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Columbo: The Most Dangerous Match (1973)
Flawed Gotcha Takes Away From Ending
I enjoyed this episode, the sparring between Falk and Harvey was wonderful.
However it seems to me that the gotcha at the end is flawed.
Columbo's theory is that the killer had to be deaf because a person who could hear would have known the machine stopped and would have turned it back on. But this is flawed for two reasons.
1. Even as a deaf man Harvey would have felt the vibrations from the machine stop, so he would have known.
2. If the premise of the murder was that the victim fell in by accident and/or jumped in to kill themselves then they would have been alone when they went in the machine.
This means nobody would be around to push the button.
So if you were the killer and could hear perfectly you still would not have pushed the button because you would not have wanted to make it obvious this was a murder
Fun If You Overlook Things
Certainly this is a fun episode and the battle of the bionics is entertaining. I am also well aware of the Mystery Science Theater rule about accepting this is just a TV show.
But IF I am going to be picky there are a couple flaws here.
First off, while Barney Miller (wonder if that's where they got the show name from) is bionic he is also a man. We've seen that both Steve and Jamie are vulnerable to the same things normal people are (IE gas/suffocation/etc).
So why not have Rudy waiting with a team armed with tranquilizer darts ? Knock Barney out and do the procedure. Obviously the answer is if they did that we wouldn't have a cool fight scene.
A second flaw belongs to most bionic fight scenes. While they both have bionic limbs they are otherwise human. So when you slam someone in the back with your bionic arm you're going to shatter their spine, not stun them.
Fun But Flawed Episode
Now to be fair we should never look to Lost in Space as being high literature and there is the Mystery Science Theater rule about recognizing this is just a TV show but there are a few plot holes here.
As others have mentioned the phones/etc seem far outdated for the 60's let alone the 90's.
And nobody recognizes Will ? Again, even in the 1960's they had these things called photographs of astronauts. So there is no picture of the Robinsons at the local newspaper ? Having said that this is a fun episode that gives Bill Mumy a real chance to act and it is a change of pace from the usual stories.
Shatner Can Act
I know it is almost required to say that William Shatner is a bad or hammy actor and certainly this episode does have some pretty campy scenes between Shatner and Majors.
However there is also a lot of pretty good acting by Bill. I don't want to get into spoilers but suffice it to say that Shatner's character is going through a difficult time both medically and emotionally and he delivers with some very subtle acting that shows the pain he is in.
Towards the end where he is experiencing what amounts to a mental breakdown and split personality he is also quite compelling.
Don't get me wrong, the Shat certainly provides a lot of wooden acting but in this episode he shows he's got some chops as well.
The Men Who Built America (2012)
Entertaining Despite Some Historical Errors
Overall I found this to be an entertaining look at the history of the robber barons and how the US economy (and in the long run the world economy) evolved during the last half of the 19th century.
The mix of interviews and commentary with actors portraying the historical figures was effective.
I did have a minor problem with some of the historical errors. For example in one scene they show the magnates viewing a film of William Jennings Bryan and the commentary is to the effect that he is "certain to be the Democratic nominee.
In fact there was no real front runner in 1896 and Bryan emerged as something of a surprise nominee following his famous Cross of Gold Speech But overall an entertaining series
All in the Family: Too Good Edith (1979)
A True View Of Archie's Heart
The last episode of the series (the next season it would become Archie Bunker's Place sans Edith) and the last scene between Archie and Edith.
For much of the series Archie referred to Edith as his dingbat, though she once explained that she always considered that a term of endearment as he was too bashful to use more romantic terms like sweetie.
The final scene, in which Archie expresses his true love for Edith is one of the most romantic and heartfelt of any television series. I think many of us can look at Archie and see a little of our dad or a family friend, often not expressive of emotion and yet deeply in love with his wife.
The beautiful final shot of the two embracing was truly a fitting finale for the Archie and Edith years.
One Of My Favorite Things
With apologies to Julie Andrews for swiping the line, this show is even better than bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
A brilliant parody of high school politics combines with some amazing musical numbers. The cast is likable, even the bad guy characters have some spark and life that make you want to watch.
The members of the glee club are quite talented and give you a reason to smile.
Check out some videos on You Tube if you want some samples of the music and you'll find yourself watching the show.
Hopefully this will be one that will stay on the air for many years to come.
Why Were There Chemicals In The Lab ?
I love this episode of course.
But I do have to wonder, the explosion took place in a lab that was equipped with a pressure chamber and was supposedly for oceanographic type research.
