headhunter46

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Reviews

Tombstone Territory: Gunslinger from Galeville
(1957)
Episode 1, Season 1

Great version of TV western
I like this because it is a no nonsense show about a strict sheriff with a big heart.

This is interesting, it gives some credibility to events. Of course the writers may have modified or embellished the story but it makes me think many of the stories are really true. Near the end of credits I noticed this;

"This series is produced in full cooperation of Clayton A. Smith editor of the Tombstone Epitaph, and D' Estell Iszard, Historian".

Wanted: Dead or Alive: Ransom for a Nun
(1958)
Episode 7, Season 1

Great show with good plot and acting
I always liked this show. The concept of a bounty hunter with a conscience who prefers to bring the criminals back alive to stand trial is an excellent one.

Josh is honest, fair, but tough as nails when necessary. The show doesn't make him out to be a super hero, just a guy who wants to make the west a safer place to live and make some money in the process. He often gives money to the victims of outlaws he brings back, not in this particular episode but in several.

In this episode he pretends he will take a prisoner to another town all the while intending to turn him over to his band of outlaws who are holding a 17 year old nun as hostage in return for their gang member. Josh knows he will have to find a way to regain custody of the convicted outlaw or the law will issue a warrant for him. He had a plan but the nun he rescued decides she is now responsible for his life and follows him much to his dismay. Without intending to, she is putting his life at greater risk by her presence. He finally gets so frustrated he ties her up in a church where he has located the outlaws. But she is so determined to "help" she rings the church bell and alerts the outlaws. This lady is just too naive to live in the old west. Josh manages to save the day in spite of her "help" and delivers her safely to the mother superior.

The woman who played the nun was adorable and had a very nice voice. I thought certain she would be in many other shows and possibly make it into big cinema. She was in numerous TV shows until 1963 when Sydney Pollack discovered her and managed to convince her to marry him. Lucky guy. She was in one more episode of Bonanza in 1967 and then retired. She and Sydney had two daughters and one son.

Kidnap
(2017)

Excellent portrayal of average citizen thrown into dire circumstances
I deliberately paused the DVD at the point where Halles car is inoperable because i wanted to make some points while they were fresh in my mind. I suspect the last 1/3 will overshadow my experience with the first 2/3.

I lost track of how many times I was yelling at the screen, "do this, do that, oh no, don't follow too close".

There were actions I would have taken that could have ended the chase very early. But that would have ruined the movie. Plus, the average, honest, caring, law abiding citizen would have done just like she did. Civilized people just don't think of those things right away, they have to be really abused and mad and desperate, THEN they will do those uncivilized things they need to do in order to survive or succeed in their goal. And the criminals count on that in order to get away with their criminal activity. They are counting on you and me to continue being the honest law abiding folks. I mentioned her car being inoperable so I included a spoiler. So now you know that will happen.

I will add the real spoilers after I finish the DVD.

I'm back and I have goosebumps creeping up and down my spine. All the little missed opportunities of the first 2/3 of this movie would have been forgotten if I had not paused. I would have needed to re-watch it.

Alright, DO NOT read any further until you have finished the movie or it will RUIN it. If you are like me, you want a movie to surprise you and this one surely did. The ending is so well acted out it had me on pins and needles. The kind hearted law abiding waitress was pushed so far she had to rise up and overcome all her civility in her pursuit of her son. Before she managed to rescue her son, she mustered the determination to smash her car into the car of the kidnappers. Not very civilized there miss Halle but very necessary. She found herself doing things she never imagined she could do. But before it was over, her civility caused her to make some more mistakes. When the driver of the mustang was in the field waving the knife at her, she should have run him over with her car. The woman was in the back seat and could not have gotten to the drivers seat in time to take off. When she laid the shotgun down in the house I cringed, the kidnappers didn't know if it was loaded or empty. She could have threatened with and and held them till police arrived. But the home owners surely knew where there were more shells. Earlier the kidnapper woman tried to strangle our heroine in the car, but Halle managed to push the kidnapper out of her minivan. Halle drove off and left her to be a problem later. More evidence of civilization. Me, having been in the army and reading too many police reports and watching numerous cop and robber movies, I would have backed up and run over the witch. Not Halle, and it was almost her doom. You should NOT show mercy to someone who just tried to kill you and will try again.

