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I'm old enough to have watched and enjoyed the golden age of Hercules movies in the early 60s. Despite having grown up to understand that the acting in those movies were not so great I still hold a special place in my heart for those old flicks.
So I was quite excited when I heard in the mid-90s that they were going to make a TV series based on the all powerful demigod. Very excited. Very Very excited. I couldn't wait to see who the new muscle-bound Steve Reeves in loin cloth was going to be.
Well, then, they gave me Kevin Sorbo. In pants no less. And in a Greece that looked suspiciously like New Zealand. They didn't even bother to have him grow facial hair as all classic depictions of Hercules require. Excitement balloon instantly punctured.
As likable as Mr. Sorbo is he is no Steve Reeves. And pants were not even invented in the time that the (mythical) stories were supposed to have taken place. I made a Herculean effort just to watch a full episode of this series. But I couldn't. Hopefully someone will do it right in the next TV series, if it would ever come.
Depicting Hercules in pants and shirt with no facial hair is just as sacrilegious as if they ever tried to create a short, blonde James Bond.
The Tourist (2010)
Very good movie. Naysayers are unfair and, with all due respect, clueless.
I am writing this review after reading a lot of negative reactions on the IMDb forum from people who frankly missed the point.
A very unfortunate product of our times of technology, the internet, and other conveniences is today's impatient audience who demands immediate satisfaction and movies that are over the top CGI filled action from the very first minute to the last climactic explosion. When a movie attempts to build up something it is accused of being slow and boring. Alfred Hitchcock would have been a Hollywood failure today because the first hour of most of his movies were slow, meticulous, and borderline boring while setting us up for the second hour of intrigue.
For those of you who missed the point, this picture is an homage to the type of lighthearted but very entertaining romantic comedy/adventure/intrigue movies of the 60s that directors like Stanley Donen and Blake Edwards expertly put out. Those pictures almost always had Paris, Venice, and other European scenery as backdrop and the cute mismatched - only to be matched later - couple as protagonist. We were taken on a ride around Europe with the bad guys chasing the good guys while we were never sure until the end whether all of the good guys were really good. The audience patiently sat in their seats and were rewarded with a good feeling coming out of the theater. What's so wrong with that?
When IMDb forum posters disappointingly ask if this was a comedy, my answer is go watch "Charade" and tell me if it was one!
When they think the twist did not make sense I just ask, "What if she chose Depp on the train by an unfortunate accident that Pierce hadn't counted on?" When you think about it, the characters would have had a much smoother and less eventful life if it all had gone the way Pierce had planned.
And finally when they call the ending silly or implausible, I just have one word to say: "Chill!"..... OK, more words: "This is supposed to be a somewhat silly, romantic adventure, not Hamlet." As such, I think it delivered. I came out of the theater totally entertained, and if you are too young to have watched great predecessors of this genre, I highly recommend watching "Charade." I guarantee you will enjoy it and gain a better appreciation of "The Tourist."
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Raimi uses his popularity to sell us this weak work.
This was not, I repeat, NOT a great movie. Okay I'm exaggerating a little here. Shouldn't have used the word "great." Let me try again: This was not, I repeat, NOT a good movie. Ahhhh, that's better. I like Sam Raimi's work enough although I'm not a very big fan. I really think he enjoys a semi-cult-like popularity that leads some folks here to close their eyes on the many flaws and write positive reviews about this weak Raimi offering.
There are several very big problems here. The main one starts with the unconvincing performance of Alison Lohman playing the protagonist Christine Brown. I have not seen her in a lot of movies but if I have, her work must have been as forgettable as this one.
Miss Lohmann comes off as a B-actress with very little range here. In many scenes I could have sworn they had just called her to the set as soon as she was done memorizing her lines. Those lines came out of her mouth just like a junior-high student trying to pass an oral exam by only memorizing from the text book instead of actually learning the topic.
Miss Lohman should not take all the blame for this, though. Her character is so unbelievable that when she has her first sequence of violent spirit activity in her residence she merely shuts a door and goes back to her normal life. After the third or fourth such evil-spirit violence she calms down enough to go out with her boyfriend and talk about how nice a night it is! The writing is very weak and feels rushed. As if the script was written in one Saturday afternoon. The dialogs are so lame that I'm not sure if even Meryl Streep could have made lemonade out of it. Justin Long who does a good job in those MAC commercials looks like he is having a hard time keeping a straight face with this script.
To be fair the individual set pieces are somewhat effective and in a couple of occasions even somewhat scary. But this is far too rare here. The Cheapest way filmmakers try to scare you is with gore-galore. The second cheapest, in my opinion, is when you are give sudden loud "scare" scenes designed to make you jump from your seat. While Mr. Raimi keeps the gore to a reasonable level he profusely relies on sudden shock shots to scare you.
