Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Week In Movies - Let's Go, 2011

Super Mario Bros. (1993) The poster says "This Ain't No Game," but what it should say is "This Ain't Nothing To Do With The Game!" My kids were pretty excited when they learned from their old man that at one time somebody had made a Super Mario Bros. movie with "real people." I remember thinking the movie was pretty clever when I saw it in the theatre 18 years ago. Unfortunately, this is yet another movie that I'll have to move off the list of movies I saw when I was younger and really liked to the list of movies that I can barely sit through anymore. This jumbled mess of a motion picture has little to do with the classic Nintendo video game which it's based upon. Instead, we get a fairly confusing tale of two plumbers who get sucked into another dimension and have to save the world from the ruler of an alternate universe where everyone evolved from dinosaurs instead of apes. Sound confusing? It is. It's one of those movies where they've created this whole other world and while it's supposed to be futuristic and really cool - it's just plain weird and confusing. The filmmakers didn't even include any of the iconic sound effects from the game. The only thing this film has in common with the video game are some character names. Bob Hoskins (of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fame) plays Mario and John Leguizamo is his brother Luigi. Hoskins is a British actor and Leguizamo is usually associated with Latino roles. Casting these two as brothers, is only the beginning of where this movie goes wrong. Still, without it's association with the source material it's an okay popcorn movie. My kids seemed to enjoy it. Rated PG for some action, silly violence and a few off-color words.

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009) You might not know who the Sherman Brothers are, but you sure know their music. They are mostly associated with Disney movies starting with Mary Poppins and continuing with The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and so many others. This recent documentary, put together by children of the subject matter, offers a history lesson and a look at the tensions between working siblings. A rivalry that has gone fairly undetected by Disney fans up until now. There are plenty of juicy rare clips as well as plenty of toe tapping tunes. At more than one occasion, you'll be surprise to discover that "they wrote that song too!" Although the movie starts off teasing a dark side to the brothers' that never really pans out, The Boys is a fascinating and entertaining documentary. It's non-fiction film making done right! Rated PG for some adult themes and a few mild curse words tossed off in conversation.

Francis (1950) If you know me, ya know I like my movies feather-weight. I'm not much for story or any of that nonsense, I'm just looking for some laughs and smiles. I'm starting to discover, the further back in Hollywood's history you look there are some super light weight movies that have less story than a Police Academy marathon. Which brings me to the Francis the Talking Mule series. There were seven movies made in the 50's staring Francis, a talking Army mule who only spoke to Donald O'Connor and then a few other people if the situation called for it. This is all a precursor to Mr. Ed, the more famous talking horse which was produced by the same people as Francis. In the first movie, hilariousness abounds as Francis befriends Peter, a young Army soldier. Francis gives Peter insider information which helps Peter further his career in the Army. Of course when Peter gives his buddy Francis all the credit, good times ensue! Good stuff!

Francis Goes to the Races (1951) I liked Francis so much, I watched the sequel the next night. The second film picks up right where the first one left off and moves briskly along. Since we've already met Francis at the top of the film, the laughs start off quickly. Here, Peter and Francis end up at a race track and Peter gets mixed up with some mobsters when they discover Peter has some insider tips on who's gonna win each race. Guess who gave him the tips? I'll give you a's someone who can talk to horses! More fun! Can't wait to get my hands on the third instalment. Not rated but does contain scene involving a drunk mule.

The Fox and The Hound (1981) It's kinda lame that my kids had never seen this semi-classic but they've seen the silly direct-to-DVD sequel a handful of times. The Fox and the Hound is a beautifully made movie. It's very moody and quiet and comforting. I was a bit disappointed to discover my copy is not widescreen. Rated G.

Cavegirl (1985) Here's the plot of this gem...a nerdy high school kid (who looks like he's in his early 30's) goes on a field trip and somehow gets zapped back in time to the caveman period. There he meets a beautiful young bikini-clad cavegirl. Instead of trying to find a way home, he invests all his time and energy into getting the cavegirl into bed. He even builds a bed. They actually attempted to make this movie funny throughout, but most of the gags fall flat. The cavegirl is very easy on the eyes, but the rest of the cast is hard to stomach - both their appearance and their acting. Rated R for language, nudity and sexual situations.

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