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September 23rd, 2016 Movie – The Pink Panther (2006)

the-pink-panther-2006

Today’s movie is one of the most dreaded things to come out of Hollywood, the remake. See, what happens is that someone gets it in their head that redoing an old movie or TV show would make a better movie than an original one. Now when I first heard about this movie, I had my concerns. Don’t get me wrong, I like Steve Martin and have enjoyed many of his movies, but I didn’t really like the idea of him portraying the character that Peter Sellers made famous. So I wound up skipping seeing this in theaters but eventually bought it when it came out on DVD. So that is how I come to find myself watching today’s movie, The Pink Panther (2006).

The plot: Chief Inspector Dreyfus is attending a football match between France and China and sees the French coach, Yves Gluant, wearing a ring containing the Pink Panther diamond. After kissing his girlfriend, a pop star named Xania, Gluant manages to lead the French team to a victory in sudden death overtime but as the team celebrates on the field, Gluant is killed by a poison dart to the neck and the Pink Panther is stolen. Dreyfus decides to put an incompetent bungler on the case to keep the media busy while he secretly leads a team of the best investigators to find the thief in the hopes it will earn him the Medal of Honor. Dreyfus has Jacques Clouseau, a bumbling village policeman brought up to Paris promotes him to Inspector and assigns him the Pink Panther case. Dreyfus also has Gilbert Ponton assigned to work with Clouseau and report his movements back to Dreyfus. Clouseau goes to see Xania, interrupting a recording session in the process and starts questioning her. She admits that she was angry at Gluant for cheating on her a few months ago but says that Bizu, France’s star player, had more reason to hate Gluant, as she was dating him before she dated Gluant. Clouseau goes to the soccer team’s training facility and questions the new coach on his relationship to Gluant, then arranges for Bizu to come to the station for questioning. At the station, Clouseau uses a “good cop/bad cop” routine to get information out of Bizu and learns that Gluant was stealing money from his business partner, Raymond Larocque, to use for gambling. Leaving the station, Clouseau says that Bizu is innocent but Ponton feels he has motive as Gluant stole Xania from him but when Bizu is found murdered, Ponton admits he was wrong. After questioning the witness, Clouseau decides to go see Larocque and heads to the casino. Inside, he overhears a secret agent speaking and meets with Nigel Boswell, British Secret Agent 006 and offers to help him if he needs it. Clouseau and Ponton then meet with Larocque and question him, where Larocque says the money Gluant stole from the restaurant was used to gamble in his casinos but when Gluant’s debts got so bad, he put up the Pink Panther as collateral. Clouseau suddenly gets a call from Boswell and meets him in the restaurant, where Boswell puts on Clouseau’s trench coat so he can stop the Gas-Mask Bandits from robbing the casino, then gives the coat back to Clouseau as he sneaks out, allowing Clouseau to take the credit. The next day, Dreyfus attends a meeting to approve the nominations for the Medal of Honor and is shocked to hear that Clouseau is being nominated for his actions at the casino, causing Dreyfus to berate Ponton for not telling him what Clouseau was doing. Ponton goes to see Clouseau and they discuss the case, with Clouseau deciding to go to New York to see Xania, believing she knows more than she is telling. They follow her to a black market diamond cutter, where she explains that she was there to fix a purse for her performance at the Presidential Palace. Leaving the diamond cutter’s, Xania invites Clouseau to dinner and the two talk some more but when Xania indicates wanting to sleep with him, Clouseau accidentally sets her bedroom on fire. As Clouseau and Ponton leave New York, Dreyfus has Clouseau’s bag switched for one containing several weapons and he ends up being made a disgrace. Arriving back in Paris, Clouseau is stripped of his rank and told the truth, that he was only promoted because he was an idiot, while Ponton feels bad for his part in it. The next day, Dreyfus tells his team that he believes that a Dr. Pang, a Chinese envoy, is the killer and plans to arrest him that night at the Presidential ball. Meanwhile, Clouseau is looking at a photo of the airport scene online and when he notices something, he quickly calls Ponton and Nicole for help. When Clouseau and Ponton arrive at the palace, they are unable to get in but Nicole brought Clouseau’s bag which contains suits made to blend in with the walls of the palace and Clouseau tells Nicole that she looks pretty before he goes to change. Managing to make their way inside, Clouseau sees the killer heading for the roof but when a guard stops them, Nicole helps convince the guard they are Xania’s back-up dancers and Clouseau kisses her before heading to the roof. Preventing the killer from shooting Xania, they chase him back inside, just as Dreyfus goes to arrest Dr. Pang, and after capturing the killer, Clouseau reveals it is Yuri, the soccer trainer. Yuri admits to killing Gluant and when asked about Bizu, Clouseau explains that Bizu overheard Yuri’s rants and was blackmailing Yuri. Dreyfus asks Yuri to return the diamond but Yuri says he doesn’t have it and Clouseau says it is in Xania’s purse, as he saw it there as it was going through the airport’s x-ray machine. Xania explains that Gluant gave it to her as an engagement ring at the game but she was afraid people would think she killed him for it and Clouseau says the ring is hers. For solving the case, Clouseau is given the Medal of Honor, much to Dreyfus’ chagrin and as Clouseau is leaving, Dreyfus’ jacket is caught in the car door and he is dragged along behind him. When Clouseau, Ponton, and Nicole go to see Dreyfus at the hospital, Clouseau accidentally causes Dreyfus’ bed to start rolling and he ends up rolling down the hallway and out the window, where he yells out “Clouseau” as he falls into the Seine.

