Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Kenny & Company

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

tn_kennyBefore he did PHANTASM, a 22 year old Don Coscarelli wasn’t even looking to be a horror director. He got together the people he knew and filmed in his neighborhood and made this sweet coming-of-age type comedy about growing up in the California suburbs of the ’70s. Kenny (Dan McCann) is a kid about 12 or 13, his company is Doug (PHANTASM star A. Michael Baldwin) and Sherman (Jeff Roth), a goofy younger kid from across the street who they pick on but start becoming real friends with when they see him getting beat up by Johnny Hoffman (Willy Masterson), the same neighborhood bully they live in terror of.
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Summer Movie Flashback: Speed Racer

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

tn_speedracer

2008

2008

These days it’s pretty common for people to say that SPEED RACER is an overlooked gem – or even a masterpiece – that was misunderstood at the time. So give credit to your old Uncle Vern for praising it from day 1. I didn’t misunderstand that shit! I understood the hell out of it. I am a real good understander in my opinion. Not to brag.

But this is the second time I’ve watched it and actually I liked it alot more this time. I didn’t have as many reservations about the aggressively shiny and video gamey pixelscapes it takes place in. It’s still not my favorite look, but my brain has adjusted. I don’t know, maybe the rainbow colored kaleidoscope spinning around the studio logos at the beginning hypnotizes you when you see it on Blu-Ray. It starts to look amazing.

What really impressed me is the next level filmatism within that artifical world. The camera (or “camera”) soars through, over and around these space age racers as they zoom, drift, bounce and fly through loopty-loops, giant pinball machines and monster-faced ice caves, and despite all the speed and freneticism I think this mayhem is really easy to follow. (Judging from my original review maybe the smaller screen helps.) Characters’ heads constantly float away, wiping into the next scene, a more evolved version of Ang Lee’s best moves in HULK and, now that I think about it, one of a long list of ways that this movie must’ve influenced the shit out of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. There are fight scenes, Speed and Racer X vs. practicioners of nonjitsu, and you get a glimpse of the MATRIX era Wachowskis. Then it bounces into a more candy colored, silly-anime type of style with abstract backgrounds and even more exaggerated physics. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Kick

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

tn_thekickTHE KICK is a family friendly Thai martial arts movie from director Prachya Pinkaew (ONG BAK, TOM YUM GOONG, CHOCOLATE). It’s not as ridiculous as POWER KIDS (arguably that’s a bad thing) but way less cheesy and broad than MUAY THAI GIANT (definitely a good thing). It’s less gory than POWER KIDS but otherwise schews a little older, with a teen brother and sister getting alot of the focus.

Despite being a Thai production it’s about a Korean family who train and perform Tae Kwon Do. The father has alot of resentment about a loss at the Olympics long ago, just as he had to abandon his dream in order to raise a family. Because of this he puts alot of pressure on his family to train hard, especially his older son, who would rather pursue his dream of STEP UP style dancing. Dad doesn’t even want him to go to a big audition to be a dancer for “Dream Entertainment.” The poor kid has to make a deal to master the impossible “Tornado Kick” to even be allowed to pursue dancing at all. (read the rest of this shit…)

Oz the Great and Powerful

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

tn_ozOZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL could also be called WALT DISNEY’S SAM RAIMI 3D. That’s what I was hoping to see, and that’s what I got. If it had been a WIZARD OF OZ prequel movie made by somebody not as exciting as Raimi I don’t know that I would’ve even bothered, and it’s not my first choice of what he should be doing now that he’s stopped being a captive of SPIDER-MAN. But it turns out to be a better-than-expected use of Raimi’s time and mine.

