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Robin Hood Men In Tights Review #102

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If the day comes that you're in the mood for a mindless rapid-fire comedy with puns aplenty, this may be for you....

Date watched: 4/23/2007
Title: Robin Hood: Men In Tights Made: 1993
Genre:Comedy Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD Extras: LB Enhanced
# of times viewed:2

Tagline: The legend had it coming...find out where Robin Hood put his Little John, what made Will Scarlet, and what did Friar Tuck into his tights that Maid Marian all of a quiver?

Director: Mel Brooks
Stars:
Cary Elwes--Robin Hood
Richard Lewis--Prince John
Roger Rees--Sheriff of Rotingham
Amy Yasbeck--Maid Marian
Marc Blankfield--Blinkin
Dave Chappelle--Ahchoo
Isaac Hayes--Asneeze
Megan Cavanagh--Brommhilde
Eric Allan Kramer--Little John
Matthew Porretta--Will Scarlet O'Hara
Tracy Ullman--Latrine
Patrick Stewart--King Richard
Dom DeLuise--Don Giovanni

Mel Brooks meets the Sherwood Forest and may the puns beware! This is a scattershot comedic take on the legend of Robin Hood, though many of the stabs are aimed directly at Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves which was released two years prior in 1991. Nothing is off limits in a Brooks film. It pokes fun at religion, racial differences, homosexuality and disabilities. If that's not enough they even throw in a few musical numbers. Most of the actors play their roles so broadly that they could qualify for their own zip codes.

Examples of the Brooks style of humor:

Blinkin (Blankfield as a blind member of the merry band) "Who's that?"
Robin (Elwes), "Blinkin, I'd like you to meet Ahchoo."
Blinkin, "A Jew? HERE?"
Robin, "No, no. Not a Jew. Ahchoo."

Prince John ((Lewis) to Robin, "And why should people listen to you?"
Robin, "Because, unlike some OTHER Robin Hoods I can speak with an English accent!"
Another arrow launched at the heart of Mr. Costner.

Not nearly in the same weight-class as Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein. Elwes makes a fair comic in this light-hearted version of a wise-crackin' Robin. Dom DeLuise as Don Giovanni doing a Godfather homage is humorous.

4* (out of 10) More misses than hits with jokes flying faster than arrows, but a few comedic gems buried in the rubble.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by cinemalover »

Whew, I am feeling old tonight. At soccer practice we had the kids play their parents for the fun of it. I played for the parents in the first half and with the kids for the second half. I have to admit, I'm not as young as I used to be and I will be sore for a few days. Jeremy and the kids had an absolute blast, which is, of course, the point. Last game of the seaon Saturday, I will miss any of this group that don't continue with us to another spring league which will start in two weeks.

I received in the mail today the Michael Shayne Mysteries Volume 1, that I had ordered through Amazon. I'll let you know about the quality. If I can stay awake I'm going to watch one of the films tonight. The set includes four of the Michael Shayne films starring Lloyd Nolan. I was excited when I saw this on the market and it is very reasonably priced.
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The Comancheros Review #103

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I picked this set up at a Wal-Mart for under $10. The Comanchero disc is reviewed below and was very good quality. I haven't watched the Big Trail yet, but the run time listed on the case is the shorter version and it is not letterboxed (this was one of the very few early attempts at a wide-screen picture). So if you buy this disc don't toss your recording of the Big Trail off of the Fox Movie Channel, it is the longer version and is letterboxed. P.S. my body is still sore from playing soccer with the rugrats last night and Jeremy finds that most amusing.

Date watched: 4/24/2007
Title: The Comancheros Made: 1961
Genre:Western Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD Extras: This is part of a two-disc package with The Big Trail. Each movie is on its own disc in a slim DVD case. Both of them slip into a cardboard cover that makes it the size of one regular DVD. The extras on Comancheros are A Movie Tone newsreel, Enhanced WS, Trailers. Bargain priced DVD set.
# of times viewed:5

Director: Michael Curtiz (his last film)

Stars:
John Wayne: Texas Ranger Capt. Jake Cutter
Stuart Whitman--Paul Regret
Ina Balin--Pilar Graile
Nehemiah Persoff--Graile
Lee Marvin--Tully Crow
Michael Ansara--Amelung
Patrick Wayne--Tobe
Jack Elam--Horseface
Joan O'Brien--Melinda Marshall

Plot: This is a classic, mature John Wayne western where he is very comfortable in the role of an iconic hero. He plays Capt. Jake Cutter who only has one weakness as a Texas Ranger. His character plays well off of Whitman's smooth-talking gentleman fugitve Paul Regret.

