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A Thief in the Night (1972)
TH message in this film is powerful and carefully...
To all the reviewers on this page, I would have to say this movie is worth seeing. So It was made in 1972, so what. The fashion in the movie was exactly the same fashion of its time. People who didn't study culture of the decades would think that this movie is a cheese ball. Compared to the modern series, `Left Behind,' (Which is made for our time right now) it does look cheezy. However, the only cheezy part of the movie is the fashion, which again was over 30 years in the past. BUT. The message that is sent in this film is very powerful, and carefully preserved. There is just so much to say, but I refuse to say it. (for fear of spoiling it) So go out and see this film! If you don't like the message that it sends, then you have issues, that need some attention!
The Godfather (1972)
Who's the real godfather in this film?
Well what is there to say about this movie? Is it still the top movie on this site, or is it not? Personally, it is not one of the reviewer's all time favorites, but it is still a very good movie. One significant detail of this movie, is counter culture. The movie is filled with it.
As the movie starts Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), who is known as the Godfather, is in his office. It is his daughters wedding day, and according to Sicilian tradition, he cannot refuse any requests that are made to him that day. The room is filled with people wanting something. The whole family is there for the occasion. Michael (Al Pacino), the God father's youngest son , is back home from the war. He brings his new girl friend, (Diane Keaton) with him. Michael's brothers, Sonny (James Caan) and Fredo (John Cazale), are there too.
Family loyalty is an important message that is stressed in this movie. The Don, Vito Corleone heads the family . He is against dealing in drugs. According to him, society is not alarmed by liquor, gambling or prostitution, but he feels it is wrong to deal drugs. He refers to it as a dirty business. What appears to be a moral decision on the Don's part is really counter culture because his decision not to support dealing in drugs has nothing to do with the legality of it but because he feels society would not accept it.
A lot of emphasis is put on trusting a man's word, yet the central character do not always trust each other. Woman are not highly regarded by the family. The Don's wife is only shown in a few scenes. Sonny ignores his wife. and the Don's daughter Connie's husband is not allowed into the family business. Instead, he given a job so he can earn a living. The counter culture in this movie, represents the killings of innocent, and not so innocent people between families. Throughout most of the movie, the Corleone family is in somewhat of a battle between another Italian family. Because of this, Don Corleone who is the Godfather of many, (Marlon Brando) is shot by one of the other families. This heats up the subject for the Corleone family, because it puts two of his sons Michael (Al Pacino) and Santino `Sonny' (James Caan) in between a rock and a hard place. That is just one of the examples of counter culture in this movie. Here is another example. Sunny finds out two different times that his sister's husband is beating her. Outraged by all this happening, Sunny takes off to go find his brother in law. The first time, he finds him, he is successful in beating the wind out of him, however the second time he gets gunned down by his in-laws. Right about then, Don, is called to make a peace treaty with the other family, to stop all this violence between the families. But are all the violent scenes in the movie over with? Unfortunately not. There are so many more examples of counter culture than the ones listed in this review. In order to see all the examples of counter culture, you would have to view the movie a couple times to understand what is going on in it.
Over all, it was a very good movie in my opinion. I was Glued to the edge of my seat the whole time, just waiting to see what happens next. The reviewer gives The Godfather a five gold star rating.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Swingy, Cool, Hot
From a first point of view, `Some like it hot,' appears to be a story about two young musicians who are looking for a job, while at the same time are in trouble with the mafia. The two Musicians end up leaving town for a job to pay off their debts, but to find out exactly what happens in this movie, you must see it to believe it. In the beginning, a police chase is going on between the police and a mysterious car loaded up with a coffin. The car out runs the police, and arrives at a funeral home. Two men get out of the car and unload a coffin that was filled with alcoholic beverages. At the same time the police are plotting to crack down on a secret party in side the funeral home because they are serving alcohol which was illegal at the time.
There is loud music and dancing going on inside the funeral home. Jack Lemmon (Jerry) and Tony Curtis (Joe) are playing in the band while the police jump in on the party, thus ending their job as musicians in the band. The dynamic duo is looking for a job so they hear about an all girls band that is traveling down to Florida. They were not interested, until they were caught witnessing a murder done by the mafia. The two realized that they must get out fast. They shaved their legs, grabbed their frocks and headed for the train to Florida. Jack Lemmon's character from this point is a female bass player by the name of Daphne. Tony Curtis' character is a female tenor sax player named Josephine. Daphne and Josephine, meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) on the train to Florida. They all arrive at their hotel in Florida. Daphne is carrying three instruments, when she stumbles and meets who is a middle aged millionaire named Osgood Fielding III, who has a perverted mind. While Daphne and Sugar are playing with the girls on the beach, Tony Curtis dresses back up as a man so he can try and score a date with Sugar. While they are performing, Daphne receives a bouquet of flowers from Osgood, and was asked to have dinner with him. At the same time Josephine's male form Joe is on a date with Sugar. The next day, the mafia shows up to the hotel, for a convention of Italian opera singers. They suspect something is up when they see Daphne and Josephine. They suddenly realize that the two women, were also the two men who witnessed the murder that they committed. A couple men from the mafia began chasing Daphne and Josephine around. Josephine escaped and was running in to the ballroom where the band was playing. While she was running, she tripped and landed on Sugar. Everyone found out that Josephine was a man. Right away she began to run out of the ball room. As she was running out, she met up with Daphne and Osgood. The three started running for Osgood's boat. After they all got in his boat, Sugar came running down from the dock, and jumped into the boat. Josephine/Joe is upset and tells Sugar that she should go back, but Sugar still loves HIM. At the same time, Daphne tries to convince Osgood that she is not for him, but he doesn't buy it. She then does something unbelievable! can't be said with out spoiling. In other words I guess Osgood still likes Daphne/Jerry. To the reviewer, this is a funny but sick ending. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis do a wonderful job playing the two girls, it is just as if they were trying to get in touch with their feminine side. Jack Lemmon's Character is silly and wild, while at the same time, Tony Curtis's Character is serious and smart. The two make a great duo in this film. The Reviewer would rate this movie Five out of Five Gold Stars. It is incredibly funny seeing two men dress up as women and pulling it all off, with out any one really noticing right away. This movie is worth renting. Be sure to make room for this on your video rack!
