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 What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again

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PostSubject: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:16 pm

Time for a new one!


And Now for Something Completely Different (5th view) - This was my introduction to the world of Python and as such I always have a lot of time for it, despite the show and the other films generally being better. It contains my three favourite Python sketches - How Not To Be Seen, The Dirty Fork and, the best, Self Defense Against Fruit - although on this watch the biggest laugh came during the man with the tape recoorder sketch. Palin's grin as he proudly displays his two index fingers before nasal insertion absolutely cracked me up. And the animation sequences are little works of genius - 5/5




Big Bad Wolves (1st view) - Torture, murder, kidnapping decapitation and peadophilia. Hardly the cheeriest of films - 4/5*



_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:20 am

John Cleese: The Alimony Tour (1st view) - Traditionally, stand up and I don't go well together. In fact, prior to this I'd only ever seen one performance in full, a Robion Williams piece from New York I think (in which he wonders about the sanity of those who invented golf). Admittedly, that was great, but any others I've seen I end up tuning out of. This one from Cleese, the only comedy DFVD I own, is less of a stand-up, more of him humourously tellling us about his life and showing classic bits from Python, Fawlty and Wanda. It's not groundbreaking but it is enjoyable, and it's made me want to finally dig out my DVD of At Last the 1948 Show and start watching it - 4/5*





The Game Plan (1st view) - The Rock does ballet - 3/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:07 pm

Once Upon a Time in America (1984), after 13 years away from directing, Sergio Leone returned to directing with this adaptation of Harry Grey's 1952 book The Hoods, and after years of focusing on the myth of the American West, Leone focused on the rise of the mobs in New York. The result is a sprawling, exhausting but utterly compelling crime drama which despite it's epic length, is the sign of a true master filmmaker at work. In the slums of Brooklyn in New York, it focuses on 4 friends who grew up together in the 1920's and into the 1930's. David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro), Max Bercovicz (James Woods), Patrick "Patsy" Goldberg (James Hayden) and Phillip "Cockeye" Stein (William Forsythe), who went from small time robberies to bootlegging during the Prohibition. Noodles spent nearly a decade in prison for avenging the death of a friend at the hands of Bugsy (James Russo). But after the Prohibition is repealed, it gives the gang very little to do, until the gang suggest robbing a bank, but Noodles soon has second thoughts and has to make a dramatic decision. It's a shame Leone spent so long between A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) and this, he had so many great ideas for films, but he relinquished his ideas to other directors, but he saved the best ones for himself, like this one, which trumps The Godfather trilogy. Leone was left heartbroken when his cut was butchered in America, he never directed again. 5/5



Thirteen Ghosts (2001), after the success of remaking William Castle's House on Haunted Hill (1999), Dark Castle Entertainment, (ran by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis), looked for another of Castle's films remake, and they chose his 1960 schlock film 13 Ghosts (1960), this new version was directed by Steve Beck (Ghost Ship (2002)), it's got some good ideas on display but there's nothing original about it at all. When widowed father Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) is told by lawyer Ben Moss (JR Bourne) that he's inherited a mansion that belonged to his uncle Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham). He decides to move in with his two children Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alec Roberts) and their nanny Maggie (Rah Digga). When they arrive, they're bemused to see the entire mansion is made out of glass, with Latin phrases etched everywhere. They're greeted at the mansion by Cyrus' former assistant Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) and spirit professor Kalina Oretzia (Embeth Davidtz), who knows about the dark secrets of the house. The most impressive thing about the film is the set of the mansion which is a glass labyrinth full of dangers and secrets, apart from that, the film is a very cheesy, predictable affair, which ticks all the boxes of what you could expect. The cast seem to have great fun chewing the scenery, but it could have been a lot better. 2/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:49 pm

The Deep End of the Ocean (1999), directed by Ulu Grosbard, (Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971), Straight Time (1978) and True Confessions (1981)), and adapted from Jacquelyn Mitchard's 1996 bestselling novel, adapted here by Stephen Schiff (Lolita (1997) and True Crime (1999)), this is a by the numbers weepie with some good performances, but it's a bit unbelievable. In 1987, while at a high school reunion, Beth Cappadora (Michelle Pfeiffer) loses her 3 year old son Ben (Michael McElroy), and the resulting search, led by Detective Candy Bliss (Whoopi Goldberg) becomes a media circus with no leads. It drives Beth to having a nervous breakdown, and it puts a strain on her marriage to Pat (Treat Williams), and she becomes neglectful of her other two children Vincent (Jonathan Jackson) and Kerry (Alexa Vega). However, 9 years later, a boy called Sam (Ryan Merriman) comes to their door offering to mow the lawn. Beth recognises Sam as Ben, which is confirmed by the police, but Sam has a hard time accepting this. It should have been a good film, but it does seem a tad cliched and very much like a TV drama of the week, despite it trying to look all big and cinematic. However, the original ending of the film was much bleaker, like the book, but after negative test screenings, the film was delayed and the end was refilmed. It wouldn't have been any better either way. 2/5



