Reviews written by registered user
JLarson2006

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19 reviews in total 
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4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
It's about forgiveness., 24 April 2012
10/10

This is a drama of life and death, as many dramas are. Behind the movie lurks the principle of such movies as "It's a Wonderful Life." If you've ever seen it, it's hard to forget the moment Clarence says to George Bailey, "You really have had a wonderful life."

The reason, of course, is the virtue that permeates George Bailey's life. He gives many a person a break, charity, if you will. He has a network of friends that are not on Facebook, that even he doesn't realize he has.

Hannah, the main character, has a dependable friend in Jason, but feels quite isolated, and there are good reasons for her feelings.

Hannah is a walking contradiction, like one who inspired her character, Gianna Jessen. To be an "abortion survivor" is to be caught up in a debate by the nature of one's very existence. She is, as it were, the opposite of George Bailey, she was supposed to not have a wonderful life, or even to be considered a human person at all, and simply vanish from the scene like a character leaving the stage (or some might say a prop).

But, George Bailey's vision of life without him is pure fantasy. Abortion survivors are a reality that makes some people uncomfortable. This movie puts that reality out to an audience in a new way--not with the story of Gianna Jessen, but with a fictional story that is designed to reframe debates about the nature of human life. A powerful moment for me was when Hannah writes in her journal, "The truth will make you free?" We've probably heard the phrase, "What is truth?" but here another famous statement is framed as a question, and the question is a big part of the movie. Inevitably, though, forgiveness is a bigger part. Although I don't think the phrase "divine mercy" occurs in the movie, it is an underlying theme. Truth and mercy meet.

A sloppy but funny program, 27 February 2010
5/10

It's possible I watched a rehearsal performance that was put on kinescope, but I'm not sure. The show uses the comedic potential of Bert Lahr and Fred Gwynne fairly well, but there are some serious flubs and they are handled rather casually.

The two are small time crooks, and Bert wants to win the love of a widow who was married to a big time criminal. They plan a big heist, and in fact they get away with a million dollars, but the story takes rather comedic and ironic turns.

At one point, Fred Gwynne is stuck and Bert Lahr tells someone off camera to "throw him a line." Bert Lahr also says "shhhh" to someone off camera in a scene where the only people in the restaurant set are he and Fred Gwynne.

Patty Duke has a small role as a girl the crooks know. I would never have known it is her because she is 10 years old.

Overall, I enjoyed it, despite a number of miscues and obviously incorrect lines. It was enjoyable as a particularly honest performance. There are no retakes and no green screens. What was recorded was what happened.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Amazing Live TV Spectacle, 5 November 2007
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although it could be said that I am writing a "spoiler," I would hope that everybody reading this knows that the Titanic is a huge cruise ship that sank in the North Atlantic. This is simply recorded history.

How can the story of the sinking of the Titanic be told on live television? How can a live performance bring across such a story? How can it be told in less than 60 minutes? I was surprised that they even tried this, but they pulled it off quite well.

There are at least 9 different sets, and probably more than that, and some of them are quite large. Occasionally film is used for exterior shots and the scene of the initial breach of the iceberg in the hull of the ship, but most of the action is live. The performances are great, and the action moves from scene to scene with incredible ease, as if this were a film edited together. By 1956, it seems that live TV had been refined to quite an art.

Bella (2006)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Simple Yet Good Movie, 19 February 2007
10/10

This movie comes across without fanfare, without glitz, and looks at everyday, ordinary life. Yet it proves you don't need a lot of sparkle to have a great movie. The acting was very good, and the story was presented in a compelling fashion.

I particularly liked the scenes involving Jose's family. They pick up the pace just when the movie is starting to drag, and prepare for the most intense part of the film. There is such a fluid motion to the movie--smooth transitions that carry one along in the story without distraction. Although the version I saw is the "rough cut" prepared for the Toronto Film Festival, the editing still seemed a cut above average.

It seems like such a simple storyline, yet it deals with very profound topics. I loved it. I would recommend it to anyone.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Brief and Compressed Telling of the Story of Bernadette, 13 January 2007
5/10

The teleplay is called "Bernadette" in the credits, with no reference to the movie and book Song of Bernadette. There is, however, clear evidence that the teleplay borrowed visually and musically from the movie Song of Bernadette.

