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Batman, Superman, and the Audience vs. Dr. Frankenstein !, 11 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched the Ultimate Edition, with the 180 minutes long, right after its release. And after being tortured by it, I read a news flash that said "The Ultimate Edition is the version of Batman v Superman that the fans wanted all along !". Well, enough with the lying you big corporations ! You're like a Hitchcock villain; kills his mother, and pretends in front of everybody that she's alive !!

Hollywood's sin presently is mind eradication. They own everything; the money, the distribution, the stars, the high-tech, etc.. with no mind whatsoever. They became stupid, or want us to become stupid, or – oh dear god – it's both !

Speaking of stupidity; scriptwriters Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, and director Zack Snyder !!

Simply, look at the movie they made. It's a big mess of many unfinished movies. You have Batman and Superman hating each other in utterly forced way; since they're very much alike. You have Wonder Woman whose her name wasn't even uttered, and her agenda was mostly vague. You have scenes with the leads of the next Justice League sequel that distract the heck of you. You have 3 Batman nightmares. One of them has a dream within a dream and is absolutely incomprehensible, with dark future, fly-like warriors, ruthless Superman and "Lois is the key" ??!! It's like running into a short story in the middle of a novel while none of them is completed or understood (otherwise this the result of writing while being on drugs !). You have a long talk about Superman as the god, prophet, devil.. whatever, that sounds deep and philosophical while being nothing but mumbo jumbo ! You have Lex Luthor who we don't know why he hates the title characters, or why he wants to destroy them. Originally how this guy is the movie's evil mastermind, while he maunders embarrassingly during giving a public speech ?! You have general Zod who got resurrected as the indestructible Doomsday confusingly ! And you have a silly last-second-hint that Superman is alive, a la the end of X-Men : The Last Stand and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; so why killing him in the first place ???!!!

Every minute there is a stupid point; as if it's a marathon of an intentional dumbness. Try to stand : Batman's costume to face Superman was laughable (2 times the globally sneered at size of Judge Dredd costumes in the 1995 movie!). I didn't catch on how Batman got the Kryptonite from Luthor's men on the harbor; and that's because the movie's stupidity, not mine ! Btw, why Superman was there; peculiarity when he shows up suddenly ?! Luthor gets an access to Superman's ship so easily, and Superman doesn't know or sense a thing about that ?! Superman hears Lois's knocks under the water, knows the exact second of her falling off Luthor's building, however doesn't feel his mother's kidnapping at all ??!! Kevin Costner plays the most unnecessary cameo ever. I dare you to explain the connection between his talk and the movie, and I double dare you to explain his presence here (a daydream, a flashback, a ghost appearance, a Kryptonite way to talk to the dead, a fast visit to heaven ??). A nuclear bomb explodes Superman, who turns into a skeleton already, and then he's healthy again.. How ? Well, don't wait for an explanation from a fool ! And Superman is killed in his second movie ?? It's not revolutionary move, it's mighty stupidity that merely wants to cash in the success of The Avengers, by making Justice League ASAP while saying "To Hell With The Fans !" (it's the same stupidity that wrote v in the title instead of vs. !). Superman mails a ring to Lois, before his death, which his mother receives ?? And the crown's jewel : "Martha", or the moment that will live forever to assure how real drama is killed in Hollywood at this age that we're living !

It runs like a boring spy thriller for 2 hours, then voilà it's an action ! All the cast punches you, speedily and unstoppably, with an info or a dialog. Why this provocative hurry ??!! You want a snappy pace, fine. But it is a problem when it fails to deliver what's required, and a serious headache when your scenes are endless ! Some lines are disgusting : "Take a bucket of pi*s and call it Granny's Peach Tea!", "With balls like yours, you belong to here!". Alfred, Batman's butler, is now an old drunk, or crack addict, with nothing funny or unfunny to say. And the face of Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman, is dead. No, it's death itself !

Superman is shirtless more than Shah Rukh Khan in a hot number. Lois is nude in a tub, then Superman gets nude, and has sex with her. A scene for Batman showering in the nude. So this is the way how these figures get to be mature ??? I believe this is immatureness, and cheap commercialism, in their perfect image !

I loved the idea of Jesse Eisenberg as young Mark Zuckerberg-like villain, Wonder Woman's theme music, and couple of action scenes which indicated that Snyder could fit as action sequences director ONLY!

Batman v Superman is a mix of awful drama, super tedium, hideous grittiness, alleged philosophy, all played with some action, great confidence and – let's not forget – shaky cam for the realism ! As if the law nowadays is : Give insane amount of money to stupid people to make neither art nor entertainment. Actually it's how the blockbusters transformed into brainless, heartless, and soulless cyclopean monsters in the last 20 years.