Space Cowboys (2000), directed by Clint Eastwood, on the surface, this looks like a very silly comedy, but peel away the layers, and it's a good action thriller, which has some good sequences set in space. It was ever so partially inspired by astronaut John Glenn becoming the oldest person to go into space at the age of 77. It's not as cheesy as it looks, little parts of it are, but it's actually better than it looks. In 1958, William "Hawk" Hawkins (Eli Craig), Frank Corvin (Toby Stephens), "Tank" Sullivan (Matt McColm) and Jerry O'Neill (John Mallory Asher) were due to go into space, before they were snubbed in favour of a monkey. 42 years later, Corvin (Eastwood), is approached by Bob Gerson (James Cromwell), as a defunct Soviet satellite is about to fall out of orbit and the technology is obsolete, and only Corvin understands it. He recruits his old team of Hawk (Tommy Lee Jones), Tank (James Garner) and Jerry (Donald Sutherland), but they have to pass the physical tests, but what they don't know is what's on board the obsolete satellite. Eastwood has always had an unfussy directorial style, and this is no different, even though there's a lot more CGI on display. But, while it is extremely cliched, it does have some very good performances on display, it's not perfect, but Eastwood manages to have fun with the material, and the space scenes are well done. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:18 pm

Beginners (2010), written and directed by Mike Mills (Paperboys (2001) and Thumbsucker (2005)), this romantic comedy drama was inspired by events from Mills' own life, when his own father came out as homosexual at the age of 75. It's an original idea for a film, and it does touch upon a plight most men faced in the old days, but kept it secret. As well as how family members might react when the bombshell is dropped. Told in a series of flashback, illustrator Oliver Fields (Ewan McGregor) remembers his recently departed father Hal (Christopher Plummer), who succumbed to cancer. After Hal's wife and Oliver's mother died, Hal comes out as gay, which is a big shock to his son, but Oliver comes to accept it. He never had much of a relationship with his father, rather spending more time with his free-spirited mother Georgia (Mary Page Keller). Shortly after his father's passing, Oliver meets French actress Anna (Mélanie Laurent), and pursues romance with Anna, using his father's postive open philosophy in life to keep the romance fresh. On the surface, something like this could have come across as mawkish and sentimental. But it has a quirky charm and a gentle sense of humour, and it manages to be bubbly and optomistic, even if death is a theme hanging over the film. But, it manages to be compelling and it's got something to say about modern relationships. 3.5/5



Seven Psychopaths (2012), written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges (2008)), this is a darkly funny comedy thriller which shares DNA with the films of Tarantino and the Coen's. Yet, you can't help but wonder how much of it is actually semi-autobiographical, and whether writer/director McDonagh was struggling to come up with something original after the success of In Bruges, it makes for an entertaining film though. In Los Angeles, Irish writer Marty (Colin Farrell) is blocked, he has a title for his next film, which he's called Seven Psychopaths, but he needs a spark of inspiration to get the project going. His actor friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) has loads of ideas for the film, which Marty finds entertaining. Billy is also a dog thief, working with Hans (Christopher Walken), where they kidnap dogs and bring them back to collect a reward. However, when they kidnap a dog belonging to Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who is violent and psychotic. Hans and Billy end up hiding at Marty's house, which is just what he needs when he's trying to concentrate. It's a very silly film, but also one that's dark and very clever too. It has very sharp dialogue and some brilliant lead performances, with a good ensemble including Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Pitt, Olga Kurylenko and Harry Dean Stanton. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:11 am

All Is Lost (1st view) - An almost wordless film about a 76 year old man on a boat seems like quite a brave film to make, but it succeeds brilliantly. Just as effective and suspenseful as the similar Gravity (though sadly not as successful) - 5/5*





Transformers: Age Of Extinction (1st view) - In theory the Transformers films should be right up my street but they are generally the weakest films from a director whose films I like a lot. I do recall saying at the time that Dark Of The Moon was the best of the three when that came out, but I can happily report that this is the best of the lost so far. Sure, it's a bad film whichever you want to look at it but I enjoyed it a lot
- 4/5*





Pot Luck (1st view) - French graduate Romain Duris leaves his girlfriend Audrey Tautou back in Paris and goes to live in Barcelona for a year, sharing a flat a bunch of with a group of twentysomethings including Cecile De France, Kelly Reilly and Kevin Bishop. Then he goes home - 3/5*





Non-Stop (1st view) - Absolute bobbins so, naturally, I loved it - 4/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:37 pm



300: Rise of an Empire

Watched this the other week, really looking forward to it and y'know it wasnt bad! Not quite a patch on the original and the lead actor does lack the charisma and presence of Gerard Butler's Leonidis (seen in flashback with clips from the original film), but he's generally ok. Eva Green (still the hottest Bond girl) is good as the film's villain(ess) just dont expect a MASSIVE amount of Xerxes. If you can imagine a film as a video game expansion pack to the original (still similar, but adds a little extra) then you've probably summed up 300 ROAE. The battle scenes are generally very good and it does tie in very nicely with the original 300; set before, during and after the events, with the slow mo-fast mo-slow mo fighting you've come to expect. Worth a watch, nearly as good as the original.
3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:06 am

Not seen the first 300 since the cinema. I'll watch it again before I watch the sequel (I agree about what ou say regarding Eva Green!)

