The Princess Bride (1987) Film Review

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If you have never seen this film, well, that sucks for you. Because I think that if you come to this film too late in life, you just may not get it. See, it is daggy as anything, with cheesy special effects, and over-the-top, magnificently melodramatic acting. And it is totally wonderful.

Story? Well, Buttercup (Robin Wright) is a girl who is love with a farmboy, Westley (Cary Elwes). But when his boat is taken by Dread Pirate Roberts, a pirate known to leave no survivors, Buttercup is bereft. So when evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) chooses her as his bride, she doesn’t care. Love is dead for her. Then she is kidnapped by a mysterious party of three – Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a man gunning for the revenge over the death of his father, Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) a Sicilian who thinks he can outsmart anyone and Fezzik (the late, great Andre the Giant) who loves to rhyme but is not too smart. And things get exciting!

So wonderful, so fantastic. And then add in a legendary performance by Peter Cook, along with Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Peter Falk, Mel Smith, Billy Crystal… too wonderful.

 

Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Film Review

Dog Day Afternoon

Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) and his mate Sal (John Cazale) walk into a bank in Brooklyn and hold it up. And then things go wrong, pretty quickly. As Sonny negotiates the release of the prisoners for safe passage out of the country, the staff start to see him as a gentle person rather than a criminal. Policeman Moretti (Charles Durning) is attempting to control the situation within the bank as well as the growing crowd outside. It’s a crazy hot day, and when it is revealed that Sonny has held up the bank to get money for a sex change operation for his lover, Leon (Chris Sarandon), things get even crazier.

This is a fabulous performance; it is Pacino’s best performance, it is well scripted, very natural and, especially given it is a true story, very believable. I remember seeing this years ago after first seeing a documentary on the actual event; this time, I watched the special features documentary on the making of the film. Fascinating.

Dog Day Afternoon won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Frank Pierson) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Al Pacino), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Chris Sarandon), Best Director (Sidney Lumet) and Best Film Editing.