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Troy (2004)
8/10
A Big Fat Eight!
17 May 2004
If you want a rousing Big Fat 8, go see this exciting and eventful film based upon Homer's great epic. The siege of Troy by all the Greek forces. After ten bloody years, the Greeks are not going to leave without taking Troy. Even though the CGI is recognizable in big huge battle scenes, there is much to be said for the fast pace and fine acting in this epic. The film is 162 minutes long, but your interest will be held by the fast pacing and fine acting. Laurels go to Brad Pitt as an audacious arrogant personality unforgiving until the end. I understand the location locales were made in Mexico, Malta and London. Directed by Wolfgang Perersen, the only criticism I can give is that the musical background rarely fits the action. Too bad; somebody like John Williams would do much better directing the music. It was good to see Peter O'Toole back again; he plays the part of Priam. In fact he did so well and was so disguised with beard that I hardly recognized him at all. 8/10
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7/10
delightful!
17 May 2004
Another old movie from my garage vaults; one I always loved because of the great music and so many MGM stars. The loosely based biography of both Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. They were a great pair. Rogers wrote the music and Hart did the sometimes crazy lyrics Tom Drake plays Rogers, and Mickey Rooney plays Hart. The big numbers in this were by June Allison in "Thou Swell"; Judy Garland's "Johnny One-Note"; Judy and Mickey doing "I'll Take Manhattan"; Mel Torme's "Blue Moon", and many others. I believe this film was one of Perry Como's and Mel Torme's first. The story may seem like a hodgepodge of great talent, but who cares the music is wonderful! How could anyone not love Judy Garland or June Allison? 7/10
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7/10
sad and funny
12 May 2004
I dug this film out of my vaults today and I believe this film is a loosely based bio on the real life of comedian Jack E. Leonard back in the 20s and 30s. Tony, played by Frank Sinatra, seems to be a very hard luck widower who always gambles his life away. He has a 12year-old boy who is a strong asset to him. But when Tony loses everything and tries to get his brother, Mario, played by Edward G. Robinson, to stake him and lets them bring up his son, it doesn't work out. His son loves him and doesn't want to live with anyone else but him. The highlights of this good comedy, directed by famous Frank Capra, is the song Sinatra sings "High Hopes" with his little boy. Good acting and fine performances by Sinatra. Eleanor Parker plays the love interest. But, who plays the son, Ally? I couldn't find his billing. 7/10
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10.5 (2004)
6/10
whatever happened!
4 May 2004
I missed the first episode of this, but saw the last part last night, and with trepidation I might as well say it's just another disaster to be reckoned with. My complaint is that they must have used a handheld camera most of the time because too many scenes were jerky and somewhat out of focus. Now maybe this is what they were trying to convey, but it's enough to give anyone a headache! The only good thing I can say about it is this disaster beats all with nuclear explosions solving the problem at last. A little farfetched and highly improbable. The acting was not too good, except for the father and daughter who seemed to be very emotional; but only showed it through their eyes. The "Earthquake" 1974 with Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner was so much better. In that the acting pulled it off. In this TV series they tried to cover all earthquakes, tsunamis, and dividing the continent of North America, namesly the coast of California. 6/10
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Show Boat (1951)
8/10
Best Musical of all time
26 April 2004
Another of the great musicals I have seen so many times, and wish to comment on it and compare with the original made in 1936 with Irene Dunne and Alan Jones. Although the original is in black and white, the 1951 version is so colorful and story and acting so good and more developed and three-dimensional, that I had a few tears myself. Dancing by Marge and Gower Champion were truly champions. Joe E. Brown as Capt. Hawks plays a much funnier role than Charley Winninger did in 1936. He has such a rubbery face, and I can still hear him saying "Happy New Year". There are eight wonderful songs by Kern and Hammerstein and the best were "Make Believe" and "You Are Love" and "Old Man River" but there were other old goodies, too, like "After The Ball". 8/10
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8/10
delightful
25 April 2004
