* George Goodchild (1888-1969) UK writer - updated 29 Mar 2013

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George Goodchild Memorial Trophy 2010 celebration. Please help?

George Goodchild (1888-1969) aka Alan Dare, Wallace Q. Reid, and Jesse Templeton, was an incredibly prolific successful British author. His career lasted over 60 years (1916-published after death, still reprinted); his output seemed unending, around 210 works, most under his own name.

Little is known of his life. Born in Kingston-on-Thames in 1888, he married Dora Mary Hill and had one son and two daughters. He lived at The Great Quarry, Guildford. Before full-time writing, he had experience in journalism and publishing. He died at Aldershot in 1969, aged 80.

Featured characters were Scotland Yard Inspector McLean, spy catcher Q33, Trooper O'Neill, cowboy Colorado Jim (Jack) and Nigel Rix. McLean appeared in The Weekly News even anonymously until 6 October 1979, ten years after Goodchild died, and inspired Dandy Inspector McLean Library published by D.C. Thomson. An early 1921 story in The Children's Newspaper was a rare contribution to the scifi genre. Only a handful of his books are still in print, recently some republished in large print. Colorado Jim is the only one on gutenberg.org as of Jan 2012.

Image of Children's Newspaper 1921)


This chronological list includes repetition and inaccuracies, you can help correct.

Films 7:
Colorado Jack (1921) from Colorado Jim
Bucking the Barrier (1923)
The Public Defender (1931) from The Splendid Crime
Condemned to Death (1932) from Jack o'Lantern
Trooper O'Neill (1932)
No Escape (1936) from No Exit

Series (includes collections)
Inspector McLean
1. McLean of Scotland Yard (Hodder & Stoughton London 1929)
2. McLean at the Golden Owl (Hodder 1930)
3. McLean Investigates (Hodder 1930)
4. How Now, McLean? (Hodder 1931)
5. Chief Inspector McLean (Hodder 1932)
6. 12 Dandy McLean Detective Stories (D.C. Thomson London 1933)
7. 12 Famous McLean Cases (Thomson 1933)
8. Dandy Against the Gangsters (Thomson Library 5? 1933)
9. Dandy Hangs Behind (Thomson 1933)
10. Dandy Nabs the Falcon (Thomson 1933)
11. Greta Dey's Confession (Thomson 1933)
12. Her Little Game (Thomson 1933)
13. The Pretty Daredevil (Thomson 1933)
14. The Prince of Crooks (Thomson 1933)
15. The Terror of Stapleton Quarry (Thomson 1933)
16. The Triumph of McLean (1933)
17. McLean Plays a Hand (Ward Lock London Melbourne 1934)
18. Yes, Inspector McLean (Hodder & Stoughton London 1934, Chivers NA 1995)
19. Death on the Centre Court (Hodder 1935, Green Circle NY 1936)
20. McLean Knows Best (Ward 1935)
21. McLean Prevails (Ward 1935)
22. Lead On, McLean! (Hodder 1936)
23. McLean Finds a Way (Hodder 1936)
24. McLean Remembers (Hodder 1936)
25. Call McLean (Hodder 1937)
26. McLean Takes Charge (Hodder 1937)
27. McLean Incomparable (Hodder 1938)
28. Again McLean (Hodder 1939)
29. McLean Excels (Hodder 1939)
30. McLean Intervenes (1939)
31. McLean Sees It Through (1939)
32. McLean Deduces (Hodder 1940)
33. Up, McLean! (Hodder 1940)
34. McLean Keeps Going (Hodder 1941)
35. McLean Non-Stop (1941)
36. McLean Takes a Holiday (Hodder 1942)
revised Inspector McLean's Holiday (Pan London 1951)
37. Uncle Oscar's Niece (Hodder 1944)
38. Hail McLean (Hodder 1945)
41. Inspector McLean's Casebook (Rich & Cowan London 1950, White Lion 1972)
42. The Efford Tangle (Rich 1950, Ulverscroft 1995)
43. McLean Carries on (Rich 1950)
44. McLean Predominant (Rich 1951)
45. McLean to the Dark Tower Came (Rich 1951, Ulverscroft 1998)
46. The Last Redoubt (Rich 1952)
47. McLean Steps in (Rich 1952)
48. Well caught, McLean (Rich 1953)
49. Double Acrostic (Rich 1954)
50. Trust McLean (Rich 1954)
51. Find the Lady (Rich 1955)
52, Watch McLean (Rich 1955)
53. The Last Secret (Rich 1956)
54. McLean Solves it (1956)
55. Forever McLean (1957)
56. Next of Kin (Jarrolds 1957, Harlequin Toronto 1957)
57. McLean Disposes (Jarrolds 1958)
58. McLean Scores Again (Jarrolds 1959, Ulverscroft UK 2004)
59. Follow McLean (Jarrolds 1961)
60. McLean Invincible (Jarrolds 1963)
61. Laurels for McLean (Jarrolds 1964)
62. McLean Takes Over (John Long London 1967)
63. McLean Knows the Answers (Long 1967, Dales London 2003)

Trelawney and other series?:
64. The man from the West (George Newnes London 1935)
65. (Mister) Q 33 (Trelawney) (Newnes 1935, Oddhams London 1935)
66. This Woman is Wanted (Newnes 1935)
67. Danger Below (Hodder 1937)
68. Having No Hearts (Hodder 1937)
69. Q-33 Spy Catcher (T) (Newnes 1937)
70. Dear Conspirator (M?)(Ward Lock London Melbourne 1948)
71. Companion to Sirius (M?)(Rich & Cowan London 1949)
72. Tiger, Tiger (M?) (Jarrolds 1959)
73. Savage Encounter (M?) (Jarrolds 1962)

Novelized from plays
74. The Barton Mystery, from Walter Hackett play (Jarrolds London 1916)
75. Tiger's Cub, Alaskan romance from George Potter (Jarrolds 1917)

