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REVIEW – Power Rangers

April 7, 2017 1 comment
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Produced by: Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
Screenplay by: John Gatins
Story by: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Edited by: Martin Bernfeld, Dody Dorn
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Music by: Brian Tyler
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, David Denman
Based on the Power Rangers and Super Sentai TV series
Year: 2017

 

The film I’d always been asking for is finally here! … Sort of.

… Okay, let me clarify. A few years ago, I’d gotten all nostalgic about my childhood along with some friends, as people are wont to do, and the idea of creating a serious adaptation of the Power Rangers series we’d grown up with became a topic of fascination – at least for myself. I’d always imagined it as being something between serious and openly campy, acknowledging the series’ ridiculous qualities (“teenagers with attitude,” frenetic gesticulating and dramatic declarations prefacing every action, Rita Repulsa and her frequently giant-sized cronies, etc.) and embracing them alongside the aspects that could be made obviously and genuinely awesome (the action, the Zords, the monster battles).

Years later, we got what I always wanted. It’s called Pacific Rim. And it is incredible.

Now, years after that, we now have an actual Power Rangers movie – one that is somehow a more serious film than Pacific Rim, which is actually based on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series – Zordon, Alpha 5, Rita, and everything. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Ghostbusters (2016)

July 19, 2016 2 comments
Ghostbusters (2016)Directed by: Paul Feig
Produced by: Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal
Written by: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Edited by: Melissa Bretherton, Brent White
Cinematography by: Robert Yeoman
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, Neil Casey, Andy Garcia, Cecily Strong
Year: 2016

 

I really don’t know how to start off this review. With the whole ridiculous “controversy” surrounding this movie for its leads being “gender swaps” of the original actors, not to mention the subsequent fears of sounding like a misogynist for not liking the trailers (and misogynists fearing being called out for being one while still giving their misogynist opinions on it), I’m fairly certain that Ghostbusters surpassed even Batman v Superman and the whole Ben Affleck casting in terms of the absurd levels of stigmatization surrounding it. For a reviewer, it’s pretty hard to even begin reviewing this film without addressing it, and if you happen to not like it, I can only imagine it’s even harder to articulate your thoughts without them being twisted, misconstrued, or misworded into something that someone somewhere would take offense at. I know – I’m a man, and I’m reviewing this movie. In fact, every time I thought about how I was going to review this movie, I hated the fact that I felt that I had to work the review around this controversy, even as someone who personally could not have given any damns about the casting because I had absolutely no problems with it nor the particular women that were cast. “God help me,” I thought, “if I don’t end up liking this movie.” Lucky me, I did.

For the most part. Read more…

REVIEW: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

December 17, 2015 2 comments
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Directed by: Ron Howard
Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Screenplay by: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Edited by: Dan Hanley, Mike Hill
Cinematography by: Donald Peterman
Music by: James Horner
Original song by: Mariah Carey, James Horner, Will Jennings, performed by Faith Hill
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, Josh Ryan Evans, Clint Howard, Anthony Hopkins (voice)
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Year: 2000

 

I’m not really certain what makes studios think that live action adaptations of things that belong in animation are good ideas, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say it’s because they make money. Obviously, that trumps artistic expression, more often than not. And that’s how you end up with things like The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers. These movies are at least technical marvels, when sufficient effort is put into them, and the environments in How the Grinch Stole Christmas are really quite incredible and well realized. The makeup effects are also mostly impressive, too. That being said, I’ve only once ever seen a live action adaptation or extension of a property that I ended up liking more than the original, and that was this year’s live action Cinderella. Still, that’s one exception, and none of this can overshadow the fact that Dr. Seuss’ book was already perfectly adapted decades ago by Chuck Jones in the 26-minute-long, 1967 animated TV special, complete with the perfect look and tone, and, best of all, with absolutely zero filler to pad out the original book. The same cannot be said about Ron Howard’s admirable but misguided adaptation. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Jurassic World

