Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Assassination Bureau

Swinging sixties comedy about murder for hire Can't quite make up its mind if it is the Mouse That Roared or Casino Royale. Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg are fun to watch but Telly Savalas was not quite in the groove.

Dark Passage

Preposterous goings-on seem rational somehow when performed by Bogart et al. Great supporting cast.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Red Claw

The confused milieu of the Universal Holmes series is a curiosity. This one is set in francophone Canada (no actual French is in evidence, natch) but it's some district in Quebec that can stand in for Transylvania, or Dartmoor for that matter. The body count is rather high and the murders are grisly for the genre. According to the commentary track, this production was escaping from its serial nature and edging into 'A' territory. Hmm.

House of Strangers

Richard Conte is much more comfortable in the role of unprincipled avenger than stolid psychologist. Some grim noir touches in spite of being set in the thirties. Check out the bust of Mussolini!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mutran & Vican

The current crop of Bionicle includes this set, which is labeled "Special Edition." The specialness is that it is actually two sets in one box. There are no unique or particularly collectible aspects to it. The box has a window in the front which peeks in on a sort of diorama background. It is hard to capture in a 2-D photo but it's eye-catching.

The toy itself is very much like the others in its cohort. This particular character has more claws and knives, and has wings which have more articulation than the others.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pointless Partial panorama

  Where the magic is made.
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Where is the justice?


What a world! I do not lie about WMDs in Iraq, squander the goodwill of the nations of the world, or grope the leaders of other nations, yet it is I receive a cracked DVD.

edit -- It has happened to me before. And it felt unfair then, too! Woe is me!
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Lego Star Wars fun.

Eensy beensy rebels!

Friday, January 18, 2008

new Lego Indiana Jones theme is nifty

Han Solo, Sandy the Chipmunk and Mr. Freeze are not part of the Indiana Jones universe. Yet.

The King of Masks

Heart-warming tale of street actor who needs a male heir to carry on his ineffable art. There is no part of this that is not a complete fantasy. Cute, though. Even the slave market of little girls sequence is played cute.


Michael Caine's star-making performance. And it is a tour-de-force. The inevitability of the denouement can be felt like approaching weather.

Netflix Rental History Shortened - Lazy Blogger Loses Out

If there is anybody reading this claptrap (Hi Vince) you may have noticed that I infrequently post short opinions of movies that I have watched. These are, for the greater part, from Netflix. My most recent spasm of reviewettes was in October. Sometime in November, Netflix changed the way that they display one's rental history. There is now no longer a view of one's entire history.
There are folks out there who keep a close eye on Netflix's every tiny move and they write about it at length. As I feel the need to write up these one-liners before they expire, I won't post any links.

Here's my my last 90 days of rentals from Netflix:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939
L'Atalante, 1934
It Came From Beneath the Sea, 1955
Captain Blood, 1935
Six-String Samurai, 1998
Munchhausen, 1943
The Silent Star, 1960
Young Mr. Lincoln, 1939
Heroes: Season 1: Disc 2, 2006
House, M.D.: Season 1: Disc 3, 2004
Corpse Bride, 2005
La Bete Humaine, 1938
The Lost Continent, 1951
Round Midnight, 1986
Sundown, 1941
Beowulf & Grendel, 2005
Whirlpool, 1949
The Italian Job, 1969
Augustus, 2003
The Lower Depths (Les Bas-fonds), 1936
The Desert Rats, 1953
Boudu Saved from Drowning, 1932
Bell, Book and Candle, 1958
Of Mice And Men, 1992
The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing, 2004
Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths, 1991
Kristin Lavransdatter, 1995
The Sword of Doom, 1966
The Scarlet and the Black, 1983
Harvey, 1950
The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999
Bird, 1988
Jason and the Argonauts, 1963
Black Hawk Down, 2001

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Everyone knows that Basil Rathbone IS Sherlock Holmes. I was unaware that Geoge Zucco IS Moriarity. Masterfully urbane and depraved. The actual mystery is of no consequence.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Another inimitable performance by Michel Simon. Everyone else can go jump in the Seine for all I care, let me watch Michel Simon!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Six String Samurai

The only thing that could have saved this indulgent and unnecessary dreck would have been Jean Gabin. Just because you can, etc. The best thing about this is the title.


WWII artifact from the other side. A little bit pervy for the material though. Decadent even. Hard to believe coming from Germany late in the war, huh? Occasional fun lightens up the generally morose tone.

The Silent Star

Cold War artifact from the other side is pleasantly earnest and slicker than I expected. Its main attraction is that it is such earnest drivel. Science content approaches zero and threatens to go into negative territory, and is dramatically barren, to boot. Nice colors, though.

Young Mr. Lincoln

Henry Fonda in lifts. Material suits Fonda's "aw-shucks" schtick well although there are flashes of a more presidential presence within. It does not escape from the down-home, conestogated, split-rail milieu, however.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Captain Blood

What is it about Errol Flynn that is so off-putting? So close, so very close to being great but there is something in his performances (or persona?) that curdles my appreciation. He should be totally cool, but there's some reek of eww hovering at hand. I suppose if I researched him more I would find out the name of this aura, but I am content to leave it in the movies.
Otherwise, it's all in good fun. Not nearly enough Basil Rathbone and his outrageous accent.

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