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Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...)

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Fourteen Hours [DVD] [1951] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Fourteen Hours [DVD] [1951] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5.0 out of 5 stars A guy stands on the ledge on the 15th floor and threatens to jump. He gets more and more tired and irritated. Can he be saved?, 1 Jun. 2016
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EXCELLENT! I was impressed by this little known 1951 black and white film. With a great cast and strong scenario, this is a real gem, worth discovering. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

PRECISION: this is the review of a NTSC Region 1 (USA+Canada) DVD. It will not play on standard PAL Region 2 (Europe+UK) equipment.

In a New York City hotel an initially anonymous young man (Richard Basehart) walks out of the window and stands on the narrow ledge outside his room - on the fifteenth floor! He is noticed and Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas), a police officer, who was working traffic duty near the hotel, arrives and tries to persuade him to come back into the room. He doesn't succeed, but ultimately the young man refuses to speak to anybody else than Dunnigan. What follows is the story of dramatic and tense efforts to save the life of a young man - who gets more and more tired and more and more desperate. The effort will include a research into his past... As an enormous crowd gathers around and the media get into the feeding frenzy, the film tells also the story of some of the people who watch the events from the street and the surrounding buildings.

I never heard about this film before and I am a little surprised that it is nowadays so totally forgotten. I was very impressed by the high quality of the scenario and the terrific performance of all the cast. Henry Hathaway was already an experienced director in 1951 and it immediately shows in this film – it is only 92 minutes, but it is so well organised and filled with events, that it seems longer. That is not a criticism – I appreciated every single scene and my only regret is that there was no more of them! The scenario is very strong, but I will say nothing about the details. The tension builds up and drama become more and more intense, especially towards the end, as there are surprises and scares, which I didn't see coming at all. This film kept me constantly on the edge (sorry for that, I couldn't resist). Finally, the ending is unexpected – and very powerful indeed…

The cast is incredible. Paul Douglas and Richard Basehart are the main stars here and a great deal of the screen time is devoted to their conversation/negotiation/confrontation. Veteran actors Agnes Moorehead and Robert Keith appear in the middle of the film – another highly experienced actor, Howard Da Silva, plays deputy chief Moskar, the leading policeman assigned to the crisis. Young actresses Barbara Bel Geddes and especially Debra Paget appear also as well as two future great stars: Grace Kelly and Jeffrey Hunter – for both of them it was the first credited appearance on the screen. All actors did an amazing job, including those, mostly not credited, who appear in brief cameos in the street crowd, commenting (sometimes rudely) on the whole drama…

I didn't see the 2012 remake ("Man on the ledge") with Sam Worthington, but from what I read about it the story was completely changed and therefore the film was not a success – therefore even if you saw it, you can still watch "Fourteen hours" and expect to be surprised.

I was very impressed by this film and I will absolutely keep the DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!

Year's Best SF 10 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction))
Year's Best SF 10 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction))
by David G. Hartwell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather disappointing collection, which is a surprise, because the year was full of strong SF stories, 30 May 2016
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I was disappointed by this collection of what editors considered as best SF from 2004. Their choices seem very strange to me as it was a rather strong year for SF – for that matter yearly Gardner Dozois collection from 2004 was full of very good stories. Out of a total of twenty three, there is only one very good story, "The battle of York", plus four good ones: "Scout's honor", which also figures in Dozois collection, "The algorithms of love", "Mastermindless" and "The Eckener alternative".

There are also six total stinkers ("Sergeant Chip", "The first commandment", "Glinky", "Red city", "Pervert" and "Savant songs") and two stories which I was unable to finish and therefore I cannot rate ("Venus Flowers at Night" and "The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects"). Remaining ten are at best readable, sometimes barely.

Many stories are boring and forgettable, lacking originality (some are just rewriting of older, better stories) and ideas. Political correctness and left winged politics (including anti-white racism and anti-Christian bigotry) pollute many of them. There are few interesting characters, there are clichés galore and the general tone is depressed.

