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6/10
Amusing half-baked mystery
15 May 2019
This movie works mainly thanks to Byron Foulger as the shy and insecure Everett P. Digberry. Around him revolves a somewhat diffuse plot, and the straight man Sidney Blackmer as Police Commissioner Thatcher Colt, sturdy as a rock, a good contrast to the fragile Digberry. Both are good character actors who stand out among a cast that is otherwise anonymous or downright bad.

And that summarizes the movie pretty far. Digberry's confused reasoning, how he messes up his situation, is pretty fun. The plot overall is not so good with several plot holes. Two characters are annoying, and shows the age of the movie: Thornton Edwards makes the cliché italian Enrico Lombardi, and Billy Mitchell is downright embarassing as the cliché black man Nicodemus J. Brown, complete with "black language". I guess that was acceptable back then.

This sounds like a pretty bad movie, but it is worth watching for the best actors. But it also loses some stars due to a weak plot and some less enjoyable characters.
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The Goodies: Big Foot (1982)
Season 9, Episode 3
6/10
Good first part, forgettable rest
8 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The LWT season was arguably the Goodies' weakest season, with few high moments. This episode, however, is worthwhile for the first part, where Graeme pretends to be Arthur C Clarke, pretending not to believe any of the big mysteries that happens openly around him.

After the episode leaves "The Mysterious World of Arthur C Clarke", it also leaves its own quality behind, and moves on into a haphazard mess of unfunny jokes, including trying to redo the "killer joke" gag from Monty Python without success.

But seeing Graeme dismissing the Loch Ness monster in the most ridiculous way while the monster looks over his shoulder... hilarious! So watch it for that part!
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The Goodies: Saturday Night Grease (1980)
Season 8, Episode 2
Saturday Night Fever parody with a great ending slapstick
8 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Like some other great episodes, especially "The Movies", much of the episode is only mildly amusing, but the slapstick sequence in the end, in this case a combined police chase and dance, makes up for all it lacks in other parts. The chase/dance is a piece of comedy art!

Other good moments include Bill's club, that is so exclusive that nobody is permitted, and Tim walking down the street mimicking Travolta, and of course the music number "Grease Cyclin'". One part that is sure to be funny if you have not seen the (better) original is the dance built from various mocking actions, like the twist is "trying to stomp out two cigarettes with your feet while drying yourself with a bathroom towel". It is fun, but it is a ripoff from Tim's great "Chartered Accountant Dance" in "At last the 1948 Show". We should forgive them the reuse, since the original was most likely thought to be lost.

All in all, a good episode, just have some patience through some parts, the ending chase/dance is the best part and you don't want to miss that!
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The Goodies: A Kick in the Arts (1980)
Season 8, Episode 3
4/10
The kick misses the mark
6 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In their last BBC season, it was pretty clear that the boys were losing their steam, with few high points (the first half of Politics being a notable exception). In "A kick in the arts", the episode is packed with gags, but they rarely feel truly funny.

The funniest part is probably when Bill humiliates TIm in multiple games with various ways of cheating. Another relatively strong scene is Bill building a brick wall higher while Tim tries to pole vault over it.

Amusing tidbit: We can easily spot one scene reprising an escape scene from "Goodies in the nick".

The alternative sports are amusing but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. The best IMHO is heavyweight poetry, where the gag fully integrates the two components, and the long jump scene over the author's whole production.

So, there are gags everywhere, possibilities to be amused. It may work if you are in the right mindset but to me it felt like one of the weaker episodes.
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8/10
Excellent comedy with great special effects and a charming take on ghosts
4 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Although Abbott and Costello are fun, I never really considered them great feature film material, more short sketch comedians with a lot of silly fumbling and bumbling from Costello... until I watched this. It was quite unexpected in its form and to major parts very good.

The story is pretty simple but it is still logical enough to carry the movie. The background is dark, being about accidental killings in wartime. But then, I think it manages to put a very charming angle on ghosts. Costello's naive, fumbling character fits right in, as a ghost who doesn't really know what it is about and has to improvise a lot, being as confused as the living.

