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The Friends Of Eddie Coyle Review


Excellent
Throughout Peter Yates' masterful The Friends of Eddie Coyle, crooks, thieves and the occasional police officer use terms of complacent endearment -- friend, nice guy, good man -- but the words never seem to carry any meaning. All of them tend to agree that Eddie Coyle (Robert Mitchum), a career criminal at 51, is a nice guy, but that doesn't mean they aren't willing to put him in the dirt if it makes their lives easier. Coyle can't really blame them for it; he knows the way of the world.

As its title points out, Friends has a very marginal interest in Eddie himself. In his first scene, Coyle goes about telling a gun dealer (Steven Keats) about how some associates of other associates slammed his fingers after a deal went sour. A low-level hood since God-knows-when, Eddie speaks about the situation congenially before telling the dealer that he needs 30 guns. Coyle has been supplying guns to a pack of bank robbers, the head of which is played by Alex Rocco. The money he's making is to support his wife and kids before he reports for a two-year stint in a New Hampshire prison; he doesn't feel his family should be scraping by on welfare.

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The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight Review


Bad
As much as I like Hervé Villechaize, it's pretty impossible to like much about The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, a mob slapstick comedy that features Tattoo is one of a bunch of hapless thugs who want to get rid of the local heavy (Lionel Stander) so they can take over in his stead. Too bad the crew, you know, can't shoot straight... and though they try endlessly to get rid of him, they just can't manage to do it.

That's pretty much the story, with rising star Robert De Niro strangely inserted into the movie to take advantage of his upcoming celebrity (he's a bicycle racer that falls for the gang leader's (Jerry Orbach) kid sister (Leigh Taylor-Young, completely lost here). The bulk of the film has Orbach and co. scheming endlessly to off Stander's Baccala, and over and over it fails to amuse us, even when a live lion is thrown into the mix. That's the film. If it weren't for Villechaize, there'd be nary a laugh in the whole movie, and even that kind of comedy is hardly highbrow.

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Blue Thunder Review


Very Good
When John Badham's Blue Thunder came out I was just a kid, but the film made quite an impression on me. I didn't actually see it. And I suspect that most of the kids who told me long rambling stories about it didn't either. It was one of those school yard legends, like the one about the woman in the apartment across from the middle school who gets undressed in her window for all the world to see, or the one about the kid who was skateboarding a swimming pool and found a machine gun in the deep end. Blue Thunder was just the sweetest thing we could imagine. I mean, it was a helicopter that flew silently (so the story went) and it was all high tech and it could kill a million people in a few seconds. This was the Cold War and something like Blue Thunder just seemed too incredible. This was Ronald Reagan's secret weapon against the commies.

Of course, like all schoolyard tales it was too good to be true. "Blue Thunder" wasn't a top clandestine Commie-busting nuke firing super secret weapon; it was a cool looking helicopter that the cops used to control rioters. When I actually saw the movie a few years later, I was bummed to say the least.

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Auggie Rose Review


Very Good
Curious little movie. Jeff Goldblum's morose insurance salesman witnesses a shooting of an employee during the robbery of a deli and decides to look into the life of the man who ultimately dies into his eyes. Auggie Rose, it turns out, is an ex-con fresh out of 20 years in prison with no family ties -- only a pen-pal girl (Anne Heche) who is coming to meet him for the first time. Goldblum's John Nolan takes a giant leap and starts to assume Auggie's identity, slowly weaning himself from his rich guy trappings (and his own form of prison) as he becomes this down-on-his-luck individual. Laconic and contrived beyond belief, Auggie Rose is nonetheless a much better film than I ever expected it could be, largely thanks to Goldblum's prodigious acting chops. If anyone could make you feel the life of a rich insurance salesman is worse than that of a penniless ex-con, Goldblum can.

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The Old Man And The Sea Review


Good
I can't really think of a better actor to play Hemingway's Santiago than Anthony Quinn, and sure enough he's about the only reason to check out this 1990 TV rendition of The Old Man and the Sea.

Jud Taylor's rendition adds two new characters, an American writer (Gary Cole, with a moustache!) and his wife (Patricia Clarkson, without a moustache), who are lazing about in Cuba while our fisherman is out at sea. Cole is obviously a metaphor for Hemingway himself, and while it does serve to break the monotony of spending the entire movie out on the water, the addition is perplexing and a bit jarring.

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Blue Thunder Movie Review

Blue Thunder Movie Review

When John Badham's Blue Thunder came out I was just a kid, but the film...

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