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Time After Time (2017)
Competent, enjoyable and full of promise
I loved the 1979 movie of the same name. It was the definition of charming. This series began here with the first two episodes and I was impressed favourably. The three leads are as charming as can be with John performed brilliantly with an oozing, psychopathic, warped evil that begins with his eyes and inhabits the actor's whole being. I find it hard to believe that he was recently the weak Daniel in Revenge. The other two are new to me. I beg to differ with some others here who seem to find Jane unattractive; I find her cute and beautiful and a fine wee actress. Wells also seemed more than competent in such a strange role. I had hoped for the time machine from the Rod Taylor movie but this one, especially with the ice on the windows, seems quite fine. I have enjoyed Timeless for the most part though its egregious historical errors exceeded anything on this show. I give this a weak 8 in hopes of a surer hand in writing and direction as the series gets its feet under it. I certainly would recommend it to friends.
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
Amazing, wonderful movie
I consider "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" one of my few favourite motion pictures. One of my few criticisms of that wonderful film is the ending wherein Tarzan returns to the rain forest leaving Jane behind. That movie was the beginning of Tarzan, his travel to Victorian England, and the impossibility of his living in that society. In this "Greystoke" departed from what Burroughs had written. In "The Legend of Tarzan" we have a riff on the first novel and of "The Jewels of Opar", one of Burroughs' best remembered books. Here Tarzan returns to Africa into the Congo genocide. I was pleasantly surprised that the star so resembles Lambert in "Greystoke" rather than a steroidal muscle man. The writing is superb and must have been extremely difficult: a late 19th century story yet addressed to a 21st century audience, with some unnecessary anti-Catholic but now fashionable material. Robbie and Jackson are standouts, even if Jackson seems sometimes a bit too 21st century. Skarsgard, however, is superb in his portrayal of a man with PTSD torn between wild and civilized, internal and external, a vulnerable Superman. I think that Edgar Rice Burroughs would be proud of this excellent Tarzan movie, a worthy successor to "Greystoke". A special mention must be made of the glorious music, both orchestral and vocal.
The near future with unchanged human nature
I recorded this movie and kept it for viewing on one of those days when my IQ would be mensurable only in negative numbers as I occasionally watch SyFy Channel movies or anything from The Asylum; junk food for the lazy mind, but this was from neither of the sources mentioned and was an excellent motion picture. The cast was fine, the writing and its unusual premise were top notch. The characters were three dimensional and uniformly interesting. I cared for these people and for their believable near future situation. Perhaps I am having a stupid day but the plot contained surprises that followed from preceding scenes. The violence was necessary to the plot and only the language is a bit much but that seems to be normal these day. If, as I suspect, this was a pilot film for an unrealized series it is a minor tragedy that it was not picked up. On its own it can stand proudly and is a credit to all involved.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Totally exciting and satisfying
I yield to no one in my affection for the Terminator movies. From the very first little movie to the latest I have enjoyed each in different ways for different reasons. None is a failure. From what I had heard and read this newest (and I hope not the last!) instalment was inferior, not respectful of its predecessors, poorly thought out and, as one reviewer wrote, makes a hash of all that went before. Fortunately for me I had seen the old double VCR version of T2 with an alternate ending, i.e., the destruction of San Francisco. Imagine my joy to see it in this movie. Terminator Genisys is reverential - there are so many scenes from the first movie it is almost plagiarism. The tricky business of time is dealt with most satisfactorily. The most shocking reversal of earlier matters was jarring but OK. Emilia Clarke was superb as this Sarah Conner. How fortunate we have been with all three actors Linda Hamilton, Lena Heady (on television) and Clarke! The male leads were very good, particularly the John Conner character with J.K Simmons giving another wonderful performance. I found the whole movie very satisfying and I hope that we will yet again hear the words, "I'll be bahck."
CSI: Cyber (2015)
Exciting, suspenseful and enjoyable
My wife and I are barely computer literate but educable. (Several of my students are employed in IT.) I am emphatically not a Patricia Arquette fan. I neither like nor watch CSI in any of its variations. I do, however, believe in giving almost any new series a chance and so it was that my wife and I settled in to watch CSI: Cyber with no great high expectations. We now have seen the second episode and we have thoroughly enjoyed both episodes. The actors are charming and their interactions, interesting. In the midst of all the computer language we have Arquette as a gifted therapist with a background. Her observations and insights give a human centre to the geeky surroundings. Exciting, human, techy drama. We like it. Therefore it will probably be cancelled very soon.
