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For the cycle enthusiasts most of all..., 23 September 2017

"Out of Nothing" is a documentary about a group of guys who live in the Pacific Northwest. While they work a variety of different jobs, what draws them together is their love of motorcycles and a desire to set a land speed record. The film follows them from working on their bikes to going to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to try their chance at the record.

I am definitely not the best guy to watch this film, as I've never driven a motorcycle nor am I especially inclined to do so. I say this now because it had to affect how much I enjoyed the movie. And, I am sure folks who love cycles would be especially drawn towards this film….and would get more out of it. Now this is not to say I didn't enjoy the story. No, it was reasonably interesting and the film was very well made…with a professional look you often don't see with documentaries. My only complaint is the music, as the volume seemed a bit loud and it dominated much of the film. Again, however, as it's not the sort of music I usually listen to, perhaps this should be kept in mind. Overall, we have a nice, well-made film that is worth seeing.

By the way, the thing that stood out most for me about "Out of Nothing" is the fact that one of the producers is Ryan Stiles. If his name isn't familiar, he's a frequent (and hilarious) performer on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"…and it surprised me that he was involved with this project. I can only assume he's a nut about cycles….but you really would expect him to be involved in something with more of a comedic spin to it!

Armstrong (2016)
Too got to get overlooked., 23 September 2017

Armstrong was a great film for me to watch because I had incredibly low expectations for the picture and in every way the movie exceeded them. You see, I generally dislike action films…and I actually put off watching it when I realized that. While it is a relatively low- budget film and features lesser-known actors, the writer- director team of Kerry Carlock and Nicholas Lund-Ulrich managed to make the absolute most out of what they had. By the time the film was ending…it actually left me wanting to see a sequel…and there is plenty of room for that. So, if I'd give this picture an A, it is pretty special!

The story is set in Los Angeles late at night. It's shot in accelerated real time—taking place over perhaps four or five hours. Lauren (Vicky Jeudy) is about to begin her very first shift as an EMT and she's incredibly nervous…and it's made much worse because she is in recovery for substance abuse. He sponsor talks her through her nervousness but neither had any idea just how stressful this night was about to become. As for her new partner, Eddie (Jason Antoon), he's a cynical and abrasive guy…though deep down he seems like a decent guy through the course of the film.

So what happens to the pair? Well, they stumble into some sort of war…a war you can only assume consists of warriors from some other time or, perhaps, planet. Their weapons are very futuristic and soon Lauren and Eddie find they are isolated…as some sort of electro-magnetic pulse has made their phones and radio inoperable. The other problems are that they aren't sure who are the good guys and who are the bad…and lots of people start shooting at them!

I could easily say more but really don't want to spoil the film for you. Suffice to say that in addition to the action and excellent story, these actors really knock it out of the park, so to speak. Vicky Jeudy is great as a very normal, albeit screwed up, sort of person…and I loved Jason Antoon as Eddie. He was very memorable as well. Overall, a really well made film that I hope get seen widely. It's just too enjoyable and intelligently made to be missed.

The President has a nasty boo-boo and the Seaview is called in to help., 22 September 2017

The President has been injured and the government wants to keep this a secret. After all, he's supposed to be leading an upcoming peace conference and if folks learn of his ill health, it might jeopardize the meeting. So, to assure secrecy, the President is smuggled aboard the Seaview where he'll undergo surgery. The problem is, evil folks have learned about this and plan on sneaking aboard and killing him. After all, every other episode of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" SOMEBODY managed to sneak aboard the most important vessel in the entire sea!! In this case, the evil doer is one of the docs who plans on using a death ray on the man! Can Seaview manage to complete this mission without the President assuming room temperature?

This is a decent episode...not among the very best but certainly quite good and watchable. The whole evil person getting on the ship angle has been WAY overused so far in the series...apart from that, it's engaging and interesting.

A couple dopey coincidences really hurt this episode., 22 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The plot idea in "...And Five of Us Are Left" is really unusual...and I like that. Sure, it's a bit hard to believe, but with a show like "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", you realize it is fantasy and accept the far-fetched least to a point. Unfortunately, a couple parts of this story simply are SO far- fetched that they are ridiculous...and it hurt the overall episode.

A message in the bottle is found from the USS Tetra, an American sub believed lost just before the end of WWII. The message was dated RECENTLY...and this seems impossible. But on the off chance that the ship could have survived the war and is stuck in an underground cave (as the note says), the Seaview is sent to investigate.

So what annoyed me about the episode were two unnecessary plot elements...both such ridiculous coincidences. First, a new crew member on the Seaview just happens to be the son of the commander of the Tetra!! His reaction when he meets his father is insanely stupid, by the way. And, second, despite being stuck almost 30 years in this cave, the place is due to blow up from volcanic activity JUST WHEN THE SEAVIEW arrives!! Come about contrived. As a result, I say see it...but don't expect much despite the original story idea.

