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I just cannot believe the lack of critical thinking regarding some of the ludicrously high 8, 9, 10/10 ratings...!
Acting: Worse than poor Direction: Basic and limited Production: Basic Script: Corny & infantile
With all the frenetic running around, they (Zellweger and the - apparently now - Leatherface) would have to have the fitness of Olympic athletes!
The original? Good. The remake of the original? Pretty good.
This? This has absolutely nothing going for it in any way.
An exercise in misandry
The first episode of this was interesting and - almost - captivating. However, as the series continued, I started to realise the nature of its premise. It's 'Cagney & Lacey-esque' narrative enhances the undeniable misandry of the allegedly true story's portrayal.
The highly smug and unlikeable Detective Duvall character, with her incessant caricatured, inelegant swagger, comes across as completely obnoxious, arrogant, condescending and supercilious. Likewise, each character's portrayal gives a similarly contrived impression which, regardless of this story being true (or not), only throws the viewer off into what I expect is a direction towards not simply 'feminism' but... actively anti-male feminism. Thus, there is an undoubted air of misandry, not only in the series itself but also in some reviewers' anti-white, anti-male, anti-authority assertions (e.g. "white male police harassment").
I don't know whether or not this series was in fact true to the real life story as these tales are often, let's say, 'enhanced' for entertainment's sake. However, certainly in the on-screen recount, the original (incidentally, male) detectives are portrayed as 'the baddies' while, in fact, they were only acting upon the evidence given at the time... that 'evidence' being no evidence! So, what are they supposed to think? They did not apply duress to make the first victim say she was making the whole thing up, they gave her the opportunity to address the fact there was no evidence of the alleged rape. Of her own volition she 'admitted' there was no rape and that the entire story was concocted.
After the first episode, the series becomes repetitive and slow and predictable. In fact I was ready to call it a day on the second episode. I did, nevertheless, become more engrossed and curious as the series went on and I ended up watching the whole thing.
Although a bit overlong and protracted, the acting was - generally - reasonably good, and for this I am raining my rating by one point, from a 5/10 to a 6/10.
Going in Style (2017)
Daft and disappointing
What a sad spectacle to see such fine and entertaining old-time actors being consigned to such bubblegum-brained nonsense.
Caine, one of my all-time favourite British actors, is not only tasked with the handling of very poor script-writing, but also seems lacking in conviction in his portrayal of the - seemingly very tired - character. Similarly, Freeman is a shadow of his former self and Arkin a completely pointless character addition to the silly storyline. The feeling I get is that they are entirely aware of the poor script and are totally deflated into portraying its general sense of resignation and absurdity.
One pleasant surprise was to see the ever-sexy Ann-Margret in this film. I'm utterly gobsmacked to see how she, as a 76-year-old at the making of this film, is still so attractive! A beautiful lady...!
The theme of this film is certainly not a new one. It's been done many, many times before... sometimes executed better, sometimes even worse.
Sadly, with this daft effort, these one-time greats are certainly not "Going in Style".
Infinity Chamber (2016)
Unnecessarily complex and convoluted
Again, here we have a movie that self-devours by having a straightforward enough plot but executed with somewhat unnecessary complexity.
Yes, okay, it's fine to apply a little artistry in filmmaking, but it's become such a fashion to do so these days that the movies become slow, plodding and boring. This is one such film.
Lending itself to be a vehicle for the ego of the director, save, I suppose, for some reasonable acting, it seems to purport to be a modern version of "2001: A Space Odyssey" with Hal here being replaced by Howard.
The concept of AI incarcerating humans is no longer original and has been done much better in other movies such as "I Am Mother" (2019) which, itself, wasn't particularly great but at least kept my attention.
This movie, in my opinion, deserves no more than a 5.5 rating. However, as there are no half-marks available, I shall do my usual an err on the lower side and award a 5/10.
Take Shelter (2011)
Okay acting, but pointlessly overlong and slow
This film is all-round reasonably well acted, although Shannon tends to present very similar mannerisms in most of his work.
I get the gist of the story, with the lead's gradual demise into a state of mental ill-health. However, it could so easily have been done in such a way as not to be a bit of a dirge.
