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Night at the Museum (2006)
Actually a better movie that I expected it to be
First of all, I do not like Ben Stiller. Generally he is too silly for my taste. But when presented with good material and such excellent co-stars as Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams what's not to like. This film is pure fun, never mind the inane premise. It makes one wish that they too could be in that museum when the displays come to life, if only briefly. Despite it's several set backs in production the film really delivers. And lest I forget the appearance of Owen Wilson also roundly spices up the action and the story. Dexter the monkey was enchanting. All in all an innocent and very enjoyable family type film. I highly suggest this one for all ages.
A magnificent retelling of the early reign of a Magnificent Monarch
This film is simply superb, and Cate Blanchette is truly both vulnerable and formidable as the virgin queen. With an outstanding supporting cast including Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud and Edward Hardwicke among others this film shines as both pageant and as pure drama. In a period of uncertainty, after the death of her brother Edward VI and the coming to the throne of her much older and vindictive Catholic sister Mary, the young princess's life hangs in a precarious balance. After Mary;s death Elizabeth becomes the target of numerous plots by the Catholic forces in England and from abroad including the Pope(Guielgud). Weathering them all she proves to England and the World that she is her father's daughter. If you are at all interested in history, this is one not to miss!
Kull the Conqueror (1997)
Not a truly bad film but lacks the quality that Schwartzenegger could have brought to it.
I tend to come down from my enjoyment of classical films on occasion to watch films in this sword and sorcery genre. I greatly enjoyed the first two Conan films, mostly because Arnold Schwartzenegger gave the right feel to the character of Conan. I was aggrieved and feel that he made great mistake in turning down further roles as that character, which might have been created just for him. Kevin Sorbo is well...too 1980s-1990s for the character he plays here, and I have been offended in the trend of turning legendary fantasy characters into the California surfer dude kind of creature that exists today. The one bright light in all of this is the always hilarious and way over the top Harvey Firestein as Juba. He always adds a new dimension to every film project that he is a part of.
The kind of scripts that these films have are absurd to begin with. If the actors cannot immerse themselves in the characters they are playing, as was the case in this film, then it comes off as a little more than slightly ridiculous.
Strategic Air Command (1955)
Accurate depiction of the early days of the cold war, and our air defense
It has been stated by many that the story here was weak, the script lacking, but in truth it is an accurate portrayal of the sacrifices of the men and their families that protected this nation during the years of the cold war. There was no better person to have the lead role in this film than Jimmy Stewart. A decorated bomber pilot in WWII and a Brigader General in the Air Force reserve, he was best able to understand the thinking an d actions of the character in this film. While she was excellent in her part, June Alyson's Mrs. Holland was too much of the 1950's "Donna Reed/Leave it to Beaver/Father Knows Best" picture of the ideal family life. Just as artificial as the housewife of TV fare preparing dinner in a cocktail frock and high heels.
There were also fine performances from J.C. Flippen, Frank Lovejoy, Harry Morgan and Rosemary DeCamp, all well known character actors most of whom also had well known TV careers. The film was, of course, a propaganda film, but not all propaganda is necessarily bad. And the flying sequences are all superb. Another fine Stewart performance.
The FBI Story (1959)
An FBI propaganda film that paints an idealized picture of the bureau.
The film as entertainment is very good and Jimmy Stewart is excellent as Chip Hardesty, with well done co-starring turns by Vera Miles and Murray Hamilton. But the film, directed by legendary director Mervyn Leroy, was constantly vetted and script approval as well as every aspect of the film, down to clothing, was closely watched and controlled by J. Edgar Hoover. Not that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have something to be proud of. His management of the bureau from 1924 to his death crated on of the finest investigative services in the world. But by 1959 Hoover was already beginning to worry about being forced out and had already started to collect dossiers on powerful people to make sure and protect his little kingdom. And he was determined to make sure that no motion picture showed even a single wart about the bureau. The films shows only continued successes and glosses over the failures which occurred, and the bureau's part in the witch hunts of the early 1950's. Enjoy the story, but with tongue firmly in cheek.
Kangaroo Jack (2003)
What can you say about a movie in which the best actor is a Kangaroo
O.K. It's not exactly a terrible movie, but it is stupid/silly and sometimes you want to root for the bad guys. There is just too much absurdity in the land down under. Christopher Walken must have been really hard up to have agreed to be the name star in this tripe.
In the story Louis, who as a kid saves Charlie from drowning in the ocean, afterward keeps getting Charlie into one fix after another, and when he manages to lead the police to a warehouse owned by a mob boss, who is Charlie's step father, it is the final straw. The two are sent to Australia to deliver a package containing $50,000.00 to a man named Smith, which as it turns out, is his fee for killing Charlie and Louis, but they manage to lose the money when the jacket in which the money was stashed ends up on a kangaroo that takes off with it. And things begin to get interesting from there. What else can one say. How about "G'day Mate!"
