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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)

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2 Guns / Quitte ou double (Bilingual)
2 Guns / Quitte ou double (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Mark Wahlberg
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Denzel and Mark make a good team., April 5 2015
Two Guns(released Aug/13)stars,among others Denzel Washington,Mark Wahlberg,Bill Paxton and Fred Ward.I found this film had a a good pace,a lot of twists and turns and decent action.
The story finds Denzal and Mark hooked up as two guys robbing a bank.But wait there is a back story."A week earlier" flashes on the screen and we see the two in Mexico having dealings with a drug king pin.Denzel hands over passports while the cocaine the for payment doesn't appear as promised.Instead he gets paid in cash.He leaves the passports with the dealer and says he will wait for the coke.They leave but are stopped trying to re enter the States.Here we find that Denzel is actually a DEA agent.Once released we also find out that Mark is an agent for the Navy.The kicker being that neither guy know who the other actually is.Fast forward and we're back at the moment we entered the movie and the bank is being robbed.There is only supposed to be around $3 million in it,but as it turns out there is more than $43 million.
The two high tail it out of town and sit pondering their haul.Just as Denzel is going to arrest Mark,Mark gets the upper hand and shoots him in the shoulder,leaving him in the desert.He rendezvous's with his Naval superiors but they turn on him and he is soon on the run.Before he flees he learns the money is going to a Naval Station in Corpus Christi.
Enter a third party looking for the money,Bill Paxton and friends.We eventually learn he is CIA and it was their money the two stole.Denzel having escaped the desert,gets patched up and reconnoiters Mark's apartment.Mark however is across the street on a roof with a sniper rifle.He has Denzel in his sights constantly.The two first talk by phone but soon after Naval company comes to storm the apartment and Denzel barely manages to escape.Mark and Denzel hook up once more and Denzel attends the home of his DEA boss to let him in on what is going down.Paxton however has beat him there and the two have a sit down as to what will happen from here.Simply put,Denzel will get the $43 million in question and return it to them in exchange for his freedom.
He and Mark head for the U.S.home of the Mexican drug dealer and kidnap him .They interrogate him in a garage but they are over run by the drug dealer's men and get captured.They are taken back to Mexico and are about to be tortured when Paxton shows up wanting his money.The drug dealer and Paxton reach an understanding and Mark and Denzel are set free to get the money.
The two return to the States and go to the Naval Station.The money however is not there and it seems a friend of Denzel's has turned and has been secretly working with a Navy rep to keep the money for themselves.Denzel's friend is being held by the drug dealer.But when she admits she hasn't the money, nor does Denzel(despite his saying he does),he kills her.Denzel finds her body later which has a clue as to the whereabouts of the dough.He finds it in a hotel room they frequented.
The plot comes winding down at the drug dealers farm in Mexico where Mark arrives saying he has the money in his trunk(which he doesn't).Paxton arrives and then Denzel shows up with the actual funds in his trunk.As Mark and Denzel walk away Denzel,by remote,blows up the car he drove in on.There is a fire fight and Paxton and the drug dealer finally go down for the count.As the two sit in a restaurant talking about their experiences ,Denzel reveals he just may not have blown ALL of the money up.
The fact that neither men knew each other's actual jobs was a hoot.As was introducing three other parties that had a stake in getting the money.Denzel and Mark had an excellent on screen chemistry.While I usually find Mark's acting quite lame and wooden,I found this was a perfect role for him.He brought it, and worked on a par with Denzel,no question.Edward Olmos turned in a good performance as the drug dealer and Paxton was one part menacing,one part crazy as the CIA operative.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include deleted scenes and commentary.
All in all a decent action film with some funny twists and turns.The entire cast turns in a good performance and this is bound to please all the action fans out there.3 1/2-4 stars.

A Good Day to Die Hard
A Good Day to Die Hard
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A skunk's worst smell couln't top this stinker!, April 3 2015
This review is from: A Good Day to Die Hard (DVD)
A Good Day to Die Hard(Jan/13) stars,among others,Bruce Willis,Jai Courtney, and Sebastian Koch.This film will stand as the benchmark for how low a franchise film can go.It's total lack of credibility,believability and over all sensibility, leaves ones mind boggled to the max.
The story finds papa bear John McLane going to Moscow to visit his estranged son that he hasn't seen in years.It seems his son is in a bit of a pickle with the authorities over there.He has assassinated a Russian gangster and sits behind bars awaiting trial.In exchange for a light sentence he agrees to cooperate with a corrupt Russian politician.A Russian billionaire is also on trial, and he will say HE is the one who gave the order to kill his target.The politician wants a "file" the billionaire has,but which he will not relinquish.