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Capra is Captivating!
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON,' is an overlooked gem of our time. Does the senate really treat rookies or newcomers like they way they did in the film? No one really knows except, for Frank Capra. He manages to show how even a great man can sometimes be condemned for no apparent reason.
In the beginning, one of the states (no idea which one) has lost one of their senators , and is in a mad scramble looking for a replacement. The governor has selected Jefferson smith (James Stewart) To go serve as a senate member in Washington. But is this a mistake? Does he know what could possibly go wrong? Jefferson knew very little about being on the senate, so this serves as a target for criticism, and ridicule from other senators. The other senate member, of his state is senator Paine, an old friend of his dad's. Payne is going along with smith on his way to Washington, to help him out. (or as though we think.) When Jefferson arrives in Washington, he runs off to go look at the natl. capitol, and other places, leaving senn. Payne and others behind. When Jefferson decides to come back, he is introduced to beautiful young Clarissa Saunders. (Jean Arthur) Through out most of the movie she tries to help him along, but finds that she is getting nowhere with him. At the same time Jefferson is trying to propose a bill to the senate, that will create an all boys camp, on government property. This is where the trouble starts. While Jefferson is trying to figure this out, sen. Payne, tries to round up some people who can help him get Jefferson out of office. The next day, when Jefferson is ready to present his bill, he is in for a rude awakening. He is extremely nervous and scared. When it comes time for him to present his bill, a lot of the senators are extremely rude to him, and won't even let him speak. This ends up happening because sen. Payne and others lied about him and tried to get him into trouble with the law. Jefferson finding out the hard way that everyone, (even his own friend) has let him down disgracefully, decides to go sit and weep by the Lincoln memorial. When who should come along at the right place and time? Miss. Saunders. She convinces him not to give up, but to have faith in what he believes in. She takes him back to his office, and decides to stick with him all the way through, so he can not only defend his bill, but also stomp on those who have committed that foolish act against him. The heat is rising on the floor of the senate house as Jefferson is trying to defend the bill, after hours and hours, of talking he then starts to defend himself against those who hate him. A few hours later while Jefferson is still arguing with other senators, sen. Payne does something remarkable That cant be discussed without spoiling the movie. Even though Payne did a terrible thing to Jefferson, he made up for it by coming clean and doing the right thing.
Young good looking James Stewart, and older but not to old Claude Rains, make terrific duo in this film, as not only being friends, but true enemies as well. The film has many values to it, especially on how far a friend will go to help someone out, even if his dishonesty towards his friend is apparent. This film has earned a passing grade from the reviewer. It is not the best thing ever viewed before, but it is worth seeing sometime. Go rent it.
This movie proves how hurtful a love triangle is
Casablanca is one of the most popular films ever made. The movie takes place in French Morocco just before the start of World War II. This is a place filled with rich Europeans who wanted to escape the war, crooked officials, and criminals who are trying to profit from the war. The movie starts with the murder of a German courier who had been ambushed in the desert.. He was carrying two transit visas. These were extremely valuable travel documents, that meant free passage to Lisbon, and from there to America and freedom. An American night club owner, Rick Blaine, is stopped by a passport dealer who has the transit visas. He asks Rick to keep them for him for a few hours. Rick agrees and hides the documents in a piano.
Rick Blaine, an American who owns and operates the nightclub/casino is the main character. The part is played by Humphrey Bogart. Rick has not taken sides in the fight for control by the French resistance and the Nazi officials. Bogart plays the part in his usual calm, collected self until his lost love from the past walks back in to his life. She is not alone, but is with the most wanted man in the resistance. They have come to Rick's place to hide out from the Nazis. When the two see each other, memories of their time together come flooding back. Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, needs Rick's help. Rick is the only link to obtaining the necessary exit visas for her and her husband ,Czech freedom fighter Victor Laszlo , played by Paul Heinreid, to get out of Casablanca safely. The German-controlled local government, headed by Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), is moving in, and Laszlo has to move fast to get his visa. It is a classic love triangle: Ilsa is still in love with Rick but feels compelled to support her husband, while Rick controls the future of the man who is married to the woman he loves. This is very disturbing for Rick. After all, Ilsa was the one to walk out on him when they were in Paris. Bogart plays the part of a tough guy who hides his hurt behind a shield of cynicism. Ilsa's arrival in Casablanca rips through in this shield. One scene that sums it all shows Rick, drinking alone in his bar, wondering why of all the places in town, she had to walk into his. Other supporting cast members are: Conrad Veidt as the Nazi commander on Laszlo's trail, Peter Lorre the black marketer who sells the letters of transit, and Sydney Greenstreet who is the head of the citys black market.
When you watch this movie, you can almost see the conflict on the actors faces. The truth is that they themselves did not know until the final day of filing who Ilsa would choose, he husband or her former lover. By playing whole movie without knowing how it would end, the scenes became more convincing because the actors themselves were in in the dark about the ending of the movie.
