Gideon58's Reviews

→ in

Valentine was an ABC-TV movie about the love affair between two senior citizens that takes an unexpected tragic turn. This warm and lovely romantic drama was special because it showcased a love affair between senior citizens, which you don't see a lot of anymore, but the main attraction of this movie when it premiered was that it marked the television debut of Broadway legend Mary Martin. Martin, who starred on Broadway in South Pacific, I Do! I Do!, and The Sound of Music and is the real-life mom of TV icon Larry Hagman, turns in a lovely performance here opposite Jack Albertson as a senior who experiences love and then learns of her terminal illness. I don't know if this one is available on DVD or not, but if it is, it is definitely worth seeing for a rare television performance by a show business legend. 7/10

Valley of the Dolls, the beyond dreadful 1967 film version of Jacqueline Susaan's trashy novel is the ultimate potboiler, a movie so hideously bad that it is funny as hell and endless laughs may be found here.

This laugh-out-loud drama follows the adventures of three girls seeking fame and fortune in New York. Anne Welles (the forever wooden Barbara Parkins) is a secretary who ends up becoming a cover girl and having an affair with a lecherous theatrical agent (Paul Burke).

Neeley O'Hara (Patty Duke, in probably the worst performance by an actress in the history of cinema)is a singer/actress who uses and abuses pills, liquor, and men on her climb to the top and her descent to the bottom. Her final scene crawling around in the gutters of a Broadway alley has to be seen to be believed. Sharon Tate walks through the role of Jennifer North, a talentless waif who is aware of the fact that her body is only asset ("Yes, Mother, I'm doing my breast exercises").

The film also features Susan Hayward, in a role originally intended for Judy Garland, as Helen Lawson, a Broadway legend past her prime who is definitely threatened by O'Hara, God only knows why.

This movie just overflows with bad writing, bad acting, bad singing, bad choreography, and bad anything else you can think of. Legend has it that each character in this film is based on real people though author Susaan (who does a cameo in the film as a reporter) refuses to confirm or deny anything. It is commonly believed that the Neeley O'Hara character is based on Judy Garland, which must have caused some tension when Garland arrived on set for her original wardrobe tests when she had been signed to play Helen Lawson.

There is just so much to laugh at in this film, I don't know where to begin...Neeley singing at a telethon battling a wild set of beads that won't stay out of her way, Anne's cover girl montage,where Parkins has on enough makeup to choke a horse and displays some of the most outrageous hairstyles and bad fashion ever seen, a drunken Neeley confronting her allegedly gay husband in the swimming pool, dressed in an unflattering slip and bra, a drunken Neeley sitting in a bar and listening to herself on a jukebox explaining to everyone in the bar who she was, Jennifer's husband Tony, losing his balance outside the benefit ("I can't feel my legs!"), Tony and Neeley singing a duet at an asylum; Helen Lawson lip-syncing (to Helen O'Connell's voice) in a too tight evening gown and trying to dodge a large mobile that thinks its alive, and of course, the classic ladies room encounter between Neeley and Helen which climaxes with Neeley pulling off Helen's wig and flushing it down the toilet.

This movie has to be seen to be believed. One of the funniest movies ever made...even though it wasn't supposed to be.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Dolls1.jpg
Views:	2211
Size:	19.4 KB
ID:	14643   Click image for larger version

Name:	Dolls2.jpg
Views:	2489
Size:	152.0 KB
ID:	14644   Click image for larger version

Name:	Dolls3.jpg
Views:	2363
Size:	73.4 KB
ID:	14645   Click image for larger version

Name:	Parkins.jpg
Views:	2580
Size:	132.7 KB
ID:	15155  

Victor/Victoria is a thoroughly entertaining and, at times, raucously funny musical about a down and out singer (Julie Andrews) who becomes a great star as a female impersonator. We watch as, with the help of a gay mentor (Robert Preston) Victoria Grant becomes a star as Count Victor Gryzinski, a female impersonator, who attracts the attention of King Marchand, a Chicago mob boss vacationing in Paris with his ditzy mistress (Lesley Ann Warren), but finds himself attracted to the Count and goes to outrageous lengths to prove that the Count is really a woman, though it's not really clear as to whether he's doing it to really be with the woman or just to reassure himself about his own sexual orientation.

