Peter Ustinov

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The Sundowners Review


Good
Deborah Kerr as Ida Carmody, an indomitable stick in the Australian outback, makes an impassioned plea for women living a nomadic existence in that spare country down under to the unhappy Jean Halstead (Dina Merrill), "This is good country for sheep and it's not bad for men. But it's hard on us women. The men come here because of the sheep and we come here because of the men and most of us finish up looking like the sheep -- wrinkled faces, knotty hair, not even much of our own minds." Jean replies, "I think you'll always have a mind of your own, Mrs. Carmody." She ain't kidding. Ida has to hold her own against her beer- and gambling-loving husband Paddy (Robert Mitchum), who as a sheep drover in 1920s Australia, keeps his family -- Ida and their teenage son Sean (Michael Anderson Jr.) -- moving with the sheep. Paddy is happy not being tied down, but Ida and Sean want a place to settle down and convince Paddy to take a job as a sheep-shearer in order to make a down payment on a farm. Paddy doesn't realize it though, and the struggle between Paddy, who wants to be free, and Ida, who wants a home, is the slender thread that ties Fred Zinnemann's The Sundowners together.

The Sundowners is a pleasant and happy film, marked by wonderful set pieces (a tremendous brush fire sequence, a sheep-shearing contest, a gambling scene, a tavern brawl) all set to a jaunty Dimitri Tiomkin score.

Continue reading: The Sundowners Review

Animal Farm (1999) Review


Very Good
The dark side of Babe. Impressive attempt at recreating Orwell's classic book for TV, but it's lacking a few components, and has a really abrupt and unfulfilling ending. Keeps your attention for the full two hours, though, and worth a look, especially for Orwell fans who don't mind a little bastardization. Check out also the reissued 1954 version of the film.

The Bachelor Review


Weak

You know something is just not right about a movie when even the most insignificant supporting characters have more charisma and personality than the leads.

Such is the case with "The Bachelor," a comedy about an heir to a $100 million fortune who has 24 hours to get married or be cut off without a dime.

Chris O'Donnell (Robin in the recent "Batman" movies) is said heir, a commitment-o-phobe from central casting named Jimmy whose persnickety, cantankerous grandfather (Peter Ustinov) kicks the bucket and reveals in his videotaped will that -- surprise! -- he's a millionaire. But grandpa is also obsessed with begetting a family legacy and decrees that Jimmy, his soul heir, gets zip unless he's married by his 30th birthday. Unfortunately grandpa has the bad timing to die two days before the deadline.

Continue reading: The Bachelor Review

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