The main character (Shannon) has very few redeeming qualities and, although playing the doting father and loving husband, allows us to feel no real sense of sympathy for him... especially in his ill-treatment of the family dog (an unnecessary inclusion).
I fail to understand how this movie - although, again, reasonably well acted - takes a 7.4 rating. With an ambiguous ending (no less than pretentious in itself), I'm afraid it wasn't particularly enjoyable.
I've said this many times before in other reviews but... Alfred Hitchcock would've done this shorter, better, more interesting and more suspenseful.
A lot of potential wasted... Hitch'll be turning in his grave.
As ridiculous and pretentious as its socialism theme
What a disappointment... and it has a relatively high 7.4 rating???
Perhaps this would have been more realistic as a straight comedy as it does offer such potential moments.
The entirety of this guff is riddled with badly researched writing such as the many references to "the Ukraine". "The Ukraine"??? It's a COUNTRY. You wouldn't say 'the Italy', 'the Japan', 'the Iceland', etc etc etc. It's simply "Ukraine", there's no "the" prefacing it.
The acting is poor... pretentious and self-absorbed.
There are no redeeming factors except it finally ending.
An American Crime (2007)
Harrowing and disturbing group inhumanity at its worst
I saw this movie last night for the first time. I'd never previously heard of this case.
First-of-all, I found the standard and quality of acting particularly good - especially for what is obviously a lower-budget (almost TV) movie. Deserving special note is the performance by actress Catherine Keener, who was excellent in the part of Gertrude Baniszewski, and also that of Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens.
Although an heinous and disturbing crime, what I found especially troubling was the fact that it could have been stopped oh so easily, with poor Sylvia being still alive today.
Screams were ignored by neighbours who, in their little, self-minding, 'we don't want any trouble' worlds, can easily be implicated in Sylvia's demise simply by their inaction in turning their heads away.
The most troubling component, however, is how there were so many people involved in this litany of torture... who did absolutely nothing to intervene and stop it! It's actually mind-boggling how - somehow - nothing was ever leaked out so that the authorities would be alerted. It beggars belief. The involvement of the complicit peripherals - completely lacking in any form of humanity - gave a strong impression that they were all lunatics. It was like the asylum had been taken over by a dangerous psychopath (Gertrude Baniszewski) with all the other sociopaths, associated nutcases and bananas gleefully milling around doing her bidding. I hate to say it, but even the sister had to have been complicit. How could anyone witness any human being or, indeed, ANY living creature being tormented in such a way and just do nothing about it...??? I despair, but even today I'm sure there are such psychopathic monsters tainting society.
As far as being found guilty and sentenced is concerned:
i. There weren't enough people tried and sentenced; ii. The sentences were wayyyyy tooo short and tooo lenient; iii. How parole should never have been granted to the matriarchal monster of the event.
I fear all these kids were raised with inhumanity hard-wired, perhaps genetically or through raising... nature versus nurture. We can see elements of this in the youngest kid's disgusting earlier treatment of the family dog by teasing it with its food, and it seemingly being constantly chained up.
Furthermore, why weren't certain neighbours also investigated for doing nothing when they must certainly have heard and thus been privy by proxy to suspect goings on in the terror house.
Finally, perhaps 'karma' had its way anyway...
It's very interesting to note that most of the b------'s involved seemed to die - relatively - very, very young...that is, except for Paula Baniszewski who I believe is still alive and living under an assumed name.
A reasonably well made film, with some excellent performances, all set on factual troubling and disturbing events.
God bless Sylvia Likens's soul. May she rest in peace.
Yesterday's Children (2000)
Amazing story, terrible film...!
Well, what can I say, except:
Wonderful story, terrible film...!
This film was based on the true story of Jenny Cockell, an Englishwoman who discovered evidence of her multiple reincarnations.
Ok, fine, but WHY has this been changed to a USA setting??? Jayne Seymour, although a perfectly competent actress IS an English actress... but she's playing an American. Now, this is never a problem, I've no real issue with that, but when it's supposed to be SET in the UK as well... it really irritates. The film also portrays a kind of ironically patronising perception of the aged.
The great character actor Hume Cronyn plays "Sonny". As great as he is, with classics like Spartacus (1960), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and many more to his name, he - again - is American and simply cannot present a convincing Irish accent... in fact, he gives NO Irish accent, just a standard American accent.
