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bensonmum2

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1543 reviews in total 
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"You have committed a crime and are presumed guilty. You have a right to die.", 16 August 2017
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the future, law enforcement will essentially be out-sourced. These new police, known by the unimaginative acronym COPS, will not only arrest criminals, but also, in many instances, act as judge and juror. But the system can easily be manipulated. When a reporter threatens one of the owners of COPS, he has the reporter's name added to the wanted list with a sizable bounty and a message to kill. One of the COPS named Tucker (David Carradine) sees the system for the flawed mess it has become, decides to help the reporter, and is put on the execute list for his trouble.

If I had to use only two words to describe Future Force, I'd say it's lazy filmmaking. As an example, Future Force is lazy in the sense that, even though the movie is set in the future, very minimal effort was taken to make it look like the future. The only real futuristic aspect is the all-powerful glove used by Tucker. And, the filmmakers were so lazy they used it sparingly. Tucker uses a regular old non- futuristic pistol in 99% of the movie.

Another way Future Force is lazy can be seen in the acting. I can't remember one acting performance that stood out. Every one of them seems to be just going through the motions. The worst offender is Carradine. His performance is a fantastic example of an actor in it for the paycheck. It's easy to see he doesn't care at all about the finished product. Speaking of Carradine, he looks horrible in this movie. I can't remember ever seeing him look this out of shape. He doesn't look well.

You can see Future Force's laziness in the writing. The film is full of filler. There are scenes that add nothing to the plot. In fact, there are scenes where literally nothing happens. There are a few example I could name (people driving cars with no purpose, people doing absolutely nothing while hiding out, etc) but my favorites are a couple of rather lengthy shots of a guy having a drink. That's all he does – he pours a drink, sips it, sets the glass down, and picks it up for another drink. And it happens at least twice in the movie. It's about as lazy a job of writing as I can remember.

Future Force is another of those movies I could write about for days. The laziness extends to set-design, music, costuming, and on and on. But, as I always say, what's the point. It's a bad movie that doesn't deserve any rating higher than 2/10. In some ways it's not as bad as it is sad. Future Force is truly a depressing experience.

A good moment can't save the rest, 15 August 2017
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Rat Patrol is given a new type of highly volatile explosive to be used against a radar installation. Time is of the essence as Allied bombers will be flying overhead very soon. However, the stuff is so volatile that getting it to the target is half the challenge. Moffatt has heard tales of an old, dry riverbed that runs through the mountains that may provide The Rat Patrol with a smoother surface to transport the explosive. However, Dietrich has also heard the same tales and is waiting for Troy and his men.

In writing about the previous episode, I doubted I would find an episode I disliked as much as The Fatal Chase Raid. Well, that didn't take long. The Blow Sky High Raid is just about as bad. The problem here is the utter stupidity of the writing. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I could list about four or five things in this episode that are completely ridiculous. But the most idiotic part has to be Tory walking into the German encampment without getting shot. There's no way in this world would that have happened. Sure, he's carrying an explosive, but the German's didn't know that. With all the heartache Troy has put Dietrich through, he would have had him shot on sight. Instead, Troy waltzes in with his explosive and takes out the German radar. Ridiculous.

There is one scene in The Blow Sky High Raid that I found very interesting. Dietrich's interaction with the blind native woman, Selhim, is an incredibly compelling moment. Here, Dietrich is presented as an actual human. Sure, he's using Selhim for information, but there's more to it than that. It's easy to see he likes this woman. It's a small thing, but something different from the ordinary.

Easily my least favorite episode thus far, 15 August 2017
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Rat Patrol busts-up a convoy of German transport vehicles loaded with Allied POWs. Among the group is a Sgt Gribs who has intel on German troop movements that might be useful. Troy and Co need to get Gribs back to headquarters. Making things more difficult: the team is down to one jeep for seven guys, they're low on water, Gribs is a royal pain, and there are two soldiers who want to kill Gribs for being a coward.

