Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:56 am

Lawrence of Arabia is outstanding. I love that film to death. I loved Stagecoach quite a lot when I first saw it, but after I read about the animal cruelty involving the horses, I'm not sure I'll ever watch it again (or, at least, for a long time). As for Blue Velvet, what were your issues with Rosselini's character?

Also, I'm glad to see this thread still alive.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Stu » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:47 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:43 am
1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)---Sweeping epic about a British never-do-well who bonds with the Arabs that he's working with and comes up with a daring military strategy that might win a war. The visuals are darned good and the performances by Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif are superb. Only regret is that I didn't see this on the big screen. A+
LoA is one of my all-time favorites too, so I'm glad to see you joining me and Popcorn in its particular cult, Apex :D
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:39 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:43 am
6. Blue Velvet (1986)---The way they treat Isabella Rosselini's character is very odd. And there's a glorified Heineken commercial in here at one point. But what kind of plays out like a preview of sorts to Twin Peaks zips when Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) shows up. He's like a dash of nitrous oxide inserted into the film. B-
I recently saw Blue Velvet on the big screen. You have to know, I live in Belgium, which is a country that is very proud of its beer, and Heineken, a Dutch beer, is like a national punchline. There are so many jokes of which the clou is always a variation on "Heineken tastes like piss". So when Frank Booth said "Heineken? Fuck that shit!" it got a way bigger than laugh than it would probably get anywhere else in the world.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:36 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:43 am
February 2019:

It Was OK:

7. Frankenstein (1910)---This short takes some bold liberties from the original Mary Shelley novel. Some kinda click, some don't. But the transformation scene is cool in a rock star sorta way and reminded me of a similar scene in Rocky Horror. C-

6. Blue Velvet (1986)---The way they treat Isabella Rosselini's character is very odd. And there's a glorified Heineken commercial in here at one point. But what kind of plays out like a preview of sorts to Twin Peaks zips when Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) shows up. He's like a dash of nitrous oxide inserted into the film. B-

Good:

5. Stagecoach (1939)---The comic relief is a bit broad. The banker character never feels like he's in the same movie. And I've heard the horses got treated shoddily. But the film comes alive when the Ringo Kid (John Wayne) appears. Not yet into the routine that could get parodied, he gives at times a nicely done performance as the criminal with a heart. Plus, one of the first "Gather a bunch of random people in a vehicle and see what happens" movies! B

4. To Sir With Love (1967)---Might make for a good double-bill with Class of 1984. Sidney Poitier gives a good performance as an American engineer turned teacher who tries to reach out to students by treating them like adults. And it's nice to see Patricia Routledge in a role that doesn't involving failed attempts to climb in status. B

3. I Am Evidence (2017)---Not only does this documentary serve as a wake up call to people about criminals getting away because rape kits aren't being tested in a timely manner, it also manages to put people and faces to these stories as they attempt to rise above what happened years before. They also make good use of Mariska Hargitay who narrates (and explains how a series of letters while working in Law and Order: SVU caused her to get involved). B+

Great:

2. Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)---Documentary showcases how a Presbyterian priest in training from Pennsylvania figured out the power of television and decided to use it to educate children on morality and kindness. It also explores how he was able to save public TV and inform kids about the Vietnam War, specially abled people, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. We need somebody like him in this world NOW. A

1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)---Sweeping epic about a British never-do-well who bonds with the Arabs that he's working with and comes up with a daring military strategy that might win a war. The visuals are darned good and the performances by Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif are superb. Only regret is that I didn't see this on the big screen. A+
I saw several of those within the last year (Frankenstein, Lawrence, Stagecoach) and I would probably rank them in a similar way.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:02 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:43 am
1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Only regret is that I didn't see this on the big screen. A+
https://www.fathomevents.com/events/tcm ... rabia-1962

Big screen! I'm goin'. :up:
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:54 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:43 am
February 2019:

It Was OK:

7. Frankenstein (1910)---This short takes some bold liberties from the original Mary Shelley novel. Some kinda click, some don't. But the transformation scene is cool in a rock star sorta way and reminded me of a similar scene in Rocky Horror. C-

I'm a big fan of this one.


