Profile for P. B. Koeb > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by P. B. Koeb
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,183
Helpful Votes: 913

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
P. B. Koeb (Aljezur, Portugal)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Land Of The Giants - The Complete Series One [DVD] [1968]
Land Of The Giants - The Complete Series One [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Gary Conway
Offered by Revelation Films Direct
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey into the past., 8 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Here it comes. The centrepiece of this year's sixties televison rerun, after waiting around patiently for the past year. Following the slight disappointment of "The Time Tunnel" dvd re-issue and its butchered endings, i was wondering if this next Irwin Allen series would have some kind of similar problem. No such worries. It is hard to see how this could be any better, apart from including a miniature model of the Spindrift! The picture quality is magnificent and there are some decent bonuses.

I was about ten years old when this first screened on UK television, rushing home from primary school for the latest episode. It is truly fascinating to revisit "LOTG" over forty years later. Some of its aspects are still marvellous. Others are, inevitably, very dated. Overall, it remains very solid entertainment. Even for grown-up children. I can now appreciate Deanna Lund for the right little hotty she was. One rather sexy, foxy woman, beside Heather Young's more chaste and peripheral character. Kurt Kasznar starts off as a treacherous, slimy presence, before gravitating into a more nuanced type of subversiveness. Stefan Arngrim does well as the child in the equation, but his pesky dog causes everybody a ridiculous amount of trouble. Kevin Hagen is a good villain, as Inspector Kobick of the SID, when he starts to appear.

Each forty-nine minute episode features an amazing volume of action. The visuals are still really impressive, although they do sometimes show their age. The cast come up against all kinds of "giant wildlife" and have to work with some wonderful props. There's also the celebrated safety-pin grappling hook, which is unbelievably effective, and an odd home-made hatchet. Many episodes have some genuinely inventive music scores, to add to the interest, whilst others are let down by much schmaltzier work. The giants' planet is a very bizarre version of sixties America, with a rather McCarthyish, totalitarian air to it, whose inhabitants' names are of an odd nature. This adds to the overall strangeness.

The general quality is very high, with some memorable episodes. Personal favourites were "The Crash", "Framed", "On A Clear Night...", "Ghost Town", "Brainwash", "Terror-Go-Round", "Genius At Work" and "The Chase". However, be prepared for some relative duds. "The Shell Game" with its schmaltzy music. The fantastical "Return Of Inidu" and "Night Of Thrombeldinar" are both a little silly. "Manhunt", in which the giant speaks only in the last very few minutes of the episode, in spite of all which has befallen him. "The Glass Cage" is also rather cheesy, but Celeste Yarnall is a pleasant distraction.

I would suggest that purchasers do the episodes in production order, as there is no particular story arc at all. They somehow seem to flow better. ("The Weird World" was supposed to be the original second episode, for example, and it rather feels that way.) There's also a costume change, for the two actresses, from "Brainwash" onwards. In the bonus features, it is well worth comparing the unaired pilot episode with "The Crash, which has far superior music and several subtle differences. There are numerous sixties tv stars on view, to add to the fun. One or two faces who would subsequently make it big. The downsides would be the occasional bit of cheesiness, but that's typical of the era. The scale of the props is also somewhat out of kilter, on many occasions. Forget, similarly, how the castaways managed to stay so well-groomed from one week to the next. However, those aspects should not detract from the hours of enjoyment this series will provide.


Mission: Impossible - Season 3 [DVD]
Mission: Impossible - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Greg Morris

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M: I 3. The real deal., 6 Sep 2012
Hand on heart..... if you buy only one season of IMF adventures, it should quite possibly be this one. For logistical reasons, i went through seasons four, five, six and seven before this one. Talk about saving the best until last. Peter Graves had already slipped effortlessly into the team leader's shoes, in season two, but this is the final flowering of the IMF "dream team". Martin Landau is simply brilliant as Rollin Hand, far surpassing his season four replacement. The Landau/Nimoy configuration in the seasons is, for me, akin to the Connery/Moore dynamic as James Bond. One episode sees him adopting a funky "Carlos The Jackal" style appearance. Barbara Bain, as Cinnamon, is at the peak of her seductive powers. Barney adds his technical prowess to some thrilling capers. Willy lends solid support, in between looking at his watch.

