HobbitHole

IMDb member since June 2004
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Reviews

No Greater Love
(2010)

Excellent independent romance that used mainly internet and word of mouth and surprised the movie making world
Straight to DVD is usually done for films studios don't think will make it in the theater and so they dump it off (like some of Disney's animated sequels).

However, in this case, the strategy was to involve people who already were searching for a good romance story (not the usual sex comedy that gets called a romance story these days) and also people of faith who would like to show it in groups as well as own a copy themselves and used outlets such as people connector websites, etc. to get buzz going and then released it so people could get it via retailers (like Wal- Mart, Target, etc )and online providers (Amazon.com,etc. which had it as number 1 in both family films and Christian films in terms of sales).

It's not the typical 'hit you over the head' type 'message' film that we've seen so many of or the ones where the actors could barely pass for low budget TV actors.

This was a well thought out and directed story.

In the opinion of a friend who repaired film projectors both military and private for a living and thus has also gotten to watch a lot of films, quite possibly the best made film by Christians that even non- believers will see and not be turned off in the first 10 minutes.

Give it a watch.

I rated it maybe higher than I would just because the early voting (if you can call 15 votes voting) seemed to only be the pessimistic.

Those that watched it and enjoyed it have families with kids and have more to do that write reviews for online sites. I hope many will get to it soon so that even more will seek it out.

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
(1939)

Great biography picture in it's time
Alexander Graham Bell came from a family of elocutionists. His grandfather and father were both published on the subject. He trained also to become a teacher, but having a deaf mother, he came to desire more than just teaching.

In his early stages of teaching, he begins by teaching a young mute boy (Bobs Watson) while being paid by the father of the boy (Gene Lockhart). The money he earns from this, he uses to work on first the telegraph, then the telephone.

The mute boy's father is so pleased with the way his son can communicate using a special alphabet glove,that he introduces Bell to his friend (Charles Coburn) who has 4 daughters, including a daughter who became death after having scarlet fever when she was younger. The father kept speaking of his 'little girl'. Imagine Bells surprise when it turned out to be a grown woman (Loretta Young) who, along with her three sisters, play the roles of the business man's daughters.

Mabel (Young) 'fell' for him at first sight as she accidentally runs into him when he is coming to their house, not realizing he is the man her father invited to help her. Thinking this business man is going to be able to help him finance the telegraph, he begins to tell him of his invention until the father says he wants Bell to help his daughter. They can talk of the invention another time.

The two fall in love, with Young playing a woman who not only backs Alec's (Bell/Ameche) grand ideas and inventions, but encourages him not to give up hope and occasionally puts her foot down when it comes to him not giving up the idea of inventing the telephone and when Bell later is attacked by a firm who claim he stole their invention and sued Bell.

Bell got this news right when it seemed things were going the best for him. Queen Victoria had agreed to wire the castle with the telephone and what the queen did was often imitated throughout the world! Plus Bell finds out he is to be a father. But he also gets a letter from his father in law that a company is suing him for copyright stealing.

He determines to return to the States, fight the lawsuit with truth to defend not only his invention, but his father-in-law, his friend, the mute boy's father (both of whom backed him to the hilt on the telephone), his partner in experiments Watson(Henry Fonda) and for all inventors who are poor and have their ideas copyrighted, only to be stolen by those with less scruples and more money.

When she hears how badly the trial is going due to lack of evidence, Bell's wife and mother come to the trial. It seems that for lack of available paper, Bell had written a love letter to his dear Mabel on the back of an important bit of evidence that could be the key to him winning the lawsuit and keep he and his partners from being robbed of his invention and going bankrupt.

Interestingly, both Lockhart and Coburn also are important players in the story 'Edison, the Man' but with Coburn being the more sympathetic and Lockhart the heavy. In this one Lockhart is usually more sympathetic and Coburn usually more cynical. Both have added beards and mustaches that change the appearance to a degree. This film, I believe, was released first.

Yes, it is likely that Hollywood may have embellished the biography a bit and why not? It is an inspiring film that shows that there is much hunger, pain and even delays in being married when someone follows their dream to invent. But it also is often well worth it if the inventor sticks with it. Of course it's no guarantee all stories will turn out as well as this one and, ironically, in "Edison, the Man", Edison also has to defend his invention of electricity in court.

Not sure if anyone else caught it, but I think they did make one goof in the film. Towards the end, the mother of Bell's wife (Spring Byington) knocks on the door of the room Bell and his wife are in. I believe Bell may ask who it is, but when the mother says it's mom, Bell's wife (deaf) says 'come in Mom'. Either a clever guess on her part, or an error revealing that she can really hear. Nothing had been said (that I could see...)to show if he was somehow able to help her hear or to give her a clue as to who it was at the door.

To the commenter that was deaf and asked about Young's character Mabel being born deaf or becoming it: the father says it was from scarlet fever as a young girl and she was sent to England (I believe) to study how to read lips.

Considering that it was 1875-6 that the story was set in and that the film was release only about 10 years into 'talkies', I thought it was quite a good performance on Young's part.

