Reviews

22,489 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
5/10
Fair...only fair.
10 December 2018
"Up Pops the Devil" is a film with a familiar theme...the incredibly longsuffering wife who gives up everything for her man. Such ridiculously longsuffering women were common in movies in this era...and usually they are mothers such as in "So Big" and "Madam X". Here, however, the woman babies her husband!

When the film begins, Steve (Norman Foster) just got an advance on a novel he's writing. He'd love to be an author...but already has an exceptional job*. His girlfriend, Ann (Carole Lombard), at first refuses to marry Steve...as she thinks she'll get in the way when they marry...and he MUST finish the book. So, she offers him a plan...to marry BUT if he wants out after a year, she'll walk...no questions asked. And, during part of their marriage, money is tight...and Steve's ego cannot handle being a stay at home husband. Soon, not surprisingly, the marriage is on the rocks.

There are a couple annoying things about the film...the dipsomaniac 'friends' who keep dropping by the apartment as well as 'Sleep 'n Eat'. Sleep 'n Eat was a sub-human name the studios gave to Willie Best, and fortunately the name did not stick. But like so many of his roles, he's not exactly an enlightened character, with this black man stealing chicken in one scene! Awful when seen today...pretty normal stuff for 1931.

So should you watch it? Perhaps...though the current copy on YouTube has a huge problem...at about an hour into the film the sound cuts out completely!

*Steve's job pays him about $5200 a year. In 2018 terms, this would be like an $80,000 job...though many married on salaries far, far lower back during the Depression.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
A bit of a disappointment...and a bit heartless.
10 December 2018
While I enjoyed the first SpongeBob movie as well as the television series, I was less than enthralled by "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water". This is because unlike these other SpongeBobs, this movie is not written well and the characters are a bit heartless and behave oddly to say the least.

The film begins with Plankton making yet another attempt to steal the Krabby Patty formula. While it looks to nearly everyone that Plankton DID finally steal the formula, SpongeBob realizes that some unseen force stole it instead. But no one listens to SpongeBob and soon all of Bikini Bottom turns into a weird post-apocalyptic world...much like a Mad Max film. So, it's up to Plankton and SpongeBob to travel through time and somehow steal the formula BEFORE it's stolen! In the process, they get some help from a weird dolphin.

The biggest problem about this movie is that I was saddened to see EVERYONE in Bikini Bottom becoming so hateful towards SpongeBob so quickly. The film definitely lacked heart and seemed uncharacteristic when they wanted to sacrifice SpongeBob!! Because of this and the overall dark tone of the story, it's not an especially good picture for younger viewers....plus it really lacks fun...especically in the extended CGI sequence near the end.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Black Aces (1937)
3/10
Pretty much the usual...
9 December 2018
Hile I have seen tons of old B-westerns, I must admit that there is a certain sameness about 90% of the movies. And, one of the most familiar plots among these very familiar plots is the big, bad bossman who is secretly trying to ruin everyone and take over the territory. And so, "Black Aces" is yet another one of these pictures...and a not especially distinguished one.

Ted Ames (Buck Jones) is a somewhat dopey guy when the story begins. He doesn't have a lot of initiative and his fiance is so frustrated with him, she breaks things off. Soon, however, Ted is accused of murder...and he spends the rest of the movie looking for the person behind it and a string of murders. And what connects these murders? The victims were found with a black ace on them.

The acting and, especially, the direction are subpar in this film. It is watchable but unless you are a die-hard B-western fan, you'll find it slow going and dull. Not terrible...just not very good...and Jones was capable of much better and much more interesting stuff.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Hilda (2018)
9/10
A rather amazing cartoon!
8 December 2018
"Hilda" is a British-made series about a strange little girl who lives in Scandinavia...and it's now being brought to the States by Netflix. It's a most unusual show...one that apparently has been approved for a second season and that is good news.

The story begins in the countryside. Hilda is a neat little girl who has the uncanny ability to interact with supposedly mythical creatures...such as trolls and elves. In addition, seeing these creatures doesn't seem to scare her in the least...even when the trolls are mountain size! After two episodes, however, she and her mother are forced to move to the city...and there she makes friends with two kids who become her comrads in her adventures.

