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Christmas Is (1970 TV Movie)
6/10
I remember this.
23 December 2011
They showed it all the time back in the 70s, this and its counterpart 'Easter Is'. It was produced/backed by a Lutheran Church in St Louis Missouri. while the animation was limited and it was kinda treacly, the show's heart was in the right place. I well remember the kid winding up back in time as the 'second Shephard' during the Nativity. And how it made the Romans look like the baddies.

They also did a good job of showing the Christmas star, a silent night, small town of Bethleham, etc. It's reverent but done w/ some class.

Basically it's like a sawed off Peanuts special w/out the shine and panache, but it has its moments. Check it out if you are in the mood and you ever get a chance.
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A Christmas Story (1972 TV Movie)
7/10
Used to see this all the time at Christmas
23 December 2011
I have fond memories of this. The friendly mouse and dog team up to deliver a letter to Santa. They go all over town but keep running into store Santas or Salvation Army types or whatever. There are the usual Hanna Barbara songs, voicers (Daws Butler and Paul Winchell), treacly images of an ideal Christmas, etc.

And know what, I loved every single second of it. They'd put this on about 7:30 pm in December back in the 70s, and I can remember playing outside in the snow as a kid, coming into the house and seeing this come on. It was a perfect tandem show w/ the Grinch/Rankin Bass/Peanuts stuff that is now better remembered.

It's not a classic per se, but its not that bad, and if you ever get a chance to watch it, do so. You gotta like H-B from the 70s though. Fair Warning.
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Yellow Sky (1948)
7/10
Interesting, moody western.
22 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
*Fine cast-Gregory Peck, Harry Morgan, Richard Widmark, Anne Baxter, etc.

*Beautifully filmed, stark Death Valley backdrops, shadows, lines over the sand and rocks. You can tell its a late 40's movie.

*Has a bit of a film noire look to it as well, especially during the shootout. Watch how the moonlight filters through the curtains onto Anne Baxter and Peck in one shot especially, almost like they were a part of them...yeah I know, sounds weird. But if you see it you'll know what I mean.

*Good to see John Russell in his Leo Gordon/Lee Van Cleef baddie phase. You can't miss those eagle like eyes.

*Plot is odd-the hidden stash of gold, the tomboyish gal w/ the gun protecting her grandfather, John Russell out to rape her(yes), Peck going over to their side, Sherman Potter switching sides (twice!), the return of the loot to the bank, etc. It plays well but takes a few turns you don't expect.

*Mass cameo of 100 Apaches. They fade out about as fast as the cavalry(!) does at the beginning.

*Do see this. Peck and Widmark play off one another well *** outta ****
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Boom Town (1940)
6/10
Pretty good buddy movie of the times.
22 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This one has it all-great cast(Spencer, Clark, Hedy, Claudette), rousing action(check that oil well fire scene), over-use of montages, boom and bust cycles, beautiful women(esp. Hedy), fistfights, etc. A typical big budget, big star feature of the times.

I donno how much I bought the soap opera angle-clearly Claudette and Spencer should have gotten back together at the end, w/ Gable taking off w/ Hedy. She was easily more his type. The movie is quite superficial-they gain and lose fortunes at a seeming moments notice, bounce back easily and keep on plowing ahead. Gable and Tracy carry this, esp. Gable. It's likable, somewhat overlong and tends to drag a bit in the second half. Frank Morgan and Chill Wills help keep it lively. Look out for a neato Curt Bois cameo too. Think 'Casablanca' and 'Vipers'.

*** outta ****, you will like it if you like the two leads.
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True Grit (2010)
7/10
This is actually a remake of the orig movie. don't be fooled.
9 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
There is this strange insistence on the part of the Coens that this is not a remake of the '69 Duke film. HAW. This is SO much a remake of that movie it ain't funny. While it's not as slavish to it's source material as the '98 Psycho re-hash, it's right up there. I hadn't watched the Wayne vehicle in some years, and I could tell right away. Don't try so hard Coens. Nothing wrong w/ remaking True Grit-it's a good film.

Others have already expressed what works so well here-I just wanna say I agree. Jeff Bridges is terrific as Cogburn-by NO means is he 'better' that the Duke-he's essentially channelling Mitchum from 'El Dorado' by way of Wallace Beery as far's I'm concerned. And it works, rather well. You root for the man and buy into his toughness out on the trail after the baddies.

Loved Mattie here. Like watching a young Jody Foster at work. Self-assured, believable, steady, a little adult. You hope she has a great future ahead of her. I enjoyed her performance.

