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The Brass Bottle (1964)
Wonderful Family Fun
I first watched this movie in the theater when it came out and have wanted to see it again ever since. When I saw that it was available on DVD I rushed my order in and have watched it four times since receiving it. Burl Ives is perfect as the Genie FakRash Alamash, and Tony Randall makes the perfect foil for his chicanery.
Barbara Eden is beautiful, and as others have noted, this movie was no doubt her passport to her role in "My Favorite Genie." Edward Andrews gave one of his usual great performances as the father of her character.
My favorite scene was the dinner party that Randall gave for his fiancé and her parents when the Genie FakRash converted his home into an Arabian Nights style magical palace, complete with exotic foods and slaves, and featuring the incredible belly dancing of Lulu Porter. I still laugh out loud every time I see Edward Andrews reaction to the eyes of lamb roasted in honey.
This is a movie that everyone should see and enjoy. It came out about the same time as "Bell, Book and Candle," a comedy about witchcraft featuring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Maybe themes of magic and spells were reflective of the mood of America in that post war time of ease and a booming economy.
What's Wrong With You People?
What did you expect to see, Anna Karenina? It's a comedy. It isn't supposed to contain any great revelations into the human spirit. It's just a movie meant to entertain you, and it entertained me. I loved all the characters. How about Kim Shaw as Nurse Kelly who was also the waitress in the towns only restaurant and the assistant Fire Chief? She played the dumb blond to perfection. Then there were Elizabeth Moss and Jesse Liebman as the assistants to SJP and HG. I had to laugh at the scene where Elizabeth said "he's just leaving" as she practically threw Jesse out of her office, and the scene where they were dining and she said "my God, you're a scared little man" and ended up tasering him.
I guess I'm just not sophisticated enough to appreciate how bad it all was.
Mary Steenbergen is one of my all time favorite actresses, and Sam Elliot is never disappointing. They were made for their roles as a Marshall and deputy Sheriff, or whatever Mary was a deputy of. I got a kick out of the scene where she is splitting logs that have been pre-split and at one time when she picked one of them up it wobbled, clearly showing that it was already split, and it was equally clear from watching Sam milking the cow that he had never done that before. A real milker can keep a steady flow of milk pouring into the bucket.
I thought Sarah Parker played her role as a sweet and lovable career woman with marital problems exactly right. That's what actors do, they play roles, ones that are realistic and ones that are not. Hugh Grant just played his usual quirky Englishman that has endeared him to millions of fans all over the world. I thought the bear scene was the funniest part of the movie. I didn't try to see it as real drama any more than I ever thought the Keystone cops were authentic.
If you just want to be entertained by a light and funny romantic comedy, go see it, or rent it, or even do what I did; buy it in Bluray HD. It will lift your spirits for a while and might help you rid yourself of the cynicism that so many others have brought to their reviews.
I think I'll put it back in my DVD player and watch it again.
Ally McBeal (1997)
Funny, Silly, Sillier
Somehow or other I missed this series when it aired and I came across a good deal on the DVD"s of the entire five season series and took advantage of it, only to discover that it wasn't that good a deal after all. I don't enjoy shows with "messages," and Ally McBeal spent too much of it's energy trying to indoctrinate the audience with political correctness and liberal politics.
Jokes are often truly funny the first time you hear them, but after that they lose their humor and cease to amuse, that is the story of "Ally McBeal." It is a continuous repetition of the same one or two jokes, over and over again, and after the first few episodes it gets sillier and sillier and ceases to be funny. It is the story of a group of lawyers made up of two or three certifiable schizophrenics, assorted oddballs, and Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jane Krakowski. Albert Hall is great as a long suffering judge.
After watching the first season episodes I found myself fast forwarding to those scenes featuring Courtney Thorne-Smith who played the part of "Georgia," the wife of Ally's former boyfriend and lover, who has to deal with his continuing romantic interest in Ally who in turn makes no secret of her desire to rekindle their old affair. Georgia is the only lawyer in the group who can be described as "normal" and her bemused reaction to the oft repeated foul-ups, combined with her incredible beauty, makes watching worth while.
I was impressed with Jane Krakowski. She is a very talented singer and dancer and her acting skills are much in evidence as she portrays "Elaine," the office busybody and slut who manages to dominate every scene that she is in. Contrary to what another reviewer wrote I love the singing of Vonda Shepard. I was really unaware of her before watching the series but have since purchased one of her albums and enjoy it immensely.
In closing let me say that I have watched the first three seasons of Ally McBeal but have left the last two sealed and unopened. I think I have seen all that is worth seeing of this series, and too much of what is not. The actors all did their jobs well, but the writing was deplorable. I'm sure they were all happy to see the end of it after five seasons.
