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REVIEW: Wizards

August 5, 2016 Leave a comment
WizardsDirected by: Ralph Bakshi
Produced by: Ralph Bakshi
Written by: Ralph Bakshi
Edited by: Donald W. Ernst
Music by: Andrew Belling
Starring: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Steve Gravers, James Connell, Susan Tyrrell, Mark Hamill
Year: 1977

 

I’ve only seen a few films of Ralph Bakshi – Cool World, Fritz the Cat, and now this movie – but there was a time when his works were always in the back of my mind whenever the subject of animation history came up. Ever since I was a kid, in fact, which is funny since almost none of his work is remotely child-friendly, except for perhaps his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. As a nerdy kid who studied almost anything that piqued my interest (but especially movies and video games), reading about Bakshi’s subversive, gritty, adult, and oftentimes controversial works always fascinated me. Revered as, if anything, noteworthy departures from the traditionally family fluff that, even today, is usually thought of as the default mode for animation in America, his stuff always stood out as almost mythical or even forbidden to my adolescent mind. I’d see references to it in stuff like The Simpsons and recognize the reference for what it was, but apart from maybe a few clips here and there, Bakshi’s animated films seemed to be spoken of in terms normally reserved for “banned” films like Song of the South and the infamous Censored Eleven – eleven Warner Bros. animated shorts that have been withheld from distribution due to their controversial, racially insensitive material. (I wasn’t far off in that regard, in retrospect, either.) Read more…

REVIEW: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

April 17, 2014 2 comments
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The MovieDirected by: Bryan Spicer
Produced by: Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, Suzanne Todd
Written by: Arne Olsen (screenplay), John Kamps, Arne Olsen (story)
Edited by: Wayne Wahrman
Cinematography by: Paul Murphy
Music by: Graeme Revell
Starring: Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, Steve Cardenas, Johnny Yong Bosch, David Yost, Karan Ashley, Paul Freeman, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Nicholas Bell, Robert L. Manahan, Peta-Maree Rixon, Richard Wood, Jamie Croft, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Julia Cortez, Barbara Goodson, Mark Ginther, Robert Axelrod, Kerry Casey, Kerrigan Mahan, Jean Paul Bell
Year: 1995

 

Ah, the Power Rangers! Probably one of the first TV series to expose me to the fact that a lot of adults could get paranoid over quite a little bit. Remember that story about how Power Rangers inspired kids to stab one another? Or that one about how it encouraged kids to jump off balconies? I sure do. It was also one of the first series many of us likely experienced backlash over, as Power Rangers was a series that kids who felt that they had passed some agreed upon threshold where it was no longer acceptable (or even never was acceptable) to watch the series would tease kids like me who (usually) openly admitted to watching it. Naturally, the Power Rangers’ first theatrical film was a big event for some of my friends and me. It was also the reason for the only time I recall ever being able to make myself cry in desperation. Long story short, my friend did something to piss off our babysitter, and she threatened to not take us to see it. He called her bluff, and she actually called it off. Frustrated because I hadn’t done anything, I worked up a lot of tears, and, yeah… I earned some sympathy points, and we went to see it anyway. Read more…

2013 IN REVIEW: Neither the Best, Nor the Worst Films I Saw

February 1, 2014 2 comments

Elysium - Sharlto Copley and Alice Braga

I apparently watched a lot more movies in 2013 than I had realized… The films below represent not the worst, not the best, but certainly not always good, but also certainly not always bad movies that I saw in and from 2013. Only films released theatrically were counted, and film festival debuts did not count. Some of these films were truly great, others were truly awful, but none of them were seen fit to be placed in “the worst,” “the best,” nor “my favorite” categories. And so, they go here. Here are some of the films I watched in 2013, in order of release! Read more…

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2011 in Review: The Films I Liked

January 13, 2012 5 comments

As I stated many times over in my overviews of films I didn’t see in 2011, I was a pretty poor person this past year, which limited the number of films I could see in theatres. Luckily, I was able to make up for much of these missed showings through rentals.

Of the films I saw in 2011, few of them were truly bad films. A few were disappointing, many were just about as average as I expected, and a few turned out to be surprises. While none of the films on this list were truly awful in my eyes, not all of them were that remarkable either, with few exceptions. Before I tell you which films I considered to be the worst and which were my favorites, I am once again going to lead you through the year in review of the mostly average films that I actually did see throughout and from 2011 by the time I made this list.

Read more…

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Trailer: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

December 20, 2011 1 comment

Unexpected indeed! Santa apparently forgot one gift after he delivered The Dark Knight Rises trailer. Back down the chimney he came to deliver one final (?) gift!

As soon as that music played, I got shivers down my spine. I’m not nearly as much a Lord of the Rings fanatic as my friends are — I’ve barely gotten into the first book and find it hard to get through Tolkien’s wordy, heavy prose, which is why I’m so thankful for Peter Jackson’s film series, which are masterpieces in their own right. I imagine those fans of the books and their related stories are kind of like when I scoff at people who think a great song is by a newer artist who covered it (or, sadly, just sampled the older, better song in one sad case involving Kid Rock and “Sweet Home Alabama”…), but I just can’t get into the books (or most books in general) as I can film. I’m a very visually-oriented person in many ways, and thanks to Jackson, I am able to at least partake in some form of Rings fandom, even though I at least am aware that it is a much different experience. Hey, you don’t necessarily expect everyone to read every book of every film adaptation, do you?

 

Anyway, my seemingly anti-intellectual habits aside, I’m so glad that Peter Jackson has been able to revisit the world of Middle Earth. Sam Raimi may have done well, and it’s still a tragedy that Guillermo del Toro wasn’t able to put his own touch on Jackson’s take on the world, but if it couldn’t be him, it might as well be the original, right? Of course, The Hobbit is decidedly lighter in tone compared to the heavy warfare of The Lord of the Rings, but it looks like Jackson has been able to put just the right touches on this adaptation — touches that I hope hold over into the second film in this revisit, which will be an almost entirely new story that bridges The Hobbit to the epic trilogy.

Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen don’t look to have aged a day since Return of the King, which is good since they’re technically supposed to be younger here, and it looks as though we’ll be in for a treat with fun looking new characters in the film, new takes on familiar characters (with The Office‘s Martin Freeman taking over as the younger Bilbo Baggins), and, of course Gollum along for what looks to be a gentler, more light-hearted adventure. Also cast in the film series are the returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Elijah Wood and Ian Holm as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (apparently these films are flashbacks), and Christopher Lee as Saruman, with new cast members consisting of Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, and several others I admittedly don’t recognize but will likely in the future.

Of course, the question remains: are we going to see an extended, 4 hour version of each of these films, as well? I don’t think marathoners can take it…

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