Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell

Ponderous telling of harrowing history of air pioneer's career-death. Depressing, really. Some real good speechifyin'. Rod Steiger storms in for one scene, seems a bit embarrassed.

Treasure Island

The Treasure Island with the Long John Silver. All others are just also-rans. The Charlton Heston Treasure Island's Blind Pew is superior, however. Robert Newton astounding.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Elia Kazan indicts small-town America hypocrisy and smallness of mind. Pretty effective, too. Excellent performances by all although Jane Wyatt's character is apparently the template that she will be typecast into for the rest of her career. Ed Begley never disappoints.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Professionals

To the credit of the characters none of them seem unduly distracted by Claudia Cardinale's outrageous costuming. That they could act around her line delivieries adds extra "pro" to "Professionals." The difficulties of acting in a second language are duly noted. Overall, good not great.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Odessa File

Weird accents eventually are just part of the milieu. Pretty good overall. The Simon Weisenthal "police procedural" stuff was a bit stiff, but it was also brief. Above average fight scenes. Disappointing resolution.


I did learn that the English really were looking for gold in their early Virginia settlements. Man, that must have been disappointing. Oh, and that Pocahontas was a runway model. The hell!?

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Changeling

I am a sucker for anything with George C. Scott. This is not a groundbreaking entry in th e ghost story genre by any means and has some long dull stretches and is pretty obvious to boot. Good performances carry it along well enough. In the TMI department, Scott's character weeps in almost the same way as I do. Who knew?

The Day of the Triffids

Really awful print on a bad transfer does nothng to improve this very creaky but earnest monster movie. Mostly inept. Some small charms.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunset Boulevard

If shame was one of the elementary forces of the universe this movie would have collapsed Hollywood into a singularity. I'm not sure that the process isn't still working its way through the atomic fabric of Tinseltown. Very close to the top of the list of Greatest Movies of All Time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

As stupid as the first FF movie was, this one exceeds it in every way conceivable. There is no weakest link - the whole thing is a matrix of weak links. The flying car was good. OK, the design of the Silver Surfer was satisfactory.


I avoided this because I didn't think I'd appreciate the trappings. Yep.
Looks cool, but I just can't care about some Hotwheels with eyes sliding around on the windshield. Also, it is freaking hyperkinetic.

Journey To the Center of the Earth

Childish but fun. Physics purists will not be able to watch.

Spartacus (bonus materials)

Peter Ustinov interviews are extremely droll. Includes alternative Alex North tracks.

Black Narcissus

Atmospheric and ultimately disturbing. Nice matte paintings!

The Road to Hong Kong

Bottomlessly stupid but has some moments of amusing weirdness. Apemen in spacesuits were unexpected.


Handsome production is so perfectly completely derivative and unoriginal that it is more an anthology of fantasy tropes than a script. Famous youthfulness of the author is no excuse.

apple(b)logue: Warren Buffett and the Fruit of the Loom Guys

Choice quote from 2006:
"The US, it should be emphasised, is extraordinarily rich and will get richer," Buffett says. "As a result, the huge imbalances in its current account may continue for a long time without their having noticeable deleterious effects on the US economy or on markets. I doubt, however, that the situation will forever remain benign.

To which I say, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" If only I could have foreseen the future. And I didn't even riff on the ukulele.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LEGO 7683 Fight On the Flying Wing


Irrationality Has Consequences

I have never accepted the notion that a corporation has any of the rights or even privileges of a human being. I think such thinking is obviously false, potentially hilarious and demonstrably dangerous. (Hi, Enron!)
What I did not expect to learn is that we handed the keys to personhood over to Skynet without even meaning to. An amusing disheartening terrifying in its implications summary of interest.

Lake Huron Area Comparable to West Virginia

It is the third largest fresh-water lake on this planet.

Stock Market

Is a volatile market a sign of idiotic, spastic traders or of a rapidly changing world? Would a cohort of rational traders be non-volatile? How many greedy idiots does it take to upset the apple cart? If a rational trader plays on the spasticity of his peers, does that calm or excite the market?

Discuss. Firebrands and hayforks will be available in the lobby. Sign up now for tar and feather parties!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kevlar, Rifle, Hummer, Yorkies ....

So odd.
A woman called 911 just before 3 a.m. and said someone was outside her home in the 600 block of North 138th Street, said police spokeswoman Renee Witt. A 911 dispatcher heard a shot fired in the background and sent officers to the woman's address.

Before officers could arrive, the man kicked in the front door, Witt said. When the woman told him the person he was looking for no longer lived there, the man fired a shot into the floor. He then fled, climbing into a waiting black Humvee, she said.

Officers stopped the Humvee on a nearby dead-end street. The man was wearing a bullet proof vest and a jumpsuit similar in color and cut to ones worn by King County sheriff's deputies, Witt said. They also seized a rifle and a handgun.

Animal control officers were to take custody of the man's two Yorkshire terriers, which were found inside the Humvee, Witt said.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Across the Pacific

Swell espionage thriller with Phillip Ahn and Keye Luke. Also features Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Sidney Greenstreet. I was curious about the title (none of the action takes place in the Pacific, much less across it) and IMDb revealed that the original plot involved Pearl Harbor but events required a re-write.

Springfield Rifle

Ample action does nothing to propel consistently perfunctory and frequently baffling plot. No one is needlessly embarrassed; even Lon Chaney Jr comes off reasonably well. Unforgivable Mickey Mousing from Max Steiner. Oh, and the rifle has exactly nothing to do with anything beside provide some Civil War flavor except that it's all wrong.

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