Self-driving cars…

…are they something we can expect to see in our near future?

Based on the above article and others I’ve read, the answer would seem to be a resounding “yes”.

I know there are those who enjoy driving and loathe the idea of giving up on doing so, but the reality is that there are probably even more people out there who would love to allow their cars to drive them to and from work each day and give them that time to read the paper or check their emails or make themselves up, etc. etc. and not have to burn a half-hour plus (and in some cases many more pluses) in the act of actually driving through rush hour gridlock.

And because we’re dealing with a computer driver, if many -if not most- vehicles on the highway wind up being self-driving cars, then I suspect that rush hour traffic will become lessened.  No rubbernecking, fewer crashes.

While one can certainly envision perils (bad software, a defective scanner, etc) how is this not a good thing?

One day soon…

Pacific Rim (2013) a (mildly) belated review

When i was a kid, our family moved to and lived in South America for a number of years.  There, the primary source of “kid’s” entertainment on television were a wide variety of Japanese TV shows.  Whether cartoon or live action, the predominate “boy” shows featured a wide assortment of robots battling other robots and heroes who piloted said vehicles.

By the time we left South America I was burned out by the whole thing.  I was surprised to find that when I arrived in the United States, the whole Japanese manga movement was only just beginning, so what was old hat to me was something new and fascinating to American audiences.

Years passed and today, the Japanese sci-fi market in all its various incarnations is pretty well known and, of course, extends well beyond the giant fighting robot genre.

Still, that’s the particular genre I’ve most remembered from my youth.  I believe the first Americanized version of this particular genre could be found in the low budget 1989 release Robot Jox.

Watching that trailer above, its interesting to see how as much as things change, they manage to stay the same.

Pacific Rim, director/co-writer Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to this genre, is a perfectly good action/adventure film featuring giant robots and the monsters they fight.  The plot is very simple: A strange undersea rift has appeared and is spitting out giant sized monsters that, natch, attack the coastal cities of Earth.  Humanity unites to fight the menace and ultimately creates a squad of giant robots piloted by two people who are mentally “linked” together to do the job.  But the menace grows greater as stronger and more fearsome monsters appear, and a mystery develops regarding their origins…and purpose.

I had a perfectly good time watching Pacific Rim.  No, the film won’t earn awards for Shakespearean levels of acting or for the screenplay’s subtlety or depth.

This is nothing more and nothing less than a fun popcorn film.

Strangely, the film nonetheless managed to divide audiences quite a bit.  A friend of mine stated he tried to see the film a couple of times but could not get past the first twenty minutes.  Others have pointed a plot holes they felt critically wounded the movie’s story.

I dunno.

We are talking about a world where giant robots sucker punching giant monsters are a more effective way of dealing with said menaces versus nerve gas or missiles or nukes or any other form of projectiles.

In other words, if you’re willing to sit back and let the movie flow, I suspect you’ll have a good time.

For those looking for something more “logical”, then perhaps you should stick with action movies that have that…say, Skyfall or The Avengers?


Time Travellers Among Us?!

A collection of amusing photographs and videos from the sometimes distant past that purport to show evidence of “time travellers” among us:

Of the ones presented, perhaps the most “famous” -at least to me- is the “modern day hipster in 1940” (Picture #4).  For a while, that one seemed to get people’s interest, before being debunked and fading away.

Still, a fun link…provided you have my kind of sense of humor! 😉

What Will Become of the Library?

A fascinating article by Michael Agresta for regarding the above question: In this age of digital media, what will become of public libraries?

Perhaps the most fascinating quote of the article is this one:

A library without books was once unthinkable. Now it seems almost inevitable.

And the future marches on…

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) a (right on time!) review

…well, right on time plus a couple of weeks…

Way, waaaay back in 1990 I went to the theaters to see Reversal of Fortune.  The movie, starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close, examined the real life attempts by lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his students to overturn the murder conviction of Klaus van Bulou, who had been convicted of attempting to murder his wife Sunny, a very wealthy New York socialite.

The film was great and Jeremy Irons delivered a creepy turn as van Bulou.  Further, it featured a terrific courtroom drama, something I normally find very intriguing.  And yet, immediately after seeing the film I knew I would probably never see it again and therefore not buy it when it reached the home video market.

