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Bonanza: Devil on Her Shoulder (1965)
Season 7, Episode 6
Lecherous Ben after girl half his age...embarrassing episode.
3 November 2015
In an episode written before the departure of Pernell Roberts, but filmed afterwards, and which was specifically for Adam to discover a love interest in a girl eventually accused of witchcraft. Instead we get Lorne Greene as Ben lecherously taking over the role.

It's a pretty sad thing to see him leering at the young lady, and creating situations where he can be alone with her, up to the point of trying to get her to stay in his house after a dinner drink when a boy in her travel group calls for her to return, as people in her group are ill and need her.

The dialog would have fit a thirty something like Adam just fine or even Hoss or Little Joe, but it's just out of character for Ben and makes the program an embarrassment. I suppose Lorne Greene wanted the chance to show he was still full of vitality, or something.
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Billy Jack (1971)
Everything right with Born Losers is wrong here...
5 May 2015
As great as the first Billy Jack movie, Born Losers, was, this movie is the antithesis. Here's why:

Script not co-written by Elizabeth James, who actually wrote most of Born Losers.

Elizabeth James not the female lead, and instead we get why nepotism is bad, Laughlin's wife as the lead.

Billy Jack vs everyone in the whole town as a stereotyped bigot, rather than vs a motorcycle gang terrorizing the townspeople who were not Billy Jack haters.

Billy Jack spends too much time contemplating philosophy and rubbing his forehead rather than busting ass like he did in the first one.

Lame ending vs a great ending. Damn Billy Jack shoulda got away to the hills after laying waste to the bigots (but no cop killings).

As I said, he killed a cop who was doing his job. And Laughlin managed to kill a great character after such a great debut.
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Bonanza: A Rose for Lotta (1959)
Season 1, Episode 1
Great beginning, 20 yrs too soon...
17 October 2014
This is a great pilot episode for any Bonanza, or TV western fan, to watch. The introduction of the Cartwrights shows them to be much less sympathetic characters and more like a rough and tumble clan. Had this been premiered in 1979, rather than 1959, the characters would have likely remained the same or even gotten tougher, ala Dallas, and not have been softened as they eventually were.

The plot is a little thin because of the exposition to setup the characters and the setting. It does its job though and the great pleasure is seeing the Cartwrights as they could have been, as real westerners and not the 1960s PC westerners that they became. This episode is much closer to the truth of the times than the later episodes. For example, the whole issue of North vs South could have been a focal point as Adam is a Yankee and Joe is a Southern sympathizer and this is shown intently here but later never amounts to much.

There's a great scene where the Chinese men in the Chinatown camp gang up on two roughnecks looking for Joe who set fire to one tent. They really go at it and give the two a clobbering.

Also, it was a smart move to exclude the final sing-song of the Bonanza theme by the family. I've seen it and it is really not too good and doesn't fit well with the rest of the program.
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Hollywood just cannot do Fellini or Almodovar
12 October 2014
Pity the poor film school graduated writer, director or producer who really liked watching those surrealistic foreign films but just has to make it in the Hollywood movie world.

They believe that there just must be a way to make a done-by-committee Hollywood film that encompasses all the great bizarreness of a Fellini or Almodovar film and still be understood by the legion of common folks going to movies and also be commercial success.

Well here's another example that this cannot be done or, if done, will be a failure.

This terrible endeavor got it's well-deserved razzie, worst film of the year.
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17 August 2014
This is a really strange episode that just doesn't make it to the level of any other Outer Limits episodes, even the lesser ones.

I admit that the idea is intriguing, a method discovered to alter the face and fingerprints of anyone to them look like another person. But the idea of it being a presidential candidate and how it's accomplished is just extremely outlandish, The story has so many plot holes and illogical maneuvers that it just cannot hold up to any serious review, like the following:

1. They (the enemy) replace the presidential candidate first, and nobody else, killing the real one, with the great hope that he wins. What if the opponent won?

2. He does win, and then they go about replacing other high officials and businessmen, Why not do that first?

3. A stupid attempt by a bungler to replace the VP fails and alerts the real VP to what is going on. You have to see the attempt to believe how inept it was and how ridiculous.

4. The secret service around the Pres accept wholesale that the VP is right in telling them the Pres is an impostor, no real proof needed and no skepticism, hah!