June 19, 2015 2 comments
Jurassic WorldDirected by: Colin Trevorrow
Produced by: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley; Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull (executive producers)
Screenplay by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Story by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Edited by: Kevin Stitt
Cinematography by: John Schwartzman
Music by: Michael Giacchino, John Williams (themes)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Irrfan Khan, Katie McGrath, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Judy Greer, Andy Buckley
Year: 2015

 

By now, you probably don’t need for me to review this film, as it seems like the whole world has thrown their money at it. However, I went bonkers a couple years ago when the original film was re-released in theatres in 3D, prompting me to do a complete run through of the entire then-trilogy. As a result, I kind of feel obligated to review the latest one. Besides, some of you might be insane or too “hip” to buy into this dinosaur spectacle “nonsense” but might be thinking of giving it a go on DVD or something in what is, for me, the future, so, yeah, I’m here to help. Read more…

REVIEW: The Brady Bunch in the White House

Brady Bunch in the White HouseDirected by: Neal Israel
Produced by: Armand Leo, Lloyd J. Schwartz
Written by: Lloyd J. Schwartz, Hope Juber
Edited by: Terry Stokes
Cinematography by: Robert Seaman
Music by: Laurence Juber
Starring: Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Chad Doreck, Autumn Reeser, Blake Foster, Ashley Eckstein, Max Morrow, Sofia Vassilieva, Tannis Burnett, Saul Rubinek, Reagan Pasternak, Dave Nichols, Joshua Peace, Noah Danby, Jef Mallory
Based on the TV series The Brady Bunch
Year: 2002

 

The following review was originally conceived as an impromptu Facebook rant after I decided to watch this movie out of boredom while browsing Netflix, so if this review seems kind of random, it was. It wasn’t long before I realized, however, that I’d essentially written an impromptu movie review instead, so I took it and punched it up a bit and decided to publish it officially instead.

I think I just watched one of the most bafflingly horrendous movies I’ve ever seen – The Brady Bunch in the White House. The first two movies that took the characters and placed them in the 90s weren’t exactly comedy masterpieces, but they were pretty witty and smartly put together satires of the original show’s absurdity by mostly having the wholesome characters be unchanged and defiantly unfazed by the explicit realities of the then-modern world (save for Alice, who, as an honorary Brady, was given a bit more of an edge). It was a fairly clever concept, dodging the pitfalls that most other TV-to-movie adaptations succumb to, and even on an artistic level, those movies got everything just right: a near perfect cast, the musical cues, the sitcom style camera angles, the kitschy costumes and sets, and just enough heightened reality to let you know the people making it were doing it all in good fun while making it tolerable and enjoyable for all people, regardless of whether or not they actually liked the original show. (I hated it.) This third film, though… Read more…

REVIEW: That Thing You Do!

April 14, 2015 Leave a comment
That Thing You Do!Directed by: Tom Hanks
Produced by: Jonathan Demme, Gary Goetzman, Edward Saxon
Written by: Tom Hanks
Edited by: Richard Chew
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Music by: Howard Shore
Songs by: Tom Hanks, Adam Schlesinger, Rick Elias, Scott Rogness, Mike Piccirillo, Gary Goetzman, Howard Shore
Starring: Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Tom Hanks, Obba Babatundé, Holmes Osborne, Charlize Theron, Bill Cobbs, Giovanni Ribisi
Year: 1996

 

If there were any two comedies that resonated with me as a kid as being truly “great” versus merely “entertaining,” those movies were Groundhog Day and That Thing You Do! These were movies I would watch when I was bored or when I was doing chores or when I was in a bad mood or when I was in a good mood – or when I was just really in the mood for some truly great movies, period. These were also two of the few movies that everyone in my family could agree upon to watch together and be contented with while growing up, which, if you know my childhood, was something very significant. Read more…

REVIEW: DuckTales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp

March 7, 2015 Leave a comment
DuckTales the Movie - Treasure of the Lost LampDirected by: Bob Hathcock
Produced by: Bob Hathcock, Jean-Pierre Quenet
Screenplay by: Alan Burnett
Edited by: Charles King
Music by: David Newman
Starring: Alan Young, Rip Taylor, Christopher Lloyd, Russi Taylor, Richard Libertini, Terrence McGovern, Joan Gerber, Chuck McCann, June Foray
Based on the TV series DuckTales and Uncle Scrooge comics created by Carl Barks
Year: 1990

