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Family movie reviews for "Home" sorted by average review score:

Network
Released in DVD by Warner Home Video (24 February, 1998)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, and Peter Finch
Media madness reigns supreme in screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's scathing satire about the uses and abuses of network television. But while Chayefsky's and director Sidney Lumet's take on television may seem quaint in the age of "reality TV" and Jerry Springer's talk-show fisticuffs, it's every bit as potent now as it was when the film was released in 1976. And because Chayefsky was one of the greatest of all dramatists, his Oscar-winning script about the ratings frenzy at the cost of cultural integrity is a showcase for powerhouse acting by Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight (who each won Oscars), and Oscar nominee William Holden in one of his finest roles. Finch plays a veteran network anchorman who's been fired because of low ratings. His character's response is to announce he'll kill himself on live television two weeks hence. What follows, along with skyrocketing ratings, is the anchorman's descent into insanity, during which he fervently rages against the medium that made him a celebrity. Dunaway plays the frigid, ratings-obsessed producer who pursues success with cold-blooded zeal; Holden is the married executive who tries to thaw her out during his own seething midlife crisis. Through it all, Chayefsky (via Finch) urges the viewer to repeat the now-famous mantra "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" to reclaim our humanity from the medium that threatens to steal it away. --Jeff Shannon
Average review score:

I'm as mad as hell....
Network, as a film is a very important one. It's themes are potent, it's script terrific and it's acting impeccable. Is there flaws in Network? Well, not really. Network, if I have ever seen a film is a very good one. AFI ranked Network at number 66- a good ranking for a film so rarely brought up when discussing the topic, Network deserves to be higher up, in my opinion than movies that have no business being on that list. Peter Finch's Howard Beale is a character never to be forgotten- he is a bomb who has exploded, and represents every man today. Everybody is a time bomb, waiting to go off- and most never do. Howard Beale did, and it was Peter Finch's finest hour. It was also, his last. After a career laced with small films and b-movies, Howard Beale died after Network, and left a performance not to be forgotten. Robert Duvall played the token psycho, as usual. Not unlike his character in M*A*S*H, Duvall was calm and collected, but manipulative and domineering, and ultimatley the villain of the piece. Network that is, not M*A*S*H. Unlike M*A*S*H however, Duvall's insanity is never quite revealed. Dunaway plays an ice queen- as usual. Only different this time. In her other films, she is most frequently unafraid of relationship and quite content with telling a guy to back off, not in Network. In Network, she's an overworked backstabber, who, much like Duvall's character manipulates and uses people to the point it makes the user shout out for her to stop. I like to compare this character with Vivien Leigh's poignant Scarlett O'Hara, because like Diana (Dunaway in the movie), Scarlett used people to get her way. Lastly, an old school William Holden and little known actress Beatric Straight play the couple with the marriage on the rocks. We never really learn where this is going due to Holden struggling to keep working, and worrying little with Straight and his family. He cares only, like many other characters about the money. Unlike the other TV officials, Holden also cares about his friend, Howard Beale and what will become of him after the network spits finishes chewing him and spits him out. It makes Holden as sick as us when Beale is exploded by the psychotic TV officials. Network's story is, as mentioned a very potent one, and it is just as important today in our media crazed society. The acting is very well done, especially by the five main cast members. Upon it's year of release, in 1966, Network won four Academy Awards- for Bets Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight) and Best Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). It deserved all it's award, and in my opinion, Best Picture over the corwd pleaser Rocky. Network remains a very important satire, even today and it sure to please everyone who watches it. It's one of my favorites.

powerful
This film is more important than ever now, considering the corporate usurpation almost all of our media. The film is loaded with poweful performances. Watch it. It will change the way you view things.

there's a bigger theme in this film...
Most of these reviews talk about how much TV has become just like "UBS" of "Network". This is most obviously true. I believe the media today sacrafices a journalist caught lying on occasion just to cover up the fact that they all lie. But the bigger message in this film is that the media or "UBS" specifically has become a mirror of the world; that we should see how false the WORLD has become when we see this film not just how false telivision is. The most telling scene is not discussed in these reviews--the one where Howard Beale is taken to the Network head who tells him in god-like tones that there are no more nation states; there is no more democracy; that all those concepts are just that--concepts that have had their day and that the new nature; the new over-power is money and it's ebbs and flows and that all morality and ethics stand in its shadow. More than what tv has become this film is about what WE'VE become as individuals in this society.

What's confusing and also intriguing about this unmentioned theme in the film is that once Howard "sees the light"; once he believes that god has spoken to him by way of the Network Head [Ned Beaty], he brings "God's" message to the show which the network head refuses to cancel even when it, because of its now sobering, depressing, rather than merely angry, message, begins to drop in the ratigs. Why would the chief exec allow this to happen if he truely believed in the bottom line he preached to Howard Beale? This satire is so tightly written that I believe there's a good answer here. maybe another reviewer can provide the answer amongst his or her review. Great film.


