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Behemoth the Sea Monster (1959)
Well Done Done Monster Movie From 1959
Atomic Testing creates a monster. Perhaps an overused premise for science fiction, but Giant Behemoth does a very credible job in exploiting this premise. The film does a much better job in detailing the scientific investigation that methodically uncovers the nature of the beast than most films - past or present.
The characters are likable and believable.
The acting ranges from competent to very good.
This is a well-directed, well acted film.
Assuming you buy into the ability of radiation to create monsters, the plot line is quite credible.
The special effects and the monster are decent for 1959, but vastly inferior to what we get today.
Still it is a much better film than most modern sci-fi films.
Just saw Dunkirk. I am going to go against the flow and say I found it to be mediocre. Did not like many of the directing choices Nolan made. Many of his choices felt contrived and made it hard for me to maintain my willing suspension of disbelief.
Kenneth Branagh was in the film, but was heavily underutilized. We never got a feeling for the miracle that was Dunkirk. And we ended up with a surprisingly small film for such a big event. One example: over 800 small boats enabled over 300,000 British soldiers escape, yet we never ever saw that. Consequently, the film completely failed to capture the scale of this event.
I suppose Nolan was trying to give a view of Dunkirk from the perspective of a few hapless British soldiers who had a very small / micro view of the war. This particular group, unlike the vast majority of British troops, appeared willing to do anything to get back across the channel with little regard for their fellow soldiers. Ultimately, I just did not find them very believable and I really did not care about them.
Likewise, the French's only role was to try to get on the ships. One of main unsympathetic characters was a French soldier who stripped a dead British soldier to so he could pretend to be British in hope of getting across the Channel. The fact that is was the French that fought a fierce rearguard action that gave the British time to effect the rescue was ignored.
Scenes that could have been powerful - weren't - because the proper foundation to make them powerful was never laid.
In not using CGI to give the viewer the true scope of Dunkirk (using real boats, people, planes and ship would have been cost prohibitive), over 850 ships and over 400,000 troops, was not shown. One would have never guessed the RAF fought hard and deployed hundreds of fighters to combat the bombs raining down on the men waiting on the beaches, flying a total of 3,500 sorties and losing 145 aircraft while the Luftwaffe lost 156.
In the movie ships rolled over after getting hit by single bomb and the fact that Naval ships can actually fight back was ignored. In fact an armed civilian ship, a paddle wheeler, actually shot down 3 German airplanes en route to successfully ferrying 7000 soldiers back to England in seven round trips. So in the real Dunkirk larger ships survived multiple attacks from German aircraft and actually shot them down. We get none of that from Nolan. Consequently, he created a distorted and inaccurate view of Dunkirk.
I can appreciate artistic license, but Nolan went too far in creating his sparse and tiny Dunkirk.
So while I generally like war films, this one underwhelmed me. It was not a bad film, but it was inaccurate and there are many far better war films.
On the positive side I did see it in IMAX and some of the scenes were spectacular. The soundtrack was also powerful. If you want to see this film, see it in the theater and see it in IMAX. I do not think it is worth watching on the small screen.
We deserve a real film about Dunkirk.
Mister Ed (1958)
A show that is is still funny nearly 50 years later
After the passing of Alan Young on May 19 (2016) of this year I fired up a few episodes of Mr. Ed in tribute to Mr. Young. Having watched it as a kid I was curious how it would hold up. It was still funny and witty and held up quite well. All the episodes are available on youtube in good quality. It easily holds its own with many of the more current comedies being put out today. Given that it is nearly 50 years old you don't have cell phones, but you do have party lines and gossipy neighbors. Of course you also have a world-wise talking horse who is integrated quite cleverly into each week's plot line. It is not a bad option for family TV time as both kids and adults can appreciate it. Some sexual innuendo of a mild nature, but still a "G" viewing experience.
Uchû kyôdai (2012)
Great Drama that is both fun and educational.