An enjoyable movie. Even one that older kids can watch and learn about how what is now so taken for granted (not only telephones that can call across countries and around the world, but mobile phones, phones that can send photos and video as well as voice, etc.), but something that would have been quite impossible without someone to invent it.

I hope the incentive to invent things that are beneficial to humanity is never taken away and maybe films like this one will help encourage people to keep trying and to aim for something that will benefit many people as Alexander Graham Bell did.

Great Expectations
(1974)

Decent job for TV movie made in UK in early 70s
With one noted exception to date, it seems that all who rated this only noticed at a later time after viewing that this film was made for TV. Perhaps people in other places are unfamiliar with conditions in 1974 and British TV.

I have heard that budgets at BBC in the early to mid-70s were small and therefore special effects and expensive location shoots had to be dispensed with in favor of trying to use imagination and get the great story across with small budgets.

I got "Great Expectations" on a very inexpensive DVD copy, had looked it up here and saw it was made for TV and enjoyed the work of the cast, so I gave it a shot.

I thought the music and some of the things they did with the sets outdid what most TV films and serials were able to do was remarkable compared to other things on TV from the same time period on the BBC.

It was a wholesome family friendly adaptation and the chief complaint is that it was too short! Yes, it was difficult because it had to cut out so many parts of the incredible Dickens book, but you try to adapt a huge novel into a made-for-TV film that has to fit in less than 2 hours (to accommodate commercials) and see how much better of a job you can do! Many of the best Dickens adaptations whether for the big screen or small are MUCH LONGER and have a MUCH BIGGER BUDGET. Is it the best Dickens adaptation? No, of course not.

Is it on the other hand unwatchable and piece of junk? Not at all.

For TV fare, it is above average and for the time period, it is a real treat to see one of the later great performances from the legendary James Mason, and very good performances by much of the cast.

I disagree that Michael York did a poor job. He purposely underplayed a boy who was by nature not a pushy, scheming character like Miss Havershim, his uncle Pimblebrook(sic?), the relatives of Miss Havershim, the guy that marries Pip's true love-Estelle, and so many more.

Perhaps it was also difficult coming off playing D'Artanian (sic?) in 'The Three Musketeers'.

Maybe he wanted not to play a fearless, reckless youth, but an honest, caring youth, that sometimes made big mistakes - lying to his family about Miss Havershim's activities, telling a snooty London 'friend' that Joe was his blacksmith, etc.

But Pip (when GROWN played by York) was a young man that learned lessons from the heart and never lost sight of his love of Estelle, his uncle and surrogate father Joe, his teacher and later 'stepmom'.

He nearly got caught up in the 'gentleman's snobbery' towards Joe and his benefactor, but showed in the end that both had not wrongly encouraged and put their trust that Pip would turn out alright, each investing in Pips life in their own way to help him not to have to have the struggles that they had.

Joe brought Pip up due to his parents dying, and Joe's first wife was Pip's sister. After Pip's ill-tempered sister died, even though not a blood relation or true father, Joe still regards Pip as a son and marries Pip's kind reading teacher who brings more of a steady and mother-like influence to Pip.

Joe was also well done by Joss Ackland, an underrated British actor who also played C.S. Lewis in the original 'Shadowlands' ((also done for TV and MORE accurate in that it portrayed Joy Gresham with TWO sons...the later film with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger (nominated for Academy award in the role of Joy Gresham) was adapted from the television screenplay in the movie version...imagine that?)).

Many years later Ackland also played in the fun family film 'A Kid in King Arthur's Court' as King Arthur.

I think it would be great if someone remade Great Expectations for regular film today, just as there was a more recent version of Oliver Twist (which overall was well done though there were parts I didn't like either...) No director can please everyone and NO FILM EVER 100 percent represents a book, unless the author wrote a screenplay and not a book! To those who haven't: read the book! It's the best source of the story in all cases.

To those that prefer lavish productions, big budgets and Lord of the Rings style all out efforts of a book (though fans of the books point out flaws in those too...no director can win with the die hard book folks that can't seem to separate the mediums and, like me, sometimes enjoy both...differently!), then watch one of those versions or films.

For a family friendly couple hours (for those with kids old enough to watch something more than animation), check it out! It's much better than even much of the 'made for cinema' movies put out on cheap DVD release in Europe and the USA.

The Golden Compass
(2007)

Effects well done, story is not for kids
This film based on an anti-Christian trilogy trying (weakly) to come up with something on par with C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia or J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

According to reports, the director of the film rewrote parts to try to 'remove some parts offensive to Christian audiences'. I waited until it got to the cheap section of the rental store to see if he succeeded....

He didn't. It is nothing like the series it tries to emulate and basically purposefully makes people that are supposed to be 'good' (but are more like the Pharisees of early A.D. history make up extra rules to keep people in the dark) to be evil and witches and evil things to be 'good'.

Truth is subjective from a device that can be interpreted according to the user rather than from an objective source revealed by our Creator.

Rather than boycotting it, if parents have teenagers, they can use it as a useful teaching device to show just how far from the truth one can go if someone doesn't have a clear, God-given MORAL compass. Without a clear conscious and with a pension by schools to not teach logic or a clear sense of right and wrong, even this film could sound 'good' to them.

