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Almost Angels (1962)
This movie surprised me...pleasantly.
Me and my wife watched this movie last night and honestly I thought I wouldn't like it. First of all I am not fond of kid actors and this movie had a bunch of them. But surprisingly they were not the annoying kids that usually plague the screen, but fairly well-behaved and respectful. Maybe it was the time era and setting that had more to do with this though. Or maybe since I'm no longer a teen (20 now) I am growing up...who knows.
I enjoyed the music, but I will have to note that some of the selections were a little longer than necessary. This was the only negative aspect I could find to complain about though.
The double plot was well done; and both of the lead boys did a good job of acting.
Herr Heller was my favourite character. He interacted with the boys in a way that appealled greatly to me...the pillow fight tolerance, not punishing Peter for causing the window ledge incident, etc.
Peter was my wife's favourite character. She liked how he started off being jealous but changed once he knew the score. She called him "an appealing lad".
All through this movie is some great classical music. I'm not a classical music fan, but I do listen to it occasionally, so I do appreciate it.
And the architecture of Vienna and other places was a treat during this movie also. I hope it all still exists today.
Unfortunately for this movie, the kids of today would probably express little or no interest in watching it. But then again I would never have watched this movie as a kid either.
Both me and my wife totally and completely recommend this movie for great family viewing (if u can get your kids to watch it). There is nothing even remotely offensive in this movie.
Plenty of HAM, a lot of CHEESE & way CORNY.
Although not total garbage, it's pretty crappy.
The dino stop-motion is worse than the old 1933 version of King Kong, and the dinos look like rubber. The effects are like something from a Nintendo game. The Prism creature looks like a troll doll. Everything in this looks as phony as a nine-pound note.
Acting is awful...like something you'd expect from a primary school play. And that horrible piece of crap bike that kid rides is a disgrace. No one could race that junk heap (I'm glad it got vapourised). Azebeth Siege and her codes of kong (is this movie riddled with references to King Kong?) is lame, lame, lame. And there's one scene where this little kid just runs underneath the dino for no apparent reason. And what's with all the moths flying around in the beginning sequence...Did they film this in an old barn?.
The sword fighting with the dino was also way lame. And sacrificing people to the "dragon" (dino)...hmmm...again, somebody's been watching too many King Kong movies.
I wonder what the budget for this was...$2.
It's sort of cool though how this is set up like old serials. Chapter one at least leaves you hanging & shows a preview of the next chapter.
My friend gave us a laserdisc player & a box of movies. In the box were chapters 1 & 2 of this series. We watched the first one. And maybe one of these days when I'm extra bored I'll watch chapter 2...that is if I haven't used the laserdiscs for frizbees by then.
I wonder if laserdiscs will shatter nicely upon impact with a tree...In this case that's about all they're good for. Well maybe some really bored little kids might like Josh Kirby.
King Kong (2005)
Awesome CGI, good story, & decent acting = wonderful remake!
Travis & Annette (as usual)..
This movie seemed a bit long for cinema viewing, but was just right for home viewing. And actually this doesn't reflect on the content of the movie, but more on the greater comfort and control home viewing provides.
ANNETTE: This movie was a wonderfully sensitive remake. Jackson created believable characters which carried the story admirably. Especially impressive was Kong and Ann's relationship. There were a couple of instances of characters being developed and then seemingly disappearing (notably the Jimmy character), but this didn't harm the story. I really liked Jack in this. He was the sensitive man, forced into physical confrontation (which was previously alien to him) for the girl he cares about. Adrien did it well too.
TRAVIS: The CGI for Kong was absolutely the best I've ever seen. That ape was fabulous. Some of the other CGI was of lesser quality (the dino stampede being one instance). But naturally the focus was on Kong so this didn't detract much from the spectacle. Story was nicely developed also with fuller characters than the original 1933 version. I was really pleasantly surprised at how perfect Jack Black was for the Denham role. And that was my favourite character too. It was awesome how I would hate the guy one instant, then want him to get away with his schemes later.
ANNETTE: My absolute favourite scene was the frozen pond with Ann & Kong. This was a wonderful interlude in an otherwise violent episode, and served so well to show the bonding of Kong and Ann.
TRAVIS: Yes, Annette definitely loves that scene. I am forced to watch it multiple times during each viewing. It is a nice scene tho. Now my favourite scene was when Kong did the discus throw with the biplane. That was just awesome! And he got a 2-for-1 shot on it too.
ANNETTE: My rating is an 8 for this. Some scenes (like the dino stampede) seemed a bit excessive. And some characters seemed to have been built up to no purpose. Other than that, it was a magnificent production.
TRAVIS: I also gave an 8. And I also feel some scenes were drawn out too much (especially Kong & Ann staring at each other, the sunset, etc.). And even some of the action scenes seemed to go on beyond the realm of effectiveness. But otherwise, I really liked this movie.
We both definitely recommend this movie. It is decently safe for all but the youngest kids. The worst scenes which could possibly scare kids are the giant bugs, the worms that consume the cook, and when Kong breaks the dino's jaw.
For a remake, this was fantastic. Not many remakes can boast of the quality of this one.
This one is "Red" hot!
From Travis & Annette...
Both of us laughed all the way thru this. Massively entertaining.
We didn't expect much after seeing some previews for this. The animation didn't look overly impressive, and we weren't really expecting much out of another story of "Little Red Riding Hood".
BOY WERE WE SURPRISED!.
ANNETTE: This little gem had a interesting and creative storyline. It was well thought out and the characterisation was wonderful. I simply fell in love with all the characters.
