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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)
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The Curse of Chucky / La Malédiction de Chucky (Bilingual)
The Curse of Chucky / La Malédiction de Chucky (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Brad Dourif
Price: CDN$ 8.88
9 used & new from CDN$ 5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars This film was dead on arrival,and hey,Chucky didn't do it!, Jan. 23 2014
Curse of Chucky(released Ay/13)stars,among others,Fiona Dourif,Danielle Bisutti,Brennan Elliott and Brad Dourif back as the voice of Chucky.As the 6th in the franchise's history,this is by FAR the worst of the bunch.The producers needed to go back and watch all the previous ones,because they failed to live up to the franchises lively dynamic and what made them so successful.Instead they use old worn tricks and shock elements that needn't have been included.
The story finds a mother and her paraplegic daughter(wheelchair bound) living alone.One day they get a package and it is a Chucky doll.By that night,the mother is dead.The next day the daughter's sister,husband,their daughter,nanny and a local priest drop by to offer condolences and comfort.They stay the evening for supper and Chucky is on the move.He sprinkles rat poison on the dinner,but we don't know whose. Out in the dining room it is the priest who starts feeling ill.He leaves and is killed in a car crash on the way home.
The sister and family decide to bunk in with her that night,which makes Chucky's night fun.It's storming out(typical,right?)and the little girl is afraid.He plays a game and locks her in a closet.With the girl out of the way,the nanny is the first to get it.Then as the mother tries to find her daughter,she gets hers while searching the attic.Her wheelchair bound sister has meanwhile had to drag herself way up the stairs and she arrives just as her sister falls down the attic stairs and into her lap.Chucky is in pursuit and she drags herself hurriedly into the sister's room and wakes the husband up who has had ear plus in.They flee into the garage.He goes back to try and find his daughter but finds the dead bodies instead.He comes back down to the garage,and ends up restraining her in her wheelchair upstairs,thinking she has done everything.While he checks his laptop,Chucky enters and pushes her wheelchair over him and then axes him.He then pushes her wheelchair through the railings and down to the floor below.
While she lays on the floor,barely alive,he explains that in human form he was Charles Lee Ray.He became a friend of her family,but it was him that killed her father,mother and made her a paraplegic in her mother's womb.While fleeing the cops he was able to put his soul into a Chucky doll,25 years before.Back i the present,when a cop arrives and see the carnage he arrests her and she is charged.She is eventually convicted and sentenced to life.As the cop leaves the courthouse with the Chucky doll in a bag,Jennifer Tilly from the previous movie pops up from behind and slits the cops throat.In a post office later,she is mailing Chucky to another address.At that address we see Chucky reunited with the little girl,now living with her grandmother.Chucky plays"hide the soul" with her and recites an incantation.In a post credit scene we see the now grown up boy from the original film get the doll delivered to his house.As Chucky tries to make his move on him,his head is blown off.
The producers of this film,instead of following the Chucky bible,tried to randomly throw in every piece of horror schlock they could get by with.They use the old canard of a red herring.At the dinner table while we await someone getting sick from the poison,the husband suddenly says "wait....wait...wait...",like he is choking.Then he says"This is the best tasting chili I've ever had".Lame.Then we have the shock value thrown in,for no reason.They allow Chucky to use profanity to a young girl.With adults is one thing,and we all know he would swear,but c'mon it looks terrible using it like that.Give your heads a shake.Then they throw in gratuitous lesbian sex,as the nanny and the girls mother go at it.There are lots of films that that kind of thing would be more appropriate in,but a horror film like this is no place for it.Then there are the endings,five of them to be exact!The film really should have ended around the moment the cop came and arrested the wheel chair bound daughter.Nope.We then go on to a courtroom scene where we see her sentencing carried out.I could have forgiven them that if they had ended it there.Nope.From here we see the cop taking Chucky in a bag in his car and Tilly popping up to off the cop.The end? No way.From here it's Tilly now at the post office mailing the doll to another victim.The end? You gotta be kidding me.From here we see Chucky reunited with the young girl now living with her grandmother who has been killed by Chucky.Ok,it's the end now,right? No.We get a post scene thing with a reuniting of Chucky with the young kid from the original Child's Play(how many people knew that?).Now is it done? Yes.....thankfully.A ridiculous way to end a movie and amateurish to boot.Then finally I must mention the priest's car accident.It was apparently a head on collision that somehow,beyond all logic,managed to take the roof right off the priests car(not the other guys).And of course,when they try and remove the priests body his head comes rolling off.The producers used the mantra,whether it makes sense or not,if we can get a scare,use it.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include a featurette,commentary,deleted scenes and a gag reel.