Willis arrives just in time to see his son being transported into the court building.Soon after the trail starts a row of cars outside,filled with explosives,detonates,shattering the court room.Immediately John escorting the Russian billionaire away from the area.He grabs a truck and is bombing along until Willis stops it.This pause enables other gangsters,the ones who set the explosives and are after the billionaire also,to catch up.A wild chase ensues throughout Moscow and Willis decides to steal a large truck and follow his son,helping him with the bad guys in pursuit.
After a lengthy chase and a LOT of crashes,Willis and his son manage to get their prisoner to a safe house,run by the CIA.Yes,Willis' son is a CIA operative sent to rescue the billionaire.The "safe"house is set upon by those after them and the trio have to flee for their lives.The billionaire arranges to meet his daughter later but it is a set up.The daughter it seems is working independently of her father and she too wants the file for her own purposes.She gets what she came for and takes her father with her,while she orders her henchmen to kill Willis and his boy.Of course we know that cannot go down as planned and the two end up out of a tight situation.
The two follow their noses and drive to a building at Pripyat(sound familiar?It's the town just outside the Chernobyl nuclear plant).The gangsters have already arrived ahead of them and have discovered a vault full of weapons grade uranium.There never was a file.The billionaire's daughter again pulls an about face and kills her head henchman.It seems it was all a ruse to get her father out safely.As they begin to extract the booty Willis and son arrive on the scene and begin to wreak havoc on them.They manage to get alone with the billionaire who feigns sickness.Of course the two don't know what has happened between daughter and father, but they soon become suspicious.Then they are fighting for their lives in no time.Between all the foes that confront them and a huge menacing helicopter,the two have their work cut out for them.But was the end ever in doubt? The billionaire is killed while Willis rescues his son and the helicopter comes crashing down with the daughter inside.The film ends as Willis and his boy fly back to NYC,courtesy of the the CIA,and reunite with Willis' daughter.
Firstly,from the moment Willis grabs a truck to follow his son throughout Moscow(was that a Pittsburgh sign I saw on the freeway?),the movie's believability goes right down the tubes.There is no build up to make us think that what he is doing is anywhere near reality and probable.He is not in NYC ,but in Moscow.And the longer the movie goes on(from this point there's about 85 minutes worth!) the worse and less credible his actions become.
Secondly, the main thrust of this picture,unlike all the others in this successful franchise,have been Willis-centric.We follow him,we root for him and his actions are "logical"(for John McLane) and follow the prescribed formula.This story is completely different.The story here centers mainly around his son's activities and problems.This film puts Willis' character in a secondary role,a tag along part.What in the world would ever make the writers,the director,et al,of this film think for one minute think that the folks out there in the vast wasteland( who have supported this series all along) would go for such a premise?
Lastly, the final set of the vault building.It was much more evident in the theatres but still it is there none the less on DVD.It looked totally phony/fake from the outset.You cannot suspend your disbelief for one second because you KNOW you are looking at a set piece.The helicopter is a miniature,as is the building and it just becomes another weak link in a sad looking chain.The nail in the proverbial coffin,if you will.
Needless to say,but I will anyways,this whole Willis papa bear reconciling with his son thingy,and the resulting interaction between father and son throughout the film, turns into a bowl of sour milk VERY quickly.It's DOA,as is the film itself.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary and deleted scenes.
All in all the biggest turkey of the franchise and a big clucker of a picture on its own.There just isn't enough believability in this film to last a bathroom break, let alone a full 98 minutes.Mr.Willis,I believe,should be more careful in the future when he signs on to do another in this franchise(if there ever is another one after this debacle);not just putting his John Henry on the line for the big bucks involved.That is assuming he even CARES about it in any way,shape or form.

Interstellar (Bilingual)
Interstellar (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Matthew McConaughey
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What the.....?, April 2 2015
This review is from: Interstellar (Bilingual) (DVD)
Interstellar(Oct/14)stars,among others, Matthew McConaughey,Anne Hathaway,Jessica Chastain,Ellen Burstyn,Michael Caine and Matt Damon.This is one screwy film which is,I think,under acted and in areas quite Kubrick/2001-ish.You see I'm not too sure about the acting, as I always felt while watching this that I was on the Event Horizon of a Black Hole myself.Looking in but never quite being pulled in to the story and the action.
The story takes place on a future Earth where the planet's food supply is in dire straits.Deadly dust storms have wreaked havoc with the ability to grow food.In the past a team has been sent into space to a Black Hole which suddenly appeared around Saturn,in order to find suitable habitation for Earth's population.Placed there by who?....who knows.
McConaughey is an ex NASA pilot turned farmer who lives with his father in law and two children.It seems the house is haunted as a wall of books in his daughter's room keep mysteriously falling.Further investigation finds that it is a gravitational anomaly and they glean a message out of it....some coordinates.The follow them and find a hidden NASA base.There they are preparing to launch a ship to the Black Hole.The project is headed by McConaughey's old professor,Caine.He has apparently been working on an anti gravity formula for years and asks him to pilot the ship into Hole.He says they have received info from the previous flights that there are habitable planets at the other side.This is Earth's only hope of survival.By the time they get back Caine says he will have the formula perfected.
