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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)

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'Tis The Season/Merry Christmas
'Tis The Season/Merry Christmas
Price: CDN$ 23.41
20 used & new from CDN$ 15.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh How Sweet it is-an unbeatable Christmas Treat, Sept. 12 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jackie Gleason-Tis the Season,marks the debut of BOTH his Xmas albums on one CD.He first released Tis' the Season in /56 and 10 years later released Merry Christmas.These are not recordings taken from 78's or albums,but restored and remastered recordings from the original Capitol tapes! Wow.
The first album contains those /50s luscious strings and Bobby Hackett sound.For the second one Gleason has added background vocals enhancing the lead lines of the strings.And it is all in glorious stereo.If I were you I would snap this CD up as quick as you can.Although it is quite a ways from Christmas as I write this,I decided the closer it got the less chance I would have of ever picking it up.I think this is going to be,and deservedly so,a HUGE seller.
Bless you Mr.Gleason for your huge talent and the beautiful memories you have given the world.

Evil Dead (Bilingual) [DVD + UltraViolet]
Evil Dead (Bilingual) [DVD + UltraViolet]
DVD ~ Jane Levy
Price: CDN$ 6.88
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.39

3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable remake, Aug. 25 2013
The newest incarnation of Evil Dead(released April/13),stars,among others,Jane Levy,Shiloh Fernandez,Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas.Like the first and most famous version,this one stars a group of relative unknowns,sets them in a cabin in the woods and lets the evil overcome them,one by one.It's a modern twist on an old favourite,but with little to add that is new and original,this one just looks like what it is....a remake,and not a great one at that.
This story finds a group of youngins out in the woods,meeting up at an old cabin.Prior to this we are given a sequence where a father has to set his daughter afire and shoot her in order to purify her soul of demons.Of course this is the self same cabin the youngsters meet in.There are three girls and two guys(hey,I like those odds!).One is a nurse,who is there to help in another "purification" of sorts-the drying out of one of the guys sisters,Mia.While the treatment begins,one of the guys finds in the basement,amongst a bevy of dead hung animals,the Necronomicon,and starts trying to decipher it.His pronunciation of certain words summons a demon who sails towards the cabin and its eventual inhabiting of Mia.Mia tries to warn her friends of something untoward,but of course no one believes her.They all think she is trying to get out of her treatment.
Mia tries to make a run for it in one of the cars,but ends up in a swamp.Once out she is pursued by the demon,who catches her amongst a group of thorny branches,seemingly alive.The demon disgorges something vile from her mouth which enters Mia....and the possession is in full swing.The group meanwhile has been out on foot trying to find Mia,and when they do they return her back to the cabin unawares of what has taken place.When she scalds herself taking a shower her brother runs her out to the nearest hospital.But the river is swollen and they cannot get by.Back to the cabin they go and Mia goes on the war path,attacking the nurse and the other man.They lock her in the basement and the nurse becomes possessed.She is found cutting her face open and she attacks with a needle.The other man is forced to kill her in self defense.
While he is getting his wounds tended to by Mia's brother,the demonic Mia lures the third girl down into the cellar,and ends up biting her.She eventually escapes but her hand is totally infected and it spreads up her arm.She grabs an electric meat carver and cuts off her arm in desperation.She then attacks both men,who end up taking her down by dismembering her.Mia now becomes their target,and they corner her in the basement and tranquilizer her.But Mia's brother is the only one who comes out with Mia,as the other man dies.Mia is subsequently buried alive outside in a shallow grave.He waits just long enough and then revives her.The demon has left her,but inside the cabin he is attacked by his"dead" friend.While his screaming sister tries to get her brother out of the cabin,he ignites a gas can which engulfs both men and the cabin itself.Blood rains down outside as Mia is attacked by yet another demon out of the ground.The vehicle she tried to enter has now been upended and has trapped her hand.She pulls until her hand slips off and she attaches that stubby end to a chainsaw,which she uses to take care of the demon.The film ends as the sun comes up and the dawn of a new day.If you watch the credits to the end,Bruce Campbell himself makes an appearance there by giving us all his penultimate line from the original film...."Groovy".
That last bit by the Campbell-meister is the best thing about this film.However a younger gen who has never ever seen the original,let alone know who Bruce Campbell is(perish the thought!),will never get the reference.
The film goes along in the beginning quite well,but it slowly but surely becomes more contrived as it winds its way along.For instance,Mia tries to escape the cabin but ends up in the swamp.How does the group that comes looking for her know she has only gone a certain distance,when she could have been long gone to the Yukon....and they're on foot to boot!? Another might be the pool of water in the basement.We have seen the basement before but noticed no such pool,it just conveniently appears.Then there is the moment Mia pulls her hand off which is stuck under the c'mon,pulls her hand off...for real? It just doesn't ring true.
