Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Movie Review: Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: B

Review: This is certainly not a superhero film to take too seriously, however for what it is it is tons of fun.

The storyline of this movie is quite clever. It is very silly and feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. However it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon I would have no problem watching. While the story does have a moral, it never feels hammered in and instead seems to naturally come out of the story and characters. This does not change that many of the ideas employed in this story are quite good, and the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the film are quite charming. The jokes also hit more often than miss. Many of them are silly satires of the DC universe itself. These however are very loving parodies and it is obvious the filmmakers truly love the world created in DC comics. This passion is perfectly shared with us the viewer and makes the whole film fun to view. This film also has a good villain. His evil plan and silly and over the top, but then again so is this movie so it works just fine.

On the downside is that in the movie's relatively short running time (not including commercials) and with the amount of characters featured is that most of the Justice League is not as well developed here as The Flash is. With the exception of The Flash and The Atom, the members of the team are seemingly regulated to one or two character traits. We still like seeing these characters because we know them from other media (Though non-geeks will probably just see Firestorm as boring after this), but they do feel underwritten here. However the fun is more than enough to make up for that.

Overall a really fun movie worth checking out.

-Michael J. Ruhland  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Movie Reveiew: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: C+

Review: This is not a new Star Wars classic by any means, but it is a fun little movie.

One thing that helps carry this movie is simply our main character. Alden Ehrenreich provides a great performance as Han Solo. True no one can take the place of Harrison Ford, but Ehrenreich certainly does a darn good job. He brings a huge amount of likability to this movie as well as a great sense of humor. The jokes here are also often quite enjoyable. It is true that there are some misses but the ones that work made me laugh. Donald Glover also makes an excellent Lando (though he is not given enough to do), brining again a natural charm to the role. I am glad to say that unlike the last two Star Wars movies, the action scenes never seem to drag on too long here. The do their purpose of delivering excitement and then leave before they overstay their welcome. In the previous two movies, the action scenes lasted long after the excitement creating sheer boredom. That to me often made those movies hard to sit through for me. Luckily here, without it overstating its welcome I never feel into that feeling of sheer boredom. Also eliminating boredom is that this movie does not feel pushed to a long length. Again the previous two films if shortened could have been better movies. This movie instead feels like what was here was necessary for the story, and doesn't seem to drag.    

This movie does have a major problem though. There is simply no suspense. Of course with this movie taking place before A New Hope, we know certainly characters will live and seeing their lives threatened has no effect. There is also a lack of any strong villain. Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) simply feels like a typical movie bad guy and offers nothing new or interesting. The movie is also full of clichés that make it easy to see what is coming.

This is by no means a great movie, but it was fun to watch and worth seeing.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, May 28, 2018

Movie Review: Beast

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: A+

Review: An intense and thought provoking thriller that simply put is pure cinematic art.

More than anything this movie is a character study. The character we are studying is Moll (Jessie Buckley), a young woman who is constantly psychologically tortured by her family, and is in love with a suspicious stranger (Johnny Flynn). Despite her tragic circumstances, we are never sure if our allegiance is supposed to be with her. She is not always completely likable and we wonder how much of what she says (even to herself) is true. What she is always though is fascinating. Due to both Michael Pearce's very intelligent script (he also directed the movie) and Jessie Buckley's incredible performance, I found it impossible to look away whenever she was onscreen. I needed to see more of this puzzle of a woman.

As well as a great lead character this is also a film that kept me on the edge of my seat. I never knew what was going to happen next. When I thought I did the film startled me by doing something shockingly different. While I won't give anything away the ending was the biggest shock of all and when the end credits started to roll, I stared blankly at the screen, thinking about this ending and just what the film was staying here. I stayed after the credits stopped rolling just mesmerized by what I had seen on screen, and that ending.

Also enhancing this film is Benjamin Kracun's amazing cinematography. It is not only beautiful to look at but it pulls you perfectly into the intensity of the story while still always feeling natural.

