Profile for Robert Badgley > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Robert Badgley
Top Reviewer Ranking: 116
Helpful Votes: 1119

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Snowpiercer / Snowpiercer, le transperceneige (Blu-ray) (Bilingual)
Snowpiercer / Snowpiercer, le transperceneige (Blu-ray) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Chris Evans
Price: CDN$ 17.49
7 used & new from CDN$ 17.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another somebody done Earth some wrong song,er movie!, Nov. 9 2014
Snowpiercer(released June/14)stars,among others, Chris Evans,Song Kang-ho,Tilda Swinton,Jamie Bell,Octavia Spencer,John Hurt and Ed Harris.This is a so-so filmic adaption of a French novel.It has a deliberate but slow moving premise that does not coax you along, so much as drags you.
The story finds us in the year 2031.17 years earlier with global warming having reached a peak, world governments banded together to spray the atmosphere with a chemical designed to cool down the planet to more manageable levels.It of course didn't work and most of the planet when into a deep freeze.The last remaining inhabitants live on a long,long train which circles the globe as often as Earth circles the sun-once a year.
The train's inhabitants are split into two factions: the haves,which live the high life at the front of the train,and the have-nots,who occupy the back portion of it.It is this latter group that one day starts to slowly rise up against their suppressors from the front.The catalyst for the uprising(one of at least three others that have occurred since the train trip first started)is the taking away of some children for reasons unknown.The leader is Evans and his counsel is Hurt, who once worked up front.With the plan in motion the have-nots start their slow slog to the front,encountering all manner of opposition.The first guards they pass,even though they have weapons,cannot fire them as there are no bullets.They travel through a classroom,a hot house,a disco,encounter a car full of "butchers" and later guards WITH bullets.When they finally reach their destination Evans is greeted by the train master/inventor Harris.He explains why he has had to keep the population"controlled" and Evans almost buys into it, until he finds that the mechanical system that maintains the train is now kept working by putting five year olds and under, down below.
At this same time one of Evans mates blows open a door of the train which has never been opened.Once done the noise starts an avalanche which ends up derailing the train and killing most of the inhabitants.Only a 17 year old and a five year old are left to their own devices walking away in the snow.The film ends with the children staring at a polar bear who is staring right back.Fresh meat...but for who?
The ending of the film is perplexing and pretty much a joke.To think the two young people survived their experiences only to be possibly eaten by a polar bear? It would have served the film better had it shown the children just cautiously walking away from the train,in awe of their surroundings.
Then there are other areas the film does not cover well,.if at all.One of the areas/train cars the have-nots travel through has an aquarium surrounding it in its walls.For the car to have that,it would have to be almost twice the size of a normal car,yet we only see a sleek long train with all cars equal in size....? There is also the matter of a train that circumnavigates the world.They completely avoid the question of how the train travels over to two major oceans.The premise of any film,especially Sc-Fi,is that it must be rooted in some form of logic and reality,and this one,I'm sorry to say(or not), doesn't pass muster what so ever.
The acting is alright.Evans bears more than a passing resemblance to Jim Caviezel in looks and acting style.It is always a pleasure to see pros John Hurt and Ed Harris,but they are sadly wasted in this one.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary only.
All in all a big disappointment with a so-so cast in a so-so story.The big names of Hurt and Harris are wasted,but the big "hurt",so to speak,is the plot holes that one can drive a semi through.2 1/2 -3 stars.

Six Days On The Road
Six Days On The Road
Price: CDN$ 11.49
17 used & new from CDN$ 5.24

3.0 out of 5 stars A Clarification on "Six Days on the Road", Nov. 3 2014
This review is from: Six Days On The Road (Audio CD)
Hi folks and all you DD fans.I just wanted to set the record straight on this release.Dave's penultimate hit"Six days...." is NOT,I repeat NOT the original version.The label says Sun Records and this version's songs were recorded in the early 70s by Shelby Singleton who bought Sun Records from Sam Phillips(the original owner).Shelby had worked at Mercury previously and had guys like Dave under contract when he decided to go it independently and record his guys under the label he owned....Sun.So there you have it.If you want the original look for a CD called" On the Road Again: 20 Great Truck Drivin' Hits " by Gusto Records,then you will have struck pay dirt.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Price: CDN$ 39.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 39.95

