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The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride (1987)
1987 | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Andre the giant (6 more)
Wallace Shawn
Mandy Patinkin
Cary elwes
Robin Wright
Rob Reiner
Why it's taken me so long to see it (0 more)
Finally seen this movie why it's taken me so long to see it I don't know but now I'm glad I did I liked it it has drama comedy likeable leads plus Andre the giant in an acting role and plenty of lines u could quote back would I watch again yes
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride (1987)
1987 | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Phenomenal Casting (2 more)
Terrific writing
Great scenery
Nothing (0 more)
Epic Adventure Awaits!
My favorite movie of all time. I have seen this movie over a million times it seems. I can never get enough. The chemistry between Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant and Shawn Wallace is amazing. Billy Crystal is Miracle Max, adlibbing his way through the movie is total genius. Who wouldn't love an adorable blonde pirate played by Cary Elwes and Buttercup played by Robin Wright, in her first movie role. This is a not to be missed movie. Fun for all ages.
Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story (1995)
1995 | Animation, Comedy, Family
Toy Story's magic amazingly manages to hold decades after its 1995 release. Woody (Tom Hanks), a toy cowboy, is used to being king of the roost in owner Andy's home. When a shiny new toy shows up by the name of Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Buzz and Woody have to figure out a way to coexist in Andy's room.

While the movie largely revolves around the big characters of Buzz and Woody, Toy Story would be nothing without the rest of its fun and lovable crew. My personal favorite was Rex (Wallace Shawn) a T-Rex scared of disappointing any and everyone. His numerous moments of distress keep the comedy level ramped up. He is the antithesis of a film that stresses living in the now as he is always worried about what's going to happen next.

It's an adventure that takes you all over the place while breaking animation barriers in the process. You'll explore an exciting world through the eyes of tiny toys where everything is much bigger. From racing through Pizza Planet and escaping "The Claw" (Ohhhhhhh) to harrowing escapes from attack dogs and evil neighbor kids, you're never bored from one moment to the next. Seriously, what's not to like?

There are so many classic scenes, it's hard to keep track. One scene in particular saw Woody trying to communicate with the other toys from neighbor Sid's window. He's trying to prove that Buzz is still alive but only has Buzz's arm. All hell breaks loose when the other toys realize the truth. The scene is less than two minutes, but easily one of the most memorable.

I saw this film for the first time when I was eleven and the message was lost on me then. Years later, it's staring me dead in the face: It's about not trying to be something you aren't but rather focusing on being the best YOU you can be. It's a magical film that takes us back to a time before video games were everything. The first of one of the best trilogies ever done, I give it a solid 98.
Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story (1995)
1995 | Animation, Comedy, Family
A masterpiece
Film #9 on the 100 Movies Bucket List: Toy Story

When Toy Story was first released in 1995, it was groundbreaking. The first ever fully computer animated film and the first released by Disney Pixar, this was also one of the first films I saw at the cinema as an 8 year old child. Admittedly at that age I was concentrating more on the colourful animated toys rather than appreciating the sheer wizardry on offer, but from repeated watches over the decades, I’ve come to fully recognise the sheer genius of this film.

Toy Story centres around the idea that toys are alive, a concept that most children would love to be true. It follows Woody, a cowboy voiced by Tom Hanks, who’s cushy existence as the top dog of Andy’s toys is disrupted by a new space ranger doll, Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen. As Buzz soon becomes Andy’s favourite toy, Woody’s jealousy drives him to desperate measures that wind up with the pair of them becoming ‘lost toys’ and captives of evil neighbour Sid. And together with Buzz and Woody are a whole host of colourful and wacky toy characters, including Mr Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (Jim Varney), Etch-a Sketch and a bucketful of toy soldiers to name but a few of the childhood throwbacks on offer here.

Watching this back 25 years later, it’s hard to believe this film was released in the mid-90s. Whilst you can tell that more recent Disney Pixar releases have improved massively on the animation since Toy Story, the standard of the animation in this is hugely impressive. There are some studios that can’t master this level of detailed animation even now as we move into 2021. The feature and intricacies on show here is impressive, especially with the toy characters - you need to look no further than the scales on Rex (voiced memorably by Wallace Michael Shawn) as a shining example of this.

