Monday, December 31, 2007

Footsteps In The Dark

I promised I’d start reviewing some old and classic films. Here is my first shot at it. For my first review of an oldies flick, I was going to do one of the dozens of great, campy SciFi B-movies from the ‘50s. But, I suddenly got the urge to do this seldom seen oldie instead.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK (1941) is a classy comedy/mystery movie starring Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshal, Ralph Bellamy and Alan Hale. This movie is an out of the norm role for Flynn who we are all used to seeing as the swashbuckling hero in such classics as ROBIN HOOD, THE DAWN PATROL, THE SEA HAWK, and on and on. In this one, Flynn plays a high society executive, who has a secret hobby of writing murder mysteries and hanging out with the police attempting to solve cases. To do his investigations, he finds reasons so stay out late at night and sneaks in though the window while his wife (Brenda Marshal) is asleep, then lying about the time he came home. All at once, his book becomes popular, he gets involved in a murder case and his wife gets suspicious. You can guess the fun that follows.

The story is fun, has a good who-done-it to solve and the secondary plot line of how Flynn tries going to stay out of trouble keeps the interest up. It’s all great fun and Flynn does a surprisingly good job in the roll without swords and guns to back him up. Besides, it looks like he’s really having fun.

Alan Hale as the police chief adds to the spice. I just don’t think of a good Errol Flynn film without Alan Hale being in it; well, not many, anyway. (Yes, I'm a Alan Hale fan) All in all, this is a good 96 minutes of entertainment. I caught it on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It’s also available to buy; or come over and watch it at my house!

I was toying with whether or not I should rate these, but since it's "my opinion" here (as the disclaimers states), why not. I give this a 7 out of 10.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

OK, I finally went to a new movie. There was quite a bit to choose from, but after the process of eliminating seeing this one because I don't like who is in it, and that one because it doesn't sound like it's worth spending the money on, and that one because it's to violent or too much bad language, I decided on seeing THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP. Good choice, Wes.

First let me say that the movie should just be titled THE WATER HORSE and leave it at that. These sub-titled extensions tend to be misleading and can turn one off to going to see the movie. In this case, it adds nothing to the story ... it actually left me wondering why they put it there. If you find out, let me know. LEGEND OF THE DEEP - phooey!!

Now to the story. I'll tell you up front I thought this film was very good. It had a good plot, good characters and good special effects. There wasn't any bad language (how nice is that!) and it's not too scary for small kids.

The story centers around an old man in present times telling a couple of tourists a story about the now famous fake picture of the Lock Ness Monster. The story goes back to 1942 Scotland and the situation there during WWII. Our hero, Angus MacMorrow (played by Alex Etel) is a young boy of about 12 or 13, living near the lake in northern Scotland with his mother and the hired help. They are rather well off, since they own a small estate (I assume they own it). Angus has a great fear of water and loves and misses his father dearly, who has been away in the Royal Navy for over a year.

Angus discovers a large strange "rock" by the lake and brings it home. Needless to say it hatches and our story begins. Angus calls it "Crusoe" after Robinson Crusoe, a book in his father's workshop. I don't feel that I'm spoiling anything here since this all happens very early in the story. But, at the same time Angus starts his "adventure", two things happen that change everyone's life. First, the Army sends an artillery company to bivouac on the estate to establish anti-submarine defenses around the Lock (which leads to the open sea), and a new hire, Lewis Mowbray (played by Ben Chaplin)is hired as a new handyman and moves into Angus's father's workshop which was Angus's sanctuary and where he is keeping his new "pet'. This is all traumatic to Angus who has to hide the "pet" from his mother, who refuses to let him have any kind of pet, and solicits the aid of his sister and later Lewis, to keep the secret.

I won't go into more plot details. I'll let you learn them for yourself. Suffice it to say there are adult situations and inferences that are done so well, that the adults watching have a good adult story and the kids will have their story unburdened with adult stuff. There are a lot of laughs and a lot of tense moments. A well written story.

I found this movie very entertaining with something for everyone, the kids, the adults, the criers and the laughers. The story was well written and well acted. The actors are not well know actors and, for this guy at least, made it all that more enjoyable and believable. I have to throw in one warning, though. Everyone talks with a Scottish brogue, so be prepared!

I have to throw in a special well done for the photography. The shots were stunning of the Lock and the mountains of the area (even though it was shot in New Zealand). I know it's early to say anything, but this deserves an award for it's beautiful photography.

The special effects were good, but once Crusoe grows up, the CGI looks too much like CGI as opposed to the scenes when it was a small thing where it was a lot better in appearance.

After all is said, I feel this deserves a 8 out of 10 from this humble reviewer.


Sorry I've been away and not keeping up with this. But, for those who know me, it's been a very busy fall. Besides that I haven't seen many movies. I promise to be more attentive in the future. I'm not going to limit this sit to just new movies, but I'll start reviewing oldies and classics and even some B SciFi stuff from the 50's. So keep tuned.