The Pink Panther (2006) met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, ” Though Steve Martin is game, the particulars of the Inspector Clouseau character elude him in this middling update.” The movie was nominated for two Razzies; Worst Remake or Rip-Off and Worst Supporting Actress but did not win either award. Despite the critics, the movie was a box office success, opening at # 1 it’s first weekend and grossing $158.9 million off of an $80 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the Pink Panther franchise.

While it doesn’t compare to the original, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Steve Martin was good but I think he spent too much time trying to use his bad accent as a joke. Jean Reno (Ponton) and Beyonce (Xania) were also good but I really liked Kevin Kline (Dreyfus), as he made a great object for Clouseau’s blunders. The story honestly felt a little simplistic and they had to work to make it not be completely boring. There were some good comedic moments in the movie, both with the slapstick comedy as well as some of the dialogue but I will admit that at times, some of the humor was a little cruder than necessary. I much prefer Martin’s older movies but this wasn’t the travesty most people have said it was.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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September 22nd, 2016 Movie – The Pink Panther (1963)

the-pink-panther-1963

I always loved watching the Pink Panther cartoons as a kid because they were really funny. When I first heard that there was a movie, I was confused by the little portion of it that I saw because the cartoon character wasn’t in it. A few years later, when I was more able to appreciate live action comedies, I had the chance to watch today’s movie again and absolutely loved it. So of course, even more years would go by and this movie would wind up being included in my growing collection of DVD’s and that brings us to today, where I get to laugh and while watching The Pink Panther once again.

The plot: In the country of Lugash, the Maharajah is brought a necklace containing the largest diamond in the world, the Pink Panther. The gem is named for the the unusual flaw that it has, a slight discoloration that looks like a leaping panther. When his daughter, Princess Dala, enters the room, the Maharajah shows her the necklace and fastens it on her, saying one day it will be hers. 20 years later, a thief known as the Phantom steals some gems in Rome while in Hollywood, a man named George Lytton is having his graduation photo taken and is forced to quickly escape from some mobsters that are looking for him. In Paris, a female representative of the Phantom meets with a fence to sell the jewels but the police arrive and they are forced to run, with the woman quickly removing her disguise in an elevator. When the police fail to capture either person, they report back to Inspector Jacques Clouseau, who is in charge of the Phantom investigation, and he tells them to find the woman, as she is the first lead they have to the Phantom, then dismisses them as his wife Simone arrives, who happens to be the woman they are looking for. At a ski resort in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Princess Dala has been staying there after the military coup of her country, with the new government demanding she return the Pink Panther. Also staying at the resort is Sir Charles Lytton, an English playboy who happens to be the Phantom and he has his sights set on the Pink Panther. With the help of his accomplice, Sir Charles begins a plan to get in Dala’s good graces by attempting to stop the kidnapping of her pet dog while she is skiing, though he gets slightly injured in the process. As Sir Charles is being carried into the resort, Clouseau accidentally falls onto the stretcher, as he and Simone have arrived at the resort. After checking in, Clouseau leaves to attend a meeting and Simone quickly runs to the door of the adjoining room and knocks on it to reveal Sir Charles, who happens to be her lover. Sir Charles is invited to dinner with Dala but while he believes it to be just the two of them, she has invited a local socialite and some other people over for dinner as well. Meanwhile, Clouseau and Simone are at the hotel bar when George shows up asking for his uncle, Sir Charles, causing Simone to suddenly choke on her drink. Back in there hotel room, Clouseau is in amorous mood but Simone avoids his advances and asks him to go get her a glass of milk, and once he leaves, she quickly heads into Sir Charles room to warn him about George but is surprised to find George in the bed, who kisses her but she quickly gets away. Meanwhile, Clouseau sees Sir Charles and gets suspicious of him but heads back to his room with Simone’s milk, then attempts to soothe her nerves by playing his violin but it doesn’t