countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Pets All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports tools Registry
Profile for weirdo_87 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by weirdo_87
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,487,150
Helpful Votes: 25

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
"weirdo_87" (Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12
Sabrina [Import]
Sabrina [Import]
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "No, father. The moon's reaching for me!", July 8 2002
This review is from: Sabrina [Import] (VHS Tape)
The Larabees are a wealthy business family in New York. The two sons of the family are David (William Holden) and Linus (Humphrey Bogart). Linus has developed a new, very durable plastic that also invincible (Shooting at it or even putting weight on doesn't hurt it). At the same time, the main story is about Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn), the daughter of the Larabee's chauffeur. Sabrina has had a crush on David since they were children, but David, in all his picking up of other women, doesn't even notice her. Sabrina goes to Paris to get a degree in gourmet cooking. While there, she decides to fight fire with oil. When she returns to New York, she has so changed herself (looks wise) that nobody recognizes her, especially David, who is immediately blown away by Sabrina. However, he is engaged to the daughter of Mr. Tyson (Not related to the boxer), the owner of the second largest sugarcane plantation in Puerto Rico ("The largest don't have a daughter"). The wedding and, thus, the merger of Larabee-Tyson must go through so Larabee can get sugarcane to utilize in the plastic. At the same time, Sabrina finds out that she isn't in love with David as she once was.
"Sabrina" is a charming romantic comedy with a great cast. Audrey Hepburn looks beautiful and is very good in her role. This movie proved not only she was a good actress and great looking but also a bankable star. Humphrey Bogart broadens his horizons by making a comedy. He isn't as romantic in here, I thought, as in some of his previous films. But I guess age takes its toll (Though, probably due to makeup and lighting, he looks younger). William Holden is also great as usual, though His character doesn't seem to change through most of the film (He only begins to love Sabrina because she starts to make herself prettier). And a movie made by Billy Wilder (Who had "Double Indemnity", "The Lost Weekend", "Sunset Blvd." and "Stalag 17" already under his belt) is bound to at least be fair. And this one is close to being one of his best.
However, I do have a few minor quibbles (Plot spoilers). Why did the girl David picks up on in the beginning have to have such irritating way of giggling? (Just looking at her causes her to laugh). And some might point out that Bogart is a bit too old for Hepburn (I don't, however. Marriages like that were and still are common, often by young girls to wealthy old men. And those who say that apparently don't know of Bogart and Lauren Bacall).
That said, this is an entertaining film from 1954, a year that saw several classics. There are several hilarious scenes(Particularly at Holden's misfortune with glasses), but it worked better, for me, as a charming romantic comedy. But, you might see it differently. I don't care. For I still love it.
(On a sidenote, there was a remake done in 1995 with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. I haven't seen it yet, but it should be good if judged on its own terms).

Saving Private Ryan (Special Limited Edition)
Saving Private Ryan (Special Limited Edition)
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
Price: CDN$ 10.00
62 used & new from CDN$ 2.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as some say, but still somewhat flawed., July 8 2002
To start off my review, I would like to answer those who complain about this film ignoring the British and not having African Americans or other minorities in the army units.
Yes, the British did have a major part in World War II and there were many British and Canadians, as well as Americans, present at the Normandy landings. But a few reviewers have already mentioned that Omaha was invaded by the Americans. And, as someone mentioned before, Brits weren't exactly commonplace in an American Rangers Unit. As for the minorities, American units were still very much segregated in World War II.
But, I do agree with other reviewers who mention the slanted portrayal of Germans in this movie. Some have blamed this on Director Spielberg's Judaism. While I can't agree with that, I will say this: The German troops in here reminded me of drones. They were cold hearted and brutal. None of them thought of killing without hesitation and, above all, they weren't human. They were also easier to eliminate then the Americans (With the exception of the opening scenes), despite the fact that they were probably elite German troops (They seemed older, bigger and tougher then many of the Americans). However, hasn't this been seen in war movies for decades, dating back to John Wayne WWII movies or films like "The Guns of Navarone" and "The Dirty Dozen"? It's pretty ridiculous to downgrade an AMERICAN war movie because the soldiers on the other side are easier to kill then AMERICANS. Basically, historical movies, especially those made by the United States, aren't the best history teacher.
The greatest question posed at the end of "Saving Private Ryan" is was it worth it. Was it worth risking the lives of eight men just to save one, basically unimportant man just because his brothers were all dead? Contrary to some reviewers, I think the movie was showing that it wasn't worth it. Most of the men in the squad sent to save Ryan were killed and the survivors would have been slaughtered had it not been for allied reinforcements. Even Tom Hank's John Miller seems skeptical as to whether it was justified: His last words to Ryan are "Earn this. Earn it".
