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Mission: Impossible (1966)
A Mission OF Unforgettable Memories
Growing up in the magic era of the sixties, who can not look back at television and the music of that time. Now in the next century Hollywood is using so many aspects of the sixties. Its music and television. Mission Impossible has been redone at least twice in the movies. Yes, the budget is much higher but the fun of "Barney, Willy, Mr Briggs or Phelps, Cinnamon or of Rollin cannot be ever recreated. I can still see little Wally Cox being put in a suitcase and the husky Willy carrying him. Or another master of faces, Ventlos replacing Rollin in a Bunker and how exciting the escape of the team in rescuing the Rojaks as the Bunker exploded.
The love of the team for each other when one of them were captured and an all out rescue would occur. Or the surprise and joy of the team when Willy was not killed but captured. This show was ahead of its time. Along with Mannix and Hawaii Five-O these three shows made the sixties something special.
The Uninvited (1996)
A Truly Univited Remake
When I first saw the title of this film on my T.V. list I expected the classic movie made in the forties. It started out in color which meant it was just a remake. There was even a large tree in the opening moments. Much like the original, a tree is very important. Then just as quick as a flash of lightening, anything classic about this film disappeared. Suddenly the plot started to remind me of "Poltergeist." I also loved the first 2 "Poltergeists" but this was NO POLTERGEIST. The ending was really the best part of the film. It featured the strength of a women in mortal combat. Would she win or lose against the supernatural? I know that the writers of this film lost in their battle for something original.
Three Came Home (1950)
One Of Claudette's Best
Claudette Colbert plays Agnes Keith, prisoner. The time period is WWII. Agnes is a married woman with a child that has no idea of what is about to happen to her. She will be taken to a woman's prisoner of war camp. Her boy stays with her but her husband is taken away. There is no hope for any of the women. Life is hard. Forced physical labor is the rule of the day. Soldiers show no feelings for their captives. Sessue Hayakawa plays Colonel Suga, in charge of the camp. A man that follows orders and yet does seem to try to treat the women with some respect. As the months carry on. Will help ever arrive at the camp? Will this war ever end the punishment of being a prisoner? Will the women ever see their husbands again? A fine performance by Claudette. The ending ends with both human sadness and victory.
Pot o' Gold (1941)
No Pot Of Gold
James Stewart plays James Haskel. A man that is trying to carry on with his father's music shop. Times are hard and business is light. Uncle Charlie has another idea. Jimmy is the last of the Haskel family and Uncle Charlie would like his last relative to carry on his business. A simple plot to start with. When James gives up the music business and reports for duty with uncle then this film blows a flat note. James Stewart singing, dancing and playing the harmonica is a little hard to believe. Was Stewart really singing? I don't know for sure. A believable beginning just becomes so murky that this is definitely is Stewart's worst film. The rest of the cast provides nothing of any worth.
Made for Each Other (1939)
Stewart or Lombard, Not Made For Each Other
James Stewart plays Johnny Mason, lawyer. Carole Lombard is Jane Mason, wife. Lucile Watson the mother-in-law Harriet Mason. Johnny sees Jane and quickly marries her. Mother is disappointed. Mother lives with them. Many troubles are ahead. Jane can't cook. Can't set the table. Can't do many things according to mother. The interaction between daughter-in-law and mother are the highlights of this film. Stewart and Lombard are married but just don't have any real magic on screen. Stewart is Stewart. He is good as a timid husband and son but this doesn't carry the film. Can baby Mason build bridges between Jane and Harriet? A believable film for those that are married.
Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944)
One of Edward G's Best
Edward G Robinson is wonderful as Wilbert Winkle. A meek and short man that has several problems. A personality that is timid. An office job in a bank that curtails any creativity. A wife that is not very supportive. No children. A man so timid that he actually asks his boss if he can quit. A man that just exists and never makes a difference in this world. Could that change?
