22 Reviews
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A Bat Guano Mystery
25 January 2017
Take the Grand Canyon, a cave full of tons of bat guano, an aerial tramway, an old deserted mining town, a beautiful red head, Cornel Wilde, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan, 50's cars, all filmed in vibrant color, and a few corpses and you get a really different mystery film that moves briskly along during its 80 minutes. This film would be worth watching if only for the scenes of the aerial tramway heading down into the Grand Canyon, something that you'll never see again, and it was all real! The mine depicted in the movie really existed, and so did the U.S. Guano Corporation!!! This movie is a time capsule and is fascinating to watch for just the period effects and the settings. Very enjoyable.
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Worth a Look
24 January 2017
There is a very good print of this film out on DVD. It is a somewhat odd little film, a modern western, a confined setting, but it does have items of interest. There are only 4 actors in the movie and for most of it, only 3. This creates an interesting dynamic between the players. Then there is the beautiful scenic location, which is not a Hollywood "set", and is excellently photographed. The actors are very watchable, and Simmons and Calhoun make a good couple. This is a passable western, not a great one. The dialogue is okay and did not have many moments to make you wince. The story line is terrific, but there is a lack of real tension that makes the film drag at times. However, the real problem is the ending. It ends a little too pat, a little too safe, a little too Hollywood. Overall it is better than many such B films, and does manage to maintain interest throughout.
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Arrival (II) (2016)
Wait for the DVD to come out and then don't buy it.
19 November 2016
You can read other reviews for details of the plot and characters. I'll simply say that it was as many have said very very boring.

The special effects don't really seem very special when you consider all the truly great SciFi films of recent years.

Jeremy Renner was absolutely wasted in a role that is so underwritten as to be nonexistent.

And plot holes!!! Oh My God!!! There are so many things that make absolutely no sense...and other things that are basically insulting to any thinking human being. Again these have been detailed in many other reviews and I will not repeat them.
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The Revenant (2015)
Not Much to See, Not Much to Miss
13 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Pros: Great scenery. A list actors (DiCaprio, Hardy, others). Did I mention Great Scenery?

Cons: Story ripped off from Man in the Wilderness. No plot other than a man crawling through the snow for 2 hours. Unbelievable action (floating down an icy cold river in winter without freezing or hypothermia setting in). Starting fires without an effort in winter with everything wet or covered with snow. No plot other than a man crawling through the snow for 2 hours (did I already mention that?). CGI bear. Boring, anti-climatic predictable ending (not worth the wait). No emotional connection with the main character because there is no character development. Lots and lots of snow. Sophomoric dialogue. Cartoonish characters. Lots and lots of snow.

To sum up in one word: Pretentious (look it up like I did)

Will undoubtedly win lots and lots of Oscars...
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Not as Good as it should have been
19 May 2014
Love the two leads, Powell and Loy, and think they are terrific actors. But here the script and/or direction or both let them down. I thought the film was somewhat "flat" and lacked "yumph" the very word they mention in the film. To put it succinctly, it was often boring (although there were some good moments). Maybe it was due to Harlow's death that other commenter's have mentioned, I don't know. This is a film that fans of Powell and Loy will want to watch, but it certainly isn't a "classic". Powell seems to me to be a little more subdued than I think he usually is and Loy doesn't seem to be really interested. Again maybe due to Harlow's death but the script is a mess and the plot meanders all over the place and never gains traction. I really think Powell and Loy did the best they could with a lousy script and lackluster direction. Still, Powell and Loy are worth watching, IMHO, in anything.
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Not as Good
26 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
as it should or could have been.

I really enjoy watching lovely Laraine Day and bought this movie basically because she's in it.

The movie fails on two accounts: first there is no chemistry between Alan Marshall and Laraine Day therefore their 'romance' seems unbelievable, secondly, Marshall's character pursues someone else during the whole film and does not appear to have any interest in Day's character therefore the ending when they get together seems rather bizarre.

Had the two actors been more compatible and the script had him actually chasing her and her playing hard to get, the film could have been much much better.

However I still love watching Laraine Day and for that reason I am not disappointed that I bought the DVD. Just don't buy it thinking its going to be a forgotten gem. It is average at best.
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Skyfall (2012)
Plot Stinks
14 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There is a lot else wrong with this "Bond" film as other reviews have well pointed out but I will focus on the overall flaw.

