Gold to End Dollars

The Good, The Bad, and The UglyM Good 1967

Theaters:  December 1966

Streaming:  November 1997

Rated:  R

Runtime:  177 minutes

Genre:  Action – Adventure – Western

els:  9.0/10

IMDB:  8.9/10

Amazon:  4.7/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  8.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  4.0/5

Metacritic Metascore:  90/100

Metacritic User Score:  9.1/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Sergio Leone

Written by:  Agenore Incrocci and Furio Scarpelli (screenplay), Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Leone (story and screenplay)

Music by:  Ennio Morricone

Cast:  Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach

Film Locations:  Spain and Italy

Budget:  $1,200,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $25,100,000

In 1862, 3 gunfighters, prowling the New Mexico Territory for easy money; the Good (Eastwood), the Bad (Van Cleef), and the Ugly (Wallach) hear tales of Confederate gold buried in a Civil War cemetery. Pairing up when convenient, going alone when it wasn’t, they set out for the golden grave at Sad Hill Cemetery but only the “Man with No Name” knows which grave. Their travels and adventures to the final resting place of Blue and Grey casualties leave a trail littered with the excesses of betrayal, brutality, deception, extortion, and death.  Honor and friendship are vices that will get you killed, according few serviceable distinctions between the good, bad, and ugly.

The movie ties its tale around the events of the Confederate Army’s Civil War New Mexico Campaign in 1862. Confederate General Henry Sibley convinced the president of the southern slave states, Jefferson Davis, to invade the western states and territories from the east side of the Rockies and continue on to California.  The goal was to capture the gold mines of the Colorado Territory, a major source of revenue for the Union’s war efforts, and the California ports.  The ports would provide additional resupply bases for the Confederates or at a minimum require the Union Navy to divert scarce resources in attempting to blockade them.  Sibley’s initial thrust, beginning in early 1862, came from Texas and continued up into New Mexico towards Santa Fe and Fort Union. The Confederates, initially successful, were eventually forced to retreat back into Texas, because Sibley’s already thin supply lines were destroyed.  Skirmishes continued for another year but the South’s New Mexico campaign lasted less than 6 months and General Sibley was demoted to logistic details, ironically the major drawback of his southwest strategic, invasion planning.

Sergio Leone may not have invented Spaghetti Westerns but he certainly raised the genre to a high and profitable art form. As a director his credits are few, just 11 movies, but his 2 trilogies, Dollars and Once Upon a Time, were critical and financial successes. Leone, additionally, has  screenplay credits for most of the movies he directed along with a second unit director credit for the 11 Oscar award-winning, 1959 film: Ben Hur. His trademark long view shots of uninviting background coupled with intense close-ups of emotion filled eyes gave his westerns a barefaced, grainy look of realism in a land of little opportunity except for those who created their own.

Ennio Morricone made his name and fortune composing the scores for Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. Creating an iconic sound of wolves howling, punctuated with Indian drum beats portending events to come.  None of the Dollars movies had a large budget to work with causing Morricone to creatively improvise, using ricocheting bullets, whips, and trumpets to fill in for the missing orchestra.  His film scores eventually earned him an honorary Academy Award in 2007 and the Best Original Score Academy Award for the 2016 movie: The Hateful Eight.

Then there was Clint Eastwood. Initially reluctant to do the final movie in The Man with No Name trilogy, he agreed to it after Leone met his hefty financial demands, $250,000 plus 10% of the profits.  In the mid-1960s these were demands that stars made, not the unknown Eastwood, who previously had just played bit parts in forgettable movies.  Leone must have seen something in him though because A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly made Eastwood an international star.  In these westerns Eastwood plays the part that he would reprise many more times throughout his career. That of a loner, willing to push morality and law to the limits and beyond, but showing compassion and tolerance when needed.

This movie should be on your “Must See in My Lifetime” list. If you have seen it, watch it again. A true masterpiece of writing, directing, cinematography, music and acting.

