Robert Webber

Robert Webber

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12 Angry Men Review


Essential
Who would have thought that a movie which almost entirely takes place in one room, consists of 12 men who do nothing but talk -- and who don't even have names -- would be such a searing experience? 12 Angry Men is a classic, and an undisputed one at that, a film that is as inspiring as it is well-crafted behind the scenes.

The story is a simple one: 12 jurors are asked to decide the fate of a young man who is accused of killing his father. If guilty, he will be sentenced to the electric chair. Otherwise he goes free. The evidence is overwhelmingly against him: Two eyewitnesses, a murder weapon known to be bought by the killer, and an alibi that he couldn't remember during questioning. Open and shut, but one juror stands alone against the other 11, who'd like to get home in time for dinner. And with that single "not guilty" vote, Henry Fonda's Juror #8 sets off the titular anger.

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The Dirty Dozen Review


Good
Can The Dirty Dozen really be 40 years old? Well, almost. This watershed film paved the ways for bad-guys-as-heroes flicks ranging from The Wild Bunch to Reservoir Dogs, and its influence is still felt today. Yet how can The Dirty Dozen feel so tired when viewed in this millennium? Maybe its a cast that, though exquisite, is a bit much. The Dirty Dozen also appears to have paved the way for the Airport movies, studded with megastars and short on plot. Viewed today, too much of Dozen is schlocky and trite, reliant on stereotypes that border on Hogan's Heroes-level characterizations to tell the WWII-era story. (Writ large: 12 career criminals are given a last chance to pull off a major anti-Nazi mission.) The film is pioneering, daring, and very well made. But there's a bit much to go around, and now you can see the actors jockeying for notice among each other. Still a good film, though its impact is now starting to fade.

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$ Review


Good
Beatty and Hawn carry this fun little heist/comedy picture for the first hour, but then the whole affair gets a little tiring. First the duo (he's a bank security pro, she's a call girl) conspire to steal the ill-gotten contents of three safe deposit boxes. The final act has the victims of the crime trying to get their money back. If you get bored you can always marvel at Beatty's hair.

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10 Review


Weak
"Introducing Bo Derek?" She got introduced two years earlier in the infamous Orca.

No matter: She acquits herself far better here, namely ecause she has nearly no lines. This is Dudley Moore's show: An absurd and hopelessly dated bit of slapstick about Moore's showbiz star facing a midlife crisis. Zoom, he's off to Mexico, where he daydreams about Derek (in those hideous braids) at length. Blake Edwards made worse films than this, but his comic timing is all wrong, exiled to long bouts of non-sequitur gags, such as Moore's run-in with dentistry.

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Revenge of the Pink Panther Review


OK
Peter Sellers' fifth and final performance as Clouseau, of Pink Panther fame, finds the bumbling detective the target of a French crime lord determined to boost him image by offing the notoriously hard-to-kill inspector. It's the most cartoon-like of the series (when Clouseau falls through a hole in the floor -- cut out in a circle beneath where he stands, natch -- his hat stays suspended in air on the story above), and the least memorable by a longshot. Never mind that it doesn't make a lot of sense to start with (no explanation is made for the reappearance of former inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who disintegrated himself at the end of Panther #4), and the remainder of the movie is mainly one setup for Sellers to ham it up after another. Still, what a ham, eh?
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