I dug out from my garage some old musicals and this is another one of my favorites. It was written by Jay Alan Lerner and directed by Vincent Minelli. It won two Academy Awards for Best Picture of 1951 and Best Screenplay. The story of an American painter in Paris who tries to make it big. Nina Foch is a sophisticated lady of means and is very interested in helping him, but soon finds she loves the guy. Meanwhile Gene Kelly falls for lovely damsel, Leslie Caron. His main dancing partner, and I must say they are fantastic together on the floor and otherwise. Famous French singer Georges Guietary sings, too. So if you like good smooth dancing and fun filled scenes filled with Oscar Levant's nimble piano fingers, the songs of George Gershwyn will live on forever in this colorful gem. 8/10
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Spartacus (2004 TV Movie)
8/10
Ingeneous
21 April 2004
I saw this on USA Channel and thought it was a great production. This is a remake of a wonderful story with Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons. Directed by Robert Dornhelm and writing credits to Howard Fast for the novel, and Robert Schenkkan for the teleplay, it is an exciting war of the slaves against the Romans. The war scenes, however, would have been more spectacular on the big screen; however, they were bloody. This is different from the original because the love story is expanded; Spartacus fathered two children by Varinia; one is killed by Crassus, but the other lives after the crucifixion. Spartacus is played by Goran Visnjic, Lentulas Agrippa is Alan Bates, Pompey is George Calil, and Varinia is Rhoma Mitra. The lecherous and miserable Crassus is played by Angus MacFadyen. All actors play three-dimensional roles and are very good. If you want to enjoy good acting, music, and beautiful scenery, go for it! 8/10
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Titanic (1997)
7/10
commendable
21 April 2004
An exciting story about the sinking of the "unsinkable" Titannic on February 4, 1912 with the loss of over 3,000 passengers. The story is viewed by 95 year old rescued woman played by Gloria Stuart. Her viewpoint of her love affair with Jack Dawson who gave her strength to carry on. Jack Dawson is played by Leonardo de Caprio and his lover played by Kate Winslet. She tells of an exciting escape from the vessel on that dark cold night. The film lasts 139 minutes with an intermission.. Fine acting, music, and some very intense moments. John Cameron is the director, and he and the film won several Academy Awards for 1997. This is one of Leonardo de Caprio's best movies. 7/10
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6/10
laughable & lovable
7 March 2004
I was going to see the Passion today, but since it was sold out ended up seeing this goofy remake of a 1975 film. Loosely based upon the TV series of a couple of dizzy cops who barnstorm as partners, and ending up with the big catch of wealthy cocaine peddlers. The pair gets momentous help from their silly friend Snoop Dog. Notice the ending where the two cops drive their car into the bay in order to catch the thieves in a boat, but end up losing their car. Lots of laughs and racing cars. Starsky is played by Ben Stiller who does crazy things. The musical score is enjoyable, and it's a fast-paced film. Some may find this film shows racial discrimination, but it really is all in fun as well as the crazy antics involved. 6/10
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7/10
Incomparable
7 March 2004
A film such as this is hard to review considering the subject matter of Jesus Christ because religious faith in his teachings abound in so many directions, and because I do not wish to offend anyone. Even my own pastor talked about this today by saying, each person has to make up their own mind whether to see it or not. In my own mind, I do not believe Mel Gibson who directed this film, meant for it to be exploited by too many self-righteous religious groups. I found the movie much too strong on the gory side. How the Romans killed and brutalized Jesus; even found myself shedding a tear. There was so much blood and prolonged dying sequence. The music and passion singing were terrific, and the film is in Assyrian and Greek languages with English subtitles. One good thing was the way Mr Gibson used references to the Biblical quotations, in English, to the various scenes presented. The acting is superb with James Caviezel playing the role of Jesus, Monica Bellucci plays Mary Magdalene, mother Mary is played by Maria Morgenstern, and Judas is played by Luca Lionello. 8/10
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Miracle (2004)
8/10
exciting miracle
1 March 2004
The Disney film is the true story of Hal Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, the player turned coach who lead the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team to victory over the invincible Russian hockey team squad. I am not a hocky fan, but this particular film held my interest and excitement. The troubles and obstacles he had were not only his wife and family, but once she understood his way was the only way, he knew to strengthen his selected players and obtain their explicit loyalty in order to win the Olympic victory. Those in the audience as well as myself whooped and clapped at the final ending. Kurt Russell plays a tough coach, but he gets things done. Strong cast and exciting musical score. 8/10
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A good story
21 February 2004