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Glitch City folks!, Nov. 2 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The recent release of Borderlands the Pre Sequel shows a change in know-how-locale,i.e Australia,hasn't made for a better game.In fact we have been presented with Glitch-city.I have never run in to a Borderlands game,or any game for that matter, that has had so many glitches.One is bad enough,but I am only about half way through and there are four major faults with this game already.
The first biggie is the fact that they have for the first time made playing with friends the default mode.In games past it has always been the user which has determined whether to connect and play with friends,play solo,or what have you.I prefer solo first,as I always wish to learn a game on my own ,so if I do decide to play with friends,I have somewhat of an idea of how to play without embarrassing myself.
The second one is if you change it to offline(solo) it does NOT remember your selection for the next time you play.That is every game you return to play you have to pick your choice of how to play all over again.C'mon.
Thirdly, as you approach a door to the first boss battle(against Deadlift),it does no open!?? That's right,there is no access or continuance of play beyond that area.The only way to get around it is to play solo(offline) and then it will open.I only found that out by trial and error.
Fourth and finally there is a Vault key symbol in the Titan Robot Production Plant...the only one.You approach it to press"e" to discover it, but it won't let you.You cannot discover the symbol.So there goes your perfect game,if you,like me,are trying to obtain one.
As I say I am not all the way through yet,so who knows what else I will find.
On the good side the game's controls and handling are pretty much the same from previous versions.And they give you an in game "reward" if this game detects any other installed version of Borderlands.
All in all a Borderlands all players of the previous versions will appreciate.However the glitches are something that should NOT be in a game like this and in that many numbers.Somebody screwed up royally in the testing department.It is not what we previous Borderlands players and/or newbies to the game should find when shelling out our hard earned bucks. 2 1/2-3 stars.And don't get me started on the guide(see my review on that)!
Nov.11/14 Update:
Well I have finished the game and of course have found more glitches.There is what they call a "grinder" machine.It works by inputting three items from your back pack into it,and even moonstones that you collect,to make an entirely new weapon.Well,it doesn't work...never has,never will.I have noticed that if you travel back through a boss area you have been through and defeated,they respawn again! I can see its minions respawning but the boss? Also from the "Hyperion Hub of Heroism"level forward,when you come near a Vault symbol to press "e" to discover them,you will find when you do they have already been discovered....but you haven't been there before!Lastly there is a side mission called"To Arms".In it you have to find a box and donate about 52 weapons to it.Well every time you come back to the box,you press"e" to open your back pack(and donate).However despite your back pack being FULL of weapons,it will tell you there are none!???? So of course there goes your donations down the drain AND any hopes of ever completing this side mission.
On this date there was a patch installed through Steam for the PC games.From what little I can see,there is no difference.All the items mentioned above are still extant.
So is this game worth your hard earned bucks on,or your parents dollars? Unless you just HAVE to have this,I would recommend backing off for a year or two.Then you not only save money but will hopefully get a game finally fixed by then.

Divergent / Divergence (Bilingual)
Divergent / Divergence (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Shailene Woodley
Price: CDN$ 13.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 10.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, but I just did't care., Nov. 2 2014
Divergent(released Mar/14)stars,among others, Shailene Woodley,Theo James, Ashley Judd,Jai Courtney,Ray Stevenson,Zoë Kravitz and Kate Winslet.This is a film I found to be totally UN-engaging and without any sense of excitement whatsoever.
The story finds us in a dystopian future Chicago.A good portion of the city is in ruins and it is surrounded by a wall.The citizens are divided into five different factions.When the children come of age they must select which group they will join."Faction before blood" is the motto.
Woodley is the lead character and when her time arrives she chooses the "Dauntless"faction;an ersatz police department which resembles a group of parkours than anything else.She has been tested beforehand and it was found that she was the film title"divergent".That is,she fit in to no particular faction.She was told to keep her mouth shut and tell no one.She enters the Dauntless group and she is put through three separate tests, along with all the other initiates.Tests can involve anything from plain fighting and shooting skills to psychological testing.In fact psychotropic drugs are used in a variety of ways to either test or control.The latter is what eventually brews as Woodley is completing her training into the "Dauntless".It seems the leader of another faction led by Winslet is preparing to take over the city.To do that they have injected each "Dauntless"member with a drug with which they can be controlled.
Winslet and company direct them to go to an area of the city in which Woodley's parents live.There they are forced to start eliminating the population there.Woodley and other different faction members who have rebelled, join her and storm the facility where Winslet is.After a struggle they overpower them and Woodley injects Winslet with the same drug the latter used on the "Dauntless".After a quick wiping of the computer program, the slaughter of the innocents comes to a halt.Woodley boards an El which she and her friends ride to the end of the line;to the wall.They are now factionless, but have each other.
At no time in the film could I get up enough empathy to care about anything I was watching .It was like being injected with the same psychotropic drug used on the screen.I felt like I was sleep walking.Woodley has about as much charisma as a tree.It was like watching an even more sober Katness Averdeen(Hunger Games).Unfortunately the tone/dynamic/vibe we get with her character bleeds into everyone and everything else and it is.........borrrring.
Technically speaking the film is in its original w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include trailers,commentary and deleted scenes.
All in all an approximately 140 minute yawnfest of monumental proportions.I think they were going for a similar Hunger Games type lead character, but Woodley does not have the acting chops to get there.That coupled with the somnambulistic plot,and we have a film that will engender not one feeling of....anything,one way or another.Forget engagement or excitement of any kind.In fact,forget it altogether.

