Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dick Tracy vs Cueball 1946 5 out of 10 (50 Mystery Movies in 50 Weeks) Movie #3

Dick Tracy vs Cueball 1946  5 out of 10

In this Dick Tracy film Dick Tracy goes head to head with a dangerous criminal named Cueball.  You guess it the guy is bald.   The plot involves an expense diamond thief that gets murdered by Cueball before he can fence the diamonds.   
This film was my least favorite of the Dick Tracy films on the 50 Mystery movie DVD set.  The villain and story were just not as compelling as the other two films.   The final showdown that features Dick Tracy chases down Cueball was however well done and a strong finish to an otherwise unremarkable film.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome 1947 7 out of 10 (50 Mystery Movies in 50 Weeks) Movie #2

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome 1947  7 out of 10

In our second film from the “Mystery Classics” DVD collection we dig back into the world of Dick Tracy.   This film had some elements of fantasy from comic books that the first film didn’t have.   The plot revolved around some criminals that used a gas that could temporarily freeze people that was used in a bank robbery. Typical of the era this movie was fast paced with quick banter and plot that zips along quickly.  When watching a series like Dick Tracy from this era you get the feel that you are watching and old TV series.  This particular film in the series -features the character of Gruesome  who is played by Horror Movie Legend Boris Karloff.  Karloff does and excellent job as Gruesome portraying an imposing villain on screen that adds to the tension of the film.

On fortunately this was the last of 4 Dick Tracy films at the time as the series didn't continue after this entry.  I wish there had been more as I was starting to enjoy this series. 

Here is a quick glimpse of Karloff's performance.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dick Tracy 1945 7 out of 10 (50 Mystery Movies in 50 Weeks) Movie #1

Dick Tracy 1945  7 out of 10

I recently revisited the 1990 Touchstone film Dick Tracy over the weekend.  After that I remembered that the 50 movie Mystery Classics DVD set that I own had some old Dick Tracy movies I decided to dive in and ended up watching 3 Dick Tracy films from the 1940's.    After watching these 3 films I decided to embark on a quest to watch and review all 50 films from this DVD set.  I'm calling this series  50 Mystery Movies in 50 Weeks).

Mystery Movie #1   Dick Tracy 1945
The first film that we will take a quick look at is Dick Tracy from 1945.  This is the first of 4 Dick Tracy produced by RKO at this time (3 of which are on this DVD set).   This film brings the comic strip character to the big screen.  Dick Tracy has to solve a series of murders that are being caused by a man know as Splitface.  He must figure out what all the murder victims have in commons in order to track down the elusive killer.

The film doesn't quite capture the comic book feel like the 1990's version.   It feels more like a standard gangster film of the time more than it does a comic adaptation.   That being said the film was still a fun gangster flick featuring a fast pace and some decent action sequences.  These 1940's mystery movies usually have about an hour running time which make them easy to digest and enjoy.  The highlight was the final fight between Dick Tracy and Splitface that included a fist fight and fall off a second story balcony that looked like something straight out of a Universal Studios Stunt show.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

(Animated movie # 15) The Boss Baby 6 out of 10 2017

The Boss Baby 2017  6 out of 10

I was suprised to read so many super positive reviews of this movie.  It was a decent animated film, but definitely not a family friendly movie like many have said.  I wouldn't recommend it for small kids unless you are comfortable with the adult style humor of The Simpsons, Family Guy of South Park.    Speaking of the Family Guy the concept behind this movie was clearly taken from Stewie from the Family Guy.  The film is based on a children's book called The Boss Baby from 2013, but the "inspiration" for the character voiced by Alec Baldwin is clearly Stewie.    The only problem is Stewie is a much more interesting character.  

Despite the lack of originality in concept for viewers of Family Guy (which has been around since 1998)  this film did have some funny moments.   The action sequences in the film are well done and entertaining.   The film centers around a seven year old named Tim who has an over active imagination.     He has always been the center of attection until a strange baby dressed in a business suit shows up.   At first they battle as Tim tries to prove to his parents that this adult like baby in a suit isn't the cute little baby they think he is.  There is a fun action filled sequence as they battle over a cassette tape of the baby talking.   Tim loses the battle and ends up grounded.

The Boss Baby reveals the truth about himself to Tim letting him know that he is actually on a secret mission to find out what Puppy Co is up to with the release of a puppy that may destroy the baby industry forever.  You see Boss Baby actually works for a company called Baby Co.   Tim reluctantly agrees to help The Boss Baby who promises to leave Tim's life if he can complete his mission.   From there the plot gets predictable yet continues to be entertaining with fun action sequences.  The Baby Co. vs Puppy Co. storyline was an interesting concept also but also not super original since it felt "inspired" from Cats vs Dogs.

For me the film was entertaining --but not as good as a really good Family Guy episode.  It would be a 7 out of 10 for me if it wasn't for the inappropriate fart and ass jokes.   At moments I felt like I was watching the cow scene from Top Secret,  which as a parent made me really uncomfortable.   Dreamworks has had a habit of you relying on fart jokes or modern references for laughs.   I've always preferred Disney and Pixar films which have more heart substance.   Cartoon character crawling out of inflatable dog's butt are not appropriate for children.  I'm shocked that this film received a PG rating.  The fact that this film was marketed to kids brings it down a notch for me.  Other than that as an adult I still found sections of the film enjoyable-  but I'd rather watch an episode of The Family Guy if I want more adult humor and more laughs.

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ready Player One 2018 8 out of 10

Ready Player One 2018  8 out of 10

The concept for Ready Player One had me instantly interested in this film.  I had heard great things about the book from Geek Podcasts. It was described as the perfect adventure into 80’s nostalgia set in a Virtual futuristic world.  When Steven Spielberg was named as director the film instantly become a  front runner for one of my favorite flicks of the year.  A definite must see movie.

The setting for the world we see in Ready Player One is the year 2045.   It is a drab future where people spend most of their time in a Virtual World called the OASIS to basically escape from the battered real world.  The OASIS is a place where anything is possible.   You can be anything or anyone and pretty much do anything.   The nerdy, socially awkward creator of the OASIS at the time of his death placed 3 Easter Eggs within the world that whoever finds them will get control over the OASIS.   People have been trying for years to find these Easter eggs and no one has been able to find them.  Until Now…….

The protagonist of our film finds the first Easter egg which sets off a race for control of the OASIS between him and his gamer friends and a greedy corporation.    Much of the film takes place in the Virtual world so the film is pretty much a CGI Animated film in my opinion.  For me personally the film was just a little bit too much of a video games look.  I was hoping for something a little more like Tron than the characters all just looking like video games characters.  That being said  the film was a fun action-packed adventure.  I really enjoyed many aspects of the film –but couldn’t help but compare it to the Wreck It Ralph sequel that is set to come out later this year.  When I finished watching this film – I thought that was fun, but I’m really looking forward to Wreck it Ralph now –because it seems like it may do basically the same thing –but better and funnier. 

The film is full of Easter Eggs of 1980’s things (many blink and you will miss them) –but I’m assuming because of the licensing issues many of the 1980’s references have been replaced with video game references.  Seeing this movie makes me want to read the book now.  I have a feeling that I’ll like the book even more, since I think it will have more of the 80’s vibe I was expecting to see in the film.  I was also surprised to see how much of the movie relied on The Shining.  I enjoyed that segment – but was not expecting it when so many other 80's references seemed more fitting to the story.

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