Good turns by Barry Pepper, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin too. Solid action, great scenery and cinematography.

I think as an overall film, it's better than the '69 Oscar winner, as two of the key roles here-Damon and Mattie> Campbell and Darby. No one is going to replace the Duke, and Bridges of all people, being part of Hollywood royalty, knows this better than anyone. He made the role his own and therefore the film is that much better for it.

***1/2 of *****. Yes go see it. Wayne wouldn't mind.
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Frost/Nixon (2008)
7/10
Good if inaccurate in places.
6 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Just going to do some bullet points here...

*Sheen as Frost is pretty good. Had a Pythonish quality to him.

*Langella as Nixon is good/bad, fine actor but this was Richard Little in level at times-that bogus Nixon drunk-dial sequence, for example? Egads.

*The spinning of this at the end, where it's shown as being some Mano-a-mano bout, w/ Nixon clocking him first three rounds and then Frost getting him at the end, didn't quite ring true. There's a grossly false misrepresentation of how this interview affected Nixon afterwards. Frost is rightly shown as soaring career-wise from there on out, but Nixon? they make it out to be his failed last stab at rehab, and fading into the woodwork.

Where were these clowns during the Reagan years? Hello-?? Nixon as in Comeback Nixon was ALL you heard about there-he was the Foreign Policy Guru, esp. on China and Russia, he was on the cover of Newsweek-I think the headline was 'Nixon is BACK?!-Yes he is', of course he turned out the books and etc. as well.

I'm NOT a fan of the man, at least not the whole Nam/Watergate period-Nixon did some horrible things and is lucky he didn't wind up in jail. But to cling to some liberal wankjob of saying he never came back or whatever-that's a narrative that ain't gonna hunt. That's grossly, terribly, FALSE and wrong. He did. Period.

Try again Richie.
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Northern Exposure (1990–1995)
8/10
It holds up rather well.
16 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Literate, quirky, endearing, filled to the brim w/ 'magical realism'. An artifact from the early '90's. All of those things are true.

I got the 3rd season DVD, and a few things I noticed after watching this series for the first time in a decade or so: *The DVD doesn't have the top 40 hits that were on the series at the time. Royalties snafu. You get a cheaper DVD this way I suppose. But you do lose something.

*It's right before we became swamped w/ cell phones and the Internet. The lack of both are very obvious. I think it's a welcome quality, too.

*The characters are great-Ed, Maggie, the Doc, the DJ, Maurice, Ruth-Anne, Marion, even Adam. You don't run into such a unique variety of people on series TV much, and as well-written, too.

*Joel gets on your nerves easily, sometimes it's like he's perennially new, always the Noo Yoiker outta his element. It did get contrived after awhile.

*I never honestly bought Cynthia Geary falling for Holling, just because. The age-gap etc was too much. But that's okay both are decent performers and it works. Kind of.

*The show could have ran longer.

*It's rewarding and not afraid of wearing its heart on its sleeve. It holds up and I recommend watching it to anyone who is interested.

**** outta ****
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Iron Man 2 (2010)
7/10
Pretty good, not as good's the first one though.
9 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I think this one falls into the Spidey II mold-mucho personal introspection on the part of the hero, his flaws come out in a big way, and there's a rather drawn out flat section of the movie where he's Not Iron Man, and it does drag things down some. They were going for more charcterization I realize, but-it's kinda slow.

What works? Downey Jr. as Iron Man is up to par as he was in the first, it's quite good. This is his role.

Paltrow as Potts is okay, but they did make her out to be a shrew.

I liked Scarlet as the Black Widow, not on screen all that much but what they do show is perfectly fine.

Baddie's plot-well the Crimson Dynamo(Rourke) teams up w/ a rival arms builder(Rockwell), to field an army of Iron Man-like Drones. Takes'em out w/ Cheadle's help. Mucho explosions, shooting and flying around. I would have liked a couple more scenes like that during the movie, honestly--just to help the pacing.

Roarke is okay as Vanko there you just don't see him doing that much save making Drones, hacking into networks and slicing up a couple Le Mans cars. That part was fine, by the way.

Check it out though, a good way to open up the summer--though you can be forgiven if you think you've seen parts of this before-Robocop or Transformers esp come to mind.

*** outta ****
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6/10
Okay video-game like re-hash of '81 film.
2 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Good things/bad things about this: 1: Worthington is solid if not spectacular as Perseus. He gets the job done.

2: Gemma Aterton as Io the narrative Plot device is fine.