The season features a consistent level of storytelling, representing a nice mix of fighting the mob, eastern bloc intrigue, the odd Latin American dictator, an African and a Middle East adventure. The Nazi stories of seasons one and two have gone. It also has some of the series' best music scores, i feel, coutesy of the great Lalo Schifrin. The odd one is done by Jerry Fielding, who would susequently work with Sam Peckinpah. There is also some inspired camerawork, with zoom lensing to heighten certain reactions. Also disorienting camera angles in episodes like "The Diplomat" and "The Glass Cage" which are splendidly inventive for a sixties tv series.

The stand-out episodes for me? "The Heir Apparent", set in the, er, fictional Povia. "The Mercenaries", with a sweaty, lecherous Pernell Roberts and ridiculous gold "heist". "The Exection", which might well rate among the top five IMF adventures. Martin Landau and Luke Askew are both brilliant in this tense, claustrophobic thriller. (Jerry Fielding's score is excellent.) "The Elixir", with an Eva Peron style dictator. "The Diplomat", with a sultry Lee Grant and horribly slimy Fernando Lamas. "The Exchange", set in "Berlin", with a nasty John Vernon and Cinnamon tour-de-force. "The Mind Of Stefan Miklos" with its complex narrative. Steve Ihnat excels, but watch very carefully. "The System" is a mob adventure with a good caper. Similarly the very taut "Doomsday" episode, involving the auction of a nuclear device. "The Bunker" is a two-parter which works well, featuring a downdressed, but sexy Lee Meriwether. (Who would be Tracy, the semi-regular guest missionista in season four.) "Illusion" has another great performance from Barbara Bain, with Kevin Hagen as a guest villain.

Other items of interest include the presence of Barbara Babcock, some twelve years before arriving on Hill Street, as Grace Gardner. Sid Haig does TWO supporting appearances as a heavy. Anthony Zerbe is the usual good value for his annual "M:I" paycheck. There's Martin Sheen in an early role. Likewise Larry Linville. The Star Trek icons John Colicos and Mark Lenard feature, along with sexy Diana Ewing. Joan Collins looks very lovely, in the "Nicole" episode. Henry Silva does his solitary guest appearance.

Not any downsides, as such. This is such a solid season that i was really rather sad to get to the end. After all, it was the end of an era. Mr and Mrs Landau would leave the IMF team and we would seldom reach the same heights in subsequent seasons. However, at least we have these great episodes to cherish as a memory of the "good old days".


WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE - Series 3 - Vol 2
WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE - Series 3 - Vol 2

4.0 out of 5 stars The series enters the home straight. (Part two.), 10 Aug 2012
Following on from the first volume, we get another thirteen episodes. (The package states only ten, bizarrely.) Once again, there are some downright silly stories. Most notably when Josh Randall is hired to find a pet sheep. But there is room for a couple of classics: "The Coward", with a very nasty Warren M. Oates, and "Carol". The latter is directed by Richard Donner in a brilliantly atmospheric, "film noir" style.

Murray Golden takes on a lot of the directing duties, besides Dicky Donner, before his Time Tunneling, Star Trekking and Mission: Impossibling. Besides Warren Oates, you'll also see a hammy Jeanette Nolan, Noah Beery (twice), and a young Roberto Contreras in a small role. Richard Anderson special guest stars in an episode which sees Josh Randall, somewhat shockingly, use his Mare's Leg to shoot a woman. What would an early sixties television audience have made of that?


Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 3, Volume 1 (Region 2) (Import)
Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 3, Volume 1 (Region 2) (Import)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The series enters the home straight., 10 Aug 2012
The first of two volumes for season three, which sees a revamped intro. It's a shorter season, overall, done after Steve McQueen had returned from making "The Magnificent Seven". He was, apparently, losing interest in the series, but it doesn't particularly show. The box states a total of twelve episodes, but we actually get thirteen. (Plus some decent bonus features.) The series takes a bit of a turn away from its previous grittiness, apart from a few episodes. ("Three For One" and "The Looters" are notable exceptions.) Some of the stories are just a little silly.

