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1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Very curious about this film, 31 July 2013
10/10

I'm giving this film 10 stars just to raise its profile around here.

It doesn't appear anywhere on Bing Crosby's IMDb entry, but in my efforts as a vinyl record collector I recently came across a 78 RPM Columbia "Viva-Tonal Recording" "Electrical Process" record number 149066 (A Side) of "Can't We Be Friends?" and 149067 (B Side) of "Gay Love," both of which are listed as songs from this film sung by Bing. They are fantastic, and make me want to see this movie, which I can only assume he has some sort of part in, though (as I said) his IMDb entry only goes back to about 1930 in both the Soundtracks and Actor category.

Perhaps I'll update at least the soundtrack based on this reference.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Charming Fable, 12 April 2013
7/10

Captured Melody is a classic coming of age story and, given its budget, a technological marvel. The story of a young girl experiencing her first heartbreak and the strength she gains from the lesson in love would be enjoyable on its own, but it is wrapped around, and weaved into, the plight of a fairy princess in this charming children's drama. Beth learns there is more to herself than she ever dreamed, and in discovering that heroine inside, she saves the princess, her pride, and the day. If you have a little girl in your life--or are a little girl at heart--I recommend this story!

The use of 3D in a student film makes for a bold experiment--I don't think I have ever seen one done on the student level--but the experiment is one that the filmmakers have undertaken with remarkable ingenuity and skill. It is not a perfect film, but it is an interesting one, and capturing the imagination is the true goal of every storyteller.

The short tale is a welcome addition to its overall genre.

Director's Praise, 18 August 2012
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, I know I'm the filmmaker but I have to review my own work.

I think this is an important Political/Religious movie, for what it has to say. What it has to say is that we are ALL worth loving, and worth saving, but that we spend a great deal of time getting in our own way.

Men and women are basically good. We all want the world to be saved. Where it all falls apart, and where it all falls apart for the people in my film, is that when the people in the world ARE all finally saved, when the Messiah DOES finally come, the do-gooders, the worriers, and the leaders of the earth are so used to a world of unsolvable problems that they are incapable of accepting the plain and simple truth of a "world without strife" when it is right in front of them. And, in this way, they STILL end up rejecting the Eden they could have enjoyed.

Don't know if all that counts as "spoilers" (aside from thematically) but I figure it is better safe than sorry. I hope you enjoy my film, if you have a chance to see it.

Not sure what to make of finished product, 12 March 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say that if "Jonathan Sky" is trash, it is some of the most well thought out and highly motivated trash I have seen. And I don't necessarily mean the plot. Having been involved in the production I mean the whole thing. Every person who worked on the project put in long hours and went the extra mile--heck, they rented a special rig just to protect the car!

When it was over, however, I found myself sitting in the theater wondering if this story had been worth all that effort. Was my reaction Door #1: here is the birth of a new vital talent, or Door #2: this was a waste of violent trash easy to predict at the beginning? I found that my emotional response to the story was impossible to separate from my emotional investment in the project.

What I can say, for certain, is that this is definitely a film that leaves the audience feeling as though the experience is too short. That they want more--that they want to KNOW more about what came next-- regardless of their reaction to it. That may be my answer right there.

7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Good as hoped, 19 March 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I attended the World Premiere of this film as a guest of the filmmakers. I know them personally but have no loyalty holding or requiring me to love what they do. (I, like many, thought "Home Teachers" was the nadir of the company's efforts.) Church Ball, like "Mobsters & Mormons" before it, (and coming from half of the writing team that worked on Halestorm's original "Singles Ward" who went on to do "Mobsters") is a slam-dunk. A late season streak, as it were, after a number of difficult pictures where Halestorm had been sucking their market dry.

The return to form comes none too soon, (what with the new studio in the works) and the recruiting of top-notch talent like Fred Willard and Clint Howard helps make it look easy.

Not that it's perfect. Despite the "generalization" of the dialogue this is still a Mormon Movie. Who else puts Basketball courts in their chapels and calls their leader Bishop (without him wearing a special collar)? A larger budget may have been too much to hope for, but it would have helped, because as some people have noted many scenes looked grainy--but what they don't know is that it was a budgetary constraint, not a photographic error. Scenes at the games were shot on Hi-Def video instead of film, to ensure all the action could be captured without wasting precious film stock.