3: I liked the Kraken, scorpions, Medusa, harpies, etc.

4: Fiennes as Hades was fine save not on screen enough.

5: F/X are state of the art, no problem here.

What was bad: 1: Couldn't tell apart most of supporting cast.

2: Andromeda has a zero part. She is a big deal in the classic myth etc.

3: Zeus Neeson is no on screen enough, not much of a part either.

4: It plays like a video game. You have zero characterization, motivation, etc save for the fact that they go from A to B and fight things then go to C and fight some more, people die, etc. No real variety.

5: Kraken should have been on longer.

Kudos for the funny bits including Bubo, 'That doesn't inspire confidence', etc. And what was w/ the mummies? **1/2 outta ****, not bad but you won't remember much afterwards.
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7/10
Fine card-shark McQueen vehicle.
2 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Quite a fine movie. The cast is the best part-McQueen doing his uber-cool thing, Ann-Margret as the sultry decoration, Malden the jittery best friend, a youngish Rip Torn as the baddie, Edward G. as Minnesota Fats, more or less.

It's set in New Orleans in the thirties, it involves a killer marathon poker-showdown between the reigning champion of these events-Edward G. Robinson, and the local up and coming hotshot, Steve McQueen. Familiar faces such as Cab Calloway, Dub Taylor, Jeff Corey and Joan Blondell get into the action and help make this one even better me thinks just because.

Only real debits-slowish pacing in the middle, Malden too trusting w/ his gal A-M around McQueen, and it really doesn't have that authentic Sting/Thirties look to it. A-M and Weld could have walked in off the Viva Las Vegas sets, you know? The marathon poker match is the best part, certainly, keep an eye out for Jack Weston here-he certainly adds something to the preceedings.

I was surprised by Edward G winning by the way-it looked like a real set-up to have McQueen take him down at the end. No dice. I think Edward G also steals the show here, he's quite in his element and the camera just loves him.

Check it out, well worth your time. *** outta ****
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5/10
Interesting artifact.
25 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Rat Pack meets Elvis. It's always amazing to see the knives come out when fans of one icon-Elvis or Sinatra or the Beatles. I know, I do it too. But seriously...

Looking at a couple of these reviews. Some clown here cited Albert Goldman to slag Elvis in his duet w/ Sinatra. Really?? Should we go and break out the Kitty Kelly quotes here about Mr. Gambino-wannabe Frankie? He looks like a skinny over-aged has-been in comparison to Elvis like it or not if you want to know the truth. Nice ears there Frankie. And say are you wearing those 3 inch lifts again-? And all you need to know about Goldman-he died of a cardiac on a plane enroute from Miami to London while preparing a never-to be completed assault on Jim Morrison. Could not have happened to a nicer guy.

Sinatra and Elvis' duet is good. It's a bit awkward but it's fine. I like the Rat Pack and admire Sinatra's career, impact and all that. But let's not get carried away. There's a reason he was called the King.
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88 Minutes (2007)
5/10
Pretty bad, sure.
24 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
You won't get much of an argument from me here. (I saw it on You Tube-some guy has it broken down in 10 parts save for the first few minutes. Save yourself the price of a rental and do that instead) Everyone involved just seems kinda lost-Pacino phones it in-barely scratching the surface of 'Good late Pacino' in the Insider or Heat. He's not convincing. His wig is awful and acts as a running gag.

Poor Alicia Witt has nothing to do but stand around in her undershirt or sit in the passenger seat and semi-react to Pacino all thru the movie. She's underused and certainly too young for the Pacino character.

Sobieski as the killer/baddie. Well. I like her. I hated her performance here though. Like Witt-rather wooden, unconvincing, miscast. You don't for a second buy her ability to be in 4 places at once or coming up w/ that little body on the rope-and-pulley trick at the end. Her accent keeps switching continents and her delivery as the mad killer at the end Bruce Boxleitner flat. Just--awful.

Scads of Red herrings abound. The goofy doorman w/ the fake mustache? the tattooed rentacop? the one-scene cameo of the British biker dude in the hall who gets shot? the clean-cut student who has the confrontation w/ Pacino in the office? Witt? the Dean? You know--half the cast.

Most of the film shows Al running from overhead or renting a taxi(!) or semi-emoting into the camera. William Forsyth is 4 seconds from arresting him, is convinced to let him go thru the flimsiest of reasons while there's a body hanging around the top floor of the building next door, people coming and going lousing up the evidence of the crime scene willy nilly, etc. Egads.

