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Peaceful Warrior (2006)
fine fortune cookie flick
Let me start by saying I am a fan of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and much of what is in the book is in the film. But we need to look at this as more than just Dan Millman's writings. As a film there are some real problems here. First of all, its lead character is thoroughly unlikeable. There is no time to get an emotional attachment to Dan, as presented on film he is a most dislike-able jerk.
Secondly, the film is weak on story. It has it "Rocky" moments, but we cared about Rocky. The film is so intent on delivering the little pearls of wisdom that we are all looking form, that it comes across like a recitation of everything one should know for a final exam.
There are good points. It is nice to see the attempt being made to create this film. It has some really good music to its score. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who has not read the book. I would recommend someone to read the book and then watch Peaceful Warrior.
The Great Story of The Canadian Railway
I do not know why this show is not for sale. As a student of Canadian History, this is one of the better tellings of how Canada came together as a country. It shows with all their foibles, issues, and faults the fathers of confederation and the compromises made to unite the country. It illustrates the hardships of the surveyors and the navies who charted out and built the rail-lines. Finally it relates what the purpose of the railroad was to move people and products joining the west to the east and supporting Canada's development of the west. No car chases, hardly anything blows up, just a good story about people on an epic scale.
Jerry Springer: The Opera (2005)
Okay, its gross, disgusting and kinda fun
To begin with I hate, with a passion, the Jerry Springer show. As soon as it comes on; off goes the TV. But Jerry Springer the Opera is different. Act one deals with typical Jerry show characters with secrets and desires. Act two, well without mentioning too many spoilers, lets just say that act two is a roller-coaster ride of Jerry-isms and religious theory. This is an opera, and some of the operatic moments, with the high sopranos hitting the notes that makes the dog wonder "what the hell was that?" On the other hand, some of the tunes are rather hummable. It is a well produced show with lots of technical magic. Where Jerry Springer the Opera steps into a whole new level in is its use of language. If the HBO series "Deadwood" made you blush, Jerry Springer will take you to a who new level of conceivable swearwords and blue actions. But I don't think you could do the show without it, and without the F**ks, the show would just seem out of place. If that kind of thing bugs you, watch something else and they you will not have anything to complain about. If you are okay with foul language for the sake of art, enjoy the show.
One more thing, this show deals with religious themes in a very non-standard way. If you don't like seeing or hearing bad things about Mary, Jesus, or the big guy himself, then you are going to have some issues.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
What in the world were they thinking?
Okay, so the 80's were a different time. It was the era of Ronald Reagan, ultra conservative, and a nation trying to capture its past glory and making up for mistakes like Watergate and Vietnam. Rambo is a testosterone behemoth. He was imprisoned at the end of Rambo First Blood and now is working off his sentence in a Quarry Mine doing hard labour. He is given the opportunity to receive a presidential pardon if only he goes on a special mission to prove there are missing or captured soldiers from the Vietnam war. As usual the group of agents representing the world of technology, political correctness, and political expedience do not want any proof of Vietnamese conflicts, Rambo is basically sent on a mission to fail. Of course he doesn't and through a series of exploding boats, huts, and helicopters Rambo saves the day with an endless supply of arrows, bombs, and bullets. The biggest problem of Rambo is that it is so phony, so impossible and just so bad, that it becomes nothing more then a series of stale explosions and worse dialogue. Should you watch Rambo? Only if you have nothing else to do or taking a look at American Culture in the 1980's.
Billy Bishop Goes to War (1982)
The story of Canadian First World War flying Ace Billy Bishop - A one man tour de force
John Gray and Eric Peterson take their one man show before the cameras in this early 1980's TV special. Peterson, of Corner Gas fame, plays all the parts in this musical play. From the officers and instructors of Royal Military College, to members of the British House of Lords, to Billy Bishop's influential aunt (personal friend of Churchill) all tell how Billy Bishop went from an unsuccessful ne're do well cavalry officer to the most decorated Air Ace for the empire.
This is a great little show. With simple piano orchestrations by John Gray, Peterson's delightful characterizations, this is a very good rendition of Gray's and Peterson's play.
a fun romp teaming Bruce Willis and James Garner
This is an enjoyable film giving us a glimpse into the Golden Age of Hollywood. This movie teams up Bruce Willis as Tom Mix and James Garner as Wyatt Earp. The running gag of it's the truth..."give or take a lie or two." This movies runs the gamut from comedy with a wink to a serious side story containing masochism and murder.
Willis shows off his skills with trick riding and tango dancing. Garner has the sidekick role and holds his own even having his own romantic interest. The women are strong but dependent. We have car chases, riding to the rescue both by taxi and on horseback. There is a brothel with a true Hollywood touch. We even see one of the first Acedemy Award ceremonies. All in all a nice entertaining movie.