Another strong point with the movie is the special effects. 1946, and this good? Of course there is a bit of fading in and out, but there are several scenes where effects are made really masterfully.

There is relatively little interaction between Abbott and Costello, but what there is is important, and with pretty much all other characters doing straight man parts, Abbott doesn't have to have that role as much but can rather be one of the story-driving characters.

What dd I didn't like? Not much, really. There were times where the movie risked overdoing scenes, but it didn't. I think I can point out a scene or two with imperfect special effects, but there are many special effects in this movie. There are a few inconsistencies in ghost abilities, but never mind. They are usually there to drive fun moments.

All in all, a fun and well made movie that I am glad to have come across.
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Harvey (1950)
8/10
A movie about a man who sees everybody
30 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is not about Harvey! It is not about a man who thinks he has a 6-foot rabbit as companion. Harvey is just decoration, he is not important. It is a movie about a man who sees everybody!

Because Elwood P Dowd (James Stewart) sees high and low, acknowledges their assets, asks for their names, remembers their names. He is everybody's friend, sees everybody, listens, invites to dinner, makes compliments. This makes some of his friends unacceptable in the upper class, and that is not just Harvey. In the beginning of the movie, we hear Mr Meegles (Harry Hines) say that Veta (Josephine Hull) didn't like him because he is an ex-convict. He is just another Harvey, Elwood is his friend but other people can't, or won't, see him. For them, Mr Meegles is as invisible as Harvey!

Thus, my favorite scene in the movie has nothing to do with Harvey. It is the scene near the middle of the movie with the guard by the gate (Clem Bevans). Elwood admires the construction, befriends the guard, Mr Shimelplatzer. And later, in the end of the movie, he addresses Mr Shimelplatzer by his name, again acknowledging him. The guard by the gate is a typical "invisible man".

Harvey is just a mirror of these "invisible people", an amplification of them, a caricature.

You may ask why Elwood can't explain properly, why he, who sees everybody, can't see that people are uncomfortable with Harvey, that they can't see him. He should notice that. However, that is a flaw needed to drive the story. If Elwood was discrete about Harvey, there would be no conflict, no problem to solve, no visits at the sanatorium.

But then I get to the real weaknesses of the movie. The romance between miss Kelly (Peggy Dow) and Dr Sanderson (Charles Drake) is sketchy, and the one between Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne) and Wilson (Jesse White) is even clumsier. These seem slapped-on as something good that Harvey is supposed to cause, but I am not convinced.

At the end, Elwood is basically ready to give up his life to follow Vetas wishes, something that feels strange for a man who has ignored her needs for years. That makes him unnecessarily daft. Is he wise or is he dumb? I guess we are not really supposed to know for sure.

All in all, I really love the concept of the man who sees everybody, to the extent that he can see Harvey as well as lower class people, creatures that many people can't see. This makes most of the movie enjoyable and even genius. I can understand why Josephine Hull earned an Oscar for the movie. It also has some bumps that makes it less that perfect - but not by much. This movie is about seeing and acknowledging, and focusing on the positive, so I acknowledge its strengths while still seeing its weaknesses, and liking it for the strong parts.
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Raw Deal (1948)
Shows Raymond Burr's talent as villain
8 September 2017
Raymond Burr is most famous as the invincible Perry Mason, but in Rear Window we saw him as the villain. In this movie, he has a much bigger villain part, as Rick, and makes much more impression as such. His towering presence is well used, and we hear him presenting his evil plan in a very elegant manner, packaging his plan in the most perfect "nice" expressions.

Burr makes my favorite quote from the movie, landed with perfect timing:

"He was screaming he wanted out. When a man screams, I don't like it. Especially a friend. He might scream loud enough for the D.A. to hear. I don't want to hurt the D.A's ears.... He's sensitive."

On top of this, we have the overall gray and "noir" mood of the picture, about a man with very bad odds (Joe Sullivan/O'Keefe), and two women, one of them his loyal accomplice Pat (Claire Trevor), who is also narrator of the story, and Ann (Marsha Hunt) who is forced to join them. Joe's feelings for the two is the constant worry of Pat, hopelessly in love with Joe. All three do their parts well.

