Reviews written by registered user
bgrubb

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18 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Cruelty? Perhaps not., 11 October 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched a review of this by SF Debris and he pointed out something that few people notice watching this episode" Bemis' reading is NOT a hobby but an OBSESSION bordering dare we say it ADDICTION.

Replace Bemis' reading material with say a cell phone or a portable gaming tablet and the parallels become all the clearer.

Bemis' problem is NOT that he didn't have enough time but he mismanaged his time to the point that everyone from his wife to his boss are exasperated at him for letting his reading getting between him and everything else and lashing out at him for it.

Also if you look at Bemis you have to wonder why, if he liked reading to point he reads campaign buttons, then why not get a job as an editor or proof reader?

Another thing that doesn't make sense is him having a wife. If he wanted time to read why marry someone that prevents him from doing exactly that?

The end of the story is not so much about the cruelty of fate but as Sterling himself states at the end "a fragment of what man has deeded to himself".

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Horrid execution of interesting preimice, 15 May 2012
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The premise that people too good for Hell but too bad for Heaven are returned to the world of the living to help save other souls was interesting...until you got to HOW they went about it.

==SPOILERS== It is basically the same Machiavellian approach used by the Inquisitions--no price is too high, no deed or method too vile as long as a soul is saved. As a result you have this undercurrent that the brutal methods of torture used by the Inquisitions against heretics and more importantly witches were JUSTIFIED running through every episode. The problem is this moral issue NEVER really comes up.

In terms of poor taste the execution is right down there with the concept of the infamous "Heil Honey I'm Home!" (The real world "Springtime for Hitler") In fact in one episode it was revealed that the relative of a Corp member saw an operation and tried to report what she saw--she was committed to an insane asylum and drugged up to the eyeballs for her troubles. The Corp is perfectly fine with leaving her to rot until surprise surprise an operation involves her and you can see the supposed "happy" resolution at the end a mile away...and it is as disgustingly Machiavellian with a coating of sugar as you'd expect.

I suspect (or at least hope) the low ratings were the result of the audience realizing just what message was being preached to them by this show and turning it off in disgust.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Strange little 1948 cartoon, 8 January 2011
8/10

This is an interesting 1948 political cartoon promoting freedom though the modern viewer will be confused. The film starts by explaining our freedom and then introduces four people representing labor, management, politicians, and agriculture. Then Dr Utopia shows up trying to sale his ISM product to only to be interrupted by John Q. Public.

The promises Dr. Utopia makes to each person seems to indicates that his ISM could be up to four different forms of government as the pitches he makes to labor and management are practically opposite to each other. Labor is clearly Communism and the "State Concentration camp #5" sign hints at the ISM being given to politicians being Fascism leaving the viewer to try and figure out if the ISMs being given management and agriculture are different aspects of these two or something else entirely.

John Q. Public's warning speech at the about anyone trying to pit us against each other via class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance reinforces the idea that Dr. Utopia's ISM is not just one form of government.

Westworld (1973)
Great if somewhat flawed film, 10 September 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In one respect the premise of Westworld is Las Vegas, NV taken to its logical conclusion: an 'adult' playground in every sense of the word. The idea that the rich would spend $1000 a day to indulge in their wildest fantasies is not that unrealistic either. Also many of the special effects for the Westworld robots were improved on and showed up again many times in the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN series of which the 'fembot' episodes (Kill Oscar, Fembots in Las Vegas) copied the face concept seen in this movie.

That said there are a few problems with the picture (spoilers past this point). The explanation on how the gun won't kill another guest ignores the idea of the guest or robot missing (Brynner as the amok Gunslinger misses several times). It also fails to deal the swords and daggers that abound in the Roman and Medieval Worlds - what's to prevent two guests from hurting each other in those Worlds? Why would the control room have powered doors? A normal manual door with a rubber seal would have done the same job (used by many University computer rooms today in fact) And why didn't those doors have an way to open them manually (a mandatory fire requirement these days)? Furthermore other than the phone there is no indication that the control room is being effected by the robot malfunctions so why does it go haywire along with the robots? We know from scenes (the bar and dinner) in Westworld that the robots can eat and drink so why does giving the girl robot a drink short her out? Michael Crichton published the script for Westworld in book form - it makes an excellent companion to this movie if you can find it. It also explains one major glitch in the film - how the Gunslinger is able to shoot the guests and the tech. In the book he removes the gun's sensor. Problem is this scene never made it to the final film.

Fortunately the film goes at such a pace that you can't really think about such things when they are happening. Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger is so strong that you cannot really see anyone else in that role (as happened in the short lived 'blink and you miss it' series "Beyond Westworld") and he reprices this role in the 'sequel' -Futureworld- which explains in part why the robots went haywire in the first place.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One of many versions, 4 September 2007
7/10

The one thing to keep in mind when watching this is the fact Mark Train wrote three versions of this only one of which was actually completed: 'Chronicle of Young Satan' (set in 1590 Austria, abandoned in mid scene), 'Schoolhouse Hill' (with Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer as Satan's (now called No. 44) companions, also incomplete), and 'No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger' (set in 1490 Austria and the only version to actually have an ending).

The problem is that the 1916 version published by Twain's biographer Albert Bigelow Paine has since been revealed to be a composite of an heavily edited 'Chronicle of Young Satan' with the 'No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger' ending slapped on. If that was not confusing enough for someone trying to go back to the original story the University of California Press put out yet another version in 1982 that is supposedly the 'definitive' version that Twain himself would have had published had he lived.