My only other compliant with the movie was in who survived on the American side. I'm not complaining about Ryan, but about the other men in the squad sent to rescue him, of whom just two survive. One is a cocky private (Edward Burns) who can't keep his mouth shut. There is a tense scene where he tries to leave the squad and gets into a shouting match with another sergeant, played by Tom Sizemore. Sizemore pulls his gun out and threatens to shoot him. I was hoping that he would put the bullet in his big mouth. The other survivor is a very well educated corporal who's bilingual in German and French, which is why he was brought along. Yet he isn't a good solider because he's easily shaken by battle. Granted, not everyone can be a tough guy underfire (He isn't really a soldier either. He was a mapmaker and translator beforehand). Still, had he showed more bravery and courage in the battle in the French town (He had a thirty caliber with a full belt, for pete's sake), at least two others in his squad would have either been saved or would have had an advantage against the Germans. He was also very much within firing range of the Germans through most of the last battle. Not until the battle's end does he finally have the guts to shoot someone. His character's action seemed based on those of Lt. Joyce from "Bridge on the River Kwai".
I also somewhat agree with those who question the military tactics. A squad of American soldiers is in dangerous, heavily occupied nazi country, yet is bunched up closely together talking loudly. Ridiculous, no doubt. But again, this is Hollywood. It's better film wise to have the actors placed this way. And during these walks, we learn more about the men and about their opinions on the mission and the war.
That said, this is an excellent, powerful war movie. The battle scenes are stunning and, while ultra violent and perhaps made for action movie buffs, they make one hope that we or the ones we love are never have to be in those situations. However, while this movie depicts the D-Day assault more brutally than any other, the early war epic "The Longest Day" shows a wider overall coverage, though with less bloodshed (Since censors wouldn't have allowed it at the time). Rent both tonight.

The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
by Vincent Canby
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars What did the Times think of your favorites?, July 7 2002
"The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" is pretty much, as the title says, a book on 1,000 classics as reviewed by the New York Times. But these reviews aren't like those in Roger Ebert's "The Great Movies", which have the advantage of hindsight. These 1,000 articles were written fresh off the openings of the movies and show initial, at the moment reactions. Of course, in the years and decades since their releases, people's opinions may vary from those presented here. But you have to praise the Times for having the guts to republish their reviews to praise their correctness and admit their mistakes (In my opinion).
The New York Times was the only newspaper I know of that praised "Citizen Kane" when it was first released in 1941. I like this because it showed that the most distinguished paper in the country wasn't going have their opinions decided by the Hearst Empire. They also knew "Casablanca" was something special when it premiered in 1942. There were also films, like "Gone With the Wind", "The Godfather", "West Side Story" and "Titanic" that the Times, along with much of the country, knew were instant classics.
But they seemed mixed on now classic films like "Double Indemnity", "Laura" and "2001: A Space Odyssey". For the most part they found good things about them, but either didn't like the characters or, in the case of "2001", couldn't figure out what was going on. There was also a batch of films they were entertained by, but didn't think would be judged among the best movies in 2002. These include "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Third Man". And they were underwhelmed by "Dr. Strangelove" (Not so much underwhelmed as disturbed), "Psycho", "Paths of Glory", "Chinatown", "Bonnie and Clyde" and even "Lawrence of Arabia". While I don't exactly agree with them always, the critics argue their opinions well and one can see where they're coming from. After all, most of the country was shocked by "Bonnie and Clyde" or "Psycho" upon their debuts. But if a small town critic like Roger Ebert saw "Bonnie and Clyde" in a different light at the time, then why not a big town critic? And this shock must have eventually worn off, for they seemed to like "The Wild Bunch" just two years after "B & C".
About the only compliant I had was some of the times reviewers seemed to be uptight or expecting too much while reviewing movies (What critic isn't?). For example, Bosley Crowther was the one who disliked "Lawrence of Arabia", yet was mesmerized by "Bridge on the River Kwai" five years earlier. This is understandable, since "Bridge" was almost impossible for any follow-up film by David Lean to have toppled. Yet, at the same time, many critics were bowled over by "Lawrence". Was Crowther the only one wrong or the only one right? His major complaint seems to be that we know little more about Lawrence at the end then we do at the beginning. But was Lean's point trying to be that Lawrence was a man that no one can ever fully know about or understand? If so, Crowther missed it.
Otherwise, this is an interesting read that will leave you with various feelings. Some of total agreement, some of absolute disagreement, but often a mix of both.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Success and failure for the AFI., July 5 2002
In 1998, the American Film Institute (AFI) celebrated American cinema's first century with a list of 100 of the greatest movies ("English Language" films, according to the rules. More on that later). Since then, various people have both praised and criticized the AFI's selections. I, for one, do both. I praise them for alerting us to treasures of cinema, but criticize them for allowing works that should stand on their own be forced into competition with one another. Now, many people who watch "Citizen Kane" do so to critique and analyze it to see why it's so great, rather then watch it for the fun of it.