Off McConaughey,Hathaway and two other crew members and a robot fly.The go into the Hole and emerge on the other side.Their first destination is a planet near the Hole.After leaving their main station in orbit,they take a smaller craft and land.They eventually find a homing beacon from a previous ship.They are in very shallow water but also in the middle of a swell heading their way.They get hit by one and two crew are lost.Before a second one can hit they manage to restart and fly off.However just outside the inner hatch,when opened when they are out of danger,they find one of the crew who survived the first wave.He had been out there 23 years!(?).
They catch up on some news from back home and fly off to another objective.That planet is ice bound.But they do find a way station and Damon in stasis there.Being the last survivor he is very grateful at seeing humans again.When they receive a message from McConaughey's daughter it is to inform them that Caine has died and that did they know the whole thing was a phony ? They were sent out knowing they would never come back.Caine's formula was also a phony.Damon confirms this to them.
Now bound and determined to return home,McConaughey follows Damon to a "surface" area of the planet which he says can support life.However it too is a phony.Damon tries to kill McConaughey.The two fight and Damon smashes his helmet,leaving him gasping for air.McConaughey is able to eventually contact Hathaway and she rescues him.While doing this,one of the crew is killed by a bomb set by Damon back at the base camp.Damon high tails it for the main station in orbit.Before McConaughey and Hathaway can reach him,due to an imperfect docking and an unequal depressurization,the docking port explodes killing Damon.The main station now spins out of control towards the planet and it takes a near miracle to dock and regain control.
Nearly out of fuel they have two smaller craft left with the main station.Hathaway will steer while a robot is in one craft and McConaughey is in another.Their plan is to slingshot around the Hole and wind up at yet another world in hopes of surviving there.When they get near the black hole the robot disengages from the main,then to Hathaway's shock,McConaughey does the same.They sacrifice themselves to collect Black Hole data.McConaughey enters the Hole and his ship soon starts to come apart.He ejects and eventually comes into a three dimensional representation of time within a five dimensional world.McConaughey can see his past and the room with his daughter and the falling books.It seems it was HE who pushed the books through and sent the messages.He eventually is able to communicate with his daughter when she is older.He also discovers it was HE who created they Black Hole near Saturn.McConaughey then drifts away from that space into "real" space near Saturn and is picked up 85 years into the future.He is able to meet his daughter,now on her death bed.Eventually McConaughey takes a shuttle back out and tries to return through the worm hole to find Hathaway.
The movie is a terribly long slog,about 170 minutes worth.There is detail after constant detail,and from the other side of the Black Hole onward,a LOT of Quantum mechanical jargon/ideas thrown into the mixture, which can be confusing as all get out.Dropping into a third dimension within a fifth was nuts enough,but we watch McConaughey for,what seems like an eternity,trying to contact his daughter.And what about that idea of McConaughey creating the Black Hole....huh?Even Spock would have a hard time wrapping his Vulcan brain around that one. Every scenario they encounter from landing on the first planet of water to the next cold one with Damon,it all is dragged out in this under stated(acting wise) manner with everything but the kitchen sink(plot wise)thrown in.There are many 2001-ish moments like the ride through the Hole,the organ music which comes and goes,the fatal docking of Damon at the station,and the overall quietness of the space segments.Trouble was I loved 2001,this is a 2001 wanna be with not half the wit nor class.The screenwriters also went too far in their representations of the Black Hole and the variances on a quantum level of space.You are trying to comprehend the action on the screen but rationally trying to equate it to the jargon and space-speak coming out of one or more actor's mouths at the same time.It's heading shaking.Too much detail.Up until McConaughey left Earth,the story was already dragging,not very long out of the starting gate.Once in space I was hoping things would pick up but they became just as boring.The film just locked me out emotionally and I felt like an observer behind an observer....kind of a fifth dimensional wheel in a three dimensional universe! I must be honest and admit that the best part was McConaughey's meeting of his older,dying daughter.But they ruined that by having his daughter tell him"No one should see their children die".So he left.What!!? And to top that her own family,of which there were alot in her room,which I might add would be McConaughey's grand children,etc,were never even introduced to him!??
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.there are no extras.
All in all a good cast, put into a soberingly boring film.It tries too hard to beat 2001 by getting all technical and throwing out plenty of modern science speak.In the process it totally lost me.I tried to get into it, but it just kept pushing me away.Fine,be that way. Two stars.

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3.0 out of 5 stars A film that could have been better than it was., March 29 2015
This review is from: Collateral (DVD)
Collateral(released Aug/04)stars,among others,Tom Cruise,Jamie Foxx,Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo,Peter Berg and Bruce McGill.I just didn't know what to think of this film when it ended.It was a bit on the long side and it seemed the sum of its parts just didn't quite gel with its whole.
