Peter Falk

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Eileen Brennan

Stockard Cahnning, Louise Fletcher, Madeline Kahn, Neil Simon, Eileen Brennan, Ann-Margaret, Marsha Mason and Peter Falk - The Cheap Detective (1978) directed by Robert Moore shown clockwise from lower left: Stockard Cahnning, Louise Fletcher, Madeline Kahn, Neil Simon, Eileen Brennan, Ann-Margaret, Marsha Mason center: Peter Falk - United States - Wednesday 26th July 1978

The Late Peter Falk Is Honoured With A Star

Peter Falk Star - The late Peter Falk is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Thursday 25th July 2013

Peter Falk

Next Review

If the protagonist of Next were to use his ability to peer two minutes into the future before watching Next, he'd probably have enough to go on to skip it altogether. That's how long it takes to tell the movie will be high on concept and low on content. To find out just how bad it gets, though, he'd have to watch the whole film.

Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas entertainer disguising his true abilities with a cheesy stage show. FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has decided that the best way to stop a smuggled nuclear bomb from detonating somewhere in the U.S. is to use Johnson's talent for prognostication. Never mind the fact that he can only see two minutes into the future, giving her a very brief window in which to act if he were to see the bomb. That's about the level of logic at which this film operates.

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The Princess Bride Review

Who among us has never uttered the line, "My name is Inigo Montoya..."? Standing as one of the most eminently quotable films ever made -- this side of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, anyway.

Ostensibly a children's fairy tale about a farmer's daughter (Robin Wright), her poor lover Westley (Cary Elwes), the prince (Chris Sarandon) who catches her eye, and the battle that develops among them all. Filled with memorable supporting characters -- Wallace Shawn's Vizzini ("Inconceivable!!!"), Mandy Patinkin's Inigo, Andre the Giant's Fezzik, and Christopher Guest's six-fingered man, The Princess Bride is as much fun as you can have in a film. Even the fringe characters (Peter Cook's priest, Carol Kane's nagging wife, Mel Smith's albino torturer) are hilarious and unforgettable. And director Rob Reiner has imbued this film with so much pure joy that you can't help but want to watch it over and over.

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A Woman Under The Influence Review

John Cassavetes' pioneering independent film represents a hallmark of the indie scene, but at its heart is an excellent story told exceedingly badly. Low production values (bad focus, etc.) can be forgiven, but a rambling, 2 1/2 hour, directionless pace can not. Cassavetes cast wife Gena Rowlands as a clearly-going-insane woman, earning her an Oscar nomination. The story of her fall, rise, and fall again is vaguely reminiscent of Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Cassavetes gets credit for the homage this picture still is paid. The monotone piano music is hauntingly similar to that in Eyes Wide Shut. Remember that music and be warned: Even on DVD, this picture has the worst sound I've ever heard on a feature film. Shame on the studio for not cleaning it up for the digital release.

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Scared Straight! Review

You know what it means to get "scared straight," dontcha? It means you've got the crap scared out of you so badly you'll change your criminal (or other wrongdoing) ways.

Here's the origin of the term: Scared Straight! a watershed documentary about highschool delinquents who are exposed to the real criminal element during a three-hour deprogramming session in a real prison. Here, 30-year-to-lifers get face to face -- nose to nose, really -- with uppity teenagers thinking they're invulnerable and will never get caught during their petty crimes.

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It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Review

It's also long, long, long... well, you get the picture. Mad, Mad World is the brainchild of director Stanley Kramer, best known for films like Inherit the Wind and Judgment at Nuremburg, who figured he really ought to take a shot at directing a comedy, and what the hell if it's over 3 hours long (his first cut was 5 1/2 hours, actually). Kramer hired every comedian in Hollywood -- counting cameos represents Mad, Mad World's special thrill -- and sent them on a chase across southern California in search of $350,000 that a dying Jimmy Durante alludes to after a car wreck. The ensuing adventures stretch the definition of the word madcap.

Of course, this is what we owe movies like Cannonball Run to. But the original will always reign as the only two-tape comedy on the rental rack. Enjoy.

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Enemies Of Laughter Review

Yet another entry into a genre popularized in the late-1990s: The Hollywood romantic comedy about the successful man who just can't make romance work. (Later this would evolve into the woman who just can't make romance work genre, followed by the lesbian who just can't make romance work genre).

