SteveMiller's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

North West Frontier
10 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Flame Over India (aka "Northwest Frontier")
Starring: Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom, and I.S. Johar
Director: J. Lee Thompson


As a tribal uprising engulfs a province in British-held India, Captain Scott (More) is charged with getting a Hindu prince and his American nanny, Catherine (Bacall) to safety. Reinforcing a dilapitated old locomotive and its railcars as best he can, Scott, a small detatchment of troops, and a handful of civilians, break through the enemy's lines and start chugging their way to friendly territory. However, not only are they now a moving target for the rebels, but it soon becomes apparent that there's a traitor on board the train who is ready to kill the prince if the opportunity presents itself.

"Flame Over India' is a classic action flick with fantastic performances by all leading actors and supporting cast. The film is further remarkable in the way it handles issues like British imperialism and religious fanaticism without launching into extended screeds (as is the habit in modern films). There are also numerous tense moments--I found the scene where the crew have to repair damaged tracks while under the threat of the tribes-men finding them to be one of the best staged ones--and the battle scenes are expertly executed.

Lauren Bacall is spectacular as ever, truly shining in the role as a feisty (yet never ugly) American... and this is another role for her that proves that there really aren't any current actresses that can even come close to the skill and talent of the leading laides of Bacall's generation. More also deserves to be singled out for his wonderful portrayal of the innovative, never-say-die, ever-professional British military man who will lead the train to safety over the enemies' dead bodys. More and Bacall also made a great on-screen, with believable sparks flying every time their characters lock horns.

If you like well-acted historical action dramas (or even war movies, because this fits into that category too), "Flame Over India" is a great way to spend a coule of hours.

--
Unfortunately, "Flame Over India" is of those great movies that no one has seen fit to give a full-fledged DVD treatment to. The only DVD edition I'm aware of is the one that Catcom Home Video did a few years back, where they paired it "Zulu" ([URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=285769&view=public]review here[/URL]) on a single disc, and even it may be out of print. I looked it its [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2&path=ASIN/B00067ZNA4&tag=stevemillesdo-20&camp=1789&creative=9325]listing at Amazon.com[/URL], and the barren nature of it, coupled witn the six-week shipping window, makes me think that the "Catcom Double Feature: Zulu"/Flame Over India" is actually out of print. That's a shame, because $6 for two great movies is a fabulous price!

Scorched
Scorched (2003)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Scorched
Starring: John Cleese, Paulo Costanzo, Rachael Leigh Cook, Woody Harrelson, Joshua Leonard, Alicia Silverstone, and Marcus Thomas.


Three tellers at a small branch office bank (Paulo Costanzo, Woody Harrelson,and Alicia Silverstone), each with their own reasons for feeling disgruntled and put-upon decide independently to rob their employeer. Each has their own plan, each intends to target a different part of the bank, and each chooses to commit their larceny on the same weekend. And that's when things start getting really crazy.

This ensamble comedy features a strong cast (more comment on this below) and likable characters that move back and forth through four overlapping storylines--the three heists and a fourth involving a pair of geeky roommates who are trying to land one of them a job he can keep for more than a couple of hours. It also features a surprsingly tense roulette scene during one of the larcenous tellers' trip to Vegas. Some of the lines are a bit clunky and there are one or two scenes that could do with some punching up, but overall this film is pretty darn good and extremely entertaining.

I also think it's a film gamers might enjoy. Several of the film's characters are in a D&D gaming group, and I think we all might recognize some of the character types at the table. The Cook character is a particularly cute parody of the 'gamer chick.'

Speaking of Cook, it's probably a good thing that she and Silverstone don't actually share any scenes. I've never been a big fan of Silverstone, but seeing her in a film with an actress that is so full of charm and energy makes me feel even more underwhelmed by her talent and screen presence. While both actresses did a fine job, I think it is probably a casting mistake to put them in the movie; it makes Silverstone look bad.