Shockingly this is director and writer, Michael Pearce's first feature film and it is easily a compete triumph. If this is a sign of his future work, cinema has found another incredible artist. Don't miss this.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Boxoffice Magazine on The Three Stooges in Orbit

The following page from Boxoffice magazine not only provides a review of the feature film, The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) but also some insight into the making of the movie. You may need to zoom in to read clearly.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Donald Duck and Goofy in "Polar Trappers" (1938)

Polar Trappers gave birth to a series of Disney cartoon shorts. This series would team Donald and Goofy. While Mickey, Donald and Goofy had been teamed with each other in a few cartoons starting with Mickey's Service Station (1935), this series would be sans Mickey. In this series would be such great cartoons as No Sail (1945), Crazy With the Heat (1947) and Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive (1946). Polar Trappers is a delightful start to this series.

By the time of this cartoon Donald had his own solo series, but Goofy wouldn't get his own solo series until the next year (starting with Goofy and Wilbur (1939)), making Polar Trappers the first cartoon Goofy appeared in that did not feature Mickey Mouse. Though the opening titles for this cartoon and future pairing of the two great movie stars said "Donald and Goofy", these cartoons were still considered part of the Donald Duck series.

Polar Trappers was made under the working title Arctic Trappers. It was directed by Ben Sharpsteen. Sharpsteen would later be the supervising director for the feature films, Pinocchio (1940) and Dumbo (1941).
It is interesting to note that although the penguins do not have names in the cartoon, the animation draft refers to two of them as Peggy and Otto.

All the exhibitor reviews I could find about this cartoon were very positive and brief.

AnimationArt Babbitt (Goof, pushing cage, stops by ice hole, takes out "Welcome" mat; Goof with trap - walrus steals fish)
Stan Quackenbush (Wipe over to igloo - Dissolve to: (Duck at stove with beans (animated by Al Eugster)))
Al Eugster (Int. igloo - Duck at stove with beans; Truck and dissolve to: (Peggy looks over camp (animated by Winfield Hopkins)); Don has vision of roast chicken; Duck elated - throws beans in can - exits; Corner of igloo with trunk - Duck tries on dress suit - exits; Duck trips over Otto while doing drum major - penguins march over Duck; C.U. Shot of penguins feet on Duck's head; Duck sits up - Otto pops up - Otto out - Duck after him; Otto joins penguins - Duck in - kicks Otto out of scene; Goof with trap - Duck in - upsets Goof - both out - snowball trough; Goof over Duck - Duck grabs onto Goof's skis;  Long shot - Goof and Duck gain on snow ball; Duck into triumphant razz; Goof and Duck crash pinnacle - snowball picks them up - out of scene; Long shot -snowball carrying Goof and Duck; Close up - Goof and Duck in cage; Beans fall into Duck's beak - Duck squawks)
Winfield Hopkins (C.U. Peggy looks over camp; C.U. Peggy - "take"; Duck coming out of igloo; Peggy impressed by Don; Don advances - Peggy retreats; Don advances - Peggy retreats; C.U - Don produces jewel case; Don sniffs fish - presents it; Don and Peggy walk up to chopping block; Don and Peggy at chopping block)
Ed Love (Walrus into tunnel)
Woolie Reitherman (Goof sees - exits; Goof talks to reflection in ice; C.U. - Goof puts on disguises; Goof enters cave; Long shot - Goof enters; Goof barks like walrus; Goof gulps; Semi-long shot - icicles fall around the Goof; Close up - Goof looks up; Close up - Goof pulls out pin; Close up - Goof drops pin; C.U. Pin hits ice; Goof driven into ice by icicles; Goof paddles along on skis; Goof sneezes; Icicles fall on Goof)
Cornett Wood (Roof of caves - icicle snaps; Second shot of icicles; Celling - big icicle breaks; Tear falls - forms snowball; Snowball - a la bobsled)
Shamus Culhane (Don sneaks up on Peggy - sees colony of penguins; long shot - penguins; Duck slides down bank; Duck slides into scene - looks o.s.; group of penguins; Duck takes out flute - begins to play; Duck passes penguins - plays on flute: Penguins join in march; Otto passes Don; Otto dissolves into a squab; Otto runs back; Don gives Otto the slip; Otto marches on alone; Otto banks and makes turn)
Bob Wickersham (Penguins dissolve into roast chicken; Otto lands in snow bank; Penguins march in distance; Closeup - Otto starts to cry; Penguins marching - take o.s.; Penguins diving in snow; Duck marching - sees snowball - out of scene - penguins pop out of trough)

