Around 1996 and in to 1997, the “Power Rangers” pop culture phenomenon had just about died down and Saban entertainment were looking to re-invent the series for a new wave of toy buying tween boys. I was a big “Power Rangers” fan for many years and, like most people my age, I checked out once “Turbo” was introduced. It just felt so tired once they devolved from mystical giant dinosaur robots to… cool cars! Forget a giant dragon that can smash buildings, you have a red car that goes vroom! Of course, I opted out of seeing “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie” for a very long time, and for good reason. “Turbo” is a movie apparently made on half of the budget of the 1995 movie, and with none of the ambition. You can say whatever you want about the “Mighty Morphin” movie, but it was at least ambitious and tried to take the series in to a bigger scope.
BOOTLEG FILES 582: “Bell Bottom George” (1944 British comedy starring George Formby).
LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The film and its star are unknown in the U.S.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It has been released on British DVD, but a U.S. release is unlikely.
Very few Americans ever heard of George Formby, but over in Great Britain he is revered as one of the top entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s. With his squeaky Lancashire voice, his toothy grin, his penchant for singing upbeat tunes (many with saucy double meanings) while playing a ukulele or banjolele, and a persona for being a lovable bumbler who somehow manages to save the day, Formby personified what the British refer to as the “cheeky chappie,” but which Americans would recognize as a working-class hero.
Like many other power rangers fans I have my ranking of my favorite iterations of the “Power Rangers” mythology. While “Mighty Morphin” is my favorite, a very close second is “Power Rangers SPD.” It’s a part of the “Power Rangers” continuation of legacy that has nothing to do with the original five team mates, but that never hobbles its premise or concept, thankfully. “SPD” is a great iteration that lasted a very hefty thirty eight episodes and re-imagines the Power Rangers as an intergalactic police force. What’s more is that while the series does offer a new concept with the police theme, it also has a pretty good premise, an engaging storyline, and even packs in a lot of solid performances from its entire cast.
If you want to talk about weird team ups of 2017 in comic books, it’s tough to come across any weirder than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Justice League. It takes a lot of exposition, but the crossover with both teams is entertaining enough in that the writers find a good balance between both properties. The Power Rangers at Boom Studios are now dramatic enough in their own series to work alongside the Justice League, while the Justice League are considered somewhat bright enough to work alongside the Power Rangers. This could be a good platform to mock the Power Rangers and give the Justice League considerable credibility, but thankfully both teams manage to take the piss out of one another quite often.
Director Ousmane Sembéne’s drama is less an art house film and more of an observational drama that explores how one woman’s idyllic views of French life traps her in to a life of indentured servitude. Actress M’Bissine Thérese Diop is great as Diouana, a young woman stuck in an African village who finds that her options there are limited. She’s not very capable of doing much but servant work and longs to see the world. When she gets a job with a wealthy couple, she’s taken to the French Riviera for the season and asked to live with them to work as their live in nanny. Diouana comes to France expecting luxury, shopping, amazing adventures, and exploration of the beaches.
Following a lecture by a handsome missionary doctor, a frustrated young American nurse decides to go to Turkey to deliver much needed supplies and her late brother’s truck. As war looms and dangers abound, she is assigned an Ottoman Lieutenant to protect her on her journey to the faraway hospital. During their journey, friendship blooms and once at the hospital, romance is in the air.
It’s stunning how subtle and delicate “45 Years” introduces itself, only to end on such a heavy and gut wrenching final scene that leaves you with the weight of questions and uneasy answers. From beginning to end, director Andrew Haigh confronts many of life’s very difficult problems, including how easy it is for a relationship approaching a century, can be dismantled in only a week. Haigh almost seems to count down to the final day where couple Kate and Geoff celebrates their four and a half decades together as a married couple. Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling are stellar as a seemingly mundane husband and wife whose life is changed one day with a letter that arrives for Geoff.
Written by Hunter Adams and Jeremy Phillips and directed by the former, Dig Two Graves is an ok drama with a few horror elements that goes at a decent pace. The film has decent characters, decent dialogue; it’s all decent, but it’s all a bit bland. The film has some interesting aspects, especially the family that lives in the woods, but it’s not quite enough to make it a stellar film or even a really interesting one, which is too bad as everyone involved is seemingly talented and capable of more.