All in all a total let down by a crew of folks that didn't seem to have the first clue as to what made the first five so successful.They were using broad strokes from the Chucky bible and filling it in with any kind of horror schlock you would see in a million other horror films.It's easy to make a doll look as if it has come to life and is animated,the hard part is doing it smartly.This filmed missed the boat on all counts.Give it a pass.

Alien Uprising / Révolte extraterrestre (Bilingual)
Alien Uprising / Révolte extraterrestre (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Bianca Bree
Price: CDN$ 16.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Even Van Damme can't save this turkey, Jan. 22 2014
Alien Uprising(released Dec/12),a re title from its original name U.F.O.,stars,among others,Bianca Bree,Sean Brosnan,Simon Philips and Jean-Claude Van Damme.This title is under the general release umbrella of Phase Four films,the same company that brought us such OSCAR "contenders" as Alien Armageddon and BloodRayne:The Third Reich.This film then fits right in with that companie's general dynamic and raison d'etre.Alien Uprising is yet another turkey that should give the aliens in this movie cause to invade.Any race that would create/inflict such a film into the universe,deserves extinction.
The story,for what it is,finds a group of four friends,three guys and a girl,out night clubbing in England.As the plot progresses we are privy to quick intercut scenes from the future that foretell the dire path they are on.One of the guys proposes to the girl who is his long time love and she accepts.One of the other guys brings home a girl he picked up at the bar.Needless to say,both guys get lucky.They wake up the next day and the power is out in a wide area.In fact a next door neighbour heads south to meet up with his wife who works in a branch of the military.He says he will relay any info about the power outage when he gets back.
The next day they are awakened by the sound of the house trembling.They rush outside to see a huge UFO hovering above the town.Thinking the worst(invasion)they rush down to a grocery store for supplies.While there a small riot breaks out,and one of the guys is forced to draw his weapon on two thugs who attempt to take their goods.They arrive back home and the guy and the girl he picked head out to his place to get more ammo for his gun.Along the way they save a girl from a car wreck and take her to get medical attention.They find a pharmacy guarded by a cop.A struggle ensues between the guy and the cop,with the cop eventually being killed by his girl friend.We are shown a purple mark on the dead cops leg afterwards.
Back at the house the two guys leave to steal a car,leaving the girl behind alone.However aliens soon enter the house and she is forced to flee.Outside an alien probe is just about to waste her when two soldiers destroy the probe.As they stand talking,the two guys show back up,unable to get a car,and the other one with his girlfriend.When a tramp sneaks up and grabs one of the soldiers sidearms,the soldiers are forced to shoot him.Unfortunately one of the guys is killed in the process.The remainder then drive to an ex black ops military man's house(Van Damme).He informs the group that he has a piece of alien technology and that he and his military bosses have for years suspected alien infiltrators,that look and talk like us.The only way of telling them from humans is a purple mark.The little girl then asks:"Like the one on the policeman?".The ex ops man tells them to stick with only people they know.They all turn and look at the girlfriend the guy picked up two nights before.The military guys want to search her but her boyfriend agrees to do it.Alone in the room she shoots him dead.The others come in and she manages to overpower them all and escape outside,where a probe beams her inside of it.More probes come and as the ex black ops man offers up his piece of alien technology to them,he is disintegrated.As the rest wait to be killed,suddenly other UFOs come out of the sky and attack the alien UFOs.Back inside the house with just the little girl,one of the guys, a military man left alive,and the other girl,the now apparent alien girl who was beamed into the probe,is now seen broadcasting on TV.She is saying the earth people have won the war and to remain inside.Just then an armed assault team enters the house saying there is a little girl that can identify them.The team then kills the rest of the survivors.Fade to black.