To understand this cartoon, it's a bit like combining "The X-Files" with "Gravity Falls"...but still quite cute and unique. The show is also great for anyone who loves mythology...and my daughter REALLY loves that sort of thing and insisted we watch all 13 episodes in one sitting! Overall, quite fun and a truly unusual sort of cartoon that will keep you wanting more.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
A film with a strong agenda...and a story that just isn't interesting.
7 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Perfect Bid" is a documentary that left me cold. The film had a very obvious bias and seemed unwilling to present the material in a straight-forward and non-biased manner. Additionally, the controversy in the film just isn't that interesting...at least not to me and my daughter.

The story is clearly focused on Theodore Slauson...although the focus should have been more on the show and the controversy surrounding him. Additionally, other folks asssociated with this MINOR controversy never are interviewed. Because of this, it seemed like a vanity project for Slauson or perhaps the producer was a friend of Slauson...a huge problem for a documentary. And, a huge problem is that the controversy simply isn't important in the least.

So what is all this about anyway? Well, for the first 3/4 of the film it's about Slauson and his obsessive manner of watching "The Price is Right" and memorizing the prices. He tried, repeatedly, to get on the show and several times he shouted out prizes to other contestants...all mildly interesting at best. Fine, he's a devoted fan with a great mind for remembering prices. Then, on a show in which he was in the audience, a different guy guessed a showcase correct to the dollar...and Slauson is mad because he said he yelled the price and the guy on stage somehow MUST have heard it and should have acknowledged Slauson as his inspiration. Well, he didn't....and I didn't care whether this is true or not. Nor did I appreciate that the film seemed to be very pro-Bob Barker and anti-Drew Carey...as all this seems to be a rant by an odd guy with very poor interpersonal skills. Again...who cares?! The phrase 'get a life' seems to come to mind when I think about all this.

By the way, although the film's focus was squarely on Slauson, its bias for Barker is odd in light of the many sexual harassment allegations against the host...which were never mentioned. Also, Slauson's creepy fascination with one of the models is a bit unsettling.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
A lesser Lesser film.
6 December 2018
In 1932, MGM made one of the best Tarzan movies of all time, "Tarzan the Ape Man". It was so well made that it resulted in a long string of movies with Johnny Weissmuller and it made him a major star. A year after this film, Sol Lesser produced a serialized version of the Tarzan story and in this case the production starred Buster Crabbe. Why Crabbe? Well, like Weissmuller, Crabbe was a gold medal winning American swimmer...and Lesser certainly couldn't afford Weissmuller! No, a Lesser film was known for economy...and because of that, you would expect his movie to be less refined and as well written.

It is important that you understand that I am reviewing the full-length movie version of Lesser's Tarzan film. It also came out in a 12-part serialized version...though apparently it's been lost and the movie version if the only one available today. If I hear about the serial being discovered, I'll try to update my review. And, considering how the film is a whittled down version of a much longer serial, I was not surprised that the movie seemed choppy.

Like Weissmuller, Crabbe's Tarzan is barechested and well coiffed despite being raised by apes in the African jungles. Unlike Weissmuller, Crabbe's Tarzan yell is pretty enemic! Both took advantage of their swimming skills by having them swim during the films.

The story involves Tarzan falling for a blonde who ISN'T named Jane. Unfortunately, she's traveling with some dirtbags who want to kill Tarzan (why???) and in the end, Tarzan saves the day and gets the girl.

So is this Tarzan tale any good? Well, it's not terrible...and the animal scenes (such as when Tarzan fights a lion) aren't bad at all...though, sadly, like too many Tarzan pics, there is also ample use of stock footage and a few non-African animals (such as American alligators instead of African crocodiles). As for Tarzan, while Crabbe looked nice, he wasn't as good in the role as Weissmuller...and mostly said nothing...choosing instead to pantomime much of the time or utter a few goofy laughs. Overall, a cheap curiosity that is watchable but not up to the standards of MGM's series which was begun the year before this one....and much like the quality of Lesser's many B-westerns.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Schmaltzy and illogical....and just plain bad....and I have no idea why so many reviewers loved this film.
6 December 2018
If you look through the reviews for "The Sin of Nora Moran" you'll see that there are a lot of very positive reviews...with scores of 9 and 10. Well, for the life of me, I have no idea why the reviews are so positive...the film is schmaltzy, illogical and cheap...and I only recommend it to Pre-Code film lovers.