In those younger, more naive times I lived in, I found these divergent feelings very odd.  How could I, on the one hand, enjoy a film as much as this one yet, on the other hand, know that as good as it was, there was little chance I would ever revisit it?

Which brings us to The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Directed and co-written by cult favorite Wes Anderson, the film is a whimsical comedy/mystery/action film regarding M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes, absolutely fantastic in the lead comedic role), an outwardly elegant and well spoken (but inwardly somewhat sleazy and foul mouthed) concierge at the aforementioned Hotel and Zero Moustafa, a lobby boy he takes under his wing.  The movie takes place at the outset of World War II, but deliberately blurs reality of these times to make the movie more of a live action cartoon, with at times very dreamy set pieces and characters.

In many ways the film resembles a live action version of the Tintin graphic novels of Herge (not the film version by Steven Spielberg, which while entertaining enough, never grasped the “spirit” of the works nor Herge’s love of culture).

I laughed long and hard at many of the jokes presented, particularly the running gag of M. Gustave’s oh-so-proper diction, which at the turn of a hat becomes foul mouthed cursing.  The romance between Zero Moustafa and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) was also well handled and bittersweet, as well as the story, involving the possible murder of a wealthy socialite (shades of Reversal of Fortune!) and the coming war.

The movie also features a wealth of cameo appearances by familiar actors, from Harvey Keitel to Bill Murray to Tilda Swinton, etc. etc.  That, unfortunately, winds up being one of the film’s weaker links as these cameos, amusing as they were, often didn’t pay off quite as well as the filmmakers probably hoped.  While it was interesting to spot the various actors here and there, they are often no more than window dressing and some are given very little to do (Bill Murray’s few scenes, in particular, felt pointless).

Despite this, the film is a worthy watch, a more than solid effort that entertained me during its run.  Now, I have enjoyed some of Wes Anderson’s films, but not all of them.  I think he is a unique creator, a man whose works clearly stand out from others.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of his better overall efforts, in my opinion, yet I would caution those who are not fans of Mr. Anderson’s particular style to tread lightly.  For those who are fans, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a no-brainer, another elegant, well thought out piece of whimsy.

Yet as good as the film is, I can help but return to my opening comments.  The Grand Budapest Hotel, to me is very much like Reversal of Fortune in the sense that as much as I enjoyed it, I doubt I’ll revisit the film anytime soon (if at all).  Make of that what you will.

Still, and also like Reversal of Fortune, I heartily recommend giving the film a look.  Though it ultimately may not be my cup of tea to revisit, it most certainly was worth at least one visit.

Justified, Season 5 in conclusion…

Way back in January of this year, I wrote about the beginning of the fifth season of one of my favorite TV series, Justified, and my fears regarding it becoming long in the tooth, so to speak. (Read about it here)

To elaborate a little, I was worried the show might be reaching a point where the creative staff before and behind the camera might start “going through the motions” and the show may be, like others I’ve enjoyed before, wearing out its welcome.

Now that the season is done, were my worries…justified?

It really pains me to say it, but the answer is “yes”.

Now, before saying anything else, let me note the following: Despite some of the complaints I’ll mention below, season five of the show was still a pretty good ride and featured some very dramatic events and great tension.  Unfortunately, when all is said and done, I got the feeling this season was nothing more than a windup for season 6, which I suspect will focus on the final confrontation between Marshal Raylon Givens and criminal Boyd Crowder.

Looking back at season 5, the “big bad”, Daryl Crowe, was an imposing yet ultimately rather pathetic character whose greatest attribute appeared to be to get himself out of trouble with the law…usually by forcing others to fall on his sword.  Two of his original sidekicks, presented as a pair of very lethal characters, were dispatched in an almost offhanded way.  One of them never even got a chance to confront Marshal Givens (though I wanted to see it!) and the other -quite literally now that I think about it- actually fell on his sword!

For that matter, by the very end Daryl Crowe was taken out without Marshal Givens firing a single bullet, either.

As for Boyd Crowder, the long running nemesis of Marshal Givens, his season long story involved a) his struggles to make it in the heroin trade and b) his girlfriend Ava going from one jail to another and his being powerless to get her out.  Boyd’s struggles with getting into the drug business were at times darkly humorous and tense while his inability to help his girl get out of jail added pressure to his attempts to create a life for himself.

