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Must Flee TV!
4 April 2008
I could feel brain cells fleeing. Minutes of my life I'll never get back have been stolen from me. I'm from New Hampshire, I love & miss my home, but even looking at the scenery wasn't enough to continue watching. Oedipus would drive nails in his ears to keep from having to suffer from sensory input from this film. I remember watching Mr Deeds & feeling a mild discomfort- this was like an appendectomy with a can opener in a hay wagon. Honestly, the acting was adequate, the cinematography and technical execution was professional. The problem is: it's just not funny! It's like a stoned middle school a/v class tried to do something along the lines of Super Troopers meets Dumb & Dumber.
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Another acceptable addition to the stable
16 December 2005
Call me old fashioned, but I much preferred the button mashing required in DBZ:B1&2 for crushing my opponents. 3 & T are really starting to make the cool attacks more difficult to access than they need to be. In addition to changes to the controls & button mashing requirements, it's visually the same as 2&3. The voice acting is as well done as the previous installments, without much repeated (except for what is unavoidable: ka-me-ha-me-HA!)

Still, with all the characters & all the abilities, it's the perfect (well almost) fan's fantasy vehicle! Fans from all spectrums, Luke warm to die hard, will be thrilled. I don't imagine any of the DBZ games appeal to anyone who isn't already practising the kamehameha when no one is looking though.

The better control of the flight ability is an enjoyable addition. The ranking system is a fun goody too. I suppose that every game has it's pluses & minuses, perks & drawbacks, but this one has the best potential so far as a way to pound your friends into humiliating submission!
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Dragon Ball Z: Sagas (2005 Video Game)
What were they thinking?
16 December 2005
With the entertaining installments of Budokai, you'd think the DBZ blokes were half in the bag & too drunk to see clearly when they approved this lemon. Think of it as a giant step backwards in playability, enjoyability, and generally contributing to those little moments of your life you'll never get back, like intense contemplation of your navel while baked on weed, only less redeeming. The interface is clunky, hit detection is wonky, it has all of the beating-my-nose-with-a-ball-peen-hammer charm of Resident evil's off screen threat woes. I really couldn't stand it long enough to see if it ever got better. Self abuse is something I've never been courageous enough to endure.