Story: Donald and Goofy Trapping Company ("We Bring 'Em Back Alive) is in the South Pole. Goofy walks up singing while pushing a walrus trap. Meanwhile Donald is inside an igloo cooking beans. However he is sick of beans. Outside he sees a penguin and decides that will make a good meal. He disguises himself as a penguin. However his first attempt fails. Meanwhile Goofy disguises himself as a walrus to capture a walrus. This doesn't work well as soon Goofy is surrounded by icicles. Donald spies a whole bunch of penguins and tries to lead them to a nice dinner (main course them) with his flute. However Donald trips on a small one and many to march over him. The little one cries and this causes an avalanche. A giant snowball blows over both Donald and Goofy and they end up trapped in their own cages.

-Michael J. Ruhland


MlP:FIM Molt Down

THis episode was written by Josh Haber (who has writing for the show since season 4). The episode was storyboarded by Cory Toomey (who has been boarding for the show since season 2) and Megan Willis (who has been boarding for the show since season 6). In this episode Spike deals with the dragon version of puberty.

This is definitely an enjoyable episode. The humor is quite good (especially Pinkie Pie), the animation is excellent and Spike feels very relatable. There however is little to make this episode stand out among other episodes, but that is no problem since this one is so enjoyable.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Movie Review: Lean On Pete

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: A+

Review: A startling real and powerful depiction of what happens when a 16 year old boy has to take care of himself.

This is not always an easy movie to watch. In fact much of painful. This is especially true if you are a horse lover (like me) or if you have ever felt the loneliness that Charlie feels here. The world around him is cruel and cold. This is fully emphasized by how quiet this film often is and how many scenes are held longer than you would see them in a mainstream movie. There is always a feeling that after each scene Charlie is still alone in the world. This also makes his relationship with Pete all the more touching. To see him form such a meaningful connection is powerful.

I will not reveal where the story goes, but it kept me constantly surprised and brought out powerful emotions in me. The film also never sacrifices reality for the sake of sentimentality. Every moment in this film feels real. Sometimes this even goes to the point where what you are seeing on screen is hard to take. You don't always know how to react to what is on screen but it always feel genuine and never lets go of your emotions. Part of this is how real the main character is and how cold the world around him is.

This is not a happy movie by any means, but it is a movie that certainly will take hold of your emotions and never let go.  There is little doubt in my mind that British Andrew Haigh's first American film is an extremely powerful triumph.

-Michael J. Ruhland  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Movie Review: Deadpool 2

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: A-

Review: To be honest, I did not like the first Deadpool movie. I found most of the jokes fell flat, the majority of the characters uninteresting and the storyline boring. With this in mind, I did not have high hopes for this movie. What I surprise I was in for. This movie was really funny introduced some good new characters and had a good story.

The humor in this film comes fast and furious. The jokes are much more over the top than they were in the first movie, and they are all the funnier for it. There were many times I found myself laughing out loud. It is pointless to describe why these jokes are funny, because all I know is that they made me laugh in a way I didn't at the first film. The new characters are really good as well. Cable is a fantastic character for Deadpool to play against (definitely better than the completely boring Francis in the first movie). Domino, Russel and Peter where also great and I hope to see them again. The story here also carries much more emotional weight. It is true this movie is mostly played for laughs, but the truth is it could have made a decent serious superhero movie as well.

Again I did not like the first Deadpool movie, so this movie was a very pleasant surprise to me and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Record Bookings For Abbott and Costello's "In Society"

The following is an article from The Showman's Trade Review (dated August 12, 1944).