The main problem is the basic plot itself.

Look, if a single disgruntled ex-employee of MI6 can cause this much havoc, destruction, and mayhem while bringing the spy organization to its symbolic knees, then what does that say about MI6? That they are pretty incompetent fools who deserve what they get? Yep! By the end of this film I was rooting for the bad guys because if they are that good at outsmarting MI6 then I want to be on their side.

The plot was stupid and insulting to every fan of the "Bond" universe.

I didn't like QoS much either but at least it was recognizable in the Bond world, which Skyfall is not.
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Watchmen (2009)
Two Kinds of People
21 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There appear to be two kinds of people: those who love this film and those who hate it with a passion. I am in the former group. That said, I do think that the film could have been better and that it has one flaw: the ending.

Let me state, I have not read the graphic novel so my views are based solely on what is on the screen.

The ending is basically this: the world's smartest man, and the world's only indestructible man who can transport himself anywhere in the universe and can alter matter at will, can think of only one way to save the world from nuclear the mass murder of some 15 million people. That's it? That's the best these two near gods can come up with? How about this....let's see, the indestructible guy tele-transports himself all over the world to wherever there are nuclear weapons, missiles, etc. and then turns them all into ice cream cones. How about that? And the world's smartest guy actually uses his brains to communicate with "the people" and convince them that Nixon and others are leading the country to the brink of destruction. How about that? I mean if I take these two characters at face value, then the ending presented is absurd.

As I said in the beginning, I love this movie. It holds my attention all the way through. I love the two main characters who "find one another" and wind up as a couple. But the ending sucks. I still give it 10 for 10 because it is so much better than most of the crap being made these days.

As for those who really really hate this movie I think I understand...the movies you like I would probably hate...people have different tastes, nothing wrong (or right) about that.
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A Classic, But...
11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, this is a great film with great actors, a great director, a great script, and so on. I own the DVD and enjoy watching it very much. Tracy and Hepburn are terrific together, as always. And their chemistry really shines, as always. And that is what causes one little problem for me. I never believe for an instant that Tracy would cheat on Hepburn for Lansbury. Lansbury's character is too cold and calculating and quite frankly just not very attractive, while Hepburn is at her most charming and attractive best. There is no chemistry between Tracy and Lansbury and I just cannot help thinking that there's no way in heck that he'd go for her over Hepburn. Actingwise, Lansbury can more than hold her own with either Tracy or Hepburn, and that is saying quite a lot, but she just doesn't have that indefinable something that would make her a great catch for someone like Tracy's character who already has Hepburn.
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Average Spy Thriller
11 February 2008
Personally I would not call this a 'sleeper' as another reviewer has done. It is just not that good. Not that it is a stinker by any means, but it is only average at best for the spy genre. While watching I had the impression that it was made to capitalize on the James Bond movie "From Russia With Love", in which Aliza Gur had a small part incidentally. Nielson is somewhat of a lackluster leading man and just doesn't have the wit, charm, or presence that is required in this type of film. The best thing about it is the black and white photography and the direction isn't bad either. However, the dialog is corny, the acting never believable, and the plotting poor. The DVD print is top notch with both sound and picture of high quality. And as I said, the B&W photography does lend some interest. Not a throw-away, but average at best.
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Great Cast
20 March 2007
Terrific production values. Great cast. Lackluster script. Terrible soundtrack. Something missing. Too clean and tidy. Not realistic in a strange sense. A melodrama western? Not a bad film just not a really good one and certainly not as good as it should have been given the great cast. Lots and lots of clichés. Main character is not really likable. Many loose ends. Underdeveloped characters. Worth watching for Lee Remick and Patricia Owens.

I can't put my finger quite on the reason why this film falls flat. There just isn't any sizzle or scenes that grab you. Perhaps it is because the role of Latt (the main character) is not sympathetic. He seems to change from a decent guy to a heel almost overnight, forgetting about his true friends. Then he redeems himself instantly at the end. People don't change back and forth and back again like that.
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Pride and Prejudice (1980– )
Don't Be Fooled
22 December 2006
by all the good reviews and high vote tally. This is definitely the worst of all the adaptations of Jane Austen's book. The acting is simply the most amateurish that I've ever seen. The actors, if you can call them that, don't act. They simply recite lines in as wooden a manner as possible.