Maybe Baby (2000)
I'm Going To Watch It Again and Again
I'm not a fan of British comedies unless they have sub-titles, without which I cannot understand half the dialogue, and I guess they didn't think this DVD would be sold outside Great Britain; no subtitles, which left me scratching my head during the scenes with the character of the Scottish director.
Now, having said that, I loved this movie. I'm not too familiar with most of the players in the film, but Joely Richardson has made enough American films that she is a familiar face, and I thought she was perfect in the role of Lucy, which makes me wonder if some of these reviews are of another film. She was incredibly beautiful and brought life to her character It is a story of a childless British couple, Sam and Lucy Bell, who desperately want a baby but are, so far, infertile. Sam is a screenwriter who has developed a writers block and needs inspiration for a movie plot, and he decides, against Lucy's wishes, to use their struggle to become pregnant as the plot for a script.
Lucy is having her own problems as she undergoes humiliating treatments and examinations by her weird OB Gyn, Rowan Atkinson, of Mr. Bean fame, and finds herself drawn to an actor client who has set his sights on her, and we find ourselves wondering if she will succumb to his advances. The story is billed as a comedy but it wanders back and forth between comedy, pathos and drama, and in the end leaves you wanting to see it again.....and if you are like me, again.
Primal Doubt (2007)
Do my eyes deceive me? Did someone complain because an actress wore makeup in a movie? I would wager that there isn't one in Hollywood who looks as good waking up in the morning as they do while playing their roles in a movie.
Janine Turner is a drop dead gorgeous woman and a good actress, not to mention a great American, and she played her character well in this movie about a bored wife reaching out to another man and having everything go wrong. It isn't the greatest movie of this genre by any means, but it is fun to watch and holds your attention from beginning to end, specifically because of Janine.
I'm going to buy the DVD if there is one so I can get it out every now and then and watch it again.....and again. It is well worth watching, especially if you like Janine Turner.
Fly Away Home (1996)
Wonderful Story of Love and Nature
Anna Paquin makes this a movie for all ages. She has been described by some reviewers as a sixteen year old when she made this movie, but since she was born in 1982 and the movie was released in 1996 I figure she was probably thirteen when it was produced, and her acting was superb for a child that age. Heck, it was superb for an actress of any age.
The story is of a girl named Amy who was separated from her father as a young child when her parents divorced and her mother took her to New Zealand. When her mother is killed in an auto accident her father returns her to his home in Canada where she becomes withdrawn until she rescues a clutch of Canadian Goose eggs that had been abandoned by the mother. She cares for the eggs until they hatch and the goslings imprint her as their mother.
The goslings grow to maturity through the summer, and when the time for them to migrate south is approaching it becomes necessary for them to be lead on their trip by Amy and her father who fly two ultra light planes to guide them on their way south.
This may be a spoiler: As they fly south and are nearing their goal, a wetlands area in one of the Carolinas, the father's ultra light crashes. He is only slightly injured but his plane is destroyed and Amy must carry on alone for the last few miles. The ending is very touching and emotional when she reaches the end of the journey, but even though it brings tears to my eyes each time I watch it, it could have been made more dramatic if the fact that she was now alone in the sky, somewhat anxious and out of touch, had been emphasized by the TV announcers so that the final scene when her plane, and the geese, appeared suddenly over the dunes would be even more dramatic.
I highly recommend this movie for both children and adults. The co-star, Jeff Daniels, and supporting actress Dana Delaney, are superb in their roles. Dana Delaney is always magnificent and even in this somewhat minor role she lights up the screen. This is a must see movie.
Bell Book and Candle (1958)
Bewitching and Spellbinding
I don't know who cast the spell on the last few posters, but they sure didn't see the same move that I saw. I first came across "Bell Book and Candle" when it came out in the theatres, and I loved it. What's not to love about Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart, especially the scene where Gillian is holding her cat, Pyewacket, and casting her spell on Shep? She is incredibly beautiful, and her face framed by Pywacket's ears is fascinatingly witchy.
It ain't s'posed to be real folks, it's a movie, a fantasy, entertainment. Jimmy Stewart is perfect as Shep Henderson, the publisher who is spellbound by Gillian Holroyd, played by the beautiful Kim Novak, and with a marvelous supporting cast they did a great job of transferring the stage play to the screen. The technicolor is great in what was still the post war era, and the story fit well into the feeling of euphoria and release that filled the nation.
I happily recommend this movie to anyone who wants to be entertained for an hour and a half or so and isn't looking for a documentary. Enjoy the scenery, the period costumes and the great acting of a marvelous cast that includes not only Stewart and Novak but Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovak, Hermione Gingold, Elsa Lancaster and Janice Rule.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Fantastic Documentary Of The Day That Changed The World Forever.
