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Profile for Rick M. Pilotte > Reviews

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

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About My Father's Business
About My Father's Business
by Lillian Beckwith
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars any book you don't want to end is a good one., April 7 2016
it was immediately clear this would be a fun and interesting read. She has a talent for making things easily readable, and not wandering and loosing you. Not wanting the book to end is how I felt for almost all the book, and the ending was a bit sad and unwelcome.
We see life and the times through the girls eyes and mind. we also see some curious period attitudes. It's set in England around 1915--33 or so. it's a glimpse of the past and some of it's people. actually quite a fun way to get an education of the period, by listening to her tell you all about it.
I would gladly read any of her other books after this reading experience. Interestingly, mine has a different cover but virtually the same art.

The Newspapering Murrays
The Newspapering Murrays
by Georgina Keddell
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from CDN$ 3.91

2.0 out of 5 stars HodgePodge Jumble of material thrown at you to decipher with a thin thread of Two biographies to barely tie it together., April 4 2016
this was just annoying to read. She kept assuming you know the Newspaper business or the current events in her tiny towns or whatever so there was almost no explanations to catch you up. If you were family you might be able to follow. For example she mentions George Murry's difficulty with putting an entire article together with out a single t in it. no explanation. ran out of t's in the lead box? She left one person with a $1200 debt hanging and we never did find out what happened there. She also just kept changing the subject, often so fast in the same paragraph you'ld find yourself reading unintelligible material and ask yourself often what is she talking about? It's like someone spilled some water on your postage stamps and they stuck together and you have to get a few good ones, but most are ruined as you try to sparate her facts are so stuck together to others you've often no idea what she's talking about. a few times I threw this book away from me in frustration. I only stuck it out because it was about my province. Only about 1/5th to 1/10th of the book is reasonably easy to read. Otherwise I just had to keep reading and hope the odd paragraph would make sense. Even so, after reading the entire book, I still didn't feel like I'd learned much of anything of historical note about my provinces' history even though the label on mine mentioned History and Pioneering as what you would get out of the book. I feel like I wasted my time reading this one, and I don't know it even deserves two stars. There were a few fun bits and interesting bits but too few and far between.

Toll Gate (Silent)
Toll Gate (Silent)
DVD ~ William S. Hart
Price: CDN$ 6.98
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Story not quite as good, somewhat difficult to figure out until after the ..., March 23 2016
This review is from: Toll Gate (Silent) (DVD)
often darker photography. Story not quite as good, somewhat difficult to figure out until after the movie is over. There was never any hurrah the hero wins sort of victories. He seemed to be in a rut with this one as it seemed almost formulaic. Not as good as his other movies. Still better than most from this period and reasonably well edited. But I didn't quite get the point till after it was over. There was some build up but you just didn't know where it was really going. Then you get kicked with the ending and you wonder what the heck? It's not bad, but not his best.

Spongebob Squarepants: Pilot Mini-Movie by Nickelodeon
Spongebob Squarepants: Pilot Mini-Movie by Nickelodeon
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 21.37
2 used & new from 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 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 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
14 used & new from CDN$ 5.47

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.


It's a silent movie so I'm thinking ! weird ! they made a silent 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 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
by w. Raymond Drake
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
4 used & new from CDN$ 2.93

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
17 used & new from CDN$ 5.45

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
16 used & new from CDN$ 1.51

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 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
23 used & new from CDN$ 8.19

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$ 5.61

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 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 just didn't seem as disjointed as I recall 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) 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.

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