Cutter to Paul Regret, "I've got what you might consider a weakness, I'm honest."

The fates of Regret and Cutter are intertwined throughout the movie. Cutter starts out trying to bring Regret to justice and ends up volunteering him to help settle the Indian troubles.

Regret, "Did I volunteer for something?"
Cutter, "Well, you weren't handy. I knew you'd want me to speak up for you."

The chemistry between Whitman and Wayne is charming. It's a shame that they didn't make more westerns together. The two of them go undercover to try to find out who is selling guns and alcohol to the Indians and getting them all stirred up. The trail leads to Tully Crow (Lee Marvin) who is a despicable mean drunk. And who plays a mean drunk better than Marvin?

The film moves forward at a brisk pace, never slowing for unnecessary exposition. There is plenty of action and beautiful scenery. It's big scale and exciting on a vast western horizon. You also get great supporting characters like Michael Ansara, Jack Elam, Nehemiah Persoff and Patrick Wayne in one of his more personable roles.

The picture quality was excellent on this disc. The audio was good, though on my surround system the conversation would get an occasional echo when the soundtrack was trying to indicate distance between voices. Minor complaint, but noticeable.

All this plus an incredible score by the great Elmer Bernstein.

8* (out of 10) Vintage Wayne at the apex of his western fame. If you like Wayne or exciting westerns you should love this movie.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Chris

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Post by movieman1957 »

Chris:

My kids love "Robin Hood: Men In Tights." And it that pun laced humor that they find so funny. They enjoy the song and frequently sing it. What am I to make of my teenage daughter who loves both "Roman Holiday" and this one?
Chris

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Post by cinemalover »

Chris,
I'm glad your teenage daughter likes Roman Holiday, mine wouldn't have the patience for it. I happened to watch this on a night when my kids weren't around, but I know Jeremy would have gotten a lot of giggles out of it. He loves sword fights and potty humor, what a perfect combination! Nothing wrong with the occasional goof-fest. The Men In Tights song reminded me of the Monty Python Lumberjack song, but not quite as good. Isn't it wonderful to have kids that enjoy movies?
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Soldiers Three Review #104

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This was an impulse watch. I wanted something light and entertaining...this was light anyway.

Date watched:4/24/2007
Title: Soldiers Three Made: 1951
Genre: Adventure/Comedy Studio: MGM
Format: DVD-R Source: TCM
# of times viewed: 2

Stars:
Stewart Granger--Pvt. Archibald Ackroyd
Robert Newton--Pvt. Bill Sykes
Cyril Cusack--Pvt. Dennis Malloy
David Niven--Capt. Pindenny
Walter Pidgeon--Col. Brunswick

Plot: Three British privates, Archibald Ackroyd (Granger), Bill Sykes(Newton) and Dennis Malloy (Cusack) are on duty in India. When there are tough times and battles to be fought these are top-drawer soldiers. Every other day of the year they are on a constant quest for beer, brawls and broads. As they're told by their commander, Col. Brunswick (Pidgeon), in the 18 years that they've been enlisted they have broken every rule in the book.

There is an amusing brawl in a pub near the start of the movie. Archie cons his companions into teasing some Scottish soldiers about their girly kilts so that they will get into a fight. While they are fighting he proceeds to steal the girl that was with the Scots. The middle part of the movie is a slow drag as the trio's antics wear thin. The conclusion builds up to an exciting potential, but even it never peaks like you'd expect.

Newton spends the entire movie talking like he's a second rate pirate. Give him an eye-patch and a shoulder mounted parrot and they would have looked right at home. Granger is marginal as the lead but Newton and Cusack are not up to the task of carrying this movie with him. Niven is mostly wasted as a secondary character. The film would have been much better served using his talent as one of the three boys. Newton and Cusack are both better in smaller supporting roles. They define the expression "less is more."