A weakness of the movie, showing its age, is that the action scenes are pretty primitive. We have to live with that for movies this old.
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K2 (1991)
6/10
Good visuals, good acting, bad cut
21 August 2017
Why does it seem like if mountain climbing movies often are complemented with a bad script? In this case also bad cut, on a broad scale (more or less script level?).

Let me start with what I like. Actors are good, and the two heroes do their parts very well, well cast. The mountain climbing scenes were generally excellent (visually, that is).

The script, however, is pretty lame. There is a question of predictable events, but what bothered me was badly handled personal conflicts. The conflict within the team feels slapped on and I wonder why the leader would keep both in the team. There are also some conflicts between the heroes, which are also superfluous. And we have the conflict adventure vs family, which is also never more than annoying.

The weakest thing with the movie IMHO is how each conflict, each problem, each part, is always cut before it reaches any conclusion. Over and over I feel that the producers felt "OK, enough of this, just stop and move on to the next scene". This is true all the way to the end. Present problem, start elaborating problem... stop! Never finish anything!

I felt it was worth watching, but also that it could have been better. Watch it for the mountaineering scenes and forget the rest.
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5/10
Sanctioned to climb
16 February 2017
This movie has one thing in its favor, really only one, but it is good: The mountain climbing scenes. They are positively first rate. The fact that Eastwood did his own stunts, and this was done before all modern digital effects, makes this a masterpiece in mountain climbing film making.

The script, however, is downright terrible. The whole setup makes no sense at all. Also, the action as well as interaction considering the hero's old enemy Miles (Jack Cassidy) isn't particularly interesting, and neither is the early buildup of the movie. The heroes conflict with the organization feels slapped-on. Oh, and the scene where George (Brenda Venus) flashes her assets on the mountain is downright silly.

But the mountain climbing, including the early ones with Eastwood and Kennedy, are wonderful. So I give the stunts and climbing scenes a 10 and the script... well, a 3 maybe.

Thereby this movie lines up with Jackie Chan's "Operation Condor" as a movie that you don't watch for the plot, but for the great visuals.
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6/10
Uneven and more embarrassingly than funny - except for the finale!
10 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The movie about sex, showing no more nudity than one fake boob. This multi-sketch movie is a bit uneven for its own good, but on the other hand, the top is wonderful! I know that I have seen that one long ago, but if I saw the whole movie then I have forgotten the rest, and I can see why.

Some reviewers have noted signs of Monty Python inspiration, I would widen the scope to British humor of the 70's. Let's return to that later.

I will rate all the sketches with one to five stars.

*** Jester sketch, "Do aphrodisiacs work?". Somewhat funny, but not enormously so. Kind of elegant ending though, and you might like Allen's bumbling jester trying to be funny. I suspect this is first because it was felt to be one of the best. ** Sheep sketch, "What is sodomy". The beginning, with a doctor (Gene Wilder) getting an odd visitor, is hilarious, with Wilder's confused expression and long pause when trying to grasp what he heard, and then struggling to stop the herd from bringing the sheep inside... but that's it. The rest of the sketch is plain unfunny. It should have stopped right at the moment when we see that the doctor falls for the sheep too. Period. Then it might have worked. ** Italian sketch "trouble reaching an orgasm" has the Italian as an odd spicing. Mildly amusing, when the husband (Allen) realizes what turns her on, but only mildly. * The transvestite sketch. It starts in a totally different direction, with a man irritated on friends showing off, and then switches to him dressing as a woman, jumping out the window to avoid getting caught in the act... and I just fast-forward, finding absolutely nothing to laugh about. ** What's my perversion, "what are sex perverts?", is another case like the sheep, a funny idea taken too far. As a parody of the famous "What's my line" this is really funny, but only for a short sketch. This runs tedious long before it is over. *** The mad scientist sketch (about sex research), although a slow starter, does make more points than most of the others, some crude but still there are some more memorable. The Frankenstein's Monster references are very strong but only marginally funny, and so are the doctor's experiments. I must say that there are some funny "research topics". On the negative, I must mention the big script flaw, where all the other people in the lab are forgotten after the disaster. What happens next is of course remarkable, we get something that really feels like an idea from the British Cambridge gang (remember Kitten Kong?), the ravaging giant breast that can only be captured with a giant bra! It is a totally bizarre idea, and funny in that sense. Also, the special effect budget was not tight here, the scene with the approaching giant tit and Allen luring it into capture is truly impressive (except that we never see the bra closing completely, I guess that was too hard)! But I still thinks I can rank it a bit above the rest. ***** Inside body scene, "What happens...": This is the absolute top of the entire movie, by far! The whole idea of viewing the body from the inside is not new, but can be very funny, and here it certainly is! Sperms as paratroopers (including Allen), and Burt Reynolds as brain cell, the brain as a command center, various body functions as departments... Lovely!

All in all, I think Allen would have needed some more people writing, tightening up the gags a bit, raising the tempo in many of the sketches. There are fun moments, but they are often too far apart. One great sketch, two fairly funny and the rest pretty forgettable sketches is not enough for a great movie, but it doesn't make it an awful one either.
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Ocean's 11 (1960)
6/10
Prettier girls, weaker script
23 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The remake of Ocean's 11 is undoubtedly a success, and I would say it is a fine movie too. This is the original, just as packed with stars, if not even more, than the new. So how does it stand up?

Well, so-so. It doesn't have the same convoluted multi-layer plot as the new, but that isn't really expected. 1960 were a less high-tech age so both casinos and robbers were more low-tech. Granted that, the robbery itself is OK as it is, a disciplined, super-synchronized multi-hit.

The women are in every way more pleasant than in the new. In the new, Julia Roberts has disturbing traces of bad facial surgery, while this movie has both the (often considerable) beauty and talent of no less than four more or less leading ladies: Angie Dickinson, Patrice Wymore, Shirley MacLaine and, not least, Ilka Chase (as Mrs Restes, Jimmy's mother). Unfortunately, Dickinson's and Wymore's parts are pretty superfluous, leading nowhere, and MacLaine's part is just a funny (although relatively long) cameo, which leaves Mrs Restes as the only female part that in truly integrated in the story and thereby also the one who has the most acting to do. Still, MacLaine's "tipsy girl" is the one you will remember the most.

But what I am trying to say is that I found Roberts to be a burden for the new movie, since she is supposed to be the super beautiful woman that the hero wants, while she would have been better cast in some totally different part. (As the villain, for example!) In this movie, however, the women really are super beautiful... but nobody really cares. Hey, that's Angie Dickinson and Shirley MacLaine, looking their best! So both movies comes down wrong on the point of beautiful women.

From a modern point of view, both movies make the sin of treating women more or less as decorations, but this one does have Mrs Restes which helps in that respect.

I must note that Akim Tamiroff (Acebos) is as much a burden for this movie. He is constantly overacting, and doing that in a static way, repeating the same whining over and over. Other actors are acting relatively well although few make much impression. (I guess Romero and Chase are the strongest ones.)

The movie starts a bit slow, but so does the remake. No big difference there. Both work to establish the characters, building up.

I like how Duke Santos (Cesar Romero) manages to track down the gang, and I think that is why the ending makes sense; the gang improvises a quick solution when the heat gets worse. The ending is totally different in the two movies. I don't want to spoil them, but I can say that I don't find the one here to be "wrong". Both are good.

So, overall, an enjoyable but not overly impressing movie, and yes, I do like the remake better. But this wasn't worthless.
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Banana (2010)
Whimsical nonsense, and funny!
9 January 2017
You don't have to be a fan of the minions to appreciate this. Rather, I am not a fan of them since I consider them a Raving Rabbids ripoff, but this one is funny. It manages to make quite a bit of fun of the simple idea of desiring a banana. It may be a bit one-eyed (pun intended) but that is why it works. Thumbs up!

