John Mills

John Mills

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Picture - John Mills, Kevin Fruscite, Daniel... New York City, USA, Tuesday 10th July 2007

John Mills - John Mills, Kevin Fruscite, Daniel Callahan and John Breen of FDNY Engine 74 at Herald Square New York City, USA - Rachel Ray bring New Yorkers the spirit of Pamplona with the city's first ' Running of the Cups' and donation to the Leary Firefighters Foundation Tuesday 10th July 2007

John Mills

Gandhi Review


Extraordinary
In a society rife with Robin Williams waterworks and Ben Affleck angst, it's nice to have an occasional jolt of truth. Gandhi, while a couple of decades old now, still has that bold-faced honesty which we find so often lacking in many contemporary films.

Gandhi stars Ben Kingsley in a retelling of the life and times of revered Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned peace lover, sage, and all around worldly wise man. There is little told here that cannot be read in any history book, for Gandhi is not some sort of Hollywood trumped up, Pearl Harbored dramatization of history. Rather, it's just the facts, nothing but truth.

Continue reading: Gandhi Review

Great Expectations (1946) Review


Good
The definitive adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is this one from David Lean, featuring John Mills as the adult version of Pip, an orphan who inherits wealth and status from an unnamed benefactor, and woos the woman of his youthful dreams along the way. The film can be stilted in that 1940s way, most notably during a boxing exhibition in which one fighter has time to apologizing before taking a knockout punch, but Lean does wonders with setting and transforms Dickens' dialogue into something worthy of watching.

Tunes of Glory Review


OK
After WWII, Alec Guinness gets passed over for promotion of command of his Scottish garrison. This leads to a tussle between he and the new boss, played by John Mills. What follows is the slow decay of morale at the base, followed by the mental breakdown of Guinness in what is often heralded as one of the best performances ever put to film. Too bad then that the story gives Guinness and Mills little chance to shine, as the script is crafted from weirdly insidery Scots arcana (lots of dancing, lots of bagpiping) and interferes with the character study. Interesting counterpoiont to Guinness's Bridge on the River Kwai, but the overall, washed-out look and mopey pacing of the film drag it down.

Swiss Family Robinson Review


Weak
This family doesn't seem very Swiss to me, and I don't think there are elephants and tigers on remote islands in the South Seas, but while Walt Disney's early Survivor experience lacks in realism, it's also not nearly as wholesome as it pretends to be.

The movie jumps right into the story, with the family's ship being chased into a storm and running aground, all but sunk. What follows is the all-too-familiar story of survival, as our castaways create a hut (treehouses in this case), attempt to kill every form of wildlife that appears even remotely threatening, and facing off against pirates, all while maintaining an appropriate level of late 1950s decorum, with nary an undone button or brooch clip.

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The Rocking Horse Winner Review


Excellent
The Rocking Horse Winner - based on a D.H. Lawrence short story - is a little like a long British version of The Twilight Zone. Directed in 1949 by the almost completely unknown director Anthony Pelissier, the film is about a boy named Paul (John Howard Davies) who gets a rocking horse for Christmas, which gets him excited about horse racing. At the same time seemingly unrelated events begin to unfold: The boy's mother (Valerie Hobson) begins to display wanton materialism and a drive for money, which in turn begins to literally pervade the house in the form of reverberating voices which call for there to be more cash.

When Paul hears the phantom-like voice ringing through his room it is like a clarion call to action. He gets atop his rocking horse and begins to ride. The second voice he hears - when he feverishly rides his rocking horse - is one that tells him which horse will win at the local racetrack. (It's all very peculiar to be sure, but don't most good stories ask for improbable suspensions of disbelief?)

Continue reading: The Rocking Horse Winner Review

Goodbye, Mr. Chips Review


OK
Mr. Chipping (Robert Donat) is on his way out as professor and headmaster at a proper British boys' school, and the aging man looks back on his life. Goodbye, Mr. Chips provides a comprehensive look at one teacher's life and love -- from the disciplining of his students to the chance meeting of the love of his life on a mountaintop. (Played by Greer Garson with about 20 minutes of screen time, I have no idea how her awkward debut here earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.)

Everybody loves Chipping to death, which is what makes this and its contemporaries (like Mr. Holland's Opus) such harmless works of cinema. Chipping's challenges are so meaningless that he all but waltzes through life. There's less conflict than in your typical animated Disney movie, and that makes watching Chips an often tedious experience. Even when asked to retire by a younger headmaster, he merely brushes it off like dust from his lapels. Sure, there's some teary eyes when he eulogizes a student that dies during WWII, but Chipping himself lives to a ripe old age with little more than a cold to keep him down.

Continue reading: Goodbye, Mr. Chips Review

Gandhi Review


Extraordinary
In a society rife with Robin Williams waterworks and Ben Affleck angst, it's nice to have an occasional jolt of truth. Gandhi, while a couple of decades old now, still has that bold-faced honesty which we find so often lacking in many contemporary films.

Gandhi stars Ben Kingsley in a retelling of the life and times of revered Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned peace lover, sage, and all around worldly wise man. There is little told here that cannot be read in any history book, for Gandhi is not some sort of Hollywood trumped up, Pearl Harbored dramatization of history. Rather, it's just the facts, nothing but truth.

Continue reading: Gandhi Review

Bright Young Things Review


Good

"Bright Young Things" is a terribly witty romp through 1930s pre-war London with a pack of idle young swells who live scrumptious but superficial lives of joyous gossip-page decadence and complacent scandal that has the potential to ruin them.

Very cleverly adapted (from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies") and directed by the gifted comedic actor Stephen Fry ("Wilde," "Peter's Friends"), our surrogate in this world is Adam Symes (newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore), a well-connected but flat broke novelist and fringe member of this society who is railroaded into writing an anonymous gossip column about his pals -- although he's soon inventing entirely fictional members of the circle just to keep his readers amused.

An ironic failure at schemes to get rich quick so he can ask the "frantically bored" and beautiful but secretly vulnerable and melancholy Nina (subtly heartbreaking and simply wonderful Emily Mortimer) to marry him, Adam's fortunes -- which practically fluctuate with the tides -- are just one source of endless humor. But director Fry furtively hints at shades of compunction and misfortune under the film's carefree surface that bubble up as world events encroach on these lives of leisure, eventually taking the film to an unexpected level of empathy, nuance and humanity.

Continue reading: Bright Young Things Review

John Mills

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