The film doesn't give out with the answers and one is kind of left to fend for themselves,plot wise.The different attacking UFOs near the end is a puzzler.One can assume,though this is guessing,that they are earth made technology and that the military has been secretly waiting for just such an invasion to use them.The film goes along slowly but surely until the scene where they try and get the little girl into the pharmacy for some medical supplies.The producers seemed to have a lot invested in the fight scene that takes place.It goes on far too long,and the film thereafter seems to drag terribly.Jean Claude Van Damme's appearance is token at best,but he makes the best of what he has to do.He appears as this black ops guy who lives by himself.We first see him on the ground looking up from underneath a soldiers legs with a shotgun."And your name is?".And of course Van Damme gets to do some of his legendary box kicking with his own daughter Bianca Bree.However you almost laugh when Van Damme gets killed.Just before the alien probe disintegrates him he says"Oh S#$!".It happens so quickly and is edited the same way,that I started to laugh a little when I saw it.Bianca,by the way,needs a LOT of more time on screen to develop some proper acting chops.Her brother seems to be doing fine,but she is FAR from a steady career in acting.How she got top billing is beyond me as her part,while not as limited in scope as her fathers,is truly one that goes in and out of scenes like a fly,and with limited lines.By the way the outer cover of this DVD,is a cheat.No man with such goggles,appears any where in this film.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include a featurette and a trailer.
All in all another lame brained film,with a been-there done-that kind of plot;and done FAR better elsewhere.It uses cheesy and cheap S/FX,with that quick and supposedly edgy you-are-there camera work(ala The Blair Witch Project),and the plot gets quite ponderous and slow.Until this one gets into the $5.00 bin at Walmart,like the others from Phase Four I mentioned above,give it a pass.

Wall Street 1 &2 2 2pc Pack
Wall Street 1 &2 2 2pc Pack
Offered by Buy Canadian
Price: CDN$ 25.00
6 used & new from CDN$ 10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining Oliver Stone 2-pack, Jan. 18 2014
This review is from: Wall Street 1 &2 2 2pc Pack (DVD)
This 2-pack featuring Wall Street(released Dec/87),and its follow up Money never Sleeps(released May/14),is a very enjoyable duo of films by director Oliver Stone.I think the first film has it by a nose,but the second comes on a strong second.
Wall Street stars,among others,Michael Douglas,Charlie Sheen,Daryl Hannah and Martin Sheen.Gordon Gekko(Douglas)is the Wall Street tycoon every young trader on Wall Street wants to be,especially his ardent admirer Budd Fox(Sheen).Fox is in a dead end position where he works and one day he finagles his way into an interview with Gekko.Gekko ultimately has enough of an interest in Fox to take him under his wing.Fox's biggest bit of "leverage"is the airline his father works for.With some inside knowledge of upcoming events that Fox provides Gekko,Gekko is able to buy the struggling airline,promising to turn it around.However when negotiations between the unions(Fox's father represents one of them)and Gekko don't go well,he decides to chop it up and sell it.Fox is totally betrayed,who in turn has betrayed his father's trust.In a desperate act of revenge he approaches a rival of Gekko's who is more than willing to come in and take control of the airline.When Gekko learns of Fox's antics he is beside himself.Fox,walking into work the following day,is arrested and charged with illegal inside trading by the official stock watch-dogs who follow the market.In a meeting in Central park between Gekko and Fox,Gekko punches Fox to the ground for what he did.Fox just walks away.We soon after see why.He was wired for sound by the authorities who now also arrest Gekko.The film ends as Fox,with a clear conscience,walks up the courthouse steps to his fate.
This film was well acted and paced as the plot goes back and forth,and is like watching a well scripted chess game.Stone keeps the intrigue going and the tension builds steadily throughout.The film is in its w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary,a featurette,trailer and TV spots.
The Money Never Sleeps,stars,among others,Michael Douglas,Shia LaBeouf,Josh Brolin,Carey Mulligan and Frank Langella.The story begins in 2001 when Gekko is let out of prison after serving an eight year sentence.No one is there to meet him.Seven years later he is hawking a self penned book on money making.We are next introduced to a couple,Jacob Moore,LaBeouf,a top trader in an old firm,and his fiance'Carey Mulligan,Winnie Gekko.Moore's company suddenly finds itself being attacked from outside rumours and its stock plummets.It's head Louis Zabel(Langella)is at the end of his rope.A consortium of banks led by Bretton James,Brolin,refuses to extend him any time and offers to buy him out with just pennies on the dollar.Bretton was faced with a similar situation years before and Zabel was the one then who refused to back HIM.Revenge is sweet...or is it? On the way to work the next morning Zabel commits suicide,and Moore is totally devastated.Now Moore is on the revenge track.Parallel to this is Moore's involvement with Gekko,who he has seen off and on.Both come to an agreement that if Moore can get Gekko's estranged daughter back for him,Gekko will in turn,turn over $100,000,000 Gekko put into a Swiss account in his glory days under his daughters name,to Moore to invest in a pet project he has,re fusion technology.Winnie and Moore go to Switzerland and complete the paperwork.However when it comes time to get the money as promised,Gekko has skipped the country with it.To top this Moore and Winnie end up splitting up because of the pressure.Moore meanwhile has also weaseled his way into Bretton's company and confidence,trying to gain information he can use against him.Eventually he turns over all the information he has accumulated on Bretton's companies bailout,and the reasons Zabel's company went under,over to Winnie,who runs a small news webpage.She agrees to run it and it goes viral.Bretton's company now goes down the tubes,stock price wise.Gekko,with his money,buys up a good portion of the stock and turns the $100 million into over a $1 billion!In the end Gekko turns over the initial $100 million back to Moore to invest in his pet project and reconciles with his daughter,who in turn has reconciled with Moore.