But, unlike many people, I realize that this list was not meant to be the definitive opinion on our greatest movies, like how the Oscars aren't always right on what's the best of each year. Rather, this list serves as an introduction to cinema. But shouldn't an introduction include all the basics? For example, the silent era is practically forgotten with only four films (Three Charlie Chaplin and D.W Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation") being selected. Where is Buster Keaton's "The General", Griffith's "Intolerance" and King Vidor's "The Crowd" or "The Big Parade"? How about F.W Murnau's "Sunrise" or Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed"? If at least some of these had been voted for, I would be willing to ignore most other shortcomings.
Many great directors and some of their greatest works were represented. Among these were Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, William Wyler, John Ford, Frank Capra and Francis Ford Coppola. However, some of these masters' best works aren't on the list. For example, where is Hitchcock's "Notorious", Welles' "Touch of Evil", Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", Wilder's "The Lost Weekend" and Ford's "The Quiet Man"? These seemed, to me, to be shoo ins. And there are many other directors who aren't even on the list. Besides the aforementioned Keaton and Vidor, where's Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch? And though Howard Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby" did make the cut, I thought "Red River" or "The Big Sleep" would as well.
Other people have also pointed out the inclusion of "British" films on the list such as "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "A Clockwork Orange". While these movies were made in outside the U.S and by British filmmakers, they were released by major U.S film studios and often starred American actors or received financing by American producers. The fact that the list also represents "English language films" meant these movies were more then eligible.
The AFI also surprised with other choices, but these were welcome ones. I call this the 'Good Unexpected Category'. An example is "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (#100), a hugely entertaining musical with one of James Cagney's best roles (His favorite I believe). But I did not think enough voters had seen it or would have selected it in their top ten. Same with "The Manchurian Candidate" (#67) and "Mutiny on the Bounty" (#86). And I was convinced that none of the voters would have touched "Clockwork Orange" with a ten foot stick, much less give it enough votes to land at #46.
So, I have admitted that the AFI was not completely full of controversy. For they made many great, already spoken for selections and still proved to be full of surprises.
As I stated in the introduction, a list such as this and the others that the AFI made since (The greatest screen legends, comedies, thrillers and romances) have lead into nationwide debates and viewing or reviewing of the movies. I was among those who started looking towards the classics by checking this list out. I originally thought "Citizen Kane" would be a dumb, boring movie. So much for what I knew. With its brilliance, ground breaking film techniques (Which only seem dated because we have lived in its influence) and tremendous entertainment value, I now consider it one of my favorites and proudly own the DVD. Among the others I have seen that I liked include Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, On the Waterfront, The Third Man, Chinatown, Double Indemnity, Singing in the Rain and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
And, if the movie strikes us, we start to explore others that are part of its genre and/or were made by the same director or actors, like I have with Stanley Kubrick and Humphrey Bogart. I'm also a closet Musical and Film Noir fan as a result of "Singing in the Rain" and "The Maltese Falcon". If this program's purpose was to encourage that, rather than form a definite record of the greatest movies, then mission accomplished. Just one more thing: If there is a movie on this program you haven't seen yet, you should consider skipping that section for there are likely to be spoilers that might ruin your enjoyment.

Caine Mutiny [Import]
Caine Mutiny [Import]
7 used & new from CDN$ 12.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strawberries, anyone?, June 30 2002
This review is from: Caine Mutiny [Import] (VHS Tape)
"The Caine Mutiny" follows the story of the men aboard the minesweeper U.S.S Caine during the period of 1943-44 in the pacific war. After the Caine is assigned a new captain, Philip Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), the officers begin to get suspicious at various acts that the captain does: His attention to small details such as shirttails and erratic behavior like rolling ball bearings in his hand when he's nervous and the spouting of catchphrases like "I kid you not". His behavior reaches a climax during a typhoon. Executive Officer Maryk (Van Johnson), after being advised by some others, relieves the captain with the firm belief that the ship would founder with Queeg in charge. Now Maryk has to defend his actions in a court martial.
It may seem surprising today, but at the time of this movie's release, Jose Ferrer was one of the hottest actors around. He was already an Oscar winner for 1950's "Cyrano de Bergenac". Here, he plays Lt. Barney Greenwald, who is assigned to Maryk's defense, but isn't so enthusiastic ("I've read the preliminary investigation very carefully and I think that what you've done stinks."). He came off to me as a competent defense attorney who was just waiting for the moment to strike. And although the evidence that backs up Queeg and goes against Maryk is overwhelming, Greenwald is able to break down Queeg in court, validating his instability and allowing Maryk to get off only with a reputation as a "mutineer".