4. To Sir With Love (1967)---Might make for a good double-bill with Class of 1984. Sidney Poitier gives a good performance as an American engineer turned teacher who tries to reach out to students by treating them like adults. And it's nice to see Patricia Routledge in a role that doesn't involving failed attempts to climb in status. B

I thought this one was a pretty pleasant, if dated, surprise.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:27 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:02 pm
https://www.fathomevents.com/events/tcm ... rabia-1962

Big screen! I'm goin'. :up:
Noted. May have to swap out an off day to see this, but it'll be worth it.

Plus from reading the description, I have to presume that Ben Mankiewicz is introducing the film and closing it.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:30 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:39 am
I recently saw Blue Velvet on the big screen. You have to know, I live in Belgium, which is a country that is very proud of its beer, and Heineken, a Dutch beer, is like a national punchline. There are so many jokes of which the clou is always a variation on "Heineken tastes like piss". So when Frank Booth said "Heineken? Fuck that shit!" it got a way bigger than laugh than it would probably get anywhere else in the world.
To be honest, I don't like beer period. I've tried Budweiser and Coors, and they taste similar.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:39 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:56 am
Lawrence of Arabia is outstanding. I love that film to death. I loved Stagecoach quite a lot when I first saw it, but after I read about the animal cruelty involving the horses, I'm not sure I'll ever watch it again (or, at least, for a long time). As for Blue Velvet, what were your issues with Rosselini's character?

Also, I'm glad to see this thread still alive.
I'm trying to revive it. It'll be easier than trying to revive my Netflix blog.

My issues with Isabella Rosselini's character basically came down to
inconsistencies in how they treated her "Frank hurts me. I like it! Now hurt me" character arc. One minute, you're supposed to be sympathetic to her as you can see she's been through the wringer with her kidnapped son and husband. The next, it almost feels like she's getting joy out of messing with Kyle Mclachlan's character. Perhaps it's something I'm missing, but I could never get a bead on her.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:53 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:30 pm
To be honest, I don't like beer period. I've tried Budweiser and Coors, and they taste similar.
Oh, I don't drink any alcohol period, so I'm with you on that, but it is almost a religion back here. Beer, fries and soccer are the Holy Trinity.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:13 am

Slentert wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:53 pm
Oh, I don't drink any alcohol period, so I'm with you on that, but it is almost a religion back here. Beer, fries and soccer are the Holy Trinity.
If I do drink these days, it's a Crown Royal whiskey and Coke. Last time's been over a year, though.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:27 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:39 pm
I'm trying to revive it. It'll be easier than trying to revive my Netflix blog.

My issues with Isabella Rosselini's character basically came down to
inconsistencies in how they treated her "Frank hurts me. I like it! Now hurt me" character arc. One minute, you're supposed to be sympathetic to her as you can see she's been through the wringer with her kidnapped son and husband. The next, it almost feels like she's getting joy out of messing with Kyle Mclachlan's character. Perhaps it's something I'm missing, but I could never get a bead on her.
I'd have to revisit the movie to formulate a better response. I don't remember a whole lot about the film, but I remember liking it quite a lot. I look forward to reading more of your write-ups in this thread though.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:15 pm

One more month to go. Will start proper write-ups with April's entries (all 3 of them):

Not recommended:

12. Julius Caesar (2017)---I've seen this on stage at Murray and it clicked so well with me (I think it might be Shakespeare's best). So it pains me to say that this production from the UK which had some interesting ideas (the prison setting, a cast consisting of women, attempts to place this in the modern era) but shoddy execution. When you start imagining this as a Late Shift type movie where Regis Philbin is plotting the death of Ryan Seacrest, something has gone terribly wrong. Replete with an ending that just happens. Clearly not a noble and just film. D

11. Scapegoat (2009)---Speaking of the UK, here's a TV movie about a lawyer in a no-win situation. He's hired to prove that a soldier accused of murder is insane to keep him from suffering the death penalty. But other than the nightmare of having a defense that isn't even bothering to fight for you (the dead woman is the daughter of one of London's finest), there isn't nearly enough there even as he confronts them towards the end. On the other hand, there's an interesting film out there about a family of investigators who double as exposition centers! D

