Reviews written by registered user
Woodyanders

Send an IMDb private message to this author or view their message board profile.

Page 1 of 398:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]
3974 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Excellent short, 31 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two men come into a small town diner looking for a third man that they have been hired to kill. Directors Marika Beiku, Aleksandr Gordon, and Andrei Tarkovsky do a masterful job of creating a bleak and haunting fatalistic atmosphere, build plenty of tension (the scene in which the counterman waits on a whistling customer while the two killers watch him the whole time is incredibly nerve-wracking), and maintain a tough gritty tone throughout, with especially startling casual use of the n-word. The fine acting by the able cast keeps things humming: Valentin Vinogradov and Vadim Novikiv are appropriately cold and menacing as the two killers, Gordon excels as pragmatic "bright boy" counterman George, Vasily Shaksin brings a chilling resignation to his role as the doomed Ole Andreson, and Yuliy Fayt does well as Ole's loyal friend Nick Adams. The lack of music gives this one a potent sense of stark realism. Gorgeously shot in crisp black and white by Alfredo Alvarez and Aleksandr Rybin, it's well worth a look.

Worthy episode, 30 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Brutal maverick detective Sal Benedetto (superbly played with swaggering aplomb by Dennis Franz) wants to take down loan shark Rollie Simone (a terrific Michael Lerner) using unorthodox means. Leo (a fine Robert Hirschfeld) helps junkie Ricco (powerful work by Marco Rodriguez) go clean. Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti, splendid as usual) and Goldblume (a sturdy Joe Spano) interrogate Reggie (a bravura portrayal by Jonathan Banks), a homeless man murder suspects who suffers from a multiple personality disorder. A robot is loaned to Hill Street Station.

Ricco's struggle to go cold turkey culminates in a poignant moment between Leo and Ricco at the end while the robot subplot delivers a few solid laughs. Hunter (a nicely quirky James B. Sikking) has a couple of touching scenes in which he talks about his service in Vietnam and comes to terms with his inability to connect with others on an emotional level. Dennis Burkley pops up one last time as hulking brute Sonny Crockett. Moreover, there's a positively electrifying moment in which Sal tweaks the nose of hapless low level loan shark Mo 'Mouse' Feldstein (a wonderfully antsy performance by Leonard Stone) as well as a startling ending where Sal blows poor Mo away. And the fact that Hill (solid Michael Warren) asked Mo for four hundred bucks gives his character some sympathetically flawed extra shading.

Godzilla (1954)
The one that started it all, 29 July 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Atomic bomb tests awaken a gigantic and dangerous centuries old dinosaur that threatens to destroy Japan. Director Ishiro Honda does an expert job of crafting a strong and unsettling mood of mounting panic, despair, and utter hopelessness while maintaining a steady pace and a grimly serious tone throughout. Godzilla in its debut feature comes across as a very brutal, lethal, and above all frightening behemoth beast: Godzilla's initial appearance on a mountainside, its attack on a train, and subsequent destroying of Tokyo are genuinely terrifying to behold. Indeed, the severe damage and destruction wrought by Godzilla packs a positively chilling wallop that has never been fully recaptured in any other entry in the series. Moreover, this film further benefits from sympathetic characters that one has a true emotional investment in: Akira Takarada as gallant coast guard officer Hideto Ogata, Momoko Kochi as the sweet Emiko, Takashi Shimura as wise paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yamane, and, best of all, Akihiko Hirata as bitter and reclusive scientist Daisuke Serizawa, who makes for a fascinatingly troubled and reluctant savior of mankind. The smart script by Honda and Takeo Murata offers a pertinent and provocative subtext on the perils of radiation and nuclear weapons as well as a doomed central love triangle which gives this picture a considerable amount of poignancy. The old school practical effects for the most part hold up well. Akira Ifukube's robust, yet melancholy score hits the rousing spot. Masao Tamai's sharp black and white cinematography provides a pleasingly shadowy noirish look. Dark, bleak, and excellent.

