happipuppi13

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Reviews

Bambi II
(2006)

A Dad Redeemed : Bambi 2
I'd like to start by asking all to please stop calling the 1942 original "Bambi 1". it's "Bambi" , and only "Bambi" .

That said, yes, I'm not exactly a fan of many Disney sequels either, mainly that a lot of them are more for the sake of making money than making good movies. Sticking to animated sequels only, Disney does have a few that are actually good but not enough to merit a badge of quality.

In the case of Bambi 2 (which I thought a better title would have been "Bambi : There Is Life") , everyone involved in this 'they said it couldn't or shouldn't be done' sequel, came very close to success. I didn't find it at all an odd idea to have the film show us what went on in between Bambi's loss and then later his Twitterpated love.

True, it was obvious that The Great Prince had to now take over and help Bambi survive and grow into a mature deer but the only minor part we see is him every now and then appearing to help Bambi is very tough situations , still seemingly stoic but very atypical of what a good number of human males were like in the early 20th century. Men really did not talk about their emotions and had to grow up to be 'real' men.

Bambi's father is what a real male deer is, they mate and have little or no part in the raising of their offspring. Which makes the story idea a good one. How will he handle being a father to a son he barely acknowledges (pays attention too)? Young boys in the 1940s ,some usually without question, respected their dads and did not 'talk back' or 'mouth off' to their parents. Bambi likes his dad but only based on what a towering figure he seems to be.

I felt the distance between them and how it was gradually taken down and dealt with was handled wonderfully. It went from Dad expecting obedience from his son (while at the same time leaving him alone too much) , to seeing that , at this time in his son's life, he needs a male figure to learn from.

The Prince almost gives up this opportunity to not only bond with his boy but to also, unexpectedly, learn something about himself. That while respected by many, the only love and respect that now matters is what he and his son will have for each other by the end of the movie. He becomes (in a more modern day sense) a real dad. If there was an Oscar for Best acted voice over in an animated film, I'd give it to Patrick Stewart here, an excellent choice of voice and actor.

This main story alone is why I gave the film 8 stars. He truly does redeem himself for everything he lacked as a father before.

As for the rest of what goes on here, well, I can only say while Thumper in the original was 'all boy' and downright adorable & innocent at the same time....here, he mouths off to the Prince and kind of to his mother too.He's also more of a little 'wise guy' and makes faces as if he's Wakko from Animaniacs. Flower (kind like in the original) doesn't do much here except what Thumper tells him to do.

The bully deer 'Ronno' (really? Ronno? I'd have called him Gunther.) Is a good early test for Bambi. If he's going to learn survival , beating a bully like him makes sense. The rest of the characters , well they have their moments but not totally memorable ones, unless you watch it again.

What I like of Bambi, Flower and Thumper in the original is that they mirrored childhood innocence of the early 20th century and that's where it should have stayed. The bad habit Disney has of throwing in 'modern day' attitudes, is a tiresome one. The humor here should have come from within the situation and from better humorous writing. (Like teaching Bambi to 'roar). Not a tired bag of outdated 'the kids'll love it' tricks

So, while a direct to video release, it is in the top 5 of the better Disney sequels. 8 stars for a very touching look at a male figure finding out he does not have all the answers and learning to love his boy.

2 stars off for making a Thumper more bratty, which is the same as saying that'all kids are alike' . Disney should know that a lot of us have our heart's invested in these original films and characters. They mean more to us than I guess they can imagine (END)

Grease
(1978)

Why Grease Is Great and Why (Some) Hate
You can probably already see my rating of 10 stars as you start to read this review. Knowing that, you may also know I'm not going to just put out paragraph after paragraph, praising it and telling you why I like it. I wont even go into the plot, we all know it.

I'll be as brief as possible. Yes, I was 10 in 1978 and watched the ABC show, "Welcome Back, Kotter" which featured Travolta. ..but, I had also sen him in the TV movie 'The Boy In The Plastic Bubble'. ('Saturday Night Fever' was too adult for me in '77-'78.) So, yes it was that he's the star and I already liked Olivia Newton-John too. I used to watch the variety show "Sha-Na-Na". That's the group who were 'Johnny Casino & The Gamblers. Lastly, it was set in my mother & father's teen year , much like 'Happy Days' , so that's all I needed. At that age one's mind (usually) is pretty open to something like this and it appealed to me instantly.

As I got older I came to understand or finally notice, the more adult elements Yes, one of them being those 'words' in the Greased Lightning song and also the more mature themes. All of this actually gels well in a film that's set in a time where these things weren't always (or maybe never) talked about in the home.

This movie is a favorite because from start to end, the young players put all of their energies into the song and dance numbers., all of them put every bit of themselves into their roles and most of all, in case no one noticed, this movie has a perfect balance of comedy, music , wonderfully choreographed dancing and serious elements. Not 'too' serious or else you'd be watching a musical remake of 'Rebel Without A Cause'. For me it's just fun and enjoyable. That's all it is for me.

Now, anyone out there who thinks that it was 'easy' to put a film like this together (and based from a stage play as well), knows nothing about movie making and in terms of dancing, how tough it is for a choreographer to get everyone's movements in synch together.

As for 'bursting into song' , in a good musical, there has to be a justified reason for someone to start singing. They can' for example be talking one minute and then suddenly sing "La Bamba" (or whatever), it has to make sense. Mainly, it's a faster way of telling the story. If Danny just stood there on the bleachers and talked bout his summer, that's not as interesting. The 'Summer Nights' song helps both Danny and Sandy tell the story, without overuse of dialog. As do all of the other other songs .

The 'Born To Hand Jive' number at the school dance is nothing short of everyone giving their all. Especially Travolta and Newton John (and then the women who takes over from Sandy.) The whole dance number is electric. Sounds 70's you say? So what? This is a musical and YES entertainment and gee, t's supposed to be fun. Who cares if some musical liberties are taken?

The closing song 'We Go Together' is almost as energetic and in the extras on my DVD, the choreographer stated how proud she was of that cast of young people, whose youthful enthusiasm and energy and dedication made that and all the other numbers what they should be. Entertaining.

Yes all the actors are over 21 and into 30's, this was a common Hollywood practice at he time. Movie makers wanted to deal with those more professional that know 'time is money' and will be reliable. They also want people who have confidence in themselves and their abilities. Along with the fact people over 21 have more time to be on the set. For my money, they all did a great job acting like teen agers.

About Sandy, everyone seems to forget hat Danny also was trying to change some too , by getting into athletics, which is a god way to learn that everything isn't all about him and what he wants. He was finally, just as willing to change for her and she was for him at the end. She made that choice herself because as the song Grease states 'conventionality belongs to yesterday'.

She was what society 'then' said a girl should be, a 'good girl' but (sorry t say by the way) in the world of youth, it's tough to be an individual. Parents wanted (and still do) their kids to be what they say or their peers want them to be the near opposite.

I reviewed Grease 2 sometime ago on here and it was easy to pinpoint what's wrong with that film. For the reviews I read here, they all seemed to be either based on their ONE and only one viewing of the movie or they're all hung up in the ending where Sandy changes her personality. (To put it lightly).

How can you see a film that's good (based on the fact it did well and people continue to love it 40 years later) only 1 time and say 'this is lousy' (?) If musicals don;t appeal to you, OK that's fair but seen those who aren't into musicals can find something positive.

If you cannot let yourself be entertained by a movie and forget all you know about the 'real world' and just lighten up,you can enjoy 'Grease'. If you're going to sit there and watch for 'goofs' , editing mistakes. something to hate about it from the start or even worse..... 'a lesson/message' , well ,you wont enjoy it. These are all the WRONG reasons to watch a movie. Especially a musical.

Lastly, in regards to those saying seethe play. Well hey, not everyone can afford something like that and secondly, if anyone in 1978 or now, thought this would be 'like the play', they were crazy to think it would be in the first place.

For me, last time, 'Grease' is a great movie just for all that it is and even at 50, none of it's appeal or my enjoyment of it has been or ever will be lost. It hs nothing to do with nostalgia or feeling younger again....I love the movie, period. I'm only sorry it took me this long to review it.

(END)

The Iron Petticoat
(1956)

The Iron Petticoat and How I Got My Money's Worth
In the early to mid 2000's (2000 - 2006) , I set off on a quest to see all of Katharine Hepburn's films from cinema and TV. The Iron Petticoat was the last of the cinematic features I needed and I got it by way of E-Bay on video tape. (Made by 'someone'.) It was one of those bidding wars...oh yeah, I won it but I spent *gulp* $40.00. So, when I got it home, and long thereafter, I watched it at least 3 times a year. I now know the movie like the back of my hand.

The movie's story is that one day over an american aire bese in Germany, female Russian aviator Vinka Kovelenko accidentally (?) invades American Military air space when she has a fallout with her superiors. She's passed over for promotion, which is given to a male with less rank and tenure than she.

She's brought down, escorted basically by surrounding U.S. pilots in their planes, Most notably Chuck Lockwood. Lockwood doesn't seem to take much 'too' seriously in the events that unfold.