It is clear from the text at the ending that this film is based on either the entire 'No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger' draft or the University of California version and not on the better known Paine version that mixes plots and characters from two totally different versions.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Propaganda with logic and plot holes galore, 14 June 2004

The first of Universal's 'updated' Holmes films and like the next two (Secret Weapon and Washington) it suffers badly from the propaganda though here it actually interferes with the film's logic and plot.

The first problem is not Holmes being called on by the British government - that happened in several Canon stories including "The Greek Interpreter" and "The Bruce- Partington Plans" but that it is not the person who *is* the British Government Mycroft Holmes who calls him in. Things plod along until Holmes finally reveals who the voice of Terror is at which point the propaganda takes off with a full head of steam. Here the logic and plot of the film go into a total tailspin - how the Voice operates is insanely risky and who the Voice really is makes no sense in that it requires one to ignore German history over the last 20 years for it to be even remotely plausible. In the end Holmes give the speech he did in the Canon story "His Last Bow" which I will admit is just as relevant to WWII as it was to WWI. Pity the film that scene is in didn't measure up to the feeling in that statement.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A hint of things to come, 29 October 2003

For those of us who grew up in the early 1980's with some cable companies promising interactive movies this is a dream come true. The interactive part is great and somewhat logical as to what you can do. That said there are a few minor problems.

First while the CG animation is great there are still problems with faces especially in terms of hair or teeth.

Second the lighting of the night scenes varied a great deal. It was like watching one of those old 'B' grade films where the director either had little knowledge on night shots or not enough money to do them right: ie in one scene you can clearly see the characters and in the next you can't see much of anything.

Finally and more annoyingly while there is a way to skip to 6 of the choices (it is 'hidden' in the help section) they are not set up logically. In fact the order of the first two are reversed! Worse yet three of these choices (the middle one of the top three and the last two of the bottom three) have alternative versions and so choosing one of them can cause confusion if you went another path. IMHO it is a good idea to avoid this part of the disk until you have played the adventure several times.

All in all though this is a good first attempt in making use of CG and DVDn technology.

Madhouse (1974)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Didn't live up to its potential (spoilers), 10 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie answers the question 'How can you have Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Robert Quarry star in a film and yet have a substandard to average picture?'

The premise of a horror star (Paul Toombes-Price) who had a nervous breakdown years ago as a result of his new wife being murdered in a manner used by the character he played (Dr. Death) and brought out of retirement by his fellow actor (Herbert Flay- Cushing) only to find the man who revealed that his wife had been fooling around that night (Quayle-Quarry) is the producer of the new Dr. Death series was a good one.

(minor spoilers past this point)

That said it is obvious the scriptwriter and director were both lazy. The pace of the picture moves along with all the urgency of a turtle out for a walk. Worse yet when you find out who the killer really was there are murder scenes that make no sense as there appears to have been no way for the killer to know that these people were a threat to his plans. The cops are portrayed in a manner that implies they must have gotten their badges out of cereal boxes because their efforts to keep an eye on their main suspect is pathetic (like letting him out of their sight while he is in front of a live audience). Then there is the padding of the film with clips from several Price films as being from "Dr. Death" pictures even though the characters in those films (Pit and the Pendulum, Fall of House of Usher) look *nothing* like Dr. Death; not to mention that that the way they are shown they might have as well been edited in a cuisinart. Then to top it off in a picture that has had zilch in supernatural element suddenly shifts gears and throws one in the last 5 minutes.

Quarry appears so infrequently that he might as well been billed as a cameo, Cushing gets a little more screen time but not much more than Quarry, so it falls on Price to try and save this train wreck of a picture. He manages to keeping the movie from becoming totally pathetic but he even cannot overcome the total ineptitude of the scriptwriter or director. Good for Price fans but little else to recommend it.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Book and film have not aged well, 4 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

[minor spoilers]

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 has not aged well in the 50 years since it was published and neither has this movie. It is now possible to put an entire printed library on a CD- ROM (in 1986 there was a CD-ROM of 1001 classics in text format) and TV antennas have disappeared not because people are reading books but because of cable, satalite TV, and the internet. Bradbury's firemen are out of a job before they even get started.

Also there are major logic holes in both the book and film. If books are regularly burned than how do people know how to read?! Also if this society has been around a while who is printing the books that are so available given that fireman Guy Montag manages to accumulate a huge library in a short time? Furthermore the idea that people are saving the knowledge for later by memorizing it is idiocy; as anyone will tell you that is the worst possible method to use.

Bradbury's future seems to have itself a split personality and as a result so does the film. It is hard to take a book and film seriously if their basic premises are so out in left field.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as you have heard, 3 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

More than a few fans have derided this film with such alternate tiles as William Shatner's Ego Trip or STV: The Search for Plot but in reality it is not that bad.

[minor spoilers]

First off the plot is actually pulled form two orginal series episodes "Journey to Eden" and "Who Mourns for Adonais?" with a little of the animated episode "Magic of Megas-Tu" thrown in. Kirk and company have already met Apollo and the Devil so meeting a being that believes it is God is not that off in left field as one might think. Also the ship has been used to to a supposedly mystical place before - the planet Eden so that idea isn't off the wall either.

As far as tone of the picture is concerned it is clear Shatner was aiming for the tone used in "I, Mudd" which didn't take itself too seriously. Taken in that light the film is quite enjoyable. Sure it isn't a "City on the Edge of Forever" but it is not worse than "Spock Brain" either.


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