Novels:
76. The Last Cruise of the Majestic (1917)
77. Behind the Barrage, a siege battery. (Jarrolds 1918)
78. The Land of Eldorado, seal islands (Jarrolds 1919)
79. Old Sport, warhorse romance, with Maurice Mottram (Jarrolds 1919)
80. Colorado Jim or The Taming of Angela (Robert Hayes London 1920, Watt NY 1922)
81. The Woollen Monkey (Lloyds London 1920)
82. The Compassionate Rogue (1920)
83. The Alaskan (Lloyds 1921)
84. A Message from Space (1921)
85. Trooper O'Neill (Hayes 1921)
86. Killigrew (as Alan Dare, Herbert Jenkins London 1922) repub Knight Takes Queen (George Newnes London 1935)
87. Klondyke Kit's Revenge (Jenkins 1923)
88. The Valley of Lies (Long London 1923)
89. The Isle Of Hate, as Dare (Jenkins 1924) (repub Newnes 1934)
90. The Valley of Lies (Long London 1923)
91. Jake Canuke (as Jesse Templeton, Hurst & Blackett London 1924) GG (Hodder 1932) aka The Call of the North (George Newnes London 1938)
92. Plain Bill, Alaskan romance (Jarrolds London 1924)
93. Tall Timber (Watt NY 1924, Hodder Stoughton London 1927)
94. The Man Who Wasn't (Jenkins 1923-4)
Hurricane Tex (Hodder 1925)
95. Out Of The Desert (as Dare 1925)
96. The Eternal Conflict (as Templeton, Hurst 1925), GG (Archer GB 1950)
97. The Feud (Hurst 1925) GG (Hodder 1935)
98. The Taming of Nancy (Red Letter 141 DC Thomson London 1925)
99. The Black Orchid (Hodder 1926)
100. Jim Goes North (Jim) (Hodder 1926)
101. Ace High (Hodder 1927)
The Eye of Abu (as Dare, Jenkins 1927) repub Newnes 1934
102. The Timber Wolf (as Templeton, Hurst 1927)
103. Meg o the Dale (Red Letter 179 DC Thomson London 1927)
104. Mushalong (Hayes London 1927)
105. The Monster of (the Grammount) Grammont (Hodder 1927, Mystery League NY 1930)
106. His Desert Maid (J Leng - Ivy 133 London 1928)
107. The Rain on the Roof (1928)
108. The Guarded Soul (as Dare, Jenkins 1928) aka Body and Soul (Jarrolds 1929)
109. Sands of Desire (as Wallace Q. Reid, Robert Hayes London 1928) W. Collins London 1933
110. The Freeze-Out (Hodder 1929)
111. Jack O'Lantern (Hodder 1929, Mystery League NY 1930)
112. Body and Soul (1929) (as Alan Dare)
113. The Elephant or The Man from Beyond (Hodder London 1929)
114. Between the Tides (as Templeton, Ward 1929) GG (Ward Lock London Melbourne 1937) abridged (Ward 1938)
115. The Bitter Test (as Templeton, Ward 1930)
116. Clay-Face (as Templeton, Ward 1930)
117. The Emperor of Hallelujah Island (Hodder London 1930, Houghton NY 1931)
118. The Splendid Crime (Hodder London 1930) as The Public Defender (Grosset NY 1931)
119. The Girl at Pine Creek (Thomson Red 242 1930)
120. The Girl who failed him (Thomson Red 259 London 1930)
121. His Bride from England (Thomson Red 203 1930)
122. Her Dear Tyrant (Leng Ivy 214 1931)
123. Ten Fathoms Deep (as Templeton, Ward 1931) GG (Ward 1938)
124. The Yellow Hibiscus (as Templeton, Ward 1931)
125. The Road to Marrakesh (Hodder 1931, Houghton NY 1932)
126. For Reasons Unknown (Hodder 1932)
127. Love's Challenge (as Templeton, Mellifont London 1932)
128. Petticoat Lane (Mellifont 1932)
129. Flagons of St. Niven (Mellifont 1932)
130. The Choice (Mellifont 1932)
131. Rosemary's Love Adventure (Mellifont 1932)
132. The House of Strange Adventure (Mellifont 1932)
134. The Singing Wheat (Mellifont 1932)
135. The Skeleton in the Cupboard (Mellifont 1932)
136. Winning Through (as Templeton, Ward 1932) GG (Ward 1935)
137. Bride of the Sierras (as Reid, Collins 1933)
138. Man from Peace River (Collins 1933)
139. Captain Sinister (Hodder London 1933)
140. Mountain Gold (Hodder 1933)
141, Rainbow the story of a dog and a man (Chapman & Hall London 1933)
142. The Jury Disagree, (with C.E. Bechhofer-Roberts, Jarrolds London 1934, MacMillan NY 1955)
143. Saskatoon Patrol (as Reid, Collins 1934)
144. Virginia's Quest (as Templeton, Mellifont 1934)
145. The Woman Accused (Mellifont 1934)
146. Mad Mike (Chapman Hall London 1934, Harlequin Toronto 1953)
147. Quest of Nigel Rix (Ward 1934)
148. Red River (as Reid, Collins 1934)
149. Dear Old Gentleman, with Roberts (Jarrolds 1935, Harper NY 1936)
150. Bluewater Landing (as Reid, Collins 1935)
151. The Homeward Trail (George Newnes London 1935)
137. Knight Takes Queen (1935)
152. Knock and Come In (Rix#?) (Ward 1935)
153. Son Of The South (as Reid, Collins 1935)Steve (1936)
154. Tidings of Joy, with Roberts (Jarrolds 1936)
155. Doctor Of The North (as Reid Collins 1936)
156. No Exit (Newnes London 1936)
157. The Rainbow Trail (as Reid, Collins 1936)
158. Rough Going (Ward 1936)
159. Summer Moon (Leng - People's Friend #429 1936)
160. Operator No. 19 (Ward 1937)
161. A Murder Will Be Committed (Robert Hale London 1937)
162. Yellowstones (Ward 1938)
163. Infamous Gentleman (Hale 1938)
164. The Prisoner's Friend, with Roberts (Jarrolds 1938)
165. The Square Deal (1939)
166. The Clock Struck Seven (1939)
167. We Shot an Arrow, with Roberts (Victor Golancz London 1939)
168. Forced Landing (Hodder 1940)
169. Known as Z.1 (Ward 1940)
170. Man Peter (Ward 1941)
171. Brave Interlude (Ward 1942)
172. Behind That Door (Ward 1943, F.A. Thorpe GB 2005)
173. Safety Last (Ward 1944)
174. The Last Ditch (Mellifont 1944)
175. The Footlight's Call (Mellifont 1945)
176. Wise Virgin (Mellifont 1945)
177. Lady Take Care (Ward 1946)
178. Cauldron Bubble (Macdonald London 1946)
179. East of Singapore (Mellifont 1946)
162. Rivers to Cross (Ward 1947)
180. Stout Cortez (Ward 1949)
181. Final Score (Ward 1950)
182. The Spanish Steps (Ward 1951)
183. Doctor Zil's Experiment (Ward 1953)
184. The Last Secret (Rich & Cowan London 1956)
185. The Danger Line (Jarrolds 1958)
186. False Intruder, Old Yukon (Jarrolds 1960)

Collections asst'd
187. Caravan Days, illus. C.A. Shepperson (Jarrolds 1916)
188. Umpteen Yarns from France (Jarrolds 1917)
189. Down Plug Street Way (Simpkin Marshall London 1918)
190. The Crimson Domino (Simpkin 1919) abrid (as Templeton, Mellifont 1933)
191. The Great Alone (Simpkin 1919)
192. Captain Crash (Hayes 1924)
193. Inch of the CID (as Templeton, Ward 1936) GG (Ward 1936)
194. Mountain Gold (1933)
195. Q33 (1933)
196. Mister Q33 (1935)
197. The Man from the West (1935)
198. This Woman Is Wanted (1936)
199. Q33-Spy Catcher (1937)

Anthologies containing stories by George Goodchild
200. Fifty Famous Detectives of Fiction (1983)
Short stories
201. Death in the Dance
202. The Siamese Cat

Non-fiction
203. The Last Cruise of the Majestic from the log-book of J.G. Cowie (Simpkin 1917)
204. Pinches of Salt from the Seven Seas (Jarrolds, 1918)

Plays
205. They All Do It and two other plays with Roberts (Jerrolds 1935)

Others, Edited by GG
206. The Lore of the Wanderer, an open-air anthology (The Wayfarer's Library London 1914)
207. England, My England, a war anthology (Jarrolds 1914)
208. The Miniature Classics (Jarrolds 1914)
The Blinded Soldiers' and Sailors' Gift Book (Jarrolds 1915)
209. Made in the Trenches, articles and sketches from soldiers, Ed. by GG & Sir Frederick Treves (G. Allen & Unwin London 1916)
210. A Century of Western Stories (Hutchison London 1936)

Salt 5*

Preview. Salt is senior CIA agent (Angelina Jolie), trusted until a senior KGB mastermind says she is a deep-cover mole. She knocks down anyone in her way, all the way to the protected president. She is the best, but for whom? My eyes get wider until forced to blink back tears when she finally finds her kidnapped beloved husband. According to DVD extras, the original scene was too nasty. Slow or fast, death is pain for those left behind to mourn. Humor, twists, run, and fight, fight, fight. Hoo-rah. Although the plot allows for sequels, pace faster, closer, harder than R.E.D., so unlikely.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice 4*

Balthazar (Nicholas Cage) has searched 1000 years for the heir "Prime Merlinean" (worst name ever) to take master Merlin's ring. Fantasia was the inspiration and guideline in modern New York City setting. Except for an homage to the original dancing mop scene, the core plot is simple. Shy reluctant teen nerd Dave (Jay Baruchel) gets power, pretty girl Becky (Teresa Palmer), and saves the world with science. Trailer.

Back story is complicated, well told. Veronica (Monica Bellucci), Balthazar's first love and fellow student absorbed evil Morgana (Alice Krige) inside herself, to save mankind from destruction. She was imprisoned in a Russian-layered Grimhold doll. Inside the next layer, Balthazar had trapped third student Horvath (Alfred Molina - Sheikh Amar, Prince of Persia), also infatuated with Veronica, Merlin's killer. When ten, Dave accidentally freed Horvath, but Balthazar kept them inside a Chinese jar ten-year trap.