 

Yeah, if you grew up watching this series, there’s a pretty good chance that the theme song is playing in your head right now – it’s certainly playing in mine as I write this. It’s practically obligatory at this point to mention it anytime the show is brought up – and I’m certain we’ll see it brought up again more and more thanks to the recent announcement from Disney that they would be reviving the show for Disney XD, likely due to the success of the remastered DuckTales video game and the ensuing renewed interest in the property. It’s certainly why I chose to review this movie, which just so happened to have been in my collection, thanks to the Disney Movie Rewards program, which was, up until recently, the only way to get it. Read more…

2014 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 24, 2015 1 comment

Maleficent - Angelina Jolie

I’m not going to waste too much time this year on introductions. For this second part of my review of films I didn’t see, we’re going through the summer blockbuster season, which is typically where a lot of hopeful franchises and big, loud, action-packed spectacles are typically placed. That doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or anything, as some of them look quite good, but don’t expect too many of them to be all that deep or groundbreaking.

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 May to August 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: Hocus Pocus

October 16, 2014 3 comments
Hocus PocusDirected by: Kenny Ortega
Produced by: David Kirschner, Steven Haft
Written by: Mick Garris, Neil Cuthbert (screenplay), David Kirschner, Mick Garris (story)
Edited by: Peter E. Berger
Cinematography by: Hiro Narita
Music by: John Debney
Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, Jason Marsden, Doug Jones, Sean Murray, Charles Rocket, Stephanie Faracy, Larry Bagby, Tobias Jelinek, Jodie Rivera
Year: 1993

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Despite my love for this film as a kid, it’d been quite some time since I ever actually saw this movie from beginning to end. A few scenes here and there on ABC Family, sure, but the viewing was always interrupted by something else. Perhaps it’s just because the end of September is the beginning of a very busy month for my family – a close family friend’s birthday is at the end of September, and then there’s my stepdad’s and then my own birthday, and then you get into the “holiday season” along with two more birthdays thrown in for good measure, and it’s just rare that you sit down to watch anything you either have seen before, that is, unless it’s mandatory viewing – kinda like Shaun of the Dead or the Scream films are for me. However, for many, I do know that this is the movie they look forward to seeing every time this year, and, you know, I can’t really blame them. It’s a really fun flick. Read more…

REVIEW: Tron

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment
TronDirected by: Steven Lisberger
Produced by: Donald Kushner
Written by: Steven Lisberger (screenplay), Steven Lisberger, Bonnie MacBird (story)
Edited by: Jeff Gourson
Cinematography by: Bruce Logan
Music by: Wendy Carlos
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Dan Shor, Barnard Hughes, Peter Jurasik, Tony Stephano
Year: 1982

 

For the longest time, Tron was somewhat of a white whale for me. Apart from fleeting footage on TV here and there, I’d only heard and read about it several times in my childhood, having only gotten a very rudimentary understanding that it was some kind of old Disney film set in a computer. References to the movie seemed to pop up everywhere, though, from video games to that one Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Homer crosses over into a computer generated 3D world, and I’d always be reminded of that one Disney film set inside a computer that everyone seemed to have seen, including my own mom, who had seen it back when she was in high school and who mentioned it more often than probably anyone else in my life. I never was able to get a hold of a copy, however. It never seemed to turn up in rental stores on VHS or DVD (and LaserDisc was something my family never adopted), and not even cable TV seemed to turn up any airings. It wasn’t until the release of the 20th anniversary DVD in 2002 that I was provided with an opportunity to finally watch it, thanks to my fellow nerd and friend loving the film enough to actually get the 2-disc set. While I don’t recall exactly when we actually got around to watching it, I do remember the emotion that ran through me upon getting to the middle part of the movie: Complete and utter boredom. Read more…

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