The X-Files - The Complete Second Season
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (28 November, 2000)
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Starring: X-Files and David Duchovny
While the first season of The X-Files introduced us to Scully and Mulder, the second season finds the show confidently hitting its stride. Building on its earlier success, the show evolves, and in these 25 episodes, a glimpse is shown of a longer-running story line (which will continue through subsequent seasons) that is woven into the usual stand-alone episodes of the paranormal. These so-called mythology episodes hint at a global conspiracy involving sinister government agents, UFOs, alien abductions, genetic engineering, the ever-lurking Cigarette Smoking Man, and Fox Mulder's father. Season 2 fleshes out Mulder's family history, including the childhood abduction of his sister Samantha, an event that would shape him for life. Actress Gillian Anderson (Scully) became unexpectedly pregnant during season 2, but series creator Chris Carter managed to dance nimbly around her absence and even integrate it into the show. As in season 1, Mulder and Scully are surrounded by a strong supporting cast, which adds a suspicious new agent named Alex Krycek, an informant named X, and a seemingly indestructible alien bounty hunter.

The seven-disc boxed set includes some interesting background material, but again, the heart of the set is the episodes themselves. Among them are standouts such as "The Host," "Duane Barry/Ascension," "Humbug," "Dod Kalm," "Colony/End Game," and "Anasazi." These episodes are a powerful reminder that The X-Files, like no other show on television, can span horror, suspense, mystery, romance, drama, and comedy, sometimes all in the same episode, and always with the production values of a major feature film. --Eugene Wei

Average review score:

The adventures continue
The show just keeps getting better. The best episode of this season is "Little Green Men."

Picking up momentum
After the surprise success of the first season of The X-Files, the second season built on it's momentum, and this is where the true genius of the show began to take shape. With The X-Files themselves now closed; Mulder and Scully find themselves in the middle of a hinted global conspiracy involving aliens, genetic experimentation, a shape changing alien bounty hunter (Brian Thompson) and Mulder's own father and the truth behind his sister's abduction. New and ultimately pivotal characters were introduced: sneaky FBI Agent Alex Krychek, the mysterious Mr. X (Steven Williams), and the roles of the Cancer Man (William B. Davis) and A.D. Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) were given much more credibility and screen time. Stand out episodes include the Season 2 premiere Little Green Men and Humbug where Mulder and Scully investigate a chain of bizarre murders at a freak side show (always a favorite episode of mine); but some of the best episodes in the entire series are found here with Duane Barry and Ascension where the truth about alien life is brought to the forefront and Scully herself is abducted. As great as Season 2 of the X-Files is though, it would only be a sample of the greatness to come.

THE BEST SEASON EVER
I love the series and i have seen all the episodes since season 8.I think that the best season is the second season.In this season there are many fantastic episodes like Host,3,Humbug,One breath and of course the two parts of Scully's abduction.The end of the season is excellent.DONT MISS IT!


Breaking Away
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (11 March, 2003)
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Director: Peter Yates
Starring: Dennis Christopher and Dennis Quaid
Peter Yates's flag-waving film stands with To Kill a Mockingbird and American Graffiti as one of the best films about small-town Americana. Steve Tesich won an Oscar for his semi-biographical screenplay about four 19-year-olds who don't know what to do after high school. Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher) and his three friends--ex-football star Mike (Dennis Quaid), wily comedian Cyril (Daniel Stern), and tough kid Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley)--are doomed to live in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, where the local kids (nicknamed "Cutters"--a derogatory reference to quarry workers and their blue-collar families) are looked down on by the uppity students of nearby Indiana University.

Stohler escapes into a world of Italian bicycling, picking up the lingo, the accent, and a good share of the talent of his heroes. He is also the scourge of his father's life. The used-car salesman (Paul Dooley) doesn't understand his son's affection for bicycling or, for that matter, his pride in being a "Cutter."

Breaking Away rehabilitates the word heartwarming as Tesich's uncommonly intelligent script gives us well-rounded characters and a potent sense of place. The grandstanding finale--the real life "Little 500" bike race--gives the film a perfect, crowd-pleasing end. However, the film never sacrifices the development of characters for the action. Dooley is especially effective in one of those once-in-a-lifetime roles. The lifelong character actor's place in film history is established with this indispensable performance. --Doug Thomas

Average review score:

A classic movie and a great story
This one is well worth owning -- the cycling is absorbing, and while not always realistic, it comes closer than films like American Flyer. I'm a grad student at IU Bloomington, and before I came here this movie was my intro to Bloomington. The Little 500 still is a great spectacle, and this movie captures it well, along with the town-gown tension.

A skeptic says it's good
Despite the "shown-on-TBS-in-the-afternoon" feeling to this movie I actually love it, and like it more every time I watch it. First of all I love bikes, and I love Europe, so I immediately had something in common with the protagonist. But really all the characters are identifiable in some way. Now it seems that even college kids are finding that their lives seem aimless, and the movie seems to speak to that theme that is daunting for almost all of us. You'd think it would be cheesy, and in some respects it is, but nonetheless it's hard not to cheer for them to win the bicycle race. I do even though I know the outcome.
The boy's father is perhaps the most interesting character. His transformation from gruff to understanding is totally believable, and what you want to happen. The movie doesn't make it look like everything is going to be alright, in fact one character is still noticably directionless at the end, but things do end on happy, though not too sappy note. My two favorite scenes are when Dennis saronades "Carolina" with the Italian aria, and the very last scene (you'll see).