Like the chainsaw,there are many throwbacks to the original and its creators.The first appearance of Mia is the prime example,as she is sitting on what looks like an /85 Olds,very close to the one from the original film and she is wearing a Michigan sweater.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.There are three featurettes as extras.
In conclusion,Raimi,Campbell and Tapert had a great chance to do something a little more original and fresh.The film starts out in the right direction but becomes more and more contrived as it winds its way along.I was expecting better.Maybe you can never go back...or maybe shouldn't go back.

Kick-Ass (Bilingual)
Kick-Ass (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Price: CDN$ 5.88
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another somebody done somebody wrong movie! 4-4 1/2 stars., Aug. 17 2013
This review is from: Kick-Ass (Bilingual) (DVD)
You know,the great thing about being an independent reviewer here at Amazon is that I don't have to follow the latest edition of the Hollywood Reporter,or be at the next L.A.soiree for the premiere of some movie,or attend the latest film festival in Timbuktu.Instead I may,or may not have heard some movie hype before hand,just like any other person.Well I did not hear squat about Kick-Ass(released Mar/10) except for it being shown at the local theatre where I live.So what a pleasant surprise to view a film that has combined the super hero genre with the human condition and wrapped it all up in a film with a big heart.It is NOT what you might expect,as this is one film that should not be judged by its derivative and simplistic title.
The film stars,among others,Aaron Johnson,Christopher Mintz-Plasse,Chloë Grace Moretz,Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage.
The story finds an ex policeman who was framed by the local drug lord in New York City.He is back and has been slowly seeking revenge on the king pin who did him wrong,Frank D'Amico.In his preparation,he has brought up his pre teen daughter to be able to handle herself physically and mentally in dangerous circumstances.She knows everything from kung fu to shooting an AK-47,and everything in between.In a parallel plot we have a young high school student who fantasizes about fighting crime.He actually orders a form fitting blue uniform one day and starts his perilous journey,which has more than its share of bumps.When he confronts three bullies beating up on one man he becomes an instant You Tube sensation and his life and new moniker,Kick-Ass,turn upside down in an instant.His girlfriend tells him about some guy who has been hassling her and he goes to his apartment to warn him off.Instead he ends up getting a bad beating,but there is a sudden intervention.It comes from the ex cop and his daughter,who are Big Daddy(dressed like Batman) and Hit Girl respectively.They tell him that they will be around should he ever need his help.
D'Amico's son comes up with a plan for his dad,who blames Kick Ass for his problems.He asks him to buy him a tailored costume of his own,and he will assume the name of Red Mist.That way he can befriend Kick Ass and deliver him right to his dad.The plan goes better than expected when Red Mist gets Kick Ass asks to meet with Big Daddy and Hit Girl.When Red Mist enters the room he shoots Hit Girl who falls right out the window.Kick Ass and Big Daddy are taken hostage and paraded on camera,on line,before countless viewers,who will witness their execution.Both are beaten badly and just as the two are to be set on fire Hit Girl enters the scene and starts a one by one campaign of kick-assery.She rescues both,but her father succumbs to burns he suffered.
Back home Hit Girl is out for revenge.She and Kick-Ass take the fight directly to D'Amico's office tower and floor.Hit girl is a virtual dynamo and mows down all who oppose her,until one of D'Amico's henchman brings out a bazooka.Just as it looks like she's headed for heavens gate,Kick-Ass appears outside in a hover suit,loaded with two machine guns.He does some housing cleaning and saves Hit Girl.They finally get into D'Amico's office and while Kick-Ass fights Red Mist,Hit Girl takes on the don himself.Kick-Ass ad Red Mist fight to a draw,while Hit Girl is down and out and just about to receive the coup de' gras.Kick-Ass enters with the bazooka originally intended for Hit Girl and blasts D'Amico out the glass window.The film ends as Hit Girl has enrolled at Kick-Ass's school and we listen as D'Amico's son plans revenge.
This movie has multiple in jokes with past movies and its' soundtrack at times is very clever.For example,when we first see Hit Girl's fighting abilities the theme song to the old cartoon the Banana Peels,is playing in the background.As I said this film has a ton of heart and the girl's hutzpah,moves and,dare I say,language,are something to behold.She may be around 11,but she is more like 31 in attitude.Cage plays her loving father and at no time do we not know that.Although I should qualify that by saying when we first see the pair together,it is Cage firing rounds into his daughters chest at close range,so she can get the feel of what a bullet impact feels like.It tends to make you scratch your head and say,"wtf?",but soon all is revealed.Oh,and she does wear a Kevlar vest at all times(dad taught her well!).
