Gideon58's Reviews

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1979's All that Jazz is definitely one of my favorite films, a permanent part of my video collection and a film I can watch over and over again without tiring of it.

This dark, twisted, self-indulgent, musical version of Fellini's 8 1/2 seems to be Fosse's exploration of his own personal demons as he lays his life out there for all to see in a not too flattering light as a career-driven, hard drinking, smoking, womanizing director/choreographer who is only alive when he's on a Broadway stage creating dances or behind a camera lens but is clueless on how to deal with regular life and the little imperfections that most regular folks are able to cope with and accept.

Roy Scheider delivers a brilliant performance as the Fosse alter-ego Joe Gideon, who is trying to stage a new Broadway musical and put the finishing touches on a movie he directed and the stress of all this work puts him in the hospital after a heart attack. This story was based on the period in Fosse's career when he was beginning to mount the musical Chicago for Gwen Verdon and was still editing his 1974 film Lenny with Dustin Hoffman and had a heart attack shortly afterwards.

This film sucks you in from the beginning with shots of dancers warming up onstage as the opening bars of George Benson's "On Broadway" begin to fill the audio. Soon the camera pulls back to reveal hundreds of dancers onstage as Gideon weeds out the dancers he wants to cast in "NY to LA", the fictionalized version of Chicago. This number is just brilliant and is a wonderful introduction into the world of NY theater auditions for the uninitiated. Fosse, is, more than anything, a choreographer, and his dance direction in this film is nothing short of astonishing. I can watch the "Take Off With Us/Air-Rotica" scene over and over again and never tire of it. I also enjoyed when Ann Reinking (as Joe's girlfriend, basically playing herself) and Erzsebet Foldi (playing Joe's daughter, Michelle (Nicole))do a dance for Joe to Peter Allen's "Everything Old is New Again" in his living room. Joe's fantasy production numbers after he enters the hospital are also dazzling, especially long-legged Reinking's rendition of "You Better Change your Ways".

There are also small quiet moments in the film that are equally effective, in particular a lovely scene in a dance studio with Joe and his daughter where she tries to talk him into getting married and giving her a little brother. This is not a side of Gideon we see much of (Fosse either) and it is a lovely moment. Jessica Lange's ethereal quality was used to great advantage in her small but showy role as Joe's Angelique. Leland Palmer (who starred in Fosse's Pippin on Broadway) registers as Audrey Paris, Joe's ex-wife and Michelle's mother, a fictionalized Gwen Verdon. Her scene with Scheider in the dance studio where she calls him on his constant infidelity is a gem.

Cliff Gorman scores as Davis Newman, the star of Joe's film, THE STAND UP (this film's version of Lenny), who is seen visiting Gideon in the hospital and psychoanalyzing him at the same time.

The "Bye Bye Love" finale is a little over the top and WAY too long but I like the end of it when he says goodbye to everyone before his death (especially loved the looks exchanged with John Lithgow and his hug with daughter Michelle). All in all, All that Jazzis a must for Fosse-ites and fans of musical theater..whether it's stage or screen. Not as good as Cabaret, but still a unique movie experience to be savored.
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A Love Song for Bobby Long is a somber and lumbering story that makes the mistake of thinking the story and characters presented here are a lot more interesting than they really are.

This is the story of a young girl named Percy(Scarlett Johansson)who, upon learning of her mother's death, journeys to New Orleans to claim her mother's home and, upon her arrival, finds an alcoholic former college professor (John Travolta) and an alcoholic former writer (Gabriel Macht) living there.

The rest of the movie is a long and not terribly interesting character study of these three characters and how they eventually bond. The primary problem with this film is that the most interesting character in the story is already dead at the beginning of the film. Her relationship with the three main characters is fuzzy at the beginning of the film and kept fuzzy throughout most of the film's running time and for some reason this seems deliberate. Perhaps if we had known a little more about the relationships Percy's mom had with these people, the film might have been more successful in sustaining our interest. I have never been much of a proponent of flashback as a film making technique, but this is one story that really could have used a flashback or two that might have shed some light into the relationship this woman had with Percy and with these two men. We eventually are given some insight into the kind of woman this was; unfortunately, by the time this happens, we are bored to death and really don't care anymore.

