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Shining Through (1992)
A great Spy movie.
I thought Shining Through was a great movie. Why critics put this movie down is beyond me. I'm not sure how accurate this movie is or if it's accurate at all. I can only say that it was an enjoyable film, Michael Douglas is great and Melanie Griffith is good to even though her character suffers from watching too many movies and tries to compare her experences to them. But then you have to realize that no war is a movie. Liam Neeson is great as the German officer that Griffith is sent to spy on. Supported with good cinematography by Jan De Bont and a good music score by Michael Kamen, this film should have been given more credit then it got. For those critics who thought this movie was a bomb, try it again and use your imagination.
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
A Good John Ford Western.
This movie combines suspense, humor and romance which make a movie great. My only question is, Why wasn't John Wayne in this? I'm not saying Richard Widmark wasn't good in the leading role, but I would have thought that John Ford would have casted John Wayne. Maybe Wayne had something else to do at this time. The Characters are good and the Cavalry all have mixed feelings about pursuing the Cheyenne. One Character says "I've fought Indians before, but only Indians wanting to fight me. Not a bunch of Indians trying to go home." This movie is a great example of how Government Politics just get in the way and make no sense at all. Widmark's character often wondered that through out the film but he was just doing his job even though he didn't agree with it.
The comic moments in the film come up with James Stewart as Wyatt Earp and when he and half a town's population go out trying to find those "Blood Thirty" Cheyenne but they end up running away after one shot if fired. Too bad they lost their mobile bar, huh? Good movie for any western fan. ***out of ****.
The Towering Inferno (1974)
Die Hard without Guns.
The Towering Inferno is a great suspense/disaster film. It has a top rate cast led by Steve McQueen as the Fire Chief and Paul Newman as the designer of the building that this story takes place in. I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't inspire Die Hard is some way. You have a party going on one of the top floors which goes along fine until a small electrical fire turns into an extremely big fire that threatens everybody. The Movie has pretty good visual effects created by L.B. Abbott and good cinematography by Fred J. Koenkamp and Joseph Biroc. John Williams also composed one of his best scores for a movie in this one. This is a great thriller and is definitely a classic.
Winner of 3 1974 Academy Awards: Best Cinematography-Fred J. Koenkamp & Joseph Biroc Best Film Editing-Harold F. Kress & Carl Kress Best Original Song-(We may never love like this again)
One of the top ten best movies ever made!
Chinatown is a classic film that you could watch over and over again and never get tired of it. Jack Nicholson plays Private Investigator J.J. Gittes, who get's involved with Evelyn Mulwray (wonderfully played by Faye Dunaway) in trying to find out who's behind her husband's death. This film has a mix of humor, suspense and romance which make a movie great. One of Gittes' associates is played by Bruce Glover who played a killer in the James Bond film "Diamonds are Forever" in 1971. One of the other things that makes this film great is an unforgettable music score by Jerry Goldsmith who should have won the Oscar in 74 for this score. But he lost to Nino Rota for the Godfather Part II. If you haven't seen this film yet, watch it. You won't be disappointed. **** out of ****.
The Presidio (1988)
A Good Film but...
This is a good movie and a good story. Sean Connery was great in this film as well as Jack Warden and Meg Ryan. I can't say that I like Mark Harmon's character that much because he was too hard and basically argued everything with Connery. Peter Hyams is a talented film maker with both directed and cinematography. His previous film "2010, The Year We Make Contact" proved it. This film could have been nominated for an Oscar or two such as Film Editing. The script was good but could have taken itself a little less seriously and had some more points of humor. If you ever get a chance to see this movie, give it a look. It's entertaining. *** out of ****.
Lafayette Escadrille (1958)
Tab get's himself in big trouble.
***CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD***
This film is a depiction of American Flyers flying for the French in World War I. Tab Hunter joins Clint Eastwood and David Jansen in their early roles. Eastwood has very few lines if he speaks at all in this film. The film is very silly to be a Wellman film. Tab Hunter goes to fly for the French after he's caught stealing cars in his neighborhood and damn near kills a man in doing so. So after a tense confrontation with his father, Hunter hops of a slow boat to France where he nor any other member of his group can speak a word of French. Somehow, Hunter get's mixed up with a French Girl and it's obvious that he has his mind on her throughout most of this film. Hunter then is imprisoned for striking his drill instructor. So to get him out, his buddies start a ruckus to distract the guards and they get him out to flee to the big city to hide with his girl. After pleading with an officer to get him back in the air after screwing up so many times, Hunter get's back in the war and shoots down a few German planes and then wins over his girl.