It isn’t just the animation that that makes Toy Story so brilliant though, it’s the entire package. It’s a heartwarming and often hilarious buddy story of sorts, with some strangely adult messages hidden in the childlike story (Buzz’s disillusionment at being a toy rather than a real space ranger is particularly poignant). As a child this made me believe my toys were alive, and as an adult I’m still hesitant about donating or throwing away old cuddly toys. It’s also full of what we’ve all come to know and love about Disney Pixar: a film suitable for kids but full of grown up innuendos and adult jokes that makes it appropriate for all ages. Alongside this it has a fantastic voice cast in household names Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, and of course brought us the first of many characters voiced by the unforgettable John Ratzenberger. And what further rounds this off is the catchy and touching original songs by Randy Newman. I doubt there are many people who haven’t heard “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, a song that evokes such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside and is fully deserving of the ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar nomination.

Toy Story is undoubtedly a masterpiece in animation. Whilst it may not have aged incredibly well when comparing it with more recent releases, this is the film that first introduced us to the world of Disney Pixar and paved the way for all of those that have followed.
Book Club (2018)
Book Club (2018)
2018 | Comedy
A book club without a spine.
Let’s be clear before we start; I am NOT in the demographic that this film is aimed at. And judging from the general reactions of the cinema audience I shared this with – 90%+ of who were women aged over 50 – my views are NOT going to necessarily reflect the general view, since there seemed to be quite a few satisfied customers in the audience. But my personal view would be, if you’re going to make a light-hearted comedy aimed at the lucrative silver pound, then at least make it a good one. For this – for me – felt like 50 shades of lame.

The action – if we can stretch the use of English that far – revolves around the four middle-class white ladies (this film challenges neither class nor racial divides) who meet periodically with copious quantities of wine and goat-cheese stuffed tomatoes to discuss a book. Hotel owner Vivian (Jane Fonda, “Klute”, “On Golden Pond”) is making lots of love but is reluctant to commit to it herself; Diane (Diane Keaton, “”Annie Hall”, “Something’s Gotta Give”) is recently widowed and struggling against being pigeon-holed as an ‘old duffer’ by her two daughters; Sharon (Candice Bergen, “Soldier Blue”, “Miss Congeniality”) has devoted her life to her career as a high court judge at the expense of a physical relationship (“What happens to a vagina that hasn’t been used in 18 years?!”); and Carol (Mary Steenburgen (“Back to the Future Part III”) is in a sexless marriage with her recently retired husband Bruce (Craig T Nelson, “Get Hard“, “Poltergeist”).

Vivian introduces the book club to “50 Shades of Grey” and the book influences everyone’s lives in different ways.

What ensues is 100 minutes of double entendres (“You have a lethargic pussy” says a veterinarian… you get the level) as the four separate stories (bump and) grind towards their separate conclusions. There are one or too laugh-out-loud moments but the majority of the screenplay is merely smile-worthy: “Mostly harmless” as Douglas Adams would have said.

What IS good, which is the reason my rating won’t have a “1” in it, is that it does give a reason to see some of our more senior actors and actresses strut their stuff again on the main stage.

In terms of the lead performances, while Steenburgen is good, it is Candice Bergen who impresses most as a fine comic actress. More please! Fonda and Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”) were supposed to be a hot couple, but their acting to me appeared false and their chemistry non-existent: did they have a fight outside the trailer every morning? And Diane Keaton was… well… Diane Keaton: the ditzy old hippy shtick wore a bit thin for me by the end.

We also have appearances from the great Andy Garcia (“The Godfather Part III”, “Oceans 11”), Wallace Shawn (just SOOooo good as the sleazy mob lawyer in “The Good Wife/Fight”) and (best of all) Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”). Dreyfuss has merely a cameo, but I was just longing for more of his character.

Alicia Silverstone (“Clueless”, “Batman & Robin”) even turns up, but her character (together with her sister played by Katie Aselton) is so annoying and vacuous that it’s not easy to warm to her.