The film certainly has a lot of twists and turns to it,but Stone once more is able to keep ones interest piqued throughout.This picture,in a lesser director's hands,would have failed miserably.Watch for a brief return appearance by Charlie Sheen.The film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include a featurette and commentary.
All in all an enjoyable two pack of both Wall Street movies that most will find quite enjoyable.Oliver Stone deftly weaves his directorial hand over both films and they come out winners.Recommended.

Charley Chase Collection, Vol. 1 (Slapstick Symposium) [Import]
Charley Chase Collection, Vol. 1 (Slapstick Symposium) [Import]
DVD ~ Charley Chase
Price: CDN$ 29.95
16 used & new from CDN$ 20.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Chase, the master of situation comedies, Jan. 18 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Here we have yet another Slapstick Emporium release from Kino(2004),this time focusing on the celluloid antics of Charley Chase.Again Lobster Films from France is in the drivers seat and the only thing missing from this collection is.....more!There are only six titles here:Mum's the Word,1926,which has Charley's mum remarrying but not telling her husband about her kids;April Fool,1924,is a 1924 gem that has Charley trying to cope with his fellow employees that want to play April Fools jokes;Long Fliv the King,1926,which has Charley becoming a foreign king and sharing the spotlight with Max Davidson;Mighty Like a Moose,1926,which has buck toothed Charley,and his beaked nose wife Vivian Oakland,getting corrective operations and "dating" each other afterwards;Crazy Like a Fox,1926,has Charley falling in love with a girl whose parents want her to marry someone else.When Charley's parents want the same thing for him he acts crazy to get out of it,watch for Oliver Hardy in a cameo;and finally All Wet,1924,which is a one reeler and has Charley getting a telegram informing him of a package to be picked up at the train station.
All of the films are generally clear and crisp but have various degrees of imperfections.These films serve to elevate Chase's reputation as a comedian like no other.He really knew how to create and work within a situation comedy environment,with the usual resultant mix ups,faux pauxs and embarrassments.Chase's career at Roach,like so many others,was eventually over shadowed by his friends Laurel and Hardy.But this release of Chase material lifts the veil away for us to see Chase at play once more.I found myself laughing out loud more often than not.Highly recommended.

Oliver Hardy Collection (Slapstick Symposium) [Import]
Oliver Hardy Collection (Slapstick Symposium) [Import]
DVD ~ Theda Bara
Price: CDN$ 29.95
20 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for silent film and Laurel and Hardy fans alike!, Jan. 18 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Oliver Hardy Collection from Kino(2003) helped to establish Lobster Films reputation this side of the Atlantic.They issued many collections of silent films through Kino over that time period and really solidified themselves as an important source for this kind of material.This collection finds us with an Oliver Hardy bent,and even though there are only eight selections,none are disappointing.We have The Show,a 1922 Semon film with Hardy as a menacing stage manager;Stick Around,a 1925 Billy West film(the best of the Chaplin imitators on film)with Bobby Ray,as Oliver supervises Ray and his paper hanging,with disastrous results(fore shadows Laurel and Hardy);Along Came Auntie,a 1926 Roach film,which has Glenn Tyron married to Vivian Oakland.She has to pretend to be still married to her ex Oliver in order to get an inheritance;45 Minutes from Hollywood,another 1926 Roach film which has Glenn Tyron going to Hollywood and getting mixed up with a detective(Hardy),and even a short kerfuffle with a boarder(Stan Laurel);Crazy to Act,a 1927 film made by Mack Sennett,which has Ollie doing anything to woo a girl,even putting her into movies;The Sawmill,a 1921 Larry Semon flick,which has Semon working at a sawmill and Ollie as his boss;Should Sailors Marry,a 1925 Roach film,with Ollie as a doctor.The film is really a Clyde Cook vehicle as a sailor who competes with his future bride's ex(Noah Young);and finally Hop to it,another Billy West film with Ollie and Bobby Ray as competing bell hops.