10. The Liberator (2014)---Simon Bolivar gets his life story of his conquests on the battlefield and the bedroom told in this Supposedly the director was influenced by Hugo Chavez, but despite its NC-17 rating (!), the film struggles because they portray Simon as perfect even when he's on his various exiles. Edgar Ramirez tries, but this feels too conventional and too sterile. For some reason, we also have a Iwan Rheon sighting. D

It was OK:

9. Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018)---It's a typical Sandler film as he and his friends decide to go on a special monster cruise where love and danger loom on the horizon. But for some reason, this feels a bit better than his live action stuff. At times, director Genndy Tartakovsky threatens to take this film in some odd, weird directions. He doesn't succeed, but maybe it's because he's not working with one of his usual suspects which causes him to be better than normal. C-

8. The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962)---We're stuck with Curly Joe instead of Curly proper. But the three portray TV actors who need ideas to save their show and they may luck into things when their new landlord happens to be an inventor. Unfortunately, he also believes that Martians are about to invade Earth. It's fun to see military brass get pies blown into their faces. It feels like it's padded, but there's enough laughs to make this an OK weekend rainy watch. C

7. The Future Perfect (2017)---An experimental film to be sure, with the end result modestly successful. An immigrant from China struggles in Argentina because she doesn't know the language. She works at a supermarket while taking lessons that lead to various possibilities. I wasn't a huge fan of the constantly shifting timeline. But there are its pleasures as the stories they're reading/performing start coming to life. C+

Recommended:

6. The Theory of Everything (2014)---Thankfully, less unforced errors here than in The Imitation Game. But the biopic of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his marriage to fellow student Jane (Felicity Jones) seems too conventional from the (too many) montages to its focus on the sudsy family drama which gives short shrift to the mathematician and his ideas. I went ugh at one scene, but I do feel both actors did fine in tough roles. B-

5. Jane Eyre (1943)---For some reason, I get the story of this one confused with Wuthering Heights. Jane is a poor, mistreated orphan who ends up at a rough boarding school. Years later, she works as a governess for the quiet, brooding Mr. Rochester (Orson Welles) which may possibly turn to love if she can overcome his secret. Even though that's Elizabeth Taylor as her bestie at the boarding school, I think they spent too much time there and not enough having us believe the romance. B-

4. She's Gotta Have It (1986)---Spike Lee's first film has a quiet, confident energy about it as it showcases Nola who has three men who appeal to her in different ways. Things take a turn around Thanksgiving when the men ask her to decide between them. Perhaps it was the Brooklyn setting or the black and white (except for one scene), but this mostly works. Except for one ugly scene that even Spike regrets and that almost got me to shut the film off. At least, it ends well enough. B-

3. Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table (2017)---Speaking of confident women, this documentary showed the struggle and rise of Ella Brennan, who built an empire of a restaurant and due to family reasons had to start over at the Commander's Palace. Not only is it content with showing the history of things she started in New Orleans (such as the whole chef phenomenon for starters), it also examines the efforts of her and her family to keep things on top even as she starts to wind things down herself. Tasty. B

2. The Freshman (1926)---First Harold Lloyd film I've seen and still pretty darned good as he tries to fit into the college scene, flounders, and finds an opportunity for redemption during the big game. What clicked for me is that Lloyd looks like an everyman sort of person and we can feel him as he tries out this persona he picked up from a film and the shame as a big party he throws goes oh so wrong. B

1. Ernest and Celestine (2013)---The friendship between a grouchy musician bear and an orphaned mouse who retrieves teeth shouldn't happen...it's forbidden in both worlds. But the joy of this animated film is that each of them find a way to make the other better. B
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:40 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:15 pm

3. Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table (2017)---Speaking of confident women, this documentary showed the struggle and rise of Ella Brennan, who built an empire of a restaurant and due to family reasons had to start over at the Commander's Palace. Not only is it content with showing the history of things she started in New Orleans (such as the whole chef phenomenon for starters), it also examines the efforts of her and her family to keep things on top even as she starts to wind things down herself. Tasty. B
Obviously, this one's quite the big deal in my town right now.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:17 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:13 am
If I do drink these days, it's a Crown Royal whiskey and Coke.
Hunter Thompson considered this a "crime against nature". He only drank Crown on ice.