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary,and featurettes on its making and art and the trailer.
All in all a VERY pleasant and surprising diversion of a film(I love it when that happens).It is a nice twist and mix of different genres and has great heart.I highly recommend Kick-Ass.And kids....don't try this at home!

Southern Gospel Treasury: The Florida Boys
Southern Gospel Treasury: The Florida Boys
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 39.54
5 used & new from CDN$ 29.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Love Lifted Me.....from Bernie, Aug. 5 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Yes, this is the CD that has that opening credit song,sung by Jack Black in the quirky film Bernie.But you will be happy to know that this CD has more just as foot tapping and singable Gospel songs,besides Love Lifted me,on it.The Florida Boys have been around in one incarnation or another since just after WW2.While not a name that springs to everone's lips,but well known where it counts,the Florida Boys have been successfully spreading God's word and doing it in superb style.Their sound is a tight knit one and this CD shows off everyone's(in the group)special talents.Songs like Hallelujah Square,One Day at a Time,I'll see you in the Rapture and Lead me to the Altar are some of my favourites here,along with Love Lifted Me.I have always liked their tight sound and this is a good showcase and starting point to discovering other Florida Boys releases.
I think any fan of just plain good music,let alone those of Gospel,will find something here that they enjoy.Recommended.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
DVD ~ James Stewart
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 27.67
7 used & new from CDN$ 27.67

4.0 out of 5 stars It's the ending......, Aug. 5 2013
This review is from: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (DVD)
Mr.Smith Goes to Washington(released Oct/39)stars,among others,Jean Arthur,James Stewart,Claude Rains and Edward Arnold.Nominated for an outstanding 11 times,it only won one OSCAR in the writing category.1939 was a great year for film making,so it is not too hard to imagine why it did not win more.
The story finds Stewart/Smith as a down home boy who finds himself suddenly taking over the senate seat in his state,after its occupant decides to kick the bucket.Soft spoken,but as honest as Abe Lincoln,Stewart meekly and humbly accepts the position.Unbeknownst to him,the people behind the appointment are a group of corrupt and hardened politicians led by Arnold.One of the members of the group is Rains who also has been kept a Senate seat in order to push through graft after graft.Rains was a former friend of Stewarts father and Stewart has very high regard for him.
Once in Washington Stewart is given a secretary(Arthur)who soon learns that this naive young man is in for the ride of his life,in the rough and tumble political world there.Stewart is awestruck at the look and feel of Washington,with its' innumerable monuments to politicians long gone and to the hallowed words written there.Back in his office Stewart is chomping at the bit to get going but doesn't know where the gas pedal is.He consults his friend Rains,who suggests he introduce Stewarts idea as a bill,to start up a boys camp in his state.With Arthur's help this is exactly what he does,even though Arthur warns him of the numerous hurtles he will encounter.
When the corrupt bunch of politicos find out that the camp Stewart wants to create lies smack dab on the property that they have been planning to build a dam on,they jump into action.Rains is reluctantly pressured to come down hard by Arnold,who starts a vigourous smear campaign back home against Stewart.
Meanwhile Stewart has started to get an awful taste of how things really work,and he doesn't like it,nor does he know what to do.When his good friend Rains stands up in Congress and tells the floor that Smith is corrupt and should be removed from office,it's a gut wrenching blow.Arthur has temporarily fled Washington and quit her job.She decides to come back and help the lug get his ideals and kahonies back.Stewart decides to stand and fight for what he knows is right.He starts a filibuster in the Senate and for 24 hours tries to tell everyone present exactly what has been going on.Near the end Stewart briefly succumbs to a fainting spell,from exhaustion. Rains re enters the chambers and is allowed to bring in sacks full of letters from supposedly outraged voters in the state.Stewart knows they're all lies,and when he comes to he approaches Rains calmly and appeals to his decency one more time,his voice almost gone.Rains leaves the floor temporarily and a shot rings out soon after.Rains tried to shoot himself but was stopped.He re enters the floor and finally tells the truth to everyone,that it should be him shunned,not Stewart.That is where the film ends.That's one for the good guy.
This is the part that has always got me about the film.It ends too abruptly,as if someone in the editing room suddenly decided that it was time to go for lunch,and hurriedly snipped the frames together as is and left.There are two ways of looking at it,I suppose.One,is that the film continues on and shows a triumphant return of Stewart to his hometown and his proposal of marriage to Arthur,or two,leave them wanting more.Capra,et al,chose the latter.I'm sorry,but I have always thought the film screamed for more.