Call Her Savage [Import]
Call Her Savage [Import]
Price: CDN$ 22.57
16 used & new from CDN$ 16.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pre code melodrama with the "It" girl., Oct. 29 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Call Her Savage [Import] (DVD)
Call Her Savage(released Nov/32)stars,among others,Clara Bow as Nasa Springer,Gilbert Roland as Moonglow,Thelma Todd as Sunny De Lane,Monroe Owsley as Lawrence Crosby,Estelle Taylor as Ruth Springer and Weldon Heyburn as Ronasa.This Clara's second to last film and is a pre code melodrama with lots of surprises, for those use to seeing post code pics from a little later in the 30s.And includes the plot.
The film opens as Clara's grandparents are making their way westward in a wagon train.Her grandfather is a letch and is openly having an affair with another woman a few wagons back.Just then Indians attack.The aftermath leaves a few dead and a dying man blames her grandfathers sins for getting them into their mess.He takes his boot and crushes the mans throat.
A few years pass and Clara's mother is now married to a boy she knew from her wagon train days.He is away more than he is home.As a result she falls in love with a local Indian and they have a love child:Clara.The mother is careful not reveal the real father to her husband or daughter.
Again the years pass and Clara is now grown up.We first see her horse riding furiously.Suddenly the horse rears up and throws her.The cause is a rattlesnake.She takes out her whip and starts pummeling the snake.Just then a burst of laughter rings out and it is from a half Indian friend of hers(Roland).Mad she starts whipping him until his face is bloodied! The two soon make up,as is her way, but her father has witnessed her antics and calls her back home.There she learns he is sending her to Chicago to a finishing school there.Clara is excited to get from out and under her fathers demanding ways.
She manages to pass the course,but not without cleaning the whistle of one of her fellow students.At a dance she meets up with a local playboy(Owsley)who has just broken up with his girlfriend(Todd).On a whim just to make a friend of his mad,he proposes to Clara and she accepts.Clara's wedding night is a bust.Her new hubby comes home drunk at an early hour of the morning,stays for a short time ,then gets a phone call and is dressed and gone again.Explaining just why he married her he throws $400 at her and leaves.
Clara's father shows up later and tells her he wants nothing further to do with her.Clara is despondent.But she thinks about it and then realizes that Owsley has money,so she decides to capitalize on it and goes on a spending spree.Eventually they're divorced. A few months down the line Clara receives a visit from her ex's lawyer,asking her to go to New Orleans to see him in a sanitarium.She arrives, and even though a guard is told not to leave Owsley alone with her he does,after he bribes him with $10.Owsley gets more and more inappropriate and erratic with Clara.Eventually he is trying to rape her,then choke her.She is rescued in the nick of time.Outside she learns his mind has been affected but should be alright if treated properly(probably syphilis) .Clara says that it is not him she is worried about.
A short time later Clara,still in New Orleans,gives birth to a baby herself;the result of that short time with her hubby on their wedding night.She is now destitute living in a hovel in a bad section of town.She cannot even come in her own building without being molested by a creep who lives there.Desperate she resorts to hooking and manages to pick up a trick this one night.She leaves her baby under the supervision of a neighbours young girl.When the girl leaves the apartment briefly, the man who molests Clara leers at the girl and in his drunken state,he drops a match.As a result the building goes up in flames.When Clara arrives home she is devastated to learn her baby has died of asphyxiation.At the same time Roland has being trying to track her down and he does.News arrives via a telegram that her grandmother has passed away,leaving her $100,000 richer.
She leaves for New York where she hires a local male escort to show her the town,who turns out is a local guy with loads of money.He takes her to all the gay night spots and even to a sleazy little club where they have to leave when a fight breaks out.
The guy has fallen for Clara and he approaches his dad to get his approval,which is not forthcoming right away.The father sets up a dinner party and invites Todd and Owsley to attend also! Clara is seething but goes along with the charade.Predictably Todd and Owsley end up on the losing end of Clara's temper,as she storms out.Back home,depressed and drinking ,she receives a telegram telling her her mother is on her death bed.She rushes home and it is then Clara's mother reveals who her real father was.
Later sitting by a pond Roland finds Clara and she quizzes him about the Indian her mother named.It fills in a lot of blanks for Clara,especially knowing why she is the way she is.In the end she says"I'm glad".Fade to black.
The plot here is quite predictable and the acting by some of the participants can be quite stilted at times.Clara however is a pro and she owns the screen.When she cries you want to hold her in your arms.Clara's diction and acting was top notch and this would prove that the "IT" girl still had it where it counted,at the box office.
This being a pre code picture there are a heck of a lot of plot scenarios that you wouldn't see in the post code era,such as Clara as an unwed mother,the philandering grandfather, Clara the hooker and the rape scene.There is even a nightclub scene where two openly gay singers are plying their trade.It all goes to give this picture a gritty and realistic undertone which is actually more interesting than the melodramatic plot.
Technically the film is in full screen mode and is generally clear and crisp.However there are artifacts and defects throughout the picture,common for its age.Unfortunately there are also some tape lines that appear very early on in the film and later near the end.This DVD is an on demand one.Fox has been late getting into the on demand thing but they have outdone their biggest competitor Warners.This film is in very good condition despite its age and has been restored wonderfully,unlike most of Warners product of this era,which they barely do anything to.
All in all while not a great film plot wise(it shows its age),its' grittiness and Clara's wit and charm win you over in the long run.Paramount thought she was washed up.Clara went to Fox and proved them wrong....twice!

