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Happy New Year (1987)
Happy New Year
Falk is fantastic as a charming thief in this Americanized remake of Claude Lelouch's 1973 film "La bonne annee." With the help of partner Durning, both men set out to pull a heist on a Florida jewelery shoppe, but things don't always go as planned. Falk carries the picture with his savvy characterization, aided in many scenes by some masterful make-up, which received an Oscar nomination.
Susan's Plan (1998)
Incoherent, unfunny John Landis comedy about a team of buffoons who try to pull off the perfect crime. Story is poorly structured with characters just running all over the place. Biehn is the only performance that raised my eyebrow. A grown man who spends his time playing Nintendo Games! How creative! Look out folks, he may play Lear next!
Grace Under Fire (1993)
Grace Under Fire
One of the great mysteries in the history of television: How did this show last? So-called comic Butler broke into prime-time television with yet another sitcom about a brassy, know it all female who tells it like it is. When Butler wasn't drunk or busy on drugs, the show was occasionally humorous. Frankly, the fact that the show lasted as long as it did shows ABC's "eye" for talent.
Much Ado About Nothing (1973)
Much Ado About Nothing
Well acted rendition of the bawdy Shakespeare romance-comedy about lovers being united with stand out performances from Hughes, in an excellent turn as bumbling constable Dogberry and Waterston as an aristocratic Benedick. For fans who want something different than the Branagh version.
Stunning picture based on the Virginia Woolf novel about an immortal youth who sees the world from both sexes through the course of four centuries of change. Elegant in all areas especially in the costume design, which is handled by Academy Award winner Sandy Powell (Shakespeare in Love) and decadent design of the whole production. In the title role, Tilda Swinton is strikingly beautiful and brings energy and passion to the character in every scene. Although in a small role, this is Zane's best screen work as Sheimeidine, the "pursuer of liberty." Other stand out performances include Valandrey as a luminous woman whom Orlando adores and Crisp, exceptional early on in the film as Queen Elizabeth I.
Fantastic series from "Homicide: Life on the Streets," creator
Tom Fontana and Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson about life in a maximum security prison where there is never a dull moment. Episodes of the show have been directed by some of Hollywood's elite, including Kathy Bates, Steve Buchemi and Chazz Palmintierri. Proof that there is still gritty, real life television on the air.
Happy Days (1974)
One of the most popular television series of all time! It had it all; humor, heart and of course, the Fonz, played perfectly during the show's 10 year run by Henry Winkler. The show also featured great writing and directing and was supported by fans all around the world. It's one of those unique television experiences that should be bottled up and stored away for safe keeping, so that new generations of fans can appreciate and enjoy this treat just as we did.
Glorious adaptation of the finest play ever written with Branagh taking the helm once again as director and star of this massive four hour epic about lies, deception and treachery in Denmark. Splendid cinematography and a stand out performance by the great Jacobi as Claudius are the most striking elements of the film. But...Branagh's casting of familiar Hollywood faces forces me to coin this film as "The Who's Who of Hollywood Stars Cast in Shakespeare...Who Can't Do Shakespeare!" Obviously, the example that has been most pointed out is Jack Lemmon as Marcellus. First of all, he's not that horrible. Yes, he is not a Shakespearean actor and vocally, he struggled with the content of the text, but the physical presence of the Jack Lemmon that has been in motion pictures for four decades is there and I can see Branagh's reasons for the casting decision. For die hard fans of the play, natrually they hate Lemmon's performance...although he's out of there after the first twenty minutes. My advice, if you dislike it that much...fastforward...but trust me, I've seen worse. (Check out the 1970 film version of "Julius Caesar," with Charlton Heston, who incidentially has a small role as the Player King in Branagh's film.)
Short's comedic talents go to great waste in this awful comedy about a troublesome boy (Short) who terrorizes the life out of
Charles Grodin, who in the film looks disappointed in the sophomoric, unfunny material. Good thing...he has every right to look nauseated; this is an horrible film.
Pure Luck (1991)
Strained, unfunny comedy that pits the obviously mismatched Short and Glover together for what is supposed to be a comedy but never reaches anything close to a laugh, with the possible exception of a sequence involving Short where he is stung by a bee and then puffs up like the Stay-Puff Marshmellow Man. Glover struggles with comedy, much like the later comedic effort, "Operation Dumbo Drop." The story of the rescue of an heiress is neither well developed nor interesting enough to keep an audience member in their seats.
Runs awful close to being the worst "SNL-skit" film ever made with Shannon performing her unfunny characterization of disgusting school girl, Mary Katherine Gallagher. "Kids in the Hall" alum McCullough directs...well, tries at least. Nothing much goes on in the film. No script. No story. No laughs. Oh...how I would never want to be Lorne Michaels.