The story opens as Cruise is at LAX;a Cruise with slightly unkempt pepper coloured hair and beard,wearing a rather bland looking grey suit.He bumps into none other than Jason Statham(in an uncredited cameo),and both simultaneously drop their respective leather bags they carry.Cruise picks up Statham's,and visa versa,and they part.
Enter Foxx,an L.A. cab driver.He has driven for about a dozen years with a personal self dangling carrot;a dream of running a limo service.He picks up Smith who is an attorney working on an important case,and drops her off at her destination.The two strike a chord with each other and she leaves her card with him.At this juncture,in walks Cruise into Foxx's life,and cab.Cruise tells Foxx he has multiple places to go and folks to see and wants to retain his services for an entire evening.Foxx balks at first,but the $700 he will make changes his mind.
As Foxx sits in his cab at the first stop waiting for Cruise's return, a body comes crashing down upon his cab.Cruise appears soon after and both put the body in the cab trunk.Foxx wants out, but Cruise won't let him go.It soon is obvious Cruise is a hitman of sorts and bit by bit his story is slowly revealed to Foxx as the night wears on.The next stop is a crooked attorney who Cruise takes out.The next is the owner of a jazz club,who is iced as the three sit and talk at a table.
Foxx's mother is hospitalized and after repeated calls to his boss,Foxx is forced to make a trip to see her.Cruise tags along and he and Foxx's mother get along quite well.As Cruise is talking Foxx grabs his valice and runs with it.After a chase to a walkway over the highway Foxx tosses the case onto the highway below destroying Cruise's itinerary,computer and money.This forces Cruise to force Foxx into entering a nightclub owned by the very folks who have hired Cruise(having Foxx pretend he is Cruise),in order to re-obtain Cruise's list of hits.There are some pretty tense moments with a p'od crime boss,but Foxx gets the list on a flash drive and returns to the cab.
During all this action the L.A.police have slowly but surely become involved,with all the dead bodies piling up at the morgue.Ruffalo,one of the cops,meets up with an FBI sting operation going down at the last club Cruise and Foxx were at.They I.D. the cab and Foxx,and are now tailing them.At the next point of call Foxx is forced to join Cruise in a nightclub while the hit goes down.However the police/FBI are there also and an all out firefight ensues,with the mark taken care of but Ruffalo also going down in a hail of bullets.
Foxx is despondent over the dead cop, and while taking Cruise to the next point of call he becomes unglued.He deliberately crashes his cab.Cruise manages to escape the scene just as a cop shows up to assist.However the cop discovers the dead body in the trunk and places Foxx under arrest.As he is about to be cuffed Foxx gleans from the rear seat that Cruise's next victim is none other than Smith.Foxx immediately overpowers the cop,steals his gun and grabs a cell phone from a pedestrian.Cruise has already reached the office building Smith is in and Foxx is eventually able to get through and warn her.However Cruise kills all building power and phone lines,and hunts Smith down.Just as he is about to shoot her in walks Foxx,who temporarily disables Cruise.The two escape on to a subway car,with Cruise in pursuit.For a time they are able to keep their distance, but eventually Cruise has them cornered in the last car.Mustering all his courage Foxx,with his gun,steps out into the aisle and starts shooting through the car door at Cruise,who is shooting back.When the smoke clears Foxx is miraculously still standing while Cruise is hit,and hit badly.He slowly takes a seat as Foxx and Smith re enter the car and sit across from him.Cruise asks if anyone will notice a dead man on the subway(a reference to an earlier convo Foxx and Cruise had in the cab).As the subway reaches the next stop,Foxx and Smith get off and walk away,leaving Cruise in the car,dead.Fade to black.
It is about a two hour trip from beginning to end,the film that is,and as I said before,it does not travel quickly.There are a lot of details the director wants to impart such as the "relationship" between the hitman and his driver,the police side of the story, which includes not only local cops but the FBI,and little things thrown in such as Foxx's hospitalized mother.I think what made me indecisive about this film one way or another,were exactly that,all the details.I'm a less is more kind of guy,and I think a bit of judicious editing in the script wouldn't have done any harm at all.
Technically speaking the film is in a 2:35:1 w/s a/r and is clear and crisp.This is a TWO disc set.the first disc is the film,of course.The second has all the extras,which includes commentary,featurettes on the making of the film, night,a deleted scene and much more.
All in all the film has a good and solid cast,but the film wanders as much as Foxx's cab and I believe it diluted the impact of the film too much.With more editing in the film and script,this could have been one heck of a picture...,i.e. BETTER.3-3 1/2 stars.

