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planktonrules

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19644 reviews in total 
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Enjoyable...but probably mostly fiction., 27 August 2016
6/10

I watched this old TV episode for one reason...it starred Boris Karloff. And, if you are interested, you can download this episode of "Suspense" from archive.org--a site filled with free to copy public domain files.

The show is a dramatization of the death of the infamous Rasputin. Essentially, the show only consists of folks murdering the lusty monk...not a lot of plot here. Additionally, the stories of the difficulty the soldiers had murdering him were certainly fabricated...or at least highly embellished. So, you see Rasputin (Karloff) drink and eat enough poison to kill several elephants...and THEN he was shot repeatedly...and he STILL was not dead. Yeah, right.

The program has relatively shoddy music and sets--but it WAS the very early days of TV and such things were the norm. So, compared to other shows, it's decent and watchable. Plus, Karloff's over- the-top performance is fun to watch!

Perhaps it would help if you are British....but I didn't really care about a film where Maggie and Lizzie went slumming., 27 August 2016
5/10

I wonder if perhaps I would have really enjoyed "A Royal Night Out" a lot more if I was British. All I know is that the film, and especially the premise, left me cold. The film is based EXTREMELY loosely on the fact that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret went out to celebrate V- E day (when the Germans surrendered to end WWII in Europe). This DID occur...but the girls were chaperoned and went in a large group...with absolutely no real free time to be common people. Margaret, by the way, was only 14. This film pretends that instead of staying with BOTH their escorts, the pair ran about London--with Margaret acting a bit like a dummy and Elizabeth spending most of the night looking for her. Yeah...whatever.

Apart from the story (which didn't interest me very much), the movie DID has a nice look and they apparently tried very hard to get the look of 1945 right. But as I mentioned, it didn't interest me very much. I don't care about what MIGHT have happened if the two princesses went slumming. First, they didn't. Second, I couldn't care less about the actions of a couple spoiled royals. I guess I am too much of an oppositional American to really care about all this. Looked nice, made me laugh once or twice and well made but that's about all.

A really nice blend of East and West!, 27 August 2016
8/10

If you look at the IMDb page for "The Priests", you'll find that the summary really isn't what this film is about at all. Ignore it! Instead, the film is an interesting combination of Western films exorcism films combined with Eastern sensibilities. This combination is an interesting one and the movie by Jae-hyun Jang is well worth your time.

When the film begins, a young Catholic priest in South Korea is trying to exorcise a demon from a young girl. However, soon something expected occurs and the girl dives from her hospital window. Despite the horrible fall, she is still alive and is in a coma where she remains off and on for years---all the while the demon remains trapped within her. The priest makes it his life's work to rid her of the demon but he is so far unsuccessful. As for his assistants, they all end up leaving the case...unable to cope with the horrible fight against evil. Soon, assistant number 11 is assigned to help. Can he manage to sum up the internal strength and together they rid the world of this evil? And, once the demon leaves the girl, what exactly are they to do with it?! That is a problem they really forgot to plan for in "The Exorcist"!

As I just mentioned the film, at times, "The Priests" clearly feels like "The Exorcist". Fortunately, it is not some cheap Korean copy or reworking of the Hollywood picture and differs in many, many ways. Because it's an Asian film, it integrates quite a bit of Eastern religion and mysticism as well. You'll see shamans, salt used for purification and many other non- Western elements within the film. You also have some amazing special effects as well as an ending that is nothing like the more familiar Hollywood version. Additionally, the story works very well and it will keep you on the edge of your seat! Plus, the ending really is awfully intelligent and offers an excellent pay-off. Well worth seeing and I look forward to more films from Jae-hyun Jang.

Jimmy neglects the ever-pathetic Leslie in this odd flick., 26 August 2016
7/10

Robert Walker plays Jimmy, the nice-guy bellboy from the film's title. He works at a hotel and spends most of his free time hanging out with Leslie, a disabled lady who has some weird disease. According to the Doc, she didn't get enough love as a child and as a result she apparently can't walk!! Sounds like she could use a good psychotherapist! Regardless, through the course of the film Leslie's heart is broken as Jimmy begins to spend less and less time with her and more with a beautiful Princess staying at the hotel (Hedy Lamarr). The Princess likes Jimmy and has asked the manager that he be assigned as her personal aid. However, through the course of the film, Jimmy overhears a conversation and thinks the Princess is in love with him! She IS in love with a commoner...but it sure ain't Jimmy! What's to happen with poor Leslie...and poor Jimmy...and the poor Princess...when she gets arrested?!

Most of this film is very nice, though occasionally the film drops the ball. First, there's the bizarre illness which can only happen in a Hollywood flick! Second, there's a very long and irrelevant dream sequence which just would have been better left out of the movie. Despite these complaints, the film is generally very nice-- sort of like a modern fairy tale and with some nice performances. Well worth seeing even with its flaws.