I saw the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and loved the story. It led me to read the book. I then started looking for other movie versions. I didn't think any could be better, but after watching the 1995 BBC production I changed my mind (although some of the characters and scenes in the 2005 movie are better).

I've also watched the 1942 version with Greer Garson, and as long as you approach it as a standalone movie (i.e. not faithful to the book) it too is enjoyable. I've got all four versions on DVD. The 1995 production is the best, with the 2005 version a very close second, while the 1942 movie is okay if accepted on its own terms.

However, the movie that this comment is directed at, the 1980 BBC rendition, is so bad that I can only conclude that those who have rated it so high must have ulterior motives (it is scary to contemplate that some people might actually think the acting is good). I certainly was fooled into buying the DVD.

Let me give you some good advice: DON'T PAY ANY MONEY FOR THIS MOVIE! Buy any of the other versions, but don't get conned by the favorable comments posted here. This is a terrible film with extremely poor acting.
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Copper Canyon (1950)
Fish Out of Water
11 December 2006
that's what Ray Milland and Hedy Lamarr are like in this film. I hate to be the fly in the ointment after reading all the other good reviews about this movie, but I found it very bland and somewhat boring. To be sure, the Technicolor is fantastic, the production values are high, and the scenery is gorgeous, however the two stars just don't fit well in this genre.

Ray Milland looks like he's asking himself "how did my career come to this?" Hedy Lamarr in what has to be one of her final screen roles (maybe the last?) shows her age. While Hedy may have been "the most beautiful girl in the world" at one point (in the '30's), the close-ups of her show that she is middle aged and led a life that has left the years on her face. I like Ray Milland in other films, and ditto Hedy Lamarr in her earlier efforts (she didn't make many movies).

The real problem is that neither is believable in a western setting. Ray is too urbane and sophisticated, Hedy is too glamorous and chic. As a result, it just doesn't feel like a western. It seems too 'manufactured' if you know what I mean. Too phony.

The script and storyline is also not the best. I think even Stewart or Wayne would have had trouble breathing life into this one, but at least you'd have had their personality to fall back upon. Ray Milland can be a terrific 'actor' (Lost Weekend) but he does not have the personality that shines through bad or mediocre material.
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Good Film, not Great
7 June 2005
Cinderella Man is a good film but not a great one. Crowe is his usual excellent self in a role that would be a mere cliché with a lessor actor, however all the other roles are just that. The film is enjoyable on a strictly feel good level, which is fine, but because its aim is so obviously manipulative (ie I expected Dickens' Tiny Tim on crutches to show up at any moment) it becomes very formulaic and entirely predictable. Nothing wrong with that however, just nothing special. It is definitely worth seeing for Crowe's performance and the excellent set decoration, but it is not one of the top ten movies of least I hope not.
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Constantine (2005)
See it if you like the genre.
27 February 2005
Depending on how you view the subject matter and films based on comic books, this is either a movie you will love or hate. I've seen it twice already so you know where I stand. I thought the special effects were well done and the dialog to be above par for this type of movie (comic book). As for the acting, there are some very good performances which have been mentioned in other comments. However, regarding Keanu Reeves, I think that there must be some sort of hate club out there that has no other goal in mind other than to denigrate his acting. Granted he is not of the Robert DeNiro school of acting. Keanu is Keanu much the same as John Wayne was always John Wayne, Eastwood is always Eastwood, etc etc. And that is fine if you like his screen persona. I do, and I think he plays the title role with the right amount of sarcasm, fatigue, and a world weariness that comes across just fine. For those who continue to hammer on his performances, well everyone to his or her own opinion. He is of the stoic acting school and that is just as legitimate as the over-the-top-emoting school that you see from most actors nowadays. As I said in the beginning, if you like the subject matter (hell, damnation, demons, angels, etc) and like movies that are based on comic books (impossible yet engaging) and aren't a Keanu hater, then you will probably enjoy this film. PS there is also some very good chemistry between Keanu and Rachel Weisz.
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Ten Reasons not to Watch this Movie
7 February 2005
1. boring dialog. 2. uninspiring direction. 3. erratic editing. 4. weak acting (although I blame the script, not the actors). 5. choppy script. 6. lack of resolution of subplots. 7. lack of character development 8. uninteresting supporting characters. 9. totally unbelievable plot (storyline). 10. character anomalies.