THE best cycling movie - accessible to all!
Simply the best cycling movie of all time (so far...). Enjoyable by anyone and everyone with a special warm place for all cyclists. Any rider/racer who's seen this will always recall the Semi-drafting scene, the riding with the Italian team - a little too competetive! And the quotes... "Mama! The Italians are coming!" "That boy was as right as rain 'til he started riding that bicycle".
It's a heart-warming coming of age story underneath that everyone seems to relate to, giving it the wide appeal of a true classic.
Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie are perfect as the long suffering Dad and Mom and Dennis Christopher puts in just the right performance as the bicycle-obsessed teen.


Sordid Lives
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (02 September, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Del Shores
Starring: Delta Burke and Bonnie Bedelia
If you've got a taste for big hair, broad Texas accents, and gay rights, this mixture of white-trash comedy and coming-out melodrama is for you. Sordid Lives starts out as chicken-fried farce, as a funeral is prepared for a woman who died when she tripped over her adulterous lover's wooden legs; about midway the emphasis shifts to a drag queen unfairly held in a mental institution and the dead woman's grandson, an actor in Los Angeles who hasn't come out to his mother. The tone shifts wildly, and the humor depends on your fondness for the white-trash genre--if you like it, this will tickle your ribs; if you don't, it'll fall flat as the panhandle landscape. But it must be said that the cast (including Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, and Olivia Newton-John) dives right in, no matter how over-the-top their characters get. --Bret Fetzer
Average review score:

Watch it for Brother Boy and Olivia
A film by Del Shores featuring Olivia Newton-John and Delta Burke.
Basically Del gets it right about returning home to the comical lifestyles of your relatives. The houses are right, the decor and accents are perfect.
Delta Burke seems to fall into her role naturally, being southern herself. I am not sure why Olivia is here, but it is nice to see her.
I couldn't get past the fact that the film looks so cheap. I realize it is an independent film. But OY, it looks like a camcorder was used to film it.
The scenes with Brother Boy were hilarious, saved the film, and even drew a chuckle out of me. His "de-homosexualization" therapy was hilarious. That is the only strong point here.

minnesotakeith
They was robbed! This is a classic and deserved all the attention and award nominations that they gave "Fargo" a few years ago. Being a Minnesotan I accepted "Fargo" for its embellished (exaggerated) picture of us. "Sordid Lives" is similar in its presentation of Texas poor-white-trash and does it so fabulously! The story and characters are almost believable and the acting is superb - Olivia Newton John included. I'm talking Academy Award nomination caliber performances! It's a super fun wild ride - I never tire of watching it. Portions of the plot , as well as some of the language, may not appeal to the unenlightened, humor-challeged conservative though.

Sordid Lives deserves a rating of 5 rubber band snaps ! LOL
What a wonderful movie. I have seen it 5 times & will see it again on Nov 8, 2003, in Palm Springs, CA, for the 2nd anniversary of its showing at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs, with many cast members present. I recently purchased the DVD so I could see extra scenes - though the best way to see the film is in a real theatre, because the audience reaction is like a second sound track. Not watching the movie again is like quitting smoking, so I give it 5 bubber band wrist snaps!


Trading Places
Released in DVD by Paramount Home Video (24 June, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: John Landis
Starring: Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy
In this crowd-pleasing 1983 comedy of high finance about a homeless con artist who becomes a Wall Street robber baron, Eddie Murphy consolidated the success of his startling debut in the previous year's 48 Hours and polished his slick-winner persona. The turnabout begins with an argument between super-rich siblings, played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche: Are captains of industry, they wonder, born or made? To settle the issue, the meanies construct a cruel experiment in social Darwinism. Preppie commodities trader Dan Aykroyd (perfectly cast) is stripped of all his worldly goods and expelled from the firm, and Murphy's smelly derelict is appointed to take his place, graduating to tailored suits and a world-class harem in record time. Eventually the two men team up to teach the nasty old manipulators a lesson, cornering the market in frozen orange juice futures in the process. Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers) doesn't have the world's lightest touch, but he hits most of the jokes hard and quite a few of them pay off. Trading Places is also a landmark film for fans of Jamie Lee Curtis. --David Chute
Average review score:

A Jamie Lee classic
The movie is funny enough, but the main reason to buy this DVD is for the pause function and the scene with Jamie Lee Curtis topless. This scene is probably the finest work she ever did.

Al Franken is in this one
I think this movie clearly shows that Jamie Lee Curtis is not a man and has a nice rack. Get it and hit pause.

"It Was The Dukes!!...It Was The Dukes!!.."
This review refers to the Widescreen Collection/DVD edtion(Paramount)of "Trading Places"....

