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14 reviews in total 
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing badly written episode. A poor start for Mr Spock., 8 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although this is the first episode to truly focus on Spock, it is marred by poor writing. The dilemma (and the suspense) of Spock having to choose who stays behind is immediately canceled by the lack of fuel and the death of the Guards. The opposition between Spock's logical decisions and his crew's more "human" opinions becomes repetitive. It is the only theme in the whole episode. Spock's decisions are actually not very logical at all: why leave one crewman behind? Why go alone to search for the missing crewman? Why bring him back if he is already dead?... The last decision he makes, which was supposedly emotional and borne of desperation felt the most logical to me. It was the only chance to be seen by the Enterprise, and it worked. Leonard Nimoy does his best with the slight and repetitive material. The other actors are nothing special.

This felt like a very frustrating episode to me. Badly directed too. The furry creatures and their weapons are ridiculous. It would have been better if they were not even shown. It seems to be based on the same premise as the movie "Five Came back", but that film was much more interesting, more thrilling and had much better character development and acting. Catch it instead!

Luckily not all Spock-centered episodes were this poor!

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Must see prototype for "stranded" ensemble movies. Excellent script and crisp direction, 8 March 2014

Very enjoyable thriller, with a strong ensemble cast. Distinguished by great actors who make the most of their small roles. I was specially impressed by Lucille Ball, surprisingly serious in the role of the "bad woman", and very attractive. John Carradine also shines as the contemptible bounty hunter and Joseph Calleia as his insightful and wise death row prisoner. The budget was very low and the sets show, but John Farrow's direction is very brisk and keeps the suspense and interest up through the short running time. Great dialogue, very well written exchanges between the characters, unsurprising given the three great talents on the script. The rhythm of the film benefits from the crisp timing: if they remade the movie today, it would probably be twice as long, and less interesting.

An example for disaster and stranded dramas to come. One of the most memorable classics of the thirties.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful and pure example of how to film action., 5 August 2006

Late in the 70's Kung Fu cycle, director King Hu shows how to direct classic Wu Xia. This swordplay film focuses mainly on action. The setup is minimal, characters are barely introduced, if at all. No story, little exposition, no romance. Just a series of scenes where the heroes, always outnumbered, cleverly draw the pirates into traps, and then fight them. Hu is mostly interested in the tactics and cunning. His direction of the action scenes is exemplary and a joy to watch: dynamic movement, jump cuts, fast camera movements, quick strokes, rhythmic dancelike movements. The fight choreography is presented more like the films of the 60's, emphasizing rhythm and movement over clarity. This is not the movie to watch if you want to study different fighting styles. The most exemplary scene is the last one, which features a duel between Ying Bai and Sammo Hung. It does not matter that Sammo is a much better martial artist, the scene is so dynamic, cut with quick strokes at the fast rhythm of clanging swords, that the viewer cannot observe for even a short moment what each fighter is doing, but gets taken instead by the sheer momentum and mayhem. Only in the 80's did Tsui Hark and Honk Kong Cinema pick up where King Hu had pioneered.

The performers are charismatic, in particular Ying Bai as the cool hero (very 60's in style), and the lovely Feng Hsu as the cool, silent but deadly wife. She is such a striking presence in this film, that it is not surprising that King Hu featured her in practically all his movies during this period. Sammo Hung is appropriately menacing as the head Japanese pirate and was responsible for the fight choreography. The landscapes (possibly Taiwan) are impressively and beautifully filmed, creating great settings for the action scenes and adding to the pure enjoyment of watching this well orchestrated and graceful film.

Daag (1952)
2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant but formulaic film featuring the wonderful Nimmi, 16 July 2006

I understand this is one of Dilip Kumar's most well known and successful films, and that he received a filmfare award for his acting in it. Still, I find his performance stilted and exaggerated, in particular in the many drunk scenes. The movie's plot is formulaic to the extreme, very melodramatic. It may have affected viewers at the time, but today it is so clichéd one can guess what happens a good 10 minutes ahead. The movie is also slow and repetitive, in particular in the the first hour, with Dilip Kumar succumbing again and again to the bottle. His character in this movie is weak and to me seems unsympathetic, although I must say I could never relate to stories about drunks or addicts. The direction, by Amiya Chakrabarty, is professional and solid, but seldom tight or original enough to thrill.