The story is told in a very passive manner...a huge strike against it. What I mean is that it begins with an angry wife and her brother explaining to her what sort of sacrifice Nora Moran made to help the angry woman's husband. Then, the story unfolds with flashbacks and narration...and it's a very distracting and poor way of telling the tale. The story involves Nora and her agreeing to be prosecuted for a murder she didn't commit in order to help her married lover.

So, apart from the style, why did I dislike the movie? A huge problem is that the story makes no sense. Why would Nora agree to be executed when she's innocent?! The whole martyr angle, though common in the 30s with films like "Madam X", "So Big" and many others, is just illogical here and makes for a schmaltzy story.

Another problem is that the story is very much pro-adultery...something VERY normal for the Pre-Code era but which seemed a bit sleazy....but not in an enjoyable way (such as in "Red-Headed Woman"). This and the cursing make it an interesting curio...though not an especially good one.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Tedious and unfunny.
5 December 2018
Leslie Nielsen got a new lease on his long career with the "Airplane" movies...which led to "Police Squad" and the "Police Squad" movies. All of these had a few things in common...excellent writing as well as the Abrams/Zucker alliance. In other words, Nielsen alone was NOT the reason these projects were so funny. This is sadly apparent in a string of films he made with hack writers/directors...resulting in crap films like "Repossessed", "Scary Movie IV" and this one, "2001: A Space Travesty". Watch it if you'd like....but don't expect it to be funny nor worth your time. And remember...it's not just my opinion...the film is #73 on IMDB's infamous Bottom 100 list!

So why didn't I enjoy this film? Well, to put it bluntly, the film was cheap and unfunny. Many of the special effects and costumes were dreadfully bad...especially at the beginning with the "2001" intro parody. Additionally, too often the movie went for cheap childish laughs instead of clever ones...relying too often on things such as farts, rip-away dresses and crude character names (such as Dick Dix and Miss Menage). By comparison, Mel Brooks' worst films seem like works of genius by comparison. Overall, a tedious and mostly unfunny film seemingly written by untalented chimps....very untalented ones.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Outsider (1961)
5/10
A highly flawed story...best to see the remake.
4 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"The Outsider" is the mostly true story of Ira Hayes, a WWII hero who was reluctantly thrust into the limelight. While the story is interesting and worth seeing, sadly the film is also incredibly flawed and I think it's best you see a later re-telling of Hayes' story, "Flags of Our Fathers".

The story is based on Hayes experience as a US Marine during WWII. During the hellish battle of Iwo Jima, he came to fame because he was one of a group of soldiers who raised the American flag on Mount Sirubachi...a scene later imortalized by the Iwo Jima monument outside Arlington Cemetery. His difficulties coping with the ensuing fame and his post-war infamous exploits are detailed in the film.

The most obvious problem with "The Outsider" is the casting. Tony Curtis playes Hayes...even though the real Hayes was an American Indian from the Pima nation. He did NOT look nor sound 'Indiany' in the least and painting Curtis brown (yes, they actually DID this) and his non-native family didn't make them look like Pima Indians and today such things would be rightfully seen as pretty tacky. The other problem is that the film changed the way Hayes died and de-emphasized that he was destroyed, essentially, from PTSD. Overall, while the story is compelling at times, it also is a bit dishonest in the portrayal of the man's tragic life. Worth seeing, perhaps.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Lindsay Lohan in a skin-flick...without showing any skin...that's sure gonna attract a wide audience!
1 December 2018
Aubrey (Lindsay Lohan) is an apparently normal lady. However, after some sicko kidnaps her and tortures her, her life is DEFINITELY a mess. Now, she's not only missing a hand and a foot, she's convinced she's another person...Dakota. And Dakota is nothing like Aubrey. Dakota is a stripper who smokes and loves hot sex...and she insists she is NOT Aubrey and gets angry when people contradict her. As a result, things are also quite awkward at home...at Aubrey's home with Aubrey's parents. To top it all off, Dakota/Aubrey has weird hallucinations...really, really weird ones throughout the film.