Possibly the first kids' movie I've seen that might just appeal more to the adults!, 26 August 2016
9/10

Charlie Brown is flustered. The cute little red-haired girl has just moved to town and is in his class. While he's desperately infatuated with her, he's convinced he needs to accomplish something amazing in order to get her attention.

When I was a little boy, I went to see "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" in the theater....and I bawled my eyes out. After all, Charlie Brown seemed about to really accomplish something and kids would stop mistreating him....and then he failed and things were back as they used to be...with him being a miserable nice kid. Because I grew up feeling so awful for him, as did most folks of my generation, then I think that "The Peanuts Movie" will really, really appeal to you. For once, Charlie Brown makes good...and the film seems like an excellent way to cap off the wonderful work of Charles Schulz. It's a shame he didn't live to see this delightful film.

So why is the film so nice? Well, it's not just that Charlie Brown finally finds happiness but the audience does as well--with lots of gentle nods to the old Peanuts animated specials and characters who were not updated too much. Lucy is still pretty awful, Linus still very thoughtful and the rest of the characters rather sweet. Overall, a delightful film that adults might just like and appreciate more than the kids. Sweet and well made.

By the way, the IMDb trivia says that the flying ship Fifi is stuck on resembles the Hindenburg. Well, it doesn't. Its shape is those of the WWI Zeppelins--the Hindenburg was fatter and with a much more rounded nose. In other words, the filmmakers got it right...and the ship should have been 1910s vintage, not that of a mid-1930s Zeppelin. Just a bit of trivia for aviation buffs!

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
This one really surprised me...and I only mean this in good ways., 26 August 2016
8/10

"I Am Not a Serial Killer" is a very slow and deliberately paced film. I am telling you this up front so that you know that it's well worth sticking with this one...please resist your urge to try something else because of this! The payoff is well worth it and the film is well made and I honestly can say I've never seen anything like it in my life!

This movie by Billy O'Brien is set in a small town in the Midwest and was filmed in rural Minnesota. This certainly is not where you'd expect a series of super-grisly murders to occur, but that's exactly what happens soon after the picture begins. Body after body begin piling up and naturally the townspeople are scared. They don't know it, but their only hope is a very strange young high school student. You see, this story is told from the viewpoint of this very strange misfit high school student...a kid unfortunately named John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records)! With a name like this, it's not at all surprising that he's obsessed with serial killers. And, because of his strange obsession he decides to start investigating on his own into who is eviscerating folks in town...eviscerating and stealing some of their organs! His trail leads to one of his neighbors, a nice old man played by Christopher Lloyd...yes, the Christopher Lloyd who used to play Jim on "Taxi"....and in this case his character is far, far stranger...that's for sure! I'd love to tell you more about the plot but had better not, as it might spoil the suspense...and wow is there a lot of suspense!

While I generally do not like violent or bloody films, I was captivated by this picture because it was not simply blood and gore but offered far more. The actual murders are far, far more complicated than you can imagine and the film has an amazingly gory yet exciting finale. And that, naturally, brings me to mention the blood, guts and gore. This is not a family film and don't even think of showing it to your mother, children or Reverend Fletcher! Well worth seeing and I'd love to see more from these folks!

Rich people can be very silly...., 26 August 2016
7/10

Jim (Robert Montgomery) is an artist and his father (Frank Morgan) a real lady's man. When the father falls for a rich society woman, her family turns out to be very snooty and condescending. Jim is infuriated and responds by creating a series of cartoons lampooning these jerks--and the series becomes VERY popular. However, when Jim meets Ann, he's smitten by her and is then shocked to learn she's from this same snooty family. So, Jim decides to stop doing these wildly popular cartoons and intends to keep his profession from Ann. To do so, he makes up a wild pack of lies...and has his butler (Eric Blore) pose as his father since they already dislike Jim's real father since the father is JUST an actor! Will Jim be able to keep this secret from Ann forever? And, if she learns, what will happen to their relationship? And why does Father show up...in disguise and with a thick German accent?!

In many ways, this film must have inspired the wonderful Errol Flynn film "Footsteps in the Dark". In this other film, Flynn lampoons society with his stories and all of these rich swells hate him...not realizing he's one of them himself! Both films are quite clever and worth seeing. Goofy, fun and the sort of movie they unfortunately don't make any more.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An absolute must-see for all romance fans., 26 August 2016
8/10

Romance novels are big business and have over 75 million readers in the United States alone! These folks account for well over half of all book sales throughout the States and it's a multi-billion dollar industry. However, despite this, there is, among a few, a certain disdain for 'those sorts of books' and Love Between the Covers does a lot to uncover this bias as well as legitimize and celebrate these stories. How do I know that some folks sneer at romance novels? I've heard a lot of dopey comments over the years and this film has a personal connection for me, as my wife happens to be one of the authors who is featured in this fascinating new documentary. I'm as proud as any many can be of his wife...and the Laurie Kahn's film does a good job of demystifying the industry by allowing these writers and their incredibly devoted fans to share themselves and their experiences.