Below, my more detailed impressions, with some SPOILERS.
"Sergeant Chip" by Bradley Denton – in a near future a cybernetically enhanced dog follows his trainer to the war in the Middle East. The story recycles every left wing antimilitary cliché and conspiracy theory and combines it with some abysmally crazy ideas: US soldiers routinely and purposefully commit atrocious war crimes, officers disobey standing orders and are not sanctioned, officers are not sanctioned for hitting superior officers, officers collect trophies from murdered civilians like serial killers, US government massively murders its own soldiers, US government maintains death squads which routinely murder civilians to cover the massive murder of its own soldiers, etc. etc. Rarely did I read such vomitoriously insane and hateful nonsense! AVOID!

"The First Commandment" by Gregory Benford – a biologist works on inventorying species which will disappear when Australia n outback is irrigated; a religious zealot begs her to not do it… This story is a flagrant case of plagiarism. it is almost a carbon copy of the classical "The nine billion names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke written in 1953, with just some politically correct econazi madness and global warming hysteria added. AVOID.

"Burning Day" by Glenn Grant – in the future AIs ("cogents") got full citizenship rights – in the same time borders between humans and AIs get more and more blurry all the time. An AI detective and his human partner investigate the murder of a "cogent" family – this case will be a very surprising one. I cannot say that I enjoyed this story as from my point of view, for many reasons which I cannot reveal to avoid spoilers, this future world is a vision of absolute horror, as wrong as it is possible. However, to be objective, I must admit that this is well written, original and certainly forcing to think. A READABLE, although disturbing (and depressing) story.

"Scout's Honor" by Terry Bisson – the story about a weird scientist receiving even weirder emails, seemingly from Upper Palaeolithic (and no, this is not senders email address). GOOD solid stuff, well written, but if this Sci-Fi story is strong in "fiction", it is weak on genuine "science", containing a description of Neanderthal people which downgrades them significantly and makes them very alien to us... This is the only story in 2004 which also figured in Gardner Dozois yearly Best SF anthology.

"Venus Flowers at Night" by Pamela Sargent – the story occurs on terraformed Venus in a distant future; the whole humanity is ruled by a kind of caliphate; that idea was already not funny in 2004 and is even less appealing today, with all the abominations committed daily by the Islamic State. Still, I decided to do myself violence and tried to read it, but as after 20 pages virtually nothing happened, I gave up. For that reason I am not really able to rate this story. Read it and make up your mind.

"Pulp Cover" by Gene Wolfe – a short, well written story about a hard working ambitious guy who is slowly climbing up the corporate ladder when all the time being desperately in love with the daughter of his very rich boss. Then something unexpected happens… A READABLE, if quite banal story, written in a "classical" (50sand 60s) style.

"The Algorithms for Love" by Ken Liu – a quite interesting take on the theme of AI. A brilliant but somehow battered by life woman, who designs interactive toys for living, starts to wonder how do her "dolls" compare to real humans… The conclusion will be quite… well, interesting… Well written, quite profound and even, to some extent, a little bit scary… A GOOD story.

"Glinky" by Ray Vukcevich – that story is weird that I cannot even say what it is about; it seems to be about the intrusion to our universe of somebody from another reality – but honestly I am not certain if I got it right. Some people believe that when writing a totally weird mess they create a clever masterpiece. Well, no, in fact they create just a totally weird mess. AVOID!

"Red City" by Janeen Webb – written by Janeen Webb, the wife of famous SF editor Jack Dann, this story seems to be about time travel in India, but in fact it is just a pretext to describe the kidnapping, torture, abuse and quite possible also killing of a white woman by her captors. Includes quasi pornography and a lot of anti-white racism. AVOID!

"Act of God" by Jack McDevitt – scientists create a miniature Universe, start to play with it and then are surprised by the results… A READABLE story, but rather banal – the subject has been treated before, much better.

"Wealth" by Robert Reed – an extremely arrogant and powerful AI comes to buy real estate on Mars. As frequently with this author, the idea is interesting, the writing is very honest, but the conclusion weakens the whole thing. Still, a READABLE thing.

