Archive

Posts Tagged ‘anniversary’

Star Wars 40th Anniversary Mini-Event

 

 

On this day, forty years ago, a film was released that changed the landscape of filmmaking forever…

 

 

Star Wars (later known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), was released on May 25, 1977, becoming a worldwide phenomenon, expanding its universe beyond films into books, comics, video games, television shows, and… well, you name it, and Star Wars has probably licensed itself to it in some form. Who knew back then that the franchise would also go on to become part of the Walt Disney empire alongside the likes of Marvel Comics? Or that the House of Mouse would actually do such a great, respectful job of handling the franchise?

As a result of this momentous event, I wanted to actually do some more reviews.

If you know me, you know I’m a pretty big fan of this universe. Perhaps not the biggest fan, but pretty big, all the same. I followed The Clone Wars TV series and am following Rebels. I saw the prequel films each at least three times in theatres, and have also made a point of seeing Disney’s films the same number. My only regret in all this is that I only ever got to see the original film theatrically was its 1997 Special Edition, and also that The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi never made it to the theatres where I was living at the time (i.e., a military base overseas).

“But, CJ,” I hear you exclaim, “you’ve already reviewed all the movies! Including Rogue One and that hastily put together pastiche of an animated ‘movie,’ The Clone Wars! What are you going to do, review The Holiday Special in May!?”

Well, to answer your question, no! I do not. I still plan on doing that around Christmas – you know, whenever I get around to actually getting the resolve to watch that again. [shudders] Instead, I intend to review a couple actual, honest-to-George movies you may have forgotten existed, but ones that I sure haven’t! You might also find it odd that these films were actually – gasp! – my first introduction ever to the Star Wars universe, period. I’m talking, of course, about…

… Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor!

Yup. My first exposure to anything Star Wars-related was actually the post-Return of the Jedi TV movie spinoffs starring the original trilogy’s most annoying characters – the cuddly teddy bears who inexplicably helped Leia, Han, and Chewie take down the Empire on the forest moon of Endor.

I had no idea at the time that these were part of a greater whole, having only watched them because a friend insisted on watching his VHS copies every now and then when I came over or spent the night at his place when we were about 7 or 8. Oddly, he didn’t have any Star Wars films, but he had all six original Star Trek films – those VHS copies that, when the spines were lined up, created a tantalizing picture of the Enterprise. Luckily, he was also my gateway to that franchise, but while I do love that series and don’t ever really understand the supposed rivalry between the two franchises and its fans, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t far more inclined to call myself more a fan of Star Wars and its whimsical, fantasy-based world.

But I have seen neither Caravan of Courage (originally known as The Ewok Adventure) nor The Battle for Endor since then, and so I decided to revisit the movies that started it all – well, for me, at least. What would I suddenly remember from these films that I’d forgotten in the last two decades? Do the movies hold up? Did they expand upon the greater Star Wars universe in any meaningful or even little but appreciable ways? Are they as bad as enduring Jar Jar Binks for an entire movie or watching Chewbacca’s family roar-gurgling at each other incessantly and without subtitles while we, the audience, stare at our screens aghast as to why we continue to watch that monstrosity? These were questions I needed answers to, and while I intended to do this for May the Fourth, I figured the franchise’s 40th anniversary was an even better time, signifying not just its beginning, but also in remembrance of my own fandom’s beginning – and I also got a little too busy and, therefore, tired around May 4….

Advertisements

Halloween Movie Month 2015

September 30, 2015 2 comments

The Babadook - Essie Davis

It’s that time of year again — October 2015 kicks off the fifth annual Halloween Movie Month (formerly known as “Scary Movie Month” but changed because I just didn’t want to review only scary movies)!

You might think that for such an auspicious occasion, I will have something special planned. Well… you’d be wrong. I don’t. I’m planning on winging it, quite honestly. Why? Because life. Lately, I’ve been pretty busy, and this has led to me being very tired, and so I basically have been writing reviews based on what I feel like, and I plan on continuing that for the month of October in regards to season-appropriate movie choices.

That being said, though, I am definitely looking forward to reviewing movies for this year, and I do at least have some things in mind that I want to get to. The first movie I plan on reviewing is a pretty big one, too, and is one that I’ve been meaning to watch for years but have, quite honestly, been a bit too intimidated by to really feel like I could give it its due. However, with the movie exiting Netflix streaming services at the beginning of the month, I felt like it was a sign for me to just do it before it’s too late. Which movie is it, you ask? Well, fine then, I’ll tell you: it’s The Exorcist!

