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REVIEW – Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

May 31, 2017 1 comment
Directed by: John Korty
Produced by: Thomas G. Smith
Screenplay by: Bob Carrau
Story by: George Lucas
Edited by: John Nutt
Cinematography by: John Korty
Music by: Peter Bernstein, John Williams (themes)
Starring: Eric Walker, Warwick Davis, Aubree Miller, Daniel Frishman, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Cox, Kevin Thompson, Margarita Fernández, Pam Grizz, Bobby Bell, Fionnula Flanagan, Guy Boyd, Darryl Henriques (voice), Sydney Walker (voice), Burl Ives (narration)
Originally known as: The Ewok Adventure
Year: 1984

 

What happens when you’ve seemingly brought an end to one of the most profitable film sagas, and yet you still want to make money off of the property in a similar medium? Why, you make a spin-off, of course! Return of the Jedi had brought the original film trilogy to a close on its release on May 25, 1983, but George Lucas was obviously far from finished with the series, despite this. (And who can complain, really?) Even before the concept of the prequel trilogy was thought up, and well before Disney’s acquisition and foray into the sequels and their own spinoffs, there were already plans to expand the series beyond the core films and even into the realm of television – just, you know, not in the form of a variety show. The Star Wars Holiday Special was considered to be an embarrassment by almost all involved, including George Lucas. So when this project began to move forward, Lucas ensured he had full creative control. Read more…

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REVIEW – Darkroom (2013)

October 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Darkroom (2013)Directed by: Britt Napier
Produced by: Britt Napier, Ron Stein
Written by: Michaelbrent Collings
Edited by: David Leonard, Jim Mol
Cinematography by: Frederic Fasano
Music by: Anthony Lledo
Starring: Kaylee DeFer, Elisabeth Röhm, Christian Campbell, Tobias Segal, Geneva Carr, Britne Oldford, Natalie Knepp
Year: 2013

 

Alright, so let’s get this point out of the way before I begin discussing this movie: Yes, I went to school with the star of this movie. I did not, however, know her very well, and I didn’t even have many of the same classes as her during the time she was there, and so I am in no way claiming to know intimate knowledge – and, even if I did, I wouldn’t divulge, because I am not writing for a gossip rag, and I am not a shitty person. That being said, it’s still kind of weird knowing that I very briefly crossed paths with someone in such a tiny school (43 people or so in my graduating class – she moved halfway through high school, so there’s that, too) who went on to be a recognizable actress. Not the biggest, mind you, but she had a prominent enough role in Gossip Girl for a couple seasons (I didn’t watch it, but I know I’m not the only person who watches things), and she once played Michael Rappaport’s daughter in a shortlived Fox sitcom called The War at Home, wherein she kissed Seth MacFarlane. He apparently remembered her well enough to invite her to do some voice acting on Family Guy. Heck, she was even one half of an actually crucial puzzle piece in Ted meeting the mother on How I Met Your Mother. That’s not unimpressive at all! So, yeah, there are people who will point at her and say, “I recognize her!” and so it’s still a noteworthy anecdote from my life (and anyone’s lives, really, from our class), especially considering that I once briefly played one of the gravediggers from Romeo and Juliet alongside her in our freshman year of high school for a school assignment – during which I cut my hand pretty badly on the jagged metal pipe I was using as a prop shovel. No wonder which one of us went on to act for a living and which went on to merely talk about people acting… for a hobby. Read more…

REVIEW – Star Trek: The Motion Picture

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment
Star Trek The Motion Picture.jpgDirected by: Robert Wise
Produced by: Gene Roddenberry
Screenplay by: Harold Livingston
Story by: Alan Dean Foster
Edited by: Todd C. Ramsay
Cinematography by: Richard H. Kline
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Persis Khambatta, Stephen Collins, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
Based on the TV series created by Gene Roddenberry
Year: 1979

 

As some of you may know already, September 8, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the first ever episode of Star Trek airing on NBC. The show ran for a total of three seasons before being cancelled in 1969. Apart from a brief animated series that ran from 1973 – 1974, fans of the show for the next decade would have to settle for reading rumors of a new series titled Star Trek: Phase II. However, by the late 70s, and in the wake of the financial and critical success of sci-fi films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, Paramount Pictures began to rethink their plans and ultimately decided to ditch the riskier, long term commitment that was the Phase II series and, instead repurpose its assets for a film – one that would feature the return of the original series cast to their respective roles rather than set up a new crew. As a result, a whole ten years after the cancellation of the original series, and despite a troubled and rushed production schedule that required both on-set rewrites and a postproduction that lasted until mere days before the film’s debut, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was finally released to theatres… and, yeah… it didn’t do nearly as well as the studio had hoped it would. (Kinda sounds familiar, huh?) Read more…

REVIEW: Looney Tunes: Back in Action

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment
Looney Tunes: Back in ActionDirected by: Joe Dante
Produced by: Paula Weinstein, Bernie Goldman
Screenplay by: Larry Doyle
Story by: Larry Doyle, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Edited by: Rick Finney, Marshall Harvey
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith, John Debney (additional music)
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Joe Alaskey, Jeff Bennet, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Bob Bergen, June Foray, Heather Locklear, Joan Cusack Eric Goldberg, Billy West, Bill Goldberg
Year: 2003

 