Hollywood becomes uglier over the years. And with many movies of that kind; it's turning into monsters' creator. Rather a nefarious and imbecile version of Dr. Frankenstein !

From Yay to Nay !, 20 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first, you feel that you're in for a superhero super action. But then, you feel that you're in the titanic, while its sinking !

Let me cut to the chase : If Nick Fury has a device that transports him from place to another in nanosecond; why he didn't runaway from the car while the attack on him ? And if he knew that Captain America's safe house is being watched; why he went to it ? And if the evil guy knew that he was there; why didn't he kill him earlier ? And if Fury assigned a girl to protect Captain America undercover; why she didn't act professionally and observe anything else that the radio's music was on ? And if Alexander Pierce (played by Robert Redford) had a device that could kill all the board's members; why he didn't use it since the start ? And if that so-called device could kill; how Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) didn't die out of it ? And if Fury died, and became SO DEAD; how he was alive again ?! And please, can anybody sane tell me how Hydra was controlling S.H.I.E.L.D. during 70 years ??!! So whether the script finds it enjoyable to not telling us the answers, or DOESN'T KNOW THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! As you see, this should have been named Captain America : Power of Idiocy, or Captain America : The Whys and The Hows !

In the climactic sequence, the script nearly committed suicide. If The Winter Soldier saved his friend in the end, how come he would be a menace afterwards ?! And it seemed to me that Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) transformed into hero haphazardly. It's as if anybody Captain America might meet in his life would be a hero, good or bad one, later ! And, for the love of God, how Captain America wants to sacrifice himself, again, for saving the world, again, after the first movie ?! I believe that there is some unofficial rule that says "Do not repeat the first movie's end in its sequel". But I believe that it takes clever people to apply it as well !

The dialog is beyond silly, the information are being thrown at you faster than raindrops in a terrible torrent, and the cliché of "Kiss me, so the bad guys can't find us" is hateful among all the other clichés, since they look at it as the most trite !

The whole cast is infected with the epidemic of Woodenness. Johansson and Mackie were the most sick. However, it was more than painful to see the honorable Mr. Redford turning into wood ! When I heard that he would play a role in a movie finally, and that role was in a commercial movie, that happened to be a superhero blockbuster—I was surprised and enthusiastic. I remember things like praising the movie's makers for convincing him to do so, and envying them for having him too. But, eventually, it was the peak of frustration when he looked like a perfect Robert Redford pod. Regrettably, he wasn't evil as a character, but he was so evil as an actor !

The movie is overall heavy. It's 136 minutes, yet feels more than that already. The direction of the dramatic scenes was TV-ish. I lived a soap-opera disguised as a sci-fi action thriller. And it came with all the mortal sins; from the lifeless cadres to the awful acting !

On the contrary, the direction of the action did awesome sequences. The CGI approached greatness. There were creative, really cool, new weapons. And the Neo-Nazism's plan to take over the world digitally was absolutely fantastic. However, if you think that the virtues' list is long.. Be sure, the vices' list is longer !

In its first 2 movies, Captain America pushed me to the "This will rock" yell, to end up with a "Rock the boat" situation. Frankly, after this one's end, the boat tanked, and I found myself singing "My heart will NOT go on" !

..Nevertheless, I hope that part 3 will be better than so-so, because I got fed up with 2 of that kind !

Two-Hour Vacuity !, 18 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the first 45 minutes, there is nothing. Just total vacuum. And to tell you the truth, there is no action unless in the last 10 minutes ! I swear to you, I've played hide and seek that was more thrilling than this. In fact, every hide and seek anybody played is more thrilling that this !!

The movie has the most unnecessary characters in the history of cinema. They are so boring, with plenty of dialog, and nowhere to go to. There is a guy who likes the girl of another guy in the dullest romantic comedy ever made. A quarterback who's a friend of a priest, though looks gaily to him (!). And Walter Pidgeon. Wait. What ?! Walter Pidgeon was in this ?? What he was doing exactly ??.. Well, in brief, this is incoherence at its best !

The idea of not identifying the sniper is a joke. It's the top of comedy indeed when everyone in the movie doesn't know a thing about the killer, and the killer himself doesn't speak. I didn't feel artistic abstraction, I felt absolute laziness ! And why the heck they hided his face ? Is it a horror tactic similar to the one used with the shark in Jaws (1975) one year earlier ?? However, Mr. Jaws was a respectable "evil guy", at least he occasionally KILLED PEOPLE !!