The Fatal Chase Raid is easily my least favorite episode thus far. I really can't imagine enjoying any of the rest of the series any less. It's that bad. The problem is Gavin MacLeod as Gribs. MacLeod was a decent enough actor, but his Gribs character is so annoying that, like his men, I wanted to see him die also – a slow, painful death. I know the character was meant to grate at the nerves, but it's way too over the top. Had I been Troy, I would have had to knock him out to shut him up. Also, The Rat Patrol usually has an unrealistically easy time handling the Germans they face, but here, the Germans all but roll over. For example, I "like" the way The Rat Patrol was able to destroy the convoy using dynamite, yet the German vehicles were still operable. Was it skill, luck, or lazy writing? You decide.

Universal Horror (1998) (TV)
Universal's beginnings, 14 August 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Universal Horror is a look back at how Universal got started in the horror movie business. The film includes a heavy dose of very welcome film clips and some interviews with experts on the subject, famous fans, and a few stars that actually worked at Universal in the 30s. Having been a fan of Universal horror films for about 45 years, I was already familiar with most of the information presented in the movie. However, I did learn a thing or two and find some bits interesting. There's also a lot of information presented on non-Universal horror. There are big chunks dedicated to German films, silent films, and King Kong. I appreciate this. Universal didn't exist in a vacuum and drew its early inspirations from a variety of sources. I'm glad these inspirations were given screen time.

A few things that stuck out to me: 1. The Cat and the Canary (1927) – I'm a bit surprised how much time this non-Universal movie was given, but it looks great. I've seen the 1939 film, the 1979 film, and others inspired by this movie, but not the 1927 film – something I intend to take care of shortly. 2. The clips of the Universal films look fantastic. It's easy to forget how good these movies look, even though they were made 80+ years ago. I also enjoyed the comparisons to German expressionist films of the 20s. Very enlightening. 3. Fay Wray – I was a bit shocked to see an extended interview with Fay Wray as she never appeared in a Universal horror. Her recollections of filmmaking in the 30s is a highlight of the movie. She was a real looker back in her day. 4. Finally, I was a bit surprised that the Universal history presented in the film ended prior to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I know it came out way past Universal's heyday, but it was just as about as important and impressive a film for its time as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Co were for theirs.

As with all documentaries, I rate them based on two criteria – was it effective and was it entertaining. Effective – somewhat. If you're a longtime fan of Universal like I am, there's not a lot of new ground covered here. If you're new to these films, however, it would probably be hugely informative. I'll give it a 7/10 for effectiveness. Entertaining – I always enjoy seeing clips from these old films. Here, they've cherry-picked the very best scenes. It's a lot of fun. I'll also give it a 7/10 for entertainment value. So, it should come as no surprise that I've rated Universal Horror an overall 7/10.

"I'm a warrior, an assassin. I don't dance.", 11 August 2017
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm coming late to The Guardians of the Galaxy party, but boy am I glad I finally made it. What an absolutely blast of a movie. I had so much fun with this one. Everything works. The special effects are amazing. There was a time when CGI characters looked dark and not terribly convincing. How far has technology come? The action is non-stop with plenty of explosions, fight scenes, and other general craziness. It's a well-paced thrill ride that rarely slows for a breath. That's not to say there's not a story here, because there is. Guardians of the Galaxy does as much to advance the larger MCU plot line as any film Marvel has put out. As with the other Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy features a lot of funny bits. The comedy never felt forced (thankfully). Instead, it has that organic feel to it that all good comedy has. The acting is another high spot. Chris Pratt is tremendous in the lead. I can't say enough about how good he is. Underneath all that green make-up, Zoe Saldana gives a fantastic, multi-layered performance (Did I really just wrote that?). But my favorite has to be Dave Bautista as Drax. When I first read he was being cast in a large role, I was worried. His acting really surprised me. He plays Drax like an actor with years of experience. His deadpan delivery was perfect. Very nice job all the way around. I'm going to give this one a very, very strong 8/10 – and I predict I'll raise that after I watch it again.

A strange, little, genre confused film, 10 August 2017
4/10

Dimension 5 is a strange little movie that combines several different genres. At best, I'd call it harmless enough as it does provide some small degree of entertainment. At worst, I'd call it a mess of movie that attempts to mix sci-fi and romance elements into what is basically a spy movie. The results are underwhelming. The sci-fi is missing from 3/4 of the movie, the romance isn't very believable, and the spy parts are too easily solved or handled.