Not only a good story but the acting was terrific in this western where a woman, played by Maureen O'Hara, comes to America with her daughter. Her husband died and she had to take over. It was the introduction of Hereford cattle into the American West that was her husband's dream. They enlisted help from Sam, played by James Stewart, who struggles to bring a bull to breed in Texas. The whole journey is fraught with many dangers and Sam doubted the survival potential of this 'rare breed'. If you like good stories, I recommend this one highly. 7/10
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7/10
Mel Brooks Well Remembered
19 February 2004
I saw this film today on AMC and still laugh my head off at the antics of Mel Brooks and his wife in a remake of this 1942 film which starred Jack Benny and Carole Lombard. Brooks takes his funny equilibrium much further in this and his wife Ann Bancroft assists him in the antics of a ham theater production escaping from the cruel hands of the Nazis. Mel also sings and dances, but his greatest acting job comes from disquising himself as a German professor. They finally escape from the Nazis with the help of Robert Stack as a pilot. Charles Durning plays a German colonel and does a fantastic job of it; you get to hate him and laugh with him! I'd recommend this highly and entertaining! 7/10
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Analyze This (1999)
8/10
humorous delight
28 January 2004
Since I saw this after I had seen them together in Analyze That, I couldn't resist because they work so well together! What a delight; Billy Crystal, a psychiatrist, tries to help murderer, Robert DeNiro, become more adjusted to life, but ends up being mixed up and analyzed by this client. Ho ho and he he, they are so funny and so mixed up that they end up the best of friends. 8/10
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Side by Side (1988 TV Movie)
6/10
Recognizing Old Timers
27 January 2004
Today was a boring cloudy day, and I just happened to see this gem on AMC TV. Three retired men convince their bank to finance a dream of theirs for a sports shop selling articles for adults. What a laugh riot it was for me to enjoy my old favorites Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas, and Morey Amsterdam. Even Marjorie Lord was in it. I had seen Berle and Caesar before but did not know they had made this film as one of their last. They have left us a fine film legacy. 6/10
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8/10
Cute Fun Romantic Comedy
17 January 2004
They had known eachother for years and were close friends, but they had to discover who they were and could they stay friends with or without sex. Harry, played by Billy Crystal, and Sally, played by Sally Kellerman, were both headstrong and willing to understand eachother. Even their best friends played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby were a real match, so Harry and Sally had to learn the hard way. It took their best friends' marriage plus Harry's willingness to admit he really loved Sally --- and so he proposed marriage on New Year's Eve. In other words, they were two of a kind. This was a cute fine wonderful love story and so very unpretensive; enjoyable! One of those "feel good" movies. It reminded me of "Sleeping in Seattle 1993". 7/10
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7/10
Comedy With A Story
17 January 2004
Written by obnoxious funnyman Rodney Dangerfield, he wants his son to finish school and get a diploma so he will get ahead, but like father like son, Keith Gordon the actor, he doesn't want to either. Neither is motivated. But daddy who is wealthy indulges his son as well as himself so they both attend together. Some very funny situations. Finally, the son who displays wonderful swimming and diving championship (what a body he has)for graduation. The crowd urges daddy to be an alternate diving champ, and what a terrific display Rodney shows (maybe it was not really him, but he sure looked real to me). Both of them graduate together after much hoopla. What a fun movie this was! I haven't seen Rodney for many years, but understand from TV commercials he is planning a new show this year. In this movie, Sally Kellerman plays Rodney's love interest. Other famous stars include Robert Downey, Jr., Ned Beatty, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.plays himself. 7/10
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6/10
Too Much Too Soon or Late
15 January 2004
I'm a real fan of Jack Nicholson's but this film I feel is too silly, too maudlin, and rather boring. I am a sentimentalist but this film is not the best that Nicholson has ever done. His lady friends are all mixed up. He falls in love with the mother of the daughter he was dating, Diane Keaton, and, well, she's a fine actress but when she gets jilted or jealous she goes into fits of raging and crying which I thought was just too maudlin. It's really a women's picture, and Keanu Reeves does his best to show Diane his love, but she is 20 years older than him, while Jack is about as old as she is. This is neither comedy nor romance. The music is terrible and doesn't seem to apply. I feel it could have been a much better adult story if there were more adult acting, ie. more discipline. 6/10