Casablanca is a classic movie that has something for everyone. It is filled with romance, intrigue, mystery, and suspense. This film deserves five gold stars.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
This movie shows the rebls of the fifties
At a first glance, `Rebel without a cause,' appears to be a typical story about teenagers in the mid 1950's who rebel against their elders. But is this really portrayed in the film? In the reviewer's opinion, yes, and no. Sometimes it actually shows a little bit of rebellion, and other times it shows pure mischief.
At the beginning of the story, Jim Stark (James Dean) is staggering around late at night and he passes out in the street. Moments later, he is at the police station with his parents, and it appears that he is drunk. His parents were worried sick about him. His mom, throughout the whole movie is a control freak, and his dad is almost too lenient with him. The next day, he meets Judy (Natalie wood) and seems to be in love with her. He is on his way to school and he offers Judy a ride, but her boyfriend Buzz and all of his friends (who appear to be thugs) pick her up and take her to school. On that same day, there is a fieldtrip at the planetarium for the school that he is now attending. At this field trip, he meets a student named Plato who has no friends, and somehow they become best friends. After the fieldtrip is over, Jim walks out to his car to find Judy, and her thugs standing around his car. Buzz tries to start a knife fight with him, but he loses when the police showed up on the scene. In turn, Buzz challenges Jim to a rematch latter on that night. Jim shows up to the rematch, and finds out that he is going to be playing `chicken run' with Buzz and two stolen cars. As the two are racing towards the cliff, Jim decides to jump out of his car before it is too late. Buzz on the other hand, is too proud of himself, and without realizing, he traps himself in his car. As a result of that, Buzz drives his car over the cliff and dies. Everyone who is there watching ran away, except for Jim, Judy, and Plato . Jim goes back home to tell his parents what has happened. His parents freaked out and told him to lay low. He ignores their orders and tries to turn himself in to the police, but is unsuccessful . At that same time, Buzz's thugs are assuming that he is going to turn them in, so they try to kill him. Jim, Judy, and Plato met up near an old abandoned mansion to protect themselves from the thugs that are after them. While they are there, the thugs showed up on the scene and are chasing after Plato , who shot one of the thugs and ran. At that point, the police hear shots and see Plato running out of the mansion and heading up to the planetarium. This is when the standoff began between Plato and the police. Jim and Judy see what is happening and decide to help him by sneaking in to the planetarium and luring him out. The plan almost works well, except when Plato steps out side, he panics and fires shots at the police, causing him to get shot by them. Jim's parents show up with the police on the scene to find that their son is not hurt. Jim introduces Judy to his parents. To the reviewer, this is a sappy ending.
James Dean does an excellent job playing Jim, who is supposed to be a rebel, but appears to be more of a former troublemaker who doesn't want to fight, and hates the name chicken. So in a sense he doesn't really act rebellious. But he seems to have had a few run -ins with the law, so he was probably rebellious at one time. As the girls would probably say, `Whoa, what a stud.'
Natalie Wood's portrayal of Judy shows that she is a girl that just wants to have fun. Because her dad abuses her and her mother doesn't give a darn, she has no one to hang around with, except Buzz. The only bad part is, after Buzz's death, she pays attention to Jim. It is as if she didn't care about Buzz's death at all, or maybe she forgot.
The reviewer would rate this movie a 3-1/2 gold stars out of five gold stars. The characteristics were good and the movie was funny in some places, but the story did not seem to point anyone out as being a rebel, just a few mischievous teenagers.
You can't fight in the War Room!!!
At first glance, Dr. Strangelove appears to be a typical movie about the cold war, that is presented in black and white. Well it is more that that. It pokes fun at the cold war, and totally makes fun of nuclear war in general. Everything gets turned around in this zany black comedy, and the whole world comes to an end. Though it is all a joke, you should take some time to see it.
The story begins in 1963 when the cold war is heating up between the Americans and the Soviets. In this movie, the Soviets were working on trying to create the ultimate nuclear weapon, a Doomsday Device. The Americans decide not to worry about this, except for General Jack D.Ripper (Sterling Hayden) who has ordered his men to bomb the Soviet Union using nuclear bombs. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) is holding a meeting in the War Room (which is supposedly in the Pentagon) trying to figure out what to do about the planes that were called out to attack Russia. Just then, the Russian Ambassador shows up in the movie to talk with the President about nuclear war. The Ambassador gets the President on the phone to Russia to speak with their leader about what has gone wrong. The Russian Ambassador tells everyone in the War Room about the Doomsday Machine and how it could destroy the world. The President panics about the situation and asks Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) for help.
Meanwhile, the Soviets have found and taken care of 3 US bombers, but the fourth one is still out there and no one can find it. As the fourth bomber is flying, they almost get hit by a Russian missile. They did not know the Soviets were defending themselves. They dropped a bomb out where the Doomsday Machine was. Back at the Pentagon, Dr. Strangelove is explaining the half life of the radiation in that bomb. While he is explaining, the Ambassador found out that a U.S. bomber had dropped a bomb over where the Doomsday Device was and he set his stop watch. A few minutes later, the whole world is being blown up with nuclear bombs all over the place.
Peter Sellers' portrayal of the President and Strangelove are flawless, funny, and all improvised. Sellers also plays Captain Lionel Mandrake, a British Program officer with an authentic English accent. He manages to transition into these three different characters so well that movie watchers could almost believe that it is actually three different actors playing these parts.
Sterling Hayden's portrayal of General Jack D. Ripper is really great. He really shows off to the viewers how much he wants to bomb the Russians, and how obsessed he is with bodily fluids.
The reviewer rates this movie 5 out of 5 gold stars. It is filmed in a simulated area that looks like a real room in the Pentagon and all the people look like they actually work for the government. My favorite part of the movie takes place when the President turns around to find the Russian Ambassador fighting with one of the generals. The president Says, `Gentlemen, don't fight in here. This is the War Room.'