The incessant whining of the background 'new-age' music is particularly irritating. It's obviously intended to create a haunting, ethereal feel but serves only to rub me up the wrong way, and add to the completely unnecessary sickly sentimentality.
Although this is a great true-story, an amazing true-story, I'm afraid I can't agree with all the ridiculously high ratings people seem to have been awarding the movie. This slow-paced, very low-budgeted, boring film... is badly directed, only just teetering on 'competently' acted and way toooo sickly sentimental.
Such a shame.
Night of the Demon (1957)
Very good mystery-thriller
Despite the odd reviewer who seems to think that everything should revolve around amazing cgi effects and sensationalist monsters, with perhaps even gore and scare tactics, this film stimulates thought and imagination.
Although made in 1957, the effects are not only good for their time, but absolutely sufficiently modest for the intended purpose of the story.
Dana Andrews (although often described as a somewhat 'wooden' actor) perfectly portrays the skeptical psychologist, and seems to make a good cinematic pairing with Peggy Cummins. Similarly, Niall MacGinnis is perfectly cast as the apparent 'Grand Wizard' and plays the part with just enough latent malevolence.
The film is thoughtful in presenting the ultimate dilemma of whether or not all the supernatural events were indeed supernatural or contained within the believing minds of the participants.
The greyscale/'black-and-white' filming was (like the Quatermass series) perfect in adding to the sense of the macabre of the theme.
Overall a very good and adequately played mystery-thriller.
I Am Mother (2019)
Biting the hand that feeds you...
Interesting film, good idea... but flawed.
The first half is a mix between slow-paced and intrigue. When 'Mother' is first introduced to us, I couldn't help feel that her locomotion was a bit too human-like, and consequently kept thinking "That's a woman dressed in a robot suit!".
Anyway, the film did hold my interest even though it became a little silly at times. When the Swank character turned up injured, the type of trauma presented (bullet lodged between the acetabulum and the femoral head), there is no way on God's Earth she'd have been able to put any weight at all on that leg/hip, and yet not only does she manage to hobble around on it but her recovery rate is absolutely phenomenal!
It's also a bit unbelievable that "Daughter" is willing to leave her comfortable, safe environment to which she knows no different, murdering her 'mother' in the process and thence having to fend for herself and her new 'brother' all alone.
The basic moral suggests that humans nature is inherently corrupt and duplicitous. Judging by daughter's action later in the film, it's also quite hypocritical. Surely - even though inanimate - having been raised all her life by "Mother", she'd have developed some sort of love for it, but no... she shows human nature's true colours by acting herself like a Droid, and committing murder.
Bottom line is that there seemed no real need to 'kill' mother, except perhaps out of vengeance for the death of mankind. The latter presents quite a conflict between an interesting, veiled reference to the Virgin Mary throughout, suggesting a warped, comparison with "mother". The bringer of death versus the bringer of life within the one inanimate 'being'.
There are a few open ends though, for example:
i. What happened to the dog? ii. What happened at the end to all the Droids cutting their way in? iii. Did all the Droids die? If so, was their destruction synchronous with the death of "Mother"?
Overall, the film is okay - I'm reluctant to say it, but quite good actually - mainly from a conceptual viewpoint.
It's acted pretty well by Clara Rugaard, as "Daughter", and Swank is competent as "Woman".
I had decided on a 6/10, but I'm tempted to award a 7/10, believing that the current IMDB rating of 6.8 is actually about right for this.
So... on this occasion I'll give the benefit of the doubt and apply a 7/10.
The Old Dark House (1963)
Not very good, I'm afraid
I enjoyed the opening credit graphics sequence but then, unfortunately, the film seemed to deteriorate from the beginning.
The film does boast a lot of interesting 'names' in both the cast and the production, including the gorgeous Fenella Fielding and the very sweet Janette Scott. However, their prestigious standing is wasted by the terrible script and poor dialogue.
I had planned on giving a generous 5/10 but, after seeing the antiquated concept of wild animals (sources from a local circus, no doubt) held in small cages and looking like some sort of weird collection, it's now a 4/10.
