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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)

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gravity dvd Italian Import
gravity dvd Italian Import
DVD ~ sandra bullock
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 11.59
7 used & new from CDN$ 11.58

8 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This isn't THE "Gravity" is it?, Feb. 28 2014
This review is from: gravity dvd Italian Import (DVD)
Gravity(released Aug/13),stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.With the unprecedented super hype and press push by both its stars,and it's endless comparison's to other past Sci-Fi films,in particular 2001:A Space Odyssey,you would have thought this was a film for the ages! Let's clear something up,shall we? Firstly,this film does not come anywhere close to the epic classic that was 2001,in plot nor style.Secondly,it is a simple and mundane film that I am sure looked impressive in 3D and on the big screen.An honest to goodness good picture however,especially one made in 3D, has to have some substance to it.It must strike a balance between a good and decent story and it's eye popping visuals.This one is just too long on S/FX ,coming up far too short on its delivery.It's a terrible waste of two good actors who mostly,it looks like,did their things in front of blue screens,hanging off wires.
The story finds Clooney and Bullock as two astronauts outside a space shuttle orbiting the earth.Bullock is concentrating on getting a communications array up and going,while Clooney is playing cowboy by doing mini orbits in his space suit around the shuttle.Suddenly they receive a warning to abort the mission.It seems the Ruskies have shot down one of their own satellites and the subsequent debris has had a domino effect.It is slowly but surely taking out the majority of other satellites orbiting the earth.Before they can re enter the space shuttle,huge debris hits them,destroying the shuttle and killing the rest of the crew.The only two left alive are Clooney and Bullock,after a hairy rescue of Bullock by Clooney.
The two's only hope of survival is to reach the International Space Station,which has been abandoned due to the dangerous debris.Clooney gets a bead on it and they head for it.As they approach Clooney has no more propellant left in his suit to break with,and the two tumble over and around the station.When their tow line breaks it is Bullock that now rescues Clooney.Bullock has a tenuous hold on Clooney who tells her to let him go lest they both perish.When she refuses,he unbuckles his line and puts himself adrift.
Inside the space station all isn't good.After a while the station catches fire.Bullock escapes into the only life pod left,which cannot make it back to earth because of damage to the outside.Inside the capsule she fires it up,but cannot escape the station as it is tangled in its' already deployed chute,which in turn is tangled in the station.This forces her to do a space walk to untangle the lines.As she does this, more dangerous debris comes her way smashing the station to bits.
Back inside the pod but free of the station, she drifts hopelessly.She manages to pick up a signal from an Eskimo on the ground,and they briefly talk as her craft flies far over his head,until she goes out of both their ranges.She then turns off her oxygen and prepares to die.In a dream she imagines Clooney is back aboard the pod.He tells her she must use the landing jets to get the craft to the Chinese space station and save herself.She wakes up and it gives her the strength to carry on and get herself to the station.
The Chinese station has also been hit and its orbit has deteriorated so much it is falling downwards,already hitting the earth's atmosphere.She gets inside,manages to jettison away from the station and eventually lands in a lake back on good old terra firma.Not thinking ,she blows the hatch and the capsule starts filling with water.It sinks to the bottom and Bullock tries swimming upwards but the weight of her suit keeps her down.She gets out of it and finally surfaces,drifting to land.It takes her a bit to adjust, but in short order she is walking on her two feet.Fade to black.
The film seems like the present but can't be, the reality is all shuttle missions have been scrubbed.After one gets over the panorama of the earth and their surroundings,you would think the film would pick up momentum and get some decent traction.But for me at least,it never even takes off.The director has not imbued these characters with anything that I can personally empathize with.As distant as they are from the ground,is the same way I feel about the film.It's cold and impersonal.As is the music that accompanies this picture,which detracts more than enhances.Clooney's smiling,devil may care character is just far too cool for school.When Bullock is trying to emote some fear,Clooney,either in off screen voice or in front of the camera, acts like her personal psychologist,telling her its all ok,and to calm herself. It just doesn't sit right.And you JUST knew at least one of them was going to make it back alive.I mean what kind of a film would it have been if they had both died......hmm,maybe better? Finally the film's biggest premise is just not,to me,believable.I couldn't swallow that the two were able to go "station hopping" as it were.Their shuttle gets destroyed,oh I know lets just go over to the ISS,which happens not to be too far away.When that goes chest up,ok let's just go to the Chinese Space station,right over there.It is far,far too convenient and totally unbelievable.Which further deep sixes this picture.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.The DVD doesn't have the extras the Blue Ray has(that's the big boys pushing we the consumers in the direction(s)they want),it has only a short film.The film is part of the picture.It's the viewpoint of the Eskimo Bullock talks to.