There are a handful of frankly stupid scenes. For instance, the father wants his son to get a haircut, and tells him "I warned you!!" The question isn't who wrote this ? it's why to write it ?? The stupidity continues yet on the level of the events. Just think of it; in the movie's start, John Cassavetes used a tear gas bomb to catch some criminal. OK. Why he didn't use the same bomb with the stadium's sniper during the whole time of the movie ?? That would have ended the situation peacefully without casualties, and very early too. See how this movie is stupid, and hands over to you the very reason of its stupidity !

Since the movie is a lesson of nothingness, they tried to add some "satire" to it through a line said by Cassavetes in the end, commenting on the media and its way of reversing the truth. But even this try failed. Because there was no rooting for any anti-media message from the start. It's not a problem to not have a substance; but it's a tragedy to have a forced one !

In terms of last minute substance, maybe the movie was imitating the near disaster hit The Towering Inferno (1974), which put a resembling line in its last scene, yet concerning the human's vanity. However, it was more harmonizing there. Even a potential substance in Two-Minute Warning (1976), like how the VIPs, or the guys in the suits, are more important than the ordinary people; didn't have any kind of underlining either.

I don't want to belittle the cast, since this movie did it perfectly. The one "acting" remark I found in my notebook after the movie ended said : "John Cassavetes and Charlton Heston are highly charismatic. Though the first had something close to a character, and the second seemed needing the money desperately" !

The music was mostly awful. Take for example the sniper's theme. As if it wasn't bad enough to look like endless monotonous knocks on a door; so they had to repeat it, time after time after time, in such an irritating way too ! Yet, I didn't understand how this movie was nominated for the academy award for the best editing in 1976 ?? It really makes you sad for 1976 movies, and how ugly their editing was, to end up with nominating THIS! By the way, if there was any "editing" in this movie, it should have deleted at least 45 minutes !

The cinematography was the sole positive point. It managed to be smooth and grand.

I didn't watch the infamous TV version to date; where Universal removed half of the cinematic version, and replaced it with new footage. But adding a story-line about a group of thieves who plan to steal priceless paintings, using the stadium's sniper as a decoy for them—sounded like a good rewriting that wanted to rectify what was done hastily in the first time.

Two-Minute Warning is empty and absurd movie that aches you while the viewing. It's traditional in Hollywood that the disaster movie has no drama. It has the disaster only. This time, astoundingly, there is no drama, or disaster in the first place !

..It's clear that most of Hollywood genre movies in the 1970s were the real "disaster" !

When trying to spot one defect in a movie is an agony for the reviewer; then this movie must be an ecstasy for him as a viewer !, 31 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Columbo reputation, in and out of USA, has been built on episodes like this early one from the first season. (Dead Weight) represents the strong basis, the thorough elements, and the glorious peak that the show itself couldn't achieve for all the time.

As for the script, it can't get more perfect. It sets up everything rightly; the murder, the difficulty of proofing it, the invulnerability of the killer, the conflict that ignites when the sole witness falls in love with the murderer. The dialog is another treat. It's clever; "Maybe you lost one battle, Mrs. Stewart, not the whole war" when the General talks about the unimportance of a divorce for a young woman, wise; "In order to understand a man, you have to understand his past", witty; "Some men, Lieutenant, do not wanna look like an unmade bed!", and slick with really entertaining double-meaning lines; "Find a different spot, or use a different bait, otherwise you're not going to catch anything" when the General advises Columbo about both fishing and investigating.

Extra merits here and there must capture your admiration too. For instance, in terms of suspense, the bewildering question of "Where did the victim's body go ?!" had a unique answer, that was artfully delayed too. And in terms of characterization, scrutinize how Columbo subtly orders the young officer to search the general's boat. That was right after his arrival, before interrogating anyone, or being assured of an actual murder, and without fearing the so honored General in the same time. Moreover, see how the General was impressed by the witness's sight when they first met, so when he entraps her in his heart, it's not only for utilizing her emotional hunger to silence her afterwards; it's also because he saw her as a young attractive woman who could fit an aged lonely man. This is more human, a little bit dramatic, and leads to truthful "I'm sorry" in the end. Btw, in that very end, watch how the General's pride deters the policemen from holding his hands. These are little moments, but so eloquent. Maybe in my most rigorous moods, I'll refuse the General's lie about his gun, as not that smart from his side. But even that doesn't touch the writing's adroitness.