Poor show, and reflective of a bygone age of lack of compassion for animals.
An exercise in utter boredom
I just don't get it....!
Am I living in some twilight zone? Some parallel universe populated by weirdos unable to apply any sense of critical appraisal? So this... THIS... is rated on a par with "The Apartment" (1960), "Gone With The Wind" (1939), and other such *brilliantly* directed, produced, written, acted classics that REALLY DO merit as high a rating as 9 & 10/10...???
This is such an exercise in utter boredom. It completely fails to hold attention. Talk about 'slow burn'... it's almost at a standstill. In fact, considering its underlying theme of going back in time... I'm not too surprised, as it seems so slow as to be almost in reverse gear.
I was finally ready to abort this towards the end of the second episode, when the time-travel concept was offered... then my interest piqued.
Okay, so I haven't seen the whole season/s (and the feeling I get is that I won't). My sense, my fear is that despite this injection of interest, it will continue to 'slow burn'. However, I'll give it a further chance and watch episode three... which has now just started.
Okay, I've just watched episode three, and what a shame! For such an interesting and potentially good, radiation-induced time-travel concept, it's no more than yet another 'yawn-fest'.
Again I've not seen the whole season, only three episodes, but my sense of its prognosis suggest that the whole thing, with a good director, could have been very effectively completed - and with a better, faster and more interesting pace - in a single feature-length film.
The congruence between 1986 and 2019 is clumsily portrayed and just doesn't quite work, giving very long periods of attention to each with little running reference back to either's counterpart.
The acting is reasonably okay, direction fine... but the story/writing is just too long-drawn out.
I'll award - at a stretch - a 5/10 but, despite the positive production values etc previously mentioned, I am really struggling to find it in me to confer a single point more. Maybe 5.5 would be about right.
Home at Seven (1952)
Standard formula, old-school murder mystery
Intriguing old-school murder mystery, with a nice angle on an old theme.
The story was reasonably well-presented although I feel the amnesia theme was considerably better handled in the classic Ronald Colman/Greer Garson movie "Random Harvest" (1942).
The film is competently directed by Richardson although, accomplished actor that he is, I wasn't too impressed with his performance in this movie. I felt his portrayal was a bit - let's say - 'overdone'.
The wonderful Jack Hawkins is his usual wonderful self, but I think he'd have been much better cast as the detective inspector rather than the doctor.
The lovely Margaret Leighton, as the Richardson character's wife may easily be perceived (looking from today's standards) as perhaps a little strange and overly submissive, but it must be understood that this film reflects early 1950s sensibilities.
This film follows the old-school, standard formula of:
Missing person - Murder - False accusation - Mystery solved - Happy ever after.
Unfortunately, the film fails to allow us privy to the mechanisms of the detective work through which the mystery is solved. We're merely made aware that the true killer has been found, with a superficial indication of how... but no real substance.
Regardless, the film is enjoyable. I think it deserves a 6.5/10 so, as half-points are not possible... it's a 6/10.
Dead Like Me (2003)
Unsurprisingly disappointing waste of time
After seeing all the high ratings, I wondered why I hadn't heard about this 2003 show long before now, and now I know why... it (unsurprisingly) flopped.
It's - frankly - understandable as this was/is a load of utter, badly conceived, badly written rubbish.
I fail to understand how so easily pleased people are that they'd award such high ratings.
There is really nothing clever, witty nor redeeming about this show, least of all with its string of unlikeable characters. The first is Georgia, with whom we are supposed to feel endeared to while, in reality, she is a truly obnoxious and immature, yet supercilious, young woman.
The show seems to revel in showing off the most distasteful aspects of human personality, and has no direction whatsoever. What is the point of the show? Is there a glimmer of resolution? All we get is repetition after repetition after repetition.
A senseless waste of time.
Last Breath (2019)
Amazing story, albeit overlong
I felt this docu-drama was - frankly - a little too much drawn out, which at times made me a bit restless and fidgety through intermittent periods of boredom... although "boredom" is perhaps too strong a word.
The information was conveyed well, though, about the inherent dangers of deep-sea diving, and the human element of the story proved heartwarming at two key points:
i. When they found Chris, and we saw him twitching and struggling to survive.
ii. When he was successfully returned to "The Bell".