All in all a BIG disappointment.The film was NOT 1/10th of the hype they would have you believe it was.And it is certainly not a film you could watch over and over again.The characters have no life to them, and as a result there's just no deep feeling for any of what you watch.It's all too impersonal and far fetched for me.2- 2 1/2 stars.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Bilingual)
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Logan Lerman
Price: CDN$ 9.85
8 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step up from the original, Feb. 23 2014
Percy Jackson:Sea of Monsters(released Aug/2013)stars,among others, Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson,Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion.I was very pleased to see the entire production,after the first one,on a much better footing as it ended up being far better.
The story finds us pretty much starting where the last one left off.If you recall, three out of four 1/2 Gods made it into the training camp alive.The one who died saving the rest was the daughter of Zeus,Thalia.What we didn't see is Thalia morphing into a living tree which in turn produced a barrier around the camp which no ordinary enemy could penetrate.One day a young cyclops arrives to join the camp,and it turns out to be Percy's half brother(a cyclops)Tyson.Percy's girlfriend isn't too thrilled as her close friend Thalia died by a cyclops' hand.
A huge brass,mechanical bull arrives to wreak havoc in the camp,penetrating the supposedly impenetrable barrier.After taking it down Luke,Hermes half son,arrives.Luke has poisoned the tree,which explains the bulls arrival.Luke tries to persuade Percy to come to his side,and mentions a quest,before he is rebuked and disappears.Percy afterwards confronts the camp leader about the quest,who sends him to the office attic.There Percy learns that it will be he that leads a group on a special quest.Back outside the camp learns the only thing that will save Thalia is the Golden Fleece.It resides on an island in the Sea of Monsters,located in the Bermuda Triangle,ruled over by the cyclops that killed Thalia,Polyphemus.
To get them to Florida fast,Percy's girlfriend hails the Chariot of Damnation,piloted by the three Stygian Witches.When they profess to having not enough Drachmas to pay the ever increasing cab fare,the witches drop them off in Washington,DC. While there they look up Hermes,who is running a delivery service,OPS(Olympus Parcel Service).He gives them a couple of items that later come in handy to them on their journey.He also asks Percy to ask his son Luke to not be so angry with the world.
Leaving here they make their way to the ocean and hail a Hippocampus,a brightly coloured animal who is a cross between a sea horse and a luck dragon.The creature takes them to the yacht Luke and his posse are using to get to the island.The all get briefly captured, but thanks to the tools Hermes gave Percy,they escape.However,the group get captured in Charybdis's whirlpool(in mythology sometimes just a whirlpool,but here a living creature)along the way,and end up in its huge stomach.While there, the group come upon the daughter of Ares,Clarisse,who was also was trying to get to the fleece,but now leads a motley crew of zombies,piloting a Vietnam era gun ship.They hop aboard and with Percy's help ,manage to free themselves from the monsters stomach.They sail away and find the island with the fleece.They enter caves there and find the fleece,guarded by the cyclops Polyphemus.They manage to wrestle the fleece away and trap the cyclops at the same time.Above ground Luke arrives and fires an arrow at Percy,which is taken by Tyson,who falls away into the water far below.While the despondent group assesses their loss,Luke uses the fleece to revive the bones of Kronos,the father of Poseidan,Ares and Zeus.Luke hopes to control Kronos,but Luke,it turns out,is the first to be eaten by Kronos.The group now must not only deal with Luke's men,but Kronos also.It is a pitched battle but in the end Percy and his friends prevail.Tyson even has come back from the"dead",having been healed by the waters below.The only glitch is Percy's girlfriend,who was struck down and had to be brought back by the power of the fleece.
Back at the camp they cover some of the roots of Thalia's tree with the fleece.Next day the camp is astonished to see that the fleece has not only cured the tree,but brought Thalia herself back from the dead.The film ends as we see Kronos's remains glowing inside the sarcophagus they came in.
This film moves along extremely well and its special effects work for the film brilliantly.There are some wonderful moments,but two humourous ones stand out. First is the cab ride with the Stygian Witches.It's a New York yellow cab,and when it first arrives I thought Buster Poindexter from "Scrooged" was going to stick his face out of the window.Between the three of them,they argue and nit pick while driving with alarming speed on their journey, scaring the bejeesus out of their passengers;all the while either looking with one eye or no eye.The second instance is Nathan Fillion's portrayal as Hermes.His time on screen isn't terribly long but it is very memorable.One of the items he gives the group to assist them in their quest he says is from a favourite show of his that was"cancelled".An obvious in-joke referring to his own classic "Firefly".This film is obviously geared towards a teen demographic,but I found this time around,compared to the first,it doesn't shut out the older crowd as much.It can be enjoyed on many levels by a larger demo.
Technically speaking the movie is in its original w/s a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.There are no extras on this disc.Another example of the indiscriminate "push" to buy Blu Ray over plain DVD.Reminding one of the change over from VHS to DVD.Do you feel like you have a ring in your nose,and you're being led around a ring by the entertainment industry?