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Cold Mountain (2003)
9/10
Historical & Romantic
10 January 2004
It is based on a romance after the Civil War. It is a terrific story, but it took me half an hour to really get into it. The first part was a bit boring but once I caught on (too many flashbacks), it became very exciting and heartbreaking. Compared to Gone With the Wind, I'd say Cold Mountain is much better. Now I know what all the hoorays are about; Nicole Kidman was terrific as well as her leading man Jude Law, and what a strange love affair they did have. But the one who stole the show was Renee Zellweger. In fact it took me half an hour to realize who the actress was; playing a distinctly different role, that of a strong self-willed southern gal, she stole the show as well as my heart. If anyone gets an award, Renee Zellweger should definitely be that one to get it. The war scenes are brutal and bloodthirsty, but they do not take long, thankfully, and the rest of the two and a half hour show is definitely a must see. The musical score is mostly piano which I do like, and there are a couple of hillbilly character songs in it. It's also at least a one hanky film if you are a sentimentalist. 9/10
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7/10
family funny
2 January 2004
The Baker family moves from small town to big town. Father Baker played by Steve Martin, and Mom played by Bonnie Hunt have 12 children. He becomes a famous coach, and she publishes her bio about all the children. The kids didn't want to move in the first play, but dad made promises that didn't work out. The oldes boy, Charlie, played by newcomer Tom Welling is not only goodlooking but a good actor. It's a fun movie, and plenty of laughs! All's well that ends well! 7/10
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10/10
Beautiful Fantasy!
25 December 2003
I saw this film today with trepidation because it was the longest film I ever sat through without going to the bathroom. I was thrilled and glued to my seat by the story of two pals, Fredo and Sam, as they approach Mount Doom to destroy the one golden Ring, unaware of the great battle that was to befall them. The Hobbit is a real deceptive menace. The medieval war between humans and barbaric ugly men is an unending story. Several anti-climaxes, but still the whole production is a beautiful fantasy with beautiful music and choral passion! The acting is super! I've never seen anything like it. Nothing can really compare to this film 10/10
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Merry Chhristmas
24 December 2003
I have seen this movie many times since I was a child, and it is still an awe inspiring comedic drama, and really the spirit of Christmas! Despite the holiday it is good for any spiritual faith to grow. Frank Capra was at his best for direction; the acting was superb with James Stewart and Donna Reed, and many of the old-time favorites including Lionel Barrymore, H. B. Warner, Henry Traverse, Beulah Bondi and Ward Bond. 9/10
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Roberta (1935)
6/10
Enjoyable
20 December 2003
All about a gay romp in Paris with lavish beauties in lavish gowns, and the music of Jerome Kern. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are stylish and beautiful together. The great cast includes Irene Dunne, who sang her own songs, along with Randolph Scott and Helen Westley. 6/10
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8/10
Fighting for Honor
14 December 2003
A Civil War veteran played by Tom Cruise gets to train troops of Japan's emperor in 1876, and how to use modern weapons to defeat the last of the samurais. He is captured by them and learns their traditions and code of honor. The picture is a magnificent piece of gorgeous photography, the musical score is great, and the acting is superb. I got a bit bored by too much warfare and destruction, although I know that's the way of war. I found it much too long at 3 hours. 8/10
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8/10
anthology
9 December 2003
I grew up with Shirley Temple. In 1932 she made 12 movies as an adorable baby doll of four years old. In 1933 she made four films; in 1934 eleven films the best was "Stand Up & Cheer" and "Baby, Take A Bow". In 1935 four films; in 1936 Captain January", in 1937 "Heidi"; in 1938 "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "The Little Princess". In 1940 two movies, and in 1941 her first flop. 1944 she made a comeback in "Since You Went Away" and "I'll Be Seeing You". 1947 she made three films including "Bachelor & the Bobby Soxer". 1948 "Fort Apache" when she met her first husband John Agar. In 1949 she made four good films the best of which was "A Kiss for Corliss". Nobody wanted little Shirley to grow up, so I must say my favorite film of hers was "The Little Colonel" in which she sang and danced so well with the famed Bill Robinson. In that film she played against the great Lionel Barrymore.
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