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The Loved One Review


Extraordinary
Decades before Six Feet Under, The Loved One skewered the paradox of the funeral business in appearance-obsessed L.A. Wildly and unpredictably funny, The Loved One careens from scene to scene so quickly you may not be able to keep up with the jokes.

And what jokes they are! The very American Robert Morse stars as a British visitor to L.A., a wannabe poet who gets caught up in the machinations of a cemetary owner (Jonathan Winters) and his top mortician (Rod Steiger in the role of a lifetime). It's more cult than cemetary, and Morse soon becomes enchanted with one the cemetary's guide/beautician/chanteuse (a dippy Anajette Comer). The film haphazardly careens from subplot to subplot, eventually settling into a set piece about a kid obsessed with rockets, which Winters sees as the solution to the problem of running out of space for "loved ones" in the cemetary (aka corpses).

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Battle For The Planet Of The Apes Review


Terrible
At least it is only 83 minutes long.

I guess Arthur Jacobs and Paul Dehn decided that no one would notice that this final chapter of the sage was actually a remake of the second one, Beneath The Planet of the Apes. This time around, though, the radioactive human mutants would not be telepathic.

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Louise Brooks: Looking For Lulu Review


Very Good
Think of Louise Brooks as the first Goth actress. A star of the silent era, she was mysterious and enigmatic, sporting an iconic, cropped black haircut in an era of long, frizzy tresses and flowing blonde waves. And that smirk, there was something about her that you couldn't quite peg, but you knew she wasn't an altogether happy girl.

This short but loving documentary about Brooks' life and career tells us the secret beneath the bob, a story of early molestation, rise to fame in the silents, self-exile to Germany, and a return to the U.S. screen as an "and also featuring" cast member. In addition to narration by a smitten Shirley MacLaine, it has footage of Brooks herself, shot near the end of her life when she'd gone clearly nuts, raving incessantly about masturbation. (Not kidding.)

Continue reading: Louise Brooks: Looking For Lulu Review

The Return Of The King (1980) Review


Good
So the story goes that, despite being generally bad, fans were clamoring for more Lord of the Rings, as Ralph Bakshi refused to do any more movies. Warner Brothers came to the "rescue" with this TV special, which recaps the beginning of the books, then finishes off the story of Return of the King, the last book in the trilogy.

The animation is typical of the early 1980s, round faces and bulbous noses, wide expressions, and oversized eyes. And lots of singing: "Where there's a whip, there's a way" is a guilty pleasure classic.

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The Longest Day Review


Excellent
D-Day wasn't just fought at Omaha Beach, though Hollywood may have thought so before The Longest Day. D-Day involved a cast of thousands, and it took producer Darryl Zanuck, five screenwriters, four directors, and three hours just to bring it to the big screen. In fact, Spielberg cribbed large chunks of this film verbatim for Saving Private Ryan. Ultimately, Ryan is the better picture, but The Longest Day shows you more of the story (and it's closer to reality), from the paratrooper force sent in as a diversion, to a half-dozen beach battles, to the French Resistance and how they helped. Aside from a great war tale, Day also marks what must be the only film where you can see John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Fabián, Sal Mineo, Eddie Albert, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, and Sean Connery all fighting the same war. And on the same side, no less.

Planet Of The Apes (1968) Review


Extraordinary
The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out of the laughable and sometimes unbearable saga of talking ape movies, Planet of the Apes still beats with a steady heart 30 years after its conception.

This memorable adaptation of the novel Monkey Planet, authored by Pierre Boulle (the same guy who wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai), was brought to life by the infamous producer Arthur Jacobs, who eventually oversaw the production duties for the entire Apes saga. No studio except Fox would touch the project with a ten-foot pole, despite the participation of Rod Serling, who co-authored the screenplay adaptation of Boulle's novel (and which led to 30 drafts), Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter (Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire), and the amazing ape makeup by first-timer John Chambers.

Continue reading: Planet Of The Apes (1968) Review

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes Review


Terrible
At least it is only 83 minutes long.

I guess Arthur Jacobs and Paul Dehn decided that no one would notice that this final chapter of the sage was actually a remake of the second one, Beneath The Planet of the Apes. This time around, though, the radioactive human mutants would not be telepathic.

Continue reading: Battle For The Planet Of The Apes Review

Cleopatra (1963) Review


OK
It is virtually impossible to separate Cleopatra the movie from Cleopatra the spectacle -- and that's because they are truly and rarely intertwined.

A legend of Hollywood, the 1963 production of Cleopatra has so much curiosity surrounding it I hardly know where to start. It was budgeted at $2 million and eventually cost (up to) $44 million to produce -- close to $300 million in today's dollars. Liz Taylor almost died during the filming and was given a tracheotomy to keep her alive. The production was forced to move from Rome to London and back to Rome again. Two of its stars fell in love (Taylor and Burton) on the set, ruining both of their marriages. 20th Century Fox essentially went bankrupt, leading to the ousting of its chief. The first director was fired after burning $7 million with nothing to show for it. The second director (Mankiewicz) was fired during editing, only to be rehired when no one else could finish the picture. Taylor threw up the first time she saw the finished product. Producer Walter Wanger never worked in Hollywood again. And the original six-hour epic was cut to a little over three.

Continue reading: Cleopatra (1963) Review

The Loved One Review


Extraordinary
Decades before Six Feet Under, The Loved One skewered the paradox of the funeral business in appearance-obsessed L.A. Wildly and unpredictably funny, The Loved One careens from scene to scene so quickly you may not be able to keep up with the jokes. The black and white photography is stark, reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove (as is the whole film -- with Jonathan Winters in two roles), though some of the details get lost in the deep shadows. It's not out on video, so watch for it on cable. It's well worth it.

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Review


Good
OK... the Earth has been blown up, all human and ape races have been extinguished (including all original characters of the first and second productions), and the thought of another Apes sequel is about as possible as Natalie Wood starring in Brainstorm 2. Neverless, Arthur Jacobs, along with screenwriter Paul Dehn, put together a third Apes movie. This feat is achieved by sending Cornelius and Zira (McDowall and Hunter reprising their original roles) back in time, leaving right before the nuclear apocalypse of the future perpetuated by Heston's Taylor, all through hopping on Taylor's sunken spaceship from the first movie. (The only problem with that is that the spaceship is somehow repaired by an ape society that initially didn't even know how to run a microwave oven.)

I know, I know, I must be losing you by now, but stay with me, it gets funnier.

Continue reading: Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Review

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Katy Perry Performs 'Rise' And 'Roar' In Support Of Hillary Clinton At DNC

Katy Perry Performs 'Rise' And 'Roar' In Support Of Hillary Clinton At DNC

Perry performed 'Rise' and 'Roar' before Clinton accepted the nomination to be the Democrats' presidential candidate.

Bruce Springsteen will release music from 1966 in new album

Bruce Springsteen will release music from 1966 in new album

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4K Restoration Of The Beatles' Shea Stadium Gig To Be Released In Cinemas

4K Restoration Of The Beatles' Shea Stadium Gig To Be Released In Cinemas

Not broadcast in its entirety since 1967, a full restoration will be played in select cinemas to support Ron Howard's 'Eight Days a Week' touring...

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Roddy McDowall Movies

Planet of the Apes (1968) Movie Review

Planet of the Apes (1968) Movie Review

The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out...

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Cleopatra (1963) Movie Review

Cleopatra (1963) Movie Review

It is virtually impossible to separate Cleopatra the movie from Cleopatra the spectacle -- and...

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Movie Review

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Movie Review

OK... the Earth has been blown up, all human and ape races have been extinguished...

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