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End of the Harvest (1998)
Two stories in one.
I bought "End of the Harvest" in a DVD bargain bin (five bucks) last year, just hoping for a decent Christian-themed movie. After starting the movie, I was drawn-in by the characters and situations that were presented in the film, and I found two different themes within the movie.
The setting is on a college campus, and the main theme of the movie surrounds a study/essay of calculating the exact date of when Jesus will return and the world will end. The other theme involved a heavily promoted campus debate between Christians and non-Christians. This story was stronger and much more compelling to me, as it related to how to prepare yourself, as a Christian, to defend your faith. The two stories are tied together by a re-occurring dream that the main character has, involving a man in a field sifting wheat.
It was easy to relate to the characters in this movie, and the situations that they were up against. I tend to be a little harder on Christian-produced movies, as they are usually low-budget, and the stories are usually lack-luster and "cliche-ridden". But this one was different. I found the acting and production values to be pretty good for a low-budget movie and the story and situations were interesting and realistic for the most part.
The movie does have a sort of 80's/early 90's feel to it, but I think it has aged pretty well. I felt that the "end-times" theme was a little cheesy, but with the recent passing of the December 2012 hype, it sort of relates to our times too. And the stronger theme of movie involves standing up for what you believe as a Christian, and that relates to any age.
Some actors will be recognized from 80's TV, and recent Christian-themed hits such as the popular movie "Courageous". I can certainly recommend this movie to anyone who likes Christian-produced movies, as this one is better than average. I gave it a 7 instead of an 8 only because of the slightly-cheesy dream subplot with a sort of corny "twist" ending. But overall a good watch.
I don't get it
I've seen a great many episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", but I had not seen this particular episode until recently. I found it disappointing, to say the least.
An American tourist visits a rural town in Rome and runs into a bunch of weird teenage "hooligans". One of them speaks English. They lure the American to an old cemetery and attack him.
In the closing segment, an investigator is sent to look for the American, who is now missing. He mentions that the missing American was a drug dealer who sells to minors. I guess that was the "twist" in the story.
But questions remained- Why were the teenagers after him? Robbery wasn't the motive (he had already thrown all his money to them). At one point, much emphasis is put on a hole that is like a bottomless pit, but its never mentioned again (I guess we are to assume the man's body was thrown there maybe). If he was a big drug dealer, why was he so interested in this rural town and its history in the first place?? And so on and so forth.
A weak episode at best.
A class act!
"Invaders from the Fifth Dimension" is not only one of the best episodes of the series, it is an excellent science fiction film/story in itself.
I won't go into the plot, as you can just read the synopsis. This review will focus more on the technical aspects of the episode.
I'll first touch on the acting. Every cast member gives 100 percent, but the stand-out will go to Bill Mummy and Jonothan Harris. Most scenes involve just the two of them. Their characters are very prominent, Will being very intelligent, yet thoughtful and caring about everyone's feelings, even Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith is ruthless. He really does admire Will, and probably cares about him (though to a very limited extent). Yet Smith will do absolutely anything to save himself, offering "the Robinson tribe" to the aliens first, then ultimately Will.
One outstanding scene involving Will and Smith is when Will is starting to doubt that Dr. Smith is being truthful. As Will tries to drink some water, Smith warns him that it is actually acid. When Will shows disbelief, Smith steps back and tells Will to go ahead and touch it. Will tries to put his hand to the water, but keeps looking back at Smith, who is really putting Will to the test. Afraid to touch the water, Will apologizes to Smith, and they move on.
When watching, one can tell that much time and thought went into every aspect of this episode. The black and white film used adds to the sinister atmosphere, and the cinematography is excellent. There are several scenes where the camera pans slowly to the left or right to reveal something, and the timing is perfect. The score is also excellent.
There are some great dialog moments in this episode, but my favorite is when Smith and Don are standing near the alien spaceship. Don, seeing the ship for the first time, says "so that's the monster." Smith says, "Now, that doesn't look very monstrous, does it?" Don reply's to Smith, "Niether do you".
If I had more time, I could go on. I'll just say, LIS fan or not, this episode is worth watching, along with several episodes from season one. A quality piece of work.
My Favorite Episode!! "I have perfect 20-20-20-20 vision".
(Spoilers) The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "It may look like a Walnut" was one of a few 'dream-themed' episodes. I don't remember all of the details, but in the dream, Danny Thomas (as himself) is really an alien from a planet filled with walnuts. They don't have thumbs, but have four eyes (literally). I think they were supposed to change all humans into aliens like them. It was a little like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
If you are reading this review and have never seen the episode, I'm sure the plot sounds completely ridiculous and silly, but it is so well done, that it actually comes off as being very scary! No real special effects are used or needed. Rob's reactions to seeing the mutations are very convincing. At some point, everyone has been transformed except Rob, giving the viewer a feeling of isolation, which is usually associated with real nightmares.
This episode does an excellent job of creating a 'nightmarish' feeling, with its eerie background music, deep black and white image, and convincing performances by all, including special guest star Danny Thomas. Its as creepy as any of the best classic Twilight Zone episodes, and in fact is more effective, because we are so familiar with the characters involved.
In the episode's conclusion, Rob is awake with Laura, who states that she had just had a nightmare as well. I always have a feeling of relief, just like waking up from a real nightmare.
Oh, and the episode also has some very good funny moments as well. A perfect blend of humor and horror!
Porklips Now (1980)
Best spoof short ever!
"Porklips Now" has got to be the funniest spoof of a feature film that I've ever seen! One thing that makes it so good is that it stays so close to the original movie (Apocalypse Now). Almost every scene in this short parallels a classic scene from that movie. For example, the one guy who is skate boarding behind the car while holding the rope, is like the guy who was water skiing in Apocalypse Now. Or, the arrow through the head prop, hilarious. This short even captures some of the strange atmosphere from Apocalypse Now. Favorite line at the end of the movie: "Oh Dullard, you slay me".....DULLARD: "Actually, I was just about to do that". Its been a long time since I've seen it, so the dialog might be slightly different, but it was something like that.
Billy Gray is perfect as Dullard. He sort of reminds me of Charlie Sheen with his reactions and facial expressions. The rest of the cast of unknowns also do a very good job.
I'm sure this will make its was onto DVD at some date and time- I just hope its in my lifetime! A friend of mine had it on Betamax way back in the eighties, but it should be on DVD by now.
The Lottery (1969)
Very intense, perfectly made for what it is......
I saw this from a 16mm print about 30 years ago, and still think about it today. This short kind of has the flavor of a "Tales from the Darkside" episode to it, but seems more realistic. I agree with the previous reviewer that commented on the made-for-TV two hour version that came out in the 90's. What were they thinking? Did the folks who made that movie ever see this short? It just didn't have the horror that was present in this classic short. I can still see that woman, crying in terror, saying "it isn't fair, it isn't fair. Heavy duty stuff.
There should most definitely be a DVD of this around somewhere.