"Mastermindless" by Matthew Hughes – one day a kind of alternate reality Sherlock Holmes wakes up stupid, ugly and broke. That might well be THE puzzle of his life… A GOOD, well written, clever and entertaining tribute to an immortal classic. Good job Mr Hughes, sir.

"Time As It Evaporates" by Jean-Claude Dunyach – a kind of "time disaster" destroyed the world and only a small Muslim town, isolated by some high mountains, remains untouched – for the moment. One day a local muezzin meets an impressive but strange man he never saw before in town… Author has a fertile imagination and knows how to write, but the reality described is so weird and the conclusion so confusing (borderline absurd), that I cannot rate this tory more than READABLE.

"The Battle of York" by James Stoddard – in a distant future historians try to reconstruct the "original mythology" of United States from just a handful of scraps of information. The very first chapter is the heroic saga of George Washington, who is send on an epic quest by half-god Waynejohn, after they hold a parley in Giant Sequoia Forest…))) I almost died laughing when reading it. Very well written, merry and cheerful, this is one of the best things in recent SF I read since a long time. A VERY GOOD STORY, THE BEST IN THE COLLECTION. To read absolutely!

"Loosestrife" by Liz Williams – in a near future, a slightly retarded teenage girl raises her baby alone in an abandoned apartment she squats in half-flooded London. Although the story totally mines global warming hysteria, the beginning showed promise, but the ending is disappointing. Still, a READABLE thing.

"The Dark Side of Town" by James Patrick Kelly – this story occurs in a near future and is about a couple of hard working but still rather poor people; they would like to have a child, but are concerned about money; one day the wife finds something unexpected, disturbing and very expensive in her husband clothes… The story begins well, but fails to deliver in second half. Still, a READABLE thing.

"Invisible Kingdoms" by Steven Utley – although it might not be immediately obvious this is actually another story in the cycle describing the exploration of Palaeozoic by means of a space-time anomaly; a very, very rich man is accused of buying illegally smuggled samples of prehistoric life… Paradoxically, the best of those Palaeozoic stories are the ones which actually happen in our times…))) A quite READABLE thing, if nothing more. Sadly, Steven Utley left us in 2013…

"The Cascade" by Sean McMullen – on the day of first manned landing on Mars a young brilliant student meets an even more brilliant and somehow mysterious young woman; they quickly land in bed together and he soon finds that she has a hidden agenda (and many other things). The story is READABLE but I found the general idea behind it utterly idiotic – it also contains an endorsement of terrorism, pretending that it is necessary to strong arm humanity into progress. This kind of thinking produced the twin abominations of communism and Nazism and saying such a thing since 11 September 2001 is really a proof of poor discernment and bad taste…

"Pervert" by Charles Coleman Finlay – in a near future humanity is divided in three categories: homosexuals, hydrosexuals and perverts. Humanity is also ruled by a theocracy, based on a mixture of Christianity and Islam. The story is deliberately shocking and unpleasant. It is also a hateful attack on Christian religion, based on one real Bible verse but especially on one completely false. I was deeply insulted and disgusted by this thing. AVOID!

"The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects" by Steve Tomasula – a scientist makes a genetic/psychological study in Chinatown somewhere in USA. I cannot really rate this story, because I couldn't really understand what was going on, I got tired and after first ten pages I abandoned. You must read it and judge it by yourself.

"Strood" by Neal Asher – a dying man is send by aliens to their home planet – once he arrives there a strange creature starts to stalk him… This is a READABLE thing, but the solution to the "mystery" is quite obvious from the beginning. Also, the same subject was already treated long time ago by Fred Saberhagen in one of his "Berserker" short stories… Finally, there is also an element of idiocy included – why would ETA Basque separatists try to target aliens!??

"The Eckener Alternative" by James L. Cambias – an amusing story about a guy who wants to change history because he thinks zeppelins are cool; he will end by changing much more than aeronautical history…))) A witty, well researched and well written thing. A GOOD story.

