Anne Bancroft

Anne Bancroft

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Delgo Review


Terrible
Name the cinematic genre that's easiest to mess up, and sci-fi/fantasy is pretty high up on the list. Flights of imagination, when done correctly, resonate with a kind of clarity and cleverness that instantly connect with your own sense of wonder. On the other hand, when handled poorly, or missing just a minor beat here or there, the fairytale or fable becomes the most insufferable of celluloid experiences. While it wants to be an allegory about prejudice and the overcoming of same, the new CG spectacle Delgo is nothing more than routine ideas badly rendered.

Here's the idea. The Lockni live on the land. The Nohrin live in the sky. When the latter's situation worsens, they attack the former. Eventually, an uneasy truce is reached, both sides trying to live together in harmony. This makes Sedessa (Anne Bancroft -- yes, the one who died 3 1/2 years ago), the sinister sister of King Zahn (Louis Gossett Jr.), very unhappy. She wants to wipe out the Lockni once and for all. With the help of Raius (Malcolm McDowell) a turncoat general, and an army of social outcasts, she plans on finishing what her brother will not do. In the meantime, teenage Lockni Delgo (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and his buddy Filo (Chris Kattan) become embroiled in a problematic political controversy. When they save Nohrin Princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt) from harm, they bring the rising tensions between the sides to a rolling, war-like boil.

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To Be or Not to Be (1983) Review


OK
Over a decade after Mel Brooks envisioned a Nazi musical in The Producers, he got his chance to make one for real, in the remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 film To Be or Not to Be. The movie itself is kind of a dud (Polish actor makes do during the Nazi invasion, impersonates the Germans to get out of trouble), but listen for the dirge theme, which was stolen e-x-a-c-t-l-y from the ominous tune periodically underlying Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listen for yourself!

Great Expectations (1998) Review


Grim
You know, I didn't like the book Great Expectations when I was in high school, so I don't know why anyone thought it would be liked any better now. Hawke's meddling with the story is well-documented (including changing the main character's name from Pip to Finn). Then there's the updating to the 20th century, making Pip, er, Finn an artist (and a bad one at that), Bancroft's horrific drag-queenish dance instructor. De Niro's lost expression. Ugh. I'll take the book over this.

How To Make an American Quilt Review


Terrible
I am dumbfounded about where to begin writing about this experiment-in-filmmaking-gone-terribly-wrong, How To Make an American Quilt. Some of the best actresses working in film (Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Winona Ryder, Jean Simmons, Lois Smith, Samantha Mathis, and Claire Danes, to name a few) appear in this movie. And I can't begin to imagine how such a wide array of talents agreed to appear in such a dreadful picture.

Ryder plays the cheeky Finn, a precocious grad student pondering a marriage proposal. Having second thoughts, she decides to spend the summer with a gaggle of quilting relatives and their friends, just to sort things out. Well, we see right off the bat that this probably wasn't such a great idea, because each and every one of these people is completely insane.

Continue reading: How To Make an American Quilt Review

Great Expectations Review


Grim
You know, I didn't like the book Great Expectations when I was in high school, so I don't know why anyone thought it would be liked any better now. Hawke's meddling with the story is well-documented (including changing the main character's name from Pip to Finn). Then there's the updating to the 20th century, making Pip, er, Finn an artist (and a bad one at that), Bancroft's horrific drag-queenish dance instructor. De Niro's lost expression. Ugh. I'll take the book over this.

Love Potion No. 9 Review


Weak
Want to see Sandra Bullock in non-glam mode? Here's an early appearance by the big star when it looked like she was headed into a career as the romantic interest for the Revenge of the Nerds series. A so-so and really schlocky film otherwise, but it hooks me all the time on cable.

The Miracle Worker (1962) Review


Excellent
You'd have to be a hard-assed bastard indeed not to be touched in some way by The Miracle Worker, the film version of Helen Keller's story -- the blind, deaf, and mute girl we all tragically made jokes about when we were kids. Anne Bancroft plays Helen's patient teacher Annie, who uses the virtues of tough love to teach the stubborn and spoiled Helen (Patty Duke) to understand sign language. Notable not just for its earnestness and two outstanding performances (both won Oscars) -- it's also got one of the longest catfights in cinema history.