Avoid this like the second Highlander film. Just pretend it doesn't exist & maybe it'll go away...
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Sahara (2005)
Bravo Mr Cussler! not bad Hollywood, you didn't monkey with it too much & make it unrecognizable
2 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw adverts on the telly for Sahara I thought "action adventure bang bang boom flick, interesting but not enough so to pay $10". Last week I discovered that it was the film adaptation of one of my favourite Clive Cussler novels! I just *HAD* to see it on the big screen. The only place it was playing in Texas was at a dollar theatre in San Antonio, so off I go, 5 hours & 300 miles round trip. $1.50 a ticket. I read the reviewer who pointed out it was matinée-ish, with set pieces each building on the other & bigger than the last. Perhaps this is one of the small things I found uncomfortable about the film. Being a fan of the novels, I feel Mr. Cussler tends to use a steady undercurrent of tension, like an undertow at the beach, with an ending like a riptide. I can only imagine the herculean efforts Mr. Cussler had to make to keep things in hand & maintain a decent semblance of his story. Strengths: Dirk is well cast & played by Matthew McConaughey. The basic plot is intact. The action is pretty good (still relies on the big bang boom tho'). WH Macy makes for a good Adm. Sandecker. THE CAR IS IN IT! The climax is pure Cussler/Pitt. Surprisingly, the soundtrack of 70's American Rock works well. A bit startling at first, it took a bit of mulling over & the decision finally came to rest on the positive side. Weaknesses: Several minor details were changed for no beneficial reason; Dirk & Al are now former USN SeALs instead of Air Force pilots. Sandecker's beard is a full-face feature rather than a Van Dyke. Rudi Gunn is no longer a former SeAL, & is a chunky comic relief character. Borderline weaknesses (aka things that are different but turned out alright none the less) Al isn't a stocky swarthy Italian powerhouse. Well played by Steve Zahn, he's got just the right touch of sarcasm & mischief. I really thought he was closer to getting his character right than McConaughey, who was quite agreeable still the same. NUMA is a private endeavour much like it's real life counterpart, which actually sets up the tidy denouement. **SPOILER WARNING** I've said in other reviews that the attention span & bladder capacity of the average viewer are too limited to do faithful translations of novels to films. A few notable exceptions are Gettysburg, North & South, The Stand & Lonesome Dove. Budgetary constraints also preclude a cast of thousands & big battle sequences. Ergo, the abduction of President Lincoln is not included in the script. Hala Kamil never makes an appearance. Without the Secretary General of the UN, & without Sandecker as the head of a US governmental agency to call in favours & pull strings, there's no timely intervention by the UN quick reaction force, therefore no heroic stand at the Foreign Legion fort. In their place, the local Tuaregs make a timely appearance to save our heroes collective bacon. There is a terrific last stand by Dirk, Al & Eva at the CSS Texas tho', which leads to a great alternate ending which could just as easily have been in the novel! I take exception to the presentation of light machine gun armour piercing bullets being capable of penetrating the ironclad's armour, but this is fiction after all. Sadly, Prospector Clive Cussler & Periwinkle the burro, St. Julien Perlmutter & Hiram Yeager never make appearances. Conclusion: After a disagreeable experience 25 years ago with "Raise the Titanic!" Clive Cussler has permitted Hollywood to take another crack at his marvelous creation. This is an acceptable first outing & hopefully the lessons learned will be taken seriously & the mild troubles rectified. I don't know what other films might be in the works, but I read that there were 3 novels optioned (take that for what it's worth). Personally, I'd love to see "Vixen 03" & "Night Probe!" as films, but those are my personal favourites & Hollywood can't go wrong with any of the Dirk Pitt adventures. Which is not to say Hollywood can't MAKE it wrong. Very, very wrong. I still scratch my head trying to figure out how "Raise the Titanic!" turned out so modestly mildly mediocre. With such a great story, with such a capable cast, (albeit occasionally mis-cast) it should have been much better. Sahara banishes that demon, but doesn't blow it away. I recommend this as a rental for everybody, a purchase for fans, & I eagerly await the next installment. But I'll still see it at the dollar theatre.
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Vandread (2000–2001)
An excellent place to start your anime experience!
15 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Hang on y'all! This is one of the better offerings, reminding me of a collision between Harlock & A-ko! It starts off with a bang, it's funny & action packed, & it slows down in all the right places to have a good look at the characters. Development is consistent & on occasion surprising, with touching scenes & episodes. While formulaic, it's only enough so that you could equate it with a brownie recipe you really love to smell cooking; some stuff just *has* to be added to get it to bake! I thought long & hard about including info which would technically be a spoiler, & I've decided against it. I checked the box just in case. Let me simply say that character relationships develop in a satisfying way, with just the right tension & conclusion. In conclusion, this programme was great from start to finish. Going from first stage to second was gratifying & if it's mildly disappointing that there's no third stage (that I know of) there's no feeling of being let down. Rather, I came away thinking that as with all the best stories, there's a beginning & an end. This appears to have ended, but it's a first rate ride.
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Very good, several strong +, a few mild -
22 May 2005
This game is for children & moderately hard core fans. Positives are the animated waiting & opening sequences are excellent. The music is outstanding. The voices are the English cast & the storyline is an excellent little side track to directly involve the player in the Feudal Era. Items which bear mentioning but are not specifically gripes are that the gameplay is almost identical to Final Fantasy for gameboy back in '95! It grows tedious, then wearisome, this selection of attack (what kind? Physical, special, co-op?) defence, use of item, flee. OK, so that's really a gripe, & the strongest one at that. While I'm griping, I'd like to point out the severely limited comment pool recorded. In post battle victory taunting, the character who struck the last fatal blow to an enemy says something, ranging from surprised to be alive (player character) to encouraging & supportive (Kagome) to braggart-ish (Inuyasha). I'd rather have them be silent than listen to the same dreck over & over again. While I'm on the subject of sound, the final gripe is that there's no control of the volume of in-game music. The music & sound effects tend to drown out the characters, so either the music is tolerably loud & you can't hear the character or you can understand what you need to hear & get your hearing assaulted by the music. Finally, be prepared for a very cartoon-ish interpretation of the characters. Like a cross between SD Gundam & the Care Bears. Still, even a cutesy Inuyasha gets your blood up by performing all the classic attacks; "Iron reaver SOUL STEALER!" & "WIND scar!"

I must not be a very good player though. I've got 5 hours into it & I'm still at the spider/Akebi village task. Still, I'm enjoying it a lot. I've even given Fallout, B.I.A., & DBZ 3 a rest to play this exclusively.
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Neon City (1991)
Wannabe morality tale
12 March 2004
As previously stated, this flick doesn't stand out for good or for ill, it has a few shining moments, but for the most part it seems to be one long star trek reject script about how screwing around with the atmosphere (particularly ozone) will have dire consequences. Possibly considered a potential star vehicle for "Vanity" (remember her?). Has some of the strangest dialogue I've ever heard: "I was in private school in Sweden. We lived underground in caves. They eat chocolate & they're bloated & they never see sunlight & they're pasty pale..."

