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Funny Girl (1968)
A True Classic!
There has never been another Hollywood debut quite like Barbra Streisand's in FUNNY GIRL, and there probably never will be. Everyone knew she could sing beautifully, but this film proved that she was an actress, and an excellent one at that! Streisand showed the world once and for all that she is a true star capable of enormous talent. She is hilarious in the film's uproarious opening and is absolutely heart-breaking in the dramatic end, just watch her sensational performance of "My Man" in the film's finale. She picked up a well-deserved Oscar for her work here.
The rest of the cast is also very good, Omar Sharif is especially suave in the role of Nicky Arntein. The production values are high, the music is great, William Wyler's direction is lively, and the story, though predictable, is very touching. But above all else, it is Streisand's versatile and extremely likeable performance that holds the whole film together. Watch to laugh, watch to cry, watch to be entertained.
On a scale of 10, I'd rate this classic a 10!
A Powerful and Intelligent Film.
Based on Tom Topors's off broadway play, NUTS is a highly charged drama that raises some uneasy questions. NUTS opened in late 1987 to little hype and mixed reviews.
This is a film that deserves to have a second life on video. While the court room plot devices are predictable, the film raises some important issues and questions. Questions like, "What is normal?" and "Does the law have the right to force help upon those who don't want it?"
What really makes this film worth watching though, is Barbra Strisand's bravura performance in the lead. I cannot believe she failed to receive an Oscar for her work here, it's crime that she wasn't at least nominated. Director Martin Ritt keep the film going at a perfect pace and also gets strong supporting performances from Richard Dreyfss and Maureen Stapleton.
This is a film that deserves more attention then it originally received, it is honest, though-provoking, and features a brilliant performance from Streisand.
My score for this excellent film: 9/10!
This is the pilot film to the popular ABC (and later CBS) TV series about the world's greatest superherione. Although some aspects of this film are dated, it's still a lot of fun and holds up quite nicely. In my opinion, it's probably the best comic book adaption ever made for television.
Lynda Carter may not ever be considered the best actress in the world, but that's just fine. She is simply amazing as Wonder Woman, bringing the perfect mix of warmth, sensitivity, and innocence to the role. I can't imagine anyone but the fabulous Lynda in the title role. Whoever lands the lead in the new WONDER WOMAN movie has some pretty big boots to fill.
The rest of the cast is also very good, Lyle Waggoner is especially charismatic and likeable as Steve Trevor. The production values are high, but some of the special effects naturally look dated. However the "bullets and bracelets" trick still looks impressive.
WONDER WOMAN is guaranteed to delight even the most harden cynics. Lynda Carter's heart-felt performance will easily win you over. My score: 8 out of 10 (the highest I've ever given a made for TV film)!
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Just As Magical and Fresh Today As It Was 60 Years Ago!
What's left to say about this film? If you looked up the word "perfection" in the dictionary, you're likely to find it's picture. Judy Garland will always live in this film. Knowing what we do about her personal life doesn't subtract from her performance at all. If anything, her stories of personal tragedy and drug abuse, only makes her more effective. We know that quiver in her voice and the sadness behind her eyes were real. I cannot watch this film with out getting a little nostalgic for her.
The rest of the cast, especially Boldger and Hamilton, are also flawless, the special effects are still stunning, and the film's moral will never grow old.
My score: a perfect 10! This film never grows old!
Brilliant Directorial Debut From Streisand.
A very different type of musical/drama. If you watch unbiased, I think you will find it has a little something for everyone. The film has beautiful direction, wonderful performances, lovely music, some sly humor, and is truly inspirational.
Barbra Streisand had wanted to make this film since 1968, but everyone in the industry told her she was crazy. In 1979, she was still determined to make the film, even if the studio's weren't. She was turned down by every motion picture company at least twice, until finally in the early eighties, MGM/UA picked up the project. Made on a then-above average budget of about $14 million, YENTL was released to mostly positive reviews and eventually grossed a surprisingly strong $50 million in the US alone and did twice as well around the world. The only disappointment is that Streisand was snubbed by Oscar.
The Main Event (1979)
A Good Time!
I echo the previous viewers comments. When released in 1979, THE MAIN EVENT was an immediate summer hit grossing $66 million in the US and $80 million around the world. The film was popular not only because it reunited the stars of the 1972 blockbuster WHAT'S UP, DOC?, but also because of it's light tone and old-fashioned fun.
The story doesn't really matter, all you need to know is that the chemistry between the stars is fun and exciting and the screenplay gives them plenty of room to inhabit the screen. Streisand is as lovable as ever and O'Neal has rarely been more charming.