As for the acting, it gets A+. Peter Falk IS Columbo. The meticulous investigator who's after the truth boldly. And when he says 2 different names for his niece in the end, it's official; he makes up fake relatives to fool people, whatever the good cause is. Though, at that phase, I think the producers forced Falk to lower his right eyebrow to the utmost, so his glassy eye wouldn't appear clearly. That would end fast within the next seasons; however it was annoying, and felt fatiguing, whether for Falk, or for you as a viewer.

Although Eddie Albert's baby face nearly imprisoned him in nice characters, but certainly he had wider range. In (Dead Weight), that baby face made a well irony between his character as a beloved respected hero, and his fact as a rotten businessman and killer. His confidence and calmness made the best performance. Watch him in his first encounter with Columbo to savor that appropriately.

Suzanne Pleshette said that she did that part due to needing money back then. Nevertheless, we must be thankful for her bad circumstances whatever they were. Because what a beautiful character she did. She nailed that delicious woman, who has strong conscience, bad romantic luck, history of therapy, and good deal of frailty. It's one of the most memorable characters in the show's course, plus one of Pleshette's best. For me, I adore the moment when she meets the General face-to-face for the first time. She looked marvelous in that homey brocaded gown, putting the most charming, most upbeat, and most naive smile on her face. Even Kate Reid, as her funnily vexatious mother, was distinct despite her short appearance.

Gil Melle's music proved to be one of the show's finest scores. I remember, years ago, recording parts of the episode on a video tape, while one of its re-runs on TV, just to record the music later yet on a cassette tape. Yes, it is that good !

I read that during the first season, Falk was busy fighting with the writers and the producers. I suppose he wanted to establish a character of his own, and I mean Columbo as a special lead character, and Falk as an influential star too. So in "Emmy TV Legends" interview, Pleshette told stories about his behaving as a "bad boy" on the show, especially when his request to direct was turned down, which reached a stage where he didn't come to the set and stayed home instead. And how they had to act all of their parts without him, performing with a double who was reading his dialog off camera. And when he showed up finally, director Jack Smight, or her hero as she said, refused to re-shoot the whole thing with him. However, when you watch the episode, you'll easily discover that they did re-shoot the whole thing. Because for all the time, Falk is in the same cadres with Pleshette and Albert. Sure all of these problems vanished when Columbo hit success, and Falk became a household name that, since 1989, would be written on the show's credits twice; one as the star, and another as an executive producer.

I believe that when trying to spot one defect in a movie is an agony for the reviewer; then this movie must be an ecstasy for him as a viewer. (Dead Weight) belongs to that case. It isn't only one of the excellent Columbo episodes; it's somehow a bible for the show's excellence as well.

When Edgar Wright isn't Right !, 28 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you're a fan of Edgar Wright, like me, you have to frown. In his movies, there are always rapid-fair pace, snappy funny lines, impressive camera-work, and – in the 3 Flavours Cornetto trilogy – numbered good guys vs. evil society. This round, I think he was a little bit as his leads, namely.. drunk !

The fun isn't the same. The lines aren't comedic as they were, or should be; based on your confidence in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's writing. The matter of "We must go to the world's end bar" was flimsy. In other, more solid, fantasy tales, the leads should be searching for something. The idea of the drug dealer as the only chivalrous around is disturbing. The bad language was torrential, sickening, and more than the funny lines (or rather easier to write than them !), Pierce Brosnan is in it for like less than a minute. I'm not whining about him as a favorite actor of mine, he isn't, I'm whining about a supposedly important character that wasn't taken care of.

Then, we have a third act that shots the movie in the head. Wright and Pegg could have avoided a lot by modifying that act alone. It is messy, perplexing, and - worst of all - impairs whatever was right before it.

Let's see, Gary King (played by Pegg) is lost, and has nothing serious in his life. And in the fight scene, with nearly his opposite Andy Knightley (played by Nick Frost), it's superbly underlined what King's problem is, and how to solve it. Yet right after it, in the climactic debate with the Network, King sees that he, along with the human race, doesn't want to be told what to do ! Well, it can't get more incompatible than this. But to my surprise, it can !

The movie was about 2 kinds of people : The decent and rational adults (the 4 working leads), and the indecent irrational kid (Gary King). And simply, it's about balance; where the 4 adults need some immaturity, and the kid needs some maturity. But then, a third kind of people is introduced : The very decent, very rational adults (the inhuman robots), and there must be a battle with them, as the products of the modern big corporations; which execute individualism, force molding and spared senselessness. Hmmm, that's another movie already, and it's about freedom this time. See how incompatible this movie is !