Horrible Bosses / Méchants patrons (Bilingual)
Horrible Bosses / Méchants patrons (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jason Bateman
Price: CDN$ 4.88
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2.0 out of 5 stars Are you kidding?....No you aren't,are you?, March 28 2015
Horrible Bosses(released June/11)stars,among others,Jason Bateman,Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell,Kevin Spacey,Donald Sutherland and Jamie Foxx.This is a juvenile film chock full of the type of low gutter humour/aka "the easy laugh", that Hollywood churns out these days.It's an inspired cast in a film that goes no where.
The story is simple.On the one hand we have the "good guys": Bateman,Day and Sudeikas VS "the bad guys",the titled Horrible Bosses: Aniston,Farrell and Spacey.Bateman's nightmare is Spacey who makes him work long hours for nothing,denying him a promotion that he deserves.Day is up against Aniston who wants to bed Day at every turn and is sexually harassing him constantly.Finally we have Sudeikas whose late bosse's son Farrell has unfortunately taken over a company that he has no business running.Over a nightcap at a local bar the trio's discussion turns to getting rid of their bosses.It eventually pans into an actual plan,of sorts.Day first arranges a meeting with a "wet professional",which he believes is just a code name for hitman.No.As it turns out, the guy that arrives at a hotel room the three rent out, pees on his clients for a living.Ooops.Next they secure the services of Foxx who plays one Dean "MF"Jones(I am not allowed to tell you what MF stands for,you'll have to guess...and it won't be that hard!).He takes $5,000 of their hard earned dollars for simple advice on how to carry out their plan.Out of all the suggestions Jones comes up with,the one that has each guy knocking off their friends bosses,appeals to them the most.
They start reconnoitering their respective bosses homes,getting clues and ideas as to their vulnerabilities.While checking out Spacey's home one of them drops a cell phone belonging to Farrell that they took earlier.Spacey later finds it and storms to Farrell's home and shoots him dead.Bateman, who just happens to have been there anyways, witnesses it and the three later confront Spacey at his home during a surprise birthday party.Spacey is not the least bit intimidated and in fact threatens their lives.Sudeikis who had a recorder on him and was supposed to be present when Spacey actually confessed, is no where around(he is busy making out with Spacey's wife).They all leave and Spacey pursues them.He finally corners them and just before the cops arrive he shoots himself to make it look like it was they who shot him and confessed to the murder of Farrell.The cops arrive and it looks like Spacey's scheme will work until an on board security program(the equivalent of On-Star) in Sudeikas's car alerts them all to the actual conversation that took place,nailing Spacey.
The film comes to an end as Bateman finally gets his promotion,Sudeikas retains his job but with a newer and nicer boss and Day finally gets Aniston.He has a friend come in as a patient and gets Foxx to record the whole thing on film from outside.
If you want to see Aniston like you have never seen her before and Farrell as a hopped up druggie,all wrapped up in a blanket of swearing and sexually explicit language which gives a bad name to the words "humour" and "innuendo",then this baby is for you.Fortunately, there are those still with some semblance of taste and to those I strongly recommend you avoid this film like the Bubonic plague.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:77:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include only deleted scenes.
All in all a BIG disappointment.With a cast like this I was expecting better,funnier and with better taste.Ahh,Hollywood,you have to love their choices.Although,as of this writing there is a sequel to this film out there in theatres.So,hey,what do I know?

Unholy Three [Import]
Unholy Three [Import]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should it have really been called The Unholy Four?, March 22 2015
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This review is from: Unholy Three [Import] (DVD)
The Unholy Three(released Aug/25)stars,among others,Lon Chaney,Mae Busch,Matt Moore,Victor McLaglen,and Harry Earles.This is a remarkable film with a coterie of actors that really gelled on the screen,all in the hands of legendary director Todd Browning.It's a real potboiler and it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last frame.
The story finds us at a circus.Chaney is a ventriloquist,and he has three other "pals":McLaglen who is the circus strong man,Earles who is the midget and Busch who plays Chaney's girl.These four have been in the circus for some time and Busch and Chaney have had a side racket going wherein while the patrons stand looking at him entertain,she is busy pickpocketing them.One day Chaney hatches a more profitable scheme on McLaglen and Earles that he says can't miss.McLaglen comes up with the name of The Unholy Three.Chaney explains he will run a pet store and will dress up as an old lady,McLaglen will be an assistant,Earles will be a baby and Busch will come in as his grand daughter.They will use it as a front in order to rob the homes of those who buy product from their store.And this is exactly what they do.To assist in sales they hire Moore to help.
Moore and Busch get along like a house on fire,and in fact Busch slowly but surely falls for Moore big time,and visa versa.One Christmas Eve as the three are ready to roll out and rob a home they recently cased,Moore and Busch come in with a Christmas tree and presents.With no other choice Chaney is forced to assume his character while his impatient colleagues cannot wait and go do the job themselves.The next morning the newspapers are awash with the news of the murder of a local citizen,while his three year old remains in critical condition.While McLaglen and Earles gloat over their deed,Chaney is beside himself.This is not what he had in mind when he came up with the idea in the first place.He also emphasizes that that is why he never armed any of them.
In short order the police come calling and start asking questions.Just by luck the cops are a little suspicious about Moore because of his lapse of memory concerning the person that delivered the deceased's parrot(it was him!).Chaney tries to think of a way out of the mess.The other two come up with a plan to put some of their stash in Moore's room and get him blamed.Chaney temporarily nixes that.To complicate things Busch's feelings towards Moore come to the fore and she and Chaney argue.Moore has finally professed his love for her outright and she has reciprocated hers for him.The next day the police search Moore's room and find the stolen loot and take him away.When Busch finds out she returns to Chaney and tells him that she is going to come clean about the whole affair to get Moore sprung.Chaney will have none of it,grabs Busch and just as the cops return to the store, the four of them are stealing away out the back door.Chaney also brings along a large ape from the store,for insurance purposes.
They escape to a cabin in the woods where Busch implores Chaney to come clean in exchange for her staying with him.It becomes heated and Chaney strikes her on the face.Busch says she will even endure that to get Moore released.This gets to Chaney's heart of hearts.He offs to the city to attend the trial.Meanwhile McLaglen and Earle have become suspicious of Chaney and his motives.The two have already brought up splitting the goods and taking off.Now McLaglen has his own idea when he propositions Busch to come away with him and split the good with him.Earle overhearing this,releases the ape on McLaglen and runs into an adjoining room and locks the door.McLaglen slams the door open and reinforces it with the bed.He strangles Earle to death but the ape enters and kills him.Busch escapes and flags down a passing car.
In the courtroom Chaney is listening to the evidence and Moore is better than dead.He finally cannot take it any more and just as the jury is being dismissed he stands up and asks the judge if he may confess.It is allowed and the bottom line is both Moore AND Chaney go free.
As the film winds down Chaney is back at his ventriloquist job at the circus and Busch comes up from behind.The two exchange pleasantries as Busch says"Well,I'm here".Chaney now resigned to the fact that she will never be truly happy unless she is with Moore,releases her from her word to stay with him.Busch tearfully says her goodbyes and returns to Moore.A crowd gathers around Chaney and a barker sidles up to him on the stand.It's back to work and his second chance at a better life.
This is a powerful Chaney performance and his co stars support him all the way.Chaney's make up changes blend seamlessly into the story, while in other pictures sometimes the make up took more center stage.For those that only know Mae Busch from her countless appearances in Laurel and Hardy movies, you will be surprised at what a good actress she was.This film could really have been called the Unholy Four because she becomes as much a part of the gang as the original three.There are many unforgettable scenes but one of the strongest has to be the one where Busch and Chaney stand talking in a glen away from the cabin and he strikes her.We see Chaney's hand quickly swipe,then a cut to Busch's marked left cheek.Her teared stained eyes melt Chaney's anger and we see it turn Chaney's heart completely around,though he keeps his feelings to himself.
Technically speaking the film is full screen and is generally quite clear.However,the print shows a lot of wear and defects throughout, but is no worse than many others I have seen of this time period.Warners of course with all of these DVD-R releases of late does nothing at all to improve the quality of the print.While those of you in the U.S.are getting this DVD at a pretty good price,we in Canada are paying twice the amount as you.Is it worth it? Definitely no.But for those who MUST have it,you are forewarned.There are,as usual for these releases,no extras.
All in all one of the best Chaney's ever filmed.And considering his output that is some feat.It is a grand story and one that will have you on the edge of your seats throughout.It grabs you right off the bat and never lets go.I give the film a five star rating but would only give Warner's the raspberry for releasing this and other classics as is.

Penalty [Import]
Penalty [Import]
DVD ~ Charles Clary
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 15.76
22 used & new from CDN$ 15.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Get your Chaney on!, March 21 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Penalty [Import] (DVD)
The Penalty(released Aug/20) stars,among others,Lon Chaney,Charles Clary,Doris Pawn, and James Mason.While the film is well rooted in its 1920s time period and some of its dialogue/prose a little over the top,by our standards,the film is still powerful and it is mainly due to Chaney's great performance.The Penalty put Chaney on the map and deservedly so.
The story finds Chaney's younger self/character in bed.He has been in a terrible accident on the street and he has a contusion on the back of his head and a young inexperienced doctor has just amputated his legs just above the knee.A consulting doctor also on the scene tells the young doctor he operated in haste and should not have removed the boys legs.When the boys grieving parents arrive the doctors circle the wagons,to coin a phrase,to protect the mistake.However the young Chaney has overheard the doctors talking and tries through his grief to tell his parents the truth.The doctors assuage the parents by telling them he is just delusional because of the operation he has just undergone.