That's about all to expect from this movie. Leonard Rosenman's score is very good and William Clothier cinematography isn't bad but that really all this film had going for it. Don't let the cover art fool you because it's meant to make this film look more interesting than it really is. **1/2 out of ****
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Excellent Fantasy Film.
Jason and The Argonauts is a great film to watch and escape reality. This is one of those movies that you know is not real but you just enjoy it and have fun watching it. I think this film is underrated because it was not given one Oscar nomination. I think this film should have been nominated for Best Art Direction and Set Decoration, Cinematography, Bernard Herrmann's Original Score and Film Editing. When I first saw this movie on Turner Classic Movies one night, I was only excited to see the Skeleton Fight at the end which took Ray Harryhausen and special effects crew three months to create that entire sequence. This is a Great movie and I encourage all of "The Lord of The Rings" fans to watch this and see a great masterpiece of classic fantasy and old fashioned special effects. **** out of ****!
Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
Great Cast but the film could have been a whole lot better.
I first saw this film last year and I have to say that I wasn't really that impressed with the way it was made. Melville Shavelson had a good idea but it looked like there wasn't much effort put in this film. For example, the action scenes in this movie were pretty bad. What was with Frank Sinatra dropping bottles of liquid on tanks just to make a lot of noise. John Wayne was good as The General and Yul Brynner also made an good performance as well as Kirk Douglas and Frank Sinatra. I didn't like that Wayne was so hard headed when he said "God help them, because that's all the help they'll get from us" but I suppose everybody had their own personal say on things. The only thing I found really great about this movie was Elmer Bernstein's music score. This was one of Bernstein's overlooked scores and should be out on CD. Other than the score, the rest of the film is pretty much average.
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
A great movie with two great stars.
The Agony and The Ecstacy is a great movie about Michalangelo and his painting of the Sistine Chapel. Charlton Heston play the part of Michalangelo great and Rex Harrison is great as the Pope Julius who orders Michalangelo to paint the celing of the Chapel. Leon Shamroy's cinematograpghy is great and would be even better noticed if this movie was on DVD, THX Master, restored and in Widescreen. Alex North also composed one of his best scores ever. If Maurice Jarre hadn't one it for Doctor Zhivago, North should have gotten it for this. This film I must say is underrated because you've got two of the screen best actors and a pretty good story. To those people who thought this movie wasn't very good, watch it again. ***1/2 out of ****
The Recruit (2003)
Better than I expected.
When I first saw this movie, I didn't think it would be that good. When I did see it, I was impressed and I think it's underrated. Al Pacino is great as the supposedly heroic CIA instructor and Colin Farrell does a pretty good job as James Clayton who was recruited by Pacino. The plot goes pretty good and is thrilling enough to interested people who like thrillers. Klaus Badelt's music is very good and fits the movie and also Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography adds the grittiness of the movie. Then theirs the beautiful Bridget Moynahan as Layla, the girl that Farrell falls for. There is also a very surprising twist in the movie that'll get you. This would be a movie Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of even though the leading lady wasn't a blonde. **** out of ****.
Die Hard 2 (1990)
Die Hard 2 is every bit of fun as the first. The plot may be familiar to the first but it takes place at an Airport in Washington D.C. not at a 40 story building. This film is entertaining, the three characters that return are McClane and his wife Holly and Reginal Vel Johnson. The action is great and it never lets up. Fred Dalton Thompson is the Airport Manager under a lot of pressure and then there's Dennis Franz who seems to say one cuss word after another. The only cast member who I thought was miscast was John Amos even though he did a great job. Amos was more of a comic actor who was in "Coming to America" and appeared in an episode of "The Cosby Show." After seeing him in those, I had a hard time seeing him as a bad ass turncoat villain. His role should have been given to Bill Duke from the "Predator". That didn't stop this movie from being good. **** out of ****
Die Hard (1988)
Wow! This one will blow you away!
Die Hard is a must see for action fans. The plot is great. A bunch of bad guy terrorist, Oh wait a minute, Alan Rickman says "Who said we were terrorist?" Oh Well, Bad Guys take over a 40 story building in Los Angeles and take 30+ people hostage. Willis is the invisable "pain in the ass" cop who gets away and hatches a one man war against the bad guys. The stunts are great and the characters are great. Reginald Vel Johnson is great is pure comic releif. Alan Rickman is a great villan and the bad guy comic Clarence Gilyard Jr. I think this movie is great and anybody wanting action and top rate suspense, this is the ticket. One thing, if you've read the back of the DVD case, it says that John McClane is armed with a service revolver, that is wrong. McClane (Willis) is armed with an automatic not a revolver. Just thought I'd point that out. **** out of ****.