47 Ronin (1st view) - Another film that's pretty bad that liked a lot. It's perhaps easy to see why it cost so much, it certainly looks a bit more like a $175 million production than some others films of a similar budget do but I'm a bit surprised it's also such a massive flop. More Hiroyuki Sanada and less Keanu Reeves would have helped - 4/5*




_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:26 am

Gimli The Avenger wrote:
Not seen the first 300 since the cinema. I'll watch it again before I watch the sequel (I agree about what ou say regarding Eva Green!)

47 Ronin (1st view) - Another film that's pretty bad that liked a lot. It's perhaps easy to see why it cost so much, it certainly looks a bit more like a $175 million production than some others films of a similar budget do but I'm a bit surprised it's also such a massive flop. More Hiroyuki Sanada and less Keanu Reeves would have helped - 4/5*




I REALLY enjoyed 47 Ronin - cant see all the hate for it at all. Same with Lone Ranger as well. Nice to see im not alone in my enjoyment of the film though Very Happy

(sorry Gimmels, i accidentally hit edit instead of quote! )

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:44 am

The Lone Ranger was AWESOME! Easily one of my favourite films of the last decade.

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:17 am

Clueless (2nd view) - It's rare for me to rewatch a film and have no memory at all of the film, no matter how long ago I last saw it but that happened here. I saw it first back in April 2002 but other than the fact it starred Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy, I remembered nothing whatsoever. Usually it's because the film is bad, but this one isn't. A whole load of fun - 4/5


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:14 am

The Aviator (2004), after the long and troubled production of Gangs of New York (2002), Martin Scorsese could have opted for a smaller film, but he didn't, he went for another historical epic, this time about one of the greatest business magnates of the 20th century, who also happened to make films and fly planes. It's less messy than Scorsese's last film, and it also has a great cast. Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), starts off using his families fortune from the Hughes Tool Company to make films, including Hell's Angels (1930), which takes 3 years to make, and all of it is reshot when talkies become the norm, and he becomes romantically involved with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). But, his main passion is aviation, and he even buys small airline, Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), but he soon faces competition from Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin), chairman of Pan American Airlines, who gets Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), to introduce a bill that would give Pan Am the monopoly on American air travel. Plus, Hughes' behaviour, mostly down to obsessive-compulsive disorder, alienates him from the outside world, plus a near fatal plane crash in Beverly Hills in 1946 worsens him. It's a good biopic spanning 20 years, and showing how he went from a bright young innovator into a unstable and uncomfortable eccentric. Leo gives a good performance, showing maturity and confidence as Hughes, and Scorsese captures the era well with colour and scale, and a cast including Jude Law, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Danny Huston and Ian Holm. 4/5



Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006), directed by Steven Shainberg (Secretary (2002)), this is a biopic with a difference. It isn't. Shainberg used Patricia Bosworth's biography Diane Arbus: A Biography as a template for this film. But they made a fictional story up which focused on how Arbus became renowned for her photography. It's a very peculiar film, but it's one which has to be seen to believed in places. In 1958, Diane Arbus (Nicole Kidman) works as an assistant to her photographer husband Al (Ty Burrell), whose work was funded by David and Gertrude Nemerov (Harris Yulin and Jane Alexander), Diane's parents. Diane wants to do photography of her own, but is struggling to find inspiration. That is until she meets the mysterious neighbour who has recently moved in upstairs. Lionel Sweeney (Robert Downey Jr.), who has a bit of a secret. However, when Diane see's Lionel for what he is, Diane falls in love with him, and his band of misfit friends, and even moves in with in, much to the horror of Al, who wants Diane to be normal. It's a very unusual film, but it has some brilliant performances in it, and you'll see why the film is called Fur, but it lives up to it's subtitle as being an imaginary portrait. What Diane Arbus would have made of it, we'll never know, but there is a tender romance at the heart of this film, and it's well made as well. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:51 am

Black Belt Jones (1974), after the release of Enter The Dragon (1973), Warner Bros. hired it's director Robert Clouse, to do another kung-fu film immediately. Jim Kelly, who had made his film debut in Enter The Dragon, was given the lead role in this film. Despite being very much a product of it's time, and the fact that it has become unintentionally hilarious in places, the action sequences done in the film are quite well fought out. The Los Angeles Mafia, led by Don Steffano (Andre Philippe), have bought up a large plot of land, and are wanting to develop on it, but they're unable to as there was one building they're having trouble buying, a karate school run by Pop Byrd (Scatman Crothers), whose best student is Black Belt Jones (Kelly). To open the karate school, Pop Byrd had borrowed money from drug dealer Pinky (Malik Carter), who had in turn stolen the money from the Mafia. But it turns out the building belongs to Sydney (Gloria Hendry), not Pop Byrd. So when the Mafia bring in more men to get the karate school, Black Belt Jones puts up a fight to put a stop to this. It is an incredibly silly film, but it does have it's moments, including an unbelievable finale in an out of control car wash which proves that this is definitely a 70's film. Mixing Blaxploitation with the current Kung Fu craze that was sweeping cinemas at the time. Not all of it works, but it doesn't matter at all. 3/5