Richard Donner directs two of these episodes and magnificent Murray Golden does five. Norman Katkov seems to be responsible for writing the better episodes. Along the way, you'll spot James Coburn, Mary Tyler Moore, Cloris Leachman and Richard Anderson, amongst others. Still very worthwhile, as a historical curiosity, but this is not the best format to purchase. Better value is to be had elsewhere.


Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 2, Volume 2 (Region 2) (Import)
Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 2, Volume 2 (Region 2) (Import)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A star was born. (Part two.), 4 Aug 2012
Following on from the first volume's twelve episodes, here are another ten episodes of Josh Randall's bounty-hunting adventures. Steve McQueen is already phenomenally charismatic, as he twinkles his "movie star eyes" and uses his sawn-off repeating rifle to deadly effect. This is a very good series, all in all, in spite of being so old. It's just a pity that it doesn't seem so easy to find an affordable, playable product.

This volume similarly features some very gritty episodes and some which are more typical of the era. It's always fascinating to see which actors might pop up in these old programmes. The odd "fading glory" and also some up and coming unknowns. This volume will see, amongst others, Dyan (as Dianne) Cannon, Warren Oates, Wayne Rogers and Martin Landau featuring.

Definitely worth investing some money in securing its acquisition, but a little necessary to shop around for the best format.


Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 2, Volume 1 (Region 2) (Import)
Wanted Dead Or Alive: Season 2, Volume 1 (Region 2) (Import)

4.0 out of 5 stars A star was born., 4 Aug 2012
This is the format in which i invested some money, so as to acquire most of season two and all of season three. (Mine is the French edition.) The three seasons are annoyingly split into separate volumes. However, each was cheap enough and give me a touch under half the total ninety-four episodes. The picture quality is very good, the sound generally okay and there are some fairly decent bonus features. However, it is definitely NOT the best way to acquire the whole series.

Now in excess of fifty years old, but i'd be fascinated to talk to someone about this series' impact upon its first airing. There's something about the utterly iconic main title sequence which makes me think that i must have seen a re-run, a VERY long time ago. Steve McQueen is already his marvellously effective, charismatic and unbelievably watchable self. This series turned him into a star, essentially, and the trademark coolness is all there. The stories are lean, bite-sized twenty-five minute slices which have aged quite well. Some episodes are, inevitably, cheesier than others. The show is also "let down" by its incidental music, which is of its time. The main title and closing title themes are excellent motifs, however.

Numerous familiar faces are to be seen, as Josh Randall conducts his bounty hunting adventures. You'll spot Royal Dano, Lee Van Cleef, Lon Chaney, De Forest Kelley, RG Armstrong and John Dehner, somewhere along the trail. You'll also lose count of the number of times the same set, given a different name, serves as the settlement where the action takes place. But this series dates from a very different era, of course, and has all the more charm for it.

The big negative is finding the best format, in between the region one products and this split season version, whilst not breaking the bank. However, purchasers will be pleasantly surprised by this series once they have found the best compromise.


Mission Impossible Season 7 [DVD]
Mission Impossible Season 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Greg Morris
Price: £15.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars M: I 7. Running out of steam....... the season too far?, 20 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the basis of my four stars for seasons five and six, this deserves only three stars. That's possibly a little harsh, but the quality is suffering. Being a fan, i really wanted to enjoy this. However, the tightness of production isn't somehow there. Lynda Day George (Casey) is supposedly on "special assignment" or under "deep cover" in the first episode, before doing a puffy, immobile appearance in the next. She then does an on and off routine until being present for most of the second half of the season. Furthermore, her parts possibly aren't quite as juicy as in season six. Barney's moustache is also doing hide-and-seek with us. Small details, but not what we expect. Even some of the episode titles seem lacklustre. The series returns to the "fuse-lighting" sequence opening the episodes, with an enjoyably punchier, bassier arrangement of the theme tune. We start with a prologue, before going to the mission briefing. (One of which is done, amazingly, with a 78rpm record.)