Who wrote this stuff? You Tube it. ** if that outta ****
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The Sandlot (1993)
7/10
Enjoyed this.
18 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Never'd watched it 'til today. It's kinda 'Stand By Me' but baseball-centered and w/out all that melancholy 'end of era' stuff that permeates that one from '86.

Here you have: disparate, recognizably normal type kids playing baseball in the early sixties in southern California, doing normal kid things. You know- bonding, fighting, being scared of the Monster Dog next door, ogling the lifeguard, insulting each other, making things up about themselves that they've never done, trying tobacco, getting sick.

The Monster dog turns out to be a rather large, aggressive mastiff, the owner is a blind James Earl Jones, the McGuffin of the Ruth signed baseball the device that brings all of this together.

I liked the kids-Smalls, Benny, the Twins, Nunez, Squints, Hamilton esp. I thought their reactions to each other and the world around them to be refreshingly normal. We all did these sorts of things at that age and saw other kids doing them later on. The movie is nostalgic w/out drowning you inside it-the soundtrack does toss in 'Finger Popping Time', a couple of Drifters tunes and Wipeout, but it's all kinda well timed and doesn't feel forced.

You get to see Karen Allen and Denis Leary as the parents twice in the movie ala Charlie Brown's adults--which makes sense, really, this is the kids' world, not that of the folks'. I thought both were okay if somewhat under-used.

It all wraps up rather entertainingly though you do need to put your mind on hold a bit during the varied Rube Goldberg attempts at getting the ball back(thing pulleys, erector sets, long sticks, vaccuum cleaners, etc) and that marathon chase thru the cinema, fair and what not.

Check it out, you will like it and so will your kids. *** outta ****
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6/10
Ha ha I remember this one!
16 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's great. It's TERRIBLE, and it's obviously a hacked together movie outta a TV show, but so? You have-Caveman Ray guns, bad rubber suited monsters, bad Star Wars type baddies, robots, fakey jungle settings, goofy UngaBunga stuff at the start, bad starlet acting, Reb Brown making Ahnold look like Brando.

It's also a fun time to be had. It hits every cliché in the Conan genre flick right on the nose, and then some. It fails miserably on about every level save for you having an MSTK3 matinée any time you watch it.

The Italians gotta be absolutely bonkers to make something like this. You've gotta be bonkers to watch it. And you'll thank me for seeing it if you haven't. It's a good time despite itself.

** for the Cavemen ray guns and the rubber dinos.
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8/10
It's great. Holds up very well.
21 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm very impressed w/ this. Always liked both Walter Matthau and that whole '73-75 era in movies. They did a fine job w/ the locations, casting, clothes, heck the slang even rang true. I can remember watching people in real life and TV dressed like this(Dig Walter's canary yellow tie!)and driving those big boat cars.

Robert Shaw as the head baddie is icy cold and believable. I was surprised to find out it was Wilson from Tool-time as one of the other gunmen(!), knew him but couldn't place him you know. Ditto Dick O'Neill as the spluttering transit authority guy.

The movie is dated, sure-it was made in the Watergate era so you have half the cast in leather jackets or wearing bell bottoms or golf pants, but it's how people looked then. You also have to like the nods towards integration of races and sexes in the jobforce and in the world at large that was taking place in that era---'I thought you were-uh, shorter-' was priceless.

Check it out, am sure it beats the remake by a mile in quality, acting and interest. Matthau's close-up at the end-Gesudheit-that's great all by itself.

***1/2 outta ****
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7/10
Pretty okay for a 5 buck Walmart buy.
20 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I hadn't seen this one yet and certainly wanted to give it a try. It's fairly good, but you don't need the slowww pacing, the raft of unanswered questions(why so Orwellian???), and the way they just let the kid go like that in the midst of a firefight-sure....

I liked Michael Caine(channeling John Lennon), Clive Owen, and 'Kee'. I thought Julia Moore was fine save that they killed her off rather conveniently a half-hour in. I thought it was rather depressing, the art direction etc very consistent, well realized if suffocating.

This is a movie rife w/ symbolism (Mary/Joseph/Jesus imagery abounds), lonnnnnnnng slow scenes, rotting garbage, bombed out buildings and smoggy cities. You will admire the craftsmanship and skill that went into its creation w/out nec. believing what you are seeing.

A fave scene was the rotted out falling down grade school w/ the fading crayola drawings on its wall and a wandering deer in the hall. That one I liked.

The fight in the woods w/ the biker gang, the cops and the car also is a well done stunt.