So why did it have such volatile chemicals without any sort of safety protocols ? Obviously the answer is that without the chemicals there wouldn't be an explosion, but it would not really make much sense for this type of lab to have such a chemical supply (indeed in most cases they have separate storage).
A fun episode but I have always wondered.
OK gang, I just got back from a preview of Narnia sponsored by local churches.
So there are my before it comes out comments.
First off, out of respect to the fact that most of you have not seen it I won't comment on plot details and since it's been a long time since I read books I can't comment on closeness to original book.
Having said that, this is an absolutely brilliant film. While there is a very very very clear Christian theme to the film, that is icing on the cake for those of us who share in Christ.
Looking at it from a purely film aspect, it is very enjoyable, as demonstrated by the fact that my Mom, who dislikes LOTR and similar films found this one wonderful.
It is visually stunning, not simply from the special effects (which are great) but from the sweeping vistas. Whoever did cinematography deserves a serious look at an Oscar.
The script is pretty tight. There are some points where the story drags a little, but that is partly attributable to this being the first in a series. As a result they need to spend time setting up the backstory before they can start.
The score is a good compliment to the film, sweeping and uplifting where needed but nicely understated for the rest of the time. It's one of those scores that you don't notice right off but the film would suffer without it.
The acting is top notch for the most part. The Queen was a little less imposing than I might have liked, but she's pretty good. The children were good overall, and I am sure that they will grow into the roles just as the Harry Potter kids have.
One caveat, there are a number of dark scenes, loud battles, etc and I would not suggest taking any young kids. Save them for DVD rental when you can pause the action to soothe upset nerves.
I will be posting a more detailed commentary later, but this will do it for now.
So in case I have not been clear.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE
OK But Not Real Great
As a lifelong fan of both the book and the 1971 film, I was eager to view this movie to see what Burton did with it.
To its credit, it does add a number of aspects from the original book, such as the chocolate palace.
But it also adds a great deal of stuff, such as the backstory on Wonka's dad, which was never in the book. It also stretches out the ending in a way that I found kind of silly.
As others have said, Burton takes his usual off the wall direction in terms of sets. Depp is a deeply creepy Wonka.
If that were the sum of it, I'd be willing to chalk this up to just a different take on the story.
But the one thing that was really lacking for me is the same thing lacking in many films today, that sense of magic of story.
While the visuals are impressive, they are not all required. The original film managed to convey the spirit of the story without a bunch of effects.
For example, in the original film you didn't see what made the elevator fly, and you didn't need to. It was just part of the magic of the story.
Here, for some reason, we need giant jet engines to fly around.
If you're a Burton fan, this is certainly up there in terms of his style of movie.
But if you were looking for the spirit of the book, try again.
America's Heart & Soul (2004)
A Stunning Celebration of America
This is a visually stunning and emotionally moving tribute to the everyday people that make America great. Unlike those films that live to tell us how horrible things are, this one shows the faith, love and determination that make this nation.
While some chose to focus on celebrity, this shows everyday people. From a farmer and his son in Vermont to a father and his disabled son who run the Boston Marathon, it is a heartwarming view of good and decent people.
The cinematography is breathtaking and the director made the wonderful choice to not have a narrator, referring to allow the people to tell their own stories.
I've noticed many find this to be bad because they see it as somehow patriotic (I guess for some people that is a bad thing). Many also blast it for being a pro-Bush or post 9/11 rally film.
Perhaps they failed to listen to the audio commentary by the filmmaker who points out that most of this was filmed BEFORE 9/11. Indeed he has been working on it for 20 years, so a good portion of it was made during the CLINTON years. Perhaps it's OK if it supports him ?
Nor do they take into account the fact that, from what I've been able to find out on the net, the filmmaker is actually a Democrat who did not support Bush in 2004.
I won't go into the debate over diversity in the film since many have already pointed out that the film is quite diverse.
I think this film taps into the real divide in America today. Most people in the United States love this country, regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative. They may dislike policies or leaders, but they love the country.
A small group simply hates America. To they all is bad, nothing is good, and any optimism or positive thought is wrong.
That angry elite may find this beneath their standards, but for most of us it is a wonderful 90 minutes.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
A Powerful Film
I can't really say more than what everyone already has.
It's an epic drama, with wonderful writing, acting and an amazing job of cinematography.
This is a powerful film and an indictment of the uselessness of the UN and other supposedly protective organizations.
They talk about how terrible things are but they do little or nothing to stop genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, etc.
Organizations like the UN need to actually do something about this horror or they need to be replaced with one that can.
See this film and see just how bad things can get and then get up and do something about it.