Though I never for a moment believe her as a man, Andrews is fully invested in the role of Victoria Grant/Count Victor Gryzinski and gives one of her finest performances (Her rendition of "Le Jazz Hot" is smokin'). Andrews has never been more adult or more sexy on screen. Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse' music and song score, which includes "Crazy World", "You and Me", "The Shady Dame from Seville:, and "Chicago Illinois" was awarded with an Oscar.

James Garner is charming and amusing as Victoria's confused suitor, King Marchand. Robert Preston, playing radically against type, should have won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Andrews' gay friend/confidante/manager, Toddy. Lesley Ann Warren turns in the scene-stealing performance of her career and delivers some of the biggest laughs in the films as Norma Cassidy, King's obnoxious, not-too-bright moll and kudos to Alex Karras for his understated turn as King's closeted bodyguard.

There is a slow moment here and there, but this film is a very entertaining ride for the most part, thanks to the love and care of director Blake Edwards, who always manages to find the laugh or smile when appropriate and knows how to make his wife look good. The film's power was later diluted by an inferior Broadway musical (which also starred Andrews), but stick with the original.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Victor1.jpg
Views:	2162
Size:	138.3 KB
ID:	14652   Click image for larger version

Name:	Victor2.jpg
Views:	2179
Size:	65.2 KB
ID:	14653   Click image for larger version

Name:	Victor3.jpg
Views:	2933
Size:	13.8 KB
ID:	14654   Click image for larger version

Name:	Victor4.jpg
Views:	2926
Size:	21.8 KB
ID:	14655  

Directed by Forest Whitaker and adapted from a smash best selling novel by Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale is a glossy, but one-sided look at the relationship between four strong black women and the various men in their lives.

The film is one-sided because the screenplay presents most of the male characters as sexist, manipulative pigs without a redeeming characteristic in sight, but the sensitive direction and outstanding performances keep the rather lopsided story watchable.

Whitney Houston made an impressive film debut as Savannah, an ambitious television executive caught in a dead-end affair with a married man (Dennis Haysbert). Angela Basset does Oscar-worthy work as Bernadine, a woman who has spent her life being the best wife and mother she knows how to be, who has her world rocked when her wealthy husband (Michael Beach) calmly announces one night before a formal dinner party that he's in love with someone else and wants a divorce. The scene where Bernadine gathers all her husband's stuff and makes a bonfire out of it in her driveway is one of the film's highlights.

Lela Rochon plays Robin, a not-too-bright doormat who finds herself pregnant by a man she wants nothing to do with. Loretta Devine is fun as Gloria, a hairdresser who is divorced from her husband, who it turns out was gay, and is struggling to raise her son (Donald Faison) and tries to begin a relationship with a new neighbor (Gregory Hines).

If you can accept the fact that in the world of these four women, all men are pigs, then this film can be very entertaining but the top-notch performances by the cast cannot be overlooked.
Click image for larger version

Name:	r-WAITING-TO-EXHALE-large570.jpg
Views:	2149
Size:	51.8 KB
ID:	14656  

Walk the Line is the 2005 biopic tracing the roots of country music legend Johnny Cash, as well as his relationship with second wife, June Carter. As someone who has, if nothing else, a vague recollection of Cash, I found him to be a refreshing topic for a film biography. Since his son's name is one of the names credited to the screenplay, I would think that it is probably pretty accurate as far as the facts are concerned, but that doesn't make it necessarily a great film.