If you have already seen this fabulously fun film, then you know the scene I am referring to in my title of this review.It is just one of the many, many laugh out loud moments that Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd and the rest of the brillant cast treat us to. If you haven't seen it and you like to laugh..this is a must see, one that will brighten your holdiays and leave you grinning ear to ear whenever you think of it.

The very wealthy brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke portrayed by legends Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, are sitting around their exclusive club having a little tiff on the theory of Heredity vs. Enviroment. After bestowing a very generous Christmas bonus of five dollars to the man who sees to their needs year round, they make a little wager. The bet...take their most trusted employee(Aykroyd), and play with his life until he becomes an outcast. Take a street-wise con-artist(Murphy),and give him a taste of the good life. Who will prevail? Will the Harvard grad, still be the person he was, after losing everything, or will he turn to crime? And what about the con man? Will his new enviroment make a new man out of him or will he still resort to his old ways? Watching these two "Trading Places" is one of the most fun 2 hours you can spend. The story takes place between Christmas and New Years so it's a great Holdiay film to add to your collection as well.

The cast is marvelous.Dan Aykroyd is the perfect snob, and Eddie Murphy, well he's just great at being Eddie Murphy. Jaime Lee Curits is the hooker with a heart(who's looking to increase her bank account and get off her back),Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy show they haven't lost what it took to become the legends they are, and Denholm Elliot is perfectly cast as the butler in on the action. Adding to the fun are Bo Didley,Paul Gleason, Frank Oz and James Belushi. Directing this wonderful cast is John Landis, who doesn't miss a trick and the music by Elmer Bernstein sets the tone perfectly as usual.The movie is rated R for some some scenes of nudity(do we expect any less from Jaime Lee?).

The DVD is a great buy. The anamorphic widescreen picture is gorgeous. Clear and bright with beautiful colors, the film does not appear to be 20 years old already. You have the choice of Dolby Dig 5.1 surround sound or stereo surround sound, both are excellent. There are English subtitles and it may be viewed in French(mono). There are no special feautres though.

So how much was the wager they made? A whooping one dollar! Who wins?.....I'll never tell!

Seen it?..you know you gotta have it!...Haven't seen it?....Go for it!...You'll love it!...enjoy....Laurie


All That Jazz
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (19 August, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Bob Fosse
Starring: Roy Scheider and Jessica Lange
Choreographer-turned-director Bob Fosse (Cabaret, Lenny) turns the camera on himself in this nervy, sometimes unnerving 1979 feature, a nakedly autobiographical piece that veers from gritty drama to razzle-dazzle musical, allegory to satire. It's an indication of his bravura, and possibly his self-absorption, that Fosse (who also cowrote the script) literally opens alter ego Joe Gideon's heart in a key scene--an unflinching glimpse of cardiac surgery, shot during an actual open-heart procedure.

Roy Scheider makes a brave and largely successful leap out of his usual romantic lead roles to step into Gideon's dancing pumps, and supplies a plausible sketch of an extravagant, self-destructive, self-loathing creative dynamo, while Jessica Lange serves as a largely allegorical Muse, one of the various women that the philandering Gideon pursues (and usually abandons). Gideon's other romantic partners include Fosse's own protégé (and a major keeper of his choreographic style since his death), Ann Reinking, whose leggy grace is seductive both "onstage" and off.

Fosse/Gideon's collision course with mortality, as well as his priapic obsession with the opposite sex, may offer clues into the libidinal core of the choreographer's dynamic, sexualized style of dance, but musical aficionados will be forgiven for fast-forwarding to cut out the self-analysis and focus on the music, period. At its best--as in the knockout opening, scored to George Benson's strutting version of "On Broadway," which fuses music, dance, and dazzling camera work into a paean to Fosse's hoofer nation--All That Jazz offers a sequence of classic Fosse numbers, hard-edged, caustic, and joyously physical. --Sam Sutherland

Average review score:

Pretentious, endless, meaningless, dated
I was very impressed with this when it came out. I was 18.

What's wrong? Let's see: the dancing, the music, the choreography, the sensibility, the dialogue, the sermonizing, the acting, the pseudo-sensitivity, the posing, the style-over-substance approach to presenting -- nothing at all.

Not the most-overrated film ever. But very close. Wake up people! It's all flash! In some rather minimal way, that was the point of the movie ... so, thank me. I saved you from a 2 hour-long 'revelation' ...

Excellent movie!
I liked this movie much more than Chicago. Chicago was very well done and enjoyable, but i thought it was over-hyped, and I didn't like Queen Latifah at all in that movie and thought they should have cast someone else. The rest of the cast was perfect. Now, onto All That Jazz:This is a truely great movie and very well directed and cast. I can't imagine anyone but Roy Scheider in the roll of Joe Gideon. He plays a very believable choreographer who is a womanizer, sex addict, drug addict, alcoholic and workaholic, who eventually burns himself out from exhaustion while trying to put together a musical production, and suffers a heart attack and dies. The movie is actually a musical about his death. Jessica Lang plays the character of "Death". It's nice that Death is represented by a beautiful angelic woman in white, instead of a scary grim reaper. The song and dance numbers are great and very memorable. I love the music in this movie! My older brother was an usher at the theatre at the time this movie played, and he saw it over 40 times and bought the soundtrack album. It's probably his favorite movie of all time. Although this movie is billed as a musical comedy, i viewed it as more of a serious drama about a very talented and charismatic man who suffered from many addictions and paid the price for it in his personal life. Highly recommended movie, and Roy Scheider's performance is mesmorizing to watch. The dance sequence called "Air-otica" is a very sensual dance number you won't soon forget! This movie is on my personal list of the 100 greatest films of all time.