5. The murdered Pres is exhumed, and is discovered to have been cremated, how convenient.

6. The official announcement of the Pres being an impostor is done at a dinner party where nobody disputes the announcement and they just cart off the impostor after exposing him. Hah again!

The whole thing was set up by communist Asians, where did that come from? And the phony Pres, on occasion, will squint his eyes as if he were an Asian underneath the skin, which looks just dumb.

The more I think about this episode, the sillier it gets.
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Property Brothers (2011– )
Lame 1990s styling on everything...
11 August 2014
These guys are so out of touch with modern times it's a laugh to watch them. They are about 20 years behind times in their designs, You could be blindfolded and ears plugged, and you can tell exactly what's going on in the show.

They do everything this way:

1. Trick buyers into thinking they are seeing a property for sale, but it's all a scam to get them to go into a Renovation house. Sometimes. from what's been said about the show, this is all an act, the people already bought the house, Shame on the Bros!

2. View dumps and pick two to decide about. The buyers are told a Pie in the Sky story about how wonderful it will all turn out, then always get surprised by something. Don't they have home inspectors?

3. They always pick the crappiest one.

4. Every single home is reno'ed with that 1990s open floor design. Even if the house has some sort of historical appeal, the inside has to be gutted and redone in a style that is already dated as soon as it's done.

5. Stupid timelines to create a false impression of tremendous pressure to GET IT DONE! But if it can't be, they will extend the deadline.

6. Dumbass deconstruction with sledge hammers, wrecking good stuff that can be sent to recycling centers. Don't these guys know we're already past the year 2000 and recycling is smart?

7. More dumbass deconstruction of very nice retro period designs that only need some sprucing up, and then idiotic replacement with stuff a decade past it's day, but nowhere near retro yet.

8. Always the SAME THING week after week, show after show. The buyers' faces change.

And what is this stuff about most homes being over $500,000 up to $900,000? Where are they buying these things?

Time to turn the channel to This Old House, where they do things smartly and correctly without show business baloney.
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The Virginian: The Fortress (1967)
Season 6, Episode 15
Akin to a good Maverick episode...
24 July 2014
In this one, we have the Virginian being fleeced of $100,000 of Shiloh money that was paid for cattle he delivered, and the theft is by the very same rancher who paid the $100,000 in the first place. This Canadian rancher also owns much of a town just across the Canadian border.

In order to retrieve the cash, Virginian must go to this town and devise a plan to somehow get into the rancher's safe and escape unharmed, since every hand in town is beholden to this rancher.

Well, the plan is set, but complications make Virginian have to adjust it somewhat. In this episode, one can only think of Maverick, and how several of those episodes had similar setups. It's actually a fun episode and different from the regular Virginian episodes, and a very Maverick-like ending. Virginian maintains his persona throughout, and composure at setbacks, as is within his character in most episodes, but it's easy to see Maverick replace him in this kind of story, and add some of that Maverick charm and humor.
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Mammoth (2006 TV Movie)
Good example why modern B-movies can't compete with the classics
18 July 2014
I got this because I heard that it was a decent B-movie. Well, it might be decent when compared to all other modern B-movie science fiction/horror films, but it's nowhere near the level of the classic B-movies that are much more enjoyable, and here's why: This one tries to be both a B-movie and a parody of a classic B-movie. That's really something that is hard to do. I can't think of any really successful examples that did this.

In the classic B-movies, the characters were all earnest in dealing with whatever the outlandish problem/event/monster was, and in a realistic manner. The approach by the producers was, what if this could happen, and how would people deal with it? That made for a serious exposition even if the effects were subpar, and made for an enjoyable viewing. Also, the characters tended to all be working towards the same goal and with one another, not against each other. There wasn't all sorts of stupid backstabbing or personal grudge matches amongst the serious protagonists, like scientists, military men, local police, etc. They all either worked together or eventually did so due to the situation at hand. This is what makes the classic B-movies so great to watch.

In the modern B-movies, we see all sorts of stupidity surrounding the people involved. They all have a personal fiefdom to protect and all have unwarranted antagonistic feelings toward each other. Also, they tend to show major character peculiarities that are entirely unrealistic. As an example, the main scientist in this movie isn't much of a smart scientist at all, and is really ignorant around home, but not in a way that we can relate to, but in a goofball way played for laughs. I get it that the actor was channeling a Bruce Campbell type of character, but only Bruce Campbell is good at that and making it work.