Chuck gets assigned to get Vinka to denounce the USSR and 'swing her over to the American side'. As propaganda against the Soviets. What happens is that Chuck, who is engaged to an heiress named Constance, inadvertently ends up falling for Vinka and she for him.

Essentially leading to both having problems, with their superiors and Chuck with his fiance'. Whom he may be really only marrying for the money and comfort.

Bob Hope, a very great comedic legend, falls short here in comedy. His jokes and funny lines don't carry any punch or energy. There were a few lines that got a laugh or two from me but not enough and really, no one else here except maybe Hepburn is funny.

Hepburn does get a few good humorous lines in but also some of her actions are, unintended, funny. Her Russian accent as well as some reactions facially and physically. On another level though, she really outshines everyone in this film. When she goes from military wear and dresses up in something beautiul for Chuck's sake, her emotions seem very real. (Chuck has yet to realize he's falling for her).

The real problem, as most movie fans know, was that Hope (allegedly) treid to get all the best lines for himself and leave very little for Hepburn. Stating 'Hepburn has no sense of humor'. Whatever he was trying to acheive, it backfired in every way.

The film flopped and as mentioned, Hepburn's acting and even most minimal comedy out-shined him. I always liked Bob Hope's comedies but , to use a slang term from today, this was an 'Epic Fail' . As for worst Hepburn film? That honor goes to 1985's "Grace Quigley".

I rated this 8 stars for Hepburn's acting and the fact that there'is' a plot you can actually follow. The detractors are the otherwise blandness of some of the other actors and how this was directed into a mostly bland film...that does have it's moments. ..but I'd hardly say it was worth $40.00. (END)

Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla
(2015)

Stop Cats! A 'Tail' of Cheap Entertainment .
Last year I reviewed a movie I got from Red Box , "Rock Dog". A movie I really liked and feel was underappreciated.

Last weekend I found "Top Cat Begins" there too. Sorry to say I can't praise it as highly. Although, I'll be a bit kinder with my rating and review.

I too watched Top Cat reruns as a kid and so yes, nostalgia played in here, but also I had a discount 'online' coupon for a choice of film...making my total cost to see this just over 50 cents. *Thankfully* .

The pro's : Top Cat himself is played pretty much the same as on the original series, Benny also funny and easily taken in by TC. Some funny jokes and a few sight gags that made me laugh. I'll let you watch (if you do) and decide if they're funny also. It could just be me, but I also found a few touching moments too.

The Cons : Unnecessary and unfunny violence. A cop named Lopez jumps out a window of the police station to his doom. (??!) Officer Dibble's elderly (mother/aunt/grandma??) goes 'Rambo' on the bad guys with guns, a tank and even a distantly seen and heard bomb. Our resident bad guy 'Mr. Big' (gee...what an original bad guy name : NOT!) having his henchmen toss otehrs into a supposedly 'bottomless' pit. So, uh, this "IS" a kids/family film ..right? Could have fooled me.

Lastly, why not have the whole Top cat gang in the entire movie working together, instead of an hour plus flashback. When they came back from it, I'd almost forgotten there 'was' a flashback. They really didn't need that either. Also, the rest of the gang,dibble and other characters are weakly written and despite their presence, don't add much to this until the end.

So why am I giving it 6 out of 10 stars? Strictly for the positives , $1 being (you guessed it) nostalgia. The CGI is good too but I'd advise you to seek out the 1960s cartoon series and other previously made Top Cat films.

I like this well enough but for everyone else, watch this first, if only to get it out of the way before watching what can only be much better material. (END)

The Starfighters
(1964)

Make It Stop!..What Am I Saying?? Make 'Something' Start!
"A young Air Force lieutenant falls in love with fighter planes while his father, a Congressman and war hero, yearns for him to fly heavy bombers." : That's the plot?!! Really? I thought there wasn't one. WOW!

Well as someone here indicated, even the usual fun of Mystery Science Theater 3000 couldn't help make this be enjoyable.

A few good lines on their part in making fun of this movie. (A movie that's about as enjoyable as sitting in your living room, waiting for the furniture to say something.)

I thought I had gone to or seen boring movies on T.V. or video before, but no question, ..NOTHING about this film is engaging, entertaining, amusing, dramatic, thrilling and a ton of other related adjectives to movies that are actually good. Even "Moment By Moment" (1978) is better ...and that's a scary thought!

Star Robert Dornan (best known to me from his appearances in the 1960s series '12 O'Clock High) turns in a performance that wouldn't even garner an actor a 'Razzberry' Award nomination. Of course, the other actors are far worse and so unbelievably blase' , they aren't even worth mentioning.

I did happen to notice the Congressman father bared a resemblance to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.....too bad the didn't have FDR's charisma, which would have surely helped him.

Ironic to me is that this film came out 1 year before we started sending troops to Vietnam and filmed likely before the end of the JFK era. The film feels more like a pro-military/war propaganda style documentary, attempting to get uknowing young people to enlist.

Starfighters has even less acting style than say those hygiene (aka personal body cleanliness) films. Of course, this film doesn't even have a style, excepting for constant shots of flying jets, practice bombings and refueling in the air.

HEY! There's a title! "Refueling In The Air" ... disintegrating soon at a theater, T.V. m tape or DVD near you!

Happy to say...my wife and I went to bed before the uh...climactic ending. LOL!!

Still wish IMDb would let us rate things ZERO, one star is far too many but that's more star power than I found in wasting my night watching this. (END)

Rock Dog
(2016)

Rock Dog Rocks Rented From Red Box
Despite my title I wish I could have seen this at the movies but I honestly had no idea of it's U.S. release back in February. Otherwise, I'd probably call this "Rock Dog Rocks on Big Screen Box".

(Box office that is).

I'll admit, I found the title alone amusing. Meaning it looked like a flop that wasn't in theaters long. Of course that's true but I gave it a chance as I'd seen most of the animated films in Red Box.

It's obvious others here have their opinions in rating it less than favorably but I really don't get how anyone could not like this film.

It has a solid story/script, there's funny moments along with moments that are (lightly) dramatic. Bodi's desire to be a musician, in opposition to his father and his quest to find his place in the world, granted, not an idea that hasn't been done before but for my taste, it was presented here with a truly fresh approach.

He's naive' and is off to the city and runs into people much like himself who want to make music but along with it, also finds jaded, cynical characters that take advantage of him.

The wolves are our resident villains, out to kidnap him to find out what the villages plans are and what to expect when they attack. (Given their drive to do this, they should have more confidence in themselves.)

Angus Scattergood, especially, just wants to use Bodi's music to save his career. Bodi's original song leads Angus to taking the song and saying he wrote it.

The song 'Glorious' is amazing. Falling into the vein of U2 and possibly a number of rock/pop bands that have songs with a deeper lyrical meaning than others. In short, I still can't get the song out of my head...no hurry to though.

Despite 'rock' in the traditional sense not being what it used to be, the use of the 'classic rock' style, combined with a touch of today's style, makes the music absolutely original sounding.

The main story gets conjoined to the plots of Bodi's village banning music and only concentrating on keeping wolves from attacking an stealing their sheep and fading rock star 'Angus Scattergood' trying to come up with a hit to save his recording contract, mesh well with the main points of the movie.

That being we all search for our place to fit in, our lives and existence, as well as our actions directly affect others as well. This doesn't mean that it's wrong to think of yourself but it is to think 'only' of yourself and 'only' what you want, to the exclusion of others.

Bodi, his father, Angus and even the wolves want something for themselves, be it a good or bad thing. In the end result when Angus finds his 'fire', it serves to bring about something that I can only describe as a peaceful solution and/or resolution for all. (I wont spoil that part for you.)

It was also great to have Sam Elliot narrating (ala 'The Big Lebowski' style) as an elder & Yak named 'Fleetwood Yak'.

The animation here is spectacular and the story is inspiring as well. Maybe those who have seen animated films like this many times don't think so, because they've gotten older or just don't get it. Being 49. I still found it all inspiring. The story, the animation and the music.

Decide for yourselves ladies & gentleman if you like this movie or not. I'm not here (nor or the others) to decide that for you, just to tell you how I felt about it. Ten greatly deserved stars from me.

I can only hope many others will feel the same. (END)

The Suzanne Somers Special
(1982)

See Suzanne Shortly After Ousting From Three's Company
Just about anyone who ever watched "Three's Company" can tell you the story of Suzanne's fallout with ABC, John Ritter & Joyce DeWitt and her (then) 'expensive' salary demands. That, in wanting to be paid on equal level with John Ritter (and male actors, who always get paid more).

Well, after a shouting match, pitting her & husband Alan Hamel against ABC executives, ABC had truly had it. Diminishing her role, practically barring he from the set and and the end of the 1980-1981 season, firing her.

The execs at CBS wasted no time in signing her to a contract. ...but then a shake-up in leadership at the network dashed any hopes for a new sitcom. That and ABC stating that she could not legally use 'any' variations of ' Chrissy Snow', as this originated on their network.