Even if we assume that it's originally about freedom, and battling the capitalism's fascism "Starbucking, man. It's happening everywhere"—somehow that substance fractures in the climactic debate. For instance, King is the last man on earth to defend the human race's freedom. Look at what his freedom made of him (in fact, he seemed needing that "betterment" the most!). And with the rest of the leads assuring his words, it's a refusal of fascism and – also – the system. As if all of them turned into one Gary King ! So, accordingly, the apocalyptic ending comes too harsh and erratic, where the message is so loud "We don't want the system, and the Stone Age is better" ! Moreover, that didn't conclude the leads' dramatic journey, where everybody would learn something, and change a little. To wind up as an ending for another movie, or something Wright wanted desperately to do, yet did it in the wrong place !

To add more fuel, the movie doesn't tell us, or maybe doesn't know, when or how Oliver "O-Man" (played by Martin Freeman) became a robot. the Network's scene went on forever. Steven Prince (played by Paddy Considine) suddenly disappeared before it, to suddenly appear in it ! I couldn't buy that the leads' defense alone was capable of shutting down the Network, and convincing for it to leave earth. And the last scene was nonsense. You have to feel as if someone pressed a button on your remote by mistake, and switched the channel to something else what you were watching ! You really wouldn't understand why King was hanging out with robots, or what he was doing exactly, and how he changed for any better ??!! Which – along with all of the above – imprints the movie eventually as meaningless, and evinces that Wright and Pegg weren't very sober while writing it !

I loved the running car sequence in the end. Editor Paul Machliss was almost perfect there. It's better than the annoyance he did in the final fight of Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), and reminded me of the geniality of his fellow editor Chris Dickens in Wright's Hot Fuzz (2007). Although it got forced later on, but the 12 pubs crawl's plot was fair. Despite that the soundtrack wasn't that creative or rich, it did fine. The cast preformed wonderfully, however could have been more comedic, and obviously it's the script's fault. Just Eddie Marsan looked old, hence miscast. And it comes down to the action and the CGI as the movie's sole complete treats. So when I read that the movie didn't earn any money, I think it should, because it's the least among Wright's works. True that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World lost more money, but it's still more strong and less confused than The World's End. And while Scott Pilgrim doesn't entirely deserve its commercial failure, this one does !

Edgar Wright is mostly right, but not this time. I believe that he has constantly something excellent to say in respect of crazy visuals and comedy, while maintaining a pretty sane substance as well. Therefore I'll learn to forget this clutter of a movie, and wait eagerly for his next project. Granted, after the world's end.. there must be life.

Too stupid it's a comedy !, 25 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is like existential spy movie, that turns along the way into nihilistic spy movie, that turns into nihilism itself in the end !

Obviously, director John Huston had no idea what he was doing. If the goal was another spy movie, then it's bland, uninspired, and lifeless. And if the goal was different spy movie, with slower pace, less action, delayed information, immoral choice, then it ended up as just different, and not even in a good way ! The dissolve editing during the first half was very boring and annoying. However, if you want *really* boring and annoying element, then it's Maurice Jarre's music, or – to be more accurate – Maurice Jarre's sole piece of music. It seemed that the man wrote only one piece of music, then left without writing more to it, or at least variations for it. Then in a strange, if not sadistic, manner; they played it over and over and over again, till your nerves got damaged. And the worst thing is that it felt upbeat and ceremonial, expressing the wrong feelings for most of the time !

Paul Newman as British is an early indication that there is something wrong. Nevertheless, I discovered eventually that he was the one bright point around. Dominique Sanda is a beauty yes, however deadly monotonous. Her utterance suited a provocative robot. From start to finish, she had such an unbearable flat face, with mute features, being completely senseless. So when she started to feel the effect of James Mason's sleeping pills, I couldn't decide was she losing her senses, or that was her regular self ?! And while Mason is reliable in anything, I hated to see him walking and talking without much character. He was the calm sophisticated evil guy, so what's new ?! I'll tell you, 2 things : The way his hair looked in the wind. And the hidden wicked meaning behind his role; whereas the political opposition people are unpatriotic, rather spies !!!

There were many dumb moments that transformed into funny jokes, and with playing them seriously—the whole thing became a comedy. Count with me : The scene in which Newman steals the diamonds was perfectly idiotic. In fact, most of his action scenes here were between laughable and embarrassing. Look at him carefully while hitting Michael Hordern. Hordern seemed drugged already. And sometimes it was just a slight punch to the air, to get the huger foe unconscious ! Hordern's shooter kept missing Newman while the latter is running in the open, during the daylight ! (they could have made the sun in the shooter's eyes, used fog, altered the scene's time to be at night.. But no interest whatsoever). The car chase was a bit tense, albeit I always thought that the evil guys' car had a drunk driver. He was as if mimicking the moves of the lead's car playfully ! While the heroine's father is dying, and everybody is chasing the lead, and there is a dangerous spy who's escaping out of the nation; the 2 leads find all the time in the world to have a vacation, put on swim suits, listen to music, and enjoy a romance !!