"Savant Songs" by Brenda Cooper – a story about an autistic woman who is also a genius physician and her younger male assistant; the story had promise but finally goes mostly nowhere, is boring on its way to nowhere and ends stupidly. AVOID
Bottom line, this is a 2,5 stars collection. If you already have Gardner Dozois anthology from 2004 and can find "Battle of York" somewhere else, there is no real need to buy this book.

Swamp Water [DVD]
Swamp Water [DVD]
Dvd ~ Walter Brennan

5.0 out of 5 stars "It's like being dead all these years, and now you're - you're a tellin' me to come back to life again", 18 May 2016
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This review is from: Swamp Water [DVD] (DVD)
VERY GOOD! I liked a lot this 1941 drama by renowned French director Jean Renoir. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, a very poor rural area, somewhere around 1910. A young, rather likeable but somehow rebellious man, Ben Ragan (Dana Andrews), lives still with his father, Thursday Ragan (Walter Huston) and his stepmother, Hannah (Mary Howard). Hannah is much younger than her husband, but she and Thursday seem to be very happy together – however, her former beau, Jesse Wick (John Carradine) still didn't renounce his claim and even if he is not welcome he sneaks to try to see her when the husband is not at home. Ben wants to move out soon and be on his own, once he marries Mabel MacKenzie (Virginia Gilmore), the most desirable (and proudest) local girl.

The dangerous swamps are mostly avoided by locals, as quite a few people died there, victims of treacherous mud holes, quicksand, venomous snakes, alligators and even an occasional panther (puma) attack. Because people don't usually go there, a wanted murderer, Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan), was hiding in Okefenokee for the last five years. Nobody knows it, not even his teen age daughter Julie (Anne Baxter), who once her father ran, was taken as house servant by a local shopkeeper Marty McCord (Russell Simpson) and his wife. Local sheriff, Jeb McKane (Eugene Pallette) would certainly give a lot to know Keefer whereabouts…

One day however Ben Ragan wanders into the swamps, looking for his old, loyal but a little bit silly dog Trouble. He does it even if his father forbid him to do it and two local bullies, Bud Dorson (Guinn Williams) and Tim Dorson (Ward Bond), mock him publicly, warning that he will never come back. Ben's entering the Okefenokee will set in motion a dramatic chain of events and at that moment the film really begins…

This is a short film (88 minutes) but incredibly well organised and managed - the description above, a kind of entrance of artists, covers like first five minutes! Jean Renoir was already a great master of cinema when he began his Hollywood adventure and it is immediately visible in "Swamp Water". The perfectly rhythmed, perfectly organised story, with pace of events successively accelerating and decelerating according to needs, is just a sheer pleasure to watch. The story is interesting, we care for (almost) all characters, there are twists and surprises, there is a good mixture of heartbreak and joy, etc. etc.

Tons of talent are present in this film. Dana Andrews and Anne Baxter were destined to make great careers and in this film they SHINE! Barely 18 years old Anne Baxter is especially impressive, in her only fourth role in cinema (but to be fair, she already played theatre, since she was 13). Many other great actors appear here, many already experienced veterans, like Walter Huston, who just before this film was the Devil in the amazing "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and Walter Brennan, who today is mostly remembered for one of his last roles, the amazing performance as Stumpy in "Rio Bravo". John Carradine, aged 35 at that time, was also already a veteran, but he was going to keep acting until his death in 1988 - his last film opened posthumously, in 1990.

At 38 Ward Bond was also already a very experienced thespian and as we all know he was going to act in many more famous movies, until his very premature death from heart attack in 1960. Special mention goes to Eugene Pallette who plays the local sheriff – he is nowadays mostly remembered for his role of Friar Tuck in 1938 "Adventures of Robin Hood" but he also aced his comic roles in "The bride came C.O.D." and "Heaven can wait".