I can't imagine this *EVER* went to theatres; it must have been direct to video; it's too sickly even for made for cable!
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Worthy of HC Andersen, well worth the time!
24 January 2004
This programme weaves a story within a story, the faireytales are brought to life as Hans is brought to his destiny, his own faireytale life. From his impetuous leap into the world to his triumphant crowning glory, pyrrhic & wrought with a too late realization. Hans' stories are used to illustrate his own life, chapters within his ascension. I cast a vote of nine for two reasons. 1) I reserve the highest possible rating for that which leaves me unconcious with delight. 2) There were just a few poorly edited scenes, where an obvious commercial break was intended but the story of the moment got treated a bit like a frisbee run over with a lawnmower. I suppose you could call this a docu-something. Drama? There are dramatic moments. Comedy? There are comedic moments, most often well played by Kieran Bew. He brings Hans to life with madcap delight & innocence & fearlessness born of the ignorance of cruelty. There is a lovely love story here as well. I fell in love with Emily Hamilton's portrayal of Jette. Her obvious love for Hans, her selflessness, her tenderness & strength in adversity are moving. I could go on, & everyone here deserves their moment of illumination, but there are so many & so little room. I would like to note especially Simon Callow as Charles Dickens, and the humour, sweetness, gentleness & poignancy the writer, director & crews wove into the story. God bless you, every one.
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You get exactly what it looks like
2 October 2003
MTV pop culture money maker. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing worth praising either. Standard issue slash & gore, leaden one liners, breathless babes & not much more. Hey, the best part is these people got *paid* for it!
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This will mean more to anyone besides granite staters
1 October 2003
What is this, instant karma? What horrible thing did we do to deserve the Old Man's passing & this DK washout wannabe? As previously stated, the people don't act a bit like inhabitants of the north country; not that we're talking Berlin or Groveton here, but it's like the people in the show behave more like the leaf peepers & skiers from the flatlands you encounter at Loon & Waterville! Why couldn't they do this to Burlington Vermont instead? Still, I got a kick out of seeing the ol' home town on the telly too. But I'm a bit put out about the way they seem to portray Granite staters as chunky, beefy, backwards. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, but since the only shots of plymouth seem to be the exteriors (scenes showing a place without any recognizeable characters in the shot) & interiors only at the movie theatre, I'm not overwhelmed. Plymouth is on the telly, but not too much. Of course, the programme *is* about Poland, NH (completely fictional, the closest thing to a 'Poland' is Poland Springs, in Maine) I guess I ought not complain long or loud about the fact that there isn't a single town north of Concord with that many lanes to a street! I think DK has completely undershot any north country atmosphere he may have been trying to tap into; this really ought to be re-named "Boston public suburb". I was born in Plymouth & I've never seen or heard of a buck hanging out in the yard when someone shooed him off! Now, a moose certainly, but Northern exposure already did that. I wonderer if this is how Keene felt about "Jumanji"?
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Due South: Pilot (1994)
Season 1, Episode 0
Fantasy, but of what *should* be! Excellent role model.
20 September 2003
Frank wrote:

"Get outta here! What a crappy concept for a series. This show is almost as ridiculous as "Raven" is a crappy spin-off. Yeah right, this guy can run around in his Mountie-uniform and nobody is going to mind that he really has no authority whatever to tell anybody anything! I'd rather watch "Fantasy Island"...ahh!"

You're absolutely right Frank; Constable Fraser would have no more authority than I do when I tell local rotten kids to stop throwing things at peoples cars. No more moral obligation than I to stand up to bullies, no more responsibility than you for making the world a decent, safe place. You seem to think that authority comes from a position, a job, a badge. Authority is inherent in responsibility & accountability.

I would far rather live in Benton Fraser, RCMP's world than in *my* world where children in school can't be told that what they've done is wrong, & that they are bad for doing something wrong. I'm still astounded that kids even come to school that way! What are their parents doing? Even primary school age kids are exempt from dicipline. Supposedly they can't understand right & wrong; I put it to you that without being taught, they *never* will! eg todays deteriorating society. We can't und whats been done, but we can stop it from going any further & see that it doesn't happen again.