Then, the dumbness / fun gets bigger in the third act : The heroine sneaks into the evil man's party in a boldly stupid way. I mean "I forgot my gloves in the car" then voilà, I'm in ?? This is jeu d'esprit more than faux pas ! The evil guy hides his most wanted spy right in front of everybody, on the very yacht which he throws a party on, and – moreover – leaves him without guarding, so when anyone comes across his room, knocks on the door, he opens ordinarily !! When the lead jumps into water, everybody looks in one direction; well, IT'S THE SEA PEOPLE, THE SEA !! The last standoff felt childish, and I couldn't stop laughing during the last shot, where the heroine disappears into darkness; exactly like the movie's possible joy and meanings ! And yet to top it all : the movie's title is a reference to the man who hires the lead to do the job. Now how comedic !!

Still the most comedic thing at all is how this movie savors not clearing up anything for you as a viewer. And even if that was done as an influence of the French new wave, the British free cinema, the Italian spinach pizza (whatever !); then what could be the philosophical depth that it led to ?? I believe this question can be included with Bermuda Triangle, and JFK's assassination, in the list of the 20th century's most complicated mysteries !! So when the lead leaves the evil guys go free at the end, you can't comprehend his motives, or judge properly is it a fault or not. Because there is no characterization, nor intellectual content, in the first place. And with the very poor quality of the movie as a thriller, then we're having a lose-lose situation, where The MacKintosh Man has none to offer; whether in terms of good surface or any substance. As I told you earlier, it's "Nihilism" my friend !

This is a movie about the cold war, that's cold itself. With regard to uninteresting, dull, or frankly bad spy movie from John Huston in the 1970s, then this is The Kremlin Letter (1970) – part 2. To understand what I mean, watch The Kremlin Letter. But I assure to you.. The MacKintosh Man is funnier !

From Hopeful to Awful !, 24 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the first 2 thirds, it's all smart and effective. Scriptwriter Sy Salkowitz shows auspicious spirit. The crime is nearly perfect; which excites you about "How Columbo is going to solve that one" ?? For a rare time in a Columbo episode, the subplot – concerning the general's wife – is catchy and in harmony. The think tank details are many and very special. And the recruits' interrogation montage was nice relief. Robert Foxworth as Col. Frank Brailie is so charismatic, and it's fun to watch him as an evil guy, after years of being the forever righteous Chase Gioberti in Falcon Crest (1980) consecutive seasons. Stephen Elliott as the sad old general does a flawless job. John Cacavas' music is diligent and distinct. And the directing of the old pro Sam Wanamaker, in his last work, is classy and a bit artistic; look at the lighting in many scenes to figure that out (the confessing wife scene is one for sure).

Then, in the third act, things go directly downhill, and – regrettably – by the very hands of Mr. Salkowitz. Columbo steals an evident / the toothbrush; OK, I don't have a problem with that. He doesn't have to be Dudley Do-Right. Shakespeare said in The Merchant of Venice : "Do a great right by doing a little wrong". And our foxy lieutenant has done it before in old episodes. Though I didn't buy that he had the wife's fingerprint earlier to match it with the one which he found on the toothbrush. Moreover, I hate it when coincidences lead to the mystery's solution. It's bad writing that takes away the lead character's brains and pains, along with savoring them. This time, there must be that anonymous fat officer who appears suddenly in the funeral to uncover some hidden info; funny scene yes, but weak clue. And there must be that most idiotic secretary in history to give Columbo – by chance – the original file which condemns the murderer !

And for more going down, OH MY GOD, the final scene. The whole matter of the books' box, and the military miniatures' box, was utterly confusing. With all the explanations in the world it's toilsome to understand. And if you get it, then you'll clearly see how a flimsy proof that is. I bet, even the actors themselves felt that it's unconvincing rather embarrassing. Indisputably, it's in my list for the worst Columbo climaxes, if not the worst at all ! Let alone that Columbo admits that he first suspected Brailie as the killer when he wiped the mud off the floor despite his "arrogance". So, up to that moment, from what situation Columbo knew that the character was arrogant ?? We, as viewers, didn't even come across that, not before this moment or after it, and not while Brailie was dealing with Columbo or with others ! Notice the fortune cookies dialog that went on and on between the 2 of them in the end as well, to witness that "forced" was something to hold with your own hands in that act !!