On the existing audio tapes from his Las Vegas adventures, he has a mini-tantrum on his lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta for mixing his Crown with coca cola. (All of "The Gonzo Tapes" are on Youtube, but in unsegmented clips, so I'm not going to bother tracking down the exact moment, but it's pretty funny.)
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:18 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:17 am
Hunter Thompson considered this a "crime against nature". He only drank Crown on ice.

On the existing audio tapes from his Las Vegas adventures, he has a mini-tantrum on his lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta for mixing his Crown with coca cola. (All of "The Gonzo Tapes" are on Youtube, but in unsegmented clips, so I'm not going to bother tracking down the exact moment, but it's pretty funny.)
Well, I'm with his lawyer on this one.

I've tried a different brand of whiskey with some Mountain Dew knockoff, and ugh.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:04 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:15 pm

5. Jane Eyre (1943)---For some reason, I get the story of this one confused with Wuthering Heights. Jane is a poor, mistreated orphan who ends up at a rough boarding school. Years later, she works as a governess for the quiet, brooding Mr. Rochester (Orson Welles) which may possibly turn to love if she can overcome his secret. Even though that's Elizabeth Taylor as her bestie at the boarding school, I think they spent too much time there and not enough having us believe the romance. B-
Have you read the novel? I would highly recommend it. The relationship between Jane and Rocherster is incredibly messed up, something that even as a 16 year old I was able to recognize. I go back and forth on just how much Bronte knew what she was doing in this regard. I've seen two different film versions of the story and they never are able to capture the complexity of what happens in Jane's head. The parts at the boarding school are incredibly important because it's where Jane's anger at the world gets turned into something else. It's actually a huge chunk of the novel, and a lot of film versions overly shorten that sequence (I get why, but still).

The main problem with the "romance" is just how often (and with so little regret) Rochester lies to Jane. He's unapologetically manipulative. Jane's life is such a rollercoaster of cruelty and kindness. It's nice to see her assert herself in the end, despite the fact that she's way too good for Rochester. I think that it's hard to make their relationship look romantic, especially to a modern audience. The text itself always has a biting edge to it, and I think that when movies try to tell the story as a straightforward romance, it always feels a bit unconvincing.

(If you have read much from the Brontes, I highly recommend Kate Beaton's comics about them, like this one, this one or this one.)
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:54 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:04 pm
Have you read the novel? I would highly recommend it. The relationship between Jane and Rocherster is incredibly messed up, something that even as a 16 year old I was able to recognize. I go back and forth on just how much Bronte knew what she was doing in this regard. I've seen two different film versions of the story and they never are able to capture the complexity of what happens in Jane's head. The parts at the boarding school are incredibly important because it's where Jane's anger at the world gets turned into something else. It's actually a huge chunk of the novel, and a lot of film versions overly shorten that sequence (I get why, but still).

The main problem with the "romance" is just how often (and with so little regret) Rochester lies to Jane. He's unapologetically manipulative. Jane's life is such a rollercoaster of cruelty and kindness. It's nice to see her assert herself in the end, despite the fact that she's way too good for Rochester. I think that it's hard to make their relationship look romantic, especially to a modern audience. The text itself always has a biting edge to it, and I think that when movies try to tell the story as a straightforward romance, it always feels a bit unconvincing.

(If you have read much from the Brontes, I highly recommend Kate Beaton's comics about them, like this one, this one or this one.)
I'm going to guess that I haven't. Although I did have a penchant for reading classic novels as a kid, it doesn't sound like I've read either Eyre or Heights.

I think part of the reason that Jane gravitates towards Rochester is that he seems like the first person who shows her any sort of kindness...in clear contrast to her family life and the boarding school. I think part of the problem lies in the secret itself which unfortunately manifests itself in the most inopportune time. It probably doesn't help that there's a playfully cruel back and forth between Jane and Rochester at the beginning which makes it harder to believe the romance when it starts to blossom.

