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Destination Moonbase-Alpha (1978)
Never having seen any of the original TV episodes of Destination Moonbase-Alpha, I found this mish-mash of a "movie", assembled from two of the TV episodes, difficult to follow as I seldom knew which characters were on the side of the goodies and which were the baddies, and in my opinion the whole thing was an incoherent mess and total nonsense.
I found the abrupt join between the two episodes extremely disconcerting; the one didn't seem to have anything to do with the other. I would have preferred to have watched the episodes separately, as they were of course originally intended to be watched.
I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept that a spaceship can travel very much faster than the speed of light this is science fiction, after all and the monsters didn't look too unconvincing, but I can't give it more than one star.
Time Out for Rhythm (1941)
With a cast that included Rudy Vallee, Ann Miller, Allen Jenkins and The Three Stooges, this looked like being quite an enticing movie. Unfortunately, however, it turned out to be as dull as ditchwater.
The only good thing about it was, in fact, the presence of the extremely talented dancer Ann Miller, who acquitted herself admirably in this, her debut in movies as a dancer.
I'm usually quite fond of The Three Stooges, just as long as Shemp Howard was part of the trio. Those others (Curly Howard, Joe Besser and Joe DeRita) hardly ever made me smile, let alone laugh. In this movie it was the unfunny Curly Howard who appeared, and most of the schticks they performed have been seen before in their short subjects.
I found Blanche Stewart and Eliva Allman (I've never heard of either of them) as Brenda and Cabrina respectively, most unamusing.
With a terrible plot, about two constantly quarreling agents, the movie gave me little watching pleasure.
The five stars are strictly for Ann Miller.
Cheer Up (1936)
Not entertaining, and didn't cheer me up
This dismal, unfunny British musical "comedy" did not manage to cheer me up in the slightest.
In fact, when I started watching it, I was in a much better frame of mind than when it ended. None of the so-called comedy, forced as it was, even elicited a smile from me.
The plot was totally cheerless about show people who, down on their luck, did just about any ducking and diving that they could think of to avoid paying for rent, meals or anything else attempting (and sometimes succeeding) to cheat others out of their money.
The film may have ended slightly better, by which time their fortunes were turned around, could have attempted to remunerate all those from whom they had cheated. At least that would have left me with a better taste in my mouth.
The acting, singing, dancing and choreography were third rate. I am not familiar with any of the untalented film cast, and when Sally Gray, who - I read in her biography - was to become famous later, ever thought of this film, she would most decidedly have cringed with embarrassment.
I can think of no reason whatsoever to recommend it.
It'd be better to search for "This'll Make You Whistle", with Jack Buchanan and Elsie Randolph, which was released in the same year, and would really cheer anyone up.
Wherever She Goes (1951)
A biopic oh, so dreary...
Heavy-handed, dreadfully dreary somewhat fictionalized account of the young Eileen Joyce's introduction to the world of music, her subsequent passion for it and how she struggled against enormous odds to become proficient on the piano. Lack of support from her near-penniless parents did not help matters. Indeed, the story of her battles to procure a piano for practicing on were heart-rending.
Produced with very little humour, and imbued with an intense feeling of pathos throughout, this tear-jerker of a film was not fun to watch.
Having said all that, I have nothing but praise for the actress, Suzanne Parrett, who played the part of the young Eileen Joyce, and who acquitted herself very well indeed in an extremely negative role.
I would much prefer to have seen a biopic that treated Eileen's early life more superficially, and dealt with more of her later successful career as one of the most popular concert pianists of her time.
Who's Got the Action? (1962)
Promised so much, delivered so little
I'm a big fan of Dean Martin - even after his split from Jerry Lewis. I really thought I was going to enjoy this movie, but was I disappointed This is probably one of the most forgotten of Dean Martin's movies. It deserves to be, because it's so forgettable. Hardly anything sticks in the memory after having watched it. No funny lines, no hummable music or songs.
This movie might have been saved by the great character actors who were in it. Walter Matthau, Eddie Albert, Nita Talbot, John McGiver, Paul Ford, Ned Glass I love them all. Well, great they certainly were, but not in this movie.
The problems were the asinine story/script, sore lack of humorous dialogue, totally unbelievable character types, lackluster direction.
Just about the only praiseworthy thing about the movie was the excellent color photography.