Technically well made, yes. Has a few well known voices and actress? Yes. But so did 'The DaVinci Code' which was equally off base and the author of that book has a stated purpose of furthering 'goddess worship' in the world.

Know the source of the material you let your kids and teens watch and be a part of the decision making process to watch or not, to read the books or not. Give them the tools to make a good evaluation.

Otherwise 'whatever feels good, do it' is the philosophy they will absorb and they will put 'entertaining' as a higher value than 'truthful', 'honorable' or 'good'.

Hancock
(2008)

Didn't live up to expectations
After seeing the preview, I admit I was skeptical.

BUT I read others said the preview wasn't really like the film. Coupled with the rare SECOND weekend boom the film had (probably due to competition it's first weekend didn't do well, but sure did phenomenally afterward), I thought it worth risking the rental.

People who reviewed it said it 'wasn't a typical superhero film' ala Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Dark Knight, etc.

I thought that would be good since my wife doesn't like those type films even if I like some of them (albeit there were parts in THIS year's superhero films I didn't like included either and put them in the category of not family films...all the sudden the comics I read as a kid are made in films that are for adults (or at least teens).

So I went into Hancock with an open mindset. When Will Smith is clean, he is a funny comedian and he's made some interesting films in the past.

However, we were both VERY disappointed with Hancock. The humor was NOT even close to funny and it got so disgusting that by the prison scene, we shut off the DVD and gave up.

It was boring, not funny, full of bad language and a pension for repeating a particularly offensive word over and over, by children as well as adults.

We gave it every opportunity to turn around, but it seemed to be a worse than average comic book character with the only twist is that he is a jerk with super powers that doesn't care what he acts like nor does he particularly care about the people he rescues nor their opinion.

If all it intended was to make an anti-hero, I guess it was a success, but a watchable film that a family could watch or learn any lessons from (other than how not to talk and behave...not just the 'super hero', but the kids and adults shouldn't behave as the others in the film did either...), it did not deserve to be rewarded with financial success.

To think they would consider a sequel is baffling. But then in this day and era where any film that makes decent money, sequels will be made until it makes nothing and ruins the franchise, I suppose they'll make sequels even worse than the original. (sort of like the sequels of Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' or part 2&3 of 'Matrix').

Crank out junk on the assembly line and someone is bound to buy a ticket, it seems. This year (perhaps due in part to last year's writer's strike) has been a real weak year in films.

Hancock is a prime example, being one of the big selling pieces of junk.

Maybe the car companies can take lessons from the film industry in how to sell a piece of junk and make people think it's something extra-ordinary. Then our tax dollars won't have to do it. :)

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
(2006)

This film lacks any redeeming value, definitely not for kids
If you don't want to see something so disturbing that it should be in the "adult" section of the DVD store, don't watch this film.

There is nothing socially 'redeeming' about the film. The version on DVD distributed in Europe may have been worse than the U.S. version. Sometimes they release uncut versions here, so it's hard to know.

Perverse, sick 'humor', racist 'humor', and pornographic 'humor'.

Don't buy the hype. This film is not for kids. It's not for anyone with any sense of morality or any sense of humor.

Don't make the same mistake I did and listen to someone tell you it's funny. It's not. It was a piece of junk with the production values of a bad TV show and complete lack of taste.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
(1969)

Great fun in an era when Disney actually made family films that families could view
People who are putting down this film as not good enough to 'show it's face in the theater' are showing their extreme ignorance.

These movies were made for family audiences and rebroadcast on Walt Disney's television program which highlighted family oriented movies with cast members that even signed morals clauses that they wouldn't act up (see Lindsey Lohan, etc. in these days) and trash the Disney image as being a family movie business.

Early on Disney had just made shorts and TV shows. In the late fifties they started making full-length films like 'The Shaggy Dog' with Fred MacMurray. It was so successful, it started something. Fred MacMurray was asked to do more films.

The Absent-Minded Professor (remade later with Robin Williams in the lead role in 'Flubber') was one of the successful movies made by Disney that was then edited for their TV audience.

It not only spawned a sequel, "Son of Flubber", but many more family films and comedies that were designed to help people forget their problems, while at the same time the commercials advertised Disneyland.

Disney was ahead of his time in providing programming in what were essentially well-made advertisements for families to enjoy and be reminded about visiting Disneyland, his 'family fun park'.

This light-hearted, fun comedy featured Kurt Russell in the early days of computers (pre-internet)getting the computer's full knowledge into his head.

In the remake (with Kirk Cameron) they updated it to the Internet infiltrating the student's mind and a 'super-hacker' from the opposing school (who's dean ironically is past Disney star Dean Jones) who seeks to hack Cameron's brain and stop his 'brilliance'.

The first of the three films that revolve around Dexter Riley (Russell), the dean (Joe E. Flynn), and friends is also the best done, though the others are enjoyable too. ('Now You See Him, Now You Don't' and 'Strongest Man In the World' are part of this three movie series)

It also teaches the value of humility. Riley did nothing to gain his knowledge, yet he became proud of how smart he was. He had to learn humility and how to treat his friends if he wanted to keep them. Good lessons to learn.

