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The Boy and the Pirates (1960)
They don't make them like this anymore
"The Boy and the Pirates" has a nice old fashioned quality to it that makes it very appealing. It looks good with nice costumes and sets. It's well acted, for the most part. Murvyn Vye is the standout. The movie moves well. It took a couple of turns that I didn't expect. If I saw "The Boy and the Pirates" when I was eight years old, I would have loved it. At 56, I still kind of liked it. Honorable mention: the always welcome Tim Carey.
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Goes nowhere fast
I had my hopes up for "Ford v Ferrari" but I should have know better. Christian Bale is in it. Bale is the kiss of death. I've seen a bunch of Bale's movies. Only two of them are worth a second viewing ("Treasure Island" and "Hostiles"). Most aren't even worth the first viewing. Great actors are the ones you don't notice acting. You always notice Bale. The rest of "Ford v Ferrari" just kind of lays there. As the story went on, I cared less and less. Matt Damon does a nice job but it's a wasted effort. "Ford v Ferrari" gets a pretty big yawn from me.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
An okay watch
I don't want to say that I was disappointed by "Doctor Sleep" but I was expecting more than I got. The story itself isn't so hot. It's actually kind of silly at times. The nods to "The Shining" were cool at first but then they kind of wore out their welcome. "Doctor Sleep" looks good and the cast is fine but it does drag on a little too long. I kind of liked "Doctor Sleep" maybe I'll like it more the second time around. (I didn't like "The Shining" that much the first time I saw it either.) Honorable mention: a dreamy Rebecca Ferguson.
It Chapter Two (2019)
This one just misses
"It Chapter Two" is a near miss for me. There is a lot of good stuff going on but the movie drags quite a bit at times. The movie is too long by at least twenty minutes. "It Chapter Two" throws so much at you that at times it's just too much. The last half hour or so is pretty chaotic. Still, I enjoyed a lot of "It Chapter Two" and I think there's a chance it will grow on me. Honorable mention: a dreamy Jessica Chastain.
It took four viewings but now I like it
When I saw "It" in the theater I left the theater disappointed. I thought it was okay. I saw it a couple of times at home and it still left me flat. I watched it again last night and it finally clicked. I finally enjoyed "It". It's not a perfect movie but the flaws didn't bother me so much this time around. The young cast does a nice job and Pennywise is a strong villain. I wouldn't rank "It" among the best of the Stephen king movies but it in the top half.
Good but it should have been great
There are a lot of great moments in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug". There are a lot of thrills. The movie looks great and there's a lot of good dialogue. The scenes with Smaug are classic. I saw this movie in the theater (Westbury, NY) in 3D. Those scenes with Smaug were truly spectacular. The only demerit that "The Desolation of Smaug" gets has to due with its length. It's too long by about forty five minutes. Writer/director Peter Jackson would have been better off telling Bilbo's story with two movies instead of three. That said, there is a lot of fun to be had with this movie.
One of Disney's best
"Brave" is an excellent piece of filmmaking. It's beautiful to look at. The characters are vey likable. The story takes a twist I didn't see coming. By the end, there's not a dry eye in the house. I saw "Brave" in the theater (Westbury, NY) in 3D. It looked terrific. I've seen it a bunch of times at home and it hasn't lost any of it's power. "Brave" might be the Disney film that I take to the desert island. Honorable mention: the boys.
Due Date (2010)
There are a lot of problems with "Due Date" but none bigger than the always overpraised Robert Downey Jr. Downey plays his character with such anger and hostility that he's impossible to root for. Within minutes, I couldn't care less about him or his plight. Downey must not have been told that "Due Date" was a comedy. As the movie went on I kept asking myself why would his wife stay with a guy like this? Why would someone be friends for twenty years with guy? The rest of "due Date" is so hot either. It's "outrageous" parts aren't funny. The story is a by-the-book road movie. I didn't think "Due Date" was going to be very good but I didn't think it was going to be this bad either.