Teutonic Woe

M Dark 2014The Dark Valley

Theaters:  February 2014

Streaming:  January 2015

Rated:  NR

Runtime:  115 minutes

Genre:  Action – Drama – Mystery – Thriller

els:  5.5/10

IMDB:  7.1/10

Amazon:  3.9/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  NR/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  3.6/5

Metacritic Metascore:  NA/100

Metacritic User Score:  NA/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Andreas Prochaska

Written by: Martin Ambrosch and Andreas Prochaska, (screenplay); Thomas Willmann(book)

Music by:  Matthias Weber

Cast:  Sam Riley, Tobias Moretti, Paula Beer

Film Locations:  Val Senales, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

Budget:  $ NA

Worldwide Box Office:  $ NA

Near the close of the 19th century Greider (Riley) slowly rides his horse up into a mountain valley in the Alps, a valley of steep slopes and fir trees, shadowed by two grim, coarse looking fellows with rifles strung across their backs. As he enters a small mountain village, he approaches a group of men, the towns overlords, and asks for lodging for the winter.  He is told to go away.  Greider offers gold, lots of it, the rulers have their price and relent, allowing him to stay at the house of an old widow and her soon-to-be married daughter. The town and the stranger have secrets, mean nasty secrets; all which slowly seep out of the frozen, village grounds into the somber, cursed lives of the anti-chosen.

The movie is based on a novel written by the German author Thomas Willmann: Das Finstere Tal.  The movie is a fairly honest representation of the book except Greider in the book is a painter, in the movie he is a photographer.

Andreas Prochaska, director and writer, relatively unknown outside of Austrian-German cinematic circles, has produced a German western which, I believe he did it on purpose and is unashamed of it to boot.  This is genre that I didn’t know existed but once seen comes across exactly as you would expect; a slow, thorough, mechanistic, unemotional progression through a plot until the inevitable brings a conclusion.

This is a dark and grim movie, a movie on Valium.  No one is allowed to smile in this movie. No one is allowed to speak faster than a largo beat of a metronome. No one is happy in this movie and likely they don’t know the meaning of word.  This is, first a drama, secondly a thriller, and finally a movie about perseverance and revenge. What this movie lacks is originality, except the part about it being a German western but that’s closer to original sin than original, and vibrancy.

Benanti Etna Rosso 2014

W Etna 2014Other Red Blends from Etna, Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

80% nerello mascalese

20% nerello cappuccio

13.5% alcohol

Purchased: 21 September 2017  –  $19.99

Opened: 27 March 2018

els:  9.1/10

Wine Enthusiast:  94

Cellar Tracker:  89

The ancient Greeks arrived in southern Italy and Sicily 3000 to 2800 years ago, planting vines, among other, lesser endeavors,  laying the ground work for an extensive Greek tourism outpost in the Iron Age. The Etruscans were quick studies and turned Tuscany into a wine haven soon after.  Then came the Romans expanding the wine trade to their known world, much to everyone’s satisfaction. Italy is the number one producer of wine in the world with a 2017 output in excess of 1 billion gallons versus world-wide production of about 6.5 billion gallons. The greatest amount of Italian wine, by volume, is exported to Germany but the greatest amount by monetary value, is exported to the US.  There are 4 main producing areas in the country; northeast, northwest, central and southern plus the islands, all further divided up into 20 regions, 408 DOCs and DOCGs, growing 396 prime varieties of grapes. White wine accounts for 54% of all wine produced in Italy with the remainder being red or rose. Sangiovese and Trebbiano grapes are the most common varieties planted.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean located near the western toe of Italy, likely was one of the first Italian areas the sea-faring Greeks planted vines on. They set up a robust trade in wine that continued with the Phoenicians and Romans. Today, Sicilian wine and food go hand in hand, creating gastronomic delights worldwide.  The island is the 4th largest producer of grapes and wine in Italy by volume; equaling more than 10% of the country’s total. 58% of Sicily’s wine is white, slightly higher than Italy as a whole. There is 1 DOCG, 23 DOCs, and 7 IGPs on the island. About 25% of all wines produced are DOC or DOCG. Sicily produced 140 million gallons of wine in 2016.  Catarrato and Nero d’Avola grapes are the most common grapes grown, amounting to 34% and 16% by acreage, respectively.

