William Rose

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


Very Good
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.

Continue reading: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Review

The Ladykillers (2004) Review


OK
Joel and Ethan Coen's hot hands finally have cooled with their remake of The Ladykillers, and fans could probably see it coming. For starters, as mentioned, it's a remake - uncharted waters for two filmmakers best known for placing their unique fingerprints all over their unusual projects. Their vision ends up being a productive failure that's silly rather than sophisticated. We're engaged by its oddities, but never really entertained.

The original Ladykillers pitted Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, and their band of British crooks against a kindly old landlady in 1955. The Coens shift their action from England to the Deep South, where Tom Hanks wheezes and grins as a genteel criminal mastermind plotting to rob a Mississippi riverboat casino. He and his motley crew take up residence in the home of Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), a churchgoing Bible Belter with a room to rent near the boat's dock. The men fool Munson into thinking they perform in a musical group, though they're forced to consider devious actions when the old lady discovers their criminal plans.

Continue reading: The Ladykillers (2004) Review

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Review


Good
Now terribly quaint (just look at the title!) and not nearly as funny as film historians would lead you to believe, The Russians Are Coming! is nonetheless quite daring for its day. In 1966, the Cold War was close to its peak, and Norman Jewison took a chance on a little book called Off Islanders, abbout a Russian sub that runs aground on a New England island. Hilarity (er...) ensues, a la Catch-22, with plenty of military mismanagement (on both sides of the fence) and romances in halting English. Alas, I just don't see this one: Alan Arkin makes for one awfully oddball Russian.

Continue reading: The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Review

The Ladykillers (1955) Review


Good
As black comedies go, The Ladykillers (remade in 2004) is neither terribly black nor terribly comedic. The centerpiece performance by a sunken-eyed Alec Guinness doesn't ever raise the film above its simple beginnings, involving a band of crooks (led by Guinness) who use an old woman's home as home base for a heist. The crooks scheme to kill the old lady when she stumbles upon their plan. Slow and unbalanced, the movie doesn't make much of an impression, though some moments (like the crooks posing as a string quartet) are priceless.

Continue reading: The Ladykillers (1955) Review

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Review


Very Good
By now everyone knows who's coming to dinner... it's a 37-year-old Sidney Poitier (and his parents), on the arm of a very white 23-year-old girl (Katherine Houghton) who returns home with him to introduce her to the 'rents. Oh, and they're getting married.

Continue reading: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Review

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William Rose Movies

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Movie Review

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Movie Review

It's also long, long, long... well, you get the picture. Mad, Mad World is...

The Ladykillers (2004) Movie Review

The Ladykillers (2004) Movie Review

Joel and Ethan Coen's hot hands finally have cooled with their remake of The Ladykillers,...

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