All of the films generally speaking are in great shape.And I saw many of these for the first time,in their non-truncated state....quite the revelation.
All in all a very highly recommended DVD packed with film history,with the focus on Oliver Hardy.If nothing else it shows the viewers just what an accomplished actor and comedian Oliver had become by this stage in his career.

Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin
Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin
by John Bengtson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.00
24 used & new from CDN$ 21.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Mr.Bengston knocks it out of the park,again!, Jan. 10 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I guess Mr.Bengston's book Silent Echoes,featuring the shooting locations then and now of the legendary Buster Keaton,wasn't enough.Nooooo.He had to try it again with the master himself,Charlie Chaplin.And do you know what? I'm happy to say he has done it again! He has created another book that should be on EVERYONE's list of must-haves.
Like Silent Echoes,Silent Traces gives us plenty of info on Chaplin proper and zooms in on his studios and his myriad of filming locations in and around the L.A.area.He combines old original shots with what the current point of interest looks like now.Absolutely fascinating stuff for Chaplin fans and film historians.And because Chaplin had a lengthier resume in films than Keaton,this book comes in at about 100 pages thicker than Silent Echoes.We are talking a career span from Chaplin's Keystone works,to The Great Dictator.That is a LOT of film work and locations.Want to know where Chaplin shot his First National Pictures and if it is there today?Want to know where Charlie ran around dressed as a tree in Shoulder Arms?How about the road Charlie is on when he hangs on to the car in the fadeout for the Rink? It's all there and much,much more.
You also learn of related local history concerning his shooting locations.For example,in Mr.Bengston's chapter on The Adventurer,he discusses at length on how the current Pacific Coast Highway around Malibu was originally private property.A fascinating by product of his investigations into his work,and something I suspect even folks living around there today may not even know much about.
Silent Traces also works on another level.For those that like to get out and explore first hand,this book is a great tool to take along to seek out these long forgotten areas for themselves.
So if you're an historical buff of L.A. and its greater areas,a film historian,or an armchair fan of the great Chaplin,this is a must have book for your collection.Highly recommended.

Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton
Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton
by John Bengston
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.79
29 used & new from CDN$ 14.97

5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensible book for Keaton fans everywhere!, Jan. 10 2014
It all started with Leon Smith's great book"On the Comedy Trail".It showcased Our Gang and especially Laurel and Hardy filming locations throughout Los Angeles and environs.Fast forward 20 years or so and we now have Mr.Bengston's fantastic book Silent Echoes.It features detailed information not only on Buster himself,but the main thrust being specific shooting locations and his working studio(Chaplin's former).
Want to know where Buster's car stalled on the tracks in One Week?How about the Church where Buster flees from in Seven Chances? Or how about the beach he knelt on in the Cameraman? Pick your picture and I bet you will find what you're looking for,and then some.
From a simply filmic historical perspective,this book is something else.But it also serves as a guide to any fan who wants to personally visit these locations themselves.I know from experience, because on a recent trip to L.A. Mr.Bengston's book was a God send in visiting various spots.Without it I'd still be wandering the Hollywood Hills! But even if you are just an arm chair Keaton fan,the illustrations and pics give you the look of them from yesteryear and combines them with what they look like today.You don't even have to leave your seats,he has done all the work for you.The book works on different levels...another plus!
In conclusion,Mr.Bengston has done a great service for film history and the furthering of our knowledge of the legendary Buster Keaton.If you are a Keaton fan,a film historian or just someone seeking a little adventure in and around L.A.,this book is made for you.I recommend it highly!

Elysium  [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet] (Bilingual)
Elysium [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Sharlto Copley
Price: CDN$ 10.00
13 used & new from CDN$ 6.49

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big on look,little of substance., Jan. 4 2014
Elysium(released Aug/13)stars,among others,Matt Damon,Jodie Foster,Sharlto Copley and Alice Braga.This is a film that has a nice look to it,with sharp looking S/FX,but we have yet again a meandering plot with all the usual tricks of the writing trade and with little substance overall.
The story finds Damon as an ex con living in an over populated and devastatingly run down Los Angeles.All the rich of the world have fled to a space station orbiting the earth. And the folks on earth constantly dream of saving up enough moolah to get up there.One day at work Damon gets exposed to a radiation overdose and he seeks the help of a man he used to work for to get him to Elysium where he can be saved.
