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After the Sunset (2004)
Perhaps a lobotomized mollusk could endure this paint-by-the numbers masterpiece. Even Salma Hayek in a skimpy bikini and lingerie can't save this contrived nonsense. However, I must admit that Woody Harrelson playing Stanley Lloyd, a doofus FBI agent is worth a chuckle. If Stanley is based on a real agent, it is easy to understand why the FBI bungled the 9/11 attacks against the Twin Towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon.
In reality, this seems to be a lame sequel to the revised version of the The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Except, this time, Pierce has switched from stealing art to jewels.
There are so many holes in the script that you could drive convoys through them. For example, Agent Stan is suspended by the FBI after allowing Max to steal a rare diamond that was in a case carried by Stan. But, although suspended from the Bureau, Stan magically appears in Nassau, Bahamas, with his gun, badge, identification card and six suitcases of high-tech surveillance equipment. And, he walks right through Bahamian Customs without anyone questioning.
This was a big-budget movie (estimated at $58 million) which was initially released by New Line Cinema during 12 November 2004. It never made money. After two years the worldwide gross was a meager $61.3 million which means New Line only received approximately $30 million.
It is difficult to believe that Pierce, Salma, Woody and Don Cheadle read the pathetic script by Paul Zbyszewski (who during 2010 became co-executive producer of the Hawaii Five-O TV series). Apparently, director Brett Ratner simply offered big money and they gladly conspired to swindle the public. Obviously, New Line and Brett Ratner thought Pierce, Salma, Woody and Don in a movie was a slam dunk.
The love-story subplot between Pierce and Salma is pathetic and the pseudo love scenes are lame. But, they are magnificent compared to the bi-racial love story between Woody and Naomie Harris, who plays Sophie, a local Nassau cop. During their big love scene she receives a call on her cell phone and pushes Woody away. He begs for five minutes. "Can you do it in two minutes," she asks. He says "yes" and begins humping while they are still wearing underwear.
I won't bother explaining the idiotic ending other than to say it is appropriate for a Saturday morning kid's show.
The Phantom Planet (1961)
Low budget but visionary
Low budget production but the script is visionary in regards to anti-gravity and magnetic fields. Nuclear physicist Robert Lazar who worked at Area 51 in Nevada during the 1990s, says his job was to back-engineer a spacecraft that apparently used anti-gravity for propulsion. While, he and other scientists could theorize about anti-gravity, they and nobody else had the knowledge to create or utilize such.
Also, magnetic walls have long been studied and attempted by U.S. Department of Defense research scientists.
So, while it is easy to dismiss this film due to hokey characters and cliché love story, the script is visionary for a 1961 movie. There are many other sci-fi films far worse than this such as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians with Pia Zadora. If you want bad, this is not bad. However, it is good for low-budget films but it is not good in the context of big budget sci-fi films.
Guns are being smuggled in by an illegal immigrant. No it isn't about the United States during 2008 but rather Morocco during 1956. Captain Gallant is always enjoyable because it was shot in Morocco. Buster Crabbe plays a French Foreign Legion officer which is rather ridiculous but nobody would have an watched evil and sadistic Frenchman.
While the story seems real there are major holes in the script. This episode was probably shot during Spring 1956 because it was first broadcast December 2, 1956. Morocco became independent during 1956. Arms could only arrive by land from the Western Sahara to the south or French Algeria to the east.
Western Sahara was a desert wasteland. French Algeria was in the beginning of a violent civil war which commenced during November, 1954. It would have made sense if guns were being smuggled into French Algeria.
It is amusing to watch clean, cool Legionaires pursue evil Arabs. What is more amusing is the presentation of Colonialism as a benevolent situation. This script could have been a sitcom about the Viet-Nam war.
Smuggling story with many twists
George Raft is a New York (City) Police Department lieutenant called to investigate what appears to be a simple assault and murder of a merchant seaman while walking with his girlfriend. But, of course that is the the big setup because why would a merchant seaman be randomly murdered.
The long and winding road leads to face powder which eventually is discovered to contain expensive jewelry smuggled from France to NYC. However, this is another diversion.
The owner of the cosmetics company looks like the proverbial Mister Big behind the smuggling operation. But, again the viewer is being mislead. At the end we learn the true culprit.
This series was shot in a soundstage but fortunately the producer had the money and desire to use a second unit to shoot location shots in NYC. However, we never see George Raft at NYC locations.
This is a well-written series and Raft is a great detective. So, I recommend watching a few episodes if you can find such.
Lock Up: A Reputation (1960)
Leap of faith
Willie Clark is framed for the murder of the State Attorney investigating local crime boss John Kellso. So far, so good. But, we are shown that Willie was talking with the State Attorney when assassinated and the murderer put the gun in Willie's car.
Fast forward to the end. Willie is shot by Kelso after John Kellso reads Willie's file stolen from attorney Herb Maris, who sprung Willie from jail. Maris and the police arrive as Willie captures Kellso with a fork-lift in a warehouse. Kellso says shooting Willie was an accident and Maris agrees but adds, that the bullet in Willie's arm will convict him of murder.
Did I miss something? The murdered was Glenn Schneider (Snyder?) an investigator for the State Attorney, who later was murdered but we never know truly know if by Kellso.
However, Willie and John are great characters and testimony that stupid people can succeed in crime.