Three the Hard Way (1974), directed by Gordon Parks, Jr. (Super Fly (1972)), and written by Eric Bercovici (Hell in the Pacific (1968) and The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972)), this is a hard nosed blaxploitation action film, which predated Friday Foster (1975) with getting as many of the biggest names in blaxploitation together all at once. It doesn't all work, but the plot was copied by Undercover Brother and Black Dynamite. Set in Chicago, record producer Jimmy Lait (Jim Brown) and his girlfriend Wendy (Sheila Frazier), discover Jimmy's friend House (Junero Jennings) dying in the street. It turns out House had been kidnapped and tortured by a gang of white supremacists planning a black genocide, led by the evil Monroe Feather (Jay Robinson). After House dies, Jimmy calls upon his friends Jagger Daniels (Fred Williamson) and Mister Keyes (Jim Kelly) to take down Monroe's gang. However, it gets personal when Monroe has Wendy kidnapped, and it takes Jimmy, Jagger and Mister Keyes to New York to take on the white supremacists once and for all. It's incredibly dated, but there have been worse films made than this, and it does have some good action sequences throughout, but compared to other blaxploitation films throughout, they had all been done elsewhere, and sometimes done better. But this struck a chord with moviegoes at the time, and it did well. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:45 am

I love The Aviator,. It was the first film I really liked Leo in and Cate Blanchett is superb.


Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (3rd view) - Few films have ever displayed humanity in such an idiotic light. I said when I first saw the film that the human race as depicted here could have been overrun by three hamsters in an exercise ball but I think I was being kind. A dead hamster in an exercise and a goldfish could have probably done the job - 4/5




Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (1st view) - A tad better than the previous effort, the human cast aren't as annoying and the ape scenes are generally phenomenal. Ceaser is a superb creation - 4/5*






_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:39 pm

Doom (2005), based upon the video game series by John Carmack, Tom Hall and John Romero and published by id Software. This action-sci-fi film directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. (Romeo Must Die (2000), Exit Wounds (2001) and Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)) feels derivative and like a carbon copy of the Resident Evil films that were being made at the time. Plus, it falls into all the pitfalls of video game to screen adaptations, something always gets lost in translation when video games are made into films. Set on Mars in the year 2046, an unseen monster has attacked the Olduvai Research Facility. Back on Earth, a team of Marines, led by John "Reaper" Grimm (Karl Urban), are sent to Mars by Sergeant Asher Mahonin (The Rock), although Mahonin doesn't want Grimm to go as his sister Dr. Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike) is on the facility on Mars. They travel by teleporter, They learn from Samantha that the monster left behind remains known as Imps, which have superhuman abilities. However, they discover one of the infected victims, who is named as Hell Knight (Brian Steele), is using his powers to get to the teleportation device to get to Earth, and he has to be stopped at all costs. But Hell Knight is able to get to Earth, so Grimm and his team have their work cut out to stop it. This could have been a good bit of sci-fi cheese, but it's far too straight faced, and the CGI is more than a little dodgy, there's too many CGI flames when real ones would have worked too. This is another black mark against video game films, and trying to give them plots for a film doesn't seem to work at all. Maybe they are a medium that's unfilmable. 2/5



Mystic River (2003), directed by Clint Eastwood, whose career had been up and down since his double Oscar win for Unforgiven (1992), but after Blood Work (2002) failed at the box-office, critically and commercially. Clint was finding it difficult to get films made, indeed Warner Bros. didn't want to make this one, as they thought the story was too dark and they couldn't see what Clint saw in the film. However, he proved everyone wrong, and his adaptation of Dennis Lahane's book boosted his career. Set in Boston, it begins in 1975 when a horrible incident changes the lives of Jimmy Markum (Jason Kelly), Sean Devine (Connor Paolo), and Dave Boyle (Cameron Bowen), when Dave is sexually assaulted by two men claiming to be policemen. 25 years later, and Jimmy (Sean Penn) is an ex-con who is running a store, Jimmy (Tim Robbins) is a blue-collar worker who is married to Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden), and Sean (Kevin Bacon) is a police detective working with Sergeant Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). When Jimmy's 18 year old daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) goes missing, and the same night it happened. Dave turned up late at home with blood on his hands, claiming he was attacked by a mugger. Jimmy suspects that Dave did it, or did he? It's a very dark mystery, but it has some brilliant performances in it, (Penn and Robbins won Oscars for their turns as broken men), it's not a film for everyone, but Eastwood's unfussy direction suits this style of film, and it was this and the Oscar success of Million Dollar Baby (2004) the following year that made Clint bankable again, and showed audiences what a fine director he is. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:21 pm