A huge reason not to watch this one is that at times the film is torture porn. You get some very realistic scenes where the psychotic is cutting into Aubrey and it's NOT for the squeamish. My feeling is that just because you can make realistic and vivid violent scenes look real doesn't mean you should nor that you should show so much. This leads me to the opposite problem with the film. It's a sleazy skin flick...that never actually shows anything! Lohan strips and makes out....and manages to keep her clothing on and show nothing in a rated R film. While I have no interest in seeing her naked, at least that would have provided the viewers with SOMETHING interesting. Seeing her in a bra and panties dancing at a strip club just seemed weird and disappointing...same with her 'hot' scene with Aubrey's boyfriend.

Overall, this is a silly and difficult to enjoy film...so much so that I am not surprised that it's currently #67 on IMDB's infamous Bottom 100 list. It also was a HUGE winner at the Razzies awards, setting a record for most wins at the time. Poor and confusing writing as well as an unappealing leading lady sink this one. Worth seeing only if you want to see Lohan at her worst.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Prom Night (I) (2008)
2/10
Bodies are piling up right and left....but let's not get TOO excited over all this.
30 November 2018
I am NOT a fan of slasher pictures. It isn't that they gross me out...but it just feels wrong to enjoy watching people die for entertainment purposes. However, my dislike of the genre didn't prevent me from watching "Prom Night" because I have a weird hobby...finding and watching films from IMDB's infamous Bottom 100 list. Yes, I am trying to watch all the worst movies I can....call is masochism if you'd like.

The story begins with a family being butchered because some maniac wants to impress a girl. How killing her family will make her fall in love with him isn't exactly clear...but he is a maniac after all! Three years later, the surviving girl, Donna (Brittany Snow) is going to her Senior Prom...only to have the maniac escape from prison that same night. The police and her new family don't immediately get Donna because they want her to enjoy the prom (?) and because the police don't think he's going to return to town (???). Even when bodies begin to pile up everywhere and the guy just starts randomly killing just about everyone, the police seem pretty chill about the whole thing. No immediate warnings are sent out to the school and the prom just goes on! Can Donna survive this onslaught? And, will the audience care?

Considering the film is among the 100 worst rated films on IMDB with at least 10,000 scores, you would expect the writing to be terrible...and it is. The way folks act and react throughout the movie makes little sense. The police are too blaise and victims just stand there waiting to be murdered...even though the killer has no supernatural powers that would explain this lack of a normal response. Plus, considering the maniac wants Donna so badly, wouldn't you think the cops would just watch HER and have cops waiting to apprehend the guy when he strikes?!

Some reviewers complained that the film wasn't graphic enough. While the amount of blood and some of the killings are underplayed, the squishy sound effects and repeated stabbings you see are pretty depraved and awful. How anyone could enjoy this is beyond me...nor why they would want to see more.

Overall, you have a brainless film in which realism is completely out the window. Instead, it's just one killing after another after another...and the folks mostly just stand around waiting to die. Not among the worst films I've ever seen but among the sickest and least entertaining to make the IMDB list.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Shoplifters (2018)
7/10
Not exactly enjoyable...but very thought-provoking.
30 November 2018
Hirokazu Koreeda made one of my favorite Japanese films..."Like Father Like Son". The focus on the film was what actually constitutes a family....and like this film, "Shoplifters" challenges the traditional Japanese notion of what makes a family and the importance of genetics.

This movie is NOT pleasant...and has many harsh moments. So, please consider this when you decide whether or not to see the movie. It's NOT an easy film to watch and if you are depressed already consider seeing a comedy instead.

The story is about a group of people who are a pseudo-family. They are not related but live as a family...with a grandmother, parents, sister and children...or at least folks who act like these roles. Why are they living as a family? Well, for mutual profit...and the children help pay the bills by spending their days stealing...much like the children who worked for Fagan in "Oliver Twist". Where does all this and the unpleasantness go? See the film.

The message of this film is unusual...that criminals like you see in the story MIGHT be better at parenting than the biological parents. It also exposes a truth you don't easily see when you are in Japan...that there ARE folks who fall through the cracks, so to speak, and are not productive citizens. I just returned from three weeks in Japan and evidence of the homeless and criminality of any kind is something you will have to struggle to find. It creates a portrait that challenges the cultural norms...something which some folks might not appreciate. Overall, a well made but very unpleasant film that deals with topics such as child abuse and neglect...not exactly fun subjects but ones which should not be ignored.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Searching (III) (2018)
9/10
Fantastic...but not perfect.
30 November 2018
"Searching" is one of the best films I've seen in a long time...and I'd place it among the best movies of 2018. This being said, it's got a minor problem that kept it from earning a 10...it left some deliberate Easter eggs which betray a few of the movie's twists. I noticed one...my daughter noticed another. But although we DID anticipate some of the film, overall it still delivered many unexpected suprises AND is incredibly entertaining and unique.