The Invisible Man (2020)
A lot of thrills
"The Invisible Man" is a lot of fun. It has quite a few scares. The cast does a nice job. The movie has a nice look too. I felt a little let down when it was over but I don't want to nitpick because I had good time watching this movie. I planned on seeing "The Invisible Man" when it was in the theater but it didn't work out. As I watched the movie last night I imagined how scary it must have been in the theater. Shame on me.
Savage Streets (1984)
I've read a bunch about "Savage Streets" over the years. It has a strong cult following. I finally got around to seeing it yesterday and it didn't live up to the hype. "Savage Streets" has a strong first half hour or so but then it stalls for quite a while. The movie does pick up towards the end but it ends up feeling a lot longer than its 93 minute running time. There is some great nudity and some campy laughs here and there but, at the end of the day, "Savage Streets" is pretty forgettable.
There are a lot of laughs to be had in "Bananas". It is silly but there are a lot of funny moments. There is some downtime in this movie. Most of those parts are the ones with Louise Lasser. Lasser has never been one of my favorites. I usually find her kind of annoying. Otherwise, "Bananas" is an easy watch. "Bananas" is not one of Woody Allen's best films but it is a lot of fun.
It keeps getting better every time I see it
I've seen "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" quite a few times now. I like it a lot. The first few times I watched it I found it hit and miss. The movie still takes a couple of dips here and there but those parts don't bother me as much as they used to. Now the only demerit I give this movie has to do with its length. It's a about twenty minutes too long. Otherwise, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a very exciting and emotional ride. It's also a great looking movie with very good music. This movie is always a welcome visit.
At times, it's brilliant
"Cinderfella" is an example of uneven greatness. It doesn't have any bad scenes but some of it is so good the other scenes pale in comparison. Jerry Lewis is great in this movie. His supporting cast is also very good, especially Henry Silva. Silva gives a terrific performance. His deadpan work in the cigarette scene is amazing to watch. "Cinderfella" is always a welcome watch. Honorable mention: a dreamy Anna Maria Alberghetti.
Deranged Granny (2020)
Wendie Malick deserves an Emmy nomination
Wendie Malick does a terrific job in "Deranged Granny". Her deadpan evil is great to watch. She could have easily gone over the top in this movie but she doesn't. She plays the character perfectly. Her supporting cast is also very good with standout work by David Baez and the dreamy Amanda Righetti. The strong performances is what makes "Deranged Granny" one of the best Lifetime movies of the year.
More Dead Than Alive (1969)
A near miss
"More Dead Than Alive" is almost a really good movie but it misses the mark for some reason. There are three or four terrific scenes in this movie. There are also a lot of stuff that doesn't work. The cheapness of the production hurts this movie. It looks like a tv movie of that era more than it looks like a theatrical film. Clint Walker has always been hit or miss with me but he delivers a very nice performance. With the exception of Vincent Price, the supported cast is kind of weak. Paul Hampton does a nice enough job but he's a least ten years older than the character is supposed to be. I watch "More Dead Than Alive" every once in a while. It's a mostly satisfying watch.
Soleil rouge (1971)
Okay second tier Bronson
I'm a big fan of Charles Bronson. He think he's a very underrated actor. I've seen most of his movies many times (even the not so hot ones). I never watched "Red Sun" until today. Its premise always seemed a little silly to me. After watching it, I was right. "Red Sun" is a silly movie. It's also a watchable one. It looks great and has a good cast. Bronson does a nice job. So does Toshiro Mifune. Ursula Andress is dreamy looking but I usually find her a little annoying. I think "Red Sun" would have been a better movie if it was ten or fifteen minutes shorter. As it is, I'm glad i finally got around to seeing this movie but I don't think I'll be revisiting again anytime soon.
Class of 1984 (1982)
An okay, kind of silly, watch
I saw "Class of 1984" in the theater (Sunrise Multiplex, Valley Stream, NY) and a bunch of times on cable. Yesterday was the first time I've watched it in years. It's an okay movie. I enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane. It touches all of the bases an urban action/revenge movie. The cast is fine. They all their job well. It's just that "Class of 1984" is nothing you haven't seen before. ("Blackboard Jungle" wins Best in Breed for this kind of movie.) I remember liking it a lot more when I was a teenager. It's still worth watching.