It's Pat: The Movie (1994)
Sweeney's successful and entertaining SNL character is given the feature film treatment, but after the first five minutes, you know it isn't going to go anywhere. The story and script are thin about Pat looking for love. Like most SNL films, this one attempts to strain an 8 minute skit out to an hour and a half movie.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Dazed and Confused
Intelligent comedy-drama about the last days of a bunch of high school seniors having a big bash in 1976. Excellent film all around with a well written script by director Linklater and a superb cast that features McConaghey, plus one of the finest compilations of classic rock ever.
Dracula's Dog (1977)
O.K...Let me see if I can understand this! A movie about a dog that's really a vampire...Huh? HUH??? Who's playing Van Helsing in the film, Benji? Maybe Toto is gonna play Dracula's lacky, Reinfield? Why don't they make an all out Frankenstein dog film with Kathy Lee Gifford staring as the monster?
Magical cartoon retelling of the survival of the daughter of Nicholas and Alexander that is given the full Disney treatment with colorful songs and exquisite animation. But...and this is a big but...this is no where near the 1956 Anatole Litvak film version, which this new film is loosely based. The filmmakers seemed to forget that some of these characters are supposed to be Russian, although you hear 90ish American voices from Ryan and Cusack, although there is the the exception of Grammer and Lansbury whose vocal talents are quite effective. This is a film strictly for kids, while adults will push the "STOP," button and go right to the Ingrid Bergman version.
La flor de mi secreto (1995)
The Flower of My Secret
A woman's life crumbles emotionally and professionally as she reaches her middle ages in this drama from the acclaimed director of "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down!". It centers around Leo Macias (Marisa Paredes) who as a writer, whose secret is that for years she has written under a pseudonym, has become more interested in truth in her writing, while her editors want sex, love and happy endings. Her personal life is crumbling as well with her marriage falling apart, mostly because of her instability in handling any close personal relationships. The movie doesn't really go anywhere nor do we care about Leo, who is arrogant, selfish and childish in all of her real life dealings. You want to reach into the screen and smack this woman in the face. Paredes is impressive as Leo, but she is given little to grow and fully develop as a character. There is a stand out performance from Chus Lampreave as Leo's snappy and energetic mother.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense
Fascinating psychological thriller about a young boy who is haunted by dead spirits and enlists the help and guidance of a child psychologist. Willis expertly plays the psych guy, but the film belongs to young Haley Joel Osment, who is superb in every scene as the tormented boy who fights fear at every corner. Excellent camera work and a sharp, fast paced screenplay keep you on the edge of your seat literally from start to finish.
Both O'Toole and Kidder look like ghosts in this television adaptation of the classic Shaw play about a stuffy phonetics teacher who takes a common flower girl the ways of being a lady. Although O'Toole fares well as Henry Higgins, the production as a whole is a dreary affair.
Broadway Bound (1992)
Neil Simon's Broadway Bound
With the exception of Cronyn's Emmy Award winning performance as an aged grandfather, this television version of Neil Simon's final installment into the "trilogy" (with Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues) doesn't offer the warmth and heart Simon's plays are known.
Plaza Suite (1987)
The male actors are magnificent, while Burnett, who stars in all three playlets that take place in New York's Plaza Hotel, is awful...obviously playing for the laughs and not for the humanity. After 30 plus years, it amazes me how much Carol Burnett has never learned to do comedy.
The Country Girl (1982)
The Country Girl
Impressive cast cannot deliver the goods in this television version of the Clifford Odets play about an alcoholic actor trying to make a comeback and start a new life. All three stars do their best, but the 1954 screen version still reigns superior.
Death of a Salesman
The casting of Steiger as Willy Loman doesn't work here and the production is marred the whole way through because of a look of nausea on the face of the Academy Award winning actor who may have realized during filming that he was wrong for the role.
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)
Ghosts of Mississippi
Impressive drama about the assassination of 1960's civil rights leader Medger Evers, which was fought in courts for 30 years until it was re-opened in the 1990's with Mississippi D.A. Bobby DeLaughter (Baldwin) leading the charge to bring assassin Byron De Lay Beckwith (Woods, in a juicy Oscar nominated role) to justice. Goldberg is especially standout as Ever's widow who fought for the truth for over 30 years. Rob Reiner's film may run a little long for some, but the excellent cast and realistic story will keep you glued until the end.
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
The nerds fight for equality at a fraternity conference in this funny follow up to the 1984 hit with the same crude jokes and most of the same performers on hand, especially Armstrong, perfect once again as the disgusting Booger. Followed by the television movie.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Interesting teenage comedy with Ringwald in a pivotal role as a girl in agony as her sixteenth birthday is upstaged by her sister's wedding. Although characters are familiar, it's still good fun with Michael Hall standing out as a typical, geeky, high school horn ball.