Electric Dreams (1984), the directorial debut of music video director Steve Barron, who later directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996) and Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001)). and written by Rusty Lemorande (Journey to the Center of the Earth (1988) and The Turn of the Screw (1992)). This is a sci-fi comedy romance which sent up the fascination with computers in the 1980's. Set in San Francisco, Miles Harding (Lenny Von Dohlen), is an architect who has come up with a way for buildings to withstand earthquakes. In order to realise it, he buys a computer to develop his idea, but this computer, which becomes sentient after champagne is splashed on the console. The computer now calls itself Edgar (voiced by Bud Cort), and it controls everything in Miles' apartment, and it even takes an interest in the new neighbour Madeline Robistat (Virginia Madsen), who is a cellist. However, Miles has fallen in love with Madeline, which he makes absolutely clear to Edgar, who doesn't take this news well, so he gets revenge on Miles. It's a very silly film, although it does have some brilliant editing and computer graphics for it's day, and while parts of it do look like a string of music videos knitted together, it does have a good soundtrack, with the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Jeff Lynne and Culture Club making appearances, all filtered through the mischievous Edgar. 3/5



Serenity (2005), written and directed by Joss Whedon, this was a continuation of his short lived sci-fi 2002 TV series Firefly. Because the series was a cult success, Whedon was able to convince Universal to do this follow-up film. But, Whedon had little time to make the film, and a fraction of the budget than he would have liked. Even though it didn't find a breakout audience in cinemas, it was a hit on DVD, like Firefly was. Set in the year 2517, humanity has left Earth, and found a new solar system, colonising many of the planets and moons there, but there was a war between the sophisticated, cultured Alliance and the less than diplomatic Colonies, now there's an uneasy truce. River Tam (Summer Glau) was being held against her will by the Alliance, but was rescued by her brother Simon (Sean Maher), and they've ended up with the crew of Serenity, captained by Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), with his crew consisting of Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Inara (Morena Baccarin) and Jayne (Adam Baldwin). On their tail is The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). It's a good sci-fi film, which has the structure of a space western, but you don't have to be a fan of Firefly to enjoy it, but it might help. But, judging from what's on offer here, you could have had a good franchise with this. Whedon finally hit the big time with The Avengers (2012), the rest as they say, is history. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:48 pm

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972), written and directed by Philip Kaufman, (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Right Stuff (1983) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)), this one came shortly after Kaufman's debut Fearless Frank (1967) got released in late 1969. It caught the attention of Cliff Robertson, who got Kaufman a deal at Universal to do this low budget western, which is very down and dirty. It tells the exploits of the James-Younger Gang in the mid 1870's, Cole Younger (Robertson) and Jesse James (Robert Duvall) have been granted amnesty in Missouri, so they head north to Minnesota, where Younger has plans to rob  "the biggest bank west of the Mississippi". Younger has it all planned out, but Jesse and his brother Frank (John Pearce), have doubts as to whether the plan will work, but Younger assures them it will, it seems like a doddle. However, when they arrive at the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, they didn't count the locals getting wise and Pinkerton agents ambushing them. Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong here. It's a world away from the sunny westerns of old, this one is dirty, muddy and has rain in it, like Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) did. Kaufman mainly filmed it with handheld cameras, which was rare for a film like this, but it sealed the deal, and it was a small success, and put Kaufman on the map as a director to watch. 4/5



Shaolin Soccer (2001), written and directed by Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle (2004) and CJ7 (2008)), this Hong Kong action comedy is one of the most insane sports films you will ever see, and you can't believe a film like this was dreamt up. But, you have to hand it to Stephen Chow for having the balls to make this film, he definitely has a peculiar and wonderful view on the world, but an entertaining one at that. Sing (Chow) is a Shaolin master who wants to put his talents to good use, and make people do Shaolin as a past time, but he isn't having much luck. That is until he meets ex-footballer "Golden Leg" Fung (Ng Man Tat), who was a brilliant player back in the day until he was betrayed by businessman and football coach Hung (Patrick Tse). Sing gets together his brothers, Iron Head (Wong Yat Fei), Hooking Leg ((Mok Mei Lam), Iron Shirt (Tin Kai-Man), Empty Hand (Danny Chan Kwok Kwan) and Light Weight Vest (Lam Chi-chung) to form a football team, which Golden Leg will coach, and they use their Shaolin skills to play football, but it's done their way! Stephen Chow's films defy all laws of physics and they defy any sense of logic, and that's what makes them good, this is absolutely bonkers, and it's definitely a film for those who hate football, as it puts a better spin on the sport. You simply can't believe what you're seeing with this film, but you won't forget it in a hurry! 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:12 am

Sound City (2013), written, produced and directed by Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. This is a documentary of two halves, first it tells the story of one of the most famous recording studios in Los Angeles, and the roster of stars who made best selling records there, and secondly, it's also celebrates a unique mixing desk that captured the sound, and how the desk would be used once again for the soundtrack. Sound City Studios was based in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. It opened in 1969, but it wasn't very state of the art, and it had once been a factory, as a result, it was very run down in need of modernising. However, the studio did have one very big ace up it's sleeve, and that was it had a Neve 8028 analog mixing console, which captured a deep, rich sound on all the recordings, and it attracted all the very best musical acts from the 1970's, right up until the studios closed in 2011. Acts including Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Nirvana and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Grohl bought the Neve mixing desk, and he invites a few friends to his place to jam... You can tell that this is a passion project, but you can tell that Grohl has real interest and passion in the studios in question, and despite it being very run down and in need of a good clean, the studio had character and a quirky charm. But, what brought people to the studio was the Neve console, which comes into it's own when Grohl records with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Paul McCartney, which gives the story some closure. 3.5/5