TRAVIS: Oh yes! I loved the characters too. Granny was just awesome...so cool. The singing goat cracked me up too. I haven't laughed so much at a movie in years. And the puns and the twists the story took really rocked.
ANNETTE: The animation was what I would class as "sub-par". But, you know, I hardly noticed because the plot and characterisation were so well done. And I much prefer a decent story to perfect technique.
TRAVIS: Yep. I've got no complaints with this. The score was lively and the tunes were cool too. Whatever the animation lacked (and it was pretty weak) was more than compensated for by the story, characters, and score. I'm really impressed.
Man, I hope these guys make some more. It was so refreshing to actually have a movie that was really funny and told a decent story. This is a movie I know we're gonna be able to watch many times.
Both of us are in agreement on the rating for this title, and give it a 9 (only reason it didn't get a 10 was because of weak animation).
Absolutely do not miss seeing this, no matter how old you are. (It's safe for all kids BTW).
Bad News Bears (2005)
Washed out clone!
By Travis & Annette: Both of us really liked the Walter Matthau version, but we feel this remake, while adhering to the original story (almost verbatim in some places), was a total bomb.
ANNETTE: The kids were not nearly as cute or spontaneous as in the original. I just couldn't develop much empathy for them. And their interaction with Thornton as Buttermaker was not nearly so humorous and engaging as with Matthau.
TRAVIS: Massive agreement there Annette. I wasn't impressed at all; although I still liked the Tanner kid and his cocky attitude. But, strangely, I was also favourably impressed with the kid that played Kelly. I don't think I've ever seen that kid before, but he might just have what it takes to make a decent actor. Sorry about the vagueness in my reasoning, but I can't really put my finger on why I feel this way. He just had a "presence" that impressed me for some reason even though his character was a lesser one.
ANNETTE: Sadly, Hollywood is very inept it seems in the remake department. Just look at such disasters as "War of the Worlds", "Bewitched", "Dukes of Hazzard" and this atrocity. Usually Travis is much harsher in his criticism of movies than I am. But, in this case, it's the opposite. I felt that, while this movie hashed through the same story, somehow it lost the "soul" of the original. My rating is a 1.
TRAVIS: I'm going with a 4 on this. I was impressed with the Kelly kid, Tanner was still cool, and there was "eye candy" in the cheerleader department (Ouch! Annette socked me for that).
We'll be kind and round up our average to a 3. Our suggestion is watch the original Matthau version and don't waste your time with this poor excuse for a remake.
Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)
Not original, but still nice!
by Travis & Annette...
Well, we finally agreed on the rating for a movie...woo hoo!. We both give this one a 7.
Most everyone will agree that this movie is almost an exact clone of Jumanji, except for the setting. This doesn't make it bad though.
ANNETTE: Actually I enjoyed this movie just a small bit more than Jumanji. The kids were better actors is the main reason. My favourite character had to be Danny. He was so cute and played his role admirably...a very believable 6-year-old boy.
TRAVIS: Walter was my favourite. I've known some 10yo kids who acted almost exactly like that. Walter was a very realistic character. But both boys were actually quite good. Generally I have issues with kid actors, but these are an exception. The other actors (other than the Astronaut) were relatively minor. And I really didn't care much for the Astronaut although his acting was fine.
ANNETTE: The dialogue between the boys is much improved over Jumanji. It's very typical of what arguing young boys would say to each other. For instance, Walter bragging about his having a robot and Danny being jealous of that fact. And I thought Walter's ending line to the effect of "so you like my eyes..." when his sister is leaving was perfect.
TRAVIS: Strangely this movie reminded me of titles like "Romeo & Juliet" with DiCapprio or maybe "Titus" where it's the same story but set in a different era. In this case of course it's Jumanji set in space. One cute thing that amused me was the deal with the bike. It's in almost every scene...orbiting the house, bumped by the Zorgon ship, and then at the end falling just where Walter was standing.
We both agree effects were mediocre to weak. But that didn't seem to detract from the movie. If you are an effects person it might be an issue.
And we feel this movie is pretty much suitable for anyone to watch. Maybe parents with wee ones should note the very mild language. The words "biatch" & "you suck" are used. Otherwise it's clean.
This is a pleasant little family movie with a decent story most kids can relate to.
Nanny McPhee (2005)
One of us liked It; The other one...hmmm
by Travis & Annette.
For the most part this was an enjoyable movie. And it's a fine choice for family entertainment.
ANNETTE: Nanny McPhee's character was my favourite. She has excellent stage presence. Mr. Brown was my second choice. He was actually lovable in a puppy-dog sort of way. The kids were cute but not especially notable. They filled out the purpose of the story fine, but I didn't find myself warming to them much.
TRAVIS: This is not my type of movie, but I'll try to be fair about it. I also liked Nanny McPhee the best, but the rest could've easily put me to sleep. I felt the only decent characterisation was McPhee. Kid actors sometimes get on my nerves a bit, and these were an incessant reminder of that fact.
ANNETTE: Once scene in particular seemed a bit out of character for the rest of the movie...the dancing donkey. But I was so enchanted by the snowy wedding scene. I would like to be married like that. I also enjoyed the food fight more than I usually do that type of thing.
TRAVIS: I ain't getting married in the snow! But it wasn't a bad scene. Often during this film, I was very much reminded of "Mary Poppins" and that "Lemony Snicket" movie (both of which I didn't really care about much). Now, if I had kids, I would still feel really good about having em watch this film; But, for me, even tho I feel it's a decent movie, it's just not my genre. Predictably, the food fight was my favourite scene.
Our combined rating was 7 on this.