This film also has a cast of supporting players the likes of which you rarely see together,folks like HB Warner,Guy Kibbee,Thomas Mitchell,Eugene Pallette,Beulah Bondi,Ruth Donnelly,William Demerest,Jack Carson and many,many more.The film was made before the opening of WW2 and the sentiments it speaks of such as life,liberty and freedom of speech,was a kind of shout out to the world at large.So when WW2 broke out about a month before its release,it was ever the more meaningful.
Technically speaking this print is in its original a/r and I must say it needs a clean up.The opening credits tells us the film was restored by the Library of Congress,along with the help of other film institutions.That is all well and good if the film looked like it had been restored to a more acceptable level.The first reel is the most affected,with film deterioration and other defects front and center.Extras include commentary and an interview with Frank Capra Jr.,an advert gallery and the original trailer.Speaking of the latter,you will notice a parade sequence in there that isn't in the film.I can't help but speculate whether that was filmed as part of another ending,maybe Stewart's hometown return,as I would have preferred to have seen? Just wondering.
All in all this film still packs a major punch as a political noob goes up against the staid and corrupt state and Washington politics.Stewart does a bang up job and is ably supported all around by a great cast.But that ending.......

Killer Elite / Tueur d'élite  (Bilingual)
Killer Elite / Tueur d'élite (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jason Statham
Price: CDN$ 5.00
21 used & new from CDN$ 1.95

4.0 out of 5 stars This puts the lot, in plot!, Aug. 4 2013
Killer Elite(released Sept/11)stars,among others,Jason Statham as Danny Bryce,Clive Owen as Spike Logan,Yvonne Strahovski as Anne Frazier and Robert De Niro as Hunter.This film is certainly a wild ride and it has its characters jumping back and forth between the Arabian desert and London,England on a regular basis.It also has a LOT of PLOT.They say the devil is in the details,and if you can hang on for the ride,in the end it will be worth it.
The story finds Statham as an elite assassin who comes out of retirement in order to rescue his ex partner DeNiro,who is being held by an Arabian Sheik.In exchange for his ex partners freedom,he wants Statham to kill the three ex British SAS soldiers who killed his three sons.Statham agrees and he starts down a long,long path of revenge for the Sheik.Statham gets his contact info from a travel agent,who in turn gets his from a covert government agent.
Statham assembles a small group together to tackle each job.They either work in tandem or separately.But all hits must have proof on film of their confessions and subsequent death.Each hit takes a lot of prep time and one by one they reach their third victim.By that time a group of ex SAS men,led by Owen,has been hot on their trail and Owen has already done one on one battle with Statham.Owen's group is called the Feathermen,and he reports directly to a hush hush group of individuals high up in government circles.As the heat rises the group start gets cold feet and eventually Owen finds himself alone and rogue.
Statham finishes the last man and he reports to the Sheik and it all ends.He heads back home to his girlfriend and De Niro is free and he also heads homeward.All is well until one night Statham receives a call saying the job isn't finished.It seems there's one more to go;a man who is writing a book,which contains the name of the real killer of one of the Sheiks sons.To put the point home the caller tells him to check his girlfriend,if he has any doubts.He goes upstairs to find her quite well,lying in bed,but quickly retrieves an unspent bullet from behind her head,on the pillow.Realizing he has to go this alone,he takes her with him to Paris.He contacts DeNiro who comes back to watch his girlfriend for him,though DeNiro pleas to go along with him.
Statham attends a book signing of the author,who he must off.However it is all a clever trap to get Statham,by Owen.Statham gets his man and evidence and flees,but is eventually caught.Statham agrees to tell Owen exactly what has been happening in exchange for his freedom.But in walks the secretive government man who has been dishing intel to Statham's contact/travel agent.He tells them the government wants the oil rich land the Sheik owns and that they were both set up from the start.A fight ensues with the G-man going down and Statham fleeing.
Next we have Statham and DeNiro back in Arabia,with Statham about to walk in to hand over the evidence.Something is amiss though,as Owen has gone in ahead and handed it over,ahead of Statham's arrival.Not only that but Owen has killed the Sheik and Owen has had to flee for his life.Statham and DeNiro take care of the Sheik's men and they stop Owen.Deniro takes some of the pay money for his own expenses,but Statham refuses any of it.DeNiro leaves the rest for Owen who he says better use it well,because the government man he killed,plus his ex bosses of the Feathermen,will be coming after him.They leave Owen to his own devices and Statham and DeNiro return to their own lives.
The film is based on a true story from the /91 book called Feathermen.The author laid it all out there,but of course the British establishment denied everything from start to finish.My storytelling of this film which lasts a good two hours,is far less than a Reader's Digest version.I make the first three killings within a paragraph and those hits took over an hour of film time. As I said there is a LOT of plot,and so many twists and turns and intrigues,that one could really never do justice to it all.Just trust me,that if you just hang in there,you will be rewarded.The film does have a tendency to drift a little,such as their traveling back and forth between desert and civilization constantly,and who is on the hit list next,can get a little overwhelming.But the makers somehow manage to keep a straight heading throughout.
Technically speaking the film is clear and crisp in its 2:40:1 original a/r.There are cast interviews and 13 deleted scenes.
All in all a whopper of a story to tell,but based on true incidents.Statham is on game and as intense as always.DeNiro,while not having a significant role to play is also on target as is other star Clive Owen.Recommended.

I Am Legend / Je suis une légende (Bilingual) (Widescreen)
I Am Legend / Je suis une légende (Bilingual) (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Will Smith
Price: CDN$ 4.88
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tepid futuristic film, Aug. 3 2013
I am Legend(released Dec/07)stars,among others,Will Smith,Alice Braga and Charlie Tahan.This is a film that should have been better than it was,but it's slow pace and erratic plot coupled with computer generated zombies that look TOO phony,all work against it.
The story finds Smith as a doctor who lives a solitary existence in New York City,along with his German shepard,Sam.Through back story telling we find he had a wife and a daughter.He was one of a team that were responsible for developing a cancer cure.Much of the human population was inoculated,only for most to come down with a deadly virus that killed them.The others that weren't killed turned into light sensitive zombies,who came out at nightfall.Smith has been continuing to work on a cure in his basement lab,but with no success.His daily routine is monotonous,as his search pattern spreads out little by little each day through the city streets.He also makes his usual rounds to pick up necessities at various spots.
One day comes which changes everything.His dog runs into a darkened building in which he has to enter to get him.With zombies inside waiting for the dark,he barely manages to escape with Sam alive.He captures one and takes it back to his lab for testing.The next day he discovers a dummy from a store he frequents,sitting down at the dead end of an entirely different street.It is a trap,and before he is able to respond he is suspended above the street by a trip wire.The sun is going down and he finally manages to get loose and fall to the ground,but accidentally impales himself on his knife.Before he can reach his car he and Sam are attacked by zombie dogs which bite Sam.
Back at Smith's home and lab Smith injects Sam with a relaxant,but Sam soon turns.Smith is forced to kill his companion in his arms.Wanting revenge Smith deliberately heads out in the dark and confronts the zombies at a pier.He manages to take down a few,but he is soon overpowered.He is upside down and helpless in his car when a bright light illuminates the area.He is rescued by another survivor with a child.They return to Smith's place.The new survivor wants Smith to come with her to a place she has heard is not infected,but he remains adamant to stay and find a cure.Checking his captured zombie he finds he has finally found the cure,as the zombie's symptoms are slowly disappearing.That night the zombies come a calling right to Smith's house and they storm it.Smith and company are forced into a sealed glass area at one end of the basement,but the head zombie deliberately,and with a purpose Smith had heretofore denied,continually slams against the glass,trying to break it.Smith sends his two new friends out through an escape tunnel,while he stays to deal with what lies ahead.
The zombies finally break the glass and just as they enter,Smith lets go with a grenade which completely destroys everything.The film ends as his two new companions finally make their way to the safe haven that was mentioned earlier.The vaccine Smith created was given to her and she hands it over to the heads of the population within the walled city.
One point that bothers me about the film is that Smith never acknowledges or seems to realize at any time,that the zombies are actually more than air heads.He never cottons on to the fact that the zombies could think,let alone seek revenge as they started to do when they trapped him by enticing him with a dummy he encounters everyday.He never asks who moved it or why.It never seems to occur to him the reason the zombie behaviour changed so drastically was because of his capture of the mate to the leader of a group of them.For a supposedly smart guy,he was pretty dumb.That said,Smith does have some good acting moments,especially his killing of his beloved Sam.It just wasn't enough however to elevate this film to anything than average,at best.The CGI zombies just look too phony.I think the film makers spent most of their budget on their star and had to resort to CGI instead of prosthetic make up.The whole feel of the film would have been far superior had the zombies been real people,ala Resident Evil.Emma Thompson has an all too brief cameo as a doctor being interviewed on a TV screen at the beginning.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Since the film is descended from the comics,there are four animated comics included with the DVD.
All in all the film is a slow moving one,with CGI zombies that look so phony,one cannot suspend their disbelief for any more than two seconds.Smith tries his best,but what should have been a home run,turned into a walk to first base.