Space brothers is not your typical anime. But it is really really good. In Space Brothers you follow Mutta as he tries to follow in his younger brother's foot steps to become an astronaut. Realistic characters and fairly realistic training separate this from your typical anime. (Apparently NASA who provide technical consulting, felt that the depicting training was actually more drawn out and tougher than what real astronauts go through.)
Mutta and his brother were likable, relatable characters as are their fellow astronaut candidates.
This is an excellent anime well worth watching. I would give it a ten, but it ended too soon for my taste.
The X Files: Medusa (2001)
Scully's ineffectiveness strains credulity
Without giving anything away, Dana Scully's feckless ineptitude in this episode strains credulity. Rather that calling in resources at her beck and call she's allows a caricature of a public official to expose the public to a potentially lethal contagion.
The passivity and helplessness of Scully and unwillingness to do what was necessary to protect the public was out of character and was little more than a device to keep the story going. Frankly, lazy script writing.
The supporting characters also were also pretty weakly portrayed.
I really like the X-Files but I barely made it through this one.
Now I am watching the next episode, Per Manum, and Scully apparently has no memories of the last eight years and all the evidence she came across of doctors using women as guinea pigs.
The Equalizer (2014)
Denzel Washington has been in a lot of Good Movies - this is not one of them
Denzel Washington has been in a lot of good movies. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. Having appreciated the mid 1980's series upon which this movie is loosely based; and liking Denzel Washington as an actor, I went to this movie feeling that the movie had a better than fair chance of being a good action thriller.
The movie starts promisingly as we see Robert McCall's (Denzel's) efforts to positively impact those with whom he works and socializes. Unfortunately, the movie goes downhill from there. While Good guys killing bunches of villains and being unrealistically lucky is standard fare for mindless action films, the initial 20 minutes plus of this film tried so hard to convince us that this was not going to be such a film that the transition to being a mindless action flick is jarring and disappointing.
Sadly, once Robert McCall begins his killing spree it truly does become a mindless action film that is largely without suspense or fun. The lack of fun comes from Washington's character who despite very token almost meaningless efforts to give the bad guys a chance to do the right thing, clearly enjoys figuring out all sorts of ways to kill them.
Of course only bad guys use guns, but highly trained ex CIA operatives/assassins like Robert McCall eschew guns. So ex CIA operative Robert McCall does the competent professional thing by leaving guns on the ground throughout movie, instead choosing to kill the villains using a wide variety of methods that in real life would have put himself and the people he is supposed to be protecting at far greater risk.
As described above, the situations Robert puts himself and the risky way in which he engages the bad guys completely contradicts the idea that he truly is this methodical experienced professional. That he manages to come out ahead could only have been accomplished by script writers with no regard for realism or the viewer's sense of credulity.
The situations were so stupid that even I watched the film I found myself angry with the scriptwriters for being so obviously lazy.
Frustratingly, Washington's character does not even do a good job protecting the innocent, putting them at risk even after being directly warned they will be put at risk by his actions.
In the end this was a poorly made film not because it featured the hero doing ridiculously unrealistic things, but because the movie worked hard at the beginning to tell us this was not going to be mindless action flick, but than went on to deliver a mindless action flick that really was no fun at all.
Trouble Along the Way (1953)
Winning isn't everything, its the only thing - when properly defined.
"Winning isn't everything, it's the only the thing!" So says Steve Williams (John Wayne) who is doing his best to raise a daughter in the rough and tumble world of college football. Of course, like so many Wayne characters, Steve Williams talks roughly, but under his wise cracking tough guy exterior there is a basically decent man who when pushed a bit will try to do the right thing. Though not necessarily in the right way.
His daughter Carol Williams is very well played by child actress Sherry Jackson and there is a strong supporting cast of characters that combine to make this film both fun and heart warming.
Donna Reed provides the romantic element as social worker whose job has brought her in to contact with Steve and Carol.
Refreshingly, unlike most modern films, the Catholic Church is positively portrayed, i.e., the priests and the Cardinal are real people with common sense and real senses of humor doing their best to make good decisions while staying true to their faith.
So if you are looking for a fun, well-acted, well-directed movies with a strong performance by John Wayne and a great supporting cast you will not be disappointed in "Trouble Along the Way."