All in all this latest installment in the Percy Jackson franchise(there WILL be more),is a winner from beginning to the end.The script is well written and the acting is top notch.It is far and away a big improvement over the first one,and one can only hope the producers are able to keep up this momentum with the next one.Recommended.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 11.85
14 used & new from CDN$ 5.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Its the WAY you win that's important", Feb. 15 2014
This review is from: Ender's Game (DVD)
Ender's Game(released Oct/13)stars,among others, Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin
and Ben Kingsley.This Sci-Fi adventure of young teens is a pleasing,fast moving and well played film by all concerned.The "hero" that all cadets in training try to emulate is called Mazer Rackham.It's just,to me,a mix up of Occum's Razor,which is to solve problems succinctly.This is exactly what our lead character does and which makes the film so compelling.
The story finds the Earth in 2136,which went through a terrible battle 50 years before.It barely managed to win a war against an ant like species called the Formic.The hero of that battle is the aforementioned Mazer Rackham.Since that time families usually submit their off spring to training camps so that the Earth may be properly prepared for the inevitable next battle."Ender" Wiggins is just such a trainee.His brother and sister have already washed out of the program,but he shows extraordinary potential. The trainee's commander Col.Graff(Ford),sees the Earth's saviour in him but knows he must bring him along carefully.
After "removing" him from training school to judge his reaction,he is accepted and sent aloft to an orbital facility above the Earth.In his class he stands out and is eventually graduated to a higher level of cadets,the Salamanders.Its gung-ho leader is not too thrilled at his being there and friction develops immediately.In games Ender of course excels.Graff recognizing his ever accumulating abilities, promotes Ender to lead a rag tag outfit "like himself",called the Dragons.The group is made of of former class mates that he has already bonded with.
After a surprisingly tactical win in zero gravity against two other teams,Ender is confronted in the shower by the Salamander leader.It ends up with the leader unconscious on the floor and Ender wanting to quit the program.Ender ends up back on Earth in seclusion.Ender's beloved sister Valentine comes to him and in the end Ender realizes his place is "up there".
Now back in the program,Graf does not waste any more time and sends Ender and his group to a former Formic colony light years away.Here,surprisingly,he meets up with Mazer Rackham,who is very much alive and becomes his teacher.Battle simulation follows battle simulation and in the next to final simulation Ender and his group lose.Next day comes the final "battle" for graduation.All are tense.Ender's first attack on the Formic home world fleet is a success.But nearer the surface the Formics are swarming for an all out offensive.As they attack Ender surrounds their formidable molecular weapon with his drone ships,sacrificing thousands of personnel on other unprotected ships to allow it to get close enough to the home planet in order to fire on it.Once done,the entire planet is destroyed.It is not to long after the battle has been won that Ender and his crew find out they were actually fighting the Formic.Ender takes his loss of crewmen,ships and the destruction of an entire species to heart.He resigns right then and there.
Back in his room on the former Formic colony he looks out to see a destroyed building which had appeared earlier in a simulated game.He goes out and investigates,and meets the last surviving Formic queen.All along Ender has had some kind of psychic connection with the Formic.The queen is dying and there before him is her last egg.Ender tearfully vows to find the baby queen a new home to colonize.As the film ends Ender is dictating a letter to his sister that he has been promoted to Admiral and is searching the known universe for a home for the Formic.
The film is well paced with plenty of action. What is especially compelling is the interaction amongst the cadet themselves.It all rings true:the rivalry and jealousy between Ender and other cadets and Ender's command of tactics,yet awkwardness at his interaction with another cadet female whom he takes a shine to.Ford is on game,and while Kingsley doesn't have a long part,his time on screen is likewise well spent and full of tension.When the final day comes,not only is Ender fooled but we as viewers are also.This film has it all and I liked what I saw.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary and,the trailer and deleted and extended scenes.
All in all I liked this film from beginning to end.It flows well and the acting is top notch.The interaction between peers is typical of what we are as humans,and though it has been handled sloppily in other films,here it is handled with just the right touch.In a neat twist,this is a battle of survival done at a distance:very clean,precise and cold.I think you will like this film too.4-4 1/2 stars.