Joaquim Phoenix is electrifying as Johnny Cash and totally nails the darkness and intensity of the character in a performance that I now think should have won him the Oscar. Phoenix completely loses himself in this character and turns in one of the greatest screen creations of a real life person ever. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for her work as June Carter, but I was not nearly as impressed with her work as I was with Phoenix. It's a solid performance but Oscar-worthy? I don't know. Other than an amazing performance by Phoenix, what we get here is just another show biz biography with all the same tired scenes we've seen in every show biz biography, from the "My daddy was mean to me when I was a kid" scene to the "I don't really have a drug problem, I'm just misunderstood" scene.

Ginnifer Goodwin plays Johnny's first wife, who is drawn as such a total b*tch here you have to wonder why Johnny stayed with her. What makes this film worth seeing and what earned it this reviewer's rating is the breathtaking performance by Joaquim Phoenix as Johnny Cash.
Click image for larger version

Name:	walk-the-line.jpg
Views:	2097
Size:	59.0 KB
ID:	14657  

Wedding Crashers is a smart yet raucously funny romantic comedy that has a little more substance to it than the trailers might imply. The movie looks like a pure slapstick comedy on the surface but ends up evolving into much more. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play John Beckwith and Jeremy Gray, respectively, two DC attorneys who meet women in their spare time by crashing weddings.

Why two Washington lawyers would have so much trouble meeting women that they have to crash weddings is beyond me, but I digress. John and Jeremy definitely find more than they bargained for when they crash a wedding for the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken) and get involved with the Secretary's two younger daughters.

The movie is a little long, but consistently entertaining, anchored by a solid screenplay and razor-sharp performances from Wilson and Vaughn. Wilson, is a standout in particular, with a charismatic performance that could elevate him from the Stiller-Vaughn rep company to his own position as a romantic leading man. Wilson lights up the screen here and has never been more appealing on screen.

Rachel McAdams is lovely as his leading lady and Walken gives one of his most beautifully underplayed performances as the Secretary. Former Bond Girl Jane Seymour is lovely as Walken's wife and looks incredible and there's a hysterical cameo by comic genius Will Ferrell that's just icing on the cake. Though the screenplay could have used a little tightening, Wedding Crashers is still an entertaining trip providing solid laughs most of the way. 8/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Crashers1.jpg
Views:	2050
Size:	28.6 KB
ID:	14658   Click image for larger version

Name:	Crashers2.jpg
Views:	2356
Size:	134.2 KB
ID:	14659   Click image for larger version

Name:	Crashers5.jpg
Views:	2019
Size:	58.7 KB
ID:	14722  

West Side Story is the 1961 film version of the landmark 1955 Broadway musical that updated Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET to the turbulent urban gang scene of Manhattan's west side that follows the romance between Puerto Rican Maria (Natalie Wood) and Polish Tony (Richard), which is framed against the battles between two rival gangs in the neighborhood, the Puerto Rican sharks and the Caucasian Jets, who are in constant, dangerous conflict over absolute rule over a small area of a west side neighborhood.

Co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins have constructed a nearly perfect musical here, which offers everything Broadway fans want from a musical and also offers a meaty story that could appeal to non-musical fans as well. The score, by Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) has almost become part of musical folklore: "Tonight","America", "Something's Coming", "I Feel Pretty","Somewhere", "One Hand, One Heart", almost all of which have become individual classics in their own right and each is an integral part of the story that helps to flesh out characters and advance plot.

The cast is first rate, despite the fact that none of the leads do their own singing. Natalie Wood still makes a lovely Maria (singing dubbed by Marni Nixon)and Rita Moreno and George Chakiris light up the screen in their Oscar winning supporting turns as Anita and Bernardo, Maria's best friend and brother, who is leader of the Sharks. Russ Tamblyn is athletic and charismatic as Riff, the Jets' leader and Tony's best friend. Richard Beymer is a little too limp-wristed as Tony, but his singing is superbly dubbed by Jimmy Bryant. But the real star of this film is the dance. Never before was the art of dance used to such brilliant effect to advance the plot of a story. The entire opening of the film, introducing the conflict between the Jets and Sharks is done completely in dance and perfectly conveys the tension between the two gangs.

