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Il était une fois... l'homme (1978)
A show to be unforgotten for those who have seen it.
I used to watch that show back in the 1980s along with its successor "Once Upon A Time in Space". I still love the show for its combining quality entertainment with an educated look in the history of life in planet Earth from the birth of the first cell organism to the 1970s environmental concerns.
Instead of presenting a "black/evil vs white/good" depiction of human history, each featured group of cultures and states have their own motivation, ambitions, fears, prejudices and obvious similarities to both their allies and their enemies.
Several historical figures are prominently presented as exemplars of their time. Including but not limited to Alexander the Great, Gaius Julius Caesar, Muhammad, Charlemagne, Peter I "the Great" of Russia. Others make significant cameos such as Cheops, Ramses II, Moses, Samson and many others. Its a good introduction to them and places them in their historical context.
I still wonder why this show is mostly unseen in modern television schedules and unavailable in video or DVD. It is easily better than the rather formulaic "good vs evil" sagas of modern animation.
Epta thanasimes petheres (2004)
An enjoyable series with often bittersweet humor.
I enjoyed that series a lot. The series features in a humorous way the relationships between couples and the inevitable mother-in-laws. Each of the starring mother-in-laws represents a different type of woman with varied experiences and patterns of behavior. Exploring their reaction to the marriage or would-be-marriage of their son or daughter.
Several notable Greek actresses have starred in successive episodes of the series. Such as Betty Valassi, Renia Louizidou, Katiana Balanika, Chryssoula Diavati, Penelope Pitsouli and other veteran television actresses. Male actors provide supporting roles and have included many faces familiar to Greek television viewers.
CSI: Miami (2002)
Luck of subtlety hurts the series
I recently came across the first season of this series in DVD and took quite an interest in it. "CSI" has been among my favorite shows for the last couple of years. But I was a bit disappointed. I hope the feature characters got better fleshed out in later series.
The show is decent enough but seems to suffer from a luck of subtlety when handling several notable cases and suspects. Especially when compared to its parent-show "CSI".
Gil Grissom tends to be objective when handling his cases and makes it a point that investigators' personal issues should stay out of a case. In contrast to Horatio Caine who seems to take a much too personal interest in his cases. Grissom makes a point of his theories and/or conclusions being based on existing evidence. Caine seems to more often than not rely on a mere hunch.
Caine's team seems to be qualified enough but their leadership seems lacking.
Opposite Sex (2000)
The series is about the lives and relationships of three boys who go to school in an ex- all girl academy.We see the friends or enemies or even possible lovers they make and how do they get along with the 197 girls and the teachers and their family.I think its an interesting series(some laughs,some cries,some thinking etc.)
The Time Machine (2002)
Interesting but flawed
Since Herbert George Wells(1866-1946)' "The Time Machine" happens to be one of my favorite novels I was interested in this film mainly to see how the old man's great-grandson would handle his legacy.This film left me with mixed feelings.Many good points and many bad ones.
The Good:I truly enjoyed the 19th centurie scenes with Alexander and Emma.Her tragic death and Alexander's wish to change it provides our Time Traveler with serious motivation that he seemed to luck in the book.His obsession with his work is another good point.When you turn all your efforts towards one point then it is more probable that you will achieve your goals.The scenes while the machine is operating are visualy beautiful.Alexander as a "wandering fool" and his amazement at the 21st centurie achievements are well done.The Uber-Morlock was quite impressive, his seing the memories, dreams and nightmares of others seem to have left him with a lot of wisdom.His lack of emotions in a matter of survival for himself and his race is understandable.Why should he be shocked?Humanity has fed on flesh for milenia.We knowed and we don't get shocked by it.Why should he be?He actualy seems evolved rather than devolved as the other Morlocks.
The Bad:In the original novel humanity supposedly reached a golden age.The upper-class used the lower-class to achiebe its dream.A life with no worries.The upper-class lived in magnificent towers while the lower class was forced to live below the earth, in tunnels.As time went on the upper-class evolved to the Eloi living in a paradise.Childlike in appearance and in nature.Their luck of problems left them with no need to studie and eventualy all the wisdom of their founders was lost.They were left using achievements they couldn't understand and couldn't maintaine.The lower-class evolved into the Morlocks.Forgotten by the Eloi they were left to feed on each other and eventualy reached the surface and started feeding on the Eloi.Both races were devolved when the Time Traveler arrived.The only person from this time he actualy likes was Weena a young Eloi girl he saved who grew attached to him.In the novel they wander around studying the state of decline the human races had reached.