work so she asks for a sleeping pill and he accidentally steps on his violin as he brings her the pill. Meanwhile, Sir Charles receives a call from Dala and he invites her to his room for a drink. While there, she ends up getting drunk on champagne and the two kiss but Dala ends up falling asleep and Sir Charles, having started to grow fond of Dala, decides to lay her in his bed, where he discovers George there when George helps him lay Dala in bed. The next day, Simone goes to see Sir Charles and learns about George and they discuss the next step in their plan. The two go to see Dala, who is talking with George and Simone offers to teach George how to ski while Sir Charles talks with Dala and offers to see her off on the train. On the ski slope, George attempts to seduce Simone, having become infatuated with her but when she tries to get him to stop, George accidentally ends up starting down the slope. Meanwhile, Sir Charles is seeing off Dala at the train station when he sees the man that stole her dog and chases after him. The two meet at a secluded area and as Dala and her bodyguard approach, stage a fight where Sir Charles is the victor and retrieves the dog. However, as he goes to give Dala back her dog, he is run over by an out of control George, who ends up with the dog, which Dala grabs as he passes her. At a dinner party that night, Dala is dancing with George and thanks him for saving her dog. Later, Clouseau is discussing the Phantom with Simone, George, and Tucker, another detective, when Sir Charles and Dala join the conversation, and both Clouseau and Tucker believe that the Phantom is after the Pink Panther. Later that night, George fakes a call from the police to get Clouseau out of his room and Simone uses the opportunity to sneak Sir Charles in. When George shows up to try and seduce Simone, Sir Charles is forced to hide and then George must hide when Clouseau returns. Simone does her best to distract Clouseau to allow the two men out of the room, with Sir Charles sneaking out onto the balcony while George sneaks out the door. Making his way to the balcony for his room, Sir Charles sees George arrive in the room and answer the phone, where Sir Charles’ accomplice tells him the princess has left. George then discovers Sir Charles’ tool kit and realizes he is the Phantom, then he quickly puts the gear in his own bag and leaves. Sir Charles ends up falling off the balcony and makes his way back to Clouseau’s room, where he tells Simone what happens then borrows Clouseau’s coat so he can leave as well. Later, Clouseau and Tucker arrive at Dala’s home in Rome and warn her about Sir Charles, who he realizes is the Phantom. That night, Dala is hosting a masquerade ball and George shows up in a gorilla costume and dances with Simone briefly. Meanwhile, Dala is showing Clouseau and Tucker the Pink Panther when they hear something at the door and see a man in a gorilla costume there but it turns out to be the Ambassador. Sir Charles manages to sneak onto the property, where a drunken ambassador starts dancing with him. Tucker, who is dancing with Simone, sees him and goes to get Clouseau, just as Dala’s bodyguard suddenly cuts the power to the house. During the confusion, Simone grabs Sir Charles and takes him to the room the diamond is kept and warns him about George, then Sir Charles sees the ambassador approaching and, thinking it is George, knocks him out and steals the costume. Meanwhile, Clouseau is stumbling around in the dark when he finds a roman candle and lights it, only to have it go off and ignite the other fireworks as they are being carried out of the house. Sir Charles and George open the safe and realize that someone has already stolen the Pink Panther and is blaming the theft on the Phantom. When Clousea, Tucker, and the police enter the room, Sir Charles and George quickly escape  and a car chase occurs in Rome before the two are eventually caught after a car crash. Clouseau goes to see George and Sir Charles in jail while Simone goes to see Dala to get her help in freeing Sir Charles. Dala reveals that she stole the diamond in order to keep it from being returned to her home country and comes up with an idea. During the trial, Clouseau is called up to testify and the defense attorney points out that Clouseau was at every party where a theft occurred. When Clouseau gets flustered and reaches for his handkerchief, he pulls out the Pink Panther and he ends up fainting. As Clouseau is being led away, Sir Charles and George, now free, get into a car with Simone and she feels bad about Clouseau being sent to prison but Sir Charles says when the Phantom strikes again, he will be free, then invites George to accompany them. Meanwhile, Clouseau is told that he has lots of female admirers due to the Phantom’s notoriety and is asked how he managed it but tells the cops that it wasn’t easy.

