Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Minor Leagues

A Movie Review

For my birthday my brother and sister-in-law got me a DVD of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a movie which a number of people (perhaps surprisingly) have been telling me to see for years. I however remember the bad reviews the movie got and wasn't expecting much going in, which is probably why I found the film mildly entertaining, a popcorn movie in the old B-picture tradition.

Basically this is a kind of late Victorian X-men. Sean Connery is legendary game hunter/adventurer Allan Quartermain, who is brought out of 'retirement' in Africa to head up a group of 'extraordinary individuals' known as 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'. Basically 'the League' is composed of comic book versions of famous literary characters such as Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, The Invisible Man, Captain Nemo, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. They are tasked with preventing a mysterious figure known as 'The Phantom' from starting a world war so that he can profit on the sale of advanced weaponry. The film is sort of rambling and often feels directionless, it takes about half an hour to assemble the team, and then they all spend a strangely long period of time on board 'The Nautilus' reflecting on their pasts and their personal faults. By the time we get to their destination of Venice about fifty minutes have passed, and for what turns out to be something of a red hearing, we do however get to see half of the city sink into the ocean though.

If you treat it as the bit of lite adventure it is you can enjoy movie, though strangely I think that its some what broding first half was its strongest. League is an odd cinematic swan-song for Sean Connery, who recently announced his retirement from film.

'The Best of Baretta 'DVD by way of Netflix allowed me a non-committal way to view Robert Blake's signature on screen role. A morbid curiosity drew me to the program, but its signature Stephen J. Cannell stylings made me stay for the warm hearted lite campyness of it all. I must confess I liked this show, and Blake was genuinely charismatic as Italian-American detective (and master of disguise) Tony Baretta, who with the moral support of pet cockatoo 'Fred' helped keep the streets of unspecified-presumably-Californian-city relatively safe from crime. Also stared McGyver boss and a fat and aged Tom Ewell.


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