Movies

Movies

Thu
22
Aug

One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Gore!

The Banana Splits Movie

There have been several efforts to destroy my childhood by revamping and modernizing classic characters. But I have to give props for someone who goes all-out to in-your-face do it.

The Banana Splits were the hosts of a Saturday morning kids show. They were a rock and roll group comprised of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky--an anthropomorphic dog, gorilla, lion and elephant. It was silly, it was slapstick, and it was a bit psychedelic (although my tolerance had already been set high thanks to LIDSVILLE and THE BUGALOOS).

This film from Director Danishka Esterhazy takes a decidedly different course with these beloved and/or forgotten (take your pic) children's icons, turning them into animatronic actors who go on an unexpected crusade of slaughter, answering the age-old question: What if the Terminator had been a furry?

Sun
11
Aug

Jacob Cooney's The Assault an Assault on Heist Films

The Assault

The tagline for the film reads, "Every Heist Needs a Getaway."

This film is a good excuse to exercise the getaway before getting into the heist.

The action, such as it is, happens in a small town town where Detective Tom Broza (TOM SIZEMORE) has just relocated from the big city of New York. Why he left, we don't know, but we can surmise that Bruza was too incompetent to be kept on the force given the way he handles this case.

Mon
05
Aug

Gotham's Worst All Involved in Batman: Hush, on Blu-ray and DVD

Batman Hush

The iconic Batman tour-de-force that served as a vehicle for Jim Lee's introduction to the DC Comics stable, HUSH, is the latest storyline to be adapted into the DCAU straight-to-DVD library, and scene omissions and straight-up plot changes, it's a largely enjoyable way to pass 90 minutes.

Sun
04
Aug

UglyDolls Pretty Formulaic Lesson of Be Yourself

Uglydolls

UGLYDOLLS is one of those films that works if you (a) don't question things and (b) have something to read while your kids watch it. The premise of the Overly Optimistic Outcast has simply been done to death, and it would take some masterful storytelling to jolt some life into that tired old plot.

The UglyDolls are toys that didn't make the quality cut at the factory, and get shunted down a chute to Uglyville. Moxie (KELLY CLARKSON) still dreams of making it to "the big world" and finding her child, and every day in Uglyville is a party with Moxie at the head of it. No one thinks Moxie will every realize her dream, but none of them, not even Mayor Ox (BLAKE SHELTON), crush her positive attitude.

Wed
31
Jul

The Lion King Roars with Pride as it Crosses $1 Billion

No facial expressions. It's not animated. It's not live-action. Of all the criticisms out there about Disney's photorealistic update of The Lion King there's one thing it's not: 

A failure.

Fri
26
Jul

Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood" Views Famous Murder Through Revisionist Lens

Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood opens everywhere 7/26/19.

I’ve been a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work since 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, a strange little criminal caper featuring a hardboiled mix of miscreants portrayed by the likes Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. Twenty-seven years later, his ninth feature film—if you count the Kill Bill films as one big one released in two parts—is Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Does the genius who created Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards still have the vision to tell quirky tales of unlikely heroes as only he can?

Sun
21
Jul

The Magic Word for the DCEU is Shazam

Shazam on Blu-ray

The character you are about to see in this movie has a lengthy and rich history, nearly as long as Superman's, and peppered with controversy from the beginning.

And, despite a relatively recent change to the comic book mythos that carried over to this movie, his name is not Shazam. His name is Captain Marvel, and he predates a certain Air Force pilot turned alien warrior turned superhero by leaps and bounds. "Shazam" is what he shouts to change from youthful Billy Batson into his adult hero persona, as he does in this movie. Why would he call himself "Shazam" if every time he introduced himself he ended up changing identies?

Sat
20
Jul

Feels Like the First Time: Disney's The Lion King Rekindles Magic of Original

The Lion King 2019

Disney made a name for itself in the film industry by plumbing the depths of folk and fairy tales. These days, Disney has found a new path to the box office, by mining the depths of Disney itself. It sounds a bit like an ouroboris, the mythical snake that eats its own tail. But, surprisingly, it's been working, and this latest outing is no exception -- in fact, it probably surpasses all previous live-action remakes of animated classics.