Borderlands The Pre Sequel Signature Series Guide
Borderlands The Pre Sequel Signature Series Guide
by 2K Games 2K Games
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.92
16 used & new from CDN$ 15.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brady game guides go the way of Prima.....and it ain't pretty!, Oct. 23 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I never thought I would see the day when Brady game guides would start down the same path as Prima,but it has finally come.The one reason I have always preferred a Brady game guide is that they seemed to be more thorough and their walkthroughs made out in a simple,easy to understand and logical manner.That is, no matter where you are in the game they told you where EVERYTHING was in relation to your location,and what the best strategy was to continue.I have both previous Borderlands and the guides have been awesome.
Now they have copied Prima games by putting most of the side/optional adventures to the REAR of the book.For instance, I was about a half dozen maps into the game when just by sheer coincidence I ran into a Vault key.These are symbols on sides of walls,caves,etc on every level whose discoveries all go to the good for your gameplay.I had completely forgot about it because it wasn't anywhere to be found on the page of the walkthrough I was on at that present moment.So I went back to the beginning of the guide to see if I had possibly missed something,a remote reference,anything.....nope.I finally found the Key of the Vaults near the back of the guide!!??? To top this,there was a side mission to deface some posters,which the guide DID mention.But there was no reference as to WHERE they were.Again I had to go looking and I finally found them....you guessed it,in the back!
This means folks,that instead of playing the game,and just leafing through the pages as you go(as was the case in previous Borderlands),you now have to wrestle with two or three EXTRA pages in the back at the same time. Sound fun? It is decidedly NOT.This has been Prima's method for a long time and now it seems Brady has come around to their way of "thinking"...at OUR expense.
Sorry Brady, but you get one star for providing the info,but your methodology is absolutely horrendous.Copy boy.....re-write!