The saving grace of this movies is Nimmi, who gives an extraordinary performance, relishing every scene, laughing uncontrollably when her lover comes home, throwing herself at his feet, mouthing the words of the song with great emotion, a delicate, weak, foolish but beautiful diva. The camera loves her and she steals every scene. It is a pleasure also to watch the sets of this movie, reproducing a village entirely in the studio, with very kitschy decor elements, fake broken columns and painted sunsets. They don't film fantasy backdrops like these anymore. The music is superior, in particular the very memorable song: "Aye mere dil kahin aur chal", which is offered in three lovely and different versions.

All in all, a pleasant diversion, if not a masterpiece, memorable in particular for Nimmi. I will be looking for other films featuring her.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A fun Havana ride if you like poetic slapstick, 24 April 2006

Opinions seem to vary greatly about this film. Some viewers seem to like it, find it real cute, compare it to Amelie, enjoy the shifts in style and tone. Others seem to loathe it, find it derivative, decry the exaggerated acting, disjointed style and too simple story, and feel they have wasted 90 minutes watching it. The opinions run all over the map, as the grades and critics reviews show. Some love it, many hate it.

I don't understand the latter group. This is exactly the kind of film I enjoy, in the same style as the movies of Richard Lester and Maurizio Nichetti (the early ones like Ratataplan). Start with a rather original story: a lonely post office employee who rewrites letters in her spare time. Amelie came out at the same time, and features a young girl who also tries to change others lives, but in many ways Nada is more fun and less smug. The disjointed style and abrupt shifts of tone kept me entertained. Here is a director who loves to play around. The slapstick scenes were exaggerated, as they should be, the romantic scenes funny and touching, and two sections showing how the letters affect their recipients were, in my opinion, successfully poetic.

Malberti shows promising talent with interesting predominately black and white camera work, which sometimes imitates the style of silent comedy, from Chaplin features to Keystone Cops. The quirky editing, overhead shots, fanciful touches, and series of funny supporting characters all contribute to the movie's charm. Thais Valdez is really charming, at the same time a fun cute tomboy and a mature weary lover. She is a real find.

If you like your films sober, intellectual and serious pass this one up. If you are ready for a wild mixture of bureaucratic satire, introspective social drama, slapstick comedy, cute love story, Havana travelogue and some poetic moments then jump along... It's a real fun ride!

Routine Hong Kong Police comedy, with early roles for future Hong Kong Stars Leung and Chien-Lien., 5 March 2006

Fans of director Johnnie To will be disappointed by this early effort, a let down after his direction of "The Big Heat" (and the Johnnie To produced "A Moment Of Romance"). The film starts as a typical Buddy Cop comedy. The plot does not make a lot of sense, but then audiences may not have been expecting much. Most Hong Kong movies from that period play on many registers at once, comedy, romance and action. That's what made some of these films so original and exciting. Unfortunately Royal Scoundrel is not necessarily strong in any of the areas. The comedy is silly and insipid , the romance is cheesy and under-developed, and the action scenes are mostly disappointing, in particular the finale. Still the general production and direction are of good quality, and the movie passes pleasantly. A little fun, if ultimately forgettable.

NG Man-Tat has played the role of the kind-hearted but ineffective flunky cop many times before and after this movie. Here, he just goes through the motions. Tony Leung overacts and is often obnoxious, never funny. The role definitely does not suit him well. He seems to be still learning his craft in his early films- see how badly he handles his role here and in many of his early films (eg the very weak Fantasy Romance). Waise Lee is professional as usual, cast as the corrupt cop. Wu Chien-Lien is very cute in one of her earliest movies. She is so lovely at that young age, the camera loves her despite the funny glasses and hairstyles the filmmakers try on her. She saved the movie for me.

