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Man with the Gun (1955)
An OK Western
This is an OK film. Yes, each cliché arrives on schedule, each caricature is present and correct, mostly with the recognisable face of a character actor you cannot quite name. Never mind, this is a western. Generally speaking most westerns conform to a formula that pretty much approximates a morality play. Whatever the ingredients good, in the form of a rugged individual, will overcome bad. The women may be innocent and young, world weary and embittered or careworn and wise (or desperate) but most, will love with the hero and one will ride off with him. Robert Mitchum, 'The Town Tamer', is as effective as always. Jan Sterling with the severely styled makeup and hairdo, over sized eyes and turned down mouth is oddly beautiful. Angie Dickinson is strikingly pretty in a small part. The fat baddie appears in child size buggy and duly meets his fate along with and his evil henchman. There are no surprises but it's a satisfying film for a lazy afternoon.
Alien Intruder (1993)
Likable hodge podge of a movie
Four criminals are released from jail to crew BDWs spaceship in a mission to recover a missing freighter. On the voyage they are allowed weekend breaks in a virtual reality fantasy of their choice. The fantasies are based of recognisable films and feature scantly clad young ladies for our heroes to enjoy.
Tracy Scoggins play a siren Alien who progressively invades the V-R fantasies with the aim of turning the crew against each other. It's most defiantly a straight to video film. The sets and special effects are cheap and clunky as is most of the action. You also get the feeling that Miss Scoggins is in the wrong film - whilst all the guys are running through their clinches is serious mode she seems to be playing it a little tongue in cheek.
However, despite it faults and perhaps because the V-R fantasy sections remind me of adult versions of Quantum Leap I found this film surprisingly watch-able.
Project Nim (2011)
An engaging and powerful film.
This is the true story of what happened when a baby chimp, Nim, it taken from his mother and placed with a human family. He is taught sign language by a series of carers before becoming too big and dangerous around the age of 5 at which time he is returned to the ranch he was taken from.
There is a huge amount going on in this documentary as the carers over the years are interviewed with footage from the time. What emerges will probably anger and sadden most viewers. Though I felt that Nim's carers genuinely bonded with him what emerges is a largely a tale of careless cruelty.
Equally interesting and perhaps the root cause of what happens later is the relationships between the humans. Particularly between the project leader Professor Herbert Terrance and the numerous attractive research assistants. There are several references to the power he held and exercised. Overall it has to be said he does not emerge from this film as either likable or particularly competent.
The various approaches of the teachers and carers differ so widely and even though there is much happy footage you have to wonder at the effect this had on Nim. I was left with the feeling that he eventually responded best to the people who recognised him as a chimp but still treated him as a companion within the limits this imposed.
This is a powerful film that should be shown as widely as possible and would probably be good thing to included in school curricular.
New in Town (2009)
Predictable but enjoyable enough
Your know where you're going with this film as soon Harry Connick's name appears on the cast list. It is an utterly predictable, formulaic little movies that plods along from one cliché to the next until it arrives at it's inevitable destination. High flying, city dwelling executive Zellweger is sent to a mid-America town to down size and modernize the local plant where Connick is the Union Rep. The town is populated by good hearted folk with eccentric accents who depend on the one factory for local prosperity. You'll never guess what happens next - indeed you don't really need to guess - just think of all the similar films you've watched. And yet it's a well made little film. The principles delivering the goods and are well supported by the rest of the cast. So I have to admit I did enjoy it even though I don't think I be watching it again any time soon.
Concrete Canyons (2010)
Watchable little TV movie
When ex-sheriff and expert tracker Ben Sloan learns his estranged son is wanted for murder he travels to the concrete canyons of Chicago to help. He wins the grudging support of detective Susan Kincaid, meets his son's wife and child and pursues the evidence to find the true killers.
It's the kind of low budget production where no cliché is left unturned but everyone delivers a decent performance. It seems a little underwritten towards the end and never delivers the physical edge that is hinted at but maybe they had to tone it down for midweek afternoon consumption and lost their way a little bit.
Overall, a watch-able little TV movie. Indeed, if they wanted to run a few more stories with Scott Patterson and Polly Shannon as the ex-sheriff and detective respectively I'd probably watch them.
Katherine Heigl Hates Balls (2011)
Little bit funny, little bit scary.
Quite funny, in a slightly tense, legs crossed kind of way. Miss Heigl, looking stunning but a little bit scary with the swept back hair, explains her pathological dislike of testicles and why she spends so much of her time sponsoring the neutering of dogs only because she is unable to do it to men - yet. The penis is apparently acceptable, presumably it is a little more aesthetically appealing and a brave man might tentatively suggest it also helps that Miss Heigl could find a use for the old appendage. But after watching this little film I am not such a man and am off to the local hardware shop to invest in a pair of armoured underpants.
An interesting attempt at (I think) a new age post Gibson cyber punk film but I'm afraid I couldn't get past the lip syncing. I don't know if they made it in English but then recorded it badly in post production or just dubbed it awkwardly probably the latter. I think it might actually have worked better with subtitles. There were a lot silly sentences you know what I mean, we've all seen it in the Sergio Leone films. It's a good story, Lambert and some very interesting women. There is also a host of eccentric supporting players busy chewing the scenery in a production that looks a bit cheap and choppy. It's watchable but I think I'll enjoy it more next time around.
Looks good but fails to deliver.
If you sit down to watch this film and don't expect too much you'll probably enjoy it. They obviously spent a lot money on it and the sets look great. The cast look good too and you certainly get to see plenty of them. It's just a pity that overall this film doesn't really work. In the deleted scenes on the DVD I like the mention of colonies of van Voght and Azimov. It also explains that the single spare life support pod was for a crew member who died which I guess means the ship was never intended to warp when carrying anyone except the crew. Oh, and the computer seems to have changed sex somewhere along the line. Actually there is enough in the outtakes to suggest a different feel to the film altogether.
Apache Drums (1951)
Odd place for Men of Harlech to turn up
As I watched this film I could not understand why they kept referring to Arthur Shields as Welsh. This is an actor who has specialised in Irish doctors and priests and who made no attempt to change his accent to play a Welsh preacher. And then came the song, Men of Harlech, in Welsh ! To watch everyone desperately trying to mime to the song was one of the silliest things I've seen in a very long time. Everyone has since seen how well this song can work in Zulu but to drop it into this average Western was decidedly odd. It was as if some one had a song to use and a someone else a script and the two were simply rammed together regardless of the fit.
Quietly witty cop drama
I liked this program. Alistair McGowan is clever, pedantically wordy, dry and a little needy. With a wife that's gone missing, an obsession with shopping on eBay and Lucy Evans as a wise beyond her years daughter. Jessica Oyelowo is funny and gorgeous. Deliciously curvy with a fashion sense rooted in the fifties. If only I knew how to pronounce her name. I've always wonders how Jessica actually sounds. The two side kicks, Loo Brealey is cute and clever as anorak and Huw Rhys as a stereo-typical Welshman is considerably more endearing than his two timing character in Cardydd. OK, so it's Sunday evening, pre-watershed entertainment for the family. There is no violence, swearing, nudity or excessively stylish music. There is wit, an attractive cast, and the potential to build on a successful start. Roll on series two.