Gripping drama, 29 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fifteen-year-old girl Dotty Fisher (a touching portrayal by Betty Lou Keim) gets assaulted at a construction camp. In the wake of this incident, the construction workers form a vigilante group led by the hot-heated Frank Doran (expertly played with considerable forceful presence by Jack Warden) to find the person responsible for this crime. After the group erroneously assumes that innocent Puerto Rican Raphael Infante (a fine turn by Rafael Campos) is guilty, only one lone man named Alec Beggs (a strong and sympathetic performance by Lloyd Bridges) dares to stand up to the angry mob.

Director Sidney Lumet keeps the absorbing story moving along at a brisk pace, builds plenty of nerve-ratting tension, and vividly evokes the stifling atmosphere of an extremely small self-enclosed community. Reginald Rose's trenchant script astutely explores the dangers inherent in the lynch mob mentality as well as addresses the issue of racial prejudice in an intelligent and provocative manner. The excellent acting by the tip-top cast keeps this show humming: Bridges and Warden both excel in their meaty roles, with sturdy support from Milton Seltzer as slimy troublemaker Pike, Edward Binns as the dutiful Anderson, Robert Emhardt as Dotty's easygoing dad Matt, and Jane White as Alec's worried wife Dolores. Recommended viewing.

A classic piece of 50's live television, 28 July 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Twelve jurors furiously argue over the possible guilt or innocence of a teenager who's been charged with murder. Director Franklin J. Schaffner keeps the gripping story moving along at a brisk pace and generates a lot of claustrophobic tension. Reginald Rose's literate and intelligent script smartly addresses such pertinent issues as the need for deliberation, giving someone the benefit of reasonable doubt, and how opinions can be easily swayed. Moreover, the fine acting by the ensemble cast provides plenty of extra kick, with especially stand-out contributions from Robert Cumming as the token dissenter (in a neat contrast from the famous 1957 film, Cummings initially seems rather hesitant in comparison to Henry Fonda's more assertive take on the character), Franchot Tone as the most bitter and adamant juror, Walter Abel as the intellectual, George Voskovec as a proud immigrant, Joseph Sweeney as the old man, Lee Philips as a man from the slums, and Edward Arnold as a despicable bigot (another interesting departure from the movie, as evident in the way Arnold uses his immense bulk along with his huffy attitude to force his hateful views on the other jurors). While the characters don't have the same depth as they do in the landmark 1957 film, they nonetheless are still compelling and believable human beings. Performed live, with extremely precise blocking and ace cinematography, it possesses a raw electricity that's genuinely riveting and exciting to watch.

Lee and Cushing excel, 27 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An orphanage on a remote Scottish island gets beset by a series of brutal murders. Hard-nosed special bureau chief Charles Bingham (superbly played with great authority by Christopher Lee) and shrewd pathologist Mark Ashley (a typically marvelous portrayal by Peter Cushing) join forces to figure out the reason for these killings.

Director Peter Sasdy relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, makes fine use of the sprawling Scottish coast countryside, builds a good deal of suspense and spooky atmosphere, and pulls off a real doozy of a genuinely startling climax. Lee and Cushing display an utterly winning natural screen chemistry; they receive sturdy support from Diana Dors as the pushy and distraught Anna Harb, Georgia Brown as pesky and snoopy tabloid reporter Joan Foster, Keith Barron as the determined Dr. Haynes, Michael Gambon as the no-nonsense Inspector Grant, and Gwyneth Strong as sweet and precocious little girl Mary Valley. The crafty and novel script by Brian Hayles offers an inspired plot with quite a few nifty twists and turns. Kudos are also in order for Kenneth Talbot's sharp cinematography and Malcolm Williamson's shuddery score. Well worth a watch.

Rather static, but overall solid 50's British sci-fi fare, 27 July 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An odd and aloof alien being (a convincing performance by Helmut Dantine) from Venus with the ability to save human lives and heal wounds with just his touch arrives on Earth in a remote town in England to warn mankind to stop their destructive ways before it's too late.