The other thing so annoying in these modern B-movies is the incredibly ridiculous stereotyping of any type of authority or political figure that doesn't meet with the filmmakers' approval. This is probably because these modern ones are pretty much thought up, written by, and helmed by twenty-something comic book geeks and delayed adolescent film buffs, and the immaturity shows in the movie.

The great classic B-movies, the best ones, were all written by and produced by adults with adult sensibilities, regardless of the material presented. I'm talking about people like Jack Arnold, William Alland, writers Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, effects men like Ray Harryhausen, character actors like Jeff Morrow, Richard Carlson, and Rex Reason. This is why the modern B-movies are rarely as good as the classics.
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Sluggish but good parts make it worth seeing...
15 July 2014
Apparently this isn't easy to find. The new Sony/MGM digital broadcast network dug it out of their vaults and aired it several times recently.

I saw one of those broadcasts, and found ti to be mostly an interesting adventure film whenever the main plot device of a weather tracking expedition to nearby the North Pole is involved, and the rescue of the Air Force men who end up stranded there.

It was much less interesting when dealing with the melodramatic subplot of the two major officers and their girls, and who would get which girl. That part was pretty unappealing and, in terms of being realistic, quite obtuse. It seemed added on to the major plot in order to bring ladies into the theater. Ladies of the 1950s that is, not modern girls.

Still the adventure aspect is fun, and especially the rescue of the last man on the crumbling ice island.
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Bonanza: A Passion for Justice (1963)
Season 5, Episode 2
Annoying characterization by Harris is unpleasant....
13 June 2014
There are some who consider Johnathon Harris a great actor mostly based upon his Lost in Space character, but not really. It's a one-dimensional character that is often disagreeable and cartoonish. I find his portrayal of Dickens here to be along the same lines. I really don't see much more than an extended Dr Smith character without the cowardly behavior, the scene with Hoss being the lone exception. I really don't see Harris as anything more than mediocre or average.

If Dickens himself was as snobbish and snooty as portrayed here, he certainly doesn't have much in common with his fictitious main characters, except for the overbearing ones. If he found the US unpleasant on his trips here, and hypocritical, he forgot that it was once a British colony and that it was the British who traded in slaves for sale in the colonies, and created that whole period of hypocrisy of being a free nation with slaves. The commercialism he disdained was also an import from Britain, and something necessary to the building of the nation.

This attitude shows narrow mindedness and complete lack of understanding about the settlement of the new world. As portrayed here, Diockens is just not much more than tolerable. An educated person would have pursued copyright infringement in a legal manner and not with such overt hostility towards his hosts. He would have been able and eager to explain his position to them without such an arrogant attitude.

I really dislike this episode and find few redeeming qualities within it to make it watchable.
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Laura (1944)
There's better noir available....
3 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Laura is often considered the archetype Film Noir, but I have seen better. It is one of the first and helped define the term, which is mostly a matter of style over substance. It reeks heavily of director Otto Preminger's tendency to give melodrama a capital M, and create characters with generally stereotypical personalities. He did much of the same in Hurry Sundown and other films he has made, except when the writing was just too powerful.

In this film, nearly everyone is an unlikable character, a staple of film noir, and even Laura herself is nearly so because of the excessive praise heaped upon her by others. Even the heroic figure of Mark, the i=police investigator, is annoying and an unseemly suitor for Laura. Clifton Webb does a good job as a smug, obnoxious writer who we can't help but dislike, and the unfortunate part of this is that it telegraphs the ending.

It's worth seeing, but it isn't really as great as its reputation, and is not the best Film Noir available for viewing.
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What Would You Do? (2009– )
Just more know-it-all journalism taking the easy way out...
12 July 2013
There once was a certain type of pride in being an investigative reporter in that one would dig up the news in all manner of methods and from all sorts of sources, and it was real news. What passes for investigative journalism now on both national and local newscasts, and news specials like this show, is setting up and making the news, and doing it in a way that shows the ultimate superiority of journalists to know what's best.

This show is only one example of the phony setup or sting operation to create a feel-good moment for the viewer. I put into this same category such programs as the NBC Dateline To Catch a Predator, and all other setup situational news programs of this type. With this I also include the myriad of local newscasts that promote themselves as "looking out for you" when they do a setup sting on some business.

