Dirty Harry - Boy
I like the movie Dirty Harry, and not just because it's a
sterotypical macho movie. Along with being a good story
with decent acting, it's also a great glimpse into what
life was like back in the 60's - you know, before the wacko
liberal element took over SF. Clean city streets along with
conservative attitudes - these prevail as a backdrop to the
gritty realism of a nut on the loose murdering innocent
citizens. And if you think that's a little extreme for
reality, checkout the story of the Zodiac
Killer which was happening about the same time the
movie was in production.
Reading up on Dirty Harry, I was surprised to learn that several prominent actors refused to be considered for the lead role because they felt it catered too much to "violent, right-wing morals". I can somewhat accept that since the movie hadn't been produced yet and people draw conclusions based on a script which may or may not be completed. But even after it was released several leading critics accused the film of being a "right-wing fantasy" or a "single-minded attack against liberal values". Without a doubt Clint Eastwood had the best response to these perceptions: "...some people are so politically oriented, when they see cornflakes in a bowl, they get some complex interpretation out of it."
Good or bad, the movie earned $36 million based on a $4 million budget. Not too shabby for a time when a top of the line Porsche 911 could be had for less that $8,000.
Hanna - Saoirse
Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana. A spy thriller with
suspense, action and international intrigue - except the
highly trained agent is young girl? Hanna is a very
different kind of movie in that you don't quite understand
what's happening until well into the story. But I really
liked that it didn't fit the usual espionage format and so
had a somewhat unpredictable plot. I mean, how many young
innocent looking girls do you expect to be highly trained
assasins? And as with most young people, she has moments of
internal struggles with recognizing who she has become and
whether that's what she wants. Along that line the ending
has some unexpected twists.
Finally, the scenery was fantastic and while I don't know a lot about movie making I can tell when something is filmed in studio and when it's out in the real world... mostly on location in Germany but also Morocco and Finland - nice camera work.
Killers - Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl... wouldn't watch it again. Kutcher attempts to pull off a James Bond role and if he didn't have such a baby face there might be a chance. Actually if this were a James Bond spoof it might have been so much better. As it was the action scenes just don't make up for a weak implausible story line.
Sergeant York - Gary Cooper stars in the 1941 drama about a real life World War I hero. Story is about Alvin York who turns from a hell raising alcoholic hillbilly to a conscientious objector war hero. I was also impressed with how his Christian life was portrayed in a positive manner as opposed to the religious wacko characters in most of Hollywood films today. As mentioned before, this was a true story - pretty amazing and worth watching again.
The Whole Nine Yards - Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette, and my favorite Amanda Peet. Comedy about a dentist in a bad marriage who becomes involved with Chicago gangsters. This is an okay movie... saw the sequel The Whole Ten Yards and liked it so thought I'd check out the first one. Not a bad movie but like 10 Yards better.
It's A Mad Mad Mad
Mad World - This is a classic that has many big name
stars... Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy
Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers,
Jonathan Winters, Jimmy Durante... there's even an
appearance by a very young Norman Fell (Stanley on Three's
The short story is that a group of strangers learn of a secret treasure buried 200 miles away in the southern California town of Santa Rosita. They race to be the first to dig it up and along the way become entangled in the most hilarious circumstances. My favorites are Buddy Hacket and Mickey Rooney flying a twin engine plane thru a road side billboard, Jonathan Winters tearing apart a service station... literally doesn't leave a wall standing, Ethel Merman bossing everybody around, and Milton Berle and Terry-Thomas trying to duke it out.The final scene is very weak and badly supported with special effects that are not so special, but other than that this is a riot of a film with great performances from an all star cast.
Blazing Saddles - Simply the best politically incorrect movie of all time. "Excuse me while I whip this out" or Madeline Kahn singing a burlesque song called "I'm Tired". I literally start giggling as soon as I hear the purposely pretentious theme song.
It's a Wonderful Life - Gets me every time... written from the perspective of a man who has sacrificed year after year while setting aside the desire of his heart. Anyone that ever juggled debt, job, and family can relate. Watch this at least once a year.
Casablanca - Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and I don't think I can add anything to what has already been written about this movie. Except maybe to wonder how a guy could be so utterly cool with a name like Humphrey.