The Wolverine (Bilingual)
The Wolverine (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: CDN$ 6.49
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Another nice piece in the X-Men puzzle., Oct. 19 2014
This review is from: The Wolverine (Bilingual) (DVD)
Wolverine(released July/13)stars,among others, Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada,Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima and Famke Janssen.This,the second incarnation of a film on the Wolverine,which certainly keeps the action at the forefront where it belongs.The only weakness is the plot,which is a been-there,done-that kind of thing;the old rescuing a damsel in distress routine.
The story opens on Aug.9/45 in a Japanese concentration camp just across the river from Nagasaki.The air raid sirens start to blare and the camp is in turmoil.A camp commander is quickly going from one area to the next releasing prisoners of war.The last one to be released is the Wolverine who is being held in a deep hole,covered over with a locked manhole cover.The commander tells him to leave but he retorts that he knows what is coming next and wants to stay put.As the commander walks away the Wolverine is up and outside following him.Just then the second atom bomb drops on the city and the Wolverine barely saves the both of them, by ducking back into the hole(guard in tow) and shielding him underneath the manhole cover.
Fast forward to the present and the Wolverine is living in the wilds of Alaska,as a hermit.When a group of drunk hunters using poison tipped arrows kill a grizzly bear he is very familiar with,he is out for revenge.Four of the five hunters perished at the hands of the bear,but the fifth is in a tavern regaling those who will listen, with his side of the"story".The Wolverine,needless to say,makes sure the story now includes the truth of what they did.But before he can "slam the point home",in steps a Japanese girl who persuades him to let him go.The girl is Yukio,who is an adopted member of the old camp commander's family,and sister/companion to his granddaughter Marika.The old commander,Yashida, now runs the most powerful technology firm in all of Asia.He is dying and has sent Yukio to ask the Wolverine to come back to Japan to see him one last time.He reluctantly agrees.
In Tokyo the Wolverine,after a necessary and forced bath,finally meets Yashida.The conversation goes alright until the old man offers to give the Wolverine a natural death,i.e.to take away his powers and live normally.He of course declines and leaves.That night Yahida dies, but there is no peace in the Yashida clan's family as Marika tries to commit suicide;being saved by the Wolverine.Next day,during a huge traditional funeral/ceremony Marika is kidnapped by Yakuza gang members.The chase ends on a fast moving bullet train where the Wolverine finally is able to subdue all opposition.They head to a place Marika thinks no one will find her,which is a retreat her grandfather had built on the property of the old concentration camp.
Eventually the Yakuza do come and capture her again.By this time the Wolverine has lost his ability to regenerate from wounds and is just not up to the speed he was before.In other words he is"normal" now.Yukio thankfully shows up at the retreat, and after interrogating a Yakuza member left behind from the kidnapping,Wolverine learns where Marika is being held.He heads directly to the home of Marika's fiance' to learn that he was ordered to kidnap and kill Marika on her fathers orders.From there he travels back to Yashida's home to confront the son,accompanied by Yukio.While there Wolverine learns that a nano device was implanted near his heart which is causing his"normalcy".He extracts it manually,during which time Yuio has to fend off Marika's father from killing the Wolverine.In the end he recovers his powers just in time to duel with the father to the death.
He now learns that Marika is being held in a facility in Yasjida's home town and off he goes.On arrival he is accosted by dozens of Ninja's who end up capturing him and taking him to the aforementioned facility.There he is interrogated by a Dr Green,who is also a mutant.Between her and Yashida they had developed a silver samurai;a huge samurai "android" made out of the same metal in Wolverine's body.Before the SS can chop off Wolverine's extended hand blades,a shot from a ninja arrow deflects the chop.Wolverine is loose and ready to do battle.Dr.Green kills the ninja who's arrow made the deflection and then takes on Yukio, who finally takes her down.
The Wolverine meanwhile has his hands full,so to speak.The SS eventually gets him in a death grip and is drilling into his now blade less knuckles to remove his regenerative powers to transfer to him.You see we have now learned there is a human being inside the SS,and it is Yashida.The SS was made to extend his life.A piece of broken Wolverine blade suddenly finds itself embedded in Yashida's head,thrown by Marika.The Wolverine then delivers the coup de gras.
The film comes to a close as Yukio and Wolverine are aboard a private jet.When she asks him where he wants to go he says"up,for starters".A mid credit scene has him back in the States being met by Magneto who tells of a terrible threat.Fade to black.
Woven in to the rather banal rescue story are sub stories of Dr.Green(a mutant),the ninja who grew up with Marika and Yukio(also a mutant),and his old flame Jean Grey,whom he "converses" with throughout the film and who he finally releases in the end.These plots help elevate the film above the norm.Jackman is of course as "jacked" as usual,and does not disappoint.All others involved ably support him and bring their respective characters to life to fill the film.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.There are no extras.
All in all and nice sequel to the first Wolverine and another valuable cog in the X-Men "wheel".Recommended.