The actors work very hard at keeping the proceedings watchable but they are fighting a very talky and unimaginative screenplay. Despite Scarlett Johansson's strongest performance to date and Travolta's first serious foray into the category of "Character actor", the whole thing comes off like a photographed stage play...bad Tennessee Williams and about 45 minutes before the credits roll, we just want the characters to drink enough to pass out so we don't have to listen to them anymore.
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A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy was Woody Allen's amusing variation on the Ingmar Bergman classic Smiles of a Summer Night which had been previously re-worked as a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim called A Little Night Music.

This film is about three couples at the turn of the century who gather at one of their country homes for the weekend and it is clear at the beginning of the story that these three couples are hopelessly mismatched and we see the very human foibles that split up and mix up these three couples during this memorable weekend in the country.

Woody and Mary Steenburgen play the hosts for the weekend, a seemingly happily married couple whose happiness is clearly surface deep. Tony Roberts plays a womanizing physician and Woody's best pal who arrives for the weekend with his nurse (Julia Hagerty). In her first screen pairing with Woody Allen, Mia Farrow plays a former flame of Woody's who has arrived with her much older fiancée (Jose Ferrer) who she is scheduled to marry on Monday. Watching these three couples fuss and fumble all over each other in an attempt to be with the person they really want to be with is what makes this charming period comedy work.

As always in Woody's films, music is crucial in setting the mood and Woody has chosen some classic Mendelsohhn pieces that set the perfect mood for the piece. The performances are uniformly fine, with Roberts a standout. Not one of Woody's better known films, but if you'd like to see where his relationship with Mia began, take a look.
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Rosalind Russell turned in the most dazzling performance of her career in 1958's Auntie Mame.
This classic was released the year I was born, but it has become one of my favorites and is part of my permanent video collection. Based on the memoirs of Patrick Dennis, this brilliant episodic film chronicles the relationship between Mame Dennis, a stylish, eccentric, and bombastic Greenwich village socialite and her young nephew, Patrick, who is brought to live with Mame as a child after the death of Mame's brother.

It is evident from the beginning that Mame hasn't a clue how to be a mother but her immediate unconditional love for Patrick is evident as well and even though we know Mame would walk through fire for Patrick, we also know that at some point Mame will screw up or suffocate Patrick in her loving but iron grasp.

Russell is perfection in what seems to be a tailor-made role and was clearly robbed of the Oscar that alluded her for her whole career. Coral Browne garners major laughs throughout as Vera Charles, an alcoholic actress and Mame's best friend. Forrest Tucker is a charmer as Beaurogard Jackson Pickett Burnside, an oil millionaire who romances Mame and Peggy Cass steals every scene she is in with her Oscar-nominated performance as Agnes Gooch, the stenographer hired to write Mame's memoirs.

This long, episodic film, lovingly directed by Morton DeCosta, was later turned into the Broadway musical MAME which won Angela Lansbury a Tony Award and that musical was later turned into a movie starring Lucille Ball, but my advice is...stick with the original. "Life is a banquet...and most poor suckers are starving to death!"
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I don't think it's even good,
at best. Some of the final scenes are downright embarassing in their laughable melodrama. I know it wasn't Lumet's intention, but that's how I see it.
^^This.^^ I'd probably go

I don't understand the love this gets.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Finished here. It's been fun.
Excellent review. I too really liked this film.

And when I'm all alone I feel I don't wanna hide
It's my favourite of Cronenberg's work (who I am, admittedly, not a fan of).

I really didn't care for this. The dialogue was some of the worst I've ever heard, and the acting was mostly atrocious, and nothing else was interesting enough to save the movie for me.

Finished here. It's been fun.
That saying "to each his own" is so accurate. Could you maybe interpret specifically why you hated this film? In my eyes there was nothing wrong with the acting,and the dialogue was perfectly fine. The film was fast paced and was well shot. Easy 7.5 or 8 from me.

It was pretty good. Based on a graphic novel. Guess that's why it was stylized despite the serious theme.
#31 on SC's Top 100 Mofos list!!

Along Came Polly is an entertaining romantic comedy filled with laughs starring Ben Stiller as Rueben Pfeffer, a tightly wound insurance agent, whose bride cheats on him on his honeymoon and upon returning home, embarks on a romance with a free-spirited girl (Jennifer Aniston) who he knew in junior high school.