The Pink Panther met with high praise from the critics, holding a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Though there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, all of the critics seemed to love the slapstick comedy and the comedic antics of Peter Sellers. The animated character used in the opening credits was so popular that it was given it’s own cartoon series, as well as several theatrical shorts. The movie was deemed culturally significant in 2010 to warrant preservation by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

This is a fantastic comedy to watch. The acting was fantastic, and while Peter Sellers (Clouseau) was not the lead, he definitely stole the show. That being said, David Niven (Sir Charles), Robert Wagner (George), Capucine (Simone), and Claudia Cardinale (Dala) were all equally good. The writing was fantastic, which helped the actors give some incredibly witty banter while also telling a fantastic story. The comedy was a fantastic blend of pure slapstick foolishness, mostly at Clouseau’s expense, as well as some fantastically funny dialogue. My favorite scene was the car chase, especially the part where a man is walking through the square as the cars keep going by and Sir Charles and George stop and try to figure a way out of the square while having a conversation, with the man standing in between the two cars. A great movie to watch that is as funny now as it was the first time I saw it.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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September 21st, 2016 Movie – Pink Angels

pink-angels

Another strange, random movie from the Drive-In Cult Classics set. That is what I had to look forward to today, and yes, I am being completely sarcastic with that. I try to give every movie a fair chance when I watch them, I honestly do. But recently, I have been so disappointed and let down with the movies in this set that I am starting to dread opening it up. Maybe today will be different and it will be one of the rare movies I enjoy from this set. Here’s hoping as I watch today’s movie, Pink Angels.