I few months ago, I trialed the PlayStation Vue service. It was pretty nifty, but it wasn’t really worth paying for, since it was still essentially cable and, thus, provided very little content that I actually wanted to watch outside of the services I already subscribed to. However, in checking out the goings on at Cartoon Network, I encountered a little show I had no idea existed: Wabbit, a modern day reimagining of the Looney Tunes brand more in line with modern kids’ comedic sensibilities. It was… fine. I didn’t care much for it, but I understood what it was trying to do. But it just… it wasn’t the same. Randomness and deadpan statements of the wacky events happening seemingly replaced wit and expert timing. A quick search on YouTube right now will turn up videos like one in which Bugs helps save a dimwitted Big Foot who calls him “lady” all the time, or Yosemite Sam running Bugs over in a car from texting and driving, and then Bugs getting the best of him because he wants the latest greatest new phone with all the ridiculous gadgets. Not itself an inherently bad premise, but the jokes really only seem to be the tired “What’s the deal with cellphones?” type jokes before Sam’s new phone just randomly vibrates him out a window. Eh. Read more…

REVIEW: Free Birds

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Free BirdsDirected by: Jimmy Hayward
Produced by: Scott Mosier
Screenplay by: Jimmy Hayward, Scott Mosier
Story by: David I. Stern, Scott Mosier
Edited by: Chris Cartagena
Music by: Dominic Lewis
Starring: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Colm Meaney, Keith David, George Takei
Year: 2013

 

I felt like I should do something for this Thanksgiving, but, to be honest, I have already pretty much exhausted my Thanksgiving movie options after Planes, Trains and Automobiles and, to an extent, Miracle on 34th Street (unless I wanted to review the remake, too…). Luckily, last year brought us a brand new Thanksgiving film to watch just before Turkey Day: Free Birds, a film that will have you shouting at the person who announces they’re about to put it on, “Play ‘Free Bird’!” because you’ll undoubtedly rather hear a great but very long Lynyrd Skynyrd song than see the movie that apparently didn’t even have the sense to license the song for the obvious reference I just made. (It instead plays a cover of CCR’s “Up Around the Bend” as played by Social Distortion over the credits. I guess it is a much more upbeat song, but I’m not too certain lyrical context really matters to a movie like this.) When I told people what I was reviewing out of desperation for another film, they strongly advised that I instead review the Charlie Brown TV special, which… yeah, that probably would’ve been more tolerable, but I felt like I should at least exhaust all theatrical film options, and at least this film was on Netflix streaming, so I wouldn’t have to take up a slot in my DVD queue, either. So, yeah, I watched Free Birds. … Here’s the review. Read more…

REVIEW: Joe Versus the Volcano

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment
Joe Versus the VolcanoDirected by: John Patrick Shanley
Produced by: Teri Schwartz
Written by: John Patrick Shanley
Edited by: Richard Halsey, Kenneth Wannberg
Cinematography by: Stephen Goldblatt
Music by: Georges Delerue
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Ossie Davis, Abe Vigoda, Dan Hedaya, Barry McGovern, Amanda Plummer, Nathan Lane, Carol Kane
Year: 1990

 

I’d always been curious about Joe Versus the Volcano, mostly because it was the first pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan – and you know from a past review that I actually quite like the pairing – but my mom basically shaped my understanding of the movie to the point of making me mostly be ambivalent about it by hammering it into my mind that the movie was stupid. That curiosity was obviously not enough to cause me to seek it out, as I had basically not seen it up until this past week, but, whenever I did remember it existed, there was a moment where I would think to myself, “Huh. I should see that someday,” before quickly forgetting about it. This time, though, I finally saw it, mostly because a friend/coworker/fellow cinephile recommended the movie as being his favorite bad movie. Me being who I am, I took it as a sign that, yes, I should finally see this movie, so it instantly went onto the top of my Netflix DVD queue.

So… yeah, I saw this movie. Finally. Was it worth it?… Read more…

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

October 4, 2014 2 comments
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's RevengeDirected by: Jack Sholder
Produced by: Robert Shaye
Written by: David Chaskin
Edited by: Bob Brady, Arline Garson
Cinematography by: Jacques Haitkin, Christopher Tufty
Music by: Christopher Young
Starring: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Englund, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Christie Clark, Marshall Bell, Melinda O. Fee, Tom McFadden, Sydney Walsh
Year: 1985

 

A long time ago, back in 2011, I angered quite a few fans of the Elm Street series by taking a disliking to the original film. These fans had accused me of a great number of things, mostly for being ignorant, comparing it to Friday the 13th, and/or making errors regarding the number of movies in the film series. It may well have been fair, but it seemed like most of this was stemmed from the fact that, in the end, I did not like it. I gave it a 2 out of 5 score and even called the score “charitable.” Them’s fighin’ words, they thought, and so they slammed me on their forum. Justified or not in their anger (and they kind of were in some respects), a few allowed me to engage them in discussion, and we even came to a sort of understanding. Some of them urged me on and recommended two of the sequels: the third, which saw the return of the one beloved survivor of the original heading up a task force of troubled youths against the series’ baddie, Freddy Krueger, and the seventh, which was a sort of meta extension of the series that saw the actors dealing with Freddy in the real world, in their own lives. And, to be honest, I actually kind of enjoyed them. They weren’t masterpieces or anything, but, for what they were, they were certainly a lot more entertaining and whimsical than what I had perceived as a sort of ridiculous, self-serious franchise with the first film. Read more…

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