I found this on a DVD with half a dozen shorts. The others also had their points, but I found this to be the purest in its form. I have heard that comedians find it easier to find humor by restricting themselves to a tight concept, a kind of "creativity by limitations", and I think this is one such case. It is about almost nothing. A banana. Oh, by the way, we all know that bananas are the funniest vegetable out there (rhubarb is the second, and I guess strawberries are next) and this is not the only movie where it is more or less the whole title.
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Hawaii Five-O: Death Is a Company Policy (1972)
Season 5, Episode 1
6/10
An episode ruined by a bad ending
26 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I found this episode to be fairly good for most parts (essentially a mole hunting story), but it falls absolutely flat at the ending, where the whole plot is unrolled in a clumsy way that leaves many open questions. How can the criminal organization order a total elimination of pretty much their whole Hawaii cell on that little information? The gangster seems nervous, what more did they know? The final shootout is quite cheesy and the exploding helicopter indeed looks like a pasted in off-the-shelf clip. But also, the gangsters just stand there to be shot, almost like in "The Killers" but without the reason.

The ending is a critical part of an episode which pushes this one significantly down. It has a very high rating which unfortunately just made it even more a disappointment.
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4/10
How can so many rights get so wrong?
5 August 2016
OK, this is a sequel, and it is not a great sequel, we agree on that. But is it THAT bad? It has ratings far below worse movies in the same genre.

Let's look at the "right" it does:

ONE VILLAIN. Just like Speed, but also like Dirty Harry, Alien and Predator, it focuses on a SINGLE villain. That is a great idea. No faceless target villains thrown in for some cheap action, focus on one.

BIG CHANGES WHEN MAKING A SEQUEL: Bigger, but also different! It worked for Aliens, Die Hard 2 and Predator 2!

IMPRESSIVE SPECIAL EFFECTS: This movie has spectacular specials! I had to wonder how much was real and how much was models.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIGHT VILLAINS TO GET ACTION: In much of the action, the heroes are fighting the environment and not the villain.

COMIC SIDEKICKS: There are some characters that clearly are intended to be funny. (No, they were not very funny but they tried... a bit.)

SAVE THE KIDS: We care about kids. Just think about Aliens. (That is part of why we hated when Newt was written out of Alien 3. We loved to see her making it.) This is clearly included here, and the deaf girl idea is pretty nice.

This doesn't look like a bad sequel at all, not on paper. Obviously it went wrong, it flopped. Why? I think it is bad timing, uninteresting dialogue, uninteresting romantic side story, weak directing... So all the good things just weren't assembled to a great whole.

But I can list a couple of much, much worse action movies with much better ratings, movies that left me with a stronger feeling of wasted time and dull plot, B- movies on AAA budget, just like this.

So did I waste my time? Well, I certainly could have watched a better movie, but it was not a rating 1 movie. Just another dull popcorn movie. A typical movie for a rating at 4-6 somewhere.
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7/10
Impressing stunts and fun action
20 June 2016
This movie is about impressing stunts. Period. That is all it is, and it does it well. Chan is amazingly skilled in both performing great stunts as well as coming up with ones you haven't seen before.

Great stunts also lay a solid foundation for action comedy. Many action scenes are really, really fun, mixing the stunts with fun situations. In particular, I found the car chase scene make me think "just when I thought there were no fun Bond-style chases left to make, Chan proves that there are". The only thing missing would be to play "The Ride of the Valkyries" at some appropriate times.

One more point in the favor of the movie is Chan's charm. He really has good screen presence.

So far, this is good. But let me mention what the movie does NOT have. It has no interesting plot to speak of. It has rather awful storytelling at times, moving from one scene to another with minimal or no motivation. There are even scenes with obvious remains from cut parts. Finally, the three female leads are all young, pretty and stupid. One "silly girl" would be fine but three of them? This makes them embarrassingly similar. It wouldn't hurt with one woman who were, for example, middle aged and with a professional attitude, or just not exactly the same personality as the others. I guess this is a cultural difference, in movies from the western world we are plagued with over-professional arrogant women instead, which is just as much cliché. Maybe we could get something in between, like an interesting character?

So, forget about the plot. Enjoy the stunts instead! They make me wonder one thing: How dangerous was this movie to make? How many times did Chan go to hospital?

