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All reviews - Movies (66) - TV Shows (53) - Books (5) - Music (3)

Been There and Done That? Maybe,...

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 7 January 2015 10:10 (A review of Run for Your Life (1965-1968))

I'm a big fan of classic TV and eagerly awaited its airing on one of the currently-in-vogue "retro" cable channels.
But now that I'm watching it, I'm feeling a bit conflicted about Run For Your Life.
On the one hand, it has an excellent pedigree with Ben Gazzara as the lead and the entire cream of the 60s character actor set appearing throughout the series' 4-year run.
On the other hand is this vague feeling that I've already seen this show before. It seems like its a mash-up of Route 66, The Fugitive, and The Kraft Suspense Theatre anthology show. Heck, one of Run's 3rd season episodes, "Beware My Love," is a re-telling of the Kraft episode "The Deep End" (which starred a young and attractive Ellen Burstyn early in her career)!
It isn't helping matters that the episodes aren't been shown in order, so I can't appreciate any of Gazzara as Paul Bryan's character development.
I'll have to come back to this and rate it when I get a few more episodes under my belt.

As of April 30th, I've watched the majority of the episodes from the show's 3-year run (my DVR has a mind of its own!).

I can tell you this:
The good - it's a classic 60s omnibus show, full of every popular character actor of the era and a nice peek and bit players who would go on to great TV and movie careers.

The bad - after awhile, the existentialism got redundant. One of the best of the last season's bunch - "Cry Hard, Cry Fast," which was based on a John MacDonald novel.

After that, it appeared Ben Gazzara was just phoning in the character.

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The Librarians review

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 1 January 2015 06:03 (A review of The Librarians)

Taken from the series of successful TV movie. Dean Devlin, TNT and a stable of contemporary characters actors, mix in some standard sci-fi/fantasy tropes and you have a pleasant hour of television that doesn't tax your brain but, if you pay just enough attention, you might learn a few facts!

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Faux Eau

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 3 November 2014 09:30 (A review of The Underwater City)

A fairly "dry" (haha) but optimistic melodrama posing as science fiction. The "faux" underwater SCUBA sequences, complete with soap bubbles passing for exhaled air, are unbelievably laughable! The disaster sequences at the end brought the movie to a too-quick and tidy end.

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Too chaotic

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 3 November 2014 09:28 (A review of A to Z (2014-2015))

I watched the first four episodes (A to D) and found the show was more chaotic than sweet. The supporting cast wasn't supportive and, absent Lenore Chrichlow, they were distracting and annoying. Also knowing the relationship would eventually end (a la "How I Met Your Mother), I couldn't get the emotional buy-in for a whole season. I wasn't surprised to read this morning that NBC cancelled it. Maybe if another network picks it up, retools the supporting cast and setting, it might work later.

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War Is Hell

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 2 November 2014 04:20 (A review of Fury)

War is hell. And it's a living hell, as seen through the eyes of green-as-grass newbie typist-cum-tanker, Norman. The good guys aren't always the winners and the bad guys aren't always what they seem. It is also, to my recollection, the first time a movie showed Hitler's Germany, in it's death throes, utilizing (and brutalizing) the Third Reich's children - Hitler's last gasp at surviving the war, and the depiction is utterly, heinously real. This particular story isn't based on actual events, but rather the combined recounting of the men of the 2nd Armor Division. Unlike "Saving Private Ryan," where the actions of many saved the life of one, the actions of Sherman Tank "Fury," commanded by Wardaddy Collier and her crew, helped pave the way the final victory over Germany. If your heart isn't pounding in your chest by the end, you need to have your pulse checked!

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Not Impressed,...

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 29 October 2014 05:06 (A review of Marry Me)

From the two episodes I've already watched, it's really lightweight fluff and not really impressing me. Casey Wilson so far has been a big disappointment: she's taken her Penny role from Happy Endings and turned up the "ah-maa-zing" shtick to a wholly annoying shrill! She needs to turn it down quite a bit, leave Penny behind and move into her new role if this show has any hope of making it to May 2015.

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Salem review

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 29 August 2014 04:57 (A review of Salem)

I'm really conflicted about this show: on the one hand, it's a period piece/soap opera based on the rarely touched-upon story of the Salem Witch Trials hysteria AND it doesn't involve vampires and werewolves!! However, the unrelenting gore for what the producers must think is "edgy" shock value is completely unnecessary and undermining a good plot.

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Wayward Pines review

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 11 August 2014 02:26 (A review of Wayward Pines)

Wasn't Twin Peaks supposed to be in Idaho, too? Something weird, other than potatoes, must be growing in that state!

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Cinnamon Apple Rings review

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 10 August 2014 02:34 (A review of Cinnamon Apple Rings)

One of the first things I look forward to making during the fall, when the proper type of apples come into season.

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Hollywoodland review

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 14 June 2014 08:37 (A review of Hollywoodland)

I've always had a soft spot for Hollywood in the 50s and the 50s-era LAPD in articular, so this movie satisfies two things for me.
The movie itself was never the big hit (or financial windfall) that was promised. I think it was because the pre-production press featured Ben Affleck's role as George Reeve, when the bulk of the movie was centered around up-and-comer Adrien Brody's role as a down-at-the-heels PI Louis Simo and his investigation into Reeve's controversial death. SPOILER ALERT - Affleck's role is Reeve's life in flashback and minimal.
The plot, told through Simo's eyes, is surprisingly straight forward: George Reeve, former star of TV's Superman, died after a party under suspicious circumstances. As in the true story upon which the movie is based, many of the leads (and subplots) lead nowhere and in the end, the true cause of Reeve's death was never wholly resolved. The truer victim: truth at the hands of the Hollywood studio system.

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