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Film And TV Icon James Garner Dead At 86


James Garner

James Garner, an icon of 20th century cinema, passed away on Saturday from natural causes. He was 86. Since then, the world of entertainment has commemorated his life with messages, tributes  numerous recaps of his career.

Continue reading: Film And TV Icon James Garner Dead At 86

Drama, James Garner and The Greatest - Friday 1st October 2010 at Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Los Angeles, California

Drama, James Garner and The Greatest
Drama, James Garner and The Greatest
Drama, James Garner and The Greatest

Battle For Terra Review


Very Good
Made two years before the similarly themed Avatar, this original, vividly designed sci-fi animation makes an astute commentary on current issues. And this depth of feeling more than makes up for the relatively slack pace and thin characters.

When a giant ship of humans arrives at an isolated planet, they don't really understand that the residents are living in peace with nature and others. So they launch an all-out attack on the world they have named Terra. But a feisty local named Mala (Wood) stands up to them, teaming up with crash-landed earthling Stanton (Wilson) and his robot sidekick (Cross). And earth's General Hemmer (Cox) is more than happy to indulge in annihilation top get his hands on this planet.

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Battle For Terra Review


Weak
In this day and age, you simply cannot produce unsophisticated animation like the kind on display in the campy Battle for Terra and hope to compete.

Pixar's industry pioneers push the envelope with each new cartoon, while their closest rivals at DreamWorks Animation have narrowed the quality gap. Even Xbox and Playstation video games boast superior visual sequences to those found in Terra, which chokes on its competition's digitally animated dust.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review


Excellent
The song-and-dance numbers are out. The cheery sidekicks are nowhere to be seen. The predictable villains in black are nonexistent. This summer, Disney comes out with both guns blazing, literally, in its newest animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, an imaginative and eye-popping mix of action, adventure, and sweeping vision landscapes filled with gorgeous computer enhanced animation.

Continuing on its recent arc of solid storylines in its animation and quality visuals, Atlantis is successful in both being a wide-eyed roller-coaster ride for kids and is interesting enough to keep adults from passing out from boredom. The film follows the adventures of Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), a bookworm/boiler room attendant/linguistics expert who probably hasn't had a date in years. Milo's grandfather was an explorer looking for Atlantis who knew where to discover the location of the lost city -- in a hidden journal. With the help of eccentric billionaire Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney), the lost journal is recovered, providing new clues to Atlantis's whereabouts. Milo then joins a group of rag-tag explorers -- including a 200-person Navy, enough surplus to take over a small county, and no cute sidekicks -- in the search for the city of Atlantis.

Continue reading: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review

The Ultimate Gift Review


Good
And here I thought the ultimate gift was a Nintendo Wii.

As part of the trend in faith-driven filmmaking (and based on an apparently very popular self-help book), The Ultimate Gift is inspirational filmmaking at its most average. The tale involves a recently deceased business tycoon (James Garner), who gives token fortunes to various family members, all of whom have been ingrate layabouts their entire lives. The exception is young grandson Jason (Drew Fuller), who's the worst of all. He gets a series of tasks from lawyer Ted (Bill Cobbs), designed to see if Jason can actually become a useful member of society and thus, worthy of his inheritance.

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Grand Prix Review


Excellent
Sorry, NASCAR fans. Grand Prix isn't your usual chips-hot-dogs-beer-and-babes trip to the speedway.

John Frankenheimer crafts a surprisingly rich and interesting movie that's set during the rise of auto racing. Not only does it capture the spectacle of these tiny little open-air cars hurtling around European village streets (no ovals here), it also builds an interesting story of rivalries, friendly and otherwise.

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The Notebook Review


Weak
With just four films under Nick Cassavetes's belt, it's almost unfair to compare the director to his trailblazing father. In the case of The Notebook, however, it's unavoidable.

Thanks to papa John (Husbands, Gloria), the name Cassavetes has come to symbolize intrepid, no-apologies filmmaking and the unconventional human interaction within Now, 15 years after the maverick's death, his heir has traveled to the opposite pole, adapting a Nicholas Sparks novel into a standard tearjerker, filling the screen with handfuls of manipulative Hollywood clichés.