Once in the house she was told by the 911 operator to find a safe place. That is exactly what she should have done. I hope you will too if you find yourself in that fix. Finally when she comes full circle and realizes that woman she left behind is now trying to kill her Halle rises to her full potential and pulls the witch into the water and manages to keep her under water long enough to end her reign of terror. But she had to shed herself of one more bit of civility in the process. This was a perfect example of why you may one day have to defend yourself even though the police are on the way. If she had not acted the police would have arrived in time to mark her body with white chalk and arrest the kidnappers.

This movie was well executed and depicted actions a lot of people would not have been able to accomplish. Not to insult folks, I just know that not everyone could have risen to the level she attained. Most parents would risk life and limb to save a child but Halle had to go far beyond normal where a lot of people would have become discouraged. Too may setbacks, too close together can discourage decent honest people such that they get overwhelmed and don't know how to proceed.

I seldom give a nine star rating but this movie had me wondering how far she would be capable of going. I was scolding her for mistakes but rooting for her the whole way. So many mistakes but she was totally determined to rescue that boy.

I have long opposed a death penalty but I think it should become mandatory for kidnappers. There is now SO much money being offered that we have to deter it somehow. Just maybe if they know it means the death penalty there just won't be any people willing to risk it.

Kidnap
(2017)

Excellent portrayal of average citizen thrown into dire circumstances
I deliberately paused the DVD at the point where Halles car is inoperable because i wanted to make some points while they were fresh in my mind. I suspect the last 1/3 will overshadow my experience with the first 2/3.

I lost track of how many times I was yelling at the screen, "do this, do that, oh no, don't follow too close".

There were actions I would have taken that could have ended the chase very early. But that would have ruined the movie. Plus, the average, honest, caring, law abiding citizen would have done just like she did. Civilized people just don't think of those things right away, they have to be really abused and mad and desperate, THEN they will do those uncivilized things they need to do in order to survive or succeed in their goal. And the criminals count on that in order to get away with their criminal activity. They are counting on you and me to continue being the honest law abiding folks. I mentioned her car being inoperable so I included a spoiler. So now you know that will happen.

I will add the real spoilers after I finish the DVD.

I'm back and I have goosebumps creeping up and down my spine. All the little missed opportunities of the first 2/3 of this movie would have been forgotten if I had not paused. I would have needed to re-watch it.

Alright, DO NOT read any further until you have finished the movie or it will RUIN it. If you are like me, you want a movie to surprise you and this one surely did. The ending is so well acted out it had me on pins and needles. The kind hearted law abiding waitress was pushed so far she had to rise up and overcome all her civility in her pursuit of her son. Before she managed to rescue her son, she mustered the determination to smash her car into the car of the kidnappers. Not very civilized there miss Halle but very necessary. She found herself doing things she never imagined she could do. But before it was over, her civility caused her to make some more mistakes. When the driver of the mustang was in the field waving the knife at her, she should have run him over with her car. The woman was in the back seat and could not have gotten to the drivers seat in time to take off. When she laid the shotgun down in the house I cringed, the kidnappers didn't know if it was loaded or empty. She could have threatened with and and held them till police arrived. But the home owners surely knew where there were more shells. Earlier the kidnapper woman tried to strangle our heroine in the car, but Halle managed to push the kidnapper out of her minivan. Halle drove off and left her to be a problem later. More evidence of civilization. Me, having been in the army and reading too many police reports and watching numerous cop and robber movies, I would have backed up and run over the witch. Not Halle, and it was almost her doom. You should NOT show mercy to someone who just tried to kill you and will try again.

Once in the house she was told by the 911 operator to find a safe place. That is exactly what she should have done. I hope you will too if you find yourself in that fix. Finally when she comes full circle and realizes that woman she left behind is now trying to kill her Halle rises to her full potential and pulls the witch into the water and manages to keep her under water long enough to end her reign of terror. But she had to shed herself of one more bit of civility in the process. This was a perfect example of why you may one day have to defend yourself even though the police are on the way. If she had not acted the police would have arrived in time to mark her body with white chalk and arrest the kidnappers.

This movie was well executed and depicted actions a lot of people would not have been able to accomplish. Not to insult folks, I just know that not everyone could have risen to the level she attained. Most parents would risk life and limb to save a child but Halle had to go far beyond normal where a lot of people would have become discouraged. Too may setbacks, too close together can discourage decent honest people such that they get overwhelmed and don't know how to proceed.