"Advance bookings in 350 theaters - the largest number in history for a Universal picture - have been obtained for the Abbott and Costello film, 'In Society' during the nine-day period between August 10 and 19, it was announced Wednesday by W.A. Scully. general sales manager. None of the bookings was automatic since Universal does not own any theaters.

"Mr. Scully said the film is going to be released in the majority of key cities, including New York (Criterion Theater), Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburg, Dallas, Washington, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati.

"'In Society' is the first Abbott and Costello picture to be released in more than a year, for the comedy team was forced into a long period of inactivity when Costello was stricken with rheumatic fever and was bedridden for many months."

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, May 19, 2018

MLP:FIM Break Up Break Down

So a Valentines episode in May. Well I have begun to expect stuff like that from this show.

This is the eighth episode written by Nick Confalone (previous episodes were Party Pooped, Hearth Breakers, No Second Prances, The Saddlerow Review, Dungeons and Discords, Rock Solid Friendship and The Maud Couple). This episode was storyboarded by Roxana Beiklik (Who started boarding for the show in Season 4) and Cat Tang (who started boarding for the show in Season 6).

This is a very entertaining episode. The relationship between Sugar Belle and Big Mac is very sweet and charming, the humor is quite good (especially with Discord), the animation is excellent, and the story itself is charming. The only real problem with this episode is it is often overly predictable, and we know how it will end. Romantic misunderstandings are something we have seen in countless TV shows and it feels very familiar here. Still this is certainly an enjoyable episode with plenty of good laughs and charm.

-Michael J. Ruhland  

The Need For Color Film, Broken Heart Contests and More.

This page from in issue of The Film Daily posted below gives fascinating insights into color films of the 1930's, and over the top ways that classic films from 1935 were advertised. Enjoy.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Movie Review: Breaking In

Review Written by Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: C+

Review: An effective little thriller. Nothing fantastic, but still fun.

What makes this movie work is the characters. Truth be told, they are not in any way deep or complex, but the do their jobs well. Our protagonists are quite likable. We believe and like these characters and therefore we don't want to see anything bad happen to them. The villains on the other hand are delightfully creepy. They feel like a real threat and they are not in anyway people we want to run into in a dark alley. This is all helped by fantastic performances from the whole cast. While all the performances are good, Gabrielle Union as our main protagonist and Richard Carbel as a very creepy bad guy are especially effective. Another thing I like about this film is its use of off-screen violence. Some might complain about this making the movie too toned down to receive a PG-13 rating, but I feel it is very effective. The most violent acts are not shown to us on the camera. This like is often seen in old Hollywood movies, often makes the movie more intense and the scene more disturbing. This effect is used very well here and I wish it was used in more films today.

On the downside this is a very by the numbers suspense movie. Anybody familiar with the genre can tell what is going to happen, and will have moments that make them feel like they have seen this before. Not only is the story a very standard and simplistic one, but much of the visual filmmaking also feels very familiar. The way the camera moves is often just like it is in many suspense movies, and the lighting is also very familiar. Even the music has a feeling of familiarity. There is also some exposition dialogue that can feel painfully forced. This is also an over the top movie that for some could boarder on silly. This did not bother me, but I can see it bothering others.

This will never be considered a classic suspense movie, but for what it is it is a fun movie that is worth a watch.

-Michael J. Ruhland


Saturday, May 12, 2018

MLP:FIM Non-Compete Clause

This episode introduces us to a new writer for the show, Kim Beyer Johnson. It is storyboarded by Ward Jenkins and Kat Dela Cruz (both of whom have been boarding for the show since season 6). In this episode Rainbow Dash and Applejack compete for the teacher of the month award on a fieldtrip.

This is definitely the weakest episode so far this season. This episode is very predictable and feels like we have seen it before. Little new has been added here though. It is not a bad episode however, the characters are still likable, and there are some good jokes (especially in the part before the theme song). Still there is nothing here to make it stand out among other episodes, and there are a few short stretches where nothing that interesting happens. Still in the good moments, our new writer shows she has what it takes to write a great episode and I pretty darn sure, she has something really good in store for us in the future. This episode however is an enjoyable time passer but does not show the series at its best.