My favorite performance is Fred MacMurray as Lieutenant Keefer, who doesn't think too highly of the Caine, even being cynical towards it ("The first thing you've got to learn about this ship is that she was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.") And, though not a psychologist himself, he is also the one who raises it to Maryk's attention that Queeg may be nuts. Since he also contains hammering the idea at Maryk, it makes one assume that he would be willing to go all the way by alerting the top navy brass. But we soon learn that he is nothing but a scheming coward. He plants it in the men's minds that the captain is crazy, yet has "A yellow streak 15 miles wide". And when he is called to testify, "He never even heard of Queeg" as Greenwald remarks. At this point, we turn from disliking his cynicism to hating his guts. MacMurray, I thought, played this role so well and very convincingly. Surprisingly, he never got Oscar nominated for any of his performances. Perhaps the academy thought that this actor-who's most well known as the father on "My Three Sons" and had a track record in light comedies- wasn't prestigious enough to win the gold. It's like his against type roles in "Double Indemnity", "The Apartment" and this movie never existed!
In the beginning of the film, we tended to dislike Queeg because he's a nut. He has the ship steam away from a combat mission, he orders no more movies to be shown, has constant practice drills and, when some strawberries turn up missing, has the ship searched and basically ripped apart in a futile search for a "duplicate key to the icebox". But at the end, when Keefer's plan is revealed, when sympathize with Queeg at how he was used and mistreated by his crew. For had the crew supported and helped the captain when he asked for it, things might have turned out different in the typhoon. This is one of Bogart's better roles, maybe his last great one, and it netted him his last Oscar nomination. He made only about 3 or four other movies after this one, with the last, "The Harder they Fall", being released in 1956. In February 1957, Bogart died of complications from throat cancer.
If there is one problem with "The Caine Mutiny", it is the romance plot between Ensign Keith (Robert Francis) and his girlfriend May, played by May (Coincidental?). Keith's character is the first we are introduced too in the film. His involvement in the film is sort of like that of the newsreel reporter in "Citizen Kane": He serves as a guide, a plot device to the events that follow. And only a handful of scenes are dedicated to Keith and May. However, these end up in the way of the much more exciting action involving Queeg and the other officers. I have read Herman Wouk's novel and am aware that this wasn't manufactured for the film, but was actually in the book (And was the main plot, if I'm not mistaken). This shows how much the screenwriters tried to remain faithful to the book. But the only way the movie could have been truly faithful to the novel would be if it had been two and a half or even three hours long. With a roughly two-hour movie, the writers should have figured out what was more important to focus on. If they had either dumped or worked out the romance plot better so it fit more into the plot, the movie would have been even better.
Otherwise, "The Caine Mutiny" is a great film, one that many persons can find something to like. Naval buffs will enjoy beautiful shots filmed aboard naval destroyers at port and sea to represent the DMS Caine. Fans of court room dramas will find a very tense, well played one that'll satisfy them (Though a 1988 T.V movie, "The Caine Mutiny court-martial", was said to do a better job. But having not seen that, I can't form an opinion). Bogie fans will most likely judge this one of his career highlights. And skeptics of Fred MacMurray's talent will be put to rest. Add in a supporting cast that includes Tom Tully, E.G Marshall and Lee Marvin, you have great entertainment, I kid you not!

Going My Way [Import]
Going My Way [Import]
Price: CDN$ 18.99
16 used & new from CDN$ 4.66

4.0 out of 5 stars "Schmaltz isn't selling this season", June 29 2002
This review is from: Going My Way [Import] (VHS Tape)
"Going My Way" is not exactly one of the most perfect of all movies ever made. And it's not the most deserving "Best Picture" winner of 1944 either. The reasons I make those statements are 1.) It's somewhat corny and simplistic, with a few subplots and scenes that do work but still could have been left out. And 2.) Many people, including myself, would name "Double Indemnity", "Gaslight", "Laura", "Meet Me in St. Louis" or "Murder, My Sweet" as more deserving winners. But awards aren't really the best way to judge a movie's greatness because it's a matter of personal opinion. And "Going My Way" is a really good movie, despite these flaws.
The movie is a great star vehicle for Bing Crosby, who portrays a priest named Father O'Malley sent to help another church run by cranky old Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). Fitzgibbon, who's run the church for 45 years ("46 in October"), is in debt problems with the savings and loans run by Ted Haines Sr. (Gene Lockhart). Fitzgibbon, at first, is not excited by his new assistant's unorthodox methods of practice, such as wearing a baseball uniform when his priest clothing gets wet. He also doesn't care much for O'Malley's liking of golf along with fellow priest Father Timothy (Frank McHugh), remarking that there is too much work to allow games. Fitzgibbon tries to go to the bishop to get O'Malley transferred. But after hearing good things about Father O'Malley and being patient, O'Malley starts to grow on him. Eventually, the old bat starts to lighten up until, by film's end, his church is out of debt and he claims to be ten years younger. He even starts playing golf and other games.