ANNETTE: I felt this was a good production, with decent acting and a very good story. Great for families. I'm giving it a 9.
TRAVIS: A 5 is about my limit on this type of stuff. Even "Mary Poppins" couldn't get much more out of me even tho it was highly rated. But I will recommend this as a fun family film. If you have kids, give it a shot.
Even Dickens himself would like this one.
Me and my girlfriend, Annette, watched this together and we'll both comment.
Both of us really enjoyed watching this even though it took some liberties with Dicken's work. A lot of Dicken's works are somewhat dark and dreary (including Oliver Twist), but this movie changed all that. It was fun, colourful (both visually and musically), and the characters were more lighthearted.
TRAVIS: Normally, I don't care a lot for musical and dance movies, but the tunes in this production were catchy and lively, and the choreography was awesome.
ANNETTE: That's really saying a lot coming from Travis. I can't emphasise enough how really good the dance numbers were. You can tell, for example, that those boys really worked hard getting the routines down to perfection.
TRAVIS: Three actors really stood out IMO; Nancy (Shani W.), Bill Sykes (Oliver Reed), and Artful Dodger (Jack Wild). Man, that Oliver Reed can really do a good villain. That one scene where you see his eyes thru the mail slot gave me chills down the back...AWESOME. And that kid Jack Wild was a perfect Artful Dodger. And Nancy was fantastic (man, I felt bad when she got killed). She can sing too! Kudos to the casting department on their choices there. I hated the Oliver Twist kid tho. He was just too whiny and wimpy for my taste. (I kept wishing Bill Sikes would drop him off into the mud during the chase scene.) And they shouldn't have had him sing either.
ANNETTE: Acting was truly superb. In addition to the three stars Travis mentioned, I felt Ron Moody (Fagin) did a tremendous job. He was so funny, and at the same time lightly sinister too. The supporting actors were great too. Harry Secombe carried his Mr. Bumble role extremely well. And he has a wonderful singing voice. I saw Mr. Secombe perform in another movie entitled "Davy" where he played an opera singer with pleasing results. The talented Harry Secombe should have been in a lot more movies.
TRAVIS: As I mentioned earlier the story isn't quite true to the book, but IMO it was more robust. This movie was not boring either, as some musicals seem to be. And the continuity kept you moving right along with the characters. The tunes did not detract from the plot or put you to sleep by being too long.
ANNETTE: Any musical movie which Travis watches completely has to be a rare find. And this one is indeed a rare find. It is a very easy-to-watch production which carries the viewer smoothly and enjoyably through to the end. In a day when movies all seem to be effects combined with pretty faces, this was a refreshing interlude.
Our combined rating for this was 8.5 of 10. (We'll round up to 9 in this case.).
TRAVIS: I rated this a 7 mainly because the Oliver Twist kid (Mark L.) irritated me, and his songs were torture to my overly sensitive ears. Otherwise, it was an outstanding movie.
ANNETTE: My rating is a 10. Movies don't get much better than this. And you can tell everyone involved in this production really worked hard to make it what it was...a masterpiece.
Please don't miss this one...even if you normally don't like musicals. It really is a rare treat.
Both of us say...Dream on
This is sort of a double review cause me and my girlfriend watched this together and we both have "thoughts" about it.
My 9yo cousin gave us this movie just cause he liked it...he even got us a couple pairs of 3d glasses to watch it with.
Both of us thought the movie was kid junk, but really isn't that what it was supposed to be? There were some fun spots though.
TRAVIS: Most of the characters I hated. (Too bad Mr. Electric didn't do away with some of em before he was defeated.) They were weak and poorly acted...esp. Max. But I liked Sharkboy for the most part. He had that cocky attitude that sort of appeals to me. And, although not original, some of his one-liners were cool.
ANNETTE: Travis is a bit harsh (as usual), but I'll agree with him about weak and poorly acted characters. I couldn't even identify with Lavagirl, although I thought she was quite attractive. Sharkboy was a really cute guy though. Mr. Electric/Teacher was nothing short of annoying.
TRAVIS: Story was really lame, but it's probably good enough for younger kids. It pretty much bored me tho. Some of the 3d was okay and I noticed it looked a heck of a lot better on our LCD TV than the old one.
ANNETTE: Yes. The story was very weak. But it was colourful, and as Travis noted, should appeal to a younger audience. 3d was fun, but not the best I've seen. We watched this on a 27-inch LCD screen with quite nice results.
ANNETTE: I thought the scene where Lavagirl zaps Sharkboy out of jealousy was the cutest part of this movie. And the way Sharkboy copied the tone of the Jurassic Park character's false calm in his "yell...scream" comment when they were on the "train-of-thought" was sort of humorous.
TRAVIS: Yeah Annette. You would like that zapping scene! My favourite scene was when Sharkboy says "ouch" with that sh*t-eating grin on his face when Lavagirl kisses him.
Well, anyhow, as you can see, we didn't totally abhor this movie. Although I think we both agree the only decent acting was by Sharkboy. For the most part this movie was boring. But that's most likely because we are too old for it. If you've got younger kids, it will probably entertain them adequately. Avg. rating=5.
TRAVIS: I rated this a 4 cause it seemed to be cranked out without much thought. With some extra work it could have been a lot better. The only reason it gets as high as a 4 is cause I liked Sharkboy.
ANNETTE: I rated this a 6 because it seemed to appeal to the audience intended. But I also agree that with more time and attention there certainly could have been a lot of improvement. Perhaps if Rodriguez decides to make a sequel, he will obtain a better story with better actors and surprise us all.
"Ornery" I think is the word!
