This experience was hampered for me by a freak situation in which either my flatscreen TV or my blu player, for the first time, didn't have any audio, so, nonplussed yet equally dauntless, I just said 'what the hell', put on the subtitles and watched the film with no audio. (Later, I discovered that I could have just unplugged both for ten minutes and everything would have been normal. You live, you learn. It taught me to pay more attention to what was happening on the screen, so it wasn't an entirely wasted endeavor.)
Here, the weakness, as always, was Ronald Reagan, who makes Keanu Reeves look like a great actor. Still, he wasn't bad (it was a war film, after all, with a role he was born to play), and he and Flynn were assisted by great supporting players, such as Raymond Massey and Alan Hale, who are always 'cash money' for me IMHO. As well, you have one of the greatest American directors of the period in Raoul Walsh, so it's basically win, win, win--except if you're a Nazi.
Being myself a Canadian, I was thrilled to find in my 'TCM Spotlight: Errol Flynn Adventures' (five films made during WWII in which Errol Flynn battles the Nazis) a film helmed by one of my favourite American directors of the period, in Raoul Walsh, with Flynn starring as a RCMP officer (typically called 'Mountie') making sure the Nazis can't succeed in their quest to sneak into Canada and, there, create another front in their quest to bring hell on Earth. As a child, I loved his rendition of one of my very favourite heroes (Robin Hood), and lately I quite enjoyed seeing the ill-starred (dying at 50--again in Canada--from a heart attack brought on by chronic alcoholism) native Australian who was perhaps the second-most alluring male thespian of all-time, behind the equally ill-fated Rudolph Valentino, in an audacious TCM 4-pack of outstanding adventure movies, such as 'Captain Blood' and 'The Sea Hawk', and an equally intriguing 4-pack of Westerns he made as his star began to wane.
This doesn't disappoint, as Walsh directs, just like he always does, with an appealing eye and a talent for setting up suspense and excitement. Highly recommended to either fans of Flynn, war films or of cinema from the period.
Essential for both horror fanatics and fans of early (up to and including the 30's) cinema to own on the highest-possible quality, and regular re-watches. It's simply THAT GOOD.
The fact that its American release date was Valentine's Day (its New York City premiere was two days earlier) only further hits home the fact that its immortality is due to the fact that it isn't simply a cornerstone of Gothic horror but with a vibrant love story at its very heart.
Simply marvelous work by Redford, Gene Hackman, Ritchie and cinematographer Brian Probyn. Essential purchase and rewatches for sports fans and the work of Redford, Hackman and Ritchie especially. Easily my favourite of Ritchie's work, next to, sentimentally, 'The Bad News Bears' (which is a whole different kettle of fish altogether).
One of Jarmusch's more atypical films, 'Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai', is still my personal favourite, but this is right up there alongside. It would also make an intriguing double-bill with Jeff Nichols' stellar, though more serious in tone, recent film, 'Mud'.
The ambiguity at the core of the film (and hence the 'doubt') really acts in the movie's favour. The script and direction are both tense and flawless, and the beautiful New York locations chosen to illustrate The Bronx in 1964 help air the play out, and give it more cinematic scope. It features some of the finest work I have seen from Philip Seymour Hoffman (though my favourites will always be 'Happiness' and 'The Master'), Meryl Streep (my most-esteemed works of hers are 'The Deer Hunter' and 'The Devil Wears Prada') and Amy Adams (this is her finest performance IMHO) as well as a breakthrough role for Viola Davis, who steals every scene she's in. This easily holds up well even with Shanley's Oscar-winning screenplay for 'Moonstruck', and, though dark and depressing, is thoroughly recommended for those who can stomach its subject matter, and peer into that abyss without flinching, as these fine exemplars of 21st-century American cinema so easily do here.
That it didn't win any of its five Oscar nominations is almost as ghastly, to the cinephile, as the misdeeds insinuated here are to the community at large. Must have been a strong year for film, methinks.
I had previously only seen two of Masahiro Shinoda's other works for The Criterion Collection--the earlier works 'Pale Flower' and 'Samurai Spy', and I don't know if it was on purpose by the company in selecting the titles, but I marveled at the breathtaking variety of his scripts, all from such a short timespan (1964-69). Being a patron of the theatre (in many different modes) and as anthropologically cosmopolitan in my approach to life as is conceivable, I salute Shinoda with a profound respect, and look forward to investigating as many of his other works as possible.
From my cheapo 5-film 'Screen Legends Collection'--you can get them for a few different actors and actresses from years gone by--pictured in the main page of this IMDb entry.
Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favourite actresses of the period, and is a classic 'femme fatale'. I've never been a huge fan of Fred MacMurray, but his 'nice guy' persona is used to sheer advantage by Wilder, and he end up both doing his finest work for Wilder (here and in 'The Apartment') and being the ultimate noir male protagonist. Interestingly, one of my favourite actors, Edward G. Robinson, thought so much of the script that he opted out of his demand of never doing a supporting role. Many people admire Wilder the director, but as a writer (or co-writer) he's just as cinematically important and influential.