Opiate d'Amour; Rebound. Jackie Gleason
Opiate d'Amour; Rebound. Jackie Gleason
Price: CDN$ 23.33
16 used & new from CDN$ 18.50

5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to love?, Oct. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This CD contains two of The Great One's LPs from the late 50s "Opiate d'Amour" and"Rebound"."Opiate"'s tracks are all continuous.That is the entire album, from tracks 1-6 and 7-12 play non stop,with a nice bridge between them.It throws you off at first if you were thinking(like me)they were individual tracks.As a result Jackie creates a real mood indigo for lovers here.
When I think back on how times have changed,when there were a plethora of mood music mavens,such as Mantovani,Ray Conniff,Percy Faith,Bert Kaempfert,Henry Mancini,Lawrence Welk even having a go at it,and so many more.Every major and some minor cities had an easy listening radio station that pumped these tunes out 24/7/365.Now, I cannot think of a single easy listening station anywhere in North America, and fine music such as this has virtually become a lost art.
I like all sorts of music but once in a while I just like listening to something that I can relax to,something that doesn't want to force me up to dance and that I can sing along to as I wish.This double album CD from Jackie Gleason is just the ticket.Funny,I loved his albums then and they have not lost one bit of their appeal over the years.In fact I might say, in this day and age, they seem to have improved.They are certainly far better than what plays on most stations these days.
Like all the Vocalion releases of late they appear to be remastered from the original material,with original liner notes to boot.The only difference I can really say is that the American remastering tends to bring more bottom out than these European releases,which seem to go for a more sweeping over all sound.Which is better? I tend to the American releases(Romantic Moods Of and How Sweet It Is! The Jackie Gleason Velvet Brass Collection), but only by a very slim whisker.
Either way you slice it this CD brings back a ton of memories for me,and if you're of the same era you will thoroughly enjoy these remastered LPs like I did.If you are fairly new to Jackie,well all I can say is you are in for a treat.

Girl 27 [Import]
Girl 27 [Import]
DVD ~ Girl 27
Price: CDN$ 19.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful look back at a scandal, dropped and picked up again, Oct. 6 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Girl 27 [Import] (DVD)
If there's anything anyone who has more than a passing interest about Hollywood soon comes to understand,is that beneath that ritzy glitzy exterior,lies a place with a sordid and sometimes ugly past.David Stenn while doing research on his book about Jean Harlow(at the point,coincidentally,about her death)accidentally uncovered a reference to one Patricia Douglas.Patricia was one of thousands of extras then employed in Hollywood.She was just 17,was a quick learner and was competent at her work.In May of /37 came what was thought a casting call for her and many other girls.In reality it was to attend the (Hal)Roach Ranch(where many Roach films had been shot),where she and others would help to entertain a bevy of MGM salesmen brought into Hollywood for a multi day bash.The drinks flowed and the entertainment consisted of,among others,Laurel and Hardy.They were greeted by an exuberant Louis B.Mayer.
David Stenn uncovered a still extant file on Patricia Douglas and actual film footage of the arrival and start of the salesmen fete.It wasn't that long into the party when Patricia Douglas was raped by one of the salesmen.Patricia sued MGM,a bold move for the 30s,and the wagons at MGM immediately circled.Misinformation and behind the scenes manipulation all but crushed any hopes that Patricia would ever succeed with her claim.
Fast forward to the early 2000s and David Stenn enters the picture trying to put what little pieces there are of the puzzle, with what he slowly but surely uncovers,together.He interviews Roach biographer and Laurel and Hardy author Richard Bann as they walk in the area of what was once the Roach Ranch.As the doctor who"examined" Patricia right after the rape was recommended by Roach,one wonders how much did Roach know,or any of the entertainers on the bill,for that matter?(these two questions are never touched upon,and are all but lost in time).He tracks down her assailant who has since passed away.But miracle of miracles occurs when he finds that Patricia is alive and well in Las Vegas! When he is finally able to gain her trust,which took considerable time and patience,Stenn through long talks on the phone,eventually persuades Patricia to go on camera for the record.It is heart wrenching to see this now 85 year old lady talk in stops and starts about the still raw and humiliating experience she suffered those many years before.
The film fills in as many gaps as can be filled,as time has been enemy#1 on this case.He interviews the siblings of the man who found Patricia outside the building and took her to the hospital,another rape victim which occurred a few months after Patricia's and experienced the same thing she had,and an interview with Patricia's daughter.It seems Patricia was certainly naive when she worked at MGM,but her brutal rape obviously shaped the rest of her life in many unforeseen ways.She became a loner and her personal life became a more than dysfunctional one.Mr.Stenn got to Patricia in time, as just a short while after,she passed away.
Technically the film is in its original w/s a/r of 1:66:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include commentary,a photo gallery and a Paramount short of the era about extra girls ,which gives one a nice backgrounder on the whole extra scene back then.I would advise one watch the short first.Btw,the short has a 1:37:1 a/r but is shown in the 1:66:1 a/r ,which essentially chops much of the bottom off.I believe the point was just to convey the background on extras,which it did,and the a/r was secondary,which in this case I did not mind.
All in all a very compelling and sordid mess of a story that will stick with you LONG after you watch it;not only for those questions answered,but all the unanswered ones.