Peter Falk is witty, and was – back then – still guaranteed as Columbo. For instance, in later episodes, like Ashes to Ashes (1998), the only available Columbo was a ghost of him. However, something wasn't there. The passion, the seriousness, or the desire to do something unique. I don't know exactly. As for the writing, the "I can't find this or that", or "By the light, sir" routine became weary. Salkowitz stuffed one scene for later proofs or spoofs, whereas Columbo chatters endlessly, for almost 10 minutes, about the victim's future plans, the dirt and leaves issue, the Mali connection, the Indian shrunken head, and the fortune-telling Chinese sticks. Well, Columbo is enjoyably annoying with the murderers, not necessarily with us ! So this round, when the episode's makers intended a magical moment in favor of their lead, and put a miniature of him among the victorious soldiers in the last shot; you might feel too much or campy !

Grand Deceptions feels Grand for 2 thirds, and turns into real Deceptions in the third. It gave me hope that it wouldn't be like most of the pre-1970s episodes, to smash that hope eventually. It's disappointing when you watch something bad. Yet, it's awfully disappointing when you watch something good turns into bad. This applies to the episode, and – kind of – the show too.

Lesley Ann Warren Steals the Show !, 7 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Smart episode no doubt. It assures the show's uniqueness when it comes to different ways of killing. In one, we saw murder with subliminal message (Double Exposure – 1973). In another, it's just a word in a telephone (How to Dial a Murder – 1978). And now, it's hypnosis. Ladies and gentlemen, a requisite curtsy to the writers' diligence.

Speaking about writing, I have to recall the little party scene in the doctor's house. Observe well that the writers never meant to make Columbo a geek, despite all the reasons that could make him one. So in that scene, we see how the guy can be real friendly, not shy, and good speaker too. The thing is he just doesn't have the time for it. 30 years later, "Monk", another mystery show, would take advantage of that neglected idea, and create a big comedy out of it.

Although George Hamilton isn't an excellent actor in my viewpoint, but he was very good as the villain. He utilized his smoothness, elegance, and coldness to be that so confident malicious doctor. Peter Falk is the master. For example, he did the scene of encountering the doctor's assistant, in front of the hospital, flawlessly. He was that painstaking lieutenant, who couldn't sleep because a murder was happened, while suspecting someone as the killer. Watch how his voice gets scary at the end of the scene. Just one line, with certain acuteness, and the nice elf turns into a furious lion.

Nevertheless, I can't hold it; Lesley Ann Warren ate everybody around. Her sensitivity was ultra-marvelous; being that trembling, and tormented, psychologically sick girl. If I was behind the camera while the scene of her suicide, I must have waited till the yell of "Cut" to applause admiringly.

What didn't have my admiration though was the climax's trick. While being outwardly wily, you can notice a little "fabrication" crack in it. Because the way that the witness's double acted could assure to any doctor that he was blind. Even for me, "the cast in his eyes", and "the way he moves", were convincing that he had no eyesight; so that would make me a murderer ?!! It wasn't fair to make the man look that obviously blind, because it would have deceived the suspect, whether innocent or not. Thus when Columbo asks "How could you know that this man is blind ?!" the logical answer must be "You have to be blind not to see it !".

Lastly, I must refer to a point that may sound unimportant. Supposedly, Lesley Ann Warren kills herself in the nude. However, look at the classy way of filming that. I mean they could have showed more skin, or shadows of her as fully naked. But they didn't. Not only because the situation is serious and sad, but also because sexuality wasn't essential element in the show's ingredients. In the 1980s and 1990s episodes though, I believe the same scene could have had more skin to it (remember freely sexy episodes like : Columbo Cries Wolf – 1990). And if it was made nowadays, heck, they would show her fully nude, backside and frontal, for at least 2 hours before jumping out of the balcony ! It's not about the 1970s standards and the post-2000s standards. It's about art and cheapness.

A Deadly State of Mind (1975) is classic TV. It has many merits, and Lesley Ann Warren is their best.

Tasty for Columbo, not his fans !, 7 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I feel really angry, because whenever I read that someone has a favorite Columbo episode, and I ran to watch it, I got deeply frustrated. For big example, not someone, but some ones, told me that their favorite, and the best of the series, was The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case (1977). But much to my surprise, or regret, I discovered that it's not one of the best at all. Maybe one of the worst !

Nearly the same happened here. Murder Under Glass (1978) is praised by many. However, when I got to watch it, I didn't find much, or any, to praise myself.

Louis Jourdan could be the ideal suave-and-classy type of Columbo villain. But, as most of the series' villains, he had nothing. Paul Gerard isn't a character, with history, or feelings. He's a killer, who happens to be a chief / food critic, and that's it. So that's why Jourdan looked like a chick suit with tense smile, nothing more !