The Disney television films were made for families and are much better than the stuff made today for 'families' including politically correct films, sexually explicit, nasty language and all the other things that supposedly makes them more 'modern'.

Disney TV temporarily stopped around 1975. They have made some films since then that were still family oriented, though people that followed Walt and then Roy Disney didn't have the same ideas about films and the value of good stories.

Enter the Michael Eisner era...remaking classics and making part 2 stories of classics that have no basis in classic books and WERE released direct to video or DVD. Even marginal animated hits got sequels made. Actual hits like Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, got several (part 2 of Aladdin was a real turkey).

Several of the older Disney films were remade for a 'revived' TV program. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes was one of the better attempts. I would say only a handful were watchable in their 'updated' form. They made kids have to act like adults while the adults act like kids (this might be a clever plot line in 'Freaky Friday', but when it enters into other stories, it's hard to make out who is supposed to be adult and who are kids.

No wonder kids today are forced to face problems beyond their years. They can't even escape it in the so-called 'escape films' on TV or in the movies these days (with rare exceptions).

It takes exceptions like Pirates of the Caribbean or The Chronicles of Narnia to remind Disney that people still like well-made escape films that are wholesome and uplifting for the whole family.

The Winning Team
(1952)

Great film for it's limitations
I rated it higher than I normally would because it is a film that deserves to be watched.

Anyone who had the benefit of seeing insider comments from the classic film network I taped it from would know that Grover Cleveland Alexander suffered from seizures do to epilepsy.

Ronald Reagan was quite disappointed at the film company not including that in the film and not naming the disease, though implying some physical problem was involved in Alexander's problems.

The drinking was due to fear (which the film touches on) from NOT UNDERSTANDING EPILEPSY and the seizures that he had.

I think Reagan gave the character life and those who point out his deficiencies as an athlete don't mention that he was an athlete himself, playing football and eventually got a job as a sports announcer. That job helped him land his first role in Hollywood as a sports announcer on screen.

No actor is going to play baseball as well as an actual baseball player. It is a skill that many have tried and few succeed at. 'Knowing' the sport is not the same as being able to play it to the level of a big leaguer.

So, forgiving an actor for not being able to pitch like a real big leaguer is not hard when the main story here is his life, his marriage and his service to his country and to baseball between his very real struggles of epilepsy and drinking.

The film is actually quite ground breaking, covering something from an era where these things were often covered up and if they did make the news, they were public scandals. In this case, Mrs. Alexander (who was played brilliantly by Doris Day here), protected her husband's image at the time by omitting (apparently) some divorces that were designed to help him come to his senses.

Perhaps it was to help protect her as well. She probably felt she made mistakes too in trying to help him the wrong way. It's hard to know how to handle when someone's whole personality changes due to an illness.

The way the media is today, an athlete's whole career could be railroaded with no second chance by an episode of making a bad choice due to pain of getting intoxicated. This doesn't excuse Alexander's bad choices. He should have been honest with his wife and got help (also should have been honest with his baseball team(s)).

But the fact is, Babe Ruth would likely have had a tough time getting in the Hall of Fame in this age when Mark McGuire was overlooked because some people BELIEVE he used illegal steroids. It has yet to be proved and he never admitted it, only to the use of legal vitamin supplements, yet he isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Pete Rose is not forgiven to this day for the gambling which didn't occur as a player, but apparently as a manager.

Yes, baseball as in all of life should have standards. I just see that there have been many double standards as in not giving people a second chance and trying to build up heroes just to knock them down and ruin their lives.

Enough of them do it on their own (i.e. Ken Caminiti, Jose Conseco, etc.) without having to have people who aren't even in the know judging men who have the same weaknesses as us, yet have sought to inspire us to rise above those weaknesses and excel at something to give young people encouragement.

One unguarded moment or comment off the record to a reporter these days is enough to ruin a guy's life and career. Some guys are truly bad characters and deserve it.

Others, like Grover Cleveland Alexander, seem to deserve some understanding and compassion.

Would he have received it in today's journalistic environment?

Presumed Innocent
(1990)

Fine acting and story, makes you think. However rating is well earned
If you are like me and are not fond of good thrillers without foul language or graphic sexual depictions or excessive violence, you won't have to edit too much (maybe some of Dennehy's spicy speeches).

A few other things could have had tighter editing for morality, but compared with more recent trash, thankfully they tastefully cut away. Good story telling can leave it to the person's imagination and let you know what type of character the person is without showing all the lurid details.

There were a couple of technical glitches, for example the finding of the mysterious 'Leon' seemed a bit amazing considering the deputy prosecutor is being framed for murder and no one is tailing him? Hmmm But it is really a masterpiece of film making in most cases, up there with Anatomy of a Murder (1959 - James Stewart, etc.) in all time thrillers in the order of an Alfred Hitchcock type movie.

Twists and turns that make it look like it aims at one person then another, dirty cops, a boss that says he'll lie under oath, a judge who seems to care more about a missing glass and a missing 'B' (for bribery) file than the other evidence that seems to lead to the conclusion that it was who they were 'framing'.