This is not investigative journalism, but this is taking the easy way out to get ratings and to feel like they've really done something, and to show all of us that newcasters are experts on any subject that comes up, and by insinuation they know best how we should run our lives, and what way we should vote. While these people are creating something, and I mean creating not reporting, they are failing their duty to tackle the tough subjects of the real world.

They don't investigate where the WMDs of Iraq went, or how the Patriot Act ended up a bad idea, or why we have so many people without work STILL, or why we need two people to support one household now, or why and who sent weapons to Mexico that killed hundreds, or why and who allowed our citizens to be killed in Libya, or any coverups of these, or why China is allowed to pollute the world and steal our secrets, or where our right to privacy went in the last decade.

But instead, they either just propagate government pronouncements or tell us how we should act in setup situations that could only possibly have one right answer, theirs. Or that it is okay to create unethical and criminal acts with false situations. This is the EASY WAY OUT of saying you are doing investigative journalism, when you really are not. It is as bad as the local police doing things easily by making every single driver pull over for an inspection just to catch a few, rather than do the hard police work of watching and observing those drivers who are problematic, or shooting someone (or even a dog) before determining that they are actually a threat.

What a country this has become, run by power-hungry corrupt federal institutions, over-zealous enforcement officers, and journalists who think they are the 4th branch of the government, and that their journalism degree gives them omnipotent knowledge of all subjects.
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So just who will elect what president?
8 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The title "Some Day They'll Elect a President" is a thinly disguised reference and slap against Richard Nixon and his cronies like Ablanalp and Rebozo, and possible mob ties. Of course it's a lame-brained, 1970s styled liberal dogma of a program, and one of director John Badham's worst efforts. Can't blame him fully for in TV in 1970, the "director as auteur" was not an established matter of fact, and plots were much more writer and producer idea oriented. One must wonder if they were so apoplectic about a sitting president who proved to be pretty moderate, what would they have done had they known Ronald Reagan would be elected in 10 more years?

Still, this episode, and series in general, is full of that old-fashioned 60s-70s guilty white liberal ideation, which often culminates in cynical finales. This is no exception. True to form, we have youthful and slightly long-haired white liberal politicians bucking the old gasbag reactionary types. In these tirades passing for drama, the only saviors are the white patronizing sociocrats who know the proper way to run things for the ordinary citizens, and any woman or person of color is merely a pal or buddy in the cheering and voting section.

The alternate of this are the old-timers, always fat and gray-haired with pork-barrel bellies and wheeling and dealing in cigar smoke back-rooms. That they are a caricature is duly noted, as are the liberal idealists who are cynical in outlook, yet not duly noted.

In the story, a mob (aka syndicate in the show) member gets some innocuous help from Senator Lib's chief of staff so as to help build a factory in a small town in the Senator's home state, promising jobs and the like, but then what is the real purpose of the factory? The result of this is a lot of hand-wringing over what to do about innocently helping a mob connection that can look not so innocent in the press.

Of course, the end result is that Senator Liberal denounces the situation in great truth-speaking fashion and the deal is killed. Turns out it all had something to do with producing methods of surveillance for the mob to be able to gather information about all activities that would effect the mob in a negative way.

So then Senator Liberal, after his denouncement of the factory plan, wonders aloud that the syndicate may be prove to be the real Orwellian "Big Brother". HA HA HA HA! What a great lack of complete foresight that was. Time has proved that the real Big Brother, as Orwell predicted, is the totalitarian state that liberals create in order to promote their social schemes and silence those who oppose them.

One look at our government as it is right now, due to the policies of both GW Bush and Obama, and that one look will tell you who is the real Big Brother and the real threat to individual liberties. But something that those who wrote this kind of stuff in 1970 would have seen as the proper place to be in the 21st Century.

So let's just say that this program's writers and producers made a MISfortune telling here, and would have been better off and more realistic and spot-on to do a program entitled, One Day, They Killed a President.
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Hurry Sundown (1967)
Should be called Hurry up the Ending...
22 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film when very young back in the 70s, and didn't remember much about it except that it had some sort of big problem. Saw it again recently, and realized what the problem was right at the end of the film.

Other than being quite melodramatic with many caricatures, Michael Caine with a southern accent, uneven and moving between seriousness and lampooning, I realized the ending was really miserable.