The treasures of this film are many. There is drama, romance, tragedy, tension, humour, betrayal, jealousy, stink eyes, two bonny lasses, romantic rivalry, a barn dance (followed by an unavoidable fistfight), a skull on a cross, doggies and last but not least, the Okefenoke Swamp itself, definitely a great place for a wilderness adventure of Dungeons and Dragons. There is also the local spake of deep rural Georgia, which is simply AWESOME…))) But the best thing is that Jean Renoir took a terminally American story and added a little bit of French touch, creating a uniquely tasty mix. I don't of course know if it was his intention, but for my personal taste there was a little bit of Maupassant naturalistic short stories about peasants in this film – and it added some good Beaujolais to "swamp water"...)))

This film is based on popular novel "Swamp Water" written in 1940 by Vereen M. Bell, a young officer of Us Navy, for whom writing was just a hobby but who sure knew how to spin a tale… Tragically, he died in World War II. During the famous battle of Samar ("the last stand of tin can sailors") on 25 October 1944 he served on escort carrier USS "Gambier Bay", which was sunk by Japanese battleships (including the super battleship "Yamato") and heavy cruisers. Bell survived the sinking and was rescued but succumbed to his wounds the next day. He was then barely 33 years old… A great talent was lost that day...

I LOVED this film and I will definitely keep the DVD for another viewing! A thing to see ABSOLUTELY! ENJOY!

Hustle And Flow [DVD]
Hustle And Flow [DVD]
Dvd ~ Terrence Howard
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.39

5.0 out of 5 stars "It's hard out here for a pimp when you trying get this money for the rent" One man and three women quest for a better life..., 17 May 2016
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This review is from: Hustle And Flow [DVD] (DVD)
A tough, by moments unpleasant and shocking but still very good drama. I liked it a lot. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

DJay (Terrence Howard) is a pimp and small time drug dealer. He has a "stable" of three girls: Nola (Taryn Manning), the "white bunny", Shug (Taraji P. Henson), a shy gal, currently heavily pregnant and Lexus (Paula Jai Parker), who is loudmouthed and rebellious. DJay barely manages to break even and is quite obviously dissatisfied with his life. One day he meets succesively a keyboard for kids and an old friend from school, Key (Anthony Anderson), who has become a sound technician. That gives him an idea - he will make hip hop songs and get rich... And then the film really begins.

The main character is a mixture of pathetic and unpleasant, the three female characters live in misery and exploitation and as we all know the best laid plans frequently don't survive the first contact with reality, but somehow this film manages to stay optimistic. This is the story of a man and three (later two) women who try to change their lives to better and it is shown in a great way. I was quite impressed by the scenario, the actors (especially Taraji P. Henson) and, even if I don't really care much for rap, yes, even the music. The song "It's hard out here for a pimp" very deservedly received in 2006 the Oscar for Best Song.

Even if I cannot really sympathise with the main character, this film completely broke through my defenses in the anthology scene in which DJay prepares for the fight of his life, like a knight going to tournament. I also liked the humour, which is of greatest quality, even if frequently laced with obscenity. The last joke in the film really made me laugh out loud.

This film reminded me of "The Wire" and also "Set it off", even if it is less violent and less tragic. The quality of the direction is just amazing. Even if this kind of films is not my usual poison, I liked "Hustle and flow" a lot and I probably will keep the DVD. A recommended viewing.

Bandits [DVD] [2001]
Bandits [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.39

4.0 out of 5 stars The merry tribulations, adventures and romance of two non-violent bank robbers and their not entirely stable female hostage..., 15 May 2016
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This review is from: Bandits [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I liked this 2001 crime comedy. It is not a masterpiece, but a very entertaining thing. I spend a nice, relaxing moment watching it. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and Terry Collins (Billy Bob Thornton) are two convicts, serving time in Oregon State Penitentiary. Blake is a tough, strong, menacing heavy and a man of few words when Collins is a neurotic, talkative, extraverted hypochondriac, but they are still nevertheless best friends. We never learn why they went to prison in the first place, but it is certain that they serve a rather long stretch, even if they don't have blood on their hands. One day they escape and as they don't have any money they decide to rob a bank. It turns out that they are good at it... Then they meet Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett), a wealthy housewife, who hates her life and her husband - and then things will never be the same again... I will say nothing more about the story.

