Reviews written by registered user

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128 reviews in total 
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Shadow on the Land (1968) (TV)
16 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Definitely a scary prediction of the Bush Regime's goals, 14 September 2004

I saw the movie the two times it ran way back when. At the time, I thought it was a neat parallel world tale and an interesting alternate take on espionage flicks. The notion of a conservative, openly fascistic takeover of the US, shredding the Constitution, and preserving its rule by an internal security force capable of creating hoaxes to turn the public against outsiders.... well, at the time, it sure looked like scifi!

Sadly, we now know better. The film is a chilling, Nostradamus-like tale about Bush/Cheney, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and all the rest of the evil that has been foisted upon America these past three years. The climax of the film, in which Internal Security agents plan to commit an atrocity and blame it on the underground, is disturbingly close to something Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Ridge might plan. After all, an "al Quaeda" terrorist attack, "successfully foiled" by Homeland Security forces, would be a powerful propaganda stunt to ensure Bush's election.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
John Le Carre's FRANKENSTEIN, 5 September 2004

The film has its flaws but dang if Saxon didn't come up with an intriguing scenario. Watching it just now, I can see the thing as a big budget, ultimate AVENGERS episode. You can even see where the commercial breaks would go.

The screenwriter did well to ditch one of Saxon's bits. In his novel, THE DISORIENTED MAN, the composites are actually host bodies for alien invaders. I prefer the strictly Terrestrial conspiracy of the film. One can imagine if Victor Frankenstein had been more successful AND MORE DISCREET, he and his creations/allies would have been well on their way to literally construct a master race. Another poster wished for another 15 minutes of the film. Hell, I want this thing expanded to a mini-series! There is definitely enough material for 4-6 hours of film.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A well-crafted, well-deserved tribute to a true giant, 29 August 2004

Frank Frazetta is probably the greatest artist to grace the related fields of comic book and paperback illustration. Starting as a comic book artist for EC back in the early 1950s, then moving on to draw the incredibly sexy women of the L'IL ABNER comic strip, then reaching his pinnacle as the greatest fantasy paperback cover artist of the 1960s and 1970s. He expanded into other fields, such as cinema and sculpture. PAINTING WITH FIRE is documentary and tribute to the great artist. Frazetta's own commentary is interspersed with tributes from others, like comic book artists Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, and Neal Adams.

Every fan of comic books, book cover art, and fantasy art needs to see this film.

Coven (2000)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
I almost ended up working on this!, 5 August 2004

When I moved to Milwaukee's East Side (where UWM is located) in '91, I saw fliers all over the place advertising a feature film to be shot in Milwaukee and asked for people to fill openings for cast and crew.

I'd already lost a chance to be a script messenger on what turned out to be FIELD OF DREAMS (my car was too undependable for me to take the job) so this looks intriguing. Unfortunately I was tied up with a helljob at Kelly Temp that prevented me from making the initial meeting. Sigh..... Oh well.....

In the years that followed, I wondered what happned to that flick. Then I saw AMERICAN MOVIE and knew.

Well, Mark, if you need me for some future flick, e-mail me!

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A dim childhood memory, 12 July 2004

Dang, someone beat me to this! Here I have been trying to think of obscure TV shows or films to be the first person to comment upon! Oh well.

I'm a big Paul Ford fan but I don't think I ever really watched this during its brief life.

It probably ran against something my 9-yr-old self found more compelling. Or worse, ran against something the rest of my family wanted to watch.

I wish re-run channels like TVLAND would run obscure, never syndicated shows like this more often. Heck, imagine a day devoted to following Judy Carne thru her many shows. Or her ex-husband, Burt Reynolds, thru HIS many shows!

