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Member's Reviews

Best of the Best, a review by addicted2dvd



Title: Best of the Best
Year: 1989
Director: Bob Radler
Rating: PG-13
Length: 97 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles:

Stars:
Eric Roberts as Alex
Phillip Rhee as Tommy
James Earl Jones as Coach Couzo
Sally Kirkland as Wade
Christopher Penn as Travis

Plot:
Eric Roberts (Academy Award® Nominee Best Actor in a supporting role Runaway Train 1985, National Security, TV's "Less than Perfect"), Phillip Rhee, Christopher Penn (Starsky and Hutch, Reservoir Dogs), John Dye and David Agresta play five young men who are selected as members of the U.S. National Karate Team. Each teammate has his own reason for competing. However, they soon discover that in order to function as a team they must put aside their differences and learn to depend upon each other.

James Earl Jones (Academy Award® Nominee Best Actor The Great White Hope 1970, Field of Dreams, Hunt for Red October), is their unorthodox coach, and Sally Kirkland (Anna, The Sting, The Way We Were, A Star is Born), their trainer, teach them that winning is not a sometime thing – it's an all-time thing.

Together they enter an exhausting training period that puts their mental and physical skills to the ultimate endurance test. After three months of grueling workouts and personal conflicts thet are ready to face the highly skilled Korean team and become true champions.

In an unexpected and climactic ending these men come to understand what it takes to be the BEST OF THE BEST.

Extras:
Scene Access
Trailers
Closed Captioned

My Thoughts:
I felt like something a little different... some martial arts. So I grabbed this one out of the collection I got from mom. I kinda have mixed feelings on this one. For the most part I enjoyed it.Though it was a bit slow at times. In this one they decided to go with the feel good ending over the exciting action-packed ending. A bold move for a martial arts movie... not sure which I prefer... but it was a nice change of pace. It is worth watching... but don't go into it expecting an action-packed martial arts movie.

My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5


(From Weekend Movie Marathon: Anything Goes on February 27th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

The Hustler, a review by Antares


The Hustler





Year: 1961
Film Studio: Twentieth Century Fox, Rossen Films
Genre: Drama, Classic
Length: 135 Min.

Director
Robert Rossen (1908)

Writing
Sidney Carroll (1913)...Screenplay
Robert Rossen (1908)...Screenplay
Walter Tevis (1928)...Novel

Producer
Robert Rossen (1908)

Cinematographer
Eugen Schüfftan (1893)

Music
Kenyon Hopkins (1912)...Composer

Stars
Paul Newman (1925) as Eddie Felson
Jackie Gleason (1916) as Minnesota Fats
Piper Laurie (1932) as Sarah Packard
George C. Scott (1927) as Bert Gordon
Myron McCormick (1908) as Charlie Burns
Murray Hamilton (1923) as Findley
Michael Constantine (1927) as Big John
Stefan Gierasch (1926) as Preacher

Review
       Throughout the history of the Academy Awards, there have been moments of sheer stupidity on the part of the voting members. One such year was 1962. In what could be considered a rather weak field of nominated films, you would think that a strong character driven film such as The Hustler would have swept the honors. Looking at its competition that year, Fanny, Jugdment at Nuremburg, The Guns of Navarone and West Side Story, it should have been a foregone conclusion. But I’ve always felt that the voting members were not keen on the changes taking place in Hollywood at the time. The rising influence of independent production companies and film makers had alienated those members who had been raised in the studio system, and many chose the much safer studio film, West Side Story.
   
       Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a brash and buoyant young man with a skill. Eddie plays straight pool, and he’s one of the best. If he were alive today, he’d be playing professional pool in sanctioned tournaments all over the country, and always winning. But he lives in a time before the professional circuit and has to rely on his cunning and his charm, to find his quarry amongst the good to above average pool players that frequent the many pool halls that dot the country. Eddie is a hustler, a con-man who must setup his prey before striking the fatal blow. It’s a hard, fast and dangerous life, which requires quick wits and sharp skills. Slowly and methodically he has worked his way across the country, building his stake with the hopes of bagging the ultimate quarry, a match against the best, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason).
   
       This is where the film opens as Eddie awaits the arrival of Minnesota Fats at Ames Billiard Hall. In the beginning, the locals warn Eddie that Fats is the best, and that he shouldn’t waste his time, as Fats has chewed up and spit out all kinds of usurpers to the throne of best pool player alive. But Eddie will have none of it, and he’s determined to knock the king off his exalted throne. At first, that is exactly what appears to be taking place, as Eddie cruises through the night winning game after game. But Eddie allows Fats to decide when the match is over, and Fats’ bankroll is backed by Bert Gordon (George C. Scott), a professional gambler who has sized up Eddie and determines that he’s a loser and doesn’t have the staying power to keep up with Fats in the long run. As the two reach their 25th straight hour of playing, Eddie is spent, not only physically, but financially too. Eddie is left in a disheveled heap, discarded amongst the other pretenders for the throne.
   
       Virtually broke, he leaves town to start over and regain enough money to try again. At a bus station he meets Sarah (Piper Laurie), a lonely, troubled writer who has also fallen on hard times. Sarah will give Eddie something he has never known, love and stability, although at the time, Eddie doesn’t quite realize it. After hustling games around town, Eddie hustles a group of thugs in a bar and pays the ultimate price for a pool shark. They break his thumbs. Unable to ply his vocation until he is healed, he relies on Sarah’s hospitality to see him through. Prior to his accident, he ran into Bert Gordon, who not only tells him why he lost, but decides that Eddie has the talent to make him some money. But Bert’s price is too high, and Eddie declines. After the accident, Eddie has a change of heart and he, Bert and Sarah depart for Derby week in Louisville. It is in Louisville that Eddie’s life will forever be altered by a sacrifice made by Sarah. It is she who will redeem him and help him, by paying a rather steep price, so that Eddie’s eyes will be opened to the fact he’s being used by the life-sucking parasite that Bert is and will always be.
   
       As I mentioned earlier, the Academy was way off base the year The Hustler was nominated. The performances by Newman, Scott and Laurie were all deserving of Oscars that year. The screenplay and direction were both better than the films that took home the honors. The only consolation would be a win for Best Black and White Cinematography. Probably the saddest thing associated with the film is that you would think that Piper Laurie’s career would have taken off after appearing in such a great film, yet she virtually disappeared overnight. It would be another sixteen years before she returned to the screen as the religiously zealot mother of Sissy Spacek in Carrie, another film which earned her a nomination from the Academy.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

(From The Hustler (1961) on June 23rd, 2010)

Member's TV Reviews

"Due South" marathon, a review by Tom


1.22 Letting Go (1995-06-01)
Writer: Paul Haggis (Created By), Jeff King (Writer), Kathy Slevin (Writer)
Director: George Bloomfield
Cast: Paul Gross (Constable Benton Fraser), David Marciano (Detective Ray Vecchio), Beau Starr (Lt. Harding Welsh), Daniel Kash (Detective Louis Gardino), Tony Craig (Detective Jack Huey), Catherine Bruhier (Elaine), Melina Kanakaredes (Victoria Metcalf), Laurie Holden (Jill Kennedy), Jennifer Dale (Dr. Carter), Frances Hyland (Fraser's Grandmother), Gordon Pinsent (Fraser Sr.), Joseph Scoren (Kevin), Linda Griffiths (Bernice), Andy Marshall (Resident)

A good episode. It is Due South's take on Rear Window. This episode also deals with the aftermath of the previous two-parter.

Rating:

(From "Due South" marathon on July 27th, 2009)