The plot: Six bikers (Michael, David, Eddie, Arnold, Ronnie, and Henry) met up and head up down the highway, stopping at one point to pick up a hitchhiker. Heading into a nearby town, they stop for some food and during the course of the meal, the hitchhiker learns that all six bikers are gay and runs off. After Michael points out that they are being watched, the bikers start a food fight and then leave town. Continuing on the highway, the bikers are pulled over by two police officers and harassed about where they are going. Michael explains that they are on their way to L.A., where they are going to a drag ball, and after commenting about some of their bikes, the cops leave the bikers alone and leave. The bikers then stop at another town and while Michael heads to a nearby bar, the others go to the grocery store to buy some groceries before joining him. As they are getting some drinks, some prostitutes try to hook up with them but Michael says they have to leave. Heading just outside of town, they set out the food to have a picnic but as they start to eat, another group of bikers show up. Michael talks with the leader of the other gang and when he asks where about their lack of women riding with them, Michael says they pick them up on the road, then has David ride back to town to bring the prostitutes up there. When the women arrive, the group starts to party, with several people going off on their own with some of the women. When the second group of bikers wake up later, they find their hair full of ribbons and while the leader starts to laugh about it, but quickly vows to get Michael and the others and they head off after them. Michael and his group are forced to stop when something is wrong with Ronnie’s bike and when a passing car stops to ask if they need a ride, Michael sends David out to get some spark plugs and when he comes back, his pants are thrown from the car as he gets out and he complains to Michael about being raped in order to get the plugs. Michael and the gang arrive in L.A. and go to check into a hotel when they realize they bag carrying Ronnie’s dress is missing so Michael has Arnold and Eddie go up to the room, where a topless room service girl tries to sell them drugs, while he and the others go get Ronnie dressed up. After hitting a cosmetics store, dress shop, and shoe store, the bikers all change and, dressed in drag, head to the hotel bar to get some drinks. When the other biker gang arrives, they head to the hotel bar and see Michael and the others but don’t recognize them and begin hitting on them. Michael and the others tell the bikers about a party and so they bikers give them a lift to the party but they accidentally arrive at the mansion home of an army general, who has them all detained for questioning. The general starts questioning Henry, believing that the girls were coerced into something they didn’t want to do but when Henry reveals that the girls are all guys, the general ends up hanging all twelve of the bikers.

Wow, just….wow. I don’t even know how to begin with this one. Ok, the acting was ok and I thought it was kind of funny how Michael and his gang would change their voices depending on who they were talking to. The story was odd, playing off as being a comedy at some points while being serious at others with very little being explained for the most part. The ending was definitely not what I expected and all of the little cut scenes with the general that were scattered throughout the movie really seemed out of place and odd, with the only purpose seeming to be to set up the ending. Yeh, I know that the seventies were a pretty crazy time and all but still, this one is a little out there, even for me.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 20th, 2016 Movie – Pick Up

pick-up

I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those days. It’s already started off somewhat bad due to my not sleeping well and I know I am going to be busy at work. Then I get to today’s movie and my head just kind of drops. Today’s movie is from the Drive-In Cult Classics collection and judging by the title alone (yes, I know I shouldn’t do that), this is probably going to be one of the sexploitation movies that seem to be the norm in this collection. Well, let’s see if I am being unfair in prejudging as I go ahead and watch today’s movie, Pick Up.

The plot: A man named Chuck has pulled over on the side of the highway to use the restroom when he spots two girls, Carol and Maureen sitting in the nearby field. Carol approaches him and asks if they can get a ride in his bus turned mobile-home but Maureen warns Carol that they shouldn’t go with Chuck, saying they will have a bad trip. As they head along the highway, Carol sits up front with Chuck as they share a joint and she entertains herself by flashing some guys that pass them. Chuck receives a call from his boss, who is upset that he is behind schedule and says that if Chuck doesn’t have the bus delivered to Tallahassee by nightfall, then he won’t get his bonus. Continuing on, Chuck hears a news report about an incoming hurricane, just as it starts raining and after being forced to take a detour because of the storm, they end up getting lost in the Florida Everglades. When the bus gets stuck in the swamp, Chuck and Carol decide to go for a walk in the swamp, where Chuck finds a baby raccoon that he grabs and carries with them for a while. Meanwhile, Maureen has a vision of a woman in a robe claiming to be the priestess of Apollo and says that Maureen is chosen to be the next priestess, causing Maureen to wander out into the swamp. Chuck and Carol end up running around naked and head back to the bus to fool around when Maureen returns. Chuck’s boss calls and gets upset when Chuck explains what happened to him. As the day progresses, Maureen has a flashback to when she was younger, and she was molested by a priest in her church, which pushed her towards astrology for a religion. Meanwhile, Chuck and Carol have sex, which causes Carol to think back to when she was 16 and the problems she had with her mother as well as the first boy she fooled around with. Chuck and Carol head back out into the swamp and continue to have some more sex. Maureen is playing a guitar in the bus when she is approached by politician for an upcoming election but as he tries to convince Maureen to vote for him, she informs him that she is from California and the man quickly leaves. Meanwhile, Chuck and Carol have even more sex, this time in a swing they found in the swamp. Maureen goes outside, where she sees a man in a clown outfit carrying some balloons and after he hands her one, he takes off his mask, causing her to scream and run back to the bus. As she reaches the bus, the phone starts ringing and she answers it to hear Chuck’s boss saying that they are going to send a plane out to look for them. Chuck and Carol return and after Maureen tells them the news, they try to figure out what to do about food. Chuck manages to kill a wild pig and they start a fire to cook it, with Chuck telling them about himself growing up. When Maureen suddenly grabs a burning stick and burns her hand with it, Chuck has Carol go get the first aid kit from the bus while he wraps her hand. Carol gets the kit when the phone starts ringing and after she answers it, Chuck’s boss believes that he is at a demonstration instead of stuck in the swamp. Later that night after Carol falls asleep, Chuck and Maureen end up talking and go for a walk, where Maureen imagines them heading to the temple from her vision, and the politician, the priest from her past, the clown, and the priestess all appear, but end up leaving as Maureen and Chuck have sex. Meanwhile, Carol wakes up and after turning on the radio, starts dancing around the fire when she is suddenly surrounded by the guys from the truck they had passed and she ends up dragged out into the swamp. The next morning, Chuck an Maureen wake up and get dressed when they hear a plane flying overhead and start running back towards the bus. Realizing that they will soon be rescued, The two embrace but as Maureen looks past Chuck, she sees Carol’s hand sticking out of the swamp and she cries out for her. Suddenly, Maureen is sitting back in the field with Carol and she smiles before grabbing Carol and heading towards Chuck’s bus. As they all get inside and start driving, some balloons start flying off behind them, making you wonder if it was just a hallucination that Maureen had experienced.