This kid pulls all kinds of crap...and gets away with it! Man, my dad would have killed me had I even thought of this sh*t.
Okay, it's a fun movie, but it seems to be made up of various mini-plots rather than a single main theme: There's the kid screwing up getting to camp so he can win the cup again; then there's the circus poster mishap business; the devious plans of the circus manager's wife against the kid bareback rider; the sleeping pill & lion episode; & Mr. & Mrs. Peck both giving in to the kid scenario.
The movie begins with Billy polishing his prized cup which he has won two years in a row at camp.
Billy is a very mischievous kid who has pulled many stunts and now his parents have forbidden him to go to camp where he can win the cup for the third time (he gets to keep the cup permanently after the 3rd win). This is especially devastating to Billy since he is a braggart and has harassed his rival (who he calls "ice truck") about winning.
Both parents (separately) relent and give Billy money to reach camp. But Billy (and his gang) encounter the circus. When they are cheated by the circus promoter who forges a pass for Billy & his buddies, they attempt to sneak into the circus. But to get back at Billy, his rival "ice truck" snitches on him and Billy has to use the money his parents gave him to pay for circus tickets.
Meanwhile, the woman lion-tamer (wife of circus mgr.) has finagled her way to top billing over the more-talented child bareback rider. But the lion-taming performance is ruined when Billy & his friends put sleeping pills in hotdogs and feed them to the lions.
Now, later in order to get to camp, Billy hitches a ride with the circus and gets acquainted with the young girl bareback rider. And when she gets injured by a malicious act of the woman lion-tamer, Billy dresses as a girl and takes her place as the bareback rider. (This was presumably supposed to be a comical scene, but it only consisted of Billy swinging on the supporting rope trying to hang on to the horse from time to time...although he caught the tail finally.) This was a tough decision for Billy because he knows he'll miss the cup race at camp by subbing in the circus.
But, alas, the lion-keeper gives billy a wild ride in a chariot to the camp and billy enters the race...still dressed as a girl. Billy wins the race with a last-minute flagpole stunt featuring his arch-rival "ice truck".
Even "ice truck's" dad gets (unfairly) bashed by the lion-keeper who mistakes him for Mr. Peck whose name was on the sleeping pill package which was found near the lions' cage earlier.
Thankfully, the woman lion-tamer gets canned by the big wig. (Now, I would have liked it better had one of the lions taken a big bite out of her butt).
All ends well for Billy (imagine that), and the movie ends with Billy again polishing his cup and gloating over his success.
This movie was cute but would never withstand today's standards. I mean, that kid just got away with too much crap. I can just see every parent blaming this movie for all their kids' misbehaviour.
If you like stuff like "Our Gang", "East Side Kids", or "Dennis The Menace" this should entertain you.
Copyrights have expired on this movie and it is available for free download. Quality is good for age of movie. (See forum discussion for download info.)
The Galaxy Invader (1985)
Creature from black lagoon comes back---from outer space.
There were a total of 3 effects in this movie: The first was the crappy animated "meteor" as it hit the earth. The second was the rubber suited alien (reminded me a lot of the creature from the black lagoon). Then there was the globe & gun thingy. Sadly, we didn't get to see a spaceship or even a hole in the ground---not even a studio cave.
The globe & gun contraption would have been fair had it been backed up by decent effects. The shots it fired and the dumb little firebursts were really lame.
Now the rubber mask wasn't bad. The first time it was shown it actually startled me (that's quite an accomplishment for a movie of this calibre). But from there it was all downhill.
Acting was just plain bad. And the only people in the whole cast who didn't look like they had just risen from a pigpen were the kid (David) and the alien. In my opinion the alien was the only decent actor in this mess---and that's probably cause he didn't have to talk. The kid would have been okay if he hadn't had that vacant expression on his face the whole time.
The story was dumb but had an unusual twist in that the alien was the one being chased instead of the usual opposite. But it seemed the story centred around the psychopathic Joe more than the alien. And occasionally you got the idea that maybe the producer had other things on his mind than the story at hand---I mean there were quite a few ass shots of those girls.
Brief recap of story: Alien crashes on earth. Crash is witnessed by college kid who tells his prof. But before prof can arrive, large group of morons (led by two even bigger morons) get together to hunt the alien. Constant bickering (and even killing) among the morons almost makes the viewer forget this is supposed to be a sci-fi movie. (Honestly, I really, really wanted that alien to off all those dopes except the boy & prof.---it would have been so satisfying.) The alien is captured, then gets away with help from boy & prof. But the hunt continues with several lives lost and a most unsatisfying ending. (You really feel sorry for that poor alien---not only because of the story, but because he had to be in the same movie with all those boneheads).
One other positive: it's in colour.
I gave this one a most generous 3 mostly because of the rubber suit & cause it was able to give me a little jump. Sci-fi night owls can probably endure thru this moronic mess without falling asleep---I did. Everyone else---don't waste your time.
It's so tempting to add this one to the coaster collection.
Dick Tracy (1937)
Cool, well-made, old serial (free for download too)
Now I've never read a Dick Tracy comic. They were before my time. But I had a good time watching this serial. It moved well and wasn't all just crashes and fight scenes.
There are a lot of pretty cool effects considering when this was made. The flying wing was my favourite. It looked like an old Northrop YB-35 with the props in front---and was obviously supposed to be bigger. Nice model though. Some other notable effects were the zeppelin crash and the shaking Golden Gate bridge.