Unfortunately all this history of the two races is lost in this movie.The plot about the Moon falling was rather ridiculous and hardly explained the evolution of the two races.The Eloi of the film are much more inteligent than those in the movie but nothing interesting is truly done with them.I was hoping to see Alexander trying to teach his new roomates some of his wisdom.But nothing like this happens.Why would Alexander be interested in those two races isn't explained.Why would he pass two chances to return to his time isn't expained at all.What gives him the right to kill the Morlocks is left equaly unexplained.The "Happy" ending leaves him living in a time that shouldn't held any interest for a science-loving man.Nothing to explore or study.After his experience with time travel I don't think he would just be content left in one or the other point of the time stream.Rather unfortunate progress.
It could have been a classic if only the finale didn't resemble stupid adventure movies rather than the original novel or any other piece of fiction with an actual interest in the concept of time traveling.Alas the Wells family seems to be devolving too.
Dracula and his enemies joined the 21st century
This is quite an interesting series not because of its faithfulness to Bram Stoker's novel but because it introduces modern versions of the characters and as the novel reported Stoker's concerns for the problems of his time this one reports our concerns for our own time.Spoilers ahaid.
As in the novel Vlad Tsepes, here caling himself Count Vladimir Tsepes, decides to leave his castle and move to the west.Here his reasons are that he feels tired from Rumania's decline and the seclusion of his life during the last centurie or so.Thus he decides to move to Budapest of Hungary.He wants to raise an armie of vampires and he goes there to search for recruits since he now only has three female vampires.
There he discusses he pursuits the Carfax manor by doing some illegal business with businessman Jonathan Harker.He also wants Jonathan's help in turning his colection of paintings, jewels and his gold deposit to cash.Jonathan's friends fellow businessman Quincey Morris, specialising in money swindles, and Arthur Holmwood, a British diplomat that is in a dept and is realy in need of money offer to help.Though Jonathan and Arthur have their doubts about the deal Quincey convinces them that money is all that matters and its one true power that makes the world go around.
Along with the three are Jonathan's girlfriend Mina Murray, with strong moral values and does her best to help orphanages and hospitals, and her friend Lucy Westenra, a true sexual predator.She also introduces to the gang her new lover and Dr.Seward, much to Arthur's disappointment since he is love with her.
Dracula gets very interested in those three young men, hungry for money and power, Lucy who wants to sleep in many beds, in many cities , have new experiences and live for ever and Mina who wants to change the world and end human suffering.They all seem as fine recruits.Throughout the film Dracula tries to seduce all five of them into his own world, make them wish to become vampires.Focusing again and again on how hyprotical morality is and promising them the loss of their conciense that now bothers them.Convincing them that survival of the fittest is the proper way and even the strong can't save the weak.And referencing God's slaughters in the Bible to prove that humanity was created in his image, the image of a kiler.
There to stop him is the researcher of the occult and Seward's teacher Dr. Enrico Valenzi(instead of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing) the one who believes that Dracula can be defeated when he faces a strong will enpowered by faith.But throughout this film he raises more and more self-doubts and his will is almost broken by the end.
Its Mina, half-way through her transformation to a vampire, that manages to make Dracula trust her and kills him as he holds her in an embrace.The films end with Mina still having the vampire's mark and how that affects is remain a question.
This film offers a unic take on the legend placed in our modern world , seen as corrupt, who seems to care only about money.Dracula's true power here is the power to make others doubt their beliefs and search for securitie ... in his grasp.Should be seen by those interested in a modern and truly seductive version of the immortal Vampire.
Tha se do sto ploio (2000)
A very enjoyable series
This is one of the best greek comedy series.It contains a lot of well-developed characters ,examining their joys and sadness, dreams and hopes.Sometimes funny ,sometimes romantic and sometimes melancholic the episodes manage to be interesting.It also has nice songs in original pefrormances.It should we viewed by anyone who likes some quality comedy.