Co-director and choreographer Jerome Robbins has mounted some of the most amazing dancing ever seen on the silver screen. The opening, as well as the dance at the gym, "America" and "Cool" are absolutely dazzling dance numbers. This film swept the '61 Oscars, winning 10 awards, including Best Picture. No musical had ever won that many Oscars and it is doubtful that it will ever happen again. A once in a lifetime motion picture experience that all film buffs, especially musical buffs, should study and cherish and revel in.
Click image for larger version

Name:	WSS2.jpg
Views:	2539
Size:	236.5 KB
ID:	14660   Click image for larger version

Name:	WSS3.jpg
Views:	3404
Size:	269.8 KB
ID:	14661   Click image for larger version

Name:	WWS4.jpg
Views:	6248
Size:	314.4 KB
ID:	14662   Click image for larger version

Name:	WWS1.jpg
Views:	2521
Size:	415.0 KB
ID:	14663  

A laugh-out-loud movie from start to finish, What About Bob? is the story of a successful psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) who has just written a best selling book called "Baby Steps" and is about to be interviewed about it on Good Morning America when a colleague refers a patient to him by the name of Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), a nut who is suffering from just about every phobia imaginable.

Dr. Leo has a brief introductory session with Bob, gives him a copy of his book and tells Bob he will see him when he returns from his vacation. Well, Bob is not having this and follows Dr. Leo to his vacation hideaway and insists they start treatment immediately, but as nutty as Bob is, he manages to completely charm Dr. Leo's wife (Julie Hagarty) and his kids (Kathryn Erbe, Charlie Korsmo)to the point where they don't understand why Leo doesn't like the poor schlub.

This supremely entertaining comedy has a smart script, amusing set pieces,and all the performances work. Bill Murray gives one of his most deftly demented performances since Ghostbusters and Dreyfuss underplays beautifully as Dr. Leo, never allowing Murray to overshadow him on screen. Murray and Dreyfuss make a surprisingly coherent and effective comedy team and make What About Bob? a clever and entertaining screen comedy that pleases from opening scene to closing credits. 8/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Bob1.jpg
Views:	2009
Size:	30.6 KB
ID:	14665   Click image for larger version

Name:	Bob2.jpg
Views:	2123
Size:	79.5 KB
ID:	14666  

What a Way to Go! was a glittering all-star comedy that IMO never really got the acclaim it deserved. A true classic that is still watchable and still makes me laugh, over 40 years after it's original release.

This comic gem stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa Foster, a wealthy widow who we see at the beginning of the movie trying to give the IRS a check for $40,000,000. Louisa is then seen at the office of the psychiatrist (Robert Cummings)who she has been sent to after trying to give money to the IRS she didn't owe. We then learn, through flashbacks, Louisa's story...a simple girl who believes she is cursed because even though all she wanted was love and marriage, every time she met a man she loved and married him, he became wealthy, died, and left her all the money.

Dean Martin appears as the small town playboy from Louisa's hometown who she always fended off. Dick Van Dyke plays her first husband, a general store owner whose ambition turns his store into a billion dollar franchise. Paul Newman, very amusing in a rare comedic turn, plays husband #2, an eccentric artist. Robert Mitchum is husband #3, who Louisa thinks is safe because he was rich when they met, and Gene Kelly is on target as husband #4, a struggling nightclub performer who overnight becomes an international movie star.

MacLaine gives an energetic performance, draped in stunning Edith Head costumes (which should have won an Oscar)and is given solid support from all her leading men, especially Newman and Kelly, who shine in roles where they are definitely cast against type. A riotous and entertaining comic fantasy that holds interest until the final frame. An underrated classic that is all but forgotten these days. 7.5/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Go1.jpg
Views:	2041
Size:	271.2 KB
ID:	14667   Click image for larger version

Name:	Go2.jpg
Views:	2059
Size:	102.3 KB
ID:	14668   Click image for larger version

Name:	What_a_Way_to_Go_orange.jpg
Views:	2069
Size:	32.8 KB
ID:	15945  

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Hereby Gideon gets a MoFo forever alone title. No answers nor reps for these reviews? I just added some random reps just for the amount of work you put into these reviews.
心在你身邊 就算隱形亦有一天遇見

I don't know why I'm afraid to admit it, but What Planet are you From?is definitely one of my guilty pleasures which I have viewed multiple times and still find highly entertaining.