Saddled with the worst title you could give to a comedy, Enemies of Laughter gives us David Paymer as Paul, a semi-failed sitcom writer whose experiences in Hollywood are echoed in his love life. He ends up on dozens of dates with your typical collection of L.A. airheads, but it isn't until he meets Carla (Rosalind Chao) that Paul figures he's met his match. Too bad he ruins their date with paranoid crazy-talk, sending Carla running for the hills.

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Undisputed Review

The last of his breed of filmmakers, Walter Hill is a prolific, old-school screenwriter/director who's worked in everything: sci-fi, westerns, musicals, noir thrillers, comedies, and action. Over the last couple decades, Hill has produced a plethora of notable gems such as Streets of Fire, 48 Hours, The Warriors, and Southern Comfort. His latest flick - Undisputed - falls smack dab in the middle of cinematic quality: A straightforward tale of two lone, boxing warriors going head to head (and toe to toe) inside a microcosm of violence, power, and greed fueled by the almighty dollar.

Ten years ago, rising boxing superstar Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes) was sent up for life imprisonment due to a fit of passionate and murderous rage. He's serving time in Sweetwater Prison in the Mojave Desert and continues to box in the Inter-Prison Boxing Program with a flawless record and the title of undisputed champion. To prove that he could have amounted to something outside the prison walls, Hutchen unexpectedly gets his chance to fight the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, George "Iceman" Chambers (Ving Rhames), an arrogant megalomaniac who has recently been sent up for six to eight years for a charge of rape. Hmm, who does that sounds like?

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Robin And The 7 Hoods Review

The legend of Robin Hood gets a curious and not entirely successful updating with Frank Sinatra's Robin and the 7 Hoods, with Sinatra taking the role of a 1930s gangster in Chicago -- at least an alternate-universe version sans Al Capone.

Sinatra plays a low-level gangster named Robbo, and his band of merry men (with usuals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., plus a cryptically cast Bing Crosby) battles the malicious big-time hood Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk, quite funny here). Things aren't going so well until Robbo comes across $50 grand he refuses to accept. He ends up donating the money to charity -- and suddenly, the legend of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, is born.

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The Thing About My Folks Review

The Thing About My Folks is a low-budget labor of love for star Paul Reiser, and both halves of that equation show: Its depiction of a late-in-life father-son relationship is prickly and heartfelt, and it looks terrible. Digital video probably enabled the film to be made at all, but cinematographers in this medium ought not to shoot, say, sunlight sparkling over a lake; it calls pixilated attention to the camera's limitations too readily. Folks is about a trip, but it feels strangely closed-off; it's one of those road movies where the characters seem to travel over the same 10-mile stretch for several days.

The reason for the long drive: Ben Kleinman (Reiser) is looking after his elderly father Sam (Peter Falk), who has just received a terse letter from his wife; she's fed up with him and he's leaving. Ben himself has read a second letter, far more generous with exposition (perhaps to a fault), which goes into greater detail about why this may have happened. Ben takes Sam on the road while his sisters and wife search for the errant Mrs. Kleinman; over the course of their misadventures, he tries to talk out some dysfunction with his father.

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Mikey And Nicky Review

"I didn't say he was going to be in the middle of the street waiting for us," says Mikey (Peter Falk) to the hitman (Ned Beatty). The two are tracking Mikey's friend Nicky (John Cassavetes), whom Mikey is setting up after Nicky has been caught stealing from their mob boss. Mikey and Nicky have just had a fistfight in the middle-of-the-night streets of Philadelphia, and Mikey goes on to explain that Nicky isn't likely to be waiting in the exact spot where the fight took place, either; he will have run.

But then we cut to Nicky, and he is indeed standing in the street in the very same spot as before. The moment fits the plot, which follows the adventures of these two over the course of one long night in which Nicky unknowingly thwarts his friend's every attempt to place him within striking range of the hitman, and it fits Nicky's character, which is that of a hyperactive, wearingly obnoxious adolescent boy occupying the body of a full-grown man. But more than anything, it's another moment of eerily misplaced humor in a film full of anger and remorse.

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Peter Falk

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