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Slam Boom Disaster Flick
I don't understand why this flick flopped at the box office. I mean you got end of the world Roman style. You've got a villain who you could hiss from his first appearance. You've got colorful characters who deliver the lines with conviction. It's in glorious color and accompanied by great music.
OK, there are holes in it like everybody dies at the end, but hey it's Pompeii for crying out loud. And did I mention nearly non stop action. While the destruction of the city goes on for quite awhile, you're never bored by it, or by the movie as whole.
I enjoyed it greatly.
Hawaii Five-O: To Kill a Mind (1977)
Who is that?
Here's a curious but interesting episode. A criminal mastermind working for a foreign government has a scheme that involves kidnapping, murder, and blackmail. The villain's thugs even try to kill McGarrett. This slightly philosophical criminal has a fu manchu mustache, wears glasses sometimes, and is pretty full of himself. Is it the return of Wo Fat? Sure seems like it, but actually the bad guy is played by a pretty good Mel Torme as a Russian spy. I wonder if the regular guy who played Wo Fat was busy or ill so they went with the substitute. Or he may have been in negotiations for his own series which he did have for a season or two.
Sneaky, twisty, complicated
I had never seen or heard of this mini series before viewing it. The first episode may seem a bit slow and you think everything is solved until the last minute. Then hold onto your hat cause with each following episode things get more and more twisted, there are lies onto of lies, betrayal, guilt old and new. With each episode you learn more about characters who are more and less than they seem. The acting is excellent, the story ends with a bang on top of bang after bang. It's a roller coaster ride.
I highly recommend it. And will look for more by this team. Now will I ever reach the minimum number of lines for a review.
It's not the mysteries - it's the feelings
I first ran into this series without English subtitles. Even without knowing what the characters were saying, the acting was good enough and the plots were formulaic enough, I could get a pretty good idea of what was happening. The emotional cop, the cool scientist; the investigation, the interrogations, the explanations of the mystery with flashbacks and inserts - yeah it was all pretty understandable and entertaining.
Then the series was finally posted on Youtube with English subtitles. What a revelation. There's humor like with the professor's assistant and with the cop's best friend, a medical examiner. There's a theme involving the impact and feelings of the victims, but most especially there's the relationship between the rookie cop and the genius professor. She follows her instincts and expresses her feelings, sometimes at the top of her voice. He is in the beginning only interested in the cases for their scientific puzzles, but little by little, he comes to see the emotional and ethical values in them and in the detective.
It's a match of opposites. She may not know who Isaac Newton was and he didn't watch cartoons as a kid, but eventually they come together and fill each other's empty spots.
Now a second season of the series has come out 6 years after the first one. How long will it take to appear on the internet, preferably with English subtitles, and what will it be like. She can't still be a rookie detective; they can't still be performing this dance of emotion and logic in their relationship; and why is Ko Shibaseki only listed as appearing in 2 of 6 episodes.
Curious minds wait with bated breath.
A Mixed but interesting bag
Being shot in black and white does not hurt this film. Actually it makes it more striking, not the usual post card color we're used to seeing in films shot in these familiar locations. It has a number of actors who while familiar also do rather good work. Even the quintessential New Yorker Harold J. Stone comes across as a rather threatening outlaw, especially when his face is half in shadow and Strother Martin does quite a nice bit as a town drunk. Audie and his frequent co-star, Charles Drake, are a couple of roving cow hands who fall in with bad company and pay a harsh price for it.
In some senses this seems like a throw back to some of the hard edged Westerns of the 1940's. Audie's character at times seems like the one honorable fellow in the story. All the other characters have weaknesses and flaws, but even Audie at a couple points commits less than honorable acts - shooting a horse in one scene and in another I think he shoots a bad guy in the back.
Overall this is interesting and even a little thought provoking. Glad I found it.
A Time for Dying (1969)
Just for Audie
I'm an Audie Murphy and have been steadily working my way through his movies. I'd heard of this, his last film, and not favorably - low production values, bad acting, Audie looking fat and old.
Well I have to agree with the first two criticisms. I can't understand how this film has been given 7 stars, but the part about Audie is wrong, wrong, wrong. When he comes onto the scene,he simply towers over the other actors, the whole movie. He's so good, and it's a real shame that he didn't live longer.
It would have been interesting if he had taken some of the other roles he was offered, such as the villain in DIRTY HARRY. It would have been a whole new direction for him, but then contemporary movies were never his thing. His whole style may have been best suited for Westerns.
40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967)
Coulda been a contender
Here's the bad news about this film. It has a ridiculous narration that keeps telling us what we don't need to be told. And the music is hit or miss, sometimes appropriate to what's being shown, and sometimes seriously off, sounding like merry go round music when major action is happening.
If those things were corrected, then the rest of the film's flaws are lesser and could have been put up with. The acting is good in some parts and with other actors not quite good enough. The story is OK and has some thrilling bits in the last half.
If you're an Audie Murphy fan, then you may want to watch this, but it's not as good as some of his earlier films.
So sad, why didn't he change over to modern action films.
The Devil's Tomb (2009)
Thanks for the lowered expectations
You know how some folks tell you a thing is really bad and you go see for yourself, not expecting much, and you're pleasantly surprised that it's actually good. Well that's what all the bad reviews of this flick did for me.
I thot I would check it out for Cuba Gooding whose career has always been a bit erratic, and much to my pleasure I saw a well made creepy thriller/horror. I feel sorry for all the actors who really do good work in this film and who may not get credit for it on account of the less than stellar reviews. Gooding, Perlman, Winstone, and the others all do as good as they've done in other, more highly praised, work. It's a low budget film, most of the story is interiors, small rooms and corridors, but what creepy scary rooms they are. At any moment something may jump out at you. Its flaws are the ending is a little metaphysical - I'd prefer more explosives and bullets and less words, and what is almost a law of nature for these sort of flicks - the dumb people who wander off alone down a dark hall, but where would horror/thriller/mystery flicks be without them. Anyway, I hope you give this film a chance. You just might enjoy it.
Charming and Funny
This episode is a bit different from the usual MM in that the body count is pretty low, but it makes up for that in its charm, its humor, and its neat twists.
Joyce in her never ending pursuit of culture is part of a watercolor painting group when much to her dismay she discovers a body on the village green.
From there on the plot involves a dotty and lecherous old colonel, a "handsome" long legged bird, a paranoid husband, and a murder that is more than it seems.
When Barnaby is shoved off the case by an elite squad, he in typical fashion keeps on investigating around the edges and soon uncovers some very hinky goings on. It all comes together in a gathering of suspects in a bank vault with millions in quid and one gun packing robber.
All in all this was a pleasant afternoon in Midsomer Flory.
Maggots and Stags
One of the more interesting and odder episodes of the series. The ladies are working on the roses at one of those stately English boys school with the slightly eccentric staff and students.
There are elements of P. G. Wodehouse and Mr. Chips combined with the creepiness of a Hammer Horror film. Right after the laugh comes a shiver of suspense.
The solution is a both a surprise and bit of hard to swallow, English murderers are so well mannered, and there's a touch of pathos at the end.
Certainly a change from the episodes where the scenery is the most engaging element of the story