Dead Heat (1988)
It doesn't work
It's a shame but "Dead Heat" doesn't work. It has a likable cast but the material is weak. The action is okay but jokes aren't that funny. The special effects are hit and miss. The rest of the production has a cheapness to it that hurts the movie. I've seen "Dead Heat" a couple of times. It scratches an '80s itch but I wish it was better.
Gas Pump Girls (1979)
Worth the watch
"Gas Pump Girls" is a guilt-free watch. There's a lot of dreamy girls and a nice bit of nudity. There are a few surprise cameos. The story is fine as are the corny jokes. This movie is all about the girls and they are worth the visit.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
You can't go home again
"Mary Poppins Returns" doesn't work. It doesn't know if it's a remake or a sequel. It spends way too time trying to remind us of "Mary Poppins". I don't know why the filmmakers thought it was necessary to revisit all of the great moments of the original movie. It's always a big problem when a remake/sequel constantly reminds us of the previous, and usually much better, film. "Mary Poppins Returns" is a well produced movie. It looks good (I'm sure in 3D it looked great). The cast is okay. They try hard but the material is not there. Emily Blunt is in over her head. The songs and production numbers are instantly forgettable. I think Disney would have been better off making a non-musical sequel like they did with "Return to OZ". As it it, "Mary Poppins Returns" is a bland and pointless experience. Honorable mention: David Warner. It's always nice to see him.
I saw "Something Wicked This Way Comes" in the theater (Floral Park, NY) and many times since. It's a terrific movie. It's emotional and suspenseful. The cast is very good, especially Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce. Robards and Pryce both hit the ball out of the park in this movie. I've been a big fan of both of them ever since I first saw this movie in 1983. I think "Something Wicked This Way Comes" would have done better at the box office if they hadn't promoted it as a Disney movie. It's not a movie for children. It's theme is for a much older crowd. I am a huge fan of this movie. I one of my favorites and one of the best movies of the 1980s. I my house "Something This way Comes" is a classic.
The Kids Are Alright (1979)
Wow did "The Kids Are Alright" hit the spot. I saw it when it first came out at a midnight movie somewhere on Long Island. I haven't seen it since. At least not until tonight (on Turner Classic Movies). It's a great, almost exhausting, movie. One great song after another. The stuff in between the songs is really strong too. Lots of insight and quite a few laughs. I totally dug "The Kids Are Alright" tonight. I hope I get a chance to watch it again real soon.
Back to the Future (1985)
Top Ten of All Time
"Back to the Future" may be the most entertaining movie ever made. It hits on all cylinders. It's funny, romantic, emotional and very, very exciting. The last half hour or so is edge-of-your-seat stuff. The cast is perfect. They all deliver solid performances, especially Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd hits the ball out of the park. "Back to the Future" is as enjoyable now as when it came out. ( I saw it in the theater at MovieWorld in Douglaston, NY.) It truly is a movie that never gets old. Honorable mention: Alan Silvestri's music.
Star 80 (1983)
A tale of two pimps
I remember seeing "Star 80" in the theater (Bellerose, NY). I've seen it a few times since but not that often. It's too much of a downer. I watched it today and it is a good movie but it's also a sleazy movie. An innocent girl gets drawn into the world of pornography and it ends up destroying her. It's a sad but, unfortunately, not an uncommon story. Dorothy Stratten had a chance to break into main stream entertainment but that was not guaranteed. As far as the acting goes, Eric Roberts does a nice job. Mariel Hemingway looks great naked but I think she was a little miscast. Overall, "Star 80" is worth seeing but it's a sleazy and sad watch.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
"To Live and Die in L.A." is wild ride of a movie. It balances style and substance. It's an edge-of-your-seat experience. I saw this movie in the theater (Bay Terrance, Bayside NY) and a bunch of times since. It never lets me down. Director William Friedkin hit another home run with this movie. He got terrific performances out of his cast. The movie looks great. Wang Chung's music is terrific. The car chase is one for the books. "To LIve and Die in L.A." is another solid entry in Hall of Famer Friedkin's resume. Honorable mention: John Turturro.