Norman Fell

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Pork Chop Hill Review


Very Good
Gregory Peck, along with a host of then-unknowns, star in this Korean War melodrama, about the taking of an unimportant hill on the eve of the end of the war. According to the production notes, this film is absolutely true, and it paints a disappointing picture of the bureaucracy of the U.S. Army and what it will do to "save face." Good film but not exceptionally memorable 40 years after the fact.

Pork Chop Hill Review


Very Good
Gregory Peck, along with a host of then-unknowns, star in this Korean War melodrama, about the taking of an unimportant hill on the eve of the end of the war. According to the production notes, this film is absolutely true, and it paints a disappointing picture of the bureaucracy of the U.S. Army and what it will do to "save face." Good film but not exceptionally memorable 40 years after the fact.

Bullitt Review


OK
For all of the talk about its legendary car chase through the streets of San Francisco -- and it is justified -- Bullitt idles far tool long in the slow lane when it should be blowing by the minivans and the carpoolers. Even the presence of Steve McQueen, with his laid-back, self-assured cool, can't save it.

McQueen plays Frank Bullitt, a celebrated lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department, assigned to protect a celebrity witness in a Senate subcommittee meeting on organized crime. When the witness is killed in his hotel room, Bullitt has little time to discover the truth before the city's powerful DA (Robert Vaughn) unleashes his wrath.

Continue reading: Bullitt Review

Ocean's Eleven (1960) Review


Good
Implausible yet wholly unforgettable, Ocean's Eleven is as much fun as it is a misogynistic relic of a bygone era. Essentially, the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford are playing themselves as ex-military playboy buddies who decide to pull off a daring heist on New Year's Eve, robbing five Las Vegas casinos in one fell swoop. As it turns out, the heist itself is kind of a forgettable letdown, as is the aftermath involving an investigation into the matter by Lawford's character's future stepfather (Cesar Romero). Even the setup takes close to an hour, as Billy Ocean (Sinatra) woos his lady and slowly gathers his crew -- all while Martin and Davis provide musical accompaniment. The end result is more than two hours of heist work that would make David Mamet cringe.

So why watch Sinatra and his 10 (not 11) ex-military buddies romp through their kinda town? Ocean's Eleven is the kind of movie you turn on and just hang out to, just like the Rat Pack would have done, as you enjoy a scotch and soda on a Saturday afternoon while Dean Martin croons "Ain't that a kick in the head..." in the background. Then you'd go bowling in an orange sweater to talk about the job. When it's over, you won't feel like you've bettered yourself in any way, but you might feel just an inch of kinship with a bygone era when Vegas was black tie-only and when a woman's place was in a distant, supporting role. (Just kidding, dames.)

Continue reading: Ocean's Eleven (1960) Review

Catch-22 Review


Extraordinary
A wry and sarcastic (and thick as hell) book about the ridiculous duplicity of war? Sounds like a movie to me.

And so it did to Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, collaborators on The Graduate who conspired once again to make one of the greats of cinema. While Catch-22 has none of the cachet of other war movies (and we'll get to that...), it's by far one of the best out there, ranking with Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now as one of the greats.

Continue reading: Catch-22 Review

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Ocean's Eleven (1960) Movie Review

Ocean's Eleven (1960) Movie Review

Implausible yet wholly unforgettable, Ocean's Eleven is as much fun as it is a misogynistic...

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