Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Another Stinkin’ Movie

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Patty and I like to veg out with a movie on a weekend afternoon, and this looked promising: a starship gone missing for seven years suddenly turns up in orbit around Neptune, and a rescue ship is sent out to investigate. Cool idea. And then we find out the starship has been through a black hole and come back… and where were they? Yeah, that’s cool, too. Event Horizon, starring Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill, directed by Paul Anderson–avoid it if you can.

Was this movie written by a couple of high school kids? It often happens to young writers: you get an idea, a really good idea, and then you just don’t know how to finish the story. It melts down into a pile of bubbling claptrap.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that an awful lot of people who want “to write,” as they say, but haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it, make a beeline for science fiction. What is it about science fiction that so powerfully attracts people who don’t know what they’re doing? There are science fiction writers who do know what they’re doing, but Hollywood apparently prefers the other kind. So take heart! If you can’t write a coherent story, you still might catch on as a movie screenwriter.

If you want to see about two-thirds of a halfway decent movie that then decides to fall flat on its face for the remaining 30 minutes, welcome to Event Horizon.


‘Glenn Ford, Homicidal Maniac: “The Man from Colorado”‘ (2015)

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We look at the damage which judges do nowadays and wonder, “Were they always this bad?”

Well, they might’ve been…

This offbeat Western is fun! Playing way against type, Glenn Ford is a newly-appointed judge whose newly-acquired power goes right to his head. Sometimes an actor can really show his stuff in a role like this, and Ford took full advantage of the opportunity. Hey, a judge who turns into a predator as no joke!

Maybe I’ll watch this again, this weekend.

They Can Do… Everything

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So we’re watching this TV show last night, Primeval, and these two paleontologists, guys who dig up and study fossils, suddenly grab a pair of motorbikes and dart all around the parking garage, chasing and being chased by raptors. They just know how to maneuver a motorbike at high speed among parked cars. In fact, they just know how to do wheelies. Both of them know these things. Instinctively. Up until that point in the series, we never saw hide nor hair of motorbikes. And now they’re doin’ wheelies. It’s very effective against raging dinosaurs.

How many times have we seen this in movies and TV shows? Some wispy little Barbie snatches up a .50-caliber machine gun and mows down the zombies. Joe Hero jumps into an unguarded helicopter and just takes off. Heavy machinery, high technology, advanced weapons systems–it’s all the same. Whatever special ability is suddenly called for in the script, the character in that scene has it. No one ever just doesn’t know what to do! “Old man Can’t is dead!”

Pity me. If I were being chased by Velociraptors, you could have 50 motorbikes parked in a row and I wouldn’t know how even to get one started, let alone zoom around like Steve McQueen, doin’ wheelies. First I would have to be taught. Then I’d have to practice. No time for that in a movie!

I consider this a literary crime, and pledge myself to try as hard as I can to avoid committing it in any of my novels. Your money back if I can’t do it!


If You See This Movie Coming–Run Away

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It’s rainy, cold, and dreary here today, Patty and I are tired, we want to just veg out and relax–but if we get another movie like the turkey we discovered yesterday, I am not answerable for the consequences.

House, starring William Katt–actually, I’m not sure “starring” is the right word: more like he was shanghaied into it by people who hate him a lot–is one of those schlocky horror movies from the 1980s that seems to have been the work of half a dozen writers writing bits of it without consulting among themselves and just tacking it together somehow.  It also features chintzy special effects that wouldn’t scare anybody who hadn’t blown good money to see it.

So first the ghost is all-powerful and then, suddenly, for no reason at all, he isn’t; and first the haunted house is in the middle of the suburbs, and then it’s right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea, and the monsters are all made of cheap foam rubber, and… ah, fanabla! It is as if the writers had declared war on continuity.

And then we read that this fiasco, this abomination… won awards! And people said they liked it!

Who can understand such mysteries?

Whatever we wind up watching today had better be good.

‘We Can Poison Adults’ Minds, Too’ (2015)

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There are movies out there that completely defeat any attempt to understand why they were made. If there is such a thing as immoral space aliens, these might be the culprit.

Really, what is the point of something like this? Trying to show that unrestrained sexual depravity is a way to hold a family together? Shades of Sawney Bean…

“Who? Sawney who?” I hear you say. Metaphorically, of course.

Sawney Bean was the head of a family of cannibals in Scotland, some hundreds of years ago. He might not be real

Unfortunately, this movie is.