Still CBS made good (sort of) on their contractual promise and gave Suzanne her own TV special. An almost Bob Hope type of gathering, it was filmed in late 1981 and aired February 22nd, 1982. Suzanne basically shows facets of her talents that were not seen on her previous TV series.

Aboard the USS Ranger in San Diego Bay, she performs in front of a most appreciative audience of over 6000+ U.S. Navy Sailors. (This is not to be confused with her follow up special, "Suzanne Somers and 10,000 G.I.'s", which aired January 3rd,1983.)

She not only does comedy to the delight of the sailors, but sings and dances as well. Her choice of outfits didn't hurt either.

Joined by singer Marie Osmond, they duet on songs from the 1940s in a tribute to the USO (as well as World War 2 veterans). She is also joined by the R & B group Gladys Knight & the Pips in a medley of now classic rock & roll songs.

The (now) late great comedian Flip Wilson makes an appearance as his classic 'female' comedy character "Geraldine". Who tries to outdo Suzanne for the Navy's attention. I'm sure Suzanne had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Songs from the show include "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", "Take Back Your Mink", "I Don't Know Why" and "I'm Coming Home Again", as well as the rock & roll medley. Plus a (tasteful) salute to the Armed Forces and America as well.

Despite the image people had of hr then as someone with an inflated ego and only interested in money. She truly does a wonderful show for the sailors and for the TV viewers that did tune in that night, myself included, I was 13 and it was our first night in a new home.

Shown in the last hour of prime-time network TV, Suzanne's only TV competition that night was (ironically) the 2nd hour of NBC's TV Movie "A Wedding On Walton's Mountain". (The Walton's had aired on CBS previously. That and the last hour of Ryan O'Neal's "Oliver's Story" (1978)

I remember the special quite well and should it ever somehow surface again on TV or maybe even DVD, I'd be glad to revisit it. I urge you to do the same. Because, putting aside what she was dealing with then (and in terms of simply being entertaining) this special was terrific.

Variety shows as regular TV programs were passe' by then and these kind of special were as well. After her second TV special, it would be over 4 & 1/2 years before Suzanne would star in another TV sitcom.

"The Suzanne Somers TV Special" :

Ten Stars from me, there's not better way to express it. (END)

Cinderella
(2015)

Cinderella 2015/2016 : Another Wonderful World from Disney
I read some the very negative reviews and came to this conclusion.....

These people went to the movie but didn't really see it or they didn't even go to see it and just created a Trollish (and very short) review with no substance to it at all.

First off. Too many Cinderella remakes? Well, guess what? It'll be remade probably 20 years from now too. What does that have to do with how good or bad it was? For that matter,who cares? "Disappointing indeed", is something another said. What are the ways it was disappointing? No explanation,just an empty opinion.

"It is made for kids only and not for adults". Really?! I'm 46 and my girlfriend in her 30s. We saw this last night and enjoyed it just as much as the kids and (guess what?) their parents were enjoying it too.

A girl losing both of her parents? How in the world is that "for kids only"? I was amazed they dealt with it that directly and in a very mature manner, without making it too disturbing for very little kids.

"This movie was so boring." Okay again,"how" or in what ways was it boring? Just another blanket opinion.

"Nothing new?" It's a re-make of a 200 year old story,they have to tell it in mostly the way it was written but they did add something important, they gave all main/central characters real human qualities and emotions and even back-stories about who they are.

CGI animation & special effects are amazing & seamless here. The costumes and attention to how people would dress in that era is flawless. Every actor in this film is 100% into their role and best of all this movie "does" have heart,otherwise there'd be nothing to like about it.

A rip off of others or a "copy & paste" job : There's only one real storyline for Cinderella and that's (again) from the original story & book itself. Director Orlando and other filmmakers did not create Cinderella. He and they only made their own versions.

As for some alleging "Disney steals ideas"...aside from "a few" Cinderellas made before 1950, Disney pretty much made the definitive and animated one that year. Any later versions are remakes either good or just okay.

In case any haven't heard ,the movie industry is 112 years old,there's only so many "fresh" ideas anymore.

"The acting is/was so tasteless". What is that statement based on? There's nothing tasteless in the film at all. As for acting, does anyone really think it's easy to play such a "nice girl" as Ella and balance that against all the negative things happening to her? I'm not in show business but I certainly know the difference between a boring film and a good ,fun and entertaining one. This movie "is" a good movie,it has every element that it takes to be so.

Good actors, good directing,a well fleshed out script based on something already done before. ..and again, incredible detailed costumes and sets & again great special effects, that bring the illusion of that time period to life. The music score is excellent as well.

About the feminists. Ella is a very strong girl and then woman. To put up with all she did and went through after her parents passed on, is a testament not only to being a strong female but being a strong person in general.

I say that as a man raised by two good yet strong women.

It's far too easy for people to be negative in a review here on IMDb. It's easy to see, some come from just from wanting to be mean and negative because they want too,not because they actually saw the film.

Making a bad or boring film is a very easy thing too,when all involved don't make a real effort and just want to make money.

It takes a better use of one's mind to create a movie (and remakes) like Cinderella and have it be successful and as well done as this film.

Ten stars? I'll give Cinderella (2015) twenty! An AA++ and 100% perfect score. I will say and add that this movie will be an Oscar contender at next year's Academy Awards.

Anyone who rates it less did not open themselves up emotionally or even mentally to just enjoying it for what it is and always was & will be....a fairy tale. (END)

The Fugitive
(1963)

The Start of The Chase and The Anniversary Of The End
***Again, this review DOES contain spoilers. Only read if you have no problem with that.***

As someone for whom this series 'predates', I'm proud to say I've finally been able to watch this series I had only heard about.

When I was young in the 1980s, the re-running of 1 hour dramas, just really wan't done and in the case of "The Fugitive", it was really not a candidate for syndication at all. Why? It's been said that, because the finale wrapped everything up, why would anyone watch the reruns. (Sounds like a very weak reason.)

Despite being only 4 seasons, it's taken some time for me to get through the series but that's okay, it's worth the wait. As fans know, the show is about Dr. Richard Kimble (pediatrician mainly) , a man falsely accused & convicted of killing his wife.

He and the stoic, nearly emotionless but professional Lt. Gerard are taking a train (in the original opening credits) where at the end, Kimble would be executed in the electric chair. A train derailment leads to the beginning of Richard's flight from the law and the 4 years of pursuit.

David Janssen's portrayal of Richard Kimble is mostly low-key. As he's portraying a man who, until maybe recently, may have had 100% faith in the criminal justice system. He's soft spoken, tries to force a smile when he's basically trying to talk his way out of something, although he does have legitimate reasons to smile 'sometimes'.

Kimble though is a determined man. Determined to prove his innocence by evading Lt. Gerard and the law long enough to find the elusive 'One Armed Man' he saw fleeing from his home, as he was returning in his car. That after the fight he'd had with his wife.

Now it would have been easy to make it the Doctor vs. the Lt. 'every' week, but as early shows (in my opinion) indicate, this would get old very quickly. As much as seeing the one armed man every week would.

Instead, Kimble encounters a wide variety of people and quite possibly all levels of humanity around the U.S. & elsewhere. From good people who only wish to help him or need his help in some way, to the lowest kind of people, who seem to use blackmail (turning him in) to further themselves. (Especially in the final season when he is now wanted AND with a $10,000 reward for capture.)

On occasion, the good Dr. does encounter women who truly find him attractive & even fall in love with him. (..and he with them).

It's only vaguely alluded to, but in some shows, Kimble has had some 'one night stands' (or longer) with some of these ladies. Some help him, some turn on him for not sticking around. Kimble always let's it be known, he may not be around long. In the end, he must run again as he can't afford attachments..

Kimble seems to come out of tough situations (for lack of a better phrase) 'on top' but also more wary & cautious of what or whom he gets himself involved with. When confronted each time by Lt. Gerard, it looks like it's all over but someone or something seems to help our 'anti-hero' escape by the end.

The Lt. seems to be driven by his own failure to stop Kimble after the train incident, along with his own ego. Truth is, Gerard is so 'by the book' , his only goal is to bring Kimble back in.

Kimble 'was' found guilty under the law and as a law officer of this level, Gerard is 100% emotionally detached & will not believe the story about a one armed man. Still, we see his frustration with every failed attempt to successfully snare fugitive Kimble.

As for our one armed man, this is truly one of the sleaziest TV villains. A man who has no regard for others. He takes what he wants and violently kills if anyone is in his way.

At first Kimble only 'saw' him here and there but in later episodes, their confrontations are TV legend. Usually ending with our villain eluding capture from Kimble after a one on one confrontation.

On the series' acting, production and directing ....for a TV series of it's time, everything here is first rate. The music score is anywhere from haunting to that of 'nail biting excitement'. Certainly those scenes where Kimble shows he can fight back as well as run .

There is great camera work (especially after the show goes to color.) and everyone involved seems to know their part and how to play it, which goes right along with great directing.

True, nothing can be done about the 'green screen' driving/riding in a car but that's a minor thing. As there was no way, without some risk, to film it for real then.