10/10 for stunts. 8/10 for fun and action. 2/10 for story.
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7/10
A pleasant surprise
6 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I got this movie as part of a 4-movie comedy pack I picked up cheap. I expected nothing of it, it was a pure hazard buy and the general expectation was that maybe, maybe there were some cheap laughs but most likely bad production and bad acting.

What surprised me most of all is probably that the actors are so good. Michael Tucker is perfect in his part, Jill Eikenberry makes a perfectly fine journey from dull housewife to born again adventuress, and there is really no weak acting in the entire movie.

The production is, of course, on TV budget, but it does its job more than well for that.

Now, what about the story? It reminds me of "Too many crooks", except that the husband is nowhere as crooked as Terry-Thomas wonderful character, and, maybe most importantly, it doesn't end disappointingly like the older movie did. (Why it did is another story.) I feel that some of the story was left untold at the ending, but I didn't really mind. I can guess.

As Walter says to Bunny, "You know what I liked best about you? Kept surprising me!" And the movie managed to do that a few times. Not the top AAA movie maybe but perfectly fine entertainment.
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Poirot: Evil Under the Sun (2001)
Season 8, Episode 1
9/10
Carried out to perfection
25 July 2015
David Suchet is a picture perfect Poirot, both in looks and acting. He follows the character very closely as described by Christie, complete with the egg-shaped head, the over-attended mustache and, not least, his manners.

This is the best episode in the series I have seen so far. It follows the original story very closely, just makes a few small adjustments to add some logic and motivation. It it packed of characters portrayed by actors who are perform remarkably well - unlike the stiff acting in the Ustinov version. I enjoy them all so much that I can't pick my favorite. We see Poirot, Hastings and Japp, of course, but also the nervous Stephen Lane (Tim Meats), the goofy Horace Blatt (David Timson), the pale and discrete Christine (Tamzin Malleson), the handsome Patrick, the charming Mrs Darnley (Marsha Fitzalan), and of course Lionel (Russell Tovey), who expresses his worries and dislike just enough… but my favorite character is probably Emily Brewster (Carolyn Pickles), who is particularly expressive. Oh, I forgot Kenneth Marshall (David Mallinson) and major Barry (Ian Thompson), two more characters who are delivered faultlessly.

But the most important character to get right must be the glamorous Arlena (Louise Delamere), who, very much unlike Diana Rigg, manage to combine lovely and diva in a way that I can believe in. Diana Rigg's Arlena in made only for hating, nobody could possibly be interested in a romance with her and she obviously hates everybody, but Delamere's Arlena really works.

And I just love the scenery! I think it very much fits what the novel describes, giving me pictures of a scenery that I could never quite grasp in the novel. It is quite beautiful, including the fascinating vehicle to travel to the island as well as the Pixy Cove scenery.

All in all, I feel that this must be the "reference copy" version of this story, staying very close to the original story and doing it very well. It is vastly superior to the Ustinov version in all ways I can think of. I see that Ustinov's version also has its following, but I can't really see why. The biggest difference is in the acting, and in that this version is miles ahead.

A truly great effort for a TV series episode!
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Stranded (V) (2013)
4/10
A movie about following the rules
10 July 2015
First things first: We don't have a first rate movie here. However, it was not as much a turkey as I had hoped/feared. Expecting the awful, with all systems set "prepared to fast forward", I rather enjoyed it. Acting was fine overall, especially Michael Tierrault. The characters could have been deeper, better presented, which is a problem with diving head first into the problem without knowing the characters first.

Of course it has more than a little in common with Alien (although slightly less than I feared), but even more it reminds me of the Norwegian TV series "Blindpassasjer". Oh yes, the special effects (which are sometimes less than stellar) stray into some other movies as well.

What the movie boils down to is a surprisingly clear message: Don't stray from the rules! This is a rather unusual message in a movie today. Movies almost always praise the rule breaker, the rebel who dares go his/her own way. The crew members break the rules over and over, they are ruled by emotions rather than facts and logic, and the alien gets the advantage from that.