No one who was alive on that day will ever forget it. It was the day that brought the greatest progress in science and medicine the world has ever seen. Everything that can be said about this great film has been said by others in these comments, and I can only echo them.
I will only add that the scenes of all the Japanese pilots, and other personnel, running out onto the flight deck during recovery operations as the planes were returning from their strike against Pearl Harbor shock me. That would never happen on an American Aircraft Carrier. It was a terrible hazard to both the personnel and the returning planes. The Japanese were very lax in discipline, safety precautions and damage control, which eventually brought about their defeat at Midway, and in the end, the war.
During that war I had the great privilege of serving in the Merchant Marine at age sixteen, and in the U.S. Navy after becoming seventeen and returning home from my last trip, and I can say that having grown up during the great depression and WWll I have seen the American people at their very best, and I am so proud to have been a part of it all,however small my contribution was.
A Marriage of Convenience (1998)
A Delightful Romantic Tale
Putting Jane Seymour and James Brolin together in a romantic film is a sure fire way to succeed. This is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable films I have seen. Sure it's a modern day fairytale, but what the heck, sometimes a fairytale is just what we need to escape the drudgery of everyday life. I have long been a Jane Seymour fan and I have added this film to my list of favorites.
I also enjoyed the performance of Kari Matchett as Elizabeth ("you may catch her before she loses your glass slipper"), the other woman in the life of Mason Whitney (Brolin). At times she is a dead ringer for Laura Linney, and just as charming.
If you can put aside the cares of the day and settle into a modern Cinderella story without judging it by the standards of real life, this is the movie to watch. I gave it a 9 out of 10.
The Winds of War (1983)
I have watched this movie/miniseries a number of times and never tire of it. Contrary to many other posters I think the casting was phenomenal, and that includes Ali MacGraw in the role of Natalie Jastrow. I think what is happening here is that she is being judged more as Natalie than as Ali. Natalie Jastrow is not a likable character. She is willful, stubborn, headstrong, opinionated and manipulative, and Ali MacGraw plays the role to perfection, so much so that each time I watch the movie I find myself thinking "to hell with her, she deserves whatever happens to her," and I wonder what there is that Byron Henry finds so appealing in her.
In fact, I am more impressed with the women in "Winds" than with the men. Polly Bergen is another one that I find myself losing patience with and wishing that her husband would kick her out of the house. Her character of Rhoda Henry, the mother of Byron and wife of her naval officer husband, is another unlikeable character. Rhoda is an unfaithful wife who is social conscious and a lush who revels in the moments of partying, and whines and complains when the attention is not on her. Polly Bergen plays the role so well that it is difficult not to think of her as being an unlikeable person as well.
Then there is Victoria Tennant. WOW! Every time I watch the DVD's of this movie I find myself fast forwarding to those scenes in which she appears, and then backing up to watch them again. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, in life or on the screen, and her character of Pamela Tudsbury is just as sweet, kind, soft and feminine as I imagine Victoria Tennant must be, as I hope she is. I do find it odd that she (Pamela) is attracted to a man as old and paunchy as Robert Mitchum's character, but hey, it's only a movie, and I just know that in real life Victoria would much prefer a man of younger years.
My last kudos go to Deborah Winters who plays the role of Janice Henry, the new bride of Warren Henry, the oldest son of Rhoda and "Pug" Henry, and brother of Byron. Deborah, as Janice Henry, is the perfect Navy wife. I get the feeling when watching her that she must surely have been married to a Navy aviator on Dec. 7, 1941. I spent twenty years in the Navy after going to sea in the Merchant Marine as a sixteen year old and am familiar with who is a good "Navy wife," and she plays the role convincingly, and she is so attractive in it that I am amazed that we didn't see much more of her subsequent to making this movie. I looked forward to seeing her in "Remembrance," but for some insane reason they replaced her with Sharon Stone and remade her character into a promiscuous character typical of the slutty roles that we are used to seeing Sharon in.
The movie is a perfect representation of those years preceding WWll. I grew up during that period, having been born in 1927, and remember sitting around the radio after supper through the thirties, with Mom and Dad talking about Hitler and the rumors of atrocities against the Jews, and wondering what it was all about. Watching this movie is like going back in time and reliving it all. If anyone has an opportunity to see it they should not pass it by. It is amazing.
This is one of my two favorite westerns, the other being Zane Grey's "Riders Of The Purple Sage." They both starred real life husbands and wives, Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross in "Conagher," and Ed Harris and Amy Madigan in "Riders Of The Purple Sage," and they each tell of an honorable man coming to the rescue of a woman in distress while fighting evil. I am a hopeless romantic, and these two movies feed that romanticism perfectly.