Winkle decides to make a difference. He quits despite his boss. He wants to be "mr. fixer-upper." He has a boy by the name of Barry that he wants to help. A boy that is from a home-for-boys. Barry becomes the partner in the new business. Yes, life will be a challenge. Little did Winkle know just what was ahead in his new life.
World War II needs men. Strong, tall, able men even short, old and timid men. Poor Winkle, his business and Barry will have to wait. His wife will have to wait, but then his wife didn't have much time for him anyway. Men die, men are wounded, would this happen to Winkle?
A fine acting vehicle for Robinson to display that he can act. A film that you will enjoy!
Lady Takes Charge
Having grown up with watching the original series on television my standards were very high. Thunderbirds #1 - 5 were perfect. The Mole and other devices were perfection. The car of Lady P was perfection. My favorites Lady Penelope and Parker were also great. If the director had stayed on rescues and interactions between the adult characters then this would have been a "gem" but instead the children were the featured characters. A big mistake. I would have loved a sequel to this film but realize that it will never happen. Lady Penelope tried her best but could not save this film. Still, I enjoyed the film but so wanted much more and looking at attendance figures many of you also expected more.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Classic Chips To Enjoy
Robert Donat plays the role to perfection. An instructor of young men. A man that in his youth seemed to be headed to just an ordinary career in Education. A quiet and almost timid man among his peers. A man that would probably spend his whole life alone, just doing his job with no personal life. That totally changes when Greer Garson enters the picture. An encounter in the mountains that is totally unpredictable. Not planned, yes, but a life changing encounter. End result for Mr. Chips - a wife and new life. The instructors at the school as while as the students cannot believe that this man is now with wife. A couple that grow with each other but also begin to establish a warm relationship with the students. Students develop as men because of the time with their instructor. This will prepare them for war. This film will put a sense of sadness as well as a true warmth of humanity. A must see!
Nancy Takes A Flight
Nancy Drew battles to prove that her uncle Matt is innocent of murder. Nancy also battles her father Carson Drew but not over how to prove her uncle innocent but over his love life. Mr Drew has been single for many years but meets Edna Gregory, a single woman that likes him. What, another woman for Mr Drew, heavens no!, not for Nancy's father! She enlists the help of her friend Ted to battle this Gregory woman. But love transcends all ages as Ted is bitten by the "cupid" arrow also. Fine performance by John Litel and Charlotte Wynters "Drew & Gregory" make this Nancy Drew film one of the best ever made. The ending will also take your breathe away as Nancy becomes co-air pilot w/Ted a self taught "by book" pilot. So I leave these questions with you, can Nancy free her uncle? Can Nancy stop her father from asking a certain question?
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Who Sid That Clowns Are Evil
With a title like this film I didn't know what to expect but was open to almost anything. What occurred was disappointing because of the constant flashbacks, flashaheads or flashpresent scenes that kept happening. Limit those scenes and maybe this film would make some sense. It was similar to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" with many more killing characters and bodies. One very interesting character was Captain Spaulding via Sid Haig. Now Sid is someone that has played so many small parts in many films. This film displayed a whole new spreading of talent that I didn't know Haig had in him. If you like Sid and evil clowns then watch this one.
Jue dou Lao Hu Zhuang (1978)
Iron Monkey II Strikes Out
Many times the sequel film to the original is a weak "wannabe" of the first and this film keeps that theory correct. Cool Head is a detective that is committed to his job. The first 30 minutes involves a killing that Head tries to solve. The apparent killer is captured by Head but then the detective has doubts. Then starts the confusion in this film. There are 3 women that start to follow Head around the country. Killers also track Head and try to kill him. The women help Head. Fight scenes show nothing extraordinary. The final fight is somewhat interesting but the ending is confusing as to what happens to the detective. If you have nothing else and you feel like watching a confusing martial arts film then watch this.
Soul Survivors (2001)
Are There Really Survivors?
