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My tastes are a bit eclectic because I love so many genres equally and excuse so many of the errors made in film-making that others cringe madly over.
I forgive boom mikes that appear at the top of the screen and I excuse glasses that are half-filled one minute then, empty, then full again.
Filming is not a perfect art. Even CGI has its insufferably horrendous flaws which will never be 'just right' because there is still no way to capture the true essence of humanity.
But I don't mind CGI...it has its purpose in the development of film. How many times do we see fantasy backdrops and phony-looking rear projections in movies that we absolutely adore? I dare say...probably more than a handful.
So, here I am...from silent to the latest, from indies to major studio blockbusters, from historical, to romance, melodrama, film noir, slapstick, to science fiction, absurd cinema, adventure, psychological and thrillers, silents...I have room for all of them in my heart and mind.
After all, it's all fantasy and theater, isn't it? And isn't that why we watch?
Asking for Trouble (1942)
Max Miller is a unique chap in this delightful romp
Perhaps, I am a bit too young or a tad too American to appreciate the lukewarm reviews this movie has received here. This is my first exposure to Max Miller. Quite an energetic way he had. His presence could fill a room and leave everyone sitting. He must have been an amazing performer on the stage and I will never know, but I can attest to his wide talents with the tongue and wit.
This film was his last but I must say I was very impressed - I can just imagine how much better it might have been if the British censors and the British screenwriters could have allowed him to spread out.
The actual movie is a well-worn subject and the ending was, of course, predictable but, how we get to the end is the delight. Pure romantic comedy with a host of unique characters that charm the senses. Of course, on the down side, we are offered a few characters which would be frowned upon today. The use of black-face was a phenomena that we in this new century may never fully understand or appreciate. I allowed myself to overlook it's offense and instead enjoyed the farcical effect of their appearance.
This is not a masterpiece, no one will ever say that, but it was a lot of fun and if I did not understand the jokes or the regional or topical references, I did not let it bother me. The spectrum of British theater was primarily produced for the British audiences. They understood the jokes, and I will have to allow it's unique references to remain a mystery that only a deep understanding of the great British Isles will reward.
I recommend this romp... give it a try.
Climax!: Scream in Silence (1958)
Wonderful Anne Francis
The color is black and white, the sets are worn out, the lighting is good, the direction really good and the acting is superb! Watching this, the entire story of her suffering under an angry father who reasons without reason, comes out so palpably.
Here is a simple story about a girl who's had a tragedy directed at her by a father who lives with anger in his heart.
But, yes, the acting by all was wonderful wrought, just like a great play unfolds...but the golden kudos go to Anne Francis, who had a wonderful career playing all sorts of characters that stayed etched in your mind.
It is only an hour long, including vintage commercials, but it will transport you to another place and another time that will stay with you for a long time.
GREAT Cliffhanger Tonight
I watched three (3) older shows before this. Nowhere Man, The Time Tunnel,Rewind (only the pilot exists) and The Invaders. I was bitten with such withdrawals for really good Sci-Fi. Yet... I hardly watch NEW shows...not after I turned 40 about 20 years ago, anyway. But, everyone once in a while. I get drawn in.
THIS show did it for me. And I am sullen thinking that it might go away. As with other shows that STOPPED all of sudden, ALL I can say is that AT LEAST we had the experience, the fun and another quirky take on this most FASCINATING subject of Time Travel.
NBC please bring it back. That was an Awesome cliffhanger!!!!!!!!
Lights Out: The Deal (1951)
This is one of the very simple tales that have profoundly terrifying consequences. Tom Ewell, Anne Bancroft (credited with her former screen name of Anne Marno) and Joseph Wiseman, cook up a delightful, delicious and perhaps diabolical tale that reminds one of the Faustian legend.
The production is obviously sparse but yet, it's claustrophobic feeling helps to the establish the claustrophobic feeling of the story quite well. The performances are all wrought in a theatrical fashion which are perfectly suitable characterizations for this type of melodrama so filled with the legends of the ages, as it were.
I recommend this, firstly, because we get to see Anne Bancroft in one of her earliest roles... without the weight of her future acting styles to weigh her down. I found her delightful. Now, Tom Ewell and Joseph Wiseman, and Martin Gabel, really shine in their respective roles.
All in all, it's a delicious production, from the earliest days of television, when it was trying to find it's own niche in the world.
I recommend it without reservations, even with all of it's theater-bound staging, because it is an intriguing tale, well told.
Boy 7 (2015)
Not really Sci-Fi but more like...
Stylized REALITY. This was an astounding adventure. It took me a while to warm to it. I thought it was some millennium-angst type movie. But then it became more. And then more. It really should be seen by many more people who feel the claustrophobic terror of our information- age-cum-invaded-lives. Very few aspects were ultimately derivative or predictable. But these come after spending much time trying to understand what is going on. I am not a hacker-geek or any such thing, so there may be some things which others might scoff at such as computer language inaccuracies or any such dribble that has nothing to do with a good story, well told.
