"Robert Langdon" (Tom Hanks) is back, and he has only a few hours to solve a mystery to save thousands of Catholic faithful, and top candidates for role of pope, before an incident which will kill them all as they await the annoucement of who the new leader of the church will be.
Now, "Langdon", along with a woman who helped create antimatter in a lab, must figure out the clues and save the faithful of the world's largest church.
Let me say first that this is much better than the original movie, which I barely remember seeing. You really don't need to read the novel that the movie is based upon to enjoy it.
There are some really good performances in this film, especially from Hanks, who proved himself as a solid leading man many times. Here, he really shines as a leading man.
There is some serious problems with character development with supporting characters, especially "Dr. Vittoria Vetra" (Ayelet Zurer), whose antimatter is being used as a weapon, and "Camerlengo Patrick McKenna" (Ewan McGregor), who turns an interesting plot twist that I never expected at the end, but isn't seen as much as I would like.
Another problem with this movie is that it is obvious that they opted for green screen for many scenes depicting Roman Catholic churches within Rome's city limits (the church refused to allow the movie to be filmed at the locations since the church declared the book offesive to the church). A barely trained eye (which I have since I learned TV production back in high school) could see the actors were in front of a green screen. These effects will become noticeable to the untrained eye as the film ages, and special effects advance.
One thing this movie does pretty well is that it gives very little time for the audience to breathe between action and plot advancing scenes. You get excited as "Langdon" and "Vetra" get closer to the murderer(s) as they discover new clues.
Despite not being able to shoot on location, and the threat of a strike at the time, Ron Howard did a great job in the director's chair as usual. He was able to use interesting camera angles to help tell the story nicely.
I can't really say I noticed the soundtrack of the movie, since I barely pay attention to instrumentals since that's not my style I listen to. I do notice that it helped the scenes, and in this movie it did.
If you see this on any of the movie channels like HBO, or on Netflix, check this one out.
"Gorge Cassidy" (Paul Newman), a.k.a. "Butch Cassidy", and "Lonny Longbaugh" (Robert Redoford), a.k.a. "The Sundance Kid, are two of the greatest robbers in the history of the Old West. They pulled jobs on banks and trains with an expertise that made them famous from coast to coast.
Now, years after being out of the business for about two decades, they decide to pull one last bank heist in Bolivia, with the help of a school teacher (Katharine Ross) with romantic ties to both men.
I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in this film. I found it to be slow, with not enough action considering the topic of the movie. It dragged so much that I noticed spending more attention to my computer than watching the movie itself on cable television.
One thing that stood out was the on-screen relationship between Newman and Redford. This is what carries the movie I believe, and most likely why this movie is called a classic now. You feel as if the two are not just partners in crime, but friends with the ribbing that they give one another.
Another problem with this movie is the soundtrack. The only piece of music that is memorable is Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by BJ Thomas, and that was a weird tune for a Western set in the Old West. If you ask me, the song was just an odd choice.
I also barely enjoyed Ross as "Etta Place". Her character was barely developed if you asked me. It appeared that she was there as a romantic interest, and to help teach "Butch" and "Sundance" Spanish for their attempt at robbing the Bolivian bank.
If you expect a lot of gunfights, you are mistaken on this one. Of what there is in the movie, they are short and well placed.
The cinematography is hard for me to judge since Encore Westerns used a pan-and-scan format. I had to deal with only half of a scene when two people were talking to one another. But, from wide shots, I could see some spectacular scenery, including the famous scene when the title characters jump from a cliff into the water.
Because it was declared a classic, I've been wanting to see this movie. I am highly disappointed in it.
"Jerry Landers" (John Denver) is a family man with a steady job at a grocery store. One day, he gets a weird letter telling him to go to a building for a meeting with "God" (George Burns in one of his most famous roles). "God" asks him to get His message out to the world.
"Landers", who is skeptical of the kindly old man who asks for his help, and a non-believer in God, tries to get out the message by any means. He eventually gets on national television, and in front of a panel of religious leaders, who ask him to have "God" answer a list of questions, written in an ancient and extinct language.
Now, "Landers" has to prove to the court of the existance of "God", while trying to defend himself in a slander suit filed against him by a televangelist over comments "Landers" credits to "God", who claims the televangelist is a fraud.
Let me say that, when I first saw this, I thought it was funnier. Having seen it all these years later, the jokes fell flat in my opinion. However, I was not once offended by any joke in the film. The humor targets a lot of questions believers and non-believers of the Almighty ask when questioning their beliefs, but not once is offensive. If you ask me now, the jokes are worth a couple of chuckles.