You are a survivor if you actually can watch the whole film. A truly confusing film that tries to play psycho games with your head. After the car accident did anyone really survive? Are the events after the accident just a bad dream? Are the events true life for Cassie or a result of brain damage? Is Cassie just on a "guilt trip" about the accident? These are all questions that are never really answered. At one point when Cassie is on an operating table you wonder: just what is the point of this film? If you want to waste time or have insomnia then watch this film. If you need to give a gift to someone that you don't like then why not give this film to them
The Rookie (2002)
A Story Of Baseball And Courage
Having spent eight years helping to coach high school baseball in East Los Angeles the Performance of Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris is as true to the real thing as you can get. The baseball games, tryouts and practices were as realistic as you can get in a film. Quaid's form in pitching proved that he learned to pitch at one time. Yet this film is more than baseball. It is a story of a man that has seen his career in baseball end early in life because of a arm injury. Surgery is performed but he can no longer continue in professional baseball. As with many players, baseball is in his blood so he becomes a high school baseball coach. In pitching practice to his players a miracle occurs, an older Morris is throwing harder now. He goes to a major league tryout. He is an old man by baseball standards. Morris is by far the oldest man at the tryout and given no chance to succeed. Wonder of Wonders as he is signed and then enters the minor leagues. Having coached a player myself that played minor league baseball, the scenes are very truthful. The long bus trips, lonely nights, and the desire to "phone home" are a way of life for the minor leaguer. Finally Morris is called up to the "bigs" and he and his father are reunited. Both men are not close but the walls are broken down because of baseball. This film is a display of hope for anyone that has grown older. There is a chance to succeed even when others think that you are too old. An uplifting film for all to see.
Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
Sleep In 30 Minutes More Like It
Nicolas Cage as Randall Raines, master car thief is not very believable. Some of his partners look like the part of expert thieves. When I got the video I expected more action, much more action. The car chase is good but only occurs at the end of the film. The rest of the movie tries to get you interested in the character of Raines and his brother Kip and their friend Otto and others but their characters are never developed to a point of liking them. There is a dog that eats some special car keys and in my opinion is more interesting than most of the humans. So if you can wait for about one and half hours for a chase then enjoy otherwise breeze past this one on the video shelf.
My Favorite Martian (1999)
Shoot This One Back To Mars
I grew up watching the original TV series in the sixties and one thing that I can tell you right away, there is NO comparison. This film was totally ridiculous with a flying suit that was alive. A martian that took different shapes. Special effects that looked like something that a little child would create. In contrast, in the original, characters were developed and the viewers developed a feeling for Tim and Uncle Martin. The only highlight in this film, yes, actually there was one, occurred when Ray Walston finally made an appearance at the end. He wore dark glasses and made references to living on this planet for 30 years as a sort of homage to the TV series. But even the real Uncle Martin could not save this turkey.
Very Weak Sequel
The first film was fun, different, had excellent theme song/music and likable characters in Fantasia Land. This film didn't have any likeable characters except those which were carried over from the first. Atretu and his horse Hardtack, Falkor the flying luck dragon and the Rockbiter. Only problem with Rockbiter was his son Junior, a spoiled little rocker. Mr Koreander the old book seller returns. A new Bastian and father have been added. Jonathan Brandis and John Wesley Shipp respectively. Brandis is very active in this film because he actually enters Fantasia Land and battles the evil in the land. Even Bastian's father is more involved by reading the magic book "The Neverending Story" and reading about his son whom is caught in the book. If you are looking for a childlike fun experience then this fails. It is more serious as it tries to have more appeal to an adult audience. Still, it has its moments.
Die unendliche Geschichte (1984)
Fun Tale Of Overcoming Nothing
Barret Oliver is Bastian whose mother has died leaving only his father. So Bastian likes to read books which is very unusual in today's standard of cd's, video's and computers. An old used book seller entices Bastian to read the book titled "Neverending Story." This book has strange properties. When you read it, you become involved with the characters literally. The characters are wonderful. There is a huge Rockbiter, Night Hob w/bat, Teeny Weeny w/racing snail, Falkor the Luck Dragon and Atreyu, the warrior with his mighty horse. There is a great evil in the land, a Nothing that is eating away the land and the characters. There is no hope as even the Empress of the land cannot save her kingdom. Can Falkor the flying Dragon and Atreyu save the land? Can the other characters survive the Nothing? Just how can a little boy named Bastian just reading the book save the land? A really enjoyable story/film with a beautiful theme song and music. Don't miss this one.