The teleplay is based on Mary Gray Blanton's biography of St. Bernadette called Bernadette of Lourdes (later published as The Miracle of Bernadette). It uses many techniques of compressing the story to fit in less than one hour, which greatly lessens the accuracy in the portrayal. While the story is there, the details are not all that reliable. Some scenes are combined for greater dramatic effect.

Pier Angeli was 26 when she portrayed the 14 year old St. Bernadette. This is quite obvious in the teleplay, but her portrayal is still not without merit.

It was certainly a noble venture to retell the story during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions (this was produced and shown in 1958), but you are much better off watching one of the movie versions.

12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A spy show with less violence and more cunning., 15 August 2006
6/10

This program was based on the files of a real government agent. To what extent the shows are actual cases I am not sure, but they are probably closer to real cases than many other programs of this genre because they aren't always extremely exciting. Each assignment has Ken Thurston doing something rather different, not unlike "Dangerous Assignment" or other programs of the era, but the stories are more credible and less fantastic. Still, Ken's abilities seem endless. In one episode, he poses as an Air Force pilot, and is also fully capable of flying a bomber. While violence occurs on occasion, most of the story involve outwitting the Communists through careful planning and sometimes quick thinking. This is not an action-adventure packed with big crashes, but rather one that avoids the worst by finding a way out of danger. If one is looking for the more fantastic "James Bond" type of show, this is not it, but the shows are enjoyable in their own right.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A detailed life of a recent Catholic saint, 23 January 2005
10/10

With the production values of a telenovella, this 7 hour mini-series looks at the life of Juanita Fernandez Solar, who becomes Sister Teresa in a Carmelite convent in Chile in the early 20th century. Her parents are not enthused, nor her sisters and brothers. It seems the only ones who understand are some of her friends who are also considering religious life.

The mini-series goes through her life as a teenager in a well-to-do family for about the first five hours, and then the last two are spent examining her life in the convent. The portrayal shifts as she becomes more and more aware of her frustration and lack of satisfaction in the world, her joy in worshiping God and speaking of Him, and her longing to be a sister.

I heartily recommend it. It may start a bit slow, but by the end the long viewing time is well worth it. The acting is amazingly good, and the story only develops in intensity in the convent.

It was out of print in English for years, but has recently been re-released (2009) on DVD by Ignatius Press.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A really neat old movie, 4 October 2004
8/10

This obscure public domain film takes one back to the days of logging camps.

The Drifter is a Frenchman of limited vocabulary but a beeg heart. The plot has unusual twists with a little tragedy, a little comedy, a little romance, and some action thrown in here and there. Although it is somewhat slow moving and has practically no music, the movie kept me interested and wondering what would happen to all these emotive characters. The Drifter is known to everyone as such, but who is he really? One thing is for sure, he really holds the film together and gives it a genuine, homespun feeling. William Farnum has tremendous stage presence. When he's on screen, the shot is about him. For those who don't mind a primitive sound film, it's a gem. It's a B-movie with the heart of an A-movie.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Simply entertaining, 11 September 2004

This entry in the Ranger Busters series at least deserves credit for having a well-structured plot, despite poor acting. There seems to be a balance struck between the drama, action, comedy, and very mild romance. Ray Corrigan and John 'Dusty' King are always seen together plotting how to outwit the gold robbers while Max 'Alibi' Terhune does some of the investigative work on his own, besides some attempts at humor with his ventriloquist dummy Elmer. One scene is quite memorable in which Alibi is talking to Elmer, but no one else is in the room. Obviously the filmmakers didn't think the audience would be a worried about Alibi's sanity. Overall, a B-movie that, while not outstanding, at least left me with some sense of entertainment satisfaction from having watched it.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It's a B-western!, 7 November 2003

The movie starts out stronger than many B-westerns I've seen. There's a real plot and some character development. It's definitely on the serious side. I really began to care about seeing Buck's younger brother stay out of trouble (unfortunately he doesn't). By the middle, though, it becomes a regular old B-western with lots of action, and it's a little tough to follow. The first half is a bit slow for kids, but I liked it. The second half was less satisfying, but overall, I would rate it slightly above the average 1 hour B-western.


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