-Michael J. Ruhland  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Movie Review: Tully

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: A-

Review: A very thought provoking and engaging movie, that works so well because it always feels honest.

Some of the story of this movie is very familiar to those who know their art-house movies. However it works so well because the movie feels so honest that it never feels like it is trying to copy any other movie. The film instead feels original and new, because you completely believe what is happing on screen. This honesty comes both from Diablo Cody's highly intelligent script and Charlize Theron's fantastic performance. This is also a movie that is not afraid to make you unsure how you are supposed to feel. There are a few scenes here, which left me not knowing whether I should feel happy, creeped out, sad or what. However this is how real life is and these moments perfectly pull me into the movie I was watching. In fact this mood is set up perfectly by how the film opens. We see our main character brushing her son all over his body. How we are supposed to react to this is a complete mystery to us at this time, but it helps us understand we are going to watch a film that will challenge us and not explain every little thing to us. This is just what the movie provides and it does so in an incredibly moving and thought provoking way. I rather not go more into this film's story because it is definitely a movie that needs to be seen to be experienced.

By the way hug your mother.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mickey Mouse in "Mickey's Grand Opera" (1936)

Mickey's Grand Opera is one of the many Disney cartoons of this time period that features many of Disney's cartoon stars together.

In this film Norm Ferguson handles the majority of the Pluto animation (appropriate since his animation help define the character in the cartoon, Playful Pluto (1934)). Some of Fergy's animation of Pluto having trouble with a hat would be reused in the short Mickey's Delayed Date (1947). A brief exception to Fergy animating Pluto is the dog's experience with a tuba and a frog, which were animated by Dick Lundy. Lundy does the majority of animation of Donald Duck (again appropriate because Lundy's animation helped define Donald's personality in Orphan's Benefit (1934)). Future part of the Nine Old Men, Les Clark animates the majority of Clara Cluck's action. Dick Lundy animating Donald and Les Clark animating Clara, creates as much of a duet between the two animators as there is among the two characters' voices (Clarence Nash and Florence Gill). The cartoon was directed by Wilfred Jackson.

In the live action part of the Disney feature film, The Reluctant Dragon (1941), Robert Benchley watches Clarence Nash and Florence Gill record the soundtrack for this film. However like much of the live action portion of that movie this scene is obviously staged.

The following is a review of the film from an issue of The Film Daily (Dated March 12, 1936)

"Mickey's Grand Opera
                (Mikey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists                              8 Minutes
                         A Scream
All the leading characters in Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoons appear in this 'glorified' take off of grand opera in Technicolor. Mickey himself conducts the orchestra, while Donald Duck and Clara Cluck are the singers. Donald's sword gets stuck through a set-piece in the scenery and all kinds of untoward incidents dog his steps - including Pluto, Mickey's dog, who is intrigued by a magician's tall hat, out of which rabbits and pigeons appear. Pluto stalks the hat upon the stage in the mist of the duet. The hat takes refuge in the mouth of a tuba and all the concealed rabbits and pigeons are blown out, wrecking the duet and the scenery. A stiff dose of laughing gas for every member of the family."

The following is what one exhibitor wrote into the Motion Picture Herald (issue dated June 13, 1936)

"Mickey's Grand Opera - Mickey Mouse - An excellent Mickey Mouse. Will please all. - C.L. Niles, Niles Theater, Anamosa, Iowa. General Patronage."