The Island / L'Ile (Bilingual)
The Island / L'Ile (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Sean Bean^Ewan Mc Gregor^Scarlett Johansson^Steve Buscemi^Djimon Hounsou^Ewan McGregor
Price: CDN$ 7.49
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Logan's Run meets Coma meets Fallout, Aug. 3 2013
The Island(released July/05)stars among others, Ewan McGregor as Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln,Scarlett Johansson as Jordan Two Delta / Sarah Jordan,Djimon Hounsou as Albert Laurent,Sean Bean as
Dr. Bernard Merrick,Steve Buscemi as James McCord,Michael Clarke Duncan as Starkweather Two Delta /Jamal Starkweather,Ethan Phillips as Jones Three Echo and Brian Stepanek as Gandu Three Echo.This is a film that has a mixture of themes in it from Logan's Run and Coma to a vid game such as Fallout.The special effects are good and the action moves pretty well throughout.
The story finds McGregor working and living in small cramped quarters,with thousands of others like himself.It is a very sterile environment for all,with each having their specific work assignments,closely monitored at all times by "big brother".They all work toward the day when they may be taken to"the island",which unlike the immediate outside environment(so they are told),is completely clean and livable.
McGregor has slowly been starting to question the why and wherefores of his environment and it has gotten the attention of his superiors.One day he makes an excuse to go into a maintenance area where he talks with a friend of his.While there he finds a moth which he takes back to his room.Meanwhile we are given insight into the operations of this facility.People come to the facility to invest in the companies product,which is growing non self realizing human like entities from which the buyers can harvest organs that they may need at some future date.At least this is the story they tell their clients.In reality the facility has gone the extra mile and are using the donors DNA to fully clone,bring to life and teach the clones how to function.They have created a self sustaining environment,using the clones as slave labour.The older clones help maintain and grow the up and coming ones,unbeknownst to the former.
One day McGregor re enters the maintenance facility and follows a ladder upwards.He discovers an entirely "new" floor he never knew existed.There he learns the truth of what has been going on.Unfortunately his presence there has alerted the authorities downstairs and he is now a fugitive.Before they can get him he gets his girl friend(Johansson)and both return to the upper floor and find an escape route to the outside world.They are smack dab in the middle of a desert area and they run as fast as they can away.They find a small bar and McGregors friend from the maintenance room.He tells them they are clones and the news doesn't sit well.They then decide to find their DNA donors,and he agrees to help.They get to L.A.,but the corporation running the cloning facility is right on their tails.They have hired a private security firm to find them and to return them before news of their existence leaks out.
McGregor manages to find his donor.After an awkward meeting the donor agrees to help him.However McGregors girl friend thinks the donor is lying and tells him to be careful.Sure enough,the donor has notified the company and a chase ensues.It all ends in a crash and the donor pointing a gun at McGregor.The security people don't know who is who,so McGregor slips his identity bracelet on his donor and they kill him.Meanwhile McGregor's girl friend has been captured and returned to the facility.McGregor takes on his owner's identity and after the company contacts him wanting another DNA sample to regenerate another clone,he too finds himself back there.However the company,realizing the danger McGregor and the extant clones possess,are planning a mass extermination of them all.
McGregor manages to sabotage a holographic terminal which keeps the facilities windows darkened to the outside surroundings.When it is gone the extant clones all rush to the surface and see the uncontaminated world outside for the first time.Fade to black.
The film has many a good high adrenaline chase scene.The part where the two are fleeing the security forces in L.A.has particularly alot of nail biting moments.The film's over 130 minute length doesn't seem like it,and that is a good thing.I am glad they kept Johansson's part down to a minimum,as her "acting' may have spoiled an otherwise pleasant film.The film,as I said,is a mixture of different other ideas,so it doesn't earn marks for originality.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary and a featurette.
All in all a decent,fast paced film,with many chase scenes and good S/FX.Recommended.

The Desperate Hours (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
The Desperate Hours (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
3 used & new from CDN$ 19.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Petrified Forest comes to suburbia-3 1/2 stars., Aug. 2 2013
The Desperate Hours(released Oct/55)stars,among others,Humphrey Bogart as Glenn Griffin,Fredric March as Daniel C. Hilliard,Arthur Kennedy as Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard,Martha Scott as Eleanor Hilliard,Dewey Martin as Hal Griffin and Gig Young as Chuck Wright.Veteran director William Wyler is at the helm of this mid 50s thriller,with the pairing for the first and only time of thesps Bogie and Fredric March.It is the Petrified Forest meets suburbia.While Petrified had enough eccentricity in its characters and plot to keep you glued to your seat,this one doesn't have near the same dynamic at all.Wyler's direction is good and all actors apprise themselves with surprising hutzpah,but I was expecting a little more tension and twists.It's not bad,it's just could have been much better.
