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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: “The Thing” (1982)

October 17, 2012 7 comments
Directed by: John Carpenter
Produced by: David Foster, Lawrence Turman, Wilbur Stark, Stuart Cohen
Written by: Bill Lancaster (screenplay)
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter (uncredited)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat, Charles Hallah, Joel Polis, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Thomas G. Waites, Richard Masur, Peter Maloney, David Clennon, Charles Hallahan
Based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
Year: 1982

 

The Thing is one of those movies I dismissed as a kid as yet another stupid monster movie. Looking back, I know exactly where this prejudice came from. Apparently that was the general consensus upon release, too. The film opened up against E.T. and Blade Runner and subsequently lost a good chunk of change from movie going audiences who wanted to see aliens and sci-fi adventures on the big screen. A bunch of scientists in the Antarctic being attacked by an alien creature doesn’t exactly compare to the wonderment of a little boy befriending an alien visitor or a detective seeking out robot fugitives on paper, when you think about it, huh? Critically, it suffered similarly, with the film’s nihilism and grotesque special effects not exactly endearing The Thing to critics of the time. Much like me, perhaps, popular opinions did gradually turn around, and now the film is recognized for its better qualities, chief among them the very same nihilism and special effects that were so controversial for their times. Read more…

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