Angie Dickinson

Ocean’s Eleven – 2 Stars (Average)

Ocean’s Eleven is a confusing film about a $160 million heist of three Las Vegas casinos from an impenetrable safe 200 feet underground. I say confusing because it is not really evident whether Ocean’s Eleven is supposed to be an action flick, a comedy, a crime story or a drama.

Director Steven Soderbergh tries to make this film slick and clever, and at times it is, but he is unable to pull it off and after awhile it becomes annoying.

This 2001 version of Ocean’s Eleven features George Clooney as Danny Ocean who recruits 10 accomplices to pull off the heist. The cast includes Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, Elliott Gould as Reuben Tishkoff, Bernie Mac as Frank Catton, Casey Affleck as Virgil Malloy and Scott Caan as Turk Malloy and some other lesser lights.

The 1960 original version of this remake featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop (otherwise known as the Rat Pack) and Angie Dickinson.

The brain trust for the writing of this screenplay shall remain nameless because what they wrote is inane. These luminaries penned such memorable lines as:

Danny (just released from prison): Now, they tell me I paid my debt to society.

Tess (his ex-wife played by Julia Roberts): Funny, I never got a check.

If that does not leave you rolling over in laughter, try:

Turk Malloy: Watch it, bud.

Virgil Malloy: Who you calling bud, pal?

Turk Malloy: Who you calling pal, friend?

Virgil Malloy: Who you calling friend, jackass?

Turk Malloy: Don’t call me a jackass.

Virgil Malloy: I just did call you a jackass.

Not to be outdone, we also get this brilliant exchange:

Virgil Malloy: Are you a man?

Turk Malloy: Yes, nineteen.

Virgil Malloy: Are you alive?

Turk Malloy: Yes, eighteen.

Virgil Malloy: Evel Knievel.

Turk Malloy: (the “s” word).

This accurately depicts the lack of quality in the script, and any script too difficult to understand is not that good, and neither is this movie. Ocean’s Eleven earned nothing in awards, even with Brad Pitt and George Clooney doing the honors.

Ocean’s Eleven is also one of those films that uses indiscriminate cussing, typical Hollywood dialogue when the script, acting and direction cannot carry the film anywhere.

The Hours – 2 Stars (Average)

The Hours features three depressed women from three different generations trying to cope with life, some Academy Award-winning performances and a story line that is even more depressing and repugnant.

Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is married and writing her book Mrs. Dalloway in England in 1923.

Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), who is pregnant and questioning her ability as a mother even though she already has a son, is reading Mrs. Dalloway in Los Angeles in 1951.

Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a career publisher in New York in 2001 who is about to throw a party for her friend Richard who is being honored as a poet and dying of AIDS.

All three of these depressed women are interconnected by Virginia Woolf’s novel while all of the action takes place in one day in each of the time periods. Woolf is writing her book, Brown is reading the book, and Vaughan is a book publisher nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway by her dying friend and former boyfriend Richard (Ed Harris).

As if this is not confusing enough, Director Stephen Daldy and Screenplay Writer David Hare chose to start this film in a totally disjointed fashion that takes the moviegoer too long to figure out what is happening unless they are familiar with Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Hours.

As if things are not heavy enough, all three women kiss another woman in the film, and all are involved in suicide. Virginia Wolf is mentally ill, a very unhappy lesbian at heart and ultimately commits suicide.

Laura Brown either attempts suicide or commits suicide (this movie is such a downer I do not remember which).

Vaughan, a lesbian in a relationship, sees Richard commit suicide by falling out of a window.

Overblown drama does not begin to describe how depressing and repugnant this film is, that is the bad news.

The upside, if there could possibly be one, is an Academy Award winning performance by Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf and the film earned 8 other Oscar nominations. The Hours knocked down 29 other wins and another 57 nominations. The make up on Kidman was so good I did not even recognize her.