Enemies Closer (Bilingual)
Enemies Closer (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jean-Claude Van Damme
Price: CDN$ 27.93
5 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A step down from his previous effort., Feb. 14 2014
This review is from: Enemies Closer (Bilingual) (DVD)
Enemies Closer(released in Dec/13)stars among others,Jean-Claude Van Damme,Tom Everett Scott,Orlando Jones,Kristopher Van Varenberg and Linzey Cocker.Van Damme's "epic split"commercial for Volvo was filmed while this was on the verge of being released.Mr.Van Damme has made some very decent films in recent times such as Wake of Death,JCVD,Six Bullets and Assassination Games.We also can't forget his appearance in The Expendables Two.He has also made some mediocre to bad films such as Derailed,Dragon Eyes,Second in Command and his worst,the two sequels to Universal Soldier,which continue to mutate into entities that no where near resemble the originals in any way ,shape or form.Having said that,will Mr.Van Damme's recent reinvigorated career courtesy of Volvo influence the parts and quality of films he is offered? can only hope.
The story here involves a ranger(Scott) on one Kings Island,somewhere just south of the US-Canadian border.Scott is an ex forces soldier/diver who has taken the lonely ranger job to straighten his mind out after his experiences over there.A plane,unbeknownst to the ranger, makes a death plunge into the water near the island.Then he is visited by Jones who is an ex con and brother to a soldier who got killed in Scott's platoon.His idea is to take revenge out on him for his brothers death.As Jones and Scott stand near the water's edge a bright light from a boat shines on the pair.Behind the light is Xander(Van Damme)and his posse,which includes his son Kris.The plane that came down was loaded with 50 bags of heroin and he is there to retrieve it.
Xander is a true psycho path and will stop at nothing,including killing his own men,to get the drugs.In the ensuing fire fight Xander's diver is killed,or more specifically is wounded and wasted by Xander because there's no chance of his survival.From here Scott and Jones must work together to survive Xander's wrath.It is a game of cat and mouse as each of Xander's men try and flush the two out.One by one Xander's men are whittled down.When two police show up Xander dispatches them himself by tracking them in the woods.
Jones and Scott end up in the only house on the island and the occupant there wants no part of giving up.He is in fact too gung ho to give it to Xander and his boys,and he ends up getting killed.The two barely escape that trap, and they lay a trap themselves to capture Xanders last man(Kris Van Varenberg) and get him.They beat a confession out of him as to Xander's reason for being there and his current status.Xander pulls one last trick out of his sleeve.He has as a hostage a girl whom Scott had arranged a date with that evening.Scott into surrenders and makes the dive for the heroin himself.When they go off Jones finds out the girl is actually working for Xander,when she dispatches two police who arrive by boat.
Scott dives and retrieves the heroin for Xander.But he also brings up an automatic weapon and now seems to have the upper hand as they head in to shore.Off the boat Jones has the girl hostage and she screams that Jones is going to kill her.The confusion in Scott gives Xander the chance he needs to escape after a brief fight.Jones wrestles and subdues the girl while Scott is able to grab onto the fleeing Xander's boat.In the ensuing struggle an anchor penetrates a fuel line which drains into the water.Scott is eventually forced overboard, but not before he is able to grab a flare.While he watches Xander's boat drive away he lights the flare and the gas leakage catches fire.Just before the boat blows into smithereens,Xander laughs wildly.
Back on shore Scott and Jones have made up and vow to forget their differences.
The plot is not quite as tight as it should have been.The introduction of the girl into the plot seems superfluous,as does Jone's inclusion.One without the other would have been fine,thank you very much.That scene where Scott floats in the water and lights the gas trail is pretty unrealistic.He would have had to have been at the very beginning of the gas trail in the water,otherwise the gas in front AND behind him would have ignited also.But considering the amount of time it leaked,he was no where near the beginning of it when he hit the water.Also the film leads off with Xander and his boys arriving at a DEA(?)office which monitored the crash of the plane.This introduces us to the character of Xander and his gang(dressed in Mountie suits,replete with horses.....?....seriously?), but it is also,totally unnecessary.We saw the plane go down,so keep us in suspense until later in the film when we find out from Xander himself what he and his posse are doing there.
There is a major blooper.There is a shot of Xander patrolling the waters in his boat.As it goes from a close up to a long shot,we see the close shoreline he is cruising by.Watch for a car with headlights facing the camera,which suddenly makes a quick left just before the picture cuts to the next scene.Sloppy.One thing I did see that I liked is Jean's son Kris.His acting chops are getting better every time I see him.Keep up the good work!
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Like most other Van Damme films,there are no extras.This has always been a bug a boo with me.C'mon Jean Claude,let's give out with an interview or two,eh?
All in all ,not what I was hoping for.The plot is unnecessarily complicated and clunky,which weighs the film down when it could have been light,trim and faster on the draw.JCVD's portrayal of Xander was good,but given the aforementioned weaknesses,it's impact was greatly diminished.I am certainly hoping Mr Van Damme's new found status gets him some high priced help in the movie department.He HAS made some good films in recent years,but the majority are,sadly,less than stellar efforts.What Mr.Van Damme himself said about his drug problems, can also be related to his film work of late:he has hooked up with film crews/companies that may be good,but are NOT good for him.2 1/2 -3 stars.

NEW Buster Keaton At Mgm Triple Fe (DVD)
NEW Buster Keaton At Mgm Triple Fe (DVD)
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 16.73
18 used & new from CDN$ 16.71

3.0 out of 5 stars So so Keaton entries,in not great condition, Feb. 4 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This release from Warners is the newest rage, that consists here of two DVD-R's(on demand) that have Buster Keaton's Parlor Bedroom and Bath(released Feb/31),Speak Easily(released Aug/32) and The Passionate Plumber(released Feb/32).These are all so-so Keaton entries that,surprisingly today,made money.But that was mostly due to MGMs big promotional machine and their block booking policies with theatres.They are not Keaton's most shining moments on screen,and although there are a few pure Keaton moments,there is very little to shout about.
Parlour,Bedroom and Bath is a farce that has Keaton as a sign tacker who falls for a rich socialite,who he spies wandering around a big estate with other guests.When he is hit by one of the party goers he is put up in the house until he gets better.While there Keaton is used as a patsy.The guy who hit him has been after a girl to marry,but she won't until her hard to catch sister gets married.So Keaton is blown up as this veritable Don Juan to land her.
The film has lots of bedroom farce,faux pauxs and mix ups associated with a story like this.The film was filmed on Keaton's own estate,and magnificent it was.Keaton uses some routines from older films but over all the pace is stop and go,and no gag really builds up much steam.It's alot of running around by all concerned with a twisted and sometimes confusing plot.Besides Keaton the film stars Reginald Denny and old stage veteran Charlotte Greenwood.2 1/2 stars.
Speak Easily is a vehicle for Keaton and Jimmy Durante.Durante is the stage manager of a traveling show and Keaton is a stodgy college professor.Keaton falls for one of the principals when he ends up on the same train as the troupe.On vacation he ends up following the troupe and eventually bankrolls the show onto Broadway.When there,an actress played by Thelma Todd tries to seduce Keaton, but in the end he stays true to his first crush.When Keaton's dough goes poof,the show is almost closed but goes on to become a hit.
This is the best of the bunch as far as these films go.Keaton does have at least some decent gags once in a while.Durante plays himself to good effect.I always found that these two were oil and water.Both were great at what they did,just not together. The plot ,like the others,is weak and it shows its translucence more than once.3 stars.
Lastly is The Passionate Plumber.This is one mixed up whale of a tale.Keaton is a plumber in Paris.His friend,Durante,thinks Keatons invention of a laser sight on a gun is terrific and he tries to help him approach some military folks with his idea.Trouble is when he does he ends up in hot water,having to duel with someone.Concurrently with this is a girl he meets who is getting two timed by a romancing romeo.At first the guy is intimidating and seems on the level that he likes Keaton's girl.But he finds he is also seeing another hot blooded Latin lady.In the end Keaton arranges to have the two meet him at the same time and have it out.The result isn't good for the romeo,but pretty good for Keaton.
This mixed up plot has Keaton and Durante running all over the screen trying to keep up with the ultra weak story line that is THE PP.It is silly and I might even say stupid at times.The running duel gag gets tiresome VERY fast.This film should have been given to a lesser comic with nothing to lose,not a pro like Keaton.1 1/2-2 stars.
Technically the films are in their full screen a/r and are not in as good as shape as one would want them to be.They have done little work on them,just adjusted the contrast and clarity is all I can see.Other than that they are filled with defects associated with films of their ages.
All in all,this two disc set of Keaton films is just filling in the Keaton blanks as far as his MGM output goes.This is really for Keaton compleatists like myself, who want his entire output of films from MGM.They are now thankfully all available,but mostly on these DVD-R's that are Warner's newest hook.Not liking the hook,but I like the bait.

Politics [Import]
Politics [Import]
DVD ~ Marie Dressler
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 12.20
21 used & new from CDN$ 12.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Marie does it again!, Feb. 4 2014
This review is from: Politics [Import] (DVD)
Politics(released July/31) stars,among others,Dressler,Moran,and Roscoe Ates.This comedy is another pleasing collaboration between the two stars and as usual Dressler just steals the show from beginning to the end.Dressler had the rare ability to reach through the camera and tug on your heart and make you believe she could be any person's friend.That what you saw on screen could easily be her in real life.Down home good folk.
The story here finds Dressler running a boarding house,with Moran and her hubby(Ates,doing his stuttering routine) living there.Moran has political aspirations that sets Marie off teasing her every time she can.One night her daughter,a male boyfriend of Marie's daughter and her girlfriend attend a speak easy.He had recently left a local gang and not liking his decision the gang have a man outside waiting for him.Two shots ring out and he is badly wounded and the daughters girlfriend is killed.Marie's daughter brings her wounded boyfriend home to hide him and nurse him,in their attic.Marie is clueless to this.