As I said before: Good fun! 7/10.
A Star Is Born (1976)
A worthy remake.
This film was a sensation when originally released. It won five Golden Globe Awards and an Oscar for Best Original Song.
While the film doesn't match it's earlier incarnations, it's pretty good on it's own terms. I think the screenplay could have done more for it's central characters, they sometimes come off as one-dimensional. However, the performances of both Streisand and Kristofferson are genuinely appealing and believable, and their chemistry is magnetic.
Out of 10, I would rate this film at 7. It's has a good score, great performances, and is actually quite effective.
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
The most fun I've ever had in front of the TV set!
I think this film is the funniest movie I have ever seen. No matter how many times I see it, I always find surprisingly fresh and completely hilarious. Barbra Streisand's performance is the centerpiece of the whole film. She simply glows with warmth, sexiness, and humor. There isn't a moment when we don't find her completely believable. Ryan O'Neal adds a great physical presence and is gloriously restrained. The film also contains some great supporting turns from Ken Mars, Liam Dunn, and especially Madeline Kahn, who nearly steals the movie in her film debut.
On a scale of 10, WHAT'S UP, DOC? receives a perfect 10!
Hello, Dolly! (1969)
Ambitious musical that is only fair.
Overblown, colorful, and big-budgeted adaption of the acclaimed Broadway musical about a widowed matchmaker (Barbra Streisand) in her mid-50's who decides to snag a client (Walter Matthau) for herself. I have never seen the play, therefore I can't speak of it's quality, however, I can say that the filmed version never really gets off the ground, though it isn't bad. The story and score are fine, although both are overly familiar and recycled. The movie unfortunately spends far to much time dealing with two sets of young couples (Michael Crawford and Marianne McAndrew, and Danny Lockin and E.J. Peaker) who are annoying and bog down the story's movement. Matthau is good, although unmemorable, as Horace. Streisand is, of course, miscast (She was only 27 at the time!), but ironically her Dolly is the best thing this film has going for it.
In 1969, HELLO DOLLY was set up to be the next SOUND OF MUSIC. It didn't quite work out that way. The film's budget soared to $25 million (TITANIC numbers back then) and took in a solid, though (in relation to the cost) disappointing $38 million. The film received mixed reviews from critics but somehow nabbed a Best Picture Oscar nomination (must have been a slow year).
HELLO DOLLY tries very hard, but never hits it's intended mark. The film is still enjoyable though and worth a rent.
My score: 4 out of 10.
Funny Lady (1975)
A worthy sequel to a classic.
Let's get the biggest question out of the way: Is FUNNY LADY as good as FUNNY GIRL? Of course not, but how many movies are? This is the lively follow-up to the 1968 masterpiece, that continues Fanny's (Streisand's) story after her divorce from Nick (Sharif) and her second marriage to producer Billy Rose (James Caan).
This film was a sure-fire hit back in '75. Made on a then-hefty budget of $7 million, FUNNY LADY went on to gross over $48 million in the United States alone. Streisand and Caan have a sparkling chemistry, and Sharif is charming. Also, Roddy McDowell is memorable in a supporting role as Bobby.
The screenplay, though familiar, is surprisingly crisp with some fresh comedy bits and a bittersweet conclusion. The music isn't anywhere near as good as the original's, but there are some nice numbers including the showstopper "How Lucky Can You Get?" and the soft "More Than You Know."
FUNNY LADY is a very good movie and great sequel. Although the original is the place to start, the Streisand-Caan chemistry will give fans a good fix. Enjoy!
My score: 7 out of 10.
Up the Sandbox (1972)
An overlooked gem!
This is a film that has been sorely ignored by both Streisand fans and the movie-going public in general. SANDBOX is a comedy/drama that deals with the condition of the neglected housewives of the seventies. Streisand is absolutely wonderful in the lead. If this film had been seen by a wider audience, then you can bet she would have received an Oscar nomination.
Although the frequent fantasy/daydream scenes are somewhat uneven in quality, Streisand's touching and believable performance will keep you glued.
When originally released in 1972, SANDBOX was lost in the shadow of Streisand's blockbuster WHAT'S UP, DOC? (released the same year). >
UP THE SANDBOX deserves to be rediscovered on video. Give it a try.
My score: 8 out of 10.
The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
The surprisingly perfect pairing of Streisand and Segal makes this situation comedy a real treat. Laughs abound in this story of an undereducated prostitute (Streisand) and a meek, snobbish writer (Segal) who end up spending the night together as room mates after his snitching gets her evicted from her apartment. Although some may find this film too static, viewers who love witty dialogue and bitingly funny one liners will find that this film has enough laughs for ten movies!