Man of Steel (2013)
Superman Redux good but not great
"Man of Steel" is a good movie. Not as good as the first two Superman movies in 1978 and 1980 and (Superman and Superman 2) starring Christopher Reeve, but certainly better than any of the sequels for Superman post Superman 2. Superman with Christopher Reeve was much more tongue and cheek than the current iteration and I thought stayed truer to the Superman ethos.
Further, despite the more tongue and cheek nature of the 1978 Superman I found the Lois Lane death scene much more impactful than anything in "Man of Steel." With that said "Man of Steel" is a good film, with some great action scenes that complement a solid performance from Henry Cavill as Superman. Amy Adams is okay as Lois, but frankly just okay. Russell Crow as Jor-el brings does a good job, but in spite of more screen time does not surpass that of Marlon Brando as Jor-el in the 1978 Superman.
In terms of the whole Daily Planet angle we will have to see how that works out in the sequel, but this first movie does very little to establish the Daily Planet as a the central player it has been in Superman lore.
The best thing about this Superman was that he actually did the right in killing General Zod. Yes, Superman's rule on not killing is a good one especially for someone as powerful as Superman. However,not killing General Zod would certainly have resulted in the deaths of further countless innocents as earth authorities would not have been able to contain GeneralZod. So actually in this case Superman made the very tough decision to protect innocent life by killing Zod. (note this is not in any way murdering Zod as he had already killed hundreds if not thousands and was poised to kill more innocents in a matter of seconds. Superman has not become just like Zod.)
So when dealing with humans, Superman's rule is a good one, but when dealing with murderous, genocidal beings with powers far beyond those of mere earthlings such as Zod, the underlying spirit of the rule must be followed which is to protect innocent human life. Ultimately, Superman was morally obligated to kill Zod. Not doing so would have made him responsible for any further murders by Zod.
To whom much is given, much is required and Superman will have to bear the burden of intentionally killing the last Kryptonian of which he is aware.
Big Jake (1971)
A Big Rollicking Gritty Fun Movie
From its documentary style opening, Big Jake delivers big fun, big adventure, nasty villains, whippersnapper sons and classic John Wayne. This movie has something for everyone, but be warned it has plenty of violence and is definitely a PG/ PG13 type film.
The supporting cast is excellent with Patrick Wayne, Christopher Mitchum, Richard Boone,Bruce Cabot, Maureen O'Hara, Gregg Palmer and Dog turning in solid performances.
While there are the formulaic elements such as horrendous acts perpetuated by bad men that give license to the good guys to do whatever is necessary to right the wrong, Big Jake also has other elements that make this film not just another Western:
1) Takes place in transition period of the turn of the century which provides some interesting interaction between the old ways and new ways.
2) Fun relationships and interplay between an estranged father and his young adult sons.
3) Great mixture of fun and intense gritty action. (John Wayne movies are known for this)
If you like Westerns this is a classic that you will enjoy.
If you are a fan of John Wayne at all this is a must see film.
If you are just looking for a good gritty action film with a healthy dose of humor seamlessly woven in to the story you will not be disappointed.
Ultimately, this is one of my favorite John Wayne films.
The Hobbit trys to be something it's not.
The Hobbit is a really good book, the Lord of the Rings is a much better book. LOTR is truly an Epic adventure having to do with the fate of all of Middle Earth. The Hobbit is an adventure about dwarfs trying to reclaim their home, their treasure and also kill a dragon. A nice big fun adventure, but not really Epic and not really on anywhere near the scale of LOTR.
Having read LOTR multiple times I felt that Peter Jackson truly captured the feeling and spirit of the book. Yes, there are some things I disagreed with in his movie adaption, but on the whole the movies were an amazing achievement.
Relatively speaking, Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Hobbit falls way short of what he was able to accomplish with LOTR. Jackson's efforts to make the Hobbit more epic are severely undercut by giving the action sequences a video game quality. In the Hobbit you are bombarded with too many scenes and actions sequences that strain credulity.