Dimension 5's plot is a difficult one to summarize. A group called Dragon plans to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles if the US doesn't draw down its forces in South East Asia. Agent Justin Power (Jeffrey Hunter) is put on the case. He has at his disposal a time travel belt. He uses knowledge from the future to effect events in the present. He is assigned a partner, Ki Ti Tsu (France Nuyen), from Hong Kong. She is familiar with Dragon. Together, they'll have to discover the mastermind behind Dragon, how Dragon intends on bringing the device into the US, and put a stop to the plan.

Here's a laundry list of issues and observations I took from Dimension 5:

- I recently wrote about the lack of on-screen chemistry in Thor: The Dark World. If it's possible, Hunter and Nuyen have even less spark. On a scale of 1 – 10, I'd rate their on-screen chemistry at about a zero.

- The build-up to the big reveal that Power's new partner is a woman was painful to watch. I'm not sure how many times Power's boss said something like "your associate" or "your partner" without once using a pronoun. Maybe a female agent was surprising in 1966, but I found the whole exercise tedious.

- The time shift belt is featured in the first 10 minutes of the film and is all but forgotten until the final 10 minutes. There are plenty of other instances where the belt would have helped our heroes. And, at one point, we are treated to some rather lengthy scientific mumbo- jumbo about the dangers of getting stuck in a time shift. But I'm not sure why all this time is wasted on foreshadowing that goes nowhere. That movie, where the characters are caught in a different time arc, might have been more interesting.

- Why is Harold Sakata in this movie? You hire a big bruiser like Sakata and then put him in a wheelchair. What were they thinking? Also, what was the deal with Sakata's dubbing? The dubbing was horribly obvious. The sound quality was completely different from anything else in the film. However, I will give Dimension 5 some credit for hiring actual Asians like Sakata, Nuyen, and a host of others to play Asian parts. A lot of studios and producers would have hired non-Asians and (as I call it) "yellow-faced" the parts. I appreciate the effort.

"Well done, you just decapitated your grandfather!", 10 August 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A powerful, ancient force known as the Aether is uncovered on Earth and finds its way into an unsuspecting host, Dr. Jane Foster. Thor takes Jane to Asgard for answers and help. Unbeknownst to anyone in Asgard (or in the rest of the Universe for that matter), the reemergence of the Aether has woken Malekith, a Dark Elf intent on gaining the Aether's power. He'll destroy all of Asgard if need be to get what he wants. As expected, it's up to Thor to save Jane, Asgard, and all of creation.

Overall, Thor: The Dark World (or Thor 2 as I'll call it for the rest of this) is an entertaining film. It has a few problems that keep me from calling it one of Marvel's best, but it's not a bad movie. Despite most of what I'm about to write sounding negative, I'm rating Thor 2 a 7/10. I honestly like the movie.

There are at least three things in Thor 2 that could have been better. First, the relationship between Jane and Thor has about as much life as a dead fish. There's no spark or chemistry that I could feel. It reminded me of another ill-fated on-screen romance featuring Natalie Portman – Padme and Anakin. The on-screen chemistry isn't helped by Portman's acting. It seemed obvious to me that Portman would have rather have been just about anywhere other than making another Thor movie. She looked disinterested in the whole thing. Second, the plot is thin and never really drew me in the way I'd hoped. Maybe others felt different, but it just didn't work on me. Maybe it was the villain that I didn't find engaging or Portman's off-putting performance or events I the movie that required huge amounts of exposition – whatever, the plot was a weak point for me. Third, Thor 2 could have been better with more Loki. For me, the highlight of both Thor movies has been Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He's so good. I'm not sure what kind of plot the MCU folks could come up with, but I would love to see a stand-alone Loki movie. How awesome would that be!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Monumentally and epically horrible, 8 August 2017
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm going to skip trying to write my own pithy little plot summary for the drivel known as The Last Slumber Party. It's so bad, a plot summary isn't worth my time. Instead, here's what's written on IMDb: "Linda, Tracy, and Chris are a trio of teenage girls who decide to celebrate the last day of high school by having a slumber party at Linda's house. A few guys also show up to further enhance the merry festivities. However, things take a turn for the worse when a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from a mental hospital crashes the bash."