Seriously, how many drugs were people on in the 70’s. Ok, this was not exactly what I expected it to be but it was still an odd movie. Jill Senter (Carol) and Gini Eastwood (Maureen) were both pretty good but there was absolutely nothing special about Alan Long (Chuck). The basic plot was just that, basic. However, the actual story was confusing, particularly the segments with Maureen as the hallucinations she had were just so random, especially when they were spaced between all of the different sex scenes with Chuck and Carol. As for the whole movie basically being a dream played out in Maureen’s head and you are left wondering if it was a premonition, that part actually got on my nerves. This is definitely a movie that was intended to focus on it’s imagery, and I’m not talking about all of the nakedness. The background of the Everglades mixed with the hallucinations of the temple, or the flashback to the stained glass windows in Maureen’s church made for some striking contrasts. All in all, an interesting movie, but probably not something I would watch more than once.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 19th, 2016 Movie – The Phantom Planet

the-phantom-planet

Man what a fun day yesterday was, if you are in the Atlanta area at least. See, there was a leak in a pipeline in Alabama which has apparently caused some gas shortages in some of the surrounding south-east states. When I saw there was no gas at the Kroger yesterday when I went shopping, I decided to call some nearby stations to see which ones had gas and fill up so that I can have gas this week. So now that I know I can get to and from work this week, let’s go ahead and get right into today’s movie, The Phantom Planet.

The plot: In the year 1980, Capt. Leonard and Lt. Webb are piloting a U.S. Air Force space reconnaissance flight and reporting to the Lunar base on the moon when a strange force pulls them off course and they end up crashing into an asteroid. On the Lunar Base, the base commander is speaking with a general back on Earth about the two rockets that have been lost, and a strange phantom planet that appears then disappears from their sensors and the general says to send Capt. Frank Chapman, who is scheduled for the Mars mission, to investigate. Frank and his copilot, Lt. Ray Makonnen head out into space and check into base to report nothing yet. After hours following the previous ship’s course, Chapman decides to alter the course but they soon become enveloped in a magnetic field that disrupts their systems. Seeing some asteroids coming towards them, they check their systems and discover some of them are damaged so Frank and Ray don space suits and head outside to make repairs. As they work on repairing the ship, micro-meteors start falling around them, and one of them strikes Frank’s airline. As Ray tries to get Frank back inside the ship, another micro-meteor strikes Ray just as he starts closing the hatch, sending him flying from the ship to his death. Frank regains consciousness and finding himself alone and with no control of the ship, he starts a ships log as he heads towards an asteroid, stating what has happened. Frank’s ship is somehow able to gently land on the asteroid and he steps outside but, still feeling the effects from the micro-meteor, Frank collapses and sees a group of doll-sized people approaching him. Standing up briefly, Frank falls again and his visor opens, exposing him to the atmosphere on the asteroid and causing him to shrink. The group of people try to figure out what to do with Frank and when one of them climbs in the suit, Frank attacks him, causing the others to quickly grab him. Frank is taken to and underground chamber and put on trial for attacking one of the citizens of Rheton, the name of the asteroid. The leader of the people, Sessom, finds Frank guilty and makes him a citizen of Rheton, explaining after everyone leaves that they could not allow Frank to leave as it would jeopardize the safety of their world, thus the need to make him a citizen and keep him there. Sessom’s daughter Liara offers to show Frank to his quarters and explains that their atmosphere shrunk him to the proportionate size of the planet but he could return to his normal size if he were to return to his own atmosphere. Some time later, Sessom speaks with Frank and tries to convince him to accept their ways and take a wife, offering either Liara or Zetha, a dark haired mute. Liara quickly tries to convince Frank to make her his wife but when he expresses his wish to get back to his ship, she tells him the rocket was sent back into space. Frank’s rocket is picked up on Lunar Base’s sensors and a rescue rocket is sent out to intercept it. The rescue ship finds the ship empty, with Frank’s message repeating on a loop and after calling it into base, they are ordered to bring it back to base. Back on Rheton, Frank asks Liara to see the flight mechanism and she takes him to see Sessom. While Herron, a Rheton that has feelings for Liara objects, Sessom agrees to show Frank and explains how their gravity plate technology works. Frank sees Zetha, and decides to go for a walk with her but Herron sees them and goes to Sessom, claiming Frank is trying to get favors from both women. Frank is brought to Sessom and denies the charges but agrees to face Herron in a duel to the death, where they are to try and force their opponent onto a gravity plate, which will instantly kill them. Frank manages to win but pulls Herron from the plate, saying that he doesn’t want to kill Herron. Liara, quickly grabs Frank away and declares her love for him but Frank tells her that he doesn’t love her, as he feels she was merely waiting to see who would win the fight and simply choose the winner. That night, Herron pays Frank a visit and says he will help him find a way back to his planet, figuring that if Frank gets back in his suit and closes the visor that he will return to his normal size. Suddenly, an alarm sounds and Herron heads off while Zetha tries to get Frank to go with her but he chooses to follow Herron. Inside the flight room, Frank learns that Rheton is constantly moving to avoid being attacked by the Solarites, an alien race that wants to destroy Rheton and capture their gravity technology for themselves. After avoiding the Solarite fleet, Liara shows Frank a Solarite that was captured from a previous raid, explaining that Zetha was traumatized during the last raid which is why she doesn’t speak anymore. She also explains that their magnetic technology is what keeps the creature in it’s cell, as it is held in check by a magnetic force field. When the Solarites lock in on Rheton and send a larger fleet at them, Sessom decides to fight them, as does Herron and Frank. As the Solarite fleet starts to attack Rheton, the magnetic field holding the Solarite prisoner is hit by a blast and the creature is set free before Sessom is able to use the gravity fields to destroy the fleet. The creature makes its way to Zheta’s chamber and captures her, then attacks Sessom as he walks by. Frank, Herron, and Liara hear Sessom cry out and go to check on him, while the Solarite carries Zetha into the flight room. Frank goes in there and finds Zetha lying on the floor and as he goes to check on her, she sees the Solarite preparing to attack and screams out. Frank is knocked down and when Herron shows up, they are able to maneuver the Solarite onto one of the gravity plates, where it is vaporized. Zetha approaches Frank and starts talking, saying the thought of him being killed caused her to overcome the trauma and she confesses her love for him, and he says he loves her as well and the two kiss. Heading to the flight room, Herron tells Frank that they are heading close to Earth to allow him to be found by his people. Zetha and Frank wish each other well, with Zetha giving Frank a good luck charm to remember her by, just as Herron approaches saying a rocket is approaching the asteroid. Frank gets back in his suit and after two of the Rhetons close the lid, he starts to grow back to his normal size. Frank is found by the rescue crew and he starts to wonder if he dreamed the encounter with the Rhetons but as he sits in the rocket to head back to Lunar Base, he finds the rock inside his glove and realizes that Zheta and the others were real as the rocket leaves Rheton.

