Some sci-fi is somewhat based, however loosely, on established reality… MoreSome sci-fi is somewhat based, however loosely, on established reality and then there's the other kind, the sci-fi that simply runs amok with speculation and fantasy. This is that latter breed, rooted in 1950's Cold War fears and yet looking to the skies (as some do nowadays) for saving redemption. That happens when a visitor from a dying outer space clan offer the residents of good ol' Ma Earth a choice: utter war or no? Like the 50's this seems clunky and awkward to our modern day aesthetics, but its well meaningness might turn a few converts despite some heavy-handed plot decisions.
A small town in New England is visited by slow dawning horror just as… MoreA small town in New England is visited by slow dawning horror just as some new people move in: could there be a connection? This handles that slow burn pretty well although the ending could have used a little more pepper. The stars do enough, but Sutherland is exemplary conveying "I'm gonna get you!" menace played nonchalantly. Wish there was more of him in this.
The worst I can say about this abrasive and loud sci-fi is that Rob… MoreThe worst I can say about this abrasive and loud sci-fi is that Rob Schneider is not the worst thing in it (and he tries to be ... as usual). Only for teenage boys.
Burt Lancaster is a sheriff tasked with finding the group of cowboys… MoreBurt Lancaster is a sheriff tasked with finding the group of cowboys who accidentally murder an old man during a one drunken night's revelry. Lee J. Cobb is the leader of said group. The tension is gained when the group refuse to go quietly to trial. Or: the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law, which way are you gonna go? Lancaster play the letter quite well, "just the facts, m'am" but with an open style, allowing the tension that the other actors project (and so the audience) to come to him and this favors the whole effort. Sheree North is the woman he left behind and she's good as an honest portrayal of a Western woman. For a Western, and asking "what is morality?" this one's no typical cartoon oater and definitely worth a look.
Although this stars Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr it doesn't actually… MoreAlthough this stars Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr it doesn't actually matter, as the two are only used as pop canvases to convey the message, one of the dominant themes of the 60's era, of youthful discontent with a world obsessed with money. Typical of the times as well is that there are no alternatives suggested either, simply the equivalent of an internet troll calling you "stupid!" and assuming a stance of superiority for having said that. All of this would be alright, mind you, if only the thing was funny, but its not. Sellers tries to inject some levity with the adoption of several different personas but the point is moot in the midst of this shitstorm of superior posturing. Starr replays his "lost boy" act from "Hard Day's Night" but has no where to go with it, nowhere at all. There are brief moments that contain a smile, but that's all you're gonna get out of this one. If there is any reason to see this at all, its for its look at the mood of the times.
Gerard Butler and Powers Boothe, first friends then enemies, drive… MoreGerard Butler and Powers Boothe, first friends then enemies, drive this biopic that serves as a history lesson really about a name far more popular and remembered than the deeds of this larger than life bloodthirsty character. For a television production its values are quite good if whitewashed. Attila is portrayed as the guy next door driven to unusual lengths by the acts of others in this telling, and not the ambition driven dynamo that history usually paints him as. Butler just manages to keep his head above water with the requirements the acting job makes on him, while Powers Boothe comes across as the real star of the show, a malevolent spider with his sticky claws in everything and he holds the thing together. Learn about the start of the Dark Ages, why not?
Highly improbable bit about a blind guy who takes pictures and then… MoreHighly improbable bit about a blind guy who takes pictures and then asks people to describe what's on the film so as a way to check on what really happened to him. Seems as if the poor bloke has trust issues and therein the major thrust of the piece: "who can you trust?" Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe endeavor mightily to add some meat to this speculative presentation but it is Geneviève Picot as the maid, who is outside of the question, who could give a fuck, who is really the only real person in this head scratcher, and the only one who manages to keep your attention. Watch it to see her.
Little better than a romance comic book but for some arty shots thrown… MoreLittle better than a romance comic book but for some arty shots thrown in for taste, this is best representative as a look into small town Australian life. The story: the hunk who left the monotony and intrusiveness of said small town returns for the woman he left behind only to discover she's knocking boots with his former best bud. Will the old girlfriend take back the mug who left, or stay with the local guy? For color the confrontation happens on what I took as Memorial Day for Australians (Anzac Day), where old soldiers are remembered for their duty, and that's when the core of that small town life is revealed as empty except for going to the local bar and drinking, and talk about everyone else in town. Seemed pretty bleak to me (but also true about a lot of American small town life). So its a denunciation of that small town life in the main, with the problem about the romance the teaser to involve us, which it barely does. Russell Crowe's big screen entrance though.
For many of us Yanks there's little experience with the world of film… MoreFor many of us Yanks there's little experience with the world of film from the land down under (unless a film breaks the ranks and becomes a international sensation), and that's why you mightn't've seen Hugo Weaving act like a regular guy in this Australian offering. He plays a wannabe writer who's unlucky in love until his best friend asks that he house his new girlfriend for a minute. Guess what happens next? In the meantime there's the gratuitous use of popular songs played over the usual montage of shots of the mismatched couple falling for each other that so overdone its overdone already. The twist here is that she's a Russian, and so the couple visit Russian restaurants and we get to see Weaving experience that, or they go to a Russian nightclub and try Russian dancing ... you get the picture. Natalia Novikova does the foreign "other" pretty well and Weaving plays "not a bad guy for a change". Its not as offensive as I described. I think.
No more than brief side trip to whimsical, this romance teams Ray… MoreNo more than brief side trip to whimsical, this romance teams Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard. There are the machinations typical of this genre present and accounted for, but at the end of the day does it really matter? When the opening credits roll you already know how everything will turn out and there are no surprises to allay your suspicions. Still the cast bring all their powers of charismatic persuasion to the table and thereby make this palatable pablum.