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Reviews Written by
Rick M. Pilotte "Author, artist, and solver of ancient mysteries" (Victoria BC Canada)

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Spongebob Squarepants: Pilot Mini-Movie by Nickelodeon
Spongebob Squarepants: Pilot Mini-Movie by Nickelodeon
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 21.37

3.0 out of 5 stars endless nickelodean theme diddy, March 23 2015
98 minutes? of what?
The main "mini" movie was about 50 minutes. the rest was 42 shorts. Each short had a 5 second nickelodeon jingle, 5 seconds of someone introducing a short and then the short. It works out to over 7 minutes of introduction. and the shorts (with the exception of one nearly 5 minute one) were all were REAL short. I think they were short excerpts from various Sponge Bob cartoons, and they were on average about 40-50 seconds long. Most of them ended abruptly often in MID SENTENCE! So 42 time one is constantly clicking the remote wearing out the batteries for the next one turning down the sound so you don't have to hear the jingle AGAIN then turning the sound back up. The Mini Movie itself was Ok but it was about half patchy the pirate or guest stars...do we really buy Sponge Bob cartoons to see patchy? There were a few cameos by stars like Robin Williams, but it seems to me a Sponge Bob video, so short like this one should be mostly Sponge Bob...so it was a bit disappointing...not to mention I had that blasted nickelodeon jingle in my head for about three days afterwards.

Tumbleweeds (Silent)
Tumbleweeds (Silent)
DVD ~ William S. Hart
Price: CDN$ 6.98
8 used & new from CDN$ 6.98

4.0 out of 5 stars appears to be a 1939 rerelease of a 1929 movie with extra sound, Feb. 24 2015
This review is from: Tumbleweeds (Silent) (DVD)
I have to admit I was confused even up to the point of making the review...and did a little reading and research. The movie starts with William Hart introducing the movie; I figure he's about about 74 when he does his intro. His words seem incredible to me. The people are taking cattle land from cattle men which was formerly Cherokee land taken from the Cherokee's, and his take is the poor cattlemen are heartbroken, so this take on it seems a bit surreal to me on the event. I don't know the history so it just seems like weird things to say.
Then he says he's leaving the screen because he's starting to feel the roughness in his body.. OK, and though the box says heartfelt prologue, to me he sounded to me like he was a bit addled or a little too Shakespearean. It was a weird intro. But it was a talking intro so I look at the box... 1939. OH it's a talkie.

NOPE.

It's a silent movie so I'm thinking ! weird ! they made a silent movie...in 1939!? The talking cards also included music song lyrics and the only synchronized words with the movie were the songs sung to the lyrics shown, so the movies seemed reminiscent of 1936 Modern times by Charlie Chaplin where there was no talking or sound unless it was with a technical device used in the movie. So to me as I watched what I thought was a 1939 movie, and I see this this apparently 74 year old guy was going after a young lady of about 24 in the movie!? (But I later find out the movie was actually filmed in 1925 but new sound bits added in 1939 for what would be the 50th anniversary of the historic event. OK I'm caught up finally.)
So I'm not reviewing a 1939 movie as I thought, but a 1925 classic. I have to admit it was neat thinking it was a 1939 silent for a while. It has nice arty dialogue cards. The story was good and the editing was soundly done so the story didn't loose you. I did think the ending snuck up on you a bit. They could have had a few connectors to prepare you for the final scene...so it's potential was lost to everyone but the character who plays the part..they really didn't let us in on it..though the clues were there, I thought they could have played it up a bit...add a part or two. There was a bit of over acting here and there which gave it either an unintended humorous or overacted feel where it shouldn't have been. True there were some intended humour, but it was campy. The story (bad guys, good guys) based on a historic event seemed a bit contrived to fit and squeeze it to fit with the event, but it does work...if a little deliberate.
Overall I did enjoy the movie but give it only 4 - 4 1/2 stars. It just didn't have the same magic of the older Hart movies I've seen...probably due to directing and / or story.

