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American Poltergeist (2015)
This one has it all, bad acting, bad plot, bad writing.. You never get to like any character, and it had the feel of one of those porn films someone tried too hard with and tried to make entertaining. Porn film without the porn. It isn't scary at all and used every tired horror cliché. The back story surely could have been better if they hadn't tried to tack it to a real historic and researchable case. A little more imagination could have gone a long way. The acting is so wooden that it could have been done better with hand puppets, though in the case of the creepy house owner, that very much serves the story. I'm wondering if this was intended as a quasi comedy along the lines of "Birdemic- Shock & Awe" in that its so bad its strangely good? But this doesn't have the same kind of appeal. It's just a horrible horrible movie that has already been made a hundred times over. Don't bother with this film I'm sure there is some drying paint that needs watching?
Hell Baby (2013)
Funniest thing I've seen for years
Laugh out loud funny, stupid funny, creepy funny, every sort of funny. What a terrific movie! Hell Baby brings together some of the greatest 21st Century comedians in a romp through every horror movie cliché in the book whilst still having a considerably broad seam of "WTF?" all its own. Great performances all round with a special mention for cable internet guy Kumail Nanjiani who took a small role and made it into a character I will never forget weeping tears of laughter as he so s-l-o-w-l-y went upon his way. Thoroughly entertaining, marvellously stupid; this may not be everyone's taste but it most certainly is mine. I've not laughed this much at any film that wasn't made by Carl Reiner. Well done Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon.. ...again
Meet My Mom (2010)
100% the worst movie I have ever seen in my life
Trite, hackneyed, badly written, diabolically acted vomit fest of epic proportions. Every cliché in the book, with unrealistic characters who are totally unlikeable because they are just too perfect in every way. This film offers no plot, no incident, no interest and I'd assume it was written by a ten year old Barbie obsessed girl if I didn't have more respect for children's imagination..I love a good romance as much as the next person, but the characters seemed so unrealistic I simply wasn't able to believe a single word of it. Stefanie Powers was the only thing about this movie I liked, and even she has done much much better things in the past. Watch this film if you love to be talked down to from a fantastic height.. otherwise, avoid like the plague
Invention with Brian Forbes (2009)
Underrated Hidden Gem
Tucked away on the web, this excellent series has never been as appreciated as it should be. Along with much of the other work of the very talented Tom Konkle and David Beeler, this has yet to reach the audience that is surely out there for this nutty smiley silliness.
Konkle and Beeler are full of excellent and original ideas that lift them out of the chorus line of post-Python, British inspired Absurdist comedy and what they have to offer has real warmth and charm. They deserve better ratings and a far wider audience.
"Invention with Brian Forbes" apes British style talk-and-tech shows like the classic 1970s "Tomorrow's World" but is cleverly character driven rather than attempting a direct parody.
I hope more people will take the time out to check out this show and other Konkle and Beeler productions to be found on the internet
Al's Brain in 3-D (2009)
A must for Yankovic fans
I was keen enough to see this to come to the OC Fair from the UK and I am glad I did. Educationally speaking I did indeed learn 100% more than I had previously known about the structure and working of the brain. The script was witty and "typical Al" and it was fun to spot and identify the people delivering the "vox pop" questions and celebrity cameos. I have to admit I was less entertained by the Billy the Brain and Norm the Owl characters than I was by Al himself, but overall, the main draw was the original song which I managed to memorise. I wish this song would become commercially available at some point. The film was very enjoyable, and coupled with the pre-show shorts and the exhibit of Brain Facts; (many of which I later recognised as standard Ripley's Believe It Or Not fodder) it was all an enjoyable experience especially when viewed alongside other friends who had come to California for this event, including a friend from Buenos Aires. All in all as a complete package it gets 10/10. I understand there will be a repeat showing at the 2010 OC Fair and I will be coming back to the USA to see it again as well as to see Al in concert
Mansfield Park (1983)
The best ever
This is unquestionably the best ever adaptation of this book, faithful to the text and faithful to the feeling of the book. Sylvestra le Touzel is appropriately mouse-like and really embodies the real Fanny Price, (one of my favourite Austen heroines). She displays that transcendence of flesh that Austen uses as a metaphor for stability in an increasingly precarious situation, both for the estate and for the individuals associated with it. More recent adaptations have tried to make Fanny more capricious and human... but that is not what she is about. She represents the rise of the diligent lower classes to dominate the corrupt aristocracy, of merit over money, and morality over license. She and Edmund are the eventual winners, custodians of their inheritance, when all the favoured children have fallen into sin and temptation and proved themselves unworthy. Fanny Price is not so very different from Jane Bennett, Anne Elliot or Elinor Dashwood. I don't understand why so many people find her character "difficult"
A Traveller in Time (1978)
This is one of the highlights of the classic age of kids TV. It was spooky and exciting and poignantly tragic. Simon Gipps-Kent was just SO fantastic. I used to watch everything he was in.