The Presence (1992) (TV)
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Gilligan's X-Files, 27 June 2004

When I watched the NBC airing of DANGER ISLAND, I was fascinated by what a well-stocked premise the show had. First, a well-hidden lush jungle island. Add a local mysterious (but not evil, no matter what the earlier poster thought) tribe. And finally, the mysterious government black op, "Project Naomi", a well-stocked laboratory apparently handling a disturbingly wide variety of experiments. Which caused any number of mutants and mutagens to be released to roam the island.

Heck, as a former role playing game designer, I was envious I had not come up with such a setting. It would make a heck of an RPG!

The characters covered a wide variety of types, including apparently an ex-CIA type who knew about Project Naomi.... And a hero who, upon being exposed to a mysterious mutagen, is starting to become something other than human....

Man, I would love to see the writers' guidelines for this series!

The basic format of DANGER ISLAND has been revisited by two other TV series.

The mid-90s syndicated series PETER BENCHLEY'S AMAZON had an airliner crash in the remote jungle, stranding a few dozen passengers in an unexplored valley filled with mysterious threats..... And in fall 2004, ABC brings us LOST. An airline crash on a mysterious uncharted island filled with mysterious threats......

Postscript, January 2005-- It's funny watching LOST and DANGER ISLAND and seeing some of the same photogenic areas being used by the two similar shows a decade apart. LOST is definitely the better written show but still, it would have been nice for DANGER ISLAND to have had a better chance!

POST-postscript, January 2006-- A year later and it looks even more like DANGER ISLAND was a parallel world counterpart to LOST. Especially now that we know DI's "Project Naomi" has a counterpart in LOST's "Dharma Institute."

"Turn-On" (1969)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
At least it gave Tim Conway a punch line, 8 June 2004

When Tim was doing chat shows in the 70s, the discussion would always include a comment like, "You've been on a lot of TV series." Tim would then respond by listing every show he was on, and then the number of episodes before it was cancelled. And then he would say, "Turn-On. Cancelled after one show."

Legend has it the head of ABC programming actually decided to cancel it the moment it ended. At the time, ABC was still the distant third-place network. The hope was that George Schlatter could give ABC a counterpart to NBC's LAUGH-IN and CBS' SMOTHERS BROTHERS. Too bad the material was just not there. I was 12 when I watched this. None of my family was interested on it, so I watched it in my bedroom. I remember thinking it was odd. I don't recall laughing much at it.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A fondly remembered obscure series, 29 May 2004

I used to watch this on scrambled channel 44, "ON-TV" in Chicago Illinois. ON-TV had a block called "Adults Only" around midnight when they would run a couple soft core flicks and erotic shorts. But first they ran an episode of "Loving Fiends and Perfect Couples." So I'd watch it for the skin and eventually I got hooked on the plots.

I was really drawn in by the plot involving "David" the architect. He had recently lost his job and was living with his wife and another woman. And he was trying to get both women together in a menage a troi. Well, at the time I had recently lost my job and I was living with my wife and another woman and trying to get both of them together in a menage a troi.... Throw in the fact I was a former Architecture major and you might be able to see why I was so fascinated with the plotline. It seemed like a glamourized simulation of my life!

I recall Mimi Kuzyk's character was David's ex-wife. Now remarried, she was trying to inject some eroticism into their sex life by role playing. I still remember her in a skimpy French maid's outfit....and then NOT in a skimpy French maid's outfit....

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
The USAF's rebuttal of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, 29 May 2004

Much as Jack Webb's earlier DRAGNET acted as propaganda for the LAPD, PROJECT UFO was unadulterated propaganda for the USAF's Project Blue Book. Every week viewers saw what seemed to be a UFO. Every week the valiant Blue Book investigators proved that the witnesses were either deluded or con artists. UFOs were not real and this show was going to pound this into viewers' heads at every possible moment.

Particularly loathsome was the slanderous use a lookalike for prominent UFO investigator J Allen Hynek. The lookalike and his organization were proved to be actively creating fake UFOs as a money-raising tool.