Ava’s incarceration and her struggles behind bars were never all that original, at least to me, nor as fascinating as it might have been.  In the closing minutes of the season this matter was abruptly -and conveniently- resolved but amounted to a big “to be continued” plot line for season six.

So, all in all, season 5 of Justified, despite some really good stuff here and there, was easily the weakest of the show’s five seasons so far, though given how good the show is, even sub-par Justified is far better than 90 plus percent of shows out there.

My big hope is that the creative staff have a terrific conclusion to the saga in mind, given that season six has already been announced as the series’ last.

Despite everything, I’ll most certainly be there for season six.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) a (right on time) review

By now, a mere week or so since Captain America: The Winter Soldier (CATWS from now on) was released, it has proven a mighty box-office hit and, for the most part, people really like, if not outright love, the film.

Count me in the previous category.

I very much enjoyed CATWS and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.  The movie is a first rate production featuring, among other things, suspense, action, humor, and terrific special effects.  But it this added bonus makes it even more special:  The very clever casting of Robert Redford in a role that screams references to some of his previous films (most notably All The President’s Men and Three Days of the Condor) while simultaneously -and deviously- subverting fans of those older film’s expectations.  I’ll say no more…

…for now.

So, in brief: See the movie.  Unless you have no pulse, you should find it very enjoyable.  It is not perfect, but it is a solid, and easily one of the better, Marvel Universe films released to date.





Allow me to elaborate on the whole “it is not perfect” thing I mentioned above.

Yes, CATWS is a solid, very entertaining film.  It is also, unfortunately, a little bit like the latest James Bond film Skyfall (my review of it can be found here): A first rate production and an exciting film with a rather…how do I put it kindly?…troubled story.

Now, I don’t think CATWS’ story was quite as flawed as Skyfall’s.  Yet it does have its problems.  For example, the whole opening bit involving a ship taken over by pirates wound up being something else.

But what exactly?

There was a VERY IMPORTANT computer program -and personnel- on board the ship which figured into the rest of the story, but why in the world was this program there?  There is no explanation given, which makes you wonder all the more why it was there in the first place.  Later in the film we’re told that maybe Sgt. Fury -the man who sends in Captain America and his group to “rescue” the ship- actually had something to do with the piracy in the first place.

But…did he?

As a viewer I was never certain because it is the villain who states Fury was responsible for the piracy itself.  However, him being the villain, do we believe his words?  Was Fury just “lucky” the ship was assaulted and he then got his hands on this highly important material?

As should be evident, even as I write this I have no idea who was behind this opening piracy.

Which leads us to the next, most difficult aspect of the movie to swallow: That the SHIELD organization, Fury’s organization, was infiltrated many years before and is run by operatives of HYDRA, Marvel’s answer to James Bond’s S.P.E.C.T.E.R.

Because the movie rolls along so nicely, I was willing to let that one pass, but when you think about it, this idea is a really hard one to accept.  It would be akin to having the Nazi’s “secretly” infiltrate the U.S. Army during the waning days of WWII and “lay low” all this time while essentially doing their evil undercover.  If these evil people were so deeply infiltrated within SHIELD, why did they let the piracy thing happen?  If such an important program to them was on that ship, why let Captain America go there and rescue the passengers?

Evil organizations shouldn’t care too much about losing one or two people.  Couldn’t they have “accidentally” destroyed the ship and everyone on board and ended the possibility of their master plan being exposed once and for all?

Now, moving to the meat and potatoes of the film, actor Chris Evans is decent in the role of Captain America but little more.  While I’ve enjoyed him in other roles, as Captain America he’s rather bland and hard to relate to.  I’m sure others may disagree.  Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson fare better in their roles of the Black Widow and Sgt. Fury, respectively, and Anthony Mackie is fine in the role of the Falcon.

But its Robert Redford that really grabbed my attention.  I’ll be honest, when all was said and done his role was a cliche (He essentially played Cliff Robertson’s role from Three Days of the Condor).  Yet it was stunning to see the veteran actor in a “superhero” movie.  Even more intriguing is to play the “what if” game.  In his youth, I think Mr. Redford would have made a terrific Captain America.  He certainly has the right look for it!