Furthermore, in this instance, I agree 100% with the review done by the "Unemployed Critic" (elsewhere in these comments).

Inspite of my reasons listed above, some people will like this movie. It is very lightweight and doesn't require any real effort to follow. Women MAY like it more than men because it is somewhat of a "chick" film, however I like a good romance too and this film just doesn't fit the bill. As long as you do not expect much you won't be disappointed. This is not a film you will want to buy on DVD. Watching it once is more than enough.
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22 November 2004
Not a really good movie. Not a really bad movie. Has some entertaining moments, but very generic and cliché'd. No surprises. Lightweight stuff. Okay to pass the time if you want to see a flick, just don't expect much and you won't be disappointed. Cage is himself, if you know what I mean. Diane Kruger is pleasing on the eyes, but doesn't have much of a part. Kind of a poor mans Indiana Jones picture. If you like Cage, you will be entertained, at times. But you might also be checking your watch. I did.

I gave the film 6 of 10.

The editor keeps asking for at least 10 lines to post a comment. By my count I've got more than 12 but it still wants more. So here is a bunch of useless footnotes that don't mean squat.
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Only Thing to Watch it for
7 February 2004
The only thing to watch this movie for is the brief appearance by Deborah Foreman. Once again, even though she only has few lines, she proves that she is an extremely underappreciated actress who should have been given much better roles. Her brief bit as the runaway ex-girlfriend of a supposed-biker-dude, in this dare I say "film?" right on the money. Too bad the film couldn't have had more of her and less of everybody else.
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Should have been better
15 November 2003
Great acting, excellent dialogue, superb direction, magnificent costumes and sets, terrific cast, and utterly believable special effects. Too bad the story isn't more interesting. It was somewhat like watching a documentary on the subject. Interesting from a historical point of view, but it just didn't grab me as a story. Also it was difficult to really identify with the characters. Why were they any better than the French who they were fighting? And so, I found myself not particularly rooting for either side. But again, the action scenes although extremely well done, were not very exciting. There was no real tension in the movie. And there is too much time spent on the inner workings and life of crew and ship. I recommend seeing it--once--but I doubt I would buy it on DVD nor will I see it again. Unfortunately, it was somewhat boring.
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First Time (I) (2003)
Great Short Film Noir
18 June 2003
This is a great short film noir. It has suspense, romance (of a sort), and an unexpected twist. The photography and direction are superb. The lead actors do terrific job and there is a real chemistry between them. I definitely recommend this film, catch it if you can.
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The Majestic (2001)
Watch This Movie!
1 June 2003
After reading some of the other reviews of The Majestic I've come to the conclusion that if Frank Capra were making films today, they'd bomb. I've seen most of Capra's films, and they are usually about idealism, decency, & innocence, with a huge helping of cornball thrown in...exactly what The Majestic has. Today's audience demands umpteen car chases and gun fights with every film or they say its "boring." They want moronic sight gags and bathroom humor or they say its "not funny." They want over-the-top special effects that are totally unbelievable or they say its "a waste of time." Well too bad. This is one of my favorite all time films (right up there with The Quiet Man). Sure it is not fast paced...and it is very corny at times...but it has one of the best casts I've seen in a long time...and it has what all those "hit" films of today often lack: HEART. I love this film. It is a keeper. Like "It's a Wonderful Life" it will develop an audience as the years pass and others discover it. I wish I had seen it in the theater, but I was put off by all the negative reviews. Shame on me. Its too bad the film did not do well at the boxoffice, because now all we will get in the future is more stupid car chases, more crude bathroom humor, and more phony CGI special effects. What we won't get is intelligent films that can make us cry, laugh, and root for the characters. Thank you Mr. Carrey for this film. You and the cast were terrific. I will enjoy this film for many many years to come.
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Der Skipper (1990)
Surprise Ending is Nonsense
26 February 2000
This is an okay film except for the final plot twist which makes absolutely no sense given what has come before. The character development to justify this twist is non-existent and therefore the ending seems to have been done only for the shock value. It isn't shock, but rather disgust, that the viewer will be left with. Disgust at such an obvious and phony trick to end the film. Like I said, I liked the film but the ending spoiled the whole picture.
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