The ending makes you stop and think and gives you opportunity to discuss the justice system, the fact that though mostly we think it's the judges that let off criminals, there can be corruption even in prosecution, defense, police and in human beings in general.

If you want lighthearted comedy or family fare, this isn't it. But if you want a hang-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller with a first rate cast, you might like this one.

Shadowboxer
(2005)

Horrible film making at it's worse
I, too, was taken in by thinking Cuba Gooding and Helen Mirren might make a good movie together. Wish I had seen the IMDb review FIRST! This film was rotten from start to finish. The only thing I can think it was trying to show is that sons often carry on the sins of their fathers.

Cuba's father killed his mother. Helen's character kills his father before he kills Cuba. Cuba becomes a merciless assassin. Supposedly Helen develops a conscious about killing a woman with a baby. Helen has cancer, so Cuba goes along with it.

This film tried to cross so many 'over the top' lines that it is exactly as one viewer said...a mix of pornography and a BAD b movie.

I will not even dignify the trash with comments, only I advise everyone to skip this one and not waste the time or any money on even renting this piece of trash.

This is the type of film that could hook kids into pornography and violence. Mixing the two together it even makes it seem as it is somehow 'cool' to be a killer and makes you 'sexy' to your spouse (or in some cases step-son...yuck). It would seem to encourage domestic violence or even murder, given the 'right' money or circumstances.

Literally this movie has someone die from immoral sex. That's as much of a spoiler as I'll give.

It's not worth commenting. I only wish to save someone else the pain of watching it and wish I hadn't just kept hitting fast forward, but the stop button.

Some things you should just count as a waste of money and not waste your brain.

Love Actually
(2003)

Lust, actually
Please don't make the mistake I did and check the film out hoping Liam Neeson and Emma Thomson might actually make up for Rowan Atkinson (who's Mr. Bean is at times funny, but his movies...not) and Hugh Grant, whom I have yet to see a film he's been in that I've enjoyed.

I checked it out with the caveat that if it took a turn down the wrong path, I would simply stop watching.

We have only IMDb or online to find out any info on films as the summaries in Czech seldom tell much and far too many, like this film, are not rated by the Czech board of film raters.

The first 15 minutes or so were so replete with sexual jokes, references, homosexual jokes, lustful innuendos, a brother fornicating with his brother's wife (or girlfriend), and a 'singer' using like 6 profane words consecutively in one sentence plus an assistant to 'prime minister' Hugh Grant (UGHH!) who of course must proceed to use all kinds of bad language at the prime minister.

It was enough for me. Thanks kindly to IMDb about the warning that the film also contained nudity. The title sounded interesting, the beginning showed promise of people hugging people goodbye at a train station, but it took a radically wrong turn.

I think that the narrator got it wrong. Love was not all around. Even if he was meaning it to be humorous, the only 'love' that was all around in this movie was lust, actually. Which would have made a more fitting title.

Avoid this film and don't buy into it being a family friendly film or romantic. It's like a British HBO movie where sex substitutes for love and lust substitutes for romance.

Bonanza: The Medal
(1969)
Episode 7, Season 11

Fine job of acting by Dean Stockwell, Lorne Greene, Harry Townes & Susan Howard
For those who wondered if the 'Boy With the Green Hair' could act as an adult, look no further than this fine episode of Bonanza. Stockwell plays a man who is on the skids, but he was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. The narrative tells us most of the people awarded this medal had it awarded posthumously and it is the highest award that could be bestowed for bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Some of Ben Cartwright's neighbors lost brothers, their stock, had their house burned down and lost their wife/mother according to the husband/father(Harry Townes) because of 'Sherman's men'. He takes a particular disliking to the man who won the 'Yankee's highest killing medal'.

He does everything he can to try to get Stockwell's character out of town, but his daughter likes Stockwell (played by later "Dallas" star Susan Howard) and that makes him even madder.

It comes out in the end that Stockwell was a former ordained minister and Ben invites him to build a church on part of the Cartwright property where some others had a tragedy happen that destroyed their building there. To symbolically 'build out of the ashes' something new and decent and go on with life, not still divided 'north' versus 'south'.

The Cartwright's neighbor and sons are ready to tar and feather Stockwell until the daughter, who has brought Ben along, arrives. Ben reads them a telegram he received including a letter from Abraham Lincoln as to just how he got the medal....it's a shocker and a tear jerker to be sure at the end.

Key line from Stockwell "I want to be liked for who I am, a human being, not for what I did (in the war)".

Don't miss this gem. A fine outing by Lorne Greene as Ben as well.

Yankee Doodle Dandy
(1942)

A great film by a hard working actor.
A previous writer said about this film: "James Cagney, was looking for a patriotic role to offset the recent bad publicity he'd received (the liberal star had been accused of being a Communist, which he was cleared of)."

Cagney was not a liberal in today's American sense of the word. If you read his autobiography, he did have some difficulties, but was cleared as mentioned, and his later political life (which I don't really think he was a heavy 'politics' guy like some of today's stars - Sean Penn, etc.) was actually as a conservative and he expressed his wish that a true conservative would be elected president.