This film is a comedy, which can be even watched in family, as there is no real violence, no sex and no strong language. It is the story of a gang of bank robbers who don't actually hurt people - which means it is pure fiction. There is a lot of humour, based mostly on dialogs. The film is never vulgar - jokes fly definitely higher than in most recent films. Actors are excellent, with Billy Rob Thornton giving an especially strong performance - his character of absolute hypochondriac was probably a prototype for Melman the giraffe from "Madagascar" (just shorter)... Cate Blanchett gives a great show, including a great kitchen dance and a singing moment which will live in infamy (Kate Wheeler is convinced she can sing - but she is wrong...). Bruce Willis is just being Bruce Willis and he is also doing a great job.

The reason why I give this film only fours stars is that things get a little bit weaker in the last 15 minutes and the ending of the last big heist is really entirely artificial and forced. However, it is still a very entertaining thing, which I enjoyed a lot and I can guarantee that it will give you a lot of merry laughs. I think I will keep the DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!

Sergeant York [DVD] [1941] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Sergeant York [DVD] [1941] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Gary Cooper
Price: £17.83

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic about a real war hero, telling the story of his life, from humble and rough beginnings into salvation and glory..., 12 May 2016
SPLENDID! I loved this film about the life and heroic acts of a very real American soldier. It is very deservedly considered a classic. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

PRECISION: this is the review of Region 1 NTSC USA+Canada version. It will NOT play on Region 2 PAL Europe+UK equipement.

This film tells the story of sergeant Alvin C. York, who won very much deserved fame for acts of incredible heroism during World War I - after having been a conscientious objector! In case you are not familiar with his exploits, I advise you to NOT research him. Watch the movie instead and allow yourself to be surprised. However, the greatest treasure of this film is not in the war time events, which ultimately take only a small part of the film. The best part is everything that precedes the war and it is a great, great story, narrated with great mastery by Howard Hawks. York was indeed 30 years old when he became a war hero and he already lived a lot before that.

York character is played wonderfully by Gary Cooper, who won the Oscar for this role. Joan Leslie, who left us only recently at respectable age of 90, plays Gracie Williams, a beautiful, smart, tough, non-nonsense, hard-to-get girl-next-door who attracts the attention of young Alvin York...

Born in poor rural area of Tennessee, York worked hard since his early childhood but as young man he was also wild, hard drinking and always looking for trouble. This long film (134 minutes) begins precisely in those early years, when at 25 he was considered as one of the most troublesome men in the whole county - in fact many people considered him and his close friends almost as a bunch of rogues. I will say no more about the story, but believe me, it is a great and dramatic tale and you will not see the time passing by.

I will keep this review short to avoid any temptation of providing spoilers. This film was in 1941 a spectacular box office success and it didn't age at all. It is a dramatic and moving story about one man's journely through life, love and war. I am so keeping this DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!

Boomerang [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Boomerang [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5.0 out of 5 stars "The primary duty of a lawyer exercising the office of public prosecutor is not to convict, but to see that justice is done", 10 May 2016
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EXCELLENT! I was quite impressed by this 1947 oldie but goldie "film noir" mixing a criminal investigation with politics. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

PRECISION: this is the review of "Fox Film Noir" Region 1 NTSC USA+Canada version. It will NOT play on Region 2 PAL Europe + UK equipement.

This film is based on a real story which happened 4 February 1924 in Bridgegport, Connecticut. That evening a respected priest, Father Dahme, was shot and killed on the street, without any apparent motive. The investigation which followed was a quite dramatic one, but I will not say here more to avoid SPOILERS and I advise you to not research the whole thing before watching the film. In "Boomerang" the events were a little bit amended, but in general lines the film follows the real story.