Director Burt Balaban offers an intriguing air of mystery, maintains a somber tone throughout, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, and makes neat use of the English countryside. Although Hans Jacoby's thoughtful script handles the subject matter in an admirably low-key and straightforward manner, said script alas goes a bit too heavy on dialogue over any real action that could have given this rather flat film a bit more kick. Fortunately, the sound acting from a capable cast keeps this movie on track, with especially praiseworthy contributions from Patricia Neal as the sweet Susan North, Derek Bond as meddlesome troublemaker Arthur Walker, Cyril Luckham as the wise Dr. Weinard, Willoughby Gray as amiable innkeeper Tom Harding, and Marigold Russell as Harding's fetching barmaid daughter Gretchen. Kenneth Talbot's crisp black and white cinematography makes neat use of fades and dissolves. A bit slow and talky, but overall pretty good.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Eddie would go, 24 July 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This documentary about legendary Hawaiian surfer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau not only does a lovely and poignant job of capturing the humble and selfless humanity of Aikau, but also presents a really fascinating and illuminating exploration of the culture and history of Hawaii and how Aikau proudly represented said culture and history as a true native son of Hawaii. Renowned for his bravery as a pioneering big wave surfer as well as for his extraordinary stint as a fearless lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Hawaii (Aikau was responsible for saving the lives of over five hundred people!), Aikau was also well known for hosting these incredible luaus and his overall easygoing personality. Among the topics covered are the death of Aikau's younger brother Gerald, the mid-1970's Aussie surfer invasion of Hawaii (Aikau had to hold an emergency meeting to stop the angry locals from hurting or killing these cocky Australian surfers who had basically invaded their home turf), Aikau winning the prestigious Duke surfing contest at age thirty in 1977, and his heroic death at sea as he attempted to paddle back to shore on his surfboard in order to get help for the crew of a canoe voyage which went disastrously awry. Interviews with Eddie's wife Linda Ipsen, siblings Clyde, Myra, and Sol, and such fellow champion surfers as Mark Richards, Wayne Bartholomew, Jeff Hakman, and Shaun Thomson provide touching insights into the heart and soul of Eddie. A fine portrait of a remarkable Hawaiian.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sizzling short by Paul Bartel, 23 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A nurse (a sultry portrayal by the stunning Valorie Armstrong) and a doctor (hunky Ron Grathwohl) sneak off on their lunch hour for a kinky carnal encounter at a seedy hotel room. They are interrupted by a police officer (a lively performance by Christopher St. John) with a deviant secret of his own.

This early short from the always offbeat Paul Bartel serves as a neat precursor of the wickedly warped humor and perverse sexuality that was further explored in Bartel's racy debut full-length theatrical feature "Private Parts": The mild S&M, hot leather outfits complete with metal studs, and some seriously kooky stuff involving robber bands are sure to both excite and satisfy fetishists with unusual lascivious tastes. Alix Ellis contributes a hilarious turn as ditsy nurse Dorothy while Robert Downey Sr. makes a fleeting appearance as a desk clerk. Kudos are also in order for Jon Oonk's gorgeously crisp black and white cinematography. And the punch line at the very end is simply priceless!

On the money episode, 22 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

LaRue (a nicely smarmy Kiel Martin) gets Vic Hitler (a hilarious turn by Terry Kiser) a gig at a seedy nightclub. Coffey (a fine Ed Marinaro) takes a lie detector test. Davenport (well played by Veronica Hamel) accepts Furillo's (Daniel J. Travanti in customary sterling form) proposal to tie the knot. Hill (an excellent Michael Warren), Renko (likable Charles Haid), and Bates (a sturdy Betty Thomas) work undercover on a bus. Belker (a spot-on Bruce Weitz) tries to overcome the death of his dad.

The volatile atmosphere created by the murder of a black man in the holding sell is extremely well captured in this episode, with the black community up in airs due to this gross injustice. Moreover, Bates has an amusing altercation with an obnoxious punk on the bus and there's an exciting shoot-out with several guys who try to rob the bus. Popping up in stand-out guest roles are Ron Silver as cagey lawyer Weiser, Ally Sheedy as enticing teenager Kristen, and Dennis Burkley as hulking brute biker Sonny. But it's the various poignant moments featured throughout that makes this particular episode so special: Furillo has a moving conversation with his ex-wife Fay (a touching performance by Barbara Bosson) in which he informs her that he's married Davenport, Vic's nightclub act concludes on a bittersweetly abrupt note, and Belker relates an affecting story about his father and how tough he was.


Page 1 of 398:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]