I watch a whole lot of bad movies, so trust me when I say The Last Slumber Party is monumentally and epically horrible. Racking my brain, I can think of only a tiny handful of movies that I consider this bad. It reeks worse than a can of tuna left open in a dorm room over Christmas break (I actually did that many moons ago). It's another of those movies that's Gawd awful in every aspect. It's so bad I couldn't even find things to laugh at. Acting, casting, cinematography, special effects, music, every technical aspect you can think of, direction, editing, plotting – you name it, it's all pitiful. And though I could blame the lack of a real budget, instead, I think it's the poor writing that really does this movie in. It's just so stupid. None of it, especially character motivation, makes the first bit of sense. I've most likely already spent more time writing this little "review" than was spent writing the script for The Last Slumber Party. I normally avoid using this word when describing a movie, but it applies here – The Last Slumber Party SUCKS!

"I've told you - there's no such thing as a green man!", 8 August 2017
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Galaxy Invader tells the story of a couple of clueless rednecks who come upon an alien with a powerful weapon. The pair believe that if they can capture the alien, they'll hit the jackpot. The alien, however, isn't going to be easy to take. The industrious rednecks recruit some friends from a local bar to help them out. Soon, the woods are full of drunken yokels with guns and an alien with an even more deadly gun. It's not a good combination.

The Galaxy Invader is another of those films that I find difficult to write about. Director Don Doher has either crafted one of the most inept pieces of garbage I've ever watched or he's intentionally created a master-class in "so bad it's good" filmmaking. While I suspect the former, there are so many aspects of the film that scrape the proverbial bottom-of-the-barrel that any breathing adult involved in making the film should have been able to see how horrid the whole thing was. There are so many examples of what I'm talking about that I could quite literally write pages about the direction, special effects, costuming, plot, and on and on. Instead, I'll focus on the acting and casting to try to make my point. I've written about poor acting in any number of movies. The Galaxy Invader, however, is on another level altogether. The acting here is so bad you really have ask yourself if it was done on purpose. Rarely do you hear the dialogue of an entire film delivered in such a stilted, unnatural fashion. I've seen elementary school plays with more believable acting. The casting only accentuates the poor acting. The family of hillbillys speaks with at least four different accents. Father has an over-the-top country sound. Mother sounds like she's from New England. Daughter sounds like she's straight out of Brooklyn. And the son speaks with very little noticeable accent – I don't believe that dopey isn't a regional dialect. Surely someone involved with the film noticed all this. Was it bad filmmaking or was it intentional and was Doher having a laugh?

In the end, The Galaxy Invader is bad – there's really no other way to look at it. The movie is horrible in every way a movie can be. However, it is not without some limited entertainment value – intentional or not. I'm rating it a 4/10.

Utterly and completely ridiculous, 3 August 2017
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nancy drew is hired by the father of a tennis pro to keep an eye on his daughter. It seems she's something of a kleptomaniac. A series of robberies in the hotel where the latest tennis tournament is being held has Nancy concerned, but she's convinced her client is innocent. Can she solve the case and find the real criminal?

In general, I enjoy the Nancy Drew episodes. There are exception, but as a group, I find them better than the Hardy Boys episodes. Nancy Drew's Love Match is one of the exceptions. It's utterly and completely ridiculous. A quick example – Nancy faking a relationship with one of the tennis players. It's plain old stupid. The acting in the episode is pretty bad. Maureen McCormick may have been something of a 70s icon, but she can't act. Finally, the sound in Nancy Drew's Love Match is so bad it's distracting. I've written before about the dubbing or looping etc that you'll find in these Hardy Boys Nancy Drew episodes. It's pathetic in this one. I've seen dubbed Japanese films where the voices and lips match up better than they do here.

Also, by the time Nancy Drew's Love Match was filmed, Jean Rasey was no longer playing the part of George – and it really bugged me. Even though Susan Buckner is fine actress, she's just isn't right in the role.


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