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The Devil Makes Three (1952)
Egan great, Kelly not
Great subject matter that opened dialogs and minds about socio-political post war Europe (Germany.) Well cast, with honest and moving performances. I believe it was one of the first of its kind, and for that it should be commended.
It should come as no surprise that Richard Egan carries this picture as the lead, with a group of capable and fine actors. The one exception is Gene Kelly. He's not an actor; he was a showman. I recently heard Kelly took issue with taller, masculine men (and at 5'7, it wasn't hard to out "stand" him) who actually sounded like the leading men they were. With Richard Egan leading the pack, there was no shortage of these men. As such, Kelly should have been more concerned with his performance, and matching up to the talents that were cast to surround and support his "performance."
The 300 Spartans (1962)
This movie just came out on DVD, and it's something to get your hands on, no doubt.
The Battle Of Thermopylae is a great story of heroism, and captured here with great acting and breath-taking battle scenes sans special fx. I have no doubt this movie will be remade, especially since it's been ripped off endlessly (especially in recent times.)
Let's just start with the acting. Richard Egan and Ralph Richardson are, on their own, great actors. The chemistry between the two actors is endearing and honest. Richardson plays the older, wiser Themistocles while Egan plays the strong, respectful lionhearted King Leonidas. Both of them are wonderful to watch, and with Egan, it's nice to see an actor who plays a role as a human instead of a Shakespearean caricature. He's stoic, yet totally sympathetic. Wonderful.
Geoff Unsworth and Rudolph Mate succeeded in capturing the landscape of an ancient land, though I obviously was not there to verify that this is in fact what the land looked like. Come to think of it, neither were any of us! So, to try to criticize the movie on details with such vitriol that its as if you lived it yourself is, in all honesty, laughable and pathetic. Great, you derive joy from nit picking a MOVIE meant to stir discussion and above all, entertain. Bully for you.
Regardless, 300 Spartans is a great story of courage, sacrifice, and selflessness. Oh, and it was well done. Period.
Anyhow, if you've got wits, get this movie.
Dead Man on Campus (1998)
This comedy is fun. It's not meant to education; it's meant to entertain. Mark Paul Gosselaar shines as a comedic actor, and his talents were further evidenced after he was an NYPD Blue addition (a HUGE contrast from DMOC, obviously.) The premise is unique, and the acting was good. Yes, it may lag a bit in the 2nd act and the writing can become a tad labored, but nonetheless, this is a totally fun movie with great performances and hijinx. If you have not seen it, get a group of friends together who actually have a sense of humor, get some good eats, and have a blast.
The Day of the Wolves (1971)
Truly a passion project
While budgetary constraints may be evident, the plot is what probably attracted a quality actor like Richard Egan. Definitely a must see for Tarantino fans, as it seems he watched it more than a few times. The film itself was ahead of its time in terms of plot, and if it were more available, would be a favorite among heist fans. Despite the budget/filming conditions, Egan gives a great performance, giving the writing a bit more than it deserves. All in all, a good watch.
Love Me Tender (1956)
Solid movie with excellent introspective performances.
The fanfare of a young Elvis Presley and his first movie certainly was blinding when it came to this movie. It was hard for people to see past it, however, upon viewing the picture, Presley's star dims as he takes his seat at the table among some of the acting greats of cinema. The viewer relinquishes the idea that it's Elvis and accepts him as the doting youngest son of the Reno family.
Dramatic without being maudlin, the picture chronicles the lives of one family post-Civil War, and how each member dealt with the harsh realities of war. Hearing that the eldest son Vance (Egan) has died, Clint (Presley) and Vance's former love (Paget) marry in the aftermath of the murder of her parents and the Reno boys father. As is in wartime, things become increasingly more difficult when he and his two other brothers Brett (Campbell) and Ray (Drury) to find this, as well the spoils of war haunting them shortly upon their return.
It's an honest look at a difficult time in this country, with great performances all around -- from the handsome, impressive lead Richard Egan on down the cast. Egan's portrayal of Vance Reno is an amazing performance -- restrained without being stolid, much as men were during the time. Egan gives glimpses into the inner turmoil that sits just below the characters surface, making the character heartbreakingly sympathetic and admirable.