I seldom give a nine star rating but this movie had me wondering how far she would be capable of going. I was scolding her for mistakes but rooting for her the whole way. So many mistakes but she was totally determined to rescue that boy.

I have long opposed a death penalty but I think it should become mandatory for kidnappers. There is now SO much money being offered that we have to deter it somehow. Just maybe if they know it means the death penalty there just won't be any people willing to risk it.

Quantum Leap: Honeymoon Express - April 27, 1960
(1989)
Episode 1, Season 2

Something entertaining in a different way.
I found a DVD in a bin at Menards and remembered it was entertaining when I watched it on TV.years ago. So, for $5 I got the whole season 2.

I'm making my way through the season and really enjoying it.

It is a bit over the top and sometimes a bit absurd but there are some good jokes and subtle humor. It appears to have aged well but that might be due to the fact I first watched it on TV years ago.

I like the way the show cleverly weaves some real history into the plot. The acting is good by standards at the time it was filmed. It does a good job of making it look like the time period it is occurring in.

I suspect most people could get into the story if they give it a chance.

China Beach: One Giant Leap
(1990)
Episode 7, Season 4

Love the show but this episode was a downer
I appreciate the writers had the courage to address drug and alcohol abuse by the service people. This was a great episode as it shows the interaction between cultures and officers vs enlisted. This episode dealt with several issues that were pretty sensitive at that time. We hadn't been out of Vietnam all that long so I think it took some real courage to put these things out there. I find myself wondering if the show began to lose viewers because it was getting too real, too close to home for many families that had someone in that conflict.

The one thing that seemed lame to me, when Boonie was trapped under the truck there were a whole bunch of people running back and forth. Why didn't they just put them all to work lifting the damned truck off of him? The army I was in would have put every man and woman on it. If Boonie was supposed to get written out they could have pulled him and amputated the leg for being too damaged, I was sitting there yelling, "Get those people busy lifting that damned truck".

That is why only 8 stars this time.

She Spies: The Martini Shot
(2002)
Episode 2, Season 1

This is a really fun show
I love the side humor and the sneaky funny quips. The three gorgeous ladies make it interesting.

There really IS a plot and they often keep you guessing as to who the villain is. Lots of martial arts action is a plus as well.

Sometimes they toss in some really subtle comments that might not hit you right away. At least for me sometimes the action has restarted a split second before I get the sly comments.

She Spies: First Episode
(2002)
Episode 1, Season 1

I love this show
This show has gorgeous ladies, slapstick humor, lots of action and interaction and well gorgeous ladies and slapstick comedy. Some of the humor is rather subtle and may not hit you instantly. Sometimes the dialogue has restarted and suddenly it hits you. The slapstick aside, they actually do have a plot and it keeps you guessing what is going on. Sometimes they trick you by having a subplot and frequently the obvious bad guy is not the real villain. Oh, he might be rotten to the core but he or she is not the person they have to neutralize.

There is no other TV show I know with this level of entertainment.

Daniel Boone
(1936)

Well acted oldie, most enjoyabe.
If we consider this was made in1936, it is actually quite well done. Not once did I get the impression the characters were "acting". It is set in 1775 just before the revolutionary war breaks out. This had several plots going in it, Daniel Boone took on the responsibility for relocating a group of settlers moving from North Carolina which was fairly well settled into the wilderness of Kentuckee.

Ironically there is a white man who has come to live with the native people and he prophetically tells them they have to stop the white settlers or they will steadily push them further and further west,

There is another man competing with Daniel for the affection of the heroine. After being embarrassed by Daniel for not doing a job that resulted in the deaths of others and jilted by the fair maiden he makes his way back to North Carolina and derives a plan to claim all the land the settlers have worked so hard to settle on. For two years they worked exceedingly hard to build a secure community in the wilderness and he plans to take it from them by legal trickery.

The white renegade is played exceptionally well by John Carradine. His voice, his posture ooze evil most convincingly. He repeatedly inspires the native people to attack and he almost does our hero in once his men manage to capture Daniel. I won't tell how he is rescued because I don't want to ruin the surprise. I actually got well into the movie about half way through when the characters began to develop and we got a good depiction of what life might have been like back then.

I actually enjoyed this movie and I think you will too if you finish it. I fear a great many people who need special effects and computerized images will be bored with it. Hopefully those people will turn it off after a few minutes and not bother to comment.

If you appreciate the early cinemas I'm certain you will enjoy this one. It is one of the better early movies I have seen.

