worth watching.

15 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Eager To Stretch, Van Dyke Strains Badly, 6 June 2005
1/10

It is obvious that Van Dyke was begging his agent to get him something different to prove that he could play a lead character that was unlikable. He must've admired his friend Andy Griffith's bravura performance in "A Face In The Crowd" very much. Friend Carl Reiner directed him in the overlooked gem, "The Comic" in 1968. Van Dyke and the script were perfect, but the movie bombed, thus threatening to pigeonhole him more than ever in Disney-ish tripe. Mind you, I'm just extrapolating from the facts I know, but it sure seems that Van Dyke was a desperate man when he agreed to star in this uneven amalgamation of nihilist farce, cultural satire, and moralistic claptrap. And Van Dyke seemed determined to force the darkest side of his unreasonably unlikable and self-destructive character down the audience's throat. I found it very hard to take in the theaters as an adolescent, but recently watched it on tape to see if I felt the same way as an adult. Not quite. As an adult, I found it a fascinating time capsule but otherwise, an all-too-annoying and impossible attempt to capture the essence of theater d'absurd with American TV actors, then compounding its own futility by eventually copping out on its only reason to exist.

Avoid this mess unless you are doing a film studies paper.


Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]