As the series goes from the late JFK era & into post Beatles 1964-1967 ...the stories try to be more relevant to what was going on in the world then. (Sure wish there'd been many more shows like that.)

50 years ago on August 22nd & 29th, 1967 over 2 consecutive Tuesdays. With the highest pair of TV ratings ever achieved at that time, America bade farewell to the Richard Kimble saga.

Ten stars all around for this series.

Give it a look on DVD, start to finish, it's worth your time. Revisiting or to get acquainted with one of the best dramatic TV series of it's time. ...and it is still as great now (END)

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City
(1969)

'See'worthy but Not Seamless
This is a film that I saw, among many, at a special summer-long 'film festival' for children at my local theater....in 1981.

Now, I would have reviewed this title long before today but in all honesty...I had not seen it since then (until this week) and couldn't recall the story or what it was about. Same is true not long after I saw it at the movies.

Well, fate has stepped in and I finally bought a (reasonably) priced DVD from Ebay. (Some sellers acting like this is SO rare, it's within their right to charge $50.00 or more.)

I watched the film and now I can say this much about it. Special effects, sets and wardrobe & basically making all look appropriate (circa 1969) are first rate here. True, some actresses look 1960s in what is supposed to be the early '1860s' but given this is a fantasy, it doesn't really matter. In Nemo's undersea city, nothing of the world above has much meaning there.

Robert Ryan's Nemo is a far cry from the one most know in Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea". In fact while his views are made clear to us, his Nemo is not as seemingly insane as 'that' Captain Nemo.

He's (somehow) with all others under his rule/following, made a paradise for people to (on the one hand) live freely in...but on the other hand, under 'his' laws. I'll say this much, while the swimming pools looked like a lot of fun...was there nothing else fun for these people to do there?

The survivors of the shipwreck at the start are saved by him and crew but the only reason the Captain gives for saving them is 'the only other option was to let you drown.' (??) Makes you wonder why he bothered at all, as now he's going to hold them there the rest of their lives, so they can't go home and tell everyone about his Mecca beneath the waves. (Now really...who in 1860-1865 would believe them?)

Chuck Conners (TV's "The Rifleman") as Senator Robert Fraser, gives Nemo his honest, gentleman's word that if he let's them all go, his secret is safe. Nemo's jaded trust in his fellow man & politicians will not let him believe this.

So as will happen, the plotting starts. The character Lomax wants out the most and makes 2 attempts. His second attempt almost wrecks the place.

The brothers Barnaby & Swallow Bath (yes..his name really is 'swallow') make efforts to not only get out but steal a great amount of gold & treasures as well.

Conners & the brothers finally come up with an idea to get out. Of course, I'll leave off there, as not to ruin the rest of it.

Now, I'll validate my reason for only giving a 4 star rating. The acting. With the minor exception of Robert Ryan's Nemo, which was convincing enough, the rest of the actors, for me, all seem flat. Yes...even Chuck Conners.

They give the indications of emotion but overall, I just didn't feel from them, the true urgency of their situation.

These people are being held hostage. Which should make them scared and angry at their captor (or should we say kidnapper?). The rest of them could at least try harder to escape. It seems more like, "Well were here now and gee, isn't this an amusing little underwater city?"

Bland also (which goes hand in hand with acting) is the direction. The more serious acting needed should have prompted the director to ask more from the actors than what we finally are given here. Only Lomax and the two brothers & Nemo were memorable.

Of course, being a G rated film from 1969, I guess it's not surprising. Despite Conners one 'damn' and 3 acts of violence plus 3 characters actually meeting their end, the film while good enough to watch, when you feel like watching a movie ...overall just could have been so much better.

Four stars. Not 'all' movies from child-hood are as good as we remember but since I didn't recall much of this for a long time, I recalled it just right. (END)

Ben-Hur
(2016)

Ben-Hur : Of Remakes, Revenue and Redemption
As I type this, it's been just over 5 hours since I saw Ben Hur (2016) at the movies and I want to review it while all is fresh in my mind.

Yes, I knew all about the only $11 million + take for a $100 million dollar production but I wanted to see it for myself and not base my decision for attending on that.

Well, after watching it for 2 hours, I can tell all of you out there,it is only a 'financial' bomb and not any other kind. (Even the great, "It's A Wonderful Life" failed at the box office but it's become a classic.)

Happy to say, despite the bleak box office, it wasn't empty where I saw it. Along with fellow patrons, I was 'literally' (no exaggerating here) on the edge of my seat. Not just during the chariot race (which I'm glad wasn't "all" CGI) but the whole movie.

I'll give that the opening horse race between the 2 brothers reminded me of the start of "Prince Of Egypt" but it's too nitpicking a detail to lower my rating.

Judah Ben Hur being a more down to earth person made it very interesting to watch. Of course it's not like Charlton Heston...then again, why would or should it be? Huston is his own person and his own kind of actor and 'his' portrayal of Ben Hur belongs to him, just as Heston's "Ben Hur" in 1959.

Ben Hur's 'odyssey' (for want of a better word) is. from the moment his adoptive brother leaves, told in every bit of emotion, action and effort. Not just from Huston, but from all major & minor characters here.

Some complain of the actor who played Jesus. 'Jesus wasn't very interesting.' Which goes to show, they do not understand what kind of person or maybe even 'being' Jesus was supposed to have been.

Morgan Freeman is (and never fails to be in serious roles)mesmerizing,as well as simply being almost impossible not to pay attention too and hang onto the words of his best lines of dialog.

Along with his narration, he brings that wonderfully nameless ingredient that makes up his acting style.

This is not an action movie or any other kind of 'big summer box office' film. It's a story about a man who, in protecting another, is made to suffer for his humanity & beliefs and yet somehow survive and find redemption in the end.

The chariot race is all but a small, yet nearly deadly, part of that journey. That race, in whichever version, is iconic.....but it's not the 'whole' of the entire work.

The chariot race here just as much as the 1959 race (or the other remakes) was a nail biter, despite knowing the outcome. It's not about trying to 'top' that race or the Oscar Winner...NO ONE will ever do that. I do know, it 'is' possible to remake a Best Picture.

The question is: "Do studios want to make a work of art or do they just want to cash in, on a known entity? If answer #2 is the reply, then they're destined to fail.

This 'Ben Hur', artistically and emotionally, IS powerful movie making on all counts. In that light, it's a success.

So, I've no doubt Ben Hur (2016) will be a favorite of many for along time, just for that reason alone. #1 one at the box-office or not.

10 stars ladies and gentlemen. Please don't let the box office take stop you from seeing this movie. In the theater or on DVD. (END)

Angry Birds
(2016)

Angry Birds - Birds, Birds. I Know Birds Are The Word
Just over 2 years ago, I had never heard of 'Angry Birds'.

Being 47, it's not surprising, however, my girlfriend

(who I met that long ago) was and still is a huge fan of theirs.

So, late yesterday afternoon we went to see it and she loved it. I can also say the same that I really liked it too. (Loved? Most likely.)

An easy thing of just about anyone to understand, 'Red' is a bird with serious pent up anger issues, that pretty much fly out of his mouth when he just can't stand something that's getting on his nerves. An unfortunate result of bullying in school when he was younger. Which many people of many ages can relate to as well.

His rage at a father who berates him for being late to his kid's birthday (as the clown), sends him over the edge and he winds up in anger management class. Where he meets his future friends.

Meanwhile, a boatful of pigs from a neighboring island have come sailing in and extending the hand of friendship (Or are they?).

Showering the birds of the island with gifts, parties and entertainment, the pigs are secretly 'hatching' a plan to make off with all the birds' eggs and have one huge egg banquet.

'Red' (whose house they squashed on arrival) is naturally suspicious of them, tries to warn everyone, but they wont listen.

Anyhow, I'll stop the plot there as I don't want to give too much away, but what I'll tell you from here is, this movie is really worth seeing. I think parents can leave it up to their own best judgement of the appropriate age to attend.

The film moves at an excellent pace, the animation is great, the story is timeless and there's very little to offend anyone over age 10 here.

A great lesson learned in the film is, it's okay to feel angry, but it's important to learn and know, when to let it out and for what important reasons

10 Stars , no doubt about it. (END_

Welcome Back, Kotter: Come Back, Little Arnold
(1979)
Episode 17, Season 4

Arnold Horshack On The Rocks
I just viewed, on DVD, this episode for the first time in years and strictly in terms of Season 4 of "Welcome Back, Kotter", it's truly the best.

Ron Palillo gives a very dynamic and very real portrayal of what his Arnold character Horshack becomes under the influence of hard liquor/whiskey.

When Arnold is fearful of making a fool of himself on a date with Mary Johnson, another student, Carvelli, tells him he can calm his nerves down by selling him a bottle of whiskey.

Arnold is reluctant but Carvelli give him the bottle and asks for the money later. Later, we see Arnold has both emotionally and mentally transformed in to both a verbally and physically abusive young man.

He also finds things funny that are not at all funny and even comes close to being paranoid that everyone's against him. He even yells at his teachers.