All the other things could be forgiven since the film does capture a viewer's interest, but the ending is such that it seems about 20 or 30 minutes of film was left on the cutting room floor. We have a tragic incident where a white farmer's son is killed in an ill-planned blasting by a KKK styled group of men, and barely a minute after he is set out on a neighbors table, the father is back outside promising to rebuild with no sense of anyone grieving.

Then a couple more minutes pass, and he and his black neighbors are marching to his property with tools and implements, pushing past the Sheriff, to put the farm back into order, with no resolution or prosecution of those responsible for killing the child. It's as if a whole sequence is missing, meaning the boy's funeral, an investigation and the capture of the main character who caused the death, or at least that he has some sort of retribution for his murderous act. It just seems like the editors were told by the producers to make cuts because the film was already too long.

Besides this weird and unsettling rushed ending, the whole setup of the film seems much more like the 1960s when it was filmed rather than the 1940s when it supposedly took place. Had it been about a Vietnam Vet returning home and fighting against a corrupt and bigoted system, rather than a WW2 Vet, it would have been more believable. Even some of the attitudes and clothing, and soundtrack seem more 1960s, when it was filmed, than 1940s. Indeed the battle against racial inequality as presented here is more believable as a 1960s attitude, as it seems more modern than the attitudes of the 1940s.

Other than these two problems, the film is a fairly mediocre but entertaining melodrama, with capital M.
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Lassie: A New Beginning (1978 TV Movie)
Decent Lassie movie made for TV...
5 June 2013
This film rarely is shown, a made for TV movie that looks like it was meant to be a series, but did not get picked up by any network. If it comes on, one should try to catch it.

It is totally enjoyable for any Lassie fan, an outdoors adventure with Lassie and two orphan children on a trek to locate their uncle, and stay ahead of the authorities. Although it is predictable, there are actually a few instances where events happen that are surprising. The Lassie used by the trainers of the original TV series Lassie is a descendant of the original, and looks and sounds just like what we would expect Lassie to be.
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Picnic (1956)
Lesser in whole than in parts...
3 June 2013
Many fine scenes in this film make it one to see. Many fine performances as well. However, there are some scenes that are weak and performances in such scenes that aren't as strong as others. Some dialog that doesn't ring true, meaning that it doesn't seem as if it would actually be said that way in reality, but instead is merely a way to get to a point being made.

So there are a few stodgy scenes that bring the film in whole down from greatness, to being very good. That doesn't mean it isn't a good film, as it is, just a few missteps along the way.

This isn't due to the emotional yet illogical behavior of the leads. Of course, logically we know that the relationship for Hal and Maddie is pretty well doomed to fail just as her mother's did, but such is the nature of people in love, even with a love based upon first impression physical attraction. So the ending of the two lovers going to meet in Tulsa on separate transports is quite telling and foreboding. That in itself nearly wipes away all of the weak scenes.
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Ghastly permutation of great Verne novel...
23 October 2011
Sadly, this effects-laden trivial film was made for no other purpose than to showcase 3-D technology, and is pointless otherwise.

The original novel is so good that it would be very hard for any film to come close. The 1959 version, while lacking in effects, is 100 times better than this thing in every other way. The novel is 100 times better than the 1959 version, so use a little math and you'll see how much more worse this is.

3-D effects combined with 2-D acting and writing, 1-D scientific situations, and Zero-D characters: The typical goofy but nice scientist/professor, his smart-alec 13 yr old nephew with attitude, and the wiseacre girl interest, tough on outside only. James Mason and even Pat Boone (1959 version) could act circles around these three. Well, perhaps some allowances should be made to the actors for such an abysmal script.

My advice is to watch then forget this one, watch the 1959 version to see how it can be done better, then watch the 1951 film, UNKNOWN WORLD, to see an even better, well-made and interesting (albeit low-budget so no monsters) adult version of Verne's novel (without acknowledgement), then read the actual novel for the best experience.
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Hazel: My Son, the Sheepdog (1966)
Season 5, Episode 21
Worst episode of the worst season...
12 July 2011
There's no doubt that the last season of Hazel was a very pale imitation of seasons 1 through 5 with the original cast. The loss of Don Defore and Whitney Blake just was too much to overcome, even with Shirley Booth's great character still on board. The writing also suffered this final season.