5 stars plus another 5! 10 times better than chicago
wow, this is one of the greatest films i've ever seen. simply fantastic and wonderful. i think that the recent hyped 'chicago' was somewhat and somehow miserably copied or at least stole lot of its lousy settings from this wonderful film. i would never imagine that roy scheider could be this good. he should get an oscar from this. and suppose this ' all that jazz' was competing with that lousy and boring 'chicago' from all the same oscar categories? mymymy, a movie about new york broadway showbiz should be and must be like 'all that jazz'. it should be the bible of this genre. another good dancing movie is the 'center stage' if you didn't watch it yet, get it, hombre.


To Catch a Thief
Released in DVD by Paramount Home Video (05 November, 2002)
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
This minor 1955 work by Alfred Hitchcock, one of the lighter entries of his creative peak in the 1950s, is still imbued with the master's stock themes of shared guilt and romantic ambivalence. It is also hardly lacking in Hitchcockian cinematic inventiveness, such as a famous, often-imitated sequence in which some smooching between stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly is intercut with a fireworks show that just happens to be going on outside in a Riviera setting. Grant plays a reformed cat burglar who is suspected of reviving his trade, though he knows someone else is using his old methods. A very enjoyable experience, but don't get this confused with Hitchcock's other Cary Grant film of that decade, which was a masterpiece: North by Northwest. --Tom Keogh
Average review score:

No Chemistry Between the Stars
Perhaps it's Cary Grant's robot like charm. Or perhaps it's Grace Kelly's utter lack of it, but somehow these two never looked like their romantic radars were on the same wavelength. Grace Kelly is beautiful in a classic, albeit unexotic way, but her acting is nonexistent, as is the chemistry she generates with Cary Grant.

As for Mr. Grant, Grace Kelly seems to be the last thing he is interested in. It's a wonder things work out he way they do. Cary Grant banked on his remarkable charming screen presence, while Grace Kelly serves as window dressing with no personality. It would have been nicer had she lost that fak-o English accent. It's really too much.

Kudos to the beautiful setting.

Languid but beautiful romantic thriller
This is probably Hitchcock's most beautiful movie. Grace Kelly is well (but of course decorously) displayed in delicate and perfectly fitted summer dresses and evening gowns (designed by Edith Head) that show off her exquisite arms and shoulders while accentuating her elegant neck and jaw line--and, as she turns for the camera, the graceful line of her back. Opposite her is one of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, the incomparable Cary Grant.

The cinematography by long-time Hitchcock collaborator Robert Burks was shot on location in the French Riviera. The style is daylight clear and sparkling, bright as the dream of a princess to be, always focused without a hint of darkness anywhere. Even the scenes shot at night on the rooftops seem to glow. The houses on the hills overlooking Princess Grace's future home and the narrow cobble stone roads with the low-lying stone walls suggest a refined and elegant lifestyle to come. Even though she drives too fast, one is not worried that she might crash...

Cary Grant is John Robie who fought with the French resistence during WWII and then became a jewel thief, dubbed "The Cat" for his ability to slink quietly in the night over roof tops and to steal into the bedrooms of the rich and take their jewels without waking them. As the movie opens he is retired from his life of crime and living comfortably in a villa in the hills above Nice. The complications begin immediately as the police arrive at his villa to question him about some recent cat-like jewel robberies. Robie is innocent of course (we are led to believe) and to prove his innocence he is motivated to find the real thief.

Grace Kelly plays Frances Stevens, the slightly naughty nouveau riche daughter of the widow of a Texas-style oil millionaire. She is used to having men fall all over themselves trying to court her, but Robie seems uninterested, and this excites her fancy and she goes after him. It is interesting to note that by this time Cary Grant (51 when the film was released) had become such a heart throb that directors liked to have the women (who were always noticeably younger; Kelly was 26) chase after him. Audrey Hepburn does as much in Charade (1963). One notes that here, as in Charade, the women kiss Cary Grant first, not the other way around. Here it is nicely done as the previously demure Frances takes a surprising initiative at the door of her hotel suite.

The story itself is rather bland and predictable, reminding me of a James Bond flick from, say, the sixties as though toned down for an audience of old maids. Notable in supporting roles are Brigitte Auber as the athletic Danielle Foussard, John Williams as the British insurance agent, and Jessie Royce Landis as Frances Stevens' mother. Hitch makes his de rigueur appearance as a passenger on the mini-bus that Robie takes to get away from the gendarmes early in the film.