Fitzgerald is very good in the role, being sensitive or strict when the time comes. The interaction that he and Crosby have is marvelous. I also love his leprechaunish voice, which is most likely because he comes from Ireland. He received Oscar nominations for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, the only such incident in the academy's history, and deservedly won Supporting Actor.
But Bing has several very good to great scenes, which were probably a major factor in his Best Actor win. His performances of the title song and, with the help of the choir, "Swinging on a Star" are upbeat and entertaining. I also enjoyed the scene where he gives advice to a troubled young girl named Carol James (Jean Heather) on how to be a better singer and she follows it (A wise move I might add).
Now for the movie's problems. There are a couple scenes that could have been excised from the film at the cutting room. About half an hour through the film, after visiting the bishop, Fitzgibbon is talked into keeping O'Malley at the church. But then, he leaves the church at night only to return some hours later. What does this scene mean? I think it was meant to show Fitzgibbon is thinking about whether he wants to stay in charge, for when he returns he says its only temporarily. Also, after that scene, there is one between him and O'Malley that shows character development for Fitzgibbon in how he longs to see his mother, whom he hasn't meet in 45 years. Yet another scene that could have been taken out is when O'Malley watches a performance of "Ava Maria" at the Metropolitan by singer Genevieve Linden (Rise Stevens), an old friend of "Chuck" (The nickname used by his friends). Both the song and Steven's performance of it are great, but it doesn't do much except slow the pace. And her impressive singing isn't enough to sway a publisher into buy some of Chuck's songs.
There are also a couple of subplots. First with Carol and Ted Haines Jr. (James Brown), son of the Savings and Loans manager. This plot shows how O'Malley's advice helped the two straighten out their lives. Ted Sr. visits his son to find out why he quit his job, and finds out it was for a reason relevant to the time. There is also a plot that has some punk kids, who are more of a nuisance than a threat, getting help from O'Malley by forming a choir. By the film's end, they are straightened out and like singing even more than baseball or, the worst of their crimes, hijacking poultry trucks.
The movie has several touching moments, most notably the ending when Fitzgibbon receives a big surprise. The surprise was arranged by O'Malley whom, since he is being transferred out, did it as a farewell gift. I admit that I'm not one for crying, having been hardened by too many action movies (Plus I wasted a lot of tears of "Titanic" back when I was 10 years old). But my eyes were just a bit misty as the choir started "Too-ra-Loo-ra-Loo-ra". Maybe in a few years I will come back and find this to be even sadder. For now, I'll read more of mother's Harlequin romances.
I found certain themes here to be similar to those covered in a later movie: "It's a Wonderful Life". O'Malley influences and helps out many people in the movie who wouldn't have been better off without him. The only difference is that O'Malley, unlike the later film's protagonist, already knows that he has done great things before the movie ends. At the end, he walks out of the church with no formal thanks. He doesn't need one because he's the kind of person who doesn't ask in return.
With a fine supporting cast, great songs, many humorous and touching scenes, "Going My Way" is movie I'm glad I watched. It may not be the best Oscar winner, but it made me sigh in one respect: Though "Double Indemnity" is an excellent (One of my favorites), how many remakes, homages, and spoofs have been done of that compared to "Going My Way"? I guess schmaltz doesn't sell.

Lawrence of Arabia (Exclusive Limited Edition) (Sous-titres français)
Lawrence of Arabia (Exclusive Limited Edition) (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Peter O'Toole
Offered by UrbanInspirations
Price: CDN$ 15.99
29 used & new from CDN$ 5.16

5.0 out of 5 stars "We can't all be lion tamers.", June 25 2002
Since I had not studied up on the life of T.E Lawrence before I saw this movie, I can't tell you if the real Lawrence was like the one in this movie. I can't say how accurate it is to the history (There has been evidence found that Lawrence was never at the massacre of the Turkish Army). I too agree that the straight historical facts can be exciting. But if you go to movies expecting the truth, you will be disappointed. We go to books for facts and to movies for feelings. "Lawrence of Arabia" should not marked down because it isn't a totally factual account. This is a rarity among epic movies; One that's not only visually stunning and ambitious, but also acted with enthusiasm, written with wit and excitement and directed with skill and passion.
"Lawrence" won a total of seven Academy Awards in 1962 including Best Picture. But sadly, none of its Oscars went to Peter O'Toole for his brilliant, eccentric performance as T.E Lawrence, a British Officer assigned to the Arabian Desert during World War I. There, he finds that the Arabian Tribes are fighting against one another. Lawrence unites these tribes in battle against the Turks, leading to many victories. Over time, he comes closer to discovering whom he is, why he is here and starts questioning as to whether he belongs to Arabia and England.
