Tall in the Saddle (1944) – John Wayne! Gabby Hayes! Two women, a blonde and a brunette, vying for John Wayne’s attentions! Rustling and land grabs and legal schemes and a corrupt sheriff and unknown assassins! What’s not to like? Aside, I guess, from Wayne ending up with the wrong woman (IMHO)… By the way, my fourteen-year-old daughter Sariah who is therefore an expert at such things reacted to two women throwing themselves energetically at John Wayne by saying he “really wasn’t that good looking.” This is the same daughter who describes Harbor Freight stores as “lame.”
The Land That Time Forgot (2009) – To add insult to injury, this Asylum production bills itself as “Edgar Rice Burroughs’ the Land That Time Forgot,” even though I think that ERB’s sole influence was the title. Two couples (C. Thomas Howell [who also directed], Karen Michaels, Darren Dalton [who also wrote] and Lindsey McKeon) on a chartered boat in the Bermuda Triangle slip through a gap in time and end up on an island in the age of bad CGI dinosaurs, along with a post-WWII pilot, a skipper from the last century, and a U-boat full of Nazis. About the best you can say about this one is that it isn’t as bad as it could have been.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) – It certainly didn’t feel like it took two and a half hours to watch this, which is always a compliment. Nevertheless, the whole movie seems unnecessary. It’s not like this is a “new take” on the story of the Exodus; it clearly takes its cues from the Prince of Egypt (1998), which clearly took its cues from The Ten Commandments (1956). (For those who aren’t Bible readers: The whole brother rivalry dynamic between Moses and the heir Pharaoh, which is the centerpiece of all three treatments? It came from The Ten Commandments.) Then add in an odd characterization of YHWH as some sort of child being, the never-contradicted suggestion that Moses’ frequent conversations with YHWH are a delusion, a tendency to treat all of the plagues as natural phenomena (except the whole “angel of death killing the firstborn” part, just because), and a distracting resemblance of Pharaoh (Joel Edgerton) to Ricky Gervais, and… It just seems that the entire intention of this movie was, “Like The Prince of Egypt in live action (if you can call it that, with as much CGI as they used), but with no songs and more moral ambiguity!” (In case you can’t tell, I think that The Prince of Egypt is the best of the three Exodus movies.)