Ah yes, there's a third cheapest scare tactic and it's not so much a scare tactic as it is a make-you sick tactic. Bloody vomit is really passé but Mr. Raimi does not let that bother him. He also serves us saliva-soaked yellowed dentures, corpse vomit and a host of other yuks. That stuff worked for "The Exorcist" because it never felt like the director was feeding it to us just because he could. It does feel that way here.
And oh yes, what was up with the boyfriend's parents? Imagine caricatures of Greg's parents in "Dharma & Greg!" At least that show was a sitcom. Were these characters even necessary? If so, why not flesh them out better? The whole sequence with the parents felt like another cheap attempt to fill five or ten minutes of this flick. Too bad.
I gave this movie two out of ten on the IMDb feedback scale. The only thing that saved it from zero was the set pieces that managed to work. And that's not all of them, mind you.
Rings on Her Fingers (1942)
I just saw this movie on TV. I have to confess I had never heard about this title until I discovered that it was about to be shown today. I have always liked Henry Fonda and hold Gene Tierney as one of the most beautiful actresses Hollywood has ever produced. That irresistible one-two punch and my love for old B&W movies were responsible for an hour and a half of my life That I will never get back.
The direction of this movie is very loose and without any sense of respect for the good cast. Things happen out of the blue and people keep unexpectedly appearing in settings without any reason or logic just to conveniently help the story along. It's as if the director has shot this in a manner of inventing scenes as he went along without much forethought. The last scene is completely silly and, as one character correctly points out, "corny." By then one does not care to even think about what clue from 'the note' and the "two hours ago" comment prompts John Wheeler to do what he does.
Fonda is oddly cast as Wheeler, the shallow and gullible sap who stays one dimensional throughout the story. Someone like James Stewart would have taken the role and given it more depth. With his talent for both comedy and drama Stewart would have given us a more edgy performance forcing us to actually care for this character instead of almost rooting against him as a moron who deserves what he gets. Tierney is of course as beautiful as ever. Her character, the conflicted con, is faced with the most complicated situation and because of that has to pretty much carry the movie. She is a good enough actress to do that, but the lame script and an obviously undemanding director deny us and her a more memorable performance. The set pieces should have kept us on the edge of our seats with comedic anxiety and the fear that things could unravel at any moment. Tierney's character should have been asked to head off the potential disasters through her wit and smarts rather than by lucky coincidences. It's really too bad. With tighter direction and a plot not so laden with holes and possibly Jimmy Stewart as Wheeler this forgettable flick would have had a chance to be at least a minor classic. Going back to the beginning of this writing, I have to confess I had never heard about this title, and now I know why.
The harsh criticism of this movie in previous comments are quite unfair.
I just can't believe all the nasty comments about this movie. Everybody seems to think this movie actually has to measure up to the classic with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Well, it doesn't. It doesn't even claim to. IT'S A TV MOVIE FOLKS!! Indeed for a TV movie it does a good job. It has a great cast. The acting is actually very good. Pernell Roberts, in an extreme departure from his Bonanza role, steals the show. His Marshall Ward is the the quintessential villain that you love to hate. Nasty and cool at the same time. In a slightly smaller role, J.A. Preston does a great job of portraying the conflicted black man who assists Ward in tracking down the good guys. The always reliable David Carradine is quite likable as the one-time outlaw who makes you root for him.
Much criticism is directed toward Lee Majors' acting in the other comments. "Stiff?" "One dimensional?" Has Majors ever been accused of being a Shakespearean actor? He is Lee Majors. The guy who plays quiet strong characters and relies on his looks for likability. Within that limited range, he is very good. I can see why he was picked to portray the same strong and quiet Will Kane that Gary Cooper portrayed in the original.
I have only two little problems with this picture. First, the original happens at high noon, thus the title. This one establishes neither the climax nor any major part of the plot as occurring in midday. Having failed to do so and still retaining the High Noon title it does open itself up to the unfair criticism of being a rip off of the original. My other issue with this movie is with the ward-robe folks who dressed Majors in almost the same outfit as he wore as Heath Barkley in The Big Valley. That, in my opinion, makes it a bit more difficult for us to accept him as Will Kane. The characters make frequent verbal references to the original High Noon story, so there is a deliberate effort here to make us remember it. Therefore, dressing Majors in a darker outfit reminiscent of Cooper's Will Kane would have served far more effectively to help us make the necessary emotional connection to the original.
If you want to watch a deep drama with a lot of character development you will be disappointed. In fact characters mostly start the same and are the same at the end of the story. What little character development there is happens with Preston's Alonzo. Also, the aforementioned references to the original seem to be merely a buildup to re-examining, albeit too briefly, the courage (or lack thereof) of the town folks who left Kane alone in his predicament in the first story. Here, was an opportunity lost when the filmmakers shortchanged us By not expanding enough on that particular point.
If you want to watch the simple story of an incident in a western genre that's done well you will not feel robbed of two hours of your life. All in all, this is an entertaining western which I would not mind, if ever on DVD, purchasing and placing right next to my cherished copy of the original.