But while O'Toole and the supporting cast (Played by the likes of Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle and Arthur Kennedy) get the billings in the movie, the real star is the desert. Thought to be a barren, desolate landscape with little life, the movie proves that it is very active. Every shot seems choreographed to show the beauty and danger of Arabia. We see sandstorms, twisters and miles of beautiful sand dunes. There are some beautiful shots of sunrises or sunsets (One of them part of a memorable edit). The movie is full of many great images, one of the most memorable being the long entrance of Sharif's character, coming out of the mirage. It looks like his camel is riding on nothing. Another memorable image is when Lawrence and his companions reach the Suez Canal. Their first glimpse is of a ship sailing in the canal. But with the way the scene is filmed, it looks as though the ship is sailing on desert.
The script, as I already stated, is surprisingly strong for an epic. The plot is focused and free of sideplots. The conversations between people are interesting and sometimes even exciting to listen to (Though this can also be attributed to direction, acting and/or editing). Here are some examples:
General Allenby: I thought I was a hard man, sir.
Prince Feisal: You are merely a general. I must be a king.
Auda Abu Tayi: Thy mother mated with a scorpion.
General Murray: I can't make out whether you're bloody bad-mannered or just half-witted.
T.E Lawrence: I have the same problem, sir.
Ali: Have you no fear, English?
T.E Lawrence: My fear is my concern.
General Allenby: I'm promoting you Major.
T.E Lawrence: I don't think that's a very good idea.
Finally, I must not ignore Maurice Jarre's music score. Like the movie, it is difficult to put in words the effect it has on a viewer. But I just dare you to forget it, any part of it. I had the main theme stuck in my head after I saw it. All I can say is that you have to watch the movie for yourself (Or rent the CD soundtrack) to understand.
I wonder what it would be like if this movie were remade today. It would for certain be much different. To cut costs, there would be CGI sets and extras. There would have to be big name stars (Arnold Schwarzenegger as T.E Lawrence?). The movie would have more stylized and graphic violence than it original did and the pace would be fast and furious, with constant F-words. Finally, to appeal to a wider audience, there would have to be a romantic subplot involving Lawrence with a young British or Arabian woman who can't keep her clothes on (Though it's been said that Lawrence never had a girlfriend because he was sensitive to touching). Also, the movie would be shot not in the Arabian Desert but on some blue screen or studio backlot.
Lawrence lived to see himself become a legend. Those white robes he wears give him the image of a saint (Other hidden clues: Lawrence mentions Moses when he crossed the Nefud and the word god is used often throughout). He believed that he was different from others and even invincible. After being shot in the arm and asked if he needs a doctor, Lawrence remarks "It would take a golden bullet to kill me". But after being beaten and (implied) raped, he realizes that he isn't above other men, that any man "Is what I am". He soon loses hope in the campaign he's leading and by movie's end is not wanted by either the Arabs or the British. Thus, it seems fitting that, like Patton and MacArthur, Lawrence's death came not on a battlefield, but in a common motor accident.

On the Waterfront [Import]
On the Waterfront [Import]
3 used & new from CDN$ 22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A re-edit of my April 8, 2002 review, June 23 2002
This story, about a dockworker named Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) and his battle against union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), is I consider one of the best movies ever made. Despite this, some have criticized scenes of the movie and even present debatable underlying themes. Above all else, its said that Elia Kazan used this as an excuse to show why he testified to the House Un-American Activities Committee on communists. But this movie does much more than justify such actions.
Now I don't know about politics, so I will sidestep that minefield as much as possible. Though this movie is excellent, I do have however have some quibbles. First, most of the battle lines are too clearly drawn. It's obvious who's good (Father Berry, played by Karl Malden and Edie Doyle, played by a debuting Eva Marie Saint) and who's bad (Friendly and the other union bosses). But there are a few exceptions. For example, Terry's brother Charlie the Gent (Rod Steiger), has been and is working for Friendly when Terry is subpoenaed. This puts Terry in a hole, since he knows that Father Berry is right in having him testify on crimes that have occurred, yet his own family is involved with the managers he will bring down. Thus, Terry is uncertain about who his real friends are until after he testifies. Another problem with the movie is that some of the actor's try too hard. Cobb and Malden overact quite a bit, with many conversations erupting into argument (Cobb and Malden shout about 50% of their lines). But, in my view, they are all superior to today's stars who can't act out of bed. And most of their melodrama occurs in scenes where their characters are or are trying to be the center of attention.