A standout – but not in a good way – is the special effects, with some of the dodgiest green screen work I’ve seen in many a year. Think “North by Northwest” quality….. but that’s nearly 60 years old!

So, it’s not a film I would run to see again, but I’m not going to pan it completely, since if you are of the demographic that enjoys such films, you may really enjoy this one. It reminds me somewhat of “It’s Complicated” – and that’s one of my wife’s personal favourites! It also addresses some key topics that will be of relevance to a senior audience, not normally addressed by movies: male impotence resulting from self-doubt; the need to keep a young and ever-inquiring mind; and the good times to be had by getting out and back in the game again after bereavement (yes, you know who you are and you know I’m addressing YOU here!).
Marriage Story (2019)
Marriage Story (2019)
2019 | Comedy, Drama
Well Acted Scenes Do Not A Good Movie Make
Noah Baumbach is one of those filmmakers that is highly regarded in the "Art House" community for his semi-autobiographical humanistic films. These are domestic dramas heavy on dialogue - the type of film that "A-List" Actors swarm to perform in for the acting challenges it brings. His latest, MARRIAGE STORY, is no exception as it follows the dissolution of a marriage and the struggles of the 2 main players involved. The husband and wife are written realistically (according to Baumbach) with moments of pathos and moments of repulsion thrown in at equal measure.

So, naturally, Baumbach (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) was able to draw 2 of the better performers working in film today to play the leads - Scarlett Johannson and Adam Driver - and they deliver the goods (along with Laura Dern) - all 3 were deserved Oscar nominees - and the performances of ALL of the actors on screen are worth watching.

But...that's about all this film has going for it. For I found the first hour and a half of this film tedious with (at times) preposterous dialogue that looked good on paper - and was enthusiastically performed - but wrang (at least to me) as unrealistic. Consequently, this film is filled with well acted scenes that I kept saying to myself - "that was a well acted scene and that was an interesting choice that that actor made in that scene", but I found that these disparate scenes in this part of the film did not hold together as a movie. It seemed to me a series of acting class scenes and not a film.

And, for that, I blame Writer/Director Baumbach. This film, purportedly, parallels his divorce from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh (HATEFUL 8) and it shows. It's a little too "on the nose" and "inside baseball" for my tastes. The dialogue, at times, was "too cute" and the pacing was deliberate - which is a nice way of saying "slow".

What saves this film is the performances. Johannson dominates the first part of this film and she brings her "A" game, bringing a strength and awakening purpose to her character that will have you rooting for her - at the beginning. The first half of the film (for the most part) is Johannson's film and is what gives her her Oscar nomination (she won't win), but she deserves the nomination.

Laura Dern is also Oscar nominated for her role as Johannson's Divorce Attorney. Bright, funny, articulate and a shark in the courtroom and boardroom, Dern's character was fascinating to watch onscreen. While I thought this performance was "fine" and I was "okay" with it getting an Oscar nomination, I kept waiting for the "Oscar scene" for this supporting character - and about 2/3 of the way into the film this character had that moment - and Dern killed it. I would now say Dern is the deserved frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress (ironically, over Johansson who is ALSO nominated for Supporting Actress for JoJo Rabbit).

This scene propels the last 1/3 of this film into interesting territory - a place that this film had not gone to thus far. I was sucked into this last part and I think it is in no small reason due to the fact that this part of the film is driven (no pun intended) by Adam Driver's character. I've always found Driver to be a fascinating actor and while his character was not front and center much in the first part of the film, he commands center stage in the last part and I could not take my eyes off of his powerful performance. In a strong year of Best Acting performances, he shines and I would be happily surprised and satisfied if he won the Best Actor Oscar.

Alan Alda, as usual, brings an interesting character to the screen as does Julie Hagerty (remember her from AIRPLANE?) as Scarlett's mother. The surprise to me was the strong play of Ray Liotta as one of Driver's lawyers - it is his best work in quite some time and shows he does have some acting chops. Finally, good ol' Wallace Shawn (the "inconceivable" Count Visini in PRINCESS BRIDE) was fun - and annoying - in his scenes.

