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34 reviews in total 
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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Give the kid a break!, 18 March 2013

This movie is nothing but WWII anti-Nazi propaganda. But it achieves what its producers wanted to achieve: inform the American people that the Nazi War Machine is thorough when it comes indoctrination.

It's all about a German boy refugee - Emil - who turns out to be a nasty Nazi to the bone. He comes up against his American relatives who offer to take him in and show him the benefits of life in the U.S.A.

The boy played by Skip Homeier is captivating in a "Bad Seed" way. How else would this kid go on to enjoy a long-lived movie and TV career playing @$$h0les??? I enjoyed the rest of the cast as well. Fredric March as a gruff uncle, Betty Field as his fiancé whose Jewishness causes the obvious problems when a Nazi moves in, Agnes Moorehead as March's sister who expresses prejudice against all Germans, and Joan Carroll as March's little sister who stands up for Emil but who ends up a victim of her own good heart.

There's also a German housekeeper who demonstrates how not all Germans who speak with thick accents are Nazis.

I know a lot of people today are shocked at this type of propaganda, but it really is no different - or better or worse - than what was being put out by every other studio in Hollywood. Check out Disney's animated "Education for Death" or Warner Brothers' "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" and STFU.

Ultimately, what sets TTW apart from other Hollywood-produced propaganda is that it was first a successful Broadway play prior to becoming a movie. New York theatergoers in the 1940s - many of them Jewish no doubt - found favor in this play. Expectations from performance pieces were obviously different back then.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Great "Oz" movie! But maybe too "Ozzy" for today's audiences?, 10 March 2013
8/10

Well - yes - this cannot compare to the 1939 movie. But NOTHING will ever come close to the 1939 movie.

That said, "Oz the Great and Powerful" is a very clever, well-made film that, in addition to pulling elements from both the original Oz books and the 1939 film, manages to come up with quite a few original and innovative story elements of its own regarding "pre-Dorothy" Oz - capable of holding its own against the novel/musical "Wicked." James Franco is great as "O.Z.": the character of the Wizard - while portrayed in the 1939 movie as a lovable "humbug" - is more of a snarky, flimflam in the Oz books, and that certainly comes across in this movie.

The China Doll is wonderful character inspired by a chapter in the original "Wizard" story that has never been realized in any previous Oz film: in that book, Dorothy and her trio stumble upon a land where everything is made of fine porcelain - or "china." (Obviously, with the expiration of the copyright of all of Baum's works, Disney had to come up with a character which is unique to "Oz the Great and Powerful" yet still maintains some sort of tie to Baum's Land of Oz.)

There are also numerous jabs/dares when it comes to the 1939 movie. There is a glamorous wicked witch - which pays homage to the initial casting of 1930s Hollywood beauty Gale Sondergaard in the role of the Wicked Witch. There is also a bevy of dialogue that sounds ripped from the soundtrack of the 1939 movie - until such dialogue is fully delivered and you realize the phrase was either a line from the book or simply can stand on its own despite being uttered in the 1939 film ("I'll get you my pretty..." and "You put the 'merry' in the 'merry old Land of Oz").

The witches - good and wicked - are all wonderfully portrayed, and the sets are certainly much more visually appealing than Disney's last Oz-go-round "Return To Oz" (1985).

The BIGGEST PROBLEM for many viewers boils down to the fact that the script remains extremely faithful to L. Frank Baum's vision of Oz: Baum's perspective is/was that of a writer in the early part of the 20th century. Consequently, there is strong "pacifist" aspect to this movie's portrayal of the Land of Oz and its people, which - without giving anything away - either may not sit well with contemporary viewers or else, perhaps more importantly, dilutes the potential for a "slam-bang" finish.

Additionally, in Baum's original "Wizard," the title character, whether in spite of or else because of his "humbug" background, was all about helping the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to realize that the goals they sought - a brain, a heart and courage - were mere token symbols for qualities already evident in these three characters (the Scarecrow, for instance, constantly figured out ways to overcome adversity while fighting the Wicked Witch of the West - yet, at the same time, he was always bemoaned the fact that he did not have a brain; likewise, the Tin Man cried at one point because he stepped on a bug and felt that such a "cruel" act would never have happened if he had a heart in the first place). Well, that attitude - "It's what ya do what ya got" (what Disney film first promoted that same notion??? BONUS POINTS if you can name it!) - permeates this film over and over. Consequently, the finale of this film may not be "confrontational" enough for many viewers, who like their Good/Evil battles to have more head-to-head violence.

