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Rating History

Rear Window
Rear Window (1954)
6 years ago via Flixster

After breaking his leg during a dangerous assignment, professional photographer L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries (Stewart) is confined in his Greenwich Village apartment, using a wheelchair while he recuperates. His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments. During a summer heat wave, he passes the time by watching his neighbors, who keep their windows open to stay cool. The tenants he can see include a dancer, a lonely woman he nicknames "Miss Lonelyheart", a songwriter, several married couples, and Lars Thorwald (Burr), a salesman with a bedridden wife.
After Thorwald makes repeated late-night trips carrying a large case, Jeff notices that Thorwald's wife is gone and sees Thorwald cleaning a large knife and handsaw. Later, Thorwald ties a large packing crate with heavy rope and has moving men haul it away. Jeff discusses these observations with his wealthy girlfriend Lisa (Kelly) and his home-care nurse Stella (Ritter), then explains to his friend Tom Doyle (Corey), a local police detective, that they believe Thorwald murdered his wife. Doyle looks into the situation but finds nothing suspicious.

Soon after, a neighbor's dog is found dead with its neck broken. When a woman sees the dog and screams, the neighbors all rush to their windows to see what has happened, except for Thorwald, whose cigar can be seen glowing as he sits in his dark apartment. Convinced that Thorwald is guilty after all, Jeff has Lisa slip an accusatory note under Thorwald's door so Jeff can watch his reaction when he reads it. Then, as a pretext to get Thorwald away from his apartment, Jeff telephones him and arranges a meeting at a bar. He thinks Thorwald may have buried something in the courtyard flower patch and then killed the dog to keep it from digging it up. When Thorwald leaves, Lisa and Stella dig up the flowers but find nothing.
Lisa then climbs the fire escape to Thorwald's apartment and squeezes in through an open window. When Thorwald returns and grabs Lisa, Jeff calls the police, who arrive in time to save her. With the police present, Jeff sees Lisa with her hands behind her back, wiggling her finger with Mrs. Thorwald's wedding ring on it. Thorwald also sees this, realizes that she is signaling to someone, and notices Jeff across the courtyard.
Jeff phones Doyle, now convinced that Thorwald is guilty of something, and Stella heads for the police station to post bail for Lisa, leaving Jeff alone. He soon realizes that Thorwald is coming to his apartment. When Thorwald enters the apartment and approaches him, Jeff repeatedly sets off his camera flashbulbs, temporarily blinding Thorwald. Thorwald grabs Jeff and pushes him toward the open window as Jeff yells for help. Jeff falls to the ground just as some police officers enter the apartment and others run to catch him. Thorwald confesses the murder of his wife and the police arrest him.
A few days later, the heat has lifted and Jeff rests peacefully in his wheelchair, now with casts on both legs. The lonely neighbor woman chats with the songwriter in his apartment, the dancer's lover returns home from the Army, the couple whose dog was killed have a new dog, and the newly married couple are bickering. In the last scene of the film, Lisa reclines beside Jeff, appearing to read a book on foreign travel in order to please him, but as soon as he is asleep, she puts the book down and happily opens a fashion magazine.

Galaxy Express 999 (Ginga Tetsud˘ Three-Nine)
6 years ago via Flixster
½

A twelve year-old street urchin named Tetsuro Hoshino desperately wants an indestructible machine body, giving him the ability to live forever and have the freedom that the unmechanized don't have. While machine bodies are impossibly expensive, they are supposedly given away for free in the Andromeda galaxy, the end of the line for the Galaxy Express 999, a space train that only comes to Earth once a year.
The series begins with Tetsuro and his mother making their way to Megalopolis where they hope to get jobs to pay for passes for the 999. Along the way however, Count Mecha and a gang of "human hunters" kill Tetsuro's mother. Before she dies, she tells him to continue the journey they started, and to get a machine body to live the eternal life she couldn't.
Intent on killing Count Mecha to avenge his mother, Tetsuro meets up with a beautiful woman, Maetel, who is the spitting image of his dead mother. Maetel offers him an unlimited use pass for the 999 if he will be her travelling companion to which Tetsuro agrees. Along the way, Tetsuro has many adventures on many different and exotic planets and meets many kinds of people, both human and alien, living and machine. Increasingly, Tetsuro realizes that a machine body won't fix all of his problems. In fact, most of the machine people he meets regret the decision to give up their humanity.
Eventually, Tetsuro and Maetel reach the Planet Prometheum, the final stop for the 999, but Tetsuro learns that it is ruled by the Queen of the Mechanization Empire, also named Prometheum. She is Maetel's mother, and controls the planet by entirely mechanized human components. Maetel's mission was to bring young humans for that purpose. Queen Prometheum plans on transferring Tetsuro's consciousness to a bolt for the heart of the planet.