Etna DOC wraps around Mount Etna in eastern Sicily, covering the entire mountain slopes, except the northwest quadrant, from top to bottom, from the plains to more than 3500′ above sea level, covering it all in 5000 acres of vines. The vineyards contain some of the oldest vines in all of Europe, many over 100 years and some as old as 200 years. Four wines can be produced under the DOC. 1) Bianco: Carricante (minimum 60%), Catarratto (no more than 40%). 2) Bianco Superiore: Carricante (minimum 80%), Catarratto or Minnella (no more than 20%). Grapes have to come exclusively from the Milo area. 3) The most common DOC wine is Rosso or Rosato: Nerello Mascalese (minimum 80%), Nerello Cappuccio or Mantellato (no more than 20%). 4) Spumante: Nerello Mascalese (minimum 60%). More than 70% of the grapes produced in the DOC are Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The volcanic soils contain a large percent of sand with clays and are very rich in minerals. Because of the elevation and azimuthal changes around the mountain, temperatures and rainfall vary dramatically from place to place.

The Nerello Mascalese grape, thought to have originated on the Mascali plain at the foot of Mount Etna, is possibly a child of the Sangiovese grape plus some other unknown variety. The grape is dark-skinned (nero-Italian for black), producing medium-bodied, dry wines with fairly high acidity. It is the dominate grape in Rosso wines.

Nerello Cappuccio, almost always used in blended wines, thrives on the higher elevations of Mount Etna. It is a sweet, dark-skinned grape with high tannins and acidity. It is usually blended with Nerello Mascalese to soften it up and add a brilliant ruby color.

The Benanti family winery, its origins dating back to the late 1800s, near the southeastern foot of Mount Etna in Catania, was revived and updated by Giuseppe Benanti in 1988.  After many years of studying the local terroir he brought the proud grapes of the past into the modern world of wine making.  His Etna vineyards are located on the northern, eastern, and southern slopes of the volcano. The company has additional vineyards in the southern tip of Sicily at Pachino and also at Pantelleria, a small island of the southwest coast of Sicily.

The Benanti vineyards are on the northern, eastern and southern slopes of Mount Etna from 1500 to 3000′ above sea level, totaling about 30 acres and producing about 30,000 cases per year.. The vines are 10 to 60 years-old growing in sandy volcanic soils.  The vines grow with-in a highly variable humid, mountain climate with lots of sun.

The grapes are hand-picked in October, de-stemmed, crushed and fermented at 77°F in stainless steel vats coupled with a 3 week maceration. 80% of wine matures in stainless steel tanks while the remaining 20% is aged in French oak barrels for 8-10 months. They are further aged in the bottle for 2-3 months.

A brilliant pale ruby-red to a pale tawny wine with a tawny rim. A perfume of cherries and dark fruits. Light, dry and acidic with a wonderful, long finish.

I find this wine similar in structure to Pinot Noirs and Burgundies. I drank this wine while nibbling on strawberries and apples slices which I found very satisfying.  It is a light wine and I would pair it with light fare such as a minestrone or Italian wedding soup.

An outstanding wine at an ok price. Drink this year but likely good until 2021-2022. Decant and aerate for one hour, or more, before drinking.

$16.98-21.99 wine-searcher.com

Unusual Detention

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle M Jumanji 2017

Theaters:  December 2017

Streaming:  March 2018

Rated:  PG-13

Runtime:  119 minutes

Genre:  Action – Adventure – Comedy – Drama – Family – Fantasy

els:  6.0/10

IMDB:  7.1/10

Amazon:  4.1/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  6.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  4.4/5

Metacritic Metascore:  58/100

Metacritic User Score:  6.7/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Jake Kasdan

Written by:  Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner; (screenplay), Chris Van Allsburg (book)

Music by:  Henry Jackman

Cast:  Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale

Film Locations:  Hawaii and Georgia, US

Budget:  $90,000,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $942,935,000

Four high school kids, serving detention for being high school kids, discover an old Nintendo-like video console in a school store-room, complete with a Jumanji game cassette.  They hook it up to a TV set and 4 avatars appear, with the kids naturally choosing the one opposite of their true personality. After the 4th avatar is chosen they are transported into the video game, assuming the bodies of their apotheosis.  Very quickly they discover that they can die in this fantasy land of make-believe. To survive and escape they must complete the task of returning a gigantic green jewel to the eye of a rock jaguar statue.  Thus begins the slap-dash adventure of evading charging rhinos, hippos, and a crazed motorcycle gang.