Fade out and fast forward.Chaney is now grown up and on his own in San Fransisco.His father kicked him out when he was 15 because of his deformity and now he has risen to become the kingpin of the SF underworld.However revenge has always been in his heart of hearts.When the daughter of the now older surgeon(who amputated his legs) puts an ad in the paper for a model to pose for a sculpture,Chaney leaps at the chance.
Alongside this story runs a parallel one and it has to do with the cops.They have put an undercover policewoman inside Chaney's close circle.They want to know exactly what Chaney is up to.While Chaney goes for poses at the artist's apartment,she snoops around.One day she discovers that the fireplace in Chaney's lodgings hides an entrance to an underground lair.Among the many things it has is an arsenal of guns and an operating room.Any information she gets she relays to a cop outside the room window, who takes it back to the station.One day the cop who is returning the note gets killed by one of Chaney's henchmen, who notifies Chaney of what has happened and hands over the note,upon his return.
Chaney summons the policewoman to his parlour where he sits down to play the piano,with her assistance at the pedals below.He intends to kill her but can't because of the wonderful music both create together.The next day Chaney summons a friend of his who deals with illegal aliens.Chaney reveals that he plans to arm each and every one of his friend's immigrants and create a widespread ruse to lure all the military and cops to the outside of the city.While it is left unguarded,Chaney and his men will ransack and loot the inner city of its treasures.His friend calls him crazy and leaves.
Meanwhile the undercover police woman is outed by Chaney.But she has fallen hard for Chaney and actually is relieved the plan to take him down has been revealed.Chaney's plot to ingratiate himself with the daughter of the hated surgeon has worked almost flawlessly.That is until Chaney proclaims his love for her.She is taken aback and he has to beat a hasty retreat,psychologically.He leaves,cursing his luck.Back home he puts the start of his plan into action.He lures the doctors assistant( and boyfriend of the daughter) to his place under false pretenses.Once there he won't let the man go,for he wants his legs.He then calls daughter's father and does the same to him.By now the doctor knows who Chaney is and Chaney insist the doctor operate.He wants the assistant's legs grafted onto his.After a string of objections, the doctor eventually relents to the surgery.We know the doctor has a plan up his sleeve,and it is soon revealed.We see a groggy Chaney waking up after the operation,but his legs remain the same.Remember that contusion? The doctor has operated on that and corrected any damage it has done.This has been what has caused Chaney's personality change over the years and what drew him into his life of darkness.Chaney is now a new man as the undercover cop sits by his bed.Chaney and the doctor vow to help each other into a bright new future.
Chaney's old cronies and underlings however are having a hard time with the new man they used to call their boss.They gather together and vow to take him down.As Chaney and his new bride(the cop) sit together at the piano two shots ring out, and Chaney is fatally struck by both.He dies in his loved one's arms,never to get a chance at redemption.
The film is chock full of pre-code scenes like nudity,drug use and prostitution.It is at times a raw look at the underworld crime scene and it isn't pretty.The title cards at times are a little too flourid for modern tastes at times,but Chaney's performance is what really makes this film.There are no camera tricks and any kind of S/FX were extremely limited in those days anyways.No,Chaney plays it straight as he walks,climbs and claws his way along the floor and up wall sides.It is an utterly astonishing, but at the same time, marvellous thing to watch.His obvious character/make up aside,Chaney was one heck of an actor,which comes through brilliantly here.This would be Chaney's breakthrough performance and it is a doozy.
Technically speaking the film is in full screen mode and is clear and crisp.Also along for the ride,KINO has added a host of extras.It has Chaney's July/14 one reeler The Sun's Rays,the only surviving footage of The Miracle Man,a small featurette by Chaney author Michael Blake on his make up kit and costumes,a small essay on the film,photo gallery and much more.
All in all a must have for all Chaney/silent film fans.While very much a /20s film it is also intelligently done and well acted.Chaney is the star and in his breakout role he steals every scene,and is mesmerizing as Blizzard the underworld king pin,with stumps for legs.

Waller;Fats This Joint Is Jump
Waller;Fats This Joint Is Jump
DVD ~ Fats Waller
Price: CDN$ 24.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 8.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Fats-lite!, March 4 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This DVD documentary about the jazz pianist with no peer,Thomas "Fats"Waller,I would say you could call "Fats-Lite".One is LONG overdue,but if you are expecting an in depth look at the man,his music,his career,his influences,you won't find it here.It's a nice refresher course for those Waller vets,but on the whole this one is better geared for those just learning about the man.There are more than a few folks interviewed but even though they post their names, one doesn't have a clue as to what relation they are to Fats,let alone who they are.The clarity of the DVD oft times leaves a LOT to be desired.It looks like it was copied from a so-so VHS tape.There are also no chapter selections at all.
