Friday, July 27, 2012

My Week In Movies - July; Week 3

The Great Outdoors (1988) Do yourself a favor and go back and watch an old John Candy movie that you haven't seen in a while. Man, he was a great talent who is missed. We really don't have anyone like him anymore. I hadn't seen this summer vacation picture since it came out and don't remember it too fondly but rewatching it now I enjoyed the heck out of it. John Candy and Dan Aykroid take their families on vacation in a cabin in the woods. It's all the standard B-grade storylines running, but it's just innocent, silly fun that all works together.

Mannequin (1987) I hadn't seen this one in a long time either. What a great cast, in addition to the two stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall there's also Meshac Taylor, G.W. Bailey, James Spader and the always great Estelle Getty. This is another round of silly 80's fun with a department story mannequin coming to life in the form of Cattrall and romancing store employee McCarthy. As with every 80's comedy, there is an extending music video scene where she tries on different outfits. That scene is always a winner.

Rascal (1969) My kids are on a big kick about raccoons right now, so we watched this vintage Disney comedy about a young boy who adopts a raccoon as a pet even though the whole town tells him a varmint can't make a good pet. Not much time is spent on the relationship between the boy and his new pet, instead there is a storyline involving the town pastor and teacher getting involved with the boy's upbringing and a totally odd and tacked on side story about a car race. Not a very engaging film even for a die hard Disney fan like myself. (The kids fell asleep within the first 30 minutes.)

Stop! Look! And Laugh (1960) I love movies that serve as odd time capsules. At one time, ventriloquist Paul Winchell hosted a Saturday morning kid's show featuring Three Stooges shorts. So, somebody decided to make a movie version of the show. Paul lives at home with a couple of his dummies and he tells them various stories which end up just dissolving into a greatest hits collection of Three Stooges shorts. It's very strange, but both the vintage shorts and the new material work...and work well. My kids were howling at the puppet bits and enjoyed the Three Stooges shorts as well.

Madea's Big Happy Family (2011) This was my first venture into the world of Tyler Perry and Madea. If you're not familiar with Madea, she's a large elderly black woman played by a large younger black man in minimal drag. She's stared in a dozen or so plays and a more recently a handful of movies. I'm always intrigued by characters moving from film to film (a la' Ernest) so I gave this Madea entry a try on Netflix Instant. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. The writing isn't that great, and alot of the characters are more style than substance...but overall, the film doesn't shoot too high and it works at it's own level. A woman discovers she has only a few weeks to live and she wants to gather her family together to tell them all at once. Everybody in the family has their own dysfunctional story and every attempt at a get together falls apart before the news is sprung. So, the woman asks Madea to gather everyone up for her. I like a good simple story with some heart and big laughs, Madea's Big Happy Family provided in all departments.

Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) I wasn't really sure what was going on in this charming western comedy, but everybody on screen looked like they were having so much fun that it was hard not to enjoy myself too. James Garner arrives in town and gets mixed up in a plot to...well, I honestly really don't know. But it's fun. The great Jack Elm (who is in my all-time favorite The Cannonball Run) is awesome in this movie, as well as Suzanne Pleshette and Harry Morgan. This movie also features the most well lighted town in the wild west.

Man of the House (2005) Big studio comedies don't get much worse than this horrible attempt at laughter with Tommy Lee Jones playing his Tommy Lee Jones character assigned to protect a cheerleading squad who have witnessed a murder. Any film that explores the wonderful world of cheerleading and can't come up entertaining is a very sad story indeed. I think I laughed once during the painful 100 minutes of film I subjected myself to. Bad.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Week In Movies - July; Week 2

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) So many questions with the newest Spider-Man movie. Why did we need to sit through his origin story...again? Why does it take Spider-Man almost an hour to show up to his own movie? Why does the bad guy always have to have a backstory, can't he just be evil? Why does the villain's story always have to be something personal with Spider-Man? Why can't they just make a movie where some robots rob a bank and Spider-Man swings in, battles them, and saves the day? And why, oh why did Spider-Man...NOT web out of the 3D movie screen and into my face!?! All that being said, I enjoyed the new movie.

21 Jump Street (2011) A silly movie (staring Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum, whichever it is) based on a 20 year old FOX show should not be good. Yet alone, how does it be great. 21 Jump Street is a fantastic movie. Very, Very funny. It pokes fun at itself while still being genuinely funny on it's own. It plays around with the aspect that it's based on an existing property and most importantly it never once lets the story of the film stand in the way of the humor. I hate when a silly comedy gets too bogged down with it's own plot. This movie is perfect. As an added bonus, there's a really great cast including a few people from The Office, Parks & Recreation and New Girl. Plus there's Brie Larson who I thought was kind of cute in Hoot, and she's very pretty here too.