LDG, who was actually on maternity leave, is replaced by the EXCELLENT Barbara Anderson for seven missions, Marlyn Mason (one) and Elizabeth Ashley (one). The final mission, which is almost all Barney, doesn't have a missionista at all. Peter Graves enjoys himself in another variety of roles, and is great fun to watch. Willy often seems to be playing the part of a physician, which is a bit of a stretch. Barney also thrives on the undercover work he started in season six, (effete film director, voodoo man, master chef, crooked cop, drug lord and hood/safecracker).

Of the twenty-two episodes, i would say that two-thirds are okay to good. One or two even approach memorable status. The best seem to be those where we break out of the syndicate mould and into stories which "24" would subsequently exploit. "Two Thousand" with its hidden plutonium, "TOD 5" and biological warfare, "Ultimatum" with its nuclear device being used to blackmail the US government. Alternatively, "The Pendulum" with a military-industrial complex/corporate takeover of the world economy. (How prescient was that?!) Or "Underground" with its quite disturbing torture sequence. Similarly "Crack Up", whose truly bizarre moment of incarceration made me think of David Lynch. It's just a terrible shame that the season is let down by relatively dodgy/bland episodes like "Leona", "Kidnap", "Incarnate", "The Fountain", "The Fighter", "The Western" and "Imitation". (All Casey episodes, as it happens, apart from the last.)

Jim's team are now duelling with a rather different set of US actors. Vic Morrow, Robert Webber, Michael Conrad, Murray Hamilton, John Ireland, Alex Cord, John Larch, George Maharis, Cameron Mitchell, Claude Akins, Dean Stockwell and an old-looking Charles McGraw all make their "M:I" debuts. (Unless i'm mistaken.) Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter have detoured from "Planet Of The Apes". Robert Conrad, Willliam Shatner, William Smith, John Vernon, Donnelly Rhodes, Luke Askew, Geoffrey Lewis, William Windom and a wiggy Pernell Roberts are all back for more. Watch out for Joanna Cassidy, who has two VERY small parts (one uncredited), a tasty Lana Wood, cute Jennny Sullivan and luscious Barbara McNair amongst other guest ladies.

What i shall surely be doing, when i do my next re-run of IMF adventures, will be to change the viewing order of this season's episodes. Purchasers might consider doing the same. The Barbara Anderson episodes (1,3,5,6,8,9,10) should thus be followed by the Marlyn Mason and Elizabeth Ashley episodes (12 and 16), the Casey episodes (2,4,7,11,13,14,15,17,18,19,20,21) and the non-missionista (22). A lot of chopping and changing, to be sure, but the continuity should definitely improve.

PS. My re-run, using the above sequence, actually gives the season a fairly strong start. (It even resolves most of the moustache continuity issue!) The downside is that the weaker episodes are heavily concentrated towards the end, making the run-in distinctly stodgy. Kenyon Hopkins' urban, jazzy music scores are a very pleasing feature of this season. I almost find myself craving the next rerun, if only for that aspect.


Mission: Impossible - Season 6 [DVD]
Mission: Impossible - Season 6 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Greg Morris
Price: £16.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars M: I 6. The syndicate takes one hell of a beating., 18 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll give this only four stars, as i found the reconversion of the IMF into a domestic crime-fighting machine a little too one-dimensional. The "beyond the reach of conventional law enforcement agencies" setting became a little tiring and i found myself crying out for one of those ridiculous missions in a country like "Luxania" or "Povia". However, there are plenty of good episodes. There's even room for one, as Thomas Rucki quite rightly states, veritable masterpiece. Oddly, we revert to the original theme tune for the opening titles. We even have one of those extreme oddities: Jim's mission briefing being done on an LP, for the first time since season three. Kenyon Hopkins does many of the music scores and his edgy, jazzy work serves to embellish.

This is a stripped-down IMF team of three men plus a "beautiful make-up artist" called Casey (Lynda Day George). If truth be told, the magnificently-maned LDG is actually very good in her role. She has some juicy parts to play ("moll", grifter, French redhead, Irish bride, psychiatrist, Corsican, singer), is always convincing and very easy on the eye. (Dressed far more modestly than Lesley Warren in season five.) Jim Phelps is doing even more of the heavy-lifting, as there's no Rollin Hand/Paris accomplice, and seems to be having great fun. Barney gets to play a few parts which need more than technical expertise and Willy is restored after his stop/start season five.