In essence, The Hours is a much honored film you can barely strand to watch once because of its content and presentation. There will be no second viewing for me. I am glad that Kidman won a Best Actress Oscar, she deserved it.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

Ed Bagley’s Blog Publishes Original Articles with Analysis and Commentary on 5 Subjects: Sports, Movie Reviews, Lessons in Life, Jobs and Careers, and Internet Marketing. My intention is to inform, educate, delight and motivate you the reader.

Read my movie reviews on “Waking Ned Devine” (arguably the greatest Irish comedy ever, and my favorite comedy film ever), and “Million Dollar Baby” (an Irish cast and flavor wherein we find Clint Eastwood playing a boxing trainer/manager who studies Irish Gaelic and promotes his woman fighter Maggie Fitzgerald-played by Best Actress Oscar winner Hillary Swank). These two films are excellent.

Dressed to Kill – 4 Stars (Excellent)

“Dressed to Kill” is the most horrific psychological thriller I have seen since “Wait Until Dark” with Audrey Hepburn as a recently blinded woman who is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.

Dressed to Kill is just as tense and scary and adds the taut elements of a steamy shower scene as the female lead Kate Miller (played by none other than Angie Dickinson) pleasures herself, a sex scene in a taxi cab that is so hot and so ahead of its time that it almost explodes the vehicle, and a razor-slitting murder scene in an elevator that is beyond graphic.

This is one disturbing film involving an unhappy, undersexed wife, an anonymous lover, a psychiatrist, a psychopath, a stalker and a serial killer, not to mention female nudity, erotica, vulgarity and transsexualism.

The DVD version that I rented had the traditional version and the uncut version; I opted for the uncut version. Despite all of its horrific elements, Dressed to Kill is an excellent production (as least the uncut version) as a psychological thriller because all of the aforementioned horror scenes actually add to the story line and as such are not sensational enough to grab attention away from the unfolding drama.

We can thank Brian De Palma for that. De Palma both wrote and directed this film with stunning results, his murder mystery is right up there with the best of the best. So many writer/director efforts result in terrible films. The film was released in 1980, 27 years ago.

In the movie, Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson), a middle-aged, sexually frustrated housewife, has a fantasy taking a shower and later that day complains to her psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott (Michael Caine) about her husband’s pathetic performance in bed.

Kate goes to a museum and encounters a strange man (Ken Baker) who she ends up with in a taxicab on the way to his apartment for more sex. While there she discovers the man has a sexually transmitted disease and she bolts, only to return when she realizes she has taken off and forgotten her wedding ring.

After returning to the elevator she is brutally slashed to death by a tall blond woman wearing dark glasses. A high-priced call girl (Nancy Allen) is the only witness to the murder and becomes the slasher’s next target. She is rescued by Kate’s son Peter (Keith Gordon) who enlists her help in the scary business of solving his mother’s murder.

Dressed to Kill is loaded with clever writing and clues that go right by you on first viewing. I seldom watch dramas anymore because I have seen enough in my lifetime and so many action adventure, natural disaster and drama films today are absolutely ridiculous in premise and presentation.

Fans of Angie Dickinson will be heartened to know that a body double was used in the shower scene in the film. It could just as easily have been Angie. Two years after making Dressed to Kill, when she was 50 and yet to undergo any surgery, a panel of Hollywood designers and make-up artists in 1982 ranked her first in a list of Best Female Star Bodies.

Angie said that the taxicab scene was filmed on location in New York, where several gawkers observed the scene and shouted, “Right on, Police Woman” (referring to her previous TV role as Sgt. “Pepper” Anderson in the crime drama “Police Woman”).

The sex and violence in this film make it a terrible choice for viewing by anyone except adults, and then only adults who can handle these topics without being terribly impacted. This limits the film’s popularity and resulted in virtually no awards for the film-making effort.

As a murder mystery I would rate Dressed to Kill as excellent and a very, very scary film.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

Ed Bagley’s Blog Publishes Original Articles with Analysis and Commentary on 5 Subjects: Sports, Movie Reviews, Lessons in Life, Jobs and Careers, and Internet Marketing. My intention is to inform, educate, delight and motivate you the reader.

Read my movie reviews on Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: “Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. Johnny Depp is the perfect pirate.

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