Rear Window (1954)
stunning,suspenseful, and full of mystery
Not your typical Alfred Hitchcock movie. Or Is it? People who have not seen many Hitchcock Movies, don't know, that he does more than horror movies, but he does mysteries too. Alfred Hitchcock does a careful job at selecting the perfect cast for this movie. James Stewart as L.B. Jeffries, Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Freemont. He especially does a great job of casting Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald. Raymond was in his thirties when this movie was made, but they made him look twenty five years older. Throughout this movie, Jeffries is stuck in his apartment with a broken leg. He is not left alone though. Stella (Thelma Ritter) comes in every day in the morning to take care of him, and Lisa (Grace Kelly) visits him at night. Being stuck in his apartment all day has him bored to death. He has nothing better to do than to look out the rear window at others, either walking around, or across the court yard. Jeffries has a suspicion that Lars Thorwald (across the courtyard) has murdered his wife. Both Stella and Lisa thought he was just going nuts from being cooped up so long in that apartment. But they started to believe him.
There are a few differences in this movie compared to psycho. This movie is in color, not black and white. It is a mystery, not a horror film. The back ground music in this movie is either a radio, somebody singing or playing a musical instrument. Not Dissonant string arrangements.
It doesn't matter what anyone says, this is without a doubt one of his best movies. If you don't like horror movies, but you are interested in Hitchcock, then you should rent this movie. Even though this is not a horror movie, Alfred Hitchcock still keeps his word at holding all of us in suspense.
As I watched the movie, I was literally riveted to my seat. At the beginning, I was inclined to feel the same way as Lisa and Stella. It was apparent that Jeffries had become too involved with the lives of his neighbors and it was this involvement which initially turned Lisa and Stella off. However, as they became concerned about his interest in the neighbors, they started noticing that Lars Thorwald's wife was no longer around. This movie is filled with suspense. I found myself becoming interested in the lives of Jeffries neighbors even though I knew they were just fictional characters. Just as I was drawn in to their lives, I found myself following Thorwald's actions. When Thorwald realized he was being watched and it became apparent that he was going to come after Jeffries, I found myself becoming anxious because I knew that Jeffries was alone and because of his injury, he could not escape Thorwald. Did Thorwald Murder his wife? Find out by watching this suspenseful thriller!
Stabbing in the Shower!!!!
In the opening scene of Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock does a terrific job by playing the dissonant overture of music in the beginning while rolling the credits. In which is giving viewers a taste of what the movie is going to be like beginning to end. As most of us know, Hitchcock is known for holding viewers in suspense during his movies. He is, without a doubt, `The master of suspense.'
When Marian Crane (Janet Lee) is fleeing town, that is where the suspense starts. At that point, she is stopped at a traffic light, and people are crossing the cross walk. The man who walks in front of her boss in the crosswalk is Alfred Hitchcock. A typical Alfred Hitchcock film always has him playing a small part, such as a man smoking a pipe while reading a newspaper. After Alfred Hitchcock Walks in front of her car, her boss walks right behind him, and notices Marian in the car. She then notices her boss, and took off.
As she is driving down the road, she has voices running in her head about stolen money, while the dissonant music plays in the background. First time viewers think this is when she dies, but she doesn't until later. That just goes to show how Alfred Hitchcock is, `The master of suspense.'
Hitchcock has an interesting way of making movies, too. He was the first person ever to come up with the dissonant music for horror films. His lighting and camera techniques are also interesting. For example, when Marian is being followed by the cop, the camera shows an angle of the cop car in the rear view mirror of her car.
Not every movie is perfect, though. In the bathroom at the Bates motel, also known as the classic shower stabbing scene, Marian gets murdered. As Marian is screaming, this reviewer noticed that she giggled a little bit. Other than that, the part it was perfect. If you haven't seen Psycho before, but want to see it, then sit down and watch it till it is done.
A Christmas Story (1983)
This is what Christmas can be like if you have two boys
A Christmas Story is the story told by Ralphie Parker (narrated by Jean Shepherd acted by Peter Billingsley) who is a nine year old boy from Indiana. The main point of this story centes around Raphie's desire for a `Genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle.' Ralphie is like many other kids of the 1940's. He lives with his younger brother Randy(Ian Petrella), his mother( Melinda Dillon), and his Father (Darren McGavin). As the story progresses, Ralphie tries to convince the adults in his life that a ` Genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle,' would be a good choice as a Christmas gift. He leaves advertisements in his mother's magazine, he writes about why he wants it in a school assignment about " What I Want for Christmas". He even asks the head honcho, Santa Clause. They all respond with the classic phrase, `You'll shoot your Eye out.' Ralphie is let down by this but he does not give up.
This story is not only about Ralphie's quest for a BB gun, it also is a story about Ralphie's childhood n the 1940's. Like any other movie told from a child's perspective, there is some kind of school or neighborhood bully, who picks on others as well as the main character. This movie would not be the same with out Scut Farcus, a tall nasty looking green/yellow toothed kid. (probably twelve or thirteen) and who could forget a trusty sidekick named Grover Dill. Ralphie and his friends are afraid of Scut and try to avoid him as much as possible. These emotions build up in Ralphie until one day, he can take it no longer, his anger gets the best of him, and he beats up Scut Farcus. All the neighborhood kids gather around to watch the fight which came to be known as the Scot Farcus affair. Although Ralphie was worried that he would get not trouble as a result of this fight, he soon forgot about this as he continued tot think of ways to get what he wanted for Christmas.
