Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Week In Movies - Rainy Weekend = More Movies

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) In my high school days I was an avid Python fan. I couldn't get my hands on enough Monty Python material. In later years, I felt I had kind of burned out the fun of the group. I had heard and seen everything a million times that they just weren't that funny to me anymore. I've more or less given them a rest for the last 8 or 9 years. Last week, the Independent Film Channel ran a brand new 6-part documentary about Monty Python that covered the members lives before they met all the way up to present day. Not only was it a fantastic program, but it made me yearn for all my favorite Python bits that I hadn't seen in so long. In addition to the new doc, IFC also aired 4 of Python's 5 feature films. Hollywood Bowl captures a live stage show the Monty Python gang toured with in Canada and the States in the early 90's. A large arena like the Hollywood Bowl doesn't seem like the best venue to get your Python on, but everyone in the audience seems to be having so much fun. This movie gives you a front row seat to 75 minutes of Python songs and sketches and plays as sort of a "greatest hits" of Monty Python. (I TiVo'ed all their other movies too, and hope to watch them in the new few weeks.)

Astro Boy (2009) Based on one of the first anime series, this American update of the tale of a robotic boy is pretty standard kiddie fare. Fairly bland with too many characters, too much fighting and generic story points. This might have been the first time I took the kids to the movie theatre and didn't hear a peep out of them the entire time, but then again I was asleep for a good portion of the second who knows what happened!

Casper (1995) I remember thinking this was a really great movie when it first came out. The first part of the film is filled with some really great cameos but it turns out there really wasn't much to it after that. It's an enjoyable film but 14 years later, and oh so more mature, it just wasn't that great! My kids loved it.

Back to the Beach (1987) Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello made a large number of Beach Party movies in the 1960's. These silly movies were nothing more than flimsy plotlines to string an endless number of musical performances by some of the up-and-coming singers of the day. The "Beach" films are made up mostly of silly dialogue, rock n' roll, and sustained shots of girls in bikinis wiggling their rear ends. Back to the Beach revisits the spirit of those films twenty years later with Frankie and Annette all grown and with kids of their own. This movie is the very definition of wacky and tacky, and of course, I love it. This is one of my personal "oft-quoted" movies.

Land of the Lost (2009) Why would they take a beloved children's television show and turn it into a movie filled to the rims with vulgarity? Sex, drugs, nudity and wall-to-wall profanity, I'm surprised Sid and Marty Krofft (the creators of the original show) had anything to do with this. Not only did they approve it, they produced it! There's some funny moments tucked here and there, but most of the time I was shuddering at the thought of kids watching this. Seriously, if you put a dinosaur on your movie poster - you've gotta expect that kids are going to want to watch it. I don't care what the rating is, kids will want to watch it. Jurassic Park might have also been rated PG-13, but it was just a bit intense. It didn't have boob jokes and foul language in it. As a fan of the original television series, Land of the Lost 2009 is a real disappointment.

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