Tetsuro doesn't understand why he has been betrayed by Maetel, but Maetel has plans of her own, and seeks to destroy the mechanized civilization. With the help of her father, Dr. Ban (who was only named in the film), whose consciousness resides in a pendant she carries over her neck, Maetel destroys her mother and the planet. Afterwards, Maetel and Tetsuro return to the Planet of Bats where Tetsuro tells Maetel his intention to return to Earth and lead it toward a new future. Maetel, proud of Tetsuro for his decision tells him she has something to take care of and should board first. However, Tetsuro finds a letter from Maetel telling him that it was time for them to part ways. Maetel had secretly boarded the 777 (three-seven), a nearby train, with the intention of "leading another boy to his future". However, it is unclear as to whether or not this means that the Mechanization Empire still exists elsewhere, or if Maetel will lead the boy to some other "future". The series ends as the trains both depart the Bat Planet.

The Player
The Player (1992)
6 years ago via Flixster
½

Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is a studio executive dating story editor Bonnie Sherow (Cynthia Stevenson). He hears story pitches from screenwriters and decides which have the potential to be made into films, green-lighting only 12 out of 50,000 submissions every year. His job is endangered when up-and-coming story executive Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher) begins working at the studio. Mill has also been receiving threatening postcards, assumed to be from a screenwriter whose pitch he rejected.
Mill surmises that the disgruntled writer is David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio). Mill lurks around Kahane's home and is told by Kahane's girlfriend, June Gudmundsdottir (Greta Scacchi), whom he watches while talking to her on the phone, that Kahane is at a showing of The Bicycle Thief.
Mill goes to the theater, pretending to recognize Kahane after the film and offering him a scriptwriting deal, hoping this will stop the threats. The two go to a nearby bar and have some drinks. Kahane gets intoxicated and rebuffs Mill's offer; he calls Mill a liar, pointing out that Mill only saw the last five minutes of The Bicycle Thief, and denying responsibility for sending Mill postcards. Kahane continues goading Mill about his job security at the studio. In the bar's parking lot the two men fight and Mill kills Kahane in a rage, making the death look like a robbery gone wrong.


The next day Mill receives another postcard. Mill attends Kahane's funeral and gets along with June; she knows none of the other mourners. Studio chief of security Walter Stuckel (Fred Ward) confronts Mill about the murder and says that the police know Mill was the last one to see Kahane alive. Detectives Avery (Whoopi Goldberg) and DeLongpre (Lyle Lovett) suspect Mill is guilty of murder. They question him and DeLongpre keeps an eye on him.
Mill receives a postcard from the writer suggesting they meet at a club. While Mill is waiting, he is cornered by two screenwriters who pitch Habeas Corpus, a film featuring no major stars and with a depressing ending. Leaving the club, Mill receives a fax from the stalking writer in his Range Rover, advising him to look under his raincoat, where he discovers a live rattlesnake.
The near-death experience makes Griffin realize he has feelings for June. Having persuaded Bonnie to leave for New York on studio business, Griffin takes June to a Hollywood awards banquet and their relationship blossoms.

Apprehensive that Levy continues encroaching on his job, Mill phones Levy and invites the two writers to pitch Habeas Corpus. Mill convinces Levy that the scenario is good and the movie will be an Oscar contender. Mill plans to let Levy shepherd the film through production and have it flop. Mill will step in at the last moment, suggesting some changes to salvage the film's box office, letting him reclaim his position at the studio.
Mill asks June to go away with him to Acapulco, and Bonnie confronts him about his relationship with June. At the airport, Griffin discovers DeLongpre with police officers patrolling the terminal. He pretends to have left his passport at home and suggests a change of plans to June, and the pair head for an isolated desert resort and spa. During their weekend, Griffin and June consummate their relationship.
Mill receives a call from his attorney, who informs him that studio head Joel Levison (Brion James) has been fired, and the police want Mill to participate in a lineup. An eyewitness has come forward who claims to have seen the murder and can identify the assailant. Mill gains a reprieve when the witness identifies DeLongpre, who was placed in the lineup with the other suspects.
One year later, studio power players are watching the end of Habeas Corpus with its tacked-on upbeat ending. Mill's plan to "save" the movie worked and he is head of the studio. June is now Griffin's wife and pregnant with his child. Bonnie objects to the changes and is fired, a decision Griffin does not overrule; he rebuffs Bonnie when she appeals her termination to him.
Mill receives a pitch over the phone from a man who reveals himself as the postcard writer. The man pitches an idea about a studio executive who kills a writer and gets away with murder. Mill recognizes the pitch as blackmail and gives the writer a deal. The writer's title for the film is The Player.