Basically, the girl in the story found herself time travelling back to Elizabethan days (late 1500's)and found herself caught up in an abortive treasonable plot against the Queen by a Catholic faction supportive of Mary, Queen of Scots. Why TV like this isn't made any more is beyond me. Stories like "Harry Potter" and "His Dark Materials" show that fantasy is still very much appreciated.
Sadly, kids TV is now a poor relation.. make it fast, make it cheap, loud, inclusive, simple, trendy, modern day...
Somebody needs to realise that children need a variety of programmes, not just "junk food TV"
This series was typical of the engaging and classy output of its era, when children were treasured and given quality brain food as a matter of course
The Devil's Rain (1975)
This film made a massive impression on me, I'm afraid. Everything about it is revolting. It's one of only three programmes I've ever seen that caused me to vomit repeatedly.
The story is fairly pedestrian, but the concept and effects are extremely disturbing. I did not know until reading the comments here that Anton Le Vey was a consultant on the movie, but I guess this, finally, is the explanation for why a basically run of the mill picture had such a bad impression on me that even now, 26 years after watching it, it still causes me to shudder at the very thought. It does have a very "authentic occult feel" that might be impenetrable or just "silly" to many, but having at one time been very well informed on the subject, I think it would be fair to say that I recognised references to what I now consider very psychologically damaging concepts embedded in this film.. and now I know why!... so I am glad I looked this up. I wouldn't urge anyone to watch this, other than to observe how gut-wrenchingly revolting it is. I realise it was *meant* to be entertaining and fun, but I do see some much darker elements within that are less well intentioned
Anne of Green Gables (1972)
I loved this
I absolutely cannot believe this masterpiece is lost! I remember it so clearly and often wondered if it was going to be repeated... apparently not, worst luck.
For me this is the definitive version, infinitely superior to the Canadian version of (many) years later. Matthew's quiet shyness, Mrs Lynde's nosiness, Marilla's brusqueness.. and Anne... portrayed by Kim Braden with all the dreamy luminosity so evident in the books, and with none of the relentless cheesiness that often comes across in English adaptations of New World literature of this period. Kim managed to be perfectly believable as a girl far younger than herself, and inhabited Anne in a way no other actress could have done. It was easy to believe in her winning charisma and unusual beauty. This adaptation marked a seminal moment in my childhood, and every episode was a filled with joy and sorrow and often cringing embarrassment as the audience learned, along with Anne, the consequences of Pride, Vanity, Anger, Greed, Covetousness etc. etc. gently teaching as we laughed and cried along with our flawed, but wonderful heroine.
Can it REALLY be lost?
Please, someone in TV land, check your shed, your office cabinet, the attic.... Rediscover this shining and glorious work, I beg you!
Miss Marie Lloyd (2007)
Strange but Familiar
This definitely had a very strange feel to it, almost as if it had been first conceived by an aficionado in about 1964 but got shelved and handed eventually to a lot of Media Studies students after languishing in a box for 40 years.
So what sort of a job did they do?
Well it really needs to be split into two parts, the story/ portrayal; and the "production". Firstly the production.
They did not know how to present this did they?
Did they think it was beyond us? That their subject was too long dead for people to have heard of her? I'd like to point out that, despite Marie Lloyd's death in 1922, and myself not being born until 1964 and despite my not being a theatre or musical comedy fan I can honestly say I knew most of the words to most of the songs.. (which I found slightly scary), so the producers need not have been so apologetic that they felt the need to shove in a completely irrelevant and out of place "Prologue" character whose inclusion, as the only representative of an ethnic minority, can only be regarded as the worst sort of self-conscious, politically correct tokenism.. and they didn't even bother to get him to sing in a period "Music-Hall Style" but to warble Edwardian songs a la Marvin Gaye. It was a bad mistake to make. Never "apologise" for the past and create a revisionist version of it (This has also occurred in the Recent "Robin Hood", in "The Ruby in the Smoke" and others.. and frankly, it is jarring) If you are presenting a period piece it has to be accurate to the period in my view or the whole effort is wasted. Nil Points for this uncomfortable and amateurish device. Rubbish
Turning to the original point of the whole thing ie. the story of Marie Lloyd.. again a feeble effort really, poorly planned out, evidence of "don't care-ishness" about it all However......... What saved this whole thing were the performances. Jessie Wallace was remarkably believable as the main character and seemed to have made at least some considerable effort to copy the singing style of the era which almost made up for her evident lack of singing talent. The men surrounding her were all played well and never eclipsed Jessie's tour de force of character acting.. she really lit up the screen. What a pity that she should shine so brightly in such a disastrous fiasco of a production.
I'd like to see this as a stage play actually. I think it would work better that way
Fantastic songs, all so familiar from childhood for me. I was singing along, and laughing out loud, and crying along with Jessie, who was desperately hobbled by a mostly limp script and all the other bizarre shenanigans