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Posts Tagged ‘dramedy’

REVIEW: The Santa Clause

December 4, 2015 3 comments
The Santa ClauseDirected by: John Pasquin
Produced by: Robert Newmyer, Brian Reilly, Jeffrey Silver
Written by: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Karey Kirkpatrick
Edited by: Larry Bock
Cinematography by: Walt Lloyd
Music by: Michael Convertino
Starring: Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz, Paige Tamada, Peter Boyle, Kenny Vadas, Chris Benson
Year: 1994

 

It occurred to me while watching The Santa Clause that the film, thematically, has a surprising amount in common with another holiday classic (albeit a film dealing with a far more tedious holiday than Christmas) that was released just the year prior: Groundhog Day. No, really, think about it. Both films center upon a self-centered jerk who alienates those he would otherwise get along with and even grow to love if only he would give into the spirit of the holiday. Both films also feature comedians who were incredibly popular at the time the movies were made. And both films feature some kind of inexplicable supernatural/magical device which is foisted upon them, to their comedic chagrin, throughout their daily lives until they get the lessons right and embrace it. Both films obviously differ quite a bit in terms of their respective target audiences (though there is a surprising amount of adult humor in Disney’s film that will supposedly go over the kids’ heads), but, as with most holiday films, both are also about the importance of not becoming jaded with life and use their holidays as metaphors. Read more…

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2014 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (September – December)

January 31, 2015 2 comments

The Skeleton Twins - Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader

I’m not going to waste too much time this year on introductions. For this third and final part of my review of films I didn’t see, we’re going through the prestige Oscar-baiting season. You know — hammy acting, controversial subjects, beautiful cinematography, politics… It’s often a mixed bag, and for every stunning masterpiece, there’s often a lot of films that misstep and come off like a cheap cheeseburger dressed up to look like prime rib. … I’m hungry.

This is by far the biggest portion of films I didn’t see, largely due to a lot of them coming out so much more recently and not being available to rent, if I missed them in theatres.

Yes, 2014 may have been a record year for me seeing the most movies from that year, but there were still movies I never got around to or never even had the ability to see due to either foreign or limited release. I still like going over them, however, as this process often leads  to me finding some unexpected gems that I might enjoy. Some of these I might become so interested in that I see them before I even get to the films I did see, so there is actually a possibility you might see these films reappear in this 2014 in Review series if that becomes the case.

Anyway, here are many of the films from September to December 2014 that I didn’t see, for one reason or another. It’s by no means complete, but that’s what you get when you’re using Wikipedia and Best of/Worst of lists from other sites. Read more…

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REVIEW: The Family Stone

December 21, 2014 12 comments
The Family StoneDirected by: Thomas Bezucha
Produced by: Michael London
Written by: Thomas Bezucha
Edited by: Jeffrey Ford
Cinematography by: Jonathan Brown
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Tyrone Giordano, Brian J. White, Elizabeth Reaser, Paul Schneider
Year: 2005

 

Every family has a traditional family Christmas film, I’m fairly certain. My family has a few, and they’re probably yours, too: Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf… (I’ve pretty much already exhausted reviewing all my favorites.) Of course, everyone has their oddballs. I like to throw in Die Hard, though not everyone recognizes that one as a Christmas movie (they totally should – family togetherness and such). My mom and sister? They like The Family Stone, and so, more often than not, that’s one of the movies we end up watching this time of year, though I, admittedly, usually end up finding a nice distraction while enjoying the company of family. I’m not a fan of the film, you see, and I’ve seen it enough times to feel like I knew it inside and out. I admittedly got a bit mouthy about it last year, though, despite seeing it a few times, and this upset them both. This year, I figured I’d watch it again on my own and see if I was being unfair to it. Naturally, this also meant that I intended on writing a review of it, too. Here it is. Read more…

Review: “Steel Magnolias” (1989)