The Exorcist - Father Merrin Arrives

So yeah, no formal plans for this milestone month, but, as with every subsequent year I do this, I increasingly look forward to expanding my exposure to the horror genre and other Halloween-related movies. Seriously, I’ve really grown in my appreciation for these things, and I always find myself holding back on reviewing certain movies until I can do it for this time of year. As always, though, I’m going to start the month off by leaving you with a convenient list of previous Halloween-appropriate reviews for you to peruse.

Happy Halloween!


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

Alien

Aliens

Attack the Block

The Blair Witch Project

The Cabin in the Woods

Contagion

Dawn of the Dead: Director’s Cut (2004)

Frankenweenie

Friday the 13th (1980)

Grave Encounters

Halloween (1978)

The Thing (1982)Halloween (2007, Unrated Director’s Cut)

Hocus Pocus

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Juan of the Dead

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left (2009)

The Mist

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

PoltergeistParaNorman

Perfect Blue

Poltergeist (1982)

Psycho

The Purge

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Saw

Scream

Shaun of the Dead

The Sixth Sense

Sleepy Hollow

Slither

ScreamSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

The Thing (1982)

This Is the End

The Twilight Saga

Under the Skin (2014)

The Visit

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

The World’s End

Zombeavers

Zombieland

Halloween Movie Month 2014 & The Viewer’s Commentary Fourth Anniversary!

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost

Well, it’s been just a little over four years since I started this blog, and can only mean one thing: It’s time to start reviewing Halloween movies! This theme month, formerly known as Scary Movie Month, was once a time when I begrudgingly made myself watch a bunch of scary movies in order to better understand a genre I did not typically enjoy.

Funny enough, however, in the few years I’ve actually been doing this, I’ve actually grown pretty fond of this month and of the movies I watch in the process of figuring out which ones to review. Are they all good? Not by a long shot, but it’s still entertaining since horror is still not a genre I’d typically find myself in the mood for if not for the oncoming Halloween holiday.

As always, October will be a month of reviewing nothing but Halloween-appropriate movies — not just the scary ones, but also the funny ones, the sad ones, the weird ones, the ones meant for family, and, yeah, even the musical ones (hence why I moved away from the “Scary Movie Month” monicker).

Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - Roberg Englund

This year, in particular, I plan on returning to a series or two that I’d reviewed previously. One that I know for sure that I’ll be doing is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, particularly because the series was responsible for The Viewer’s Commentary getting its first spike in views thanks to a group of fans flocking to the site to gawk at my not-well-received review of the first film. The exchange we had on their forums encouraged me to explore other areas of the Elm Street series and surprised me in how, in the right mindset, yeah, these movies could be pretty entertaining. Freddy’s Revenge is, unfortunately, nowhere near as good as Dream Warriors or New Nightmare or even the original, which I honestly did not care for the first time around. But, hey, it has an interesting subtext to explore thanks to the switch up in the lead character’s gender,  and at least it’s not the terrible remake, right? Speaking of remakes, I also hope to get around to reviewing Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s slasher classic Halloween. Why not the original movie’s sequel, you ask? Because I watched the remake out of morbid curiosity recently when I saw it on Amazon Prime, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that experience go to waste, dammit!

The Cabin in the Woods - Horror has a new iconic weapon

And so, as always, I leave you with a list of previous Halloween-appropriate films I’ve reviewed since September 2011. The list is only going to get longer, so I don’t know how much longer I can continue to do this, but here they are all together for at least one more time! And, as always, enjoy a free movie, the public domain zombie film that started it all, Night of the Living Dead below that!

Alien28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

Alien

Aliens

Attack the Block

The Blair Witch Project

The Cabin in the Woods

Contagion

Dawn of the Dead: Director’s Cut (2004)

Frankenweenie

Friday the 13th (1980)

Halloween (1978)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Juan of the Dead

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - The Sincerest Pumpkin PatchThe Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left (2009)

The Mist

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

ParaNorman

Perfect Blue

Psycho

The Purge

The Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Rocky Horror Picture Show

Saw

Scream

Shaun of the Dead

The Sixth Sense

Sleepy Hollow

Slither

The Thing (1982)

This Is the End

The Twilight Saga

Under the Skin (2014)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

The World’s End

Zombieland

Halloween Movie Month 2013 & The Viewer’s Commentary Second Anniversary!