The Cannonball Run (1980) Simply put - my favorite movie of all time. It still makes me laugh from beginning to end. The kids were interested in seeing it since they've heard me talk about it and quote it so often. The youngest fell asleep quickly and my older one found it pretty boring. Perhaps I sprung it on them a little too early. Although I guess I was Elias' age when I first started watching it religiously on HBO. Of course back then, we didn't have 14 new animated films a year competing for our attention. We made do with what we had.

Starcrash (1978) I hate that whole "so bad it's funny" thing. This Italian knock off of Star Wars is not all that funny, but it's so bad and silly that it is very enjoyable. I have no idea what it was about, but there is some girl in a leather bikini fighting bad guys with a robot named Elle The Police Robot. Elle speaks with a slight southern accent and is full of witty C3-PO-esque things to say. Oh, and near the end David Hasselhoff shows up to help Bikini Girl battle some space cavemen. Good times!

Dennis The Menace (1993) I remember this being kind of funny. I think I watched it when I worked at a video store once. My kids love the old black and white TV show so I thought they'd get a kick out of this updated (read: Color) version. They enjoyed it ok but I have to say it is god-awful. The movie is 95% soundtrack. Things aren't funny...but the soundtrack sure works hard into making you think you just saw something funny. Also, Dennis the Menace was never mean spirited, he wasn't out to make people's lives a living hell. In this movie, Dennis is a pretty naughty boy. Also, kids movies shouldn't have so many sex jokes in them! Do I sound old?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Week in Movies - July; Week 1

As if you cared...My Week In Movies returns in all it's full glory! The main reason I started this feature was to write about movies, and lately I've just been listing what I've seen instead of doing any writing with them, so I thought it was time to get back to basics.

Wild Things 3: Diamonds in the Rough (2005) There's really no good reason why I watched this movie except that I just seem to love crappy made-for-DVD sequels to real films. I enjoyed the original Wild Things and thought I'd give this goofy follow up a try. It is actually pretty good, about a gal who frames her stepfather for rape in the hopes of swindling some money out of him. Her scheme involves several people and as in the original flick, everybody is backstabbing everyone else and the twists and turns are fast and frequent. Any movie with stolen diamonds as a central plot device can't be that bad. The production values are top rate for a direct-to-video cheapie and the cast is all having fun.  From reading up on the other two films in the series, apparently lesbianism is also a theme that runs through the four Wild Things films, and chapter 3 also has no shortage of that. So, you got that going for ya!

Good Eats!
Jaws: The Revenge (1987) You've probably heard how bad this third sequel is. And whatever you've heard is right. This is a bad movie! It's not scary or intense in the least bit. It involves the mom from the first two films traveling from New England to the Bahamas where the shark (Jaws or Bruce, which ever you choose to call him!) has followed her! Jaws somehow knew that Mrs. Brody was booking a flight to the Bahamas and then followed her from the water as she flew 80,000 ft. above it. With a ridiculous set up like that, and then nothing scary to follow...this really is a horrible movie. (It's probably about the 5th or 6th time I've seen it.)

Monday, July 02, 2012

June Movie Round-Up

As the summer sets in, it's harder for me to get a chance to watch a movie without it being family friendly/kid approved. I was a bit disappointed with my beloved Pixar's latest offering Brave. I found it to be derivative of several Disney films before it and it just didn't have that magic that is usually associated with Disney or Pixar. However, I was totally blown away by The Secret World of Arrietty from Japan's Studio Ghibli. I'm not usually a fan of Japaneese animation but this reworking of the story The Borrowers was totally captivating and quite and slow paced (something NO American piece of animation is allowed to do anymore!) I read a book on the Greatest Cowboy Movies of all time which lead me to watch Shane, a really good western that ranked very high in the book. Vibes is an old Jeff Goldblum/Cyndi Lauper vehicle that I used to adore as a kid. I hadn't seen it in a long wasn't quite as great as I remembered it but it was still a pretty solid flick. I'd had the preteen mermaid movie Aquamarine on my back burner for years. Finally saw it and it wasn't half as bad as I imagined it would be. The new Blue Lagoon: The Awakening has nothing at all to do with the first two films in the series except an island and sex. The newer live action Charlotte's Web isn't near as faithful to the book as the older animated film. Once again, here's a list of my June movies from best to worst:

Tangled (2010)
Stitch! The Movie (2003)
The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)
Robin Hood (1973)
Shane (1953)
Ace Ventura When Nature Calls (1995)
Vibes (1988)
Brave (2012)
Aquamarine (2006)
Men In Black (1997)
Blue Lagoon: The Awakening (2012)
Ringmaster (1998)
Just One of the Guys (1985)
Malibu Beach (1978)
Charlotte's Web (2006)
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998)

June Movie Count: 16
2012 Movie Count: 116

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