Special effects are more real than computerized, real flaming fingers and fighting in fire, overall blazing. The action is so fast and big, I only saw humor and slapstick after. Humor is low-level "No time to pee? .. I can hold it" before first lesson. Balthazar's shaggy hair scruffy look says he spends all his effort on work. However, emphasis on out-of-place "pointy-toe" or "old-man" leather shoes is silly. Electricity-proof rubber soles on sturdy boots suitable for climbing would be more useful.

I have to rate high because zap-zing smash-crash whoosh-vroom fights from the start, effects and music are 5*. The fires are real. But I do not like, sympathize, or identify with the goof's whiny localized New York accent (much bettter toned down for Viking lad Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon film and Dragon Riders of Berk cartoons) and give-up skepticism (the script or the acting?). Movie not better soundless, however, because of big bam-boom flame-scream percussion-brass crescendos.

Voices have incredible power. The deep vibrato of Sean Connery shivers me inside out. Although Harry Potter is a helpless orphan, he sounds strong, loyal; we will befriend and stand with him to the end. This twerp has a nasal scratch-on-blackboard tone and hang-back attitude that grates. Even Cage talks distinctively through his nose. Combo turns me off and away.

I liked the ten-year old actor better. Until love interest 20-year old Becky (Teresa Palmer) compliments his childhood bus trip window drawing, King Kong lining up atop the Empire State Building, I had no idea. Merlin's third apprentice, villain Maxim, takes apprentice and releases Salem witch only to steal their power for the final break-out.

Big electric climax. Two big tear-jerker moments: when Dave finally finds his power

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Spoilers:
and when Morganna stops his mentor's heart, dead. Victoria is free and herself, Morganna dissolved, but Balthazar lies cooling.

Of course Dave knows electricity, and modern machines shock hearts into starting again. He gets his girl too. Double reunion for double happy ending.
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The Recruit 4*

Preview. Most of 4* is for watching Colin Farrell. Clayton apparently fails rigorous CIA training, partly because he falls for Layla. Al Pacino knows how to play a creepy older mentor who says he knew the boy's dad, a CIA hero, then asks Clay to seduce the girl (ick) and carry out a secret op.

I grew up on Get Smart, crawled under couches playing superhero with my brother, so I fall for this stuff. But who is the good guy here? Bang-up shoot-up ending. What a ride.

The Lightning Thief 4-5*

Preview. Book. If the Lightning Thief is not Percy Jackson, son of sea god Perseus, who is? Some cosmetic differences aside, the DVD plot pares silly humor, to the essentials of the Olympian series by Rick Riordan. Watch into the credits for a smile.

Pierce Bronsan as a strong, but not-white centaur is a better camp director than a sloppy wine god. Superb special effects, monsters, creatures, and realistic swordplay by the godlings make magic. Not-blonde Annabeth's eyes are compelling, despite not being grey. Percy takes his satyr protector Grover (who still eats cans), and appealing valiant Annabeth, daughter of battle-wise Athena, from their wilderness training camp to the underworld.

Ruler Hades wants Zeus's powerful weapon in exchange for Percy's human mom. Percy hopes explaining his innocence will suffice. Senior camper Luke lends winged shoes, an expandable shield, and a map to the three pearls needed to transport the questers home, without warning what protection must be vanquished.

Matilda 1*

1*. Preview. Matilda Wormwood is a precocious six year old, enchanted by books, trapped in an abusive family. Based on book set in a small English village described by author Roald Dahl, FBI agents (Paul Rubens as Bob) chase her dishonest dad Harry (Danny Devito) and mom Zinnia (Rhea Perlman). An academy of torture run by evil Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris in uglifying make-up, narrator of "Agatha Christie's Garden" DVD (5* review pending) bio set in her Devon home Greenway, and star of BBC TV mystery series Rosemary & Thyme) also bullies soft-spoken teacher Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz), who sounds British too.

I wanted to check out strong female heroes for children. But I was disappointed in the standard ugly equals bad and a supernatural solution. I did not find exaggerated abuse and murder funny, and preferred book. If you're looking for scary with fun effects, this film rates higher.
----------
Spoiler:
I guess Matilda developing telekinetic powers to vanquish threatening adults is better than an external deus ex machina fairy godmother.)
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Jumper 2*

Preview. Book. Fast fantasy action crosses continents, yet slow flat people faces. Hard to explain. Extras show indecisive director procrastination, maybe why I failed to connect with motherless teen hero David (Hayden Christensen), cheer for him and his hometown girl Millie (Rachel Bilson), and wasn't even sure if I had guessed the ending.
I like British sidekick Griffin (Jamie Bell), apparently the only actor constant from the start. Villain Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) and, suprise mother, Mary Rice (Diane Lane) provide counterpoint to the youths.

Hamish Macbeth S1 2* - Robert Carlyle

Salt theft. 2* all for Highland shots. M. C. Beaton's original books are better, but Scotland scenery is worth watching DVD. The lobsters from the third book,"Death of an Outsider" appear in the first Hamish Macbeth DVD episode, otherwise the setting is the main character in the shows.

Disconcertingly, actors, even his dog, are cast way different, adding a non-existent taller sidekick, and passionate Priscilla in clip. DVD Macbeth is small and neat, not tall gangly and red shock-topped. Star Robert Carlyle is better cast as creepy villain Rumpelstiltskin aka Mr Gold, in TV Once Upon a Time.

His dog is tiny fluffy cute white purebred and key in the worst episode, about ghosts, including the pet, instead of the true long lanky loping big yellow mongrel, sensitively smart. Hamish constantly lights homemade cigarettes, whereas book 3 clearly states he gave them up 3 months before, granted, after the first year's 2 murder events, because his crush disapproves.

Even Priscilla, daughter of the manor, proposes dramatically, ending DVD set 1, whereas in the book she is icy cool glacier-eyed porcelain, comfortably affectionate like with all her lifelong village pals. The series does give him other bed-mates, but he should bumble, naively appreciative, not smoothly dismissive of how a female cop progresses her career ambitions.

The curiosity of solving human motivations seems subverted to a soap opera mush. I know my TV has poor quality sound, add that to Highland accents, and louder music masquerading as heightened emotion, I played a lot with the volume control and tried to get the most out of the scenery, never as good in 2D as live, decades-old memories assure me.

Green Hornet 1*

Highlights all in preview. Too typical of Seth Rogen - credited lead actor, writer, producer - his favorite word is sh-. Potentially the story of a goofy nerd super-hero idolizer in over his head with hard criminals who alienates his only friend and sidekick (hard to hear through accent). Instead, boozy selfish slob uses brains of only buddy Kato, and employee (Cameron Diaz, seen only at chest level - boring). Kato's high-tech engineering and Diaz as the duo's unknowing mastermind are the best parts.

Children of Men 3* - Clive Owen

Preview. 3* are all for star Clive Owen, plot too disheartening. I refuse to read book about doomed hero in hopeless dystopia. To see him in action, even smoking, is my only reason to watch. His rugged dependable maleness is more like tough-charming Sean Connery James Bond than wimpy Daniel Craig. Smooth porcelain pale Julianne Moore is hard to peg as a terrorist leader, though maybe as idealist who marries former activist Owen two decades before.

Based on a P.D. James book, obviously from her "our industrialized society is going to hell" phase (I like her mysteries ONLY), the plot spans just three days, full of gunshots, running, pain, and fear, after an initial sad setup. In our near future, we despair, without human births for twenty years. Unhappy British clerk with hip flask whose marriage broke over baby boy's death in pandemic, mopes with reclusive hippie father, who raises and enjoys sharing marijuana, and cares for brain-dead wife.

The behind-in-rent scene is deleted, but gambling kept, reinforcing Owen's money motivation hiring on difficult job. His ex-wife now heads country's terrorists against anti-refugee policy and asks the only man she trusts enough, him, to get pregnant illegal immigrant girl to fabled "Human Project" lab ship safety.

Blatant Holocaust triggers, old people mutter German phrases, incomprehensible gypsy beckons, young coloreds die everywhere, cages, death camps. IRA-like balladeer totes machine-gun amid fusillade. Worse than "cautionary" tale.