Traded
(2016)

Maybe too realistic for some viewers
I suppose this film moved a bit slow for some viewers. If one is used to high paced video games this movie might even seem boring.

The lead character is not a polished cool as a cucumber dude with lots of clever lines. He is a father in pursuit of a daughter who was kidnapped.

It gives a realistic view of the 1880's west. It was dirty, gritty, and dangerous. Oft times people were shot and there was no law to inquire as to what happened. So the ruthless often killed with out fear. Tempers flared easily and cheating at poker could get you shot at the drop of a hat.

Those were harsh times and people were abused. Especially women who worked in saloons. Too often they were made to believe they would be hunted down and beaten if they tried to escape. I fear some were murdered, just as this movie portrays.

There were times when I began to think the father was not very smart in his approach and that was a very negative aspect for me. He could have been a lot more strategic while searching for his daughter. Several times his demeanor gave him away as someone looking for trouble. A few times I heard myself thinking, that was not smart, I would not have done it that way. Too often he charged in like a raging bull rather than being clever and resourceful.

It was good enough to hold my attention but certainly not going to win any academy awards. I gave it a six out of respect for the realism of the era.

Now You See Me
(2013)

An interesting distraction
A movie about magic. Or is it? Is what we see real, or is it an illusion? That is what magic is all about.

Only these four are not just performing illusions they are robbing banks, and other institutions. Are they just randomly choosing an institution to profit from, or is there a greater motive behind all the trickery.

A federal agent is brought in to solve the heists. Mark Ruffalo plays as Dylan Rhodes. He is smart, he is tough, he is dedicated to nail these thieves and put them away. But they ARE illusionists and they keep slipping away from his grasp. Even when they are in custody, he cannot seem to bring enough evidence to bear that will keep them locked up. There are several important and interesting people besides the main four magicians who call themselves the four horsemen. There is Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley who makes presentations exposing the tricks of magicians. He is getting rich from ruining the magic acts of others. Michael Caine as a wealthy man who is promoting the four horsemen as a way to profit. Then enter a bright young woman from the French division of interpol after a bank in France loses I think it was 30 million euros.

There are several respectable foot chases through buildings and alleys and an above average car chase. When it seems we are about to see an answer to all the activities we are thrown a curve. But even then, is it real or an illusion?

I enjoyed this film, hope you will too.

I didn't really sense chemistry between Rhodes and the lovely French interpol agent played by Melanie Laurent, but that was not a major point. One thing I did not care for was that lousy "shaky camera" effect. This movie like too many other recent movies has the camera so close to the action it is sometimes hard to tell what I am seeing. And the shaky camera is disorienting, use a damned tripod will youi?

A Million Ways to Die in the West
(2014)

I bit of slapstick but still entertaining
I bought this DVD at wallymart for less than I would have paid to rent it. I saw Liam Neeson on the cover and figured it had a fair chance to be good. The scenery was amazing and beautiful. After all it was monument valley! This movie did homage to some classic westerns. The scenery and music had moments when you almost felt as if you were watching an old classic.

But the gags were humerus, some hilarious, some a bit groan worthy. But overall it was entertaining.

The set and the costumes were genuine to the time period. The nerdy guys were nerdy, and the bad guys were horribly bad.

Duel
(1971)

Are there two versions of this movie? Mine was disappointing.
There was way too much dead air in this movie. Unless the owner of the red car is the worst driver in the world he had numerous chances to get away and stay away from that truck. After having one confrontation with the big truck our "hero" is shown driving only 40 miles an hour on a straight road when he should have been hitting 100 to escape that maniac.

Some of the scenes where he was going around corners were so pathetic, I had to laugh at it.

I gave it five of ten for the scenery but the driving was awful.

The Rifleman: The Princess
(1962)
Episode 15, Season 4

A wee bit of mystery and charm comes to the McCain farm
My ears aren't the best so I may have missed what foreign country the visitors were supposedly from. Perhaps that was not the main issue anyway.

I noticed a French-like accent when Jennifer spoke so I was guessing France however there were countries that French as a second language and often they used it as it was considered more fitting to royalty.

This was interesting in that someone who had privilege and security had begun to see their position as a restriction rather than special circumstances. I often wonder how royalty actually do feel about all the expectations placed on them.

