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4.4 out of 5 stars51
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on April 23, 2016
I enjoyed this movie, watching it firstly. Then even more after I watched the lengthy 'introduction' segment by the director and writer. (FYI - very little spoilers in it, so one can play it first if they wish.) What amazed me is the amount of drafts conceived for this film, and the fact that the director didn't want to do it. Nor did Walter Matthau - unless Ronald Neame were the director. Being coerced by the studios for Neame to get on board and meet Matthau at least. Neame asked Matthau 'Why do you think my directing you in this movie is so important?' And hilariously Matthau admitted 'I didn't want to do this picture either, and I knew YOU certainly didn't want to do it. So I thought it would get me out of the bind - and here we are now. Go figure?' So what was deemed an awkward and unfeasible movie by so many, turned into a pleasant well cast humorous romp for all. I think what is so attractive about this movie is the contempt Kendig (Matthau) has for his younger 'by the book' boss Myerson (Ned Beatty) That Kendig is being too nice to enemy spies by letting them go, and should've been apprehended. To avoid being designated to a 'desk job' at the agency, Kendig goes rouge and becomes a threat to Myerson and the agency. Not only meeting with the enemy spy again (Herbert Lom, in a part too small) But threatening to expose the CIA to all world agencies and publishers. What ensues is a clever and suspenseful cat and mouse game to make fools out of Myerson and CIA agents in their pursuit of Kendig. Sam Waterston as Agent Cutter is the real touching grace to it all. He admires Kendig, and has learned from him well. Yet, he likes his job with the CIA and wants to assist Myerson as best he can. And kudos to Ned Beatty as Myerson, as he quickly becomes unraveled and vulgar in the pursuit of Kendig. Much to Beatty's chagrin of having to use foul language for his character - it is funny for this movie. (ala Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles) But it's Matthau and Jackson that steal the show. Her sophisticated, no nonsense demeanor when she flat out tells Kendig she won't help him in his plans. And Matthau gives her the impeccable 'hurt dog' look, and against her better judgement she concedes 'alright, what do you want me to do?' A clever, funny movie that isn't wrought with James Bond gimmicks, gratuitous sex and violence, or political subtext and demeaning portrayals. One might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks. But for the tricks he knows, sure outweigh that of a young energetic puppy. A nice movie in the end.
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on April 13, 2015
Funny, enjoyable well written fluff. Glenda Jackson is perfect, and Walter Matthau is delightfully malicious to the point that everyone is after him regardless of political or country affiliation.
I did want to address the problem some people have playing this DVD. Some DVD players have trouble recognizing and playing discs that are encoded Region Free or Region 0 . I bought a copy of one for a friend, It wouldn't play on his machine but played perfectly on mine. Go figure. It's all the MPAA's fault for insisting on all this regional encoding business in the first place to force someone to pay a premium for another copy of something they may already own just because they've moved country. While living in the UK circa 2000 to 2005 most players newly produced for the British market during those years played North American NTSC Region 1 discs just fine and converted them on the fly to PAL for the televisions. Naturally they played the PAL Region 2 discs as well. This seems to indicate that it is a US Movie Industry generated problem, not an inherent one when different types of broadcast standards meet. When I returned I had to buy a special player at a premium in order to play the discs bought while living in the UK. The films easily available in the UK but not available in the US or Canada have made it a good investment.
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on September 4, 2002
Kendig (Walter Matthau) returns from a CIA mission in Europe and the results do not meet Myerson's (Ned Beatty) expectations. In addition, Myerson does not agree with old Kendig's way of doing things, and therefore wants to put him on a job as a file clerk in the basement of CIA head quarters. Kendig does not agree with this notion and leaves the US to see someone special in Austria. This is where Kendig begins to write his memoirs, which he sends in chapters to the major intelligence agencies around the world. This causes some reactions among the different agencies and they now want to see Kendig dead. In the end Hopscotch leaves the audience with an enjoyable comedic experience.
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on March 8, 2005
was suprised to see criterion release hopscotch, but glad they did. here matthau is repremanded for allowing a wanted KGB agent to walk. matthau's integrity is too precious to take guff from even the CIA. subsequently, he does not take the news of being reassigned to the job of file clerk very well so he begins to write his memoires, leaking secret information to the opposition. the ensuing chase is slapstick, a spy vs. spy comedy with great international locations. frankly, using the cold war as a catalyst for comedy was long overdue by 1980.
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on July 10, 2002
I've loved this movie, because it's about thr fight of the free individual against the obtuseness of bureaucratic institutions.The game of hide-and-seek of the protagonist against an imbecilic boss, who is "so stupid that in a stupidity contest would turn second",is very funny and fast-paced.Not to mention that beneath the humour there is well deserved critic on CIA efficiency and methods.
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on April 12, 2004
this is that rarety among movies in which the principles though older do not in any way become buffoon-like in their behaviour.
though there it has a comic flavor;it respects mr matthau and ms jackson.
the chase is so broad, that it runs like an adventure.this movie likes its characters for the most part (with one notable exception)
think spy vs. spy vs. spy with an 80's look.
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on October 3, 2002
Matthau gives one of his funniest performances as a clever and benign spy master. He runs circles around his former employer, the CIA and exposes what we know today is the myth of invulnerability. Glenda Jackson turns in a lovely performance as his paramour. There is no deep message here and the comedy is unrelieved by any pathos. But it is hilarious and well worth it.
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on October 26, 2002
Tight plot, well acted, amusing, and more truth about the CIA than most Americans would care to admit.
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