Before he died in 1981, he got his wish when fellow actor Ronald Reagan was elected.

Be that as it may, Cagney actually came to Hollywood as a song and dance man. On the strength of his dancing, he got to Hollywood, who then preceded to turn him into a gangster typecast with films like Public Enemy all the way to Angels With Dirty Faces, White Heat, etc.

He, along with Bette Davis (as one of the top female stars) were trailblazers of trying to break out of the 'system' of getting underpaid once becoming a top draw and established his own picture company along with his brother William Cagney. He made some decent pictures this way though he couldn't get nearly as much financing as the Warner Brothers films could have.

Still he made some quality pictures, had both his brother William and sister (actress in this film as well) Jeanne Cagney working with him and had fun again with acting.

After "One, Two, Three" in 1963, which involved a lot of quick, rapid-fire snappy dialog and having difficulty with it (at this point about 63 years old), he decided to retire. He didn't even let an offer to play Rex Harrison's role in 'My Fair Lady' bring him out of retirement, sticking to his hobbies of horses, painting and the like.

'Yankee Doodle Dandy' unlike any picture he was able to do in the 'system' allowed him to enjoy himself and play a wide range of emotions and not have to be a 'mug'.

Later a similar movie in terms of that biographical and wide-ranging performance films, he did 'Man of a Thousand Faces' , the biography of Lon Chaney, Sr.

These were kind of bookends of a great career by a great actor, who had a lot more possibility than just playing hoodlums and fought the system to prove it!

Good King Wenceslas
(1994)

A very good TV movie
If you have been to Prague and come to the main train station, you are very close to the Wenceslas Square, named for the character in this story.

Very likely, like most movie versions of stories about historical characters, there are bound to be variations of the story and not everything in the tale may be true.

However, it is not as bad as the fellow wrote about being a cross between a Hallmark movie and a Disney cartoon. It is what it is: a TV (television) movie. It's not a big budget, Eragon type fantasy adventure.

Besides, if he's truly from Czech, he should know about cheesy TV legends as Czech TV's airwaves are full of them just about any holiday.

Jonathan Brandis (formerly in Neverending Story 2) does a good job of playing a young ruler whom his wicked stepmother (Stefanie Powers) doesn't want to rule...because she has a son of her own that she hopes to take the throne.

It is a very helpful film for those who would like to learn something of Czech history. For learning of the accuracy of the history, there are books that can be purchased to check, I won't bore you with details, but check your favorite bookseller or importer.

Cloak and Dagger
(1946)

Not a bad war time thriller
Gary Cooper does a good job in carrying along the suspense and makes it believable as someone who is NOT a spy, but someone who gets recruited as an important scientist to make sure that his country isn't the victim of his scientific knowledge fall into the wrong hands.

As for other user who used derogatory names just because they rhyme with the actor's name...it shows that a lack of critical thinking and logic exists in epic proportions in our day. The guy doesn't know how to critic a movie, so he resorts to name calling of an actor he doesn't realize was popular much earlier than Bogart and even was acting in the silent era (Gary Cooper).

I like Bogart too, but trying to compare this film with Casablanca is comparing apples with oranges. Casablanca was chiefly a love story set in a time between two people who didn't realize the woman's husband was still alive (he was reported dead and Bergman's character thought he was, found out differently and returned to her husband without time to explain to Bogart's 'Rick').

In this 'Cloak and Dagger', it is not a romance story, but rather the story of an ordinary guy who seeks to help his country in time of war despite great personal risk. Yes, it was not so unusual during that time period (this was the year after the end of WW2 that it was released), but it wasn't bad. It was quite good and an interesting look at the time period and genre.

To say it doesn't stack up against what was voted the number 1 movie of all time (Casablanca) doesn't make this a bad movie, it makes Casablanca a great movie!

Doctor Who: The Sea of Death
(1964)
Episode 21, Season 1

The summary of this story is that of Keys of Marinus though Keys comes later
Not sure why the difference between title and summary Keys to Marinus was one of the best William Hartnell stories that survived and was transferred to US format video.

It is inventive in the difficulties they must face and in the very planet itself there are many mysteries about it's properties and how the doctor and his friends can ever get off of Marinus.

They meet a couple friends along the way as well as some deadly enemies.

One of the more science fiction stories of the first doctor who probably had more historical and educational stories than any of the subsequent doctors who replaced him.

The Shop Around the Corner
(1940)

Much better film than it's remake 'You've Got Mail'
This film shows it's character's decency in his behavior towards his boss and in the fact that he isn't already hooked up with another girl, playing a game of toying with someone's heart by sending her love letters.

The same is true for the female lead's character who imagines the letter writer as different from who he turns out to be, but isn't with another guy and looking for 'love on the side' Great give and take in the dialog back and forth between the two in this romantic comedy. It even dealt with issues that were ahead of it's time, such as attempted suicide.

Sadly, the remake of this movie (trying to put it in the modern era) of "You Got Mail", the characters are about as different from the originals as you can get. Any similarity to this fine movie is purely coincidental.

Would be interesting to read the play/book this was based on.

Fury to Freedom
(1985)

Quite a story
The story is the thing in this film which highlights the life of a guy determined not to become like his father, who was abusive to his mom.

As he grows up bitter and with hatred for his dad, he discovers he's becoming more and more like his dad.

He becomes abusive to his wife. He waits for her at home ready to end it all, himself, his wife,everything. Then something happens.

After this event (don't want to give away too much), everything changes in his life, including his hatred and his relationships.

A great film to encourage people in days when many feel no hope in their family situation.

The Hiding Place
(1975)

Greater Heart than Schindler's List or the Pianist
People are comparing this to Schindler's List and the Pianist? In the 1970s and with a less known director than Speilburg, this film shows and makes you CARE about it's characters.

The target audience was families, while both Schindler's List and the Pianist were rated 'R' meaning kids under 17 aren't even allowed in unless accompanied by a parent (that didn't care how graphic of violence they saw).

I saw this film in the theater as a kid. I couldn't have done so with the other two films even if I had still been one when they were made. I have seen it again as an adult recently and decided to comment, especially after reading the comment about it not stacking up to the above mentioned films....

Unlike Schindler, whom Speilburg made out to be doing it at first for the savings on how much he paid the workers and only much later did he realize he was saving human lives and unlike the Pianist which showed a man who didn't really perceive what Nazi policies would do until it was too late, HIDING PLACE showed that Mr Ten Boom and his daughters DID KNOW and DID CARE about the safety of the Jews.

They took a known risk and all but Corrie suffered the ultimate penalty for choosing to save Jewish lives and for recognizing them as human, not what Hitler said they were.

The film far from sugar coats what the Nazis did. It is plain for every adult to see that the prison camps were abominable. Chain gangs for women, lice, rapes done by soldiers, people brutally injured for helping with medicine, others killed for being too sick to work.

Plus the film had it's only surviving heroine at the end of the film to say a few words. Powerful stuff.

Joni
(1979)

Heart wrenching true story that's inspired people around the world.
This is an amazing true story of a young athlete, Joni Eareckson, who at the age of 16 has a terrible accident while diving into what she thought was deep water.

The feelings she went through are very real. I am not quadriplegic, however I am disabled and can relate to some of the same feelings she expresses through this movie (and in the book).

What is more amazing is that she has gone on to write many, many helpful books for those who suffer, to paint many things with her mouth and even design cards, to speak many places and seek to help handicapped people around the world, to collect wheelchairs for those in countries that can't afford them, to sing and record albums, to appear on Larry King Live and talk radio programs to encourage others, and, having met her years ago, I can say that she has only grown into an amazing human being.

If you or someone you know has gone through a tragedy, I'd recommend this film as an encouragement to not give up.

Wiretapper
(1955)

Story is interesting, acting not particularly compelling
Even for a movie in 1955, Wiretapper's definitely a B to C level picture. It's a shame because the story is interesting in itself..it's brought down by the acting.

It does contains one of the best sequences of a then young Billy Graham preaching the best I've heard him (whether in person, on TV or in movies).

I suppose the fact that the man the story is about, Jim Vaus, didn't exactly live up to the great truths he learned from Billy Graham in later years tainted my view of the story a bit....he may not have worked for the mob in the 1970s, but he still did some 'wiretapping' while supposedly helping young people in the San Diego area.

Still, the story was good and it's too bad we are subjected to a movie where the acting is below the level of even television from the same era. Also it is in black and white when most films in this era were color. Definitely low budget.

If you have the chance, see "The Prodigal" or some of the later Graham pictures for some better acting.

But for a chance to see classic preaching by Graham, you can skip ahead to that part of the film.

Dark Passage
(1947)

Underrated thriller
Of course when you have a big star like Bogart, as much camera time as possible is desired by the movie studio as well as the audience.

However, this is as unique an approach as I have ever seen to justifying the facial change. For those who are critical that he had the bandages on too long and it got overdone or they should have used another actor to play the convict and then after the face lift- low and behold it's Bogart.....rubbish! How would you convince the audience the other actor was the same guy? You'd have to find somebody with the same size and dimensions as Bogart and DUB THE VOICE on someone who Bogart's voice doesn't go with? To me, that would be worse! This way there was mystery, imagination as to what he looked like before.

Remember this was during an era of imagination and a lot of stories were done on radio where imagination was the main key to helping unravel mystery in the story. So the people of this day still had an imagination and may have been putting their own idea of what he would look like into the story....that way, every audience member could get what they imagined and liked out of it. If they showed some wanna be actor as Bogart's character, many of those imaginative viewers would have been disappointed and not liked the rest of the film.

It's true the Moorehead steals some of the thunder with her scary performance as the woman always snooping, always in the know, trying to find out everyone's secrets.

But Bogart and Bacall give under-rated performances in what I think was an imaginative piece of film noir and a thriller that really thrills.

Shark Tale
(2004)

Rated awful because of target audience
Someone asked why the bad posts and ratings? Because this is an animated film that is supposed to be something to take kids to and instead is a tongue in cheek animated version of a mafia film like the "R" rated "Godfather" series. The language, sexuality, etc. is not appropriate for kids. Adults who may be a fan of this type of movie might find it a funny satire, but it is definitely not for kids and quite frankly, though not the worst in animation I've seen (that goes to "The Last Unicorn"), message and content wise, it was one of the worst. The only reason we are even having this conversation is that some very talented actors lent their voice to it and thus caught ADULTS attention. Young kids don't even know Robert DeNiro was in Godfather or know that Peter Falk used to make movies with the Rat Pack. So it's not geared to kids, but it's marketed to them and THAT'S why people rated it low.

Left Behind II: Tribulation Force
(2002)

You don't have to be profane to be realistic
I'm amazed that someone would be so naive as to think that a movie trying to present the good news of the gospel to a world that is already saturated with the polluted wells of mass profanity, immorality and violence for violence's sake would criticize a film for NOT having these features in it.

In case the reviewer is interested, the Bible presents many accounts of people who sinned for our learning and instruction so that we wouldn't repeat the same errors without giving pornographic or explicit depictions that do more to encourage people to seek drinks from polluted wells of ignorance than direct them to the water of life, found only in Jesus Christ, who stated that once a person truly drank of the water of eternal life He gives will never thirst again.

I agree that not all the acting in these films is "A list Hollywood acting". Much of what is in Oscar winning movies these days is not "A list Hollywood acting" either.

People are entitled to their opinion that perhaps these filmmakers are relying too much on the message and not on the acting. I think many films rely too much on filthy language, big effects, and sensuality with much less plot and storyline than is shown in the "Left Behind" movies.

So if you want more raunchy supposedly 'realistic' language and sin depicted, there are plenty of other movies out there to choose from. There is less and less originality in film today and more and more depending on moving the emotions or visceral than on reaching the mind of someone.

I also wish the movies had stuck more to the original story. The same as I wished that the Lord of the Rings stuck more to the story and Oscar winners such as Chariots of Fire and Ghandi which also deviated from the stories. None of John Gresham's novels transferred to film stick to the story either. (Runaway Jury changed cigarette industry into the gun industry for example).

Show me a film that is entirely sticking to the story and I'll show you an author that wrote a screenplay and not a book. :-) They are two different mediums and very rarely is the screenplay also written by the book's author.

I rated this highly for what it attempted to do. I think the first part did not do very well in the first half and improved in the second half. This movie wasn't perfectly even either, but it did attempt to get a message that was in the book out in a way that was entertaining. Apparently even to those who thought it was funny.

For the one that found it funny: did you equally laugh and find funny Tom Hanks in "Castaway" for performing the longest known commercial for FedEx in it's history?

How about "Million Dollar Baby" for it's showing a 32 year old woman who can't box a lick and then supposedly becomes a one round wonder only to be taken out by a dirty boxer and left as a vegetable who no longer has an ounce of fight in her? She has the guts to tell her no good family to take a flying leap and then has no guts to live?

These were hit movies, perhaps with better acting, but equally funny because the message outshone any script or plot and many people came away with the impression of "That Fed Ex movie" or "that Right to Die" flick.

I guess these "Left Behind" films aren't alone in being funny or having script and other errors that for some can overwhelm the message, eh?

Million Dollar Baby
(2004)

Great acting, strange emphasis (spoilers within)
Granted I haven't read the collection of short stories the 70 year old that wrote what this movie is based on did. Being that they were just that, short stories, I doubt that the entire film's materials was taken from just one of them.

I found that this was a boxing movie that didn't focus much on boxing. They explained it by saying she won all her matches in the first round. Has there ever existed such a boxer? Not even Rocky was that good! The disappointment for me, however, doesn't come from the lack of boxing footage, but from the lack of story explanation. What happened between Eastwood's character and his wife? They divorced, separated or what? Why does his daughter hate him so? Why does Hollywood feel the need to continue to mock anyone of religious faith, including having the (Episcopal?) priest using bad language and calling Eastwood's character a liar for saying he was writing his daughter, when the audience is shown he was writing her and that his letters were returned.

Why does he decide to murder her (assist her suicide) and take off? Where on earth was the hospital staff and why did no one hear the noise of the monitors while he was killing her? Supposedly a clue is dropped that he went to the diner that served lemon pie without it coming from the can, but why? Because he went against what the priest told him to do and felt that was the closest to heaven he could get after '2' unforgivable sins? A lot of questions, but not many answers. But then I guess that's what film making is about these days. Pathos above moral values. Emotions rather than any logical sequence or rhyme or reason.

When Clint Eastwood was asked about why the assisted suicide scene in an interview, he stated that the movie wasn't making an argument for it. But it sure wasn't making one against it. It even seemed that Morgan Freeman's character looked at that decision as a good one as he wrote the letter to Eastwood's daughter.

In a year full of weak movie entries (the fact that idiot Michael Moore even tried to get consideration for best picture showed that HE knew it was a weak field), this film was a cut above the other mediocrity, but it's lack of moral values and degradation of life and the importance of what God thinks brings this down to one of the most mediocre movies to receive as many Oscar nominations as it did that I can remember.

See it by all means, but be prepared for disappointment if you are a person of faith or care about life.

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