Of course, at the time the film CLOSE ENCOUNTERS had crystallized the widespread public suspicion that the Air Force was either not interested in UFOs or worse was lying to the public. Even my then-brother-in-law, an Air Force captain, thought Blue Book was hiding something.

The USAF must have been giddy when Jack Webb offered to do a TV series based on Blue Book, with the USAF as the good guys and UFO buffs as the bad guys.

Caskey Swaim as Staff Sergeant Harry Fitz was particularly annoying with his cheerful devotion to disproving UFO sightings. It was almost endearing, his monomania for Geiger counter readings. Apparently all spacecraft are supposed to leak radiation..... No radiation, no spacecraft. I wonder if NASA knows this?

Of course audiences will only take so much of being told "your are idiots for believing this" before they tune out. So toward the end of the series, the audience actually got to see proof that a given UFO was real, evidence the USAF drones missed or ignored.

In the end, PROJECT UFO was akin to SCOOBY DOO. Remember, in the original series, there were NO supernatural forces, only conmen dressed up as spooks.

Troy (2004)
60 out of 121 people found the following review useful:
Interesting political parable, 15 May 2004

When I was a Film Major, I groaned inside whenever my classmates attempted to instill political themes into whatever movie was up for discussion. Well, sometimes they could be right. TROY is definitely a movie with a contemporary political subtext.

Growing up I used to read Greek mythology. I grew up believing the Greeks were the good guys, out to rescue the fair Helen from the nefarious Trojans. I also grew up believing that America was always the good guys in any conflict. The invasions of Grenada, Panama, and Iraq sure dispelled that belief, both for me and for a lot of the world.

Watching the movie it struck me fairly quickly that the Greek invaders were symbolizing the US invasion of Iraq. Agamemnon is clearly George Bush Junior, seizing the convenient excuse of Helen's abduction as rationale for the invasion he wants more than anything. Odysseus seems to be Powell, the only one of the Greek kings with any integrity or real intelligence. When Odysseus protests the men still believe the war is being fought to help Menelaeus rescue Helen, Agamemnon coldly replies that the invasion was never about Helen. One can easily imagine Powell being similarly rebuffed by Bush Junior. Agamemnon is obsessed with destroying Troy as a means to increase his power.

Notice how Agamemnon is always accompanied by his two vassal kings, analogous to how Bush Junior rarely acts without Rumsfeld or Cheney.

Achilles then comes to represent the American Fighting Man. He is the one who actually fights, who actually faces danger. But Agamemnon, like Bush, sits back in safety and gathers the glory for himself. When Achilles points out that Agamemnon had done none of the fighting he claims credit for, Agamemnon merely gloats. Achilles is more than willing to commit atrocities but he is also capable of noble acts.

Agamemnon, like Bush Junior, denounces any attempt at negotiation. The one time he does pretend to negotiate, when Paris challenges Menelaeus, Agamemnon intends to break the pact. Again, consider how we now know that Bush had no interest in any negotiation or cooperation with Iraq.

The Trojans have strong religious beliefs. The Greeks, on the other hand, give lip service to the gods and happily desecrate temples to gods they ostensibly worship.

Note that Helen soon moves into the background, almost disappearing from the story of a war that should center on her. Likewise, Osama bin Laden, the reason for the twin invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, is rarely mentioned.

Is the film anti-American? In some aspects it can be seen thus. After all, even when the Greeks know there is no longer any possibility of reuniting Menelaeus with Helen, they continue their onslaught. Likewise, even after the world knew that Iraq had no connection to 9/11 and that there were no Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" the US continued their invasion. The film is clearly even more anti-Bush in the form of the homicidal demagogue Agamemnon. That Greek king thought nothing of killing his own daughter to get his fleet underway. Has anyone seen Bush exhibit any real regret at the 700+ American soldiers already killed in his trumped-up war?

Bravo to Wolfgang Petersen and David Beniof for speaking truths that are increasingly hard to say in America.

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