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Fish Hawk (1979)
Great Family Movie
5 October 2013
I can't see why this movie was so under-rated. It would make great viewing for older children and their parents. Some scenes of animal deaths, one human death and Fish Hawk's behavior when drinking may be too intense for really young kids. Will Sampson was excellently cast in the title role, although his overcoming alcohol dependence seemed too easy. And why he stayed years and years in one town and then suddenly decides to move on when Corby starts to develop a friendship is a little jolting. The only other fault I have is that it seemed to glide over scenes in episodic fashion. However, it is a good lesson in cultural differences and tolerance.
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The Bible (2013)
Too Limited by Time Constraints
11 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
To try to present the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in less than 10 hours (considering commercial breaks), something will inevitably suffer. Important characters and their stories are glossed over. The part of Genesis that involved man's creation was told by Noah on a tossing, leaking ark in a flashback format. This also happened to Jacob's and Joseph's stories. On the other hand, events that never happened have extended scenes (the sword fight between the angel and the men of Sodom and also Joshua's spies and the men of Jericho - these fights were never mentioned in the Bible). In fact, there seems to be an extended sword fight in almost every story. If you are looking for an accurate representation of Bible stories, this documentary will disappoint.
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Gays in Space
14 July 2009
My stars, this is the most effeminate sci-fi I've ever seen. Hardly a scene where there isn't some excuse for the astronauts to touch each other tenderly. Several times big, strapping Sgt. Mahoney offers a cup of tea to the others, and Fodor's tearful reaction when viewing a message from his mother (and I think she was the only woman in the movie). When Barney Merritt had to subdue the General, his father, he knocks dad over and lays on top of him quite a while, even after the General is shot. Pretty light in the space boots if you ask me.

BTW - An actor of Chinese heritage is portraying a Japanese character and why was it allowable, in General Merritt's mind, to go to the moon but not to go to Mars?
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1 December 2004
It seems lately that there's a new production of the classic story coming out yearly. The feeling I received from this one was that it seemed over-rehearsed. Most the actors performances were wooden and came across as forced and as if they were moving through the whole thing just to get it over with. Even street scenes seemed choreographed. I kept getting the feeling that Grammar would make a good Henry Higgins if anyone ever wanted to do a remake of "My Fair Lady" as he is given "patter" songs to sing such as Rex Harrison was. Although Grammar held his own, the only one seeming to be having any fun with his role was Jesse Martin as Christmas Present. The music hall number, however, seemed anachronistic. That much exposed legs and high kicks on chorus girls would not be seen in 19th century Europe outside of a bawdy house and certainly not in a children's theatre! The padding of the story rubbed me the wrong way as well as changing the venue of certain scenes from the traditional locales. The Bob Cratchitt character was shoved in the background and brought out just to make a point now and then. In previous versions, he was much more a central character, but with the effeminate portrayal in this rendition, I can see why. And Tiny Tim wasn't so tiny - Bob could hardly lift him! A smaller or younger child may have filled the role better.

As a whole, the 1970 movie "Scrooge" with Albert Finney would score better on my card as a musical version than this fiasco. I even like Mr. Magoo's better! For a straight drama, give me the 1938 with Reginald Owen or the 1984 one with George Scott.

My overall impression - Ho-Humbug!
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MASH (1970)
stilted and mean
16 August 2004
I too, like another reviewer, had seen this pic only after being accustomed to the TV series. The TV show's characters had a warmth and comradeship, especially in the later seasons. Hawkeye, Trapper or BJ might have teased Frank, Hot Lips or Winchester, but always with a twinkle in their eye. In the movie however, despite Trapper avenging Frank's blaming an intern for a soldiers death and Hawkeye's helping Painless's "problem", I found the movie's characters extremely self-centered, hard-nosed, mean-spirited and hubristic. Hawkeye and Trapper just walk over anyone and everybody to have their way. I guess they feel they are such good surgeons that they don't have to obey any Army regulations. In the REAL army of that period, their shenanigans would have them in court-martial in less time than you could say "I like Ike." Everyone excepting Radar, Father Mulchay and Spearchucker comes across as stuck-up morons. The movie and TV show seem to be completely about something different. I sympathize with the Tokyo jeep driver's sentiment "Goddam Army!"
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Okay for a Biblical epic
4 June 2002
Seemingly eposodic, there is little segue between the "stories." Even the title is misleading, since this film only covers from Creation through the story of Abraham - the first 22 chapters. But if the whole book was made into a movie it would be 162 hours at this rate. Too long for most audiences! (Hint - hint - miniseries).