It is nice that Jane starts to stand up for herself towards the end. I mean, I get that being an orphan girl in the time period doesn't exactly give you a lot of options. But it's sad that she has to more or less just place her needs and desires in her heart and just lock them away as she gets blasted for being willful and not penitent enough.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:34 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:54 pm
I think part of the reason that Jane gravitates towards Rochester is that he seems like the first person who shows her any sort of kindness...in clear contrast to her family life and the boarding school. I think part of the problem lies in the secret itself which unfortunately manifests itself in the most inopportune time. It probably doesn't help that there's a playfully cruel back and forth between Jane and Rochester at the beginning which makes it harder to believe the romance when it starts to blossom.
And this is where film versions always do a disservice to the text.

Jane is mistreated by her family and by some of the people at the school. But she is treated kindly by Helen and by her teacher, Miss Temple. The school undergoes a reform while Jane lives there and she becomes a teacher at the school. She gets bored being at the school (where she's lived for 8 years), and wants to venture out in the world.

Rochester plays some really dumb, cruel mind games with Jane. Considering the difference in their ages and the power imbalance between them (employer/employee), it comes off particularly bad.

I'm comfortable with regarding their relationship as one of lust or infatuation, but it's not my notion of romance. Especially with the doom and gloom that hangs over their happy ending.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:01 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:34 pm
And this is where film versions always do a disservice to the text.

Jane is mistreated by her family and by some of the people at the school. But she is treated kindly by Helen and by her teacher, Miss Temple. The school undergoes a reform while Jane lives there and she becomes a teacher at the school. She gets bored being at the school (where she's lived for 8 years), and wants to venture out in the world.

Rochester plays some really dumb, cruel mind games with Jane. Considering the difference in their ages and the power imbalance between them (employer/employee), it comes off particularly bad.

I'm comfortable with regarding their relationship as one of lust or infatuation, but it's not my notion of romance. Especially with the doom and gloom that hangs over their happy ending.
Yeah, that wasn't part of the film. Helen was there (she was played by Liz Taylor in one of her earliest appearances). But there was no kindly teacher. The closest thing this film offered was Dr. Rivers, who rescued the girls from the rain. I think he was in the film again towards the end telling Jane about her aunt being sick.

Now she did stay in the school. But in this film, she turns down a teaching job to take on a job as a governess.

Rochester is cruel at times (definitely with the "interview" for starters), but I don't quite get why he went on and did what he did considering his secret. You think he would have said something or put a stop to something, but nah.

Yeah, that ending does come a bit conveniently...as well as leading to some clashes of tone. Yay?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:35 pm

April Morning (1988, TV)

As the film opens, there's thick tension between the British soldiers who patrol the areas around Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts. They harass Solomon Chandler (Rip Torn) and make him give up his shipment. Several of the male people in town, most notably Joseph Simmons (Robert Urich) are working on a strongly worded document to send the British.

Meanwhile, Moses (Tommy Lee Jones) and wife Sarah (Susan Blakely) do their best to raise their young son Adam (Chad Lowe). He has a thing for Joseph's daughter Ruth (Meredith Salenger). But he's also looking for the love and affection of Moses, something that is he's slow to give his son.

The townspeople decide to confront the British by standing up to them later the next morning (perhaps it has to do with Paul Revere showing up with a horse the previous night). Adam signs up which concerns Moses (who's a bit skeptical about this confrontation but also now worried for his song). But he doesn't stop him and decides to try to teach him to survive.

For the most part, the cast led by Jones, Urich and Torn are fine. There's some tension that gets built as we see the group of men stand face to face with the British army. The romance between Lowe and Salenger is sweet.

But the film never takes advantage of these dramatic moments. Something happens that causes the British to open fire. But nobody confronts the person responsible...even though he had been ranting about if for a while.

Not helping is Lowe's performance. It could be the way Adam is written. But instead of stepping up with the events, he spends too much time crying and moping. It's the most Chad Lowiest Chad Lowe performance around, but I don't think it's a good thing.

Overall, this just feels like a missed opportunity. At least, thanks to to Hallmark name, it's pretty bloodless.
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