Ah, what could have been.

In the end, I return to what I said before:  CATWS is worth your time.  I said above that it was one of the “better” Marvel Universe films I’ve seen.  Thinking about some of the others, I may have to revise my opinion.  It may be the best of the lot, at least so far, even with the flaws mentioned above.

Go see it.  You’ll enjoy it.

Invasion U.S.A. (1985) a (very) belated review

The late 1970’s and into the early to middle 1980’s were arguably Chuck Norris’ theatrical heyday.  Rising from small roles in karate movies to become the star of such “B” films as Good Guys Wear Black (1978), The Octagon (1980), Lone Wolf McQuade (1983, a personal favorite, which pitted Mr. Norris against Mr. Kung Fu himself, David Carradine, and obviously served as an inspiration to his later TV series Walker, Texas Ranger), and Missing In Action I and II (1984 and 1985, respectively), Mr. Norris was arguably on a roll.

In 1985 and in conjunction with the also rising Cannon Films Group, Mr. Norris took on the title role of “Matt Hunter” in Invasion U.S.A., a film whose trailer promised it to be one of the biggest Chuck Norris action films yet…

Now, lets be real clear: Invasion U.S.A. was probably green lit because of the previous year’s Red Dawn, a film that featured a similar concept in the invasion of the United States by hostile forces and the people who fight them off (Red Dawn would be remade in 2012 with far less “success”, if you consider the first one that!).

The difference between Red Dawn and Invasion U.S.A. was in the star(s), the people behind the cameras, and the budget.  Red Dawn featured a group of young, up and coming actors (including Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, etc. etc.), and was directed and co-written by the legendary John Milius (among his credits, the “Indianapolis” dialogue in Jaws, the script for the second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force, the original Conan film, etc.).

Invasion U.S.A., on the other hand, had an obviously far lower budget and a cast of mostly unknowns (though actor Richard Lynch made a pretty good career for himself playing bad guys during that time).  In the end, all the film really had going for it was Chuck Norris.

But I will give the movie makers this: They were trying to make a “bigger” picture than their obviously low budget allowed them to.

The plot of Invasion U.S.A. is summed up in its name: At the tail end of the Cold War, a devious renegade (?) Russian terrorist named Mikhail Rostov gathers a group of terrorist malcontents and, under cover of darkness, lands and disperses them from South Florida to the rest of the United States, where they begin a series of terrorist acts whose goal is to destabilize and subvert the country.

Before reaching that point, the movie presents a relatively linear story.  We see some Cuban refugees in a boat trying to make it to Florida.  A Coast Guard vessel appears and the captain (Richard Lynch’s Rostov) pretends he’ll bring them in only to open fire and kill everyone on board.  Turns out the boat has a large cargo of cocaine within its hold, drugs which Rostov then uses to buy himself a bunch of weapons which he then gives his group of terrorists and off they go into the U.S.A.

Unfortunately, after those opening minutes of the film, the “story” makes way for a series of scenes showing the terrorists doing something bad and good ol’ Chuck Norris appearing and blasting their heathen commie asses away before they can do their evil.

How does Chuck Norris know where they are or what they’re up to?  Never explained.  The terrorists are about to do their stuff and he just shows up, fires a bunch of bullets, and kills kills kills.  No real logic nor storytelling by this point, just action sequences.

When enough of these showcase scenes are presented, we return (somewhat) to the “story” and see a sad Chuck Norris standing before a carnival ride that has gone up in flames.  Chuck laments the fact that for every terrorist action he stops, a “thousand” more succeed.  He tells his CIA handler that its time to do something to end the invasion once and for all, and this leads us into the film’s climax.

Invasion U.S.A. is, if nothing else, an interesting curio from the mid-1980’s, when these type of low budgeted and violent films were all the rage.  Whatever “shock” value the film had back then is long gone and I suspect much of this film could be shown intact on TV today (with the exception of some language and very, very brief nudity).  I also suspect that today’s audiences may groan at some of too-obvious flag waving.  The terrorists are never more than evil caricatures and their targets are also caricatures of good, decent, salt of the Earth American (the terrorists at one point plan to bomb a church while it is holding mass!  At another point, they try to blow up a school bus loaded with little children singing ‘row row row your boat’!  The heathens!!!).