Overall, weak but not unwatchable, but by all means don't expect more than a B movie!
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The Big Store (1941)
9/10
My personal favorite Marx
20 March 2015
After watching this yet another time, I fail to see why this would be below any other Marx movie. I would consider it a close to perfect Marx movie! The non-Marx scenes are few and far between. The movie has good tempo, with only one music scene not involving the brothers (kind of cute, Tony Martin recording a record on the fly for a customer when the record is sold out) and one where they play a minor part. That particular scene, with many young musicians, is notably well planned, with Chico and Harpo making a brief break in the middle, and a choir added halfway in, giving the scene much needed variation.

But of course the Marx brothers are the important part, and what scenes they make:

  • Groucho's and Harpo's introduction scene in Groucho's messy office, with a boiling lunch in the desk and Harpo's typewriter gag. - Groucho's "Sing while you sell" number. - The bed department scene. - A marvelous piano duet scene with Chico and Harpo. - Harpo's dream scene. - A great, very funny chase scene at the end, topped by Groucho's bicycle stunt.


And still I am skipping over a lot of things. The movie rarely makes me reach for any fast forward, only in the two Tony Martin musical numbers, and even they are pretty good as romantic break songs. As a whole I see a top-notch Marx, not a half-decent one.
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6/10
Must-see for swedes
12 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
An action movie with Sven-Bertil Taube as the hero, driving a SAAB 99 no less, opposing the terrific Vladek Sheybal, you just can't pass over that one!

For those who don't know, Sven-Bertil Taube is the son of Evert Taube, legendary Swedish singer and composer. Evert Taube is to Sweden pretty much what Washington is to USA, a national symbol. Sven-Bertil is also one of the most prominent artists singing Everts tunes.

So, how well does Sven-Bertil do as action hero? Well, seriously, he isn't the strongest I have seen. As pointed out by others, he doesn't quite have the presence of Connery or Moore, to pick the main ones from the same time. That isn't necessary his fault though. The director is also part of that.

One weakness in the movie is the casting of the female actors. They are way too similar. I have seen this before; a producer has a certain favorite look for females, picks a number of girls close to that look, and then puts the best of those in the parts. That is no way to do casting.

But the casting of the males is a lot better. Vladek Sheybal is pretty much the best you can get, and I like the others too.

A disturbing detail is the sneaked-in female nudity. We see topless women in a few scenes, never really needed, but I guess that was put in as an extra excitement for the male audience. Today that looks cheap and sexist, but I guess that topless bars were new and thrilling at the time.

The boat chase is indeed well done. The "sound torture" scene is quite over-the-top, but I really enjoy Vladek Sheybal as sadist. The ending may seems a bit standard, but I note that it is absolutely no worse than 90% of all action movies, and has the good taste of not throwing in some forced double ending like a lot of action movies do. The hero turns out not to be invulnerable after all, and the ending fits the theme without overdoing it. Not genius, but I definitely have seen worse!

Overall, the movie was well worth seeing. I didn't expect much, and it delivered a bit more than expected.
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6/10
Lighthearted comedy for dark times
25 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
In order to appreciate a George Formby comedy, you must put yourself a bit in the time it was made. The world was at the start of the second World War, people needed something really harmless as distraction, and the very harmless ukulele player Formby was exactly that.

The movie follows a pretty straight forward recipe, with George as a naive nobody getting a chance for success and taking it, with some complications on the way. There are competitors who want to stop him, there is a misunderstanding that gets him accused of theft, and there is a pretty girl to fall in love with. There is little question of how the movie will end, few surprises, it is mainly a question of how you get there.

The movie is enjoyable, pretty funny, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. It has gags but they are not always funny, like the young boy "Squib" (which I can't find in the cast) who is mostly annoying, a very cliché "Dennis the menace"-style boy. In the gag department, it can't compete with a Marx movie, they tend to have a higher tempo with more really funny gags. It is funniest when it isn't forcing laughs at us (like at the fair). The funniest humor is in Formby's character, dumb as a brick but kind as a nun. Part of the comedy, unique to Formby, is the ukulele- playing to silly songs.