The excitement Jennifer displayed while learning new things was refreshing. A bit like a caterpillar emerging from the cocoon. She was an adorable addition to the episodes. And there was a lesson involved for those who were paying attention.

Honey West: The Swingin' Mrs. Jones
(1965)
Episode 1, Season 1

Clever Private Eye show ahead of its time No spoilers just a hint at what you will see.
I found this by accident and really enjoy the show.

Clever script, good action scenes, cool gadgets.

This show mixes dangerous bad guys (and women) with clever side jokes and some subtle humor.

Honey West played by the gorgeous Anne Francis is cool as a cucumber even when surrounded by some very bad people. She has lipstick that dispensed tear gas and a necklace that lets her talk to her muscular back up man played by John Ericson. He is a cool and competent guy who works really hard at keeping her out of trouble, the whole time she is determined to be in the middle of it.

She knows several different martial arts moves, karate chops and flips the bad guys around like they are paperweights.

Unforgettable
(2017)

Got uncomfortable real fast.
The acting was okay but the creepy factor got shivers up my spine. I found myself wishing I could reach through the screen and choke the psycho till she turned blue.

This is a good example of an uptight, self indulgent person who drives people away, then hates on them because they left. The video did a good job of showing how someone could use social media to raise havoc with your life.

I suggest you take this as a warning, if you find yourself in a situation like this you have to get away from ALL of it. Obsessive people never stop, that's why they are called obsessive. They have a mental energy level the average person cannot match.

Falling Down
(1993)

Most of us have been near the end of our rope at least once. This is your story.
Previously I had only seen clips of this movie on YT. So I decided to rent it from a store so I could see the whole thing.

At first I was laughing at the antics, kind of identifying with how a guy pushed too long and far could get so PO'd he might get crazy and do some of those things.

Bill, the main character played by Michael Douglas is just fed up. We don't know all the details at the beginning, but we see him abandon his car in a traffic jam and walk away. He just doesn't care what happens to it.

As events unfold we learn of the issues that brought him to this point. One of them being, when you feel like everything is screwed up and will never get better, what have you go to lose?

He goes into a shop and asks for change but is told he has to buy something. The shop owner is not the least bit friendly and this is just one of the issues that has been annoying our unseemly hero. He loses it and does a lot of damage in the shop with a ball bat he ripped away from the shopkeeper. Then he pays for the coke he had on the counter and leaves. He felt justified for busting up the store due to the owners calloused treatment of him, but he is not a thief. This man who has never been aggressive in his whole life is now finding it within himself to inflict violence on those who represent the issues that have put him in the situation he is currently dealing with.

Bill will be confronted by some characters that would normally make a person like him nervous. He is small of frame, not tall, not muscular. He has short hair and he is wearing a white dress shirt and tie with several pens stuffed into a pocket protector. He looks like a geek. But he is so beaten down, so annoyed with it all, he is not scared. He tries to makes sense to two bad dudes who want to rob him but when they won't listen he goes berserk and beats the hell out of them with the bat and the briefcase they planned to steal. In the process, he takes possession of a knife they left behind. Evidently driving off his attackers makes him feel a bit empowered but not yet aggressive.

Later on we will learn his ex-wife has a restraining order on him because she says he scared her. She admits to the police who come to assist her that he had never hurt her, the daughter, or the dog. Is she just a very easily frightened person and has she contributed to make him what he has become? Or did she see something a bit scary in him long before others could see it?

As the movie proceeds Bill goes through a succession of steadily increasingly violent confrontations, sometimes not of his own making. When a gang tries to shoot him down, he stands calmly at a pay phone while bullets hit all around him even taking down innocent bystanders. Evidently gang bangers aren't very good shots. Bill calmly walks around the corner and finds they crashed their car in their haste to escape. Guess they are lousy drivers too. He finds a gym bag full of guns and intimidates one of the wounded bangers by waving gun at him and saying, "You missed". Before he leaves he shoots him in the leg for good measure. Here we see his level of aggression elevate another notch upward.

When he goes to a diner and can't order breakfast because they stopped making it that is just too much for Bill who is now beginning to feel good about his retributions. Even though it doesn't show on the outside, inside his brain is spinning. And now with a bag full of guns he is really feeling empowered. When he accidentally puts a few shots through the roof of the building he is not the least bit fazed, he simply explains it as a sensitive trigger. then when he finally gets his food he tells them it is a lousy excuse for the one in the picture. Which too often is true of the food we get. Most viewers begin to feel as I did, that Bill is a social justice warrior. To see the frightened look on the faces of people similar to ones who have treated us unfairly is refreshing. Bullies, rude service personnel, etc. We like him because he is doing what we sometimes wish we could do but we don't because we fear legal repercussions. We are too civilized to treat rude people the way they deserve.

