93. The Taking of Pelham 123  (B+)
94. High Anxiety (C+)
The Taking of Pelham 123
-- This was a terrific thriller, better than the 2009 remake in nearly every respect. What's most surprising is how funny it is -- Walter Matthau, Jerry Stiller, and the other working stiffs that populate the transit authority and the police force throughout the movie offer consistent amusement without undermining the movie's persistent sense of realism. The movie falls short of an A in the finale. A whole lot of tension is created when the train goes skyrocketing down the track after the bad guys have escaped, but it just sort of stops without the heroes' involvement. One of the villains is dispatched by electrocution at the end, and the staging makes it look a little more silly than it should. Finally, the search for the one bad guy who does get away stretches out the end a little too far. A meek character, he doesn't pose any threat, and with the hostages already freed, there's little tension. But these, ultimately, are minor complaints. It's a good thriller, populated by a great cast of character actors, and worth seeing while it's on Netflix.
-- Mel Brooks' love letter to Alfred Hitchcock never quite takes off. Sure, there are moments of brilliance (the camera crane crashing through walls, tense music turning out to be the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra on a bus driving by) but they're nothing new to Brooks' work. The film is best when it makes various references (some brief and some extended; the riff on The Birds
might be the best) to Hitchcock's filmography, but there aren't enough of them to sustain the movie. Still, intermittently funny Mel Brooks is better than many alternatives when it comes to comedies these days.
Home Video: 47 +1