Oh *** outta ****, maybe a bit less-see it but don't expect greatness.
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Green Zone (2010)
6/10
Bourne in Baghdad, lesser effort here though.
20 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I think this movie gets it right in the Big Picture(TM)--Bush was wrong about WMDs and his cronies slanted the evidence to justify taking out Saddam. That's it, pure and simple. And the other points made-about the idiotic disbanding of the Iraqi army and the Baath party thereby ruining what little chance we had of making their broken but semi-useable infrastructure work for us--that's well portrayed too.

I liked Damon as Miller but thought it strayed somewhat when he stopped riding in the Humvees and ran around w/ a million bucks in tow and w/ Hopalong Freddie there. That didn't work so well. Brendan Gleeson is fine as always-and oddly sympathetic here-but they didn't give him enough to do.

Paul Kinnear as a Paul Bremer/Snidely Whiplash type here is hate-able and you hope he rides over an IED later after the credits role. I liked some of this movie, as I said, but there seems to be a problem making the public pay to watch these Iraqi War movies. And this one is no different.

Rent it. The idea that our source for the WMDs was a rogue Saddam general who met w/ US Intel and had his story bastardized by the Neocons isn't really what happened-our sources there just flat out lied period-but it still makes for worthwhile viewing. Not a documentary.

Oh and dig Jason Isaacs Yankee accent. Funny.

**1/2 outta ****. Greengrass, deep-six the danged shakeycam PLEASE!
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Big Jake (1971)
7/10
The Duke's last real hit.
27 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This was the last movie of his that did all that well at the box office, he was rated the #1 male box office draw in '71 for the last time. The rest of his flicks--the Cowboys, Cahill, etc didn't do all that great. What made this one special? Well, nothing really-it's another in the line of those sixties/early 70's 'Superstar John Wayne' flicks ala the War Wagon or Sons of Katie Elder or Chisum, where he trots out the same old faces-Paul Fix, Bruce Cabot, a Mitchum, Hank Worden, beats on baddies, Indians and the younger folks, saves the day, and tosses in some broad humour to boot.

This one adds: more violence, more blood-letting, a motorcycle, a plane, Richard Boone in a fine nasty villain role, and Maureen O'Hara back to the well one more time.

Debits-there are bad continuity booboos galore-in terrain, in the color of the Dawg, in some of the stunts, etc. Both Mitchum and Pat Wayne are so-so at best. Wayne seems bent on beating the younger upstarts down at every turn. You know its made during the Vietnam War even if you didn't know it's release date.

It's a good time though, familiarity in this case doesn't breed contempt. Worth checking out just because. You gotta be a fan of the Duke though.

**1/2 outta ****

Oh they save the kid and Boone is killed at the end.
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The Big Heat (1953)
7/10
Fine, straight forward Noir of the era.
7 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame are the best things about this. You can see what Sharon Stone was trying for in Casino-but she didn't get to within miles of what Grahame brought to the screen here. Really really good stuff.

Ford is a cop who gets involved in a miasma of corrupt city officials, police officers, mob goons and murder. His wife is killed in a car bomb. His boss is on the take. The baddies threaten to kidnap his toddler. Boiling coffee is flung! Lee Marvin is vicious. It's great.

I liked Marvin, very good as the main goon, as Vicious-darn. Liked burning people w/ cigarettes and boiling water, only fitting he got the same back in his face at the end.

Fine closing shoot-out, too.

Do check it out, a bit dated but well worth your time.

*** outta ****
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8/10
It's great.
6 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Never had watched this til tonite. What a movie. Lovely performances by those kids, Peck is top-notch, Brock Peters is moving, the rest of the character actors-Duvall, Windom, Fix-are all good too.

This movie just felt right-the setting was very southern, the townsfolk moved around like poor people in the depression in the summer heat, things just had a unique ebb and feel to them here you don't see in films much now.

I have only the one minor quibble w/ it-starts out as a very well done kids in a southern town thing, then it's onto the court stuff. I didn't think they brought out enough of the actual rape case early enough. Yes I know it was from the kids point of view, but still...

Minor point as I said. This holds up quite well and is worth your watching. You just knew Brock Peters was going to get it, so clearly was he a martyr.

**** outta **** do check this one out.
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3:10 to Yuma (1957)
7/10
First rate Ford and Heflin teaming.
5 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This really does make you think of High Noon, doesn'tit ? The reviewers here have said pretty much what I'd say-don't have that much to add. Here are a few things that stand out to me though: *Henry Jones as Slim Pickens was really good. Enjoyable.