Of all of the mediocre shows from this season, this one episode stands out as worse than mediocre. It's silly at best and ridiculous in the whole. The bashing in TV sit-coms of modern teen and pre-teen dress, music choices and behavior, seemingly funny when done, always fails to stand the test of time. Plus it's really an overworn suit. All I have to say to the ones responsible for this episode making such a big deal out of the kid Harold's 1965 Beatle hairstyle is: Just wait until 1968 if you want to see Harold really break out of conventional expectations. Then you'll wish it was only the hair that was your complaint.
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Fun sci fi film shows why time travel is a ridiculous notion...
5 June 2011
Sorry, I like Terminator but don't hold it in the same esteem as many others. I just don't see that it is any better than any other good and fun sci fi films that really aren't much more than a thrill ride.

But one thing it does have going for it that's great is that it shows how ridiculous the notion of time travel really is. For those who think such must be possible, you probably slept through or didn't take a class in physics. Since time is nothing more than an arbitrary measurement of relative motion of objects in relation to one another, it does not truly have a forward or backward direction. Einstein knew this and that's why he related time to physical motion, hence the name, Theory of Relativity, and he saw the perception of time as variable dependent upon the relative "speed" of the subject, but it's doubtful that many sci-fi fans understand this. (As proof. watch how many NO's I get on this) They believe that one can fall into a black hole and pop out through a wormhole into another time or faraway location in the universe, when all that would happen is they'd be crushed into being part of the dense matter of the black hole.

The abstract ideations called "the past" and "the future" are more a product of mental awareness of this motion which creates events that are kept in memory (known to us as the past) or events considered as possible through conjecture (known as the future). Time travel only can exist as a mental abstract ideation, and that's it.

Such travel is shown as being physically impossible in Terminator due to this scenario: Terminator is sent to the past by cyborg rulers to kill the birth mother of human John Conner, who threatens later cyborg rule. Human Reese is sent by humans to stop the terminator. He becomes the father of human John Conner who later threatens cyborg rule. Basically an impossible event, shown as such by what would have been the initial series of events, as envisioned this way...

Mom Conner would not have had son John in the first place without Reese, who would not have been sent after all because the terminator would not have been sent since John did not exist. Or envision this...

Had cyborg rulers not sent terminator, then Reese would not go and could not father John Conner....

And there are many other variations on these scenarios as well...

Pretty much an impossible conundrum, which just goes to show that the notions of past and future only exist in our mental awareness, and everything that actually exists in our reality and our universe really has just one time of existence, the now and present.

Even our memories of the past, notions of the future, and awareness of current existence which is due to the relative motion of objects, all happen within the now and present, the only actual "time" that is based in reality.

For those who would dismiss this because you really want to believe in time travel, well, you certainly aren't Einstein.
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A bit too "Speilbergian" to be a masterpiece.
17 February 2011
Too much here in the way of typical Seilberg unsubtle manipulations and corniness to make this a masterpiece, although it is very good. He had to get a bit older to really make something solidly best picture worthy.

Danny Glover's change of heart seems out of character, at least it is not developed as well as it needed to be to seem true.

La Strada did a better job of showing a male-dominated woman, the effects of such, and Anthony Quinn's revelation at the end seems much truer.

I would say it is a fine effort by one on the way to being a more mature filmmaker.
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Weird movie doesn't quite have the punch it should...
5 January 2011
I found that this film has some very interesting exposition about the lifestyle of the Chicano in the 70s and 80s in East LA much akin to what The Godfather did for exposing the lifestyle of the Mafia, of course the latter doing so in a much wider range.

However, I also found too many instances of simplicity and stereotyping of races to rate is anywhere near The Godfather, even though it was nearly as long. I suspect that The Godfather was on the minds of some involved in this production while it was being made. Certainly, the character of Miklo is as tragic a figure as Michael Corleone, and also shows he is a traitor to himself and his mentor, much the way Corleone betrayed his own brother. Also, "The Family" has utmost importance in both films, but this film falters in places where Godfather excelled, and so it does not deserve the same consideration.
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Hulk (2003)
"Puny Humans!"
4 January 2010
That famous Hulk comic book line of dialog is the main reason why this giant blockbuster of green (in dollars that is) ended up busted.