Like any other film of his, at least that I've had the pleasure to see, it's worth a purchase and re-watches. The dialogue, especially, is simply fantastic. I'd take just one of his early works over a hundred of the films Hollywood churns out nowadays. They're simply that better and intrinsically satisfying. Immortal cinema.
I adore the fact that it was Oliver Stone's labour of love (one of thankfully many) and that the surviving members of the band basically had full input. I would take this and 'Talk Radio' (my personal favourite Stone's throw) over a hundred of Stone's politically over-the-top movies any day!
When I was 17, I took my life savings and visited, on my own, nine European countries, including France and its capital, Paris. Did I go for the Eiffel Tower, wild romance on Richard Linklater-esque trains, or its outstanding magic and sidewalk cafes? No--train-wise I had to put up with a stupid labour strike, such that an overnight sleeper car from Berne, Switzerland to Paris had to be switched, in the middle of the night, FOUR times, just so they could prove a point. And it was just to see Morrison's grave. I met 20 fantastic people who had made the pilgrimage from all over the world, and it was my first time having red wine and smoking pot. The graffiti and the sculpture of him, in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, were fascinating, as was his life. Would I go through that again? Of course I would.
It's Val Kilmer's best work by a mile. The film just oozes charisma and breathes life--just as the band's work must have done back in the day. Worth a purchase and re-watches (I watch it each year on Jim's birthday and accidentally bought it twice), for any fan of 60's music or its culture. A bonafide classic when Stone was actually really something.
I would have given it a perfect rating, but I docked a mark for him making fun of Donovan, for crying out loud. Yes, he is Bob Dylan and deserves to say what he wants to, but don't be such a jerk, man.
Just a couple of years back, I picked up this mammoth 17-film DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe's films for a really good price, only to find that the ridiculous way the discs were placed in the digipack basically ruined them, and after watching the movies the best that I could, I reluctantly had to part with it, hoping the set would soon be released at a decent price on the more resilient blu (as you can tell, I'm old-school and low-fi, but I'm hoping to quickly remedy this problem!).
As you can tell by any of my prior reviews of Richard Widmark's films, I'm a huge fan of his, and he's easily one of my favourite and most entertaining and watchable actors of the period. As well, Roy Ward Baker is one of the most underrated directors of the period--his entry in The Criterion Collection, 'A Night to Remember', is easily the best telling of the 'Titanic' tragedy. Thus simply on the basis of those three alone, I heartily recommend the film to any adventurous cinephiles of this era.
Disadvantages include awful soundtrack choices, a highly-unbelievable and lazily-written, underdeveloped script, the actors selected aren't nearly in the class of Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey and Lori Petty...and the director's no Kathryn Bigelow.
Good for a watch, out of curiosity, especially if you liked the original and are a fan of extreme sports. Otherwise, it's probably not worth your time.
My lady is more a horror aficionado, and of recent vintage films, so it was nice to throw this on for a spin and show her its neo-noir tendencies, almost as if going through a 'make your own movie' template, checking them off one-by-one. I don't mind that sort of rote predictability if it's done right, and, though heavily flawed, for the most part it does. By the climax, I basically only cared for four things: that the kidnapped girl, Matthew Scudder and TJ were alive, and that the two kidnappers/murderers got their just desserts, whether it be lengthy incarceration or murder, anything so their crime spree would be ended. The film was well-made and a very enjoyable experience, so considering the relatively minor flaws (especially the one-dimensional aspect of the antagonists), I would definitely recommend at least a watch for most cinephiles out there, especially those interested in 'true crime' type of contemporary American cinema.
My only qualms is that I have very mixed emotions about the casting. I know that to get an important environmental message heard, and thus the film watched, you have to incorporate Hollywood megastars. I simply wish this didn't have to be the case. The story would have come across better with unknown actors--or simply as a sincere documentary without the Hollywood B.S.
Unfairly, I tend to joke about director Taylor HACKford, but it just may be that he's a more contemporary model of such versatile directors from the past as Norman Jewison and Robert Wise. That's fairly esteemed company--and here, he abides himself quite nicely in some of his best work.
At this point, Pacino could do no wrong in his work--he had that firm grasp on his immense talent and just what he needed from it to do remarkable work, some of the finest characterizations in contemporary cinema. Do both he and yourself a favour and don't bother with anything he's made since 'Heat'.
Slim Pickens often noted that this film established his career. Unfortunately, many so-called film aficionados of today won't bother either with black-and-white movies or films made before 1970, which is a shame, because this is clearly a wonderful work that more people today should see.
Do yourself a favour and watch it if you haven't already done so. Since 9/11 I always wonder if something of this ilk could, in this era of political correctedness, ever be made about the present state of things.
Watching my blu from the complete Bond boxed set, it wasn't dated or a lesser experience for me in the slightest. Long may Sir Connery live--the enjoyment his work has given me over the years is inestimable! =)