Ultimately, Baum's writing reflected the attitudes - and indeed maturity - of the collective American mindset of the early 20th century, when Americans were much more naive and innocent than today. (Seriously - the notion of a Fairyland whose inhabitants do not kill their enemies in order to survive was only possible in the years prior to WWI!) As such, "Oz the Great and Powerful," may seem too "juvenile" and move too slow for contemporary viewers conditioned to the sagas of "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter."

On that note, it's probably wise to remember that the Oz books were the "Harry Potter" books of their time - albeit their longevity record outdoes Harry by a long-shot: over a hundred years.

My advice: Don't expect "Harry," DO expect BAUM and you'll be fine with this movie.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
It was a BOMB - BIG TIME!, 17 August 2011

I remember all the hype given the show. Okay - if you don't want to call it a "Charlie's Angels ripoff," you must at least acknowledge that the show would not have been greenlighted were it not for "Jiggle TV." I remember seeing the promo ad in TV Guide (is that even sold anymore?), with the main characters posed to look vibrant, girly-sexy and "commercial." Well - I'm GAY so of course I was into the whole "glamour-girls-on-an-adventure" show.

Well, the show may have been better-written, better-plotted than "Charlie's Angels," but it was nowhere as much fun.

That's why these "American Girls" are but a forgotten footnote in the history of 80s TV.

0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
"LOSER" movie, 19 December 2010
4/10

You know it's bad when you watch this movie over ten years after its original release and nobody - but NOBODY - recognizes the actors in the film.

We might as well be watching Louise Fazenda.

To boot, this movie is filled with actors who SHOULD be stars in front of a gay audience.

Unfortunately, Mara Hobel of "Christina"/'Mommie Dearest" fame turns out to be just another overweight faghag (oh dear - is that being redundant?), while Hugh Panaro as the "gay fantasy" turns out to be just another "show tunes queen."

The other two "leads"? Well - one has a great body but neither ever went anywhere in terms of show business careers so why even comment???

That is MY review of this TRAINWRECK.

4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
UGH! Tepid tempest in a teapot, 22 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie centers on Mccabe's fascination with plastic surgery (she just can't let the memory of her father go) - and also her own fears of aging and whether she will end up like her father's patients, wanting to look young.

Well, it's all for naught - all that happens is that we hear testimony from people who have had surgery and why they did it, in particular one woman who is obsessed but who becomes friendly with the filmmaker (we're supposed to feel this portrait is more intimate than the others I guess).

Anyway, eventually the filmmaker herself starts wondering what she would have done - but in the end, the movie needs more surgery than Mitch will (although some might disagree with that assessment).

Saw this at a preview in New York: the audience was like WTF?

UGH! An Exercise in Unbridled Self-Indulgence, 17 April 2009

While certainly some segments are entertaining in their own right, the majority of this movie focuses on the notion of "poor little me" - the "me" being the filmmaker who is wrestling with telling her parents that she's gay.

It's all for naught: she never does; but, more importantly, we the viewers end up not caring!

The problem here is that the filmmaker had Ross McElloway (misspelled but I don't feel like looking his boring profile up) as her instructor.

One of the few positive things that can be said about McCabe's exercise in unbridled self- indulgence is that is nowhere as near as painful to watch (and definitely nowhere as achingly long) as her professor's "tour-de-torch" "Sherman's March".

Oh - one more thing - filmmaker McCabe no longer considers herself "gay" - so even those in the gay community who might be tempted to check this in the name of "sisterhood" you can fuggeddaboutit: Miss Mitch has moved on - and you should too by skipping over this now "out-dated" piece.

17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Always HATED this show, 6 January 2009

Lucille Ball was a headstrong actress.