AnimationCy Young (MLS - Sign)
Paul Hopkins (LS - Interior of theater; CU - Eye in curtain; LS - Mickey in pit -- audience applauds)
Norm Ferguson (MCU - Mickey at peep-hole -- Pluto in; CU - Mickey yells off stage -- Pluto scrams; MCU - Pluto into prop room; MCU - Pluto and hat; MCU - Pluto follows hat onto stage; MCU - Mickey directing -- Pluto and hat in (split with Frenchy De Tr'emaudan); MCU - Pluto sniffs hat -- Mickey yells again (split with Frenchy De Tr'emaudan); MLS - Orchestra yells "go home!" (split with Frenchy De Tr'emaudan); MCU - Pluto into wings -- Chases hat out again; MCU - Hat into tuba -- animals out)
Frenchy De Tr'emaudan (MCU Mickey directs fiddles and flute; LS Mickey directs curtain up; MLS Musicians up and look; Mickey directing -- Pluto and hat in (split with Norm Ferguson); CU - Mickey says "go home";  MCU - Pluto sniffs hat -- Mickey yells again (split with Norm Ferguson); MLS - Orchestra yells "go home!" (split with Norm Ferguson); LS - Orchestra pit -- animals running around; MCU - Mickey fighting off rabbits; MCU - Pigeon turns pages -- flies away with music; MLS - Pigeons lift and spin Mickey)
Les Clark (MCU - Hen out -- calls -- look; MCU - Hen sings sad; MCU - Hen sings soft -- "shhhh"; MCU - Hen sings soft - "shhhhhhhh"; MCU - Hen catches flowers -- sings happy; MCU - Pigeons swipe Mickey's shirt; CU - Rabbit grabs baton -- directs jazz; MCU - Mickey grabs rabbit -- directs; MCU - Hen sings -- pigeons bother her; MCU - Hen reaches for high note; MCU - Hen stabbed --balcony sags (split with Dick Lundy); MLS - Balcony falls (split with Dick Lundy); MCU - All sing last chord (split with Dick Lundy))

Dick Lundy (MLS - Gate -- no duck; MCU - Duck sneaks out falls; MCU - Duck sings soft -- "shhhhh"; MCU - Duck sings loud -- tosses flowers; MCU - Duck sticks sword into tree; MCU - Duck pulls sword out -- resumes singing; MCU - Duck sings and fights; MCU - Pluto watches tuba; CU - Plat grows -- frog; MCU - Pluto chases frog; frog into duck; MCU - frog bounces duck; MCU - Hen stabbed --balcony sags (split with Les Clark); MLS - Balcony falls (split with Les Clark); MCU - All sing last chord (split with Les Clark))

Story: Our mouse has come a long way from whistling Turkey in the Straw. He is now leading the orchestra at the high class opera event of 1936. Backstage Pluto is having trouble with a magician's equipment, a various rabbits and birds are making his life difficult. This leads Pluto to run on stage during a particularly moving duet. With this Pluto manages to wreck this important event (if Donald's sword getting stuck in a prop tree didn't already. 

-Michael J. Ruhland


Saturday, May 5, 2018

MLP: FIM The Parent Map

This is the fourth episode written by Dave Rapp and probably my favorite of the ones he has written. His previous episodes were Newbie Dash, Flutter Brutter and Where the Apple Lies. This episode was storyboarded by Melissa Allen, Kaylea Chard (who has boarded for the show since Season 6) and Nicole Wang (who has boarded for the show since season 1).

With a title that references a movie I love this has to be a good episode and it is. I am in the camp of those who love Starlight and this episode perfectly shows why. She is very relatable here. Again her anxieties always feel real to me, and that is part of what endears her to me. Sunburst is also given a good role here and again is very likable and relatable. Their parents are delightful new characters. This episode also has an excellent sense of humor. A peek into Starlight's room as a teenager, the town folks enjoying watching Starlight and Sunbursts efforts, and Sunburst's mom's way of helping are all quite funny. The animation is also great here. The character's facial expressions perfectly enhance each joke, and some are even funnier. All in all a great episode.

-Michael J. Ruhland    

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War

Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade: A-

Review: This is easily one of the most intense Marvel movies. It is also one of the best.