My score: 8 out of 10.
The Way We Were (1973)
One of the best romances of all-time!
There are movies about love being made all of the time. After awhile, they all begin to look the same. However, once in awhile, one is made that truly stands out. THE WAY WE WERE is such a film. This film, mixing love and politics, finds two individuals (Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford) who meet in college, but years pass before a romance blooms. She is an political activist, he's bored by politics. She's stern and serious, he's easygoing and laid-back. Although they love each other deeply, their differences begin to tear them apart. As far as romantic tearjerkers go, they don't get much better than this. Both Striesand and Redford are perfectly cast and their characters are ones in which viewers will grow to love and care about. Many viewers will also appreciate the realistic ending. This is a beautiful film.
The Cotton Club (1984)
A brilliant, though not always coherent, film
Ah, the roaring 20's, what a decade! This film seems to capture the essence of what made those years so wonderful. The film has about a half a dozen stories running through it, most of them collide with one another at the Cotton Club, where extremely talented people put on shows, the mob takes care of business, and the wealthy can drink and laugh the night away.
Just a few of the stories include Dixie Dawyer's (Richard Gere's) romance with mob girl (Diane Lane), a talented dancer's (Gregory Hines') relationship with club singer (Lonette McKee), and various member of the mob, including Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne.
The movie looks and sounds wonderful! The jazz music is great and the numbers are extravagant. The film is very well directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who has a taste for style. But, unfortunately, there are some problems. Although there are many enjoyable vignettes, the whole film doesn't quiet gel together.
Most of the performances are first-rate. Gere is a particular standout as Dixie Dawyer. The talented Hines and the beautiful McKee are also perfect and share many of the film's best scenes together. Hoskins, Gwynne, and Nicholas Cage provide excellent support. Diane Lane, however is rather flat as Gere's love interest.
Despite its shortcomings, The Cotton Club remains a brilliant piece of work that will be liked by some more than others, but contains something for nearly everyone.
A guilty pleasure!
Critics dismissed this film upon release and unfairly compared it to the classic original. The basic plot line is the same: A car thief (Richard Gere) who has just murdered a cop, hides out with a lovely french student (Valerie Kaprisky) who had previously left him in Los Vegas. They (surprise) fall in love again, but she's not sure if she wants to disrupt her life and go out on the lamb with him.
This film is a definite guilty pleasure! Though fans of the original won't like it, it's actually not half bad. Gere's energetic performance is really something to see. The film's major flaw is the horrible performance by Kaprisky, who sounds like she's reading her lines off cue cards. But no matter, guilty pleasure seekers are sure to enjoy the beautiful stars (with Gere and Kaprisky both looking great in or out of costume) and the cheesy story line.
American Gigolo (1980)
Gere is terrific!
Enjoyable and different character study works better as a romance than as a thriller. Julian (Richard Gere) is a male prostitute who falls in love with one of his clients (Lauren Hutton, who is well-cast), the wife of a famous politician. About the same time, Julian realizes that he is being framed for a kiky S&M murder, and is wanted by the police. Hutton is the only one who can give him an alibi, but can't without putting her husband to shame.
Although the thriller element doesn't really work, the film still excels because of Richard Gere's wonderful performance. He creates a character that is intense and somewhat sleazy, yet amazingly vulnerable and naive. His performance (and the chemistry he shares with Hutton) holds the film together and makes it work. Gere created one of the most interesting chracters of the last two decades.
Red Corner (1997)
Great and underrated
This movie didn't get the attention it deserved at the time of its release, I hope it does better on video. While the film may be a little heavy-handed at times, it is still an interesting piece of work. Gere is great as the TV exec. caught up in the Chinese court system, and Bia Ling is quietly sensational as the chinese lawyer who reluctantly comes to his defense. The relationship they generate is more than enough to make up for the routine plot development. A must-see for fans of Gere.
Primal Fear (1996)
Much better than the Grisham film adaptions
Courtroom thrillers are about a dime a dozen. If you've seen one, you've them all, right? Not quite. This little gem may appear to just be another run-of-the-mill Grisham knock-offs, but many may be surprised to find that the film is actually very good.
Richard Gere delivers one of his finest performances as arrogant lawyer Martain Vail, who ends up defending an innocent-looking alter boy (Edward Norton, very impressive debut) for the murder of the Arch Bishop. Laura Linney pulls off a smashing, and overlooked, turn as Vail's ex. flame, who ends up being (where else?) on the prosecution side.
Primal Fear has enough twists, turns, and good performances to send the courtroom-thriller fan screaming with delight.