Public Defender: Operation Cleat (1955)
When lawyers were heroes
Reed Hadley plays a public defender helping the indigent, poor and abused. In this case it is a young man desperate for money who driving stolen cars to Mexico for his boss, the owner of a vehicle repair garage. After he is captured his younger brother wanders into the garage searching for him and the garage owner sends him to Mexico in a stolen car. Of course he is arrested. So, both are being held because they do not have family or friends to post bail. The older brother volunteers to work for the police if they drop charges against his younger brother. The big climax is Mr. Big and his goons beating the police informant. Fortunately, the cavalry comes to rescue as he lapses into unconsciousness. Mister Public Defender has saved another sucker from a life of crime.
This is low budget even by Hal Roach standards as obviously the studio was rapidly sinking. But, this series survived two seasons.
Sultry songbird seduces Captain Holden
Darren McGavin as Captain Grey Holden meets his match in the Julie the English nightingale who ironically is employed by con-artist Samson J. Binton, alleged mentor of P.T. Barnum. Captain Holden and his partner Bill Blake (a young Noah Berry, who you may remember as Jim Rockford's father in the Rockford Files) are about to lose their riverboat if they cannot quickly raise money to pay their loan.
Along comes Samson J. Binton and his troupe of entertainers who need transport to New Orleans to play a gig starring Julie. But, Binton does not have any money. However, he is willing to pledge his contract as collateral.
Unfortunately, Julie has decided that it is time for a lifestyle change and wants to return to nature and be one of the "real" people. Of course if she does not perform in New Orleans, then Binton does not get paid and in turn Holden does not get paid and loses his boat. The rest you can figure as this is television drama during 1961. By the way, Julie is truly a living doll.
Sweet but deadly
Charles Bickford hosts this crime drama series produced by Bernard J. Prockter. This still timely episode features an inspector for the Food and Drug Administration sent to Hunter, VA as townspeople become seriously ill. Eventually, the FDA agent learns that a local woman who bakes and sells fruit cakes from her home is the problem source.
However, she is near death in a local hospital and fruit cakes are still in the hands of the public. Moreover, the FDA laboratory confirms arsenic poisoning as the cause of illness, so FDA inspectors must learn how such is getting in the fruit cakes.
The script is still relevant and while the drama is slightly contrived, this is still an entertaining and enlightening episode. I cannot speak for the series because this is the only episode I have watched. However, I would eagerly watch others. This was produced by Conne-Stephens Inc for Bernard Prockter Television Services, Inc.
The good life in Hollywood.
Virginia Gibson stars in this early sitcom about an aspiring actress in Hollywood who lives at La Paloma Court. Surprisingly, the episode includes scenes shot on location in and around Hollywood, although most action occurs inside sound-stage sets. This 1955 series still generates laughs although most situations have now been beat to death.
Mitzie Green co-stars as roommate and also aspiring actress. Episode four focuses on their next-door neighbor Oliver Hampton, a former star who has not worked in twenty years. However, he still drives a Roll Royce, albeit a classic.
In this story, Oliver Hampton attempts to help Virginia Gibson obtain a screen-test at Imperial Studios, which is commanded by a former friend. In the end, the love you give is equal to the love you get. Unfortunately, this series only survived 24 episodes during 1955 and is almost impossible to view as surviving prints are scarce.
Operation C.I.A. (1965)
Weekend in Bangkok
If you want to watch a young Burt Reynolds pretend to act then this will fulfill your desire. Allegedly, this 1965 film is about espionage in Sai Gon, Viet-Nam. Unfortunately, the only thing accurate is the portrayal of incompetent CIA agents. The film opens with a CIA agent standing on a steet corner when a young man on a small motorcycle stops, dismounts and walks away. The alleged CIA is not suspicious and is killed by a bomb attached to the motorcycle.
Suddenly, Burt Reynolds is dispatched as a university professor with expertise in agriculture. He is educated about Viet-Nam's Mekong Delta region while flying to Hong Kong. Strangely he then takes a Thai Airways airplane to Bangkok rather than Sai Gon. The film was shot in Bangkok. Note the business signs and of course the Thai temples which do not exist is Sai Gon. Also, note the aircraft and airport buses are Thai Airways.
Supposedly, a British journalist is conspiring with some Thais (pretending to be Vietnamese) planning to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador for unknown reason. This is remotely related to events during 1945 not 1965.
General Douglas Gracey commander of the British Army in Annam (southern Viet-Nam) during 1945 conspired with French and Vietnamese agents in Sai Gon, to kill the leader of the U.S. Army OSS (forerunner of the CIA) team who was trying to negotiate with political groups aligned with the Viet-Minh in Tonkin, led by Ho Chi Minh. Gracey supported France's claim for former colonies even though President Franklin Roosevelt before his death was publicly against France taking control of such due to previous despicable colonial policies. But, I seriously doubt the scriptwriters knew anything about the political situation in southern Viet-Nam during 1945.
This film needs a logical script. Apparently, the only reason this film was produced was to spend money sitting in Thailand or simply to visit and enjoy Thai massage girls.
Obviously, during 1965, few people knew Bangkok from Sai Gon. But after eight years of war and millions of photos sent home by soldiers, it is difficult to pretend Bangkok is Sai Gon. Also, none of the Thai girls wear the white Ao Dai costume common with Vietnamese schoolgirls.
Other than being a Bert Reynolds fan, the only other reason to watch this film is if you want to see Bangkok during 1964 - 1965.