We are also introduced to Ralphie's parents and brother. like. Any film of the forties can't be complete with out the house wife/ mother. Melinda Dillon acts, and looks like the typical house wife of the forties who cares for her family. Ralphie's dad, who is refrred to as `the old man', is somewhat crabby, but for the most part he is a very likable character. He likes to enetr contests and eventually wins a `major award' which turns out to be a sexy leg lamp. The `Old Man has a tendency to use bad language, however, when Ralphie starts to use some of these words, he is punished by having his mouth washed out with Life Boy Soap. . Jean Shepherd's narration, and Peter Billingsley's portrayal of Ralphie make it seem as though the two really grew up in the forties. From the way he dresses to the way he acts, Peter does a great job acting out Ralphie's part. The same goes with Jean Shepherd. Although he is not acting, just narrating, he describes Ralphie's childhood so well that it almost seems as though we are growing up with him. Similarly, the supporting actors and actresses, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella and Ralphie's friends, Schwartz and Flick who are played by Scott Schwartz and RD Robb, add a lot of humor to the story.
The reviewer would rate this movie a six out of five star rating. No matter what happens in the movie it manages to have a great plot. Ladies and Gentlemen. Make room for this movie on your video or DVD rack at home!
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
a movie with important morale values.
It's a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey, a savings-and-loan manager, played by James Stewart, (Stewart), the , much-loved hero of Bedford Falls. As a child, George risked his life and lost his hearing in one ear to save his brother from drowning. While he was growing up he dreamed of traveling around the world and going to college.
After his father passed away, he forfeited his dreams to move away from the small town that he grew up in to stay home and manage his father's business, the Bailey Building and Loan. Throughout his life, George believe that meeting the needs of others was more important than accumulating wealth. The film has it share f romance, especially when George marries Mary Hatch, who is played by Donna Reed. On their wedding day, George ends up sacrificing his honeymoon so hat he can prevent the Savings an Loan fro going out o business.
As with many movies from the 1940's, the film has a villain. He is a is a stingy old man named Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore), who owns most of Bedford Falls. The Bailey Building and Loan Society is the one of the only businesses in town that he doesn't own, and he's willing to do anything to get his hands on it lie, cheat, bribe, steal
Although for the most part it is a a lighthearted story, the movie does show the despair that overcomes George when his personal and financial troubles force him into a feeling of hopelessness and ultimately has him considering suicide. George is rescued by Clarence (Henry Travers), a lovable yet bumbling guardian angel, who has been given the assignment to prove to George that his life is worth living. He grants George one wish: to see what the world would be like if he had never been born. George observes how much worse off many people would be. Mary, is wife is a lonely spinster; George's brother, Harry, is dead because George was not there to rescue him when he was a child George's uncle, Billy, is in an insane asylum; and Mr. Potter owns the entire town, which has been named after him.
The reviewer would rate this movie a five out of five star rating. It's A Wonderful Life deals with the desire each of us has to feel that somehow our existence makes a difference in this world. And even though it doesn't actually say it, we can all learn not to be too confident, and that we should be careful of what we wish for.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Santa is in New York!
The movie starts out in a festive atmosphere. It is Thanksgiving and the employees of Macy's department store are busy with preparations for the annual Thanksgiving day parade. Doris. Walker (Maureen O'Hare) is in charge of the parade. She anxiously hires Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) to replace the man she hired to play Santa Claus when she discovers the original Santa is too intoxicated to even get on the float. Kris does such a good job that Mrs. Walker asks him to stay on in the role and be the department store's Santa. She soon has serious doubts about her decision when she discovers that her new Santa really believes he is Santa Claus.
Mrs. Walker is working, single mother, who works for Macy's Department Store in New York City. Natalie Wood plays her daughter, Susan. As the result of a failed Marriage, Doris raises her daughter to accept reality. There is no room for fantasy or make believe in her life. Susan is a quiet, child who acts more like a grown up than a 6 year old. She has difficulty using her imagination, and has become just as skeptical as her mother.
Since Kris, believes that "the important thing is to make children happy," winning the affection of Susan and her mother is his main objective.
Whether or not Kris is the real Santa Claus, there is no doubt that he seem to have an influence on almost everyone he meets--except for Macy's staff psychologist .Mr. Sawyer believes that Kris is delusional, and has him committed to thrown into a mental institution. In order to get out, Kris must face a court hearing, where not only is his sanity questioned, but the state of New York will decide if there really is a Santa Claus. Fred Gailey (played by John Payne) a neighbor of Doris Susan Walker agrees to represent Kris. The predictable end to the story is that Fred and Doris become attracted to each other, and as Fred works hard to secure Kris' freedom, Doris finds herself not only believing in Kris, but also in believing in fantasy.
Maureen O'Hara portrays Doris Walker with poise and sophistication. Although the movie is over 55 years old, the idea of a single working mom trying to raise her daughter after a bitter divorce, tells a story that is relevant by today's standards. Natalie Wood does such a good job at playing as the bright six year old, Susan, that you can almost imagine her going straight from being a baby to being an adult. John Payne, as Fred Gailey, predictably plays the handsome attorney who falls in love with Mrs. Walker. Even though it seems a bit unbelievable, this movie is all about fantasy, so we'll allow a bit of romance. Finally, Edmund Gwenn's portrayal of Santa Claus is so believable, that you almost believe that truly is the jolly old elf himself!