The producers of Conagher used natural light to portray most, if not all, of the scenes, lending an aura of authenticity to the story. The harshness of frontier life is pictured in a way that makes one wonder how the people of that time managed to survive. Conagher is a footloose cowboy who never settles in one place for more than a season or two and has a reputation for being honest and tough. Evie, played by Katherine Ross, is a woman who came west with her husband and two children to establish a cattle ranch. After they settle into their dirt floor home her husband goes off to buy cattle and never returns, leaving her and the children to fend for themselves.
The story has a little bit of everything that makes for a good western; conflict between rustlers and honest ranchers, an Indian attack, a barroom brawl and good triumphing over evil. It is told with an excellent cast of actors, including a bit part by the granddaughter of Louis L'Amour himself. I was impressed with the acting of the two children and the entire cast. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys westerns. I have the DVD and I watch it at least once a month, and I never tire of it.
Giant Worms Eat Perfection
I have watched this DVD at least 20 times and still enjoy it as much as I did the first time I saw it. "Val and Earl," played by Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, are handymen living in the town of "Perfection," a small isolated desert town with a population of 14, who with the help of "Rhonda LeBeck," a graduate student seismologist played by the devastatingly cute Finn Carter, discover four huge underground worm like creatures that are intent on devouring every living being in the valley of Perfection.
Michael Gross and Reba McEntire are good as "Burt and Heather Gummer," a survivalist couple who chose to live in the valley because of it's isolation and have dozens of guns with ammunition, food for five years, air and water filtration systems, 1000 gallons of gasoline, Geiger counters and a bomb shelter, ironically to be driven out by underground creatures from which they had no protection.
I am confused by the presence of Melvin Plug, a teen age boy, played by Robert Jayne, who apparently lives in Perfection on his own, without benefit of family or home. Charlotte Stewart and Ariana Richards play look alike mother and daughter Nancy and Mindy Stemgood. In the scene where Val tackles Mindy from her pogo stick to save her from one of the "Graboids" I notice that Mindy's part is played by a stunt double. I had never thought of there being child stunt doubles. We live and learn.
All in all this is an entertaining "horror" movie that would be wonderful for all ages if they had not included an excessive amount of bad language. Most of it seems gratuitous and not necessary for the story. However, it is still a very entertaining movie that is fun to watch. I give it a full "10."
Mother Knows Best (1997)
"The Mother-in-Law From Hell!"
I am one of Joanna Kerns most ardent and loyal fans, and she was never more beautiful than in this movie. It is rated as a "thriller," but I would call it a "thriller/comedy," as it was one of the funniest "thriller" movies I have ever seen, thanks to the wonderful portrayal of the the lunatic mother-in-law by Joanna. She was perfect. I especially loved the scene in the automobile as she was paying off the bad guy. You have to see it to appreciate it. Joanna Kerns demonstrated her great acting ability in this movie, and her comedic skills are first rate. She turned an ordinary script into a classic of it's genre.
I have watched this movie several times and still enjoy it as much as I did at the first viewing. I give it a solid 9/10.
It Had to Be You (2000)
A Sweet Romance
Sure, this movie is sappy and sweet and full of clichés, but it's entertaining, and that's what I watch movies for. To be entertained. Natasha Henstridge is stunning, even with the short hair. Her smile is radiant and her beauty can't be disguised. As for Michael Vartan, I'm sure the women love him. The two of them seemed to really like eacb other in this film. I don't understand the comments that there was no chemistry between them. I guess we see what we want to see.
Olivia d'Abo and Michael Rigoli were fun to watch, even if d'Abo's British accent did creep into her supposed Bronx speech. To tell you the truth I hadn't really noticed it until I read these comments, but I went back to the DVD and now her dialogue sounds more British than American to me, but she was ideal for her role with that one exception.
It's a story of two nice people who are getting married to significant others, but who find their soul mates in one another. It may be an unlikely story, but who says movies are all supposed to play like documentaries? It is no more unrealistic than any of the dramas that are screened every hour on the tube. That's why we watch them, to escape from the humdrum of daily living for a short time and enter the world of the characters on the screen. I thought these actors did a good job of it, but hey, I'm a sentimental guy who tears up easily. Don't get me wrong though, it has to be a sentimental scene, and this movie had plenty of those.
I give it 9/10 only because I'm saving my 10/10 for that yet unseen super magnificent movie that I know will come along some day. If you see it advertised as coming up on the Movie Channel or Lifetime Movies, or whatever, make a note to watch it. I think you'll like it.