This cute and entertaining comedy stars Garry Shandling as an alien sent to earth to impregnate a woman and bring the baby back to his planet. He ends up targeting a real estate agent and recovering alcoholic (Annette Bening) but he doesn't plan on complications like love, marriage, friends, business competitors...those little things that we earthlings deal with on a daily basis but an alien from another planet would have no concept of.

The opening scenes of the aliens being educated on the female erogenous zones are quite amusing as is Shandling's explanations of women to aliens when he returns to his planet after impregnating Bening and stealing the baby. Bening is charming in a rare comedic turn and even gets to sing. Greg Kinnear scores as a slimy co-worker of Shandling's and Linda Fiorentino makes the most of her brief appearance as his sexy wife. John Goodman is solid as a cynical UFO investigator who can't get anyone to believe there is an alien on earth and has to deal with his paranoid wife (Caroline Aaron) who is convinced the man is cheating on her. Ben Kingsley, in a refreshing change of pace, plays the stone-faced leader of Shandling's planet and Camryn Manheim, Nora Dunn, and Ann Cusack appear as Bening's girlfriends.

Shandling co-wrote this comedy, smoothly directed by Mike Nichols, of all people. It's no masterpiece, but there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes and there are laughs to be had along the way. 6/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Planet.jpg
Views:	2048
Size:	35.6 KB
ID:	14669  

What's Love Got to Do With It is the dazzling 1993 musical biopic that chronicles the legendary Tina Turner, from her humble beginnings as a show off in her church choir when she was a kid named Anna Mae Bullock to her now legendary success as one of the top rock and roll performers of our generation.

As expected, the majority of the film focuses on Anna Mae's relationship with Ike Turner, a musician who works steadily but stays on the cusp of stardom until meeting Anna Mae, changing her name to Tina and making her the lead singer of the group. The film shines a not-too-flattering light on Ike's abusive treatment of Tina, which ranges from severe beatings to marital rape.

The screenplay, clearly based on Tina's autobiography I, TINA, is kind of the film, Tina is presented as just this side of Mother Theresa and that Ike single-handedley destroyed their marriage, but in later years, Turner has admitted that the movie does paint Ike in an unflattering light and that she had as much to do with the destruction of their marriage as he did. On the other hand, it is the single-sided view of the screenplay that helps to make this movie so entertaining...we have a crystal clear heroine and an equally clear villain here that arouse the expected reactions from the filmgoers.

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishbourne deliver electrifying performances as the Turners, performances that earned them both Oscar nominations and are the anchor of this film. Bassett does a more than credible job of lip-syncing to original Tina recordings. Yes, it may gloss over the facts and the actors may not look like the people they are portraying, but this film is powerhouse entertainment from start to finish. 7.5/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	whats_love_got_to_do_with_it.jpg
Views:	2056
Size:	25.1 KB
ID:	14670   Click image for larger version

Name:	what;s%20love%20got%20to%20do%20with%20it%206.jpg
Views:	2294
Size:	15.5 KB
ID:	14723  

What's Up, Doc? was director Peter Bogdanovich's affectionate salute to the screwball comedies of the 1930's, with a special nod to the Katharine Hepburn-Cary Grant classic Bringing up Baby.

This cleverly constructed comedy, set in San Francisco, stars Barbra Streisand as an aimless kook who is instantly drawn to a nerdy music professor (Ryan O'Neal)while getting involved in an elaborate misunderstanding centering around four look-alike overnight bags that ends up involving half of the city of San Francisco in one of the most amazing chase sequences ever put on film.