The credit goes to not one, but all "puny human" majors involved, these majors being Ang (Angst) Lee, Eric (Banal) Bana, Jennifer (one-note acting) Connelly, Nick (over-the-top) Nolte looking as good as his DUI mugshot, and the whole notion of everything must be left in because it cost so much.

It's a pleasant distraction, and nearly as good as the silly Fantastic 4 movies, but hundreds of fathoms below the really good Marvel comic movies, meaning Spiderman, X-men and Iron Man.
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A Mad Scientist's rantings are now considered accurate!
14 October 2009
A most interesting and weakly executed Sci-Fi diversion, where we have a somewhat unbalanced scientist proposing a theory that brain size is indicative of intelligence. A theory laughed at by fellow scientists in this film, but now recognized as accurate.

Of course, in the film, the scientist promotes as fact that brain size of the neanderthal is perhaps even larger than modern man, when it was not. That's the flaw here, but still we get to see him revert himself back to a neanderthal with violent tendencies, probably also pretty far-fetched. I'd expect a neanderthal in today's world to be more bewildered and frightened than overtly violent for no reason.

Also of notable fun is the "reversion" of house cats to sabre-tooth tigers. Pretty unlikely as they're not really evolutionarily that closely related in any line. But still fun and in one case, ironically deadly.

This is mild low-budget 1950s science fiction, short enough to not be tedious, although the excessively prose dialog is annoying. It's almost like writing in a period stage-drama style of the 1900s, and applying it to a 50s B-movie.

While merely okay, this film could have been so much better in the hands of Jack Arnold and the sci-fi effects wizards at 1950s Universal-International. Oh, wait, I just remembered they did it as Monster on the Campus.
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God this is awful, I'm still gagging on it's vapidness!
23 September 2009
This has to be the show that's responsible for causing part of the world to think the US is the great Satan. No, not really, but it sure doesn't help. I mean, we must look really awful to those who watch stuff like this and take it as emblematic of US society.

One thing for sure, it is the most mindless and vapid, numbingly stupid garbage I've ever seen, but I have yet to see 'The Hills', it's spin-off. That promises even more, much more, of the same nothingness.

Things that ought to be important to anyone with any sense of humanity are absent here. Things that typically are important to those who think of themselves before humanity, such as career and money, are also absent. in fact, the most common denominator of the important life functions in this tripe of programming are in line with what a pre-neanderthal might think of as important, such as who's my next mate and how can I attract him or her.

Even pre-neanderthals have one up on these young people, as the former must find their own food and shelter. What kind of life is perpetual childhood, especially perpetual tween childhood? The answer is right here, and it will make you feel ashamed this piece of the 'vast wasteland' is presented by those who've come forth from our own American culture, and seem to lack any understanding of its significance in history.
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Perry Mason: The Case of the Twice-Told Twist (1966)
Season 9, Episode 21
Plot very ordinary, but color photog...that's something else...
22 September 2009
A rather routine melodrama from the bountiful Perry Mason filmography, probably below average for the series, but still above average for most 60s programs.

This episode gets knocked for its use of color, with such statements as: looks like it was colorized, the crew didn't have experience with color, etc. However, I disagree. I find it's use of color above average for TV of the period.

If one were to look at other color programs from the 1960s, one will see that, in general, colors were rather bright, use of contrast or shadows was not great, and there was not much concern over subtlety of shading. This was in particular due to the color TV sets of the time that lacked the significant details and color variations of film, and of what we see with modern TV. This was true until finally in the early 70s some thought was given to increase contrast and color variation in TV sets, as was done with black matrix and trinitron screens.

The idea of color on TV then was to show it bright and brightly lit, and to prompt sales of color sets, quite different from film production. Take a look at the original Star Trek for an example. In fact, for those like myself who can remember this period, TV and Film were entirely two different worlds, and they rarely met except when somebody was able to make the jump from TV to film. It's not like that today.

In regards to this episode, I'd suggest that in fact it used more shading than was common to other color programs of the time, and was actually a better example of good use of color in a medium that lacked such. To the one who thinks it looks colorized, I'd think that was more a product of your own bias that Perry Mason ought to be B&W and not in color, as you know the colorized films ought to be.

To the one who feels the crew lacked experience, well, that's just a big laugh for me because the one thing the Perry Mason crew did not lack was cinematography experience. That's like telling a veteran artist doing a charcoal that he or she probably can't do the same in color, basically an ignorant comment.
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