Until recently, my biggest grudge would have been with the film's ending, which I originally considered too upbeat, confusing and out of place. But, some recent comments I have received have caused me to reconsider it. Terry's walking back to work following his beating can be paralleled with the story of Christ when he was crucified only to come back to life. The others following him back in is similar to Christ's followers ascending with him into heaven. And, to those who still find it confusing and out of place (Beside myself), the ending is foreshadowed by Malden's speech in the freighter hull after a dockworker is killed. Also, a similar event almost occurred in real life: According to an e-mail I received, a vote was taken among the real life dockworkers as to whether they wanted to replace their corrupt union. They failed, but narrowly. The ending surprised many film critics since it didn't match with the grim mood and most would have preferred to see Terry die at the end or fall down or something. While I too thought the ending would be more downbeat, could these people have done better?
Now, to the film's morals. I know that it's hard to sympathize with a snitch, especially to snitch on one who was so good to you. But, this is a film about conscience and, as Terry says, "That stuff can drive you nuts". Let's first understand what the situation is: If Terry didn't rat out Friendly and the other union bosses, he would have more friends but working conditions on the waterfront would have gotten worse and others would get killed. If he does rat Friendly out, it will isolate him from his friends and make life dangerous, but it might help improve working conditions. It was just like when Kazan was forced to testify. If he named names, he would lose respect and if he didn't he would be condemned as a communist himself. Either way, Terry was stuck.

But, out of ten points, the above detracts only about  or 1. The good far outweighs the bad. Scenes were filmed on actual location on docks in New Jersey, giving a gritty, realistic and overall beautiful look that no soundstage could have done. And let's not forget the performances: While Malden and Cobb can be very melodramatic, they are both all right, especially when Malden gives the speech in the freighter. (I'm also tired of people complaining his character's smoking and drinking, since that's not outlawed by the church and some real life priests are doing worse). Steiger gets to share the screen during the "contender" speech. And Saint, for her debut, won Best Supporting Actress (But, she is the main female lead and should have been nominated as such).
But, as many stated before, nobody tops Brando. One critic on the website Epinions stated that anybody could have played Malloy. While others were considered for the part (Frank Sinatra was originally cast), I don't think one of cinema's great performances could have been played by anybody. Anyone can say the lines, but can they be said with the same feeling? It's an understatement to say Brando gets involved with his character. If you didn't know who it was onscreen, you would think the actor was also uneducated and dense. Terry is explosive and doesn't think through, a throwback to his boxing days. When confronted with problems, the solution is violence ("Do it to him before he does it to you").
"Waterfront" won eight academy awards and was placed at number eight on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest American movies. While it deserves to be on the list, I was surprised it ranked so high considering the controversy that has surrounded it. But, while it may be overly simplistic in it's depiction of good and evil and manipulative, this is still a great movie. The film's documentary style and the brilliant, dynamic work of Brando are still studied today by up and coming actors. Oh and look carefully to spot character actor Martin Balsam as a waterfront detective.

All About Eve
All About Eve
4 used & new from CDN$ 5.48

5.0 out of 5 stars "Everybody has a heart -- except some people.", June 21 2002
This review is from: All About Eve (VHS Tape)
Having only seen one other Bette Davis film to date ("Dark Victory"), I don't know if her role as the aging actress Margo Channing is her best performance. But Davis is no doubt dynamic in this 1950 drama about the New York Theater from Director/Writer Joseph Mankiewicz. Channing is a near middle aged but very successful actress in New York. She is visited by an obsessive fan named Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) after a play, one that Eve claims to have seen every performance of. Margo takes her under her wing and Eve seems to be almost like the girl from next door. About the only one who sees her differently is Margo's housekeeper "Birdie" (Thelma Ritter, who is also excellent).
Soon, Margo becomes paranoid that Eve is plotting against her, feelings of which break out at a
birthday party for her boyfriend and groom-to-be (Gary Merriell). Eventually, Margo's efforts take a toll on her, costing her some trust in others. Unknowingly to Margo, Eve becomes her understudy and when Margo misses some performances, Eve fills in and does so with great success. Soon, she is a big hit and Margo starts to drift toward obscurity. But Eve's plans-Which involved trying to get a major part by blackmailing the wife of a playwright-and the truth about her "girl from next door" background are revealed by venomous play columnist Addison DeWitt (George Sanders, also superb). The movie is narrated throughout by several different people: Addison, Margo and Karen Richards (Celeste Holm), wife of playwright Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe). They reveal various feelings and shifting attitudes towards the main female leads.
And, although it is sort of [bad], I liked the ending. After receiving a major theatrical award, Eve, now a matured, whiny actress, returns home only to find a girl there named Phoebe (Barbara Bates) who claims to be studying Eve for school. She is very similar to how Eve was at the film's beginning. The last shots in the film, which I cannot reveal but you might agree with me, also show that a circle of life is now complete. After knocking Margo off her throne, Eve may now be the top actress, but that throne is threatened, as it was with Margo and has it will be with the next actress.
