It was a slow movie week for me, as I was unfortunately pretty busy, but I managed to scratch a few films off my to-do list. I also rewatched a personal favorite, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Apart from these films, I saw the epic War for the Planet of the Apes in theaters, and am still working my way through the sprawling British mini-series, The Jewel of the Crown.

Victor/Victoria    96% on Rotten Tomatoes           7     (DVD)

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Starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Leslie Ann Warren, Alex Karras, John Rhys-Davies

Plot Summary-Desperate in the extreme to eke out a living in ’30s Paris, two American entertainers (Victoria played by Andrews and Toddy played by Robert Preston) cook up a scheme that can make them rich and famous. Victoria will pretend to be a man who pretends to be a woman on stage. Things grow complicated when an American gangster (Garner) falls for her, and she for him.

My Take-It’s an elaborate and exuberant farce that features fantastic musical numbers, a torrent of gags, and witty one-liners. Feels old-fashioned and edgy, which is why, even today, the film seems progressive. Rather than being laugh out loud funny, Victor/Victoria has a tremendous energy, and even amidst the madcap plot and never ending misunderstandings, the characters are authentic.

-Directed by Blake Edwards, 1982

Christine No Rotten Tomatoes Score            7           (Filmstruck)

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Starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Micheline Presle, Fernand Ledoux

Plot Summary-Tragedy about a young officer caught in an affair with the wife of his superior, just as he has fallen in love with a local Austrian girl.

My Take-The fatalism of its ending was, for me, contrived, but that didn’t keep me from caring. The stars-Schneider and Delon- are two of the most beautiful and photogenic ever to be on screen, and their romance is brief but sweet.

-Directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958

The Spy Who Loved Me 79% on Rotten Tomatoes       6          (DVD)

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Starring Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jürgens, Richard Kiel

Plot Summary-The threat of a complete psychopath bent on sparking World War III forces James Bond to team up with Russian spy, XXX (a female counterpart equal to him), to take the villain down. Meanwhile, a henchman named Jaws with metal teeth stalks the heroic duo.

My Take-I though about my feelings for this movie long and hard. Many of the elements are great and very memorable. The intro song by Carly Simon might be my favorite Bond song. The villain, who wants to start a new world under water, and his silly but terrifying henchman, Jaws, are unforgettable. I also like that Agent XXX (Lord, that name) is seen as a sort of parallel to Bond. My main problem was that I didn’t find a majority of the action sequences thrilling, and that severely dampened my overall enjoyment of the film.

-Directed by Lewis Gilbert, 1977

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 85% on Rotten Tomatoes     (VHS)

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Starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, Amrish Puri

Plot Summary-Indiana Jones, through chance or fate, winds up in a small village in India in desperate need of a hero. The village’s people are afflicted ever since their sacred stone was stolen. Indy promises to help, leading him to a beautiful palace, discovered to be a base for an underground Thuggee cult. He’s aided on this quest by his loyal and diminutive friend, Short Round (an eleven year old Chinese boy), and Willie (a high-maintenance lounge singer).

My Take-I love this movie. It was the first Indiana Jones film I saw, and that probably played a part in why it’s my favorite of the series. India, to me, is one of the most exotic, mysterious, adventurous locations, and I’m constantly drawn to films that feature it as their setting. The weirdness, the grotesque dinner scene, the bizarre violence that caused the MPAA to step in and create a PG-13 rating, are compelling attractions to me. It’s all part of the amazing spectacle, and Spielberg is at his best here, showcasing his ability of layering the suspense and telling a story.

-Directed by Steven Spielberg, 1984

-Walter Howard-

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