Afterwards Marie and the town attend a political rally for a Tom Collins,who wants to be re elected.A teary Marie comes to the stage,thinking about what she has witnessed the night before.She tells the crowd that the speakeasies should be closed down after what has happened.When pressed for his opinions Collins obfuscates.This was not what she or the people wanted to hear.Collins is booed off the stage and the audience rallies around a reluctant Marie for the next mayor.
Politics turns out to be a tough road to hoe for Marie and her campaign manager Moran.The men of the town don't want to be told who and what to vote for.They manage to break up a rally of Marie's,but Marie tells a small meeting of women that they must go on strike....totally! Well for about a week things get pretty tense in the old town as the tables are turned and men are forced to do what the women folk have always done.Just as it looks like the men are giving in, Ates discovers the wounded boy up in the attic and has him arrested.Dressler is beside her self,as her campaign now seems in ruins.
Down at the cop shop,they have the shooting suspect in hand and are grilling him.When they bring in the wounded boy for identification,the cops now have their man,which clears Marie's campaign.The film ends as Marie's daughter weds her previously wounded boyfriend.Marie,as mayor,performs it,with the head of the garbage department in attendance....Moran.
Dressler of course is given every opportunity to shine in so many ways.She has her comedic moments to be sure,but this film has many more of a dramatic bent and she shines as well there.There is a beautiful moment of pathos where the men have broken up her first rally.Just as they leave the rain starts to fall,and we see her there in the rain,wiping her tears with a hanky.Her scene with her teary eyed daughter who has reacted at her boyfriends taking by the cops,is also a tender moment.She hugs her on screen daughter like it was her own(if she had one),and again Dressler's ability to pull you in comes to the fore once more.No one could do it like she could.Ates does his usual stuttering routine and plays Moran's put upon spouse quite well.But as good as anyone else is,Dressler is simply it..
Technically speaking the film is in its full screen a/r and has defects visible associated with films of this age.
All in all another Dressler vehicle which should please all her fans.Dressler shines from beginning to end.When one thinks of Marie and her career and how many good films she made before her premature death in 1934,it makes one wonder as if something wasn't pushing her(besides MGM)to get them done,to have a lasting legacy.She certainly succeeded.She went out on a high note.

Reducing [Import]
Reducing [Import]
DVD ~ Marie Dressler
Price: CDN$ 33.17
21 used & new from CDN$ 12.83

4.0 out of 5 stars The camera LOVES Marie!, Feb. 4 2014
This review is from: Reducing [Import] (DVD)
Reducing(released Jan/30) was a very popular entry in the Marie Dressler cannon of motion pictures.It was to be the second to last film with Moran,who proved to be a great character for Dressler to work off of.The film stars,among others,Dressler,Moran,Anita Page and Lucien Littlefield.
The story finds Dressler's sister Moran running a successful beauty business in New York City.Moran pays the $200.00 to ship Dressler,her hubby and her two boys,out to NYC to stay with them;a fact Moran constantly reminds her of.They arrive and it's a teary reunion with the two sisters.Soon Dressler is working in her sister's salon and a bull in a china shop understates what Dressler's behaviour is like;though her heart is in the right spot.Along with this are the sister's two daughters.Moran's has been seeing a rich dude for quite some time and now that Dressler's youngin' has entered the picture,he is now eying her and a nose is getting way out of joint.
The sisters have already been verbally battling off and on, but now Moran(whose rep is at stake) can't take it anymore and Dressler and family move out of Moran's place and into their own.Meanwhile Dressler's daughter and the rich dude are getting closerthanthis.Moran's daughter,whom Marie had slapped unintentionally for being so insolent,now comes over hat in hand.Marie isn't so forgiving until Moran's daughter pleads with her to get her man back....because,by inference,we find out she's pregnant.Marie goes right over to the rich dude's place and lays it on the line....and rightly,he does the honourable thing and marries her that night.Marie is a witness.
Back home Marie confronts her daughter and tells her what has happened.As she tries to console her daughter,who should come by but Moran,hat in hand.Her high hat-ness has disappeared,as she has also learned the truth of what has happened.Like their first meeting at the train station,it's another tearful reunion as the film fades to black.
This film swings from comedy,to drama to pathos,and back again throughout its run,and the success of it is due to only one person,Marie Dressler.The old war horse she was,she had a presence like no other and could"give" with the best of them.Dressler adds many,many small touches that were not scripted,such as nose wiping/scratching,and eye lid raising,and any number of assorted gestures that simply complete the moment in a particular scene.Her comedy chops are well in evidence,and Moran's salon provides some good laughs,usually at Moran's expense.There is not a dry eye in the house with that teary ending.
Technically speaking the film is in its full screen a/r and is clear and crisp.Defects commonly associated with films of this age are still visible.