The movie is based on the 1981 children’s illustrated book by Chris Van Allsburg of the same name: Jumanji.  Preceding this 2017 movie was the well-received 1995 Jumanji movie starring Robin Williams.  Allsburg followed up his book with another, similar, illustrated children’s book: Zathura; which was made into the 2005 movie: Zathura starring Tim Robbins. The screenplay for this movie is entirely predictable, all adventure and mild comedy with no real plot twists or surprises.  The one and only time I was surprised came very early in the movie when a hippo charged the avatars.  After that scene everything played out as expected.

Jake Kasdan, director of the mostly forgettable comedies, Bad Teacher, Sex Tape, along with the tolerable Walk Hard, manages to make this movie blandly humorous and almost interesting. He certainly didn’t take any risks with this family movie with the exception of penis jokes, and he definitely could have given those a rest.

Dwayne Johnson provides the backbone for this movie and turns in a great performance depicting a fearful, nervous 16 year-old. Karen Gillan’s spastic rendition of a come-on was whimsically passable but Sandra Bullock did the spaz part better in the 2000 flick: Miss Congeniality.

This is a fun family movie.  It breaks no new ground but it does entertain for a few hours. It’s rumored that Kasdan, the screenplay team of Rosenberg and Pinkner, and the principal actors are all lined up for a sequel.  It may work but new writers may have given it better odds.

 

Domaine Berthoumieu Madiran Cuvee Charles de Batz 2014

W Charles Batz 2012Other Red Blends from Madiran, South West, France

90% tannat

10% cabernet sauvignon

14.5% alcohol

Purchased: 12 July 2017  –  $19.99

Opened: 25 March 2018

els:  9.2/10

Wine Enthusiast:  93

France is the 2nd largest producer of wine in the world, just behind Italy and ahead of Spain, representing about 21% of the global wine market. The country is responsible for creating some of the most recognizable old world wines on the planet, from the bubbly Champagnes in the cool north to world-class Bordeaux along the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers to the GSMs in the warm Mediterranean south. There are 17 major wine-producing regions in the country along with another 28 smaller areas, all growing 96 varieties of predominate grapes with Merlot and Grenache the most common. Reds account for almost 70% of the 2 million plus acres planted in vines, with whites accounting for the remainder. As with the other major European wine producers, France’s vineyard acreage has been shrinking over the last couple of decades due to less demand from their home population and increased market pressures from new world producers.

The South West or Sud Quest region, France’s 5th largest wine area, begins in the central north on the eastern edge of the Bordeaux region and continues 150 miles to the southwest towards the Pyrenees, ending near the Spanish border. The region includes 25 AOCs with 120,000 areas planted in grapes producing around 270 million bottles of wine every year; roughly 3% of total for all of France.  The Romans initially cultivated the area for grapes and had it awash in wine before the Bordeaux region even thought about growing their own. But because Bordeaux controlled the wine trading routes they strangled the South West market, through taxes and laws, in the 13th century and the area never regained its prominence in the France, or the world. The area predominately grows red Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tannat grapes along with white Semillon Sauvignon, and Ugni Blanc grapes.  The climate is a combination of oceanic and continental with cool wet winters and springs, offset by warm, sunny summers.

Madiran AOC is named after the town of Madiran in the Gascony Provence near the Adour River, 90 miles south of Bordeaux, 80 miles west of Toulouse and 60 miles from the Spanish border. The AOC is available only to red wine containing 40-60% Tannat, although 100% is acceptable (makes no sense to me), and blended with Cabernet Franc and or Cabernet Sauvignon. There are 3200 acres of vineyards in the Madiran AOC producing about 10 million bottles of red wine annually. The Pyrenees to the south have deposited, a generally, well-drained alluvium of clays and silts, rich in limestone interspersed with lots of red iron pebbles and stones. The area enjoys warm summer days rarely topping 80°F with rainfall averaging 1-2″ per month with a few inches of snow in the winter.