For anybody who is a hardcore believer, who will walk up to a stranger to give his or her testimony and try to convert the person, I can guarantee you that you will not be offended with this movie at all. The subject matter is handled with extreme care, and is handled perfectly by Denver, and especially Burns.
The performances in this movie are pretty good if you ask me. Terri Garr, who portrays Denver's wife, plays her character as a woman who is skeptical of her husband's believe that he was visited by God, but supports him no matter what. Denver was pretty good in his role, never missing a beat as Burns straight man, and handled his character's transformation in the film nicely.
Burns though is easily the star of this film, and made "God" one of his most memorable roles in his career. Anybody who has seen this movie, or its two sequels have never forgotten Burns in this role. To his fans, this and his role with the love of his life, Gracie Allen, is fondly remembered.
This film is perfect for families, as their is no violence or swearing. Younger children may not understand the message of the film, but might enjoy some of the jokes. Older kids will understand the message, and may have questions about their own faith.
The supporting cast is not well developed in this film, especially the televangelist, who was the most vocal in the counsel that asked "Landers" to have "God" answer the questions they gave him. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the televangelist go to his flock and the media to try to discredit "Landers" in his believe he saw "God". Just having "God" tell "Landers" to call the guy a fraud to help set up the court scene was a bit weak in my opinion.
There is some special effects in this film, but you can tell they were all done by editing. They just don't hold up after all these years. The soundtrack was completely forgettable as well.
In my opinion, this movie is not bad. I would suggest to watch it on television if there is nothing else on.
"Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti" (Sylvester Stallone) is a cop who is not afraid to risk his life to get the bad guy, and comes in as a last resort. He patrols a city with a high crime rate that is in the grip of a serial killer the media has nicknamed the "Night Slasher."
Those involved in the investigation to catch the killer are going nowhere, and "Cobretti" gets involved when he is assigned to protect the only surviving witness (Brigitte Nielsen) to one of the killer's murder. Using his police skills, "Cobretti" is one step ahead of the others, and figures out some points of the case before the others. However, his suggestions are pushed to the side by certain members of the team who do not like the way he handles things.
Now, "Cobretti" and his partner (Reni Santoni) must protect the witness, with little help from a female officer who, in fact, is connected to the killer on a personal level.
This movie is fairly good, but is pretty toned down after the scene that "Cobretti" is introduced in. There is some good action scenes though, but they are spaced out from each other to give the audience a pretty good breather. However, these scenes between the action failed at giving the characters some character development.
I was not sure if "Gonzales" (Santoni) was "Cobretti's" partner before "Cobretti" was called in to protect the witness or not. It was pretty obvious that they respected each other more than "Cobretti" respected others on the force who always confronted him on his ways in doing his job, especially one vocal one in particular. There was also very little character development with the villains, who the police believe is only one person due to one using a very distinct weapon to slash victims.
One character that should have been developed more, not to mentioned had a bigger role than she did, was the mole. This character had the least amount of lines, and never interacted with the witness, "Cobretti" or "Gonzales" after being assigned to help protect the witness. I would have liked to have seen this character more developed, and attempting to steer the others away from her as a suspect when "Cobretti" figured out there is a mole in the department.
The action scenes are pretty well done. With only two that are real graphic in comparison with the others. We get a good car chase, with gunplay on the highway, the lead villain visiting the witness in the hospital with intent to kill her, and a final confrontation between the villain and "Cobretti" near the end of the film. That final scene between our hero and the villain is the only time the two have any interaction since the general public is unaware of "Cobretti" protecting the witness. I would have liked to have seen some scenes where they meet eye-to-eye, with the villain having a "cat me if you can" attitude before escaping.
The acting is surprisingly good in this movie. Stallone portayed his character as a jerk only when needed, and allowed his softer side to show. I liked the interaction between "Cobretti" and "Gonzales", who would tease each other as if they knew one another for awhile. The interaction between Stallone and Nielsen, who married some time after this film, was also good, but not great thanks to the script not being that great.
I personally would have liked to have seen more of a love subplot between "Cobretti" and the witness. You didn't really seeing them glancing at each other until the two ended up in bed before the climatic final battle. I also would have liked to seen more from the villains and supporting cast that worked with "Cobretti" and "Gonzales".