Irrespective of that, just realize this really is about a dystopian society and it is fiction and it was so well made.
Best Comedy of All Time
There is something which has baffled me for years...why didn't this get into the syndication game from the start? We might never know for sure. But I am emphatically sure of is that THE GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN SHOW was and still is: the Best Comedy of All Time!
Yes, and it is all about Gracie. George Burns was a genius to impart the most wonderfully funny lines to Gracie. Gracie brought the most wonderful rendition of the "Dumb Dora" characterization to its zenith.
Her delivery of the most convoluted lines and the daffiest situations will never be equaled. She never broke character saying the most over-the-top dialogues. Having watched each of the almost 300 episodes several times and have come away with the most delightful laughter, I feel healthier.
If I get to reach old age, I will know that it was Gracie's character that has unequivocally been my fountain-of-youth medicine.
Now that the shows are everywhere online, I seldom go to my practically comprehensive DVD collection of the matchless classics. It is almost a daily obsession for me to get a dosage of this remarkable program.
Publicly, I want to acknowledge just how wonderful this program has become...and I want to thank the memories of George Burns and Gracie Allen for bringing so much delightful laughter and happiness to my life.
JERRY MANN's "Dino" is marvelous
There is something thoroughly charming in this episode. Something which was never to return, for some reason, now lost to the ravages of time.
I am speaking of Jerry Mann's characterization of the "Snorkasaurus." There is something erudite, fussy, clever and very likable about Mr. Mann's singular performance. It begs for more but alas. it wasn't to be. It seems that Hanna-Barbera decided instead to make the Flintstone's pet lose the power of speech and "humanly" reasoning.
That was a great loss to us all. Had they continued on with this, the series would have profited from the involvement of a talking-reasoning "snorkasaurus".
I have little knowledge of who Mr. Mann was or what he looked like. Something which I am eagerly investigating now. Suffice it to say that he entire "persona" of this character is unforgettable..
Menace: Killing Time (1970)
Superlative Character Study
Many kudos to the great George Cole portraying the principle actor in this remarkable story... This episode is one of a species of horror which should perhaps have been laid out over a two-hour stretch. But I am quite satisfied with what was presented. Even though I sure wished to know more about "Douglas Willet".
Picture a lonely man, leading a terrifically boring life. He is not a menace to society. Or so we are usually wont to believe.
What transpires might turn off some viewers who want their stories to hit them in the face as fast as possible. Here there is none of that. You cannot assume anything from this slow pace, except that a case is being laid out for you to understand. One step at a time.
The hour passes by much too quickly when you finally realize what you have experienced. But I heartily recommend this to anyone who prefers their horror served one dish at a time, until you can finally taste the whole meal.
This is BBC television when it was still churning out real masterpieces and truly great acting - not imitations.
Flight World War II (2015)
Wonderfully Exciting Movie
Forget all the naysayers who have NOTHING to say except the planes were not accurate or this plot line or that plot line should have not have been used, or should have been expanded upon. Let them write and finance their own movies, and we'll see.
Apparently, a lot of people who think they should be in the movie business are clearly SUPERIOR to the rest of us. Let them scream in horror.
THIS was a fun movie, full of tense moments and intriguing ideas that were delivered quite well to my eyes and mind. Maybe I am into mawkishness as another reviewer derided. I plainly do NOT care. This movie was an interesting ride and never wallowed in sweetness or pointless tangents that were not crucial to the story at hand.
I recommend it highly to anyone who has not sunk in the mire of superciliousness in their own jaded lives.
Upside Down (2012)
Utterly Enchanting Fantasy
Shall we dismiss this tale which is touted as science-fiction because it does not comply with Newtonian physics? Why does every movie have to be 100% accurate in the "real world" we live in? What purpose does it serve to limit the scope of imagination if the real reason we create is to find new things that have not been thought of before? I will argue with anyone who will tell me that I did not come away fully satisfied. There is so much to praise in this movie. The first thing is how we are brought into the heart of the main protagonist from the beginning. We care about Adam and Eden's dilemma.
The science-fiction is immaterial. The mesmerizing visuals do not matter. What is a the center of this movie is a heart. As laughable as many of you might opine, the storytelling is what brings you in and holds you captive.
We may well say that our new generation of movie-watchers have been spoiled, are jaded and have been nurtured on stories with a certain narrative arc and so they reject this movie on those grounds if not their allegiance to science-FACT in their science-fiction.
That would be at cross purposes with this movie. It is not science-fiction for the SOLE sake of science fiction, it is a FANTASY clothed in science-fiction garments. It could have been told in many other different ways. And I must admit that romantic movies tend to be predictable, but they have been telling those stories since the beginning of time. And shall continue on for a long time. So don't begrudge them for some personal reason that is irrelevant to the experience.
Do I recommend this movie? Hands-down YES. But don't come into expect another movie...expect NOTHING...and accept what is offered - and only in this way will you truly appreciate the fine work done here.