Meanwhile on Elysium,Foster the defense secretary,is having problems of her own.She has just shot down three shuttles from earth trying to land illegally and has killed a significant number of people in the process.The president is none too pleased and she is given a short leash.She hatches a scheme with the owner of the same company Damon works for.She gets him to produce a computer app that will rewrite the programming on Elysium and install her as the new president.
Damon's old boss says the only way he will get him up to Elysium is if Damon can steal the new app his boss has made.They outfit Damon with an exo skeleton drilled right into his body.It will not only enhance his physical strength,but also comes with a brain implant which will allow Damon to store the app data in his brain for download later.As Damon's present boss prepares to leave earth,Damon and some selected assistants bring his shuttle down.They are working on short time as some clandestine hired hit men(working for Foster)are also tracking the shuttle.Damon gets the info he needs but all of his team are killed.Seriously wounded he heads to the home of an old girl friend who patches him up.He leaves soon after not wanting to endanger her or her daughter.Foster puts a transmission lock down over L.A. and sends her clandestine group after Damon.They eventually find him and he is brought aboard the shuttle,which later arrives on Elysium.His old girl friend and her daughter are also on board,being used as a bargaining chip.Damon plays along until the leader tries to over power him just before they land,resulting in the leader losing most of his face in a grenade blast.Damon's old flame spirits her daughter to a home,which has a medical unit which can reverse her deadly leukemia.
During this commotion Damon's old boss has arrived on Elysium also,and meets up with Damon and examines the data.It turns out the data will make everyone on Earth a citizen of Elysium.While they fight their way to a main terminal,Foster has confronted her bag man over his incompetence.After having just reconstructed his face,he kills her and sets out to find and kill Damon.The battle eventually arrives,with Damon coming through in grand style.Damon and his old boss finally reach the terminal and Damon is plugged into it.The download will kill Damon but end Elysium's control over itself and its citizens.Damon pushes the button himself and the download begins.The Elysium computers having recognized Earth citizens as their own,now dispatch medical ships to Earth to heal the inhabitants there,in need.Damon of course is kaput-skied.
As I said it is a meandering plot and Damon's"acting" does nothing for this reviewer at all.Quite vanilla actually.And the plot,well let's look at some "issues"I have with the story.What is with that space station?When we first see it,it looks like they reused the miniature from 2001 a Space Odyssey.Then there's Foster's accent.She goes in and out of it,whatever in the world"it" was! Then there is Damon's radiation overdose.The thing is to not make things so obvious,well,so obvious.There is a pallet obstructing a thick door from closing.In the little space open he tries unsuccessfully to kick it away.You know that if he goes inside the door will close behind him.What does his boss come along and tell him to do? Of course,go inside.And what does the door do?I think you know.And of course we must feel empathy for Damon,whose company treats their employees like crap.An old writing canard if there ever was one.Way too obvious and old hat.And in this film with such little depth,it stands out far too much.And finally(only because there is a limited space here)how in the heck did Damon's old boss get onto Elysium without being detected or attacked? At the beginning of the film we are given stark images of ships that try to illegally land being blown out of the sky.But not in this instance.I guess the writers REALLY needed him up there,whatever they had to do.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include two featurettes.It tells you on the outside of the DVD case that if you want more extras,buy the Blu-Ray.We always have known the industry has always been constantly pushing the consumer in certain directions(from records,to tapes,to CDs,from VHS to DVD's now to Blu Ray).We got that same spiel when they were forcing us into DVD's from VHS tapes. So if you were ever wondering whether we're being manipulated,that kind of confirms it.
All in all a lacklustre film with a lacklustre script.The plot has a lot of holes in it and Foster's attempt at some form of accent is hilarious.Damon is totally nondescript in his role;it could have been anyone(and anyone else may have done better!).

Thief of Bagdad
Thief of Bagdad
DVD ~ Conrad Veidt
Price: CDN$ 42.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Master of a Thousand Fleas!"-A film for the whole family!, Jan. 3 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Thief of Bagdad (DVD)
The Thief of Bagdad(released Dec/40)stars,among others,Conrad Veidt as Jaffar,Sabu as Abu,June Duprez as the Princess,John Justin as Ahmad and Rex Ingram as the Djinn.Criterion has done an outstanding job,though there is a caveat which I will touch upon later.The print is magnificent,as the colours are vibrant and clear.I had not seen this movie since the 1960s,when it was shown regularly on TV.But then it was black and white,so seeing this film for the first time in colour was absolutely astounding.
The story starts off with a blind man(Justin)and his faithful dog being tossed alms.When the princess's coterie passes by one day they take him to the palace where he explains what has led him to his present circumstances.In the flashback we learn that Justin was once the King of Bagdad,who had an evil and corrupt vizier,Veidt.The people are not as happy as the King would like,so Veidt advises him to go out amongst the people and get to know them.While out he is captured and treated like a common criminal,under Veidt's orders,and thrown into the dungeon;to be executed at dawn.A thief(Sabu)happens to be there also and with Sabu's help,the pair escape and head to Bassra.
While there Justin falls head over heels for the local princess,Duprez.He appears to her as a genie in the water(his reflection)then reveals himself to her.The law states no man or woman can look upon the princess and live.However Duprez is as instantly in love with Justin as he is with her.The two pledge lifelong vows to each other and Justin leaves.Jaffra by coincidence also shows up at the princess's palace to meet the father,who is into toys.He brings him a mechanical horse that can be transformed into a living/flying one.In return for the gift Jaffar wants the sultan's daughter's hand in marriage.The princess hears this and flees the palace.The next day,much to Sabu's chagrin,they return to the palace only to be caught as intruders.Jaffar is there and before they can spill the beans on him Jaffra blinds Justin and turns Sabu into a dog.They are turned loose,and hunt aimlessly for the princess.
Here the story comes back to the present and the servant girl Justin has been talking to,explains that the princess is there in the palace.She is in a deep sleep and only he can awaken her from it.He goes to her and indeed awakens her.Later Duprez is lured onto a ship under false pretenses,thinking there is a cure on board for the sightless Justin.It is a trap and Jaffar speeds her away.When the princess asks about a cure,Jaffar says all she has to do is embrace him and they will be returned to normal.She allows him to do so and both are returned back to their normal selves once more.Justin and Sabu try to follow,but Jaffra conjures up a storm which wrecks their ship.
On the shore the two are separated.As Sabu wanders the beach he finds an old bottle.He pops the cork and out pops a huge genie.Being bottled up for 2,000 years has made for a grumpy genie.Before he can mash poor Sabu into the ground,Sabu tricks him into proving he came out of the bottle.Once he's inside Sabu re-corks the bottle.The Genie pleads with him to let him back out.Sabu does but becomes his temporary master.The genie grants him three wishes.The first Sabu uses to get some fresh sausages his mother used to make,as he's hungry.For the second wish,Sabu wants to know where his friend is so he can go to him.The Genie takes him to a far away temple that holds the all seeing eye.The problem is Sabu must make a dangerous climb onto and up a monstrous statue alone,which is guarded by a giant spider and none too friendly natives.Sabu makes the climb successfully,after some harrowing moments,and manages to return to the genie safe and sound.Sabu finds Justin's location and they fly off to it.Sabu shows Justin where the princess is but he becomes upset at Sabu bringing the eye and showing it to him when he can do nothing about it.They fight and Sabu wishes Justin was back in Bagdad.Justin disappears.With his third wish spent,the genie can't wait to taste his freedom,and leaves.
Justin reappears at the palace and he and the princess reunite once more.The furious Veidt has them both thrown into the dungeon,to be executed the next day.Justin wishes he hadn't left Sabu under such bad circumstances,and openly apologizes to his friend.Sabu,far away with the all seeing eye in hand,watches Justin,frustrated.He throws the eye down into a canyon which smashes into a thousand pieces.Suddenly Sabu finds himself approaching a tent and inside are a king and its inhabitants from the land of legend.They have been all turned to stone and are now free thanks to Sabu,who is named their new king.He is given the bow of freedom,and with this and the old king's magic carpet,he rides to Baghdad to save his friend.He arrives just in time and kills the evil Jaffar.As the film ends Justin wants Sabu as his right hand man,but Sabu tells him that Justin has what he wants,but all Sabu wants is some fun and adventure,and off he flies.
The story is right out of an Arabian Nights chapter and the special effects for the 40s was state of the art.In fact I think the film is one of the earliest examples of the blue screen process.Everything is on a grand scale,from the epic look of the cities of Bagadad and Jaffra,the temple with the all seeing eye,the genie played by Rex Ingram,and on and on.Director Korda went to a lot of elaborate work to get what he wanted and what he got has stood the test of time.This film has lost none of its charm and fascination.Veidt was a perfect villain and seeing Sabu again after all these years was a treat beyond words.Justin and Duprez did well in their parts but their chemistry wasn't as strong as it could/should have been.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 1:33:1 and is clear and crisp in its spectacular three strip Technicolour state.Extras abound,as there is commentary,the trailer,an optional music and effects track,a featurette with Ray Harryhausen on the effects created by Korda,a radio interview with the composer,production stills and the 76 minute feature the Lion has Wings,produced by Korda during the war(released Nov/39).It stars Ralph Richardson,Merle Oberon and some of the Thief cast.It is a propaganda film to be sure,and dry,but has some neat first generation war footage and is a nice history lesson for those interested.There are two discs in this set,with which there is a 20 page booklet included.
Now to the caveat I spoke of above.Reviewer Spyder on these pages had the luck to have the MGM release of this film and this set.He reported that the prints were the same,and he was right.I contacted Criterion myself and they confirmed that fact.So any restoration done,was done by MGM.More could have been done but wasn't.The fellow I emailed and who responded to my query offered me a replacement of any other title in their catalogue!Very accommodating,considering I was just inquiring and didn't yet own a copy of the set!Tells you a lot about Criterion.I have always stated with Criterion releases,that a Criterion release is a superior release.This time I cannot say that is totally true.However they did go as far as they could with all the extras they included here,which goes along way for making up for the print;which was really,I suppose,out of their hands.And to be honest,the print here IS magnificent despite the minor imperfections that could have been expunged with more work done.
All in all Criterion,despite the caveat above,has turned out another solid release with the Thief of Bagdad,in magnificent colour,directed in Britain by famed Alexander Korda.The film won three Academy awards,and most deservedly.It is chock full of extras and is a timeless movie which has lost none of its marvel and spectacle.It is a film that the whole family can enjoy together.Highly recommended.

The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes
The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes
Price: CDN$ 29.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 23.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost? They never were., Dec 29 2013
The Jack Benny Program-The Lost Episodes produced by the Shout Factory is a misnomer.The 18 eps included in this set from the 1950s are from Jack Benny's personal cache of Kinescopes(a tv camera pointed at an off stage TV set screen)donated to and preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive way back when.They have never been"lost".This is just a marketing ploy.The set includes an interview,bonus footage from some later Benny specials and newsreel footage.Great and historical stuff here.
TV programming from the 40s and 50s is much like silent films.Much of it was under appreciated(no one thought of any future potential of these shows),destroyed for financial gain(tape erased to be re-used for other shows) and done by all the major and minor studios themselves.Most of the intact TV shows that exist from this time period like I Love Lucy or the Jackie Gleason Show were preserved in toto due to the clout and foresight of its stars.But the majority of shows are gone,like silent film,and only exist in bits and pieces,if at all.What an absolute cultural crime both are.
It is because of this that it is an absolute pleasure to see that these shows are getting a new/renewed audience some 50+ years since their original air dates.Of course these kines needed some work and the enclosed brochure with this set explains the restoration that went into bringing them to DVD.We also know that there are plenty more where this group came from,so the public's support for this collection is essential if more are to come to DVD.
I might also ask the question that if these are"lost"shows,where are the"known" shows? Although the booklet enclosed refers to "known" shows already out on DVD,I do not know of any official release of Benny's syndicated shows onto DVD.There are plenty of low grade copies out there,but I have never seen a release by CBS,or who ever now owns the rights to them.And one would expect to get to see the "known" shows,before one sees the "lost" ones,wouldn't they?
Nitpicking aside,this three disc set is a must have for Benny fans,or for anyone interested in TV history and the plethora of talent that populated the TV airwaves during the halcyon years from the 40s to the 60s.Benny's coven of co stars like the funny and talented announcer Don Wilson,to the equally talented and long time showman Eddie"Rochester"Anderson,to the mellifluous warblings of songster Dennis Day,all aide in defining Benny's comedy style.It also testifies to the top heavy talent on hand.Multiply the talent here times the number of other great shows on the air at any given time back then and you can see why this period is called TV's "golden age".I remember it so well,and have missed it a LOT.When talent was just that,and humour didn't come at the cost of losing one's gray matter,i.e. when a joke didn't have to involve a four letter word or sexually explicit material.I KNOW it,but I hope this set provides a newer generation with a fresh reassessment of what has been passing for "talent" and "humour" for the last 20 or more years.

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