The motive for the killings are never investigated by "Cobretti" or "Gonzales". In fact, I don't think any of those involved in the investigation came up with a probable motive that was proven pretty much wrong by one of the lead characters as their investigation slowly lead them to the villains. It takes the lead villain's dialogue in his final confrontation with "Cobretti" to explain their motive. Not once is the audience given even a hit as to the motive for the killings anywhere in the movie.
One thing that sticks out is product placement. I have no problem with product placement, but they made it pretty obvious when you see the Coca-Cola and Pepsi logos all over the place, or when a character is drinking a beer or soda with the logo facing the camera. You even had "Cobretti" turning on a TV in his apartment just as a Toys 'R' Us Christmas commercial is starting as if the TV was programed to play it as the set switched on. Good product placement should make it less obvious than this movie made them. Heck, even products that were in the grocery store at the begining of the movie happened to fall to the floor with logos facing the camera.
Another thing that is seen a lot of is the cliche of the hero spouting one-liners. Stallone had some good one-liners through the entire movie, but none have gone down as memorable lines in movie history.
With some good performances from the main cast, this movie is pretty watchable. I would not put it on your Must See List though. If you like good action films, this one should go on your To See List, but don't put it high on your list considering action scenes are spead out a bit too much if you ask me. The movie gave too much of a breather for the audience between action scenes in my opinion.
I would have to give this movie a B-minus overall. Catch it on TV, or the On Demand section of your local cable company. I personally watched it on my cable company's website, which has movies and TV shows much like Hulu does.
An end of the era is coming. The Pony Express is nearing an end as the telegraph line is about to be put up, making the way the mail was delivered for years obsolete.
Two Pony Express riders (John Wayne, Lane Chandler) decide to go into the stagecoach business, with the Pony Express horses that were given to them and other riders as a gift of thanks for their service. The two ask the owner of the local stagecoach service (Douglas Cosgrove) if they could purchase one of his older stagecoaches. However, he offers them their own franchise to a city almost an hour away, Crescent City.
The two travel to the small city, only to realize they were tricked. Turns out that the city is rundown, and has only two residents.
"John Blair" (Wayne) decides it's not worth accepting the offer for the franchise, but the mayor of the city (Lew Kelly), who has a lot of other jobs in the city, informs him that the United States government is offering a contract to deliver the mail in the area via stage coach. As long as they win a race with other stage coach services in the area.
At one point, "Blair" comes across the team putting up the telegraph wires for the area, and gets them to agree to bring the telegraph to Crescent City, and a much needed boost to the population.
Word gets to "Cal Drake" (Cosgrove), who makes plans to sabotage the Crescent City line's chances in winning that contract.
Now, "Blair" has to win the contract -- and try to keep the new residence of Crescent City there.
The first problem with this movie is the length. It's almost 56 minutes long, and doesn't feel like a movie at all. However, it's got some pretty good performances that make it interesting enough to keep your attention.
I can't remember how many early Wayne movies I've seen lately, but, as with all the previous ones, I think Wayne has the strongest performance in the film. The others are pretty memorable as well, with Phyllis Fraser with the weakest performance as the daughter of one of the original two Crescent City residents.
One of the biggest problems this movie has, most likely due to the length of it, is character development. Many supporting characters had very little development. You get to meet them, and how they play in the story, but not much more. The movie basically focuses on Wayne's character, which doesn't give the supporting cast any screen time to advance any subplots they are a part of.
One of those subplots that was completely missed was the romantic subplot between "Barbara Forsythe" (Fraser) and both of the lead actors. There is no story that describes how she appears to go after one of them, but ends up with the other.
The soundtrack to the movie sounded to me like a early TV Western. Nothing when it came to music stood out at all. Even the music during the only fist fight in the entire film was pretty bad. This soundtrack will not go down as one of the greatest scores in movie history.
Due to the time this film was made, the special effects are not done by a computer, and are, at best, OK. In scenes where the two characters are riding on the stagecoach, it is obvious that they are in front of a movie screen. But, this simplistic effect works real well.
The movie is mainly shot outdoors. But, none of the scenes are memorable. There are a few horse chases, and the stage coach race that are shot fairly nicely. And the shots during the race where they go from the race to close-ups on stagecoach mock ups in front of a movie screen are edited together smoothly.
Despite the flaws of this movie, this is not a bad movie. I would not put it in your must-see list, but you should check it out if you see it on Encore Westerns, and there is nothing better to do. In fact, it's currently on Hulu right now, which is how I watched it.
I would also check it out if you are a fan of John Wayne. It will show you that he was destined for his legendary status in Hollywood.