Zodiac (2007), David Fincher returned to cinema after a 5 year gap, (it was worth it!!), with another serial killer film after Se7en (1995), but it's a serial killer film with a difference, we don't know who the killer is. The killer in question is The Zodiac Killer who stalked San Francisco in the late 1960's/early 1970's, and it focuses on cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), crime journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) and cops Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards), trying to piece together a complex mystery, and succumbing to defeat, apart from Graysmith, who simply wants to know who it is, and compiles information for a book. Fincher creates a gripping and exciting thriller, different to other serial killer films, it requires your attention, but it's worth it. Fincher takes the tired old serial killer genre, and reinvents it, as he did with Se7en (1995), Zodiac turns the whole genre, upside down, back to front and inside out, finding something new to tell. The film is designed to get audiences to think and debate on who the Zodiac Killer might have been, it's that sort of film. Plus, the leads by Gyllenhaal, Downey Jr. Ruffalo and Edwards are near flawless, plus the film has excellent if understated support from Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, John Carroll Lynch, Philip Baker Hall, John Getz and Charles Fleischer. It's authentic, obsessive but mesmerising and flawless, Fincher knows how to create a mood, as well as perfectly capture an era. The best film of 2007!! Very Happy 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:29 am

Soldier Blue (1970), directed by Ralph Nelson, (Duel at Diablo (1966), Charly (1968) and ...tick...tick...tick... (1970)), this is one of the most violent westerns you will ever see, not even the films of Peckinpah and Leone had this much violence on display, and the worst horror of all is that all of it is true. Documented in the book Arrow in the Sun by Theodore V. Olsen, which was the basis for this tough western. Set in 1874, somewhere in the Colorado territory, a young woman Cresta Lee (Candice Bergen), and young U.S. private Honus Gent (Peter Strauss), end up trying to survive when their group is massacred by a band of vicious Cheyenne. However, Lee lived with Cheyenne Indians for two years, and she is able to talk to them to ensure she and Gent get a safe passage back to Fort Reunion. Much to her horror, she learns that Colonel Iverson (John Anderson) is planning on attacking a peaceful Cheyenne village as way of retaliation for the massacre earlier, Lee travels to the village to warn the Cheyenne, what follows is the Sand Creek massacre. How can America sleep at night knowing this went on in their own country, against people who never wanted to hurt them? There were illegal immigrants in America back then, and it wasn't the native Indians. America and indeed the rest of the world could learn from this film, and think twice before they go declaring wars willy-nilly. 4/5



The Lego Movie (2014), written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and 21 Jump Street (2012)), you'd think making a film made of and centred around the most famous children's toy might end up being a mess. But it's not, in fact, Lord and Miller have crafted a brilliant film for all the family which is funny, knowing and also down right insane, but it's all the better for being so. In Lego City, construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just a nobody, and has spent his life following the instructions (literally). However, after he falls into a hole on the construction site and wakes up to find the Piece of Resistance stuck to his back, he is soon arrested by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), but Emmet is rescued by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who shows Emmet there's other worlds beyond Lego City. They team up with elderly wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to use the Piece of Resistance to reunite the Lego worlds again before evil businessman Lord Business (Will Ferrell) captures them and uses the Piece for his own evil plans. It's a very silly film, but that's what we need at this time, and there is a lot of inventiveness in this film, as you'd get from playing with Lego. There's a childlike, playful tone to this film, (which shows literally at one point), and it's the most bonkers, psychedelic film you'll see in cinemas, you have to see it to believe it!! 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:46 am

The Zero Theorem (2013), Terry Gilliam is back!! Returning to the world of sci-fi after Brazil (1985) and Twelve Monkeys (1995)), this is an existential sci-fi drama, which happens to be Gilliam's cheapest film in years, and shot in a meagre 37 days. This is Gilliam's tightest yet most inventive film in years, it has some brilliant performances throughout and Gilliam is able to create visual beauty with his limited resources. Set in London somewhere in the 21st Century, computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) works for information gathering company Mancom, but he's been waiting for a call, and would rather stay at home so he can get this call. Mancom's Management (Matt Damon), allows this to happen, asking Qohen if he can use his time at home to solve solve a mathematical formula known as The Zero Theorem, a mathematical formula, which shows that life has no purpose. Should be easy, but Qohen is distracted by the seductive Bainsley (Mélanie Thierry), teenage computer geek Bob (Lucas Hedges) and online psychiatrist Dr. Shrink-Rom (Tilda Swinton). It truly is an amazing film to watch, as there's a lot going on, even in the quiet scenes, there's always something going on, but this shows that Gilliam can make great art even when he has no money to work with. It proves he's brilliant with actors, and can make thoughtful, intelligent films. Simply impossible to forget. 5/5