Don't Bother To Knock Review


Excellent
This obscure thriller marks the screen debut of an unrecognizably young Anne Bancroft, playing second fiddle to Marilyn Monroe in her first role as a "serious actress."

Sure enough, Monroe proves she can act, and pretty seriously. While she appears to be her usual ditzy blonde at first, the film slowly proves itself to be something else entirely.

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Home For the Holidays Review


Good
Well, if it isn't Holly Hunter...again! Her second starring role in a week, Home for the Holidays shows us the comic, sensitive side of Hunter rather than her brooding, somber side from Copycat. As is typical of anything Hunter touches, both pictures have turned out quite well.

Directed by Jodie Foster, Home for the Holidays follows a couple of days in the life of Claudia (Hunter), a starving artist/museum employee whose life goes from bad to worse over the course of Thanksgiving "vacation." Losing her job is only the tip of the iceberg. When she jets home to spend a little time with Mom (Anne Bancroft) and Dad (Charles Durning), the Titanic of her life begins to sink. Enter maniacal brother Tommy (Robert Downey Jr) and eccentric Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin), plus a host of other extended family members, and the result is the most hilarious Thanksgiving dinner you're likely ever to witness.

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The Hindenburg Review


Weak
Before there was Titanic (the movie, not the ship), there was The Hindenburg, an equally epic look at one of mankind's most notorious disasters -- this one, of course, caught on film, unlike that famed sunken ship. Robert Wise (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) tried to turn the disaster into part love story, part spy tale, part thriller, and part musical (really: there's a ditty about Hitler), with George C. Scott as a sympathetic Nazi trying to foil a bombing plot on the zeppelin (the disaster has since been pegged on static electricity). Incredibly long and awfully bad in its plotting and pacing, the film succeeds only as a curiosity: It shows us the guts of the ship as they really appeared. Who knew it was so fancy?

To Be or Not to Be (1983) Review


OK
Over a decade after Mel Brooks envisioned a Nazi musical in The Producers, he got his chance to make one for real, in the remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 film To Be or Not to Be. The movie itself is kind of a dud (Polish actor makes do during the Nazi invasion, impersonates the Germans to get out of trouble), but listen for the dirge theme, which was stolen e-x-a-c-t-l-y from the ominous tune periodically underlying Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listen for yourself!

Keeping the Faith Review


Grim
It truly is the oldest joke in the book: "A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar..." Okay, so you've heard this one. Well now you can watch the movie of the joke!

Keeping the Faith may not be quite that bad, but it's nothing to, ahem, preach about. Setting the film up with all the trappings of your classic, neurotic, New York relationship comedy, Faith wants to be a wry When Harry Met Sally... tale of opposites attracting and love conquering all. Oh, the opposites aren't the rabbi Jake (Ben Stiller) and the priest Brian (Ed Norton) -- that might actually be a movie worth watching. The kink in this picture is Jenna Elfman's Anna, the old childhood friend of Jake and Brian, who swishes into town and promptly falls in love with our rabbi.

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G.I. Jane Review


OK
So it's a blatant, gimmicky ripoff of Top Gun, but G.I. Jane gave Demi Moore a chance to prove that she had more in her than was on display in Striptease. I don't know if they really beat the crap out of her during the production of this film, but it sure looks like they did. And that's worth two hours of my time.

'Night Mother Review


OK
'Night Mother starts off with a real bang -- or at least, the promise of one -- as Sissy Spacek declares she will be shooting herself shortly. What follows, sadly, is 90 minutes of bickering with mom (Anne Bancroft, spooky as hell), which drag things down irrevocably. Will she go through with it? Why does she want to kill herself, anyway? Oddly, it's the former question that holds all our attention.

The Elephant Man Review


Excellent
Understated and masterful in its use of costumes, makeup, and low-budget camerawork, David Lynch's portrait of John "The Elephant Man" Merrick stands as one of the best biographies on film. From his discovery by Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) in a carnival freakshow, to his rehabilitation in the hospital and acceptance into London society, to his ultimate demise by suffocating, John Hurt's vibrant portrayal of Merrick is an emotional tour de force that sheds much light on the man now best known for occupying Michael Jackson's mantel. Lynch may very well be the only director who could have done the subject justice, and despite a few forced scenes with Merrick meet-n-greeting various English socialites, the film stands as one of the highlights of his career.

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Anne Bancroft

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