I almost fell over laughing just about every time Fred Willard opened his mouth, but there were other characters without quite enough to do or say--most notably Gary Coleman. I personally thought his part was as short as his frame, but I loved the "Pudding in the Clouds" play! Those who saw it will know what I mean, but the best relationship that was the most underutilized was the janitor and the organist--it needed either to be played up more, or actually scaled back just a tad (specifically, to have the dance number removed).

All in all, Halestorm has put out a great little feel good film with heart. (And I can taste the sugar on my tongue as I say that.) But I mean it; especially in the way the team comes together to recruit their new Center.

Now save me the center aisle seat.

Wings (1927)
58 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
American Melodrama at its Best, 15 October 2003

Wings (1927), is not only the FIRST winner of the Best Picture Academy Award, it may be the BEST film to hold that title, and I say that knowing that Casablanca, Gladiator, and The Last Emperor all hold the statue too. There have been some stinkers dubbed "Best Picture" in the past, (Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan??? The Greatest Show on Earth over High Noon?! Spare us all) but this is not one of them.

Even supporters of the film, writing reviews here at IMDb, can't seem to resist taking shots at Wings' plot, but I'm here to tell you it is just fine, even solidly written. Some reviewers don't sound like they have seen this movie in a long time, or if they have, they slept through it. For one thing, the "Love Triangle" is not as convoluted or hard to grasp as others have implied:

Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) has a crush on one Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston), the local beauty queen. She finds this cute and indulges it a little bit--actually too much. But she is quite sincerely in love with someone else, David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) a well-off local boy who isn't quite able to figure out how to tell Jack to butt-out because it doesn't involve money. The wild card in all of this (literally and figuratively) is Mary Preston (Clara Bow), who lives next door to Jack and has been mooning over him since she was a little girl.

That's the whole dynamic. I have no idea what someone was thinking when they suggested Mary expressed any feelings for David (She never does). Some have said they can't believe Jack would go for Sylvia with Mary next door. I see their point, because the casting of Clara Bow in her role is like having Kirsten Dunst living next door and not noticing. The problem is, Jack isn't SUPPOSED to notice Mary until the end, when he has experienced the war and realizes that everything he wants is right there at home where he belongs. In the beginning he is all about Fast Cars and the Trophy Girls.

So, the plot thickens as the US gets dragged into World War I and both Jack and David sign up as pilots. Naturally each of them heads to Sylvia's house to say good-bye. Sylvia prepared a locket with her picture in it for David, but Jack sees it first. This scene is a great display of awkwardness wrapped in etiquette, especially when Sylvia tries to let go of Jack's hand. Jack takes the locket from her, and, this being more than she can stand, Sylvia almost gets the words out to tell him the truth when David gets there. At this point Jack turns on the macho-factor, and he is so gleeful about rubbing Sylvia's locket in David's face that he doesn't even notice she never kissed him good-bye.

Sylvia makes up for David's loss of the locket with some tender words and some passionate kissing--no mystery where her feelings lie--and the three of them head off for war. Three, because Mary goes too, as a nurse. Another complaint about this film and it's plot has been that Clara Bow wasn't given enough to do, shunted off into a side part even though she got billing as the Leading Lady, but I just don't see it. Her part was as big as any Romantic Interest in most movies out there; a good example for comparison would be Kathleen Quinlan's roll in Apollo 13. Most of her scenes were not shared with Tom Hanks, but she turned in an emotional and Oscar-nominated performance nonetheless.

The air battles in this film have never been topped anywhere. Ever. And that includes anything involving aliens, fighter jets, or a galaxy far, far, away. The information that the actors flew their own planes is misleading. Actors couldn't do what these pilots do. The stunt flying is by the US Army Air Corps in Texas (!) where the movie was filmed (I dare you to have guessed that on your own). What Rogers and Arlen do is all their own close-ups, flying the plane as they careen and dive. When the camera ran out of film (or the planes ran out of gas) a stunt pilot from the Army would pop up and land the plane.