John Cho is the star of the story. In a heartbreaking montage, you see him and his wife experiencing great moments in their young lives...including welcoming a daughter. However, she develops cancer and dies...leaving the husband to raise their daughter alone. Now, the film jumps ahead...the daughter is now a teen and seems very normal and talented. But all is NOT well....as, out of the blue, the daughter vanishes...leaving the father frantic. The story is about his search for her which includes his searching her computer trail. I could say more...but don't want to ruin the twists.

The amazing thing about this story is that all of it is told as if you are seeing everything on the internet--such as Facebook and other social media posts as well as videos. This is super-clever and original...and the twists and turns only make it more clever and engaging. But, as I mentioned above, the filmmakers occasionally include Easter eggs...which, if solved, might help the viewer anticipate a few of the twists. Still, you WON'T anticipate them all and the film is brilliant and incredibly well made.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Saying this film is a comedy is problematic...it's so much more.
30 November 2018
"Survival Family" is a very memorable and unusual film. However, simply calling it a comedy is a mistake. While there are a few comedic moments, the overall tone is NOT funny and there is far more depth and heart to the movie than you'll find in a mere comedy.

The story begins in Tokyo. A very ordinary (for better or worse) are the focus of the movie...and their lives are turned upside down when all power, including battery power, instantly vanishes. Now, obtaining food, water and living their everyday lives is becoming impossible...and the family decides to head out to the country where the mother's parents live. But how to get there? Trains, cars and other conventional forms of transportation are useless...and they are forced to bicycle their way out of this hellish city. The film chronicles there very long, scary and incredibly dangerous trek.

The main thing I got out of this film was NOT comedy nor laughs. Instead, I really appreciated the way the filmmakers show us just how impossible most of our lives would be in this sort of situation...with a disintegration of social rules and mores. As a result, the story really makes you think....and most comedies are not concered with making us think...just laugh.

In addition to opening up the viewers' eyes, the film works well because of the lovely acting...and especially the writing and direction of Shinobu Yaguchi. He really did a marvelous job...and it left me wanting to see more of his movies. Well worth seeing...clever, heart-felt and, occasionally funny.

By the way, in order to understand the sorts of price gouging that occurs in the film, it helps to know the value of the yen. In US dollars, 100 yen are worth about $.89....making a bottle of bottled water, post-apocalypse, cost about $20 in the film.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ella Cinders (1926)
8/10
A sweet film...much like "Cinderella" combined with "Show People".
27 November 2018
Colleen Moore stars as the title character. In many ways, Ella's life at the beginning of the movie is like Cinderella's. She's a hated step-daughter who's treated like a slave by her step-mother and step-sisters. However, there are fortunately many differences as well with the story. Instead of going to the ball and meeting Prince Charming, Ella is discovered by a nice guy (Lloyd Hughes) and he helps her to be discovered in a local talent contest. When she wins, she is sent by the town to Hollywood to get a chance to be an actress. But two things aren't as they appear to be....the contest is a fraud and the nice guy who helped her isn't the poor ice man he appears to be. See the picture and find out what's in store for this cute lady.

In so many ways, this story is like combining the tradition tale of Cinderella with a film like Marion Davies' "Show People"...about a young lady trying her best to make it in Hollywood. Ms. Moore is lovely in this comedic role and it's one of the better silents this forgotten actress made. Well worth seeing due to excellent writing, direction and acting.

By the way, if you do see the film, look for a cameo with Harry Langdon!
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
It made by daughter laugh....as well it should.
17 November 2018
This story is about three idiot criminals who kidnap an adorable baby. However, the baby turns out to be smarter than them and again and again, it manages to not only get the upper hand but horribly hurt them in the process.