What's not to like, comedy, adventure and Sharon Stone
Alright, it isn't exactly Oscar winning material, and it cashes in on the Indiana Jones kind of adventures, but this comedy adventure sequel of 1985's King Solomon's mines (filmed concurrently) has a lot going for it. There is the kind of amusement park thrill ride quality, with excellent performances by Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone and James Earl Jones. Also featuring Robert Donner as the greedy/cowardly "holy man" Swarma, and Henry Silva as a way over the top comic villain named Agon, an ex slave-trader turned high priest who likes turning people into gold statues for fun and profit.
A dying explorer/adventurer (there always seems to be one of these in films of this nature) bursts out of the jungle as Quartemain is preparing to leave with his fiancé for their wedding in America, to let him know about a legend of a lost city of gold, populated by a white race in the heart of Africa. Learning that his younger brother was the head of that expedition, Quartermain has to go after him. With the exception of the obvious theft of musical themes by John Williams an d James Horner that were used in the sound track of this film, it is a more than satisfactory way to kill a couple of hours.
Paint Your Wagon (1969)
Naughty Fun along the lines of Caberet and The Best Little Whorehous In Texas
This wild Romp from the director of "Camelot" and "South Pacific" is a rip-roaring look at the gold mine camps of the gold fever era in pre-statehood California. Naughty, bawdy and full of fun it could not have anywhere nearly as good with anyone other than Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood as Ben Rumson and Pardner (Sylvester Newel.) Jean Seaberg was also excellent in her role, even though her singing had to be dubbed by another actress. Rounding out the leads of the cast are Ray Walston( Damn Yankees) and Harve Presnel as Rotten Luck Willie, who has the greatest song in the movie, that haunting "They Call the Wind Mariah" The film is PG-13 rated because of the bawdy humor and sexual situations and some of the language, but is still a magnificent entertainment. Lee Marvin can't sing a lick, but he makes up for it in shear verve and panache as Ben Rumson. Clint Eastwood, surprisingly has a pleasant if not a great voice.
This is the story of a different breed of man, the seeker of adventure, the soldier of fortune, and those who seek to live free beyond the stifling constraints of "Civilized" society. You might not agree with them, but you can surely understand them. They are the kind of men that kept pushing back the frontiers. The best description of their philosophy is when they hang the sign naming their mining town. "Noname City, Population: Male" and yet later "Noname City, Population: Drunk." So have some "Apple Jack", sit back and "Paint you wagon and come along."
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
One of Jimmy Stewart's finest roles. A true classic
Others have harped here about James Stewart's age when playing Lindburg (he was 47 Linburg was twenty five.) But Stewart does not look his age and the film, for him was a dream come true. An actual pilot and a retired Air Force Reserve General at the end of his life, Stewart had the feel for the character and understanding of his passion, which other actors could not bring to the role. Added to the cast was co-star Murray Hamilton, who was also to be featured in "The F.B.I. story with Stewart) and such other well known character actors as Richard Deacon, of the later "Dick Van Dike Show" and Robert Cornthwaite of "The Thing from Another World" the 1951 Sci-Fi classic.
Billy Wilder captures the flavor of the Lindburg Autobiography and the telling of what was to become a major event in the history of aviation. This story and film are a testament to the soul of determination and perseverance to realize a dream. A box office failure at the time of it's release, it has since become one of the great classics of American Film and another in a long line of outstanding performances by an actor that has been called America's Everyman. No student of film history should miss seeing this one. There have been over 500,000 films since the beginning of motion pictures, and this one belongs among the top 500.
One of those disturbing Ghost Stories that you should not miss.
Aiden Quinn stars in this haunting film by director Lewis Gilbert, of a very curious and disturbing string of events. This is not your typical haunted house story. Professor David Ash lost his twin sister when he was a child due to a terrible accident. Years later he has returned to England as an author and professor of Psychology who spends his time trying to prove that there are ghosts, while as a skeptic, uncovering the fraudulent claims of those who deal with the spirit world. But then, in a response to repeated letters from an old woman he is invited to sort out a ghostly problem in an old house in the southeast of England. Kate Beckinsale and Anthony Andrews co-star, with brief appearances by the immortal Sir John Gielgud. Also there is a short scene with a gypsy woman, played by Liz Smith who has made a career out of playing quirky and particularly Dickinsonian characters. A modest little film that deserves a look see, especially if you like things that go bump in the night.