Bogdanovich gets it all right here...razor sharp dialogue that moves at a lightning pace (very Howard Hawks) with wonderful set pieces, inspired sight gags, and undeniable chemistry between the two leads (which led to a brief off screen romance).

It has been well-documented over the years that Streisand hated every minute of making this film and didn't think it was the least bit funny, but I still think she shines here and has never looked more beautiful on film and few actors have made nerdiness look as sexy as O'Neal did here. Madeline Kahn makes a hysterically funny film debut here as O'Neal's tight-assed fiancée and there are other funny bits contributed along the way by Kenneth Mars, Austin Pendleton, Liam Dunn, Mabel Albertson and Sorrell Booke. No doubt, one of the funniest movies ever made. 7.5/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Doc1.jpg
Views:	2040
Size:	124.9 KB
ID:	14671   Click image for larger version

Name:	Doc2.jpg
Views:	2376
Size:	50.5 KB
ID:	14672   Click image for larger version

Name:	Doc3.jpg
Views:	2408
Size:	36.3 KB
ID:	14673  

When a Man Loves a Woman is a searing and emotional look at how alcoholism manages to leave a family in shreds and how they struggle to put themselves back together again.

Meg Ryan, in the performance of her career, dominates the screen with her powerhouse portrayal of Alice, a wife, mother, and career woman whose secret drinking is slowly and methodically destroying her life. The film chronicles Alice's journey as she hits her bottom, enters rehab, finishes rehab, and then tries to resume the life she left before rehab and discovers it's not as simple as she thinks. Andy Garcia is equally solid as Michael, Alice's sensitive and loving husband who finds out what real powerlessness is as he watches Alice fall apart and is introduced to a new kind of powerlessness when Alice returns home with a new attitude and new friends she made during her recovery process.

Lots of great films have been made over the years about alcoholism but what makes this one stand out is that it not only deals with the alcoholism and the rehabilitation process, but it more importantly shows what happens when the alcoholic tries to resume their old life, slowing coming to the realization that it is no longer their old life anymore because they now have to face it sober. It also approaches the subject from the angle of the alcoholic's loved ones as we see Garcia's Michael struggle with the new person Alice has become and finds his only outlet for his frustration in Al-Anon meetings, where he finally realizes he is not alone.

Luis Madoki's sensitive direction is also an asset but this film works mainly thanks to a well-rounded screenplay and the sterling performances by Andy Garcia and especially Meg Ryan, in a performance that should have earned her an Oscar nomination.
Click image for larger version

Name:	When_a_man_loves_a_woman.jpg
Views:	2077
Size:	25.9 KB
ID:	14674  

One of my favorite guilty pleasures from the 60's is Where Love has Gone, a turgid 1964 soap opera loosely based on the events surrounding Lana Turner when her daughter Cheryl was accused of murdering her then boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. In this story, the actress becomes a sculptor named Valerie Hayden-Miller and Mike (Mannix) Connors plays Luke Miller, her no good husband. Joey Heatherton is amusing as the daughter and Bette Davis does her fair share of scenery chewing, sitting in the world's ugliest chair, as Valerie's mother.

The movie holds a certain morbid fascination since it is loosely based on fact (Hayward and Heatherton's characters are allegedly a thinly disguised Lana Turner and daughter Cheryl Crane) but everyone involved is either overacting or not acting at all which can be quite fun to watch. Hayward is an appropriate hand-wringing heroine from the 60's and Davis just looks embarrassed. I remember reading somewhere that Davis only agreed to do this movie so that she could pay for her daughter's wedding. 5/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Where Love.jpg
Views:	2409
Size:	51.1 KB
ID:	14677  

White Christmas is the classic re-working of the 1942 film Holiday Inn which follows the story of Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), army buddies who later become a successful showbiz team who find themselves helping out their retired commanding officer (Dean Jagger) who now owns a run down Vermont Inn and falling for a sister act at the same time. This colorful and entertaining musical has been a favorite of mine since childhood. I was unable to go to sleep on Christmas Eve until I watched they hardly ever show it on Christmas Eve anymore.