Still, if you’re from that era and for whatever reason (up to and including dementia) you’re in the mood to relive the type of films they were feeding us back then, you could do worse than spend some time with Chuck fending off the Invasion U.S.A.

Otherwise, I suggest you steer very clear.

Very clear indeed.

David Letterman to retire…

By now the news is out: Next year, In 2015, Late Night Talk Show host David Letterman will retire.

A part of me is quite sad about this.  I was a fan of Johnny Carson and recall when he retired and, not all that long afterwards, passed away.  I loved Carson’s Tonight Show.  I loved the naturalism and curiosity, along with -of course- a great sense of humor, in the way he went about interviewing guests.  His guests seemed to be instantly at ease and he took what they gave and gave back in spades.  He was also superb with his monologues.  When the jokes were funny, they were funny, but when they bombed -which they did frequently!- Mr. Carson was at his absolute best, taking what for others might be humiliation and making it solid gold.

David Letterman, I suspect, was well schooled by what he saw Mr. Carson do.  Though his humor tended to be a bit “edgier”, he too was the master of taking a terrible joke and making it hilarious.  When Mr. Letterman rose up in the ranks and became a talk show host following the Tonight Show, it became THE show to see and I absolutely loved some of his bizarre yet delightful bits, such as his experimentations with different kinds of “suits”, the most hilarious of them being the one made of velcro (the must watch moment starts at the 3:45 mark)…

I watched Letterman religiously in the 1980’s and into the 1990’s and then …well… stopped.  I couldn’t tell you what happened.  Perhaps I no longer had the time to watch.  I was moving from college to work, marriage, and having kids.  Time wasn’t such a luxury anymore.  Perhaps it was also that the show, which moved from NBC to CBS, seemed to become a little more muted.  The bizarre humor slowly tapered off and maybe, just maybe, it no longer appealed to me as much as before.  Most likely, a combination of all the above ultimately made me stop watching.

Regardless, after not seeing more than a couple of minutes of Letterman here and there for over ten and probably closer to twenty years, I heard that actor Josh Charles would be on the show a couple of weeks back.  It was quite a coup for Letterman as Mr. Charles was at the center of one of the more …sensational… episodes of The Good Wife and, frankly, I was eager to hear what he had to say about the episode (Yes, I’m a fan of The Good Wife!)

So I set my DVR to record the show and the next day I watched it.


The David Letterman in my mind remains the relatively young man of the velcro suit clip above.  I was shocked, though I probably shouldn’t have been, at how much he had aged since I last really had a good look at him.  I know, aging happens to all of us.  Carson aged over the years I watched him, but he always seemed to be Carson.  Even as he was retiring from The Tonight Show he appeared to be more or less the same person as before.  Letterman, on the other hand, looked haggard, tired.

His opening monologue featured some funny jokes, but I was surprised at how robotic his delivery was.  I know I may be guilty of reading too much into this, but seeing the monologue made me feel like Letterman was on autopilot and the monologue to him had become a boring routine.

The worst was to come.

I fast forwarded to the interview with Josh Charles, skipping President Carter (in retrospect, I probably should have given that a look), and found myself even more surprised and, frankly, saddened by what I saw.  If Mr. Letterman’s monologue looked like work done on autopilot, his “interview” with Mr. Charles was even worse.  Mr. Letterman seemed to barely care about the actor and, especially, his work on The Good Wife.  The questions Mr. Letterman asked him were obviously on a piece of paper he was reading off of and he looked (again, I might be guilty of reading too much into this) barely interested in the guy before him.  In the end, Letterman wound up talking about Mr. Charles’ marriage and honeymoon and riding elephants.


You just had one of the most fascinating hours of television the night before and then get the actor in the center of that episode to come on your show…and the host focuses on the man’s honeymoon?!

So, fast forward to last night, two weeks or so later, and the breaking news that Mr. Letterman announces his retirement.  Had I not seen the episode above, the news of his retirement might well have shocked the hell out of me.  Having seen that episode, though, I felt the complete opposite.