Stuck under the sea with an obnoxious brat., 22 September 2017

The Seaview is ordered to spirit a young prince back into his country. It seems that the king was just assassinated and there is a lot of unrest in the land...and this nation could turn to chaos and anti-Americanism. There is a serious problem...the child appears to be only about 10 years-old...and is a complete brat who thinks he can do anything he likes. On the ship, he orders people about, demands folks get executes and more...and it's only a matter of time until the crew kill him by launching him out a torpedo tube! Into this tense atmosphere comes a man who you'd think was an assassin (Carol O'Connor)...especially since he soon ingratiates himself to the new king!

This is a pretty good episode, though I could see some folks being turned off by the kid. He is supposed to be easy to hate...and the actor playing this part did it well! Still, it's rather creative and worth seeing.

If you are familiar with the story "Moby Dick" then you pretty much know what to expect., 21 September 2017

The show begins with the Bryce family out in the ocean on a boat. Walter Bryce (Edward Binns) is excited because they just spotted a whale twice the size of the largest previously discovered whale. He decides to shoot a harpoon at the creature to implant a device to take various measurements. Not surprisingly, this ticks off the creature and it turns and destroys the boat...killing Walter's son. He and his wife, Ellen (June Lockhart), survived.

Six months pass. The Seaview has inexplicably been ordered to help Walter find this giant whale. Little do they realize that for Walter, it's a one-way mission...he just wants to kill the whale and it's got nothing to do with research any more! In the process, the creature once again becomes enraged and attacks the sub.

This episode is essentially a re-write of "Moby Dick". Because of this, there are not surprises here. Watchable but not much more. Plus, the Admiral is amazingly dumb in this show...even when it's obvious that it's a lost cause.

Very much like a James Bond film!, 21 September 2017

Frederick Cregar (Werner Klemperer) is an amazing scientist. Not only can he control the weather (causing widespread snow in the summer) but he has developed a mind control device as well as a nuclear bomb. Now he has all the things a guy would need to be the next Bond villain!!

The story begins with blizzards in summer. A top scientist, Dr. Melton (Milton Selzer), is working with Admiral Nelson to determine why the weather's gotten so wonky. But before they can work together, Dr. Cregar abducts Melton and implants a brain controlling device. As a result, Melton tries repeatedly to kill Nelson and sabotage their search for answers. Only when they stumble upon Cregar's lair do they unravel this strange story.

There's a lot to this one and it's well written. My only complain, and it's because I am an airplane buff, is that the T-33 trainer turns into a completely different plane in mid-air due to the awful use of non-matching stock footage! Still, there's a lot to like about this one.

A bit illogical..., 21 September 2017

"The Left-Handed Man" is an enjoyable episode of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"...there's no doubt about that. Unfortunately, much of the plot doesn't make a lot of particular, the actions of Tippy Penfield. Why (other than the fact she was gorgeous) was she even in the episode? And, how did her character make any sense at all?!

The show begins with an undercover agent telling Admiral Nelson that George Penfield should NOT be approved as the new Secretary of Defense. Now why he came to Nelson is a bit of a mystery. A bit later, Penfield's daughter, Tippy, approaches Nelson and says the same thing...that her father should not be approved! What's up with this?

Apart from the motivations and actions of Tippy, a good episode. But if you watch it, you, too, will wonder why she was even in the show and why did she do what she did. I know I'm being a bit cryptic, but I don't wanna spoil the episode if you do decide to watch it.

Once again, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" gets all espionagey, 21 September 2017

Captain Crane is in Venice in order to retrieve a top secret code which will be used to decode important things. The odd part is that the code is actually a tune...and it's a tad odd when the woman giving Crane the formula is knifed in the back! The evil gondolier is unable to kill Crane as well but tells the police that Crane is the killer. So now you've got evil commies AND the local police gunning for Crane. So, it's up to the Admiral to go to Venice and try to retrieve Crane...and the code.

This was a pretty good episode. I did laugh at some of the scenes where Crane was supposedly swimming in the canals of Venice, as the water is apparently incredibly much so that Katharine Hepburn got an eye infection doing a scene in "Summertime"...and the eye infection apparently NEVER went away completely! Fortunately, the water was obviously on the back lot and looked a lot cleaner! Some interesting twists and an enjoyable show.

Not the best writing in this one...., 21 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"No Way Out" is an episode about espionage and the Cold War. While this often meant a pretty good episode, here the show comes off a bit poorly due to the writing. It just should have been a lot better.

The show begins with the Admiral and Captain off on a mission to sneak a defector and his daughter out of some communist country. The mission is botched, however, and the man is seriously injured and the girl somehow gets left behind. At the same time, the evil commies sneak a super-assassin onto the Seaview in order to make sure the defector doesn't survive the voyage.

There are several problems...and the biggest one is the big twist. I realized early on that there was a second assassin...and it was telegraphed a bit too easily. Also, the super-assassin didn't always make sense...especially how the Captain and crew handled him so poorly when his cover was blown. These and other clichés make this one a lot less enjoyable than it should have been.

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