5* (out of 10) With a little care and better casting choices it could have been a lot more fun. Instead, it's just another Gunga Din wannabe.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ride With the Devil #105

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Date watched: 4/25/2007
Title: Ride With The Devil Made: 1999
Genre:Historical Drama Studio:Universal
Format: DVD Extras: LB Enhanced, Music Video, Trailer, Production Notes
# of times viewed:First

Director: Ang Lee

Stars:
Tobey Maguire--Jake Roedel
Skeet Ulrich--Jack Bull Chiles
Jeffrey Wright--Holt
Simon Baker--George Clyde
James Caviezel--Black John
Jonathon Rhys Meyers--Pitt Mackeson
Jewel Kilcher--Sue Lee Shelley

Plot: Jake Roedel (Maguire) and Jack Bull Chiles (Ulrich) are boyhood pals in Missouri as the Civil War begins. When Jack's father is brutally murdered and his home torched by Union men he runs away with Jake to join the Bushwhackers. The Bushwhackers are a group of guerilla fighters with an allegiance to Southern interests. The story follows Jack and Jake's trail as they cross paths with comrades Holt (Wright), a free black man, George Clyde (Baker) and Sue Lee Shelley (Kilcher), a lonely war widow. We see them in some gunfights, but spend more time watching them trying to hide out and avoid Union soldiers.

The movie is more of a character study than an epic war tale. The details unfold in a very leisurely way. Toby Maguire is outstanding as a boy forced to become a man in the middle of a war as people he knows die around him. His mindset is often at odds with some of the other bloodthirsty Bushwhackers as he tries to sort right from wrong.

If you're looking for fast-paced action and adventure you've come to the wrong place. If you'd like to enjoy a story that slowly evolves with characters that you get to know and care about, this might work for you. It's more like listening to a ballad than a rock song.

7* (out of 10) This completely flew under my radar when it was released and I stumbled upon it by accident. I'm glad I did. The film doesn't take sides between the North or the South, it presents events and lets you consider the outcomes.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Biloxi Blues Review #106

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It's the best night of the week, it's Friday night! Tonight, poor dad cooked instead of taking the kids out (we have plans to go out Saturday instead this week). 8:30 rolls around and neither child is showing signs of food poisoning from dad's unique style of cooking, so we proceed with the selection committee. Tina and Jeremy decide it will be a joint decision for the movie choice tonight and they take 10 DVDs and spread them out on the floor. They then alternate each eliminating one DVD until the last man standing goes into the player. And the winner was...

Date watched: 4/27/2007
Title: Biloxi Blues Made: 1988
Genre:Drama/Comedy Studio:Universal
Format: DVD Extras: LB Enhanced
# of times viewed:2

Stars:
Matthew Broderick--Eugene Morris Jerome
Christopher Walken--Sgt. Toomey
Matt Mulhern--Joseph Wykowski
Corey Parker--Arnold Epstein
Casey Siemaszko--Don Carvey
Michael Dolan--Hennesey
Penelope Ann Miller--Daisy Hannigan
Park Overall--Rowena

Tagline: The army made Eugene a man. But Daisy gave him basic training.

This is a Neil Simon story and a sequel to Brighton Beach Memoirs. We follow Eugene Morris Jerome (Broderick) as he arrives on a trainload of diverse recruits at Biloxi, Mississippi for boot camp. It is 1945, very late in the war. These rag-tag kids need to be made into soldiers to help out overseas. Anytime you have a group of misfits and rejects you are obligated to have a tough-as-granite with barnacles on the side drill-sergeant. I can think of no one who could play the menacing Sgt. Toomey than Christopher Walken. He's very good at hiding his underlying concern for his soldiers.

We see the usual boot camp trials and tribulations, some more amusing than others. And what better bonding experience than a group visit to a hooker? The nervous Eugene eventually loses his virginity to the professional Rowena (Overall). She does have rules, even for rookies:
"You can keep your shorts on if you want, but I have a strict rule against army boots in bed." I tell ya, there's just no pleasing some people. After Eugene has his experience with Rowena he meets Daisy (Miller) at a dance. He immediately thinks he's in love, this thought helps him through some of the tough times at camp.

Sgt. Toomey continues to play psychological games with his recruits forcing them to bond through their unified hatred of him. He does see some progress though, "You're not fighting soldiers yet, but I'd match you up against some Nazi cocktail waitresses anytime."

After surviving boot camp more or less intact the troop gets orders to ship out to the Pacific. And then the war ends. Eugene muses, "So when you get down to it, the action we really saw was up at Rowena's (the prostitute) place."