The Tannat grape, as its name suggest is very high in tannins, is native to the South West region of France. It is not a commonly grown grape, ranking at 100 out of all grapes grown globally but in Madiran it is king. There are about 15,000 acres planted worldwide or much less than 1% of the total grape acreage.  The wine from the grape is often blended with “softer” wines such as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to reduce its astringency. To further soften up the wine they are kept in oak barrels for up to 20 months.  The wines exhibit a deep tannic structure with notes of raspberry.  They are very dark in color and have great aging potential. Tannat grapes are high in procyanidins, a condensed tannin class of flavonoid with high antioxidant values that affects the wines astringency, color and mouth-feel.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross, believed to have occurred naturally sometime in the 1600s in southwestern France, between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. It is now the most widely planted grape in the world covering more than 700,000 acres or about 6.5% of all vines planted. France is number 1 in the world in acres planted for this grape. It is a thick-skinned grape that’s relatively easy to grow and maintain, exhibiting high tannins and acidity, producing a distinct bell pepper flavor, especially in cool climates, along with aromas of mint and eucalyptus. The grapes produce a full-bodied and dark-ruby colored wine.

The Domaine Berthoumieu  was founded in the 1850s by Virgile Dutour in the tiny village of Viella which is 5 miles northwest of Madiran. In the 1980s Didier Barré took over management of the winery from his father Louise. Today the property is in the hands of the family’s 6th generation of wine makers: Claire and Marion Bortolussi. The Berthoumieu field, part of the Domaine  Berthoumieu, is part of d’Artagnan’s homeland, aka Charles de Batz, Louis XIV’s Musketeer.

The winery has 64 acres which is planted in 85% red and 15% white grapes with the vines being 50-100 years-old.  The reds include: Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinenc.  The whites include: Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, and Petit Courbu. The soils are a silty-clay, heavy in limestone with gravels and stones. The area enjoys an oceanic climate with diurnal growing season temperatures ranging from 45-80°F and rainfall ranging from 2-2.75″ per month.

After picking and sorting the grapes they are transferred to 150-210 gallon tanks for 30 days of fermentation and maceration.  The wine is then aged for 12 months in new and used oak.

A dark, dark purple, almost black wine with a ruby rim. Strong aromas of delicious raspberries  Full-bodied and powerful.  The tannins are, cut with a knife thick, and the wine is very dry.  A wonderful long, long finish.

This wine needs a strong, flavorful food pairing. Strong cheeses.  Strong tangy barbecue. Meats with strong herbs such as rosemary. Try my slow cooker rosemary stew.  I always make this slightly different so I’ll try to generalize it a bit. Start with 1-2 pounds of beef stew meat cut up in small chunks, add in a cup of beef broth, one chopped medium onion, a small can of tomato sauce (optional), a handful of baby carrots, 10 ounces of canned corn, 1 tablespoon of garlic, a cup of chopped celery, 1-2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, and 2 cups washed and sliced baby potatoes (I usually make these fairly big chunks by just quartering the baby potatoes), 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch (thickener), salt and pepper, a dash of oregano and basil.  Add everything, except the cornstarch, salt and pepper, into the slow cooker for 8 hours, half on high, half on low.  Add the cornstarch to a half cup of warm water and mix.  Stir into the slow cooker about 15 minutes before serving.  Add water ifs needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

An outstanding wine at a fair price. Drink this year but likely good until 2025-2030. Decant and aerate for one hour, or more, before drinking.

This wine’s vintage appears to be no longer available outside of the borders of France. The 2012 vintage is still available and has ratings of 90 or more.

