Digital Hierarchy Movie Reviews
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1. The settings are incredibly stagnant. They should have varied the locations much, much more.
2. This film moves at a snail's pace. Too much time is spent on too little plot, and though the dialogue isn't badly written, there is simply too much of it. This story should have taken about half the time it did to unfold.
3. Not enough variety. As with the forerunner of the interactive film, the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books of the '80s, I want drastically different paths to be available to me by my choices.
4. Bad acting from John Hurt (whose role is that of a redundant, annoyingly intrusive narrator) and Marie Caldare (as catatonic wife Allison), whose pussycat whining gets annoying incredibly quickly. Michael Esposito and Beth Tegarden fare much better, one with his complicated character and the other with her enigmatic seductiveness, though because of the overlong script, even they wear thin.
5. Too many questions. At a certain point, I just want to keep moving rather than click, click, click.
You need a lot of patience to get through this one. I did find it fun overall, but Tender Loving Care is far from the complete "coming of age" of interactive movies.
As the film progressed, you answered questions and took personality tests that effected the outcome -- you could even read the observations the John Hurt character made about YOU based on your answers. And his observations were amusingly accurate sometimes.
The only problem seemed to be in a storytelling standpoint -- plot threads would begin but never really resolved. I suspect this is not due to neglect on the part of the storyteller, however, but because the track of the story I ultimately followed was not one dependant on those threads, and they are fleshed out better in other versions of the film. I look forward to watching this movie again with different answers to see how else it may have played out.
Brief warning -- if you want to watch the whole thing in one sitting, be prepared to reserve about four hours. Also, some of the questions Dr. Turner asks are VERY personal -- don't watch with other people that you don't already trust very well.
For the best enjoyment value, look at it as a test, rather than as a "game" or a "movie."
This also has high enjoyment value if you can get your friends to play it. The voyerism level is much higher than in a traditional movie - you not only watch the action, you sneak around between scenes and look into drawers, read diaries and private e-mails, etc. When you use this DVD on your friends, you get to watch -them- doing it.
After wasting far far too much time figuring out how to navigate through the DVD I then undertook to calibrate my system. The author's introductory chapters and interesting and informative, BUT he fails to follow up on the initial promise of the DVD by leaving you without adequate instructions on how to use the test tones and video tools.
For instance, he has half right speaker tones, but never explains what in the heck they are for. After a brief and disappointing intro to both audio and video he simply throws the test tones at you. Why didn't he have a thorough step by step explanation of exactly how to use them.
The other problem is that he uses terms he does not completely explain or define leaving this user confused and scratching his head.
If you are an expert and know what you are doing then this DVD might be more useful than it was to me.
Hopefully, I'll eventually figure out how to use the darn thing.
Video Essentials takes you through various vital tests with great explanations for newbies and nerds alike. It was amazing to me how much better films and programs looked and sounded after running this disk. Natural detail, natural colors and an exquisite movie theater look and feel now accompany our shows.
I can not believe that someone recommended using an animation, Monsters Inc., to calibrate ones set. It is a cartoon with green and blue cartoon monsters and digitally created light and sound sources - how can that help anyone! Calibration and sample disks like this and the THX optimizer that comes with several DVD's helps you to recreate in your home theater what the director intended. If anything I would use Monsters Inc to set up a custom set of screen values just for animations since it makes sense to make this type of movie more vivid. Yet for live-action movies this disk is a must!
I also wanted to see if they were as entertaining as I remembered them from my childhood: They aren't. I can only suppose they were an innovative act in their heyday in the '40s, when they were the biggest grossing movie comedians, but -- what can I say? -- they fail the proverbial test of time. They were fated to Trotsky's ash heap of history -- or, in this case, comedic history -- along with Eddie Cantor, Ma & Pa Kettle, Martin & Lewis, and, hopefully before long, Adam Sandler.
There's a saving grace or two, though, in this movie: One of the Three Stooges, Shemp Howard, has the best bit as a Mr. Magoo-like big game hunter, while a future Stooge, Joe Besser, who, eerily, would one day replace the deceased Howard, does his usual turn as a ludicrous sissy. If only this Abbott & Costello feature had a tenth of the classic qualities of those Three Stooges shorts that contemporaneously got so little respect!
The best comedy routines in "Africa Screams" involves Costello and animals, whether it is Abbott dressed up in a lion skin so "Stanley" can prove what a great hunter he is or being rescued by a gorilla. But my favorite scene is when Buzz thinks Stanley is dead and does not notice that his "dead" friend is commiserating with him over his regrets for having treated Stanley so badly. "Africa Screams" is one of the funnier Abbott & Costello films from this period, playing to Costello's strength in pantomime. This 1949 film was directed by Charles T. Barton and features not only the famous hunters Clyde Beatty and Frank Buck, but Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges as Gunner, the near-sighted gunman employed by Diane, and former World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer and his "little" brother Buddy as Grappler McCoy and Boots Wilson, her two goons.
Why? Well, it was classic Bud & Lou all the way. Picture Lou finding a trail of diamonds.....calling on Bud to help him carry ALL HIS MONEY! I'M GOING TO BUY POLO PONIES...OFFICE BUILDINGS!!!
I forget the name of the guy who plays Gunner, but you'll recognize him instantly as well........YOU GOTTA BUY THIS!!!!!!