Previously I had really enjoyed Donna Deitch's earlier lesbian romance period piece, 'Desert Hearts', and I had found Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy amazing in 'Melancholia' and 'Sin City' respectively, but a TV-movie utilizing time-travel as a plot device for a spoiled Jewish teenager to come to grips with her heritage seemed quite a bold and intriguing cinematic experiment, not to mention being an entirely different can of worms than ever I've been privy to watching. Even though personally I have as little to do with Jewish customs as lesbian issues, like Deitch's earlier work, I was able to appreciate it, though I still prefer her earlier film, if I was held at gunpoint and had to rank the two.
It's a crying shame, looking at Deitch's IMDb page, that this talented San Francisco native, now 71, has been relegated to basically doing TV episodes since this came out.
Though for the classic Hammer 'Dracula' series starring Sir Christopher Lee as the 'protagonist' it loses oomph for not also starring Sir Peter Cushing (who always seemed to get the best work out of Lee in the Hammer days), this still is wildly admirable and a must-watch. The wonderful (and ingenious) poster, on its own, more than makes up for Cushing's absence.
Most probably my least favourite film, both of Mel Brooks (though I haven't seen 'Life Stinks' yet) and of Leslie Nielsen (though I refuse to watch any other of the post-'Airplane' and 'Naked Gun' knockoffs he's made over the years since), but it still doesn't deserve all the hate. It's STILL at least 50,000 times funnier than Lena Dunham's 'Tiny Furniture' (or about 70% of the so-called contemporary American comedies made these days).
Yes, I know I'm giving this WAY TOO MANY marks, but, hey, I love all of the clashes between Sir Christopher Lee's 'Count Dracula' and Sir Peter Cushing's 'Van Helsing' (perhaps the greatest characterizations of those two characters, over a series of films, in cinema), and the then-contemporary (now almost 45 years ago!) update certainly is intriguing. So sue me.
Unfortunately because even film-lovers can be wusses and tend to stay away from subtitles, which takes some getting used to but can be a learned skill just like any other, this film has been horribly neglected. Thankfully it was included in the recent Universal Studios Dracula Franchise Collection--at least the DVD set I purchased. I must admit I like this basically as much as the Tod Browning-helmed, Bela Lugosi-starred, English-language original. Fine, underappreciated work by everyone involved.
Though not my very favourite movie about the infamous vampire, this is quite beautiful, well-told and gorgeously photographed (I really can't wait to see the blu!) and is most probably Bela Lugosi's finest hour (though I love his work; and it's also right up there with the greatest-ever vampiric depictions on celluloid), and it has genuine scares. Lugosi not only growls and snarls but also delivers the succulent seductive power of both evil itself and immortality--no matter what devastating consequences that immortal life may truly mean.
Essential for both horror fanatics and fans of early (up to and including the 30's) cinema to own on the highest-possible quality, and regular re-watches. It's simply THAT GOOD.
The fact that its American release date was Valentine's Day (its New York City premiere was two days earlier) only further hits home the fact that its immortality is due to the fact that it isn't simply a cornerstone of Gothic horror but with a vibrant love story at its very heart.
If ANY film I have ever seen comes the closest to taking a sophisticated look at what most of the world would consider to be the spoiled-rotten, prima donna, mega-talented amateur athlete (I would add 'American', but I believe they would be like Redford's characterization even if they weren't), Michael Ritchie nails it. Way underrated. And it makes you wonder, especially with the poster pictured here, if the title's a double entendre (and not just slickly-marketed sex-advertising), not merely for various OTHER curves Redford's character wants to/succeeds in navigating, but also the possible crash-and-burn Chappellet may have, if he continues his wild, burn-the-candle-at-both-ends lifestyle while participating in quite a dangerous sport. Sonny Bono-jokes aside, this kind of thing happens.
Simply marvelous work by Redford, Gene Hackman, Ritchie and cinematographer Brian Probyn. Essential purchase and rewatches for sports fans and the work of Redford, Hackman and Ritchie especially. Easily my favourite of Ritchie's work, next to, sentimentally, 'The Bad News Bears' (which is a whole different kettle of fish altogether).
I got this in a cheapo 5-film 'Rita Hayworth' boxed set, as I quite enjoy checking out the filmographies, as completely as I can, some of my favourite actors, actresses and directors from days gone by (pre-1970s cinema is clearly my favourite, though I enjoy cinema from all eras and around the world). This was an interesting though flawed comedy, with Hayworth playing a Greek goddess, pissed off that a playwright isn't doing Greek mythology justice--and pays an unexpected visit clear on settling the score.
Her singing numbers are dubbed, but she looks remarkable. The film is a tad long in the tooth but is nevertheless quite enjoyable.