We learn that all he wants to do is visit with his daughter on her birthday. He is fed up with the system keeping him away from her. It appears he has not seen her in three to four years. All of the things he runs into are just distractions interfering with his plan to see his daughter.

There is a man picketing, protesting against a loan company he feels unfairly treated. They refused him a loan because they claimed he is, "Economically unviable". The man is wearing a white shirt and tie just like our man Bill. The big difference is, he is a black man, not white.

Eventually Bill encounters a shopkeeper who appears even more whacked out than Bill. At first he befriends Bill, even protects him from police who by this time are searching for him in his white shirt. But then the shopkeeper turns against him when even screwed up psychotic Bill sees the evil in him. The shopkeeper tries to handcuff him but Bill finds the knife left behind by his first confrontation and stabs the guy in the shoulder. At first we feel it was justified, the man was purely evil. But then when Bill shoots the guy, we begin to see it is not social justice, Bill is becoming dangerous.

The police officer played by Robert Duvall, who is retiring the day all this is happening is picking up on all these clues about the strange man in the white shirt and tie. He sees the escalation in a way the average viewer may not recognize. He knows Bill is increasingly capable of violence. We don't want to admit Bill could be evil because we sort of like how he is putting people in their place. But the killing of the shopkeeper should have been a red flag.

Bill eventually makes his way to the home of ex-wife where he is NOT supposed to be. He is violating a court order. The wife and daughter fled the house when she realized he was right close in their neighborhood. All I could see at that point was a man desperate to see a daughter he hadn't seen in years. Later, Duvall, and his partner make it to the house, Bill wounds the partner in his escape. She is only wounded slightly in the side so we might not see it as intent to kill. But later as Bill accidentally finds his wife and daughter out on a fishing pier, Duvall finds them together and makes the point that he thinks our Bill was planning to kill the wife and daughter. Suddenly it hit me like a brick. I just thought Bill wanted to see the daughter for her birthday but now we are introduced to the possibility Bill has a terrible dark side. Was he really planning to kill them? Did he just want to see them? We have read in the news of instances where angry men have killed their whole family. We may never know for sure because the movie ends with Bill forcing a shootout with Duvall because he can't imagine life behind bars. And he mentions that his daughter will get his life insurance so that gives us reason to hope he really wasn't going to kill wife and child, or was he?

The shootout sort of gives Bill some vindication as the gun he claimed to have was a bright blue water pistol.

This movie touched on a wide variety of issues and social injustices maybe that's why I liked it so much.

Stone Cold
(2005)

Well done, the Jesse Stone character is most believable
It this first episode of the Jesse Stone series Tom Selleck portrays a small town cop who is forced to deal with killings that seem to keep piling up. He had been a big town cop so he had more experience than the average small town cop which proved to he his edge in this intriguing TV movie. It looked might good to have been made specifically for TV.

I like the pace this and all of the Jesse Stone series move at. I bit slow for those who like to see cars flying through the air and buildings exploding. With Jesse Stone it is ninety percent mind work. We get to see his facial expressions, watch his actions as a gateway to what his thoughts are. He speaks only when he needs to, He is a straight shooter, no games, no politics. He truly is a sensible, good cop kind of guy.

I saw this a few years ago and recently when I watched another I decided it was time to come and post a comment. I'm going to start on the rest of the series. The DVD rental store nearest me told me it is hard to keep the Jesse Stone movies on the shelf. They have a way of disappearing. Evidently people like them so well they keep them and offer to pay for them.

Dakota
(1945)

Enjoyable old western
I thoroughly enjoyed this early movie with John Wayne. He was very good in his part I thought. He was truly becoming the guy most Americans Identify with. I read elsewhere that movies Vera Ralston appeared in did not make money. I'm not sure why unless Americans just had a hard time with her accent. She was lovely, acted her part well, even added a good degree of humor from time to time. This movie was released on Christmas day 1945. I wonder if folks were so happy to have the war over and short of cash that they passed on the movie for those two reasons. John was well liked by then so he should have been a box office draw,0 and Vera was not well known such that she would be a deterrent.