Some other decent stuff I liked was the speeded-up secret message on the phonograph disc, the mad doctor with the cat (he was cool), the little belt morse code transmitter (reminded me of Batman's utility belt), and Gwen (I liked how she could fly a plane, and do most other stuff the men did---what surprised me is that they didn't have her get captured by the spider gang at some point).
One particularly goofy effect gave me a laugh: At the end of one chapter Dick Tracy's plane crashes into a bridge. The beginning of the next chapter shows the crash and then Dick getting up out of the plane wreckage, brushing off his clothes, and walking off. Pretty hokey there. And it seems Dick was fond of double-parachuting to get out of trouble---sorta funny.
The stories were not bad. There was plenty of plot to keep me interested and it was plausible---except maybe for a couple of the escapes after the disastrous endings of the previous chapter like I mentioned above. Now it seems the spider gang tried its hand at almost every type of crime before finally getting squashed by Dick Tracy. Let's see...there was bridge-wrecking, plane-motor-stealing, counterfeiting (attempted anyway), illegal brain surgery (on Tracy's bro), gold stealing (2 instances of this...the prospector's mine and the ship), and stealing jewellery.
And of course there are the typical fist fights that everyone expects. As usual, everyone involved gets up and walks away unharmed, without even any dirt or wrinkles on their clothes (as per the unwritten code of all serials it seems). Gun battles occur frequently, but no one notable ever gets hit (well Dick got hit at the end of one chapter, but by the next chapter he was miraculously healed). Additionally, there is no lack of car, boat, airplane, and zeppelin crashes.
I really did have a good time with this serial. I gave it an 8 because it had decent stories along with some better-than-average effects. Old movie fans, and anyone who likes serials, shouldn't miss this one.
Unknown World (1951)
Well it starts off with a decent premise anyhow---scientists want to find an underground place for humanity to survive in case of nuclear war. The rest is pure garbage.
Obviously taken from Verne's novel "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", this adaptation puts a new "bore" on that story (yeah pun intended).
The basic plot can be described as: Group of boneheads descend into extinct volcano via their Cyclotrain (or whatever they called the thing). They go a ways, then all but the driver get out and walk for a while (why?). They bicker among themselves a bit (Mostly the hot-shot rich guy and Andy). They lose a couple of guys to gas. They travel some more in the boring device (which BTW doesn't do much boring. It mostly just moves along tunnels as if pulled by a string---probably was). They stop again to explore tunnels and Hot-shot falls with Andy losing his life rescuing him. (Every time one of these guys bites it it's a relief to the viewer, cause by this time you're hoping they all get wiped out).
Finally they get to a "lighted" cave with subterranean sea where they supposedly find their paradise bomb shelter. But alas, their rabbits can't reproduce, so all is lost and they must give it all up. But, oh no, the big, bad volcano (along with underground lightning storm---oh boy) decides to erupt about that time forcing our party back into their Cyclotrain. They lose another guy about this time---he drowns.
But it's not over yet! Get ready for a further descent into the sea (2600 miles deep to be exact) as their vessel gets sucked down (how this happens is beyond my comprehension). (Hang on guys, we're almost done. Don't fall asleep yet.) A freak up-current (mighty speedy one I must say) sends their craft back up 2600 miles in a matter of seconds to the surface of the earth and these butt nuggets pop out in the vicinity of a tropical island. Oh, boy! They found their paradise.
Man what a hokey pile of dung! Not a single threatening creature to entertain us. (Did they run out of iguanas or something.) No evil Count skulking around the back passages to menace our party. And actors so bad that you hope they die off before the end. What's wrong with these producers? You can't make a movie like this without SOMETHING menacing.
Not to mention the stupid hypothesis about the Earth being cool at the core. Now they actually pulled off that hypothesis pretty well in the James Mason version of "Journey to the Centre of the Earth". But this movie sinks to subterranean levels (at least 2600 miles lower) compared to that one.
I gave this movie a 2 because I liked the little Cyclotrain model. Too bad they didn't do more with it.
I have my own hypothesis about movies like this. They made these crappy movies for teenagers who took their girlfriends to the theatre and wanted to do something besides watch the movie---yeah.
The coaster stack grows. Unless you really, really love old, hokey sci-fi movies, don't even approach this one.
Flash Gordon (1936)
My favourite serial so far---this one has everything
My friend gives me these 3 huge boxes. "They're laserdiscs of Flash Gordon serials," he says. "I'm gonna have some giant coasters," I say. But not so. This serial rocks. (But I had to whine & moan to almost everyone I knew to find a laserdisc player for em).
There is really a little of everything in this serial: There are lion-men, hawk-men, shark-men, Earthmen, & I guess you'd call em Mongo-men. The sets & costumes combine, Greek, Roman, Oriental, Egyptian and there's even armour like English knights. Awesome costumes. And some of it was a riot. Those horrible tights with shorts over em worn by Zarkov are beyond description. And the guys in the furnace scene seem to be wearing boxers.
It's also funny the way they renamed the octopus to an octosack, the orangutan to orangapoid, and the tiger to a tigron. There's even a dragon (a Godzilla-like creature who threatens Flash on a couple of occasions before being killed off).
You like the Invisible Man? This has got you covered. You like sword fights, wrestling (both animals & men), fist fights? Plenty for any taste. We have an underwater city, a sky city, a city on top of a mountain, and tonnes of secret passages and caves.
Hokey effects? Massive amounts. The sky city is supported by radium furnaces stoked like old-time steamships. The rocketships are "powered" by fireworks and have constant backfires and/or humming noises. Lots of wires are visible holding things up (like food when Flash was invisible and of course rocketships). There's clouds out in space, but none around the earth when viewed from Mongo. "Giant" lizards show up briefly. Fighting sea creatures supposedly threaten Flash & co. on the way to the shark-men's underwater city. The "gadgets" in Dr. Zarkov's lab crack me up. And they seem to be the same ones no matter what lab he's in (he worked in Ming's lab and Vultan's).