What it DOES offer are some nice little seen movie/soundie clips of Fats doing his ever lovin' thing.Interviewed in the main is Maurice,Fat's son.It's amazing how much he looks like his dad.The documentary does have a slight linear flow to it,but not enough for me.52 minutes flies by,and just as you really get into it,Maurice is talking about his dad passing away on a train.The documentary then fades out/credits roll with a live recording of Fats singing.
The DVD is a region free disc so it will play on any player worldwide.The playing surface is blue tinged,such as those you get with VOD's(video on demand).
In conclusion this DVD is a great "Fats-101 "course for those just learning about him.The Waller vets will find it a bit on the light side.But since there is little to none out there regarding this great musician(and I do not use"great" lightly),any Fats fan will want to pick this up for their collection.

An Affair to Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition (Bilingual) [Import]
An Affair to Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Cary Grant
Price: CDN$ 26.82
19 used & new from CDN$ 15.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful romantic film!, March 1 2015
An Affair to Remember(July/57)stars,among others,Cary Grant,Deborah Kerr and Richard Denning.This film is a wonderful,bitter sweet one,full of romance and the charm only Cary Grant could project.
The story involves Grant as a high flying playboy.He is on an ocean voyage headed for France.On the ship also is Kerr who is engaged.The two strike up an innocent conversation.Kerr knows Cary's rep but is having nothing to do with it.Eventually however his charm and charisma start to break through her wall.She becomes intrigued enough at one point to tag along with him when they reach France.Cary tells her it is to go ashore and visit his grandmother.She doesn't believe a word.Well it turns out to be true and Kerr spends what she terms is the best day of her life,with she and the grandmother hitting it off remarkably well.
The two return to the boat and by this time Kerr's defenses are down to almost nothing.However, they have a tete a' tete,and Kerr decides they must try and remain aloof at least for the passengers sake,even though both are now head over heels in love.Before they're half way home a ships photographer has snapped a few "compromising" pictures of them and has started selling them to other passengers.After this they leave their cares behind them and act normally.What have they got to lose?
Once back in New York the two vow to meet in six months atop the Empire State Building,on July 1.Cary vows,in that time,to get honest work and start making a real living.To this end,being an ex-painter,he decides to start his craft up again.Meanwhile Kerr has broken the news to her boyfriend about she and Cary,and while taking it hard,remains friends and supportive of her.She continues her life and Cary's painting start to sell slowly but surely.
The magical date both have been waiting for comes and Cary is atop the building awaiting his love's arrival.Kerr takes a cab but gets stuck in traffic.Impatient she jumps out of the cab and runs towards her destination.However she gets struck down by a car and is paralyzed from the waist down.Cary waits until late at night for his love who will never arrive.Dejected he finally leaves during a thunderstorm.
Kerr ends up in the hospital for weeks and when finally released gets a position at a local parish helping teach the local youngsters in singing.Wheelchair bound,she doesn't want Cary to know anything about her accident until she can walk again and meet him on a "normal"level.
Months go by and inevitably the two meet at a ballet as Cary is leaving;the first time since they last parted.She is seated so he won't know of her condition.The two say their polite hello's and part.Kerr's ex boyfriend has accompanied her and he wants to tell Cary on her behalf but she won't have it.
More time passes and it is Christmas.Who should knock on her apartment door but Cary.He has stumbled upon her address and phone number by accident.Cary you can tell is hurt, but he couches his words in subtle sarcasm,making like HE is the one who should apologize because HE didn't show up on the date they said they would.Kerr quickly gets his drift and she becomes very guarded in what she says.As he about to depart he tells her of a painting that he recently gave away( a portrait of her)to someone who couldn't afford it and in....his words drift off.He was going to say wheelchair, but the wheels in his mind are turning and he goes into the next room and there is the painting.It instantly becomes clear to Cary what has gone on.He returns to her and asks all the whys he needs to before they embrace,never to part.fade to black.
I found myself literally yelling at the screen at Cary near the end telling him to not leave,and to Kerr telling her to come clean about her illness.Such is the power of this film to draw you in.Leo McCarey(Laurel and Hardy's old director)is in fine form in this film and deftly directs the two through this romantic affair.It is nice how Kerr is at first wise to Cary's advances and how she rebuffs him,but eventually the circumstances overwhelm her and she can't fight what she feels any longer.Cary of course is always the gentleman,backing off at just the right time and coming back only at Kerr's behest.Also the scenes with Cary's grandmother in France were done especially well.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras abound in this 50th anniversary edition including commentary,the trailer,news footage of the premiere,and several featurettes and interviews.This is a two disc set.
All in all a fabulous film,full of romance and tears.As soon as the ship is sailing you are hooked.Kerr and Grant do a fabulous turn together and both are totally believable in their parts.4 1/2 stars.

Birdman (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Birdman (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Michael Keaton
Price: CDN$ 14.96
10 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, Feb. 28 2015

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