The film is relatively short (88 minutes) but very well organised and filled with events. It was only the second film Elia Kazan directed, but it is clear that even at that stage he had a great mastery of his trade. All actors did very well but two rise above the crowd - Dana Andrews, who plays Connecticut Attorney General supervising the investigation and Arthur Kennedy, who plays... well, somebody else.

There is a terrible political dilemma in this film. We are told in the beginning that a new administration was recently elected in the state, replacing a corrupt previous government. The terrible murder and the difficult investigation are now being used by the people who lost elections to prepare their comeback to the top of the government - and they are doing a helluva job about it. Which forces the new administration to ask itself a question: "How many angles can we cut in the name of greater good?"... It will be a difficult debate... I will say no more.

I will keep this review short, to avoid spoilers. I never heard about this film before but I am so glad that I discovered it. Notwithstanding some minor weaknesses of the scenario, it nevertheless IMPRESSED me! A recommended viewing. ENJOY!

Raid on Entebbe [DVD] [1976]
Raid on Entebbe [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Peter Finch
Price: £7.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid, very precise reconstruction of operation "Thunderbolt", the most incredible anti-terrorist raid of all times..., 2 May 2016
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This review is from: Raid on Entebbe [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
VERY GOOD! This is a solid, well done reconstruction of this incredible raid. I saw this film already three times in my life and every time I enjoyed it more. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

I never saw the two other films about Entebbe, so I cannot compare them, but this one is definitely a very good thing. The reconstruction of events is extremely faithful - I couldn't find much differences between the real story and the film. The casting was very well done. Peter Finch is excellent playing Yitzhak Rabbin - it takes a great thespian to play with equal brio the captain of a German raider, a martinet in British uniform, an Australian redneck and a Jewish politician...))) Charles Bronson, the greatest star in the cast, plays general Shomron with an Olympic calm - the director took great care to not let him dominate the screen and it was the right decision. Yaphet Kotto is equally good as Idi Amin. Horst Buchholz portrays very well Wilfried Bose, an evil man, who nevertheless in the last seconds of his life showed mercy before dying with courage - and therefore maybe saved his soul... Young James Woods shows in this film the promise which will be later confirmed in so many great films. Quite a lot of experienced veteran actors appear, like Martin Balsam, Jack Warden and Eddie Constatine. Special mention goes to Sylvia Sidney, at that time aged 66, who plays Dora Bloch and for obvious reasons her role is not only important but particularly poignant.

This film was deliberately made in a matter-of-fact, low key, low drama way. The enormous effort of military planning of the operation is shown in a limited way - the film focuses more on the ordeal of the hostages, political arguing, etc. Considering that this was supposed initially to be just a TV film, it is a respectable choice and the whole thing plays well. Still, I would really like to see a film on this topic with an expanded part on military aspects, a better soundtrack and the whole incredible, dramatic aspect of the operation better explored.

That being said, this is a very good film and it was a pleasure to watch it. It is also a recomforting thing to see in reality of present, when every day seems to bring more horror and reasons to rejoice are few. It is in such moments that it is a good idea to watch a movie about a very real event, in which a daring deed is performed, those who have power show that their are worthy holding it, innocent people are rescued, an unholy alliance of extremist murderers and a mad bloodthirsty tyrant is humiliated, heroes are celebrated and the servants of evil are left dead, their bodies riddled with bullets, in slowly cooling pools of their own blood... I will definitely keep this DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!

Father Goose [1964] [DVD]
Father Goose [1964] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cary Grant
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The stormy romance of Filthy Beast and Goody Two Shoes, watched with concern by Big Bad Wolf and Eight Princesses...))), 29 April 2016
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This review is from: Father Goose [1964] [DVD] (DVD)
ADORABLE! I simply loved this war time romantic comedy! It is a harmless, slightly silly thing made for pure entertainment, but it is so witty, sweet and cheerful, that I completely surrendered to its charm. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

Northern New Guinea, January 1942. The Japanese invasion is imminent and Australian possessions on the great island are being evacuated. Volunteer observers (coastwatchers) are left behind on the coast and on various islands near New Guinea to report movements of Japanese ships and planes. A grumpy, heavy drinking American hermit, Walter Eckland (Cary Grant), who for mysterious reasons buried himself in this area years ago, is pressed into service by his old best frenemy, Frank Houghton (Trevor Howard), himself recently mobilised and commissioned in Australian Navy.