Jim Jarmusch's work can be either intimidating or off-putting, and in equal measure, to cinephiles because it feels so relaxed--almost as if it was a spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff precursor of reality-TV, an inside-joke with everyone involved slipping a nod and a wink, as if on a drunken dare, a mickey of JD passed back and forth along with a pack of Marlboros. This brought to mind many good memories of one of the oddest residents of The Criterion Collection: 'Fishing with John' (an exemplary and hilarious six-part mini-series in which John Lurie goes on fishing expeditions with five American cinematic greats, his partners-in-crime here, Jarmusch and Tom Waits amongst them; one that I'd love to see both get a blu upgrade as well as more episodes, now 25 years later). Also, clearly Jarmusch had a fine rapport with his actors, for this is by far the best and most restrained work I have ever seen from Roberto Benigni.
One of Jarmusch's more atypical films, 'Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai', is still my personal favourite, but this is right up there alongside. It would also make an intriguing double-bill with Jeff Nichols' stellar, though more serious in tone, recent film, 'Mud'.
I honestly liked the supporting players here--especially the hilarious antics of Martha Raye and Andy Devine--a lot more than the frontman, Bing, here. I get it that he's so immensely talented that everything is effortless and he appears to be coasting. Maybe it's the way he had always put up the front of being nice, and such a great guy, yet was a nightmare to his own children, but he simply comes across as fake and phony, non-genuine. But for a 30's musical comedy coming out of Hollywood, it's pretty good, especially considering its budget.
I love Boris Karloff so much in this 5-pack of early films he made that it doesn't bother me that he plays an Oriental detective. He threw himself, vitally, into every role he portrayed, and that's why he's so beloved today.
I really enjoyed this Roy Ward Baker film noir with Richard Widmark and early appearances by Anne Bancroft (singing, even!), Jim Backus and Marilyn Monroe. It's short and sweet, neither overstating its point nor overstaying its welcome. Monroe plays a suicidal fish-out-of-water, who has just moved to New York City from Oregon to overcome a troubled past and start again, falling quickly in love with a pilot who's clearly on the rebound, and the trials and tribulations that follow. Very rewarding both for fans of Monroe and the genre.
Just a couple of years back, I picked up this mammoth 17-film DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe's films for a really good price, only to find that the ridiculous way the discs were placed in the digipack basically ruined them, and after watching the movies the best that I could, I reluctantly had to part with it, hoping the set would soon be released at a decent price on the more resilient blu (as you can tell, I'm old-school and low-fi, but I'm hoping to quickly remedy this problem!).
As you can tell by any of my prior reviews of Richard Widmark's films, I'm a huge fan of his, and he's easily one of my favourite and most entertaining and watchable actors of the period. As well, Roy Ward Baker is one of the most underrated directors of the period--his entry in The Criterion Collection, 'A Night to Remember', is easily the best telling of the 'Titanic' tragedy. Thus simply on the basis of those three alone, I heartily recommend the film to any adventurous cinephiles of this era.
A beautiful and stunning work, from both the acting primes of Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais and Delphine Seyrig, and the directorial prime of Jacques Demy. One of the most exquisite and memorable transfers of a children's fable to the big screen.
I went into watching this expecting the worst, but it wasn't bad. (In comparison, I gave the Bigelow original a 9/10). To its advantage was an intriguing update of the original W. Peter Iliff screenplay to incorporate a) more extreme sports; and b) more aspects indicative of the present generation, great cinematography and both Delroy Lindo and Ray Winstone--who are both 'cash money' in terms of great supporting actors.
Disadvantages include awful soundtrack choices, a highly-unbelievable and lazily-written, underdeveloped script, the actors selected aren't nearly in the class of Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey and Lori Petty...and the director's no Kathryn Bigelow.
Good for a watch, out of curiosity, especially if you liked the original and are a fan of extreme sports. Otherwise, it's probably not worth your time.
This was a decent watch, not for cinematic reasons per se but for making the world a better place. I watched this with my son, Julian, and I was pleased with how they took the true story, including the actual dolphin from it, and, especially for kids, promoted environmentalism, caring for animals, etc.--really solid and important aspects that need to be, more than ever, emphasized in the youth of today.
My only qualms is that I have very mixed emotions about the casting. I know that to get an important environmental message heard, and thus the film watched, you have to incorporate Hollywood megastars. I simply wish this didn't have to be the case. The story would have come across better with unknown actors--or simply as a sincere documentary without the Hollywood B.S.
This was a really effective chiller. Nicely intermingles the right amounts of both comedy and magic to create an eerie and surreal atmosphere all of its own, quite the same way as the first 'Phantasm' film does, if that makes any sense. Great ending, too.