What I liked about this documentary the most is that it does a great job of capturing the love and devotion of the readers...as well the love and devotion of the authors*. Many of the readers go through several books a week and show a dedication that isn't seen with most other genres. Often folks have used these novels to get through the toughest times in life, as escapism and a happy ending is very attractive when life gets difficult. One of the authors, for example, talks about how her writing has helped her deal with the death of her husband. It's hard to sneer at this...the books seem to fill a real need and unite women of many, many diverse backgrounds. And, this brings me to something else interesting about the film, as Kahn makes sure to show much of the diversity within the romance field. These stories are written by and enjoyed by folks of just about every background, political bent, ethnicity and sexual orientation and romance has a way of unifying them all. This sort of unity is quite rare...and quite impressive.

You might notice as you watch that the film is not a fancy movie. This isn't a complaint but more a statement about the its limited budget. Besides...folks who love romance novels won't mind and it's a must- see for all of them. The documentary is very well made and addresses a topic that has oddly been neglected in films. After all, with so many folks who love these stories, you'd think there'd be more films about the industry and the readers. It certainly is unique and I am not surprised that the film's done very well in a variety of film festivals. Although it's not likely you'll see it in your local theater, you can check the website to learn the various locations where the film is being shown (lovebetweenthecovers.com). The documentary is also being distributed on DVDs as well as through iTunes and Amazon Video and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's being marketed at the various romance conventions being held not just in the States but throughout the world.

*While not shown in the film, I went to a book signing where one reader brought her baby because she named the child after the hero in one of my wife's books. Another brought in a cart filled to the brim with books....hoping to get them autographed (which my wife painstakingly did).

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Simply terrific!, 26 August 2016
9/10

I am surprised that "Bright Victor" isn't a more famous film, as it's simply wonderful--well written, poignant and about the best thing Arthur Kennedy ever did. In many ways, it's a lot like "The Men" and "The Best Years of Our Lives", though instead of focusing on a group of men and their working through their lives post-war, this is the story of one guy and his struggle to find himself a place in life following a terrible battle injury.

When the film begins, three American soldiers* are attacked by German snipers. One is killed and another, Larry Nevins (Kennedy), is shot in the temple. He miraculously survived but awakens in a hospital...blinded by the bullet. It seems his optic nerves were destroyed and there's no chance of his regaining his vision. So it's up to Larry to work through rehab...learning to adapt to life as a blind man. Additionally, Larry learns that his blindness has a serious impact on the folks around him and he's no longer the man he once was...and in some ways, that's a blessing.

What I loved about this film is that a simple story idea is handled so well and brings in so many important considerations. First, that his being blind brings out the worst in some folks. Second, and very profound, is that Larry learns that he's not much of a guy as well. I loved the portion of the film where blinded Larry becomes best friends with a fellow blind soldier (James Edwards)...and when he later learns that the friend is black it destroys this relationship. But, even better, this causes Larry to question himself and encourages growth. While racism is only handled briefly in the film, it turns out to be perhaps the strongest message in this film that is anything but heavy-handed. Overall, an amazingly well made film that will grab your emotions and shake them for all they're worth...but in a good way!! Well worth seeing and one of the better movies of the era...so good, I considered giving it a 10. But, unlike some reviewers, I rarely give 10s and save it only for the most extraordinary pictures.

Satch's brain gets a boost...but he's still an idiot!, 25 August 2016
7/10

At the beginning of the episode, Satch (Huntz Hall) gets electrocuted. But instead of dying, this is a Bowery Boys comedy and so that means that he's suddenly endowed with amazing computational skills. When he and Slip go to see a game show, Satch instantly knows who will be picked each time. After seeing him demonstrate this, Slip insists they head to Vegas to win a fortune in order to help a nice old lady they all know. However, Satch keeps finding ways to win huge fortunate...and then lose it. The second time is to a group of crooks who also convince Satch that he's killed someone--and if he just gives them the money, they'll tell the cops it was all an accident!! By now you've clearly noticed that although Satch's brain is changed, when it comes to common sense he's the same old dope he always was!! And, once they get the money back, once again Satch figures out a way to lose it! Will they ever be able to get the money for the old lady? And, will Satch continue to possess extraordinary computational skills?

Overall, this is a very entertaining entry--much more than normal. My only complaint is that the Boys are getting pretty long in the tooth here...and it's no wonder as it came out towards the end of this VERY long series of B-films.


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