It was - obviously - also heartwarming when we discovered that Chris had survived, although I think the intended 'surprise' transition to letting us know he *had* survived was somewhat clumsily handled by the director.
Although I do feel this could easily have been successfully done as a 40 minute document-drama rather than spun out as it was, it was an interesting insight into a dangerous occupation that we are rarely ever made aware of.
This Happy Breed (1944)
Compelling rolling snapshot
Despite pertaining to a past age, this David Lean masterpiece relates in many ways to today's perceptions, sensibilities and personal relationships. A rolling snapshot of social and political culture over (approximately) a 20-year period from the end of WWI into WWII, it delivers a homely perception of the trials and tribulations of one family as it changes and evolves respective of contemporary everyday life and changing international politics.
Capturing a perfect sense of nostalgia of contemporary, ordinary, everyday life, excellent acting performances as given by such great names as Robert Newton (as Frank Gibbons), Celia Johnson (as Ethel Gibbons), Stanley Holloway (as Bob Mitchell), John Mills (as Billy Mitchell) and, amongst others, Kay Walsh as 'Queenie'.
Some may be distracted by the heavy use of artificial lighting, which adds a *slight* falseness to the (already pre-mature) colour technology, but I wasn't particularly phased by this. In fact, I quite liked it as a refreshing contrast to many of the contemporary movies and newsreels of the time that made it easy to perceive life then as having been in 'black-and-white' (greyscale). However, we must remember that life was in colour... even in those days!
This is a movie very worthwhile watching, especially for younger people. It gives quite an interesting pre-WWII insight relative to some of the current political posturing.
It Comes at Night (2017)
Lacking in resolution...
Another "Bird Box", but without as much left-wing political propaganda. Having said that, is it now Hollywood policy that in *every* movie there *must* be portrayed a mixed-race marriage? Now, I don't have a problem with that as it's up to people what they do and who they marry. However, what I *do* have a problem with is its portrayal 'just for the sake of it', for political correctness's sake. There is, though, a seemingly loud left-wing anti-gun message being delivered here. Perhaps it tries to demonstrate how guns may lead - in certain scenarios - to vigilantism, to kangaroo courts, to lawlessness...? This is all as boring as the movie was.
The film itself - although adequately acted - gives no final resolution, nor does it give any indication what happened to Stanley the dog. The impression I get though (and I could be wrong), is that whatever it is that 'comes at night' manifests as a disease through the dreams/nightmares of the victim. Having said that, how did Stanley become diseased? What happened to him in the woods? There is just no resolution anywhere... and not least in the sexual tension created with Travis's (Kelvin Harrison) youthful crush/lust for Kim (Riley Keough). Seemed quite a pointless inclusion.
Overall, although the film is watchable, it does lack substance, hence why it's considerably overlong... padded out with a lot of boredom so as to reach feature-length time.
As referred to at the beginning, the theme of this film has been done before... about 50,000,000 times and mostly better (except that nonsense "Bird Box".
The IMDB 6.2 rating is way too high on this movie, and I really despair about the lack of critical thinking displayed by many IMDB reviewers who - by awarding a 10/10 - seem to think it lies at the same classic level as (for example) "Gone With The Wind" (1938), "The Maltese Falcon" (1940), "The Apartment" (1960)... etc.
My rating? 4/10.
Scarlet Street (1945)
I'm a BIIIGG noir fan to the extent of my writing, producing and acting in my own noir show (twice) in the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe.
Having only today watched "Scarlet Street" for the first time (although I've - obviously - known about it), I'm disappointed to find myself a bit dubious regarding its standing as indeed a Film Noir.
Despite the usual excellent Fritz Lang directing, as far as I can see the film boasts limited characteristics of film noir, and those elements it does feature are pretty diluted and insipid compared to the likes of "Double Indemnity" (1944), "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946), "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) etc.
There are good performances by Robinson (Chris Cross), the gorgeous Bennett (Kitty), and Duryea (Johnny), although - for me - the former is just a little unsuited to portraying the weak-minded bank clerk type. His character is written as one to be sympathised with while, in reality, he is not only weak-minded but possesses all the misgivings of quite an untrustworthy and unlikeable person. He himself engineers quite dastardly acts, one of which we see him laughing while his 'wife' is being murdered. This just doesn't seem to fit the character with whom we are supposed to identify. Thus, it is very difficult to feel and sympathy or kinship with him at all.