October 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Manos: The Hands of Fate - Torgo

Happy Halloween, everyone! Welcome to The Viewer’s Commentary’s third annual Scary Movie Month – now redubbed Halloween Movie Month! Why the name change? Because the “Scary” in the title of Scary Movie Month just didn’t seem appropriate when the true spirit behind this theme month is not that I review just scary movies, but I could also include comedies, dramas, or even musicals! As such, I figured that it was time to make the title skew more towards the holiday theme, rather than make it seem like I was sticking to just the horror genre – I’d even broken the “rule” in the past, so it was already fairly inappropriate. That being said, you can pretty much still expect most of the movies being from or at least touched by the horror genre – but you’ll also see that I’m opening up to a wider range of movies, as well.

It’s funny — I had originally started out this theme month to broaden my horizons and explore a genre that I never really was that fond of. Now, in only two years, though, it’s actually one of the things I actually look forward to the most every year, even if I still wouldn’t necessarily call myself a horror connoisseur. Go figure!

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

October 2013 also marks the beginning of my third year writing for this blog, which had its first post all the way back on September 13, 2011! It’s been a fun couple years writing – though it’s still just a hobby, I’ve become rather well known amongst my small circle of people for being the guy who writes about movies, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for having stuck with it so long and for still having such a passion for writing about the movies I watch, love, and even loathe – in total, I have written 197 posts, not counting this one, and about 147 reviews of individual titles have been written for this blog as of this writing, including an unprecedented mini-review of an animated short, Paperman. In the future, I hope to continue writing reviews as well as get back to more analytical articles and a few fun lists, as well, which I have admittedly gone away from for quite some time.

Until then, below is not only an alphabetical list of past scary movie and Halloween-appropriate movies that I’ve reviewed in the past, but also a very low quality upload of the hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode where they riff on the convolutedly titled The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies to sate your appetite until my next review, Zombieland, is posted.  I cannot guarantee how long that video will be up, so my apologies if it’s no longer up by the time you get there. If that’s the case, I’ve also embedded the official YouTube video of the original movie itself, sans snarky commentary. (Your mileage may vary on that one…) Thanks again for reading The Viewer’s Commentary, and I hope you all have a great Halloween!

MST3K Version

Original Film:

Halloween Movie Reviews: Sept. 2011 – Sept. 2013

28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

Aliens

Attack the Block

The Cabin in the Woods

Contagion

Frankenweenie

Friday the 13th (1980)

Halloween (1978)

Juan of the Dead

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left (2009)

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

ParaNorman

Predator

Psycho (1960)

The Purge

Saw

Scream

Shaun of the Dead

The Sixth Sense

Sleepy Hollow

Slither

The Thing (1982)

This Is the End

The Twilight Saga

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

The World’s End

Theatrical Review: “Skyfall”

November 13, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Produced by: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli
Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Cinematography by: Roger Deakins
Music by: Thomas Newman (score), Adele (title song)
Editing by: Stuard Baird, Kate Baird
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Bérénice Lim Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney
Based on the characters created by Ian Fleming
Year: 2012

 

One of the best things about Skyfall, Bond movie #23, is that, being released on the 50th anniversary of the film franchise means that it gets a bit of leeway for being a bit reverential towards its series legacy. Fans of the series from any era will find a few bits here and there to point at and go, “Hey, look!” A lot of franchises do this on their anniversaries, and the Bond franchise even went and did this ten years ago, when Die Another Day was released as not only the 20th Bond movie, but also on the somewhat less glamorous 40th anniversary of the film franchise.

Whereas that film felt more like an exploitation of the series history through a poorly assembled “Greatest Hits” compilation, however, Skyfall feels more like a reverential tribute that smartly takes these well known and celebrated elements (ridiculous stunts, expensive gadgetry, eccentric villains, and sweeping theme songs) and reworks them to fit into the new tone set in place by the reboot films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. From the opening gambit onward, director Sam Mendes establishes this tone with a great mix of the old and new, as Bond is faced with not just physical struggles, but also emotional and personal struggles.

(Very mild spoilers ahead.) Read more…

%d bloggers like this: