FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Alfred Hitchcock |||
Alfred Hitchcock

This is perhaps an obvious choice, however, most people tend to overlook the Master of Suspense’s early work as well as the relevancy of his last film as a key element in the continuing transition and development of the genre he defined.

One of Hitchcock's early triumphs, this predecessor to the mistaken identity man on the run scenario Hitchcock turned to time and again, stars Robert Donat as the innocent wrongly accused of murder and pursued by both the police and enemy spies. This is the first example of Hitchcock’s mastery over the suspense tale, giving us a glimpse of the greatness to come.

Considered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest works, this story of two men who meet by chance on a train and frivolously discuss swapping murders is a prime example of a common Hitchcock theme of the man who suddenly finds himself within a nightmare world over which he has no control. You can easily see how this film lays the ground work for the more popular “North by Northwest”.

Alfred Hitchcock's final film is a light-hearted thriller involving phony psychics, kidnappers and organized religion, all of which cross paths in the search for a missing heir and a fortune in jewels. Here, Hitchcock has brilliantly developed his signature form to include the now common, and often overused, device of plot twist, after plot twist, after plot twist. Widescreen!

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Whole Ten Yards, The

By BrianOrndorf

April 8th, 2004

If "The Whole Nine Yards” was up your alley, there’s really no reason to skip “The Whole Ten Yards.” It shares everything with the 2000 original film, including the absence of laughs, the ocean of slapstick, and the two leads (Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis) hamming it up as if their lives depended on it.


When the evil Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack) desires payback for the murder of his son, he orders Cynthia Oseransky (Natasha Henstridge) kidnapped by his goons, hoping that her husband, hapless dentist Oz (Matthew Perry), will lead him to his ultimate goal: notorious hitman, Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis). When Oz travels down to Mexico to retrieve the presumed-dead Jimmy and fellow killer/wife, Jill (Amanda Peet), Oz gets caught up in their domestic drama instead, which interferes with the whole “wife kidnapped and about to die” situation.

Sure, there have been sequels that nobody asked for. But “Whole Ten Yards” is a sequel that LITERALLY no one asked for. A follow-up to “The Whole Nine Yards,” a medium hit (at best) from 2000, “Ten Yards” is simply more of the same. Except this time, in place of the R-rated Amanda Peet topless scene, we get the PG-13 Amanda Peet topless scene: photographed FROM BEHIND. That’s 4 years of progress in action.

The two ”Yards” films are rooted in a type of frantic slapstick comedy that always seems to spin wildly out of control, even when the jokes are working. “Ten Yards” isn’t as precisely paced as its forefather, or, frankly, as carefully thought out. “Ten Yards” is a mess, but an honest mess, and like the original, the cast looks like they’re having a blast making it, or making it up as they go, as witnessed in many scenes. “10 Yards” is the same slapsticky material, trusting heavily in Mathew Perry’s flopping abilities and Bruce Willis’s willingness to lampoon his tough guy persona. The comedy is encased in an action film shell, with various shoot-outs and murders to go along with the yucks. “Nine Yards” had the benefit of the R-rating, which always allows a little more leeway in dealing with this kind of morally tricky material; however, “Ten Yards” has been brought down to a more universally consumable PG-13, which means that any hint of darkness in the story has been replaced by pratfalls and fart jokes. Not an ideal trade off.

Because the cast is having so much fun, it’s hard to blame them when the film becomes almost persistently unfunny. Willis, Peet, and Perry work well together, achieving a nice fluid triangle of interplay that only comes from workplace comfort. Whenever the film gets into real trouble, director Howard Deutch simply instructs Perry to careen into a door or a wall for laughs, but that was already exhausted in the previous installment. Perry is funny here simply screwing around with line delivery, often making fun of the other actors, which is pretty much the only hint of originality in the picture, with everything else coasting brazenly on previously laid charms.

Basically it all comes down to whether “Nine Yards” rubbed you raw. If it didn’t, by all means, you’ll have a blast goofin’ around with Jimmy and Oz for another go-around. If you didn’t enjoy the original, there’s nothing here to recommend heading another “Yard” forward.

My rating: D+