Ain't Misbehavin' (1982)
Outstanding, one of the best
Ain't Misbehavin' was a true gem. Absolutely incredible performances and high energy delivery. This was taped for PBS's Great Performances and the simply refuse to release it. It is a true shame because we are missing some of the best performances on Broadway. Fat's Waller music is amazing, way ahead of its time as were the Ain't Misbehavin cast. Nell Carter, Ken Page and Andre de Shields out do themselves with wonderful voices and interpretations of Waller's music. This program belongs on DVD, it would especially be good to have a commentary or more background on the show. This show is a tribute to the music of harlem, n'awlins and a great time.
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
It's cheesy, sappy and delightfully romantic
Love's Labour's Lost is a delightful song and dance compendium of classic song and dance blended with classic literature. The drama and acting are way over the top. But the broad stroke of the actors art is required as an important element of the Shakespearean craft. There is a delightful energy to the show and an alluring innocence as one might expect from a forties musical. It is classically campy with delightful bits of direction augmented by stunning costume and decoration. But mostly, it is just fun. Let the show flow without study or analysis and have some fun with the words, dance and songs. I would recommend this show for those who are inexperienced with Shakespeare work as an introduction to the art. It is also for those who do not take the works of Shakespeare as gospel not to be trifled.
Jack: A Flash Fantasy (1974)
Cute and simple production with Gilda Radner
Way back in the Seventies, when Gilda Radner was just beginning there was this funky little one hour rock opera 'Jack: A Flash Fantasy'. It is best described as 'cute'! The story is about the Jacks in a deck of cards. The "Jack of Diamonds" was business-like and a slick talent agent. The "Jack of Clubs" was Jerry Sroka who was goofy and funny. The "Jack of Spades" was the Hard Rock bad guy of the show. The "Jack of Hearts" played by Victor Garber who played the sweet innocent country bumpkin. Each Jack had a "Jill". The "Jill of Hearts" was Gilda Radner. She was sweet in the role. Overall the show was like an intelligent high school production. I saw this show once again on the Canadian Movie channel in the mid-nineties. Unfortunately I didn't get to tape it. It was worthwhile watching of a Canadian cast.
A Little Night Music (1977)
Not bad, but not all that good either
Okay, so lots of people thought this stunk because Elizabeth Taylor couldn't sing, it missed the magic of stage presence and it is not really good movie material. It is however an opportunity to see an interpretation of the performances of the broadway stage who originated some of the characters as interpreted by the stage version's director. It is a very good story of romance, duty and innocence. Sondheim's lyrics are wonderful, Diana Rigg is delightful and overall the quality of the show is more than acceptable.
Zandy's Bride (1974)
I had read the book, and was looking forward to the movie.
Happily, I wasn't disappointed.
Zandy's Bride is the story of an unsociable, uncivilised, isolated man who sends for a mail order bride.
He has little experience around women other than his mother and treats his new wife rather badly.
It is an interesting character study of two people thrown together, and how they adapt to their new life together.
Crime Story (1986)
gritty crime drama
This is a wonderful, entertaining crime drama. It moved its location from Chicago to Las Vegas. It is neat to see Vegas as it once was. Turello and his squad of hard working honest cops try to stop the mob. The man they are trying to stop is a hood on the rise, Ray Luca.
This is a terrific show, with a dark style. It doesn't always wrap up in an hour, nor is the ending a happy one. Turello has sacrificed a lot to be a cop.
Picket Fences (1992)
excellent study of family life in a small town
Another David E Kelley gem that won several Emmys. A wonderful series about Rome Wisconsin. It follows the lives of the sheriff, his wife, the doctor, their 3 children and their circle of friends. It shows them dealing with the frustrations and joys of everyday life, dealing with the town "characters" including, an ambitious deputy sheriff..a young woman trying to make it in a traditionally male profession, a tough but not terribly bright deputy who had an affair with the female mayor, an Alzheimer affected gentleman who had good and bad moments as the mayor, a grandstanding Jewish lawyer who took cases that were colorful and controversial, a world weary judge, and an insecure coroner. This is a wonderful show that stands the test of time.
Murder by Death (1976)
A delightful cliche festival
Murder By Death is not a murder mystery. It is barely a spoof. It is, however, an homage to the writers, performers and producers of those trustworthy detective movies of the 40's and 50's. Neil Simon trucks out the gallant cliches of the film noire and presents them in the context of a gathering of the finest detectives from film and literature.
Don't look for realism, rationale thought or logical sleuthing. You won't find it here. You will find one liners, silly scenes and a thoughtful thanks to those early mystery writers who gave us Sam Spade, Nick and Nora, Miss Marple and Charlie Chan. By the way, to truly appreciate this movie, it helps to be familiar with "the Thin Man", "Casablanca", "Murder on the Orient Express" and most of those other glorious films of the 40's.
Let your expectations fly away, sit back and listen to the banter. Murder By Death plays like a radio drama with silly twists, fabulous characters and a little whimsy.