Most of the acting comes across as stilted, except Huston, who's tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Noah wavers between refreshing and cloying. The highly touted "nude" scene of Adam and Eve may have raised a few eyebrows in 1966 but seems pretty tame by today's standards thanks to a few well-placed fern fronds. Scotts's rendering of patriarch Abraham was strong but uninspired.

This pic is adequate if you're not looking for in-depth religious interpretations. More could have been done with characterizations, but in the time given, was satisfactory. Just watch and enjoy for its face value.
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1776 (1972)
Entertaining but flawed
30 August 2000
This would have been much better done as a non-musical. The songs seem an intrusion into the story line. Daniels (Adams)seems embarrassed to be participating in some "numbers." The only actors who seem to be having any fun are DaSylva (Franklin)and Ron Holgate (R.H. Lee).

As far as historical accuracy - good in the Congressional scenes, but some events are needfully telescoped to fit into the time frame. One wonders why the Sherman and Livingston roles were stressed early in the Declaration Committee scene only never to be heard from again. Probably just to stage another silly and pointless musical number.

A few supporting actors shone in minor roles. Hats off to Ralston Hill as Congressional Secretary Tompson, William Duell as custodian Andrew McNair and Roy Poole as Rhode Island Congressman Hopkins.

Overall, an entertaining movie if one can overlook the ludicrous singing and dancing.
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Jesus (1999)
Better than most but has faults
18 May 2000
A good, but not flawless effort by cast and crew in portraying difficult subject matter.

The more human nature of Jesus is emphasized, almost to the point of being cloying as when Jesus splashes his disciples with water at the well, skips stones on the Sea of Galilee or plays tag in the streets with his compatriots. At times Jesus even seems to reject his divinity. But fortunately, He finally finds the inner strength to overcome his fears and temptations.

Over three hours climaxed in a very brief crucifixion scene. Jesus only seemed to experience pain when the nails were actually driven into his flesh and he died within a few minutes and without any interaction with others. According to the Bible, Jesus was on the cross for approx. three hours and spoke with God, the two thieves and some bystanders.

And what about Peter? He is oft referred to as "The Big Fisherman." In this epic, he is at least 6 inches shorter then Jesus! My vote for best actors in this production go to Armin Meuller-Stahl as Jesus' earthly father struggling with the knowledge that Jesus is more than an ordinary son, and G. W. Bailey as Livio, Pilate's sycophantic aide.

I still recommend "Jesus of Nazareth" as the most "true-to-Bible" rendition to date.
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OK - for kids
24 April 2000
It started out with seemingly good intentions, but there was entirely too much focus on Tamar, the sick girl. In the Bible, after she is healed, she is never mentioned again. But here, she appears to be clinging to Jesus. Also, the slipping in and out of 3D and 2D animations made the story-flow jerky and disjointed. Even the voice actors seemed to be over-emoting (especially John the Baptist and Simon Peter). Jesus came across as not taking anything too seriously and everything was a big joke. He even performed effortless miracles. The time frame was severely truncated. It seemed that he left his private life, performed a few miracles, told a few parables, then went to Jerusalem within a few days. It is OK from a child's standpoint, but if you want to see a more "True to the Bible" account, watch "Jesus of Nazareth."
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