Dracula Untold (2014)
"Dracula Untold" has a title that is catchy but is not descriptive. With the obvious goal of blending some history with Hollywood's Dracula/Nosferatu legacy, the producers came up with a fascinating new vision. Luke Evans is very good in the title role and the supporting actors are uniformly good, with a special mention of Charles Dance. The various parties with axes to grind about such fiction will never be satisfied, whatever the movie might be, and both professional historians and average folks come near to blows over the character of Vlad Tepes and of Mehmet. This motion picture has a consistent view point. Flaws? Of course. Vlad is a Prince yet there is reference to his Kingdom rather than to his Princedom or Principality. The ending may be a bit saccharine but I liked it and hope for a sequel. The title? Surely this should have been called "The Tragedy of Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia". Shakespeare would have loved it.
A near perfect story
Funny, suspenseful, touching and a jolly good mystery with red herrings enough to sink a commercial fishing boat, this episode 3:4 is IMHO what "Maverick" was all about. While as a teen I preferred Bret to Bart (and I give place to no one as a fan of James Garner) I have come to a greater appreciation of Jack Kelly's Bart as I watch them now. I really think that Kelly was under-appreciated in his time both as an actor and as a comic actor. Karen Steele is at her loveliest as the girl just trying to make her way in a man's world. Gerald Mohr, an actor I liked as much "back then" as "now", gives his consistently solid performance; speaking of unappreciated actors! This is a taut little episode that deserves an attentive viewing. My only problem is that someone failed to notice that at the very beginning Bart's outfit mysteriously changes between the saddle jacket in the cemetery, to his town clothes while riding in and back to saddle gear in the hotel.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
Much BETTER than the first!
The original Sin City was gloriously stylish and, for my taste at least, hideously distasteful. I could admire much of it but the spiritual perversion of parts of it left a rotten taste in my mouth. I had expect "film noir" and got "film sick and ugly". "Sin City: A Dame to Die For" is film noir. It is raw, tough and sexy but, as with the best film noir, it is not disgusting. It is also more rooted in Los Angeles, the true home of film noir. I almost expect Philip Marlow to walk around a corner. Powers Booth is corrupted power incarnate; Eva Green is ditto for feminine evil; Jessica Alba is not only beautiful but moving in her sad part; Marv is quintessentially Marv, "300 pounds of iron"; Josh Brolin is great; Joseph Gordon-Levitt is superb. All the actors are flawless. What truly makes this a better motion picture is the story telling: tight, coherent, satisfying. That last word shows the difference between the two movies.
I, Frankenstein (2014)
A fine "What if" and an enjoyable movie
Having been ill for quite some time I return to attempting to write a review purely out of pique. I thoroughly enjoyed "I, Frankenstein" and thought it an admirable motion picture. Then I checked some of the reviews. Thus the pique. Or anger. This movie returns to the novel. Anyone who has read it can tell that from the beginning, admirably summarizing the book. The Boris Karloff "Frankenstein", fine though it is, departed completely from the book and created a new character for the monster. Thus the children comparing this movie to the 1930s masterpiece are simply missing the point. Eckhart is superb and the incomparable Bill Nihy comes through as he did in "Underworld" et seq. The invention of the gargoyles versus demons is a fine backdrop to the development of the character of "the monster" whose loneliness is palpable. The effects, both special and CGI, are great. The question:"What if Frankenstein's monster appeared in the present day?" is answered with heart and verve and skill. Cast off your assumptions and you may enjoy "I, Frankenstein".
I am still smiling
I first saw The Legend of the Lone Ranger with my then eleven year old daughter and have not seen it until this evening when I enjoyed a none to good DVD in a "FULL SCREEN"(i.e., butchered for 1.33:1 CRT TVs) format. I may never lose the idiot smile on my face. The music is what one can always expect from John Barry, one of the greatest composers to ever write for the movies. The details show a genuine effort to get things right: in the prologue set in 1854 cap-and-ball revolvers are used (1860 models but at least they tried); in the body of the motion picture Colt 1873s and Remington 1875s are used. The town and Indian village are beautifully realized while the gorgeous cinematography even survives FULL SCREEN. A pre-"Back to the Future" Christopher Lloyd is terrifying. It is redolent with references that only fans of the radio and Clayton Moore TV show would get: Detroit, John Hart, Striker. Somebody tried very hard! The Me generation's attempt to hold to the story and legend of what was entertainment and instruction for children required the blood and surfer hairdo (shudder) but such things do not detract from the Legend. I have yet to see the 2013 Lone Ranger but a friend has seen it and recommended it highly. We shall see but, for now, this 1981 movie, excoriated by critiques and shunned by North American audiences, can hold its head high.