A later physical altercation involving himself, his buddies and Mary, leads to him having to decide if it's going to be her or the bottle.

Everyone in this episode did their job as actors here, with their characters actions and reactions to the downward spiral of their friend.

Ron, with that kind of support made the usually lovable and peaceful boy/ man Arnold Horshack, a very frightening person and or persona to witness.

Which to me, only makes it clear how badly Hollywood ignored him later, by typecasting him (or not hiring him at all) in later roles. They only recalled the "Ooh'-ooh-ooh's" and meekness of Ron's 'Arnold Horshack' , that and just maybe 100% confusing him, with his character.

Overall...and again, for the much forgotten Season 4, this episode is, hands down the very best one. Ten stars. ...and the show's fan's miss you much Ron (and Robert). *END*

Grease 2
(1982)

Grease 2 ; The Rydell Hype
When I was 14, I saw this movie over summer vacation.

Naturally, having seen Grease and like anyone else who saw it, I didn't think it possible to make a sequel.

Either 'at all' or to make one that wasn't as good as the first.

Now at that age, I did like the movie and understood it wouldn't star Travolta or Olivia Newton John (who were too busy making so-so or even worse films at the time.)

I'm in my 40s now and I got to re-watch this last night, for the first time in about 11 years or so.

First, sorry to all of you who truly love this movie, if you love it that's fine but I honestly can't like it as much as you do. ...but, you're welcome to your feelings.

I feel the characters, some of the songs just don't have the heart that made "Grease" enjoyable for me.

Unlike the first, it seems no one in this movie really cares about anyone but themselves and most of the dialog centers around sexual things.

..but! I can't totally dismiss it either. There are some good things in the movie, it's true. Too bad it's all in the first half only.

As we know,in the opening, Sandy's cousin Michael Carrington has come to live in the U.S. and attend Rydell High in California like she did.

In this case, he's a 'male' Sandy and Pink Lady and 'Stephanie Zinone' is the female 'Danny Zuko'. She of course thinks he's a nerd & uninteresting. He meet up with Frenchy (Didi Conn) as he gets off the school bus.

It's not long before he's fallen for Stephanie, who's getting sick of the immaturity and bossiness of current T-Bird leader Johnny Nogerelli, who's only her boyfriend because she's a Pink Lady. Michael decides (despite Frenchy's Warning) to try and become a T-Bird type himself and win Stephanie's love & respect.

In mere weeks (in movie time) he's practically Evel Knievel on a motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket and disguising his voice in a weird American voice. He single handedly takes on the T-Birds rival gang outside the bowling alley.

Anyway, up to the point of the "Prowlin'" number, it's was a good movie. Then it all falls apart.

Right after that is a somewhat dull scene in a diner with Michael & Stephanie. An even duller song by Caufield, the goofy fallout shelter scene and a bit later, the unbelievably embarrassing and badly staged 'Graduation Luau' .

I have to say this, for being a young actress at the time, Pfeiffer's is the best actor of all in the whole film. .... but has no choice but to somehow get through the scene of her and Zmed in the boat in a round swimming pool.

Johnny's actually trying to row his way out, when the rival gang shows up to wreck the place.... and her screaming "Stop yelling at me!"

Another question...why ask Sid Cesar, Dody Goodman, Eve Arden to appear, when they really didn't give them much to do in the film? I feel their talents were wasted here. It's more like they're extras than real characters.

Tab Hunter & Connie Stevens don't seem to add much to the mix either.

The other problem here is, in the first half, the musical numbers are really good. Which gives the impression it's going to be a great movie.

The opening number, "Back To School Again" (sung in a voice over by The Four Tops) is a great one. The dancing is perfect and the song's exciting.

Other good numbers are Pfeiffer's "Cool Rider" (sort of 1980s Pat Benetar, being sung in 1961, with MTV like moves). Still, one of her best remembered moments in the film.

"Score Tonight" (sung in the bowling alley) is more of a funny song than one to be taken seriously. Still, it works in how it's put together. "Reproduction", despite it's tacky lyrics, is also funny and it's routine works too.

In the 2nd half of the film, only, " Prowlin' " - Sung by Adrian Zmed (depending on your opinion of his singing of course) and "You're Girl For All Seasons" are the best.

The rest of the songs, "Charades" (sung by Caufield w/ too much echo effect), "Who's That Guy?, "Love Will Turn Back The Hands Of Time", "Do It For Our Country", "Rock-A-Hula Luau" and "We'll Be Together" ....are anywhere from dull to just really uninspired songwriting.

There's even the bad edit from Stephanie & Michael starting the "We'll Be Together" number, to everyone already coupled up (including them) and slow dancing/walking to the camera. Topped off with some silly 'spinning and/or 'ballet' routine.

So, all of this,is why I'm rating it 5 stars.

A good jump start in the first half but a 2nd half that gets lost and runs out of gas on the way to the finish line. (END)

Pete's Dragon
(1977)

Pete's Dragon - A Review To View, Before We See The New
Sunday,Feb. 21st, I took out an old copy of Pete's Dragon, that i have on VHS and decided to watch it. It had been a few years since I'd looked at it.

I watched it in the company of my significant other, who being a few years younger, had not yet seen it. Well, not only did she like it but I was reminded why I liked it in the first place. For a few of my so called 'grown up years, I'd dismissed it a great deal as 'not Disney's best work'. I also didn't have a nice word for Sean Marshall's (Pete's) singing voice. (I'd roll my eyes during the 'I Love You Too' song.

Now this past Sunday also, was the Disneyland 60th anniversary show on ABC, in which a preview trailer of the NEW 'Pete's Dragon was shown. I had no idea that a 'new' version of this childhood favorite was coming out soon or was even being made.

What I can tell anyone who is thinking of going to see the new version is, as I always say about remakes, see the original version first.

Sure, it was made in 1977 and the special effects aren't the same as what we're used to today....but that's what they had to work with then and what movie goers were used to then as well. Yes, that includes 'green-screen'effects.

More importantly, what makes Pete's Dragon engaging is that it 'is' so very simple and child-like in most of it's telling. There's a few things said & done by adults in the film that are not up to today's Politically Correct do's & don't's, where kids films are concerned.

They're a product of the time it was made and by a different generation, so it's best to just consider the era they're from.

The film over the years has been called things from kiddie-fair, to overly sentimental to emotionally disturbing. None of which are fair labels, nor are they grounded in anything but certain scenes taken out of context.

I would say that maybe, since it's a movie with a dragon, people then possibly expected Elliot to do more fantastic things than he actually did. He's a funny character with a funny way of talking and uses 'some' of his magic. I'm sure it was expected he'd use that magic on a greater scale.

Anyhow,the story is this. Pete's an orphaned boy between 10 & 12 who is 'purchased' by the despicable 'Gogan' family, who are dirty, filthy and lazy and use Pete as child slave labor back home. They even have a 'bill of sale'.

Pete's been befriended by Elliot, a usually invisible but sometimes seen, green Dragon (with little wings) that's helped him escape from the Gogans.

He and Pete have come upon the quiet seaside town of Passamaquoddy, Maine. (Circa 1910s) Where in no time at all, Elliot makes the possibility of Pete living (and hiding out) there almost impossible.

Enter Nora (Singer Helen Reddy) and 'Lampie' (Mickey Rooney), who operate the local lighthouse. (It's never made clear if they're co-workers or Father & daughter).

Lampie is a drinker & former sailor, who actually sees Elliot and is frightened like crazy. Nora (and the boys at the bar) doubt him completely.

Soon, because of Elliot's antics, it seems the town (except for Nora) is against Pete. Nora takes him in and thinks that Elliot is just something Pete made up.

As the story goes on, there's other baddies to worry about besides the Gogans. Doc Terminus a snake-oil (fake medicine) salesman and his shill Hoagie arrive also. not just to take money from the townspeople but, when finding out about Elliot, want to get hold of him to use his parts in the things they sell.

How will all of this turn out? Watch and see.

In the meantime, I can tell you the songs here are pretty good. Reddy's 'Candle On The Water' is a great number, so much so it w released as a single for radio in1978. All of her numbers are good, as before this she'd had many top selling records. "Brazzle Dazle Day' is also an unforgettable & very catchy number sung by her, Roony & Marshall, as the paint the lighthouse.

The Gogan's "Bill Of Sale' song is as grungy as they are. not note perfect but they're not perfect either, so it's fitting. Other songs by other characters are sung , 'in character'. To be fair to Pete, Marshall is actually a good singer but is singing as a regular boy like Pete could only be able too.

So, I feel it was meant to happen that I ended up watching the original the same day as that special. Meaning, I may just go see the new version but it's still good to know that the original's always there.

Not just to give an idea of what the new version may be like or how it'll be different ..but also, if someone may just like something from a time that was simpler and more easy going.

9 out of 10 from me, only one off for,again, some questionable dialog and actions from the grown ups in the film. (END)

Dirty Tricks
(1981)

Paying To See This 'Was' A Dirty Trick
Well! Apparently I am (at the moment) the only person who remembers this humiliating effort from Elliot Gould, Kate Jackson & Rich Little.