This reviewer would give the movie a 5 out of 5 rating. It is a Christmas classic that will be remembered for years to come as one of the best Christmas movies ever filmed. The message of the movie is not about the real meaning of Christmas, nor is it about the commercialism that has overshadowed the holiday for years. The message of the movie is that make believe and fantasy play an important role in our live. Without them we would have no basis for our hopes and dreams
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
Steve Martin and John Candy couldn't be better together
The setting of the movie begins in the middle of NY, NY, in a meeting room of a tall office building. Neil Page (Steve Martin) is looking at his boarding pass, for his flight home to Chicago. He is Tapping on his watch (Rolex) lip sinking to his co worker across the table, `I got to go!' The two men are in the meeting room trying to get a client (William Windham) to buy an advertisement for their marketing agency. Next scene, Neil Page is leaving the office building, hoping that he will make his flight which is ½ an hour away. He is having trouble finding a cab during rush hour , so he negotiates with a stranger and pays $75 for a cab. While all that is happening, the cab takes off, and Neil gets up to the cab opens up the door, and tells the passenger (John Candy) to get out of the cab, just then the cab takes off, leaving Neil behind. This is Neil Page's first encounter with Dell Griffith, the shower curtain ring salesman. Eventually Neil Makes it to the air port just in time to find his flight delayed. Sitting in the crowded airport, he notices a large man seated opposite him. The two look at each other for a few seconds until they figure out that they some how know each other. Neil tells him you stole you stole my cab at the same time Dell says `You're the guy who tried to take my cab'. When it occurs to Dell that it was pretty easy to get a cab that day during rush hour in New York City, he tries to make it up to Neil. Neil just wants to forget about it. After every one boards the plane, Neil finds he has been bumped from first class. To ad insult to injury not only does he have to fly coach, but he has to sit in the middle seat next to Dell Griffith. Things could not get much worse, right? The flight to Chicago was routed to Wichita due to a snow storm in Chicago. While Neil was trying to book a room, and couldn't get one, Dell said `I booked a room at the Braidwood inn.' and invited Neil to share a cab ride with him to the hotel. After an interesting cab ride, the two arrive at a hotel for the night., and the funny adventure starts there. Neil specializes in marketing, and Dell specializes in selling the best shower curtain rings. They have one thing in common. Both are trying to get back to Chicago for thanksgiving.
Although the men are very different from one another in personality, their misfortunes seal a bond between them. As they try to make the way home, they find various means of transportation, including a train, a bus, a pickup truck a burned out car and a refrigerated truck. They also find themselves on another journey. Neil Page makes the journey from career minded advertising executive to a more soft hearted person and Dell Griffith realizes that he has been a screw up who annoys people. Eventually the two make it back to Chicago, but they not only have completed the journey home, they have also completed the journey to a lasting friendship. Steve martin does an excellent job playing Neil Page, a business man in his late thirties early forties, who can be a bit of a control freak. Dell Griffith is played by john Candy. Who in turn is about the same age. Dell a salesman, is more relaxed then Neil. He can be really funny, and a disgusting slob at the same time. Although I do not recollect the two being in a motion picture before with each other, I am glad that they were chosen to act with each other because their interaction with each other is what made the story so interesting.
The reviewer would rate this movie a five out of five star rating. Though Steve Martin repeatedly dropped the F-Bomb in one scene, it is understandable when you see this well mannered man, who has met every inconceivable obstacle n his quest to spend Thanksgiving with his family finally meet the limit of his patience. It is a classic to show around Thanksgiving time. The way in which the movie was shot, and the acting was done, it brought out the highlights in the real funny scenes. Go see for your self to realize what a great movie it is. Just a reminder, the next time your flight is delayed or you have trouble getting a cab, things could be worse. You could be traveling with a shower curtain ring salesman named Dell Griffith.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
If you like Woody Allen, then sure enough you'll love this comedy about family relationships
. Hannah and Her Sisters covers two years in the lives of a New York Family, beginning and ending with family Thanksgiving dinners. At the first dinner, there is a lot of tension between the family members. The second dinner is kind of defining moment for many of the family members as it seems at this movie they realize mistakes that they have made and try to correct them. At the final dinner, everyone is surprisingly happy with outcomes of their lives. It seems like it is a heavy subject and would be a serious movie, but actually the opposite is true. The movie has several hilarious moments that not only make it interesting to watch but also lightens what would otherwise be a more serious story.
The story begins with a big Thanksgiving diner at Hannah's House. The whole family' s there and is having a good time. Hannah (Mia Farow) has been married to her second husband Eliot (Michael cane) for about 4 years. Elliot Slowly falls in love with Hannah's sister Lee (Barbara Hershey). Around the same time, Mickey (Woody Allen), Hannah's ex-husband who is somewhat of a hypochondriac, thinks he is going deaf. He seeks the opinion of specialists and son he has himself convinced that he has a brain tumor and is not expected to live much longer. Previously, Hannah had introduced him to her sister, Holly (Dianne Weist) . Not only did they not hit it off, but it appeared that they almost despised one another as their styles and interests were so different. An interesting twist in the story is that after Mickey and Holly both come to terms with their struggles, they rediscover each other and eventually marry. Elliott eventually acts on his decision to pursue Lee. They become involved in an affair, however Elliot has a difficult time leaving Hannah and eventually he realizes he really does love her. The family is entered around Mom & Dad, played by Maureen O'Hara and Lloyd Nolan, They are an older show-business couple who have spent many years arguing about his cheating with other women and her drinking too much. While they are not in many scenes, their overall role in the story is important because it shapes and defines the type of person that each of the daughters has turned out to be.