Crosby and Kaye make a great team and they receive great support from Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen as the Haynes sisters. Mary Wickes garners some big laughs as the general's housekeeper and future Oscar winner George Chakiris can be spotted in a couple of production numbers as a dancer. Musical highlights include "Sisters", "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing", "Count your Blessings",'Choreography", and of course, the title tune. Some consider this film the bastard stepchild to Holiday Inn, but I absolutely love it and can watch it over and over again. 8/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Xmas1.jpg
Views:	2110
Size:	176.7 KB
ID:	14679   Click image for larger version

Name:	Xmas2.jpg
Views:	1969
Size:	48.3 KB
ID:	14680   Click image for larger version

Name:	Xmas3.jpg
Views:	2281
Size:	135.4 KB
ID:	14681  

One of the most amazing films to come out of the 1960's was the film version of Edward Albee's absurdist vision Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? When I was in a high school acting class, my teacher told us he wanted us to see an example of really great acting and he introduced me to Virginia Woolf for the first time and I must agree.

This scathing 1966 drama follows a drunken night between two college professors, one young and one not so, and their wives and the secrets, lies, and revelations that come out during their drunken encounter.

Elizabeth Taylor won her second Oscar for her performance as Martha, a character who redefines the term "shrew", the older professor's wife and the daughter of the president of the college(a character who we never meet but is mentioned throughout). Taylor pulled out all the stops for this performance...she put on twenty pounds, wore extra padding, grayed her hair, wore false teeth, and pitched her voice extremely low and buried her English accent for the most part to deliver the most electrifying performance of her career. Some found it over the top, but I find the performance continually fascinating and treasure the little nuances I discover in Martha upon repeated viewings.

Richard Burton was robbed of a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as George, Martha's emasculated husband who does his best to learn the rules of Martha's little games as fast as she can change them. Burton is just as funny as he is heartbreaking and beautifully underplays in order to allow Taylor to shine. George Segal and Sandy Dennis (also an Oscar winner)provide solid support to the Burtons as the new young professor and his wife, who fall victim to the twisted machinations of George and Martha.

This film was considered quite controversial in 1966. It seems quite tamer now but still packs an emotional wallop and is not for the faint of heart. Mike Nichols' intense direction and loving attention to Albee's script are a big plus here and help to make Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?a shattering and haunting film experience that stays with you long after the final fade-out.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Afraid1.jpg
Views:	2658
Size:	101.4 KB
ID:	14683   Click image for larger version

Name:	Afraid2.jpg
Views:	2370
Size:	83.5 KB
ID:	14684   Click image for larger version

Name:	Afraid3.jpg
Views:	2305
Size:	34.4 KB
ID:	14685  

Why do Fools Fall in Love is a supremely entertaining biopic of the young singer Frankie Lyman, which unfolds in a clever variation on the traditional flashback form of storytelling. The film opens with three women arriving at Frankie's former manager's office after his death, trying to claim his estate, all claiming to be the legal widow of Lyman and it is during the trial to determine which of these ladies is Lyman's legal widow where Frankie's story unfolds.

As with all movie biographies, you never know how much you're watching is based on fact and what has been enhanced or diluted for dramatic effect. In this screenplay, Frankie is a charismatic young singer, who apparently had no problem charming women out of their clothes and their money, the latter of which apparently went to support his drug habit. Frankie's drug use is somewhat glossed over and the screenplay tends to concentrate more on Frankie's manipulative ways with these three women and how he, at one time or another, managed to convince all three of them that each was the only woman in the world.

Baby-faced Larenz Tate plays Frankie with a sincerity and sexiness that possibly oversells Frankie's real womanizing, but he manages to keep Frankie likable despite some of the slimy things he does. The three women in Frankie's life are well played by Halle Berry, Viveca A. Fox, and Lela Rochon, with Fox a standout in probably the best performance of her career.