I am not as good a man as Fraser; but he gives me a target; the character Paul Gross fleshed out is an outstanding role model for everyone. I'm not at all surprised that the show failed with American audiences, whose mass media general public mind is slowly eroding into something resembling tapioca, & who can't bear to be reminded of their shortcomings, or how far they've slipped from the high water mark of their greatest generation.
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Stitch! The Movie (2003 Video)
Could be worse, could be better
26 August 2003
Lilo & Stitch was wonderful! I put down my thoughts on that movie at Amazon, but as much as I enjoyed that movie & anticipated the sequel & series I knew were coming, I didn't hold out much hope. Let me tell you brother, I wasn't disappointed. Sure, I did my part to line Disney's pocket. Okay; here it is: Positives: An original story. Most all the voice talents reprise their roles. The artwork. Not-so-positives: Jason Scott Lee as David is noticeably missing. The artwork, like the story & humour is good, but it seems that perhaps there is some reliance on lightning striking twice. The music is the greatest disappointment; while 'not bad', it lacks the spunk & pizazz of the original. Worst of all, there is a great deal of reliance on old gags & old art; it's like somebody cut & pasted! All in all, this is not unlike the second Back to the future movie; feels like a stopgap fulfilment of a contractual obligation; the quality of the work is adequate to as remarkable as the archetype, but there is something lacking. Let's hope that like Bttf, the next installment meets or exceeds the expectations set by the original.
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Something very, very special a long time coming
17 May 2003
I've been reading EQ since the 1st ish; it's the only mag I have a complete set of, the only one I started at the begining & bought each one as it was issued. Trust me; for an 8 year old to not lose or destroy something so fragile, for a 17 year old sailor serving with Marines from time to time not to give up his "sissy funny books" & fight to keep them out of the hands of the philistines, to just plain hang onto all of this stuff for a quarter century! Now that should hint to you that this story is more than just a comic book. I can't say I have everything elfquest; I'm a fan, not a fanatic (despite the etiology of the word) & I enjoy the imagination & art & story. But I have most all the stories, even the fire & flight video. I can tell you that if WaRP can maintain creative control over the WolfMill bunch (not to say WM is trying to do anything icky, or that Wendy & Richard would sacrifice anything in the quality of the presentation) then we, the viewing public are in for a rare treat! I'm looking forward to the release of this movie (& we have been waiting patiently for many, many moons; we fans want it, but know that good things come to those who wait) as much as I looked forward to coming home from Kuwait, Somalia & Bosnia. As much as I looked forward to getting out of the hospital. Buy the anthologies & get to know my dear friends. Support the movie & thank all of those who've struggled & laboured so long & hard to bring it to us.
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King Ralph (1991)
Fun, funny & truly family material
9 May 2003
There isn't anything in this movie that is offensive or rude or mean. The stripper never strips, the bad guy doesn't do anything vile, just *bad*. If you prefer modern American violence & crass language & glossy sexuality, you'll hate this movie. You'll think it's dull & stupid. If you're looking for something you can enjoy with your 5 year old daughter & your 95 year old grandmother, this is the movie. Every body gets what they deserve in the end. Yep, golly gee whilickers - it's a feel good movie!
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Great movie. *CRUMMY* DVD.
24 February 2003
I saw it in theatres when I was a kid, I bought the VHS when 1st available; I was overjoyed to the point of near misty-eyed-ness when I recieved the DVD from my wife. TjoNG is one of the reasons I fell in love with wolves & learned to overcome my American cultural ignorance of them. The movie is the reason I listened more closely to my grandparents tales of the depression; why I stopped thinking depression meant an emotional state & recognized it as an economic problem. You & your kids can *LEARN* something from this movie, you can enjoy watching it, again & again; there's a marvelous emotional hurrah! throughout the entire story, Disney at it's finest without the clubbed-over-the-head forced-spoon-fed social & morality message & commentary. The scenery is breathtaking, you kinda think I wish I could go back to then & live in that incredible world. The music is perfect, nudging & reinforcing without interrupting or annoying. This is also one of Scatman Caruthers' last roles, doing what he does best; adding a touch of autheniticty that makes our suspension of disbelief effortless. The DVD is a horiffic slap in the face to the theatrical release, the cast, crew & it's *SO* bad it makes the movie look shoddy. I won't reiterate what the other people so ably & eloquently illustrated of the flaws, I'll just say BUY THE VHS! if you can't, well, this DVD is better than nothing. Barely. The only reason there're 3 stars is because I was in the theatre on a magical night near to 2 decades ago & I *KNOW* what should have been on this disc. Let's not even mention the despair of finding no extra features.
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