Before we get into that I’m gonna say what we’re all thinking: let’s call it quits on these revisionist fantasy and fairy tale type movies now. “What if Alice in Alice in Wonderland was really the chosen one and she puts on armor and leads an army against the jabberwocky” made literally a billion dollars, but it was a moronic idea that was not rescued by Tim Burton’s imaginative visuals. I’ll give the Hansel and Gretel one and the Jack and the Beanstalk one a shot on video, but after that maybe it’s enough now, eh fellas? But they’re into this idea now of the recognizable name that’s not copyrighted. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Nutcracker: The Untold Story

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Finally the truth can be told. Because you know what? We have the right to know.

Not to brag or anything, but I always thought the official story behind this Nutcracker business was a bunch of bullshit. I mean, how naive can you be? And I knew the truth had to get out eventually. It was only a matter of time. Thank you, Freedom of Information Act.

Here, at last, is Tchaikovsky’s music and the associated Mouse King story (no credit for E.T.A. Hoffman) adapted into non-ballet, special-effects-laden movie form. This unexplainable Christmas fantasy mess was released theatrically in 2010 as THE NUTCRACKER IN 3D. It was directed and co-written by Andrey Konchalovskiy (RUNAWAY TRAIN, THE LION IN WINTER). I read that it was a dream project he’d tried to make for over 20 years, which would mean he started dreaming about it around the time he did TANGO & CASH. But on the making-of extra he said he’d been working on it since 1969. I wonder in which decade he lost track of why the hell he was doing it?

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Monday, May 21st, 2012

tn_tmntTEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) is a martial arts fantasy produced by Raymond Chow and Golden Harvest (ENTER THE DRAGON), with excellent animatronic and puppet effects by Jim Henson, and impressively agile fight and stunt sequences involving people in full body rubber creature suits. It has early performances by Elias Koteas and Sam Rockwell, and stuntwork by Ernie Reyes Jr. One major problem, though: it’s about teenage mutant ninja turtles.
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Real Steel

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

tn_realsteeelHere’s a not-perfect but surprisingly enjoyable family sports robots drama from the visionary director of, to be frankly honest, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (remake) and THE PINK PANTHER (remake) and a bunch of other shit like that. Obviously the title is a cheap stunt, they’re trying to make you think Shaquille O’Neal is in it, so please spread the word that that’s not the case. It’s also not officially based on the beloved intellectual property Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, even though it’s about boxing robots. It’s credited as being partly based on a Richard Matheson short story called “Steel” (also turned into a Twilight Zone episode starring Lee Marvin), but I say it’s suspiciously similar to Menahem Golan’s OVER THE TOP. (read the rest of this shit…)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

tn_spiritAfter seeing WAR HORSE I wanted to see something about a civilian horse, so I watched this 2002 animated cartoon movie about a horse running wild in the old west. I guess his name is Spirit. I guess he is a stallion. I guess he lives in one of the places that is called Cimarron. I’m not sure which one. (read the rest of this shit…)

All Ages Cinematic Tryptych #3 of 3: Hugo 3D

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

tn_hugoHUGO is the new “picture” from Martin Scorsese (GOODFELLAS). Like HAPPY FEET TWO it’s in 3D and like THE MUPPETS it’s a nostalgic revival of bygone popular entertainment and involves visiting a long-since-given-up former legend and getting him to reluctantly think about the old days. But in this case it’s the work of early cinema pioneer George Melies. So the history lesson seems more appropriate here. I wasn’t convinced that we needed to be reminded what the Muppets are, but when it’s silent film, yeah, maybe explain some of that shit, Scorsy. (I don’t feel comfortable calling him ‘Marty,’ so I use ‘Scorsy.’)
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Family Friendly Trilogy Episode Two: Happy Feet Two

Monday, December 5th, 2011

tn_happyfeettwoThe most philosophically ambitious of the 3 PG-rated movies I watched is the one that’ll probly get the least credit for it, George Motherfuckin Two Men Enter One Man Leaves Miller’s HAPPY FEET TWO. And first of all I want to give them credit for spelling out the number in their sequel title and not misspelling it for a pun. I’m sure it’s not the first spelled out non-homonym sequel title in history, but I couldn’t name you another one.
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