Its Seabiscuit By Four Lengths
The life of a horse named Seabiscuit will be forever cherished as an "underdog" that overcame great odds. A runt of a horse that was immediately label as "unfit" to be a great racing horse. His Grandfather was the legendary "Man-O-War." What makes this a great film is not so much the action on the track but that sometimes greatness becomes reality when someone "either horse or human" is given a second chance. That is the spirit behind this masterpiece. Jeff Bridges as Charles Howard is the owner that was a great salesman that made thousands of dollars selling cars until the "Great Depression" destroyed the car market for a while. Then Howard's son dies in an automobile accident that literally destroys his family's unity to stay together and Howard ends up single and alone in Mexico. Elizabeth Banks is Marcela, a woman that ends up marrying Howard and giving him hope that there is a future again. Howard decides to enter the horse business and needs a trainer. He spots a lonely figure Tom Smith "Chris Cooper" doctoring and caring for a horse. Everyone says that Smith is washed up but Howard knows what being "down on his luck is" so he gives this man Smith a second chance. A horse is needed to head the new stables but where? Smith in the fog/darkness sees a broken down horse with a limp yet has that little "spark" in his eyes that only a man that has been "down in life" can see. Smith decides that Seabiscuit will be that horse. Smith needs a jockey and notices a thin but tall man fighting with four others. Just maybe that meanness and spirit in this man will fit into this group of losers seeking a second chance. Tobey Maguire is that jockey, a man abandoned by his parents, blind in one eye and a bad temper begging track people for work. This group forms a close knit brigade that touches the hearts of millions of people battling the Great Depression for that second chance. If you have felt down and out? Have been unemployed? Have felt the spectre of death? Have been "out of luck?" Then this gem of a film is for you.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Jeepers Weepers More Like It
Since a sequel was made to this film, I believed that the first must have been a good movie, I was wrong! There is a creeper, but what he is or who he is are kept secret. All we know is that something comes out every 23 years and that he sucks up parts of people for use in his own body. Eyes, tongues, feet or whatever part is needed. Why he needs this, I don't know. Does he want to look human? Maybe, it would be an improvement. There is one scene as the Jenner siblings continue to run over the body of the creeper. Parts of his body turn to dust. The best line or really the only good part of dialog occurs with this scene as the brother Darius tells his sister Patricia to stop running over the body because he is dead, her reply "they always get up." I guess that is why there is a sequel, bad things tend to get up and made again. The creeper likes to smell his prey which is different way of choosing victims but the whole idea pretty much smells in the execution. Skip this one.
Action Filled High Flying Masterpiece
When I saw the title of the video, I didn't know what to expect. Maybe someone that would fight like a monkey or maybe some gorilla? What I saw was a masterpiece of action. The dialog was limited because of the subtitles but then the less speaking the more action. Dr Yang and Miss Orchid are physician and nurse respectively in a very corrupt town. Common people are starved and beaten by a corrupt government. The Iron Monkey turns up to rob from the corrupt officials and business people and give to the poor and homeless. Iron Monkey is really Dr Yang hidden beneath a mask. Wong Kei-Ying is forced by blackmail to find this Iron Monkey and kill or capture him. Kei-Ying is also a very skillful master of Kung-Fu. This film features many battles between evil monks, a witch, a disfigured man and the most powerful of all, an evil type of Emperor with deadly hands, feet and head. The final flaming battle is a fight scene that you will want to see many times as Iron Monkey and Kei-Ying seemingly are so overmatched.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Cheesie But Effective
Hugh Marlowe as Dr. Russell Marvin is the pivot man as aliens try to contact him as the mediator for a surrender plan between Earth and some evil aliens. Many of us growing up in the sixties and seventies will recognize "Jim Matthews: Another World Soap Opera" as Marlowe. He is an intelligent man that figures out a way to counter the ability of flying saucers to overcome the effect of gravity by use of magnetic poles. It is however the scenes of the saucers flying around that makes this film worthwhile to watch. The effects were excellent considering the year of 1956. The only weak spot of this film concerned a forest fire and Marvin, his wife and guard running in the forest and never feeling any heat and running in place as the scenery just rolled by, this was very cheesie. Overall, a good 1950's science fiction film.