"Baby's Day Out" was a HUGE money-loser...and it's sad, as it was a clever and funny film. In so many ways, it was like "Home Alone" but with a baby instead of McCauley Culkin...combined with huge amounts of Sweetpea from Popeye cartoons. I only saw the movie because the studio was giving out free passes...desperately hoping the film would gain traction, which it didn't.

When we went to this free showing, we took my daughter...who wasn't quite 4. And, I was so glad we did because she spent much of the film laughing so loudly everyone around us laughed....it was the perfect film for small kids. But I also had a great time because although the movie was about a tiny baby evading some idiot criminals, it also managed to be very funny and well constructed. Overall, a terribly underrated film that manages to entertain everyone in the family.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
There are already over 2000 reviews for this....
11 November 2018
Because more than 2000 folks have already reviewed this film on IMDB, I'll keep my review very brief. After all...what's one more review among so many?!

The movie was a bit of a shock when I found it, as somehow I really didn't hear much about it and I wasn't even sure if it had yet debuted. Much of this is because after so many "Star Wars" films, I find that a sort of fatigue has set in...much like how I feel about all the super hero films. But, as I was on a 13+ hour flight, I wasn't in a position to be picky and decided to watch the movie.

I was surprised to read that the movie is only rated 7.0 (meaning it must have ticked off a lot of fans) and really made almost nothing at the box office. Much of this is because I actually enjoyed the picture...and more than I'd expected. The story about the young Han Solo is exciting throughout and I also appreciated its dark tone and willingness to kill off characters (much like the previous installment)...but perhaps this is why fans were not so impressed by this one. All I know is that I liked seeing a darker film and it kept my interest throughout.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
La La Land (I) (2016)
7/10
A nice experiment...though I wasn't exactly captivated by it.
11 November 2018
"La La Land" made quite a splash after it debuted. It's now on IMDB's Top 250 and received 6 Oscars! But, with all that publicity, it might just leave you feeling like me...that's it is a decent film, but hardly a great film.

The story is of two struggling artists...one an actress (Emma Stone) and another a jazz musician (Ryan Gosling). Each appears ready to give up their beloved craft after years of disappointments and bills....and that is when they both meet and fall in love. Ultimately, however, their careers DO take off and this leads you to wonder if they can make it TOGETHER. After all, being a famous actress or musician isn't exactly part-time work!

In many ways, this film reminds me of the ending in "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg". This sort of downbeat ending didn't really bother me...it was realistic. But somehow "La La Land" muddled it all up...and left you with a confusing ending that PROBABLY was like "Umbrellas"...but maybe wasn't. I found this to be a huge problem. Aside from this, I also was not a huge fan of the characters...though I must admit it DID leave me misty-eyed more than a few times. Well worth seeing...but a film that isn't perfect...and you'd expect a six Oscar film to be absolutely perfect.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Nature: Forest of the Lynx (2017)
Season 35, Episode 10
7/10
The seasons in a relatively new park in Austria.
8 November 2018
I am surprised that they didn't mention it in "Forest of the Lynx", but the Kalkalpen National Park in Austria was only established in the 1990s. Despite this, the location and dense forest have enabled the park to be rich in wildlife. "Nature" explores these animals...mostly smaller creatures such as insects, birds, mice and so on...though the film also explores a few larger creatures, such as the chamois, lynx and trees. Overall, it's all mildly interesting despite having none of the 'amazing' species that we normally expect in a nature documentary. Worth seeing.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Hellcats (1968)
2/10
The lowest energy biker film I've ever seen!
7 November 2018
"The Hellcats" is a very poor biker film...and there were LOTS of poor biker films. But this one is poor in a way most are not....it's dull...something you'd never expect with this genre. Much of the problem is that the film is so static...and often bikers just stand around staring! When there is action, it's not only long overdue but surprisingly muted and subdued.

The story begins with a funeral and soon a pair of folks infiltrate the biker gang to find out who killed the man's brother and the woman's fiancee. It's pretty easy for them to join the gang and there's no dangerous initiation or beat down accompanying this. After a while, you discover why the guy died....it was boredom, as this is the dullest gang of evil bikers you can find.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Despite Wayne, pretty typical.
7 November 2018
Over the course of the Three Mesquiteers series, the lineup changed all the time. The three cowboys featured in each film never was constant...and in this case John Wayne joins the more familiar Mequiteers (Tex Terhune and Ray Corrigan...who played in quite a few more films in the series). The series was enjoyable...and neither great nor poor. Compared to most B-westerns of the day, they were a bit better than average.