And yeah, we have romance. Everyone wants Dale; Ming, Vultan, Flash. But at least one person wanted Princess Aura (Prince Baron) just not the person she would have preferred. In fact, it seems a lot of the sub-plots concern intrigue on the part of Princess Aura to try to win Flash.
Man I think the characters are awesome. That fat, horse-laughing, King Vultan was hilarious. How he managed those wings was pure artistry. And Ming! What can I say about Ming? He was perfect. They should have had him for the emperor in Starwars. Ming has got to be my favourite character in this serial. Princess Aura was quite a little character too. And she pulled it off nicely. I think she's a better actress than Dale Arden by a long shot. Even the sneaky high priest had a distinctive role. Zarkov was good, but not the strongest character---and he always stood in the background during fight scenes holding Dale. Now we get to Flash: Flash, of course, was the strong point, the leader, the hero---and he did it well. Crabbe is a good actor and this role fit him perfectly.
After watching this, I think I know where George Lucas got the main idea for Starwars. Watch this, you'll see what I mean.
If you ever considered watching an old serial (or any serial for that matter), this should be your first choice. The only reason I didn't give this one a 10 is because of a few story holes that could have been fixed easily, the way the giant lizards seemed just tacked in there, and a couple of weak characters (king of shark-men & king of lion-men).
Petrify me, please!
The title of this simply begs for ridicule; especially as it has absolutely nothing to do with the film---other than the puns furnished by other reviewers.
I actually fell asleep twice during this happy horsesh*t and had to go back in case I missed something interesting---I should have stayed asleep as nothing remotely resembling the word "interesting" ever became evident. Now this isn't the worst movie I've even seen. (That honour belongs to Eegah.) But it comes amazingly close.
There were so many technical flaws in this movie, even someone like me noticed em (I try very hard not to pay attention to the technical aspects of a movie so as not to spoil my enjoyment). Maybe it's cause there was no story to occupy me that I was forced to notice other things. How many 1000s of feet were they down with no pressure problems? What kind of diving bell lets divers in and out without any water getting in? (I guess you could pump enough compressed air in to equalise the pressure---but then what would you need the bell for?) How do they pop up to the surface at the end so quickly without nitrogen poisoning (bends)? Also, what kind of volcano produces breathable oxygen? And glowing caves complete with caveman and dumb iguana? **sound of eyes rolling**.
Was there a story somewhere? If so, I've forgotten. Oh yeah. Now I remember: 4 dopes descend in bell, which breaks loose. They tour glowing caves. Caveman tries to go for girl. Volcano (or whatever lame excuse they had for a volcano) intervenes---was there more?---I'm getting sleepy just thinking about this movie.
People don't torture yourselves with this bs---zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
They Came from Beyond Space (1967)
Playing a little "title tag" here.
"It Came From Outer/Beyond Space" Could this be the Brits' version of a pretty cool old movie? Hmmmm. Similar story but nowhere near the level of "...Outer Space".
Now "...Beyond Space" isn't really that bad. I got a kick out of it. It reminded me a bit of the Quatermass movies with set styles along the lines of Dr. Who. It's a little disjointed from time to time, but the story was decent with plausible details and kept me interested. And generally the acting wasn't all that bad either. There is a little too much "spying" going on however. Every other scene has our hero peeping thru the bushes, following baddies, sneaking in and out of places, etc. Avengers style. Unfortunately, the ending was a little goofy too.
The effects weren't good, but certainly not as hokey as some I've seen. The rocketship actually looked like one, and the lift device was realistic too (except for the yellow & black striped paint job). Sets were fair (especially for low budget) and had little extra touches (like the automated robot rolling around). I bet the actors tripped more than once on that railroad track thing tho.
Had there been more money and time available, I think this could have been changed from "mediocre" to "brilliant." It seems the talent, plot, and expertise were there just waiting to be brought out.
For a sci-fi fan this should fulfill one of those "night owl" sessions when you just don't want to go to bed. Definitely not an addition to my coaster collection.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Enjoyable, but not "Earth shattering".
Keep in mind that I watch movies totally for enjoyment and rate them on that basis only. I'll leave the technical discussions to those with more knowledge in that area.
Things I liked about this movie: 1) Cool effects. The Martians were awesome. The destruction of humans, buildings & such was great and seamless. No hokey effects here! 2) Acting was believable---could have been better tho.
Things I did not like about this movie: 1) Annoying sub-plot with Cruise & his family. That stuff doesn't belong in a sci-fi movie. (They did that crap in Starwars II also and it sucked.) If Cruise wants to play the daddy role, then find another movie to do it in. 2) Could have used more visuals of the Martians and more intensity when the humans' weaponry is being destroyed---you know, like tanks flying up in the air and exploding, planes crashing into stuff when they're beamed, etc. 3) Somehow it needed a little more explanation. You don't know where the Martians came from unless you've either read the novel or seen the original movie. And you have to guess at the atrocities they were using the humans for (of course if it's just for drinking the blood, then you've got another vampire movie on your hands) Why did they turn the humans to dust at first instead of capture them? And another thing, they should have explained how the Martian tripods got underground. I know the crazy guy said they were there for millions of years, but he wasn't believable.
I really enjoyed watching this movie (mostly because of awesome effects), but later I thought about how much better it could have been. If you cut out some of the slow parts and add more effects (or intensify current ones) this movie would totally rock.