Hills of Home (1948)
Lassie, Gwenn & Crisp: A Winning Team
If you love a dog story then this is for you. If you love a story of love in a small village then this is for you. If you love a story of courage then this is for you. Hills of Home features Lassie, that collie that shows the true meaning of friendship between Master and dog. Lass (Lassie) is afraid of the water in rivers or lakes so she will not cross any form of water. A sheepdog protects the sheep from drowning in water so her first owner decides to kill Lass because she is useless as a sheepdog. Dr. William MacLure (Edmund Gwenn) is the only doctor in the village and a rather old one. Dr. MacLure is not the brightest or most up-to-date doctor but he will fight the spectre of death with hand-to-hand combat to save those villagers that he loves. He decides that a dog will help a lonely man in meeting the needs of the village so he barters for the ownership of Lass. Drumsheugh (Donald Crisp) is Dr. MacLure's best human friend. Drumsheugh encourages his friend and offers wise advice to the head strong old doctor. This film features the growing love of this familiar trio (Lassie, Gwenn & Crisp) as they battle death, nature and time. A heartwarming story that ends with you wanting to just grab hold of your own dog as Dr. MacLures holds on to Lass.
Bulletproof Monk (2003)
A Monk-a-Hunt We Go
This movie starts out with a great fighting scene on a bridge which is meant to chose another monk to guard a timeless scroll for 60 years. Germans, yes, the Nazis want the scroll and will stop at nothing to get it. They fail but only after destroying the monastery and all except two monks. We then proceed to the next century, the 2000's with a new search for a monk. This guardian of the scroll has been chased around the world for 60 years because of the scrolls power of youth. A pickpocket is the likely choice? Not a moral choice but then you must follow the prophecy. An entertaining film with action and downplay of two generations. An old monk with wisdom vs a young punkish thief with no wisdom just youth. Is this really the person that the prophecy regards as the next guardian? Enjoy.
Au Pair II (2001)
Weak Sequel But Still Worth Your Time
Gregory Harrison and Heidi Lenhart return as Oliver Caldwell and Jenny Morgan. They are still not married but are very close to it. The company which Oliver runs with Jenny is about to merge with another one. The kids return a little more "tame" than in the first movie and still want Jenny and Oliver to marry. The evil enemy in this film are a pair that what to take control of the company. The plot is different than the first film but still seeks the same outcome, Jenny & Oliver together. The chemistry between Oliver and Jenny in the first film is not evident in this film but still the film is a fine family film to watch. If you have not watched the first film "Au Pair" then I suggest that you see it before this film. You will enjoy it much more.
Au Pair (1999)
Predictable But Entertaining
Gregory Harrison and Heidi Lenhart (Oliver Caldwell, Jenny Morgan) have that certain chemistry that makes this film enjoyable. Jenny needs a job so she takes a job as a nanny to the Caldwell residence. Oliver has two children that are little "monsters" that bring terror to adults. Oliver is engaged to Vivian Berger, a snobbish and cold-hearted woman. Vivian doesn't care for the kids and becomes jealous of Jenny. A bond of love develops between Jenny and the kids as the "terrors" become "matchmakers." Vivian has her own plans to derail the kids and Jenny which is successful. The plot is very predictable and yet you fall in love with Jenny and those "brats." Can Oliver see past the schemes of Vivian? Will Jenny and Oliver marry? A very entertaining film for the whole family.