Sadly, the action sequences in the Hobbit film that take away from the experience were not even in the book. Further, the film's efforts to be "Epic" by making the Hobbit longer results in extended action sequences and extra plot elements that really take away from the story.
The result is a film adaptation that fails to capture the magic of the book that it is based on.
In the end the film adaptation of the Hobbit falls victim to a movie studio trying to recreate the financial success of LOTR by trying to artificially pump the Hobbit up into three really long films and it just doesn't really work.
Does this mean that the first of the three Hobbit films is is a bad film? No it is a pretty good film, but make no mistake that the Hobbit is not even in the same league as the Lord of the Rings.
I give the Hobbit a 7 because it is a fun film with good special effects. If I were grading it strictly on being a good film adaptation of the Hobbit I would drop it to a 5.
A Timeless, wonderful and thoughtful anime with baseball, romance and more.
Not every anime done in 1985 holds up well. TOUCH not only holds up well, but sets a standard for thoughtful drama that few animes meet or for that matter any series of any style.
What sets TOUCH apart is its thoughtful examination of the relationship between Tatsuya Uesugi and Kazuya Uesugi, who despite being identical twins are different as night and day. While this series has humor throughout, it seriously looks at a relationship that despite no intended malice has resulted in the serious diminishment of one of the main characters as a person.
The long-time childhood friend Minami plays a critical central role as she helps advance the story and plot in a way no other character could.
This is a thoughtful anime that has some sadness and poignancy interwoven throughout, yet still has enough fun and enough action to keep younger,less thoughtful audiences interested even if they are too young to understand the deeper issues being addressed.
Really geared for teenagers and above. Male characters do notice pretty female characters bodies and figures and do things real teenage boys do, i.e. look at girly magazines, etc, but this only adds some realism.
Kurosu gêmu (2009)
A thoughtful, charming, romantic drama with nice sprinkling of comedy - and baseball too!.
I want to marry Wakaba. Okay I guess that won't work because I am already happily married and she is an anime character in fifth grade, but other than that the writers and animators do an amazing job of establishing Wakaba's character in such a way that is is clear that any guy would be pretty much putty in her hands.
With that said this anime explores a lot of questions with perhaps the key question being - what impact can a 5th grade girl have on the lives of her friends and family? Well if you invest the time to watch this series you will find out she can have an influence far beyond her years.
This is a charming, well-written series that has great characters, a strong plot and if you are so inclined gives you an opportunity to think about and discuss the dynamics of friendship,family and romance.
While liking baseball will be a plus in how much you enjoy this drama, even if baseball is not your thing you will still enjoy this series.
Because of a main plot development this might be a little intense for younger viewers, especially the first few episodes, but after that this is a family friendly drama that can can enjoyed by the whole family. (I think upper elementary and above would be fine.)
While this series is pretty much ecchi free, male characters do exhibit a normal, healthy, and non-exaggerated interest in the female form, but I would argue that the way it is done is tasteful and if it was not there would actually detract a bit from the story. (this aspect is a very small part of the series and I only mention it to point out that it is appropriately done and makes the characters more real.)
There are positive portrayals of both male and female characters and in particular "Cross Game" ends up giving a strong plug to the value of girls being involved in sports.
On a negative note, the stereotype of adult males only being able to have fun by drinking to excess and making fools of themselves is used in this story as a form of comic relief. This is a still pretty minor and should not stop you from enjoying the story.
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Funny, goofy movie that works
This is nothing more than a comedy with loads of sight gags, funny lines and slapstick humor that at times devolves into being downright goofy.
And it works.
While I generally like Bruce Willis and think many people underestimate his range as an actor, I was pleasantly surprised by Matthew Perry's performance who more than held his own.
In fact it is Matthew Perry's performance and interaction with Bruce Willis, aka Jimmy "the Tulip" Tudeski, and the massive Michael Clarke Duncan, aka Franklin 'Frankie Figs' Figueroa that makes this into a truly funny movie.