This movie does a fantastic job of combining so many characters into one film. When I first saw the preview, I had my doubts about this movie working. I felt it had too many characters and would feel much too crowded and unfocused. I am happy to say I was very wrong on that point. The balance between the characters is perfect. Many are given the time for their arcs to be completely fleshed out. However these arcs all help tell the same story and are interwoven very well. This is also a movie, where you often do not see what is coming next. Many of the twists took me by complete surprise and some were even shocking. This helped create a very intense and uneasy feeling at times. Infinity War is definitely a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

One thing that has to be mentioned is that this film requires watching of previous Marvel movies. If you haven't seen Guardian's of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2, Avengers: The Age of Ultron or Spider-Man: Homecoming you are putting yourself at a disadvantage seeing this movie. I definitely recommend watching these films first.

All in all though this is a fantastic movie and a must see for superhero fans.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Silent Film of the Month: Alice in Wonderland (1915)

Run Time: 52 minutes. Studio: Nonpareil Feature Film Corp. Director: W.W. Young. Writer: W.W. Young. Based on a book by Lewis Carroll. Main Cast: Viola Savory, Herbert Rice.

Alice in Wonderland is certainty a story very familiar to movie lovers. The story has been adapted to film many times. The earliest of these films was a 1903 short. However this delightful 1915 movie was the first feature length adaption.

This is an extremely charming movie. While you can probably guess by the running time above that there is much in the book that is not in this film, what is in this film is told really faithfully. Still there are moments such as Alice meeting Tweedlee Dum and Tweedle Dee that actually come from the book's sequel, Through The Looking Glass. This would become common practice for film adaptions though as the more famous animated Disney version also borrowed scenes from Through the Looking Glass including this same scene.

Despite any omitted scenes this film does a great job of capturing the charm of the original story. I found myself completely involved in this world. The sense of fantasy here is fantastic to behold. Much of this is captured through the look of the film. This film looks beautiful. The cinematography is excellent by any standards. The sets and costume design also very well capture the feeling of John Tenniel's original illustrations for the book. This look always helps the fantasy of the film and never distracts from it. It is true however that these costumes may seem strange to those who are used to more modern movies. This is because unlike today's CGI, there is no attempt to make the characters look realistic. However I do feel over the course of the movie many modern viewers will not only accept but appreciate the different approach being used here.  The humor is captured also quite well and I found myself laughing quite a few times watching this movie. The acting of Viola Savory as Alice is quite good and makes me wish she had appeared in more movies. All in all this film is simply a delight from beginning to end and should be a better remembered adaption of Lewis Carrol's great book.

This movie seems to be the only one directed by W.W. Young. Little is known about this director. Still this is an excellent movie and I certainly would have liked to see him direct more. Viola Savory also was not extremely prolific in film. This was one of only two films she ever made. Her other film was The Spendthrift (1915). Still she had been acting on stage since early childhood. She was 15 when she made these two films. After that she seemed to disappear from acting.

The following is an article in The Motion Picture News (dated May 29, 1915)

"'Alice in Wonderland' featuring Viola Savory in six parts, was presented at the Broadway Theater, Broadway, between Fortieth and Forty First streets on Saturday morning, May 15th, at 10a.m. This was intended to be a special performance for children, arrangements for which were made through the Harris Feature Film Co. 110 W. Fortieth street, booking representatives for the Nonpareil Feature Film Coporation in greater New York."  

As well as with audiences, this film did quite well with reviewers. The following is a review in Motography dated February 20, 1915.

"Alice and Wonderland - Nonpariel - (Five Reels). - This subject is an adaption of the famous play by the same name, which delighted children throughout the country. The scene effects and costuming are but two of the things that make this a wonderful film. In her wanderings, Alice visits the Animals' Convention and finds mice, owls, lions, lobsters, catapillers, rabbits and all the other dumb creatures. She is also a witness at the trail who stole the queen of tarts; the visits to looking glass land, where everything moves backwards and forwards; she views the fight of Tweedledee and Tweedledum and is near by when Humpty Dumpty falls from the wall. These are but a few of her adventures while in Wonderland, the others being far too numerous to be recorded."

An article in Variety (dated December 24, 1915) lets us know that in London this movie was given only afternoon showings. This was probably because of how much of the audience would be made up of children and families.

-Michael J. Ruhland