Anyway, I liked it. Hope you do too.

I found it on Youtube. It had two or three short commercials, just a bit distracting not too bad.

Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt
(2012)

Another well acted episode. No major plot give aways here, just the basics.
I like the pace of Jesse Stone TV movies. They are too slow for some folks, but the pauses give the discriminating viewer time to guess at what Jesse is turning over in his head. I thoroughly enjoy the banter between him and his psychologist friend and Capt Healey. As a man who survived all the banter that accompanies time in the military, I actually get a kick out of hearing the dialogue.

Jesse is rehired as chief after some police are killed in a car bomb. He is caught between not liking one of the dead and wanting justice even if it proves the dead cop was innocent of a crime.

There is some touching of old friendships and a few surprises. We get a small hint of something to come but it is hard to actually piece all of what we see together and know how it will play out.

I enjoyed it very much, hope you will too.

The Homesman
(2014)

Harsh, gritty look at early life on the prairie.
I grabbed this off the shelf at the rental store just because it had Tommy in it.

It is NOT your typical western. It is NOT a feel good movie.

I really had to think about what to write here, it was hard for me because this movie is so different. At one point I said, "Forget it".

The movie opens with a woman plowing with two mules. We are introduced to a hardy single woman named Mary Bee Cuddy. She has a very nice homestead with sturdy buildings, a secure home and several animals. I still am curious why it didn't tell us how she managed that but it is not critical to what follows.

Life on the prairie can drive you mad. The harshness, the lack of rain so no food grows, the animals you depended on die, what's a person to do? For some, it meant a broken spirit and just retreating into a catatonic state. For others it became lashing out and snarling like a wild animal.

Three of the wives in the vicinity have gone mad and need to be transported to a place where they can be cared for. Mary Bee Cuddy steps up and offers to make the 4-5 week trip over harsh terrain and God knows what kind of weather or hostile people one might meet in 1850's Nebraska. This being since none of the men were willing to do it.

She finds Briggs on a horse, noose about the neck left for dead by vigilantes. She convinces him he must help her transport the three women or she will leave him where he is. Thus begins a strained, unusual partnership. They endure cold nights and run out of food. It is not explained why they didn't pack more food, so that is a bit of a plot hole but it adds to a situation later on. Briggs is rebuffed by the owner of a hotel where he pleads for mercy on the woman, just some food and one nights stay. But they have wealthy investors coming so no, they must leave. Briggs goes back for food late and night and wreaks a horrid vengeance on the heartless owner.

Briggs mentions he was the army, talks of Kiowa raids that ran off about 300 horses. So they tracked the Kiowa down, killed all of them and stampeded the horses through the Kiowa village most likely killing women and children. Briggs doesn't mention women and children but we suspect it happened. Later we learn he stole a horse and deserted. Even though he is a crusty, rugged man, we are left wondering if the stampede was too much for his conscience.

Later he risks his life approaching a band of Native Americans who have rifles and bows. Knowing they are greatly out numbered he walks toward them with a horse and offers it in the hope they will leave satisfied. Prior to that, he gave his six shot pistol to Mary and told her to get in the wagon with the three women. If the native people do not accept his offer, she is to shoot the other women and then herself to spare them from possible torture. You seldom see that in a western. But it is another reminder of how harsh life was back then.

They have numerous trials, ups and downs, and after a situation hard to comprehend, Mary Bee Cuddy hangs herself. As Tommy is digging her grave he is constantly ranting at the three "crazy women" which gives us a bit of insight as to what happened to Mary. It really jolts the viewer to have such a turn of events. Mary was so strong, so independent we came to imagine her going home to become an exceptionally successful lady.

Briggs finally makes it to the place in Iowa where he leaves the three women. He buys a very nice tombstone for Mary which demonstrates his deep respect for her. The early Briggs would have ridden away with no thought, the same as he ripped the buffalo hide off the dead Native American who was wrapped and placed on a platform. He buys a pair of shoes for a barefoot young lady who works at the hotel where he was staying. As he heads back across the river on a raft, his tombstone for Mary gets pushed off and disappears. We see him dancing to banjo music and the movie ends.

We are left with so many questions. Did he chase after the tombstone? Not likely, it was dark the odds of him finding it are slim.

Did he return to her homestead? Not likely, he said he had no patience for farming. Then it occurred to me he left the mules with the pastors wife.