Too Much of a Bad Thing?

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Trick or treat?

Ah, yes, of course–another blockbuster comic-book movie. Or is it something more than that?

Avengers: Endgame, three hours of so-and-sos running around in superhero costumes, opened in China a few days ago–and proved to be a bit too much for a  21-year-old woman in the audience.

This poor lass was rushed to the hospital crying uncontrollably, with difficulty breathing–they had to give her oxygen–chest pains, and hands that went numb, plus finger spasms. She also needed some counseling (

“She’s definitely a real fan,” someone commented on social media.

Uh, hello, anybody there? It’s a movie based on comic books. All right, three hours in a movie chair, that might make you cry. Just being in China at all would make some people cry. Crikey, what would’ve happened if she’d had to watch Old Yeller? And I found Bambi rather upsetting; but I was only a little kid at the time.

Well, crying over a movie, that’s one thing. Having to be hospitalized because of a movie, that’s off the scale.

We’ll have to wait and see whether it happens more than once with this movie. And if it does…

Hey, don’t look at me! I don’t know what to do about it.

Bonus Video: A Dawn Horse

The Eohippus, “Dawn Horse” (aka Hyracotherium), comes to life in one of my favorite movies, The Valley of Gwangi–another wonderful special effect by the stop-action wizard, the late great Ray Harryhausen.

James Franciscus is about to be tempted into a very great folly…


The Horror of Sheer Godlessness

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I wish I could remember which of you recommended this movie to us. Feel free to remind me.

The Circle is a 2017 techno-thriller starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Tom Hanks (Far Left Crazy). It received an awful lot of bad reviews (somebody called it “the reason people hate Hollywood”), but I would call it a timely, worthwhile horror movie. One might even say an appalling horror movie.

Watson plays a young woman, nobody special, who lands a job with The Circle, the world’s biggest media corporation, a social media colossus reminiscent of Google, not to mention Scientology meets Amway–with the Tower of Babel and Revelation thrown in. Hanks, playing the lord high CEO of The Circle, sums up its philosophy succinctly: “Knowing things is good. But knowing everything is better!”

And so you have this hi-tech amoeba spreading out to engulf everybody, and we’re all cool with that because once the sum total of human knowledge and experience is gathered into one place and digitized, etc., “We will reach our full potential” (God forbid!) and be able to do everything and solve every single problem in the world. Indeed, there will be nothing too trivial for The Circle to sink its fangs into. There will be no more privacy: because having a personal experience not shared by everybody in the world is “selfish.”

But this is where Satan takes us, with his promise that “ye shall be as gods.” He always takes us there! A less deserving object of worship than ourselves should be, for anyone not totally off his chump, impossible to imagine.

It’s almost as hard to imagine how horrible it would be to live in a world from which privacy has literally been eradicated. The Circle has even succeeded in making membership mandatory and getting the government to require everyone to vote–a little fantasy which President *Batteries Not Included used to kick around.

The Circle abounds with babble about “democracy,” abundantly demonstrating why our country’s founders had a horror of it, and did everything in their power to give us a republic instead. Or you could read The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides’ eyewitness account of the political hysteria that led to the civic suicide of Athens.

Maybe we don’t want to be “connected” with everyone else in the world. Maybe we don’t want to know what Joe Blow in Brazzaville had for supper that night. Maybe we absolutely no way want a global government, or a global anything for that matter.

The last time we tried this, building the Tower of Babel, God came down and confounded our language. It was an act of mercy. He was protecting us from those who would devour us alive.

If He has to do it again, it won’t be pretty.


Video Treat: Nero Sings

Before we don our hazmat suits to wade into the nooze today, I thought you might enjoy marveling at this: Peter Ustinov as the Emperor Nero in Quo Vadis (1951), singing a song he supposedly “composed” on the spot.

It takes genius, true genius, to create something this awful.

Elvis Presley may have been “the King,” but Nero was the Emperor.

‘Unplanned’ Movie Review

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Chalcedon’s Andrea Schwartz has reviewed what is surely going to be one of the most talked-about movies of the year: Unplanned.

It’s the story of a woman who went from abortion receiver, to Planned Parenthood volunteer, then Planned Parenthood officer–and finally, pro-life activist.

I wonder if the movie-makers knew that at roughly the same time as their movie would come out, Democrats in several state would be moving beyond abortion into actual infanticide.

O Lord our God! Remember that these things are done without our consent, against our will, and over our objections. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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