Woody Allen plays the part of Mickey so well, that you easily forget that he really is a talented actor. He makes comedy seem easy as it appears that he does not put a whole lot of effort into his depiction of his character. Mia Farrow, Dianne Weist and Barbara Hershey, play such different yet believable sisters. Mia lays the successful, dutiful Hannah, who is probably in her middle ages Dianne plays the insecure always searching for herself Holly and Barbara Hershey plays Lee who starts out the movie in a do-dependent relationship with he boyfriend Frederick. Michael Caine adds a lot to the movie in his role as Elliot, a man who is in love with his wife and in lust with is wife's sister. It is funny to watch him as he justifies his relationship with Lee and sets himself up for `chance' meetings with her.
I would definitely give this movie a four out of five star rating for the simple fact that it is funny and is easy to watch. there are no heavy lessons t be interpreted or learned. It is just a movie that entertains the viewer and is easy to understand.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Think of it as a movie with the moral, money cannot buy happiness
Contains spoiler At first glance, Citizen Kane appears to be a biography about a rich man who achieves power and control through his business dealings, or in this case, through the operation of a chain of newspapers. At the time the movie came out, similarities were made between the movie and the life of William Randolph Hearst. For instance, when reporters down in Cuba stated that there was no war there, Kane stated `there will be war when I say there is war.' This was the actual position that Hearst took at the time. Whether Kane is modeled after the life of William Randolph Hearst or not, the resemblance is strong. Both men would sacrifice anything to write the news, and in some cases, they would make up the story so circulation could increase.
The movie begins at the end of Charles Foster Kane's life. The opening scene shows a large castle in the background.. The camera pans the scene to show a couple of monkeys in a cage and two empty gondolas. It is a lonely setting. The castle remains in the background with one solitary light flickering in an upstairs window. The scene changes to a house within a snow globe. All of a sudden you see a pair of mustached lips, that whisper `Rosebud.' The hand holding on to the snow globe, drops it and the globe shatters in to small pieces on the ground. Charles Foster Kane's life has ended. Now begins the task of solving the mystery of who is `Rosebud'. At this point, the movie goes back and forth from present to past as reporters interview everyone who was close to Kane in an attempt to discover who Rosebud is.
Through the use of news reels, Kane's life is shown from its beginning to his rise to power. As a child, Kane was given up by his mother so that he could live a better life. Kane moves away with his new guardian, a rich man named Mr. Thatcher (played by George Coulouris) Kane becomes a reckless young man who in time is expelled from several colleges and universities. Mr. Thatcher provides Kane with money and options to own a few gold mines, but Kane decided to go into the newspaper business because `it might be fun'. As the story continues, he marries a girl ( played by Dorthy Comingore) from a prominent wealthy family. It is interesting how the movie shows the progression from a young happy couple to a marriage of that is less loving. As you may suspect, Kane meets someone else. This proves to be a downfall for Kane. At the time he is running for Governor and everyone assumes that he will be elected. His opponent uncovers his involvement with the other woman and it becomes a scandal. Kane marries the other woman and appears to support her in her desire to sing. It is clear, however, that his support is not to encourage her, but is a way for him to exercise power over her.
Orson Welles' portrayal of Kane helps us see him as a man who feels love for power and money. Although he has grown up in a poor family, Kane overcame poverty with a desire to have every thing. He only seems to be happy with money and having the people of his community under his control. That is probably why he was twice married and twice divorced. His wives were very different. One came from a wealthy well known family, the other came from a working class family. One was developing an independence from him, the other allowed herself to be controlled by him. Although the reviewer felt Kane would have done better if he had stayed with his first wife rather than marrying again, that would have gone against his nature.
Joseph Cotten Played Jedediah Leland who is Kane's best friend .He was also an employee of Kane's newspaper. Shortly after Kane married his second wife, Leland found himself in the unpleasant position of writing about her debut as an opera singer. The performance, which was incredibly bad, Kane walked in to the office and found Leland passed out on the typewriter. A partially written review about Kane's wife was in the typewriter and a bottle of whiskey was nearby. Kane took Leland's review, and finished it. After that, Kane fired him. The movie leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Did Leland get drunk because he did not want to write the review? Was he struggling between having to be truthful or being loyal? The movie does not give all the answers, but lets the viewer fill in the gaps. What is interesting about this is that while Kane finished the review, he did not change its negative tone. This leaves us with another question. Was Leland fired because he got drunk ? Was he fired because of what he wrote about Susan? Or was he fired because Kane thought if he struggled with the decision of telling the truth or hurting a friend he could no longer report the news accurately?
The reviewer gives this movie a 5 out of 5 star rating. It is filmed era after era making the viewer believe that the years are passing by in every scene. Other movies have `Flashbacks' in them, but they have not been as intriguing, as this one has been. It was interesting to follow the reporter who interviewed close friends of Kane to try to find out who or what `Rosebud' is. He never found out, but we did. When the workers were cleaning out Kane's possessions, they threw his stuff into a fire, one of those things was an old sled, with `Rosebud' printed on it.
For a movie over 60 years old the cinematography was terrific. It was very well organized. When you think of Citizen Kane, don't just think of it as a regular movie.
The Searchers (1956)
A man searches for his niece while dealing with racism
At first glance, The Searchers appears to be a typical western movie about cowboys ad Indians, or in this case, white settlers and Indians. The settlers are shown as hard working people trying to make a living in a desolate area. In contrast, the Indians are the bad guys who kill the white settlers and steal their young girls. In reality, the movie is much more than that. It is a movie about a man's struggle with racism and the hatred and anger that can accompany those feelings.
