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Waking the Dead (2000)
A great series
I find this BBC-series exciting and occasionally breathtaking. The actors are great, and I can think of only one objection: How can it be possible for the character Frankie Wharton to have so many different talents? She is an forensic expert, but at the same time she is a mechanical wizard and also she is very knowledgeable on computing matters. It annoys me somewhat, but of course, it would be difficult for the series to have more main characters.
Still, the plots are generally interesting, and the relations between the characters are developing through the seasons. In this way, the episodes are interesting for two reasons: The crime case and the police officers' own minds.
I look forward to see the actors in other connections.
Silent Movie (1976)
I must have seen this movie a dozen of times, and I still look forward to all of the gags in it. Because this is really, what it is all about: Presenting as many gags as possible, each of which is rather silly, if you try to explain them to others, but in the movie they are almost all of them quite funny.
Of course, much of the fun stems from the fact, that it is - as told by the title - a silent movie, an anachronism of its time. The joke of this is carried through all of the movie, including the characters' lines between the scenes and the expressive added sounds (music). Brooks rarely misses a chance of meta-jokes, so of course he includes a single spoken line from - of all! - the French mimic Marcel Marceau.
Much of the credit for the movie goes to the main actors, who are besides Brooks himself, Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman and - not least - Sid Caesar. Also, the cameo-appearances of stars like Burt Reynolds and Anne Bancroft are funny.
I rate it as one of the all time best of Brooks' many comedies, being in the same class as 'The Producers', with 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Frankenstein Junior' not quite as funny (I am no great fan of Gene Wilder).
I find it to be an extra quality, that my son has loved this movie, since I presented it to him at the age of about 10. He watches it several times a year and laughs each time as well!
My 5 Wives (2000)
Having watched 10 minutes of this movie I was bewildered, having watched 30 minutes my toes were curling - I simply couldn't believe it: The movie is really awful. In fact it is so awful, that I had to watch all of it just to be convinced(!). During this, I came to realize that it reminded me of a bunch of Danish so-called comedies from the 60's and 70's. The pattern is as follows: Take one extremely popular comedian, make a script putting this comedian in as many grotesque situations as possible, add a bunch of jokes (especially one-liners), and spice it up with a couple of beautiful young girls - film that, and you have a success! I wouldn't know if this movie was a success, but unlike the Danish tradition which died quietly (with a few great comedians) it seems that there is a market for this kind of movie in the US.
Penny Serenade (1941)
Wonderful description of everyday life
A very fine movie, that surprised me positively. I was a little puzzled in the beginning, not being able to figure out Roger (Cary Grant)'s character, but slowly the story got under my skin. It turned out to be of general interest in the description of the ups and downs in a young couple's life, and even if the movie is more than 60 years old it has a message to tell all of us. Having known myself some of the terrible problems that Roger and Julie (Irene Dunne) experience, it impressed me to see how the director maintains a proper balance between the sentimental and the realistic atmosphere.
Grant demonstrates convincingly, how he also masters a passionate (and slightly sentimental) role - probably being best known for his parts in screwball comedies and Hitchcock-movies, this might surprise some people, including myself. Also, I like the acting of Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan in two important supporting roles. They add to the credibility - and curiosity as well: What is actually the connection between Applejack and the young couple?.
You could also mention the conscious use of the camera - I particularly noticed a scene where the camera is placed on the stairs, thereby filming primarily the legs of the Roger and Julie.
My main reasons for only voting 8/10 is that Dunne and Grant lack the youth needed by their roles. Especially Dunne, though beautiful as always, has an aura of experience that does not match the role's innocence and helplessness. Second, the end of the movie is difficult to believe.
But after all, it is a highly recommendable movie for all lovers of everyday dramas.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
An overwhelming drama
I've just seen this film for the 2nd time, and I cannot but admire the greatness of it. Not just the length, but also the many panoramas of nature and the scenes filled with extras.
However, at the same time Omar Sharif's few facial expressions keep irritating me. I don't believe in him as being a genuine poet, a humanist and whatever more positive sides he is supposed to have. The film would have been so much better, if Lean had chosen a good actor instead of a good face. Fortunately, he was more lucky with much of the other characters, like Steiger, Guiness and of course particularly the young Julie Christie.
I am glad I saw it, but twice is sufficient. 7/10
Music Box (1989)
Jessica Lange in one of her best performances
This film is of course a dangerous experiment with ingredients like: a court drama, holocaust 40 years after and absolute no action at all. But because of the great performances by the actors, it ends up as a deeply moving experience.
And at the very center, Jessica Lange does a tremendous job as the lawyer and daughter of a Hungarian war criminal - or is he? She appears in almost every picture of the film, and I find her very convincing in her emotional ups and downs throughout. She does it with no glamour, but alone her incredible personality.
Most of the other actors does a great job as well, and the only reason for not voting it in top is, that the plot is not too convincing - but it first became obvious some time after I watched the film, simply because of the fine acting.
I voted 9/10.
Much better than Casablanca
I wish I was there in the forties, when Rita Hayworth was at the top... She simply steals the screen whenever she appears, and there never was a sexier scene than when she was singing at the nightclub.
By the way... The rest of the film (actors, direction, story) isn't bad either - typical film noir of the period. But in the end, it's better than Casablanca just because of Rita.