When she was doing "I Love Lucy" she always yielded to Desi Arnaz because of her love for him and her respect for his management of the show.

When she did "Lucy Show" everything changed: she was divorced, her voice had changed because of doing the Broadway show "Wildcat" (it wrecked her vocal chords), she got Desilu Studios as part of the divorce settlement and she became a big time b!tch.

Her on screen technique changed changed as a result.

Her presence became totally mechanized: mugging and groaning through every scene.

Her insecurity at not having Desi meant she ruled the set, firing one actor when he stood up to her, using salty language to make people cringe and, finally, making uber-b!tch guest star Joan Crawford cry.

I think the real nadir of the series (and of all of Broadcast TV, really) came when she did that horribly, awful show where she gets drafted because a letter arrives for "Lou C. Carmichael" and her name in the series is "Lucy Carmichael".

The Army insists she be drafted nevertheless, and she gets her hair dutifully buzzed off while sporting a private uniform. Then they put her through boot camp.

STOOOOPID and actually UNCOMFORTABLE TO WATCH.

But it was "Lucy" - so I did.

Thus was the currency of Lucille Ball: even if they were pennies, they were pennies from Heaven.

I LOVE/MISS LUCY RICARDO!!!

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Campy, contrived movie - but fun nonetheless, 4 January 2009

Poor Connie Stevens!

She's a rich girl in love with a handsome man - and she does the nasty on a romantic ocean cruise.

She ends up preggers, and subsequently a single mom.

She and her mother Dorothy Maguire pay their dues as wealthy tormented women of the 60s, covering for each other, trying to maintain dignity in the face of possible scandal and additional tragedy.

But face it: over the course of the movie, Connie is sought by three hunky guys - why should I cry crocodile tears for her???

She doesn't come off as spoiled which is why you go with the many ridiculous turns of this film. Probably her best dramatic performance.

At times, you do want to slap Dorothy Maguire's character: she is Susan's mother, and incessantly insists on imposing 50s values on her daughter who is ready to break with tradition and embrace the 60s.

Oh - and then intermittently "Mrs. Howell" (Natalie Schaefer) shows up from time to time to remind everyone of the social tension in the situation - but she comes off as "Lovey" nonetheless (particularly when one segment of the film takes place amid palm trees in Central America).

Yes - campy, never really insipid, it's a fun movie!

0 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Technically superb - but a STINKEROO nonetheless, 30 August 2008

When are producers of geologic movies going to understand that having scientists speak on- camera about all the "awesome, cool" aspects of earth science is BORING.

When are said producers going to understand that all that animation is pointless if it's not explained correctly and visually?

AND - when is the entire video/geology community finally going to get past the idea that an asteroid is responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs???

"Faces of Earth" is a classic case of what happens when producers have too much money but too little insight into the subject they are presenting.

This subject matter can be very compelling when presented in the right way - but - so far - NO ONE HAS GOTTEN IT RIGHT.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Product of Its Time, 12 May 2008

Disney like most other Americans in the early 1940s wanted to find some way to contribute to the war effort short of actually fighting. This film - along with the other wartime shorts on the DVD that contains it - stems from that impulse.

On one level, the film is meant to educate general audience in the scenarios of the history of flight, aerial combat and the (then) global crisis regarding the Allies vs. the Axis powers.

It does its job, entertaining when possible, affirming destruction and American/Allied dominance at critical points.

During my most recent viewing of it, I found that it almost seemed to make the case for nuclear warfare. Not outright, mind you, but through its continued emphasis of how Allied airstrikes, because of their remote points of origin, can/could not possibly inflict enough damage to Axis supply lines to shut them down. The film and its military authority Major Seversky propose that long range bombers are the answer - after which a presumably innovative animated version of just such a long range bomber is shown on screen: its long, clumsy-looking, with several large gunwales pointing out all over the plane's body. After seeing that, i could only surmise that military officials of the 1940s saw the folly in trying to build bigger and better airships to do in the Axis. Instead, per the film's rhetoric, the more logical solution seems/seemed to be: "Forget about trying to send a volley of superplanes; instead, send only one plane - but design its cargo to deliver Armageddon!"


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