Spoiler: Only fake baby girl and teenage-looking African mother survive to see rescue boat, when she promises to name super-easily-newborn after couple's dead son.

I am Number Four 4*

Trailer. Number Four, like in Book, is teen alien on the run in small-town US. His selfishness costs the life of the one who has cared for him most. Although I like the initial premise, I dislike how the sacrifice is glossed over.

Villainous Mogs destroy planets and chase survivors. Of nine children and guardians, three have been assassinated, others lost their adult companions. John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) falls in love. His "father" (eye-candy Timothy Olyphant) warns that "their kind" are faithful for life. Sweet blonde Sarah Hart (Dianna Agron) is dangerous.

Maybe Sean Connery started my soft spot for accents, the British slips out, and the Australian in "Number Six" (Teresa Palmer) adds dynamite impact in her own stunts. I want to grow up strong like her. The building doesn't really explode and burn in the background, but the effect is smashing, and she does dangle from high later. Perhaps because I already read the plot, I didn't get buried in emotion, fear, sadness or excitement, more admiration for the special effects.


Eragon 5*


trailer 5* Eragon film is a conventional interpretation of an unusual book. Brave farmboy Eragon (Edward Speleers) finds glowing blue stone left by beautiful maiden Arya (Sienna Guillory). Finally, movie brothers who look alike, Roran (Chris Egan). Even when I have seen the film before, more than once, I still laugh when the rock hatches into a mischievous dragon Sephora, and cry when old teacher Brom (Jeremy Irons) takes his last ride.

Unfortunately, I am disappointed with extensively traditional ugly villains: red taloned Durza (Robert Carlyle), menacing King Galbatorix (John Malkovich), flat pebble-eyed dragon faces, and white - skin, dress, horse - delicate princess Arya - at least she rides and fights herself. Tiny humans flee vicious monsters through mountains, forests, incredible Hungary vistas, to the final fiery battle, actual not studio or computer sets.

Closing songs, "Keep holding on" by Avril Lavigne struck a chord since I first heard it, and soft "Once in every lifetime" also suit emotional moods. Well chosen and executed.

The 2-disc extras, interviews, start with young author Paolini in his inspirational Montana home. I'd love to fly with them in an Imax theatre. He started Eragon at 15 and signed with a major publisher at 19. Wow. Book review

Sucker Punch 1*

Preview has intriguing stills. Disappointing result is a fake schoolgirl semi-porno with super snazzy effects instead of super-heroines.

Previews of wildly costumed gorgeous girls fighting steampunk monsters, samurais, Nazis, dragons, and aliens gave me the impression of strong warriors battling evil. Maybe a younger Kill Bill (surprisingly funny - 5* but very X-rated)? Instead the outside shell is an overlapping triple story within story with identical casts. Confusing and empty.

Blonde "Baby" in bouncy double ponytails is an heiress framed for murder then committed to an insane asylum, or is she (pretending to be) a new dancer soon to be sold by a brothel? A wrinkly old mentor drops pithy nuggets of pseudo-wisdom before each mission-dance.

Vampire's Assistant 0-1*

Preview. Based on a Darren Shan book, gives his name to the foolish teen. You know when the helpless fool goes into the deep dark basement, woods, or cemetery without backup with monsters prowling? From both bravery and cowardice, he joins a circus of oddities. He gets almost one star for liking the monkey girl. Mostly strange freaks fight and the senior vampire does all the fighting for the kid, till the end which seems just a sequel set-up, thankfully not.

Rabbit-Proof Fence 5*

Preview. Film is true, based on a book by Molly's daughter, a compelling, tragic, and gripping family story. Australian government took "lost generations" of aboriginal children from isolated rural settlements to central institutions. Natives were not counted in the census or given the vote until the late 1900s. In 1931, Molly led her sister and cousin to run away and cross the continent to get north home, guided by the fence against rabbits.

Film and camera tricks fade the normally brilliant eye-piercing sky to threatening gray, and lower us to the eye-level of children. Doubles try to convince us the young ones get starved skinny bones. But the story is all, a brave young girl who triumphs over evil, pain, and adults.

District 9 4*

Preview. District 9 is a violent slum, grown past a million residents in 20 years. The alien residents must be forcibly evicted and relocated, even if murdered in the process. The officious Johannesburg bureaucrat in charge, Wikus (Sharlto Copley), gets a faceful of aggressive DNA from the tube of fuel a smart scientist has collected to fly home.

Now the controlling arms dealer company, headed by his father-in-law, who have not yet been able to use alien DNA powered weapons, and the Nigerian gangsters who butcher live "prawns" to eat their mojo, all want a flesh piece of the transforming victim. The meaning of humanity gets an flame and bullet packed exploration, started with "what-if" a spaceship hovered months over a South African city, and held a drone-level starving horde. My favorite part of the DVD Extras was visualizing the sound effect man caught rubbing a pumpkin for alien speech. (Rating down one star just for icky value.)

Catch me if you can 5* - Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks

Preview. Fast, funny, sad, ultimately a triumph of good over bad, seldom true in the real world, astonishingly too close to the factual book. Vivid.

A teen minor turns con artist (Leonardo DiCaprio), taken for adult by older women, pursued to French prison by government agent (Tom Hanks).

Battle: Los Angeles 3-4*

3-4* Preview. This is a war film, documentary erratic cinema verité style, hand-held cameras by men tough as the US marine battalion they follow. I forgive stereotypes, because the patriotic feeling is effectively conveyed.

I couldn't keep track in the fast intro of stock cast: soon-to-be-married, freshly-graduated-married leader, his back-from-yesterday-retirement-lonely-regrets-previous-command-lost brother of, rawly bereaved, naive virgin boy, token sure-shot-Marine-tte.

Aliens land in overwhelming force - 8' "ants" like gooey District 9 "prawns"; is one behind-the-scenes accent South African? Eerie whisper smoky suspense, then bang, whoosh, boom, scream, never stops. Might be better without background music giveaway clues. Rescue civilians including cliché crying girls, vital veterinarian-ette and tears-held-back lad.
Run, dive, climb, jump, fall, roll, crawl, in full gear, mid-summer Louisiana. Not here a potted palm re-used in many films, recognized by a Vancouver actress. Actors mostly performed their own stunts. Explosions, burned crashed vehicles, rubble, all coated thick with 9/11 black ash. Troops may say "sh-t", but platoon "Retreat? H-ll no". "Hoo-rah" U.S. marines. "No man left behind", though some bypassed when blown up.

The Adjustment Bureau 2*

2* for original twist. Preview. Plot builds slow, boring till first fast chase. Clever honorable Dave Norris (Matt Damon) meets entrancing British accent Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). Imprisoned by big bad guys in black, they run. NY lawyer congressman, frontrunner senatorial candidate headed toward presidency after speech is inspired by chance few minutes and kiss from likewise- promising modern dancer-choreographer. First date sex? The action propels us past doubts, disbelief, trust, six and thirty-six month skips, instant commitment.

Can they attain their ambitious goals together? Suspense pulls us along. Who are the supervising guardians, revealing increasingly greater powers, their Chairman? What do they want? What is their Plan?

Based on short story "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick, expert in twisty scary scifi premises and endings, could be big question destiny v free will, becomes romance trumps resistance. I was more lost in their "normal" than when perceptions shift. American rah-rah genuine politickers (eg TV interviewer Jon Stewart). Boy banter with pal Charlie (Kelly). Giggly first date flirting.

Director Commentary:
Director idolizes NY - I don't. Public Library looks like a public library to me, not a supernatural HQ. Unlike The Tourist featuring Venic,e with side of Paris, this film became less the more I re-watched.

I missed subtleties when finger gesture spills coffee, lines move in book, hard tumble no effect, picture frame adjusted off. Sunbeams are glances from/ of Chairman - who knew? Connections I did not see. British accents coincide Emily Blunt heroine and Terence Stamp as Thompson, heavy villain. Actress had never danced, trained hours; body looked professional, yet still had double.