All in all one of Dressler and Moran's better vehicles together.Dressler steals every scene she's in;one cannot get enough of her.That was the beauty of doing a roughly 80 minute film;it left you wanting more,and MGM knew it.Dressler would eventually win an OSCAR for Min and Bill,but to me that was just a we-had-to-do-something gesture.Dressler made MGM a ton of cash and Min and Bill was not one of her best films.It was slow paced and terribly stodgy.Dressler could and should have easily gotten one for this film over M & B.It's wonderful to see her again.We need more of her MGM catalogue released.There's a whole new generation out there waiting to rediscover this great actress.

NEW Sidewalks Of New York (DVD)
NEW Sidewalks Of New York (DVD)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another so so Keaton flicker., Jan. 30 2014
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Sidewalks of New York(released Sept/31)stars,among others,Buster Keaton,Anita Page and Cliff Edwards.This is a so so effort by Keaton,being as shackled as he was with sub par material(gag wise),a stodgy script and poor pacing.
The story finds Keaton as a swell who sends his man(Edwards) down to the tenements to collect the rent.He comes back empty handed but plenty worked over by the street kids.Keaton returns with Edwards and a street fight breaks out.One of the prominent kids on the street has a sister(Page) whom Keaton,of course,becomes enamoured with.In order to get into her good books he throws the kid a party and he ends up stealing Buster's watch.The cops return him home but Keaton presses no charges.
The kid though has made connections with some bad elements in the neighbourhood,and Keaton's efforts to improve the lot of the street kids gets their attention,and it's not good.Keaton builds a gym for the kids and even puts on a wrestling tournament,and slowly but surely seems to be building the trust of most of them.But the stickler is still the sister's little brother.He gets involved with some local robberies and Keaton finds out about it and tells him to stop his nefarious activities.The crooks thinking Keaton knows too much for his own good plan to have the kid kill Keaton.In a play Keaton and the neighbourhood kids are putting on,a scene comes in which the kid must "kill" Keaton(shoot him with a fake gun).When the moment comes the kid cannot pull the trigger.The crooks then decide to take matters into their own hands and invade Keaton's house.They do so but don't count on the kid corralling all his street buddies to go and help him.They arrive in the nick of time and save the day.Keaton and the girl live happily ever after.
This was supposedly the most successful of Keaton's MGM films.For New Yorkers it certainly had an instant appeal,and by now movies had introduced the movie going public to plenty of New York-ese.But Weingarten's direction was less than stellar and the pace/editing was quite stodgy,stop and start.The gags have no proper build up to them,so as a result you can see them coming a mile away.Any run of the mill comedian of the day could have tackled this kind of weak Keaton vehicle and easily have made it their own.Someone like Charley Chase would have made a big success out of it.
The film is clear and crisp yet this"remastered" edition still contains many defects associated with films of this age.
All in all a run of the mill Keaton entry.Lumbered by a so so script and lacklustre gags that one can see from miles away,the film never lets itself get off the ground.

NEW What! No Beer? (DVD)
NEW What! No Beer? (DVD)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as critics would have you believe, Jan. 30 2014
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This review is from: NEW What! No Beer? (DVD) (DVD)
What,No Beer?(released Feb/33)stars,among others,Buster Keaton,Jimmy Durante and Ed Brophy.This film is not as bad as all the critics and biographers would have you believe.The Passionate Plumber is far worse than this,and I would say it is about on a par with Speak Easily.
The story finds Keaton playing Elmer Butts(there's a dig from Keaton in there to his bosses somewhere!)a taxidermist.His friend Durante is a barber.With the repeal of prohibition getting voted on and accepted,but without waiting for a Federal repeal into law,Jimmy decides to borrow Keaton's $10,000 to buy a local brewery that has been sitting vacant since 1919.It's a get rich quick scheme for sure.First night they hire three tramps using their brewery as a home.One of them has a stutter,and who we learn later just happens to be a master brewer.For now Jimmy won't let him try to utter one sentence as his patience runs dry(no pun intended) very fast.They stumble their way along and finally get their stuff ready to sell right at the brewery.However since it is still illegal,the cops swoop in and close the guys down.However when their concoction is analyzed it is more like tea instead of beer.They are let go.
From here they go into the production of near beer,cutting into the profits of the local gangsters.They aren't amused.One goes into partnership with him while the other is out to stop them.Jimmy has finally gotten the word about his stuttering brew master,who says they can make real beer.He gives the OK but tells everyone not to tell Buster.As one gang boss has got it in for them,their drivers refuse to come to work.Buster ends up delivering it himself.As the gang is about to move in on him ,he gets a flat on a hill.In his attempts to fix it,he inadvertently ends up being chased by his cargo down the hill.This also has the added effect of foiling the hit men.Jimmy arrives and tells Buster that the beer is the real deal.