Let me say,I saw a great many films at the movies in 1981 and given my lack of knowledge about "good comedy" and "great acting",I ended up seeing a number of really bad films.

This one was the biggest case of bad judgment I ever made! I've only seen it once on late night TV since seeing it at the movies and thankfully,that was over 10 years ago.

The plot is this,Elliot Gould is a teacher of either Government or History and talks to his class about "revisionism". Changing known history to suit one's own ideas. Suddenly, a letter condemning George Washington as a traitor shows up!

Also,"suddenly" Kate Jackson,playing a reporter,finds out about Elliot Gould's discovery and wants the scoop for her news show.

Gould's friend played by Rich Little simply seems to be in the way here and adds nothing to this mess. The two of them (Gould & Jackson) are also trying to track down an expert to verify that the letter is real.

Then along come the bad guys! Almost out of nowhere Gould and Jackson are pursued by 2 men (dressed like Freddie Mercury circa 1981) looking to harm or kill them for the letter in question!

At one point they are chased through the gym of the school and for no reason,except someone thought it would be funny,Gould grabs the basketball out of a players hand and makes a shot.

One of the baddies (a mob guy) shoots a hole in the ball! The shoddy editing of that scene makes the ball appear re-inflated after going through the hoop!

In another scene Jackson is ranting on and he punches

her in the jaw to shut her up. Nice Elliot, nice...not..

In the end (and no,I don't think it matters that I'm telling you)....Elliot Gould solves the problem by eating the letter!

Well,enough said here but if you see this on video anywhere.....RUN!

The Wizard of Oz
(1939)

The Wizard Of Oz : From The Books To Today
*This review is dedicated to my parents ,who were born in the 1930s.*

I'll start by saying that many here say ,read the books ,they're better. Well, sure they are. I've read the 14 books by Frank L. Baum and they're classic American literature and simply fun to read as well.

Frank L. Baum ,was a man with an imagination ,in a time and place in America ,when men weren't supposed to (or sometimes not allowed to) have one ,after they grew up. (For better insight into Mr. Baum and his books ,watch John Ritter's portrayal in the NBC, 1990 film ,"The Dreamer of Oz."

The 1st filmed version was in 1925 but was laced with both personal & racial stereotypes. As well as being a bit uneven. Nearly 15 years after that version ,came the film that really ,is the first live action movie made for young people. (Kids were not exactly a priority in the early days of movie making.)

Now ,over the years ,many have complained that despite the positive message ,the humor and the happy songs sung in the film...it's very dark in many places. If you stop and think about it ...doesn't that sound like many of the movies ,for kids, made during the last 30+ years?

The film's also accused of being 'heavy-handed' in it's attempt to make it's point. The 1930s 'were' a very gloomy time and this being a first attempt at this kind of movie ,it couldn't possibly have come across any other way.

The people who went and saw this film in '39 ,not only saw the future of movies (unknowingly) but a reflection of their own era. Dorothy & family live on a farm in Kansas ,in the Depression and are threatened by a powerful woman with money ,who feels she can bully and threaten them because she has more than they do.

In that situation (and given that no one takes her seriously because she's a kid) Dorothy ,maybe like many in that time, wishes she could be someplace better and that place must be on the other side of rainbow.

This isn't just something little children or kids could think. Adults can feel this way as well. What adult wouldn't want to escape the sometimes heavy responsibilities & problems of life ,that they didn't have to deal with as a kid?

Sure ,Dorothy finds problems when she gets to Oz. What kind of movie would it be if there weren't any? It'd be one giant tea party with music.

In learning the lesson of 'there's no place like home' and that in seeking one ,'she should look no further than her own backyard' ,Dorothy has to see that no matter where you go, no place is perfect or without its problems....even Munchkinland.

The witch is a severe problem. Scarecrow , Tin Man , Cowardly Lion and even the Wizard ,all have problems too.

Dorothy's in a beautiful land but wants to leave it ,which is another problem. She got what she thought she wanted but realized ,she didn't.

She wanted to be home with her family. With all the 'dark' things she goes through ,she does what most of us would do ,she fights for it! With help from her new friends in Oz. When she melts the witch, intended or not ,it was her passing the last test ,to get herself home.

A test as well from Glinda ,because she knew why Dorothy had landed in Oz and she helped her see the reality of where it was she truly belonged. Could she have told Dorothy this ,yes ,but would she listen ,anymore than she'd have believed shoes could get her home instantly?

All of the things many love The Wizard Of Oz for ,are either things we experience in our lives or that we wish we could do.

This movie isn't just for little children or kids ,it's for everyone,of any age. I've watched it on CBS as a kid ,on video and DVD and in 1998 ,I got the pleasure of seeing it in a special 're-release' to movie theaters ,on the big screen.

.... And The Wizard Of Oz , is for anyone who simply likes a good movie ,like I do. That and manymore reasons are why I rate it 10 stars.

Aside from the lesson ,the real reason to watch the movie ,is to enjoy yourself. Nothing more or less than that. The characters,the story ,the songs ,the scenery and going from black & white to color in a blink

...all a part of telling the world's simplest story of how there's no place like home. ...and home can be a house or even the real world we live in ,where we take the bad with the good.

That's something that's as true today as it was over 75 years ago. {END]

Phat Girlz
(2006)

Phat Girlz - It's No "Fat Joke".,
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like many,I expected to see an ongoing,fat joke filled movie ,when I watched this. That certainly isn't the case here. This film actually has a heart,a mind and gets deep into the soul of what these two women (as well as larger women everywhere) go through everyday.

Despite the fact that Mo'Niques character puts up a tough front and gives the fist to anyone who calls her a fat "B" (you know the rest)she really is hurting very deeply inside like any other person would and should be. As seen by the amount of products in her room,she's fighting a losing battle with her size. Which makes her more depressed.

Her best friend is down on herself as well and has unfortunately grown up with the impression that,not only is she fat,she's homely too and lacking in personality. Mo'Niques skinny cousin in the movie was no help to her growing up or now.

Then,as in most movies ,fate takes over.

The two friends and the cousin win a stay at a luxury resort where there's nothing but skinny women around making them feel uncomfortable (except for the cousin of course). Into their lives come three men who hail from Africa.

These men,unlike the practically brain-washed men in the world,walk up and basically want to meet Mo'Nique & her friend. The third man thinks the cousin must be sick,being so skinny.

The best looking of these men is completely into Mo'Nique but she's not allowing herself to accept it 100% because she's so used to men not giving her the time of day. Her friend gets an admirer too and soon he's gotten her out of her shell (as well as her clothes & his,no nudity though!)

This movie,unlike some films that paint unflattering portraits of women or overweight people and African Americans,this film has great intelligence to it! I especially liked the real African dancing in the movie and how they demonstrate it's okay to be yourself in your skin.

Yes,there's the typical "your mama" jokes between Mo'Nique and some guy who works at a fast food place but the boy has it coming for being insulting. It's a very funny scene to watch!

Best of all though,this movie doesn't offer up an easy answer for Mo'Nique's character. It isn't...just lose the weight,just get a man or just get rich and everything will be perfect.

After her admirer tells her she should accept that she'll never be a size five,she runs from him and hides away in her room and into a deep depression.

She eats for days & watches TV but then,something just snaps in her and she goes on a tear through her room. Throwing all the diet products,clothes that don't fit and the TV out the window.

From that point she re-invents herself and starts up her own clothing line for large women,leading to a fashion show and financial world -wide success. Which she shares with her friend and cousin.

With her new attitude and outlook & success,she still is missing that one piece though. She flies down to Africa and is reunited with the man who loves her just the way she is. For all these reasons,I give this movie 10 stars!

I can only guess that the over-abundance of negative ratings are from those who may not have taken the time to "really" watch this movie. I may not be African-Amercian,but I know it should be on a list of the best 100 films starring & made by African Americans. I urge any & all to give this a second look!

"Phat" is in the eyes of the beholder! (END)

The Sound of Music
(1965)

The Sights & Sounds of The Sound Of Music
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A few days ago I was thinking,"What BEst Picutre winner should I choose for a review?" Many to choose from of course

The answer came to me Sunday,the day after Christmas 2010. NBC replayed this wonderful film and I watched it, since it had been a few years since seeing it.

I recall on The Oprah Winfrey Show ,she had Julie Andrews,Christopher Plummer and all 7 of the,now grown,child actors who played the Von Trapp children. It was the first time they'd all been together in one place since 1965 and it was a very touching reunion.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s,The Sound Of Music was on TV every year and when you're a kid,it usually is the first "Best Picture" Oscar winner that you ever see in your life. When you see it the first time,the moment you see Andrews in the hills and that sweeping camera shot,you know it's going to be something great.

Like a lot kids,it was only natural I'd like songs like "Do-Re-Mi","My Favorite Things,"So Long,Farewell" and "The Lonely Goatherd"(or "The Yodeling Song" as some call it) and more. I liked "Edelweiss" and "Climb Every Mountain" when I was older. It was on every year in our house.