Gods and Spacemen in the Ancient East
Gods and Spacemen in the Ancient East
3 used & new from CDN$ 36.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Every one was a space man...even God, Feb. 6 2015
Looking for evidence of advanced technology in the past for my research I grabbed this one off the second hand rack based on the title alone. It was soon clear this guy has an axe to grind against anything that might lend authority to the biblical record; constantly twisting the plain speech into something negative, second rate, or inaccurate. Virtually every page has at least one dig against the collection of 66 ancient writings we call the bible. Furthermore he was finding spacemen or suggesting everyone in the past was a space man or could have been, from angels, God, Semiramis, demons and who knows...maybe even Winnie the Pooh. So he takes away from the few evidences of Spacemen he does clue into by lumping them all together.
He walks all around evidence than is easy to see and thus conclude that man himself was a superior being, yet in every instance he just can't seem to conclude man was the originator of the science or technology he speaks of and forces the evidence into the conclusion it must be gods AKA spacemen that gave us this knowledge.
That said, he does have some interesting evidence, and if you don't mind wading through the constant rhetoric of knocking the bible and boosting every other ancient record above it, it might be worth your time. (I'm not knocking the other ancient records, I found what I've read to be very interesting and illuminating into the ancient past too, and valuable clues to the overall picture) But any good evidence he notes is literally hidden among the evidence of advanced humankind in the past, as he just can't seem to distinguish one from the other, or is simply unwilling to, so he just lumps them all into the Spacemen category. Maybe with a title like that he felt obligated to. I must say his constant knocking the biblical record was more than bothersome, and not just to a theo-centric minded person, but to anyone interested in ancient history as the bible is consistently considered the most accurate and important ancient record in existence.
Still he did find some very interesting evidences and any serious look into ancient history, might do well to include this book.

Fool There Was (Silent)
Fool There Was (Silent)
DVD ~ Theda Bara
Price: CDN$ 6.98
12 used & new from CDN$ 4.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the bonus movies saves it, Jan. 26 2015
This review is from: Fool There Was (Silent) (DVD)
I don't know what to say about this one. First it loads and an annoying song penetrates the room...Then the same annoying song is used for the first 3-4 minutes of the movie...I had to turn it down..I mean right down...I thought not this noise for the whole movie!!!? Thankfully the song ended, but the annoying song penetrated my thick skull and I found myself whistling it later. Grrr. Thankfully normal silent movie music took over after 4 minutes. I don't recall if it was particularly good or if I was just relieved the annoying song ended.
Though the text cards were fine, the quality of the reproduction was either too fuzzy or the text of the telegrams and letters in the movie was just too small, as I could barley read 5 words in the inserted letters or telegrams....they were just impossible to read. and there were enough of them that they were presumably somewhat important to the story. We just had to assumed we got the idea of what they said...eventually.
The editing was below average...I found myself saying what happened a few times as either we had to catch up or figure out stuff that I think the editors assumed we got.
The story I thought was too unbelievable, particularly considering how nasty Theda Bara acted. I didn't get a glimpse of anything in her demeanor that would justify her men falling so stupidly for her, enabling her to take them for all they were worth and ruining their lives. How on earth this movie made this girl a star afterwards I can't imagine...I would have pushed her aside, hopefully into the ditch. I have to think because of the early 1914 date, that this somehow seemed dramatic compared to other offerings of the time. But I can think of a few examples from this same period that far exceeded this in overall quality. so I'm stumped. Then the ending was so abrupt, I thought.. Huh?...that's it?!? Frankly I think the movies was barely a 2 1/2 star ..maybe even a two.
Thankfully there was a bonus feature. a 25 minute romp through a Harem called "the Sultan's Wife". It was silly and typical of a Silent comedy. It wasn't particularly great, or imaginative, but it was fun...and a relief from what I thought was a dismal feature movie.