Part of what makes the movie work is that while Willis and Duncan are involved in various silly and comedic situations you never get the feeling they are silly or any less dangerous. So even as hilarity is erupting you still are conscious of a sense of menace that makes the goofiness somehow even goofier.
Roseanna Arquette also deserves kudos as Perry's wife. She does a an excellent job of portraying someone you really do not like and really would not want to be married to.
I originally saw this in the theater at full price and felt I got my money's worth. So pretty confident if you rent this you will be reasonably happy with your investment.
Well worth watching more than once.
An epic? No
Academy award winning performances? No
Must see? Yes! That is if you want to watch a truly funny and sweet romantic comedy.
Kurt Russell's portrayal of a father with kids desperately needing a mom and a wife; and Goldie Hawn's portrayal of a vapid socialite leading a shallow, meaningless existence sets the stage for a very funny movie that both men and women will appreciate.
While this is a comedy with many funny scenes, the movie paces itself nicely by interspersing the funny scenes with some serious and even somewhat poignant scenes.
Bottom line, you will enjoy this film.
So on the basis of being enjoyable and fun to watch I give "Overboard" a 9.
Some real flaws, but still does good job of being creepy.
As a Highlander Series fan I watched this film hoping for good things, but was disappointed.
At a high-level the plot and premise have real potential, but this potential is never realized because the actual script and directing are mediocre at best. Further the story flow is disjointed and uneven. Character development is also weak and you really don't get to know the characters or care about them much.
Adrian Paul's performance was competent, but uninspiring, probably due to mediocre dialog. Likewise, the other actors performances are hard to critique because they really did not have much with which to work.
Somehow, in spite of the above, the ever present cameras and Eyeborgs do create a really creepy atmosphere and made me think I do not want anything even close to a society infested with Eyeborgs.
So in spite of its many flaws, good special effects and just enough of everything else still allows Eyeborgs to achieve its objective of making us question an ends justifies the means approach to fighting terrorism.
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek meets Beverly Hills 90210
This might be a fun science fiction film, but it really is not a Star Trek film. Sure at a superficial level it has all the Star Trek characters and makes some references that only someone familiar with Star Trek would get, but this film was not done in the spirit of Star Trek.
While paying very thin lip service to the legacy of Star Trek, we are treated to beautiful hard bodies running around willy-nilly, firing their phasors and randomly citing Star Trek ism's.
Though it is pretty much impossible to go into detail without writing a spoiler suffice it to say:
The character development is contrived and uneven.
No real attempt is made to maintain the integrity of the relative character ages of key Star Trek Characters, i.e. Chekov is more than just a few year younger than Kirk, etc.
There is only a superficial relationship between the Star Trek Universe as fleshed out over the last 40 years to this new, hip, superficial, shoot from the hip universe.
It boggles the mind the way key tragic events are dismissed and treated so lightly,e.g. the destruction of...... More concern was paid to the death of a Red Shirt on TOS than this particular tragic event.
The Federation is portrayed as silly and incompetent by how they reward the immature and not ready for prime time Kirk at the end of the movie. Something no real serious organization would do.
If this was a movie without the name Star Trek in the title, it would have been a fun,very superficial scifi action flick, but despite its name this was not really a Star Trek Movie.
Is it a bad movie? Nah. Is it a bad Star Trek movie? Definitely!
However, if you thought that the Star Ship Troopers movie was was an accurate adaptation of Heinlein's book Star Ship Troopers, then you will probably really like this film.
Top 250 of all time - really??????????
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Transcedent film that leaves you amazed at the film's artistic merit.
There are movies that tug at your heart - "Mr. Smith Goes Washington," "Old Yeller," "Its a Wonderful Life," "Saving Private Ryan," etc, etc,; and for sure "Miracle on 34th Street is one of those films. However, having seen "Miracle on 34th Street" at least a dozen times as part of my family's Christmas tradition I have come to appreciate that it is far more than just a cute, feel-good Christmas classic.
Yes, this film takes on the commercialization of Christmas and gets us to rethink what is so wonderful about being "realistic" and "practical;" but beyond telling a good story, it is in fact an amazingly well-directed and well-acted film with inspired casting.