Julie Andrews' singing voice is no longer of this caliber but it's great that we have her in this and "Mary Poppins" and other movies,where we can marvel at her vocal abilities back then. Plummer turns in a somewhat serious but enjoyable performance. Going from stern and inflexible,then back to the father the children knew when their mother was alive,fair and loving and (of course) singing.

Every kid has their own memorable moments as well The family's togetherness and fun is disrupted by the infiltration of the wretched Nazi party. They know they have to escape their own country now or live under the rule of a cruel & heartless dictatorship.

That leads to the most exciting part of the movie. The clever departure after the concert,chase through the city and eventual escape over the mountains.

The Sound Of Music,as we know,was a phenomenal success when it was released in March of 1965. It deservedly won for Best Picture and it's other categories.

That success came about because it's simply a movie that the whole family and even those without families can enjoy. Which is why it's still so highly acclaimed even 45 years later.

Lastly,because the people behind the scenes,as well as Andrews & Plummer themselves,made sure the film had an equal balance of fun and that of the serious as well. A job and movie,well done! Ten stars,for all time.

(END)

Hill Street Blues
(1981)

Hill Street Blues : The Screen Police
First off ,happy to see that only 1 person made a negative review.

It's nice to see that time hasn't taken anything away from the love people have for this show. It has been said by some that the show is dated and doesn't hold up well but hey ,the show was created nearly 35 years ago. You can't fault it because it doesn't look like a modern police force.

(Now here's why I gave my review it's title.)

To be certain ,in 1980 ,the way police were portrayed on TV needed to change ..a lot. Not to put down my favorites growing up but ,TV cops then were :

Known by name and "cool" reputation. Were 'tough' and could out-shoot all bad guys. Were 'buddies' or close with their partner but both still kicked tail. Some were humorous or a joke like "CHIPS" or the police on "The Dukes Of Hazzard."

In short ,despite 70s cop shows being action packed and maybe even sometimes 'attempting' to put a more human face on the men (and women) in blue ,they fell short in many ways.

So much ,that a lot of the shows all started to match tone and execution. They had good true to life stories to work from ,no question. They could get pretty gritty & a bit dark...but by the end of the 1970s ,just about all of these shows ended their run ,becazuse they were so alike in that way.

Even the great 'Hawaii Five 0' ended in 1980.

So, this ,in the crime-drama field ,left a big gap to fill. In 1980 ,along comes Brandon Tartikoff ,the new head of the otherwise 'still' laughable NBC network. He contacts MTM productions (MTM ,then known more for sitcoms than drama) to make a dramatic police series. MTM gives the assignment to Steven Bochco & Michael Kozoll.

Bocho & all involved pretty much know that this series 'has' to be different and not the type of police drama viewers have seen for years. A new decade means a new direction in every sense of the word.

Bochco, had the idea to fashion the series into story "arcs". Robert Butler directed the pilot, giving it a truly unique (for TV)look & style. This was inspired by the 1977 documentary "The Police Tapes", in which a hand-held camera follows police officers in the South Bronx. (Butler went on to direct the first four episodes of the series.)

At the start of the 1980-1981 season ,the most 'serious/realistic' drama NBC had was "Quincy M.E." with Jack Klugman ,where he solves a crime every week ,despite being a coroner/medical examiner.

Hill Street was filmed in early '80 but held back so it wouldn't be a casualty among the new shows debuting. (The season started late ,in November ,due to the actors strike and many new series failed just the same.)

On January 15th ,1981 much of that damage had passed and any viewer who tuned in to see Hill Street Blues that Thurday night ,knew instantly ,it was going to be a different show. The unmistakably mellow ,light jazz theme by Mike Post said it all. "We're not trying to hit you over the head with this."

The opening credits as well.... Not screeching cars and foot chases but just images of the streets and the station house and the actors names.

Hill Street's style ,in terms of it's actors and their characters ,plus how the stories were presented ,were the blueprint for how many dramas (both police and standard) would be for years to come.

The police officers in this show don't always win and some get hurt & wounded quite badly to a level of critical.

They're allowed to be human and we see that side of them in their private lives as well. Thankfully not in soap-opera or overly dramatic fashion. ...but in real everyday human standards.

1993's NYPD Blue would go even further with these things later but Hill Street Blues was the show that took the police crime-drama genre by the collar and told it to grow up.

In doing so ,it made law -enforcement something to take seriously again ,as the 1960s & 1970s were a very 'anti-police' era in the real world. As well as garnering many well deserved awards and last but not least ,a loyal following that stands today.

It might not be the first show some might think of if you asked them to name a TV police drama but that's not important ,what is ,is it's own original reputation ,as the series that (aside from some it's quirkier characters) made police offers human beings.

Ten stars out there! Stay tuned for the 35th Anniversary in January 2016! (END)

11/10/2015 Edit :

The show can now be seen on a new (non cable) network called Icons & Heroes (I&H), it just debuted in my city last week.

The Last Dinosaur
(1977)

Land Of The Lost Meets (Mini) Jurrasic Park
I was ecstatic when I found a VHS copy of this at Goodwill last night!

With good reason, I haven't seen this film since 1981. During a rainy Saturday afternoon,on local TV . (Yes, it went from Network TV to syndicated local TV "that" fast.)

I was 12 or 13 back then and (of course) long before CGI would make effects eye popping ,I can honestly say for myself, I was actually amazed as a kid by the effects here. Yes ,young ,innocent and naive' ,I proudly admit it.

....but that's what made watching this film fun and even exciting then. I really believed all I saw and felt the characters truly were in danger and the creatures seemed real as well.

Getting back to last night though,it was a "very" used coy,first of all but still watchable.

In a new perspective ,yes ,Jurrasic Park had taken the effects of films like this and made them instantly into yesterday's news and (to some) laughable.

I'll admit ,it made me laugh, to see that Pterodactyl right off the bat,when the ship emerged from the water. And, how Masten,Chuck & Bunta were able to create & build crossbows & arrows to brand new ,factory like perfection.

Still ,like many say here ,the fun is in watching the actors try and make this a believable story. They came kind of close.

Boone was over the top but still pretty good as a man who has seen may great adventures but is now seeing that his best years and times are behind him. (Hence the name of the movie & not just for the T-Rax itself.) Big laugh from him calling chuck a "ding-dong" , a nice safe PG rated insult.

He knows this is his last expedition & last chance to do something great and feel great about himself, After retirement,according to him ,there's nothing to expect.

In second place is Joan Van Ark (less than a year away from debuting her now iconic character "Valerie" on Dallas.) At first it looks like her character would be a really strong female who'd take Masten to task and put him in his place.

In the first 1/2 ,I have to say it ,she smiles and laughs way too much. Maybe that's her character's persona but even after she gets leeches on her ,instead of getting really upset ,she just (again half smiling) says "leeches..yuk!"

It's not until things get really bad for her & the crew that her performance really gets interesting/ From being hounded by the big bad dinosaur ,to irate cave people and then realizing that she & the crew may be trapped in the past forever.

Dr. Kawamoto (Tetsu Nakamura_sais little and big shock ,becomes the first victim of the dinosaur. In a scene eerily similar to the now classic Jurrasic Park "bathroom" moment ....the poor man sees the monster tower over him ...and stomp him like an insect.

The rest of the cast (like Bunta played by Luther Rackley & not counting the cave people) ,may as well have not have been given any lines at all. Anything they were given to day is pretty boring or predictable.

In the end ,the massage is clear that Masten is seeking that final glory to the point of obsession with the dinosaur. He only wants to kill it so he can brag about something for maybe the last time and hunting & killing is what he's truly best at.

Despite the things that make us laugh here (unitended or not) ,the final sequence and ending is actually very poignant and has a fair level of meaning.

So, in all ,I rate this film 4 stars. A star each for Boon & Van Ark. One star for the fun and the final star for the somewhat deeper meaning to it all. (END)

Jurassic Park
(1993)

Jurrasic Park - Wide Eyed at Age 25
I usually shy away from reviewing movies on here that have a large quantity of reviews. It's sort of like repeating what everyone else has already said,but..I'll do my best.

In early 1994,a few months after this had been out,I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about. I normally don't "go with the crowd" on things,including movies. Curiosity got the better of me and I'm glad it did.

I already knew that during the course of this film I'd see dinosaurs on the loose and attacking. What I did not know or expect was the amazingly real looking beasts that emerged on-screen!

It speaks volumes for a movie and special effects when at age 25,my jaw literally dropped and my eyes got wide when the dinosaurs appeared! Computer effects are the "norm" now but in 1993/1994 it was just the most incredible thing Iever had seen on the big screen in special effects.

Topping the spaceship coming over the mountain in "Close Encounters" in 1977.

As for the rest,I was actually jumping when the dinosaurs roared,jumped out and (ugh) ate somebody! (I had to close my eyes on that last one.

In agreeing with most people here,it's fantastic! As for it's sequels,I don't care much for sequels and most likely wont watch them. I like to leave well enough alone. This one stands alone and well enough on it's own!