Blood and Sand (Silent)
Blood and Sand (Silent)
DVD ~ Rudolph Valentino
Price: CDN$ 6.98
21 used & new from CDN$ 4.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable and repetitive depressing music, Jan. 22 2015
This review is from: Blood and Sand (Silent) (DVD)
I think people get blinded by names....Oooh Rudolph Valentino.... It was Ok and that's it. The movie was Really predicable and early on at that. as if that isn't enough they depict the ending on the back. and then even the music is a giveaway...if music can do that. Even in the happy scenes the same dull monotonous depressing music over and over....you wouldn't even play it for background music, I mean unless you were depressed to begin with. The music was rehashed: I've heard the same music on other videos from this company.
I might say I've had no problems loading this companies videos on my $10. DVD player. so I do intend to buy more from this company as they have a catalogue on every video to pick titles from (at least 150 or so) . It's nice to have this Silent, but it was somewhat dull and like I say predictable. A small perk was the show was contemporary with the time (1922) so even though the out door scenes were all pretty much country or small town/house scenes, there were old cars used, and some neat out door shots of places. But even the acting was poor, and In fact everyone acted so lamely I have to assume this was the directors fault. Campy to the max. As if that isn't bad enough, not even any bonus stuff just the movie. The box says 78 Minutes. I think it was a hour and 25 or so minutes so that is a bit out, so you get more dullness for your money...THERE'S a bonus!

Ma & Pa Kettle Collection
Ma & Pa Kettle Collection
Price: CDN$ 12.83
26 used & new from CDN$ 12.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Complete Fun Family Films, Dec 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ma & Pa Kettle Collection (DVD)
Not only a bonus of a complete ten movie series, they are all fun and family friendly. Kilbride (Pa) only stared in the first 8 as he disliked the role. The 9th film only has letters from "pa" read and the tenth film has a new "Pa". Though it's immediately apparent he's not the same pa, after watching the film I had a hard time recalling the face of Kilbride, so I guess he fit the role. Ma (Main, was good in most of the films, but it was apparent after a while she was now and then hamming it up for the role, but overall her role was consistent.

The movies are a sort of early Beverly Hillbillies but with more kids (15) To not watch them too fast i spread the viewing over a long time. I re-watched a couple and they were still fun. less than a year later. The humor varies from slapstick and silly to folksy. I enjoyed all of the ten though some were better than others but I would say at least 7 were just comfy cosey oh goodie another Ma and Pa movie I couldn't wait to watch. some of the jokes were lame and predictable, but in some ways that was also part of their charm. If your sick of people getting blowed up real good, and blud n guts and sick icky bedroom scenes and want just some good old fashioned fun, you probably couldn't get a better ten film set.

I had no trouble at all with loading any of the 5 discs on my cheap $10 excess cargo dvd player and only spotted one tiny glitch in the playing, which might have been a fluke.

Four Classic Silent Westerns: The Ruse (1915) / The Great Train Robbery (1903) / Arizona Wooing (1915) / Out West (1921)
Four Classic Silent Westerns: The Ruse (1915) / The Great Train Robbery (1903) / Arizona Wooing (1915) / Out West (1921)
DVD ~ William S. Hart
Price: CDN$ 6.98
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.93

4.0 out of 5 stars a lower quality Hart and four shorts in total., May 12 2014
make no mistake, this is still a very fun set of four silent movies. However having seen more Hart movies, this 1915 offering is a bit to well below par compared to his later efforts...including another one from this same year. It is for one, very short(all four movies add up to a mere 58 minutes and I think this one was about 17 minutes but don't recall exactly) The story is well edited so your not lost like in other silent from this period... and indeed all four were easy to follow, so on that score it was better than average. They get a lot of story in a short time and it could easily be a longer movie, but for 1915 it's about average. Though this is a "western theme set" this movie is set in Chicago for 90% of the show...though painfully sparse to nonexistent for street scenes...so likely not shot anywhere near Chicago.

The Great Train Robbery is on other video sets so for the most part this would be a duplicate in anyone's collection. Still it appears to be a later reproduction example. It speaks to an audience saying that they might not recall this movie but their dad's would. This version also appeared to be a bit longer than my other one and a better surviving example, but I did not watch my other example to compare, but this was my impression...it just didn't seem as disjointed as I recall it...so it might be an early well preserved example shown to audiences around 1930 and then saved.

An Arizona Wooing: you have to know stuff to fully get what the movie is about. Cattle and sheep farmers were constantly fighting in the old days and this movie assumes you knew that as it was filmed during the times. But a newcomer might not get it as they don't do a talking card to explain what the 'beef' is all about which is what the entire movie is about. Still it does eventually get explained. It's a very short movie with what could easily be a feature length story so the story is pretty compressed. Typical fare for this time period(1915). Still it was fun with a typical happy ending.