Captain America 5*

This is funny, even when rough and tough. Excerpt Insane Nazi Schmidt Red Skull (Tolkein elf Elrond Hugo Weaving) finds super energy crystal to power his Hydra weapons (despite old Norwegian guardian (Harry Potter's Filch David Bradley)). Meanwhile, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) from Brooklyn, shrunk skinny and short via special effects, sweet on brunette beauty British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) makes Captain. Supporters are: German experimenter (Stanley Tucci), whiz inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), best pal Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and skeptic Yank General Phillips (Men in Black's Tommy Lee Jones).

Confuses at first, familiar faces with new accents, makes more sense when watched again, jumps from Arctic burial site uncovered, evil mountain lair lab to enlistment office.

Long legged dancing girls... prisoner rescue escape. Action pow slam bang explosions. Surprising humor... sad loss. Final scene with eye-patched Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was a shocker, totally unexpected. As was the truly trailing trailer linking to the next film release.

Extras:
Outfit from comic clown to usable defense and offense, Chris mimes boomeranging vibranium weapon
Assembly of the Avenger Team trailer
Video game trailer
Cartoon trailer for Team

Commentary by director Joe Johnston, cinematographer Shelly Johnson (M), picture editor Jeffrey Ford, unfortunately emphasizes visuals. I don't care that his son and daughter were extras in single scenes. Smoke makes a simple Arctic night is an okay insight. In films now, green screen backgrounds are so commonplace, I didn't even notice so many. Nobody could double Evan's unique run, he was a better gymnast than others brought in, so he did his own; his screen test had included a fight.

Asides:
When I saw UK Richard Armitage in credits I knew very well as Robin Hood's threatening Guy of Gisborne and MI-5 Spooks' agonized Lucas North in the credits, clean shave, spectacles, a suit, and (better German) accent had hidden him behind the first Hydra agent Fred Clemson/Heinz Kruger who kills professor Erskine. Small bald Nazi lab rat Dr Arnim Zola is UK Toby Jones. UK Dominic Cooper does nebulous Boston east coast accent that fooled me for American.

The potential for melodramatic over-hype could have taken over. The balance of comic/ tragic works. I look forward to more Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, supporting cast, crew, and Avengers.

See TV shows free * updated Oct 2013

Sites going going gone with the wind. More ads, popups. Comment if you find good ones.

Downloading viewers: If strange blue (double) underlined links to advertisers appear, uninstall Codec (with free CCleaner (and cClean weekly). I see now, no iLivid or downloads.

YES Reliable site, most links work.
animeflavor cartoons
* darewall
* History channel only
* tubeplus.me
* watchseries.lt
* watchseries-online.eu
youtube clip, preview, trailer, parts

Yes but ads you cannot skip. Network websites may have only most recent episode in own country.
* cbc Canada
cbs U.S. only
citytv/ Canada
ctv.ca/ Canada
* cwtv US only? restricted, not Canada
nick cartoons
spacecast.com Canada (U.S. SyFy) Almighty Johnsons (Norse gods in New Zealand today)
SyFy U.S.
* ABC USA only so untested
Maybe. "Not in your area", depends
* blip.tv limited programs
channel4 U.K. only
free-tv-video-online.info was good
tvduck register
yidio only U.S.
zap2it/ maybe find most recent episode
Usually reliable uploaders: daclips, gorillavid, putlocker, sockshare, uploadc, vidbux

Pay. Free sites add pay links.
btvguide was good watchseries.eu
clicker
netflix
tv
tv-links.eu
yidio only U.S. free + pay

Clips ads
tv.blinkx
crackle

Foreign may work or not.
novamov, smotri - Russian
tudou, youku - Chinese

NO.
dailymotion.com search bar
tvmuaw was good, now no good links
videoh.com bad links

Depends who uploads. May be legit may not. Asks for confidential info, survey. Questionable download. Hiccups. Popups. Links to pay site. Still photos to soundtrack. Not secure.

2gbhosting, allmyvideow, alltvshows.net. divxstage, filebox, filmlush, free-moviesnow, fullepisode.info, fullmovies.me, graboid, iwannawatch.net, linkx.me, megavideo (seized), movie-planet.info, movie2k.to, movieease.com, movreel, movshare, onlinewatchmovies.net, ovguide.com, pushplay.com, sharefiles4u, social.bioware.com, solarmovie.eu, stream2k, streamingepisode, trailerfan.com, tvzrator, uploadc (iLivid), ustream.tv, veehd, vidbux, videoweed, vidreel, vids.tv, vixden, vixnet, watchcartoononline

Alvin & the Chipmunks 2 Squeakquel 4*


This Squeakquel pushes loyalty, and to love one another - just the way you are, amid goofy antics and hyper-sopranos from big-eyed cartoon animals in real-life setting.

When accident-prone Alvin (voice Justin Long) sends minder Dave Seville (Jason Lee TV My Name is Earl) to Paris hospital, klutzy cousin Toby Seville (Zachary Levi TV Chuck) is in charge of sending them to high school. Ryan (Kevin Schmidt) and his gang resent the competition for girls, and fool arrogant Alvin away from his brothers, studious Simon (v Matthew Gubler) and tubby Theodore (v Jesse McCartney). Principal (and) fan Dr Rubin (Wendie Malick) asks them to enter a contest and save the school music program, under teacher Julie Ortega (Anjelah Johnson).

Their vengeful ex-agent Ian Hawke (David Cross) tricks girl trio Chipettes Brittany (v Christina Applegate), Eleanor (v Amy Poehler), Jeannette (v Anna Faris) and sends them to the same school. Instant mutual infatuation Chipmunks to Chipettes, Toby to Julie. Fun slips to danger, cage, motorcycle (including safety helmets), helicopter, zoom, vavoom. The finale competition includes real-life performers, singer Charice Pempengco (before Jackie Evancho), but highlight is the six miniscule stars with We are Family. I am a fan.

Previews: Original 1. ChipWrecked 3.

Trivia: Singers uncredited imdb says are Al- Ross Bagdasarian Jr, Si- Steve Vining, Theo- Janice Karman, El- Courtney Galiano, so maybe the others are the same as the speakers?

Poirot s10: Mews, Waverley, Blackbirds

5* dvd Poirot s10 stars Poirot (David Suchet), his sidekick Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), and plodding Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson). My favorite parts are London scenery, city, village, lovely accents (Belgium French basic enough for me despite odd or missed translations in captions - tisane is bilingual for herbal tea), geometric Art Deco (and earlier ornate Nouveau) architecture, costumes - hats (tall, tiny, swooping), gloves (long, short; suede, leather, silk, velvet). Time and place that never were.

The detective portrayal is fussy, prim, effective. Despite being an ideal Poirot (others), Suchet does play other roles, including villains Wiki .Lanky Hastings suites brawn better than comic relief. The TV interpretation condenses trivia to improve plot flow.

1 "Murder in the Mews" Full is a body of a young woman shot, but wiped gun and no suicide note suggest murder. Recently from India, engaged to a cold rising politician, pursued by a shifty possible blackmailer, she was found by her caring photographer flat-mate. An observant youngster offers crucial evidence. Poirot plays golf to tail the grieving girl.

2 "The Adventure of Johnny Waverley" Full is a toddler kidnapped on the stroke of noon, after the husband calls in Poirot, Japp, and backup guardians. Poirot interviews the butler, the builder called in for renovations, makes pertinent observations, and decides to pack for London to exercise his little grey cells.

3 "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" Full refers to a blackberry pudding (British for dessert course) eaten after a heavy starter and entree, thick soup and steak-kidney pie, observed by Poirot, dining with his dentist. The waitress reports the elderly reclusive artist's out-of-character choices and earlier off-schedule weekday appearance. Yet the coroner says Henry Gascoigne ate a light repast.
In the body's pocket is an envelope, seemingly from the evening post. Evidence points to a night-time staircase fall. However, his brother recently died, and their only relative and heir, nephew and actor George, has a weak alibi.

Immortals 1*? - X-rated

Preview shows star looks more appealing than Worthington in Clash of the Titans, but starts with too much violence for me, 22'22" was my limit. The lost bow Eperion, able to kill immortals, wakes the rebel Titan gods confined beneath Mt Tartarus. But the spectacle is just a dream from the virgin oracle. The effects may be special, but I care not.