Wed
03
Jul

Pet Sematary: A Series of Unfortunately Unexplained Events

Pet Sematary

When sitting down to watch PET SEMATARY, one might reasonably expect an adaptation of the Stephen King novel which, by coincidence, bears the same title. And, to be sure, there is a family who moves into a house behind which there is a pet cemetary. And, yes, there is a patch of land where a cat gets buried who comes back to life.

On the whole of it, it's a somewhat entertaining story, right down to a "Bet you didn't see that coming" ending. But the story of a doctor who believes there is nothing after death, who is then confronted with incontravertible proof that death can be reverse... That's a story that could have been explored with more depth.

Barring that, what we get is a zombie movie about a magical piece of property where whatever you bury comes back to you, but not in any pleasant way. In fact, one woul dthink after the first few dozen times of resurrecting murderous zombies, the appeal would wear off and people would stop doing it. 

Fri
28
Jun

Holland, Zendaya and Gyllenhaal Excite In SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Spider-Man Far From Home starts July 2, 2019

I really enjoyed Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man series, at least the first two films. The inclusion of Macho Man Randy Savage as Bonesaw more than made up for the very slight shortcomings of the Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe was great, but that suit--there just was no good reason to not use the classic look. The second movie, with Alfred Molina's excellent turn as Doctor Octopus, was a rare sequel that surpassed the original. Beyond those two films, well, let's focus on the positive. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched and over the course of 22 films it became a paradigm shift in cinematic storytelling.

Mon
24
Jun

Top Films That Will Inspire you to Get Fit

Enough

While trying to maintain your health and fitness, it can be challenging to stay energetic and motivated throughout the year. Various circumstances, such as harsh weather conditions or simply not feeling up to it are some of the factors that can tempt you to abandon your goal of being healthier and fitter.

Sat
22
Jun

Sheriff Woody: Complex Messiah

Woody and Forky

He seeks out to save those who are lost. He loves without expecting or receiving anything in return.  He gives of himself to fix those who are broken. He instills an inner voice in the one closest to him to carry on in his absence. And, in the end, he ascends.

He's Sheriff Woody, stuffed savior and prophet of Pixar. And nowhere is that made more evident in this (final?) chapter of the Pixar pioneer franchise, TOY STORY 4.

We begin where it all began -- at Andy's house, and the donation of an outgrown toy. Bo Peep (ANNIE POTTS) is being given to another child, and Woody (TOM HANKS), as always, is prepared to rescue her. But it's Bo's time to move on -- although she does make a tempting offer for Woody to follow along, reminding him that toys "get lost" all the time. But realizing that Andy still needs him, he has no choice but to remain and let Bo move on.

Thu
20
Jun

TOY STORY 4 Might Be The Funniest Woody And Buzz Adventure Yet

Toy Story 4 opens June 21, 2019.

It’s incredible to think about the Toy Story film franchise. When the first installment hit theatres back in 1995, it made a tiny little animation studio called Pixar a household name. It’s hard to believe that was nearly a quarter of a century ago. Computer-driven animation was just barely in its adolescence. What director John Lasseter and his team of writers and animators came up with was a story for the ages, a sensationally fun yet tender examination of the power of a child’s imagination. Sequels Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010) only enriched the story of Andy’s toys, most notable Sheriff Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, and Buzz Lightyear (Space Ranger), voiced by Tim Allen. The supporting cast in each film was likewise stellar, including the likes of Wallace Shawn (Rex), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Annie Potts (Bo Peep), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Estelle Harris (Mrs. Potato Head) and the talents of the late Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), R.

Wed
19
Jun

"Murder Mystery" Uncovers the Reality of Netflix Originals

Adam Sandler has done it again. For the last few years, Sandler has been making Netflix original movies through his Happy Madison production company. And "Murder Mystery" takes a classic format and delivers comedy gold.

Once again teaming up with the perpetually beautiful Jennifer Aniston, they play a married couple, Nick and Audrey Spitz, deep into the doldrums of everyday life. Their relationship is predictable and very little effort is made by either of them to provide a spark. It's even reached the point where Sandler, who failed his detective exam, has been lying by leading her to believe he IS a detective.

They're THAT out of touch with each other.

Mon
10
Jun

Eaglemoss Hero Collector Invites Fans to Build the Original Ghostbusters™ Ectomobile

ECTO 1 1/8 scale Eaglemoss Hero Collectibles

1:8 Scale ECTO-1 Build-Up to Debut at Official Ghostbusters Fan Fest in June

[June 7, 2019 – New York, NY]  Eaglemoss Hero Collector, designers, manufacturers and publishers of high-quality collectibles from across the many worlds of pop culture, gets all spooky in June when it introduces the Build the Ghostbusters Ectomobile subscription program at the first-ever Ghostbusters Fan Fest, presented by Wizard World at the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, California on June 8.

Mon
10
Jun

Watching Without Feminism Goggles, Captain Marvel Actually Fun Superhero Flick

Captain Marvel BD

CAPTAIN MARVEL was, perhaps, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to come with pre-release baggage. The marketing machine started things off by signalling how much of a milestone it was that this was the first Marvel film to have a female lead, as though that were a reason to watch the film. Then lead actress Brie Larson began making disparaging comments about the opinions of white male critics. There was simply too much pre-movie commentary that came off as "You will enjoy this movie for the reasons we tell you, or else you're a bad person."

That was before the film hit the theatrical circuit, where I did not see it. More time has passed now, and viewing CAPTAIN MARVEL on Blu-ray is my first exposure to the film. And with the hype and anti-hype simmered down, I could actually sit down and watch this without being told that I have to have a feminist mindset, or that there's a politically subtextual nuance to every comment, or that Brie Larson doesn't smile enough.

Sat
01
Jun

How To Train Your Dragon Wraps with The Hidden World

How To Train Your Dragon The Hidden World

The village of Berk has become overrun with dragons. For most fictional medieval villages, this would be the apocalypse. But Berk is a dragon sanctuary, and their leader, Hiccup (JAY BARUCHEL), leads a rag-tag band of raiders on rescue missions to save dragons from trappers and poachers, bringing them back to the ever-more-crowded town.

Things take a turn, however, when dragon hunter Grimmel (F. MURRAY ABRAHAM) enters the scene. More than being ruthless and relentless, Grimmel is a strategist who plans three steps ahead, and he has a single minded goal: destroy all dragons. For that, he needs to get his hands on the alpha dragon -- Hiccup's partner, Toothless.

Sun
26
May

Isn't It Romantic Becomes What It Denies

Isn't It Romantic BD

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC is an entertaining rom-com that sets out to prove all rom-coms are fomulaic drivel -- and quickly becomes formulaic.

Not that this is a bad thing. Formulas work, and attempting to subvert audience expectations is a tricky business that is more risk than reward. Formula brings people back. I watch every Hallmark Channel Christmas movie with my wife, and within the first fifteen minutes have written the ending, and that still doesn't stop her from watching each and every one of them.

In this film, we meet Natalie (REBEL WILSON) who from a young age has been told by her mother that happy endings don't happen for girls like them. Believing this, Nat has grown up to be mildly successful as an architect but without her own voice and a lack of respect from her own employees. When discussing romantic comedies with her assistant, she ticks off a lengthy laundry list of items that are everything she feels is wrong with them.

Fri
10
May

LEGO Sequel Doesn't Stack Up to Original

LEGO Movie 2: Second Part

Given the amazing success of THE LEGO MOVIE, it was inevitable that there was going to be a sequel, starring the same characters. And sure enough, here comes THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, with Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett returning to their roles of Emmet, Wyldstyle, and Batman.

There's just one problem. After seeing the brilliant end of the first movie, the rabbit is out of the hat. We know what's going on. The magic is gone. It's like trying to do a sequel to THE SIXTH SENSE and trying to forget the whole time that Bruce Willis is a ghost. (LEGO Bruce Willis appears in this film, so that's not entirely a non sequitur analogy.) Where we were originally left in the dark as to what "Kragle" was, we now immediately work on the (less-than-inspired) translations of the "Sis Star System" and the "Bin of Sto-Raj."

Fri
26
Apr

Why I'm not Excited for Avengers: Endgame

There's a good chance if you didn't post the Mad Max "That's Bait" gif when you saw this article, you're actually wondering why I feel this way. I'll try to explain myself in a way that doesn't sound biased, bitter, or boring.

To start off, my entrance into comic books was with the X-Men. NOT the Avengers. But when Iron Man hit theaters over 10 years ago, I was excited to see it. A comic book property that wasn't Batman was about to be on the big screen. It was something new and refreshing!

And I LOVED IT!

Do you know what else I loved nearly 5 years later? Man of Steel.

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