The musical sequences are troublesome...Tate works hard at lip-syncing authentically, but I never bought the lip-syncing in the film...all of the musical sequences in the film come off sounding "canned." Still, Tate and the ladies commit to their roles and do make the movie worth watching. I don't know how accurate the film is as a biography of Frankie Lyman, but it is a very entertaining film that will effortlessly hold interest.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Fools1.jpg
Views:	1997
Size:	21.4 KB
ID:	14686   Click image for larger version

Name:	Fools2.jpg
Views:	2795
Size:	163.9 KB
ID:	14687  

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factor was the 1971 musical loosely based on Roald Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that despite its enormous differences from the book, still makes an entertaining musical that continues to entertain new generations of young filmgoers.

Gene Wilder turns in a delightful performance as Willie Wonka, a reclusive candy manufacturer who decides to send five golden tickets all over the globe, wrapped inside five of his candy bars, and offers the ticket finders a year's supply of chocolate, a tour of his factory, and a special "surprise" to one of the winners.

Peter Ostrum is wonderful as Charlie, the young boy who got his ticket through a miraculous stroke of luck and is accompanied by his grandfather, energetically played by Jack Albertson. The other four ticket holders turn out to be insufferable brats who in varied ways, get what's coming to them.

This colorful and imaginative musical is endlessly entertaining, especially for the pre-teen set. The musical score by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse includes the classic "The Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination". In 2005, another adaptation of the story, starring Johnny Depp, materialized that was darker and closer in feeling to the book, but not nearly as entertaining as this film. 8/10
Click image for larger version

Name:	Wonka1.jpg
Views:	2045
Size:	75.0 KB
ID:	14688   Click image for larger version

Name:	Wonka2.jpg
Views:	1993
Size:	69.8 KB
ID:	14689   Click image for larger version

Name:	Wonka3.jpg
Views:	1991
Size:	32.7 KB
ID:	14690   Click image for larger version

Name:	Wonka4.jpg
Views:	2079
Size:	80.5 KB
ID:	14691  

Working Girl was a first-rate motion picture comedy which displayed flashes of brilliance and was the breakaway surprise hit film of 1988.

Masterfully directed by Mike Nichols, the film tells the story of Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) a secretary who wants to be more than a secretary, who has a business idea stolen from her by her current boss and then gets her revenge by pretending to be her boss who is temporarily sidelined.

Nichols has a razor sharp screenplay here and has assembled a first-rate cast to pull it off. Griffith is a revelation as Tess, a role that re-ignited her comatose career and garnered her a Best Actress nomination. Sigourney Weaver is perfection as Catherine Parker, Tess' bitchy, self-absorbed boss who smiles in Tess' face but proves she's someone you can't turn your back on. Harrison Ford, in a refreshing change of pace for him, proves to be surprisingly adept at light comedy as Jack Trainer, Catherine's tentative love interest and business associate who finds himself torn when he meets Tess in the midst of her charade.

The interplay between these three rich and complex characters makes for one of the most interesting triangles to hit the big screen in years. There are effective supporting bits contributed along the away by Joan Cusack, Oliver Platt, Olympia Dukakis, Alec Baldwin, Philip Bosco, and in blink-and you-miss-them-cameos, Ricki Lake and Kevin Spacey.

One of the smartest and most engaging comedies ever made that also received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Weaver and Cusack)and won Carly Simon the Oscar for Best Original Song. A triumph for Nichols and a flawless comic ensemble. Not only one of the best of 1988, but one of the best comedies of the 1980's period.
Click image for larger version

Name:	WG1.jpg
Views:	4505
Size:	108.3 KB
ID:	14692   Click image for larger version

Name:	WG2.jpg
Views:	2498
Size:	28.0 KB
ID:	14693   Click image for larger version

Name:	WG3.jpg
Views:	2573
Size:	76.0 KB
ID:	14694