Continue reading: The Notebook Review

Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review


Excellent
The song-and-dance numbers are out. The cheery sidekicks are nowhere to be seen. The predictable villains in black are nonexistent. This summer, Disney comes out with both guns blazing, literally, in its newest animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, an imaginative and eye-popping mix of action, adventure, and sweeping vision landscapes filled with gorgeous computer enhanced animation.

Continuing on its recent arc of solid storylines in its animation and quality visuals, Atlantis is successful in both being a wide-eyed roller-coaster ride for kids and is interesting enough to keep adults from passing out from boredom. The film follows the adventures of Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), a bookworm/boiler room attendant/linguistics expert who probably hasn't had a date in years. Milo's grandfather was an explorer looking for Atlantis who knew where to discover the location of the lost city -- in a hidden journal. With the help of eccentric billionaire Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney), the lost journal is recovered, providing new clues to Atlantis's whereabouts. Milo then joins a group of rag-tag explorers -- including a 200-person Navy, enough surplus to take over a small county, and no cute sidekicks -- in the search for the city of Atlantis.

Continue reading: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review

The Great Escape Review


Excellent
Coming on the heels of John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven three years earlier, 1963's The Great Escape shows how quickly the ambitious epic can turn into a rote, readymade piece of filmmaking - a Hollywood masterpiece by design. There's a formal, somewhat stilted feel to its three-hour story about a group of imprisoned World War II officers and their struggle to break out of a Nazi P.O.W. camp, and anybody who thinks that Michael Bay is a bullying thug of a filmmaker who likes pushing people's emotions around can come here to see where he got it from. But for all its flaws, Escape has some of the most memorable moments in any war film, and some excellent performances from its ensemble cast.

Based on a true story, The Great Escape is set during the tail end of World War II, when a variety of officers from different countries were sent to Stalag Luft III, a prison camp designed to handle the most diligent escape attempts. Both fearless and duty-bound, the men spend no time with long prologues or chit-chat about what to do; they, along with the movie, immediately set to work, using the skills they know best. There's Anthony Hendley, the "scrounger" skilled at digging up needed provisions; James Garner, at his best when he's being charmingly unctuous to his Nazi captors; Charles Bronson, as the "tunnel king" Danny Velinski, offering a nice combination of two-fisted bravado and sensitive-guy neurosis; and Donald Pleasance, the British document forger, who brings a steely, proud stoicism to his role that sets the movie's emotional feel. His is the most convincing performance, which makes sense given that really did time in a German P.O.W. camp.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review


OK

Disney animated features have never been known for their originality, but their creators almost always craft delightful entertoonment from threadbare grab bags of clichés and contrived plot devices.

This year's regularly scheduled summer cartoon release is a perfect example of this principle. "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" is a grand-scale archeological adventure that, if it were live-action, would be the kind of campy, glossy, bottom-rung syndicated stuff you find padding the prime-time schedules of the UPN and WB networks.

It's populated with an unlikely racial balance of stock characters -- a muscle-man African-American doctor (voice of Phil Morris), a sassy teenage Latina tomboy mechanic (Jacqueline Obradors) -- most of whom are mercenaries ("adventure capitalists," one proffers) on a quest for the legendary ancient city in the title. The catalyst for the endeavor is, of course, an eccentric millionaire (voiced by John Mahoney) who funds the expedition.

Continue reading: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review

James Garner

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James Garner Movies

Battle For Terra Movie Review

Battle For Terra Movie Review

Made two years before the similarly themed Avatar, this original, vividly designed sci-fi animation makes...

Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

The song-and-dance numbers are out. The cheery sidekicks are nowhere to be seen....

The Ultimate Gift Movie Review

The Ultimate Gift Movie Review

And here I thought the ultimate gift was a Nintendo Wii.As part of the trend...

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The Notebook Movie Review

The Notebook Movie Review

With just four films under Nick Cassavetes's belt, it's almost unfair to compare the director...

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Movie Review

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Movie Review

Are you disappointed that the Grumpy Old Men franchise died with stars Walter Matthau and...

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Space Cowboys Movie Review

Space Cowboys Movie Review

The good news about Space Cowboys is that Clint Eastwood proves to be a skilled...

The Great Escape Movie Review

The Great Escape Movie Review

Coming on the heels of John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven three years earlier, 1963's The...

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