Some effects are extremely cheesy but perfectly fine for 1939 - live with it. Some gags are old, just live with that too. Just get into your old school feeling and enjoy a British comedy classic for what it is. Who cares if it is dated, it is Formby, with a bigger horse grin than The Lamb, I mean Maneater.
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2/10
Plain awful
17 April 2014
Take a totally fabulous voice actor, with a famous Schwarzenegger imitation... and fill out with 45 minutes of absolute rubbish. That is what we get here. The act is extremely repetitive, dominated with cheap run-of-the-mill sex jokes. With a talent like this, how about spending more than 5 minutes in the lavatory writing the script? I am not offended by bad language or dirty jokes... "I hate a dirty joke, I do, unless it's told by someone who... knows how to tell it!" And Pablo doesn't. His movie/celebrity impersonations are great, but 1) you can't rerun the same joke over and over this way and 2) making sex moves isn't funny for that long!

His Schwarzenegger imitation is in there, but it is the ONLY worthwhile material, the only really good jokes on the DVD! The rest are all fillers.

I am sorry for being negative, but I had hoped for something better, and this was just a waste of time.
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Duck Soup (1933)
9/10
Great for the Marx fans
28 November 2013
This movie is without doubt one of the best Marx movies - for those who have seen a few before. It failed at the box office, and many reviews here at IMDb, mostly from people who never saw a Marx movie before, are not very positive.

This all makes sense if you think about it. Duck Soup has an unusually high tempo, several very well done scenes. The plot is questionable, but Marx movies are not about plot. But with that tempo, you really need to be used to the Marx concept. If you are, you will have a really good time.

But if you are not so used to Marx, I would say that the ones to start with are "A night at the opera" or "A day at the races". The latter was my favorite as a child, and even after watching all Marx movies, they are still on par with Duck Soup for me.

Duck Soup is a good comedy, but I don't think it deserves to be called the best of all time. My prime alternatives for that prize are The Great Dictator, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Blues Brothers. The Great Dictator is really the one to compare to, also being a political comedy. I do like Duck Soup, it is an iconic movie, but as a parody of politics and war, how can it match Chaplin's finest hour?
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Perry Mason: The Case of the Red Riding Boots (1960)
Season 4, Episode 11
Episode with a healthy different ending
18 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I liked the ending of this one. Instead of the standard courtroom confessions, we got a drama with a suicide attempt and no confession from the killer at all (in view).

The story is as convoluted as most Perry Mason episodes, although it has a pretty obvious killer - unless you let the script side-track you, which it does its best to do. The viewer is slightly under-informed about things like traveling times, but nothing out of the order as far as I could tell. One of the better episodes of the season IMHO.

There was one detail that I found strange and somewhat out of line: The introduction of Rennie shows that he has some kind of intimate relationship, or at least trying to get it, with Rita. That is never followed up. Maybe that was just showing how irresponsible Rennie was? I guess so.
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Perry Mason: The Case of the Clumsy Clown (1960)
Season 4, Episode 7
The case of the clumsy script
11 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is the weakest PM episode I have seen so far. Not only is the plot convoluted, with a crippled circus owner and a fake marriage out of pity. I accept that, I like PM episodes with some complexity. The actual murder is the worst part, simply because it is practically impossible.

First, the clown act is unreasonable. A clown running around shooting blanks with a real gun is not funny, not to mention that it must be illegal. The act could work with an obvious toy gun, with much smaller charges making less noise. The sillier the better. A real gun is out of the question.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no way a gun can be fired as described and hit anything other than by pure accident. It would take multiple shots to get even a half-decent aim. Not to mention synchronizing with the clown! The idea is impossible, a one in a million thing. Even with a rifle and a steady aim, it would be unlikely to succeed.

I also find it disturbing to combine violence and circuses. A murder on stage is a horrible event, where it is hard for the audience to tell jokes from reality. This is not a major fault of the story, rather the effect it is trying to play on, but something that made it awkward to watch, detracting from my enjoyment.

The rest is routine. Perry, Della, Paul and Tragg are just the way we like, what we love them for. No Hamilton Burger though. The courtroom confessions are quite formulaic after four seasons, but I suppose they had to stick to the formula when it worked. Well, I like it so I don't really mind. I just want a bit better plots than this one.
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