Paul Dehn

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Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Review


Weak
I guess when your budget gets slashed because of a string of previous Twentieth Century Fox flops (down to $3 million this time out) and your name is Arthur P. Jacobs, you do what you can to find a way to make a sequel to one of Fox's biggest successes.

The main problem with making a sequel to the original Apes was that Charlton Heston didn't want to put the loincloth back on to keep the struggle going against those damn, dirty apes. So Richard Zanuck, the producer of the original Apes, asked Heston personally to return to the role as some kind of karmic payback for making thr original. Heston took the role but insisted that Taylor be killed at the beginning of the film. So Jacobs hired some schmuck who looked like Heston, named James Franciscus, tossed him in a loincloth, told him to growl like the great one, and then hopefully watch the sawbucks pour in on opening weekend.

Continue reading: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Review

Goldfinger Review


Essential
The iconic James Bond movie, this third entry into the franchise is rightly heralded for offering the perfect blend of action, adventure, gunplay, fisticuffs, gadgetry (that Aston Martin!), romance, derring-do, and just about everything else. Bond's outtings take him across Europe and eventually to U.S. shores, on the trail of Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), a maniac who wants to corner the gold market... with a plan to break into Fort Knox. Even though the ultimate plot is a little on the silly side, Bond's co-stars (Oddjob, Pussy Galore) are among the series' most memorable characters, with Fröbe perhaps its greatest villain. Numerous scenes in the film -- most notably Goldfinger's aborted execution of Bond via laser beam-to-the-crotch -- have become cinematic classics. Don't miss the DVD commentary track, it's incredibly insightful: I had no idea that Gert Fröbe spoke no English and was completely dubbed over.

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Murder On The Orient Express Review


Excellent
Classic Agatha Christie becomes a near-classic motion picture, as a dozen major stars are trapped on a snowbound train with what appears to be a killer on the loose. It's up to an absurdly made-up Poirot (Albert Finney) to unmask the murderer of a millionaire in this rich whodunit. Beautifully made and full of good one-liners, Ingred Bergman inexplicably won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as a relatively forgettable "simple woman." Odd.

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Review


Weak
I guess when your budget gets slashed because of a string of previous Twentieth Century Fox flops (down to $3 million this time out) and your name is Arthur P. Jacobs, you do what you can to find a way to make a sequel to one of Fox's biggest successes.

The main problem with making a sequel to the original Apes was that Charlton Heston didn't want to put the loincloth back on to keep the struggle going against those damn, dirty apes. So Richard Zanuck, the producer of the original Apes, asked Heston personally to return to the role as some kind of karmic payback for making thr original. Heston took the role but insisted that Taylor be killed at the beginning of the film. So Jacobs hired some schmuck who looked like Heston, named James Franciscus, tossed him in a loincloth, told him to growl like the great one, and then hopefully watch the sawbucks pour in on opening weekend.

Continue reading: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Review

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Review


Good
OK... the Earth has been blown up, all human and ape races have been extinguished (including all original characters of the first and second productions), and the thought of another Apes sequel is about as possible as Natalie Wood starring in Brainstorm 2. Neverless, Arthur Jacobs, along with screenwriter Paul Dehn, put together a third Apes movie. This feat is achieved by sending Cornelius and Zira (McDowall and Hunter reprising their original roles) back in time, leaving right before the nuclear apocalypse of the future perpetuated by Heston's Taylor, all through hopping on Taylor's sunken spaceship from the first movie. (The only problem with that is that the spaceship is somehow repaired by an ape society that initially didn't even know how to run a microwave oven.)

I know, I know, I must be losing you by now, but stay with me, it gets funnier.

Continue reading: Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Review

Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes Review


OK
This fourth entry into the Apes series is by far the darkest and most violent entry in the series. The good-natured tone of the previous Apes movies is replaced by this ugly tale of slavery, totalitarianism, repression, and revolution.

The year is 1991. The world is a police state where everyone wears black turtlenecks and black leather jackets. The police carry big sticks and wear black patent jackboots. In 1984, all dogs and cats were wiped out due to a mysterious plague brought down during a routine space mission. Apes have since replaced those furry domestic animals, first as pets and then as slaves to the upper society classes.

Continue reading: Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes Review

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold Review


Very Good
For those who like their spy thrillers convoluted, talky, and depressing, John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold sticks James Bond in the belly with a sucker punch. Sad and chilly, the story gives us Richard Burton as an aging British spy who reluctantly semi-retires to work in a library, where he meets a communist gal (Claire Bloom) he fancies. He picks up a final job -- defect to East Germany, but not really; the job is to feed the communists misinformation. Or is he serious? What about the girl? The Berlin Wall makes for an ominous and chilling symbol, a reminder of our Cold War heritage. Burton and Oskar Werner (who plays his nemesis) earned various acting nominations.
Paul Dehn

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Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Movie Review

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes Movie Review

OK... the Earth has been blown up, all human and ape races have been extinguished...

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