Though William Hart is fare to make as the leading movie to draw buyers, this last movie is possibly as good in the comedy class. This last offering (Out West) was a real off beat comedy and an early example of what would later likely be a Laurel and Hardy or three stooges type of film. However looking at the box, I just realized this movie is 1926! so for that period this would be something of a retro grade quality silent (or a degraded example) and a swipe or at least a prototype for the stooges or Laurel and Hardy.I'm willing to bet they stole at least one gag Will Rogers.(Butter churn) There were some clever gags and possible some original ones too...a bit gimmicky but why not. But it really is different in many ways from other comedies. The talking cards on this one were cut at the sides(I think it was this one) ...you could decipher what was missing but you might have to stop the movie to do so.

That said all four movies though short, were fun and didn't lose you in their editing, and In all four shows I don't recall the music being an issue.

Oliver Twist (Silent)
Oliver Twist (Silent)
DVD ~ Lon Chaney
Price: CDN$ 6.98
11 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

5.0 out of 5 stars well edited, and great story, May 12 2014
This review is from: Oliver Twist (Silent) (DVD)
The story is well told here, and easy to follow. All too often things are disjointed and you are catching up...not here. Curiously this version (74 minutes) is 3 minutes shorter than another version I have (77 minutes) which I have discovered had some scenes deliberately edited out! so I have two versions and it's become apparent that neither is a complete version. Still, if something is missing it wasn't obvious.
One bothersome thing is the treatment of the musical score. this is a classic movie so they have shied away from putting interpretive score over it but have just played classical music over it which rarely matches the scenes it's played over. I guess that comes from low budget examples?
One thing some might have missed is Dickens humour is tossed in the story as he clearly is throwing in a little exaggeration such as the reactions to the "more soup!" scenes. If you haven't watched silent movies this is a very good example of one (except the musical over score) and it might make you a fan of the genre.

Oliver Twist & Keystone Cops [Import]
Oliver Twist & Keystone Cops [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars neutered /edited like some overly violent current day movie and subjected to hyper nanny state views., May 12 2014
I have two versions of Oliver Twist so when I watched one I watched this one afterwards to compare and something popped out. They edited at least two scenes out! this was not random missing bits, but this was clearly edited out. Talk about revisionism! One scene has the bad guy threatening Oliver with a gun if he doesn't play ball...but this is missing in this version, so what it does to the scene creates confusion as to a women's reaction. The other scene edited has slipped my mind but of a similar nature which just confirms the movie was edited. What's curious though, is this version is actually 3 minutes LONGER than my other version!
One bother is with this obviously classic silent movie is they have failed to render due care with music added to it. they just played classical music all through it with no attention to the scenes during which it is played over, so sometimes it's distracting and sometimes it's almost ...silent.
You also get a 56 minute tape of keystone cops. I did enjoy both tapes, but as yet I don't know if they've played nanny state with this version as yet.

Finding Forrester
Finding Forrester
VHS
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.98

5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing quality, May 5 2014
This review is from: Finding Forrester (VHS Tape)
I loved it. At the end I Had a lump in the through and something in my eye. At first i wondered what the heck...where's this going? Give it time. This is no explosions and action thriller type of film so if you're looking for that.. move on. This one you have to actually pay attention. I was VERY impressed with this Bob Brown chap. His acting wasn't overdone in the least. very convincing.... He just came off natural.
For the prude people... It's nice to see recent movies that don't push sex and violence on you to try and sell their product. Except for the odd cuss word from Sean, (though very in charachter) this was a squeaky clean movie. There was the odd slip or weakness in the storyline connectors one might glimpse after the movies over, but still a real nice movie. I woke up the next morning still enjoying it.
The main character was actually a nice kid trying to fit in but his passion of writing found him out and he gets promoted to a real school but with a teacher who becomes an adversary but he also meets this phenomenal recluse of a writer (Sean Connery) and the friendship that comes out of this meeting changes both their lives. Though perhaps not a knock-'em sock-'em thriller, but if you stick with it you just might really enjoy this one.

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