Wow, this was not what I expected at all when I started this movie. This was definitely one of those low budget movies that are just funny to watch because they are bad. The acting was ok, though I will admit that none of the characters were really all that compelling. I was surprised to learn that this was the first credited movie role for Richard Kiel, who played the Solarite, but I guess you have to get your start somehow. The plot was kind of crazy and honestly didn’t seem to make much sense at the beginning. As for the special effects, they weren’t bad considering the time but they were still definitely the low end of the pay scale of things. I didn’t particularly care for the alien design, mainly because for some reason it seemed familiar but I couldn’t place it. Not a good movie at all but it can be entertaining because of it being so bad.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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September 18th, 2016 Movie – Phantom From Space

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This has not been a good start to the day. I blame the weather really as I always tend to feel like crap just before it rains, which at times can be pretty handy for planning your day. Anyways, a lot of things have not gone exactly like I planned for today. So it is taking me a while to get today’s movie review posted. So I might as well buckle down and get this finished and then see if I can manage to get some things accomplished today. First things first, on with today’s movie, Phantom From Space.

The plot: Early one evening, an unidentified flying object is picked up on radar over Alaska and tracked for an hour as it flies along the coast until it disappears over California. When calls of communication disruptions start coming in, the FCC sends out mobile units to try and pinpoint the disturbance. As one of the units heads towards a possible location, they are stopped by a woman, Betty Evans, asking for help with her husband and friend, Pete. They call for an ambulance, getting some interference on their own, then one of the men, Charlie, head with the woman to the picnic grounds to check on the men. When the ambulance arrives, the Betty’s husband is dead while Pete and Charlie are asked to come to the police station for questioning. After hearing Pere’s story about what happened, saying a man in a strange helmet came towards them despite their telling him to leave them alone, Charlie is told he is free to go while the lead homicide detective, Lt. Bowers, questions Pete further, believing Pete killed the Betty’s husband out of jealousy. Bowers gets a call about a second murder and heads out to the scene. When he gets there, the man who found the body said that his TV signal had gone out and that is when he found the body. Charlie and his partner pull up just then having followed the interference to that location. Charlie and his partner continue tracking the interference the the Huntington Oil Field, where they see an explosion has occurred. Back at the police precinct, Hazen, a representative from the FCC, arrives at Bowers’ request and sees a sketch drawn from Pete and Betty’s description, then shows the sketch to the witness of the second murder, who says he saw the same person. Hazen and Peter end up meeting with Dr. Wyatt from the Griffith Observatory and Major Andrews, a representative from the Air Force, and they are told about the U.F.O. and believe that the incidents are somehow related. Learning that radiation was detected at the site of the explosion, they work out a plan to track the interference to a location, then use geiger counters to find the person in the suit. They manage to track the person to an industrial area and trap it in a building but when they manage to break the door down, all they find is the suit the person was wearing. With the geiger counters indicating the suit is radioactive, some men are sent to find a lead box to put it in and while they are locating it, Andrews tells Bowers that when he glimpsed the person, the helmet was empty, just like the other witnesses described it. Andrews and Wyatt head back to the observatory to run tests on the suit and meet Wyatt’s assistant Barbara and her husband Bill as they are leaving. As Wyatt asks Barbara if she can stay for an hour longer, Barbara’s dog, Venus, runs off and Barbara chases after it, finally grabbing him as he appears to be barking at an empty room. After Barbara secures Venus outside, she heads back in to help Wyatt and Andrews and they discover that the suit is magnetic and is made from a material that they can’t cut, burn, or dissolve. When the examine the contents of the breathing apparatus, they discover that it is methane based, making them believe that the person inside will not be able to last long without the suit. Bowers calls and informs them that there is no sign of the intruder and that the pictures taken by Jow Wakeman, the newspaper reporter that was with them, came up blank. When Wakeman shows up at the observatory, Wyatt and Andrews go to talk with him but while they are gone, Barbara discovers an invisible intruder inside the room, who quickly locks the door and takes the key. When Bill shows up to get Barbara, she tells him what is going on and asks him to get help. Bill goes to get Wyatt and Andrews and when they return, they find the door open and the room empty. As the men search for Barbara but can’t find her, Barbara comes too back in the lab and sees the alien wearing it’s helmet but hears it’s labored breathing. When it grabs some scissors and starts tapping on the desk, Barbara realizes it is trying to speak in code and that it is running out of breath. Accidentally turning on a UV light, she is able to see the creature and cries out, alerting the others to where she is but when they get there, the creature is gone. When Venus starts barking, Andrews goes to check on her and Wyatt and Barbara notice the alien suit starting to disintegrate. Bowers, Hazen, and Charlie head back to the observatory and Charlie and Bill are told to wait outside by the mobile unit while the others talk about how the alien came to Earth. As Bill and Charlie talk outside the car, the alien sneaks inside it and begins tapping out a signal on the communication equipment, causing the main base to call the car. Charlie hears the radio and turns to the car, just as the door opens and closes. Charlie races inside to tell the others and they plan on setting a trap for it when it comes back for it’s helmet. When a sensor goes off, they head out thinking it is the alien only to discover it is Wakeman, who had snuck into the observatory. Since everyone had left the room, nobody notices a second sensor going off until Venus starts barking and heading towards a lab that Barbara is in. Barbara sees the alien picking up the helmet and putting it on and tells the others to come in slowly but when Wakeman tries to take a picture of it, it freaks out, breaking the helmet and then, while invisible, attacks Wakeman and escapes. Venus chases after it, followed by the others and they trap it in the observation room and manage to catch site of the alien using UV lamps. As it continues to tap out a message, they notice the glow around the creature is fading and it eventually suffocates and falls to the ground, where it becomes visible briefly before the body disintegrates.

This was definitely one of those low budget movies from the 50’s that you don’t hear a lot about. The acting was ok at best but at times it just felt completely bland and boring. The plot was pretty weak as they basically had all of this taking place in one night, in order to use the plot device of the alien running out of breathable air in his helmet, but it just seemed to be pushing things in bit as far as everything taking place like it did. The special effects were decent considering the lack of budget but they mainly consisted of some wires to make objects appear to move by an invisible alien. The alien itself, when finally revealed, was pretty generic an unremarkable, making for a very anti-climactic finish. On the whole, it could be an entertaining time killer if you are in the right frame of mind for it, but there are better movies out there.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 17th, 2016 Movie – The Phantom From 10000 Leagues

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Today has been an interesting day so far. Well, it actually started last night when I got home and after eating dinner, pretty much passed out on the couch for almost 5 hours. been a while since I did that. I went to bed and wound up sleeping for another 7-8 hours, making it the longest amount of time I have slept in quite a while. However, that much sleep has left me feeling a little sluggish. So as I am watching some workers remove some trees and bushes around the house, I am also trying to watch today’s movie but I will be honest, the sound of falling trees is doing a good job of distracting me from today’s movie, The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues.