This breezy comedy is a total delight with a surprisingly fresh screenplay that has Stiller uncharacteristically pulling it in and allowing leading lady Aniston to shine.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman steals every scene he is in as Sandy, Rueben's best friend,a former child actor who hasn't worked in years but is still so self-absorbed he has decided to film his own "E-True Hollywood Story" and then sell it to E. In a role that appears to have been written for Jack Black, Hoffman garners big belly laughs every time he appears on the screen, from a rehearsal for "Jesus Christ Superstar" to a silly two on two basketball game, to a last minute substitution for Rueben at a very important business meeting, Hoffman delivers one of the funniest supporting performances I've seen in years. Debra Messing has the thankless role of the cheating bride and Hank Azaria is quite buff as the object of Messing's lust.

There are also funny contributions from Alec Baldwin as Rueben's boss and Michele Lee and Bob Dishy as his parents. It's not exactly groundbreaking, but a marvelous cast at the top of their game, make the film worth your time.
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When you see the names De Niro and Crystal on a marquee the assumption would be that Crystal is going to be providing the laughs, but it's just the opposite in Analyze This, a sharp and amusing comedy which, IMO, proves Robert De Niro, in addition to being a great actor, is also one of the funniest people on the planet. I did not say a good comic actor, I said funny.

The man is funny and he had me on the floor for the majority of the film as Paul Vitti, a mob boss who has allowed the pressures of his work take such a physical and emotional toll on him that he begins therapy with Dr. Ben Sobel (Crystal)and then implants himself smack dab in the middle of Dr. Ben's life, forsaking all other patients.

Crystal hits all the right notes as Dr. Sobel, but it is De Niro who makes this film so special with his grandiose send-up of several characters he has played in the past. De Niro and Crystal get help from a strong supporting cast including Lisa Kudrow, Bill Macy, Pat Cooper, and especially the late Joe Vitrelli as Jelly, Vitti's stooge, who steals every scene he is in.
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Achorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy confirmed my long dormant suspicion that Ferrell is a comic genius who had been so underrated up to this point. I have not laughed so hard at a movie since Young Frankenstein, and like that classic, no matter how many times I watch this movie, I'm laughin g out loud.

Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, a self-absorbed TV news anchorman working at a San Diego TV station in the 1970's who finds his world as king of the 6:00 news rocked by the arrival of Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), a woman who longs to be a news anchor; however, in the 1970's, this was pretty much unheard of. The relationship between Ron and Veronica is very entertaining but the lion's share of the laughs in this film come from Ferrell, who I am convinced improvised approximately 60% of this movie, but the stuff that works clearly outweighs the stuff that doesn't.

The 1970's are lovingly recreated here with settings, costumes, and some wonderful forgotten and not forgotten music from the 70's (wait until you see this film's cover of the classic "Afternoon Delight").

This movie is just one comic highlight after another, including the "trip to Pleasuretown", Ron's jazz flute solo, and the news anchor rumble in the alley. Ferrell is a riot and Applegate shows a surprising gift for slapstick comedy and there is a scene-stealing performance from Steve Carell as Brick, the weatherman on Ron's news team. One of the funniest movies I have ever seen and every time it comes on, I have to watch and I have to laugh.
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Anchors Aweigh is an entertaining MGM musical that fans of the genre will enjoy but I wouldn't rate it up there with classics like Singin in the Rain or The Band Wagon.

This was the first of three musicals that Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra appeared in together. Kelly and Sinatra play Joe Brady and Clarence Doolittle, respectively, two sailors on leave in Hollywood who befriend a young boy (Dean Stockwell)who introduces them to his attractive young aunt (Kathryn Grayson) a struggling actress who is working as an extra at MGM. Though both guys are initially attracted to Grayson, she eventually voices a preference to Joe but Clarence later hooks up with a waitress (Pamela Britton)who, he learns is from his hometown of Brooklyn.

The paper-thin plot leaves room for several great musical numbers including "We Hate to Leave", Joe and Clarence's lament to their fellow sailors as they're leaving the ship; Grayson's torrid rendition of "Jalousie"; Sinatra's dreamy rendition of "I Fall in Love Too Easily" (a number which is sadly deleted from some prints of this film), and "The Worry Song", a fantasy dance that Kelly does with animated Jerry the Mouse from Tom and Jerry fame. Kelly also does a sort of Kissing Bandit fantasy ballet which rivals his Pirate's Ballet in the later The Pirate.