 

The Last of the Old Guard

Star Wars: The Last Jedi  M Star 2017

Theaters:  December 2017

Streaming:  March 2018

Rated:  PG-13

Runtime:  152 minutes

Genre:  Action – Fantasy – Science Fiction

els:  6.0/10

IMDB:  7.4/10

Amazon:  3.5/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  8.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  3.0/5

Metacritic Metascore:  85/100

Metacritic User Score:  4.5/10

Awards:  NA

Directed by:  Rian Johnson

Written by:  Rian Johnson (screenplay), George Lucas (characters)

Music by:  John Williams

Cast:  Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Andy Serkis, Benicio del Toro

Film Locations:  Bolivia, Croatia, England, Ireland

Budget:  $200,000,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $1,322,000,00

Resistance forces are fleeing their home base while the First Order fleet prepares to destroy them.  Attempting to buy some time for the evacuation, the Resistance attacks and destroys a First Order dreadnought, aka battleship, allowing the rest of the evacuation forces to escape into hyperspace. The Resistance, after their jump, believing they had bought themselves some time, soon learn that their enemy can track them through hyperspace, leaving them with but a few hours to bring about a miracle or perish.

Meanwhile Rey (Ridley) travels to Luke’s (Hamill) planet for some badly needed lessons in light sabre use, force projection, and dark side avoidance. Luke has other ideas.

Rian Johnson, writer and director of the original, exciting, thought-provoking, and well received Looper movie, takes his turn in the revolving Star Wars franchise door, by writing and directing The Last Jedi.  He succeeds in producing warm milk.  Not horrible, but he definitely is not going down in the annuals of great Star Wars directors and writers.  Then again George Lucas couldn’t direct a golf cart to the first tee either. Johnson brings together some of the elements of a great space opera; breath-taking special and visual effects, great acting, and a wonderful score but the story is just a tedious collection snippets strung together to produce a very long movie. Ok, some of the snippets are quite good such as DJ’s (del Toro) bit pieces of breaking in and out of places that he shouldn’t be able to break in and out of.

This movie is the last that will contain elements of the old guard.  Harrison Ford killed himself off in VII, Carrie Fisher passed away, and Hamill, he can act–who knew, will not be returning for IX, so Johnson spends an inordinate amount of time on character development of all the new faces. It’s all so unnecessary, mostly immaterial and boring.  The development of the players can be spread out over the life of the franchise, no need to force-feed the audience the entire buffet in one sitting.

In the end this is a fair movie; there just wasn’t enough story to hold you for 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Visions of the End

Apocalypse M Apocalypse 2015

Theaters:  NA (TV Movie – 2000)

Streaming:  April, 2004

Rated:  NR

Runtime:  96 minutes

Genre:  Drama – Faith – Religion

els:  3.0/10

IMDB:  6.4/10

Amazon:  4.3/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  NA/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  2.9/5

Metacritic Metascore:  NA/100

Metacritic User Score:  NA/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Raffaele Mertes

Written by:  Francesco Contaldo, Raffaele Mertes, Gianmario Pagano

Music by:  Marco Frisina

Cast:  Richard Harris, Vittoria Belvedere, Benjamin Sadler, Bruce Payne

Film Locations:  NA

Budget:  $ NA Low-Budget, Made for TV

Worldwide Box Office:  $ NA

St. John, John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder (Harris) is held in the Aegean island prison of Patmos as a scribe for his Roman jailers.   God speaks to John and commands him to disseminate, as letters, the visions he sends him. The letters are be sent to the 7 churches of Asia Minor.  The visions include truths and admonishment to the churches and how the beginning of the end of times will transpire.

This is a made for TV movie that exhibits its low-budget pedigree in almost every scene.  But the movie wasn’t made to garner any awards, rather it was made to educate the public about the Book of Revelations, the last book of the Bible. It does accomplish this but the story is out of sequence and the method is clunky and amateurish.

The supporting actors are all bad with the atrocious acting trophy going to the Bruce Payne playing the Roman Emperor Domitian. Moving from bad to worse, the special effects were categorically dreadful.  If there is an award for worst special effects this movie would win. The movie’s effects were on par with what passed as realistic in the 1958 movie: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor. Spending a few dollars more on marginally better special effects very likely would have taken this movie from ugh awful to mildly entertaining.

The only true shining light in this movie is Richard Harris, he can’t save the movie, but he is a joy to watch.  The kindly Dumbledore persona comes through in every scene. A natural teacher with a gentle soul.  Interestingly, his full name is Richard St John Harris.

 

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