For anyone like me, who doesn't particularly like stories about betting on the horses (unless it's something by Damon Runyon), it will surely add up to one big yawn.
Rewind This! (2013)
I may have enjoyed watching this documentary if just about all the interviewees had not had this positively infantile preoccupation with porn, schlock and low-quality Z-movie horror pictures.
I would have preferred to see people discussing their VHS nostalgia for some of the older movies, such as the original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still, Boris Karloff's Frankenstein, perhaps one or two of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's RKO movies, or even a Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedy. These were the kind of films I had in my VHS collection in the 1970s and 1980s to me they were (and, of course, still are) classics - films that I have watched over and over again, and have never tired of them.
Having to sit through all this low-grade crap, which never interested me, I found to be quite a strain.
I could possibly have tolerated a little of it here and there, but this was somewhat over the top.
I won't be watching this documentary again.
One in a Million (1936)
Terribly disappointing Sonja Henie film
I am a long-time, huge Sonja Henie fan. In the figure skating world, she was an innovator and a champion; she also had a wonderful personality which always shone through.
Today, the art of ice skating has progressed to the degree that almost any young figure skater can easily replicate what she did and more. But that's beside the point.
Unfortunately this, her first movie, was not a good vehicle for her, and her subsequent movies for 20th-Century-Fox were very much better.
I think OIAM would have been so much better without the childish shenanigans of the Ritz Brothers and the silly antics of Borrah Minevitch who happened to be a first-class harmonica player and should have been allowed to play his music without the comedy.
The rest of the cast was all right, but nothing to rave about.
The songs were instantly forgettable and I'm pretty sure that no one came out of the cinema whistling the title song or, for that matter, any of the others.
I don't think this was a marvelously entertaining movie and cannot recommend it to any but the most die-hard Sonja Henie fan. By all means, go for any of the others.
I am most disappointed in this Ben Webster video. For a professional video production that has actually been released, I think it must be one of the worst jazz videos ever made. It looks like it was shot by rank amateurs.
At the beginning of the movie we are shown short film snippets of workers in a saxophone factory. We are not told who the manufacturer was but they are alleged to have produced eleven hundred saxophones PER MONTH! I refuse to believe that there were eleven hundred saxophone players on the entire planet who would be continually purchasing brand new saxophones per month from all the saxophone companies combined. But this is by the way.
Next we are shown a few disjointed shots of Webster sans shoes sitting, walking, looking out of the window, playing piano (the best thing in the whole video) and practicing saxophone in his house.
Then there are some unsuccessful shots with music playing in the background of musicians superimposed over (or under) a large expanse of rippling water which I took to be artistic expressions a la the recently deceased Bert Stern who directed Jazz On A Summer's Day. But in monochrome.
We see who I took to be Webster's landlady talking to Webster in Dutch about tea and cake and telling him of her intending to take him to visit the zoo on the upcoming Sunday.
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned any footage of Webster actually playing in situ. Well, the fact is that in the whole of this video, not one complete performance of a number is shown just a muddled jumping about from one tune to another in hops, skips and jumps, here, there and everywhere throughout the video.
Among other uninteresting things we see Webster playing pool, making tea, animals at the zoo, riding in a train, and riding in a car.
One scene is of Webster showing some home movies with his projector.
This whole thing looks like one of those excruciating home movies.
I hope one day I'll see a decent video of Ben Webster, perhaps a TV show or a concert.
This one doesn't cut it.
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
It's the music that matters
I didn't watch this movie for any other reason than I heard the theme tune on a Percy Faith album back in the early 1960s and fell in love with it at first hearing. I found that the score for the film was written by the much-respected although relatively unknown composer David Amram, who also composed the music for one of my very favorite movies, The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
The music stuck in my mind (and has done for years), so when I had an opportunity to watch the film on TCM I did so. I can't say it stayed with me as the music did. I'm a person who can watch and enjoy a movie repeatedly (I have seen the original Manchurian Candidate, for example, countless times) and I am a great Natalie Wood fan and I think her performance was excellent but this movie made little impression on me. I'm not saying it's a bad movie by any means, but in this case I have to be subjective and say that as it's not my bag, I decline to give it a rating and probably won't be taking another look at it.
Regrettably no album of the film score was ever issued.
The only other reviewer to even mention the music was Jonathan Baron and I tip my hat to him.