In this story, the Mesquiteers are, as usual, undercover agents working for the side of nicenss. They've arrived in town to investigate an insanely organized cattle rustling scheme...one that has a portable slaughterhouse that immediately processes the beef and cuts out the middleman. Can our handsome Mequiteers...and Max...manage to get to the bottom of all this?

This film is pretty typical of a Mesquiteer film, even with Wayne in the lead and the guys going undercover. As usual, Terhune whips out Elmer...his ventriloquist dummy!! I can't stand this and audiences back in the day must have groaned when they saw a couple dummies among the crime-fighters!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Lawless Range (1935)
4/10
Another big, bad boss-man trying to take over.
7 November 2018
"Lawless Range" is a B-western with little to distinguish it but one thing....John Wayne. While many today don't realize it, Wayne was in B-westerns and serials during most of the 1930s and only graduated up to A-films in the early 40s. All the B-westerns shared a few things in common: they were quickly made, had very low budgets and recycled the same sorts of plots again and again. In this case, the recycled plot is the cliched secret baddie who is trying to buy up all the land and force the settlers to leave. Why? What is the big baddie's aim? See the film to find out.

In addition to seeing Wayne, you can also see a silly thing movie makers TRIED with him...to make him a singing cowboy. He couldn't sing at all...so they dubbed him with a very deep baratone voice that sounded nothing like Wayne.

Overall, this is just an ordinary western, at best. Wayne poses as someone else while investigating....again, very familiar stuff. And, indifferently handled.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Not as impactful and you might have hoped.
7 November 2018
John Nesbitt narrated quite a few shorts back in the 1940s...all with a strong nostalgic bent. While he had a pleasant voice, often I disliked the films because they never allowed the actors in it to actually talk on screen...and having Nesbitt describing everything really reduces the film's impact...making it seem disconnected and dull.

In "That's Why I Left You", a husband dumps his wife and leaves a note explaining why. In it, it recounts their happier days. Ultimately, however, he was a selfish jerk and left because of his sense of wonderlust. What a jerk...or so it seems

So, you have a relatively uninvolving story and dull narration. Nothing special here.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Were things REALLY better back in the good 'ol days?! Maybe not.
7 November 2018
There isn't a lot of plot to "Those Good Old Days". It begins with a couple leaving Gramps and their daughter at home while they go off to watch a television broadcast. The old man then regails his granddaughter about how great Vaudeville was. This consists of a couple singing a few very old fashioned numbers as well as the guy doing essentially a minstrel act without the black-face.

So what did I think? I think these sorts of songs do a lot to dispell the notion that things were better back in the old days! Schmaltzy musical numbers that are difficult to listen to or enjoy don't add up to an enjoyable short. Technically well made...just not something I'd want to see.

By the way, there WERE a few TV broadcasts in 1941. This year signaled CBS and NBC beginning television broadcasts. The lineup was scant and it was assumed the networks would gear up and get into TV sooner and in a bigger way, but the US entered WWII and television was all but dropped until after the war.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape (2016)
Season 15, Episode 3
5/10
A rather weak episode of a usually good show.
7 November 2018
In this episode of "The Alcatraz Escape" is a show where several experts try to recreate a famous escape where three men manufactured a raft out of raincoats in order to see if it was possible they survived this escape.

This is a very weak episode of "Secrets of the Dead" because the same procedures were done on the American show "Mythbusters" several years earlier. I am surprised they never mentioned this and the show acted as if this study was the first attempt to recreate the famous escape. Second, one the way, one of the experts they brought in to talk about the escape made a statement that was purely hyperbolic...and offensive. She said "...everyone was rooting for the men who escaped". First off, many wouldn't have been cheering--especially the residents of San Francisco, victims of these three men as well as the staff of Alcatraz. Second, this was offensive because it made heroes out of horrible people...as, after all, only the worst of the worst would have been sent to this prison back in the day. I wish this brief clip had been eliminated...especially since the show prided itself on its scientific investigation and the comment is anything but scientific....it's mostly just annoying and clueless.

Overall, I'd say this is mildly interesting but ultimately flawed episode...one of the weaker ones in the series.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed