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Behemoth the Sea Monster

One of the better b/w monster movies
I remember watching this when I was about 5-years-old and finding it terrifying: the general sense of menace and mystery in the first half of the movie in particular. The scene in which the fisherman was burned by the substance on the beach stayed with me for years and, as an adult, it took me a while to track down the name of the film.

I eventually got hold of a copy on DVD about 10 years ago and was pleasantly surprised at how well the atmosphere has stood the test of time. I assume the decision not to show the behemoth until about 50 minutes into the story was owing to a very limited special effects budget - but (like the same approach in Jaws) it works well in creating a sense of suspense and mystery. The F/X when they do appear, are of hugely variable quality - the London night scenes being the most effective. The director did a wonderful job with certain set pieces - the panicking mob in London is particularly well done. Overall, the F/X drag the movie's score down, (had Willis O'Brien been given a bigger budget, this would be one of the best movies of its kind) but there is still enough here to provide an entertaining spectacle.

Tales of the Unexpected: Nothin' Short of Highway Robbery
Episode 3, Season 8

Wonderful Warren Oates
I hadn't realised that this was Warren Oates' last role before his tragically early death - he was a wonderful, charismatic actor. Bud Cort and Jennifer Holmes are very good in this episode, too. I wonder if Quentin Tarantino ever saw it, as I was reminded of the couple in the Pulp Fiction 'book ends'. It's based on a short story by Lawrence Block, so it has that in its favour, as well, because he really is a superb writer.


Unfairly maligned
An entertaining movie - as another reviewer has stated, it's a good movie for a rainy afternoon. I've no idea why Michael Caine thinks it's his worst movie - Harry Sundown and Blame it on Rio are far worse. Another reviewer is of the opinion that Richard Fleischer didn't direct a good movie after Soylent Green - I disagree; Mr Majestyk is one of Bronson's best movies, and Crossed Swords is my favourite version of the Mark Twain story. I actually prefer Conan the Destroyer to Conan the Barbarian, as the protagonist's behaviour is much closer to Robert E Howard's character (he's quicker (physically and mentally), more athletic and is nobody's fool.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Superb movie.
This is one of the rare movies which improves on every viewing - it is quite superb. The depiction of the the Japanese perspective, alongside the American, gives the film a depth which is lacking in most war films.

Crack in the World

Surprisingly effective movie.
A well-made disaster movie, featuring extremely impressive special-effects (off the top of my head, I can't recall another movie from the 60s that depicts catastrophic events as impressively). The score is above average and the performances from the lead players involved in the love triangle are strong (just a point: another reviewer mistakenly states that Scott and Moore were married in real life). Well worth watching.


Poor adaptation of a really entertaining novel
I've always believed that Elliot Gould would have been the perfect choice to play Bernie Rhodenbarr - Whoopi Goldberg is terribly miscast.

The movie might have survived the miscasting error, had the screenplay been better written, alas, it misses all the style of the source novel.

It's a mystery why Hollywood studios have struggled to successfully adapt the novels of Block (with the latest 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' being easily the best of all the adaptations). The novels of his friend, Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark) have been similarly mishandled, with only a couple doing justice to the source material.

Jurassic Park III

Much better than the second film
The last 60 seconds of the film are disappointing, but prior to that it's much more exciting (and intelligent) than the Lost World (the first movie to show Spielberg's declining powers as a director). It's also ageing very well.

Secret of the Incas

A missed opportunity
The film begins well, and Heston is convincing as a very cynical treasure hunter and adventurer, Harry Steele (indeed, it's possible to see the origins of Planet of the Ape's Taylor in his performance). However, the story loses its way when Harry and his love interest, Elena, reach Machu Picchu and find an archaeological dig under way - all momentum is lost, replaced by a lot of talk. If the writers had elected to only have local Peruvians there, it would have allowed the final act to have been an exciting tussle between Thomas Mitchell's character and Harry and Elena - culminating in a chase through the jungle, perhaps. It's easy to see certain similarities with Raiders of the Lost Ark - although it is only fair to acknowledge that Lucas and Kaufman fully developed the potential of a single-minded adventurer and wrote a far more exciting story.

Mission: Impossible II

Not just the worst film in the franchise, but the worst movie of Tom Cruise's career. The plot could've been written on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare. Even by the year 2000, Woo's over-use of slow motion scenes was boring - now it just looks ridiculous. I have all the MI movies on DVD - except this one. It really isn't a MI film - it is a James Bond wannabe - and a very bad one, at that.

Wild Bill

A promising start to a new police series. First episodes are always problematic to a certain extent, as setting the scene and introducing the cast of characters is challenging, especially when a crime has to be solved! A little bit of 'clunkiness' is inevitable.

I'll definitely give it another couple of episodes before passing judgement. PS: I gave it another 3 episodes and, unfortunately, it didn't develop its potential. Downgraded to 4 stars, from 6.

Avengers: Endgame

Ignore the DC fans giving it 1 out of 10
An excellent movie in all respects.

Some DC fans are on IMDB giving it 1 or 2 stars - they are easy to spot and ignore.

Partners in Crime

Still excellent
I'm surprised that some reviewers find Francesca Annis's performance mannered - she's terrific!

She's so much better in portraying Tuppence than Jessica Raine in the recent plodding remake.

One reviewer is also under a misapprehension about her character's former job as a nurse - it's clear that she was working in that capacity during WW1 only (possibly in a voluntary capacity).

Tuppence and Tommy are middle class characters who had fallen, temporarily, on hard times.

A hugely enjoyable series.

The Squirrels

As good as I remembered!
I agree with Alan - this is a very enjoyable show with lots of laugh-out loud moments. I remember enjoying it at the time of its first broadcast, but bought it with some trepidation - comedy can date badly and I feared that it would be of its time, as I found with the Dick Emery Show.

I needn't have worried - the scripts by Eric Chappell in particular are very amusing. The cast is excellent, too, with some impeccable comic timing on view. Ken Jones is quite wonderful and Bernard Hepton displays his versatility, but everyone contributes to the fun. Well worth buying!

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