From the talented and beautiful Maureen O'Hara (see her in the "The Quiet Man" if you want another fun film well worth watching multiple times), to Edwin Gwinn as Kris Kringle, to Natalie Wood as Susan Walker, to William Frawley of "I Love Lucy" fame as the world-wise political adviser to Judge Henry Harper, it is hard for me to think of a movie with better casting.
Director George Seaton creates so many memorable and amazing scenes that picking one out as being exceptional is difficult in that they are all exceptional relative to what you get in your average film. He also effectively develops even the lesser characters so that they become endearing and enduring characters despite getting very little screen time. (Something I have seen many modern films attempt to do, but fail at miserably.)
Yes, the "Miracle on 34th Street" is clever, cute, funny and poignant, but don't let that obscure the fact it is a triumph in the art of film-making that is matched by precious few films.
If you have not seen this film you are in for a treat. If you have seen this film I encourage you to take the time to appreciate the artistry of it as you enjoy this timeless classic once again.
Definitely worth buying!!!
Lost in Space (1998)
Politically correct, unwatchable claptrap
I liked the original "Lost in Space" series so I went to the movie hoping that they would at least give it a decent treatment - so to say I was disappointed is an understatement.
Within a few minutes of the film's start you have Professor Robinson and Major West engaged in a "pissing match" causing Maureen Robinson to roll her eyes and to reprimand the "little boys."
From there the film gets progressively worse. You don't get any kind of good feeling about the family. The relationship between "Robot" and Will Robinson is never developed or credible.
The dialog is so bad and the plot so poor that no actor could have shined through it - and none do.
The original series, especially the first season, is actually very watchable science fiction and the Robinson's really seemed like a real family. A friend of mine makes a good case that one particular episode "Follow the Leader" might have provided the inspiration for George Lucas's Darth Vader and his relationship to his son Luke.
Regardless, even if you are not familiar with the original television series, you will still find this to be a very bad film with no redeeming value.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Dark Knight - a good film, but all-time top 10?
I must confess I was somewhat skeptical going into Dark Knight regarding Heath Ledger's performance. I had heard a lot of the hype prior to seeing the film and I figured much of the hype surrounding his performance was related to and out of sympathy for his tragic death. My skepticism was unwarranted as his performance was fantastic.
The film was fun and suspenseful. It is a good film, but for me there were too many contrived scenes for it to be truly a great film.
Great films can come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones I find profound don't hit you over the head in an effort to be profound.
Yes, Dark Knight addresses some good issues, but it does so in such an unsubtle manner that it disrupted my suspension of disbelief. For example, the passengers of the two ships deciding whether or not to blow up the other ship to ensure their survival. In watching this sub-drama unfold, the first thing that came to my mind was the unbelievable incompetence of the authorities in allowing the two major ships to be filled to the brim with explosives. The next thing that came to mind was that I was watching a variation on some kind of Lifeboat exercise. I give the writers and directors credit for trying to make this more than just an action thriller, but for me it just was not credible.
I also found Harvey Dent's rapid fall/transformation into Two-Face somewhat somewhat lacking in credibility as well.
I would recommend this film as a must watch as it is mostly very well done and Heath Ledger steals the show as the Joker, but no way is it is a top 10 film of all time.
Harvey - A gentle spirit wins the day.
Jimmy Stewart is my favorite actor of all time and this is my favorite Jimmy Stewart film. That is saying a lot when you think of great, great films like "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "It's a Wonderful Life,"Rear Window," "Vertigo," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," etc.,etc.
Sure Jimmy Stewart could play a tough guy, but in this film Jimmy Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, an eccentric, yet gentle-spirited man without an ounce of guile who pleasantly navigates his way through life.
The film is funny, with some good slapstick humor, but in the end it is the gentle spirit of Elwood P. Dowd as portrayed by a truly great actor that makes this film unique.
In the history of Hollywood there have been some great leading men, but I am hard-pressed to think of one who could have pulled of this role as well as WWII War Hero and Brigadier General - Jimmy Stewart.