See this for Grace Kelly whose cool and playful demeanor and statuesque beauty form the heart of this somewhat languid romantic thriller.

An old Hitchcock movie


This is another old Hitchcock film, typical of his expert touch, and like virtually all of his work features a cameo appearance of Hitchcock himself. (A scene on a bus, in which he appears nonchalantly seated alongside Cary Grant as just another passenger for a second or two.)

In this wonderful film, Cary Grant plays a former jewel thief, John Robie, an American living in France who helps the French resistance during WWII, and subsequently (after the war) is given a parole for his former criminal acts because of his wartime heroism, dependent upon his subsequent good behavior, and "goes straight."

But there is a problem: Someone, using his exact modus operandi, begins a series of heists--throwing him into an extremely had light with the local gendarme.

Grace Kelly, as Frances Stevens, a somewhat spoiled American heiress, guesses his actual identity when he is trying to remain in hiding undercover in order to discover the perpetrator, and the plot thickens.

In the unlikely event that you have not seen this film, I don't wish to spoil it for you, so I'll not divulge any more of the plot, but it is HItchcock's usual masterful job, superbly played by a couple of Hollywood's top superstars when they were at the height of their careers.

This film was released in VHS on April 1, 2003. It is one of those timeless movies that never gets tiresome. A true classic representing a time when actors and actresses actually had character, and were identifiable as real professionals. Lord, I miss the "old days" when titillating the audience with filthy language and sex scenes was not necessary to hold their interest--just good stories and good acting.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre ...


An Ideal Husband
Released in DVD by Miramax Home Entertainment (18 February, 2000)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Director: Oliver Parker
Starring: Rupert Everett and Julianne Moore
For truly clever dialogue and a smartly structured plot, you can't go wrong with Oscar Wilde. Wilde's play An Ideal Husband is not his best known, but this film adaptation has all the wit you could ask for and a cast with the chops to deliver it: Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Oscar and Lucinda), Julianne Moore (Short Cuts, Boogie Nights), Minnie Driver (Grosse Pointe Blank, Big Night), Jeremy Northam (The Winslow Boy, Emma), and especially Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding, A Midsummer Night's Dream), who tosses off perfect epigrams with unflappable aplomb. The plot hinges on Northam, a member of Parliament (the British governing body, not the funk band) with a skeleton in his closet who is blackmailed into a shady business deal by a lady of mystery (Moore), who turns out to be a loathed school chum of the parliamentarian's wife (Blanchett). Everything is resolved happily, but not until after some devious twists of fate, several mistaken identities, lots of comic banter, and much social skewering. Wilde, who came to ruin when his homosexuality was brought to light, has a sharp eye for hypocrisy and the artificial poses demanded by society--but political commentary never gets in the way of a smart laugh. Visually sumptuous and briskly paced, An Ideal Husband will satisfy anyone looking for social satire or romantic comedy. --Bret Fetzer
Average review score:

Where's the famous "bracelet scene" from Wilde's play?!!
This movie would've been perfect if the filmmaker hadn't left out the very important and hugely delicious "bracelet scene" from Wilde's original play. If you've read the play, you'll know which scene I mean. The point and beauty of Wilde's play is that the blackmailer (Mrs Cheveley, who thinks she's too clever for everyone) gets blackmailed in return (in the scene where the bracelet plays a major part). The tagline of Wilde's play (in the backcover of the Penguin Books edition I own) reads: "In order to be a successful blackmailer, one's own reputation must be beyond reproach". In Wilde's play, the "bracelet scene" involves the cool Lord Goring and the scheming Mrs Cheveley. Why, why was the scene omitted from the movie?! Did the filmmaker find it difficult to produce the special-clasp bracelet? As a result, the movie fails to capture the most important point of the play and becomes only an average fare with a plot that fizzles out in the end. Instead of an embarrassed and defeated Mrs Cheveley who unexpectedly gets a taste of her own medicine (as in Wilde's play), the movie gives us a rather smug, victorious (and heaven forbid, almost "virtuous") Mrs Cheveley in the end. This is totally different from what Wilde intended in his play and I find the omission of the "bracelet scene" to be a bad and unforgivable mistake on the filmmaker's part. Ugh! Hugely dissapointing!

Watch the movie if you must, for its fine cast, beautiful costumes and witty lines (many taken verbatim from the play, of course). Just don't expect to experience the 'true spirit' of Wilde's play. The omission of the "bracelet scene" certainly took away all my enjoyment of this adaptation.

Everybody has flaws
"An Ideal Husband," while not entirely faithful to the Oscar Wilde play of the same name, is an enjoyable period film with plenty of snappy dialogue, first-rate actors and gorgeous costumes and set pieces.

Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) seems to have it all -- a flourishing career in Parliament, his beautiful and perfect wife Lady Gertrude (Cate Blanchett), and the universal respect given to a man with a perfect reputation. He has a vivacious sister (Minnie Driver) and is pals with a charming, womanizing, ironic and very bored playboy, Lord Goring (Rupert Everett).