The resolution of the story I won't comment further on, except to say that it is extremely moving and does highlight the madness of war, especially the kind of war WW1 was. I support military action for just causes, but everything has a cost and Wings lays that cost bare. These were issues being struggled over long before Vietnam, just in case you thought Hippies invented protest.

After complaining that she didn't do enough, some people insist that Mary's tactics in Paris were out of character. No they were not. Mary had to get Jack away from that "other woman" and get him his orders before he got court marshaled. She was not becoming a floozie, only dressing the part, and she paid the ultimate price for the risk she took. It also helped to stir up Jack's feelings about her in later scenes, and get him thinking.

Wings! Melodramatic? Sure. Unoriginal? Well... if you make that claim because you can guess what's coming or you've seen it all before, just ask yourself how old these movies are that you are comparing Wings to, and check Wings' release date again. Maybe the plot-heist occurred in the other direction.

This film deserves a DVD release. Barring that, see if you can track down the old Paramount Laserdisc, LV 2851-2, which is what I had. I have been enamored with, and watching, this film since I was 13 (30 now). It shattered my little-boy prejudices against both black and white and silent films in one great blast of anti-aircraft fire, and I have been spreading its gospel ever since. You will not ever see a better World War 1 film.

Our Intrepid Heroes' Eyebrows Come Together To Save The Day!, 11 December 2000
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me just say I don't hate fantasy. I'm not the "fantaholic" my wife is, but I can get into it. What's important to me is the story. I liked Dragonslayer, I liked Ladyhawke, and I really liked Dragonheart.

I really hated Dungeons and Dragons. I've read and analyzed screenplays for a living, and a screenplay--a believable STORY--was precisely what this thing was missing. I don't mean realistic, I mean believable. To get "realistic" they'd have to get rid of the dragons. To get "believable" they'd have to replace the entire script with the words "copper conducts electricity."

I'll start with the dialogue: I agree with the guy from CNN.com, who said, "It's so poorly executed, you start to feel like you're watching the world's most expensive script run-through." To me, it sounded like the whole thing was originally written in the native tongue of Prague (where D&D was filmed) and then meticulously translated. "I will, I shall, Do you not see . . ." The screenwriter apparently concluded that the way to affect a Mediaeval atmosphere is to drop all your consonants and talk about the plot (or lack thereof) at length.

And as for that plot--what happened? The best I could figure was that the main conflict consisted of Jeremy Irons' desire to control dragons, and by extension, the kingdom. So he tries to make a dragon-controlling stick, but fails, so he tries to make the Empress give him her dragon-controlling stick. In the meantime, a group of "heroes" go off to find their own dragon-controlling stick. (The reason they need their own, I guess, is so that there is something to fight about at the end.) SPOILER ALERT Here are just a few of the plot holes:

1) In the beginning, Jeremy Irons is working on his green-dragon-stick down in his own little dungeon under the city. He tests it on a dragon. Question: Where did he get this dragon? How the hullabaloo did he get it past security, and if he didn't need to get it past security because this dragon was known to exist in the sewers, then why wasn't it being guarded by the Empress? Why, at the very least, wasn't the population living in fear that this dragon would come out and eat them someday? (You may argue that they DID know about the dragon, but if that were true our heroes would have known why the river was burning.)

2) Nobody can read that red scroll. It is the only clue to the whereabouts of the red-dragon-stick. There are no other dragon-sticks. Only our good and faithful empress has one--the gold-dragon-stick. Question: If right now the only dragon-stick in existence is a GOOD dragon stick, why pursue a BAD one that has, up to now, been safely hidden? If you say, "Well, it's not the dragon-stick that is evil, only the person using it" then tell me why Ridley couldn't just call out the dragons to save his friends? No, no, no--he has to GIVE the stick to the bad guy because he TRUSTS him not to lie. Right.

3) The final battle. The Empress had the dragon-stick. All the bad guys had was attitude. Tell me, why didn't she just lock herself in her room, put a dragon at the door, and say, "I dare you" to anyone who tried to take it from her? Then she wouldn't have to start a war. At the very least, she could have waited for the RED dragons to start it.

4) I have NO idea what that ending meant.

Finally, I always said you could judge a bad actor by how they use their eyebrows. The hero (Ridley) in Dungeons and Dragons proved to me that you could judge a bad actor by his lips.