Ghost in the Shell
6 years ago via Flixster
½

Major Motoko Kusanagi, lead operator of Section 9, is tasked with locating an elusive hacker known as "The Puppet Master," whom they've managed to track to a small area. The hacker turns out to be a garbageman, who is going through a divorce and thinks he is ghost-hacking his wife using a program provided to him by an individual who met him in a bar in order to find his daughter. Batou and Ishikawa capture him and his supplier, but both are revealed to have also been ghost hacked by the Puppet Master, and neither remembers their real identities.
One night, a female cybernetic body is suddenly assembled at Megatech without approval, and the cyborg escapes into the city where it is run over. Section 9 gets the body to try and determine why it was built. Batou relates a strange fact: the body has not even one brain cell as it is completely robotic, yet there are indications that there is a ghost within it. Kusanagi expresses a wish to 'dive in' to the body and contact the ghost. During this, Section 9 is ambushed by Section 6, who they allow to capture the cyborg
Ishikawa speaks with Aramaki after investigating further into Project 2501 - it turns out that the project was initiated before the Puppet Master showed up, even though it was claimed by some officials that the project was created in order to capture the Puppet Master. He hints that the Puppet Master was a tool of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do its dirty work. The escape of the Puppet Master would be a threat to Section 6 and the ministry would risk having secrets leaked out to the public.
Soon, the getaway car carrying the Puppet Master meets up with another and they split off in different directions. Batou follows the original car and Kusanagi chooses to follow the second one. With the help of a road block and additional police, Batou stops the car and discovers it is a decoy. He then rushes to support Kusanagi

Kusanagi follows the car to an abandoned building. There, she runs into a spider tank which overpowers her but is destroyed by Batou arriving with much needed heavy weaponry. Kusanagi interfaces with the Puppet Master's body and the Puppet Master introduces himself once again. It confirms that it is Project 2501, a Section 6 project that has hacked ghosts to serve various interests.
It considers itself a sentient being because it can recognize its own existence but lacks two experiences that are granted to all living organisms: reproduction and death. As a solution the Puppet Master finally expresses its wish to merge its ghost with Kusanagi's in order to give birth to a new single entity. Batou attempts to disconnect the dive, but The Puppet Master has also hacked him and prevents the disconnection.

Meanwhile, helicopters from Section 6 approach the abandoned building with orders to destroy the Puppet Master and Kusanagi to cover up the project. The snipers are initially unable to fire because their targeting systems have been hacked by the Puppet Master, but eventually manage to take the shot. Batou sees red dots on both bodies and covers Motoko with his arm, but this fails to prevent the bullet from striking her. The heads of both bodies and Batou's arm are blown off.
Kusanagi wakes at Batou's safehouse - in a child-sized cyborg body. Batou enters and informs her of what transpired since her original body was destroyed (approximately twenty hours earlier): the Foreign Minister resigned as a result of the conspiracy, and Nakamura (Section 6 leader) is being questioned. Batou put her mind into a new child-sized body as it was the best he could get on short notice on the black market. Motoko decides to leave, and reveals that she is no longer Kusanagi nor is she the Puppet Master, but rather some combination of the two. The film concludes with the new Motoko/2501 entity gazing at the city and musing on what it should do next - "The net is vast and infinite."

Tommy
Tommy (1975)
6 years ago via Flixster

The film is sung-through, with occasional sporadic and surrealist elements. The plot begins as a sun lowers behind the horizon followed by several romantic experiences between Royal Air Force Group Captain Walker (Robert Powell) and his wife, Nora (Ann-Margret), among the intimacy of nature. Sometime later, Captain Walker's aeroplane is shot down while fighting in World War II. Nora receives the news while at work in a munitions factory filling bombs with ball bearings. She soon thereafter gives birth to a baby boy, Tommy. She eventually meets Frank Hobbs (Oliver Reed), known to Tommy as Uncle Frank, at a holiday camp and starts a relationship with him. Tommy, still only a boy now, hopes to one day own his own holiday camp.
Captain Walker, believed dead for six years, returns home one night. Tommy follows him to the master bedroom where Walker sees Nora and Frank (now Tommy's stepfather) in each other's arms. Tommy then watches Frank kill Walker by smashing a lamp on his head; in the original album version and later musical, however, it is Captain Walker who kills his wife's lover. Tommy is then told that he "didn't hear it, didn't see it" and "won't say nothing to no-one". As a result, Tommy goes into shock and ultimately becomes non-responsive, leading people to believe that he is deaf, dumb, and blind.