The story finds Bogie as one half of the Griffin brothers,along with an overgrown child/convict as their tag along.They have just broken jail and are looking for some place to crash until they're able to get out of town and slip through a dragnet the police have thrown up in the area.The police know they're somewhere nearby but they don't,as the film opens,know exactly.We are introduced,next,to the Hilliard family,with March as the head of the household,who has a wife,a teenage daughter and a young son.It's Father Knows Best,typical suburbia of the 50s time.Bogie and his entourage of course pick the Hilliard home as their hide out when everyone but Mrs.Hilliard is out.
One by one each member of the household make their way back home throughout the day the day to find their new guests.Bogie of course has to get tough not only with the Hilliards,but his accomplices also,who both balk at their having to stay so long.After a few confrontations and close calls,the family tries as they might to act normally to the outside world,but the longer it goes on the more"cracks" appear in the veneer.Eventually Bogie gets in contact with his girlfriend,who agrees to come a fair distance to deliver some money.However she is caught by the cops for running a light in a small town and never makes it.
No longer able to act normal,with things getting so desperate,Mr.Hilliard finally sends a note to the police.The police cotton on to his problems after a while and show up just as he is returning with the cash Griffin wanted;sent in the mail.The police at first refuse to let Mr Hilliard return home,but an FBI agent on scene over rules everyone and allows him to go back.Hilliard takes a revolver with him,but with no bullets.Griffin has threatened to kill family members if the police show up,and it is a tense moment for Mr.Hilliard as he re enters his home.Hilliard distracts/tricks one accomplice,who wanders outside only to be picked off by the police.Griffin hears the commotion and takes Hilliard's son as hostage.But Griffin has the gun without the bullets and Hilliard tells his son to run.He gets the drop on Griffin and Griffin is forced to go outside,where he too is gunned down.The film fades to black as the family finally reunite...all safe.
I found there were a little too many moments where any one of the Hilliards could have blown the whistle during their normal routines.As it turns out in the end,Mr.Hilliard did just that and everything turned out all right anyways.Of course there wouldn't have been a movie would there?Then there is the teacher who comes a calling on her pupil to see if he is alright.Mr.Hilliard comes home with one of the accomplices who,when he sees the teacher,makes a sudden turn and walks back out.Then March pretends the man is someone whom he met at a bar.Then just as the teacher,uncomfortably,starts to leave with a notebook of Hilliard's son,Mr.Hilliard takes it from her.He reads inside the notebook only to discover a note his wife has scrawled to her asking for help.The teacher,now even more confused,leaves.It's a very awkwardly played scene and it didn't ring true.Then there is the continual coming in and out of the teenage Hilliard's boyfriend.He eventually becomes a real pest as far as the plot goes,which we could have done without.One moment I did find quite good,was the one where the trash collector is being taken for a ride out to the boonies.As they come down the final road where he knows certain death awaits,you can see the absolute terror,confusion and desperation in his face.
By the way the teacher is none other than Beverley Garland,in an uncredited role.Watch for the man who Griffin's brother gets a ride with when he leaves.It is Joe Flynn,also in an uncredited role.You may better know him as Capt.Binghamton of McHales Navy.The Hilliard son is none other than Richard Eyer,who was quite the good little actor.You will better know him from the 7th Voyage of Sinbad as the Genie of the lamp.And oh yes,Alan Reed,the voice of the future Fred Flintstone,is one of the detectives...see if you can spot him.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 2:35:1.This print does how some wear,especially in the first reel,but gets better as it goes along.Generally though it is clear and crisp.There are no extras in this B&W film.
All in all this is a film which should have been better than it was.The film relies too heavily on Bogie's menace of the Petrified Forest vein,but the plot holes work against much of the film and weaken it.As I said it is not a bad movie,just one that should have been better,considering the talent on hand. 3 1/2 stars.

Crank / Crank 2: High Voltage (Double Feature)
Crank / Crank 2: High Voltage (Double Feature)
DVD ~ Jason Statham
Price: CDN$ 8.98
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3.0 out of 5 stars Neveldine/Taylor-the dynamic duo, July 28 2013
You know,its really nice writing a review about films and film makers that come along every so often with a fresh and dynamic approach to their work.Such it is with Crank(released Sept/06) and Crank 2(released April/09).The dynamic duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor seem to look at things outside the standard Hollywood box and I must say,they don't disappoint with these two movies.Although,let me clarify that.Crank is the better of the two films here,while the N/T team seemed to have let their guard down and went just a little over the top with Crank 2.