The Wild One (1953), directed by László Benedek, (Death of a Salesman (1951) and Namu, the Killer Whale (1966)), and produced by Stanley Kramer (Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)). This is a heavy and hard hitting motorcycle drama, based on a 1951 short story called The Cyclists' Raid by Frank Rooney. It's still hard hitting now, although gang culture has changed since. Set in the town of Carbonville, California. The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, led by Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando), ride into town during a motorcycle race, and cause trouble. They head for the neighbouring town of Wrightsville, where local lawman Chief Harry Bleeker (Robert Keith) wants no trouble. Johnny falls for Bleeker's daughter Kathie (Mary Murphy), who works in the local bar. But trouble arrives in the form of Chino (Lee Marvin), leader of rival gang The Beetles, who Johnny was part of before he decided to form his own gang. Tensions build up, escalating into an all out war between The Beetles and the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club. It's got a brilliant atmosphere, capturing the mood of the times back then, as there was a new kind of hoodlum on the scene in the 1950's. It's been impersonated to death since it's release, but it does have a sleazy charm about it, and it builds it's mood up quickly, plus the film is only a sprightly 79 minutes long. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:31 am

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), after the success of How to Train Your Dragon (2010), the adaptation of British author Cressida Cowell's series of books. A sequel was inevitable. The original's co-director Dean DeBlois takes on writing and directing duties here, and it's a strong sequel, that like the original film, has heart and some beautiful animation along the way, it manages to have an unbelievably engaging third act. Set 5 years after the events of the first film, the people of the Viking village of Berk have made peace with the dragons, and even using them in sporting events. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) spends a lot of time with his dragon Toothless, and they use their time exploring new territories. Until they and Astrid (America Ferrera) discover dragon trapper Eret (Kit Harington), capturing dragons for his boss Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), a vicious war lord. Hiccup's father Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) says Drago cannot be reasoned with, but Hiccup and Toothless set out to try anyways, and they come across the reclusive dragon trainer Valka (Cate Blanchett), who is Hiccup's mother. It's very well made, and it looks like DreamWorks Animation have found the perfect franchise to succeed the well worn Shrek films. It has some brilliant visual details throughout, and it has a good sense of humour as well, as well as some serious emotion going on, but the dragons on display is the icing on the cake. 4/5



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), after the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), it's climax and epilogue screamed out for a sequel, and here it is. Directed by Matt Reeves, (Cloverfield (2008) and Let Me In (2010)), this is a strong sequel which is more down and dirty than the first film, which shows where this new franchise will be going and how it might connect up with the original film series. It's been 10 years since the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the ALZ-113 virus wiped out much of humanity, causing society to collapse. In San Francisco, a handful of survivors work together, but petrol is running out, and their only hope is to start up a hydroelectric dam, which will bring electricity to San Francisco, but the dam is in a community of apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis). A team of scientists, led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) goes to negotiate with Caesar to work on the dam, even though Caesar doesn't trust humans. Caesar's second in command Koba (Toby Kebbell), doesn't trust the humans, and plans a mutiny. It's a very good sequel, and there's some brilliant action sequences throughout, even the motion capture is brilliantly convincing, and you'd never thought you'd engage with apes, but you do, and the way they communicate is absolutely brilliant. It sets the stage for what's to come, even though we know who wins. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:34 pm

How To Train Your Dragon (2nd view) - Quite possibly the best Dreamnworks animation so far - 4/5




Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster (1st view) - Does a good job of not making me want to listen to St. Anger - 3/5*


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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:00 am

She (1965), from Hammer Films, directed by Robert Day (The Green Man (1956), Corridors of Blood (1958) and Life in Emergency Ward 10 (1959)), this adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's novel She: A History of Adventure from 1887 had been a very popular book since it's release nearly 80 years before, and it had been filmed before in 1935. But Hammer gave their take a few lavish luxuries. They had more money this time around. Set in Palestine in 1918, Professor Holly (Peter Cushing), Leo Vincey (John Richardson) and Job (Bernard Cribbins) embark on an expedition, after Professor Holly finds a map that claims to have the whereabouts of the lost city of Kuma in North East Africa. The city is ruled by the mysterious yet powerful Ayesha (Ursula Andress), who is known as "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed", who has ruled this secret land for nearly 2000 years, with the aid of her fanatical priest Bilali (Christopher Lee), who craves for immortality. But, Ayesha convinces Leo to walk into a bonfire that emits blue flames to become immortal, but this has bad consequences for Ayesha. It cost three times as much as the average Hammer film, and it was filmed on location in the Negev Desert in Israel. It's a different kind of Hammer film, and it could have been done as a horror in different hands, but this was marketed to the widest audience possible. It's good, but it doesn't quite know what it wants to be. 3.5/5



The Vengeance of She (1968), after the success of She (1965), Hammer immediately ordered a sequel to be made, unfortunately Hammer couldn't coax Ursula Andress to return. So the script was reworked to make it more of a loose sequel than a direct sequel. Big mistake, as that took it further away from the H. Rider Haggard's source than the makers would have liked. The plug could have been pulled, but it was too late. It begins in remote Spain with Carol (Olga Berova), who through telepathy, finds herself being drawn to the lost city of Kuma in North East Africa. Her determination to get there catches the attention of Dr. Phillip Smith (Edward Judd), who falls in love with Carol, but Magi member Men-Hari (Derek Godfrey) has Carol under his spell. But Men-Hari's father Za-Tor (Noel Willman), objects to this abuse of power. Men-Hari is doing this on the behalf of Kuma leader Kallikrates (John Richardson). Meanwhile, Phillip has been taken prisoner, but he breaks free in order to try and snap Carol out of her trance before she becomes the new incarnation of Ayesha. It could have been a good film, but Hammer's greed for cashing in severely back-fired on them with this film. It feels like a poor man's She rather than a direct sequel to She, which is a shame, but it's let down by over complicated plotting and hammy acting. Hammer should have stuck to Gothic Horror instead. 1.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:37 pm