War-Gods of the Deep
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

War-Gods of the Deep (aka "City Under the Sea")
Starring: Tab Hunter, Vincent Price, David Tomlinson, and Susan Hart
Director: Jacques Tourneur


When beautiful Jill (Hart) is abducted by a strange creature, the odd trio of a dashing young geologist (Hunter) and an eccentric artist (Tomlinson) and his pet chicken set out to rescue her. In the process, they find themselves in the remnants of a long-lost civilization where The Captain (Price) rules over a band of cut-throats and an army of monstrous gill-men.

This is another one of American-International's loose adaptations of an Edgar Allen Poe work, and it's one of the better ones. The steam-punk vibes of the ancient pumps and the diving suits left by whoever originally built the city are very cool looking. Price and his immortal pirates make for interesting foils to the heroic, square-jawed good-guy of Hunter, and Tomlinson does a fine turn as the comic relief. And Hart... well, Hart looks great in a low-cut dress, and one certainly understands why everyone wants her.

This film is a fun "lost civilization" yarn that presents all the standards of that genre. It might have rated a 7 if not for an protracted, muddled and very, very boring underwater "chase scene", where our heroes stumble around in dive suits as the bad guys and gill-men give chase. It's a scene that goes on and on and on, and I doubt it was even all that thrilling in 1965. If the film was trimmed by three or four minutes (all taken from there), it would be vastly improved.

The Climax
The Climax (1944)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

A young opera singer (Foster) becomes the target of the crazy house doctor (Karloff) at the Vienna Royal Opera. Will her dashing boyfriend (Bey) manage to save her before her voice is silenced forever?

[center][img]http://www.geocities.com/nuelow/movclimax.jpg[/img]
[i]Susanna Foster and Boris Karloff star
as victim and victimizer in "The Climax"[/i]
[/center]

"The Climax" is Boris Karloff's first color picture and it's pretty to look at. It also has some nice performances from Karloff, Turhan Bey--who swings from dramatic of comedic with graceful ease--and Thomas Gomez as the beleaguered manager of the opera company. Unfortunately, their performances are propping up a fairly boring melodrama the titular climax of which isn't much to sing about.

The film is available on DVD for the first time as part of Universal's "Boris Karloff Collection" ([url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FWHW8Q?ie=UTF8&tag=stevemillesdo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000FWHW8Q"]click here to read more about it at Amazon.com[/url]) and as such it rates as inoffensive filler. It's not exactly a bad movie, just a bland one, and one you can safely leave for last if you pick up the set.

The Climax
Starring: Boris Karloff, Susanna Foster, Turhan Bey, Ludwig Stossel, Thomas Gomez and Gale Sondergard
Director: George Waggner

Doctor Mordrid
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Anton Mordrid (Combs) is an unaging sorcerer who is lives secretly in the modern world, guarding Earth from demonic invasions. When the evil alchemist Kabal (Thompson) escapes from what was supposed to be his eternal prison, Mordid must turn to mortal woman Samantha Hunt (Nipar) for help if humanity is to survive.

"Doctor Mordrid" is a neat little modern fantasy film that, like a number of other Full Moon releases is surprisngly good for a direct-to-video release that dates from the early 1990s. It's got an interesting hero who acquires a cool woman sidekick in the course of the film, a villain who gives other fantasy film bad guys a run for their money, and hints at a much large, extremely interesting cosmololgy than we only get a small glimpse at in this film.

Actually, getting a small glimpse of something bigger is the way I feel about the whole movie. It feels like it should have been at least 30-45 minutes longer, and with with the scant development that's given to a number of concepts and charactes, it could easily have supported the additional running time. If all the skeletons of nifty ideas and characters that appear in movie had been more fully fleshed out, this could have been a great movie. As it is, It's a pretty good one, with decent acting and okay effects. It's worth checking out, particularly if you like movies and books like "Harry Potter" or "The Dresden Files".


Doctor Mordrid
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, Brian Thompson, and Jay Acavone
Directors: Albert Band and Charles Band