The Heraklean king, in suitably growling tones, seeks the bow, attacks the monastery, asks for her, burns one priest alive, then threatens another. The monks are forbidden to take a life, even their own, so the second priest cuts off his own tongue (creative). Traitor Lysander offers only a poor village. The king has enough maidens, slaves, and weapons, so he orders punishment.

Lysander's face is sliced symmetrically, in the pattern of the king's scarred visage. A huge mallet is aimed directly to end his particular bloodline. I quit before the scream finished, despite hope and special effects. Bastard hero Theseus' old grandfather lifelong advisor was revealed as Zeus in a swirl of golden cape against grey stone: gloomy dim caves, stark towering cliffs, high enough for dramatic body falls.

Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas 2000 4*


Preview. Goofy actors inhabit plastic and animated setting. At her bridal shower, heiress Wilma Slaghoople (Kristen Johnston) wants to bowl and avoid admirer Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson - TV Chuck villain), senile dad the Colonel (Harvey Korman), and socialite mother Pearl Crawfish (Joan Collins). In the quarry, lonely Fred (Mark Addy with Jersey accent) wants a life-changing event to drop out of the sky. So a green flying-saucer does, 1' green Great Gazoo (Alan Cumming, also Mick Jagged with pretentious Brit accent) floats, observes native dum-dum mating rituals.

Wilma runs away to fast-food BrotoKing, trips into a job and apartment share with new friend waitress Betty O'Shale (Jane Krakowski), and a double date with customers Fred and Barney (Stephen Baldwin with trademark Rubble laugh), speechless in admiration, to the fair next day. When Barney and Betty hit it off, partners switch off, Fred's strength and ballet-style bowling lesson sets the match, awarded prize egg that immediately hatches into puppy dinosaur Dino (trademark yip-yip-yip). Lots of slapstick silliness before true love happy ending.

Thor 5*

Preview. Norse god grows up to be a man. 2-5* starts at Puente Antiguo (Old Bridge in Spanish, Bifrost bridge to Norse Heaven) New Mexico boonies. Astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman tiny 5'3"), student Darcy (Kat Dennings) and prof Erik (Stellan Skarsgård), chase storms, but Jane crashes into big stranger, twice. Slapstick comic moments amid cataclysm. Rating lowered by high-noon confrontation, one big kiss. Epic suits big screen. Sequel hopeful?

Flashback to Norway 965 AD, Viking god Odin Allfather (Anthony Hopkins) with two eyes and army conquers evil Frost Giants and their Ice Age. Forward to Asgard, eye-patch lectures two sons arrogant blond first-born and sly dark-hair. Forward to today, coronation interrupted by defence breach, repulsed.

Now grown, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) incites Thor (Chris Hemsworth divinely muscular 6'3" Australian) to investigate the invasion with good-looking under-used team Warriors Four: Sif (Jamie Alexander), Fandral (Josh Dallas), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) - I'd gladly see more.


Gigantic special effects: dimensional travel, frozen wasteland, flaming explosions, towering monsters. The scope is so big, the subtlety of fine acting is overwhelmed. Goddess Freya (Rene Russo) doesn't even show off talent, even partial face of Gatekeeper Heimdall (Idris Elba) has voice accentuated.

Odin boots out Thor, his power, his hammer. Lodged firmly like Arthur's sword, the weapon waits for a strong enough master. Government men in black SHIELD, led by Coulson (Clark Gregg) interfere, like villains, with Jane and Thor.

Surprise twists between Loki and Laufey Frost King (understated, Canadian Colm Feore inside 6-hour makeup), Odinsleep, how hammer first responds to Thor, the final promise and choices of Thor and Loki. Can disbelief suspend far into the Nine Realms? Human can fall for god, god may want human, but forever? How can the arrogant war-lover learn to rule with humility, negotiation, generosity? Will heroes sacrifice all to save others? Will force triumph -

Spoiler: - even over love? After-credits scene has Erik, Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson), artifacts glow with unlimited power, background whisper from Loki, links to the overall Avenger team series theme (Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, more to come).

Extra Commentary Trivia by Director Ken Brannagh: Stan Lee cartoon genius has cameo as trucker pulling Molinjar hammer. Water Tower says Welcome to the Home of the Vikings in small town film built near Santa Fe. The sniper above Thor and Molinjar is Avenger Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

How to train your dragon 5*


Book website.

My GoodReads review.

Trailer.

Creators coming out with Croods -- prehistoric brave girl goes gaga over shoes?! Hope as good as this.

DVD
Same gang led by red-hair (sticks up straight) Viking lad Hiccup (Jay Baruchel - still nasal, but better than live in Sorcerer's Apprentice)), heir to Viking tribe, but different plot than Cressida Cowell's book. Book has only boys, Toothless is tiny rude selfish spoiled pet. Onscreen, he rides on enthusiastic friendly helpful BIG Night Fury. Film adds his cheeky crush Astrid (America Ferrara). Best pal Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), plump hefty, pampers his round motherly Gronkle.

Voices in film only are Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig), Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson), and Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler). Cast, new and old, can be found at special Wiki.

Loved by three generations in my family, I recommend the tale as fun for all ages. Special effects, explosions, flying, silly faces, scary monsters, honor, imagination ...


TV
New adventuress air on TV. Like in animated film, Hiccup limps, is sweet on cheeky Astrid, rides BIG Toothless Night Fury. New voices are includes Ruffnut (Julie Marcus), Snotlout (Zack Pearlman), Gobber (Chris Edgerly), and Stoick (Nolan North). Closing morals are more specific to their situation.

Some episodes continue in two parts. (I thought I'd missed Ep5 resolution, twice, till I watched #6 Alvin (2) online.) Alvin the Treacherous (Mark Hamill) seems skinnier, smarter, elusive rather than fist-in-your-face. thus scarier in the books. I like re-playing and freezing favorite bits on my PC.
----------
Spoilers:
Nasty old Mildew (Stephen Root) sneakily forces away the pets, destroys the armory, so Berk is defenceless against Alvin's marauders. Why does Stoick (Nolan North) order Alvin's ship burnt? I'd take it for the Berk fleet. Stoick, tribe chief and Hiccup's father, finds his own Thunder-wind voiced ride.

I don't always agree with concluding morals. In Thawfest, Snotlout is strongest, his dragon control weaker. "Keeping the tribe strong" is a leadership quality, but "losing gracefully"? I prefer "Do your best".
----------

old DVDs list

Newest DVD list

Abduction - Taylor Lautner
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple v1 (Geraldine McEwan) 2006 s2 e1
Vicarage, Extras: Library, Announced, Paddington
Agatha Christie Marple "Blue Geranium" (Julia McKenzie) 2010 s5 disc3 ep3
Agatha Christie Marple "Sleeping Murder" (Geraldine McEwan) 2006 s2 e1
Agatha Christie Poirot, see Poirot below
Bend It Like Beckham 2002
Cars 2 - spy Mater in Europe
Cars Life 2 - Sparky on Route 6
Cowboy Legends TCM - John Wayne, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry
Farscape
Fifth Element
G.I. Joe 1: Rise of the Cobra 5* for video game too
Iron Man 1 - Robert Downey Jr
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Killer Elite - Jason Statham
MacGyver 2 TV films - Atlantis, Doomsday
Miss Marple v1, see Agatha Christie
Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War
Nanny McPhee
Nanny McPhee Returns aka & the Big Bang
Oz: The Great and Powerful 2013
ParaNorman
Poirot s10: Mews, Waverley, Blackbirds (David Suchet)
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Recruit, the
Red Dawn 1984 original
Sherlock 2010 - Cumberbatch
Sherlock Holmes 1 - Downey, Law
Spy Next Door - Jackie Chan
Star Trek 2009 (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto et magnificos)
Tourist, the
Toy Story 2
True Grit 2010
Watch

Tangled 2011 5*

"This is the story of how I died". Motivations, methods, and secrets tangle up in confusion to an almost sad and scary end. One big birthday, furiously fast 24 hours. Only the tower-long hair is like the original Rapunzel, so less predictable than many re-tellings.

Preview makes me laugh every time: frypan bonk, kungfu hair fight, "The Smolder". Did I see this "Tangled 2" as Xmas special?