But when a certain Mrs. Cheveley arrives in London from Vienna, things take a sudden turn for the worst. Charming and cultured, she's also devious and cold-blooded. And worst of all, she has Robert's dirty little secret, a financial scam from years ago. She'll give him the proof of his misdeed, but only if he sacrifices his principles and supports the Suez Canal motion. Otherwise, she'll make the letter public and wreck his marriage and his career. It's up to Lord Goring to get his pal out of trouble...

"An Ideal Husband" is an enjoyable and witty play, with a plot that twists right up to the final scenes and a genuinely romantic subplot. (As an extra bonus, we see the characters watching the play "Importance of Being Earnest" -- another Wilde play) The study of morality, payback for one's sins, and the power of words is much more interesting than the typical period-dress drama.

The script is quite well-written, well-paced except for a few exceptions. In one early scene Everett rattles off a few witty phrases; the problem is that they feel strung together and flung out just to prove "See? This is a witty, ironic movie!". Oscar Wilde's witticisms should not be delivered in a monotone. The costumes are exquisite, simply gorgeous, but thankfully never overwhelm the actors. Cate Blanchett's gowns in particular are beautifully-made. The interiors, furniture and costumes are all very detailed in the manner of "Age of Innocence."

Jeremy Northam is quite good as Robert, a guy torn between self-preservation and his own scruples; Cate Blanchett is outstanding, giving her character evident flaws while making her entirely, completely sympathetic. Rupert Everett has some flat moments, especially near the beginning (he also has zero chemistry with Driver), but overall is acceptable as a clever playboy whose ambition is to accomplish nothing at all. Julianne Moore is excellent as well, making Mrs. Chevely utterly slimy and charming. Minnie Driver is a problem, though. She seems to be completely befuddled by her historical dialogue (her witty lines fall completely flat and none of them seem natural, like Blanchett's are) and moves like a too-quick puppet.

No person is perfect, and the movie isn't either. But Blanchett, Moore and Northam are excellent and the movie is a visual feast. A pleasant diversion.

A lot of fun, but...
Fairly intelligent movie. From the ads I was expecting more of a romantic comedy than intrigue, but overall this was fun. I was only disappointed by the ending; it seemed sudden and anticlimactic.


Narc (Full Screen Edition)
Released in DVD by Paramount Home Video (17 June, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Jason Patric, Chi McBride, and Ray Liotta
Jittery camera moves and a gray-blue palette make it clear that Narc is a gritty police drama in the tradition of The French Connection and Serpico. Jason Patric (Rush, Your Friends & Neighbors) plays Nick Tellis, a former undercover cop with an accidental death on his conscience, which may be why he's agreed to partner with Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), a lieutenant determined to track down the killers of his former partner. This could all be rote, but the grit sticks: writer-director Joe Carnahan takes a huge leap forward from his Tarentino-wannabe first film, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane. The entire cast is excellent; Patric and Liotta give rich, textured performances that make their respective obsessions vivid and sad. Narc could use more of the dark humor that occasionally bursts out, but the movie's drive and energy make it more than a bleak tale of good intentions gone bad. --Bret Fetzer
Average review score:

Strong character piece.
This film is for those who enjoy films with strong, realistic portrayals of real people in extraordinary circumstances. Which is the case of Ray Liotta and Jason Patric's characters: two cops, which are totally opposite in the way they behave and handle things.
Liotta's character has passed the thin line that divides a man in control of his emotions and respectful of law and authority, and one who cannot or doesn't want to do things in the right way: he simply has lost interest, and has too much rage to give a damn about things, so, to him the end justifies the means. But the problem is that there is no way in which this character can get rid of his demons, there isn't a way in which he can redeem himself, not with the way he decided things should be done.
Patric's character, on the other side, also has a conflicted conscious, but still believes in doing good. And to him, the end does not justify the means. He is a man who still has something to look up for, something to cherish, and does whatever he can to preserve things that way, no matter how hard things get.
This is a film about these two cops and their struggles within themselves and their antagonistic way in which they see things should be done. But there are not good or evil people here; there are not black and whites; but there is only one way to make things at least a little better.

Bravo.
Simply put, this film is sledge-hammer-to-the-chest, both-eyes-agape, runaway-train-through-a-living-room astonishing. I watched this movie and immediately woke my 3 year old up around 3:00 a.m. to embrace her as tight as I annoyingly could. That's how this movie affects you. If you have children and ever see this film, I promise you'll do exactly the same thing.

And might I say a sincere bravo to Joe Carnahan for delivering such a treat to those of us who believe true filmmaking is dead. I myself work directly in Hollywood as an active member on film sets and I regretfully admit that I have become jaded and cynical towards "movies".

But this one knocked me out of my socks. I think to quote an ever on point Tom Cruise, " . . . I was pinned to my seat." And I honestly can't remember the last time such a gritty, raw and unrelentless vehicle like this one made me forget I was actually watching a "movie". Lord knows if I didn't know a thing about a thing, I'd have probably thought this was some kind of documentary.

So that little bit being said without actually saying a thing about NARC, this film is absolutely incredible.