Louis Prima: In Person!
Louis Prima: In Person!
DVD ~ Louis Prima
Price: CDN$ 19.99
21 used & new from CDN$ 16.15

3.0 out of 5 stars A great addition alongside "Louis Prima-The Wildest", Oct. 3 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Louis Prima: In Person! (DVD)
Louis Prima was one of New Orleans greatest exports.With a career that spanned 50 years,Prima never lost sight of his roots, while riding the current musical trends of the 30s to the 70s.Prima really hit the big time in the 50s with his revamped band the Witnesses with legendary sax man Sam Butera and his wife Keely Smith.This was Louis at his height in the business.The 1960s saw Keely and Louis part ways professionally and personally and his new singer became Gia Maione.Gia was a talented and lovely lass who could match Louis on just about every level,like Keely had years before.Her delivery on I Want You to be my Baby was fantastic.But it just wasn't the same and the 60s rolled into the 70s and Louis pressed on,always cutting up on stage and putting on the best show he possibly could for his audiences.With Louis' passing in the late 70s we really lost an original who will never be duplicated or replaced.
This DVD is produced in conjunction with and narrated by Louis Prima Jr.(his mother is Gia).It gives highlights of Louis' career with a large dose of rare footage of Louis through the years and the various incarnations of his bands.And the best part is the videos/songs are in most cases complete,instead of the usually tantalizing but frustrating 10-30 second clips.There are some neat extras here like the 1936 RKO 16 minute short "Swing It "with Louis' exceptional band of the time(watch for a young Lucille Ball as Louis' girlfriend),Sing,Sing,Sing from 1943,a coloured clip of "When you're smiling/The Sheik of Araby"(1959),a clip from an early 60s film and the "Story 'bout the Dog" and finally a rendition of "Jump,Jive and Wail" by Louis Prima Jr.and his band.
There are a couple of things I must mention here.The outside jacket says the DVD is two hours long.The main vid on Louis' life is about 1 hour and 2 minutes long.The extras are no longer than 25 minutes.That is barely 1 1/2 hours long.A rather big discrepancy.Secondly near the beginnings of "The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" in the main vid,and "Swing It"in the extra section,the video becomes blurry for about 3-4 seconds.It seems someone in production didn't catch but SHOULD have caught those glitches and fixed them.
This video skips any hint of Louis' personal life except for the obvious,focusing mainly on the music.That is great,but to get the bigger picture,I would recommend you buy this DVD along with another DVD "Louis Prima-The Wildest":together they are the perfect pair to get a better handle on exactly what this swingin' cat was all about.
Louis I love ya and miss you a bunch.But luckily we still have your great musical legacy to lean on and listen to when we need a Prima fix! 3/12- 4 stars.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20