The Viking Queen (1967), when Hammer Films weren't making horror films or psychological thrillers, they also did a range of adventure films. This one, directed by Don Chaffey (One Million Years B.C. (1966), Creatures the World Forgot (1971) and Pete's Dragon (1977)) and written by Clarke Reynolds (Son of a Gunfighter (1965) and Shalako (1968)), this dull historical romp has too many Romans, and not enough Vikings. Shame really. Set in Anglesey, when local King Priam (Wilfrid Lawson) dies, his daughter Queen Salina (Carita) has agreed to rule their land of Icena with local Roman legion head Justinian (Don Murray). But this decision angers the Roman's as well as the local druids. When Queen Salina and Justinian fall in love, and they think this will help ease the tense relations between the Roman's and Celts. However, it makes things worse, and when Justinian goes away to Rome, his second in command Octavian (Andrew Keir) takes over the rule, and he ends up causing a bloody war between the Romans and the Celts, and Salina has to take to battle in order to protect and defend her people. It should have been a good film, but the title is misleading, and it's a very dull and unexciting film, it doesn't help that the production was hampered by bad weather in Ireland, which caused Hammer to postpone several projects to get this one finished. By the end of it, they wish they hadn't bothered to begin with. 2.5/5



Prehistoric Women (1967), written, produced and directed by Michael Carreras (Maniac (1963), Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) and The Lost Continent (1968)), this Hammer adventure was made using sets recycled from One Million Years B.C. (1966), and it was shot quickly in a meagre 4 weeks, although it took nearly a year for the film to get released. But, it's more derivative and dull than One Million Years B.C. was. In Africa, English explorer David Marchant (Michael Latimer) and Colonel Hammond (Robert Raglan) are leading a safari searching for a leopard, which Marchant finds and kills, but he is soon ambushed and captured by a primitive tribe of women who are led by Queen Kari (Martine Beswick), who chooses Marchant to be her mate, but Marchant is horrified by her brutality and refuses her advances. When he's put in prison until he changes his mind, Merchant meets Saria (Edina Ronay), whose people have been oppressed by Queen Kari's regime and nastiness for years, and Marchant comes up with a plan to bring down the rule of Queen Kari. It should have been a good film, but it is quite dull and it takes it's sweet time to get going. Hammer didn't have much faith in the film, and when it was released in the UK, it was a flo, so it was cut heavily and put on as the B feature with The Devil Rides Out (1968). Plus it has some laughably unrealistic set pieces. 2/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:21 am

Hercules (2014), directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour (1998), Red Dragon (2002) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)), and based upon the comic book Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya. This is the biggest surprise of 2014, it's a delightfully fun slice of action cheese with a good cast all round. It's exactly what you would expect from a film like this, and it's unashamedly proud of being that way. Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries across Greece, they include prophet Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) and his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Hercules and his team are asked by King Cotys of Thrace (John Hurt) and Thracian army General Sitacles (Peter Mullan) to help them train an army to defend Thrace against the might of the evil warlord Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann). After training a ragtag army, Hercules leads the troops into battle, but along the way, he and his group learn some truths about King Cotys, and that he's not what he appears to be. The film's biggest strength is the cast, and Ratner makes some very good choices along the way, most of them like to chew the scenery, but you don't seem to mind that, that's what you would expect from a film like this. It plays around with the myth of Hercules, trying to make it seem realistic, but it works against the odds. 4/5



The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), based on the 1942 short story by James Thurber, and directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and Casanova's Big Night (1954)), this adaptation was a passion project of Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, who with director McLeod molded the project to suit the talents of Danny Kaye, who made the project his own and stole the show. Walter Mitty (Kaye) works for a magazine, and he's put upon by his overbearing mother (Fay Bainter), his boss Bruce Pierce (Thurston Hall) steals Mitty's ideas, and Mitty's fiance Gertrude Griswold (Ann Rutherford) is incredibly childish. Mitty escapes from these bugbears of life by escaping into daydreams, which he gets into trouble for. However, when he meets Rosalind van Hoorn (Virginia Mayo), whose uncle Peter van Hoorn (Konstantin Shayne) is search for stolen Dutch crown jewels which went missing after World War 2, Mitty finds himself living an adventure that is very real, but everyone else around him thinks it's just another fantasy. It's very well made for it's day, and it still holds up to this day as a proper piece of family entertainment. Kaye is a very likable presence, and he changes personalities with each fantasy, and it clearly having the time of his life in this role. It's certainly a different breed of film to the 2013 remake. 4/5

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