Beloved Disney heroines dance, lift, wrap, kiss, in dawn, moonlight - match perfect to perfect melody. Uplifting for Valentine, any day. Rapunzel, Flynn, and other "Legendary Dreamers" set to "Lift Me Up", and other love songs. Having lost my own dad before I knew him, I'm not so keen on Lion King brat who causes his father's death, but Mulan and Hunchback of Notre Dame touch hearts set to "Heartline".

This is more than a silly musical cartoon, because serious lessons invisibly painlessly slip in. Adults, maybe parents, who "protect" you, can be abusive liars. Reaching for dreams can be dangerous, achieving them a disappointment, requiring sacrifice. What we want (freedom of choice) can be confused with how we reach (theft) our perception of that goal (wealth). We can change who we are by what we do. Help can come from unlikely places. An unexpectedly effective weapon can be a frypan.

Prelude:

Long ago, a single golden drop of the sun grew into a magic flower. Sung a sweet verses, the glow healed. The next events puzzle me. If only people did not greedily hoard for themselves, couldn't maybe single petals heal everybody forever? Another lesson about win-win results of sharing?


Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) hid the bloom for centuries, to keep herself youthful. When the pregnant queen fell deathly sick, the blossom was found and made into a healing drink. The healthy babe (Mandy Moore) had golden hair and enormous endearing eyes like her mom.

When Gothel snuck in and sang, the hair glowed and restored her. When she cut off a lock, the hair turned brown and useless. So Gothel kidnapped Rapunzel, hid her in a tower, and raised her as her own, claiming "I love you most", and stays lovely outside, bad inside.

The Biggest Day of their Lives:

Every year the girl sees the castle release a sky-full of lanterns to fly free on her birthday, and yearns to find their source, but Gothel refuses. Finally, on her 18th birthday, the orphan thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levy also TV Chuck, the perfect combination of looks, amiability, cleverness, and bumbling) climbs her tower. He stole her tiara from the castle, is on the run, pursued by his villainous cohorts and the royal guards, led by the horse Maximus, who trails and wags like a dog.

Max and Pascal, the princess's pet chameleon have no voices, but credit Disney animators for extremely expressive faces and bodies. A helpful, most unlikely singing Thug Hook is Brad Garrett from TV Everybody Loves Raymond, his brother Robert.

The winding road leads back to the tower, but the ups and downs, traps and escapes, carry us a long way in a single day.

Voices: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levy, Donna Murphy

The Tourist 2010 4*

Teaser. "The Tourist" is a scruffy Wisconsin US math teacher Frank (Johnny Depp 5'10") on holiday in Venice (nowhere else would do), picked up on the train from France by sultry Brit Elise (Angelina Jolie 5'8") as instructed by her ex (two years gone) amour Alexandar Pearce, who stole $2.3B from a gangster Shaw. I'd watch Jolie and Captain Jack Sparrow ad nauseum, but deduct 1* for lack of chemistry here with meek scraggy haired wimp Yank. His slapstick bumbling amiability does make believable that she completes him. A small running gag is his attempts at conversational Spanish in Italy, even in the french dubbed version (better for merde (English bloody) the only appropriate curse).


I'd take one of the continental supporting Males (my capitalization) and watch for the pretty packaging (the director's stated intention): the beauty of Venice and Jolie, and major actors (in minor roles) of supreme excellence and fascinatingly charismatic faces, who convey more meaning in a glance than wooden incompetent Hollywood clones in a lifetime.


Another reason for filming in Europe, the cigarette is a pivotal hinge for innumerable plot points, a novelty for a resident of *too politically correct Canada. I once visited inside a Venetian home, theirs for centuries, and knew we colonials could never understand that bone-deep difference they take for granted. The orchestration is the perfect accompaniment to the atmosphere and action, as is Katie Melua.


Russian thugs (Steven Berkoff) shoot to kill Elise; French and British Interpol (Paul Bettany, boss - Timothy Dalton) just watch. Funny scenes such as synchronated stepping behind pillars and motorboat towing are broken by the scary murderous villain, even with a grabed tape measure. How does she switch outfits from cream sweater and pants to clingy grey dress complete with yet another pair of gloves, while holding onto the steering wheel, or why stop to change? Where she steers to is an even bigger surprise. Nothing like the book at all. More of a showcase (in the extras, the director agrees - sophistication, glamor, luxury, beauty) for elegant outfits, and the perennial question of love at first sight and forever. I kinda guessed the ending then, caught up in the action and Angelina's smile, forgot.


Rufus Sewell 6' ("tourist" stand-in caught by Interpol, formerly BBC's Venetian detective Aurelio Zen) and Timothy Dalton 6'2" (former 007) are terrific mysteriously glimpsed elusive phantom and top police chief, respectively. Suddenly seeing Pirate Captain Jack in a facial twitch added extra layers to disguise. Paul Bettany 6'3" as crisp Inspector Acheson is very different than the last time I saw him as shaggy Dustfinger in Inkheart. The film cast consummate experts for even small roles, a joy to watch. Alessio Boni, the So Attractive Italian Interpol police captain was once a real Italian cop, now gorgeous onscreen. Steven Berkoff 5'9" couldn't be anything but a villain to me. Even funny gets creepy. I looked up the celebrity heights, because that tiny detail contributes to the overall feel of their characters and relationships.


Director commentary:

Von Donnersmarck says minor role surnames are from favored crew, but skips the fake mystery book "A Berlin Vendetta" supposedly by real-life Charles Torbett, props master, 35+ films: Star Wars, Indiana Jones. The real "swordsman" Count Filippo Gaggia has a gorgeous wife, and let his name be used because Raoul Bova would portray the part. The grand ballroom upper floor was used for basketball. Katie Melua, first heard as a teenager, live, was first to see edited film, to allow her song.)
http://www.katiemelua.com/video.html


Spoiler
.
.
(sort of, I don't tell you the plot context)
.
.
Final lines:
.
.
.Twenty million dollars worth of plastic surgery and that's the face you choose?
.Don't you like it?
.It'll do.

MegaMind 5* 2010

"Destiny is not the path given to us, but the path we choose for ourselves"
"No matter how much you screw up ... it's never too late to do the right thing."

MegaMind is a big bald head blue alien (the only Will Ferrell act I like) who grows up fighting superhero MetroMan (Brad Pitt, plot pitched as "Alice Cooper vs. Elvis"). The super-villain "super-power is that he never gives up"; his right-hand is fish-bear Minion (David Cross). When our scavenging inventor falls for bantering sassy ace reporter Roxanne (Tina Fey) and realizes having it all has brought nothing, steampunkish Metrocity ("sister city of Toronto") is the biggest winner of all.
Happy, scrappy, scary, zappy cartoon with a zippy soundtrack. Dialogue like "fackled fish crackers" demonstrates ingenuity. Lots of surprise twists. DreamWorks world of Kungfu Panda, Madagascar Penguins, Shrek, and How to Train your Dragon is always 5*, and the extras feature my favorite songs/ clips from each. We don't have to live up to others' expectations; inspiration from imagination helps. I was surprised the lonely walk in the rain didn't remind anyone else of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, or the rolling giant ball of Indiana Jones.

dvd Inkheart

4* "Inkheart" (dvd 2008) makes more sense than some of Cornelia Funke's book and smashing special effects. Bookbinder Mo (Brendan Fraser) accidentally read his wife Resa (Sienna Guillory) into the Inkheart book, others out, such as villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis). Flame-thrower Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) wants back in, back to his family (made more of in book #2, #1 puzzling, has him wishing for mischevious fairies, the film finishes his story better without a sequel). Helen Mirren is slender, elegant unlike dumpy dowdy Elinor, same cranky bibliophile, more comic relief and brave savior.
Just as many foolish mistakes, like the author Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent) who gets caught and reveals Mo's daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) has the Silvertongue ability. Just as unlikely that Meg can read in public as write under pressure. Unlike the babysitting grandpa in the book, here Fenoglio is lonely, and pines for his creation, so his end is fitting too. The finale is altogether more complete, satisfying that the book as start of a series.
The only extra is Eliza reading concluding paragraphs

"Writing is a kind of magic too".