High points would be "Encore", with William Shatner. (One i remember from its ORIGINAL airing.) Utterly ridiculous, but great fun. "The Tram" is a brisk episode with Felice Orlandi. "Mindbend" is moderately disturbing. Shame it has such a very cheesy wrap-up. A "young" Donald Moffat and Bill Fletcher are good villains. "Encounter" is another taut episode, with Elizabeth Ashley really excelling in a guest role. William Smith looks as mean as usual, and then some. "Invasion" is THE piece de resistance. (The first episode with a different hand lighting the fuse, in the opening credits.) Utterly preposterous, but SO very well done. Kevin McCarthy is a slimy nasty, without hamming it. Casey is both lovely and quite excellent in this. "Nerves" has Lynda's hubby, Christopher George, playing a syndicate enforcer. Anthony Zerbe is back for more punishment, in "The Connection". "The Bride" has a mildly shocking lift-shaft liquidation and delicious Woodrow Parfrey cameo. "Stone Pillow" features Bradford Dillman. "Committed" sees Geoffrey Lewis co-starring as a rather nasty hitman. Again, shame about the cheesy ending. "Bag Woman" has a good suspense, like "Casino". "Trapped" is a great season-ender, in spite of using a ridiculously wiggy stunt double for Jim.

The season has a few relative disappointers, but not actually too many. Watch out for appearances by Billy Dee Williams and Tyne Daly. Also the Hill Street Bluesers "Dan Travanty", James Sikking and Jon Cypher. Overall, very much better than i thought it would be.


Just Another Way To Say I Love You
Just Another Way To Say I Love You
Price: £5.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very solid Bazzer., 10 Mar 2012
It is interesting how Barry White's recording legacy has grown in stature, over the years. A far better artist than he was given credit for, at the time. "Just Another Way To Say I Love You" is another of his regular albums which deserves closer inspection, although it doesn't somehow quite meet the level of his magnificent "Can't Get Enough". That said, there is no real filler on this album. The songs are, without exception, always acceptable. The trademark lush arrangements are all there, making Barry White an extraordinarily listenable artist. Without ever making him truly "easy listening" in a negative sense.

The principal highlights on this album probably still remain the single releases. "I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To" is here as a full-length version, whilst "What Am I Gonna Do With You?" is, unquestionably, one of my favourite BW tracks. It has that punchy, truncated power chord at the start and a great arrangement, which i never tire of hearing. The rhythm track is quite restrained, as the strings scurry along busily. The two-part "Love Serenade" is very pleasant. "Let Me Live My Life Loving You" is an extended croon which doesn't hit the same heights as the equivalent track on "Can't Get Enough".

Overall, i would definitely recommend "JAWTSILY" as being a worthy addition to a cd collection, without it being as truly indispensable as "Can't Get Enough". If that album is Barry's "What's Going On", this one would probably be his "Let's Get It On".


Loacker Dark Chocolate Quadratini Wafer Biscuits 125 g (Pack of 6)
Loacker Dark Chocolate Quadratini Wafer Biscuits 125 g (Pack of 6)
Price: £12.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To be glugged in moderation?!, 6 Mar 2012
Huh? Reviewing a packet of wafer biscuits!? Crazy, isn't it? I only discovered this brand of wafer biscuits down here in Portugal, when my local Modelo supermarket was doing them as a special three-pack offer. Since then, i am totally HOOKED. The cremkakao and dark chocolate varieties are simply top quality. I'm not as keen on the Napolitaner variant, but they are still pretty good.

I once shared a pack of Quadratini wafers with a couple of Italian friends, who reckoned they weren't what they used to be. Hah! Whereas they must know best, these remain delicious wafer biscuits. No ifs, buts or maybes. Produced in the bilingual Sud Tyrol region of Italy, using wholesome ingredients. Nothing cruddy about them, at all. Long may they remain available, here on Amazon, for the perfect accompaniment to the hot beverage of your choosing. It's hard not to go through a whole pack at a time, quite frankly.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20