(END)

The Jack Benny Program
(1950)

The Jack Benny Program : The original "Seinfeld"
If you think that Jerry Seinfeld was the first man ever to play a comedic,alter-ego version of himself on TV...you'd be wrong of course.

That slice of genius was originally served up to us by Mr. Jack Benny and cast. Not just on TV from 1950 to 1965 but on his radio show that ran for over 20 years,starting in 1932.

I noticed there had not been a review here since 2013,so I thought a new perspective was needed. I know most here are happy to see that Mr. Benny's show is on ME-TV and has been restored to almost a near perfection.

ME-TV is the kind of home this show deserves,a network that truly cares about classic television. This,coming after years of cable TV hogging our favorite programs to themselves. (An inconvenience to those of us who don't wish to have cable/satellite etc.)

But....Along with the re-runs,I also watched a few on a low-budget DVD set that had 4 discs w/ about 11 shows each. (Some are not this program but are a newsreel,a short subject & an episode of Bing Crosby's Show. If you come across this set,be forewarned,the films are straight off VHS tape and are of poor quality.

One thing's true here,the quality certainly didn't take away from the comedy. Jack,as we know,presents himself comically as a penny pincher,an egotist and a very demanding boss (to the point of almost being unreasonable.)

Of course,everyone's in on the joke and Rochester,Mary,Dennis Day and Don Wilson & guests play it to the hilt. Especially pot-shots taken at Jack's expense. You think you're tuning in to a typical variety show but it's only the first step into the comedy Twilight Zone of Jack Benny's fictional world.

Which for the 1950s,is something one could almost call "radical" & "unconventional". There's literally times when it seems all are trying to see how far they can push the envelope in the face of 1950s censors. The funniest 3 of all I've seen are :

#1. Jack's Maxwell Is Stolen - A crazy look into the Beverly Hills Police Dept. #2. Jack & Bob Hope in a manic "In the jungle & captured by cannibals" sketch. (With the 2 breaking up on live TV,through almost every moment of it. #3. Jack can't sleep and decides to play the violin in the middle of the night,waking up most of Beverly Hills & southern California to boot.

One thing that's also great is that yes,Rochester is Jack's butler but he's also his friend. While not stated out loud,it came through loud and clear to me in the 1961 New Year's Eve episode where (*Spoiler*) in the end,Rochester ends up staying home with him,so he wont be alone at midnight.

Given the racial feelings at the time,it's great to see Rochester living so freely,as if there's no such thing as racism. Benny & he mix words sometimes,but it's never about his color.

The only thing that's off putting, is the cigarette advertisements. Not just the separate ones but the one's that are slipped into the entertainment. This and jokes about Don Wilson's weight and a somewhat disturbing hillbilly sketch,where Jack's hill character points to a 9 year old girl and says,"This is my wife". (Commentary on the age girls from the hills,sometimes,wed then.)

But...don't let the politically incorrect things ruin your enjoyment of the show. That's what the times were 50 to 60 years ago.

That's my only reason for taking one point away,otherwise it would surely be ten stars all the way.

What do think Jack? - "WELL!" > (END)

The Ropers
(1979)

The Good,The Bad & The Ropers
In the 35 (+) years since this spin-off's debut,critics of all ages and viewers alike,have taken an almost 'delight' in saying how horrible this series was. Also calling it a mistake,a shambles and an insult to intelligent viewers everywhere.

Well,as one who did see the show on ABC, I can say that for a long time,I could only say "I guess they're right." I was 10 and 11 back in 1979-1980 and,as any young person would,I thought it was funny. Of course,kids also laugh at people when they fall down or make a silly face.

Now that the show is back on Antenna TV and I'm seeing it for the first time since 1980,I can offer a mature perspective. (Without commenting on the behind the scenes feud of Fell & Lindley vs. ABC.) I now can honestly say...the show really isn't the worst sitcom or even program I've ever seen.

Fell & Lindley made a great bickering pair on Three's Company and Fell made Stanley a great foil for Jack & the girls. Lindley,also great as Helen who knows how to put Stanley in his place. The Ropers were also there to be part of the crazy situations & misunderstandings that would arise. Usually because of something Stanley assumed.

...but,The Ropers were not lead characters and Fell & Lindley,not the lead actor types. They were great comic character actors and usually,putting this kind of an actor in a lead (even in comedy) leads to less than expected results.

The six episodes of Season 1,had the backing of Three's Company,to bring in viewers,which later helped it finish at #8 for the 1978-1979 season. So yes,it "was" a top 10 hit...that year.

I will give credit to Jeffery Tambor's comic timing as a big part of that. His reaction as Jefferey Brooks,to people like Stanley & Helen moving into the posh Palm Dale Hills Townhouses in Chevoit Hills,is priceless. Especially Stanley's air-polluting DeSoto. While Patricia McCormack & Evan Cohen as his wife & son,make for some cute to touching moments between him and The Ropers as well.

Another problem though,is once this is established and 'that' joke is made,the series has to move forward from there. Season 1 does have good comedy writing and timing on the part of it's 3 main leads (Fell,Lindley & Tambor).

The best of those 6 are,Ep. 1 "Moving On","Friends and Neighbors","Your Money Or Your Life" and "The Doris Letters" . "Opprtunity Knocks" is pretty good and an excuse to have Larry Dallas (Richard Kline) pop in.

The lesser players and guest actors,sometimes,come across as either new at comedy and not 100% into character. (Being a new show,they may not have had time to do so.) ..but there's even times when,with the main cast,where some things don't work that should have.

I'd say the weakest and worst in Season 1 is "The Family Planning" episode. A show that makes humor out of an elderly woman's failing memory & a family that seems too heartless to take her in,in her old age. Helen's sister Ethel is nothing short of an unlikable person. She acts like she hates her own mother.

Season 2 gave us 22 episodes but the unwarranted move to Saturday nights is what really killed this show. Because,given time,things like (as mentioned) writing,acting & timing can always be improved.

Like season 1,though,there's some really funny shows here,like "The Party" (with guests Jack,Janet & Chrissy),"Power Play" (great in watching Norman Fell getting laughs out of Stanley not paying the electric bill),"Two For The Road" and a few others.

"Mother's Wake"(the final show) is a real downer. Some laughs and i see where Helen's mother is coming from but.... like "Family Planning",the subject is really not the stuff of comedy. Not a good episode to go out on,to be sure.

The best of all these 28,for writing,acting & overall storyline is "Baby Talk". An almost serious look at the (then) realities for child adoption,for people over 50. Which says to me that,had their been more episodes like this,with good comedy added,they could have become a classic.

I'm clueless,though, to explain why anyone involved in the show, thought another character (that being young Jenny) was needed. Finding her sleeping in their storage room,seemed like a set up for another series. I guess she was supposed to bring in younger viewers or be the voice of reason. Or...just make the older people look stupid in comparison to her youthful outlook. She really added little here.

Anyhow,let me conclude by saying that while "The Ropers" is not "Televsion Hall Of Fame" material,it's also not such a bad show that it's 100% unwatchable.

I think had it been successful,it would have lasted 5 seasons. With over 30 years gone since its end,let's be fair. If you've never seen it,I'd hope you wouldn't judge it based only on what you've heard.

Tune into Antenna TV (or get it on DVD) and see it for yourselves. 5 stars from me,some good stuff but just as equally some not so great stuff. (END)

The Ropers: Baby Talk
(1979)
Episode 4, Season 2

'Baby Talk' : The Best Episode Of "The Ropers"
Ealier this year (2014),Antenna TV started following episodes of "Three's Company" with "The Ropers",which made me happy,as I hadn't seen the show since 1980.

I know most have dismissed the series as a big mistake,even calling it worthless. In the case of "Baby Talk" though (10th episode overall and from Season 2),I can honestly state,it is the best written and acted show out of the entire series.

Helen Roper (Audra Lindley) babysits 7 year old David for her neighbors (and landlords) The Brooks. She adores the boy and it leads her and Ann Brooks to a discussion of why her and Stanley never had kids.

Helen starts to feel she & her husband have missed out on something special and decides to talk to him about adopting,as they're too old to have children of their own.

Stanley (Norman Fell) quite seriously tells Helen the pitfalls of adopting at their age. Just the same,he allows her to give it a try and she calls to set up an interview with an agency at home.

**Spoilers** The agent arrives and talks with Helen and Stanley. Still hopeful,Helen asks what their chances are and at first,the agent will not directly tell them what their chances are,in going to the next step.

Stanley's now getting angry and wont let the woman off the hook so easily. He demands she tell his wife the truth. When Helen looks at her and says "There's no chance is there?" She confesses that their age will most likely opt them out of any consideration. Lindley's look of rejection and overall sadness are very real.

Fell comes across as disappointed too & genuinely concerned for Helen as well. As a real husband should be. His loving gift to her at the end of the show demonstrates this.

It is a very touching ending to a well written,well acted episode,from the actors & all behind the scenes of a television series that certainly deserved a better chance than it was given.

Ten Stars for,"Baby Talk". If you watch The Ropers for any reason,this is overall the best one you could have. (END)

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