The plot: A lone fisherman is out in the ocean but as he casts his net, a strange creature swims up and drags the man out of the boat and into the water below. Later, the body and boat wash up on the shore and are found by a man who quickly runs off when Ted Baxter walks up. As Ted bends down to examine the body, he is ordered to stop by William “Bill” Grant, a special investigator for the Department of Defense. Ted notes the burns on the body and boat and when Grant asks what he is doing there, he says he is on his way to see Professor King at the local university. The two stop talking when they notice a man with a speargun watching them from a nearby cliff and after Grant orders him down, they learn that he is King’s assistant, George Thomas, and Grant tells him to steer clear of thebeach. Meanwhile, the man who first found the body is revealed to be King and as he returns home, he is soaking wet and his daughter Lois chastises him for being so secretive with his work to the point that his assistants are wondering about what he is doing as he has cut them out of his work and King says they are trying to spy on him. When someone knocks on the door, King tells his daughter to say he is asleep and he rushes into his room. Lois opens the door and invites Ted inside and when he asks to see King, she tries to tell him he is asleep but Ted notices the wet footprints on the carpet so Lois knocks on her father’s door but discovers that he snuck out of the room. The next day, Ted is using a geiger counter to examine the boat when he is again approached by Grant, who addresses him as Ted Stephens, having learned that Ted is an expert in radiation. At the College of Oceanography, King’s secretary Ethel arrives at the office and Andy the janitor greets her and mentions the dead body on the beach, saying it is the third one recently. Andy also comments about George following King around and hiding in the bushes. King arrives at and after unlocking the door to his personal lab, tells Ethel he is not to be disturbed. Ethel notices that King dropped a piece of paper and goes to pick it up, just as George walks in and takes the paper from her, then after checking the information, he asks Ethel to help him get inside King’s lab. Inside the lab, King begins experimenting with Radiation on a turtle he found on the beach, causing it to mutate. Meanwhile, Ted heads out into the ocean and dives down to investigate the ocean floor when he spots the creature and quickly swims back to his boat. Heading to shore, Ted is surprised to run into Lois, who is sunbathing on the beach, and after talking for a while, Ted asks that she stay out of the water. Later, Ted goes to the college and speaks with King, telling him about the dead fisherman and asks to see charts of the ocean’s floor and King invites him to lunch at his place and he will get them for him. Ted heads to the house, surprising Lois, who had just gotten out of the shower, and when King arrives, he hands Ted the charts he asked for, calling him by his real name. Ted then tells King about the a beam of radiation that is coming from the bottom of the ocean and about the creature that appears to be guarding it and says he feels like the creature is man made but King scoffs at the notion. Back at his lab, King tells Ethel that Grant requested a scuba tank and to inform Andy and the night watchmen in case he shows up when Ethel or King is not there. Meanwhile, George meets with a woman named Wanda who is attempting to acquire King’s research from him and he scolds her for meeting in public. Ethel meets with Grant to tell him her suspicions about King and he has her make a wax impression of the office lock so he can make a key for it, unaware that Wanda is overhearing everything. Meanwhile, a couple go scuba diving in the ocean and as they swim back to their boat, the creature swims after them and attacks them. Ted and Lois are on a date and as they head back to Lois’ house, they find the bodies of the couple and Ted sends Lois to go get Grant. As he examines the bodies, George fires a spear gun at him but misses and gets away before Ted can catch up to him. Ted and Grant decide on a course of action and Grant takes the spear to be dusted for prints while Ted goes to get the dive equipment that Grant had requested. The two head out into the water but as Grant puts his gear on, he suddenly takes it off as he started choking and they find some pills in their regulators that someone had put there. Continuing with their plan, they dive down and encounter the monster but after trying to shoot it with a spear gun and missing, the two quickly swim back to their boat and head to shore. As they get dressed, Grant says he believes someone from the college is responsible and plans on getting proof that night. At the college, Ethel notices one of the spear guns missing and when George says that King grabbed one last night, Ethel says she saw George with one as well. George tries to get in the lab and asks Ethel for help, saying he is in trouble, but she refuses to help him. Ted goes to King’s house, and tells King about the results of their dive. Meanwhile, George meets Wanda on the beach, who tells him that she saw Ethel talking with Grant and gives George one more day to get King’s research. King heads to his lab just as Ethel is leaving but when he walks inside the lab, he finds Ethel’s keys on the floor and he heads back into the office as she comes back in looking for them and hands them to her. As Ethel is heading along the beach to meet with Grant, George kills her with a speargun. King heads home and finds Ted and Lois there, but just as he apologizes to Ted, Grant and the sheriff arrive to question King about Ethel’s murder. The next day, the sheriff tells Ted and Grant that George is the one who killed Ethel and as Ted goes to tell King the news, Grant and the sheriff head off to find George. Ted speaks tells King and Lois the news, then speaks with King alone about what is going on and King admits to there being a uranium deposit under the oceans floor that he uncovered and he created the monster using one of Ted’s own experiments to guard it. Ted asks how to destroy it and King says he doesn’t know if he wants to but asks for an hour to think about it. At the King’s house, Lois decides to go find her father and Ted agrees to go with him but as they leave the house, they witness a ship suddenly explode out in the ocean. King sees the explosion from his lab and realizing he inadvertently caused it, destroys his lab then takes off to the beach. Meanwhile, Grant and the sheriff arrest Wanda and George and then Grant heads to the lab, meeting Ted and Lois there and they head to the beach to find King. King dons some scuba gear and swims out to where the radiations is and places a bomb there but as he tries to swim away, the creature grabs him and they are both killed in the explosion.

This was a pretty interesting little movie from the 50’s. The acting was pretty good, with Kent Taylor (Ted), Michael Whalen (King), and Rodney Bell (Grant) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was interesting but honestly got a little confusing, with too many sub-plots basically cluttering up the movie at times. This was a low budget movie so obviously the special effects were not going to be groundbreaking but the creature design actually looked pretty good. Not an Oscar winning movie but definitely a fun movie to watch on a lazy Saturday like today.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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