Even tho I've dissed this movie a tad, you still have gotta see it. Few remakes make the grade, but this one does.
Jonny Quest (1964)
Man, this cartoon is cool!
One of my friends popped several episodes of this on a disc for me. Man I didn't even know this existed till now! It rocks hard.
Jonny is a cool little dude with his Hindu friend and little dog. And I love the spy-like adventures they have (my favourite eps are the ones with the villain Dr. Zinn in em); and all the dated scientific gadgets his dad comes up with is awesome. It's also nice how the eps are so varied in both story and location. I gotta get some more of these eh.
My girlfriend has some old books called Rick Brent's Electronic Adventures (or something like that). I read one and it's like Jonny Quest (even has the Hindu buddy, a laserbeam to the moon, little dog, etc). Maybe that's where they got the JQ idea. Anyhow it's a really cool idea. Too bad they don't show these cartoons now. I like this type of stuff a lot more than what's played these days. If IMDb had a rating for this, I'd be laying out a 9 on this one.
Good stuff here. If you haven't seen Jonny Quest, you should do yourself a favour and have a go at it. It's safe for all ages BTW.
The Wizard of Mars (1965)
Morons mess up on Mars
It's certain my friends are sadistic and laughing their asses off every time I admit to watching one of these lame movies they so "thoughtfully" provide to me. Where do they find this crap anyway. Well, I've found a few on my own too so I won't dis em too bad. Anyhow, my coaster collection is growing.
This movie takes boredom to new depths---the depths of Mars. At least there were some of the usual hokey effects to laugh at. Spaceships you can see stars through, Stupid looking lightning storms on Mars, Volcanos & lava that don't remotely resemble the real thing, Lame water snakes that pose no threat other than putting the viewer to sleep. The only decent effect was the Martian in the crystal tube---looked almost cool.
This is a spoiler although there isn't much to spoil: What little story there is goes something like this: 4 total morons crash land on mars and go in search of their main stage (which they dumped earlier) so they can return to Earth. Along their incredibly boring and mostly silent trek they encounter such things as water snakes (really dumb), lightning storms (no rain involved), spelunking via inflatable life raft (somehow they never move but just seem to be sitting there in their little rafts gabbing about nothing), they encounter what is supposed to be volcanic action (not), sand dunes (at least these are real), and of course the ancient Martian city (this looks like something I might have made in the 2nd grade on the beach out of sand).
When they do encounter the Martians, it is via the little gnome-like guy in the tube (this is the high point of the movie---if you can consider this movie as having such a thing as a high point). Then all the Martians' minds get together to form a floating head which lectures the 4 idiots for way way too long (man I thought I was back in English class or something it was so boring). Now supposedly these Martians have their city frozen in time and want to get time going again so they tell the dumb earthlings how to start it up again. They proceed to do this and the city crumbles as they flee for their lives. Of course they stand around the time chamber looking dumb (really easy for these actors) for several minutes while the city is crumbling before actually running.
When they are at last back on the spaceship I guess heading back to Earth (how they got there is a mystery---one instant they were running from the destructing city, the next they're on board their ship), one of the crew says, "it's only been 2 minutes." Now that's exactly how long this movie should have lasted! Oh, yeah. There are 3 references to the Wizard of Oz: The girl's name is Dorothy, There is a yellow brick road (mostly covered in sand), and the disembodied head appears (much less effectively than the Wizard of Oz's). I'm wondering what the actors and producers of this idiotic piece of crap were smoking while working on this.
It's sorta funny to note that these reject butt nuggets start off with full spacesuits, then offer a really lame excuse to use the Martian air, then when in the ancient city, lose the helmets completely. And at the end when they're fleeing the city, they don't even have their suits on. What total bunk.
If you are in search of a painfully dumb plot, moronic actors, hokey effects---and a cure for insomnia, you found it.
Created by cavemen FOR cavemen
The boneheads who made and acted in this movie ought to be exiled to the mesozoic era or something. Hopefully they didn't get a chance to make any more.
That kid who played the boyfriend was the absolute WORST actor I have ever seen---I can't believe anyone could act that bad even if they were trying. And man did I suffer every time that kid tried to sing. Did they lip sync everything in this crappy fiasco? Half the time it was out of sync.
What's really hard to believe is that to date there are over 70 reviews of this movie. I can hardly imagine 70 people WATCHING this movie let alone reviewing it. All I can say is we're a hardy breed eh.
A person would be well-advised to only watch this movie if they're well intoxicated. It's the stupidest, most idiotic piece of crap I've seen in a long time. I was really, extra bored last night or I couldn't have stood more than a few minutes of this torture. The story is so weak as to be almost non-existent. And the pawing of the heroine by the giant, the boyfriend, and even her father is sick.
This movie totally wasted my time. I didn't even get a laugh from hokey effects---there weren't any. Very few (if any) movies exist worse than this one. My real rating is a -10 of 10 on this. If there were any way to go lower on the vote scale I would have. Well, at least I've got another coaster!
Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952)
I'm missing the zombies!
Okay, so this is corny to the max. But I get a kick out of this stuff anyway.
I can't figure out why they called this "Zombies" as there aren't any zombies (except maybe the robot built by the guys from Mars). Zombies aren't even mentioned except in the last episode.
I do know most everybody in the cast had to get wet at some time or other in this production. They had the entrance to the bad guys hideout go thru an underwater tunnel. Sorta goofy eh!. Speaking of goofy---Larry Martin's rocket pack never fired (although he flew in it a lot---maybe it's invisible rocket blast).
