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One of the best love stories of all filmdom!
Once again I have watched the complete Cleopatra (or at least the complete Cleopatra available). In addition, because I watched the DVD version of the movie, I also was able to view the outstanding documentary "Cleopatra: The Film that Changed Hollywood". And, once again, I am all but overwhelmed by the movie. Elizabeth Taylor may very well be one of the most under-rated actresses of the last fifty years; her public private life has always overshadowed her acting ability. But it is not her notoriety that puts her in the same league with other two time Oscar winners like Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, etc. In Cleopatra, as in George Stevens' Giant, she runs the gamut from adolescent to matriarch, from calculating queen to devastated lover, and rings every bell in between. But her performance alone does not make the movie. Not only is she supported by Burton, in one of his best screen performances, and Rex Harrison, in one of his best, Taylor's old friend Roddy McDowall gives the performace of his lifetime (how sad that a clerical error cost him his Oscar); we see a young Martin Landau, a young Carroll O'Connor, a young Jean Marsh, give performances worthy of anything they've ever put on screen since. The documentary points out that the original Mankiewicz cut of the film was 6 1/2 hours long and that Fox is currently trying to reassemble the film as originally cut. If they ever succeed in doing so, I would stand in line to see it in theatres and buy it on DVD the first chance I got. As a history freak, it more than satisfies; as a fan of brilliant acting, it wows! Everyone should see it at least once!
Great book, great movie
I hadn't read the books prior to seeing the movie, so my vision of it may be somewhat skewed, but I was inordinately impressed with the movie. Richard Harris plays Dumbledore to perfection (he might have made almost as good a Gandalf as Ian McKellan, though the comparison won't be popular), Maggie Smith's McGonnagall is equally good and the boy who plays Harry himself is excellent, though his youth sometimes shows itself a little. And Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid steals the show! All in all a good first installment. My hope is that, like the Star Wars and Star Trek movies of yesteryear, the second installment is even better than the first!
Under Suspicion (2000)
Plot not great, but Hackman and Freeman a joy
This is a suspense mystery whodunit that works better than some, but not as well as others. However, if you enjoy watching two of the best actors in the business sparring with each other, you can find few examples better than this. Hackman is perfect as a lawyer with something to hide and Freeman is unusually good as a cop who suppresses his personal guilts and motives to find the truth. The story, however, is not for the squeamish: it involves murder and child molestation, topics not everyone feels comfortable hearing about. A few twists and turns dot the movie's landscape, but the film's best feature is the two leads taking turns interrogating each other. I would recommend it to Freeman and Hackman fans unconditionally.