The storyline is a bit weak and not quite tight enough, carrying some silly sub-scripts such as Adele's husband coming back 'from the dead' and trying to blackmail Cross. Cross refuses, the blackmailer gets up indicating he's not going to bother carrying out his threat, and Cross then telling him not to worry as he'll get the money for him! Ehhh??? Just doesn't make sense! Completely unnecessary insertion, the point of which could've been conveyed much better.
There is no satisfactory resolution to the issue of the painter's identity (in reality, Cross) and so we are left with a sense of frustration as Cross becomes a 'down-and-out' suffering unrequited memories of his own failings and - in fact - criminal acts... not least in knowingly allowing another man (Johnny) to be executed for a murder Cross himself committed.
Again, the film is nicely directed and filmed, but I have issues with its categorisation as indeed a "Film Noir", and the story and script/dialogue.
I'm surprised this film has reached the rated level of 7.9 on IMDB, which is a similar rating to other - much, much better and *true* - film noir.
I'm afraid my rating can't be more than a 6/10 for this, despite Fritz Lang's name being attached to it.
Hard Times (1975)
No punches pulled... Gritty and realistic
(aka: "The Streetfighter")
I first saw this film not long after it's release. I've seen it many, many times since but the last time being 20+ years ago.
It was a pleasant surprise to have spotted it on the TV guide today, and so I watched it again. I wasn't disappointed, it was as good as I remember.
There is no pretentiousness about this film. It's as straightforward, plain-speaking, to the point and gritty as both the main protagonist and the actor himself, Charles Bronson.
Reflecting the 'hard times' of the early 1930s post-great depression America, the movie highlights the wandering destiny of lone drifter Chaney (Charles Bronson). Concealing a mysterious, undisclosed background, we can only assume he is one of the (affluent or underprivileged) casualties of the financial crash.
A clue to his cloaked background is that he may have had history/experience as a professional boxer/prizefighter. This is hinted at in Pettibon's accusation of him as being a 'ringer', and is understandable considering his (obviously honed) skill as a fighter.
He comes across as someone looking for something to replace what he may have already lost. He displays an element of emotional deflation and tiredness such that any effort necessitated to achieve his lost status is met by apathy and a desire to move on.
The film carries a feeling of low budget filmmaking. This enhances the portrayal of the hardships of that time period, and gives a biting edge to the reality of contemporary life.
The film is extremely well shot, with excellent and realistic fight direction. Bronson himself is particularly suited to his role, and carries his portrayal well... as do all the other actors and actresses in their roles.
Very good film that I never get tired of watching.
The Ring (1952)
Gritty drama with a social slant
Quite a good little B movie with more of a social message than one of boxing.
Boxing was (and, to an extent, still is) a way out of comparative social deprivation. This film highlights one youngster's attempts to rise from a society of prejudice and oppression by entering the boxing ring as a professional fighter.
A nice change from the norm is that in this movie the kid turns out to be mediocre and loses enough fights to indicate he's not going to be getting far as a prizefighter.
However, he does well enough to set his ageing father up in business after which he decides to call it a day as far as prizefighting is concerned.
The love interest is played by a young (and beautiful) Rita Moreno.
Nice little cameo performance by Jack Elam.
Interesting and enjoyable little film.
Our Girl Friday (1953)
Forerunner to the later - better - movie "The Admirable Crichton", you can't help but nevertheless make a comparison.
Starting with Kenneth More... oh my God!!! Was *that* supposed to be an 'Oirish' accent...??? I've never heard anything so cringeworthy! Competes even with Sean Connery's terrible attempts at accents. Funny thing about More is that I really like him in some things, but heavily dislike him in others. His acting ability is grossly limited, and completely miscast in this film. Contrasting his performance here with his performance in the 1957 "The Admirable Crichton" in which he was reasonably good, we can see the type of character he suits and the type he just does not suit whatsoever. He is not a Daniel Day Lewis by any stretch of the imagination.