Robin and Marian (1976)
Interesting take on the Robin legend
Most people seem to be aware of the Robin Hood legend but have never been interested enough to take a deeper look in it.Most films portraying Robin are adventure-comedies.Robin usually depicted as a super-fighter, the Sheriff of Notingham as a big-bad-bully, Marian as a cheerful lady , Richard as a noble King and John as a foolish tyrant.No other film seems to be inspired by the less-than-merry legends about Robin's last days and no other dares to criticize those stereotypes.
This film uses the tale of Robin Hood's death because of the Prioress of Kirklees and has its own depiction of Richard's death but unfortunately it takes too many liberties to be realistic.I will continue with referring to this film's positive and negative points.They might be spoilers ahead.
Starting with King Richard I the Lionheart.This portrayal is closer to the easily enraged, blood-thirsty king who loved battles and didn't use to spare lifes.Richard's atrocities during the crusades are remembered in this movie and should not be forgotten.His failure to bring back most parts of his army alive is true.Richard was truly mortaly wounded by an arrow during the siege of Chalus, in Aquitaine of France while facing a disobediant subserviant noble who refused to surrender a golden treasure.Richard dying while listening to music was a nice touch since he tryly loved music throughout his life.Those are the good parts of this film's portayal of him.But his portayal as a mad man is definetely not true.Though not among the most succesful Kings of England he was a fine military leader and capable as a politician and diplomat when he tried to be.He wasn't old when he died.Born in 1157 he died on 1199 just 42 years old.He didn't spend twenty years as a Crusader King.He simply didn't have the time.He ruled England for only 10 years from 1189 till 1199 and died while still in his prime.
King John I Lackland's portrayal though brief is fairly accurate.He did spend most of his reign(1199-1216) fighting unsuccesfuly in France, being in conflict with the Pope and facing the Catholic Church.His complain for having to face his brother's legend is true.Richard's shadow was heavy on him throughout his life.Though John was a legend too.The Tudors portrayed him as a heroe for his resistance to the Pope's influence.He was quite a ladies' man too and the film doesn't forget it.Unfortunately the film portrays him as an old man.Born in 1167 he should be only 32 years old during the movie.
Robin Hood is finely portayed as a middle-aged hero, somewhat disilusioned but still obsessed with adventure and living with the memories of his youth.His respect for the Sheriff and his tenderness towards Marian are nicely done.Too bad that some scenes portray him as an almost comical character.A more dramatic take would be more suited.
Lovely Marian as the Prioress of Kirklees was at first a surprise for me.Robin's love and his murderer being the same person?But the film manages to explain it all.This romantic and melancholic portrayal of Marion is flueless.
The Sheriff of Nottingham is portrayed as a somewhat bitter and sarcastic man but true to his duties,a honorable,educated and inteligent adversarie for Robin.He knows his adversarie well and predicts John's ,Robin's and Marian's actions throughout the film.His final battle with Robin when the two aging fighters take their old conflict to the end while younger warriors just gaze is the best scene throughout the movie.The only film probably where the viewer griefs for the Sheriff.
Unfortunately thats about it.No other character comes as nothing else but a card-board one one.Aging and what pain does passing time bring was intended to be this movie's main theme but too much pointless humor and action/comic scenes spoil the movie.
It should be seen by anybody who has an interest in Robin Hood films because this is as close as you get to a serious portrayal of the character in films.For anybody who has already studied the Robin Hood legend as well as the lifes of Kings Richard I and John I it doesn't add anything new.
What's Opera, Doc? (1957)
Looney Tunes at their best
This short has always been one of my favorites.It combines humor,excelent music and feelings.Seing Mr.Fudd's love, wrath and sadness in what is probably his best performance makes it very memorable.Less silly visual jokes than most Looney Tunes and making comedy out of Elmer's and Bugs' interaction with each other realy makes it even better than the oftenly over-rated "Rabbit of Seville".Nice introduction to Wagner by the way.
Hare Brush (1955)
By 1955 the old recipe of Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny was getting old.This cartoon parodies the previous shorts with Elmer believing he is a rabbit and Bugs believing he is Elmer the hunter.Watching the real Elmer humiliating the rabbit is hilarius.The psychiatrist who turned Bugs into Elmer is an interesting figure with eyes glowing and mouth grinning and would probably need a psychiatrist himself.By the way the cartoon has a twist at the end that seems to proove Elmer is not that crazy after all.See it if you want to see a nice parody or Elmer Fudd wining for a time.