Crank stars,among others,Jason Statham as Chev Chelios,Amy Smart as Eve Lydon,Jose Pablo Cantillo as Ricky Verona,Efren Ramirez as Kaylo and Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles.Statham is a killer for hire and a Hispanic gang leader hires him to kill the rival leader of a Triad gang in L.A.The resulting fallout from the Chinese gang leaves Statham betwixt and between and he is set for termination by the Hispanics.A member gives him a Chinese poison concoction,but it doesn't quite take.Statham awakes and from then on,with the advice of his doctor friend Yoakam,must try and keep his heart stimulated by any means necessary.While this is going on he is constantly on the prowl for the guy who drugged him and the man responsible for the hit's inception.It is later revealed that Statham did not kill the Chinese leader after all,knowing what the consequences could be.He told him to stay low for 48 hours.At a finale rooftop meeting with the Hispanic gang and its leader,the Triads show up also and a gun fight breaks out.Statham and the Hispanic gang member who drugged him end up struggling in a helicopter high over L.A.The two plunge to earth and Statham bounces off the roof of a car and lands facing the camera,on the pavement.With a quick blink of an eye,the camera fades to black.This film is just full of an eclectic mix of satire,drama,high adrenaline action and straight up comedy that comes at you at lightning speed.Little touches like the video game references,those moving pictures on the sides of walls as Statham passes them,his attempt at "stimulation" out in public in L.A.Chinatown with his girlfriend,his standing in amongst a group of folks watching the TV coverage of his antics,in a hospital gown and with an erection,and so many more.It is a fabulous movie and the N/T team were on game on this baby.4-4 1/2 stars.
Crank 2 stars,among others,Jason Statham as Chev Chelios,Amy Smart as Eve Lydon,Efren Ramirez as Venus,Dwight Yoakam as Doc Miles,Reno Wilson as Orlando,Art Tsu as Veng and Clifton Collins, Jr. as El Huron.The film starts where the first left off.We see his fall onto the car roof and his landing near camera and his eye blink.Suddenly several men pour out of a van that drives up,they literally scoop him up(one with a shovel)and take him away.Next thing Statham's getting his heart removed by some back room Chinese doctors.One gang member named Vang,eagerly awaits its removal and puts it into a small cooler,which he then leaves with.They install an artificial heart,then when he awakes three months later,they discuss what organ to remove next;oh yes,his penis.Well Statham says nada to that one.Off Statham goes again,to find the Chinese F#@##! who took his"pumper".He learns he may be at a "social club",which is just a bawdy house.There he just misses him but learns from a hooker,who falls for him,that Vang may be at a strip club.In he goes and he finds his girlfriend now stripping to make a living.They both exit the club and his next lead is at the Hollywood Racetrack.There he and his girlfriend repeat their previous Chinatown performance for the patrons of the track.Vang barely escapes and just as security are about to apprehend Statham,the Chinese boss of the Triads reappears in a limo and whisks him away.Statham learns the Triad big boss,a centenarian,asked for Stathams heart to replace his ailing one.The discussions don't go too well and Statham has to kill everyone in the car and escape.He commandeers an ambulance to get a new battery pack for his artificial heart.Then spying Vang he flies out and chases him down,only to find out Vang doesn't have his heart in the cooler,but some other disgusting body part.In mid interrogation a shot kills Vang,but it's not by Statham.He gets knocked out and is awake and being dragged across the bay to Catalina Island.Once there he is brought before the Ferret,the Hispanic leader who wants revenge for Statham's killing of his two brothers in the first film.In the meantime Yoakum has acquired his heart from the old Chinese boss,and when Statham cleans up things on Catalina Island,is back on the mainland and getting his heart put back in.The procedure goes on through the end credits and at first it doesn't seem the heart replant takes,but like the last film,the camera comes slowly in to Stathams face and an opening of the eyes confirms his life is back.
This film,as you can see from the wide ranging plot,is just far too much and extraneous information.The N/T team unfortunately took a big step backwards.Brevity,as they say,is the soul of wit and Crank 2 did not have it...unlike the first one.There are sudden flashbacks to Statham as a boy on a talk show with his mom(Spice Girl Gerri Haliwell) and other such stuff which needn't have entered the film in any way.It started out great but with about a 1/2 hour left,the circumstances just get far too bizarre and they seem to be grasping at straws,plot wise,in order to get Statham from A-Z in some fashion or other to the end.There are one heck of alot of tie ins from the first also,like Statham's look alike brother who shows up looking for revenge.But after awhile it becomes too much and too cliched.Watch for David Carradine as the old Chinese boss and John De Lancie as a TV reporter.3 stars.Thankfully the N/T team nailed it again in their next project,Gamer.
Technically the films are in their w/s a/r of 1:85:1 nd clear and crisp.there are no extras.
All in all while Neveldine and Taylor "got it" with the first Crank,but Crank 2 is a disappointment.It comes unraveled about 3/4 the way through the film,and as filled with unnecessary information overload. 3 1/2 stars.

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