Kelly is in peak form here, in a robust and energetic performance that earned him his only Oscar nomination for Best Actor and Sinatra's endearingly shy character here is undeniably sexy. An entertaining diversion for fans of the MGM musical factory.
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1950's Annie Get Your Gun was originally planned to star Judy Garland in the title role; however Garland had just finished a stint in rehab and doctors recommended a year off. Instead she was given two weeks off and was assigned to report to wardrobe tests for the film. She even filmed a few scenes and a couple of musical numbers (which are included on the DVD), but Garland looks worn and haggard and she clearly was in no shape, physically or emotionally to work, so she was replaced by that bundle of bombastic( an adjective which I think the actress has the patent on)energy, Betty Hutton, who makes the most of this role and the classic Irving Berlin score.

I have to admit I wouldn't have minded hearing Garland's interpretation of "I've Got the Sun in the Morning" or "They Say that Falling in Love" (Hutton's weakest moment) but for the most part Hutton shines as Annie and gets solid support from handsome Howard Keel as Frank Butler. Their duet "Anything you can do" is another highlight. A first rate stage musical gets first rate screen treatment from the MGM dream factory.
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Along Came Polly was harmless fun; nothing great, but enjoyable.

Despite my love for Robert De Niro, I was not taken with Analyze This at all. Maybe one I need to give a 2nd watch.

Anchorman I thought was great in a lot of ways but the silly fights between rival news stations severely hurt this film for me.

I thought Analyze This! was quite good. I've only seen it twice and not since 1999, but it's big claim to fame, for me, is that it stopped me watching The Soprano's when it started. Well, that and the fact I missed the first episode and thought it was a mini-series and, therefore, didn't bother with the next few episodes. By the time I'd realised my mistake, it was a good 5 or 6 episodes in. I finally watched it last year.

Another of my guilty pleasures is Airport, the 1970 all-star cast drama based on the best selling novel by Arthur Hailey. This soapy potboiler follows multiple stories throughout a busy metropolitan airport. Subplots that appeared in the book naturally had to be watered down or removed entirely, but that was to be expected in telling a story of such size back in the late 60's. However, after 35 years, I still find this film a lot of fun to watch (even though it really should be experienced in a theater). Burt Lancaster is all stone-faced authority as Mel Bakersfield, the airport manager who neglects his wife (Dana Wynter) while lusting after his passenger relations agent (Jean Seberg).

Dean Martin almost gives an actual performance as Vernon Demarest, the smooth-talking pilot who also neglects his wife (Barbara Hale) while having an affair with a stewardess (the lovely Jacqueline Bisset)whom he has impregnated. George Kennedy began his long association with the character of Joe Patroni here(he would play the role in three subsequent sequels). Van Heflin is extremely effective as D.O. Guerrero, the sad and twisted man who plans to blow up an airliner.

Helen Hayes won an Oscar playing Ada Quonsett, a little old lady who stows away on the plane, but that Oscar should have gone to Maureen Stapleton, who is just devastating as Guerrero's wife, who is totally dismayed about her husband's plan and is tragically heartbreaking during one brief scene near the end of the film. For those who like their adventure films spiced with some somewhat corny, soap suds, put your brain in check and have your fill with Airport.
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Tom Cruise followed up his smashing success in the classic Risky Business with All the Right Moves, a quiet and moving drama in which Cruise plays Stefan Djordjevic, a somewhat sexist and dim-witted high school senior whose convinced that his prowess on the football field will allow him to go to college anywhere he wants, providing a one-way ticket out of the tiny, sleepy mining town where he lives where the entire town attends every game.

Stefan's college plans get derailed when, after a confrontation with his coach (Craig T. Nelson), Stefan gets thrown off the team and the coach has him blackballed to the point where no college will talk to him. Cruise's interpretation of Jorjevich is quietly impressive because this character is nothing like Joel Goodson, his character in Risky Business. Stefan is cocky, sexist, self-absorbed, and not terribly likable, but Cruise still manages to infuse the character with sympathy.

Nelson is solid as the coach (nothing like his TV coach)and strong support is also provided by Lea Thompson as Stefan's girlfriend, the late Christopher Penn as Stefan's buddy who has to give up his football aspirations when he gets his girlfriend pregnant, Charles Cioffi as Stefan's dad and especially Paul Carafotes as Stefan's explosive buddy, "The Vooch". Nothing earth-shattering here, but it did prove that Cruise had the range to play different kinds of character.
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