So...if you want to see some good acting in scenes that I am sure will end up as good scenes in an acting class performed very strongly, then check out MARRIAGE STORY. Just make sure you are well rested. A fast-paced romp it is not.

Letter Grade: B (for the strong performances)

7 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Toy Story 4 (2019)
2019 | Animation, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Another TOY STORY triumph for PIXAR
When I first heard that Pixar was going to make a 4th TOY STORY film, I found myself firmly in the camp of "why are they doing this? The 3rd film tied off the trilogy marvelously well and 4th film was not needed" But...I trust Pixar, and when it was revealed that both Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were back on board after reading the script, my fears were alleviated quite a bit, but I still had some unease in the pit of my stomach.

I shouldn't have worried. For TOY STORY 4 is a wonderful addition to the adventures of Woody, Buzz and gang. It fits in nicely with the other films in the series and brings just the right amount of joy, fun, adventure and emotional heft.

Picking up the adventures of these toys as they now belong to Bonnie (after being gifted to Bonnie when their original owner, Andy, went off to college at the end of Toy Story 3), things have progressed realistically enough. The "order of things" in Bonnie's room is somewhat different than in Andy's. Woody, the old Cowboy doll, is relegated (more often than not) to the closet while Bonnie plays more with Jessie, Buzz and others. Into this group comes "Forky" a plastic spork that is made into a toy by Bonnie at Kindergarten. In a nice reversal of the first Toy Story film, Woody works hard to ensure that Forky is accepted into the group.

Without revealing too much of the plot, the gang (including Woody and Forky) go on a roadtrip with Bonnie in her parents' rented RV and end up in a small-ish town where a carnival is taking place across the street from an Antique store that houses Woody's old flame, Bo Peep. New characters are introduced, old characters are given a moment (or two) to shine and adventures and shenanigans ensue, with an emotionally satisfying climax - you know, a TOY STORY film.

This one continues to progress these toys "lives" and adventures in such a smart, natural and clever way that I did not feel that I was watching the same film again. I was watching characters I love continue to live, learn, grow and progress - a very smart choice by these filmmakers.

As always, the voice cast is superb. Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusak (Jessie), Wallace Shawn (Rex), John Ratzenberger (Piggy) and even the late Don Rickles (Mr. PotatoHead) are all back and contribute greatly to the finished result. It is like putting on an old, comfortable sweater on a somewhat chilly day. You get a reassuring shiver of warmth.

But the filmmakers don't stop there - Annie Potts is back as Bo Peep (she - and the Bo Peep character - were in the original Toy Story). Add to these voices, the marvelous work by Christina Hendricks (Gabby Gabby), Key & Peele (Ducky & Bunny), Carl Weathers (all the Combat Carls) and Tony Hale (wonderfully quirky as Forky) and we have quite the ensemble of interesting, quirky characters - growing and enriching the "Universe" they are in (quite like what Marvel has done with their "Universe"). Special notice needs to be made of Keanu Reeves work as Canadian Daredevil toy Duke Kaboom (the Canadian Evil Kneivel), it is the most entertaining - to me - of all the new characters.

But...make no mistake...this film belongs to Tom Hanks as Woody. It has taken me 4 films to realize this, but Hanks good guy "everyman" portrayal of Woody is the heart and soul of these pictures and this 4th film is Woody's film - as his character comes full circle from the paranoid toy who wants to keep living his safe existence to something much, much more in this film. It isn't hyperbole of me to say that I would be just fine for Hanks to receive an Oscar nomination for his voice work in this film - he is that good.

Interestingly enough, Pixar brought in a novice Director, Josh Cooley, to helm this film. It is his first feature film directing experience, but he is a veteran Pixar face - having written INSIDE OUT and was the main Storyboard Artist for UP - his direction looks like someone who was comfortable in this medium - and with the style of film that Pixar (usually) goes for - and he does terrific work here.

I really enjoyed the journey of the characters (especially Woody) in this film. I need not have worried about Pixar making a 4th Toy Story - they nailed the landing again.

Letter Grade: A
9 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank (OfMarquis)