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The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Review

An archeological specimen from nearly two decades before the advent of the Metrocard, Joseph Sargent's expert thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, like brethren Serpico and The French Connection, is another quintessential 1970s New York City movie that might read as alien dialect to those who aren't familiar with the geocentric love/hate relationship between the city and its inhabitants. To those who are familiar, however, the film will unfold like ghostscript, a bygone era of Abe Beame, Gotham teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and President Ford's apocryphal claim that the city could "drop dead."

There certainly aren't any Urban Outfitters to be seen in 1970s Manhattan, though a train ride on the 6 is still a life-and-death proposition. That becomes a bit more literal for the dozen or so that are held hostage on a single car by a pack of hijackers who refer to themselves by color; a gimmick Tarantino would cop 20 years later in Reservoir Dogs. The leader is a coiled ex-soldier-of-fortune who goes by Mr. Blue (the brilliant Robert Shaw, a year before Jaws) with Green (Martin Balsam), Grey (Hector Elizondo), and Brown (Earl Hindman) under him. His foil, a metro cop named Zach Garber, is oddly played by Walter Matthau.

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Grumpy Old Men Review

Grumpy Old Men, directed with general disinterest by Donald Petrie, is 100 minutes of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon pulling pranks, calling each other names, complaining and falling in love with Ann-Margret. I am suitably entertained by these things. Whether or not you are will be the deciding factor of what you think of what is ostensibly a geriatric Odd Couple.

Milking a 50-odd year rivalry, John Gustafson (Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Matthau), for reasons where logic dare not tread, live right next to each other in suburban Minnesota. Their lives hinge on very few things: Their kids, fishing, grandkids, fishing, evading tax collectors, fishing, and going to the bait shop to talk with Charlie (Ossie Davis) about fishing. That is when they aren't being a royal pain in each other's asses.

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The Odd Couple Review

There was a time, a little less than four decades ago, when Neil Simon was the literary benchmark of both Broadway and the Silver Screen. After a successful stint as a TV scribe on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, the soon to be phenomenon went on to create such Great White Way staples as Barefoot in the Park, Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. In 1966, he had four shows running at once and it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling.

After adapting his Come Blow Your Horn and Park for the big screen, Simon was given the complicated task of translating his mega-hit The Odd Couple as a movie. While the studios would accept Oscar- and Tony-winner Walter Matthau as Oscar, Art Carney's cinematic clout as Felix was questioned. Luckily, director Gene Saks hired friend and Fortune Cookie co-star Jack Lemmon as the notorious neat freak. The rest, as they say, is motion picture history.

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Hello, Dolly! Review

Come back, Carol Channing! All is forgiven! The epic screen version of the charming musical Hello, Dolly! hasn't aged well, but then again, it wasn't so great when it was new, either. An overstuffed extravaganza populated by thousands of extras gallivanting in period costumes, the movie is hamstrung by the miscasting of Miss Barbra Streisand in the lead role. Babs can sing, of course, but the fact that she is 30 years too young to play Dolly Levi derails the entire enterprise. The producers made a seemingly logical choice to cash in on Streisand's immense star power, but all the glorious hats in the world can't disguise the fact that Dolly is supposed to be at least 57, not 27.

We're transported back to turn-of-the-20th-century New York, where widowed matchmaker Dolly Levi is flouncing around meeting people, being charming, and trying to make matches. She journeys up to Yonkers to meet the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) and to bring him and a couple of his employees, a hatmaker (there are lots of hats in this movie) and her assistant, back to New York so they can all romantically entangle with each other. Dolly's goal is to wind up with Vandergelder herself, but it won't be easy. Why? Because he's Walther Matthau, and that means he's perpetually cranky and cynical.

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Earthquake Review

The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Hefner To Be Buried With Monroe

Hugh Hefner Marilyn Monroe Jack Lemmon Dean Martin Walter Matthau

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner wants to be buried next to screen goddess Marilyn Monroe.

The 79-year-old considers Los Angeles' Westwood Cemetery the ideal final resting place, and has earmarked an ornate vault alongside the SOME LIKE IT HOT STAR, who he considers "the major sex icon of the 20th Century".

He says, "My dear friends are buried there MEL TORME, BUDDY RICH, DOROTHY STRATTON.

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Hanging Up Review

There's just something really screwy about a family like the Ephrons.

A pair of sisters (Nora and Delia) collectively control the purse strings of many a woman and hold they keys to the heart of the modern romantic through two movies: Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Nora Ephron (along with Meg Ryan), redefined delis and male-female interaction with 1989's When Harry Met Sally.... Both are the daughters of a screenwriting duo, children of The Industry, and have become higher-level powerbrokers than their parents ever were with a string of well publicized hits and soon forgotten misses that formed a winning streak that lasted up until now.

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A Face In The Crowd Review

Every great film has a great screenplay, and A Face in the Crowd is no exception. Budd Schulberg's script is sharp and ambitious and works as a psychological study, slightly over-the-top political satire, and a morality play. But it is Andy Griffith's awesome, energetic, nuanced performance of a demagogue that makes this film a classic.

A reporter in rural Arkansas (Patricia Neal) interviews a bum in a local jail (Andy Griffith) and discovers he can sing, so she gives him a spot on her local radio show and christens him Lonesome Rhodes. He turns out to be a fountain of homespun charm who is especially empathetic with women listeners (the premise is not improbable -- many careers were launched in a similar way). On his first night on TV, Rhodes makes love to the audience while raising money for a homeless family. He becomes an overnight celebrity, rising from national TV star into advertising, opinion-making, and finally becomes a political kingmaker.

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Matthau's Niece Lashes Out At Richie

Walter Matthau Lionel Richie

LATEST: Walter Matthau's niece MICHELLE is among those keen to make sure Lionel Richie's ex-wife DIANE gets justice in court - she wants her squashed like a bug.

Michelle Matthau was married to DANIEL SERRANO, who has been charged alongside girlfriend Richie of allegedly injecting patients with illegal anti-wrinkle drugs. And she insists her ex-husband is innocent and it's his lover who should be sent to jail.

Michelle Matthau says, "I don't put anything past Diane Richie. I think she's a bug on the ground and I think she should be squashed.

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More Pain For Matthau's Family

Walter Matthau

Late great Walter Matthau's family are grieving again after the drug death of the star's stepdaughter.

LUCY SAROYAN, the only daughter of Matthau's widow CAROL, has died from cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C - just three years after the beloved funnyman she called dad passed away following a heart attack.

Matthau's son CHARLIE says, "Lucy was never able to quit taking drugs. Drugs have ruined so many lives and she's another one.

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