Eugene is a writer and we hear his observations throughout the film. This is the type of slightly insecure character that Broderick seems to specialize in. I swear, he must have a painting aging in his attic because for about a 20 year period he looked the same undefined young age.

6* (out of 10) A pleasant diversion. The banter and dialogue between the recruits can be amusing. It's good but it never soars. Average Neil Simon work.

The great stay awake debate update: Tina was awake through the whole movie! That hasn't happened much lately. She seemed to get several chuckles out of the film. Jeremy konked out about an hour into the film. And dad, well he stayed up way too late.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by cinemalover »

Okay, back from the soccer game contested under sunny skies. The poor Eagles couldn't catch a break today as they hit the goalpost 6 times. They went down to the rival Vipers 3-1. Jeremy broke his personal 10-game streak of scoring at least one goal by coming up empty today. Now a two week break until the regular spring league starts. There is that pizza party on Wednesday night to look forward to. I always enjoy handing out the trophies to the kids. Their faces light up like Christmas, and at least one parent will joke about how much do they need to pay me to say something good about their kid. Good times.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Image

Chris, you didn't post any comment about the leading lady in "The Comancheros." I'm particularly fond of her. What did you think?
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Post by cinemalover »

jdb1,
I did give poor Ina the short end of the stick, didn't I? Well, for those that aren't familiar with the movie Ina Balin plays Pilar Graile, the woman that Stuart Whitman's character becomes infatuated with at the start of the movie while on a boat. After an initial meeting between the two, during which there is an obvious attraction, Whitman is arrested by Wayne and taken away. Whitman later laments that she could have been "the one." I think Ina was really good in those early shots when she portrayed a well-to-do lady whom is a bit of a mystery. When they meet her again later in the Comanchero camp, she seems a little less comfortable with her environment, but still does a nice job. Her main purpose is to give the rascal nomad Whitman (or as Wayne calls the character, Monsewer Regret) a focal point and a reason to evolve. She's lovely to look at, and you would definitely have to wonder how a beautiful woman like that would fare under such violent conditions. She did play the character as strong and with a lot of moxy. At the time she was most likely one of the stronger female charaters portrayed in a western.
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Post by cinemalover »

I didn't take the kids out to eat on Friday night because we were planning on a dinner out Saturday. I took the kids to King Wha's, which is an outstanding Chinese restaurant. The kids loved it, and we all ate more than we needed and had enough leftovers for lunch today. For the record Jeremy is pretty handy with those chopsticks!
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Sky Raiders Chap 5-8 Review #107

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As part of my ongoing quest to see every serial ever made here is the one I'm currently visiting. This is chapters 5-8 of a 12 chapter serial. Not the best, not the worst, but I always find something I like about them which keeps me coming back for more.

Date watched: 4/28/2007
Title: Sky Raiders--Chapters 5-8 Made: 1941
Genre: Adventure/Serial 12 chapters
Studio: Universal
Format: DVD Extras:none
# of times viewed: this is the first time I've seen this serial

Stars:
Donald Woods--Capt. Robert Dayton
Billy Halop--Tim Bryant
Robert Armstrong--Lt. Ed Carey
Edward Ciannelli--Felix Lynx
Kathryn Adams--Mary Blake
Jacqueline Dalya--Innis Clair
Jean Fenwick--Countess Irene
Reed Hadley--Caddens

Plot: Our story concerns Capt. Dayton (Woods), who heads Sky Raiders Inc. They work as part of our national defense. They currently are working on a "Miracle Pursuit Plane". Also interested in the plane is an international spy ring, lead locally by Felix Lynx (Ciannelli). Lead the games begin!

Chapter #5: The Fatal Blast
Tim (Billy Halop) is knocked out and tossed in the back of one of Lynx's cars as they speed away. Captain Dayton (Woods) and Mary (Adams) follow in their car. Both cars crash through a roadblock and onto a sight that is under demolition. Ka-boom!

Chapter #6: Stark Terror
Tim is on his first solo flight in Dayton's plane as Dayton and Mary are watching from the ground. Something jams the airplane's controls and the plane appears to be in trouble and heading for a crash. Can Tim right the ship before he paints the landscape?

Chapter #7: Flaming Doom
Lynx plants a Dayton double who flies the prototype plane to Lynx's hangar. When the real Dayton tries to recover the plane he ends up unconscious on the hangar floor as it burns down around him. Somebody grab some marshmellows!