Steel Magnolias (1989)Directed by: Herbert Ross
Produced by: Ray Stark, Andrew Stone, Victoria White
Written by: Robert Harling
Edited by: Paul Hirsch
Cinematography by: John A. Alonzo
Music by: Georges Delerue
Starring: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Tom Skerritt, Sam Shepard, Dylan McDermott, Kevin J. O’Connor
Based on the play by Robert Harling
Year: 1989

 

Steel Magnolias is one of those films I used to automatically think about when I thought of the term “chick flick.” It may well be one of those movies, like Sleepless in Seattle, which helped make me aware that movies can become so “gendered” and that there’s such a stigma attached to them that, if you just happened to like the film and not be part of the target demographic (i.e., women), then people begin to… well… “question” you. And I think I knowingly let this affect my enjoyment of the film and would overtly express my disgust for the film whenever the prospect of putting it on arose. Of course, I was probably ten around that time, but that stigma tainted all my future attempts to watch this movie with my mom, who happens to be a huge fan, even though I knew that, secretly, I found much to enjoy about it. And, even then, having been long since out of the house, time has also certainly taken its toll on my memory as to what it was that I enjoyed. Read more…

Review: “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family”

April 23, 2013 2 comments
Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy FamilyDirected by: Tyler Perry
Produced by: Tyler Perry, Reuben Cannon, Roger M. Bobb
Written by: Tyler Perry
Edited by: Maysie Hoy
Cinematography by: Alexander Gruszynski
Music by: Aaron Zigman
Starring: Tyler Perry, Loretta Devine, Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, David Mann, Cassi Davis, Tamela Mann, Lauren London, Isaiah Mustafa, Rodney Perry, Shannon Kane, Teyana Taylor
Based on the musical play by Tyler Perry

 

I watched a pretty bad movie this weekend, the Robin Williams-starring What Dreams May Come, but even that trite piece of cloying rubbish couldn’t come close to satiating my craving for bad cinema, apparently. And so I ran through my Netflix queue and discovered that, long ago, I had stashed away a Tyler Perry movie for just such an occasion. And, well, I did it. I finally did it. After watching about 70% of Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman on TBS and then not being able to take any more, I finally watched my first complete Tyler Perry production, Madea’s Big Happy Family. And, oh my God, I don’t know how I got through it. (Actually, maybe I do. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “bin and chronic.”) Read more…

Awful Movie Review: “Larry Crowne”

March 20, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Produced by: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Written by: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, George Takei
Music by: James Newton Howard
Year: 2011

 

There was nothing drawing me into this movie. Any affection I may have had towards the film’s star, Tom Hanks, was weighed unfavorably against the fact that the film was co-written by his My Big Fat Greek Wedding muse Nia Vardalos. But I dove in headfirst and nearly blind to Larry Crowne, thanks in large part to the fact that a good friend of mine recommended the film as being “not so bad.” By the time I reached the halfway point, however, I was already checking out and asking her, “Why did you recommend this?” Her answer? She was jet-lagged, awake for 24-hours, and on Vicodin. And suddenly it all came into focus, ’cause no sober, well-rested person would ever recommend Larry Crowne for entertainment purposes.

Read more…

Special Review: “Lost in Translation” – A Personal Valentine’s Day Reflection

February 14, 2012 5 comments
Directed by: Sophia Coppola
Produced by: Sofia Coppola & Ross Katz, Stephen Schible (co-producer), Francis Ford Coppola (executive producer)
Written by: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Akiko Takeshita, Fumihiro Hayashi, Catherine Lambert
Music by: Kevin Shields
Year: 2003

 

First off, if you’ve been tuning in or wondering where the heck I’ve been since last Tuesday (you were, weren’t you, admit it), well, then I’m glad to let you know that I was just sick for a little over 4 days. Luckily, this overlapped with the weekend, and so I only missed two work days (and a birthday celebration, unfortunately). Melancholy about my own body’s tolerance for the common cold aside, I did get afforded a long break from work, which I spent eating ice cream to soothe my sore throat and watching some fantastic movies. Luckily, I am better now, despite a persistent cough and some clogged ears, and am ready to get writing just in time to do a holiday review! Read more…

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