*Ford was never better than he was here. You wonder if they couldn't have fleshed out his scenes w/ Felicia Farr further-but still, what they have, does work.

*Heflin is twitchy and just this side of Homer Simpson in some of his foibles. I found him to be quite believable-didn't wanna get involved, did it for the money. This was good. He always worked well on screen.

*Richard Jaeckel is a fave, it was great to see him in this.

*You don't nec. buy Ford's leaping onto the train at the end like that, but--it IS Hollywood, what else you going to do? you need an ending.

*Only debit it did play like a bigger budget TV Western-check that town set, seen it 100's of times.

*** outta ****, quite good.
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6/10
Okay flick, seems to miss it's main point though.
16 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I thought that the two guys stuck in no-man's land in Afghanistan should have been given more time and attention. Instead we hear Cruise jabbering w/ Streep about how the Iraq war went so wrong, the media was in bed w/ the gov't and letting it happen, while everyone else has the good life in the States(college, etc) and don't have to sacrifice a thing as the war drones on, and on. More or less this was the plot.

I liked Cruise, Streep, Redford. I thought the collegiate stuff was weaker though than the other two story lines, the kid spinning his tires in Redford's class wasn't exactly a riveting plot line.

It's a liberal movie done by a liberal director. That's clear. The two guys surrounded by the Taliban are clearly shot inside a set, you never really get the sense that you're out in some godforsaken mtn plateau in winter while all hell breaks lose. That's a shame.

Overall I thought it was a missed opportunity, well intentioned and ringing more true in it's themes than the actual portrayals, if that makes sense. You feel for the two soldiers-one black, one Mexican-who die at the end-but you also never Really get to know them beforehand, they're mostly Types--and that's the biggest failing here.

**1/2 outta **** but you've seen better.
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7/10
Very enjoyable, quite a Bruckheimerish treatment of Sherlock.
16 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Fine performances by Downey Jr. as Holmes and Law as Watson, Macadams as the lady friend/thief working both sides of the street is okay too. Enjoyed the action (esp. the exploding barrels/slaughter-house locales), the CGI backdrops for London Bridge etc, and the filming in Prague added to the atmosphere.

Much of the plot is nonsense involving the Illuminati, fake resurrections, Guy Fawkes plot by way of Cyanide and the like. I liked Lestrade by the way. Pretty funny way of playing him.

Some of the movies stylistic touches-inter-cutting of images/fast edits etc/the odd instant flashback-got old in a hurry, but you can live w/ it. The choices they made in how Holmes was played-his computerlike mind, his odd attachment to his bow, his pipe, Watson and his opium-are shown clearly but in new ways. Downey makes this one go, as is always the case of late.

By all means lets have another couple--this is a fun flick and worth seeing.

*** outta ****
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Avatar (2009)
8/10
Really quite good.
9 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's equal parts 'Dances with Wolves', Tarzan, Thundercats, Aliens, John Carter of Mars and lord knows what else-but that's great, they crib all the right places and know how to Use the sources wisely. The storyline serves a terric panoply of F/X, action, heart and drama.

You've prob. already seen this or read the reviews, don't have tons to add. Stephen Lang makes a great villain, Worthington and Uhura there carry off their roles well, Wes Studi and Ripley are welcome additions. I enjoyed the walker bots, the pterodactyl mounts, the hammer-headed rhinos and dayglo sentient plants. All fairly well drawn and realized by Cameron.

The baddies lose, the good guy turns and helps out the big bloo katpeople win and keep their planet. I think this will be a winner at Oscar time, I think there will be sequels, and I think it will hold up after repeated viewings.

***1/2 outta **** do see it.
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Cape Fear (1962)
7/10
Fine early sixties suspense thriller.
1 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Peck, Mitchum are at the top of their games here. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Mitchum's vengeful, sadistic ex-con stalking Peck and his family throughout the movie, their moves and counter-moves, as well as the finale in the swamp. It's tense, exciting, violent, believable for it's time and place.

Nice to see familiar faces like Oliver Platt, Telly Savalas, Bergen and Martin Balsam in here too. There's enough menace, pseudo-Hitchockian suspense and location filming to push this over the top.

Only debits? Well--it'd prob. have been easier to simply find and knockoff Mitchum if Peck had wanted to badly enough, instead of only trying the one time, and it does tend to drag in the second half. But considering just how well this plays even 50 years later--well you know. It's certainly worth watching and the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

*** outta ****
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