6 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Seven Days: Pilot: Part 1 (1998)
Season 1, Episode 1
Great time-travel yarn
9 July 1999
I just saw this tonight and this has to be one of the best TV pilots I've seen in years. If the series is this good, I'll be watching every week. The plot is an inventive blend of THE TERMINATOR, STARGATE and the old TIME TUNNEL, and moves like a lightning bolt. A great script and a great cast (I kept wondering why Alan Scarfe looked so familiar, till I recalled he starred in the TV series based on Jules Verne's MYSTERIOUS ISLAND). Anybody who nods off during this one has no soul!
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Lush Hollywood thriller
20 November 1998
This is ostensibly a remake of the various film versions of the famous short story "The Most Dangerous Game", but those who've actually read that story will be surprised to find how little of it has been carried over into the movie. True, there is a chase in both, but the details of the chase, the reason for it and the characters involved are all different! Nevertheless, this isn't a bad adventure flick, with a good cast, although it's a bit overlong - possibly a reaction to the introduction of television, meaning every film had to be big and overwhelming. In fact, if you tune in half an hour late, you won't miss anything important.
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Drop Zone (1994)
Wild sky-diving action stuff
14 November 1998
Hey, this is great fun. OK, so the critics weren't too kind to it, but I guarantee nobody goes to sleep during it. The opening bit is a little too close to PASSENGER 57 - another Federal prisoner hijacked in mid-air! - but this is a great flick for those who want some action and adventure in their diet. A competent cast, but the real stars are the director and the stuntmen. (And I'd like a dollar for every film Gary Busey has been killed in recently....)
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The Calendar (1948)
Dated but entertaining horse drama
14 November 1998
This is actually based on a play by Edgar Wallace, the famous British thriller author who divided his time equally between writing and going to the track; not surprisingly a few of his novels have a racing background. This story isn't actually much of a thriller as such, although it does have some crime content. Our hero (John McCallum) has sent an important message to his gold-digging girlfriend written on a banknote. He knows she's too greedy to destroy it, so the story revolves around how he can get the note back before his racing career is ruined. This is a pleasant lightweight movie, though you probably should know something about English society and/or horse-racing to really understand what's going on. Wallace's biographer Margaret Lane describes THE CALENDAR as "undoubtedly one of Wallace's best plays, for on this ingenious plot he built a structure of authentic and amusing racing detail and provided the incomparable Gordon Harker with another made-to-measure part in a character of a burglar turned butler." Wallace, incidentally, later went to Hollywood and was working on the script of KING KONG when he died.
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Americanised version of Soviet sci-fi
11 November 1998
This is a Roger Corman re-working of the Russian film PLANETA BURG (PLANET OF STORMS) which I saw at a science fiction convention around 1970 - in Russian, with no subtitles! This version has neatly edited in scenes featuring American stars to replace two of the Russians and dubbed the voices of the remaining Russian actors - this is a mixed blessing, since the dialogue is often contorted so as to match their lip movements, making for some banal conversations on the way to Venus. Once you get used to that, there are some interesting bits, including a great robot, a nifty flying car and an ending that retains some of the poetry of the original space epic. It's of interest mostly as a curiosity - and one day I'd like to see a subtitled version of the Russian original!
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A look at a rather dated thriller
10 November 1998
Despite the title and an opening sequence that shows a Sputnik launching, this is a rather glum spy thriller that uses the then new-and-exciting topic of satellites merely as a "McGuffin" on which to hang a very ordinary plot - be warned this is NOT a space film! Steve Brodie is an unexciting hero, and this set-in-Vienna thriller is no THIRD MAN. Camera work is competent, but that just means the occasionally pleasing piece of filming just reminds us how dull the dialogue and the under-rehearsed cast are the rest of the time. No wonder Australian television showed it at 3 a.m.
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