The story is really simple: Guys from Mars want to set off a big H-bomb to deflect Earth out of its orbit so they can put Mars where the Earth was---to warm it up more I guess. They go thru all sorts of contortions to get materials for this project with Larry Martin foiling them at every stage. Lots of cars, boats, trains get wrecked in the process too---Usually at the end of each chapter. Many gunfights occur, along with the usual hokey fist fights in which everyone involved gets up and walks off with no bruises, blood, or even rumpled clothing.
Oh yeah. Mr. Spock was in this, but he didn't do much of anything except say "Yes, sir" to the big shot Martian goon. I think he attacked Larry Martin a couple of times in the underwater passage. Or maybe it was the other goon. It was sorta hard to tell with the goofy, sparkly costumes on that covered most of their heads.
Luckily I didn't have to buy this as I downloaded it from that www.archive.org site (I think all their movies are copyright expired or something so it's legal to download from there). Actually a friend referred me to that site saying "This stuff is your style." I think I'm getting a bad rep here! But I do watch a lot of this old, corny stuff. It amuses me and that's what I watch movies for.
Don't dis this too bad as it's good for a laugh or two. Outlandish costumes and goofy electronic gear will make you chuckle.
Titan A.E. (2000)
Don't dis this movie!
The first time I saw this I was 13 or 14. I saw it in a theatre with some friends. Most of em didn't really seem impressed but I really thought it rocked. I really like Cale's character. He seemed to "click" as a normal guy you wouldn't mind being identified with. And that Goon character was just fantastic. I really liked the scene with the giant ice crystals, and the sound effects during that scene were awesome. And I noticed this movie had a lot of Starwars references, but who cares. Didn't bother me in the least---in fact I like that kind of thing.
I was sort of disappointed at how this one just sort of dried up and blew away (I don't even think it played a whole week at the theatre). Luckily a friend, knowing I liked this movie, gave me a DVD he'd bought and no longer wanted. So, again, I watched and enjoyed this unappreciated great creation. Somehow it seemed even better now.
As usual, I'll leave all the technical discussions to other reviewers (of which there are a multitude). I try to review on an entertainment level only...yeah, I suppose I'm the shallow guy who only sees what's right up front.
Anyhow, if you care a whit about sci-fi, don't miss this one even if it is animated. It doesn't really have that "anime" feel to it. So if you're turned off by anime, check this one out anyway.
BTW, this movie is great for family viewing.
The Lost World (1925)
Very impressive for an oldie!
I guess I'm sort of out of my league discussing this movie as I'm not a silent film fan and know absolutely nothing about silent films.
Still I'm going for it because this movie was good. I liked Jurassic Park and similar movies. And, of course, those had better effects. But what blew my mind was how GOOD the effects were in this movie made 70 years before Jurassic Park. I've seen worse stop-motion animation on movies made 30 years or more after this one ("The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" and "Jason & the Argonauts" come to mind).
I never read Doyle's book and don't know if it's true to the story, but I liked the idea of the dinosaur being brought back to London and getting loose. (I like those types of movies where the big beast gets loose and wrecks things...Godzilla, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Reign of Fire, etc.) For all the technical aspects of this movie, you'll need to check out the other reviewers. But from a purely "watching for enjoyment" standpoint, I have to recommend this movie even if it is silent (although the disc I have has a pleasant audio accompaniment).
To sum it up, this movie is not just for silent movie buffs. I really think the average person will enjoy it. I did.
A Cry in the Wild (1990)
A Cry, but nothing Wild.
Ugh! Another one of those "fooled by the cover" DVDs. I expected some kind of action at least with bears, cats, & such on the cover. I got NOTHING! Bad movie!.
I forced myself to watch this all the way through thinking that eventually SOMETHING would happen...no luck.
Now the reason I gave this a 2 is because of the scenery; otherwise it sucked.
The kid was terrible, talking to himself (although I suppose they couldn't just run a movie with dumb music and no dialogue at all), doing his lame karate stances to a tree stump, threatening a raccoon, munching on worms, and (what a dumbass) kicking a porcupine. And he wouldn't be pulling those quills out that easily either...they stick like fishhooks. At least he fought the bear (weakly) a couple of times.
What was up with the flashback thing? It made a bad movie even worse. I wanted to see a survival movie, not some dramatic bs about a kid suffering thru divorce.
What else can I say? Well, maybe they should have had the bear eat the kid or something. At least that would have been more exciting.
People, don't waste your time on this one.
The Trollenberg Terror (1958)
Why do I watch this junk?
Okay, I buy this disc for a couple of bucks and stay up late watching it. My girlfriend leaves me about 15 minutes into it asking, "Why do you watch this junk?".
Yeah, a crawling eyeball with dumb-looking tentacles is pretty stupid, but I got a kick out of it. Why did it decapitate everyone? I mean, it could have just frozen em all. They all should have saved one to keep around for a hot day eh!.
Seriously, this movie was not much. The eyeball monster was crappy and incapable of scaring a 2-year-old. Acting was pretty bad too. The story was a little better than most sci-fi of that era though. At least the plot didn't stray off into unrelated drama and personal issues.
My version of this movie is called "The Trollenberg Terror." I don't know if there are any differences between it and "The Crawling Eye." I like the title "The Crawling Eye" better though. Seems more catchy.
Anyhow, for the amusement factor, whether "Eye" or "Terror", it was worth watching for me. Really die hard sci-fi fans probably can handle this one. Otherwise, you may want to pass.
Now, if you're an eyeball monster movie fan, check out "It Came From Outer Space." That was a decent movie and actually worthy of a remake.