The story begins with Ethan Edwards returning to Texas 3 years after the end of the civil war. Ethan arrives at the home of his brother Aaron. The family, especially Aaron's wife, Martha and their three children, Lucy, Ben and Debbie, are happy to see him. The family has another son, Martin Pawley, who has been raised by Aaron and Martha after his family had been killed by Comanches. Ethan treats Martin with contempt and forbids him from calling him Uncle as the other children do. In stead, Ethan calls him a half breed, because he is 1/8 Cherokee. As the story continues. Aaron and Martha ad their son Ben are killed by a Comanche raiding party. The girls, Lucy and Debbie are taken prisoner. Ethan, Martin and Lucy's boyfriend Brad go out to hunt for the girls. After Lucy is found dead, Brad gets killed when, over taken with grief, he rushes ff to charge at the Indians. For five years, Ethan and Martin search relentlessly for Debbie. It becomes an obsession with them. Ethan searches for Debbie with the thought of killing her when he finds her. He knows that Debbie has most likely been raped and he justifies his thoughts by declaring that once a white girl is taken by a Comanche, she is no longer white. Martin follows along to prevent her uncle from killing her out of vengeance.
The name John Wayne personifies an American hero. The parts he typically played were rough and tough heroic individuals who were always on the side of justice. In this movie, however, he plays a man who is heroic but filled with bitterness. John Wayne brings to life a self-confident tough loner, who shows love for his family and racial hatred towards Indians and we can also assume, blacks.
Jeffrey Hunter's portrayal of Martin Pawley helps us to see him as a young man who feels love and acceptance from Aaron's family. Although Ethan repeatedly tells him that he is no blood relation, Martin continues to refer to Aaron and Martha as his uncle and aunt, and Debbie as his sister. Although Martin may be naïve, especially in his romance toward Laurie and in his accidental purchase of a large squaw for a wife, he is nonetheless honest and ethical.
Although the movie is mostly a drama, it does have it's lighter moments provided by the other actors. Hank Worden as Mose Harper regularly recites poetry and Shakespeare. He appears to be crazy and not aware of the seriousness of what has happened, yet, in spite of this, he plays an important part in leading Ethan to Debbie. The only reward he wants is to be taken home to sit by a fireplace in a rocking chair. Ward Bond, on the other hand, is a talkative Texas Ranger Captain who doubles as a minister. He is able to switch roles from gunfighter to a man of peace without much effort.
Vera Miles is Martin Pawley's love interest who has waited for 5 years for Martin to return. Although she is angered by his wanting to continue the search for Debbie, her performance adds humor to the movie. A good example is when she reads the one letter that Martin has written to her in the 5 years he has been gone and she becomes outraged when she learns that he has accidentally married a squaw.
The reviewer gives this movie a 5 out of 5 star rating. It is filmed in an area that gives the film its rugged feeling. The setting is an untamed wilderness which gives a feeling of both beauty and danger. Unlike other movies that may sugar coat the issue, this movie describes the racial prejudice that many of the white people had toward the native Americans. John Wayne's character, in particular shows how someone can struggle with racism to the point that it becomes an obsession with him. It also shows, how a man can overcome racial feelings, as Ethan did when he found his niece. As he struggled with his emotions, Debbie was no longer the object of his vengeance and hatred toward the Comanche's. She was once again the little girl who he had loved 5 years earlier. The reviewer especially liked the similarities between the beginning and the end of the story, in the beginning, Ethan arrives as a lone solitary person, and he leaves the movi e in the same way.
A funny yet serious film
George Armstrong Custer is known through history as an inept General who led his rgiment to their death at the battle of Little Big Horn. "They Died with their boots on," paints a different picture of General Custer. In this movie he is portrayed as a Flamboyant soldier whose mistakes, and misdeeds are mostly ue to his love for adventure.
Errol Flynn plays George Armstrong Custer who we first meet as an over confident recruit at West Point. Custer quickily distinguishes himself from other cadets as beeing a poor student who always seems to be in trouble. Somehow this never appears to bother Custer and only seems to confuse him as he genuinely does not know how he gets into such predicaments. In spite of his poor standing, he eventualy graduates and becomes an officer in the United States Army. Through an error, Custer receives a promotion in rank. Before this can be corrected, he leads a Union regiment into battle against the Confederates. His campaign is successful and Custer becomes an unlikely national hero. Custer returns to his hometown, marries his sweetheart, Libby who is played by Olivia De Havilland. Libby is a very supportive understanding wife who steadfastly stays by his side and follows him into the frontier as he assumes leadership of the Seventh Regiment of the Cavalry. Custer becomes a man of honor who strives to keep peace with the Native Americans. To prove his intentions, he enters into a treaty with Crazy Horse, the leader of the Sioux . When that treaty is jeopardized by a conspiracy to spread a false rumor of gold being found in the Black Hills, Custer sacrifices his own life as well as the lives of the men under his command to prevent the slaughter of thousands of innocent settlers.
Errol Flynn dominates each scene in which he appears. He successfully portrays Custer as being flamboyant, arrogant, romantic and funny depending on the mood of the scene. Olivia De Havilland's depiction of Libby Bacon Custer as the love of his life lets us see his tender, more gentle side. The Chemistry between DeHavilland and Flynn, who had acted together in several other movies, is so smooth and it almost makes the viewer feel like they are playing themselves and not the parts of Custer and his wife. The other actors portrayals of their characters truly enhance the performances of Flynn and De Havilland. Anthony Quinn as Crazy Horse, Sidney Greenstreet as General Winfield Scott , Arthur Kennedy as Edward Sharp are among the other actors whose roles have made this movie entertaining.
The reviewer would rate this a 4 star movie. While it is not historically accurate, it is very entertaining. The movie has a little bit of everything. It has adventure, comedy and romance, so it appeals to a large variety of audiences. The casting of the characters is excellent and the actors give believable performances which makes you forget it is largely based on fiction instead of fact. The reviewer especially likes that the Native Americans were not shown to be the bad guys but just showed them as wanting to protect their sacred land.