Eckland is not enthusiastic at the idea of serving behind enemy lines but before even the Japanese his little island is invaded by even less welcome intruders - refugees, namely Catherine Freneau (Leslie Caron), a spinster but not half bad looking and her wards, eight young girls (Jenny, Anne, Christine, Elizabeth, Harriet, Angelique, Dominique and Gretchen, who might or might not be entirely real...) aged from 14 to 7... Those intruders might not carry any weapons more dangerous than a cricket bat but from Eckland's point of view they are a barbarian horde, vastly proving this old truth that "war is hell"...)))

This is definitely NOT a war movie but a delicious romantic comedy, which can be watched by whole family. The film got an Oscar for the screenplay and this award whas fully justified. Humour is kind, the mood is gentle, dialogs witty and gags never fly low. A lot of this film is about the war of sexes and the powerful positive influence of women on civilization, but there is not even one ounce of feminazi hysteria. The romance is a stormy one and therefore the dove usually considered as symbol of love is here replaced by a sarcastic voracious pellican...))) Also, towards the end, the film features a septuple stinkeye level 100 - I never saw something like that before...)))

I will not say more to avoid giving spoilers. I loved this film and I will definitely keep my DVD for another viewing. Buy it, watch it, love it, keep it. ENJOY!

Pork Chop Hill [DVD]
Pork Chop Hill [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gregory Peck
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great and respectful tribute to American soldiers who saved South Korea from the terrible fate of its northern neighbour..., 26 April 2016
This review is from: Pork Chop Hill [DVD] (DVD)
EXCELLENT! This is one of best war movies I ever saw - and I saw a lot of them! Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Korea, 1953, last days of war. The signing of cease fire is now only a question of days, but at Panmunjom communists keep stalling, when in the same time they multiply the attacks on the front. The cold blooded calculation of Chinese high command is that United Nations forces will fight poorly, as no soldier wants to die in the last moments of war, for just another piece of desolate wilderness (communist soldiers don't want it either, but for them even the slightest sign of lack of enthusiasm means death). This is why there is again another battle for Pork Chop Hill, a position many times lost and retaken by United Nations troops. At the very beginning of the film the Chinese take the hill again. An American company is ordered to recapture it - because if the hill is left to the Chinese, that can encourage their generals to postpone the talks again and attack another position, extending the war... Company commanding officer, Lieutenant Joe Clemmons (Gregory Peck) is not happy about his orders, but he will carry them - to the letter. And then the film begins...

This film is based on facts, but the story was changed - I cannot however tell exactly how, because that would be a major spoiler. The characters are also fictitious, but I think officers as the soldiers were well portrayed. There is a lot of talent in this film, frequently in minor roles and at the beginning of great careers: Woody Strode, Martin Landau, George Peppard, Harry Dean Stanton (uncredited), Robert Blake, etc.

Scenario is strong, dialogs are frequently poignant, fighting is quite realistic for a 1959 movie and the whole picture of position war in Korea is reconstructed quite faithfully. One of the strongest points of this film is that there is no vilains here amongst the brass, junior officers and NCOs - they all are just human beings tasked with a terribly difficult job, who simply try to do what they can. The terrible decisions generals have sometimes to take are particularly well shown. Simple soldiers are shown also very well.

I liked this film a lot. It shows the horrors of war very well, but also reminds us, that sometimes there is simply no other choice that to take a weapon and fight if one doesn't want to bow to an abominable tyranny. Freedom is not free and therefore some brave men die, in order for others to be able to live and enjoy liberty. This film is a precious tribute to such men. I will definitely keep my DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!

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