Stars: Brendan Fraser,Paul Bettany,Eliza Bennett,Helen Mirren

5* Galaxy Quest 1999



The Galaxy Quest crew (Photo 1) are begged by short frozen-smiling alien Thermians (Photo 2) led by Malthesar (Enrico Colentoni) to save surviving refugees from savage attackers who destroyed their world, now bound for Earth. What if intelligent life out there thought our fantasies were real? What if actors had to save the universe? What if aliens landed at the next nerd Convention? And you were there? How could you help? Preview.

Laughs every single viewing, one of my few purchases, and favorite of Star Trek 2009 creators (from DVD extras Commentary). When Checkov beams Kirk and Sulu off giant drill is homage by Abrams et al to when Captain Jason Nasmith "Commander Peter Quincy" (Tim Allen) beamed away from rock monster by engineer Fred Kwan "Tech Sgt Chen" (Tony Shalhoub).

Tommy Webber "Lt Laredo" (Daryl Mitchell) is the nine-year old boy wonder all grown up (think Wesley Crusher (Will Wheaton), pubescent from ST New Generation on TV "The Big Bang Theory" Highlights, who becomes the nemesis of Sheldon Cooper (bowling, cards), and provokes Sheldon to shout "Wheaton!" like when Kirk yells "Khan!"

Gwen DeMarco "Lt Tawny Madison" (Sigourney Weaver), buxom blonde in low-zip front echoes computer voice "I've only got one job on this ship and I'm going to do it", seductively swooshing when she and Jason climb through the ubiquitous air vents to the obligatory dangers. Alexander Dane (corrugated head Mak'Tar)"Lazarus" (Alan Rickman) is cast beneath his ability, wants only to find a pub. Guy (Sam Rickwell) fears he is the classic red shirt doomed to die .. or is he comic relief? Even Laliani (Missi Pyle), a tentacled Thermian (Guy doesn't want to watch when Fred and Laliani kiss) adds romance and tempts Fred away from Earth.

Hilarity blasts "to infinity and beyond" (astronaut Buzz, Toy Story) lead hilarity skyward. Even convention-bound nerds contribute their technical know-how to the cause, for a twist on the ending. Now I keep an eye everywhere, on 60s repeats and spinoffs for ubiquitous expendable red-shirt crew and duct-crawls. Even found in Doctor Who #9, my intro to an addiction, s1 e2 "End of the World".

dvd Father Brown V1

3* dvd "Father Brown" V1 1974 ( Kenneth More) is based on G.K. Chesterton stories. I recalled a big red book I liked, and didn't like short Incredulity or find any similarities, so more research needed to compare screenplays. Like Holmes' Watson, Brown has pal Flambeau.
The film age shows. DVD lacks extras, sub-titles, or translations. Color and sound vary from indoor, outside, and studio. The setting time shows. Costumes have male knicker pant lengths, long lady dresses for dinner, hats, clerical collars. Classes are distinct: aristocrat vs. servant.
Low-key, serious, solid country priest solves murder in run-down theatre, village hotel getaway, and visiting parish. The first is best, when we can choose the villain. The second also gives us many clues toward a final exposé, but hides the particular link. The third bogs down in the similarity of bees to wasps, and murder motivations. I think the cause is greed for wealth and status, not being misunderstood by parents and society.
The Actor and the Alibi depends on trapdoors in old pantomime stages, and the rehearsal being in plain-clothes for a (School for Scandal - hohum hokey melodrama) scene where an actress is behind a screen. The retired actor-owner, given a licentious reputation by gossip, is knifed in a locked room. His aging lead actress wife is wooed by a much younger rising star, and given sidelong snide sneers by her long-time dresser.
The Quick One was a fast drink served while the bar was closed, by whoever spiked the cherry brandy with poison. The victim fought for honesty, making too many enemies.
The Man with Two Beards starts with one inexplicable shooting of an unwary bee-keeper, then skips to a second by a jewel thief, where our hero tracks over the evidence trail, and finds duplicate disguises for the suspected retired slain thief. In a twist, we know the perpetrator; he unnecessarily admits his guilt by running away. I would delete the whole last scene of blather tea talk, the drawing room gathering explanation is traditional and sufficient.

Clash of the Titans 2010 3*

Preview. More * if angry, grim, god-hating Perseus (Sam Worthington - Avatar) had more viv, or hair? I adore brave men against special effects - ocean storms, desert scorpions, mountain strongholds, depth of the underwold, Medusa's lair, giant Kraken monster - in standard quest against the evil Hades (Ralph Fiennes - Voldemort and Merlin?).

Argos soldiers dying alongside are real tragedy. Lovely immortal Io (Gemma Atterton) leads, most of way. Cannot lose with Zeus' (Liam Neeson) gifts - Olympian sword and flying horse Pegasus.

dvd Time Bandits

4* "Time Bandits" (1981 onto DVD 1999) starts with boy Kevin (Craig Warnock), surprised in his bedroom by six (hard to count because they hardly stand still) dwarves, starting careers as international thieves (Photo 1) with a stolen map of time portals for a multi-period film. Impeccable fitting fitted small costumes, steampunk-scrap style headgear. Hodge-podge vignettes start with historical figures, then descend into nonsense cartoon fairytale. Silly with intense menace, slapstick without cute conde,scension.
Minimal special effects with cuts, angles, black, sounds, models, smoke, giant Lego (I missed that), reverse shots, have great effect, above earliest Star Trek styrofoam alien rocks. The evil lair was a 12'x 25' plastic mini-model. The great escape was immensely clever teamwork. Lots of flashy explosions for the predictable end of pompous villain. Back in the present, the resolution did not resolve for me.
Spoilers:
The Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson) chases them through drunken Napoleon (Ian Holm), reminds me of the lemur king in Madagascar Penguins, Robin Hood (John Cleese) "crikey, rather, jolly good, cheerio". A hesitant suitor's proposal to Pansy (Shelley Duvall) is interrupted here; reincarnations of the couple recur. But the Evil Genius (David Warner) watches, wants the map, to get silicon technology, and diverts them to where (Morocco) Greek King Agamemnon (Sean Connery - Photo 2) cuts off the minotaur's (costume) head. Flash to a fancy ship, where else would they be but the Titanic (1958 real colorized slowed docudrama "Night to Remember" footage). Kevin loses his Polaroid camera here, but photos survive to save them at the end. A Ogre schooner captain and loving wife "rescue" them and they "escape" as a Giant's hat.
Strangely, the treasure chamber looks like the quiz show (host ubiquitous Jim Broadbent) the parents watch the first night. Lures of advertising? The final hollow-eyed scythe-hand monsters chasing look like the Lord of the Rings Dark Riders; does that mean the small heroes are like hobbits? Most improbable and distressing is the destruction of the resources gathered from all times "ultimate boy's bedroom" - cowboys, archers, knights, tank, rocket-flyer - to merry-go-round melodies. If the present-day fireman who winks is Agamemnon, why doesn't he adopt the boy again? The human asks "why do we have evil", but "something about free will" is no real answer.

Commentary Extra:
I never even noticed the camera often shot from below, "kid" point of view.I saw the plastic covers on the furniture of the materialistic TV-techno-obsesssed parents and on the villain minions, but I didn't link them as "all that is wrong with the modern world". Some symbolism went right over my head. The engaged couple with a unspecified "problem" was supposed to be what adults always say in front of children.
Amazing effects for little money $5M. Midget Kenny Baker was Star Wars R2D2, others Ewoks. Huh. Lead Randall's (David Rappaport) suicide and bearded partner Jack Purvis's paraplegic-accident main reason for cancelling sequel. Mini-models 6" did some stunts. So cutouts and small sets and Welsh castle looked large. The giant was not large, slow film speed and sound effects, miniatures, did the job.
Who takes care of Kevin when his parents die is a girl reaction, apparently. Boys know. When parents don't listen to kids, they die. After surviving danger, we've grown up and can survive. Especially if 007 Connery is guardian angel in background.

Stars: Craig Warnock, Sean Connery, Ralph Richardson, John Cleese, Kenny Bakery, David Rappaport, Jim Broadbent, Shelley Duval