A New Leaf (1971)
Very funny comedy with just a touch of sweetness
Walter Mathou (Henry Graham) is a playboy running out of funds who is willing to do anything to try to avoid doing something useful with his life...even marrying Henrietta (Elaine May). This is a funny movie, with clever dialog, great sight gags and great performances.
From his relationship with his butler to his relationship with his car, Walter Mathou does his usual masterful job in creating a memorable character that you end up liking when it is all said and done.
No crudity, no vulgarity, just clever, well-executed humor with a touch of sweetness.
I have seen this movie at least 5 times and always look forward to introducing someone else to it.
You will not be disappointed.
The Patriot (2000)
Portrayal of British Brutality make this a film to avoid.
The Patriot was very formulaic. Yet it had to the potential to be at least a good film. However, the fabricated unhistorical scene in which scores of colonists are purposely burned alive in their own Church by British Soldiers under Colonel Tavington was completely unnecessary to the plot line. We already disliked and hated the villain, Colonel Tavington, we did not have to see him burn women, children and men alive to make him a worthy villain.
Even as the scene was unfolding for me the first time (and the last) I was very confident the British had done no such thing.
Without the church burning scene I would have given "The Patriot" a 7 despite its totally cliché climax. With the church burning scene it drops to a 5 for being totally irresponsible in its portrayal of the Revolutionary War.
Starship Troopers (1997)
Heinlein is rolling in his grave!
I am a long-time Heinlein fan and have read Starship Troopers.
Being a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Robert Heinlein had a lot of respect for military service as a way to serve humanity in a cause bigger than yourself. Starship Troopers, the book, was built around the theme of service. It is a pretty controversial book in that Heinlein makes the case that only those who have served in the military, i.e. served a cause bigger than themselves, should be enfranchised with the vote as they have demonstrated themselves to be responsible enough to think about more than just themselves.
You won't get any of that out of the film. Instead you will get mindless action and violence that portrays the military as incompetent and fascist.(Combined-arm tactics - what's that?)
The betrayal of Heinlein is so complete that it cannot be a mere accident. Clearly the writers and director of the Starship Troopers movie despised Heinlein's views. Disagreeing with Heinlein is their right, but it is both scummy and unethical of them to use Heinlein's name to convey a message that is the polar opposite of what Heinlein believed.
Perhaps if you go to this movie looking for some good mindless action and some pretty faces you won't be disappointed; as I was, but make no mistake you are not seeing anything truly related to the book this film was allegedly based on.
Not Blade Runner, but does a good job at addressing similar themes.
I was not expecting Soldier to be anything more than a rock'em sock'em action thriller. Maybe something in the vein of "Escape From New York City." Pleasantly, my expectations were not met.
Instead of a mindless action thriller I was treated to a surprisingly thoughtful film that in some ways reminded me of Blade Runner.
Like Blade Runner this film has a very dark feel to it. Like Bladerunner the action in the film is merely a backdrop for the central issue issue of what makes us human and what is the value of being human.
The villains and the action are only average, but Kurt Russell's portrayal of a discarded human being is powerful and poignant.
Soldier is not as good a film as Blade Runner (a great film), but it is still well worth seeing.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Must See WWII film
I had seen this film 15 or 20 years ago and just recently watched it again with my 11 year old son who is big history buff. He loved it.
If you are the kind of person who thinks that fast food is too slow you will probably think this film is too slow, but if you're interested in the history of WWII and the events surrounding Pearl Harbor this is a must see film.
This film was not made to showcase any one actor's talents, but instead is an ensemble effort that with few exceptions accurately portrays the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the attack itself. So while the acting is definitely competent and believable, the real star is the story itself.
Knowing the end result (Pearl Harbor is successfully attacked - I hope someone does not find this to be a spoiler!) you nonetheless find yourself hoping against hope that someone will be able to break through and actually warn Admiral Kimmel and/or General Short of the impending attack. Alas this does not happen.
I have seen some harsh criticisms of this film as being boring and slow. All I can say is that if you are a thoughtful person with a little imagination you will not find this film boring and slow.