The film jumps ahead ten years, and Tommy, now a young man, is being taken by his mother and stepfather on various attempts to cure him, including a religious cult (centered on Marilyn Monroe from The Seven Year Itch and led by Eric Clapton as the preacher) and the Acid Queen (Tina Turner), a prostitute dealing in LSD who sends Tommy on a wild trip that ultimately, however, fails to awaken him, but does make him combine the Christian imagery his mother has tried to teach him with the image of his dead father, creating a half-cross/half-human symbol (that he later uses as a symbol in his own cult). Meanwhile, Nora and Frank Hobbs are rather negligent of Tommy, and leave him in the hands of his sadistic cousin, Kevin (Paul Nicholas), who beats him, and his uncle, Ernie (Keith Moon), who molests him.
Tommy's only stimulus seems to come from a large mirror that he stands and stares into. Led alone into a junkyard at night by a vision of himself, Tommy comes into contact with a device that will change his life forever. A pinball machine among the scattered scrap metal junk yard allows Tommy to rise to national prominence and fame. Apparently due to his inability to be distracted by the vivid sights and sounds produced by the pinball machine, he unintentionally masters the game. Tommy's pinball prowess and victory over the local champion (Elton John) transforms him into a folk hero. Nora and Frank acquire vast riches and live a selfishly luxurious life achieved through Tommy's pinball stardom.

Nora, however, is still upset that Tommy has not been able to respond to her since he was a young child. In her lavish bedroom, Nora becomes inebriated with champagne, fully releasing her feelings of guilt and anger toward Tommy's situation. In her drunken state, she believes that the television channel continues to skip back to one showing Tommy, intensifying her shame until she smashes the screen. She then hallucinates the broken screen exploding into streams of soap suds, beans and chocolate. Nora and Frank later take Tommy to a medical specialist, Dr. A. Quackson (Jack Nicholson), who confirms that Tommy's problems are psychosomatic and not necessarily permanent. At home, Nora, frustrated with Tommy's preoccupation with his own image in the mirror, pushes him into it, shattering it. The violent act wakes Tommy into normality at long last. He uses his newfound awareness to try to bring enlightenment to people using the symbol of a "T" topped with a sphere (a pinball). He starts giving speeches and enlightening people by canvassing. Tommy's stepfather exploits Tommy's followers to make money, and eventually Tommy becomes a worldwide religious icon.
The film briefly cuts to the story of Sally Simpson, who is unrelated to the plot except for her avid obsession toward Tommy as a young girl. While among other fans at one of his rallies, Sally, rushing toward Tommy, is kicked offstage by Frank and her face is injured when she falls; she later marries a rockstar but always remembers Tommy by the scar on her face.

In just a year, Tommy begins to have a profound impact on people whenever he nears them. A pair of violently fighting motorcycle gangs and a group of slot-machine gamblers all relinquish their immoral activities when Tommy approaches. Masses of people begin to gather at Tommy's house, seeking spiritual fulfillment. When more and more keep coming, Tommy sets up holiday camps all over the world, landscaped with masses of enormous pinballs.
At one of the camps, his uncle Ernie, like Frank, financially exploits Tommy's followers. Here, Tommy bans the use of illicit substances and has each follower wear a headgear that blinds, deafens, and silences them. They are also each provided with their own personal pinball machines. The mob of followers, however, spontaneously begins rioting, destroying the machines, and spreading fire over the camp when they become bored and angered by Tommy's stringent policies. Frank, violently repelling the mob, is stabbed to death by one rioter while another approaches Tommy with a glass bottle in hand. Nora, though, steps in-between the two and is killed when the bottle breaks over her head. Suddenly, police sirens are heard, scaring the mob and making them retreat. During the ensuing stampede, Uncle Ernie is trampled and crushed by the escaping rioters. Tommy, only mildly injured, flees as flames engulf the camp. As Tommy escapes, he arrives at the same place in the wilderness in the beginning of the film where his parents spent a romantic day together (presumably the day he was conceived). Although alone, Tommy attains an even greater sense of self-awareness as he faces a rising sun and a new dawn.