A Patch of Blue (1965)
A Great Movie!
A Patch of Blue is definately one of the best movies ever made starring one of the best actors ever. Sidney Poitier is great as a business man who meets a blind woman and becomes very close with her. Shelly Winters and Wallace Ford are the supporting actors who play the disfunctional parents of the blind girl. Winters makes you hate her in this movie and Wallace Ford is great as the drunk father. This film also contains a wonderful score by Jerry Goldsmith who was nominated for an Oscar for his work and if Maurice Jarre didn't win for his score to Doctor Zhivago, the Oscar for this year should have gone to Goldsmith. Robert Burks' cinematography is excellent. This is a great movie and is not to be missed. **** out of ****
The Shootist (1976)
Wayne's final film.
This is a great film and John Wayne made it great even though he suffered from health problems during the shooting. At one point in production, Wayne was absent from the set because of health difficulties. Don Siegal was in the middle of the filming of the bar shootout and one shot had Wayne shooting a man in the back as he tried to get away. Wayne returned on set and told director Siegal "I don't shoot men in the back!" That's a direct quote which shows that Wayne didn't play around on set. Wayne's supporting cast includes Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart, David Carradine and many more. With an all star cast and a very exciting screenplay, this was a great exit for the screen for John Wayne.
Another good cop movie for Wayne.
In Brannigan, Wayne plays the role of Jim Brannigan, an American cop who goes to London to capture a runaway fugitive played by John Vernon. Wayne soon finds out that London cops are not at all alike American cops. Most of the English cops don't carry a gun and Richard Attenbourough made sure that Wayne didn't use it unless absolutely necessary. Brannigan's partner well played by Judy Geeson is more like a shaparone then a partner because she drives him everywhere and works along side of him to make sure he behaves himself. Wayne also get's in a wild car chase in the busy London streets. With a farly good screenplay and a good 70's score by Dominic Frontiere, this film is worth three stars.
One of John Wayne's finest films.
McQ is a make believe action/thriller that's not meant to be realistic a similar to any real story. John Wayne plays the bad boy cop who plays the game by his own rules without the politics of the police force. Wayne goes up against bad guy Al Letteri and his drug dealing henchmen. The city of seattle turns into a battleground of shootouts, car chases and fist action. Wayne also has frequent run-in's with Captain Kosterman played by Eddie Albert who always says that Wayne plays to rough for the department. With great cinematography of the city of Seattle by Harry Stradling Jr. and a jazzy 70's sounding score by Elmer Bernstein, this film is one of the best thrillers you'll ever see. **** out of ****.
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Runs a little long, but worth watching.
The Day of the Jackal is a good thriller. It certainly had the Fred Zinnemann touch, you never knew what to expect. Edward Fox made you believe he was a bad guy and did without the usual physical motions and angry looking snarley facial expressions which is common in movies today. Fox just looked the other person straight in the eye and told them how it was. Michael Lonsdale from "Moonraker", gave a good performance as a good guy this time. Jean Tournier's cinematography is great and Ralph Kemplen's editing is superb. The Day of the Jackal is without a doubt better than the 1997 film "The Jackal" which had the same idea but the entire plot was different. My only problem with this is that it runs too long and has a few scenes in this film had no purpose what so ever. Why did Edward Fox get involved with a female? That was a waist of time and took down the pace of the movie. This is a good movie and worth your time. *** out of ****
Pretty Good for the most part!
I think this film had a lot going for it. William Holden definately puts on one of his best performances and Peter Finch is great. The screenplay was excellent and just about everything was good. Even though this movie wasn't meant to be funny, there were a lot of funny parts in it. Some of the dialogue was funny especially when Howard Beel said he was going to kill himself on national TV. Also the beginning was great with Holden and Finch drunk and standing on the sidewalk talking stuff. I do disagree with one thing. I think Faye Dunaway did a better job "Chinatown." I was impressed with Owen Roizman's cinematography of capturing the mood of the picture. This movie is worth watching. ***1/2 out of ****.
Good but not Great!