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Fun fast paced western pastiche, with colorful characters and brisk action, 26 February 2006

Don Siegel directed a delightful, fast paced, fun western, with tongue firmly in cheek. Audie Murphy isn't half bad as the poker-loving "Silver Kid", dressed in black leather. Featured are several unique characters like "Johnny Sombrero", who wears extravagant clothes, combs his hair up,and of course puts on a large sombrero. The script makes fun of all the western clichés, camping it up while moving the story briskly. Faith Domergue is alluringly devious and mean as the bad girl and love interest. Lee Marvin has a small but remarkable role, and sports a big mustache.

I like the way the straight hero is played for a fool until the end, and his poker playing sidekick gets all the action and glory. Siegel, as usual, excels with the action scenes, but this is not a thriller per say, more a fast paced action romp very similar in style to "The Big Steal", which Siegel directed before this film. I really enjoyed it.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Soledad Miranda dreamily seductive in otherwise slow movie, 24 February 2006

Not much happens in this movie. Like most Franco films, it features scenes that are slow and extended, with cliché situations. Its saving grace is that it reflects the dreams and hallucinations of the woman/victim, so the elongated scenes have a dreamlike quality which is effective and sometimes seductive. The violence is restrained, some blood here and there. Although I dislike gore, I did wish the horror element was played up more.

I enjoyed the musical score, uniquely psychedelic. It had some success as a dance reissue in the mid 90s. Soledad Miranda is incredibly beautiful. To me, watching her is reason enough to go through this film. Her strip tease scene is very unique, and fortunately gets repeated in the film. Her looks are beguiling in every one of her seduction scenes. Otherwise the movie is an average mixed bag.

14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A sweet Romantic Comedy, despite its controversial subject, 13 November 2005

Several reviewers took exception at this film's depiction of marriage between an adult (a college student) and a 15 year old high school student. I feel the subject was handled with a lot of sensitivity. Arranged marriages are still frequent in many parts of the world, and deserve a movie about them. Millions of very young women still tie the knot before they are 18, in Asia or the near-east or Africa. Why should the subject be taboo? The film does not condone the practice, as a matter of fact it shows how wrong it could be. The pleasure comes from watching these two young people make what they can with a situation they are not completely responsible for. Although the film is light and often funny, it has its share of pathos. Many will recall the awkwardness of first relationships, they are even more awkward in an arranged marriage.

This movie is very likable. The two stars are fun and charming. The tone is breezy throughout, but very realistic. Many of the clichés are there (THe karaoke scene, the dream scene, the misunderstanding(s) at school...), but they are treated in such an offhand way that they don't feel calculated. For a first film, Ho-joon Kim's direction is assured and precise. One of the best Korean comedies I have seen lately, recommended to put a smile on your face, and make you think...

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Turgid badly made ghost comedy, not redeemed by its cast, 13 November 2005

This is yet another romance between a man and a female ghost. I usually enjoy these movies, except this one does everything wrong: Wrong focus, wrong time period, wrong story, bad acting, no action. Instead of focusing on the lovely Joey Wong and her relationship with Tony Leung, the film wastes a lot of time on the supposedly comic Hijinx of Leung and Chu, during several unfunny episodes with very bad acting. The action is transposed to the present, losing the usual charm and beauty of this type of movie. The story is uninteresting and confusing, mixing unsuccessfully several strands for no other reason than to move the plot. Tony Leung's performance is badly overdone, his character is unlikable and plain stupid. I cannot believe this is the same actor featured in Hardboiled or In The Mood of Love. Even bad Hong Kong movies can be redeemed by some action scenes, but this movie doesn't have them either. Only one short sequence, which seems like a parody of "A Chinese Gost Story", a much better film.

So what's left? Joey Wong is as charming and cute as ever, in one of her many female ghost roles. The animation scene at the end is interesting if cheaply executed. That's about it. Not enough even for Joey Wong fans to make this movie watchable.

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