Even Columbo this round doesn't have much to do besides eating. They extended that gag for longer than what it could stand, to the extent where they should have called the episode "Columbo Eats Up" !

I didn't buy that Columbo discovered that Gerard is the killer because when the latter knows that the man who he dined with was dead by poisoning right after their dinner—he came quickly to the crime's scene while not having a gastric lavage first. OK, that's not a proof in my book. It's possible that the victim was Gerard's dear friend, which pushed him to forget about anything else, and it's conceivable that Gerard didn't have any sign of food poisoning, hence chose not to clean out his stomach. Though, what I hated more is when the mystery got solved so early, and by the victim's cook. It took a lot of our hero's intelligence, and murdered big part of the climax.

..And Jonathan Demme directed this ?? It doesn't have his own imprint of style, nor any aspect other than "getting the job done". While trying to find a master scene, I only found one yet in terms of badness, which's undoubtedly the last scene. That miserable climax could be included in the series' worst moments. Despite having the "gotcha" denouement, an attempt to murder our beloved protagonist, and the surprise of disappointing that as well; it was long, un-suspenseful, and artistically poor scene.

One note concerning the word "murder" in the episodes' titles. It recurs a lot. I know that it's about murders, but I also know that the writers should have known better and created some difference. Otherwise, they should have named every episode with "murder" in its start.

As for any positive points, well, I like the scene in which Columbo intimidates the Italian young waiter, while considering him a suspect. I read that Falk used to fight the writers over the importance of making the calm friendly lieutenant angry sometimes. In fact, it completes him, as a human being of course, and the hunter who traps the killers by outward niceness, only to uncover his scary face later. In this episode's "angry" scene, Falk was no less than great, shifting from tone to tone perfectly.

Antony Alda, the half-brother of actor Alan Alda, did fine as Mario DeLuca the young waiter. His performance was natural and truthful. Shera Danese, Falk's new wife at the time, was in her brightest looks ever, oozes liveliness as the secretary. I felt that she missed those qualities in her later appearances in the series.

Still the highest positive point is the last line. It's funny, so wicked, and – to tell you the truth – better than the whole episode for me !

Murder Under Glass is between the regular Columbo, and the weak Columbo. It had endless tasty dishes for its lead, and not much for us.

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A comedy that made me sad !, 6 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The idea was spoofing many singers' bio-pics and lives, especially after a string of musical bio-pics within a few years earlier like Beyond the Sea (2004), Ray (2004), and Walk the Line (2005). Well, it sounds tempting. And I have to admit; the trailer got me. But regrettably, it was ugly. So abysmally ugly !

First of all, John C. Reilly, who's a very good actor, looks incredibly ugly, if not scary, as the title character. There was a love scene for him that I suffered from, and couldn't even understand, where he was totally unfunny, and with slow pace, no music, and low-angle—turned into killer horror ! Throughout the whole movie, he does nothing laughable, and seems really cheap. By the way, don't try to search for anyone else. Save Reilly, the rest are cameos.

Comedy means smartness. A rule that this movie never heard of. Therefore its writers chose the ultimate easy solution; which is filth, disappointing every attempt to write a good situation or dialog, resorting – instead – to absolute dirtiness that any mean adolescent could create, and while immersing into it, the whole movie turned into mean adolescent itself !

Actually, the script is jammed with many kinds of filth. Filthy jokes, filthy images, and even filthy meanings. For instance, the matter of addicting different drugs along the years exceeded being a running gag, to be some sort of drugs' glorification, as if no genius or success can be reached without them. This is not a parody inasmuch as publicity !

I really got fed up with movies that have nearly nothing but swearing, nudity, and drugs, while presenting themselves as comedies. These are crimes more than fun. "Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language" will transform movies into hard porn, if hasn't done that already! It's clear that Hollywood in the last decades drives us to obtain entertainment from sewers, addressing dreadfully an animalistic side in us.

So as a comedy, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story didn't make me laugh. It did make me abhor. And as a comedy from Hollywood lately, it's another monster disguised as a pet. It's not a movie for me. It's a repulsive toilet, where nobody cared to flush once, to make an audience of repulsive toilets as well. The thing is, if I wanted something else, it's no where to be seen. Because big percentage of Hollywood comedies nowadays became trashy, or frank trash. And anyone with an atom of brain, or sensitivity, must flee to the old comedies, where intelligence, respect, and human were still part of the mix. For my, their worst is better than those saddening contemporary comedies.

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