*SPOILERS* Frenzy is Hitchcock's first movie that was rated R. I though Psycho was his first R rated movie but I was wrong. I though the storyline of this movie is good for the most part but it just moves too slow. When I saw this movie, it reminded me of "The Boston Strangler" and "The Fugitive" tied together because the two story lines seem to run together in this movie. (SPOILERS) You have the neck tie strangler played by Barry Foster who goes on strangling people and makes it look like another man played by Jon Finch who happens to be a friend of his the murderer. Finch must prove his innocence by finding out who the real strangler is. Ron Goodwin's score is great and fits perfectly. Watch this film's trailer, it's very good. *** out of ****
Battle of Britain (1969)
Under Rated Big time.
Battle of Britain is a great war movie. It contains an all star cast and a great story line. I think this movie is better than some of the war movies out there. I think this was over looked at the oscars of 1969. Freddie Young should have been nominated for cinematography because it was great. Somebody made a mistake here. The aerial dogfight scenes are great even for it's time and Ron Goodwin provides a great music score for this movie. Originally Sir William Walton was to have done the music and Walton was given the full credit for the music in the DVD release of this movie. I've heard Walton's score from the new soundtrack of this movie from Varese Sarabande records and I'm glad they went with Goodwin's score even though Walton's wasn't bad at all but it's didn't fit. Watch this movie and if you've seen it before and didn't like it, watch it again.
Rear Window (1954)
Hitchcock at his best!
Rear Window is a definate classic. The plot, the actors just everything about this movie is great. James Stewart as the wheel chair bound photographer delivers a great performance along with Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter and Wendel Corey as the supporting cast. Raymond Burr as the mysterious neighbor also does great. This movie had a great blend of humor, suspense and drama which are the three things that make a movie great. Thelma Ritter is the comic relief in this movie as the insurance company nurse and always has something to say about everything. This was also a simple movie because it took place only in an apartment overlooking a courtyard and a perfect view of your neighbors. This is a great one **** out of ****.
Spellbound is a true winner. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman are absolutely
great in this tense Hitchcock classic. Peck plays a man with an amniesia case and Bergman is the good doctor who is obsessed with curing Peck. Hitchcock
weaves mystery and suspense around in this movie and makes it addicting and
you can't turn it off. Miklos Rosza writes one of his definate best scores and deserved his Oscar for it. Rosza had a major contribution to this movie for
making it what it is. The dream sequence is outstanding. If you like Hitchcock movies and haven't seen this one. Watch it! **** out of ****
Top Secret (1978)
Not to bad.
I rented this movie once and I liked it okay even though it was kind of weird to see Bill Cosby beating people up and trying to play secret agent. The
performances are good for the most part and I really can't say that this was a bad movie other than the plot was a bit slow. Bill Cosby chasing crooks around which is believable because Cosby did run track. The lead role should have
gone to Sidney Poitier because this seemed like his kind of role ever since
playing Virgil Tibbs. Look for Gloria Foster in this movie who plays the Oracle in "The Matrix" movies, she plays a bit part in a couple of scenes. I'd give this movie a try although I trust the other copies of this movie have a better picture quality than the version I saw. The music by Stu Gardner is also good. This is an imaginative movie for the most part, it's not meant to be taken seriously. ***out of ****
The Hunters (1958)
Underrated War Flick.
The Hunters is a very good war movie. The story is however similar to "Crash
Dive" of 1943 only this time the action takes place in the air and not under the sea. Mitchum is the squadron leader Seville who takes on Lee Phillips as his
wingman and then is given the loud mouthed smooth talking Robert Wagner as
the sharp shooter who appears to have a perfect record in the air. I think this movie deserved three Academy Award Nominations in 1958. One for L.B.
Abbott's lavish special effects, another for Charles G. Clark's cinematography and another for Editing. This is a good one, don't miss it. ***1/2 out of ****
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
A Classic For All Seasons
A Man For All Seasons is one of the top 10 greatest movies ever made. Written by Robert Bolt who was already famous for his work in Lawrence of Arabia and
Doctor Zhivago. Bolt wrote this masterpiece for both the stage and the big
screen. Paul Scofield is excellent as Thomas More and won an Oscar for his
performance. Robert Shaw, John Hurt, Wendy Hiller and Susanna York and
Orson Wells are the supporting cast and all of them do a remarkable job. This movie is excellent all the way through. In most movies, theres a scene or two that is boring or you don't look forward to seeing. This movie is different because it keeps you interested all the way. Ted Moore's cinematography is outstanding, even better than the cinematography in some of the movies today. Fred
Zinneman's masterful director and a catchy score by Georges Delrue and great
actors make this a definate classic. ****out of ****.