Mr. Letterman has been around for a very long time and I’ll always appreciate the laughs he’s given me.  But if that single episode I saw of Letterman’s show was any indication, perhaps Mr. Letterman realized it was time for him to move along.

I’ll probably catch some of his final episodes, just like I did with Mr. Carson.  When he does finally retire and is no longer on the air, at least I’ll have my pleasant memories…

The War Wagon (1967) a (helluva) belated review

There are movies that people remember or, conversely, forget for all the right reasons.  Some may be classics of cinema while others may amount to simple (or guilty) pleasures.  A whole host of others you may actively like, dislike or, worst of all, forget over time as they were too mediocre to bother with.

John Wayne, according to IMDB, has an incredible 179 acting credits on his resume from his first screen appearance in 1926 to his last in 1976.  Thus in those fifty years he appeared on average in a little more than 3 films (as well as a handful of TV shows and shorts) per year.  Its been said that no other Hollywood actor has appeared in as many leading roles in movies than he has.

I can certainly believe it.

Today, John Wayne is probably best known for his “seminal” or “classic” movie roles in Stagecoach or The Searchers or Red River or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  If these titles mean absolutely nothing to you, then you may have heard of True Grit, the film that gave John Wayne an Oscar in the late 1960’s and which was recently remade by the Coen Brothers with Jeff Bridges in John Wayne’s role.

While the films listed above barely scratch the surface of the staggering number of classic works John Wayne was involved in (trust me, there are many, many more worth of checking out!), the sheer number of films he made naturally means that some would, inevitably, be forgotten.

Which brings us to The War Wagon.  Released in 1967 and co-starring the also legendary Kirk Douglas, The War Wagon is a delightful comedic heist film whose big distinction is its wild west setting.  Most heist film tropes are well represented here: The leader of the group, Taw Jackson (John Wayne) has a very personal reason for wanting to do this particular heist.  The group he hires to help him do the job are a motley bunch with certain “skills” as well as liabilities.  Of course, many of them don’t see eye to eye.  Finally, their target, in this case the armor plated “war wagon”, is something that’s considered “heist proof”.

Sounds familiar, right?

But what makes The War Wagon work is the interplay between stars John Wayne and Kirk Douglas.  These two movie legends go at each other playfully, sarcastically, and, for the most part, hilariously.  By 1967, John Wayne and Kirk Douglas knew exactly what their cinematic strengths were and, in this film, they play them to the hilt.  John Wayne’s Taw Jackson is a mountain of a man who says little and lets his fists (and guns) do his talking when need be.  Yet he is also a grounded man who, despite the larceny he’s currently working on, is an honest soul.  So honest, in fact, that by the end of the film (I will be cautious here about spoilers), can’t lie about the end result of the heist to someone he could easily have.

Kirk Douglas’ Lomax, on the other hand, is a slick slick slick gun-for-hire that values money above everything else.  Mr. Douglas projects larger than life grandiosity (not unlike what he did in Spartacus) and pushes and pushes this grandiosity until it runs just shy of outright buffoonery.  And yet, there’s still a danger about his character, a feeling that he might switch sides and leave his mates stranded…or worse.  He’s in it, after all, for the money and nothing more.

I’ve seen The War Wagon on television over the years and always found it an entertaining ride.  However, when the BluRay was finally released this week, I had to pick it up and see the film the way it was meant to be seen in its proper aspect ratio.

What a delight!

Ok, let’s face it: While The War Wagon may not be one of John Wayne -or Kirk Douglas!- all time best films, it is a very solid piece of popcorn entertainment and seeing this movie the way it was meant to be seen was eye-popping.  The rocky vistas the movie takes place in are grand and filled with a natural beauty.  The towns the characters stop in have a gritty look that feels genuine.  And the story moves along at a well-oiled clip, giving us action and humor in equal doses along with a very satisfying conclusion.

If there’s one major negative, for me it would be in Keenan Wynn’s role as Wes Fletcher.  Mr. Wynn, another legendary actor known for a wealth of great character roles in a number of features, is unpleasantly one-note in this film.

Still, this “problem” is hardly a mortal one and its puzzling that The War Wagon isn’t better known today.  Perhaps now, with the release of the BluRay, a new generation of film goers might find some fun in this unfairly forgotten film.