I can also tell you that this movie is great as straightforward entertainment. It is written with wit and humor when it needs to be. Particularly memorable is Miss Caswell's (A young Marilyn Monroe) line about the producers: "Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?" The irony-or some say brilliance-of this movie is that it is about the New York Theater, yet never shows any onstage acting.

Gone With the Wind [Import]
Gone With the Wind [Import]
Offered by L&A Treasures Books
Price: CDN$ 19.00
9 used & new from CDN$ 5.48

4.0 out of 5 stars It is a great movie!, June 21 2002
Where does one start when reviewing this film? For decades, this has been one of America's most popular and beloved movies. It is not exactly perfect. Showing a sentimental, somewhat politically incorrect view of the old south. There are only a few slaves in the film, and all of them are on good terms with their owners and even remain in their employing after the war. The film is also very melodramatic (If I here "The Yankees" shouted once more, I will go nuts) and contains several clichés, though they only become those later. Finally, many viewers can name better ways to spend 4 hours. That said this movie is hard to dislike, what with its enormous ambition, still impressive visuals and very good story. And while indeed lengthy, I loved every minute.
Everything about this movie is big. It's scope, covering events before, during and after the Civil War as adapted from Margaret Mitchell's also epic novel. One has to give credit to the makers for trying to compress the 1,000+ page book into a single film. Today, most would either make a mini-series or film trilogy. This might have been a wiser idea but, having not read the book, I can't say if it would have been more faithful. The production values are also enormous, with incredible, very spacious sets of plantation homes before the war and some great views of some of the buildings destroyed by the ravages of war. There are many images that are still amazing today: As Scarlett searches for a doctor, the camera pulls back to reveal that she is in a wide open area filled with dead and dying soldiers of the confederacy. The destruction of Atlanta is also still a great action scene (The great wall built for "King Kong" was burned down and scenes of its destruction utilized in those fiery shots of Atlanta).
Another big item about this film is the cast and crew. We all know of David Selznick's legendary search for the actress to play Scarlett O'Hara, which resulted in over 1,400 people tested for the role and the selection of Vivian Leigh over such competitors as Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and finalists Joan Bennett and Paulette Goddard. This is a difficult but great role, appealing to all sexes. For women, she is strong willed, intelligent, courageous and beautiful, if bratty and spoiled. For men, they will mostly focus on the beauty. While it may not seem like it, she matures during the plot of the film. For the first time in her life, she is on her own and has to use her strength and willpower to make it through. Earlier, she winces at the sight of wounded soldiers in the hospital. Later, when a deserter from the union threatens her, Scarlett shoots him without hesitation. The New York Times remarked that Leigh's Scarlett "Is so beautiful she hardly need be talented, and so talented she need not be beautiful..."
It's been a mass opinion over the years that Clark Gable was a wooden actor who just got lucky being cast in parts made for him. I can't agree with that since the only other of his films I have seen is "It Happened One Night". However, he is very appealing in the role of Rhett Butler to many people, just like Leigh. Most of Gable's performance and legacy has been based on his last line. However, I find that to be just a bit flawed: It's better to first day "Frankly, my dear", take a short pause, then say "I don't give a damn" with more emphasis. It seemed to me that he treated it as a throwaway line (Which in 1939 would have been enough to make the line remembered). The most memorable image of Gable in the movie, for me, is his first scene: As Scarlett and the other girls look down while at Twelve Acres, Butler is looking up from the stairway's bottom, with the camera moving in until it is focused on his grinning face. That appearance ranks as one of the most memorable entrances in film history, alongside Orson Welles in "The Third Man" and Omar Shariff in "Lawrence of Arabia".
The other two top billed stars are Leslie Howard and Olivia De Havilland as Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton. Scarlett has been in love with Ashley for what I assume is her whole life, yet Ashley marries and is very much in love with Melanie (Which, from our view today, is somewhat demented since they are cousins. But such things must have been common in the old south). Scarlett, being spoiled and selfish, still tries to gain Ashley's love, even after he is married and consummates it (We assume, since they go into their room together and close the door and the light). Too late does she realize she loves Rhett and that Ashley has no interest in her. But Scarlett's mistake is understandable. After all, Ashley is more likable and more of a gentleman than Rhett (Though, when it comes to looks, most women would consider a draw).
I may be considered a rebel for this since I am a male teenager, but I am recommending "Gone With the Wind". It's very melodramatic, rather long and that music score gets occasionally irritating, but it just has some magic about it that all great movies have: A magic that keeps them from dying. I think audiences in 2039 will still be just as awed and excited as people were a century before. The era may be "gone with the wind", but the movie is here to stay.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12