Gorky Park: No Parking

DATELINE: Cold War Murder Mystery.

 Sable Hat Man!

Back in 1983 came the crime thriller about the Moscow Police Department (who had the unfortunate privilege of working under the KGB). It’s a definite low-tech crime CSI story about the cold-blooded Cold War killing of three people in Gorky Park.

Martin Cruz Smith’s novel was a best-seller, but based on this movie, the story is grisly and pathetic. Three bodies are found with their faces and fingers cut off to prevent identification. It seems a bit much for a small-time crime. Top-notch Soviet policeman William Hurt must solve the case.

There are some interesting moments in the film, but it pales next to today’s sharp TV crime dramas. Here in this film, it’s the cast that holds you in place, however miscast William Hurt is.

We were surprised to see great actor Alexander Knox (who played Woodrow Wilson once) in a small role as a Soviet general. But it is Americans like star Lee Marvin who steals every scene he is in: with second billing no less. He plays one of those American billionaires playing footsie with the Russians, and he is marvelous. He has cornered the market on Russian sables.

The late Brian Dennehy is also in the film in a small role, but with top billing as a New York cop doing an investigation off-duty in Moscow. He too is wonderful to behold.

As for the drudgery of Moscow with its 1970s cheap cars and unpleasant milieu, it’s all part of the flavor you can’t find anywhere else. But this is not Agatha Christie in the Kremlin, not even close.

Though some called the movie boring, its Moscow setting is dreary and mostly downbeat and dim-witted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UnXplained Takes on Weather

 DATELINE: Weather or Not?

 St.Louis Dowsing Rod

Everyone talks about the weather, but only William Shatner is doing something about it.

William Shatner is one of those who talks about the weather on this week’s episode—and he does so as host of UnXplained. He is joined in this fascinating episode with a dozen of the usual suspects you cite as experts on Ancient Aliens. They apparently are on the payroll or on call.

So we take on a few divine interventions: as science is lost to explain what’s happening. Most of our scientists, Drs. Kaku, Taylor, Dennis, Bara, et al, know that they are at a loss.

We first look at the Oz feature of the twister. These monsters are growing annually, bigger and stronger, apocalyptic and weird. One example in Louisiana shows how one house is completely spared—and everything else is flattened. Miracle?

There is also a grand discussion of mysterious ball lighting, including some rare videos captured on smartphones in recent years. This stuff even enters you house. We learn that glass windows are actually conductors of electricity, and that’s why grandma said to stay away from the windows during a thunderstorm.

Another oddity is the “blood rain” of India, a red monsoon that falls for months and is as crimson of as your Type O hemoglobin. It could be spores from meteors—life from another planet coming to Earth!

Perhaps the most amusing segment in this show is on frogs and fish raining down, with most scientists dismissing the waterspout theory. It may be a vortex yanking them up from the ocean.

Of course, the piece de resistancein the show is finding out that the St. Louis Arch Gateway was designed by a man who worked for the CIA and may have used the Arch as an under-your-nose weather control experiment. It seems electro-magnetic powers may have an effect on lighting and thunderstorms.

By the way, the show didn’t mention Trump’s hare-brained plan to drop atomic bombs into hurricanes to break them up.

Control the weather? It’s a weaponized idea whose time is almost here.

 

 

Shatner’s UnXplained On Oak Island

 DATELINE: Curses, Foiled by UnXplained!

 

Gary & Rick Guests on UnXplained!

Last week we had a special episode of Curse of Oak Island that featured William Shatner visiting and researching. Now, on his own History Channel show, Shatner gives us his conclusions and his perspective on the second season operner of UnXplained.

For openers, Shatner sneers at the thought of a curse preventing hunters from finding the treasure. Shatner is quick to point out that no treasure has ever been found, and that obsession seems to be the operative motivation.

History Channel provides its usual consultants to weigh in on the mystery. And, in fact, they even use the same re-enactments that are endlessly repeated on Oak Island series.

Shatner also spends some time discussing pirates who may have left treasure there—and an equal amount of time on the victims who died in the search, including Robert Restall and his son Bobby. It is reported that the gang of Lagina brothers have spent thousands of work hours—and millions of Lagina dollars on the quest.

This leads to the Knights Templar and evidence of their visits to Oak Island. In fact, Shatner’s show discusses Jacques Demolay and his curse placed on the Templar treasure. It resonates with every treasure hunter.

In fact, UnXplained  brings on a few psychologists who do not speak well of treasure hunters–and Ancient Alien  staples show up to confirm mythology lives on Oak Island.

UnXplained takes the position that the curse of Oak Island is the energy, and dark force, that it imposes on all treasure seekers. Is there paranormal stuff here? For the first time, Marty Lagina admits to having some frightful experiences on the island—which he has steadfastly denied on his own series.

Interesting take by one series on another. Our own relatives who lived near Oak Island a hundred years ago always said it was the treasure of Captain Kidd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francis Ford Coppola in Conversational Mode

DATELINE: Eavesdroppers

  Pouty Harrison Takes on Hackman

In 1974 between his Godfather epics, Coppola tackled the high-tech tale of a wire-tapper who is tapped out. He wrote and directed this intriguing suspense drama. You know the Coppola tag will build this to a daunting climax.

The Conversation seems a throwaway but may be a perfect metaphor for the upcoming technological invasion of privacy that the 21stcentury and Internet will dump on us.

Gene Hackman is a suffering paranoid who seems to enjoy eavesdropping less and less each day. When he discovers that his work may be even dirtier than usual with murder in mind, he seems to be struck with a conscience.

When you subtract all the outmoded surveillance equipment from the movie, you have something so quaint as to be primitive by today’s digital standards. You may rightfully worry that things are a lot worse nowadays.

You may laugh at the spooling tapes and wonder how they could do any job effectively.

As a film, the story is microscopic as befits the nosy nature of small-time detective work. Yet, nothing transcends the basic fright of murder under your nose.

The Coppola cast is more than right: he has collected some of his favorite people and found others right before they made it big on TV/and movies. You will see a baby-faced Harrison Ford, a young girlish Teri Garr, a pretty victim in Cindi Williams without Laverne. Frederic Forrest is a callow-looking adulterer. Slippery John Cazale is always a Coppola staple and acts as a supporting, underappreciated wiretapper here too.

One of Coppola’s favorite actors makes a cameo as the corporate villain.

They are all secondary to the mid-life crisis that cannot be better epitomized than Gene Hackman at the pinnacle of his Everyman person.

The business means that you cannot trust anyone, professionally or personally. And, there is good reason to be suspicious when large amounts of money is paid for information.