Great Detective Yarn, Even Better Ending!
Featuring solid work from both Jason Patric and the astonishing Ray Liotta (he should have won an Oscar),"Narc" is a dark brutal, tale of the hunt for a supposed cop killer. If the opening chase scene doesn't pull you in, then you don't have a pulse! Writer/Director Joe Carnahan stages and shoots much of this great film like a 70's cop drama, but never lets style overcome the story. Busta Rhymes is good a small put pivotal role as a drug dealer and his revelations near the end of the piece send the tale in a whole new direction. Liotta with his weathered face, bushy goatee and bloated, almost lumbering appearance is a marvel to watch as he alternates between violent, sadistic rage and moments of clear-headed reasoning and remembrance (the stakeout scene in the car when he talks about his deceased wife is one of the best sequences here and a fine bit of subtle acting by both he and Patric). While is has it's moments of bloody violence, the movie never shows us carnage for the sake of shock value. An all around excellent movie, "Narc" will achieve an even greater reputation with the passing of time and be fondly remembered as one of the best cop films in cinematic history. Highly Recommended.


Narc (Widescreen Edition)
Released in DVD by Paramount Home Video (17 June, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Jason Patric, Chi McBride, and Ray Liotta
Jittery camera moves and a gray-blue palette make it clear that Narc is a gritty police drama in the tradition of The French Connection and Serpico. Jason Patric (Rush, Your Friends & Neighbors) plays Nick Tellis, a former undercover cop with an accidental death on his conscience, which may be why he's agreed to partner with Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), a lieutenant determined to track down the killers of his former partner. This could all be rote, but the grit sticks: writer-director Joe Carnahan takes a huge leap forward from his Tarentino-wannabe first film, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane. The entire cast is excellent; Patric and Liotta give rich, textured performances that make their respective obsessions vivid and sad. Narc could use more of the dark humor that occasionally bursts out, but the movie's drive and energy make it more than a bleak tale of good intentions gone bad. --Bret Fetzer
Average review score:

Strong character piece.
This film is for those who enjoy films with strong, realistic portrayals of real people in extraordinary circumstances. Which is the case of Ray Liotta and Jason Patric's characters: two cops, which are totally opposite in the way they behave and handle things.
Liotta's character has passed the thin line that divides a man in control of his emotions and respectful of law and authority, and one who cannot or doesn't want to do things in the right way: he simply has lost interest, and has too much rage to give a damn about things, so, to him the end justifies the means. But the problem is that there is no way in which this character can get rid of his demons, there isn't a way in which he can redeem himself, not with the way he decided things should be done.
Patric's character, on the other side, also has a conflicted conscious, but still believes in doing good. And to him, the end does not justify the means. He is a man who still has something to look up for, something to cherish, and does whatever he can to preserve things that way, no matter how hard things get.
This is a film about these two cops and their struggles within themselves and their antagonistic way in which they see things should be done. But there are not good or evil people here; there are not black and whites; but there is only one way to make things at least a little better.

Bravo.
Simply put, this film is sledge-hammer-to-the-chest, both-eyes-agape, runaway-train-through-a-living-room astonishing. I watched this movie and immediately woke my 3 year old up around 3:00 a.m. to embrace her as tight as I annoyingly could. That's how this movie affects you. If you have children and ever see this film, I promise you'll do exactly the same thing.

And might I say a sincere bravo to Joe Carnahan for delivering such a treat to those of us who believe true filmmaking is dead. I myself work directly in Hollywood as an active member on film sets and I regretfully admit that I have become jaded and cynical towards "movies".

But this one knocked me out of my socks. I think to quote an ever on point Tom Cruise, " . . . I was pinned to my seat." And I honestly can't remember the last time such a gritty, raw and unrelentless vehicle like this one made me forget I was actually watching a "movie". Lord knows if I didn't know a thing about a thing, I'd have probably thought this was some kind of documentary.

So that little bit being said without actually saying a thing about NARC, this film is absolutely incredible.

Great Detective Yarn, Even Better Ending!
Featuring solid work from both Jason Patric and the astonishing Ray Liotta (he should have won an Oscar),"Narc" is a dark brutal, tale of the hunt for a supposed cop killer. If the opening chase scene doesn't pull you in, then you don't have a pulse! Writer/Director Joe Carnahan stages and shoots much of this great film like a 70's cop drama, but never lets style overcome the story. Busta Rhymes is good a small put pivotal role as a drug dealer and his revelations near the end of the piece send the tale in a whole new direction. Liotta with his weathered face, bushy goatee and bloated, almost lumbering appearance is a marvel to watch as he alternates between violent, sadistic rage and moments of clear-headed reasoning and remembrance (the stakeout scene in the car when he talks about his deceased wife is one of the best sequences here and a fine bit of subtle acting by both he and Patric). While is has it's moments of bloody violence, the movie never shows us carnage for the sake of shock value. An all around excellent movie, "Narc" will achieve an even greater reputation with the passing of time and be fondly remembered as one of the best cop films in cinematic history. Highly Recommended.


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