But there he was dancing away as if he had not one care in the world. Did he simply return to being a vagabond? We'll never know.

Again it is NOT a feel good movie, it makes you ask questions, it shows you how hard life was in the early days of the west. Some people will shut this off after only a few minutes because it doesn't fit the usual pattern, but if you are patient and keep watching, waiting for the plot to develop you just might gain some insight into the human mind and why people do the things they do.

Bone Tomahawk
(2015)

A gem
This movie surprised me. It was nothing like I expected.

It starts out with a scary beginning, then slows to a rather mundane pace. There is old west style humor and some oddities but then some things go seriously wrong. People are being murdered and kidnapped. The sheriff feels obligated to go after the criminals but is not sure what he is up against. A friendly native American looks at an arrow that was left behind and tells the sheriff those are people he would NEVER try to find, they are worse than barbaric. But sense of duty motivates the sheriff to ignore the warning and go after the kidnappers. For awhile the movie slows to a snails pace but that is for effect to emphasize the hardship of traveling in a harsh environment. Soon enough the searchers find the kidnappers and quickly come to regret their decision to seek them out. Those people are savage to the core, even worse than the Native American warned them about.

I refuse to reveal any more because to do so would ruin the ending for you.

I gave this a 9, that should tell you it was very good, I seldom rate anything with a 9.

She Spies
(2002)

Great show lots of humor some of it subtle but always good fun
I recently found She spies on youtube. The picture is very good so someone must have found it on DVD.

I always have some good laughs at this show.

It is a shame it was cancelled. I fear it didn't get enough publicity. The sarcastic humor is a blast but of course if you don't get enough people convinced to watch it, the show is bound to fade away.

The three girls bounce jokes around better than any late night show I'm familiar with. The show even does the occasional rewind when some one decides, "OOPs I could have done that better". It is a bit like Charlies Angels but with numerous clever quips and subtle humor that is sometimes hard to catch the first time around.

If you find it on DVD, it is worth having in the collection if only for a few gags when you need a bit of cheering up.

Auto Focus
(2002)

Been looking for this movie
I have not been able to find this movie at any of the local stores. I would sort of like to see what Hollywood is showing regarding the star of Hogan. I have always gotten lots of laughs from the show but sometimes got the feeling Hogan was overdoing it.

I go to youtube to get my Hogans fix every once in awhile.

When I saw that Maria Bello was playing Hilda (Sigrid Valdis) I was skeptical. I have liked her in everything I have seen of her but to put her in the role of Hilda? Oh boy that is a stretch. Hilda was a healthy, curvy hunk of woman, while Bello is considerably thinner.

I found the movie on netflix, so I just have to wait for it to arrive, then I'll come back and edit this review.

Ex Machina
(2014)

Interesting twist on science and Artificial intelligence
I rated this 7 because it has some very good surprises.

If you like action movies with heroes blowing things sky high and pulling off incredible feats, this is probably not for you. But I guarantee this will get inside your head if you have the patience to imagine what a robot, artificial intelligent creature might be like.

Is it genius inventor meets future protégé, or is it mad scientist meets nerdy boy next door?

As this movie progresses you will find yourself asking, "Am I really seeing what is going on or is this just an illusion?

Is Nathan being totally honest with the reason for Caleb being there?

Is Ava really thinking, inventing her own thoughts?

Is Nathan, the inventor, abusing the robots or is that too just an illusion tossed in to keep us guessing?

If there was a society to protect the image of artificial intelligence, it would be screaming to boycott this movie because the end is nothing like what you will come to expect. The robots seem so gentle and kind and Ava wants to interact with Caleb on a personal basis rather than through the glass which is evidently intended to prevent too much exposure. Is it there to prevent Caleb from having feelings for the robot? Is it there to protect Caleb from the robot doing him harm? Or is it there to protect the robot from Caleb so he can't cause it to develop thoughts and feelings that might sabotage the inventors hard work?

I found myself asking all those questions and you may do the same.

I was intrigued by the concept of a robot being able to actually think for itself. After all, that truly is what artificial intelligence suggests.

This is a movie I will probably watch again in a few months. By then I may have forgotten some details and can re-watch possibly noticing some things I missed at the first viewing.

The ending was not at all what I expected and maybe that is why I rated it so high. I seldom rate higher than 6. The ending may leave you asking, "What kind of ending was that?" But as I think back on it, I suspect the ending was supposed to leave us guessing.

Enjoy!

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