David Knights' Weblog

September 11, 2019

War films

Filed under: General — dknights @ 12:07 am
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Here is a list of war films the writer considers “great”.  Frankly, with the exception of Apocalypse Now, I agree. (Apocalypse Now has some great scenes, but I’d argue it isn’t a great movie.)  I’d move Das Boot up from an honorable mention.

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August 26, 2019

Movie review: The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Filed under: General,Modeling — dknights @ 9:37 am
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Starring Basil Rathbone, Errol Flynn and David Niven.  How can this not be good?  I hadn’t realized when watching this film that it was a remake and that the first version was in 1930.  The story covers an RAF squadron on the western front in 1916 and the horrendous losses the RAF was suffering at the time.  The theme of the strain on command of having to send men into combat knowing they are unprepared and will likely not survive even one mission and the resentment of those doing the flying and knowing what will happen to the green replacements plays out as the main tension of the film.  Frankly, it reminded me in some ways of 12 o’clock High, the WWII-set B-17 drama. (The movie, not the TV show)

Of interest to modelers, the film used actual Neiuport 28s, as well as some 1920s and 30s aircraft done up as WWI aircraft.  The distant view aerial combat sequences come from the earlier 1930 film and you can see the difference in the film quality even though there was only an 8 year time difference.

Four of Five stars.  Well worth watching.

August 19, 2019

Movie review: It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 9:18 am
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Have I mentioned that one of my favorite channels is Turner Classic Movies (TCM)?  I am sure I have.  On Saturday nights they run classic noir films and 50s and 60s sci-fi films.  I recorded this one on the DVR for later viewing.  The main reason I recorded it is that the screen play is based on a Ray Bradbury short story.  Unlike a lot of 50s sci-fi, the aliens aren’t a stand in for the commies.  Rather, the are portrayed as physically hideous creatures that are peaceful and arrived by accident and just want to repair their ship and leave.  Like many of these aliens crash to earth films, the action takes place in the rural southwest. (Sand Rock, AZ)  I wonder if many of these films were set in the southwest due to the Roswell incident.

This is one of the first films staring the lovely Barbara Rush, and if you pay attention, you”ll see one of the survivors of a later boat accident that led to a stranded passengers and crew.  While not high art, and not even the best of its era, it is an enjoyable film. Two and a half out of five stars.

July 30, 2019

Movie review: Master and Commander (2003)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 6:53 am
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While I had seen bits and pieces of this film from time to time, a recent modeling session and the purchase of the DVD finally led me to see the whole film.  It was worth it.  I am a fan of Crowe and I have heard a lot of good things about the books in the series that this movie was based on.  The movie was excellent.  It was well paced and really gave a feel for life in the age of sail.  The action scenes are compelling, well-paced and well shot.  The films was a small success at the box office when released, but not enough of one that the hoped-for sequels were made.  This is a shame.  It seems that all we get out of Hollywood is superhero movies these days, when movies like this would be much more compelling IMHO.  The movie did win two minor Oscars.  Four and a Half out of Five stars.  See it.

 

July 19, 2019

Take. My. Money!

Filed under: General — dknights @ 9:52 am
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Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!

 

 

July 15, 2019

Movie review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 11:18 am
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In a fit of sleeplessness, I finally got around to seeing this film, which I had wanted to do for a long time.  I very much liked the dark tone and design of the original.  Sadly, this movie is a pale imitation.  While there are some visually stunning moments, it doesn’t hold a candle to the visual impact of the original.  While Harrison Ford, supported by a great supporting cast, was a big part of making the original the great movie it is, Ryan Gosling, who is the lead in this movie is flat.  There isn’t any of the depth that Ford brought to the original.  Ford, reprising his role from the original, while still compelling, just doesn’t have what it takes to carry the film on his own.  Most of the supporting cast is also a pale reflection of the original, with the exception of Mackenzie Davis, who does an excellent homage to Darryl Hannah’s Priss from the original.  Also, at 2 hours and 44 minutes  the film feels self indulgent and more than a little bit lost. 2 out of 5 stars.

July 11, 2019

Movie review: The Philadelphia Experiment (2012)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 2:52 pm
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Do Not Watch This Movie.  It is an hour and a half of your life that you will never get back.  The acting is uniformly bad.  The script is bad. (The dialog makes George Lucas look like Shakespeare.)  The movie, of course, centers around the rumors/conspiracy theory of the WWII experiment on the USS Eldridge.  A degaussing experiment on the ship goes wrong, rendering the ship invisible and also transporting it thru space and time.  In this version, in the current day, a lab conducting similar experiments based off the original ones open a portal which brings the original ship back from when it disappeared in 1943.  The details of the rest of the plot don’t matter, because, have I mentioned, this movie is BAD.  Don’t watch it.  Go model.  (One interesting piece of trivia.  There have been two movie adaptions of the Philadelphia Experiment, his one and one from 1984.  One actor, Michael Pere is on both movies.)

July 8, 2019

Movie traditions

Filed under: General — dknights @ 4:30 pm
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I have several movies that I watch every year, each tied to a specific date or time of year.

Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I will watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

On or about June 6th each year I’ll watch The Longest Day. (Occasionally, I’ll watch Saving Private Ryan, but The Longest Day is the superior movie)

Sometime on the July 4th weekend, I will watch the musical 1776. (Without a doubt, the best Broadway musical)

What are your movie traditions?

July 1, 2019

UFOs and stuff

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 3:07 pm
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OK, stay with me for a few minutes.  As you know, UFOs have been in the news lately.  I blogged about the Navy’s new rules regarding reporting by pilots.  Well, recently, searching for something to watch, I came across Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying saucers on Netflix or Amazon Prime (I forget which).  Of course, I had heard of Lazar before.  He’s been a staple of the UFO community for years.  Frankly, I’m not particularly convinced by his stories.  Yet, watch that documentary, and then read this article, and tell me if it doesn’t sound, at least somewhat, like what he is describing.

June 20, 2019

Movies

Filed under: General — dknights @ 6:10 am
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I would watch any of these movies.

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