Meanwhile Buster's crime partner has been killed.The other boss arrives at the brewery and takes over the operation.The cops have now gotten wise to the operation and its now real stuff and are planning a raid.Tipped off by the gang bosses girlfriend,whom Buster has been chasing through the entire film,Buster escapes and flies around town advertising free beer at the brewery.The place is mobbed and the citizenry drink up all the evidence.There is a quick cut to a politician using Busters brewery as one that shut down criminal activity as the result of people storming it.Headlines scream that Beer is now legal.The last scene has Buster and Jimmy now apparently successful and legal brewery men.They are out in a beer garden and making speeches.The film ends as Jimmy holds up a cool draft and blows the foam off the glass telling us"it won't be long now".
The truth is later that year(/33)in December prohibition was officially repealed by the Feds.It's ironic that Busters last film should be about alcohol,the very thing that really did him in at MGM.His voice was quite deep and he appeared to be in his cups in several scenes.We do know that Buster was showing up late or not at all during filming.Ironically,one thing Buster would chastise the Marx Brothers for when later working for them as a gag man,as being unprofessional.Mayer had enough and fired him outright.
However all is not bad here,as this film is edited quite well;mind you it only lasts just under 70 minutes.The pace is quite good and the story at least keeps you half interested.Buster's writers weren't half bad either,and if his lines were encumbered by him being a little tipsy,the seriousness and direct delivery with which he spoke his lines,actually works FOR him here,as he plays off other characters.Then we have Durante.It seemed with each successive film they did together,Durante got more and more over the top.They really let him loose on this one.I have nothing against Durante,with his continual use of malaprops.This was who he was,he was a great and smart entertainer,one of my favourites.He just didn't belong in a Keaton comedy,although by this stage little could have been done to turn things around for Buster anyways.The writing was definitely on the wall.One of Keaton's best moments occurs with the barrel chase down the hill.It is a re working of Seven Chances, but I found it to be quite effective.And like in many of Keatons films,Buster is enamored by a woman who comes and goes and which inevitably means trouble for him in some fashion or other..
The film is in its fullscreen a/r and is clear and crisp.There are many defects associated with a film of this age that are still evident in this"remastered" edition.
All in all Keaton goes out with not a bang,but more than a whimper.I found it a mediocre film, but fairly pleasing none the less,not his worst by any stretch at MGM.Remember it WAS a money maker.

NEW Doughboys (DVD)
NEW Doughboys (DVD)
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3.0 out of 5 stars A poor Keaton entry-2 1/2-3 stars., Jan. 28 2014
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This review is from: NEW Doughboys (DVD) (DVD)
Doughboys(released Aug/30)stars,among others,Buster Keaton,Sally Ellers,Cliff Edwards and Edward Brophy.This is a tepid comedy starring Buster in a role which takes him back to his own days serving in WW1.MGM had "writers" to help him in his story,but all they managed to do was insert the usual run of the mill verbal jokes,and Buster is reduced to pratfalling,to get any kind of laughs.Unfortunately even his falls no longer have the appeal they once did,as they seemed forced.
The story has Buster as a character similar in nature to his role in The Navigator.He is rich and spoiled and keeps coming down to the exit of a company everyday to ask a girl out.WW1 breaks out and one day there are recruiters around trying to sign up men to go over there.Buster's driver enlists leaving he and his German butler stranded.Wanting to immediately hire another driver he walks into what he thinks is an employment agency.When all is said and done Keaton is drafted.There are the usual gags and misdirection during training camp,with Ed Brophy as the sergeant whom Keaton gets on the wrong side of.Over there Keaton runs into the girl who is now an ambulance driver.Before Keaton goes to the front he gets into plenty of trouble while being billeted with his platoon.At the front he eventually manages to first capture his own platoon mate.Then he meets his old butler who asks for his old job back.He promises to bring back food for his old friend and other Germans there.Keaton returns to his lines and brings back a German map for which he is praised and sent to the rear for R&R.Then the war ends.The film ends as Keaton is now back home as a civilian running his business with alot of his old ex army pals as sidemen.The last "gag" is a rivet hammer sending the group ducking for cover.
That last gag is so terrible and predictable,but it is typical of what one sees throughout.The pace is so slow which swiftly takes away the punch of any attempt at humour.Cliff Edwards does get some cracks at his great singing.And there is one shining moment where Edwards,Keaton and director Ed Sedgewick sit down and have a little jam in their billet.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r and is clear and crisp.But it has the usual defects associated with films of this age.
All in all not one of Keaton's better MGM films.While not bad,it is far from good.Keaton always complained of his so called MGM "writers" trying to insert bits of funny business constantly in his pictures.If only they had left him alone,this might have been a much better film.2 1/2-3 stars.

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