It's Elvis Presley's best performance and (dare I say only worthwhile) role and film. Upon reflection, his co-stars helped to elevate him into something more than what followed (with films) and Presley really seems to have taken this one seriously. Regardless of whether you're a Presley fan or not, the understated performances, simple but effective storyline and message, and moving conclusion make this a must see.
The Promise (1997)
"The Promise" is a great example of how a viewer can be touched by a short film. This is a tear-jerker about a young Irish boy struggling with the harsh realities of life. The direction and acting (for the most part) are excellent, and are certainly the strongest components of this film. Feeling as if it is a precursor to an epic, this is a film worth seeing.
Why are some people so enthralled by this perfect example of a sophomore slump? UNBREAKABLE was a mess. I liken it to PT Anderson's debacle MAGNOLIA after such a promising start with HARD 8 and BOOGIE NIGHTS. Shyamalan clearly believes his own hype (not that the doc. on SIXTH SENSE didn't already prove that). What was this movie?? This from the man who made THE SIXTH SENSE??? No way...
I thought the way MNS would handle the subject matter would be much better, much more profound and beautifully. It wasn't. Instead, it was self- indulgent and extremely self aware. It reminded me of a student thesis film, long languid shots, scattered and jarring style, the kind of movie where you can practically hear the directors arm breaking while he/she is furiously patting themselves on the back. The character of David isn't the flawed hero we want to love; he is robotic, and this doesn't change throughout the movie. Are we supposed to like a guy who we first meet while he is attempting to cheat on his wife?
Sam Jackson played the same character he plays in EVERY role, a variation on his PULP FICTION character. And the ending was much less the "shock" it was touted as. Freeze framing with a supered text? C'mon! Were they necessary? If so, why not over a black card?? I felt like I was watching a mastercard commercial.
This movie needed to be stripped down. Perhaps it would have been more endearing if the character actually had to prove something to the son and wife he had been neglecting. Making Jackson the wise mentor rather than the shapeshifting character he was would have helped.
For his next movie, Shyamalan needs to be more concerned with making his stories human rather than his super "shocking" endings. This is a HUGE disappointment.
Scary Movie (2000)
Two hours of my life I'll never get back.
I am not a prude, and I think everybody needs a little teasing once in a while. But this movie was an offensive, misogynist, anti gay, sexist, and completely racist piece of garbage that did nothing but perpetuate stereotypes and beat already low brow, unfunny jokes into the ground. Was it the Wayans intention to promote this level of thinking? I hope so, because at least on one level they can feel a sense of accomplishment.
This was one terrible movie. It didnt even seem like a spoof; it seemed like a bad horror movie, and the way they intended. There was very little irony, nor tongue in cheek wit to keep this thing afloat. The humor did not come from characters nor affectionate nods at past horror movies; where did it come from? This movie employed the same countless sketch comedy gags that this director was using 10 years ago in the Near Beer version of Def Comedy Jam meets SNL (In Living Color). The pop culture references will date this movie beyond belief in about oh, I'd say six months, and the sad thing, the references even for today are squandered. The WAAZAAP joke...can you say reshoot?
The Farrelly Brothers do gross and somewhat offensive humor; Wayans tried desperately to make the same movie, only his humor came from heavy people and homosexuals, since they are in and of themselves "funny" and rip for the picking (is your sarcasm detector going off? Good). There is a joke about their show, The Wayans Brothers, being cancelled without even having a final episode. Seeing as this movie is a real winner, I can't imagine why is was cancelled.
Please, keep Wayans and his youngest brother Marlon I believe (who has a supporting role as a stereotypical pothead and is UNWATCHABLE) away from movie sets. THIS MOVIE WAS HORRENDOUS. In conclusion, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.
Good film with sweet and simple message.
This film is one of Disney's finest live action movies. Perhaps others feel that the British are being misrepresented by this honest, warm, and pleasant little girl. Who knows. In any case, the wit and charm of this movie is rarely seen today. With a great cast that includes Richard Egan, Carl Malden, and Hayley Mills, this is a great movie, particularly in the summer, for kids and adults.