Similarly, as an actress, the early Joan Collins is also very limited, but at least she has considerable feminine aesthetic quality to nudge the imagination... thus raising my rating (amongst other things) by one-star.
George Cole, also a limited actor, I feel is a bit more flexible and adaptable than More and has the added ability to impart a comedic aspect to his acting.
Overall, this film is very, VERY poor on all fronts... acting, directing and (especially) the scripting. Perhaps the production and photography fare only slightly better but with the cinematography offering a strange, paled-out, over-exposed hue or colouring.
Also, considering the quartet has been on the island for months, they look awfully pale... virtually no tan.
Fact of the matter, though, is that there *are* worse movies... therefore, I cannot rate it lower than a 2-star + 1-star (see above), giving a 3-star rating.
Ghost Ship (1952)
Interesting little curio
Okay, this was by no means a classic, but after a somewhat slow first half, it became reasonably interesting as a late night, around-the-fire ghost story.
For what it is, I suppose I'm giving quite a high rating but... I sort of enjoyed it.
The acting wasn't particularly bad, as such, but passable no real cringeworthy moments.
There were a few issues that didn't make a lot of sense in the writing, one of which being Guy's skepticism finally beaten when he admits he saw a ghost and yet, when his wife talks about the "IIPP" ("Institute for Investigation of Psychic Phenomena"), he immediately fobs it off as "Aahhh, its a load of phoney nonsense".
There was a very nice touch in the film when Guy and Margaret mistook an "odd gentleman" (some eccentric looking character who had just come off the train) as the investigator from the IIPP. In reality, the IIPP investigator turned out to be a 'normal' everyday man in a suit who noticed the mistaken identity with some hilarity.
Overall, a nice little ditty undeserving of the extremely low ratings I've seen here. Fair's fair... and this is certainly not the worst film I've ever seen. It has to be relatively rated (which some reviewers don't seem to do), so my rating is an average 5/10... which, for me, is not bad.
Laxdale Hall (1953)
Honest little film
Pleasant, honest little film of 'olde-tyme' Scottish highland life.
Some interesting (contemporarily-big) names in the cast added to an interesting tale centred around the building of a suitable road for the community, and also on the local problem of poachers.
"A man capable of a backward somersault on that scale could be a Prime Minister of England one day"
..."Backward somersaults in politics are invariably performed under pressure"
The Captain's Paradise (1953)
Excellent comedy with elements of old-time farce
Usually, if my appraisal of a movie lies in-between whole numbers (in this case 7.7), regardless I err on the *lower* whole number. However (and unusually this time) I'm awarding upwards to an 8.0 rating.
I first saw and enjoyed this film about 30+ years ago (and many, many times since) and have always retained it in mind as somewhat a classic comedy. In retrospect (and having just watched it again), I think this is because if the cleverness of the script/dialogue and of the undoubted acting talent of the main protagonists. On top of this, the film has an obvious undertone/feel of old-time farce, which I think adds to the production (with some reasonably good directing) of a clever combination akin to an Ealing Studio comedy.
Guinness, as usual, is in excellent form despite another reviewer's assertion of - I paraphrase - a 'below par Guinness', and even himself being 'below par' in spelling Guinness's name incorrectly with a single 'n'...!
Charles Goldner is also excellent as the somewhat sleazy "Ricco", who adds a great deal to the comedy element of the film. "I said I'm not to be disturbed! Take it away! Throw it overboard! Throw yourself overboard! Throw the passengers overboard!"
Yvonne de Carlo is as beautiful and talented as ever, and Celia Johnson her usual effective self, this time as Maud, the Guinness character's real wife.
The sets are not particularly great... they don't have to be. The underlying farcical nature calls for talented technical comedy/farce acting. If done well (and it is) this supersedes any need for great artistic set-making.
Overall, a cleverly written and acted film; very funny in places, humorous in others.
Deservedly a 7.7
No Way Back (1949)
Badly composed and making little sense
Started off reasonably well, but became ridiculous particularly on the introduction of the 'gang', and Croucher's subsequent liaison.
This, frankly, seemed like a poor attempt in rivalling similar (but better) American movies such as "White Heat" (1948).
The story was poorly contrived and didn't make a lot of sense from the point the police entered the fray... especially the final shoot-out.