Chapter #8: Plunge of Peril
Dayton battles his double on the roof of a skyscraper. As they tussle and roll, one of them falls off the side of the building to his doom, but which one?

There is some cackle and hiss in the audio but the quality of the video is good. The title cards at the ends of chapters have been recreated with video burns. All the opening credits are intact. This is a Universal serial, which means it is middle of the road when compared to other companies (Republic Studios consistently put out the best overall serials). This serial is quickly paced and the cliffhangers haven't had to resort to any blatent cheats yet.

5* (out of 10) If you enjoy serials this is an average to slighty above entry. Not much in terms of star-power, but the pace is kept brisk enough to help you overlook some of the other shortcomings. Four more chapters to go.

Yesterday and today have been beautiful days in Seattle. I was able to get in a nice run both days. The track I run on has a gorgeous view of the Cascade mountains on clear days. Amazing. It's great to be alive.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Shayne, Private Detective Review #108

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A nice find for fans of detective series....

After enjoying a wide variety of detective series on TCM over the last couple of months I found myself intrigued when I saw a new set of detective movies collected into a DVD set. It is the Michael Shayne Mysteries Volume 1. When I saw that I could pick up this collection of four movies for under $18 (including shipping) online, I couldn't resist. Here are the details...

The Michael Shayne Mysteris Volume 1
Movies included:
Michael Shayne, Private Detective
The Man Who Wouldn't Die
Sleepers West
Blue, White and Perfect


The movies come on two flipper discs, with one movie on each side. The set includes 3 featurettes, a restoration comparison and an interactive trivia guide.

I started with this....
Date watched: 4/28/2007
Title: Michael Shayne, Private Detective Made: 1940
Genre: Detective Studio:20th Century Fox
Format: DVD Extras: see above
# of times viewed: First

Stars:
Lloyd Nolan--Michael Shayne
Marjorie Weaver--Phyllis Brighton
Joan Valerie--Marsha Gordon
Walter Abel--Elliott Thomas
Elizabeth Patterson--Aunt Olivia
Charles Coleman--Ponsby, the butler
Douglass Dumbrille--Benny Gordon
Donald McBride--Chief Painter
Clarence Kolb--Hiram Brighton
George Meeker--Harry Grange

As the film opens we see Detective Michael Shayne (Nolan) getting his office furniture repossessed. We immediately know that Shayne is not successful, at least financially. Due to his monetary shortcomings he jumps at the opportunity of a paying job, even if it involves babysitting a spoiled young heiress, Phyllis Brighton (Weaver), for her rich father Hiram Brighton (Kolb). Brighton happens to be a friend of Shayne's, so he trusts him watching his daughter.

Phyllis is addicted to the thrill of gambling and hanging out with bad boys. She is already in debt to local gamblers. To get control of the situation, Shayne moves into the Brighton Mansion. Also in residence is Phyllis' Aunt Olivier (Patterson) who fancies herself quite the amateur sleuth. She has the butler, Ponsby (Coleman) help her solve detective stories and mysteries. So when a real life detective shows up at the mansion she is thrilled. So much so that she shadows him where ever he goes, even when he's trying to undress.
Aunt Oliver to Shayne as he's hinting for her to leave so he can undress, "Go right ahead, young man. I used to be an art student!"

Shayne gets right in and gets his hands dirty trying to free Phyllis from the grasp of the gamblers. In the process of doing so, one of them turns up dead. And since this is a detective series, we know that the hero will be blamed for it. Chief Painter (MacBride) pulls Shayne into headquarters for questioning, knowing it will be a challenge to get him to talk.
Chief, "When are you gonna start talkin', Shayne?"
Shayne, "As soon as my lawyer gets out of law school!"

Shayne doesn't take anything very seriously, as the part borders on comedy with a non-stop barrage of wise-cracks. Lloyd, while not a typical hero, gets your attention and becomes believable in the part. Patterson as the aunt and Coleman as the butler add a nice touch to the atmosphere.

7* (out of 10) A very entertaining start to the series. If the rest are as fun as this one, this will be money well-spent. The featurette with this movie gave a history of the Michael Shayne character, from his writing origin to his film history. I found it relatively interesting.

I also looked at the restoration comparison featurette and it wasn't that interesting. But I will say the quality of the print on this movie was very good. It would be great to see some of the other detective series collected together like this at very affordable prices.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
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